The Voice of the Gem City

February 22, 2019

Tuesday afternoon a Flagler County School bus dropping off children in Palm Coast’s R-Section had to pull over on Red Mill Drive when its driver, Lorraine Clift, called 911 about a child on the bus who was out of control.Clift, who’s been driving a bus in the district since the fall of 2017, told a Flagler County Sheriff’s deputy that the child appeared to be harming himself. He was “hitting himself in the head with a seat belt and appeared to tie his jacket sleeves around his neck until his face started to turn purple,” according to an incident report.
The boy is 5 years old, and 3 feet tall. He will be 6 in March.
Deputies had arrived at the scene along with paramedics, who tended to the child and cleared him medically. His 33-year-old father soon arrived as well, and as soon as he began speaking with his son, the boy’s “demeanor and attitude deescalated drastically,” the report states. The boy explained that “he is being bullied by an unknown group of other juveniles and was angered and acted out.”
A deputy at the scene told the boy’s parent that he would be informing the school resource deputy at Rymfire Elementary, the student’s school, of the incident and of the report of bullying. The child, according to the report, sees a counselor at school every week, and his father said he would take him to an “evaluator” right away.
Since the child was “under control, and not physically injured and in the care of his father, it was determined that [he] would be turned over to his father,” the report states.
Three Flagler County school students have been arrested in eight days in three different schools over making threats. In two of the three cases, the students cited bullying as causing them to make the alleged threats: on Tuesday, a 16-year-old girl at Matanzas High School was arrested for allegedly making a threat on Snapchat to shoot up the school, an image other students detected and reported to school officials. Last week a 13-year-old boy at Buddy Taylor Middle School known to have been the victim of bullying in the past was arrested after an outburst of alleged threats while he was playing a live Xbox game on the internet the previous weekend, with other students online. In every instance, the students making the threats have been charged with a felony. Because of confidentiality rules, it is impossible to get information about the students’ history or to document any history of bullying through the school district.
John Fanelli, the district’s coordinator of student support and behavior, could not be reached Thursday morning.

City Repertory Theatre and PCAF will stage “The Taming of the Shrew” at 6 p.m. Thursday Feb. 21, 7 p.m. Friday Feb. 22 and Saturday Feb. 23, and 2 p.m. Sunday Feb. 24. Performances will be on an outdoor stage under an enclosed tent at the Palm Coast Arts Foundation’s pavilion in Town Center, 1500 Central Ave., Palm Coast. For opening night Feb. 21, tickets are $60 general public and $50 Palm Coast Arts Foundation members, and include a reception at 6 p.m. Performances Feb. 22-24 are $30 general public, $25 PCAF members, $10 students with ID. Tickets are available by calling 386-225-4394 or online at
The success of the City Rep/PCAF Shakespeare collaborations has both organizations considering future possibilities, even as PCAF itself is in Phase II of an ambitious four-phase, multi-year effort to create a full-fledged arts center at 1500 Central Ave. in Palm Coast.
According to its website, Phase II calls for enhancements to the existing pavilion, including a roof, a sound system, landscaping and fountains, and a common back wall to be shared with a future events center that is the main aspect of Phase III. Phase IV calls for a performing arts theater with three auditoriums with 2,200 total seating capacity, plus art galleries, lounges, studios, dressing rooms, rehearsal space, classrooms and offices.
This year the City Council’s legislative priorities include supporting a legislative appropriation for PCAF’s cultural arts complex.”Sponsored by State Sen. Travis Hutson, that “local funding initiative request” calls for $3.1 million for a “space-frame roof system” for the 4,500 square-foot PCAF outdoor pavilion, with an additional $400,000 match from the State Cultural Arts Endowment Fund, Holland said. The request, which was submitted Jan. 1, is pending.

The city also provides annual cultural grants up to $3,000 – grants that City Rep, PCAF and other area arts organizations have been awarded in past years.

After forcing deputies into a dangerous pursuit reaching speeds over 100 mph, a man was taken into custody when he attempted to evade his pursuers by way of canoe, according to the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office.
According to deputies, it started when Mark Mastromarino took a 1989 Ford Mustang out for a test drive and didn’t come back. The owner of the car reported it stolen, and investigators said Mastromarino took the car down County Road 208, hitting speeds of 103 mph.Investigators said Mastromarino hit two police cruisers during a pursuit that led to Melissa Moon’s residence, where he rammed the car through two gates and crashed into a third.
“Police had said that whenever he would see them that he would just take off,” Mastromarino said.
Moon said she had put her three children down a nap when she heard the wreck.
“It took me a while to kinda of figure out what was going on, but the look in his eye and how fast he was coming — I just thought this must all be related,” Mastromarino said.
After crashing the car, Mastromarino ran into the neighbor’s yard where he grabbed a canoe and got in the lake, deputies said. According to Moon, the suspect spent about 30 minutes in a stand off with deputies before he eventually paddled to shore, where he was taken into custody.
Investigators said the car the suspect was driving was totaled in the wreck. Mastromarino was charged with grand theft auto, aggravated assault and possession of marijuana.
According to the arrest report, Mastromarino threw 27 grams of pot onto the shore. He then yelled, “I know what it weighs. It better weigh the same amount when I get back.

A pursuit that began after a call about a burglary outside a fitness center in St. Augustine ended in a wrong-way crash Thursday evening, according to the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office.
Chuck Mulligan with the Sheriff’s Office said a dispatcher received a call that someone broke into a car at the Anytime Fitness on US-1 South. Witnesses gave a description of the car two suspects were in, and deputies found the car driving on the highway.
As deputies attempted to pull the driver over, the car continued driving and went down the wrong side of the road, Mulligan said. The vehicle the deputies were pursuing crashed into oncoming traffic near the intersection of South Ponce De Leon Boulevard.
No one was injured in the crash, Mulligan said. The two people who were in the car deputies were chasing, a man and woman, were arrested. They were not identified.

A 13-year-old runaway was arrested after a Palatka elementary school received an anonymous phone call that stated a shooting was imminent, according to a release from the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office.
After a staff member at James A. Long Elementary School received the phone call, the youth resource deputy put the school on lockdown, the Sheriff’s Office said. Another school nearby, Jenkins Middle School, was also placed on lockdown.
According to the release, a teenager identified as Gregory Henry was located during the lockdown procedure at Jenkins Middle, and it was determined the teen was not a student there. Detectives said that Henry was a runaway from Volusia County wanted on drug charges. Marijuana
Detectives determined Henry was responsible for making the threatening phone call to James A. Long Elementary, the release said. He was a prior student of the middle school.
Henry was charged with making a false report concerning the use of a firearm in a violent manner, which is a second-degree felony.

The city of St. Augustine is moving forward with a $500,000 land purchase in South Davis Shores that the city manager says will help mitigate nuisance flooding and double as a neighborhood park.
The St. Augustine City Commission unanimously approved the purchase last month, but as News4Jax has learned, Mayor Nancy Shaver now says she made a mistake by voting in favor of it.
South Davis Shores is an area in St. Augustine that’s prone to flooding. Wednesday morning, part of the neighborhood was underwater during high tide. It drained out into the afternoon. According to the city, the land purchase would help that issue.
Two properties along Coquina Avenue are up for sale for the cost of about $500,000. If the city buys the land, that money will come from reserve funds.
“Our job is to deliver services to our citizens at the lowest possible cost,” the St. Augustine mayor said. “This does not seem to me to meet that bar. And it’s hard, it’s hard to say you messed up….
…City Manager John Regan explained the city is still in its due diligence period.
“Right now, the different pieces are coming in. We have our appraisal. We just received our survey. The property is a little bit bigger than we thought, which is good. The other pieces are all coming together,” Regan said. “It takes 30 days to gather information and we are in that step and anyone that makes any judgments should wait for the due diligence.”
Regan said findings will be presented at Monday’s meeting.

tiger woods playing at the players championship. two time winner at tpc sawgrass

Our Julia’s tag art design was selected to represent Kelley Smith Elementary School at the Kids Tag Art Celebration. So proud of our Jules! She loves art and we’re so glad she gets to do a little showing off.

Feb. 20, 2019 – Dayshon Trashon Gillespie, 22, of Crescent City has a warrant for his arrest for grand theft and tampering with evidence. Anyone who has information as to the location of Gillespie is asked to contact the sheriff’s office at 386-329-0800 or CrimeStoppers of NE Florida at 1-888-277-8477.

Cathedral parish.  Chowder for children

Native am pow wow princess place

There has been a double stabbing at Lk. Lake Ct. and Orchid Ave. in Interlachen.
There has been a male and female, both stabbed at this location by an alleged family member.
Rescue and law enforcement is on the scene and they are transporting the injured parties.
The suspect is in cu

“Another Hit from The Past That Will Always Last” 1957 – Palatka Daily News Paper Route. The paper was owned by The Baker Family. They sold for .05 and it was $1.15 Mo. As a carrier you made .01 each. You had to buy your on rubber bands from the Bakers. No such thing as put the paper in plastic bag. Guess they had not been invented yet. I had 72 customers. So do the math, made $3.60 Week. After about a year, had other things to do so got my Buddy Leonard Graham a job and gave him my “Newspaper Empire” that I had built. — with Leonard Graham in Palatka, Florida.

The Florida Dept. Of Education Office of Inspector General takes Issue with the sale of the Campbell Building
On January 24, 2019 the FLDOE OIG in case number 2018-003 issued their final report of the sale of The Campbell Building. A complaint was filed by a concerned citizen of Putnam County which was substantiated by the OIG investigator as to whether Rick Surrency and the Putnam County School Board circumvented established rules and laws in divesting the school district of the Campbell building property. Included below are documents from the investigation.
Superintendent Surrency through his attorney Mark Logan disagreed with the findings that he circumvented Florida law or engaged in inappropriate behavior. Mr. Logan went on to state the sale of the building was open and transparent
However, a careful reading of the investigation identified that on at least one occasion Superintendent Surrency and School Board member David Buckles and James Padgett former school board attorney had an informal meeting about the Campbell Building. It was reported by the Pulse on July 27, 2018 that at the emergency meeting on September 28, 2017 Mr. Buckles made the motion to sell the Campbell building to Lift Putnam after Superintendent Surrency floated the idea and Charles Douglas counseled them to proceed. While this writer is unsure if an actual sunshine violation occurred with this informal meeting it certainly lends an air to the idea of some shenanigans going on behind the scenes with members of the School Board and the Superintendent.
Mr. Charles Douglas has been referred to the Florida Bar because of this investigation as well as noted on page 2 footnote 1
It is becoming increasingly obvious that the School Board and the Superintendent didn’t have the best Legal Advice in regards to sale of this ancillary property by the district.
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