The Voice of the Gem City

January 31, 2019

A fire this morning on South 12th Street destroyed a one-story wooden house. Palatka Fire Department responded to 1206 South 12th Street around 10 a.m. Neighbors reported roadwork on South 13th Street and barricade sat 12th and River Street made it difficult for emergency personnel to get to the site. The structure, built in 1935, has been vacant for a couple of months. The owners report running a homeless man out of the house several times. In January of 2016 another wooden house on 12th burned to the ground.

Temperatures are warming up after a dip into the low 30s and a wind chill making it feel like the 20s early this morning. Homeless shelters in Putnam, Flagler and St. Johns counties all were in use. Temperatures will be going up but rain is moving in.

Two people were injured in St. Augustine Tuesday night when a truck crashed into Tolomato Cemetery on Cordova Street. St. Augustine Police arrested Justin Lee Edwards, 29, charging him with DUI causing serious bodily injury, DUI causing property damage and reckless driving. Edwards reportedly was pulling out of the Tolomato parking lot when he lost control, burning out his tires. His truck ran into a man and woman on the sidewalk shoving them through the cemetery’s concrete wall and fencing. The woman had two broken legs and was flown to Orange Park Medical Center. The man was first treated at Flagler Hospital for a leg wound then flown to Orange Park because of neck problems. The impact broke a column in the cemetery was broken and the tombstone of a 5-year-old boy named James who died in the 1800s. Visitors in the past have reported seeing his ghost in a tree at the cemetery. Early damage estimate is $10,000 although officials say it could be higher. Edwards is being held on a $56,000 bond.

Live cameras are being installed at 44 traffic signals in Palm Coast to provide real-time surveillance. Flagler County Sheriff’s Office and Palm Coast government will use the cameras for recording and video footage, part of a crime-mapping effort. More road surveillance is underway in Flagler County including recently installed real-time license plate readers.

A precautionary boiled water notice is in effect for part of Crescent Beach. About 350 residences are affected because of a broken water main. The notice is in effect for at least two days while St. Johns County Utility Department waits for test results. To get updates, call the Boil Water Notice Hotline at (904) 209-2731.

Putnam County Sheriff Gator Deloach, School Superintendent Rick Surrency, Palatka Mayor Terrill Hill and a number of other citizens were in schools Wednesday reading to elementary classes. The read-aloud occurred at Mellon, Melrose and Interlachen elementary schools.

Filming of rap music videos in South Bunnell will become more complicated as Bunnell city officials put in place an ordinance regulating shooting of videos, television and movie productions. The move comes after recent video productions brought noise complaints from citizens including the mayor.

Still waiting to see the Nights of Lights in St. Augustine? You have a couple of more days after the city extended the 25th annual event through Feb. 3. Millions of white holiday lights have brought in tens of thousands of tourists.

This is Marcia Lane, your Roving Reporter.

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