Estuary Fest 2021 is Saturday
The Friends of the GTM Reserve invites the public to celebrate National Estuaries Week with Estuary Fest 2021 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 25, at the GTM Research Reserve Visitor Center located at 505 Guana River Road, off State Road A1A in Ponte Vedra Beach.
“National Estuaries Week is a nationwide celebration of our bays and estuaries and the many benefits they provide to local communities,” said Ellen Leroy-Reed, executive director of Friends of the GTM Reserve. “The goal is to increase public awareness of estuaries and to encourage people to become involved in the protection of these important natural resources.”
Estuary Fest will include fun-filled events for people of all ages. There will be arts and crafts, food trucks and live music. The first 50 families may participate in a scavenger hunt and receive a bag of goodies. Attendees should bring some cash for the food trucks, raffles and special activities. The event and parking are free. For more information, contact the Friends of the GTM Reserve at firstname.lastname@example.org, call 904-823-4527, or go to gtmnerr.org/support/estuary-fest-2021.
Local project benefits from Wells Fargo, Florida Education Foundations grant
Wells Fargo and Consortium of Florida Education Foundations recently announced a $100,000 grant in support of the consortium’s “Investing in Florida’s Future: Financial Health and Sustainability” initiative.
The consortium received $100,000 from the Wells Fargo Foundation, $95,000 to be distributed through sub-grants, which will help local education foundations fund a range of financial literacy and environmental sustainability projects at 18 public school districts throughout the state during the 2021-22 academic year.
Locally, Investing In Kids received a grant for its “Wacky Watershed Conservation along the St. Johns River” project.
Partial closures at St. Augustine parking garage expected during project
A construction rehabilitation project is under way at St. Augustine’s downtown parking garage. It is expected to continue through the next couple of weeks. During this time, only the first and second floors will be available for use on weekday mornings. On Friday mornings and throughout the weekend, the upper portion of the garage will be open for use. For further information, call 904-484-5160.
Boat ramps to remain accessible to public during derelict vessel removal
Beginning Monday, Sept. 27, the City of St. Augustine will be removing several derelict vessels from the Intracoastal Waterway. The contractor will be using St. Johns County’s Doug Crane Boat Ramp and Lighthouse Boat Ramp; however, the boat ramps will remain open and accessible to the public.
Boaters are asked to use caution in this area during this time.
For more information, call Denise Radovich, grant administration coordinator at 904-209-4302.
Chair appointed for Statewide Task Force on Holocaust Education
Florida Commissioner of Education Richard Corcoran announced Friday, Sept. 17, the appointment of Michael A. Igel as the new chairman of the commissioner’s Task Force on Holocaust Education. Igel will advise the commissioner on key issues pertaining to Holocaust education.
Igel has served on the board of the Florida Holocaust Museum for the past seven years and as board chair since 2018. He frequently speaks in schools about his personal experience as the grandson of Holocaust survivors and on the importance of telling the stories of the Holocaust.
Florida Statutes require that schools teach the history of the Holocaust and in a manner that leads to an understanding of the ramifications of prejudice, racism and stereotyping.
In May 2019, Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a law that prohibits discrimination in Florida’s public education system based on religion, and specifically targets antisemitism.
On July 14, 2021, the State Board of Education approved new Holocaust Education standards. The standards will be fully implemented in the 2023-24 school year.
Rutherford, Lawson reintroduce POW/MIA memorial bill
On Friday, Sept. 17, National POW/MIA Recognition Day, U.S. reps. John Rutherford (R-04) and Al Lawson (D-05) reintroduced the National POW/MIA Memorial and Museum Act of 2021. This legislation would designate the POW/MIA Memorial and Museum at Cecil Field as the National POW/MIA Memorial and Museum to honor all former prisoners of war and those still missing in action.
“Every day, I fly the POW/MIA flag outside of my congressional office,” Rutherford said. “It serves as a reminder of the 82,000 U.S. servicemembers who are former prisoners of war or still missing in action.”
“Our servicemembers and veterans have always been the pride of our nation, and we admire them for their sacrifice and dedication,” Lawson said. “It is important to honor the brave Americans who have been prisoners of war and those who remain missing in action by creating a national museum and memorial in their tribute.”
North Beach 4×4 permit driving program reinstated
The North Beach 4×4 permit driving program will be reinstated beginning Monday, Sept. 27, after being temporarily suspended during the renourishment project in the Vilano Beach area.
This program grants permitted vehicles beach access between Surfside Park and the Usina access ramp.
North Beach drivers must obtain a permit by completing protected species training, have a current annual pass affixed to the passenger side of windshield and ensure their vehicle is 4×4 or all-wheel drive (no ATVs or motorcycles).
For further information on the program and requirements, go to http://www.sjcfl.us/HCP/Driving.aspx or call 904-209-0619.