Marineland Mayor Angela TenBroeck is on her way to Dubai, where she’s been invited to address the United Nations’ climate change summit. The summit includes representatives from nearly 200 countries and thousands of businesses, non-governmental organizations and advocates for a cleaner, cooler planet. TenBroeck will be on on a series of panels addressing clean water, workforce, economic development, hunger alleviation and justice for indigenous people.
Daily Cartoon and Briefing
Flagler, Palm Coast & Other Local
Alphonso Joseph, the 50-year-old Palm Coast resident and former pastor at several Bunnell churches, was sentenced this afternoon to five years in prison followed by 10 years on sex-offender probation after pleading guilty to having sex with an underage boy.
School Board Attorney Kristy Gavin isn’t fired yet, with a Dec. 31 deadline looming. But the school board’s 50-minute discussion on what sort of legal representation it needs accented a chasm between two veteran board members focused on pragmatism and bottom lines on one side, and, on the other, the board’s three newest members’ willingness to improvise as they go, with little heed for consequences. The district administration is left to pick up the pieces.
The Flagler County Sheriff’s Office Cold Case Unit has received a new facial reconstruction depicting the victim of a 1980 cold case. On May 28, 1980, skeletal remains were found near a canal/culvert on State Road 11 about 2 miles south of the Bunnell, Florida city limits.
More Flagler, Palm Coast & Other Local
For the first time in 17 years, the Palm Coast City Council is having to shop for a new law firm: Neysa Borkert, the city attorney, is leaving Dec. 15. It’s not a position the city wanted to be in. The council at a special workshop this morning agreed to issue a request for proposal and hunt for a law firm able to mirror the city’s current legal services.
It took a lot of work on Circuit Judge Terence Perkins’s part this morning. But in the end, the judge convinced Ja’vere Justin Lumpkins, who just turned 22, to take the deal: six years in prison, instead of a high likelihood of life in prison if he was convicted at a trial that was set for next month. Lumpkins faced several counts of sexually assaulting two of his half-sisters, which alone could send him to prison for life. The minimum sentence he’d face on conviction would have been 21 years in prison.
Flagler County will be featured in the Florida Association of Counties 2024 calendar “Skylines of the Sunshine State” for the month of November with a stunning image of the canals in Palm Coast that was shot by photographer Lori Vetter Bowers, a member of the Flagler Beach Photography Club.
Willie Gardner, 30, was ready to plead to four felony counts of cruelty to animals involving negligence toward pitbulls, but Circuit Judge Terence Perkins rejected the plea negotiated between the defense and the prosecution, asking for jail time.
Christian Anthony Betancourt, a 19-year-old resident of Farmbrook Lane in Palm Coast, faces a felony count of child abuse and a felony count of throwing deadly missiles at an occupied vehicle following a Nov. 21 confrontation at the Fairfield Inn hotel on Old Kings Road in Palm Coast. Betancourt was allegedly upset that he’d been found cheating on his girlfriend.
It’s an indication of the Furry-Chong-Hunt majority’s churlishness that the school board member with the most experience, the most education, the most legislative, parliamentary and institutional knowledge by far (Colleen Conklin, who is in her last year), is being passed over as chair on Tuesday for Will Furry, her polar opposite in every respect, and a rookie.
Five new recruits for the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office and Flagler Beach police got a blunt, unfiltered briefing on how to testify in court from Assistant State Attorney Jason Lewis. It was a rare look, witnessed by FlaglerLive, at the dynamic between prosecutors and cops on the usually confidential fringes of court cases, and at how prosecutors prepare, guide and at times admonish police before they take the witness stand, since a cop’s testimony can make or break a case.
At least three business locations in downtown Flagler Beach were the target of anti-Semitic graffiti in Flagler Beach between Sunday and Monday. Flagler Beach police have surveillance footage of the individual, and are looking for the public’s help to identify him.
The Flagler Beach City Commission this evening approved a a $35,000 New Year’s Eve plan to launch midnight fireworks from the pier, ending a four and a half year fireworks drought in the city. The vote, and the enthusiasm, was unanimous.
Flagler County Commissioner Andy Dance said he intends to put his chairmanship to work for more transparency, clearer goal-setting, more vetting of issues and fewer surprises, especially at budget time, as he outlined a vision that he has been pushing for in his first three years on the commission.
Jason Wheeler, the former television reporter hired eight years ago to build and anchor the Flagler County School district’s communications hub, will be leaving the district at the end of the year for a similar job in the Panhandle. His departure adds to a continuing erosion of veterans with deep institutional knowledge of the district, with a brand new superintendent at the helm.
For the past 20 years, Merriam-Webster, the oldest dictionary publisher in the U.S., has chosen a word of the year – a term that encapsulates, in one form or another, the zeitgeist of that past year. In 2020, the word was “pandemic.” The next year’s winner? “Vaccine.” “Authentic” is, at first glance, a little less obvious. According to the publisher’s editor-at-large, Peter Sokolowski, 2023 represented “a kind of crisis of authenticity,” and that the choice was informed by the number of online users who looked up the word’s meaning.
Florida and Beyond
Stung by a succession of high profile polls showing President Joe Biden trailing former president Donald Trump among crucial swing state voters, the White House and its allies in Congress have scrambled to calm jittery nerves and reassure donors and establishment leaders all is well and under control. Many aren’t buying it.
Plaintiffs allege that the way state and local officials have carried out Amendment 4, designed to restore voting rights for felons who have completed their sentences, violated the U.S. Constitution and the federal Voting Rights Act. Attorneys for the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition and four individual plaintiffs filed a 61-page court document opposing a request by Gov. Ron DeSantis’ administration, county clerks of court and elections supervisors to dismiss the lawsuit.
Random Acts of Insanity today is not just a show at Cinematique in Daytona Beach: The Flagler County School Board, unfortunately, meets, as does the Palm Coast City Council, and both panels discuss what do do next for legal representation.
Briefs and Releases
More Florida and Beyond
The First Amendment does not protect messages posted on social media platforms. The Supreme Court has agreed to hear five cases during this current term that collectively give the court the opportunity to reexamine the nature of content moderation – the rules governing discussions on social media platforms such as Facebook and X, formerly known as Twitter – and the constitutional limitations on the government to affect speech on the platforms.
A statewide grand jury has issued a 146-page report that calls for taking a series of steps to try to curb illegal immigration. The report includes calling for further attempts to crack down on businesses that hire undocumented immigrants, probing non-government organizations and collecting fees on transfers of money from Florida to other countries.
The Bunnell City Commission considers an economic development incentive package for a company, George Brinton McClellan Harvey gets war wrong, Rajah Shehadeh talks to David Grossman.
What the Nazis did about transgender people was chilling, including imprisonment in concentration camps and execution. It’s a reminder that attacks on trans people are nothing new – and that many of them are straight out of the Nazi playbook.
Rotary’s Fantasy Lights Festival in Palm Coast’s Town Center, Farmers’ Market at European Village, the civilian death toll in Gaza.
For the first time in Dutch history, a party of the extreme right is the largest in the national parliament. Wilders is an eccentric politician known for his inflammatory rhetoric. He advocates the Netherlands leaving the European Union and has called Islam a “fascist” religion. In a 2016 trial, he was found guilty of inciting discrimination (but received no penalty for the crime).
A legislative proposal to bar state and local governments and contractors or nonprofits drawing state money from recognizing employees’ preferred gender pronouns if they differ from their biological sex has drawn criticism from LGBTQ+ Democrats as “a disturbing escalation of right-wing extremism in Florida.”
Tree-lighting ceremony and Fantasy Lights in Palm Coast’s Central Park this evening, a little exercise in perspective, comparing the South of Reconstruction with Israel’s policy toward Palestinians, Raja Shehadeh and Amos Oz.
A federal appeals court in Arkansas ruled on Monday, Nov. 20, 2023, that only the federal government – not private citizens or civil rights groups – could sue to enforce the 1965 Voting Rights Act. This decision will likely be appealed to the Supreme Court – but if it stands, it could gut individual people’s and civil rights groups’ legal right to fight racial discrimination in voting.
What were once considered far-right policies are now common talking points among the GOP candidates. That includes support for building a wall along the Southern U.S.-Mexico border and ending birthright citizenship for American-born children of undocumented immigrants — a protection that is enshrined in the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
Why Clay Jones doesn’t do obit cartoons, the dark side of black Friday, Letterman’s stupidest pet tricks, Bill Bryson recalls the good old days of dads’ girlie magazines.