A Lunch and a Project for Good

On July 21st, around noon, the Compassionate Women’s group met at Temple Bet Yam in St Augustine. This is a women’s interfaith meeting that includes a vegetarian pot luck lunch. The meeting meets at different places, they have discussions and work on projects.

In this meeting the group tackled a project of building sleeping mats from plastic bags, the kind of bag you get at the grocery store. Ellen Mensch leads the project with her know how on this particular craft. First Coast.TV was there to observe, and was truly impressed.

Many of these mats end up in the hands of homeless, making their lives a bit more tolerable.

“Save Our Vilano” Meets Over Development

Residents of Vilano Beach, North Beach and South Ponte Vedra Beach are organizing opposition to a developer-initiated request that St. Johns County amend its Future Land Use Map and, thus, pave the way for conversion of an old, unused RV park into a private commercial resort. The land in question is 43.87 acres located about 1.5 miles north of the Francis and Mary Usina Bridge on the west side of A1A/Coastal Highway, just south of Ocean Sands Beach Inn. Some residents are saying approval of the Comprehensive Plan amendment requested by Watermarke/Beachcomber’s developers could set a dangerous precedent for major commercial development along the A1A residential corridor between the bridge and Ponte Vedra Beach.

Developers are looking to build a hotel and resort project at 3457 Coastal Highway that could include about 130 rooms, 70-plus beach villas, a conference center, bed and breakfast, restaurant, café, bar, gift shop, beach club, office building, boathouse and cabana. Their application goes before the county’s Planning and Zoning Board Agency on Aug. 4. A hearing before the Board of County Commissioners is scheduled for Sept. 20.

Save Our Vilano, a committee of residents fighting the developer’s request, gathered at the Serenata Beach Club on Wednesday to discuss some particulars of the project and its potential impacts. Bill Nesbitt, steering committee member of Save Our Vilano, spoke with First Coast.TV about the proposed project and what the committee is looking to achieve at this time.

St Augustine Gathers in Response to Recent Violence

More than 200 attended the St. Augustine Gathers peace demonstration on Wednesday, July 13th at the Plaza de la Constitucion in downtown St. Augustine. Orchestrated by the St. Augustine Interfaith Community and Compassionate St. Augustine, the event served as a response to recent violence. Before the march the people gathered  at the Grace United Methodist Church on Carrera Street, where songs were sung, words where spoken, and a short video was shown. Then the attendees headed to the Plaza de la Constitucion, where We Shall Overcome and God Bless America were sung to end the march.

Traffic Solutions for the 4th of July 2016

First Coast.TV got a chance to speak to City of St Augustine, Mobility Coordinator Xavier Pellicer. The conversation revolved about a new pilot program relying on satellite parking to deal with the excess traffic in the city, especially when the city has special events. On this 4th of July weekend the city will test it, and collect data, and actually see how successful it will be. So cross your fingers and hope for the best.

Making a Difference with the Boys & Girls Clubs

First Coast.TV went in the Boys & Girls Clubs on the west side of St Augustine following a group of local residents. There mission was to find out  what the Boys & Girls Clubs are all about. What they found out was really amazing, in a nut shell, we are so lucky to have an institution like this among us. We spoke with Jennifer Tesori and Lt. Strausbaugh who both gave us awesome positive statistics about the accomplishments and future plans.

Pecha Kucha Volume 9

Pecha Kucha 20×20 is a simple presentation format where you show 20 images, each for 20 seconds. The images advance automatically and you talk along to the images. Pecha Kucha evenings are informal and fun gatherings where creative people get together and share their ideas, works, thoughts, holiday snaps — just about anything, really — in the Pecha Kucha 20×20 format. First Coast.TV got a chance to speak to Amy Robb and get the story behind Pecha Kucha. This is the 9th meeting, referred to as Volume 9.


St Augustine Holds a Vigil

On Monday evening June 13th, First Coast.TV came to the vigil for the dozens killed at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, FL. This vigil is only one of many across the nation and the world. We decided to let the camera roll and hold back on editing to a minimal. We felt that in this tragedy every voice needed to be heard, and so we did. The tape says it all, every feeling, every hope and every voice is represented, to reflect who we are as a community.

First Coast.TV felt that this tragedy had the impact of the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing in Birmingham Alabama in 1963 were four little girls were murdered in cold blood, and the Aids epidemic of the 80’s where the LBGT Community was left to die and fend for itself for a long time at the costs of thousands of lives before anything was done.

So I just could not get the last words of the film based on the book of “Sophie’s Choice” out of my head.

“Ample make this bed,

Make this bed with awe. In it… I’ll wait till judgment break.

Excellent and fair.

Be its mattress straight.

Be its pillow round.

Let no sunrise yellow noise…interrupt this ground”.

And so ended my voyage of discovery…in a place as strange as Brooklyn.

I let go the rage and sorrow for Sophie and Nathan…and for the many others

who were but a few…of the butchered and betrayed and martyred children of the Earth.

When I could finally see again…I saw the first rays of daylight reflected in the murky river.

This was not judgment day.

Only morning.

Morning: excellent and fair.”

Let us as a community find a small place in our hearts, where we can put this vigil, and revisit it again and again, so that we can say that we never let go of hope our allowed darkness to consume us.

A Conversation with Ibrahim Zori

Sometimes a young voice can be a voice of reason. When First Coast.TV spoke with Ibrahim it was because he had written a speech that had received a positive reception from a community that did not want to be dragged into the murky and unhealthy waters of ethnic intolerance, racism and religious intolerance. Someone once brought to my attention, that when humans become fearful they go the primitive part of the brain for refuge, and there is where we find anger, punishment, and revenge.  We can see in our history as Americans where those feelings have taken us, Civil War, Slavery, Indian wars, and so on.

So speaking to someone so young and wise was refreshing for a change.

God is love, I hear that a lot, and probably that is good.

A Man on a Mission for his Brothers in Arms

First Coast.TV with the help of Daniel Sampiero, went to meet Josh Collins who is paddling about 3500 miles. He is on a mission to help millions of veterans. Josh Collins vision is simple, to accomplish a record setting voyage that is both dangerous and epic as a demonstration of resolve and sacrifice in support of the 24 million plus veterans of this nation.Veteran Voyage 360 represents the longest journey a soldier takes as he or she separates from the military after service in combat, and transitions into civilian life. Regardless of the length of service, whether 4 years or 24 years, returning to normal life can be a difficult struggle, and especially for those suffering from the physical and psychological wounds of war. The past 14 years of sustained combat operations in Afghanistan and Iraq have taken its toll on this all volunteer Army, and the biggest indicator of this is the historically high suicide rate throughout the services. The number of soldiers and veterans taking their own lives now accounts for more than 10 times the number of casualties overseas.


Tomorrow’s Artists Say “Please Fill Out The Survey”

Reyma, Lee and Garrison ask you please to fill the survey:

St Johns Cultural Council is conducting a community wide grassroots survey and we need your help to hear from all demographics.

We know you are busy but this survey about a cause that is important

we ask you to FORWARD this to your email list and post in your

social media.   We have got 20% of our goal but want to hear diversity in

out responders.  We are trying to get responses from 2,000 people so we

need YOUR help to spread the word.

Thank you if you already took this survey and sent it out.

You can do so as an artist OR as a community member.

Simply go to our website and take it there!  www.stjohnsculture.com

All information collected will be kept strictly confidential.

May 31st is the deadline.

Thank you!