Putnam County schools are seeing an increased law enforcement presence today following a phoned in threat of violence at Jenkins Middle School. The Putnam School District got the call Wednesday and responded notifying parents and staff by phone Wednesday evening. In cooperation the Putnam Sheriff’s Office is increasing patrols at all schools. “We take this very seriously,” said Sheriff’s spokeswoman Allison Waters-Merritt this morning. She noted such threats, even verbal, are a felony. Last week the district went on modified lockdown at Jenkins and James A. Long Elementary schools after a called-in threat to Long. A 13-year-old runaway from Volusia County who was found on the Jenkins campus was arrested for the threat. Officials say it’s not uncommon as spring break approaches for such calls, although the vacation period is still about three weeks away.
In Flagler County the Sheriff’s Office thwarted an attempted burglary after the homeowner called them from Ohio. The owner of a home on Oleander Drive in Bunnell told the Sheriff’s Office he was watching the burglary live from Ohio via surveillance cameras on his Bunnell property. Deputies found two teens – Cory Robbins, 15, and Easton Perez, 17 – near the house. They used images from the cameras to ID the juveniles who were booked into the jail on felony burglary of an unoccupied dwelling. The two were turned over to the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice who released them to their parents.
Walking on St. Augustine sidewalks is about to get a little more interesting. The St. Augustine City Commission Monday passed an amended ordinance that allows non-motorized bicycles on city sidewalks. The only places bikes can’t be ridden is on St. George Street and the internal walkways of the downtown Plaza. They must also be walked through the marina area but are allowed on the seawall.
In St. Augustine tonight the Lightner Museum offers a Kiss Me I’m Artish celebration tonight from 6 to 8. It’s an early start to St. Patrick ‘s Day with Irish singer-songwriter Spade McQuade on guitar and Amanda Estus on Eire whistle. The free event includes bee wine and shamrock-inspired treats.
A former Bunnell police officer is back in jail for violation of probation after he was found with a cell phone, a violation of terms of his parole. Michael Stavris, 34, of Palm Coast, ended up in jail on two counts of computer pornography and child exploitation and one count of criminal use of personal identification information following an incident in which he pretended online to be a adolescent and solicited explicit images of minors. Terms of his parole included not having an online social media account. Stavris was released on Feb. 11 and a probation check on Feb. 26 revealed his cell phone had been used to access, maintain and upload photos to Facebook. He’s being held without bond in the Flagler jail.
One Book One Putnam holds their finale for the read tonight with a circus featuring dogs. It’s an apt choice since this year’s book was “Because of Winn Dixie” and focuses on the joy dogs bring. The free circus is tonight at the GFWC Woman’s Club of Palatka building on South 13th Street. Doors open at 5;30 and the show is at 6:15. If you can’t make the evening show The Menestrelli Dog Circus Show will be at the Melrose Library at 3 p.m.