The Voice of the Gem City

May 21, 2019

This is Marcia Lane, your roving reporter.

Countdown is on for the end of school. In Putnam County that comes May 31, but early releases will be held both May 30 and 31. While teachers and students are preparing for summer vacation, Putnam County School Board district officials are gearing up for some of their busiest times as they ready for the 2019-2020 school year. At today’s board meeting at 3:30 p.m. the board is expected to approve administrators for the coming year.

A single-car crash early Sunday morning in the Ponte Vedra Beach area left one man dead and a passenger injured. James Richardson, 42, died at Beaches Baptist. The other victim, 41, is in Memorial Hospital with significant injuries. St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office said neither man was from the area and neither owned the vehicle. The accident happened on Ponte Vedra Boulevard about 12:30 a.m. when the Ferrari convertible, headed north, struck a curb, hit a power pole, a utility box and several trees. Both men were ejected so who was driving isn’t known. Speed may have been a factor in the crash which is under investigation.

This morning the St. Augustine Planning and Zoning Board is getting a look at a proposed mobility plan for the city’s future. That vision includes four additional parking garages, two major multimodal ways and a mobility fee to help pay for all of it. This is part of the Comprehensive Plan 2040 update.

A warning about electronic skimmers is being issued by the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office. Detectives are investigating possible skimmers placed at businesses in East Palatka and Interlachen and urging people to be on the look out for more. Outside locations where credit and debit cards are used are frequent targets. Checking bank statements daily is also recommended.

Flagler County Sheriff’s Office dedicated the newly renovated District 1 Office on Mala Compra Road Monday. Sheriff Rick Staly hosted the ceremony renaming the facility and the Office’s marine unit after Capt. Grady Prather Jr. Prather was a 33-year veteran of the Sheriff’s Office when he retired in 2008. He died in 2009. Among his accomplishments starting and heading the Sheriff’s Office marine unit.

Georgia-Pacific’s Palatka plant this week will be getting three key pieces of machinery for their $425 million expansion. A 170-ton Yankee dryer and two 80-ton paper machine rolls are being shipped by barge to the Palatka Barge Port where they will then be hauled to the plant. Delivery is set for Wednesday through Friday. Three heavy equipment escorts are planned along a route west from the river along Comfort Road to U.S. 17 and then west on County Road 216 to the mill. Also scheduled on Thursday a mock chemical spill drill at Georgia-Pacific. The emergency drill is expected to last about five hours and be staged at both GP and Putnam Community Medical Center.

Peniel Baptist Academy’s girls softball supporters headed out Monday for Vero Beach and the Final Four championships. Peniel’s Christian Warriors are scheduled to play this morning in their first-ever shot at the Final Four.

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