The Voice of the Gem City

January 29, 2019

A warrant roundup operation by the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office led to the arrests of 13 people Friday in Putnam County. The roundup was the result of a drug operation spanning more than four months and dubbed West End Roundup since it focused on the Putnam Hall area in western Putnam. Members of the Sheriff’s Street Crimes, K-9 and Drug/Vice units arrested people from Starke, Hawthorne, Melrose, Keystone Heights and Interlachen.

Beginning Feb. 4 St. Augustine offers a new way to pay for parking – a mobile parking app called ParkStAug. The app available fro Google and Apple bypasses parking meters and pay stations and meters are scheduled to be removed. Park Now cards will be honored until the balance on them runs out. Officials are hoping not to have the same problems as when parking meters were removed and pay stations introduced. Lots of people found themselves with parking tickets because without meters they didn’t realize the spaces weren’t free. Credit and debit cards can be used with the new app. Pay stations will still be available for people wishing to use money.

Palm Coast City Council is meeting in a workshop today to hear a presentation for a planned high-tech corridor. They’ll also be talking about how to fund financing a renovated public works facility on US. 1. Cost for that is up to $21.5 million and under discussion is adding a public service electric tax or franchise fee on the public in order to pay for the facility.

A 59-year-old Middleburg man died at the scene of a crash involving two truck Monday morning in Putnam County. Florida Highway Patrol reports the accident happened just before 6 a.m. Monday on State Road 100 outside the Vulcan Materials Company Grandin Sand Plant. A truck traveling east on SR 100 struck the left side of the trailer of another truck that was exiting the plant. The first truck rotated and overturned. Driver William Brathwaite died at the scene. The other driver was taken to UF Health Shands Hospital in Gainesville with minor injuries. Charges are pending.

Seventh Judicial Circuit Court Judge Bryan R. Rendzio spent his first day on the bench Monday. Former Gov. Rick Scott appointed the Ponte Vedra Beach resident to fill the post left vacant last year after Judge Clyde Wolfe died. Rendzio is presiding over the unified family court division in St. Augustine.

Putnam County Commissioner Buddy Goddard is getting a jump on the 2020 elections. He has filed to seek re-election of his District 5 commission seat, according to Putnam Supervisor of Elections Charles Overturf III.

The ARC of Putnam County holds an open house Wednesday at the Whittaker Center to discuss the facility and plans for the future with the families of current and potential clients. In December Jim Whitaker who’s led the center for the developmentally disabled for more than 40 years retired. The open house is from 4 to 6 p.m. at the Arc, 1209 Westover Drive in Palatka.

The man who decided to go swimming with the crocodiles at the St. Augustine Alligator Farm has pled no contest to criminal mischief and trespassing charges. On Friday Brandon Hatfield was sentenced to a year in jail but credited for the 121 days he’s already been in jail. He’ll also get two years of house arrest afterward and must pay the Alligator Farm $5,400 in restitution for damages to the facility caused when he broke in after hours in November. A crocodile bit him while he was in the exhibit fond and he’s still on crutches.

This is Marcia Lane, your Roving Reporter.

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