Posts tagged access
Construction related to the Downtown Improvement District will begin on Monday, April 21 which will necessitate the closure of Hypolita St. between Charlotte St. and St. George St. to all vehicles for approximately six months. The area will be open for pedestrian access.
This project consists of the reconstruction of Hypolita St., Spanish St. and Treasury St. encompassing both underground utility improvements, including water, sewer, and gas, and streetscaping including lighting, furniture, brick roadway, and coquina sidewalks.
Among the initial work by the contractor, J.B. Coxwell Contracting, Inc., will be: securing the laydown, or construction storage area, within the Toques parking lot; set up the maintenance of traffic plan and the Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan for phase 1; and layout the pedestrian access route.
The existing sightseeing vehicle stop at St. George St. and Hypolita St. will be relocated to the corner of Cordova St. and Hypolita St.
A construction commencement ceremony is tentatively planned for Monday, May 12.
Additional and more detailed information is available by contacting Reuben Franklin, project manager at 904.209.4279.
Source: City of St. Augustine
Downtown Improvement Construction will begin on Monday, April 21 which will necessitate to closure of Hypolita St. between Charlotte St. and St. George St. This project consists of the reconstruction of Hypolita St., Spanish St. and Treasury St. encompassing both underground utility improvements, including water, sewer, and gas, and streetscaping including lighting, furniture, brick roadway, and coquina sidewalks.
Among the initial work by the contractor, J.B. Coxwell Contracting, Inc., will be: securing the laydown, or construction storage area, within the Toques parking lot; set up the maintenance of traffic plan and the Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan for phase 1; and layout the pedestrian access route. The existing sightseeing vehicle stop at St. George St. and Hypolita St. will be relocated to the corner of Cordova St. and Hypolita St. A ceremony marking the project’s commencement is tentatively planned for Monday, May 12 with details to follow.
Additional information is available by calling 904.209.4279.
Source: City of St. Augustine
It is not uncommon for the nearly 1,200 spaces at the Historic Downtown Parking Facility to fill up on busy weekends, especially this time of year and especially during big annual events like this weekend’s Rhythm & Ribs Festival.
To help those looking for a place to park after the parking facility has reached capacity, the city will this weekend, for the first time, make use of variable message boards to alert drivers that the facility is no longer available and to direct them to areas where parking may be available. Then as parking becomes available in the parking facility because of turnover (i.e. cars leaving), the signs will reflect that availability.
The variable message boards will be strategically located along Ponce de Leon Blvd. and San Marco Ave. to alert drivers if the parking facility is full and of the opportunity afforded by alternative locations in private parking areas along San Marco Ave.
Those who park along San Marco Ave. will not have to walk to Francis Field, site of Rhythm & Ribs Festival, but rather will have access to a free shuttle provided by Old Town Trolley Tours of St. Augustine.
Additionally, to lessen the impact on neighborhoods in the vicinity, event parking will be prohibited in both the Abbott Tract and Uptown Neighborhoods. Streets in the affected area will be signed to alert festival goers of the restrictions.
The use of bicycles is encouraged when possible to lessen the amount of vehicular traffic. Both drivers and cyclists are asked to exercise caution when traveling in congested areas.
The message boards and restricted parking in the neighborhoods will be in effect on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, April 4, 5 and 6.
Source: City of St. Augustine
Unlimited funds have allowed Diana (McCarthy) to live it up on the outskirts of Miami, where the queen of retail buys whatever strikes her fancy. There’s only one glitch: The ID she’s using to finance these sprees reads “Sandy Bigelow Patterson”….and it belongs to an accounts rep (Bateman) who lives halfway across the U.S. With only one week to hunt down the con artist before his world implodes, the real Sandy Bigelow Patterson heads south to confront the woman with an all-access pass to his life. And as he attempts to bribe, coax and wrangle her the 2,000 miles to Denver, one easy target will discover just how tough it is to get your name back.
Hurricane Sandy Creating Hazardous Ocean Conditions and Increasing Number of Washback Turtles on St. Johns County Beaches Throughout Weekend0
These extreme storm conditions create wrack line by pushing large amounts of sargassum seaweed onto the beach. Juvenile sea turtles, commonly referred to as washbacks, can become trapped in the seaweed, resulting in exhaustion and a need for medical attention. Beach visitors are asked to refrain from making contact with any washback turtles or attempting to return them to the water. Volunteers, coordinated by St. Johns County, known as the “Washback Watchers” will be conducting surveys throughout the weekend to recover washback sea turtles.
Beach visitors are not encouraged to enter the water during this time. In addition, there is a potential for vehicular access to be restricted intermittently throughout the weekend due to the extreme surf and high tides associated with the storm. St. Johns County staff will continually monitor the storm to ensure public safety remains a top priority. Please visit www.noaa.gov for updated weather and sea condition forecasts related to Hurricane Sandy.
Beach visitors who observe a dangerous situation or a marine animal stranded on the beach are asked to call the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Department at 904.824.8304. For information regarding beach conditions or coastal wildlife, please contact St. Johns County Habitat Conservation at 904.209.0331. For more information regarding hurricane preparedness, evacuation zones, and disaster planning, please visit www.sjcemergencymanagement.org.
Vehicular Access to St. Johns County Beaches Intermittently Restricted Due to Residual Hurricane Sandy Impacts
Due to the strength and proximity of Hurricane Sandy and the approaching full moon high tides, vehicular access to St. Johns County beaches may be restricted through Sunday, October 28. A potential for the flooding of vehicle access ramps and the driving lane could require limited access to ensure visitor safety. The beach is open to pedestrians and can be accessed through the off beach parking lots available throughout St. Johns County. Beach visitors are strongly encouraged to remain out of the water during this significant weather event. For preparedness information and Hurricane Sandy situation reports as they become available, please visit the www.sjcemergencymanagement.org. Please call 904.209.0331 for updated information regarding beach access.
Source: City of St. Augustine
In a new lawsuit against the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), big energy extractors are pushing for carte blanche in their interactions with foreign governments, making it harder to track whether their deals are padding the coffers of dictators, warlords, or crony capitalists. The United States Chamber of Commerce, American Petroleum Institute, the Independent Petroleum Association of America, and the National Foreign Trade Council filed a lawsuit on October 10, 2012 against a new SEC rule, which requires U.S. oil, mining and gas companies to formally disclose payments made to foreign governments as part of their annual SEC reporting.
This lawsuit is not the only effort underway to make it easier for American corporations working overseas to bribe corrupt government officials. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is also pushing for a radical rollback of a 35 year old anti-bribery statute that has been tripping up U.S. companies abroad.
New SEC Rule Forces Disclosure of Financial Transactions With Foreign Governments
The challenged SEC provision, which aims to bring transparency to U.S. corporate payments to foreign governments abroad in an effort to combat bribery and corruption, was required by Congress in a last minute addition to the 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform bill. Some parts of Dodd-Frank have gone into effect while others are still under assault by industry in the lengthy rule-making processes. Senators Dick Lugar (R-Indiana) and Ben Cardin (D-Maryland) authored the provision, which simply requires U.S. corporations to report in their annual SEC filing any payments made to foreign governments.
This legislation is a crucial step in increasing transparency and accountability in countries with a history of government corruption. In many countries, there are often huge discrepancies between what companies might say that they paid the government and what the government said it received. Formal disclosure can serve as a critical tool for activists and citizens fighting corruption and poverty, which is why the measure was backed by groups like Oxfam International and Bono’s ONE campaign.
“The Cardin-Lugar Amendment puts transparency — the key to citizens’ ability to hold their government to account — ahead of corruption. To do otherwise is a losing proposition for the United States and company shareholders,” Lugar said in a statement this week. The SEC worked on the rule for two years with abundant business input.
Lawsuit Alleges Rule too Costly, Violates Corporate Rights
The groups which filed the lawsuit allege that the SEC failed to take into account the rule’s costs and benefits and that it “grossly misinterpreted its statutory mandate” in crafting the rule and has violated corporate “First Amendment” rights.
For supporters, it is difficult to see what is so costly about inserting a few paragraphs into an annual SEC filing. “We are greatly disappointed that the oil industry is trying to use the courts to bully the SEC and push for secrecy in their payments to governments,” said Ian Gary of Oxfam. “We call on companies, such as BP, Exxon, Chevron and Shell, who are hiding behind industry associations to do their dirty work while espousing transparency rhetoric, to disassociate themselves from the lawsuit.”
The attorney heading the challenge to the Dodd-Frank anti-bribery rule is Eugene Scalia, son of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. Of the six challenges that SEC regulations have faced and lost in federal court of appeals in Washington, DC since the mid 2000s, Eugene Scalia was behind four. He won a case on behalf of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce last year on the Dodd-Frank “proxy access rule,” which would have allowed shareholders to play a role in nominating company directors. Scalia also helped win a case in September against the SEC on a rule which would have imposed trading limits on speculators.
U.S. Chamber of Commerce Tries to Gut Foreign Corrupt Practices Act
Efforts to keep bribery under a veil of secrecy go beyond attacks against the SEC transparency rule. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has also been waging a war against the 1977 Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, which was adopted after a rash of bribery scandals of foreign officials was revealed, involving more than 400 U.S. corporations. The law, introduced by Senator William Proxmire (D-Wisconsin), bans companies from bribing foreign officials in order to secure land and retain business deals, and requires public companies to file financial statements and maintain internal controls. The Department of Justice (DOJ) and SEC are responsible for its enforcement and have been stepping up the pace in recent years, dedicating new staff and resources to a crackdown.
Now, the Chamber is actively pushing five amendments to the 1977 law, which would significantly weaken its enforcement mechanisms.
The value of the law was recently highlighted when The New York Times broke the story this spring that Walmex (Wal-Mart in Mexico), executives allegedly covered up millions of dollars in bribes to Mexican officials in an effort to fuel the company’s expansion in the country. Wal-Mart says it spent some $51 million on an internal investigation looking into whether the subsidiary violated the anti-bribery law and the U.S. Justice Department is also investigating.
According to the Chamber’s tax filings, 14 of the group’s 55 board members between 2007 and 2010 “were affiliated with companies that were reportedly under investigation for violations or had settled allegations that they violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.” Chamber member Pfizer recently paid $60 million to the SEC and DOJ to settle claims that its subsidiaries bribed foreign doctors and pubic officials to gain market access for its products in Eastern Europe.
Major American firms frequently embrace transparency as an alternative to mandatory binding regulation. Now transparency is also taking a beating as U.S. firms fight for the right to bribe foreign governments and hide their activities from American shareholders and the citizens of the nations where they do business.
We thought we’d give you a few favorites when it comes to spooky transportation. For instance, the Haunted Hearse Ride, a comfortable cruise through haunted haunts that offers a chance to hear intoxicating tales while enjoying some of the areas finer ales on what may be the world’s scariest pub tour. Or maybe a wagon ride through spooky woods is more your style. In that case, you’ll want to check out the Florida Agricultural Museum in Palm Coast. Be on the lookout for headless horsemen, known to appear in these parts, and a host of otherworldly encounters. Read more.
Take a stroll through the locals’ favorite haunts
Ghost tales and ales abound on the Creepy Pub Crawls. And there are plenty of pedestrian haunted tours afoot in the Old City. Most wind through the city’s oldest streets, where lies the setting for some of the city’s oldest ghost stories. The truth of them fades into legend and myth. But one wonders, having stood the test of so much time, if some of these old ghost stories might just be true. Come see for yourself. Bring comfortable shoes. Read more.
Romance is just a paranormal part of life here in The Old City
Ghosts and goblins make great cupids. So say the many couples that have ventured together through the haunted streets of St. Augustine on the dozens of ghost tours and excursions. This is particularly true during the weeks around Halloween, when 450 years of history becomes 450 years of ghost stories. After all, the place has a long tradition of conquering, soldiering, razing and sacking. St. Augustine has no shortage of graveyards, some dating back to the 17th century. Add to that the ominous nighttime visage of the formidable Castillo de San Marcos, the narrow streets and the ancient architecture, and you have a veritable paranormal paradise. Otherwise known as the perfect place to take a date.
So as it turns out, horror breeds romance. Incidentally, chocolate also breeds romance, and there’s plenty of that here too. But that’s a different story. Blood curdling leads to cuddling. Just ask the tour guide engineer on the Ghost Train tour. Couples aboard his train tend to drift closer and closer together in direct proportion to how scary the tour is at any given moment. And then there are the moments he calls the Scream and Slide, when a person reacts to a frightening moment and slides across the seat at considerable velocity closer to his or her date. More often than you might expect, it’s the man sliding.
A horse-drawn carriage ride is a great way to experience the historic frights of the city at night. The open carriage makes for freer access to ghosts, orbs and other materials in the spirit world. The carriage also allows for freer movement, like the timeless move of putting your arm around your date. One typically finds less resistance to such moves when there are unknown apparitions about.
Throughout St. Augustine’s extensive history there have been rumors of ghosts and hauntings. So many, in fact, that one wonders just how long ghost tours have existed. Perhaps the first ghost tours appeared in the Spanish settlements, ostensibly created by a wise conquistador who recognized the advantages to playing hero in the face of fabled specters and phantoms.
Source: Florida’s Historic Coast
affected on Saturday, October 20
Vice President Biden’s campaign stop in St. Augustine on Saturday, October 20 will necessitate some street closures in the vicinity of Ketterlinus Gym, 60 Orange St., site of the event. For more information call 904-209-0377.
The street closures, in effect 9:00am-3:00pm, are:
Riberia St. from Orange St. to W. Castillo Dr., and
Orange St. from Sevilla St. to Riberia St.
St. Augustine Police will manage traffic in the area and will assist property owners who need to access their property.
Doors open for the event at 11:00am. Access to the Historic Downtown Parking Facility will not be affected by the event.
For more information regarding the road closures, call the Public Affairs Department at 904.825.1004.
Source: City of St. Augustine
“Exercise in a Waste of Time”
“Hotshots” looks at a movie!
The Master has received good reviews and bad reviews, and this is definitely one of them.
It was directed by Paul Thomas Anderson, known for directing the 1997 Boogie Nights and the 2007 There Will Be Blood, both of which I thought were very good and enjoyable to watch.
On the other hand, between those two excellent films, Anderson directed the 1999 Magnolia and the 2002 Punch-Drunk Love, which I didn’t enjoy.
So, perhaps the story on Anderson is that he makes either good or bad films, which, if true, means that I am looking forward to his next film.
In this film, Anderson was supposedly inspired by L. Ron Hubbard, the founder of Scientology, but, if so, the story has been fictionalized, and there are no references to either the man or the religion.
The story takes place mostly in 1950, but there are flashbacks to World War II and some background on one of the characters, Freddie Quell, played by Joaquin Phoenix, and Quell’s service in the U.S. Navy and the South Pacific.
Freddie has emotional disturbances from his wartime experiences, and when he gets out of the Navy, he has trouble keeping a job because of his obsession with sex and his alcoholism, which he feeds by making his own hootch from whatever ingredients he finds at hand.
Then Freddie meets Lancaster Dodd, played by Philip Seymour Hoffman, who claims to be a doctor, writer, and theoretical philosopher.
Dodd, who is called The Master by his followers, tells Freddie, “I do many, many things.”
Freddie inspires Dodd, who claims that his teachings can allow people to access their past lives, and that his process exercises can even cure such diseases as leukemia.
Dodd’s wife, Peggy, played by Amy Adams, seems to have just as much influence in The Cause, as it is called, and Laura Dern even shows up as one of The Master’s converts.
The story moves from on board a boat to New York City, to Philadelphia, to Phoenix, Arizona, and finally to England, but it could have been edited better.
Both Joaquin Phoenix and Philip Seymour Hoffman, and even Amy Adams deserve much better.
The Master is quirky, thought provoking, interesting, but also boring, much too long, doesn’t pay off, and in the end is a colossal waste of everyone’s time.
I’m Dan Culberson and this is “Hotshots.”
“It is an honor and a privilege to be elected chairman of the Council of Presidents of ICUF, an association that includes 31 private, not-for-profit, educational institutions all based in Florida and accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges & Schools,” said Abare. “My highest priority will be to ensure that the State Legislature continues to support the ICUF institutions by funding the Florida Resident Access Grant.”
As chairman, Abare will have the responsibility of chairing the meetings of the Council of Presidents; appointing standing committees of the COP; working with the President of ICUF in developing agendas for all COP meetings and the annual retreat of the COP; representing ICUF institutions at state, regional and national meetings; and advocating to the Florida Legislature on behalf of ICUF institutions state funding for student financial aid programs.
“Bill Abare is a recognized higher education leader in Florida and he always places the need for quality access for Florida’s students in the forefront of education policy discussions,” said Dr. Ed Moore, president of ICUF. “His fellow ICUF presidents choose Bill to lead our organization based on his talent, his passion and his heart. The ICUF organization is pleased he will be our chair during these interesting times in Florida.”
ICUF institutions serve more than 150,000 students at over 140 sites around Florida.
Flagler College is an independent, four-year, comprehensive baccalaureate college located in St. Augustine, Fla. The college offers 24 majors, 29 minors and two pre-professional programs, the largest majors being business, education and communication. Small by intent, Flagler College has an enrollment of about 2,500 students, as well as a satellite campus at Tallahassee Community College in Tallahassee, Fla. U.S. News & World Report and The Princeton Review regularly feature Flagler as a college that offers quality education at a relatively low cost; tuition is $23,690, including room and board. A relatively young institution (founded in 1968), Flagler College is also noted for the historic beauty of its campus. The main building is Ponce de Leon Hall, built in 1887 as a luxury resort by Henry Flagler, who co-founded the Standard Oil Company with John D. Rockefeller. For more on Flagler College, visit www.flagler.edu.
Source: Flagler College