Last Year’s Happenings At A Glance

The annual year-in-review is a long-held tradition in journalism. People like to take a glimpse at what happened the year prior before engaging with the coming year. We at Palm Coast Magazine are honoring that tradition. Below we present Palm Coast highlights from 2022.


Two Flagler County firefighters started the new year delivering a premature infant at 6:02 PM on New Year’s Day. Baby Sunnie was delivered by Lt. Jon Moscowitz and Firefighter/Paramedic Jimmy Melady. Sunnie was delivered 10 weeks early and weighed three pounds, five ounces to her mother, Traci Kuehn, and father, Brandon Smith.
The Flagler Access Center opened Jan. 11 at 103 E. Moody Blvd in Bunnell. The Center provides walk-in screening, crisis triage and outpatient treatment for behavioral health services. A $300,000 federal grant via the American Rescue Plan provided monies needed to renovate the space. A grant of $245,000 from the state funds the annual operating budget and staffing for the facility.
Joe Campanellie, a photographer from Palm Coast, was named to Team USA for the 2022 World Photographic Cup competition that was held in Rome, Italy, a couple months later March 28, 2022. Campanellie’s image named, “Bad to the Bone,” is a black and white of an eagle with focus on its majestic head with its wingspan in the background. The world cup competition is photography’s version of the Olympics with photographers from around the world competing for gold, silver and bronze medals.
In not-so happy news, Flagler County set a record high for positive COVID cases with 1,469 cases the week of Jan. 10.
A 95,500 square-foot self-storage facility in the Hidden Lakes community was approved by the Palm Coast City Council despite vehement objections from area residents.
The Flagler County Village was launched on Jan. 24. The Village is sponsored by Flagler Cares and serves as a “one-stop” access center for various social services groups.


Frank Greer retired after 24 years with the U.S. Postal Service.
Edmund J. DiBianco, a World War II veteran having served at Normandy in the European Theater, celebrated his 106th birthday on Feb. 1 with family, friends, community leaders and fellow veterans at the VFW. He was injured in Northern France and received an honorable discharge in 1945.
The City Council approved a $109,417 contract to have an engineering firm, England-Thims & Miller, conduct a pedestrian accommodation feasibility study regarding several of the residential collector streets in Palm Coast.
Several officers and staff members from the Flagler County Sheriff’s Department received recognition in February the for service in the fourth quarter of 2021. Deputy First Class Marcus Dawson received the Valor Award for the October rescue of a three-year-old boy hiding under a blanket in a house fire.
Certificates of Commendation were awarded to Communications Specialist Ashley Hicks, Communications Specialist Laimie Rittenour, Commander Lou Miceli, PAL Coordinator Kerri Henderson, Senior vs. Crime volunteer Evelyn Gomes, Communications Specialist First Class Joanna De Guzman, Chief David Williams, COP Paul Matarazzo and COP Bernard Kerschner.
Life-Saving Medals were awarded to DFC Christopher Crego, Deputies David Dichty, Talor Morgante, Communications Specialist Lucas Santos, Deputy Aaron Clay, Deputy Adam Bergman and Deputy Jasmine Slaga. Certificates of Appreciation were given to Judy Croteau, Kerri Henderson and Deputy Allyssa Narciso.
The Sheriff Citation Award was presented to Kerri Henderson. The Unit Citation was given to the members of the Flagler County Sheriffs Office Honor Guard.
Tom Garguilo, the “father of the arts” in Palm Coast and co-founder of the Garguilo Arts Foundation which generously supported the local arts scene died on Feb. 13. He was 83.


The Palm Coast City Council requested $3.14 million in state aid to facilitate the extension of main arterial roads west of US Highway 1.
Joe Rizzo, executive director of the Flagler County Education Association, died unexpectedly on March 6. He was 47 years old. Rizzo had been executive director for the past five years. Under his leadership, the FCEA grew significantly and was able to serve thousands of Flagler County at-risk and economically-disadvantaged students.
A new Flagler County Cultural Council was established with the mission of serving as an umbrella organization for more than 50 arts and cultural groups in the county. The new council’s main mission is secure funding for these groups and promote art and culture in the county.
Palm Coast was named to be “The Best City to Retire in 2022” in the United States by the website, “Retirement Living.” Factors considered included average mortgage rate, sales tax rate, senior care and affordability for those living on a fixed income as well as the availability of amenities such as golf courses, restaurants and shopping.
Caleb Struble, a Palm Coast lifeguard who suffered a spinal injury in July 2021, was welcomed home from rehabilitation in Atlanta. Struble, a Mantazas High School senior, was eager to return to his classes and graduate at the end of the spring semester.
 A partnership between the Flagler Technical College and the Sheriff Perry Hall Inmate Detention Center opened HVAC training for prisoners.


City council members opted to keep the plexiglass shields installed during the COVID-19 pandemic in customer service at City Hall in place.
Locals packed out the April 5 city council meeting presenting their push for additional aquatic facilities in Palm Coast.
Members of the Palm Coast City Council voted themselves a 151 percent pay raise at its April 19 meeting. The vote was 4 to 1 with Councilman Eddie Branquinho voting against. The council also approved a 164 percent raise for the city mayor. Supporters said the pay raise would attract more highly qualified applicants. Those opposed said the raise was too steep and asked the council members to delay the raise until after the November election.
Sheriff Rick Staly announced a 52 percent drop in the overall crime rate since 2017. The announcement was made right as the sheriffs office was preparing to move to its new location in Bunnell. Property crime is down 2.1 percent, but vehicle theft is on the rise mainly because in more than 40 percent of the cases, the vehicle’s owner left the keys in the ignition in an unlocked car, according to Staly. In total, 997 crimes were documented in Flagler County in 2021 as compared to 1,849 in 2017.
Palm Coast firefighters freed a cat stuck in a car engine. The rescue occurred on April 19, which is also National Cat Lady Day.


Members of the Flagler County School Board considered updating the district’s “walkout policy” based on a March student walkout protesting the Florida Parental Rights in Education bill that many in the media labelled as the “Don’t Say Gay” legislation.
City council announced that Palm Coast area roads continue to deteriorate. In 2017, the area’s roads received a rating of 79 out of 100 via the Pavement Condition Index. In 2021, the road score dropped to 75. Asphalt price increases outpaced the county’s six-cent gas tax allocation earmarked for road repair.
AdventHealth unveiled its new transport helicopter for its Flight 1 program. The new helicopter is an Airbus EC145e and was expected to help the program meet increasing demand.
A dog name Rocky who was shot in the face in April was adopted to his “forever” home in mid-May. A bullet was shot through his snout and bottom lip and travelled through his neck, shoulder area and left front leg. An unidentified Flagler County Sheriffs Office employee adopted Rocky.
Teresa Rizzo, widow of Joe Rizzo, who died in March, was named as the new executive director for the Flagler County Education Association, a position that her husband held until his death in March 2022.
The Tunnels to Towers Foundation held its first-ever race in Palm Coast on May 14. The T to T Foundation funds homes for the families of the victims of the World Trade Center attack on 9/11 and for the families of military members killed on active duty.
A Bunnell grandmother proved she can powerlift with women half her age as she competed over Memorial Day weekend in the American Powerlifting Federation meet in Holly Hill. Kelly Schlobohm, age 51 at the time, squatted 423.5 pounds, benched 242 pounds and dead-lifted 440 pounds. She ranks 28th in the United States for women powerlifters of all ages.

Kyle Berryhill was appointed the city’s new fire chief. Berryhill is a battalion chief and takes over for Jerry Forte, who was retiring. Berryhill joined the Palm Coast Fire Department in August 2005.
A branch of the African American Entrepreneurs Association opened its doors in Palm Coast at 160 Lake Drive. The AAEA offers a robust mentoring pogram for African Americans developing a business.
The Community Chorus of Palm Coast celebrated ten years of providing area residents with the opportunity to attend choral concerts and or become performers with the group. The ten-year celebration as held at First Baptist Church in Bunnell.
City council members discussed a potential need for more sidewalks at the group’s June 14 meeting. The City last studied the sidewalk issue in 2008. Since then, more than 60 miles of biking and hiking trails worth $10 million-plus have been added to Palm Coast. Sidewalk consultants suggested the City first look at sidewalk needs near schools.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis stopped by Palm Coast to sign state legislation authorizing up to $1,500 per year for the care of retired K9 police officers.


Dr. Stephan Bickel pledged to donate $1 million per year for ten years to Flagler Cares, an organization which focuses on developing Flagler County resources for affordable housing, mental health care, substance abuse treatment program, early childhood development and food insecurity.
Parents of elementary-age students expressed their displeasure with a school district plan to ban graphic tee shirts and Croc style slip-on shoes during school hours.
Despite objections to the density of a new housing development, the Flagler County Commission approved a plan to build 1,200 new homes over a seven-year time period on 612 acres of land in the Radiance section of the Eagle Lakes subdivision.
Sea turtle nesting in Flagler County set new record in 2022 with close to double the number of nests identified this year as compared to recent typical years. Volunteers identified 767 nests as of July 13.
Two green sea turtles were released back to the ocean on July 14 after receiving treatment for fibropapillomatosis, which is a viral disease causing tumors in turtles. Granny Smith and Artichoke received treatment at the University of Florida Whitney Laboratory for Marine Bioscience’s Sea Turtle Hospital.
After receiving many complaints to the sheriffs office and reading a series of letters to the editor of the local paper, Flagler County Sheriff Rick Staly decided to clear the air regarding city, county and state rules regarding the use of fireworks. Turns out the law is on the side of those wanting to ignite fireworks.


The City of Palm Coast cut building permit fees in half. So many permits were issued in 2022 that the balance in the building fund was approaching its state-imposed limit for the fiscal year.
The former sheriffs department operational center building was being tapped to house a new inpatient drug and alcohol treatment facility. The sheriffs department left the building in 2008 citing concerns that it was a “sick” building. Department leadership contended several employees had mysterious illnesses.
The Palm Coast Arts Foundation installed its 17th turtle on the Turtle Trail.
Three new self-storage facilities were approved by the Palm Coast Planning Department ending a decades-long period in which no storage facility applications were received.
Flagler County teamed up with Volusia County to assess health care needs in the two jurisdictions. Improving access to behavioral health care was deemed most important.
Residents were reminded that picking palmetto berries on government land is illegal, citing the need to leave the berries for wildlife to eat.
A $700,000 request by Flagler County Sheriff Rick Staly slated to increase sheriff deputy salaries was denied by the Flagler County Commission.
A Palm Coast man who allegedly participated in the January 6 riots outside of Congress in Washington, D.C. was arrested August 25. Jonathan Rockholt was charged with interfering with a law enforcement officer during a civil disorder, entering and remaining in a restricted building or grounds and disorderly and disruptive conduct in a restricted building or grounds. Charging documents stated that Rockholt took the riot shield of a Capitol police officer with him when he left the scene.


Winners of the Palm Coast Annual 2022 Photo Contest were announced, More than 900 photos were submitted. The following won for the respective categories: Jennifer Bellerive, pets; Mara Rush, recreation; Les Goldberg, nature; Eduardo Hernadez, event photos; and Alexander Lexington, resident photos.
After numerous years contracting with the owners of the Green Lion restaurant, the city’s Palm Harbor Golf Club was seeking a new food contractor for the facility.
Sheriff Rick Staly sent a “cease and desist” letter to Alan Lowe, a then candidate for Palm Coast City Council District 2 demanding that Lowe stop using images of Staly in his campaign.


Residents began cleanup after Hurricane Ian stormed across the state and into the Atlantic Ocean. More than 200 homes in Flagler County had minor damage while seven others sustained significant damage. The storm caused three to six feet of beach erosion in The Hammock where large sections of coquina were left exposed. The storm provided city officials with the opportunity to use a new app designed to calculate the loss of beach sand.
Mayor David Alfin declared October 14 to be, “Chief Jerry Forte Appreciation Day.” Forte worked for the Palm Coast Fire Department for 32 years having worked his way up the ranks to become chief.
Forty dogs and one cat were blessed on October 1 by Reverend Robert Goolsby of the St. Thomas Episcopal Church in Palm Coast in the annual Blessing of the Animals.
The planning board gave its thumbs-up approval to the County Commissioners for two new housing developments. The Wexford development is slated for 81 houses on 39 acres between I-95 and Old Kings Road. The Scenic Cove development planned for 19 acres off North Oceanshore is expected to have 56 single family homes.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis toured Flagler County beaches getting a first-hand look at damage caused by Hurricane Ian. County officials estimate more than a half million cubic yards of sand was lost in the storm. Estimated replacement value is between $35 and $40 million,
The Palm Coast zoning and planning unanimously voted against altering plans at the Harborside Inn and Marina citing that the proposed changes would put the project in violation of density laws and would create parking and traffic problems.


The Flagler County Education Association received at $10,900 grant from Florida Power & Light to support FCEA’s Flagler Peer Learning project. The project is geared toward helping teachers create lesson plans and improve their knowledge of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math).
A Palm Coast woman caught a 1 pound, 7.68-ounce Florida pompano fish in waters off St. Simons Island in Georgia. The catch by Cathy Sanders tied the Georgia state record for that species.
An 11-year-old Palm Coast boy took fourth place with his catch of a 37-inch redfish at the Kids Can Fish Tournament also in waters off St. Simons Island, Georgia.
Members of the Flagler County Sheriffs Department and the Palm Coast Fire Department participated in a joint active shooter response training program
Residents prepared for the arrival of Tropical Storm Nicole. The storm’s slow-churning wind and rain caused an estimated $13.3 million in damage at Flagler Beach with an $9.2 million in Flagler County.
Sheriff deputies took on an active role in protecting poll workers in the 2022 election in Flagler County. Several poll workers reported feeling threatened. Deputies escorted the poll workers to and from their homes while early and day of election occurred.
Palm Coast City Council members voted on November 15 unanimously to sue the contractors of the splash pad at Holland Park. The splash pad’s surface began to delaminate shortly after the pad opened. City officials had to close it for safety reasons. Mediation between the city and representatives of the contractors failed to reach an agreement in mid-November. The suit being brought could be a bit cumbersome with 64 different contractors, subcontractors, engineers, and architects having been part of the construction process. As of mid-November, the city estimates losses at the park to be at least $1.4 million.


A feminine note was added to the history of the Palm Coast City Council as two women were installed to its membership at the council’s Dec. 6 business meeting. Theresa Carli Pontieri now represents District 2 and Cathy Heighter – also the council’s first African-American female member – now represents District 4.
Flagler County Engineer Faith Alkhatib announced that her department secured $12.6 million to replenish damage to the county’s beaches during the 2022 hurricane season.
The new Flagler County Sheriff’s Office Operations and District 3 building had a grand opening ceremony on Monday, Dec. 19. The new facility will consolidate many aspects of the sheriff’s office into one location, where they have been spread out across the county. 
“I’ve been homeless for four years,” Staly said. “So I’m ready for a home.”
‘Tis the season for foolish criminal activity: From the cop’s report, a pawn and jewelry store robbery perplexed officers in that the only missing item was a firearm. All the jewelry was left behind in the Dec. 8 heist. More than a thousand dollars of alcohol was stolen from a Palm Coast grocery store on Dec. 4. An 11-month undercover narcotics investigation begun in January resulted in the naming of 35 suspects and the arrest of 18 of those individauls . On Dec. 8, the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office held a press conference announcing the results of “Operation: Santa’s Naughty Little Sellers” in which 24 search warrants facilitated the seizure of $5.7 million of illegal drugs, firearms and thousands in cash.