The Voice of the Gem City

May 30, 2019

This is Marcia Lane, your roving reporter.

Florida Department of Education released state test scores for third grade reading Wednesday. Overall, 58 percent of Florida’s public school students achieved a Level 3 or higher on the language arts section of the Florida Standards Assessment. Level 3 or higher is considered to be at or above grade level. Putnam County had 41 percent at Level 3 or above, Flagler County 68 percent and St. Johns County 78 percent. Students must make Level 2 or better to pass to fourth grade but summer school options may bring up some scores.

Southern Living magazine found out what everyone in the area knows – St. Augustine has lots of great restaurants. The lifestyle magazine named the Nation’s Oldest City as the South’s Best Food Town of 2019. Ten cities were saluted.

It’s last day of school in Flagler County with an early release planned. Graduation ceremonies are tonight at Daytona Beach Ocean Center. Matanzas High School’s ceremony begins at 4 p.m. and Flagler Palm Coast High School’s is at 7 p.m. Student processions begin about 15 minutes before the ceremonies.

Putnam County school year will end Friday with early release today and Friday. Tonight Crescent City graduation exercises are set for 7:30 p.m. at the school’s field off U.S. 17. Go Raiders.

Florida Department of Transportation now says it will be summer before the roundabout at May Street and San Marco Avenue in St. Augustine is open for use. Spring was the original deadline, but weather, special events and unexpected infrastructure work are blamed for the delay. Work began in 2017. The intersection handles a heavy volume of traffic in North Augustine and is also the exit from Vilano Beach. According to FDOT, the $9.5 million improvements to the intersection, which includes drainage work, is set to be completed in late 2019 to early 2020.

A Flagler County man on probation for previous offenses is back in jail after allegedly beating his 16-year-old pregnant girlfriend. Flagler County Sheriff’s Office arrested Jazzpen Lee Leonard, 26, for sexual battery and domestic battery after he allegedly went to the girl’s house, grabbed her by the throat and face, shoved her to the ground and struck her with a cellphone. Leonard is in jail on a $40,000 bond.

Friday begins the week-long Disaster Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday. During the week you can buy items designated to help ready for the hurricane season that begins June 1 without having to pay sales tax.

A great community award should go to Crescent City where people recently rallied for a memorial blood drive in honor of the late Marcus Hardy, the Crescent City commissioner who died unexpectedly the first of the year. More than 200 units of blood were donated in his memory.

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