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A Routine Staff Meeting Turns Town Hall on The Gardens Development, Revealing Coming Strategies

| July 17, 2019

A routine meeting of Flagler County’s Technical Review Committee drew almost 100 people and turned into a quasi-public town hall session, revealing opponents’ legal strategy and the county’s own various concerns about the controversial proposed Gardens Development on John Anderson Highway.

Beat The Rush, Avoid Vaccine Hysteria: Get Your Free Shots at Flagler Health Department

| July 16, 2019

Vaccines for polio, measles, HPV, HepB, Varicella, Tdap and more are all available free and daily before the school year at the Flagler Health Department. Vaccines help develop immunity to many serious infectious diseases.

County Agrees To $680,000 Tax Rebate Over 10 Years For an Unnamed Furniture Company

| July 16, 2019

The unanimous vote capped a brief presentation followed by a nearly hour-long stream of public support and commissioners’ applause, though most elements of the package remain hidden, and, enthusiasm aside, many of the statements were speculative, exaggerated or inaccurate.

As Crime Victims’ Compensation Fund Struggles, Reimbursements May Be Reduced Significantly

| July 16, 2019

Certain crime victims who want financial aid for out-of-pocket expenses like medical bills, lost wages or mental health counseling, will hit a lower cap on reimbursements from the fund if a proposal by the attorney general is approved.

County Threatens to Sue Clerk of Court Bexley in 48 Hours Over Space Request for Sheriff at Courthouse

| July 15, 2019

The county commission will sue Clerk of Court Tom Bexley in 48 hours of he does not agree to a space study at the courthouse, and to abide with the study’s results, in the commission’s latest effort to gain extra space for the sheriff.

Chief Judge Warns Against ‘Taking’ of Courthouse As Sheriff’s Picture in Murder Investigation Lobbies Commission on Space

| July 15, 2019

Chief Judge Raul Zambrano issued a forcefully written, potentially game-changing letter on the sheriff occupying space at the Flagler courthouse even as the sheriff himself was lobbying the county commission with an illustration of constraints on his troops.

School Board Chair Aims for Broad Search for Next Superintendent, Seeing No ‘Heart’ in Internal Pick

| July 15, 2019

Janet McDonald, who chairs the Flagler County School Board through November, says she favors a broad search for the next superintendent but does not detect much interest from internal candidates to take on the job.

Total Cost of Governor’s Israel Trip: Taxpayers, $131,000. Political Donors: $311,500

| July 15, 2019

While in Jerusalem, members of the delegations stayed at David Citadel, a five-star luxury hotel selected by Enterprise Florida which cost $425 per night.

Benjamin Allen, 16, Arrested In Shooting of Elijah Rizvan Over a $125-Drug Deal

| July 14, 2019

Benjaim Allen, 16, was arrested and charged in the murder of Elijah Rizvan, 17, Friday night on Palm Coast’s Westford Lane, the consequence of what had been planned as a deal for marijuana.

Jim Tager Will Retire Next June, Ruling Out Return and Triggering Search For 5th Superintendent in 10 Years

| July 12, 2019

Superintendent Jim Tager will retire in 11 months and will not subsequently return even if the Flagler County School Board were to make arrangements for it, he told the board in a letter.

Citing Police Role and Trust, South Miami Will Challenge New Law Banning Sanctuary Cities

| July 11, 2019

“As soon as [police] are seen as somebody who might turn you in if you called for assistance, they’re no longer trusted and they can no longer do their primary job,” the South Miami mayor says.

Flagler School District Is Finally A-Rated Again, Ending 7-Year Drought With Broad Improvements

| July 11, 2019

The drought ends seven straight years of Bs, after a four-year streak of As before that. Twenty-four of Florida’s 67 districts are A-rated, 54 are either A or B rated.

Michael Kolendo, 74, Dies in Medically Related Crash Near His Home in Palm Coast’s F Section

| July 11, 2019

Michael Kolendo, 74, was dead for possibly more than an hour Wednesday evening in Palm Coast’s F Section when someone on Farmsworth Drive noticed Kolendo’s white car as if parked in a swale, still running, with Kolendo at the wheel.

Appeals Court Rules Florida Marijuana Law’s Restrictions Violate Amendment Legalizing Medical Pot

| July 10, 2019

Florida’s law requiring pot operators to grow, process and distribute cannabis and related products created an “oligopoly” and runs afoul of a constitutional amendment that broadly legalized medical marijuana in the Sunshine State, an appellate court ruled Tuesday.

County Sends Ultimatum to Clerk of Court, Asking For Additional Space at Courthouse For Sheriff By July 31

| July 10, 2019

The ultimatum was prompted by by County Commissioner Dave Sullivan, who pushed the administration to follow through on a county commission vote almost two months old to secure more space for the sheriff at the courthouse.

Dennis McDonald Now Owes County $70,000 Over Frivolous Case, But Says He Won’t Pay

| July 10, 2019

An administrative law judge is recommending that Dennis McDonald, the former candidate for local office, pay $11,000 to cover the county’s costs in an appeal McDonald had filed against having to pay an earlier judgment of $59,000. So the combined amount he owes is now $70,000.

Benefits of a $15 Minimum Wage: The Non-Partisan Evidence

| July 9, 2019

The report from the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office finds that a $15 minimum wage would increase the wages of millions of low wage workers, increase the average incomes of low and lower-middle-income families, reduce poverty, shift money from corporate profits to the wages of low-wage workers, and reduce inequality.

A Shooting Injures a 21-Year-Old Palm Coast Marine, But Stories, Including His Own, Conflict

| July 9, 2019

Late the night of July 5, 21-year-old Carter Reding Goodman, of Ocean Oaks Lane in Palm Coast, was shot, possibly in the Hammock. He and his friends gave different stories about where and how, and physical evidence told yet another story.

Palm Coast Proposal Would Raise Property Taxes 9%; Sheriff’s Request for 6 New Deputies Not in the Budget

| July 9, 2019

Though Palm Coast government is proposing to keep its property tax rate flat, a valuation increase of 9 percent will equate to a tax increase, though homesteaded property owners won’t feel it.

Court Rules Brevard County Commission’s Prayer at Meetings Discriminatory Against Non-Believers

| July 9, 2019

“Brevard County has selected invocation speakers in a way that favors certain monotheistic religions and categorically excludes from consideration other religions solely based on their belief systems,” a federal appeals court ruled.

Bunnell Commission Ends Homeless Shelter Operations After 11 Years; Church Pledges Legal Fight

| July 8, 2019

The Bunnell City Commission voted this evening to end the operations of the Sheltering Tree, the county’s only cold-weather homeless shelter, at a church in Bunnell. The church and Sheltering Tree organizers say they will pursue legal avenues.

Permits Cancelled For Palm Coast Wawa, But City Insists “All Indications” Store Still a Go. Just Not Yet.

| July 8, 2019

The permitting process for a planned Wawa at the corner of State Road 100 and Bulldog Drive was cancelled last week, ostensibly so the developer could switch contractors, when plans would be resubmitted.

Flagler Property Values Rise Nearly 9%, Higher in Cities, Providing Windfall For Local Budgets

| July 8, 2019

Property values are a driver of local government budgets. Generally, as values increase, local property tax revenue rises, assuming governments don’t proportionately reduce their tax rates.

Florida Is The Latest Republican-Led State To Adopt Clean Needle Exchanges

| July 8, 2019

The timing of the statewide legalization of needle exchanges comes as Florida grapples with a huge heroin and fentanyl problem. When people share dirty needles to inject drugs, it puts them at high risk for spreading bloodborne infections like HIV and hepatitis C. For years, Florida has had America’s highest rates of HIV.

Our Immigrant Prisons Are An Atrocity

| July 7, 2019

As reports surface about immigrant children sleeping on concrete floors and people being forced to drink water from toilets, one fact has become unmistakably clear: It’s well past time to demand an end to Trump’s cruel and inhumane treatment of immigrants.

Some People Wouldn’t Count: How Citizenship Question Could Reshape State Politics

| July 7, 2019

Some districts could get more in-state political power if Florida decides to use voting-age citizens as the basis for drawing districts, rather than total population, including children and immigrants who aren’t citizens.

A Little Over a Dozen Arrests, One Notable Fight, 2 Brush Fires and 30,000 People: A Heat-Soaked July 4 in Flagler

| July 5, 2019

Flagler Beach witnessed one serious fight that led to two arrests, and two brush fires, while Palm Coast had a minor party-related disturbance and Bunnell seemed to verge on the brink of a serious commotion until an arrest defused the situation.

Costs Pile Up For Governor and Cabinet’s $400-a-Night Israel Junket, as Do Questions

| July 5, 2019

When Florida Cabinet members jetted off to Israel in late May, some state employees who traveled at taxpayer expense stayed in a more than $400-a-night luxury hotel in Jerusalem, where a Cabinet meeting was held.

New Leadership Called ‘Capricious’ as 2 More High-Level Resignations Strike Palm Coast Government

| July 3, 2019

Interim Communications Manager Jason Giraulo called the new city manager and council “capricious” and described his own managerial abilities as “castrated” in a resignation letter the new manager strongly disputed. Chief Building Official Ricky Lee also resigned.

After 3-Month Halt, Work Will Resume On U.S. 1 Roundabout at Old Dixie, With Road Closures

| July 3, 2019

Work had stopped on the roundabout project at U.S. 1 and old Dixie Highway in mid-April and won’t resume until mid-July, with further road closures and detours. The $4.1 million project is the work of the state Department of Transportation.

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