The Voice of the Gem City

April 24, 2019

This is Marcia Lane, your roving reporter.

St. Johns County is going forward with a $144.5 million deal with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to fund a beach renourishment project at South Ponte Vedra and Vilano Beach for the next 50 years. Much of the money will come from county taxes including tourist development dollars. Work will begin in May 2020. Renourishment will then take place every 12 years on the approximately three miles of beach. Sand will come from the St. Augustine Inlet. Erosion is a continuing problem at the beaches and increased housing has meant increasing demands for repair.

Palatka City Commission holds a special meeting at 5 p.m. tonight that apparently will mean purchase of property and building of a new public works department. City Attorney Don Holmes, acting City Manager Betsy Driggers and Mayor Terrell Hill are seeking authorization to negotiate and make an offer for real property and building of the department currently housed at Ocean and North 10th streets. A number of questions about the purchase which has not been discussed in months are unanswered.

A St. Augustine homeless man faces second degree homicide charges in the beating death of a man with whom he once shared a campsite.  St. Augustine Police say Jeremy Davis, 40, punched and kicked Will Burrell Sunday evening at a campsite in a wooded area near East 18th and Louise streets. The two had been sharing another site when they argued over how dirty the site was and Burrell moved out to another site. Davis later showed up there and attacked Burrell until he was unconscious, say witnesses. Burrell was flown to Memorial Hospital in Jacksonville Sunday and died there Monday. Davis has booked into the St. Johns County jail and is being held without bond.

The planned move of the Flagler County Sheriff’ Office Operations Center from Bunnell to Palm Coast has the Bunnell City Commission upset. They’re asking the county commission to rescind the move and that may be the first step in what could lead to a lawsuit, say political observers. Sheriff’s office employees were moved out of the Bunnell facility after a number became ill in the renovated building. The county commission then voted to build a facility in Palm Coast next to the county library. Bunnell is the county seat for Flagler.

Putnam County Sheriff’s Office arrested a man accused of scamming people for yard work. They began seeking Daniel Seymour, 47, of Daytona Beach after several area residents reported paying Seymour $200 to $300 to perform yard work but he never showed up. He was already out on bond a number of other charges including leaving the scene of a crash with injury, aggravated battery on law enforcement officer and resisting an officer with violence. He now faces two counts of larceny and one count of fraud. After the latest scam charges, his bond was revoked.

The annual Special Olympic games are nearing. On Tuesday employees with the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office, Palatka Police Department, Putnam Correctional Institution and Putnam County Special Olympics athletes took part in the Law Enforcement Torch Run from the riverfront to the Publix shopping center.

In St. Augustine eyes were turned to the waterfront Tuesday as Nao Santa Maria sailed into port. The wooden ship is a replica of Christopher Columbus’ Santa Maria. The four-deck ship will be open for self-conducted tours to May 5 and is docked at the St. Augustine Municipal Marina.

Busy weekend coming up including the Datil Pepper Tea put on by the Pilot Club of St. Augustine on Saturday, The tea is from 2-4 p.m. at the St. Johns County Agricultural Center. Tickets are available by calling 904-347-7377, A charity golf tournament on Saturday at the Palatka Municipal Golf Course will benefit the Putnam First Cancer Fund and is hosted by the Palatka Men’s Golf Association. Call the club at 386-329-0141. The Putnam Sharks Swim Team holds a Swim-A-Thom fundraiser on Saturday at the Putnam Aquatic Center. Also Saturday Dunn’s Creek State Park in Putnam County holds a day-long Earth Day open house.

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