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St. Augustine

History comes alive at St. Augustine Seminole Wars convocation

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The drum beat a slow, mournful cadence as a procession of soldiers in 1842 uniforms led by two mounted cavalrymen proceeded down St. Augustine’s Marine Street to the National Cemetery where Maj. Francis Dade and all but two men of his command are buried.

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Plea in murder case from unlikely spot: the victim, a priest

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The Rev. Rene Robert devoted his life to helping society’s most troubled, working with drug addicts and criminals, and even signing a “Declaration of Life” that called for his killer to be spared execution in the event of his murder. More than two decades after filing that document, his wish will be tested. Robert’s body – shot multiple times – was found in the Georgia woods last year after a multistate manhunt led to the arrest of Steven Murray, a…

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Before the Pilgrims, Floridians celebrated the ‘real’ first Thanksgiving

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It’s that time of year when children make cardboard turkeys and draw the Mayflower, while we prepare to fill our tables with stuffing and pumpkin pie the way most of us imagine the Pilgrims did at the first Thanksgiving in 1621. But there’s just one catch, according to archaeologists at the Florida Museum of Natural History: The Pilgrims’ Thanksgiving wasn’t the first. The nation’s real first Thanksgiving took place more than 50 years earlier near the Matanzas River in St.…

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Hurricane: Many historic buildings in St. Augustine damaged

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St. Augustine’s iconic Spanish fortress escaped serious harm during Hurricane Matthew, but more than 1,000 historic homes and buildings in north Florida’s landmark colonial city were damaged by the storm, according to preservationists. Experts with the University of Florida said water flooded all seven of St. Augustine’s federally designated historic districts last month, damaging about half of all the 2,000 properties in those areas. Homes and businesses along the city’s waterfront were overwhelmed despite a $6.7 million seawall completed in…

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Rick Scott wants feds to declare ‘major disaster’ in Florida after Matthew

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In St. Augustine Monday for an event promoting tourism in America’s oldest city, Gov. Rick Scott reiterated his call for the federal government to approve Florida’s entire request for a “major disaster declaration.” The federal government has not approved funding, asserts the governor’s office, “for individual assistance or for permanent work to roads, parks, and government buildings in local communities.” Scott, who has been pushing for such since Hurricane Matthew, is understandably nettled. “Since Hurricane Matthew impacted our state, I have continued…

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After Matthew, some second-guess decision to evacuate

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Maureen Miller was among the 2 million people ordered to evacuate coastal areas in the Southeast ahead of Hurricane Matthew. Her family and their dog spent two nights in a hotel and struggled through police roadblocks to return. When they finally got back, their Brunswick, Georgia-area home was unscathed. Now they wish they had never left. “I will never evacuate again,” Miller said. “If we stayed, we’d be fine. I’m sure there are a lot of people who feel the…

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Surrounded by alligators, Matthew cleanup goes on in Florida

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Sure, lots of people in St. Augustine are picking up branches and leaves after Hurricane Matthew blew through town. But only a few are doing it surrounded by alligators. That’s what Jim Darlington and Amie Mercado were doing on Sunday, raking up debris in an alligator pit with the enormous reptiles just a couple of feet away, including one who opened its mouth wide as Mercado approached. That was part of the unusual cleanup at the St. Augustine Alligator Farm,…

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