July 17 2019
Mandela’s daughter in Ready4Work ceremony Nelson Mandela’s oldest daughter and granddaughter will take part in ceremonies at the future site of Operation New Hope’s Ready4Work office, 83 Washington Street, at 4:30 pm Friday July 19. Dr. Makaziwe Mandela and her daughter Tukwini will visit the city as part of Nelson Mandela International Day Jax, three days of events around Mandela’s birthday July 18. The 4:30 pm public ceremony and later invitation-only reception at the Lightner Museum honor Nelson Mandela International Day and celebrate the ceremonial launch of Operation New Hope’s Ready4Work anti-recidivism and job preparedness program in St. Johns County. The development center is a temporary site for St. Augustine’s Ready4Work program until start- up funds are raised.
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History’s Highlight Swimming fire horses From Tales of Old St. Augustine, a compilation of everyday stories gathered by the St. Augustine Historical Society to provide a sense of what life was like in St. Augustine long ago and tell something about the men and women who lived here. One winter day some 100 years ago, strollers on the seawall were startled to see two old fire horses dashing down Hypolita Street with the fire wagon careening behind them and the driver tugging frantically on the reins. They charged across Bay Street, headed straight for the seawall, and when the front wheels of the wagon hit the wall, the harness broke and both horses went over the barrier and into the bay, dragging their driver with them. It all came about this way according to a witness: Although the fire department had, by then, motorized its equipment, the old horse-drawn wagon was kept on standby and driven to all fires in case it was needed. A city employee whose name has been lost in the mists of time was given the job of driving the two old steeds to the scene of each blaze, but he was warned in the strongest terms not to ring the bell, because that was the signal to the two veterans of many a conflagration to take off at their fastest gallop. Alas, the first time he was called upon to perform his new duty he forgot, and the two horses, nostrils flaring and hoofs striking sparks from the pavement, were off full tilt. There was no stopping them until they took their unscheduled plunge into the bay. The witness reports that they thoroughly enjoyed their swim, although Captain Ranti and Fireman Manucy were not so happy about the four hours they had to spend trying to persuade them to climb the stone steps in the seawall and get home to the firehouse. The luckless driver was chastened by the experience and evidently promised to remember to keep the bell silent on his next outing, because he was kept on the job. His next trip proved equally disastrous, alas, though it was not nearly so much fun for the horses. As he drove out of the firehouse, he kept his hands resolutely off the bell, and also the brake. The horses, this time, only made it as far as the Elks Club on Bay Street. They stopped there utterly exhausted from pulling the heavy wagon with the brake set. They were worn out, and so were the rubber tires on the firewagon, which were scrubbed right down to the rim on both back wheels. The wagon was out of commission for the next six weeks, but there is no record of the future career of its driver.
Sea level rise in planning workshop The Planning and Zoning Board will weigh in on the challenge of sea level rise as part of a workshop Tuesday July 23 1-4 pm in the Alcazar Room at City Hall. “Perils of Flood” Planning (Sea Level Rise) and the Conservation and Coastal Management Element of the Comprehensive Plan will be discussed with a presentation by Public Works Director Mike Cullum. Also on that agenda, discussion on the Draft Transportation and Mobility Element of the Comprehensive Plan including Goals, Objectives and Policies.
City ‘checking’ drainage    Master Stormwater Outfall Retrofit Plan to check tidal flooding A five and a half foot diameter, 1,500 pound tide check valve rests on a flatbed on north City’s Rainey Avenue before installation last week in the Rainey outfall of the Tolomato River, between the Florida School for the Deaf and Blind and Fullerwood neighborhood. “The City installed a 30-inch valve earlier this year,” says Project Engineer Jessica Beach of the city’s Public Works Department. “Both stormwater outfalls have a tide check valve to prevent tidal water from backing up onto streets with saltwater.  “The two storm drains serve approximately 95 acres of drainage area that are connected to these outfalls,” she says. “The 66-inch outfall is the largest one within City limits.”  It’s part of a tide check valve program “to eliminate the nuisance tidal flooding that happens frequently during the King Tides and/or Nor’easter conditions.  This is salt water that can cause the street flooding which also accelerates road deterioration.”  Beach says the first phase of this program was in Davis Shores, the second the Macaris Outfall. “We have retrofitted 31 outfalls so far and we are working on a Master Stormwater Outfall Retrofit Plan to prioritize the remaining 72 outfalls so we can continue to install the valves and address the nuisance tidal flooding.  “The City went through a Coastal Vulnerability Assessment and it is projected that the nuisance tidal flooding will only worsen over time, unless the City takes action to help address it,” says Beach. “We are addressing this through retrofitting the City’s stormwater outfalls with these tide check valves.”  Find out more about the city’s resiliency and sustainability program here, a video about the tide check valve program here and a “Report Flooding” tool here.
Bike share program seeks final HARB OK The city goes to its Historic Architectural Review Board (HARB) Thursday, July 18, for approval to install bicycle racks and wayfinding signs at more than a dozen locations for its bike share program. The meeting begins at 1 pm in the Alcazar Room at City Hall. HARB last month approved hub signage for the locations, which will have 100 bicycles with 150 racks. If approved Burma Jade signage and racks will be installed at the City Marina, Lincolnville Museum, City Hall, Plaza, Hypolita Street, Visitor's Center, West King Business District, Anastasia Blvd, Lighthouse, Sevilla/Valencia Street area for Flagler College, Malaga Street, and The Amp. Another nine locations are on the drawing board, Mobility Manager Reuben Franklin says. Flagler Health + is sponsoring the bike share program which allows users to pick up a bicycle at any self-serve bike-station or hub and return it to any other bike station within the system's service area. Franklin hopes to launch the program in late August or early September. The bicycles are called “E-assist bicycles,” says Franklin. “You still have to pedal the bike but there is a motor that gives you a boost as you ride.” Gotcha Group Vice President Griffin Blackwelder says the system will allow users to register at a location or through a website or smartphone app to unlock a bike. Typical fees are $70 a year for annual membership or $8 an hour.
Living History Saunter on St. George Street Saturday Join living history interpreters from the Historic Florida Militia as they present a timeline of St. Augustine's colonial history from 5:30-8:30 pm Saturday. They’ll be strolling and interacting with onlookers St. George Street from the City Gate to Aviles Street. The interpreters answer questions related to St. Augustine's history and pose for pictures. Participants present themselves to the general public in the garb and gear of the city's military and civilian colonial environs from 1513 to 1784. They answer questions related to St. Augustine's rich history, pose for pictures with tourists and visitors, and provide information about the Historic Florida Militia, which presents the program in cooperation with the City of St. Augustine.