This is Marcia Lane, your roving reporter.
An Interlachen teen is in critical condition after walking into the path of a car while crossing State Road A1A in St. Augustine Beach Monday night, according to the Florida Highway Patrol. Rainy Smith, 19, was crossing A1A just south of Pope Road about 10:15 p.m. when she was struck by an Acura Integra driven by Harry Brownett, 51, of St. Augustine. Smith was taken to UF Health with critical injuries. Brownett was not injured. Charges are pending, said FHP.
It’s Mayor Tracy Upchurch’s first full day in office after the St. Augustine City Commission unanimously voted him in Monday. Upchurch was on a list of 15 candidates to fill the post left vacant following the resignation of Mayor Nancy Shaver. Shaver had a stroke following last week’s commission meeting where she had earlier announced she was again fighting cancer. Upchurch is a former city commission and mayor as well as having served in the Florida House of Representatives. An attorney, he teaches at Flagler College.
Elections are under way today in Putnam and Flagler counties. Welaka in southern Putnam County is voting on a mayor and two commissioners. In Flagler County, the towns of Beverly Beach, Flagler Beach and Bunnell all have elections today for commissioners. Polls are open to 7 p.m.
Political activity is stirring. Putnam County Supervisor of Elections Charles Overturf III reports two Putnam constitutional officers have filed their intent to seek re-election. Tim Smith will run again for Clerk of Courts and Linda Myers will run for Putnam Tax Collector in 2020.
St. Augustine’s Planning and Zoning Board holds two meetings this week, one today the other on Thursday in order to handle a number of items, some expected to bring lengthy debate. Today’s meeting includes requested changes to allow an 800-seat amphitheater and a parking garage on the grounds of the Mission Nombre de Dios on San Marco Avenue. The open-air, half-circle amphitheater would be south of the current Prince of Peace Votive Church although including the church in its design. Reportedly it would have no stage and not be open to the public. The parking garage, said to still be in the thinking stage, would take over the current northern parking lot at San Marco and Ocean Avenue. It would cut off the view to the water on that side, near where Pedro Menendez landed in 1565.
Flagler County Commission apparently won’t be going forward with taking out a loan to buy the former Sears building on Palm Coast Parkway. Last year the plan was to get a loan and buy the property for $1.25 million and turn it into a satellite office for the Flagler Tax Collector’s office. Now the commission is rethinking that decision. On Monday a 2-2 split vote meant the motion for the loan failed.
Today is Fat Tuesday or Shrove Tuesday. It’s the day before Ash Wednesday, which is the start of Lent, the 40 days leading up to the celebration of Easter. Many make today a chance for feasting and fun and pancake eating. On Wednesday area churches will be holding solemn Ash Wednesday observances. In Palatka St. Monica’s Catholic Church will be the site of an ecumenical ceremony at noon Wednesday. Downtown area churches and ministers will be taking part including those from First Presbyterian, First Baptist, St. Mark’s Episcopal and St. James United Methodist. Lake Como Community of Hope Church holds a ceremony at 5 p.m. Other ceremonies are being held throughout the county.