Charter review to be considered City Clerk Darlene Galambos will report to the City Commission research she did on charter review at its next meeting – consideration of a charter review here prompted by ordinances at Monday’s commission meeting amending a section of the city charter regarding gift prohibitions and meeting scheduling. City Attorney Isabelle Lopez noted that the charter was written in the 1920s, before the creation of a state ethics panel which oversees local codes.
Franciscan Legacy in Spanish Florida Exploring the Franciscan Legacy in Spanish Florida: Historical and Archaeological Evidence will be discussed Friday, October 26 by University of West Florida Professor of Archaeology John E. Worth in Flagler College’s Solarium. The 7 pm lecture is sponsored by the Academy of American Franciscan History. A Colloquium on Culture and Religion in La Florida will be offered Saturday and Sunday October 27 and 28 in the Gamache-Koger Theatre, Ringhaver Student Center. Visit
October 24 2018
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3-2 vote commission vote advances plaza ordinance The city commission public comment period Monday reflected the challenge as nearly a dozen speakers had a verbal battle between protesters and counter-protesters. Comments on an ordinance to regulate demonstrations in the Plaza de la Constitución were made during the public comment period because meeting procedure prohibited public comment during commission discussion on the ordinance. Commissioners voted 3-2 after their own extended discussion. Vice Mayor Todd Neville and Commissioner Nancy Sikes-Kline opposed the measure. Sikes-Kline said she was, “Conflicted between limiting free speech and public safety.” The ordinance provides for separation between protesters and counter-protesters in and around the Plaza. It will come back for public comment and final action November 13 – five days before the annual Light Up! Night for Nights of Lights, which was disrupted by protesters last year. City Attorney Isabelle Lopez said the ordinance is largely based on a Dearborn Michigan court case which created a hecklers veto. “Bible believers (protesting an Arab-American festival) were told to leave or face arrest,” said Lopez. “The court ruled that if government does nothing and allows a radical group you have failed to protect first amendment rights, that government is constitutionally required to protect hecklers.”
Pedro’s Birthday focus for a signature event St. Johns Cultural Council Director Andy Witt described to city commissioners Monday two events combining for “the beginning of a signature event that will work.” Witt said next February the Historic Florida Militia will present festivities for the 500th birthday of St. Augustine founder Pedro Menendez, combined with a shift of the annual Spanish Wine Festival from later in the year to the February Menendez events. The only problem, Witt added, is the February 16-17 weekend next year is also Daytona 500 weekend, so hotels will already be filled, “but we’ll work on that for the future,” he said.
Jail Break 5K Runners, walkers and strollers will enjoy the annual Jail Break 5K Saturday, October 27, from the Old Jail to the Vilano Beach Pavilion. The event begins at the Old Jail at 8 am. Costumes encouraged, full trolley system from Old Town Trolley for spectators and participants, huge costume party with prizes, live music and VeloFest bike rodeo at the Vilano Beach Pavilion after the race. All registrants receive a Velo Fest T Shirt, post-race beverage and snacks, and finisher medal. Registration and information here.
Smoke testing in city’s sewer system      Where there’s smoke there’s sanitary sewer line – and hopefully only in those lines – as the city's Public Works Department smoke tests its sanitary sewer collection system throughout the month of October. The tests identify sources of storm water runoff or ground water intrusion entering the system both in right of ways and from residences and businesses.      Door hanger notifications have been distributed describing the testing and how to minimize smoke from entering buildings.      Visit the city's website here for further information.      Wastewater, recycling tours in Government Week       As part of City Government Week October 22-26, the city is offering an inside look at the Wastewater Treatment Plant and Recycling Center.      See the processes after you flush the toilet, and how your recycling efforts count during these informative tours.      Register for a tour of the Wastewater Treatment Plant Wednesday, October 24, at 9 am or 2 pm, or a combined tour of the Wastewater Treatment Plant and the Recycle Center scheduled Thursday, October 25, at 2 pm.  Click to register for the Wastewater Treatment Plant tour and/or Wastewater Treatment Plant and Recycle Center tour.
History’s highlight Reale American history American history may be all English in the text books, but its first currency was the Spanish 8 reale, adopted on recommendation by Thomas Jefferson, the principle author of the Declaration of Independence and our third President. Familiarly called "Pieces of Eight," the phrase “two bits, four bits, 8 bits a buck” is a derived from this coin. The one-half, one, two, and four reales, fractional parts of the dollar, were the principle coins of the American colonists. It was common practice for our original 13 colonies when issuing paper money to back it with the Spanish Dollars. The first issue of Continental paper money May 10th, 1775, referenced that notes should be payable in “Spanish Milled Dollars or a value thereof in gold or silver.” Congress didn’t authorize the establishment of a “Mint” to strike our own coins until 1792. Even so, the 8 reale was official legal tender in the United States until the passage of the Coin Act of 1857. The act introduced the new “small cent” into circulation and retired the Spanish silver coins from circulation. It took almost 60 years of production by the Mint in Philadelphia to create enough of our own coinage for us to stand alone. Considered America’s first silver dollar, the reale was the largest and heaviest silver coin minted for over 200 years, actually bigger and heavier than the Morgan Silver Dollar. It was accepted as medium of trade internationally. Many surviving coins feature "Chopmarks," used by international traders to authenticate the silver content of the coins. Shown is a 1783 coin with Spanish King Carlos III on the obverse and the Spanish coat of arms and Pillars of Hercules on the reverse. Those scrolled pillars were the origin of the American dollar sign. Another Spanish contribution to American history forgotten by modern history writers.
Aviles plans activities for Menendez birthday Mayor Nancy Shaver announced to commissioners that in a letter from Aviles Mayor Marivi Monteserin wrote, “The City of Avilés will be paying tribute to the Adelantado and is working on an extensive program of activities to pay tribute not only to Pedro Menéndez, but also our long-standing relationship with St. Augustine.” Preliminary scheduled events: Student Exchange: Music Students from the High Schools of St. Augustine and Music Conservatory of Aviles Creation of a new Exhibition focusing on the History, the Voyage and the Life of Menendez to be unveiled and shown in Aviles and then made available to St. Augustine. Naval Ships will be temporarily relocated to Aviles for residents and visitors to explore and learn about the history of the Spanish Navy and the contributions made by Pedro Menendez. An Art Exhibit coordinated by the School of Arts and Crafts, Aviles and the Cultural Factory in Aviles reflecting Menendez — his history, voyages and life. The Casino de Aviles, a cultural and social organization, is creating a unique art exhibit focusing on the participants of Pedro's Voyage and the Founding of St. Augustine. The Royal Mint of Spain will be creating a new Stamp for Menendez's 500th Birthday. A Convention of Mayors from the cities in Spain with direct ties to Menendez: Aviles, Santander, Sevilla, and Zamora, and the Mayor of St. Augustine. Shaver said she’ll attend, paying her own expenses.
Quotable It is the single biggest issue I hear from people. (This information) will help us enforce our ordinances. Mayor Nancy Shaver, reporting to City Commission Monday on findings by Tax Collector Dennis Hollingsworth, who has identified 54 short term rental organizations so far in the county and 1,008 Airbnbs.