The Voice of the Gem City

July 8, 2019

This is Marcia Lane, your roving reporter.

The St. Augustine Diocese is making another attempt to build an 800-seat amphitheater at the Mission Nombre de Dios. After extensive community backlash against the project on San Marcos Avenue, the diocese drew back recently indicating they would review the project. Now it’s coming up tonight at the St. Augustine City Commission meeting at 5 p.m. The request is the last item on the agenda although indications are it could be moved up if the public shows up. The mission project is not on the city’s Future Land Use Map and the diocese wants that changed.

According to the U.S. Forestry Service what’s known as the Perchman fire in the Ocala National Forest is nearly contained. Some three inches of rain helped the Forest Service and other fire groups. On Sunday about 75 percent of the fire was contained and burnout operations were being used. More than 1,400 acres have been destroyed. Putnam and Marion County firefighters are among groups that have helped.

Flagler County Sheriff’s deputies aided by Volusia County deputies tracked down two individuals wanted after three Mustangs were stolen from a Palm Coast car lot early Friday morning. One Mustang crashed on its way out of the Ford lot. A security guard alerted deputies who set up a perimeter for two hours. As they stopped searching a black Mustang without a license plate was seen getting onto Interstate 95. Deputies pursued and speeds reached up to 80 mph. Air support followed as the Mustang continued south on I-95 and merged onto Interstate 4 where stop sticks were deployed by Volusia deputies. The Mustang stopped on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard in DeLand. Driver Hollins Mills, 19 and his 15-year-old passenger fled but were tracked by Volusia K-9 Endo to a backyard pool where they were arrested. Another vehicle is still being sought.

An Interlachen man on a crime spree is in jail where he’s being held without bail because of failure to appear in another case. According to the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office, Justin Eugene Dunn, 28, was allegedly involved in thefts at three different locations. The first case involved theft of a four-wheeler and a dirt bike. The bike was later recovered after being abandoned. The second case involved a stolen side-by-side all terrain vehicle. The third case took place at the Vulcan sand plant and involved the theft of a washer and dryer. Detectives believe Dunn used the sand plant in transporting some of the property, getting in by cutting a barbed wire fence. Dunn was charged with two counts of grand theft and one count of burglary.

For most Fourth of July fireworks were in the sky. At Julington Creek Plantation Park someone set off fireworks in restrooms at the public park and caused about $1,000 in damages. Fireworks exploed in the toilets in the men’s and women’s bathrooms and damaged toilets, mirrors and other items. The incident is under investigation by the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office. Surveillance cameras were not working when vandals hit.

Former Indian Trails student Reilly Opelka from Flagler County ended his run in the Wimbledon tennis tournament on Friday after a straight set loss to Milos Raonic, the No. 15 seed. A former Wimbledon Boys champion, Opelka, 21, will now move up in the rankings to about No. 53 and gets a prize check of $139,934.

Southwest Volunteer Fire Department in Putnam County honored one of its own Friday. Jim Howe was saluted for his commitment to the station with a special dinner. He’s a wildland firefighter, emergency medical responder, apparatus specialist and the station’s chaplain. So far this year he’s responded to 379 calls.

Fourth of July parades always bring winners. In Flagler Beach best of parade went to Surfside Estates Community. Their entry: one float, one truck and 13 golf carts, each decorated and representing the 13 original colonies.

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