The Voice of the Gem City

April 22, 2018

This is Marcia Lane, your roving reporter.

Two Crescent City residents died in a head-on crash Saturday night in southern Putnam County. According to Florida Highway Patrol, a Honda Accord headed north on U.S. 17 at Stardust Boulevard at 8 p.m. veered into the southbound lane and collided with a Kia Optima. FHP says a blood alcohol test is pending. Joseph Gomez, 26, was driving the Honda, and Ramona Johnson, 47, was driving the Kia. Both died at the scene. Johnson was the mother of four.

In Flagler County work on the Flagler Beach A1A project continues as contractors install a new water main and a new sewer line between South 19th and South 18th streets. The work is expected to continue over the next several weeks. Damage was done during two hurricanes in the last three years.

The issue of a Civil War era monument in the Plaza de la Constitucion is expected to come up again at tonight’s St. Augustine City Commission meeting at 5 p.m. in the Alcazar Room at City Hall. Commissioners had voted to keep the monument that lists the names of 44 soldiers who died fighting for the South. Contextual signs will be going up as well. City Commissioner Nancy Sikes-Kline now has expressed reservations over keeping up the monument which is a cenatoph, a monument to someone buried elsewhere, especially one commemorating people who died in a war.

A wreck in the Melrose area early this morning caused delays for traffic. Florida Highway Patrol reported an accident with injuries at State Road 100 and 26 and also reported a hit and run. The accidents are under investigation.

Palatka Police Department arrested an area man Saturday afternoon after he reportedly robbed a store in Palatka. Reginald Bryant, 50, reportedly entered the BP Food Mart on North U.S. 17 and stole the drawer from the register. The clerk tried to stop Bryant but was unsuccessful. Police used surveillance footage to get a description of Bryant and the vehicle in which he fled. He was later found driving the same vehicle and according to police he had the stolen cash and cash drawer with him. He was booked into jail without bond.

Longtime Putnam County resident and hair salon owner Leta Preston Clark died Saturday night. She came to the business naturally — her mother Margaret had a salon at the corner of St. Johns and Moseley avenues for many years. Leta took over and finally changed the name to Leta and Co., but kept up a poem about her mother inside. She sold the business several years ago, but still came in to do hair. The upbeat Leta always said she liked to keep busy.

A six-month old Rottweiler puppy named Fifi from Hastings should have a soft spot for firefighters. On Saturday she caught her head in a concrete cinderblock. When her owner got home, Fifi’s head was wedged in the block and the owner couldn’t get it out. A call to the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office led to a sheriff’s deputy going to the house but soap and water didn’t do the trick. That’s when firefighters from Station 8 were sent and they used Jaws of Life to break the block and rescue the dog.

WPLK/WIYD nearly made the news Friday after a truck plowed into the radio station sign, which kept the building from being struck. Video shows a driver on St. Johns Avenue passing other vehicles, sideswiping one and smashing into the station’s sign. The sign was put up by former station owner Wayne “The Deacon” Bullock some years ago after he got into a controversy with the city over what kind of sign could go up. Tombstones weren’t regulated by the city and Bullock chose a large granite one for the corner of the lot.

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