Veterans Treatment Court Comes to St Johns County

A New Veterans Treatment Court designed to focus on military veterans in the criminal justice system will start in St Augustine (St Johns County). Circuit Judge Howard O. McGillin, Jr. will preside over Veterans Treatment Court in the Annex of the Richard O. Watson Judicial Center, 4010 Lewis Speedway, St Augustine.

Veterans Treatment Court is a specialized court for the 7th Judicial Circuit, aimed at helping veterans who face criminal charges and need treatment for mental health, substance abuse, traumatic injuries or PTSD. Defendants who were honorably or generally discharged mat be eligible for the court, which works with the U.S. Dept. of Veterans Affairs.

Unity March Brings Huge Crowds

St Augustine marched in synchronicity with hundreds of other cities in the U.S. and abroad. A march where hundreds were expected, over two thousand probably marched. The march started on the east side of the Bridge of Lions headed to the Plaza de la Constitucion, where the marchers heard guest speakers, and listened to musicians play folk music.

MLK Day Breakfast and March

32nd Annual Commemorative Breakfast Honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was held at the Armory on San Marcos Ave, St Augustine. The theme for the 2017 celebration was “I Have Decided to Stick with Love. Hate is Too Great A Burden to Bear”, MLK, Jr.. Keynote speaker was Mrs. Cerita J. Battles, Senior Vice-President of Wells Fargo Home Mortgage. Later a march went to the Plaza de la Constitucion where speakers and singers joined the event to honor MLK Jr..

Prevention is a Game Changer for Kids

Prevention keeping St. Johns County kids out of prison was a lovely presentation to those who came to St Cyprian’s Episcopal Church in Lincolnville. Presented by Compassion in Action, the guests were Jennifer Sartiano, Lt. Mike Strausbaugh and Loretta Robinson. They informed the public in attendance about the advantages of the Boys & Girls Club, statistics that show the incredible difference that an institution like the Boys & Girls Club makes in a community like ours.

Two Proclamations for 2017

City of St Augustine (COSA) started the year 2017 with two proclamations. The topics were trees and Jewish history. First Coast.TV got to speak to Rabbi Merrill Shapiro before the commission session started.

Vilano’s Dressing of the Palms

Vilano Beach’s Dressing of the Palms offers a unique kind of season decorative display over the holidays, from October 30 through December 31, 2016. The palm trees that line the streets of Vilano Beach’s Town Center are decorated by local artists in true St. Augustine style.

Local businesses and individuals adopted a tree for decorating beginning on October 30, 2016. The decorating period took place throughout November, and the trees remain decorated through the end of the year. Artists of all kinds — residents, schools, business groups and community organizations — can show off their artistic skills and imagination as they decorate the palms lining the main street of Vilano Beach.

21st Annual Christmas Caroling with Miss Carrie

21st Annual Christmas Caroling On the Red Train with Miss Carrie

Monday, December 19, 2016, Train Departed at 5pm

Ripley’s Red Train with Miss Carrie Johnson brought cheer and song to St. Augustine eldercare facilities. The train departed from the Willie Galimore Recreation Center, 399 Riberia Street, St. Augustine at 5pm on Monday, December 19, 2016. Stops included a caroling stroll through St. Joseph’s Convent, Bayview Nursing Home and Buckingham Smith Assisted Living. Along the way, carolers enjoyed the Christmas lights and spread cheer through the streets. The Red Train ride was free, Christmas songbooks were provided.

 Miss Carrie has been coordinating Christmas caroling to local nursing homes since 1995. “This year will be special because we sustained Hurricane Matthew,” said Miss Carrie. “There’s a lot to be thankful for.”

 This year alone 636 homeless students are enrolled in the St. Johns County School District. Any funds from this event would go to a $500 scholarship for a graduating homeless student in St. Johns County. Please consider donating to the fund so that more students can get help with school expenses and more college-bound high school seniors can receive the scholarship. “I would like for the citizens of St. Johns County to open their hearts to help our homeless children,” said Miss Carrie. 

Kareem’s Dream Cookies

Kareem is 12 years-old & attends middle school in St. Johns County. He recently participated in an Interfaith Thanksgiving Celebration alongside Leah as two of the founding members of ‘The Interfaith League: Youth Inspiring Compassion and Diversity’, representing Islam and Judaism respectively. Truly touched by the outpouring of love and support he experienced after this event – especially after enduring increased ethnic/religious verbal attacks in school – Kareem’s Dream is to shower love upon others in his town…love in the form of cookies decorated in various interfaith symbols to be gifted to local churches, temples, mosques, and schools.  If you are blessed to get one of these cookies……Enjoy!

The Write People Return to Lincolnville

On December 11th, The Write People gathered at Lincolnville Museum to share some of their works and support the Lincolnville Museum. First Coast.TV was there to see what this talented bunch was up to.

Firsthand Reports from Dakota: “Reflections on DAPL”

On Monday evening, November 21, at 7 p.m.,  three local activists recently returned from  Standing Rock, North Dakota, recounted their on-site experiences and shared images of the  current crisis there. The program, which was held at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship was free and open to the public.

For months the  human rights violations and  environmental  harm being done in the area of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) have been all but suppressed by mainstream media. Despite this, a major international campaign has grown from the original grassroots movement. Last month committed Robin and Eddie Mahonen and Rev. Thomas Schmidt  of St. Augustine  traveled to the site to lend support for the movement and to  report back to our community on what they have witnessed with their own eyes. 

 The pipeline company  reports that the  project is continuing “full throttle” through sacred burial sites and that it intends to continue tunneling under the Missouri River, which provides drinking water for 17 million people downstream.  Unarmed “water protectors” have met with a strong militarized police response. Petitions, letters, and actions were available for signing during a later reception.  

 For information, call Jo Anne Engelbert 904-460-1190.  Sponsored by Amnesty International, Compassionate St. Augustine,  and the UU Fellowship of St. Augustine.