The 75th anniversary of D-Day dominates the news as nations gather to remember the Allied invasion at Normandy that would eventually lead to the destruction of Nazi Germany and the end of World War II in Europe. A Palatka man is there – Art Shaffer, owner of SkyDive Palatka. He was jumping in tandem with Tom Rice, 97, who on June 5, 1944, jumped with the 101st Airborne paratroopers into the German-held territory. Rice recalled the jump as the worst he made including getting caught on the plane door. No problems on Wednesday as Shaffer brought the two of them safely to earth and Rice said he’s do it again. Commemorations continue today on the anniversary of the sea landings onto the beaches at Normandy. Also at the ceremony is Florida State University’s Marching Chiefs band, who made a side trip to Paris to play in front of the Eiffel Tower.
A St. Johns County woman is in jail on charges of battery and cruelty toward a child after an incident Tuesday involving a neighbor. Bridgette Simmons reportedly grabbed a neighbor’s child by her neck and shirt several times “to show her how easily she could be kidnapped,” according to the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office. The child ran to her father who confronted Simmons, a stranger to the family. The child, who had been left with a neighbor of the Simmons, was shaking and crying, according to the report.
Campaign 2020 continues to heat up. Putnam County School Superintendent Rick Surrency has filed his intent to seek re-election in 2020, according to Putnam Supervisor of Elections Charles Overturf III.
Flagler County Sheriff’s Office is continuing an investigation into an apparent attempted murder/suicide Sunday in Palm Coast. A 9-1-1 call brought deputies to the house where they found Maureen Lockwood, 55, and her husband Ralph Lockwood, 63, shot. Ralph Lockwood later died in the hospital. Maureen Lockwood, who was shot in the head, is recovering. She has told detectives her husband shot her and then himself after she told him she wanted a divorce.
Dry weather has fire departments warning residents against burning and urging them to be careful in using fire. On Wednesday firefighters responded to a fire on Hog Island which is next to Drayton Island in south Putnam County.
Today is the last day in the week-long disaster-preparedness tax holiday. Shoppers can buy a variety of hurricane supplies without paying sales tax up to 11:59 p.m. tonight.
All Saints’ Anglican Chuch in Palatka is holding a Spring Inspiration Celebration Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the church at 1250 State Road 19 South in Palatka. A rummage sale, children’s activities including animated Bible stories and face painting, arts and crafts, food and plants will be available at the church and fellowship hall.
With a little help from humans, a female manatee made it safely back to deep water after being trapped Wednesday by low tide in St. Augustine. It’s nearing the end of mating season and wildlife officials speculate the female apparently beached herself to avoid male manatees. The 9 foot, 1,000 pound mammal got stuck in a muddy area in the Matanzas River off Ocean Avenue. Rescuers poured water on the animal while waiting for a biologist from the Jacksonville Zoo. Then members of St. Augustine Police Department, St. Augustine Fire Department, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and Jacksonville Zoo used a special harness to carry the animal across the jagged oyster beds. “What a sight to see when she excitedly leaped off the stretcher,” noted the SAPD. The manatee has been microchipped.