August 15 2018
Published by former Mayor George Gardner The Report is an independent publication serving our community Contributions are appreciated
Chief Ranger Anthony Vela has been selected as Chief Ranger for the Castillo de San Marcos and Fort Matanzas National Monuments. Ranger Vela, a seven year veteran at the Castillo and Fort Matanzas, has served as a front-line Law Enforcement Park Ranger. He succeeds Kimberly Mayo, who retired from the National Park Service in December 2017. As Chief Ranger, Vela will lead the law enforcement, emergency medical services, fire, and Special Park Use programs at both Castillo de San Marcos and Fort Matanzas National Monuments.
History’s highlight The melancholy wail of music July 25, 1842 Colonel William J. Worth ordered, “The remains of officers who have been killed in battle or who have died on service, including those of the non-commissioned officers and soldiers (being the command save two) who fell with Major Dade ... have been gathered and transferred to St. Augustine, where suitable vaults are constructed for the final reception.” From Niles' National Register of September 3, 1842: The St. Augustine News of the 20th Aug. says: The burial of Major F. L. Dade's martyr'd dead, and those officers and soldiers who have died in Florida, took place on Monday last. At half past 10, a gun was fired from the battery in front of the green, by a detail of 3d artillery under lieutenant Churchill; when the mayor and council, the masonic fraternity, and St. Augustine City Guards, Capt. P. R. Lopez, proceeded to the St. Sebastian bridge, to await the arrival of the remains.  In a short time, the melancholy wail of music was heard in the distance - the bright glitter of arms was seen glancing among the deep green of the woods, and the wagons covered with the stars and stripes, containing all that was of the honored dead, moved slowly onward. It was indeed a brilliant, a melancholy spectacle. On arriving at the public square, the cortege wheeled to the right, and proceeded up George street, continued down St. Francis street, when moving up Marine street they were brought to the spot appropriated for interment, the garden of St. Francis' Barracks. The remains were removed from the funeral train amid the firing of minute guns, and the religious services were performed by the Rev. Mr. Waters, the Rev. Henry Aztell, and Mr. John Beard, Esq. A monody on the dead was pronounced by Dr. W. Whitehurst, Esq. of the masonic fraternity. Half hour guns were fired until sunset, closing the solemnities of the day. The tombs, three in number, erected by the troops of the post, in which the remains are deposited, are vaults each about ten feet square, surmounted by a pyramid of five feet height, rising from a grassy mound, enclosing the body of the tomb. It is designed to cover these pyramids entirely with marble, on which will be placed the names of all other officers who have died or been killed in Florida, in addition to those deposited beneath.
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Fire fee to increase Commissioners Monday adopted increased fire assessment rates for residential and nonresidential properties for the coming year. For the upcoming fiscal year 2019, the proposed increase would set the residential rate at $0.0589 per square foot and commercial at $0.1075 per square foot. Unlike property taxes, this fee applies to tax exempt and well as taxable properties. The city has some 36% of its property off the tax rolls. The City Commission’s goal has been to assess this fee so that it ultimately covers 50% of the Fire Departments operations. The current rate covers 36% of operations and the proposed fee will cover 42% of operations. Parking code change approved A parking code loophole was closed Monday with City Commission adoption of an ordinance covering parking violations outside of regular meter enforcement 8 am to 5 pm. Finance Director Mark Litzinger, whose department handles parking enforcement, said, “The ordinance does not change any current operations or policies regarding parking enforcement. This is a ‘housekeeping’ ordinance to clean up current language to accurately reflect current policies and operations. “While paid parking violations are enforced six days a week 8 am – 5 pm and 10 am - 5 pm around the Plaza, the Parking Division operates seven days a week 8 am - 7 pm weekdays and 8 am - 9 pm on weekends, writing tickets for illegal parking like yellow curbs, handicap, or facing wrong way on street,” he said. Removal ordinance advances A promised ordinance giving the City Commission power to remove city board members with or without cause was approved by the City Commission Monday for advancement to Second Reading with public hearing. The ordinance’ “Provides that all board members serve at the pleasure of the City Commission and may be removed by a majority vote of the Commission without cause,” Assistant City Attorney John Carey says.
‘From simple vested rights request to this. This is volumes different’    We would like to table the development agreement application and the vested rights determination application to a date uncertain. Ellen Avery-Smith, Attorney for the White Family Almost three hours of public comment and commission discussion Monday failed to unsnarl the requests of the White Family, which has been negotiating with the city for three years on redevelopment of the former Santa Maria Restaurant in the city’s bay.  White Family Attorney Ellen Avery-Smith closed the door after conferring briefly with her clients. The commission had worked out agreeable elements of vested rights (grandfathering uses before city zoning was adopted) with the plan to resolve that, then move to elements of a Development Agreement. Commissioner Nancy Sikes-Kline commented during discussion, “From a simple vested rights request to this, this is volumes different,” and Mayor Nancy Shaver said, “This is asking us to act as a commission on the vested rights but act as the PZB (Planning and Zoning Board) on the other pieces of this activity. “We all want a positive outcome, but I don’t think it’s going to have a positive outcome if we’re constantly shifting the playing field,” said the mayor earlier in the discussion, indicating the board’s frustration with the entangled proposal. An hour of public comment included praise for the White family’s quality developments on the bayfront including O.C. White’s Restaurant and The White Room wedding venue. The Whites’ request for three finger docks with a maximum of 13 boat slips at the east end of the restaurant faced both concerns from business entities like the Black Raven pirate boat using the adjacent Municipal Marina and a question of where historically vesting was given to submerged lands which the city owns. A majority of commissioners early on favored matters normally reviewed by the plan board to go through that process, rather than being acted on by the commission. 
Bringing departed veterans to life Home-schooled students from Orlando heard the story of Lt. J.W.S. McNeil, a 21-year-old soldier killed by Uchee Billy, a Seminole chief, in 1837, as they stood by his grave recently in the St. Augustine National Cemetery. The description of Lt. McNeil’s life and death is part of The Veterans Legacy Program, a joint project of the National Cemetery Administration and educational partners like the University of Central Florida, to digitally map and catalogue all 1,227 grave sites at the National Cemetery here. The goal is later this year to have a mobile application so smartphone users can hold their device up to a headstone to access background information on that specific veteran. Interred at the St. Augustine National Cemetery are veterans from the War of 1812, Second Seminole War, Civil War, Spanish-American War, World War I, World War II, Korean War and Vietnam War. August 18 the soldiers who fell during the Second Seminole War 1835-1842 will be commemorated at the Dade Monuments under which the remains of 1,468 are at rest.
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Prepaving for San Marco Avenue Ahead of a resurfacing of San Marco Avenue (State Hwy A1A) by the Florida Department of Transportation, a pving along the west side of the street began Sunday, August 12 and will continues through Friday, August 17. The work is being done 7 pm-6 am between Picolata Road (SR-16) and Cincinnati Street. The project is the last phase of underground utility work along San Marco Avenue.
Seminole War Commemoration August 18 The 11th Annual Seminole War Commemoration will be held Saturday, August 18, at the St. Francis Barracks and National Cemetery on Marine Street, presented by The West Point Society of North Florida. The commemoration recognizes the procession and burial of officers and soldiers killed during the Seminole Indian Wars, also called the Florida War, the most costly and longest Indian war in US history and a war without surrender, simply ended by American officers. Reenactors will reprise the solemn procession of August 14, 1842, along Marine Street to the cemetery, with wreath laying ceremonies, followed by lunch and reception in the Officers Club. The ceremonies are free with a $20 registration fee for the luncheon. For more information contact Mark Tolzmann at Mark3370@hotmail.
Next for 9 Aviles Street The city’s Historic Architectural Review Board (HARB) Thursday, August 16, will consider an after the fact demolition permit for 9 Aviles Street, the property deemed unsafe and forcing the street’s closure for a month for emergency demolition. HARB reviews all demolition requests for buildings at least 50 years old. The building in part was more than 100 years old. The board will also look at plans for a replacement building. The owner had submitted design plans previously.