Today’s weather: sunny, high of 78, low of 67. Details here.
Today’s fire danger is Moderate. Flagler County’s Drought Index is at 250
The weather in Thala, Tunisia: High of 74, low of 52. Details.
The OED’s Word of the Day: Keystone, n..
The Live Community Calendar
Today’s jail bookings.
Today’s Briefing: Quick Links
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- Local Road and Interstate Construction
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- In Coming Days in Flagler and Palm Coast
Note: all meetings noticed below are free and open to the public unless otherwise indicated.
The Flagler County Economic Opportunity Council meets at 9 a.m. in the commission chambers of the Government Services Building. Tom Hellman, president of SCORE, is expected to make a presentation. The meeting’s agenda is otherwise light.
Traffic Ticket Collections Free Amnesty on Friday, April 17: Operation Green Light is a one-day amnesty giving drivers the chance to pay overdue fines, without having to pay the 40 percent collection feel. Hours at the Flagler County Courthouse will be extended for the occasion, stretching between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Clerk of Court Gail Wadsworth says her office has tabulated 7,793 cases that have gone to a collection agency. Of those, 4,507 are civil traffic cases. The total amount in collections for Flagler County is—to be precise–$1,872,973.91. Most people with such cases are driving on suspended driver’s licenses. You may get your driver’s license restored if you pay the overdue fine. (April 17)
Online Auction for George Washington Carver Foundation: The annual auction, raising money for the Carver Center in Bunnell, is on through April 27. Make your bids here. The auction is the primary fundraising event for the Carver Center. In the past, money raised has been used for big-ticket items like ceiling insulation, furniture for the library, a scoreboard, bleachers, as well as money for scholarships and summer camp. “At this point, we are gearing up to assist the county with an addition to the center,” said Flagler County Commissioner Barbara Revels. “Flagler County is applying for a community development block grant to build additional classrooms and meeting space. If that happens, we’d like to be ready to help with what we can to furnish it.” Revels is a member of the George Washington Foundation and was part of a team instrumental in bringing the center up to sustainable level, saving the center from an uncertain fate. The Carver Center is a recreational facility that also offers tutoring, after school study, internet access and also serves the community with GED classes, employment counseling and other services.
James McDevitt, the 22-year-old Palm Coast resident facing two counts of rape with a weapon, goes before Circuit Judge J.David Walsh at 1:30 p.m. for a docket sounding–the very last step before McDevitt’s scheduled trial next week. At the sounding, McDevitt and his attorney, Michael Lambert, will be given one last chance to enter a plea rather than opt for trial. The judge will also be asking McDevitt direct questions about the process. McDevitt is accused of raping a 38-year-old woman in an empty lot on South 12th Street in Flagler Beach on June 18, 2013. He pleaded not guilty. The charges he faces are first degree life felonies, exposing him, if found guilty, to life in prison without parole. The docket sounding takes place among a dozen other such soundings, in courtroom 401 at the Justice Center.
- In Suspected Flagler Beach Rape, New Details Point to 2 Attacks and Disturbing Aftermath
- James McDevitt Pleads Not Guilty in Flagler Beach Rape Allegation
- James McDevitt, 21, Accused of Raping a Woman in Flagler Beach, 2 Blocs from a Cop
The Florida Supreme Court releases opinions at 11 a.m.
Note: Most proceedings below can be followed live on the Florida Channel.
The House holds a daylong floor session today, starting at 10:30 a.m.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission will finish a three-day meeting and consider fishing-related issues such as the recreational harvest season for red snapper in the Gulf of Mexico. (8:30 a.m.)
The Florida Public Service Commission will take up a series of issues, including a plan by Pensacola-based Gulf Power to purchase power from large solar-energy facilities that would be built on three military bases in Northwest Florida. The solar facilities would be built and operated by subsidiaries of Charlottesville, Va.-based HelioSage, LLC. Gulf would purchase energy produced by the facilities and pass along the costs to customers. (9:30 a.m.)
–Compiled by the News Service of Florida
The US Carried Out 674 Military Operations in Africa Last Year. Did You Hear About Any of Them? “In recent years, the United States has been involved in a variety of multinational interventions in Africa, including one in Libya that involved both a secret war and a conventional campaign of missiles and air strikes, assistance to French forces in the Central African Republic and Mali, and the training and funding of African proxies to do battle against militant groups like Boko Haram as well as Somalia’s al-Shabab and Mali’s Ansar al-Dine. In 2014, the United States carried out 674 military activities across Africa, nearly two missions per day, an almost 300% jump in the number of annual operations, exercises, and military-to-military training activities since US Africa Command (AFRICOM) was established in 2008. Despite this massive increase in missions and a similar swelling of bases, personnel, and funding, the picture painted last month before the Senate Armed Services Committee by AFRICOM chief General David Rodriguez was startlingly bleak. For all the American efforts across Africa, Rodriguez offered a vision of a continent in crisis, imperiled from East to West by militant groups that have developed, grown in strength, or increased their deadly reach in the face of US counterterrorism efforts.” From The Nation.
How the Pope has again become a leader for our times: “Pope Francis has succeeded in cutting through the language of Italian scholasticism, the constraints of Vatican tradition and the consistent wail of rationalist denunciation to become the most popular public figure in Europe. In contrast to his predecessor he has established a Catholic populism around a critique of capitalism and a concern for the poor while embarking upon an unprecedented reform of the Vatican itself, most particularly its finances. Taken as a whole, this has led to a misunderstanding that he is a progressive, liberal or “left-wing” pope. It should come as no surprise that the Pope is deeply and traditionally Catholic. What is clear is that his modesty, his continued emphasis on being a sinner himself, and his criticism of himself and his Church have endeared him to people who have not been listening to the Church for a very long time, if ever. Whereas Pope Benedict missed few opportunities to point out the moral nihilism of modernity and its tendency to violence and self-gratification at the expense of love and faithfulness, Pope Francis seems more at ease with temptation and less comfortable with the domination of corporate capitalism and its effects on the lives of the poor.” From The New Statesman.
The Myth of Magna Carta: “Magna Carta has been taken as foundational to the rule of law, chiefly because in it King John promised that he would stop throwing people into dungeons whenever he wished, a provision that lies behind what is now known as due process of law and is understood not as a promise made by a king but as a right possessed by the people. Due process is a bulwark against injustice, but it wasn’t put in place in 1215; it is a wall built stone by stone, defended, and attacked, year after year. Much of the rest of Magna Carta, weathered by time and for centuries forgotten, has long since crumbled, an abandoned castle, a romantic ruin. […] Magna Carta’s importance has often been overstated, and its meaning distorted. “The significance of King John’s promise has been anything but constant,” U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens aptly wrote, in 1992. It also has a very different legacy in the United States than it does in the United Kingdom, where only four of its original sixty-some provisions are still on the books. In 2012, three New Hampshire Republicans introduced into the state legislature a bill that required that “all members of the general court proposing bills and resolutions addressing individual rights or liberties shall include a direct quote from the Magna Carta which sets forth the article from which the individual right or liberty is derived.” For American originalists, in particular, Magna Carta has a special lastingness. “It is with us every day,” Justice Antonin Scalia said in a speech at a Federalist Society gathering last fall. Much has been written of the rule of law, less of the rule of history.” The full correction in The New Yorker.
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Road and Interstate Construction:
Flagler County: County Road 305 between CR 2006 and Tangerine. IMPACTS: Closure in force 3/17/2015 for the 2nd box culvert replacement. Detours detour via CR 110 to CR 95 to CR 2006. Truck Detour via Bunnell (SR 100 – SR 11)
Palm Coast: Palm Coast Parkway between Cypress Point Parkway and Florida Park Drive. IMPACTS: Lane shifts and closures will occur and this may cause traffic congestion on this already busy roadway. Most construction work will occur between 9 p.m. and 7 a.m. though weather and unforeseen issues may adjust the schedules. This project will be complete by December 2015.
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. Monday through Friday, Eastbound and Westbound lane closures from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. Motorists should be aware of traffic shifts near Canal St./SR 44.
- Palm Coast Parkway Project Website
- Florida Department of Transportation Road Project List
- County Road 304 Project Map and Description
The Flagler County Chamber is hosting a day trip to Tallahassee and invites members to sign up for the Second Annual “Flagler Day,” Wednesday, April 22. The chamber is working with the Florida Chamber to create a productive schedule for the one-day visit. Participants will meet at the Chamber at 6:45 a.m. Wednesday morning, board a luxury motor coach and depart by 7 a.m. for Tallahassee. Once there, the plan is to meet with legislators from both the House and Senate, enjoy a group lunch, tour the Capitol, and then board the bus for the return trip to Palm Coast. (The goal is to return to the Chamber by 8 p.m.) The purpose of this nonpartisan visit is to remind legislators that Flagler County is, in fact, open for business. The cost to attend will be $45 per person. Please contact Gretchen Smith at 437-0106 to RSVP before April 17th.
April 18: Ocean Art Gallery in Flagler Beach will host U.S. Rep. DeSantis’ ten finalists from District 6 in the 2015 Congressional Art Competition. Three judges will select the winner from the students’ art, which will be on display in the gallery at 200 S. Oceanshore Blvd., DeSantis will be there. “It is a distinct pleasure to have the ten student finalists, their families, friends, and Congressman DeSantis in our gallery for the selection of the winning piece of art from District 6 in this national competition,” gallery owner Frank Gromling said. The public is invited. For further information, contact Ocean Art Gallery at 386-693-4882.
April 19: Appreciation Picnic For Flagler’s First Responders. A new collaborative effort with the theme, “Building Bridges, Building Relationships,” is bringing together Flagler County public safety personnel from various entities. A first-ever appreciation picnic and barbecue hosted by Flagler County Emergency Services on Sunday, April 19, will include firefighters, police officers, Florida Hospital Flagler and Flagler County Health Department staff members, Flagler County Sheriff Officer employees and other emergency management workers to foster relationships and provide services. It is anticipated that the event will be held annually. “We want all emergency management personnel to think of one another as colleagues,” Flagler County Public Safety Emergency Manager Kevin Guthrie said. “Emergency management is the sum of all its parts and no one person can do any one part by themselves; we need all of our stakeholders working together.” The picnic, funded by corporate sponsors, will include food and family-friendly activities like corn hole, a Moon Bounce and a magician. The event will take place from 1 to 5 p.m. in Herschel King Park located at 1000 Grady Prather Jr. Cove in Palm Coast. To RSVP please email Suzanne Eubanks at [email protected].
April 22: Skywarn Storm Spotter Program Class: This class is also great for first responders, dispatchers, anyone who works outside, school staff, coaches, etc. Meteorologists aren’t the only ones who can recognize potentially disastrous weather. After participating in a free nationally acclaimed weather class hosted by the National Weather Service and Flagler County Emergency Services, anyone can become a trained storm spotter. The Skywarn Storm Spotter Program recruits volunteers to help protect people and property during tornados or severe thunderstorms. There are already over 1,000 storm spotters in Flagler County. “Skywarn is essential to the National Weather Service as weather radars cannot see everything,” said Bob Pickering, Flagler County Emergency Management Technician. “Spotters play a key role not only in advanced warnings, but also storm verification.” During a class taught by Ben Nelson, a National Weather Service meteorologist in Jacksonville, participants will learn to recognize signs of impending dangerous weather and how to report perilous conditions so warnings can be issued faster. The class will take place on Wednesday, April 22, from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Flagler County Emergency Operations Center, 1769 East Moody Blvd., Bunnell. To sign up for the class, please call Pickering at 386-313-4250 or send an email to: [email protected].
April 23: Sheriff Jim Manfre will be the guest speaker for the Flagler County Chamber upcoming Eggs & Issues breakfast at 8 a.m. at the Grand Haven Golf Club, 500 Riverfront Drive in Palm Coast. The chamber hosts Eggs & Issues breakfasts five times a year to bring local and business-related issues and topics to light. Guest speakers include elected officials, thought leaders and high profile executives/business professionals. Cost to attend is $15 with advance payment for members or $20 at the door. Future members pay $20 with advance reservations or $25 the day of the event. Seating is limited; reservations are requested by Friday, April 17 at 5 PM.
Flagler County Job Fair on April 24: A limited number of spaces are still open for businesses interested in reserving a free booth at the second annual Flagler County Job Fair. The event will take place on Friday, April 24, from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the Palm Coast Campus of Daytona State College, 3000 Palm Coast Pkwy SE, Building 3. Last year nearly 400 jobseekers attended the inaugural fair, which was hosted by the Flagler County Department of Economic Opportunity and CareerSource Flagler Volusia. This year Daytona State College and the Flagler County Chamber of Commerce joined the effort to positively impact Flagler County’s economic vitality. Among the businesses that have already registered are CoastalCloud, Edwards Jones Financial Service, Beutlich Pharmaceuticals and Target. A complete list of attending companies is available here. Businesses wishing to secure a place at the fair and job seekers interested in registering for preparation workshops should visit the job fair website. For additional information about the fair, please contact Casey Scott at 386-313-4098 or by email here.
Matanzas Inlet Beach Clean-up: In celebration of Earth Day, Fort Matanzas National Monument is hosting a beach clean-up on Saturday, April 25, from 9am to 12pm. Join us in removing not only man-made trash but invasive plant life. The event will begin with a safety briefing and an introduction to the park at the ocean-side parking lot on the east side of A1A, just north of the Inlet bridge. Trash bags, gloves, and water will be provided. Please bring sunscreen, appropriate beach wear (including a hat), and your own reusable water bottle. If you would like to participate, please call 904-829-6506 ext. 233 or email [email protected] by April 23.
Volunteers needed for invasive plant removal at Betty Steflik Memorial Preserve, April 29: Bring a friend, bring a kid, bring gloves and a water bottle to Betty Steflik Memorial Preserve on April 29 to help rid it of invasive species like the Brazilian pepper trees along the entrance road. The entrance road will be closed from dawn to 1 p.m. as Land Management and Parks and Recreation staff, with the help of volunteers, remove the plants. Normal park access will be available after 1 p.m. “We appreciate the help,” said Mike Lagasse, land manager. “Non-native plants are displacing the native plants.” Flagler County has a dedicated group of volunteers who have worked at other preserves, like the River to Sea Preserve, protect the native ecosystem. Laura Ostapko is one of those volunteers and a member of “The Pepper Pickers,” a group that started at Gamble Rogers and has recently expanded its scope of work. “We have a sign that says, ‘Restoring paradise one tree at a time,’ because that’s what we are doing,” Ostapko said. “It’s very rewarding when you see what you have done.” Betty Steflik Memorial Preserve is situated on 217 acres along the eastern side of the Intracoastal Waterway south of State Road 100. Those interested in volunteering are asked to contact Lagasse at 386-313-4064 or at [email protected].
Arbor Day 5K Root Run/Walk and Free Fun Run May 2 in Palm Coast’s Town Center: Register now for the Arbor Day 5K Root Run/Walk, which starts at 8 a.m. May 2, followed by the Free Fun Run at 9 a.m. The run/walks will start and finish on Lake Avenue in Central Park at Town Center, 975 Central Ave. in Palm Coast. Awards will be given out at Central Park Main Stage after the race. This race will close out the 2014-2015 season in the Palm Coast Running Series. Register for the 5K Root Run/Walk at www.palmcoastgov.com/ArborDay. (Pre-registration is not required for the children’s Fun Run.) Participants of the 5K Root Run/Walk are guaranteed a race T-shirt and goody bag if they register by April 24. Entry fees and pre-registration deadlines are as follows:
· $25 Online registration closes at 5 p.m. April 30 at www.palmcoastgov.com/ArborDay.
· $25 Mail-in registration closes April 24 (Mail-in registration is available through April 24. Mail registration form available online with check or money order made out to City of Palm Coast to: City of Palm Coast, c/o Arbor Day Race Pre-registration, Attn: Carol Mini, 160 Cypress Point Parkway Suite B106, Palm Coast, FL 32164.)
· $25 In-person registration closes May 1. Register in-person 8 a.m.-5 p.m. weekdays at the Palm Coast Community Center, 305 Palm Coast Parkway, NE. Checks, money orders, cash and credit cards accepted.
· $30 Race day entry fee – cash or checks only – at Central Park (along Lake Avenue).
· Veterans with military ID receive free entry
Packet Pick Up will be held at the Community Center from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. May 1, or at 7 a.m. on race day at Central Park (on Lake Avenue). Prizes will be awarded to the overall male and female runners, as well as the top three men and women in 15 age groups. The race will be chip-timed. Children participating in the Fun Run will receive a ribbon. A ceremony honoring the overall winners for the Palm Coast Running Series will immediately follow the 5K Root Run awards. After the races, enjoy the free Arbor Day celebration from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Central Park. Bring canned food or pet food items and exchange them for a three-gallon native hardwood tree (while supplies last). Feed a Mouth, Get a Tree, Grow a Community is the theme. The event will also feature a butterfly tent, zoo exhibits, green vendors, a fire prevention activity, entertainment and kite flying/building. The popular Native Butterfly release is set for 11 a.m. Complete details are available here. For more information, contact City of Palm Coast Urban Forester Carol Mini at 386-986-3722.
Blood donations are urgently needed. Patients in our local hospitals are in need of blood transfusions, and the need for blood does not take a holiday. That’s why OneBlood is asking people to donate immediately.
Big Red Bus schedule in Flagler-Palm Coast:
Thursday April 16th 10:30AM -2:00PM Kangaroo Express, 890 Palm Coast Parkway SW, Palm Coast
Friday April 17th 1:00PM – 6:00PM Epic Theatre, 1185 Central Ave, Palm Coast
Saturday April 18th 8:00AM – 1:00PM St Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church Heath Fair
Monday April 20th & Tuesday April 21st 9:00AM -2:00PM Daytona State College- Flagler/Palm Coast Campus, 3000 Palm Coast Parkway, Palm Coast
Saturday April 25th 1:00PM – 6:00PM Epic Theatre, 1185 Central Ave, Palm Coast
Monday April 27th 11:30AM – 4:00PM Flagler County Public Library, 2500 Palm Coast Parkway
Tuesday April 28th 11:00AM – 3:00PM Knights of Columbus Council 7845, 51 Old Kings Road North, Palm Coast
Wednesday April 29th 1:00PM – 5:30PM CVS Pharmacy, 1 Old Kings Road South, Palm Coast