October 16 2019
Lady of La Leche Shrine elevated The Shrine of Our Lady of La Leche at Mission Nombre de Dios, America’s oldest Marian Shrine, has been elevated to a National Shrine by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). According to the conference, the term shrine signifies a church or other sacred place to which the faithful make pilgrimages for a particular pious reason with the approval of the local ordinary. In 1609, the Spanish established on the grounds of Mission the Holy Virgin’s first sanctuary in the United States. They built a chapel and dedicated it to Nuestra Señora de La Leche y Buen Parto. A statue of the nursing and watchful mother of Jesus was placed in the chapel. The Holy Virgin holds the infant Jesus in her right arm and offers him her breast. On Oct. 11, 2020, as part of the 150th anniversary of the establishment of the Diocese of St. Augustine, a canonical coronation of the statue will occur, only the fourth Mary crowned in the United States.
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History’s Highlight National sentiment favored Seminoles Second of two accounts  from Red Patriots: The Story of the Seminoles, written in 1898 by Capt. Charles HE Coe. Find complete text of Red Patriots here. We have said that the leading sentiment of a majority of the American people favored a discontinuance of the Seminole War and a settlement on the basis of justice to the red men. But it must be remembered that Florida in general, and to some extent adjoining States, formed an exception to this rule. General Thomas Jesup was therefore severely censured for his efforts to terminate the war by allowing the Seminoles to remain in the Territory. In a long editorial relating to the correspondence between the General and the Secretary of War (John C. Calhoun), the leading newspaper in the Territory thus expresses the sentiments of its readers: “From the confidence with which General Jesup expresses his views of the policy to be pursued toward the Indians, we should suppose he had entirely mistaken the nature of his mission to Florida. We presume the General Government will feel under no obligations to him for spending their money in constant negotiations with the enemy whom he is sent to subdue, whilst an army of 10,000 men is kept in pay merely to witness his rare talents for diplomacy. “And we are sure the people of Florida will not thank him for his assiduous efforts to barter away their lands to their savage enemies .... In whatever light the proposition is received, it is abhorrent to every man endowed with the common feelings of humanity." General Jesup’s suggestions were opposed by many on the ground that the national “honor and dignity" were involved. On this point another journal says: “The people of Florida will not submit to it ... The national honor and dignity are too deeply concerned for it to listen for one moment to the proposed arrangement." It did not seem to occur to these writers that, in truth and justice, the lands occupied by the Seminoles belonged to them; or that thousands of American citizens in other sections of the country could also claim “the common feelings of humanity." Clearly, in the opinion of such editors and of many of their readers, the red man had “no rights which the white man was bound to respect." Before the war was over, however, the majority of the genuine settlers in the Territory were ready for peace on any terms. The expression of General Jesup's views in his recommendations to the Secretary of War, do greater credit to his head than his heart. He argues on the ground of governmental policy and economy but has nothing to say of the rights of the Indians as human beings. In all his dealings with these unfortunate people, he seems to have regarded them as savages, not as fellowmen to whom the Golden Rule applies. Images: Calhoun (left) and Jesup
Sailing club gift draws overflow crowd to Commission meeting    Vesting, candidate residency are approved An offer of waterfront land for a youth sailing program, vesting rights for the former Santa Maria Restaurant and candidate residency and mayoral election form dominated Monday’s City Commission meeting, but it was the youth sailing proposal that filled the Alcazar Room to overflowing. With Vice Mayor Leanna Freeman absent, commissioners approved a gift of land adjacent to the Yacht Club in Lighthouse Park to be leased to the Yacht Club for its youth sailing program, approved vesting rights to White’s Wharf LLC for development of a new restaurant on the Santa Maria site in Matanzas Bay, and directed preparation of an ordinance requiring a year’s residency to run for city office. Commissioners decided to delay action for further discussion and public input on whether to have public vote or commission appointment of the mayor. Youth sailing school One and a half hours and numerous public comments pro and con ended with a 4-0 vote to approve a gift to the city by Dr. Stanley Paris and his wife of their property adjacent to the Yacht Club, on condition it be leased to the Yacht Club for its youth sailing program. Commissioners John Valdes and Nancy Sikes-Kline voiced support, Sikes-Kline noting the program “is for our residents” and Valdes adding, “There’s a beneficial deed restriction (without which we) could have 35- foot-tall vacation rental buildings.” Mayor Tracy Upchurch noted the plan would go through the Planning and Zoning Board and return to commission for final action.
Vesting Determination for Santa Maria project Another hour was consumed as Attorney Mac McLeod argued for vesting determination on the former Santa Maria Restaurant for the owner, White’s Wharf LLC. McLeod assured commissioners, “We’re not trying to get final approval but determination of vested rights. We still have to go through the Planning and Zoning Board (with details of the plan to replace the former restaurant).” Commissioners hesitated on building height before being assured the building would remain at 1½ stories, and seating, which McLeod explained would be expanded with additional outdoor seating. Candidate residency and mayoral vote With 35 minutes remaining before the recently agreed adjournment at 9 pm, commissioners tackled candidacy and mayor vote issues - in 28 minutes. They agreed to set a requirement of one-year residency to qualify for city office candidacy, which City Attorney Isabelle Lopez said, “is maximum courts have allowed for residency to run for office.” The question of whether to have public vote or commission appointment of the mayor brought strong comments from Commissioner John Valdes, who initially proposed commission appointment, and Mayor Tracy Upchurch, who has served through several years of process change. Said Valdes, “We have a form of government that elects five people as commissioners. And somehow we’ve skewed one of those seats around so that it appears we also have a strong mayor. “We either have strong mayor form of government or we have the form of government we have (manager). Right now we have both. We’re schizophrenic.” Responded Upchurch, “The confusion has to do with the term mayor. “I have students when you appointed me (to succeed former Mayor Nancy Shaver) who assumed I was leaving the college. Does it take any time at all to explain to them? No; I chair meetings and cut ribbons, and that’s the extent of the conversation. “There are some nuances here though. The people have spoken. They have spoken loudly and clearly. When mayor (Ramelle) Petroglou was removed (in 1983), it offended the sensibilities pf the community and the charter revision was passed. So the people have spoken on this. “This, in my opinion, is not a road we need to go down. “It is a non-issue. I am not in favor of putting this on the ballot.” Commissioners decided to delay action on the mayor vote and put the candidate residency requirement referendum on the primary election ballot in August.
Flood project to protect city core Basically the city’s designing a protective barrier around part of the city’s core Public Works Director Mike Cullum A major project to protect the city’s downtown has advanced through its first public meeting last week. the Lake Maria Sanchez Flood Mitigation and Drainage Project would protect against heavy rains of more than 7 inches in 24 hours, with a bulkhead to protect against storm surge of up to 7 feet, which was about the storm surge from Hurricane Matthew. The project became possible with Federal Emergency Management Agency dollars made available after Hurricane Matthew for projects that would help prevent future flood damage. “Basically the city’s designing a protective barrier around part of the city’s core,” says Public Works Director Mike Cullum. “The reason we chose 7 feet is the current elevation of the seawall on the bayfront is 7 feet, and the elevation on the west side of the project along Martin Luther King Avenue is also 7 feet.” Assuming the plans are approved by FEMA, Cullum estimated the project could be done in 2½   years. One proposed feature is a seawall to line the marsh just south of Lake Maria Sanchez. The wall would be about 7 feet above sea level and would be designed so people couldn’t walk on it. Visit the website.
Theater season opener fit for Halloween A Classic Theatre’s first show of the 2019-2020 season is Noel Coward’s paranormal romantic comedy classic “Blithe Spirit,” the tale of a temperamental writer haunted literally by the spirit of his first wife, Blithe Spirit will run at the Lincolnville Museum and Cultural Center Fridays and Saturdays, October 25-26 and November 1-2 at 7:30 pm. Sunday Matinees on October 27 and November 3 at 2:30 pm. For tickets visit https://www.aclassictheatre.org/tickets . For telephone reservations call Jan at 904-501-5093. Pocket park dedicated to Menorcans A representative of the mayor of Mahon, the capital city of the island of Menorca, was on hand recently to help dedicate a pocket park to Menorcans at Spanish and Hypolita streets. Jaume Gomila brought with him a Menorcan flag to be flown at the park. Menorcan and American flags raised at the ceremony symbolized efforts to renew and strengthen ties between the two sister cities, officials said.