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Thursday Briefing: Fair Days, Budget Crunch, and a Florida Land Sale the Size of Rhode Island

| April 2, 2015

The view from Quasimodo. (JAc 82)

The view from Quasimodo. (JAc 82)

Sunny, high in upper 70s, low in lower 60s. Details here.
Today’s fire danger is Moderate. Flagler County’s Drought Index is at 211
The weather in Adelaide, Australia: sunny, high of 76, low 56. Details.
The Live Community Calendar
Today’s jail bookings.

Today’s Briefing: Quick Links

In Flagler and Palm Coast:

Flagler County Fair and Youth Show continues today and through the weekend (At the county fairgrounds on Sawgrass Road, off County Road 13.)

No meetings scheduled at the county, Palm Coast, Bunnell or Flagler Beach.

Everyone Matters Day in Flagler County schools: More than 100,000 global citizens, and more than 30 U.S.. and Canadian Mayors and their cities, will partake in the 2nd annual “Everyone Matters Day,” as the global populist campaign and movement celebrating everyone’s unique contribution to society and their community, and everyone’s right to dignity and respect, takes off in its second year. The campaign advocates on behalf of everyone’s right to be who they are, regardless of gender, age, weight, skin color, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, physical limitations – combined with an empowering message affirming individuality, self-acceptance and pride-in-identity. The power and success of Everyone Matters is its universal but individual approach. See the site.

In Court:

Circuit Judge J. David Walsh holds Drug Court for 25 cases at 9:30 a.m. Some 48 pre-trial hearing cases go before County Judge Melissa Moore-Stens at 11 a.m. and 1:30 pm. Judge Michael Orfinger hears foreclosure cases at 1:30 p.m. and nine injunctions at 9 a.m.

The Florida Supreme Court releases opinions at 11 a.m.

In State Government:

The Florida House holds a floor session and likely will finalize its proposed $76.2 billion budget for the fiscal year starting July 1. (11 a.m.). The Senate also holds a floor session on a variety of bills. (2 p.m.) Follow the proceedings at the Florida Channel.


Michelle Obama appears on “The Tonight Show” tonight (11:35 p.m., NBC).

Today is the first anniversary of the second Fort Hood mass shooting, in which 34-year-old Army Specialist Ivan Lopez killed three people before shooting himself. It is the third anniversary of the mass shooting at Oikos University in Oakland, Calif., in which ex-student One L. Goh, 43, killed seven people.

In the Press:

560,000-Acre Swath of Florida Land Going on the Market: “The largest contiguous parcel of undeveloped private land east of the Mississippi River, a vast swath of forest in northern Florida, is going on the market and is expected to bring $1 billion or more when it is sold this year. The enormous tract of land, owned by the Foley Timber and Land Company, is about 560,000 acres, or nearly the size of Rhode Island. The land is almost empty except for the cedar, oak and other hardwood trees that cover close to 900 square miles between Tallahassee and Gainesville along the gulf coast just south of the Florida Panhandle. Foley has modest timber operations on the land that generate about $50 million a year. But for a potential buyer, the land represents an opportunity to develop or sell development rights to a largely uninhabited corner of the state.” From The Times.

McDonald’s Raises Pay To $1 Over Minimum, But Only at 10% Of Stores: “[T]he burger chain is going to increase the wages of its workers to $1 above the local minimum wage. There’s also going to be an increase in the benefits package, in that workers will earn paid vacation time. It’s true that this is only at the company’s directly owned locations: this isn’t going to make any difference to those working for franchisees (some 90% of the network). […] It’s absolutely nothing at all to do with unions, nor the Fight for $15 crew. It’s just the plain and simple economics of the labour market. Companies need to employ people to get things done. When there’s a lot of unemployed people around then they don’t have to pay them very much to do this. When the labour market tightens then they will have to pay more. Either to tempt the labour they want away from other employers or to tempt those entirely out of the labour market to enter it. There really is nothing complex or unusual about this: as unemployment falls then wages rise.” From Forbes.

Woman from Celebration threatened to kill Gov. Rick Scott, FDLE says: “Ruba Khandaqji, 36, was charged late Wednesday with two counts of corruption by threat against a public official and resisting arrest without violence. […] Khandaqji called the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office on Monday and said she was going to hire a hitman to kill the Governor because she wanted to be deported to Jordan, FDLE said in a statement. FDLE agents spoke to Khandaqji at her home Tuesday. She told agents that she did not have to abide by U.S. laws because she was being held against her will by the government.” From the Orlando Sentinel.

See Also:

Road and Interstate Construction:

Flagler County: County Road 305 between CR 2006 and Tangerine. IMPACTS: Closure in force 3/17/2015 for the 2nd box culvert replacement. Detours detour via CR 110 to CR 95 to CR 2006. Truck Detour via Bunnell (SR 100 – SR 11)

Palm Coast: Palm Coast Parkway between Cypress Point Parkway and Florida Park Drive. IMPACTS: Lane shifts and closures will occur and this may cause traffic congestion on this already busy roadway. Most construction work will occur between 9 p.m. and 7 a.m. though weather and unforeseen issues may adjust the schedules. This project will be complete by December 2015.

I-4, Volusia County: The Florida Department of Transportation is advising motorists to be aware of an upcoming, eastbound traffic shift on Interstate 4 (I-4) near DeLand. FDOT and its contractor, The de Moya Group, are planning the overnight traffic shift on I-4 between the US 92 Ramp and I-95 for just less than two miles on Thursday night, April 2. Currently, the eastbound and westbound lanes are divided. The plans call for eastbound lanes to temporarily be shifted to the newly constructed westbound roadway. All traffic will switch over to the new concrete lanes on the westbound side and a barrier wall will be erected to separate eastbound and westbound traffic – similar to the temporary arrangement seen in the past on the eastbound side. This temporary arrangement will allow work to occur on the eastbound side constructing three concrete travel lanes with asphalt shoulders. A similar eastbound shift between the SR 44 and the US 92 Ramp was recently completed. Throughout this process overnight, and during future construction, message boards will be in place throughout the zone guiding drivers through the area. For the most up-to-date information on road and lane closures, go to and click on ‘Lane Closures’. Times and dates could change based on weather conditions and other variables, updates will be provided if the schedule is modified.

I-95, Volusia: I-95 widening from SR 406 to SR 44, Sunday through Friday, 6:30 p.m. to 6:30 a.m., Southbound and Northbound double-lane closures on I-95 mainline; Monday thrpough Saturday, 7 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Eastbound/Westbound single lane closures at I-95 overpass on Maytown Road, Indian River Blvd./SR 442.


Keep In Mind

Culture and the Arts:A traveling, interactive sculpture was installed Monday at the Flagler County Library in Palm Coast. “IMAG NE” comes to Palm Coast through the efforts of and co-sponsorship of the Gargiulo Arts Foundation and Friends of the Library, with a $1,500 grant from Palm Coast. The sculpture will remain at the Library for a month and will then be moved to a site to be determined at Town Center. Its creator, Emma Ann, says her goal “is for the viewer to interact with the sculpture.” She encourages people to snap pictures of themselves interacting with the work and post it on social media.

Gail Wadsworth. (© FlaglerLive)

Gail Wadsworth. (© FlaglerLive)

Traffic Ticket Collections Free Amnesty on Friday, April 17: Operation Green Light is a one-day amnesty giving drivers the chance to pay overdue fines, without having to pay the 40 percent collection feel. Hours at the Flagler County Courthouse will be extended for the occasion, stretching between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Clerk of Court Gail Wadsworth says her office has tabulated 7,793 cases that have gone to a collection agency. Of those, 4,507 are civil traffic cases. The total amount in collections for Flagler County is—to be precise–$1,872,973.91. Most people with such cases are driving on suspended driver’s licenses. You may get your driver’s license restored if you pay the overdue fine. (April 17)

Flagler County Job Fair on April 24: A limited number of spaces are still open for businesses interested in reserving a free booth at the second annual Flagler County Job Fair. The event will take place on Friday, April 24, from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the Palm Coast Campus of Daytona State College, 3000 Palm Coast Pkwy SE, Building 3. Last year nearly 400 jobseekers attended the inaugural fair, which was hosted by the Flagler County Department of Economic Opportunity and CareerSource Flagler Volusia. This year Daytona State College and the Flagler County Chamber of Commerce joined the effort to positively impact Flagler County’s economic vitality. Among the businesses that have already registered are CoastalCloud, Edwards Jones Financial Service, Beutlich Pharmaceuticals and Target. A complete list of attending companies is available here. Businesses wishing to secure a place at the fair and job seekers interested in registering for preparation workshops should visit the job fair website. For additional information about the fair, please contact Casey Scott at 386-313-4098 or by email here.

PR Releases

Mindy Hansen

Mindy Hansen

Family Eye Care of Palm Coast Adds Staff: Dr. Bonnie Chalker and her team are pleased to announce that they have added Mindy Hansen as the new front desk optical sales representative. “Our practice has grown steadily since we opened last August,” Chalker said. “Our team is dedicated to providing the best service to our patients and Mindy will help us keep on schedule and assist patients with selecting their new eyewear.” Hansen attended school for massage therapy and has been in the primary care industry for eight years, and in medicine for ten years. Chalker has worked as an optometrist in Flagler County since 2001. She is a graduate of the Nova Southeastern University College of Optometry and performed her externship at the Bascom Palmer Eye Institute at the University of Miami. She is a board certified Optometric Physician and the practice focuses on full family eye care, aiding in diagnosis, treatment and management of ocular disease. Their patients range from six months old and up. Family Eye Care of Palm Coast also has a full service optical boutique dedicated to the dispensing of quality eyewear and contact lenses. They carry Silhouette, Ray-Ban, Leon Max, Bebe, Tommy Bahama, Calloway and many various lines for all age groups. Family Eye Care of Palm Coast is located at 4 Office Park Dr., Suite 4, Palm Coast, Florida. They are open Monday through Friday from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm. They accept most insurances. For more information or to make an appointment please contact their office at 386-225-4553 or email

From Integrity Florida: The three-year anniversary of the start of Integrity Florida was January 21, 2015. As we enter our fourth year of operations, we offer our sincere gratitude to our supporters and to all who have taken an interest in our efforts to help make government in Florida the most open, ethical, responsive and accountable in the world. While Florida’s state and local governments continue to make major transparency and accountability gains, our work will not be finished until additional reforms are passed to significantly increase government effectiveness and public trust in government institutions. We are grateful for the many opportunities to contribute policy research and anti-corruption solutions to officials interested in good government reform. For a snapshot of the latest transparency and accountability developments in Florida and additional updates within the areas of ethics reform, campaign finance reform, reducing cronyism, open budgets, open contracts and open data, visit the website.


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