The Voice of the Gem City

October 16, 2019

This is Marcia Lane, your roving reporter.

A Melrose man sought by law enforcement since Sunday has been arrested in Alachua County. Jeffery Blake Wilson, 30, allegedly approached a family in their yard at Melrose Lake, waved a gun and demanded they give him their car. They refused and a manhunt later discovered one house in the area burglarized and a car stolen. Wilson was charged with grand theft of a motor vehicle Tuesday and jailed on a $10,000 bond in Alachua after Sheriff’s deputies arrested him.

Putnam County officials are looking at three options to make the Bardin Bridge off State Road 100 safe for heavier traffic. Currently there’s a weight restriction on the bridge including banning school buses. Issues over the structure came up after an inspection by the Florida Department of Transportation. In discussions over engineering solutions, county commissioners suggested seeking financial aid if possible from DOT.

The St. Augustine Yacht Club may soon have more room for their annual sailing classes at Lighthouse Park. City commissioners Monday by a 4-0 vote accepted a land donation given provided they lease the land for $1 a year for 99 years to the Yacht Club. Avid sailor Dr. Stanley Paris and his wife offered the property for the club that wants to put in a building, dock and boat maintenance area for their youth sailing program that’s open to the public. It would move the camp off the Yacht Club property to the Paris property in the same area. The land is prime real estate. Some area residents are concerned it will mean more congestion. Rezoning will be needed which requires hearings before planning and zoning before it comes back to the commission.

A former Flagler County commissioner may be looking at a $10,000 fine and public censure and reprimand from the governor. In a case that began three years ago, Dennis MacDonald, a county commissioner, and his wife Janet, who is chair of the school board were charged with a variety of ethics complaints by another county commissioner, who has since died. While many of the complaints were found to be frivolous, some were upheld. Janet MacDonald made recommended corrections and was fined $254. Dennis MacDonald didn’t take the settlement and now faces action at the Oct. 25 Ethics Commission meeting in Tallahassee.

If you plan to run for city office in St. Augustine, you may face a one-year residency requirement. St. Augustine city commissioners backed the change Monday and agreed to put the candidacy requirement proposal on the August primary election ballot. No decision was made on a proposal to have city commissioners elect the mayor rather let the public do so.

Work by CSX on railroad crossings in Palatka is underway with many expected to be finished today. Detour signs are up. However, work on a gas line being run along North Moody in Palatka is taking longer than expected. North Moody will now be closed through Nov. 8, more than a week later than originally planned.

The Shrine of Our Lady of La Leche at Mission Nombre de Dios in St. Augustine has been elevated to a National Shrine by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. The shrine of San Marco Avenue is America’s oldest Marian Shrine and was established after the Spanish built the Holy Virgin’s first sanctuary in the United States in 1609.

 

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