Anna Hamilton

Anna Hamilton is a freelance radio producer and oral historian in St. Augustine, Florida. Her first radio story, produced at the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies, covered a competitive burrito eating contest. Since then, her award-winning documentary work has focused on issues of civil rights, the environment and foodways. Hamilton produces Watershed, a podcast exploring Floridian culture and our changing environments.

She holds a B.A. in Humanities from New College of Florida and a M.A. in Southern Studies from the University of Mississippi. Ask her anything about Datil peppers.

Anna Hamilton / WJCT News

The St. Johns County Commission will soon consider a developer’s application to build 115 new homes in the northern part of the county.

The county’s Planning and Zoning Board is recommending denial of the application after nearby residents voiced their opposition last week.

Mary Farr and Scott Campbell are neighbors in the Fatio Grant community, tucked between horse pastures and piney woods in northern St. Johns County. Farr says living here gives her a perfectly rural lifestyle.

people on beach
Anna Hamilton

The federal government is considering 10 applications for offshore oil and gas exploration along the U.S. Eastern Seaboard.

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection has asked to delay the permits for further impact studies.

Neil Armingeon says just a few years ago, he didn’t know about seismic airgun testing, a standard method of mapping oil and gas deposits in deep sea beds. Today, though, it’s one of his top priorities.

Anna Hamilton / WJCT News

For drinkers, good news from Tallahassee: Florida lawmakers have passed a bill granting more freedom to craft distilleries and breweries.

Small-scale beer and spirit producers are seeing more opportunities for growth and exposure.  

The St. Augustine Distillery occupies the bottom floor of a 1920s-era ice plant that once produced huge frozen slabs for shrimp boats and homes. Amid the steampunk-looking copper stills and barrels of aging bourbon, co-founder and Chief Financial Officer Mike Diaz says business has blossomed since its grand opening just over a year ago.

Anna Hamilton

The federal Fair Housing Act was enacted in 1968 after the assassination of the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. to fight housing discrimination and promote equal opportunity.

Last month, Jacksonville Area Legal Aid workers commemorated its passage with a visit to St. Johns County.

It was an April morning. On the trolley tour itinerary: two Civil Rights tours, one of St. Augustine’s past and another of its present, both with an eye toward the future.

Anna Hamilton

This week, Florida Governor Rick Scott and his Cabinet approved a conservation easement on more than 200 acres in Putnam County. That land belongs to one family who’s been farming there for decades. 

Mr. Smith go to Tallahassee

It’s Tuesday morning, and Jared Smith waits patiently to address Governor Scott and the Cabinet. Jared is speaking on behalf of his grandparents, Wayne and Patsy Smith, who are selling a conservation easement on 238.45 acres in Hastings.

“It’s just another day in the office of a farmer, I reckon,” Smith said.

Anna Hamilton

This September, St. Augustine will commemorate 450 years as the oldest continuously occupied European settlement in the United States. Anniversary planning has been an arduous process for St. Augustine City officials — and with only six months to go, there is still much to be done.

Signs are already up in historical St. Augustine announcing the 450th commemoration. Crowds pass under them in the trolley plaza next to a big new parking garage. In anticipation of September, the city is dusting off its dancing shoes.

Florida Water and Land Legacy / Instagram

Among the issues Florida lawmakers are wrestling with is how to spend a pot of money set aside by last year’s Water and Land Conservation Amendment. Voters passed Amendment 1 with overwhelming support after a long and expensive campaign by conservation advocates. But as the House and Senate hash out the details, those advocates are worried the Legislature is ignoring their intent.

Amendment 1 Easily Passed Into Law