The 2018-19 school year is coming to a close. Last day for Putnam and Flagler counties is May 31. In St. Johns County last day for students is Friday and for teachers Tuesday. Graduations are underway in St. Johns. On Wednesday St. Johns Technical High School held ceremonies at St. Augustine High’s Auditorium and Pedro Menendez High at the St. Augustine Amphitheater. Tonight it’s Bartram Trail High at the University of North Florida. On Friday St. Augustine High holds ceremonies at the Amphitheater. Allen D. Nease High School and Ponte Vedra High ceremonies are at UNF on Saturday. Creekside High is Tuesday, May 28, at UNF.
Georgia-Pacific in Palatka is a beehive of activity today. Three pieces of heavy machinery are at the Palatka Barge Port and officials plan to transport all three today from the port to the plant. Also going on today at GP and Putnam Community Medical Center is a mock disaster drill until 3 p.m.
A 16-year-old Ponte Vedra High School sophomore died Wednesday morning after being struck by a pickup truck on State Road A1A near Mickler’s Landing. Florida Highway Patrol says Zander Laurin of Ponte Vedra Beach was jogging in the southbound bicycle lane of A1A just before 6 a.m. when he was struck by a Toyota Tundra troopers say drifted out of its lane and hit the boy from behind. Laurin was a petty officer in the U.S. Naval Sea Cadet Corps. He was looking at a military career.
Longtime Putnam County businessman Rodney Sheffield, 67, died in a boating accident Tuesday in Volusia County. Sheffield and Sammy Sharpe, 68, both of Palatka, were fishing in Upper Lake Louise near Seville in the afternoon when Sheffield went overboard and both ended in the water. Sharpe tried unsuccessfully to locate Sheffield, owner of Hill’s Hardware and Recycling in Pomona Park. Sharpe managed to get to a house on the lake and call authorities who found Sheffield about 8 p.m.
St. Augustine City Commissioners got an earful Wednesday as residents shared their views on short-term rentals AKA air bnbs. Commissioners appointed a committee to recommend how to handle the growing trend which has rentals going up in private neighborhoods all over the city.
In Flagler County a Suicide Town Hall is being held today at 6 p.m. at the Flagler County Association of Realtors building in Bunnell. Flagler Lifeline is putting on the event to bring awareness of the issue. In 2017 Flagler County had the leading suicide rate in Florida, proportional to its size.
A St. Johns County public service assistant nearly lost his patrol car Wednesday when he stopped to help a disabled vehicle on Interstate 95 at Mile Marker 306. As he cleaned off the passenger seat so the driver could sit in the vehicle, the woman, later identified as LaRobin Francesca Lee, 31, of South Carolina, got into the driver’s seat, put her hands on the wheel and prepared to drive off. The PSA was able to stop her and Lee spent the night in jail charged with attempted grand theft auto and obstruction by a disguised person.
Three Putnam County School District administrations with more than 100 years experience were saluted by the district school board Tuesday. Evelyn Langston, principal of Ochwilla Elementary, is retiring after 37 years. This is her second time retiring – this time she thinks it will take. Also saluted, Jerome Wilkerson, with 36 years, is assistant principal at Palatka High School and Deborah Shepard, who has 35 years and is head of risk management at the school district office.