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History’s Highlight Osceola – January 31, 1838 January 31, 1838, sensing the inevitable, Osceola directed his followers to dress him in his best finery, and he lay back on the blanket strewn floor of his cell at Fort Moultrie, South Carolina, and quietly expired. His remains are buried just outside the fort gate. Many Floridians to this day believe Osceola should be reinterred in this state where, as a patriot warrior defending his homeland, he joined the legendary ranks of Sitting Bull, Crazy Horse and Geronimo. Osceola first appeared in 1832, sitting at Chief Micanopy's side at Payne's Landing as the United States continued negotiations, trying to move Florida's Indians west of the Mississippi. Osceola was about 35 years old and was immediately recognized by U.S. officers as a force to reckon with. The Indian agent, Wiley Thompson, called him "bold and dashing." Negotiations, skirmishes and frustration would continue on both sides, breaking into all-out war in 1835 - the Seminole Indian War, which would stretch to 1842 and become the most costly Indian conflict in United States history. Osceola's mind was clear. He would not be moved from his homeland. He made his point December 28, 1835, in a well-planned and spectacular pair of incidents which formally started the war. At points 40 miles apart, Seminole forces assassinated the Indian Agent Thompson outside Fort King at Ocala and massacred a relief force of 105 under U.S. Major Francis L. Dade, on its way to Fort King. Osceola continued skirmishes on a frustrated US military, fighting its first guerrilla-style war in the dense subtropics. October 21, 1837, a weary Osceola and Coa Hadjo, another principal leader of the Seminoles, camped at Fort Peyton southwest of St. Augustine under a flag of truce to meet with the U.S. commander, Maj. Gen. Thomas S. Jesup. They were unaware that General Jesup was no longer recognizing flags of truce. He was imprisoned in St. Augustine's Castillo (then called Fort Marion) until late November, then transferred to Fort Moultrie, away from potential influencing of his Seminole followers. There he was buried with full military honors in a grave outside the military base. On his marker, military authorities inscribed, "OCEOLA Patriot and Warrior." Image: Portrait of Osceola, painted by American Artist George Catlin at Fort Moultrie, January 1838.  Excerpt from Osceola, in St. Augustine Bedtime Stories. Click for further information on this fascinating historic series.
Lightner to explore American Impressionism This spring, the Lightner Museum celebrates the evocative, timeless beauty of late 19th and early 20th century American art with two exhibitions of American Impressionist paintings. American Impressionism: Treasures from the Daywood Collection, features paintings from the acclaimed collection of the Huntington Museum of Art in West Virginia. A companion exhibition, St. Augustine in a New Light: American Impressionism from the Collection of the Lightner Museum is curated from the Lightner’s own collection. The exhibitions will run from April 8, 2021-July 5, 2021.
Resolution to authorize hybrid meeting format “To ensure that the business of municipal governance can occur without unnecessarily exposing either City personnel or members of the public to a risk of infection,” the City Commission Monday will consider a resolution for the commission and city boards to use hybrid meetings during the COVID pandemic. “When asked whether a public body complies with the Sunshine Law when one or more members of the body wish to participate in a meeting electronically from a remote location,” City Attorney Isabelle Lopez explains, “the Florida Attorney General has opined that a quorum of the body must be physically present in order to allow a member, who due to ‘extraordinary circumstances’ is unable to physically attend the meeting, to appear and participate electronically.” The hybrid meeting format will allow a minimum quorum and number of staff in the Alcazar Room at City Hall while others participate by media communication technology.
Commission to consider Bartram trail affiliation Commissioners Monday will consider approving the City's affiliate membership with the Bartram Trail Conference. The Bartram Trail Conference (BTC) is a not-for-profit corporation established in 1976 to locate and mark the route of naturalist William Bartram through eight states including Florida. The Conference encourages the study, preservation, and interpretation of the William Bartram heritage and hosts biennial meetings of members at appropriate locations along the Bartram Trail Corridor. “Support of the BTC would be in line with the City of St. Augustine's vision statement for support of historical authenticity and economic activity,” City Attorney Isabelle Lopez says. The approval resolution includes affiliate membership, appointing a commissioner to represent the City at events, and authorization for the Bartram Trail Conference organization to use the city seal. Find a presentation here on the Bartram Trail Conference and recognition of Bartram Trail National Heritage Corridor.
Commission gets 1st look at inland Harbor plan The City Commission Monday gets its first look at proposed changes to the Sebastian Inland Harbor Planned Unit Development. The regular commission meeting begins at 5 pm in the Alcazar Room at City Hall and is live streamed on CoSA.TV. “This property has been zoned Planned Unit Development (PUD) since 2004 and has gone through several modifications since then, all of which reflect the use of the property as a mixed- use development with a hotel and marina, multi-family residential and restaurant/retail components,” Planning and Building Director David Birchim says. The proposed PUD amendment would increase multi-family units from 80 to 165, decrease hotel capacity from 225 to 167 rooms, and reduce mixed commercial space from 37,000 to 27,000 square feet. Added to the PUD is the neighboring Winery and its planned Marketplace along King Street. The Planning and Zoning Board took up the proposed modifications in February 2020, then revisited the matter almost a year later January 5, a delay caused by legal issues.  Lincolnville residents in particular have been highly critical of the plan, citing the development’s impact on their neighborhood. But they won’t have a chance to plead to commissioners for a month if the commission approves advancing it to public hearing.  “You can’t do back-to-back commission meetings for ordinances because of the advertising requirements,” Birchim explains. “You have to skip a meeting between 1st and 2nd reading.”
Commission to make appointments - including some for themselves   Commissioners will be asked Monday to fill two vacancies on the Lincolnville Community Redevelopment Area Steering Committee and will be notified on two upcoming term expirations on the Historic Architectural Review Board. Commissioners will also appoint themselves to a number of intergovernmental boards. Three applications were received for the Lincolnville board to succeed Sue Agresta who is moving from the area and Nicholas Noloboff whose term expired. Julie Risenhoover, committee chair in the Lincolnville Neighborhood Association Madeline Wise, co-chair of the Lincolnville Historical Preservation and Restoration Society Dee Thomas, Torchbearer member of the Lincolnville Museum and Cultural Center and member of the Friends of the Lincolnville Community Garden. Historic Architectural Review Board current Chair Catherine Duncan and Jon Benoit have term expirations March 28. Both are eligible for reappointment.
First Coast Opera plans Dinner & Show First Coast Opera presents Mozart v. Salieri on February 12 and 13 in the St. Jude Preservation Hall at St. Anastasia Catholic Church. The production reprises February 7, 1786, when Austria’s Emperor Joseph II threw a party in the Orangery of the Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna. His guests were treated to dinner and new short comedies by the two leading opera composers of the day, W. A. Mozart and Antonio Salieri. Regular tickets are $75 per person, Tables will be sold as one group - six seats at each table. Details at www.firstcoastopera.com, (904) 417-5555, or Facebook.
January 23 2021