Putnam County residents have left no one in doubt about their support of the Second Amendment and their desire to make the county a Second Amendment sanctuary. Putnam County commissioners were listening Tuesday and voted 5-0 in favor of the measure. Anticipated restrictive gun control laws have led 26 – now 27 — counties in Florida to adopt sanctuary status. It’s a growing national trend. Commission chambers were crowded and at one point a line almost a block long was filled with people waiting to get inside. Not everyone made it but those who couldn’t fit inside signed petitions that were presented to commissioners who also heard for a crowd overwhelming in support of sanctuary status.
Schools in Flagler and St. Johns counties had law enforcement on campus Tuesday. In St. Augustine a soft lockdown went in place at St. Joseph Academy off State Road 207 as St. Augustine Police and St. Johns Sheriff’s Office deputies searched for a car theft suspect, who was later caught. In Flagler County an anonymous threat led Flagler Palm Coast High School to go on heightened security status in the early morning with security measures including a sweep of the campus beginning at 6 a.m. Classes did begin at 8 a.m. as usual after “no evidence” was found of a credible threat. Extra security was brought in from the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office.
Palatka’s new city manager continues seeking out people’s opinions. Bill Shanahan will host a meeting at the Price-Martin Community Center Thursday to talk with various Community Economic Development partners. The meeting begins at 6 p.m. Thursday More than one city commissioner may be at the meeting.
A ship thought lost in the Bermuda Triangle almost 100 years ago turns out to have gone down off the coast of St. Augustine. The SS Cotopaxi left Charleston, S.C., on Nov. 29, 1925, headed on a routine trip to Havana. The steam powered bulk carrier was never seen again nor its 32 passengers plus crew. It’s been a maritime legend, even being part of the ending of Steven Spielber’s movie, Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Turns out people weren’t looking in the right place. Determined maritime explorers and archaeologists plus a British historian have now identified the ship as a wreck about 35 miles out from St. Augustine. The wreck was known but not the identity. With help from St. Augustine Lighthouse and Maritime Museum’s Chuck Meide and Brendan Burke and items off the ship it was determined to be the Cotopaxi. The Science Channel will feature the discovery in the premier episode of their Shipwreck Secrets on Feb. 9 at 8 p.m.
St. Johns County Veterans Council is working with county officials to eventually
turn the modular units currently being used as a temporary Veterans Administration outpatient clinic into a homeless veterans facility. The clinic is located on Southpark Boulevard and is supposed to be replaced by a permanent clinic to be built off State Road 207 near Holmes Boulevard. Council President Bill Dudley says currently homeless veterans have to be relocated to facilities in Duval or Volusia counties. First, however, building of the clinic has to begin. Not much has gone on since the groundbreaking in November.
A joyride in a stolen car has Putnam County law enforcement seeking the public’s help to find a 16-year-old now wanted on a series of charges. The 16-year-old and friends reportedly broke into a local auto firm and stole a Camaro that they took for a ride. Corey McGrady Berr is now sought by authorities. He lives in East Palatka, but also frequents Palatka, Interlachen and Pomona Park. Photos are available at the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office Facebook site. McGrady Berr should be easy to spot – he’s 6 feet, 3 inches.
A St. Johns County man discovered Tuesday a stolen U-Haul truck may not make the best getaway vehicle. Sheriff’s deputies spotted the truck with Arizona plates at State Road 16 and State Road 13 North and attempted to stop it. That failed as did two deployments of stop sticks. The truck driver then intentionally struck a GMC Acadia, pushing it into traffic at the intersection of SR 16 and Interstate 95 and blocking traffic. He took off even though he’d lost all four of his tires. He drove on the rims onto Four Mile Road, striking curbs and driving over a roundabout. After he got stuck, suspect Joshua Nelson got out of the truck and fled on foot only to be caught on Lena Street. As it turns out Nelson has never been issued a driver’s license and was on probation for armed robbery. He now faces multiple charges.