The Voice of the Gem City

Local News 2/4/2019

Residents in south Putnam County and north Flagler County began reporting rumbling explosions late last week. Turns out it’s the inert and live bombings going on as Navy pilots train at Pinecastle Range Complex in the Ocala National Forest. Bombing practice continues this week from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. except for Sunday when practice is from 5 to 11 p.m. A spokeswoman at the Naval Air Station in Jacksonville says it’s part of a military exercise running through Feb. 28.

In Elkton Sunday an auto accident left a 71-year-old woman dead, according to Florida Highway Patrol. Antoinette Mendez Greif, 71, of Elkton, was headed east on County Road 207 when her Pontiac Solstice collided with another car. She was wearing a seatbelt , according to troopers, but died at the scene. The driver of the second car was taken to Flagler Hospital with minor injuries. Charges are pending.

Work is scheduled to begin this week in Flagler Beach on State Road A1A and may mean some detours as you drive the coastal town. Removal of a barrier wall and construction of temporary roads on the east side will take place from South 22nd Street to South Ninth Street. Until late February both northbound and southbound traffic will remain on SR A1A. Also scheduled removal of three walkovers before repaired structures are put up.

The 10th anniversary of the disappearance of HaLeigh Cummings from Putnam County is Feb. 9.  Despite years of investigation no one has found the little girl, who was 5 years old at the time she vanished. Channel 4 is doing a series on the disappearance this week and points out Crime Stoppers of Northeast Florida still has a $15,000 reward for information leading to an arrest in the case. If you have information, call 888-277-TIPS.

St. Johns County authorities have arrested a New Jersey man on suspicion of misuse of 9-1-1 after investigation showed he’s made 200 9-1-1 calls in the past two months in Florida. Michael S. Reston, 38, called 9-1-1 while in St. Augustine, but then hung up and didn’t return calls. St. Augustine Beach Police found him Wednesday in the back seat of his car, which was parked at the St. Johns County Pier. He reportedly told them he was sleeping the car while seeking an apartment to rent. He also told them he didn’t have an emergency but his phone ran out of minutes and he wanted to talk with someone. St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office found out he’s made such calls in Tampa, Port St. Lucie and St. Johns County. Tampa Police reported he’d called 9-1-1 200 times in two months. He was charged with misuse of 9-1-1 and issued a warning for trespassing.

Putnam County businessman Irving Roberts was presented the Bob Hudson Small Business Person of the Year at Saturday’s annual meeting of the Putnam County Chamber of Commerce. The award is named for Bob Hudson, a small business owner and former Chamber president who was extremely active in Putnam County. Roberts, along with his sons, operates Roberts Land and Timber Company, Roberts Ranch and ANU Management.  Also saluted at the meeting: Michael Leonard, Palatka Daily News publisher, 2018 Newcomer of the Year; Wayne McClain, Beck Automotive, 2018 Board Member of the Year; Monique Branch, recently retired from Georgia-Pacific, 2018 Chamber Star Unsung Hero; Rusty Starr, former Palatka Daily News publisher, Wes Lawson Living Legacy Award. In an annual ceremony, outgoing Chamber Chair Joe Pickens, president of St. Johns River State College, passed the buck to incoming Chair Steve Overturf, Johnson-Overturf Funeral Home, who introduced the 2019 Chair Elect Charlie Douglas, Douglas Law Firm.
For photos of the Chamber meeting, go to

This is Marcia Lane, your Roving Reporter.

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