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Monday Briefing: Welcome Back Teachers, $76,000 To Revamp County’s Economic Development Website, Gore Vidal Echoes

| August 17, 2015

jacobv oliva flagler county school superintendent

Superintendent Jacob Oliva welcomes faculty and staff back for the 2015-16 school year this morning at the Flagler Auditorium. (© FlaglerLive)

Today: high upper 80s, low in mid 70s. Details here.
Today’s fire danger is moderate. Flagler County’s Drought Index is at 428 (-15).
The weather in Nome, Alaska: high 55, low 46. Details.
Today’s document from the National Archives.
The OED’s Word of the Day: Oliver, n.3.
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.

flagler county commission government logoThe Flagler County Commission meets for a 1 p.m. workshop at the Emergency Operations Center in Bunnell, behind the Government Services Building, and at 5 p.m. for a business meeting in board chambers at the GSB. The workshop focuses on a discussion of the manatee protection zone, and possibly expanding it; a presentation by Flagler Cares, and a discussion about the future of the Tourist Development Council, which the county administration wants to absorb into county government rather than contract its services through the Flagler chamber of commerce. The county website usually posts background materials on workshop agendas. It did not do so in this case. The 5 p.m. meeting includes approving a $50,000 contract–you read that right–for drug testing of drug-court participants (through Florida Drug testing Inc.) and a $76,000 contract to redesign the county’s economic development division’s website and provide a “marketing strategy.” The commission will also discuss its 2016 legislative priorities. The meeting’s agenda and background materials are here.

Welcome back to school: Superintendent Jacob Oliva welcomes faculty and staff back for the 2015-16 school year at 9 a.m. at the Flagler Auditorium.

Flagler County school teachers: A week before school resumes in Flagler County, today is a professional development for teachers.

Death Over Dinner: An open, honest conversation about death and dying, and about celebrating life, with a guest speaker, 6 p.m. at Florida Hospital Flagler, Education Room D. Bring bag dinner and a drink or buy your meal in the hospital cafeteria. The event is otherwise free. For additional information, contact Deborah Susswein at 386/446-1416.

Local News Recap:

Falling Out of a Pick-Up, Palm Coast Man Is Critical After Being Run Over on Seminole Woods Boulevard: Three young Palm Coast men — Conner Patrick Anderson, 22, Ronald Lewis Stedman, 20, and the victim, Angel Martinez, 20–had been partying the night before when, Saturday morning, Martinez was made to ride in the back of Stedman’s truck as he was driven home. Martinez either fell or jumped out of the truck and was run over by two more vehicles.

Flagler Sheriff’s Crime Scene Analyst and Evidence Supervisor Under Investigation: Laura Pazarena, the Flagler County Sheriff’s crime scene technician hired two years ago to launch the department’s first CSI unit, is under internal investigation, and has been placed on paid administrative leave pending the investigation’s outcome. The case centers on a suspicion of shoplifting at the Vitamin Shoppe on State Road 100, and Pazarena’s subsequent appearance at the store, where she requested surveillance camera footage. There is no criminal investigation, but an internal investigation is examining whether she abused her power.

Bethune-Cookman will offer dual enrollment to Flagler schools at its own expense: The Daytona Beach-based university is looking to expand its reach into Flagler, where 240 students were dually enrolled last year, mostly at Daytona State College, and some at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. “All three programs are similar in that they each offer core courses. Most of the courses at Bethune-Cookman will be semester-length, though there will be some eight-week courses as well,” the News-Journal reports. “School officials said they are still deciding whether to offer bus rides to and from the high schools or bring teachers to the students.” (Story paywall protected.)

Flagler Beach Manager Want Ad Draws Just One Internal Applicant, With Little Experience: Flagler Beach’s week-long search for an in-house candidate to replace City Manager Bruce Campbell produced all of one candidate: Candice Seymour, a customer service representative for the city’s building department with no executive experience, and just 18 months with the city.

21-Year-Old Palm Coast Man, in Prison for Burglary, Now Faces Child-Rape Charge: Brandon Moon, a 21-year-old resident of 1 Breylyn Place in Palm Coast who’s serving a three-year state prison sentence for burglary, is back in Flagler County on $400,000 bond over a rape charge uncovered when the teen-age child—a close relative of Moon’s—revealed her pregnancy. The charges were fild in March, and the arrest warrant issued Thursday at the jail.

In Court:

(© FlaglerLive)

(© FlaglerLive)

Circuit Judge J. David Walsh presides over jury trials this morning, with jury selection taking up much of the schedule, starting at 8:30 a.m. Scheduled are the trials of Brian Hitas, accused of manufacturing meth, a second degree felony; Michael Lee King, accused of luring a minor for sex through a computer; Michael Perotta (DUI) and Ruthie Smith (sale of cocaine). Courtroom 401. Circuit Judge Michael Orfinger and County Judge Melissa Moore Stens are in various hearings throughout the day in Courtroom 301 and 404 respectively.

A foreclosure sale is scheduled for 11 a.m. in the civil department lobby.

In State Government:

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

The Florida House takes up a proposed congressional redistricting plan (HB 1B), filed by Redistricting Chairman Jose Oliva, R-Miami Lakes. The plan stems from a Florida Supreme Court ruling that current congressional districts violate the anti-gerrymandering “Fair Districts” requirements approved by voters in 2010. Flagler’s legislative delegation is opposed to the plan. (Noon.)

The Senate Reapportionment Committee will consider potential amendments to a congressional redistricting plan (SB 2-B) filed by committee Chairman Bill Galvano, R-Bradenton. (noon.)

planned parenthood florida allegationsPlanned Parenthood officials will hold press events in Tallahassee and Sarasota to respond to recent Agency for Health Care inspections of abortion clinics. AHCA alleges the inspections found three clinics performing second-trimester abortions without proper licenses — an allegation disputed by Planned Parenthood. (Monday, 11 a.m., Florida Press Center, 336 East College Ave., Tallahassee. Also, 11 a.m., Gompertz Family Regional Headquarters, 736 Central Ave., Sarasota.)


The National Association of Home Builders issues its market index.

The Iowa State Fair is ongoing all week, offering a big stage for all presidential candidates with their eyes on the Iowa caucuses.

Wednesday: Inflation figures for July are released.

Thursday: the National Association of Realtors releases existing home sales for July. June numbers hit the highest level since February 2007.

PR Releases:

Don-Berglunnd-Flagler-ColleFlagler College professor publishes book on St. Augustine issues: Dr. Don D. Berglund, Associate Professor and director of the Public Administration Program at Flagler College, has published a book examining a number of controversial and compelling issues that the City of St. Augustine has faced in recent years. The book, St. Augustine: Preservation vs. Makeover — Public Policy Making in America’s Oldest City, details the conflicts and resolution surrounding such noteworthy issues as the building of the new Bridge of Lions, the debate over the proposed Lightner parking garage, the closing of the Ponce de Leon Golf Course, and — more recently — the controversy surrounding the construction of the proposed Cordova Inn and the town-and-gown challenge. Berglund, a transplant to St. Augustine from Lincoln, Nebraska, said he was fascinated upon his arrival in the Oldest City with the ways history and tradition influence public policy making. He also found himself asking questions about how the city’s long history continues to play into public opinion when it comes to issues of development, change and politics. “As a public policy specialist, I naturally follow public issues and controversies. I began to ask myself this question: how much does St. Augustine’s historical background affect public policy decision making?” said Berglund. “This book is a study of how the past continues to affect the present lives and fortunes of St. Augustinians, and those who hope one day to count themselves as one of us.” In total, the book examines nine controversies that captured the attention of St. Augustine residents since 2003:

  • the Lightner parking garage controversy
  • the closing of the historic Ponce de Leon Golf Course
  • the Bridge of Lions dispute over whether to build a new bridge or to rehabilitate the old one
  • the Florida School for the Deaf and Blind and its effort to obtain Eminent Domain status
  • the debate over flags being allowed to fly on the Bridge of Lions
  • the horse-drawn carriage dispute
  • ongoing town-and-gown challenges
  • the recent Cordova Inn debate
  • problems related to operation of the Planning and Zoning Board

In the last chapter, Dr. Berglund outlines conclusions and recommendations drawn from the chapters and offers suggestions on the best ways St. Augustine can move ahead into the future from here. St. Augustine: Preservation vs. Makeover — Public Policy Making in America’s Oldest City will be released in late August by Old Kings Road Press, a publisher specializing in Florida history books.

flagler county art leagueArt Therapy Making Memories for Alzheimer’s Patients: “Memories in the Making,”  a traveling art show with paintings created by people diagnosed with early to mid-stage Alzheimer’s disease, will be hosted by the Flagler County Art  League (FCAL) at their Gallery in Palm Coast. This is one of three events taking place as part of September’s Alzheimer’s Month.  “Memories in the Making” is an amazing collection of art from the Alzheimer’s Association’s art therapy classes in Altamonte Springs. Featuring 50 pieces of framed art, the exhibit will open with a reception on September 12 from 6 – 8:30pm at the FCAL Gallery and will be free and open to the public. The Flagler County Art League Gallery is located at City Marketplace, 160 Cypress Point Parkway, Suite 207C in Palm Coast. The art show will run from September 12 through October 6. Gallery hours are Monday–Friday, 12–4pm; Saturday 10am-1pm. A silent auction of artwork donated by Flagler County Art League members will take place during the opening reception with the proceeds going to the Alzheimer’s Association. Also opening at the Gallery September 12 is an exhibit appropriately called “It’s About Time,” also free and open to the public. A judged art show in the main gallery, this exhibit speaks to the passage of time – past, present and future. Four organizations have partnered to host these events. The Flagler County Art League, the Palm Coast Arts Foundation, Florida Hospital Flagler, and the Central and North Florida Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association have joined together to increase public awareness and raise funds for Alzheimer’s continuing  research efforts. In addition to the art show, a documentary film, “I Remember Better When I Paint,” illustrates the benefits of art therapies for early to mid-stage dementia patients. Narrated by Olivia de Havilland, the film shows how these therapies can bypass the limitations of dementia and help patients express their emotions and thoughts when words and memories fail. Hosted by the Palm Coast Arts Foundation, pcaf-logoFCAL, the Alzheimer’s Association and the Florida Hospital Flagler, the film will be shown at the Florida Flagler Hospital in Palm Coast August 31 at 2pm. The event is free to the public, but reservations are required. Call 386-263-2991 or contact   THE WALK TO END ALZHEIMER’S, the third event, is the fund-raising component of  September’s Alzheimer’s Month. WALK Teams will gather at Veteran’s Park in Flagler Beach September 26 and walk a two-mile route. To show support for the cause, WALK Teams are being formed by various groups, businesses, clubs and organizations throughout Palm Coast. You are encouraged to join one and take part in this event. The Flagler County Art League invites you to be part of their team for the WALK. To register and participate in a team, contact

Congressman Elijah Cummings,Keynote Speaker, at Local Democratic Fundraiser: Congressman Elijah Cummings (D) of Maryland will be the Keynote Speaker at the annual Volusia County Democratic Gathering at the Beach fundraiser. Volusia County Democratic Party Chair, Leslie Pearce announced the news to local party members. “We are very excited about having Congressman Cummings as our keynote speaker and expect record attendance at this dinner fundraiser.” The annual Democratic Unity Gathering at the Beach, an annual fundraiser for the party, is a great opportunity for locals to mingle with democratic candidates for Federal, State, County and Municipal office. The dinner fundraiser is scheduled for Saturday, October 3rd at the Daytona Beach Hilton Resort located at 100 North Atlantic Avenue in Daytona Beach. For more information and to purchase tickets purchase, visit

In the Press, In the News:

Police violate Florida’s records law in FSU case: A state appeals court Friday said Tallahassee police last year improperly withheld public information in a domestic-violence investigation involving a Florida State University football player. The case stemmed from an Oct. 25, 2014, email sent by a university attorney to Tallahassee Police Chief Michael DeLeo asking for an investigation of an alleged domestic-violence incident. The email included an attachment with a Facebook post that included information about the date and time of the alleged incident and photos of bruised body parts, according to Friday’s ruling. Two days later, police issued a news release acknowledging an investigation that involved football player Karlos Williams but said details could not be released because it was an active investigation. That day, Michael Barfield sent a public-records request about the incident and on Oct. 29 filed a lawsuit seeking the records. A circuit judge rejected Barfield’s arguments, but the appeals court Friday ruled that at least some of the information — such as the date, time and nature of the crime — should have been released under Florida’s public-records law. The Tallahassee Democrat reported Nov. 12 that Williams was not charged in the case. It also said the department released a four-page report on the investigation. News Service of Florida.

hillary_clintonIs Hillary Clinton Really in Danger of Losing the Primary? No: “You might not know it if you’re reading the various articles about Mr. Sanders’s rise in the polls, but Mrs. Clinton still holds as strong a position as any primary candidate in history. And oddly, Mr. Sanders and Mr. Biden have helped clarify that strength. […] The Sanders surge has slowed over the last month. Yes, a poll out of New Hampshire has him leading Mrs. Clinton. But Iowa and New Hampshire were always going to be his strong spots — just as liberal havens like Seattle and Boulder, Colo., are favorable terrain. A closer look at the polls shows that he is simply not within striking distance of winning the nomination. His support has run into a wall: Women, blacks and Hispanics continue to support Mrs. Clinton by a wide margin, as do white moderate and conservative Democrats. Mr. Sanders has become the favorite of one of the Democratic Party’s most important factions: the overwhelmingly white, progressive left. These voters are plentiful in the well-educated, more secular enclaves where journalists roam. This voting support is enough for him to compete in Iowa; New Hampshire and elsewhere in New England; the Northwest; and many Western caucuses. But it is not a viable electoral coalition in a Democratic Party that is far more moderate and diverse than his supporters seem to recognize. […] Mrs. Clinton’s advantage among the majority of Democratic voters is underpinned by just about all of the forces that help shape public opinion and determine the outcome of primary elections. Her policy views are smack-dab in the middle of the Democratic electorate, denying Mr. Sanders much room to challenge her on the left. She has won the so-called invisible primary, the behind-the-scenes competition for elite support that helps decide the nomination. She has more endorsements and cash than just about any candidate in American history.” From The Times.

A life in feuds: how Gore Vidal gripped a nation: “A brilliant writer and public intellectual who could take on the world when he felt it necessary, Vidal was a brave figure on the political scene who would stand up for things that meant a lot to him, and he made his case eloquently before a wide audience. He was that nearly extinct variety of human being: a famous writer whose fame extended far beyond the realms of literature: a wit, a political pundit, a sought-after TV guest, a scold and much more. As he put it himself: “I am at heart a propagandist, a tremendous hater, a tiresome nag, complacently positive that there is no human problem that could not be solved if people would simply do as I advise.” That he was also a brilliant novelist and essayist was often beside the point. […] William F Buckley […] was Satan as far as Vidal was concerned: a vicious rightwing polemicist who represented everything that was wrong with American society. Buckley was the quintessential US conservative of a certain stripe: Roman Catholic, Ivy League-educated, wealthy, with a mid-Atlantic accent that seemed to parody itself at times. He founded the National Review, a conservative magazine, in 1955 and used it as a platform to make himself the spokesman for laissez-faire, pro-business economics and a hard-nosed, anti-communist foreign policy. With his first book, a feisty memoir called God and Man at Yale (1951), he had laid down the gauntlet, helping to set in motion the movement that eventually led to Ronald Reagan’s presidency.” From the Guardian. Watch:

Palm Coast Construction and Development Progress Reports:

The following is an update of ongoing construction and development projects in Palm Coast, through Aug. 6:

palm coast city hall town center

City Hall at Town Center.

Palm Coast Parkway Six-Laning is 87 percent done: Widening on the north side of the parkway almost complete. Landscape irrigation work continues. Milling and Resurfacing of Roadway continues. FPL began installation of light poles and fixtures along the north side of the roadway.

Holland Park, 27 percent done: Continuation of installation of new water main. Began installation of FP&L primary conduit to new transformer.

Palm Coast City Hall at Town Center, 84 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. Mechanical system startup occurred. Parking lot curbing completed. Irrigation installation began See ongoing images of construction here.

Colechester Drive Bridge, 32 percent done: Bridge deck being removed, curbing on all sides has been 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, 91 percent done: The second run of gravity main was installed near Starbucks entrance.

Shops at Pine Lakes Convenience Store, 96 percent done: Pump station start-up and testing completed.

Old Kings Road Force Main – Master Pump Station, 10 percent done: Clearing crew on site removing trees.

Road and Interstate Construction:

road-constructionPalm Coast:

Palm Coast Parkway: Expect heavy delays on Palm Coast Parkway From 7 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 18, to 5 a.m. Wednesday, Aug. 19: Westbound traffic will be reduced to one lane on the I-95 bridge. These lane closures are required for street light pole installations. In addition, motorists and other travelers should expect intermittent eastbound and westbound nighttime lane closures on Palm Coast Parkway between Florida Park Drive and Cypress Point Parkway / Boulder Rock Drive from 7 p.m. until 7 a.m., Sunday through Friday until the completion of the project in December 2015. One lane eastbound and one lane westbound will remain open at all times. These lane closures are required for paving and traffic signal operations.

Old Kings Road Lane Closures: On Monday and Tuesday, Aug. 17 and 18, motorists and other travelers should expect lane closures on Old Kings Road in the vicinity of the Matanzas Woods Parkway intersection. A single lane will remain open at all times. From Friday, August 21, through Sunday, August 23, motorists and other travelers should expect lane closures on Old Kings Road and Matanzas Woods Parkway in the vicinity of the Matanzas Woods/Old Kings Road intersection. A single lane will remain open at all times.

Complete Road Closure on Old Kings Road: On Wednesday and Thursday, Aug. 19 and 20, motorists and other travelers should expect a complete road closure on Old Kings Road and Matanzas Woods Parkway in the vicinity of the Matanzas Woods intersection. Matanzas Woods Parkway will be closed at Bird of Paradise allowing eastbound traffic to Matanzas High School only. Travelers heading south on Old Kings Road at the U.S. 1 intersection will be notified that Old Kings Road is open to local traffic only. Old Kings Road will be closed at the Forest Grove Drive intersection allowing northbound traffic to Matanzas High School only.

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.

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)

From Geezer in “The Population Bomb Reloads: How Humans Cause Mass Extinction“: Back in the seventies, “the population explosion” was a hot topic that was even discussed on popular shows such as All In the Family. You couldn’t avoid it if you tried. Capitalism wants more people to feed its greedy gullet. So……… Here in the states, populations will continue to grow, and in Florida, the once-beautiful state, expect mass-migration here over the next ten years – people running from crowded cities. (ironic and moronic I think) Notice the I-95 expansion in Jacksonville? Florida’s population is expected to increase to 40,000,000 in those ten years. You need bigger roads to accomodate all those cars. I wonder where the dwindling wildlife is going to go. Maybe it’s going the same place as the population explosion awareness. Here in NH we have 1,500,000 people, (estimated, prob a bit more) That’s about 7% of Florida’s population. I can deal with those numbers and hope that it doesn’t grow too much in my lifetime. (what’s left) Worldwide there’s too many humans, that means war and competition for resources – oil and more importantly: food and water. We are NOT a beneficial species. WHAT A GREAT ARTICLE.” Reply to Geezer here.

Cultural Coda:

Axel Strauss Records a Pierre Rode Violin Caprice

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2 Responses for “Monday Briefing: Welcome Back Teachers, $76,000 To Revamp County’s Economic Development Website, Gore Vidal Echoes”

  1. Brad W says:

    $76,000 to redesign a website and come up with a marketing strategy for the EDC?! How much more do we need to dump into those two areas of a tax-payer funded department that is doing nothing to produce anything benefiting residents of this county? It has been a department that has simply latched it’s name for political sake to projects that would have come about without them.

    That department doesn’t need more things . . . it needs to use what they have effectively and with accountability! Get off of the “work at the beach” junk. No one does that (unless you are a lifeguard). This should be a huge focus with voters and Barabara Revels.

  2. Layla says:

    Wanted to thank you for your comments. I think it is fairly obvious to those here for a number of years that this county has a bad reputation as a business site. I’m not sure why that is, but it is becoming quite obvious. Projects here on done “on the cheap” and end up in disaster or costing the taxpayers here many times more than they should have.

    Accountability? Doesn’t exist here.

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