The Voice of the Gem City

October 10, 2019

This is Marcia Lane, your roving reporter.

Rip currents continue to be a danger at area beaches. On Tuesday a father and his 14-year-old son from Illinois were body surfing at St. Augustine Beach when the rip current caught the two. They couldn’t make it back to shore and started calling for help. Another vacationer, Joe Allen, a SWAT team officer from Prince William County, Va., heard the yells, grabbed a boogie board and headed to the swimmers. He was able to help them keep afloat until local officers arrived at the scene. Two first responders stripped off their uniforms and swam out. Everyone made it back to shore safely.

A crash on Interstate 95 south of Palm Coast Parkway Wednesday caused traffic problems. Three semi trucks were involved in the crash that came during a heavy rain. Northbound traffic was disrupted and southbound traffic had to be diverted to the Parkway. No injuries but cause of the crash is under investigation.

The contract with a new city manager is on the agenda for the Palatka City Commission tonight. Last week commissioners selected William Shanahan out of five candidates including interim manager Lee Garner. Contract negotiations reportedly are taking place next week. Shanahan quit his last job as York County, S.C. manager in June. Commission meeting is at 6 p.m. at City Hall. Also on the agenda applications for two $50,000 grants for Booker Park and Hank Bryan Park.

Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation has given Flagler County Sheriff’s Office more than $20,000 in lifesaving equipment. The grant presentation was made Wednesday and includes 16 automated defibrillators to go in deputies’ vehicles.

Today the Palm Coast Arts Foundation today unveils Turtle #6 on their public sculpture Turtle Trail project. “Quilty” as the turtle is known is at Waterfront Park in Palm Coast and is named for 1700s quilt artist Betty White.

On Facebook a Putnam County family is asking people to help with an investigation into the death of a 21-year-old family member in Interlachen on May 24. Kody O’Hara was found on State Road 20 near Machett’s Gas. Witnesses said O’Hara got involved in a dispute with some men in a black 4-door sedan. The sedan pulled out of the parking lot with O’Hara holding on to the handle. At some point he lost his grip and fell from the vehicle. If you have information, the family is asking you contact the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office.

South Putnam Christian Service Center holds a fish fry fundraiser this Friday from 4:30 to 7 p.m. at Howe Memorial Fellowship Hall in Crescent City. Advance tickets are available by calling 386-467-2061.

A man who went inside an Interlachen convenience store Tuesday morning to get a cup of coffee, came back out to find his truck and lawn trailer gone. Marcus Rowans, who has a lawn care business, was at the Fast Track gas station on State Road 315 when the incident occurred. His 2009 silver Chevy Silverado 3500 Duramax was stolen along with a trailer hauling a John Deere zero turn mower, blower and weed eater plus other landscaping tools. It was last seen heading north on State Road on 315.

Robert “Bob” Harper is retiring after more than 20 years as executive director of the Lightner Museum in St. Augustine. A nationwide search will be held for his replacement.  Rebecca Negy will serve as interim executive manager. Harper has upgraded and expanded the museum bringing tens of thousands to the museum when it hosted the Downton Abbey exhibit and this past year an exhibit of 100 original works by artists Edgar Degas and his circle of friends. The Lightner on King Street is housed in the former Alcazar Hotel.

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