Thirteen people were arrested Friday in Putnam County during a warrant roundup operation stemming from investigations focused on the Putnam Hall area in western Putnam County. Members of the Sheriff’s Street Crimes, K-9 and Drug/Vice units arrested people from Starke, Hawthorne, Melrose, Keystone Heights and Interlachen. Many of the arrests were tied to drug violations.
Palatka City Commission plans a public meeting Feb. 5 to consider the future of the Blue Crab Festival. Last year organizers cancelled the all-volunteer event. This year the chair has said he won’t hold it. One man is already stepping up to say he’ll put on a festival at the Putnam County Sports Complex . Wayne Troiano announced on Facebook plans for a festival and sports event for the Memorial Day weekend. He was once involved with the Palatka Azalea Festival.
Palatka Christian Service Center will be open tonight to help the homeless and those in need. The shelter, which offers a warm place to sleep and a hot meal, is open from 7 p.m. to 8 a.m. Volunteers are needed for shifts at the shelter located on Peters Street in Palatka. Call Suzanne McCoy at 386-916-8136.
A potentially deadly situation in Flagler County involving a fugitive from Virginia ended in a peaceful surrender Saturday after a three-hour standoff. A License Plate Reader tipped Flagler County Sheriff’s Office to a vehicle reported stolen during an armed robbery in Virginia and deputies found the vehicle on Belle Terre Parkway. Michael Eugene Moore eventually stopped but wouldn’t exit the car or obey commands. The immediate area was evacuated and SWAT as well as the Hostage Negotiation Team brought in. Moore was wanted for an armed robbery in which the victim was tied up and her car stolen. He was already wanted on a fugitive warrant for assault and battery in Virginia. In 1996 Moore was featured on America’s Most Wanted after stabbing his wife 33 times and abducting his 5-year-old daughter. The wife survived.
Palatka Police and the Clay County Sheriff’s Office are cooperating on a case involving a South Carolina man missing since 2015. Wallace “Buster” Gerrald, 85 at the time of his disappearance, was in Palatka to have legal documents signed and had headed home. He never made it. His truck was found a week ago in a heavily wooded area of Green Cove Springs. Items belonging to Gerrald were found in the white 2013 Ford F-150. Law enforcement was searching the area but rain Sunday hampered the effort. The search is expected to continue today.
A 49-year-old St. Augustine man faces felony child neglect charges and several misdemeanor drug charges after he was found asleep inside a parked unlocked SUV along with drug paraphernalia and a nine-month-old infant. A St. Johns County Sheriff’s deputy spotted the SUV with headlights on and engine running in the parking lot of a motel on State Road 207 in Elkton. Inside was Michael Wayne Hull, 49. A Sheriff’s Office spokesman said it took several deputies to wake Hull. They found numerous hypodermic needles, bloody paper towels and two types of prescription drugs for which Hull didn’t have a prescription.
St. Augustine police are investigating a stabbing early Saturday morning on Spanish Street in St. Augustine’s Historic District. The stabbing happened at 1:30 a.m. in an area filled with bars and restaurant. The victim, in his 20s, was airlifted to Orange Park Medical Center.
Castillo de San Marcos National Monument and Fort Matanzas National Monument are open for business again. The popular park attractions were closed during the 35 day government shutdown.
The Putnam County School District has honored top educators in area schools. Tonya Miles, a fifth grade math teacher at Moseley Elementary School, has been named 2019 Teacher of the Year. Lisa Davis, a physical education employee at Mellon Elementary, is 2019 School Related Employee of the Year.
Today marks the 23rd anniversary of the explosion of the Space Shuttle Challenger. Seventy-three seconds into the launch the Challenger blew up. Killed were the five astronauts aboard and two payload specialist including teacher Christa McAuliffe. Remember where you were that day?
This is Marcia Lane, your Roving Reporter.