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Wednesday Briefing: Open House on Phoenix Academy’s Likely Closure, Home-Grown Extremism’s Death Tally, Don Lemon Whiffs

| June 24, 2015

phoenix academy open house

Phoenix Academy’s days are numbered. An open house for Phoenix parents and others interested in its successor, the STEM Academy at Wadsworth Elementary, is scheduled for 6 p.m. at the Wadsworth media center. (© FlaglerLive)

Today’s weather: high of 92, low of 75. Details here.
Today’s fire danger is Low. Flagler County’s Drought Index is at 543.
The weather in Aleria, Corsica: high 79, low 67. Details.
The OED’s Word of the Day: peripeteia, n.
The Live Community Calendar
Today’s jail bookings.

Today’s Briefing: Quick Links

In Flagler and Palm Coast:

Note: all government meetings noticed below are free and open to the public unless otherwise indicated.

The Flagler Beach city magistrate holds hearings at 3 p.m. at 105 South 2nd Street in Flagler Beach.

Open House for All Phoenix Academy Parents and others interested in Wadsworth Elementary’s new STEM Academy, 6 p.m. at the Wadsworth Elementary Media Center. The open house is designed to explain to parents what the school board is calling a “transition” from Phoenix to Wadsworth, and what is likely to amount to the closure of Phoenix, if not this fall then next year. For background on this issue, see the story.

Flagler County’s Parks and Recreation advisory board is scheduled to meet at 10 a.m. in the first floor conference room of the Government Services Building in Bunnell. No agenda was posted.

Veterans Pancake Breakfast: Meet with fellow Veterans and chat over breakfast, from 8:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. at Princeton Village, 100 Magnolia Trace Way, Palm Coast.

Ribbon-cutting: Dentique Dental, the general dentistry practice, celebrates five years in business with a ribbon-cutting at 4 p.m. at 180 Pinnacles Drive, Suite 101 in Palm Coast.

Flagler Chamber Seeks Applicants for Leadership Flagler’s 23rd Class. Click for details.

Local News Recap:

Flagler County government wants to raise the tourism sales tax for the second time in four years: For the public and local tourism, the most significant change is the county administration’s effort to bump up the sales surtax on short-term rentals, including hotel and motel stays, to 5 percent, a plan the administration will present to the county commission in early July. The administration is looking to increase the tax even though county revenue from the bed tax had increased almost ten-fold since 2003, and has more than doubled in the last five years, from under $1 million a year to around $2 million projected for this year. The tourism office’s budget is proposing a 19 percent increase, or $230,000—from its current budget of $1.2 million to a proposed $1.43 million. Some $23,000 would be to increase salaries (not including benefits), led by a $12,000 salary bump for Dunn, the tourism director, what would amount to a 17 percent raise.

County government spending: The Observer has an excellent run-down of county budget priorities for next year, by department and areas, summing up the county administration’s budget presentation on the general fund earlier this week.

Flagler County’s Mosquito Control District: we don’t often hear about the local, tax-supported agency, but it’s about to build a $1.8 million facility at the county airport. No tax money is being used toward the building, Commission Chairman Julius Kwiatkowski tells the News-Journal’s Tony Holt. “Instead, cash reserves and the sale of the district’s Utility Drive property will be used to pay for the new hangar.” (Paywall-protected)

Wadsworth’s STEM Academy: The News-Journal and News 13 have stories on the planned “transition” from Phoenix Academy–essentially, its closure–to Wadsworth Elementary’s STEM Academy. See the detailed story we ran last week.

Java Joint in Flagler Beach Struck in Midnight Burglary, Losing $1,000 and Cash Register: Security cameras captured the burglary, which took place, according to the time stamp on the video footage, at 11:53 p.m. on June 20 (Saturday). The footage shows a white male at the front door of Java Joint, wearing a light-colored t-shirt, dark shorts and sneakers. He had short hair, looked about 250 pounds, and had what appears to be reading glasses hanging on the collar of his shirt.

(© FlaglerLive)

(© FlaglerLive)

In Court:

Circuit Judge J. David Walsh holds a competency hearing for Eric Johnson, who is charged with failing to register as a sex offender, at 10 a.m. in Courtroom 401. The judge also hears competency hearings in the cases of Joseph Milici (armed robbery at the Flagler Beach CVS in 20111) and Paul Duhamel, at 11 a.m.

In State Government:

Note: Most proceedings below can be followed live on the Florida Channel.

The State Board of Education will meet and consider a number of issues, including rules related to teacher-certification exams and out-of-state fee waivers for veterans and other eligible students. (8:30 a.m., Tampa Airport Marriott, 4200 George J. Bean Parkway, Tampa.)

The Citizens Property Insurance Board of Governors meets. (9 a.m., Sheraton Orlando North, 600 North Lake Destiny Dr., Maitland.)

The Florida Clemency Board, which is made up of Gov. Rick Scott and Cabinet members, meets. (9 a.m.)

Bears and Panthers: The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is in the second day of a three-day meeting with an update about research, management and recovery of Florida panthers and scheduled approval of bear-hunting season.


The Boston Marathon bomber, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 21, is sentenced–likely to death–today.

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal joins the race for the 2016 presidency.

GDP: The Commerce Department releases its revised gross domestic product estimate, likely showing a better than first reported result in the first quarter.

Women’s World Cup: The women are off. In Copa America, it’s Chile v Uruguay in a quarterfinal match at 7:30 p.m., BeInSports1.

PR Releases:

Flagler County Emergency Management Director Kevin Guthrie.

Flagler County Emergency Management Director Kevin Guthrie.

Flagler Emergency Management participates in Safety FIRST event: Flagler County’s Emergency Management professionals are participating in the Safety FIRST Expo on June 27.  “We are delighted to partner in this annual event,” said Kevin Guthrie, Flagler County Public Safety Emergency Manager. “We will be offering educational classes about our new Residential Construction Mitigation Program that will include information about knowing your risk and ways to make your property more resilient.” The fourth annual Hurricane Expo has been renamed the Safety F.I.R.S.T. & Playing It Safe! Expo partners include Flagler Parent Magazine, Serendipity Living LLC, and My Safe and Sound Home Inc., and is endorsed by Flagler County Emergency Management and local municipalities. Additional classes will be available for businesses to help them prepare a plan, and to know how businesses can help residents recover after a storm, Guthrie said. The expo will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Legacy Academy, 515 Palm Coast Parkway Southwest. The goal of the expo is to increase awareness about the local agencies in Flagler County that are here to assist residents with everyday issues as well as large-scale emergencies. Information will be available about how to prepare for any disaster, including: fire safety, wind mitigation, home safety, poison prevention, childproofing the home, personal safety, elderly fall prevention, correct CPR methods, child passenger safety and pet preparedness. “This is so important,” Guthrie said. “A proper supply kit should have food and water for at least five to seven days, and should include special items for infants, the elderly and pets. Also remember to have snack foods. If something happens, you are going to want some comfort foods too. If you don’t eat tuna, don’t make it part of your emergency rations.” The expo is free, and children under 12 years old will get free hot dogs. There will be many interactive learning stations, but there will also be fun activities like a bounce house, face painting and an opportunity to tour fire trucks. “The goal of Safety FIRST and Playing It Safe Expo is to educate community members, young and old, about injury prevention and disaster preparedness,” said Julia Fuentes, expo coordinator. “We hope by informing attendees about various safety issues the number of accidental life-threatening and fatal injuries will decrease.”

Bob Pickering, weather maven. (© FlaglerLive)

Bob Pickering, weather maven. (© FlaglerLive)

EOC hosts ‘Field Day’ for radio enthusiasts: Flagler County Emergency Management has supported local Ham Radio groups for decades because of the critical role they play when there is an emergency in Flagler County. The annual American Radio Relay League Field Day will be held at the Emergency Operations Center on Saturday beginning at 2 p.m. and ending at 2 p.m. on Sunday – a full 24 hours. “The primary focus is on preparedness and operating under emergency conditions,” said Mike Lee, a ham radio operator and volunteer Interim Radio Systems Manager for Flagler County. “Stations try to contact other stations and groups around the world to obtain points for all stations contacted.” New antennas and operating procedures are tested, as amateur radio is a viable backup to the public safety systems within and outside of Flagler County. Representatives from Flagler County’s three radio groups (listed alphabetically) – Flagler County Amateur Radio Emergency Service, Flagler Emergency Communications Association and the Flagler Palm Coast Amateur Radio Club – will work together as one team under the guidance and coordination of Emergency Management. “This does not preclude other organizations from having their own event,” Lee said. The team will use the same tactics that would be used to establish emergency communications during an event like a hurricane. “This is really about training and working together,” said Bob Pickering, Flagler County Emergency Management Technician. “Some of these amateur radio operators are certified radio technicians and the volunteer at the EOC to help with routine maintenance to maintain the county’s emergency communications.” The public is invited and encouraged to visit the operation in progress. The Emergency Operations Center is located at 1769 E. Moody Blvd., Building 3, Bunnell. For more information, go to

Colleen Conklin. (© FlaglerLive)

Colleen Conklin. (© FlaglerLive)

From ERAU, 2015 Florida Budget Invests in Future of STEM Education, Opportunities for Students:  In a historic show of support for the future of STEM education, Florida Governor Rick Scott (R) approved a 2015 budget that includes $3 million in funds for Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University’s public high school partnership program providing in-demand technical skills and free college course credits. “This is a huge win not only for our students, but also for the future of aerospace in Florida,” said Embry-Riddle Interim President Dr. John R. Watret. “As a university, we offer our sincere thanks for the tireless commitment of our university Board of Trustees Chairman Mori Hosseini working in collaboration with state leaders to fund programs and projects essential to Florida’s expanding economy.” Since its creation in 2004, Embry-Riddle’s Gaetz Aerospace Institute has grown to more than 40 Florida high schools. It offers free college credits and hands-on experience in courses focusing on key growing industries including aviation, unmanned systems, aerospace, engineering, computers and business. More than 2,300 high school students have or are currently participating in the program, providing superior talent for state and local businesses. “This program opens career doors to young people in Florida that they might not have been able to pursue or otherwise even consider,” said Gaetz Aerospace Institute Director Colleen Walsh-Conklin. “By preparing these students with real-life skills and knowledge, we are working hand-in-hand with the state to guarantee a pipeline of talent for Florida’s growing aerospace industry.” Florida is ranked No. 1 in the nation by PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP in aviation manufacturing attractiveness. It also is nationally ranked as the No. 2 largest aviation, aerospace and space establishment by the U.S. Department of Labor. Also approved in the 2015 state budget was the tax-free aviation fuel item. Embry-Riddle Board of Trustees Chairman Hosseini noted this will result in an estimated $158,000 in savings annually that will be passed on to students. In the past four years, the university has been appropriated nearly $30 million in funds that have translated into research, outreach initiatives, infrastructure and projects that underscore Embry-Riddle’s dedication to the aerospace workforce and continued innovation in the state and local community. “We are truly honored, humbled and express our gratitude to the legislature and governor for their shared commitment to the future of STEM education and Embry-Riddle,” Hosseini said.

Palm Coast Construction and Development Progress Reports:

The following is an update of ongoing construction and development projects in Palm Coast, through June 12 (the city administration has not provided an update since):

Development Order for 5,000 square-foot Palm Coast Medical Office: The Planning Department reviewed and approved a site plan for Palm Coast Medical Office. This 5,000 square foot medical office project is on a one-acre, vacant commercial site located at 1270 Palm Coast Parkway NW. See the rendering below.

medical office Palm Coast

Beautification Plan for Flagler Palm Coast High School: Beautification plan for the front buffer of Flagler Palm Coast High School is underway. City crews have begun stripping dead sod and weeds from the area in front of the high school to make way for new sod, shrubs, trees and irrigation in order to continue the beautification that was done on Bulldog Drive. This is part of the improvement of one of our more traveled entrances to the City, which also includes the new brick Town Center signs that were constructed by Palm Coast Holdings. Work will continue this summer and be finished before school starts in the fall.

Island Walk Shopping Center (Former Palm Harbor Shopping Center), 80 percent done: A 3rd Grease Interceptor has been installed behind the new buildings on the west end of the project. Three sewer wyes have been installed to serve the Grease Interceptors.

Palm Coast Parkway Six-Laning is 78 percent done: Widening on the north side of the parkway continues. Landscape irrigation work continues. Utility connection tie-ins has begun. Conducted site inspection with FPL in prepartion for street light installation to begin 6-22-15. The old 10″ water main into the shopping center near Bob Evans has been disconnected and removed from service and will be grout filled. The 12″ main going into the shopping center near Bob Evans on Palm Coast Parkway has been tired into the new 16″ Water main c.

Royal Palms Parkway Improvements, 98 percent done: Forthcoming CO to add curb and gutter with flumes for control of stormwater at both Rymfire and Rickenbacker NE corners. Punch list items. Concrete work completed at Belle Terre

Holland Park, 18 percent done: Rough grading of site. Began installation of new water lines in ball field area. The 1″ water line installation around the Soccer Field for drinking water fountains have started.

Palm Coast City Hall at Town Center, 54 percent done: Installation of drywall of interior walls, mechanical duct work installation, electrical conduit rough-in and fire sprinkler piping continues. Installation of exterior windows and exterior wall trim continues. Grading and layout for parking area has begun. Painting of exterior walls has begun. See ongoing images of construction here.

Shops at Pine Lakes Convenience Store, 65 percent done: The package Pump Station has been set and plumbing continues. Contractor has installed the Force main into the existing manhole on Wynnfield Drive. The road lane closure for the manhole core to install the force main was completed
and the road has been repaired.

Walmart Addition, 30 percent done: A new Grease Interceptor has been installed replacing the old one outside the new building addition.

Old Kings Road Utilities Work: This week, a Water Distribution crew dug up the existing 10” water main on Old Kings Road, North and installed a new valve. This will allow shut-down of the main so it can be removed and replaced with a new line at a new location in preparation of the Old Kings Road realignment and extension that will be done by the County. The water main relocation is a joint project
being completed by Utility and Public Works crews.

In the Press, In the News:

Tally of Attacks by Right-Wing Extremists in U.S. Challenges Perceptions of Top Terror Threat: “Since Sept. 11, 2001, nearly twice as many people have been killed by white supremacists, antigovernment fanatics and other non-Muslim extremists than by radical Muslims: 48 have been killed by extremists who are not Muslim, compared with 26 by self-proclaimed jihadists, according to a count by New America, a Washington research center. The slaying of nine African-Americans in a Charleston, S.C., church last week, with an avowed white supremacist charged with their murders, was a particularly savage case. But it is only the latest in a string of lethal attacks by people espousing racial hatred, hostility to government and theories such as those of the “sovereign citizen” movement, which denies the legitimacy of most statutory law. The assaults have taken the lives of police officers, members of racial or religious minorities and random civilians. Non-Muslim extremists have carried out 19 such attacks since Sept. 11, according to the latest count, compiled by David Sterman, a New America program associate, and overseen by Peter Bergen, a terrorism expert. By comparison, seven lethal attacks by Islamic militants have taken place in the same period. If such numbers are new to the public, they are familiar to police officers. A survey to be published this week asked 382 police and sheriff’s departments nationwide to rank the three biggest threats from violent extremism in their jurisdiction. About 74 percent listed antigovernment violence, while 39 percent listed “Al Qaeda-inspired” violence, according to the researchers, Charles Kurzman of the University of North Carolina and David Schanzer of Duke University.” From The Times.

See Also:

don featherstone is dead pink flamingosDon Featherstone, Inventor of the Pink Flamingo (in Plastic), Dies at 79: “Don Featherstone did not invent Phoenicopterus ruber: Nature took care of that eons ago. But what Mr. Featherstone did nearly six decades ago — in the process indelibly altering the landscape of midcentury America — was to cast the creature in plastic and attach slender, rodlike legs for planting it in the ground. Mr. Featherstone, a sculptor who died on Monday at 79, was the inventor of the pink plastic flamingo, that flagrant totem of suburban satisfaction and, in later years, postmodern irony. He named it Phoenicopterus ruber plasticus. Less hideous than a garden gnome, more diplomatic than a lawn jockey, the plastic flamingo has been flaunted in front yards by the millions; feted in films, on television and in song; and held up as an object of impassioned pride and equally impassioned prejudice. Mr. Featherstone had not contemplated creating an enduring emblem of kitsch in 1957, when his first flamingo sailed off the assembly line, or the next year, when the bird was brought to market. A recent art-school graduate, he was simply heeding career advice that would become a sardonic watchword for young people: Plastics.” From The Times.

Obama’s Missed Opportunities: Guns and Race: “In the White House briefing room, at a fundraiser at the home of a movie star, before a roomful of the country’s mayors and in a garage in Pasadena, Calif., Obama has reflected not only on the Charleston shootings but also on the missed opportunities and unfinished business of his presidency. “Increasingly, I’ve spent my time thinking about how do I try to break out of these old patterns that our politics have fallen into,” Obama said in Pasadena, where he recorded a podcast interview that was released Monday. He wondered how to have a normal conversation that’s “not this battle in a steel cage between one side and another.” The pain laid bare by Charleston has led Obama to an unusually frank assessment of his presidency and an acknowledgment that he hasn’t been the unifying, transformational figure that many hoped he would be.” From the Washington Post.

Does Don Lemon offend you? “The CNN anchor whipped social media into a frenzy — another frenzy — Monday night with a stunning stunt on his program. Attempting to twin President Obama’s use of the N-word during a podcast interview with the highly charged debate over the Confederate flag, Lemon held up the banner and a placard with the racial word spelled out in block letters. “Does this offend you?” Lemon asked. […] Lemon, 49, has been lighting up the boards this way for the past two years, although not always because he has made people mad. Lemon has inspired as much mockery as outrage for his head-scratching questions and comments. He asked one of Bill Cosby’s alleged rape victims last year why she didn’t use her teeth to stop Cosby. In a discussion about corporal punishment, he compared spanking children to training dogs. He inquired of a panel of experts whether a black hole might have swallowed the missing Malaysia Air jet. The latter question was actually submitted by a viewer, but Lemon took the lumps for reading it, earning a prominent place on Columbia Journalism Review’s “Worst Journalism of 2014” list. […] Perhaps perversely, this has all been good for Don Lemon and CNN. Lemon may be a kind of anti-Cronkite, a latter-day Burgundy to some, but it hasn’t driven away viewers. On the contrary, Lemon may be watched, at least in part, for the surprising things he dares to say on the usually staid CNN.” From the Washington Post.

Road and Interstate Construction:

road-constructionPalm Coast:

Lane closures planned for Palm Coast Parkway work June 29 thru July 2:  On Monday, June 29, and Tuesday, June 30, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., motorists and other travelers should expect eastbound lane closures along Palm Coast Parkway between Cypress Point Parkway and the I-95 bridge. Two lanes will remain open eastbound. On Wednesday, July 1, and Thursday, July 2, between 2:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m., motorists should expect heavy delays. Eastbound traffic will be reduced to one lane on the I-95 bridge. These lane closures are required for street light pole installations. A uniformed law enforcement officer will be on-site to direct traffic. Motorists are encouraged to watch for flaggers and work zone signs.

Matanzas Woods Parkway closed: Matanzas Woods Parkway is closed until early August for construction of the Interstate 95 interchange. The portion of Matanzas Woods Parkway that spans I-95 will be reconstructed to accommodate four single-lane ramps for on and off access to the interstate. Other improvements include the widening of the interstate to accommodate new acceleration and deceleration lanes, wet detention ponds adjacent to the roadway, sidewalks, lighting, overhead signs and landscaping. Project details are available and regularly updated at The detour map is available here.

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.”

Flagler County Road 302 is Closed to all but local traffic as repaving began on June 7 and the roadway will be closed to all but local traffic. Others will be required to detour around County Road 302 using State Road 100. The roadway will be closed for 90 days, or until early September.

Volusia: I-4 Widening from SR 44 to east of I-95, Monday and Friday, 7:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., Eastbound/Westbound shoulder closing. Sunday through Thursday, Eastbound and Westbound lane closures as needed from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. Thursday, 9:00 p.m. – 5:30 a.m. EB road closure between Canal St./SR 44 and I-95 with detour at US 92 exit ramp.Motorists should be aware of traffic shifts near Canal St./SR 44.

In Coming Days:

Click on the links for more details:

June 25: Flagler Cigar Company launch party, 6 to 9 p.m. $20 admission fee for non-members. You will enjoy one premium Flagler Cigar of your choice specially paired with a craft-beer, light eats, entry in raffle items, special discounts for cigar purchases, plus you’ll get a $20 Humidor Gift Card for your next purchase. At European Village.

June 27: The Ham Radio operators of the Flagler Emergency Communications Association, licensed by the Federal Communications Commission, will establish a nationwide communications platform simulating emergency conditions for 24 hours beginning at 2 p.m. Saturday, June 27th at the Flagler Beach Fire Department Headquarters, 320 South Flagler Avenue, Flagler Beach, Florida 32136. The simulation is part of the American Radio Relay League’s National Field Day, Tours of the operation and an opportunity to learn more about Ham Radio are available throughout the simulation period and are free to the public on a “drop by” basis, no advance arrangements are necessary, all are welcome.

June 30: Social Media Day and Entrepreneur Night in Palm Coast: Palm Coast government declared June 30 Social Media Day, Mashable, which conceived the international event, highlighted Palm Coast’s role, and of course Palm Coast’s Office Divvy is marking the occasion on June 30. ” “With this proclamation and the event on June 30th,” Office Divvy’s Lisa Ekinci says, “we are putting our red dot on the map for Palm Coast and Flagler County; and creating a differentiator for our community as a socially savvy community in Florida, in these United States and in the World,” Ekinci said. Hashtag for the local event is #SMDayPC and hashtag for the worldwide event is #SMDay2015 Event will be celebrated at COWORK by Office Divvy on Tuesday, June 30, at 6:30 p.m. RSVP are required here.

Comment of the Day (From the Comment Section):

best comments flaglerlive

(April Killingsworth)

Edman in “Environmentalists Sue Florida Lawmakers Over Amendment 1, Claiming Misuse of Dollars“: This suit may be the only way to get our “representatives” to listen to the voters. Amendment one funds were never intended to supplant budget items but were designed to supplement our efforts to protect our natural resources for our children and grandchildren. What God has provided us must be protected and our legislators better get on board or we will throw them overboard at the next election!” Reply to Edman here.

Cultural Coda:

Johann Baptist Vanhal: Symphony in D Minor

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