Today people across the nation are celebrating the birthday of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. In 1983 President Ronald Reagan declared it a federal holiday so federal and state government offices are closed as well as local governments in Putnam, Flagler and St. Johns counties. Schools, banks and many businesses are also closed. In Palatka there’s a parade this morning followed by celebrations from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Riverfront Park downtown. Among musicians performing are Lee Kelly, Cat 5 with Bad Bob, the Steve Smith Band and Sweet William Ennis. In St. Augustine Frederick Ingram, president of the Florida Education Association, was guest speaker at the 35th annual King breakfast at Mark Lance Auditorium. A march at 11:30 a.m. is followed by ceremonies from noon to 2 p.m. in the Plaza de la Constitucion.
A bicyclist received serious injuries in a traffic accident Sunday morning in St. Augustine. The cyclist, whose name has not been released, was on A1A , north of West Road, about 9 a.m. when he was struck by a Honda Accord, driven by a woman, 93, according to the Florida Highway Patrol The driver failed to yield right of way and hit the cyclist, according to FHP. The bicyclist was flown to UF Health in Jacksonville with serious injuries.
An autopsy is scheduled in the death of a woman found Saturday in Oyster Creek in St. Augustine. A crabber checking his traps found the body around 10:30 a.m. He called 911 after realizing the woman was not breathing. He said she was fully clothed and appeared to be between 35 and 45 years of age. St. Augustine Police say foul play isn’t suspected but official cause of death will be determined by the District 23 Medical Examiner’s Office. She was reportedly lying in a few inches of water and drowning is suspected. Oyster Creek is off Ponce de Leon Boulevard near the intersection of King Street.
A man who was awaiting trial for driving on a suspended license in an incident that led to the death of a 10-year-old two years ago has died of a drug overdose, according to the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office. Thomas Francis Rando, 33 of Bunnell, was found by his girlfriend Saturday morning at a house in Palm Coast. In 2017 Rando was driving a pickup south on I-95 when he lost control of the vehicle crossed three lanes and overturned his truck killing the girl who was a passenger in the truck. Her mother, another passenger, was severely injured. Rando faced a third degree felony for driving with the suspended license. Before that he’d been stopped three times in six months for driving without a license. At the time of his death he was on probation for felony drug offenses.
Two serious auto accidents in Putnam County Saturday. One was in Melrose at State Road 26 and Swan’s Nest Court and involved injuries and road blockages. Also Saturday a serious accident on State Road 19 South and County Road 310, according to the Florida Highway Patrol. A trauma alert for one patient was issued.
Michelle Coolican, a science teacher at Buddy Taylor Middle School, is 2020 teacher of the year for Flagler County. She’s been with the Flagler School District 13 years. Lynn Mellow has been named 2020 support employee of the year. With the district 26 years, she’s an office specialist at the district’s Plant Services department. The two were named Thursday at the district’s annual gala for teachers and support personnel from throughout the district. They now go on to represent the district in statewide competition.
A cold spell will bring temperatures in the 30s and possibly lower over the next couple of days. Cold weather shelters will be open in the three county area and they can use your help. If you have a home, remember to protect pets, plants, pipes and pools over the next few days.
SAFE, the group that helps animals in Putnam and St. Johns counties, needs a little help. Their washer and dryer at the Treasure Beach location need to be replaced. That comes as their dryer at the Hollister facility has given up the ghost. And don’t forget the Putnam County Animal Control is in need of blankets for their animals as the cold moves in.
Pilot Club of Palatka holds Bunco games at the Putnam County Shrine Club in East Palatka tonight. Doors open at 5:15 with Bunco rolling at 6 p.m. Tickets are available for a $20 donation. Proceeds benefit E.H. Miller School.