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Palm Coast Saturday, Feb. 2, 2019 6 months ago

Your Town: Longtime birders flock to Palm Coast for Feather Fest

Also in Your Town: Donations sustain Sally's Safe Haven.
by: Paige Wilson Community Editor

For New Yorkers Lon and Helen Penna, birding is a part of life. They journey south to Florida every year to attend the city of Palm Coast’s annual Birds of a Feather Fest since its launch in 2015, according to a press release from the city of Palm Coast.

“We like that they have wonderful guides and the trips they plan are a little different each year,” Helen said in the news release.

Helen has been a birder all her life — developing a love for birds at early age thanks to childhood camping trips. For Lon, his love for birds came a bit later. Inspired by Helen, he began birding while on a trip to Pakistan 20 years ago.

“It gets us outdoors and it’s so relaxing and enriching,” Lon said in the release.

The couple plans to attend the 5th-annual Birds of a Feather Fest from Feb. 7-10 while visiting Lon’s parents, who have lived here for the last two decades.

Now that the Pennas have been birding for so many years, they have some advice for new birders: get a good pair of binoculars, a good birding book, research birding hot spots online, join a birding club and take some time to look outside your own home.

At the couple’s Scotia, New York, home, they have 16 bird feeders and a heated bird bath. They’ve seen 17 different species in their own yard.

See the festival’s schedule and register for events at


Also in Your Town: 

Donations sustain Sally's Safe Haven

Joe Mullins, Janet Nickels, Joyce Bishop , Bunnell Mayor Catherine Robinson, Alvin Jackson, Children’s Home Society's Eric Losciale and Dave Cognetta, and FLC's Trish Giaccone. Front: Christina Heichel and Tiona Donadio.

Recent donations will sustain Sally’s Safe Haven, a supervised visitation and safe exchange center, after Feb. 28 when its current grant funding period ends, according to a press release from Flagler County.

Since its inception in 2014, 70 families have been served and 1,006 services provided – an average of 14 per family, said Flagler County Public Information Officer Julie Murphy.

“I am challenging other businesses to come forward with donations,” said Joe Mullins, as a private citizen and business owner of The Mullins Companies, on Wednesday, Jan. 30, when his company donated $10,000 to the Children’s Home Society specifically for Sally’s Safe Haven.

The exchange center, which is located in Bunnell, is a Flagler County Program that is operated by the Children’s Home Society.

The center, which was accredited in May 2017, provides a location for supervised visitations and exchanges for families in crisis with a nurturing, safe and secure setting to foster healthy relationships.

Flagler County applied for a $550,000 three-year federal grant, but won’t find out if it receives it until Sept. 30 — one day before the funds are available for use, according to the release.


Palm Coast Songwriters Fest tickets on sale

Tickets for the Palm Coast Songwriters Festival are on sale now for the second-annual event scheduled for May 3-5. The music festival will showcase more than 12 artists/songwriters at two outdoor venues: Daytona State College Palm Coast Amphitheater May 3-4, and the Palm Coast Arts Foundation stage May 5 — for a weekend of melody and music, according to a press release.

What sets the Palm Coast Songwriters Festival apart is intimacy and insight into the artists and their songs, as the songwriters will often share the meaning behind their lyrics during the three-day event.

The artists include: five-time Grammy nominee Jeffrey Steele, whose hits include "My Wish," "What Hurts the Most," "Knee Deep" and "The Cowboy in Me;" Jesse Rice, the songwriter of "Cruise," the largest selling single in country music history; and two-time Grammy nominee Jim Collins, whose hits include "Big Green Tractor," "Everybody Wants to Go to Heaven," "Are You Gonna Kiss Me or Not" and "That's Why They Make Jack Daniels."


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