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Mark & Susanna Helman

WHY ST. AUGUSTINE?

Mark: My parents moved here 20 years ago and after several years of visiting, we decided we wanted to retire at the beach. Susanna said, “Why wait?”

Susanna: We moved from Denver, Colorado to raise our son, Cole, by the ocean. We wanted him to be free to run around and explore on his own as a kid, just as Mark and I did growing up.

WHAT KEEPS YOU HERE?

Mark: The ocean – and it’s a beautiful small town with great people.

Susanna: The ocean and the history.

WHAT MAKES YOU TICK?

Mark: People, art, and fish. I love people but when I need a break I escape to fish. I make art to fill that creative need.

Susanna: Making art, traveling, and working with my graphic design clients to help make their ideas and business dreams come to fruition. It’s thrilling to give a client their first business card; it solidifies who they are and what they are trying to achieve; it’s a magical moment.

HOW DO YOU HOPE TO IMPACT OUR COMMUNITY?

Mark: I volunteer some but really I just try to make people feel good. I try to make everyone I come in contact with feel welcome and heard.

Susanna: I really enjoy working at Imagine Fine Art Printing. We have great clients, very talented and interesting people who are exploring new ideas by printing with us. I hope to help them achieve the best results for their projects.

WHAT IS ONE PROBLEM YOU WOULD LIKE TO SEE SOLVED?

Mark: I deeply care about our natural habitat and environment. It concerns me that the balance of growth, development, and the environment are often times not aligned. Especially evident and disconcerting are the changes that have been happening to the Everglades; algae blooms across the state due to runoff, and overburdened landfills. It kills me when I find trash in our waterways and marshes.

Susanna: I would like to see the downtown area become more affordable for small, trendy, new businesses; either by lowering the rents or by offering grants to help get them started. I think it would attract more young tourists and stimulate our local economy.

WHAT DO YOU FEEL NEEDS TO BE SAID IN TODAY’S WORLD?

Mark: Be kind. Be grateful.

Susanna: Be kind to each other, even if we disagree.

Mark, Susanna, and their son Cole, moved to St. Augustine 15 years ago from Denver, Colorado. Mark Helman is the Marina Manager at the Conch House and a Commissioner of the St. Augustine Port, Waterway, and Beach District. He also is an artist who works in collaboration with his wife, Susanna. Susanna Helman is a fine artist working in a variety of mediums. She creates kinetic and static lightboxes of sea and cityscapes with her husband, Mark. Their works have been exhibited all over Florida, including the Jacksonville Museum of Contemporary Art. Currently, they are represented by William Havu Gallery in Denver and Plum Gallery, Saint Augustine. Susanna owns Bloom Graphic Designs, a graphic design company specializing in print and web design. She also works as a freelance graphic designer at Imagine Fine Art Printing in St. Augustine.

Frank O’Rourke

WHY ST. AUGUSTINE?

I’ve lived in St. Augustine for 38 years… attended Flagler College and worked part time all over town. I stocked shelves at JC Penney, bartended at St. George Tavern, deejayed at the old Passport Lounge and Sister Sally’s in the Holiday Inn at the Beach. I’ve waited tables at Raintree. Each one of those experiences introduced me to an eclectic mix of locals, Minorcans, tourists and college students. When I came here it was a much smaller town with really only a few bars to choose from at night. Days were spent either at the State Park – Blowhole and Middles or at Vilano. Anyone remember Bread Shoppe pizza at noon daily? Anyway, that past led to a 12 year run as a co-owner of the Beachcomber Restaurant prior to starting my real estate career.

WHAT KEEPS YOU HERE?

St. Augustine is really an easy place to live, when comparing the lifestyle here to many other places. I think the area has matured culturally enough in things important to me, i.e. music, food, entertainment, etc., and is still relatively affordable. Finding that balance isn’t easy.

WHAT MAKES YOU TICK?

Music. Always a tune in my head. My family. Surfing. Travel. And the ultimate – traveling to surf with my family. We all surf! Four kids and dad. Now if I could only get Kendra on a board…

HOW DO YOU HOPE TO MAKE AN IMPACT IN OUR COMMUNITY?

Staying involved and not accepting the status quo is important to me. I’ve volunteered on numerous local boards in the community and lent my voice. In the real estate business you’re selling a lifestyle more than a home so being connected and keeping a pulse on the ever-changing local atmosphere is crucial.

WHAT IS ONE PROBLEM YOU WOULD LIKE TO SEE SOLVED?

Traffic is the boiler plate answer. We have reached the point where it will take a drastic measure to suspend our traffic issues. By doing so – half the people will say it’s what we needed and the other half will cry “hardship”.

WHAT DO YOU FEEL NEEDS TO BE SAID IN TODAY’S WORLD?

S L O W D O W N..

Frank is a long time resident of St. Augustine and is widely recognized as one of the area’s prominent Real Estate Brokers. He has been a local business owner in St..Augustine Beach for over 30 years. In his spare time he likes to get out on the water, either for a surf or stand up paddle.

Todd & Katherine Batenhorst

WHY ST. AUGUSTINE?

Katherine: I was born at Flagler Hospital, back when it was on Marine Street, and raised in St. Augustine.

Todd: While finishing my Residency in Newport News, VA, I knew I wanted to stay on the coast. Nebraska was a great place to grow up, but I wanted a warmer climate. St. Augustine had an opening in family medicine. I interviewed here and fell in love with the town and the job.

WHAT KEEPS YOU HERE?

Katherine: I went away to college (Delta State University for undergraduate and The University of Alabama for my master’s degree). For me, leaving St. Augustine helped me truly appreciate being back.

Todd: It was a pretty easy choice. Katherine once asked if I ever wanted to move back home, but who could leave this place? My home life is wonderful, and I love living downtown. Flagler Family Medicine and Wellness has been a great place to practice medicine. WHAT

MAKES YOU TICK?

Katherine: I’m relatively easily amused, though Todd says I’m not as funny as I think I am. There are so many neat things that happen every day. Home, work, people…lots of good here.

Todd: I really do love to work. I also like to be ok/pretty good at many things. That table I make may not be square, and I may not hit my golf ball very straight, but if I’m doing stuff I enjoy, I feel good.

HOW DO YOU HOPE TO MAKE AN IMPACT IN OUR COMMUNITY?

Katherine: I hope to make an impact by making lives better through work, through volunteering, through listening to the stories/thoughts of others.

Todd: This community can be a leader in progressive medical care that will not only be great for the patients but also for those providing the care. We are working toward that on a daily basis. Also, volunteering has been something Katherine led me to that has made me a more well-rounded person.

WHAT IS ONE PROBLEM YOU WOULD LIKE TO SEE SOLVED?

Katherine: I’d like to see young people and seniors not going hungry. I’d also like to see advances in treatment and care for people living with Alzheimer’s and other dementias and their families.

Todd: I just want people to be happy and less stressed. Exercise more, eat real food, do some yoga… just ‘destress’ in a healthy way.

WHAT DO YOU FEEL NEEDS TO BE SAID IN TODAY’S WORLD?

Katherine: 1) We make choices regarding how we spend our time and live our lives. We should take responsibility for our actions and our decisions. 2) Your time is the most precious gift you can give.

Todd: Go see the USA. Make every attempt to see all the great sites but, more importantly, do the “lesser things”. Go scalloping in Steinhatchee, wander the Badlands, see the largest ball of twine, travel the backroads. Take it all in.

Todd is a family practice physician with Flagler Family Medicine and Wellness and President of the board of First Coast Health Alliance. Katherine is a speech-language pathologist at Palencia Elementary School. She is also Gerontology Residency-trained, and has worked with adults to treat voice, swallowing, and cognitive issues. The Batenhorsts like to garden, watch mindless TV shows, and spend quality time with folks they love. They have two dogs, Sunshine and Herbie. And, Todd DID take Katherine to see the largest ball of twine in Cawker City, KS. Loved it!