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Tuesday Briefing: Flagler Firefighters Head West, Palm Coast Talks Code Enforcement, Ann Beattie Returns

| August 11, 2015

ann beattie stories

Ann Beattie is back with a new collection of stories. See below.

Today: high in low 90s, low in mid 70s. Details here.
Today’s fire danger is moderate. Flagler County’s Drought Index is at 426.
The weather in Port Elizabeth, South Africa: high 65, low 42. Details.
Today’s document from the National Archives.
The OED’s Word of the Day: Sûreté, 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. Many can be heard or seen live through each agency’s website.

The meeting of the Flagler County Affordable Housing Advisory Committee, scheduled for 8:30 this morning, was cancelled.

The Palm Coast City Council meets for a workshop at 9 a.m. at city offices, City Marketplace. The meeting starts with what ought to be an interesting discussion on the at-times controversial–because subjective–code-enforcement process. The council will also hear another budget presentation, this one focused on the capital fund, special revenue and proprietary funds.

The Flagler County Planning and Development Board meets at 6 p.m. in board chambers at the Government Services Building. It’s all cell towers tonight: Topping the agenda are applications for three variances from NexTower Development Group, the cell tower builder, which is looking to put up towers but in each case needs a waiver from certain existing rules. NexTower has a fourth application as well. The agenda is here.

The Flagler Beach City Commission meets for a budget workshop at 9 a.m. at city hall, in a session scheduled for the entire day.

The St. Johns River Water Management District Governing Board, whose taxing district includes all of Flagler County, meets at 11:15 a.m. or upon completion of earlier committee meetings at Orlando City Hall, 400 South Orange Ave.

Local News Recap:

Sunburned Child at Flagler Camp Exposes a Florida Paradox: Paddling Is OK. Applying Sunscreen Is Not.: No state law, state Board of Education regulation or local school board policy actually states explicitly that school employees may not put sun-screen on a child, hug a child or even spank or paddle a child. In fact, Florida law does not ban corporal punishment, but provides for it explicitly, and some school boards around the state still apply it. They don’t even need parental permission (though some school districts ask for permission first anyway.). Flagler County is not among those districts. Nevertheless, the district cites an odd administrative-code regulation as its own protection against having to apply sunscreen to students. According to the “Principles of Professional Conduct for the Education Profession in Florida,”, no adult “shall unreasonably restrain a student from independent action in pursuit of learning.”

Report shows Flagler deputy Benjamin Jurec breached 2 regulations: Jurec, following an internal affairs investigation, got only a required “oral consultation” following a traffic stop that triggered the internal affairs investigation. He had faced an allegation of propositioning a driver for sex. “Investigators found that he was not wearing his body camera during the stop, and also discovered several state-issued driver’s licenses and IDs in his patrol vehicle that he failed to turn over after seizing them during other stops,” the News-Journal’s Matt Bruce reports. (Story paywall-protected)

1-Year-Old Palm Coast Boy Dies From Fall Into Exposed Septic Tank While Visiting Ocala: Bianca Clayton, a 34-year-old resident of the same apartment complex where the boy was visiting with his mother, had pulled the child–not from a sink hole or a mere hole, as early media reports and a sheriff’s news release had indicated, but from a septic tank. The breach was measured at 23 by 30 inches. The child was unresponsive, the sheriff’s report states.

HIV on the rise in Flagler: The News-Journal reports six new cases in Flagler in 2015, compared to none by this time last year. “While not on the same scale as other parts of Florida, Volusia and Flagler counties are in line with a rising tide of new HIV cases across the state,” Jim Haug reports. (Story paywall-protected.)

GOP Opens Special Session With Complaints That Fair Districts Infringe on Free Speech: The special session will mark the third time the Legislature will attempt to craft a map for the state’s U.S. House delegation under the anti-gerrymandering “Fair Districts” constitutional amendments approved by voters in 2010. The lines were initially drawn in 2012 as part of the state’s once-a-decade redistricting process, then again last year after a lower court struck down the first map.

harper lee live blogging go set a watchman to kill a mockingbird

And ‘Go Set a Watchman’ begat Mockingbird. (© FlaglerLive)

Scout’s Dishonors: Harper Lee’s “Go Set a Watchman,” Chapter 9: In the continuing project to blog Harper Lee’s “new” novel chapter by chapter, we come to Jean Louise’s backstory, a summary of how and when her mother died, of a heart attack on the porch of the family house, bringing to the family “the heart that killed her son twenty-two years later on the sidewalk in front of his father’s office,” as well as Mockingbird echoes from Scout’s upbringing.

In Court:

Circuit Judges Judge J. David Walsh hears motions to dismiss and motions to suppress in drug cases starting at 8:30 a.m. in Courtroom 401. County Judge Melissa Moore Stens holds arraignments in misdemeanor cases starting at 1:30 p.m. in Courtroom 404. Circuit Judge Michael Orfinger is not in session today.

In State Government:

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

Special session on redistricting starts today to redraw congressional districts. The session comes after the Florida Supreme Court ruled that lawmakers violated a 2010 constitutional amendment aimed at preventing gerrymandering. (9 a.m.)

The Florida Commission on Hurricane Loss Projection Methodology meets. (9 a.m.)


Japan restarts a nuclear reactor for the first time since the Fukushima meltdown in 2011.

Watts riots: today is the 50th anniversary.

Ann Beattie releases her first book, a 224-page collection of 10 short stories, in more than 10 years: “The State We’re In” (Scribner). “These stories are best savored in the summertime in a small New England town, somewhere close to crashing waves, away from the big-box sameness of life in cities and suburbs. If you can’t make it bodily to a place like that, just open the book. Beattie will take you there,” Laura Collins-Hughes wrote in a Times review.

President Obama is on vacation on Martha’s Vineyard.

PR Releases:

Flagler firefighter deployed to battle California wildfires: A member of the Flagler County Fire Rescue wildfire mitigation team was deployed to California to battle wildfires raging in Hayfork. “It is an 18-day deployment,” Fire Rescue Chief Don Petito said. “This is the third time in his four years with us that he has gone out west to fight wildfires.” Ronald Titus, 30, was deployed with a team of firefighters from the Florida Forest Service to work the Fork Complex Wildfires. “Many of the fires within the Fork Complex are challenging because of extremely steep and rugged terrain, which makes access difficult in certain areas for direct attack strategies,” Petito said. “The fork complex fire has grown to 15,184 acres and is only 9% contained.” Currently there are 30 major wildfires burning in California. Some 1,349 firefighters have been assigned to the Fork Complex Wildfires. Titus, who lives in Palm Coast with his wife and two young children, has also been deployed to fight fires in Idaho and in the state of Washington. He was hired by Flagler County in January 2011.

Palm Coast Physical Therapy Center Offering Free Seminar on Lumbar Spine & Sacroiliac Joint Health September 3rd: Continuing their “Preserve and Conserve” series, Palm Coast Physical Therapy Center is pleased to announce that they will be hosting a free seminar on Lumbar Spine & Sacroiliac Joint Health from 12:00pm to 1:00pm on Thursday, September 3rd at their Palm Coast location. “It seems you can’t go a day without hearing someone talk about their back aches,” stated Em Dinopol, owner of Palm Coast Physical Therapy Center. “This seminar is designed to educate and possibly pinpoint the causes of back pain for attendees.” The seminar will include topics such as; Anatomy and Physiology of the Lumbar Spine, Degenerative Disorders of the Lumbar Spine, The causes and treatments of Lumbar Spinal Stenosis and how it affects the lower back, buttocks, and legs, Pelvic symmetry, and Sacrum being the center of balance. Anyone that suffers from back pain, including just sitting or standing too long, or that has difficulty sleeping because of back pain is encouraged to attend. Seating is limited and anyone that would like to attend is asked to reserve a seat by calling 386-447-7824. Palm Coast Physical Therapy Center is a privately owned physical therapy clinic that has proudly served the community since 2001, while providing a compassionate and trusting environment for anyone in need of physical therapy. Their mission is to enhance the overall health and quality of life for each patient by treating them with high quality, personalized physical therapy. They have done this while also establishing a solid and trusting relationship with their referring physicians, ensuring that they stay informed on the patients’ progress.

In the Press, In the News:

Florida bill aims to “shield” churches from gay marriage: A Central Florida Republican filed a bill Monday that would shield churches and clergy members from liability if they refuse to perform marriages that violate their beliefs. The bill, filed by Rep. Scott Plakon, R-Longwood, comes after the U.S. Supreme Court in June ruled that same-sex couples have a fundamental right to marry. After the ruling, Plakon went on Facebook and said he and Sen. Aaron Bean, R-Fernandina Beach, would file what was dubbed the “Pastor Protection Act” to safeguard clergy members from being forced to perform marriages contrary to their principles. The bill filed Monday (HB 43) would go beyond clergy members, applying to churches, religious organizations and their employees. It also would go beyond solemnizing marriages, applying to such things as providing services and facilities. Clergy and others in the bill would not be required to take part in marriages or related activities “if such an action would cause the church, organization, or individual to violate a sincerely held religious belief of the entity or individual,” the bill said. The proposal, which will be considered during the 2016 legislative session, would provide a shield from criminal or civil liability and also would provide protections for religious organizations’ tax exemptions, government contracts, grants and licenses. Nadine Smith, executive director of the advocacy group Equality Florida, criticized such proposals last month after Plakon posted the information of Facebook. She called the issue an “invented problem” and said ministers already can refuse to marry couples. News Service of Florida.

Dear White America: I know it’s hard, but you have to acknowledge what’s happening in this country: “First of all, I’ve seen people angry about the moniker “white privilege” in and of itself, bemoaning the very existence of this annoying two-word phrase (and even more so the three words “check your privilege”) as nothing more than the verbal folly of the Outrage Committee and Social Justice Warriors who want to ruin the Confederate flag and gay jokes and everything good about America. I can understand the fatigue at the sheer amount of times we say the phrase—I even get tired of saying/typing it. But can you allow for the possibility that we’re saying it so much because you haven’t heard us yet and it’s crucial that you accept it as reality? Some of you say we’re the confused ones; that when we speak of “white privilege” we actually mean discrimination or prejudice, that we should focus on the specific bad stuff happening to us instead of the good stuff we think you possess. Well, we’ve been trying that, and some of us think it’s not been working out so well. Besides, white privilege and racial discrimination are neither interchangeable terms nor mutually exclusive ideas, and it helps to understand that so much “specific bad stuff” might not be happening specifically and disproportionately to black people without systemic privilege as America’s societal foundation. Semantics work against us in this fight, because the word “privilege” has a traditionally positive meaning, conjuring up images of champagne wishes and caviar dreams, and the biggest obstacle for so many is that you feel you can’t experience white privilege because your own life is not “privileged.” Poor white people, and the rich white people who don’t care about them but seek to use them to bolster their argument, simply point to Appalachia and think the conversation is over.” Pia Glen in Salon.

Scott Walker, the “fiscal conservative,” is giving $450 million to wealthy sports owners: “Tomorrow, Scott Walker will stand on a stage at State Fair Park in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and betray virtually every conservative economic principle there is by handing out up to $450 million in taxpayer money to wealthy sports owners to pay for private infrastructure at a time when public infrastructure is crumbling. The massive sum will go toward the building of a new sports arena for the Milwaukee Bucks basketball franchise, pleasing the team’s billionaire hedge-fund-manager owners, who threatened to move the team if they weren’t given taxpayer tribute. Conservatives in recent years have feigned concern about corporate welfare, and this deal is really the ultimate expression of it: hundreds of millions of dollars from teachers, waitresses, factory workers and shop owners funneled to pay for an aristocrat’s show palace rather than needed public service. Of all the things desperately wrong with this, perhaps the most salient is the fact that the “old” arena, the BMO Harris Bradley Center, is only 27 years old, inaugurated in 1988. Incredibly, this makes it the 3rd-oldest arena housing a professional basketball franchise, behind only Madison Square Garden in New York and the Oracle Arena in Oakland, both of which have been substantially renovated over the years.” From Salon.

Coca-Cola Funds Scientists Who Shift Blame for Obesity Away From Bad Diets: “Coca-Cola, the world’s largest producer of sugary beverages, is backing a new “science-based” solution to the obesity crisis: To maintain a healthy weight, get more exercise and worry less about cutting calories. […] Health experts say this message is misleading and part of an effort by Coke to deflect criticism about the role sugary drinks have played in the spread of obesity and Type 2 diabetes. They contend that the company is using the new group to convince the public that physical activity can offset a bad diet despite evidence that exercise has only minimal impact on weight compared with what people consume. This clash over the science of obesity comes in a period of rising efforts to tax sugary drinks, remove them from schools and stop companies from marketing them to children. In the last two decades, consumption of full-calorie sodas by the average American has dropped by 25 percent.” From The Times.

Today’s Mass Shooting(s):

guns-in-americaKansas City, Houston, Gaston County, N.C., Blytheville, Ark., and Berlin, Vt. Total Killed: 15. Total wounded: 20.

Houston, 6 killed: “A Texas man broke into his ex’s home, handcuffed her alongside her husband and her six young children — including his own son — and fatally shot each victim in the head, authorities said. David Ray Conley admitted to the grisly murders after Harris County deputies found the eight family members dead inside their Houston home Saturday, authorities said. Victim Valerie Jackson once dubbed the 49-year-old the “best father in the whole world” before their relationship soured, forcing her to kick Conley out of her house and change the locks, fearing her ex. It’s not clear if the two were ever married.”

Berlin, Vt., 4 killed: “Three women found dead in a rural Vermont home Saturday morning were killed by a relative before she gunned down a state social worker, officials said. […] Investigators have determined that the three victims are relatives of Jody Herring, 40, who has been charged with first-degree murder in connection with the fatal shooting of Lara Sobel, a social worker with the Vermont Department for Children and Families, according to state police. Sobel was shot twice in broad daylight Friday outside of a state office building in Barre, about 7 miles east of Berlin, Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin said in a statement. Multiple witnesses described Herring as the person who shot Sobel, according to Barre police.”

Blytheville, Ark., 1 killed, 13 wounded: Blytheville Police Chief Ross Thompson confirmed the victim is 20-year-old Adeline King of Blytheville. Reports indicate that several people were shot on Anderson Street, but their conditions are unknown at this time. A law enforcement official reported that 13 were injured and one killed.

Gaston County, N.C., 2 killed, 3 wounded: “Gunfire was exchanged between the suspect and officers. During the exchange, two officers were wounded and the suspect was fatally wounded. Officers also found a victim of a fatal shooting at a second location in the neighborhood, according to police. The identity of that victim has not been released. A third shooting victim was found at another home. She was taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries. Both the officers were also taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries.”

Kansas City, 4 wounded: “Investigators said four people were injured during a gun battle early Sunday. Police said they have recovered three guns.”

From Mass Shooting Tracker. See the full lists for 2015, 2014, 2013.

Palm Coast Construction and Development Progress Reports:

The following is an update of ongoing construction and development projects in Palm Coast, through July 31:

Palm Coast Parkway Six-Laning is 85 percent done: Widening on the north side of the parkway almost complete. Landscape irrigation work continues. Signage installation is complete. Milling and Resurfacing of Roadway has begun. FPL completed installation of light poles and fixtures along the south side of the roadway.

Holland Park, 25 percent done: Installation of new underground sanitary piping and structures. Continuation of installation of new water main.

Palm Coast City Hall at Town Center, 80 percent done: Installation of drywall on interior walls, mechanical duct work
& VAV damper installation, electrical conduit rough-in and fire sprinkler piping are all 98% complete. Painting of interior and exterior walls continues. Floor tile in bathrooms continues. FP&L set meter. Mechanical system being prepped for startup next week. Exterior trellis and clock installed. 2 of the 4 glass entry door systems have been installed. See ongoing images of construction here.

Colechester Drive Bridge, 30 percent done: Bridge deck is being removed.

County’s I-95 Interchange Matanzas Woods Reclaim Water, 25 percent done: Contractor has installed approximately 1,000 ft. of reclaim water main total installed 5,000 ft. to date.

Palm Harbor Parkway Roadway Extension, 6 percent done: Contractor working on submittals and coordinating utility work with FPL & ATT.

Island Walk Shopping Center Phase 1, 90 percent done: An 8″ insert a valve was installed on the water main behind the north west corner of the old Bealls store to isolated water main and adjust where storm water conflicts with the 8″ water main location.

Shops at Pine Lakes Convenience Store, 90 percent done: The Pump Station panel has been set and is ready for startup testing.

Walmart Addition, project completed.

Old Kings Road Utilities Work, 85 percent done: Pressure testing of new water main has passed.

Old Kings Road Force Main – Master Pump Station, 4 percent done: Contractor clearing crew removing trees from site.

Road and Interstate Construction:

road-constructionPalm Coast:

Road Closure Note: The northbound lane of S. Old Kings Road from Town Center Boulevard going north approximately 2.5 miles will have a moving lane closure starting Monday, July 27. The lane closure will be from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays and will continue for approximately three weeks. A flagman will direct traffic.

Lane closures to begin July 27 on South Old Kings Road in Palm Coast: The northbound lane of S. Old Kings Road from Town Center Boulevard going north approximately 2.5 miles will have a moving lane closure starting Monday, July 27. The lane closure will be from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays and will continue for approximately three weeks. A flagman will direct traffic. This lane closure is needed to allow a City contractor to clear the right-of-way along the roadway in preparation for an upcoming wastewater system project.

Lane closure planned for Palm Coast Parkway July 26 through August 7: Beginning Sunday, July 26, motorists and other travelers should expect a lane closure along Palm Coast Parkway between Florida Park Drive to just west of Cypress Point Parkway. The lane closure will occur in two phases. From 7 p.m. Sunday, July 26 through 7 a.m. Friday, July 31 one eastbound lane will be closed, and one eastbound lane will remain open. From 7 p.m. Sunday, August 2 through 7 a.m. Friday, August 7 one westbound lane will be closed and one westbound lane will remain open. Motorists are encouraged to watch for flaggers and work zone signs. The lane closures are required in order for the contractor to perform milling and paving operations. Weather conditions and other unforeseen circumstances could alter work schedules.

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.

Palm Coast’s Colechester Lane bridge to be closed July 7 through Sept. 4:  A detour will be established taking travelers over the Colorado Drive bridge instead. Signs will be posted directing motorists to the Colorado Drive bridge. The City of Palm Coast strives for safe construction zones. The City asks for the cooperation and patience of residents as this important bridge improvement project is completed. For more information, contact Palm Coast Customer Service at 386-986-2360.

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:


Comment of the Day (From the Comment Section):

best comments flaglerlive

(April Killingsworth)

Jenn K in “Sunburned Child at Flagler Camp Exposes a Florida Paradox: Paddling Is OK. Applying Sunscreen Is Not.“: “I experienced the exact same problem with my child at the Flagler County Schools Summer Camp when they took my son to the beach. He is also very fair skinned and I slathered him from head to toe and made him wear a protective sunscreen shirt to prevent him from burning. I also packed his sunscreen for him to re-apply himself as I was told that the counselors could not apply it. The counselors could have easily taken five minutes to gather all of the kids at the beach and have each child re-apply sunscreen throughout the day, but not only did they not do this, they allowed my son to take his swim shirt off. When I picked him up from camp that afternoon, he had such a severe sunburn on his ears, face, neck, shoulders and back that by that evening, they had become huge yellow blisters. My son could not sleep because he was in so much pain. He had 3rd degree burns on his shoulders and ears, and after it healed about a week later, he had permanent scarring on his shoulders from the burns. The day after it happened I went to the director and was told the same thing, that they aren’t responsible for it and a lot of kids got burned. In my opinion, if I am entrusting you with my child’s well being and PAYING YOU to take care of him, then it is indeed your responsibility to ensure my child is not permanently scarred by your negligence. I too pulled my son and daughter from the program due to this problem. They should not be taking kids out in this scorching Florida summer sun without being able to ensure that they are well protected from sunburn.” Reply to jenn K here.

Cultural Coda:

Charles-Valentin Alkan (1813 – 1888) Etude op. 39, no. 12 ‘Le Festin d’Ésope’

From the Grove dictionary: “Alkan soon came under the spell of Chopin, whose close friendship he enjoyed and whose music he much admired. He was friendly too with George Sand and others of their circle. Yet there soon appeared the strain of shyness and misanthropy that was later to become Alkan’s dominant characteristic. His life is undocumented for long periods when he withdrew from the concert platform; his publications appeared only at intervals; and he seems more and more to have avoided company. […] Alkan’s enigmatic character, reflected in his music, has been well described by Marmontel and de Bertha. He dressed in a severe, old-fashioned, somewhat clerical manner, discouraged visitors and went out rarely. He felt he had lived beyond his time. Niecks described how Alkan became warm-hearted and almost convivial once the outer reserve had been penetrated. He had few friends, though he particularly enjoyed the patronage of Russian aristocratic ladies, ‘des dames très parfumées et froufroutantes’, as Isidore Philipp described them. He was nervous in public and pathologically worried about his health, even though it was good. He remained a strict member of the Jewish faith in which he had been brought up, and was widely read in classical and biblical lore.”

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