The Voice of the Gem City

May 22, 2019

This is Marcia Lane, your roving reporter.

Moving of three key pieces of machinery for the $425 million expansion of Georgia-Pacific’s Palatka plant begins today and continues through Friday. Plans call for escorts of the pieces from the Palatka Barge Port west along Comfort Road to U.S. 17 and West on County Road 216 to the mill. Expect some traffic delays.

St. Johns County Commissioners voted Tuesday not to renew top administrator Michael Wanchick’s contract. Current agreement would have renewed the contract automatically for two years. By a 3-2 vote commissioners voted against the full extension. Wanchick’s current contract expires Jan. 1, 2020, but if he accepts new terms he could still be in place through Aug. 1, 2021.

St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office continues to look for the driver of a stolen car that ended up crashing into a deputy’s cruiser Tuesday evening. According to a Sheriff’s Office report, deputies were alerted to a stolen car and began pursuing it near the Julington Creek Bridge. The chase ended around 9 p.m. when the stolen car rammed the deputy’s vehicle on County Road 210 at Interstate 95, near Phantom Fireworks. Three passengers in the car fled but were caught. The search for the driver continued through the night and authorities are warning people in the area to use caution and not leave keys in cars.

“Seven more days” was the mantra at Tuesday’s Putnam County School Board meeting. Today it will be six days as teachers and students count down to summer vacation. Honored at Tuesday’s board meeting were all the schools participating in this year’s March of Dimes campaign. The schools have raised $23,960 and counting. Top three money-raisers Ochwilla, Interlachen and Browning-Pearce elementary schools. However, Middleton-Burney Middle is edging up and March of Dimes officials expect that total to rise. After all, there are six more days.

Flagler County Auditorium has a new director. Amelia Fulmer, a teacher at Flagler Palm Coast High School and director of the Formality Singers, will be taking over the post left vacant by the death of longtime director Lisa McDevitt.

A free concert tonight with 70 participants in the Flagler Youth Orchestra’s 9th annual Chamber Music Camp taking part. The recital is at First Baptist church in Bunnell at 5:30 p.m. Performance is free, but a free-will offering can be given.

When the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office put out a request for help locating Kevin Chesser who is wanted on criminal charges, the public responded. So did Chesser who wouldn’t tell deputies where he was hiding. Other social media posts helped deputies find him and Chesser in now in jail without bond. He was wanted on charges of driving with a suspended license — habitual offender and burglary with assault or battery.

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