Mission, neighbors battle over development plans A citizen group using social media is circulating a petition “to stop the Mission development of St. Augustine's Historic Mission Grounds. “The SaveStA2020 Team are concerned individuals in the community,” according to the website Nextdoor. “The Church plans to build a 3- story parking garage and an amphitheater on these consecrated grounds. This Pilgrimage site will bring huge Charter buses further congesting our narrow historic streets. “The SaveStA2020 Team have created a petition to Bishop Felipe Estevez, pleading with him to reconsider the application and to work with the Citizens and Neighbors toward a solution that could work for everyone. “We hope that bringing all the issues to his attention directly, along with thoughtful consideration of the neighbors, residents and parishioners impacted, may have some sway with his plans, process and ultimately a termination of development plans or a significantly reduced development plan for the Mission. The St. Augustine Diocese is awaiting a change in land use language to open the way for an 800-seat amphitheater and parking garage which would provide necessary parking for the amphitheater. The city’s Planning and Zoning Board, which previously deferred action on a language change, will continue discussion of the matter at a Comprehensive Plan Citizen Board Workshop Thursday, April 25 from 1-4 pm in the Alcazar Room at City Hall. Find the Mission Petition here. 
April 17 2019
Easter 2019 St. Augustine's Easter Parade, in its 60th year, is moving from Easter Sunday afternoon to Saturday morning, allowing more to participate, Easter Festival officials say. The parade, known as the Parada de los Caballos y Coches (Parade of Horses and Carriages) begins at 9 am Saturday, April 20, stepping off from the Old Jail Museum along San Marco Avenue and the bayfront to the Plaza de la Constitución. The Annual Easter Sunday Promenade begins at 12:30 pm at the gazebo of the Plaza de la Constitución and includes awards in various traditional Easter dress categories.
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History’s Highlight The Legend of Marie Sanchez Creek A reader asked about a story that Maria “was of the manor born and fell in love with a Spanish soldier - far below her station. Her upset parents had the influence to have her beau transferred to Havana. Maria was so upset she is said to have hurled herself into the lake that now bears her name and drowned.” Historical Society Research Librarian Charles Tingley says Maria Sanchez Lake was a tidal creek prior to the lake being created by the St. Augustine Improvement Co. by building the dam at South Street (1894-97). The "Marie Sanchez" (that's the exact spelling) first appears associated with the creek on the 1737 map of St. Augustine by Arredondo. The origin of the name is unknown.” From an article in the St. Augustine Record August 23, 1959 by W. W. "Buddy" Wilson, editor. There is a legendary tale concerning the name of St. Augustine's Little Sanchez Creek, more often now referred to as Maria Sanchez Lake. The origin of the name Maria Sanchez Creek is often thought about, but perhaps the story of the real naming has never been told. It is legendary one which seems to persist in the minds old timers who have heard folktales from their forefathers. Constance Fennimore Woolsen writing for Harper’s New Monthly Magazine in 1874, after interviews with long-time native residents, gives credence to the story that there is a legendary Maria and her fate may have been tragic enough to form the basis for the legend and brought about the naming of the creek. The story handed down for generations goes that Maria Sanchez was a beautiful young maiden back in the early history of this little Spanish town and her favor was sought by many of the young Dons of the era. The story continues, however, that Maria's main love was the creek and that she, in an Indian dugout canoe, spent many days and moonlit nights paddling over its silvery waters which flowed through the dismal swamp marshes. As the creek entered the town, however, it meandered through lush orange groves which covered parts of the city in that day. The creek ran clear up to the Lightner Museum Building area then). The scent of the orange blossoms added to the loveliness of the scene which the young Maria enjoyed so well. The true story of how the creek claimed the life of the pretty young girl has many suppositions, but an overturned canoe gave mute evidence that Maria was lost in the creek she loved so much. Could be that the canoe was tilted by a lover to cause a tragic accident, or was Maria swept overboard by a low hanging branch as some believe, or was she the victim of a disgruntled admirer? The poem of The Legend of Maria Sanchez will offer some new guesses and may offer much for criticism, but it is repeated here as it was reportedly translated from the original Spanish in which it was written.
Earth Day inspires city recycling event April 26 In observance of Earth Day and in conjunction with its focus on diverting recyclable items away from the landfill, the City of St. Augustine Public Works Department is coordinating a one-day community recycle event. This year's event will be held at the Solid Waste facility at the south end of Riberia Street on Friday, April 26 from 9 am to 1 pm. While Earth Day is actually April 22, the recycling event is being held on Friday, April 26 in hopes of being more convenient for the community. in response to increasing community requests this year's event will feature paper shredding.  Download information here.
Quotable “We really have some unfinished business on race relations in the city,” St. Augustine Commissioner Nancy Sikes-Kline saying she now supports moving the city’s memorial to Confederate soldiers. Sikes-Kline has been attending community conversations about racial issues at Grace United Methodist Church, which she said have been revealing and have changed her position on the memorial. The use of the title “Mayor” to designate the Chair of the City Commission has caused confusion in the past especially since the Consolidated City of Jacksonville Charter applies the title to the elected City Manager. The Mayor/City Manager enjoys authority to manage Jacksonville’s city government while the St. Augustine Mayor/Chair wields the gavel at Commission meetings. The Jacksonville City Council members elect one of their own to serve as Chair of the Council. Our citizens often see the Jacksonville Mayor exercising far more authority than is available to the St. Augustine Mayor and assume such authority resides in the local office. Former City Attorney Ron Brown
Dread Scott to examine American society On Thursday April 18 artist Dread Scott will give an Artist’s Talk on his work, which takes multiple forms and addresses issues such as race, incarceration, war, government repression and revolution. His presentation begins at 6 pm in the Virginia Room of the Ringhaver Student Center. Using his work as a subject, Scott’s lecture will address the nature of American society and examine how the past not only conditions the present but resides in the present in new form. Scott works in a variety of art forms, including performance, installation, video, photography, printmaking and painting. No matter the medium he works in, his art always features a profound social commentary. In his 2010 performance, Money to Burn, Scott burned $171 on Wall Street and encouraged others to do the same, highlighting the absurdity of American dependency on money. Scott (born Scott Tyler) adopted the name in a U.S. Supreme Court decision in 1857 denying Dred Scott his freedom by ruling that negro-slave descendants were not U.S. citizens.
Sheriff offers video links The St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office is reaching out to neighborhood watch groups with new technology that allows users to share videos and photos captured from video doorbells. The program is built on a new Neighbors by Ring app which shares not only between neighbors but also with law enforcement and allows users to receive safety alerts as well. “It is the hope of the [Sheriff’s Office] that the community will become Watch Partners with law enforcement to help prevent crime and solve cases,” Sheriff’s Office officials say. “Users do not have to have the Ring doorbell or cameras to use the app; they can upload any video or photo they have on their mobile device.” To explain more about the app and what communities can expect, the Sheriff’s Office is hosting a series of informational meetings in the county - the next two April 23 at Turning Point Church 7-8:30 pm and May 1 at Riverview Club at The Shores 7-8:30 pm.