SAB NEWS May 2014

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The  St Augustine Beach Area

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The Latest News Archive: April 2014

News: May 26, 2014

A Day To Celebrate and Remember- Memorial Day 2014

kites at the pier

Kites and Flags Fly In St Augustine Beach

Flags were flying throughout the St Augustine Beach area as we remembered those who served. Fencepost, houses, businesses, cars and even bikes were adorned with the red, white and blue of our symbol of freedom showing that the people of SAB will never forget the real reason for this Memorial Holiday. Memorial wreaths were laid at the St Augustine Beach War Memorial and signs were posted along the boulevard in honor of our soldiers.

st johns county pier counter

Chris Lowe , St Johns County Pier

memorial day sign

Signs along the A1A Beach Boulevard

The town welcomed visitors with a magnificent kite display at the SJC Pier Park thanks to our very own Extreme Kites. Kites of all sizes could be seen for blocks and the view from the pier was spectacular.

The beach looked like a picture postcard, full of people enjoying the surf. Chris Lowe, our SJC Pier attendant said this weekend was as “busy as it gets on a holiday.” Surf and pier fishing was popular and Chris said the fishermen were pulling in whiting, cats, stingray and shark. Every available parking spot was full for blocks from the beach and the crossing flags were being used at every crossing .

Along with the beach-goers the town was full of others enjoying the weather and their time off from work. Bicycle riders, walkers, geocachers and even chalk artists were found out in the sunshine. SAB was also the place to gather with family and friends to celebrate our freedom. This weekend we are reminded of the thousands of soldiers who have laid down their lives for our freedom….Memorial Day is a time to remember… Freedom is not free.

See More Memorial Weekend Photos In Our Photo Gallery

Jack Johnson Plays St Augustine

Your Actions * Your Voice * Your Choice

jack johnson St AugustineJack Johnson Plays At The St Augustine Amphitheater (photo: Sarah Davis)

Singer, songwriter and environmentalist Jack Johnson played to a sold out crowd at the St Augustine Amphitheater last Tuesday night. Along with the music, reducing the carbon footprint was a main focus of the evening. Jack Johnson believes in doing whatever he can to help the Earth. An avid surfer, Jack promotes environmental awareness at every concert and St Augustine was no different. Per Jack’s request, hybrid, electric and cars carrying four or more people were able to park at the venue at no charge. Environmental groups were invited to set up booths inside the venue. Keepers of the Coast and St Johns River-Keepers were on hand to inform and encourage the the public to get involved in keeping our waters clean.

Velo Fest Bike Parking Jack Johnson Concert

Velo Fest Bike Parking Valet                 Gotta Love The VELO Fest Guys!

Concertgoers were also encouraged to ride bikes to the venue. VELO Fest: Movement of the People bike valet was on hand to assist with parking bikes and secured over 100 bikes. Along with a safe place to keep your bike, the St Augustine Amphitheater provided refillable metal water canteens to all the bike riders. With watering stations located throughout the amphitheater, people are now encouraged to use refillable water bottles.

Jack has taken his environmental awareness campaign one step further by creating the “All At Once” social action network giving his fans the opportunity to make a positive change in their local as well as the world community by connecting with non-profit groups to take environmental action. “All At Once”promotes Sustainable Local Food Systems and Plastic Free Initiatives.


all at once logo

Click To Learn More

Lifeguard Season Begins In St Johns County

Lifeguard St Augustine BeachLifeguard Season Has Begun

It’s Official…With the start of Memorial Day Weekend, Lifeguard Season Has Begun in St Johns County! A squad of beach lifeguards certified by the United States Lifesaving Association (USLA) will staff the lifeguard towers on St Johns County Beaches starting Memorial Day Weekend through Labor Day Weekend. The lifeguards will patrol and guard our beaches from 10am to 6pm daily (weather permitting). The St Johns County Fire and Rescue (SJCFR) stationed at coastal facilities along the shoreline are also certified as ocean rescue responders and will oversee and support the lifeguards as needed. The SJCFR will respond to beach emergencies 24 hours a day.

Lifeguard Towers & Surf Warning Flags
Anastasia Island has an average of 8 lifeguard posts from Anastasia State Park to the Matanzas Inlet. You will find a lifeguard tower at: Anastasia State Park, the Pier , 7th St, A St, south of Sea Colony, Crescent Beach, Butler Beach and Matanzas Inlet. As another informative measure for the public, Beach Warning Flags are posted at the lifeguard towers as well as at various sites along the beach to inform the public of the surf condition. Please pay close attention to the warning flags and heed the warning.

Crescent Beach Memorial Weekend

Yellow Flag Warning and Beach Driving Speed Limit 10MPH

Beach Driving
Driving on the beach is permissible from “A” Street south. A beach driving pass is required from March 1 through Sept 30. Seasonal and daily passes are available for a fee. The posted speed limit on the beach is 10 MPH. Soft sand and high tides may prevent access to the beach. Passes may be picked up at any toll booth, at the county office or at the St Johns County Pier.

Beach Emergency
While you settle into a spot on the beach make a mental note of a street sign, a marker or a landmark close by in case emergency personnel needs to be notified. It only takes a call to 911 to activate the beach responders.



 Ways To Be Safe At The Beach

American Flag 2 (2)

The Scott Family from Gainesville, Fl

As the weather improves more and more people will spend time at the beach enjoying the sun, sand and surf. Families come from all over to enjoy our beaches. The Scott Family from Gainesville, Fl took a day this weekend to relax at the beach. Below are ways to stay safe while you are “kickin it” at the beach.

  • Learn to Swim-Learning to swim is the best defense against drowning. Please Teach Your Children To Swim!Learn to swim

  • Swim Near a Lifeguard-the chance of drowning at a beach without lifeguard protection is five times greater than drowning at a beach with lifeguards.

  • Always Swim With A Buddy-Many drownings involve single swimmers.

  • If Caught In A Rip Current Don’t Fight the Current-Swim parallel to the shore until you break the pull. Than swim to shore.

  • Swim Sober-Alcohol and drugs play a major factor in drowning deaths.

  • While In The Ocean Have A Personal Flotation Device (PFD) close at hand.

  • Know What The Flag Warning Colors Mean and Heed the Warning.                                          Visit: BEACH INFORMATION

flag SAB governmentAnother Discussion About The St Augustine Beach Noise Ordinance

The SAB Planning and Zoning Board voted to recommend that current noise ordnance remain as is. In April, Chris Way owner of the Coquina Beach Surf Club Restaurant asked the SAB City Commission to reconsider the denial of his permit for outside music. At that time, the City Commission was unsure of the specifics of the code and sent it to St Augustine Beach Planning and Zoning Board to review and rewrite if necessary. According to the present land use, as long as the music did not go above a certain decibel level outdoor music was fine. Mr. Mathers (SAB Planning & Zoning Board) was informed that the city police department is required to test the decibel level on the outdoor music but presently the city does not have anyone trained to test the noise level. He also stated that the decibel meter that St Augustine Beach uses is not properly calibrated to measure decibel levels so right now there is no legal way to measure the noise levels or enforce the ordinance. Everyone agreed that the city should acquire the necessary equipment to enforce the existing noise ordinance or remove it. Within the last ten years there have only been two complaints about the noise at local establishments. Mr Guido stated that maybe the reason the City is not getting complaints is because there is no way to act on them. Ms Zander (SAB Planning & Zoning Board) stated that possibly the reason the City is not getting complaints is because noise is not a problem.The SAB Planning and Zoning Board voted 6 to 1 in favor of keeping the current ordinance with Board member Karen Zander the only dissenting vote.   Music by the Sea is granted special permission by the City to have live outdoor music play at the Pier Pavilion. The SAB City Commission will address the noise ordinance-Municipal Code 9.2.1 to 9.02.16  at the next scheduled City Commission Board meeting on June 9th at 7pm.

News: May 19, 2014

Everyone Was A Winner At The 2014 Taste Of The Beach

Taste of the Beach Purple Olive

The Purple Olive Group And Their Many Awards

Over a thousand people crowded the St Johns County Pier Pavilion on Sunday May 18th for the 9th Annual Taste of the Beach “foodie” event. Sponsored by the St. Augustine Beach Civic Association as a fundraiser for the Betty Griffin House /A Safety Shelter of St Johns County, The “Taste of the Beach” is known as one of NE Florida’s premier food events. This years “Taste of the Beach” featured the savory flavors from over fifteen of the areas best chefs and local hotspots. Home to epic restaurants dishing up a variety of tastes and flavors, the Beach is as serious about the food as it is about the fun. The competition at this years event was fierce bringing the quality and the creative delivery to delicious new heights. Everything from appetizers, entrees and deserts were judged and for a dollar a taste you could also get-in on a “piece of the action” with the People’s Choice Award. The Taste of the Beach welcomed a few new restaurants this year such as Caribbean Sol Café and Saigon Pho Bistro as well as the old standards we all know and love including: South Beach Grill, Ripe Bistro & Social Lounge, Panama Hattie’s and The Purple Olive.

Taste Of The Beach Ian Fraser & Lisa Averill

Lisa & Ian Volunteers

The gang from The Purple Olive were there until the end relishing in all the awards they had won. From the First Place People’s Choice Award and the First Place Appetizer Award, Chef Peter Kennedy and his wife Deidre were on hand making their dishes more than just food. Some would say they were awe-inspiring creations for the eyes as well as the taste buds. For ten years The Purple Olive has humbly served the St Augustine Beach community making their quaint restaurant’s main focus the food. This years awards went to The Purple Olive specially cooked cuisine featured sea food and the seared tuna and blackened scallops brought you even closer to the sea than the venue in which they were served. After four straight years of winning first place for desserts, owner Deidre Kennedy was not disappointed this year when The Purple Olive came in second with their signature, mouthwatering chocolate- pecan toffee gateau. “The Caribbean Sol Café coconut cake was delicious.” she said. Even seven year old Hyde Kennedy enjoyed himself. Aside from spending the day playing in the sand and swimming in the waves, Hyde was glad to spend some time out of the sun and in the shade of the pavilion hanging with mom and dad. Not a bad way to spend a Sunday!

RIPE Jeff Holleran

Jeff Holleran Ripe Bistro & Social Lounge

Another big winner was Ripe Bistro and Social Lounge. Owner Jeff Holleran was proud to display his First Place Best Overall Award for entree and his Third Place Award for deserts. “This is quite an honor.” Holleran said looking down at his award. Ripe uses only the freshest ingredients in it’s cuisine and with the Farm to Table / Sea to Table freshness it is no wonder Ripe Bistro & Social Lounge was chosen for best overall entree this year.

The community volunteers really get involved with the “Taste of the Beach”. Always ready to help, the St Johns County Sheriff Department Explorers assisted with set up and break down as well as security for the event. And if you were in need of anything, all you had to do was look for a royal blue shirt. The “Taste of the Beach” volunteers all wore blue shirts and pitched in by selling bottled water and beverages, cleaning up and assisting with everything and anything that needed to be done. “I love this community and helping in anyway I can” said Lisa Averill a Taste volunteer.

It is evident by this annual event that Lisa Averill is not the only one who “loves this community.” Every restauranteur, chef, volunteer, worker, musician or visitor to the “Taste of the Beach” has contributed immensely making “our island home” what it is today. The many talented people who willingly share their talents and make the commitment to get involved are the people who strengthen our community making it a better place to live, work and play giving us the quality of life that many only dream of.

See More Photos In Our Photo Gallery

2014 Music By The Sea Opens With The Outtasight Band

Music By The Sea Crowd

Music By The Sea Crowd

sitting in the sand

Hangin’ with friends enjoying the tunes!

A cool ocean breeze blew across the Pier Park as the Outtasight Band played on the first Music by the Sea Concert Series of 2014. Hundreds of people surrounded the pavilion savoring the food, the music and the mild evening. Sitting in lawn chairs, on bikes or on blankets in the soft sand, people of all ages enjoyed the sounds of this impressive band composed of High School students from the Florida School of the Deaf and Blind.

All the performers in the Outtasight Band are from the blind department and are blind or visually impaired. Training almost daily, the band has also displayed their talents at various venues around St Augustine as well as the state. The band serenaded everyone with many different genres of music including: country, folk, soul and even classic rock bringing the crowd to their feet on many occasions.

The dance floor was awash throughout the night with couples dancing to the rhythm of the night. Wildflower Cafe was on hand to feed the crowd. Their special dinner of anti-pasta with grilled chicken was a sellout and enjoyed by almost 200 people at the event. Music by the Sea is sponsored by the St Augustine Beach Civic Association and will continue the entertainment on Wednesday evenings from now through September. The food service starts at 6pm with music beginning at 7pm. You will find the schedule of the bands and the restaurants on the StAugustineBeach.ORG events calender on the front page.

.See More Photos In Our Photo Gallery


St Johns County Pier Parking and Pedestrian Safety To Be Addressed

SJC Pope Rd Parking

Improved Pope Road Parking Lot

With the many events held at the Pier Park as well as the opening of the new popular restaurant Salt Life Food Shack, parking and traffic issues in the area have become more of a challenge than had been in the past. Salt Life has installed a valet service and is utilizing the parking lots across the street at the old Beachfront Resort. During The Wednesday Market and Music By The Sea events, the area in front of the pier park is so congested police are stationed to control the traffic and assist people crossing the street. This location has been in the news on many occasions regarding people being hit as they tried to cross A1A.

Beach Police Crossing Guard

SAB Police Assist With Crossing and Traffic

During the May St Augustine Beach City Commission meeting, the parking and traffic issues along A1A Beach Blvd. from Pope Rd to 11th St were discussed as well as the various issues regarding traffic in front of the Pier Park. Mayor Samuels talked about the safety issues of the crosswalk on A1A located in front of the Pier Park and a possible redesigning, relocating it to in front of the promenade. She also stated that a one-way in and one-way out of the pier parking lot may alleviate some of the congestion and should be examined. Ann Palmquist, a St Augustine Beach resident spoke to the Commission suggesting an alternative during The Wednesday Market. She suggested having the vendors set up in the pavilion instead of on the lot. She stated that by doing that it would free up additional parking spaces and allow for more parking in the area. During the Beach Blast Off event, A1A was closed from 16th St to Pope Rd which helped control the pedestrian and vehicular traffic in the area

The Commissioners discussion continued regarding parking along 16th St and the possibility of removing the no parking signs that line the north side of the street. Presently the city will cover the signs if they feel an event may need additional parking spaces. Commissioner Helhoski questioned the point “If the signs were removed would it be the cities responsibility to provide a stable surface upon which to park?” At present the north side of 16th Street is grass and may become unstable if cars continue to park on it. The Commissioners also had questions about a possible ordinance that may be on the books which was written to place the no parking signs on 16th St in the first place.

With the opening of the Pope Road parking lot last week there is a possibility that it will alleviate some of the parking problems but most definitely not all. The improved lot has a new sidewalk as well as 22 marked parking spots, two new handicapped parking spots and enough room for an additional seven cars in unmarked spots. The Commission will continue to look into the matter to see what can be done to improve the parking, traffic and pedestrian safety in the area.


News: May 12, 2014

Velo Fest – Movement Of The People

velofest volunteersVolunteers Jesse, Ellen and Akilah

“Movement of the People” has happened in St Johns County thanks to the creation of the Velo Fest Community Initiative. Heather Neville founded the Velo Fest (a nonprofit) in 2011 with the goal of promoting cyclist safety and education. After numerous members of Heather’s family were involved in bicycle accidents, Heather became angry and frustrated. She knew something had to be done to make it safer for cyclists in Florida, especially St Johns County. When Bryan Wrigley, a 23-year old student at the University of St Augustine lost his life after a hit and run motorist left him to die on the side of the road in 2011, Heather said that was the “tipping point” and the beginning of Velo Fest.

velofest 11

Velo Fest was created to educate the cycling community and the community at large about the history and the benefits of cycling. The object is to creating an environment where cyclists and motor vehicles can co-exist peacefully together, while decreasing the carbon footprint. Promoting the importance of cycling, Velo Fest is able to combine the pleasure of cycling with education, information and bicycle centered events. With the funds raised Velo Fest has created a bike route map for cyclists providing important information on ways to safely navigate and share the road.

The health benefits of cycling is a passion shared by many. Velo Fest intern Jesse Bullock, a UNF student in the Nutrition Program believes the city should step forward and do whatever they can to accommodate bike riders. Jesse spoke on the importance of cycling to the St Augustine City Commission. ‘Biking is important for a community. From both the safety issues and the public health standpoint.” he said. Jesse got involved with Velo Fest and is as passionate about biking as Neville.

Heather would like to continue to partner with city and state agencies to include cycling in the long range transportation plans. “Our plan includes recreation and urbanization.” stated Neville”and I am on the steering committee of different organizations making sure the plan happens.” Only three years old, the impact Velo Fest has had on this community is evident. Last weekend’s three day event had over 800 riders combined. The Wrigley Ride, the family friendly Velo Fest Bike Parade and the Old City Crit- brought visitors to downtown St Augustine in droves proving that Velo Fest continues doing all they can to plan for the next generation.

With bike valets now at almost every major event in St Augustine, Velo Fest has us all thinking about the importance of biking. During the Mumford and Sons event, thanks to Velo Fest St Augustine was a bike lovers paradise. There was a safe place to keep your bike, cyclists cruising around the town making “Share the Road” really front and center. Riding bikes is good for the individual and the communities health, improving personal wellness as well as spurring economic growth. By contributing to the development of the cycling culture in our community, Velo Fest is sure to have lasting benefits for the residents and the visitors to this fine community well into the future.

See More Photos: PHOTO GALLERY            To View The: North Florida Transportation Planning Organization Bike Plan(PDF)  


Longtime St Augustine Beach Mayor Emmett Pacetti Left a Legacy For St Augustine Beach

mayorSt Augustine Beach lost an icon last week with the passing of former St Augustine Beach Mayor Emmett Pacetti. Mr Pacetti  died at the age of 88. Emmett Pacetti was born and raised in St Augustine. After extensive traveling for school and with the Merchant Marines, Pacetti moved back to Florida to begin a career with the Army Corps of Engineers in Jacksonville. He returned to St Augustine where he opened an engineering and surveying firm located in downtown St Augustine. Pacetti was committed to public service and served as the president of the Jaycees as well as president of the St. Johns County Chamber of Commerce. He was also active and served in many different capacities for the St. Augustine Board of Realtors. In 1974 he and his family moved to St Augustine Beach. Continuing with his civic duties, Mr Pacetti was elected to the St Augustine Beach City Commission in1989 and served two terms as mayor. In 1990 and again in 1994 through 2002.  Pacetti was the power behind the SAB beach re-nourishment project that began in 2002. He lobbied for over ten years to obtain the government funding needed for the project as well as funding for continued beach refurbishment. Pacetti was also responsible for the construction and relocation of the City Hall from it’s ocean front location at the pier to its current location on A1A and 16th St. Mr. Pacetti is survived by his wife of over 60 years, Virginia Pacetti, four children and numerous grandchildren. The Honorable Emmett Pacetti was laid to rest in San Lorenzo Catholic Cemetery.

About The St Augustine Beach Renourishment Project

renurishment st augustine beach before   renurishment st augustine beach after

Renourishment Before and After Pictures of the St Johns County  Pier (photo:

For those of you new to the area, our beach has not always had the expanse of sand it does now. Prior to the beach renourishment, there was a time you had to walk down a flight of stairs to get onto the beach. From the SJC Pier to 7 Street the beach was only accessible at low tide. At high tide the ocean waves lapped only feet away from beach homes and buildings. With the Atlantic Ocean taking millions of cubic yards of sand from our beach it was imperative to replace it if we wanted to continue to have a beach. Emmett Pacetti realized how important it was to re-nourish and stabilize our shoreline. Emmett spent over ten years lobbying government representatives to obtain the funding for the project. The government agreed to pay around $46 million dollars to replace the sand and a fifty-year commitment by the Corps of Engineers for this shore stabilization project .

The previous three stages of beach re-nourishment took place in 2002, 2005 and 2012. Dredging the sand from the St Augustine Inlet & the Porpoise Point area that normally would have been carried by ocean currents and mechanically replacing it on the beach south of the inlet has expanded our beaches immensely. By completing the project in that way, two projects are accomplished at once. The clearing of our navigational channels and re-nourishing our beach. As stated before, this re-nourishment project is slated to last for fifty years with the re-nourishment happening every five to seven years depending on the impact of the weather and the sea. 80.5 percent of renourishment money comes from the federal government through the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, state and local government is responsible for the rest including TDC funds. After all, if we don’t have a beach we won’t have tourist. According the the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers so far the project is working as planned. During the last renourishment cycle the Corps noticed that more sand is remaining in the area and less sand is being used for renourishment. In 2012 around 2 million cubic yards of sand were moved, in 2005-3.7 million cubic yards were used and in 2001-3.4 million cubic yards were put on the beach.

This shore stabilization project does have an impact to the environment and an environmental protection plan has been created making sure environmental guidelines are strictly followed and enforced. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection has provided funds to insure our most precious resources are protected. Monitoring and protecting our culture resources, fish and wildlife, water resources and endangered species is required and permits must be pulled and in place before any motion is granted. There are specific requirements in the plan for sea turtles, dolphins,whales, manatees, birds and the southeastern beach mouse. Protection of the sea turtle nest and shore birds nest are monitored to insure they remain untouched during construction activities.

As homeowners, business owners and visitors to the beach we all have Emmett Pacetti to thank for protecting our beach and for putting our minds at ease during a storm. The impact of his accomplishments will be felt for generations in the future. Mayor Emmett Pacetti surely left a legacy to be proud of.

Beachfront Resort Demolition Has Begun

beachfront Resort Demolition                                                                      Beachfront Resort Demolition

Demolition has began on the former Beachfront Resort Hotel. Situated oceanfront next to the pier park, the Beachfront Resort was sold in January, 2014 for $9 million dollars * to Key International, a Miami based real estate and development company known for high-end commercial and residential projects. Although plans have not been finalized as of yet, the new facility will utilize part of the old hotel. The kitchen, dining room and the guest rooms are planed for demolition and a complete rebuild . Still in the design phase, the new resort hotel is slated to be more on the high-end scale and is scheduled to be completed by 2016. For more information see our April article: What’s Up With The Old St Augustine Beachfront Resort

NEWS: May 5, 2014

19th Annual Gamble Rogers Music Festival

Gamble Rogers CD cover

The island was full of the folk spirit with the 19th Annual Gamble Rogers Music Festival that was held the first weekend in May. With over forty bands and musicians gracing the eight stages that were set up around the St Augustine area, not even the weather could dampen the spirits of the musicians and fans. Throughout the day Saturday, guitar and banjo picking was the norm as the grounds of the St Augustine Amphitheater came alive with what some would say was a full-out Hootenanny! Local bands and world renowned acts played together gamble rogers festival winnerand had the crowds dancing, singing along and most assuredly tapping their feet. The jug thumping,guitar picking and harmonica blowing helped in making this yearly event-musical storytelling at it’s best!

The big stage was full of headline acts from around the world.The harmonic blend of NE Florida’s Flagship Romance duo Shawn Fisher and Jordyn Jackson is hypnotizing. From bluesy, pop to laid back ballads the talent of this duo is unmistakable. The British Isle influence is apparent with The Duhks who took the stage as the last act on Saturday night. This Canadian band with a fusion-folk sound surely took the crowd to another level with their violin, guitar, picking and angelic voices. The crowd was on their feet one minute and bleary eyed the next. As you listen to their music you can almost smell the heather and feel the mist of the sea upon your brow. Listening to the lads and lassies of the Duhks is truly an amazing experience.

Sunny skies prevailed on Sunday as St Augustine Beach welcomed the festival to the beach. In true Southern style a CD release party was held at the pier pavilion to promote the Oklawaha County Jamboree Musical Tribute to Gamble Rogers. The CD features the talents of groups and musicians from Florida performing original and traditional tunes of Gamble Rogers. Produced by friend of Gamble Rogers, Lon and Lis Williamson of Gatorbone Studios, this “Kickstarter” project is produced with the hopes of “keeping the flame of Gamble’s life and music burning brightly.” (quote taken from youtube video)

Visit the Youtube video to learn more: OKLAWAHA COUNTRY JAMBOREE

Beach Blast Off Volunteers Get Together 2014

beach Blast Off

Mayor Samuels sits with Beach Blast Off group / contributed photo

A big Thank You from the Beach Blast Off Committee was held at Panama Hattie’s last month. Volunteers gathered to gaze upon the pier park once again only this time it was to relax and enjoy the music, food and drink. St Augustine Beach Mayor Andrea Samuels was on hand to pass out awards and thank the crowd for their support and service. “The Beach Blast Off is the best way to spend New Years Eve.” stated Melissa Stewart aOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABeach Blast Off volunteer. “The fireworks are awesome and the friends I have met are even better.” stated another volunteer. Event Coordinator, Michael Cunningham expressed his gratitude to the volunteers and the St Augustine Beach Police Department for all their hard work making this years Beach Blast Off a huge success.

A review of the entry forms from the  “Enjoy A Stay In St Augustine Beach”  free gift basket sponsored by local businesses, proved that people came from all over to spend their New Years Eve in St Augustine Beach.  Along with Florida, visitors from Georgia, New Jersey, California were also on hand with the furthest visitors coming from South America and Italy. Beach Blast Off has proven to be a destination event bringing people from around the world to St Augustine, Florida especially Anastasia Island.  This years event was a two day event which provided a safe, affordable and family friendly New Years Eve for all involved. With the focus on safety and families, ending the fireworks by 10pm families were able to travel home safely, put the kids to bed allowing mom and dad time to enjoy a quiet New Years Eve together while giving everyone an evening they wouldn’t soon forget.  What a way to start the New Year!

For some Beach Blast Off photos visit our photo gallery: PHOTOS

It’s Your Call…Should St Augustine Beach Height Limits Be Limited?

Beach House Big                                                                             New Home Built On The Beach

City Commission Update 2014

Amendments to the City Charter were discussed during last nights St Augustine Beach City Commission meeting and may be on the ballot in the next election cycle. Some of the amendments to the charter include: whether to allow the city manager power to appoint and/or remove the police chief with the city commission majority vote as well as language to place the police chief under the direction of the city manager. Another amendment would be to change the language to the ordinance that presently requires 48 hours notice to schedule a meeting. If there were an emergency situation the present language would become a hindrance in the event of a natural disaster. Another item for review was the wording for building height limits. All commissioners agreed to keep the heights at what they are and the item will be on the ballot. This amendment will read: “Shall the Charter Laws of the City be amended by the addition of section 1-16(b) to provide limitations on actions to increase the height of buildings, to provide a maximum building height of thirty-five feet, allow for architectural features up to an additional ten feet and to provide for reconstruction of buildings over thirty-five feet if destroyed by terrorist act, accidental fire or natural disastrous force?”


Cheryl Freeman of Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) was on hand to explain all the activities the senior members are involved in at the beach. The Retired and Senior Volunteer Program provides meaningful volunteer opportunities for people 55 years of age and older. The senior mentoring program and the school readiness program allow both the young and the old the opportunity to interact in a meaningful and educational way. Senior volunteers are placed in both schools where our young children attend. RB Hunt and Hartley Elementary Schools use the volunteers in an instructional support position in their classrooms assisting the teachers in whatever they may need. Along with educational opportunities the volunteers also provide numerous services to other non-profits in the community. The City Commission signed a proclamation to designate May 19 through May 23 Senior Corps Week. The Senior Corps is a federal program that was first established in 1969 by an amendment to the Older Americans Act. Last year alone the National Senior Corps volunteers provided over 96 million hours of volunteer service in this country. According to the RSVP website there are over 15 sites in St Johns County with over 100 RSVP volunteers providing service. Since many RSVP members are St Augustine Beach residents and work with St Augustine Beach youth the proclamation really hit home. The proclamation was a way to thank Senior Corps volunteers for their service and to recognize the positive impact and value the volunteers gave to our community and to the nation.

SAB DrainageAfter completing the first six months of the new budget some adjustments needed to be made. The adjustments stated an additional $50,000.00 is needed. Along with other items and due to a shortfall to the estimate, the commission adjusted the budget for the 2nd St Drainage Project adding another $20,000 of intergovernmental funds from Road and Bridge.