Letters to the editor: Renew the half-penny tax to support Flagler's students

Also in Letters to the Editor: City staff helped prepare, protect Palm Coast during Hurricane Ian.


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  • | 2:00 p.m. October 14, 2022
  • Palm Coast Observer
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Renew the half-penny tax to support Flagler's students

Dear Editor:

My name is Zoe Estberg, and I am a 2019 Flagler County graduate. 

This year, I will be a senior at the University of Florida. I have worked tirelessly toward a degree in mechanical engineering with a minor in biomechanics. My confidence in this world of technology is largely due to the early exposure students were fortunate enough to have in Flagler. 

As a fifth grade student, I was approached with the opportunity to pilot Flagler County's paperless program. This was overwhelming at first. My teachers, along with others from our county's tech department, guided me through this digital learning journey. Soon, I was not only figuring out how to navigate fifth grade, but also completing and submitting all of my assignments paperlessly. 

Those who witnessed this method of teaching were inspired to do the same. Student attitudes towards assignments improved. I have never seen classrooms with students so eager to learn, and this would not have been possible without generous allocations for classroom technology. 

Our success in preparing our students not only for their future, but their future in today’s world — which often requires technical proficiency — is imperative. 

Now a senior in college, I can reflect on how beneficial my early technology exposure truly was. Students who pursue higher education can expect to face group work that will require skills in online communication and computer applications. 

Unfortunately, not all of my colleagues were fortunate enough to receive early exposure to technology. They now have to teach themselves technological literateracy on top of their already heavy academic loads. 

Organizational skills and tools I once utilized as a high school student have enabled me to help others and simplify my own life. They have allowed me to stand out — something all Flagler County students can do, as long as the resources that were once provided for me, continue to be provided. 

Obtaining fluency in technology is crucial to becoming a successful adult. It is becoming a universal expectation that all of society is capable of operating technology. 

Of all things prioritized for our students, technology is something that has set our group of students apart from others for decades. 

For this and so much more, I thank you for your commitment in ensuring student access to resources that will propel them in the right direction towards becoming contributing members of society. 

Zoe Estberg

Gainesville

 

When the words 'thank you' are never enough

All of us tracked the path of Hurricane Ian as it tumbled around between Florida’s east and west coasts. Palm Coast residents grew anxious, and immediately, our city staff put Emergency Preparedness Action Plans into motion. 

While each of you were busy preparing your own personal properties for a big storm, city staff had you covered. 

During the 96, 72, 48, and 24 hours in advance of landfall, they interpreted data, they assembled to forecast any community vulnerabilities, and they got down to work:

Publics Works and Utility crews set up multiple sandbag locations and then secured susceptible areas across neighborhoods. 

Stormwater crews lowered levels in canals to prepare for possible flooding. 

Parks and Recreation crews primed parks and opened a daycare for city staff’s children so that employees could work. 

IT flew drones to record the status of city infrastructure before the storm hit. 

Communications sent notices to the public reporting weather conditions and evacuations, helping them to best prepare. 

Customer Service staffed call centers to answer questions and calm concerns. 

Firefighters and first responders prepared equipment for possible rescues and missions. 

Community Development worked with contractors to clean up construction sites and remove potential debris. 

Flagler County sheriff’s deputies remained on duty and vigilant to protect our community.

Every city employee engaged consistently and flawlessly with Flagler County Emergency Management. 

And next, we all hunkered down. City Hall served well as our Emergency Operations Center, where offices were filled with staff members who stayed for several days and nights.

When Hurricane Ian cleared out on Friday morning, your staff stayed on the job, cleaning up and clearing debris, conveying information, listening to calls for help, and responding as quickly as possible.

Together, we are all family in Palm Coast, and nothing proved this more than this natural emergency named Hurricane Ian. 

So, we believe that a mere "thanks" is not enough: Let’s all give a round of applause and salute the men and women who serve as our city employees.

This sentence may include "buzz" words, but it’s so true: Palm Coast just may be the safest city in all of Florida because it is protected by the most dedicated, experienced group of professionals in our entire State. We are truly blessed.

Offered with sincere appreciation by:

David Alfin, mayor; and Denise Bevan, city manager

Palm Coast

Editor's note: The statement above was read as a proclamation at the Oct. 11 Palm Coast City Council meeting and was also submitted to the Observer as a letter to the editor.

 

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