The Voice of the Gem City

January 23, 2019

A house fire in San Mateo this morning has sent two people to the hospital. Firefighters from several departments were on the scene of the fire on State Road 100 which was shut down both ways at one point. Putnam County Sheriff’s Office deputies removed one person from the structure and assisted rescue personnel with getting the other individual out, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

St. Johns County deputies, K-9 units and a helicopter are searching for a man who stole a vehicle in Jacksonville this morning and ended crashing it in the Fruit Cove area. Reports say the man described as white and in his 30s with dark hair initially pulled over for a traffic stop in St. Johns County, then sped off, later flipping his car when he wrecked in the Fruit Cove area. He ran off through neighborhoods in the area that is near the Duval County line.

Palatka City Commissioners apparently have hopes for a 2019 Blue Crab Festival. Current organizers went back and forth last year about whether they would hold the longtime event that at one point was drawing 200,000 plus people to downtown each Memorial Day weekend. The group didn’t hold the festival last year and commissioners want an update at their meeting Thursday. Volunteers who were involved in the more successful version of the festival say time is running out to hold the mega-event and likely only a modified and much smaller version could be pulled together for this year.

St. Johns County is reading a bestseller – Lisa Wingate’s Before We Were Yours. It’s this year’s St. Johns County Library System’s choice for the St. Johns Reads 2019 which is a community wide event. The novel is based on a real scandal when a Memphis based adoption organization director kidnapped and sold poor children to wealthy families all over the country. Wingate will be on hand Feb. 23 at the finale.

The Hamblen House, longtime home of American Legion Post 37 in St. Augustine, will apparently be leased by Harry’s Seafood Grill which is currently on Avenida Menendez. The landmark house is near the foot of the Bridge of Lions downtown. Harry’s has gotten a Certificate of Appropriateness from the Historic Architectural Review Board to make modest alterations.

Crescent City Commissioner Marcus Hardy died Tuesday. Hardy, who was elected in 2015, was suffering from a serious illness, according to Crescent City Mayor Brett Peterson, who praised the commissioner for his enthusiasm and support of the fire department.

In Flagler County, the executive director of Flagler Auditorium for the past 16 years has died. Lisa McDevitt promoted a variety of shows popular with area audiences and was a fervent supporter for arts in education. A celebration of McDevitt’s life is expected to be held at the Auditorium in the future.

We told you yesterday about the black lab mix puppy that needs a heart operation. SAFE, the animal rescue organization in Putnam and St. Johns counties, reports the dog named Allie has been operated on although they still haven’t raised $1,600 of the money needed.

This is Marcia Lane, your Roving Reporter.

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