The Voice of the Gem City

September 26, 2019

This is Marcia Lane, your roving reporter.

Two Putnam County bail bonds servers were in need of their own services Wednesday after being charged with armed trespass after reportedly breaking into the wrong house in Putnam. Putnam County Sheriff’s Office said Donna Jaquith, 60, of San Mateo and Eric William Greaner, 45 , of Palatka, turned themselves into the St Johns County jail after arrest warrants were issued. It would have been a shorter trip to the Putnam jail since their office is located across from the facility. The two bonds people went into a mobile home after being told a woman they were looking for who had jumped bail was living there. Reports say Greaner, a former Putnam County corrections deputy who resigned prior to an internal affairs investigation in 2017, knocked out a bedroom window air conditioner, almost hitting a two-year-old child. He then went in through the back door, gun drawn and yelling “fugitive recovery.” Jaquith pushed aside a man at the door and entered, searching for the woman. As it turned out the woman no longer lived at the residence, and she and the man were involved in a custody fight.

St. Augustine city officials listened to downtown residents and business owners at a workshop Wednesday called to find ways to address concerns about safety downtown. Changes already in the works include hiring two additional police officers plus more cleaning crews, according to John Regan, city manager. Still under discussion is a proposal for liquor permits allowing establishments to stay open until 2 a.m. Regan said staff will take information gathered from citizens at the meeting and use that to begin drafting legislation.

In Palatka at 6 p.m. tonight the City Commission will take up the issue of moving city hall, the police department and sanitation department. According to the agenda the commission will “provide direction on the purchase of location” for the three government offices. Location being pushed by Mayor Terrell Hill is at the Putnam County Industrial Park, five miles west from the current City Hall. Hill has said the move has been talked about for years. This latest location came up in March of 2018 at a special called meeting and the item was basically tabled. At another special called meeting earlier this month, the issue came back up. Originally cost of buying and renovating the property was more than $7 million.

A Georgia-Pacific employee in the chip mill operation was seriously injured Wednesday in an accident at the Palatka plant. Name and condition of the victim was not released although the man has had to have an amputation, according to company officials. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSCA) has been contacted and an investigation ordered.

St. Johns County Commission unanimously approved their Fiscal Year 2020 budget for more than $917 million on Tuesday. Current budget is nearly $842 million.

In Flagler County at the Sheriff’s Office a nationwide search is underway for a new court and detention services division chief. Current Chief Steve Cole recently announced he would retire Nov. 1. Cole has 25 years in law enforcement and joined the Flagler Office in 1994.

Putnam County officials are warning motorists about weight restrictions on  Bardin Road Bridge. Putnam County Fire Rescue has an ambulance at the Bardin Volunteer Fire Department so paramedics have access to it in case of an emergency. Patrol vehicles are under the weight restrictions and will continue operating. Bud’s Grocery is allowing school buses to pull through behind their business and unload students so parents can pick them up. The state Department of Transportation told the county water flow from Etoniah Creek has caused additional scouring of the base of the bridge and that has required weight limits to be lowered.

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