The Voice of the Gem City

March 4, 2020

This is Marcia Lane, your roving reporter.

St. Johns County School District is redrawing zone boundaries for its newest High School HHH opening for the 2021-22 school year. The revised proposal splits the Orangedale area with Trout Creek the dividing line. Students west of Trout Creek would remain at Bartram Trail High School and students in the area east of Trout Creek and along State Road 16 would go to the new high school. The school is to go on International Golf Parkway, near Mill Creek Academy.

Putnam County parks are finally getting some attention for facilities damaged by hurricanes over the last several years. On Tuesday an area known as Veterans Memorial Park in East Palatka was reopened with a ribbon cutting ceremony. Most locals just call it the fishing pier. It runs next to Memorial Bridge, which connects Palatka and East Palatka. Before Hurricane Matthew damaged it in 2016 the space was an extremely popular spot for fishermen and river users. Repair costs were more than $518,000 with Federal Emergency Management Agency paying more than $383,000. The state and Putnam County Better Place Plan funds provided the rest of the funding.

Beginning tomorrow the ravine section of Ravine Gardens State Park in Palatka closes as contractors begin repairing damage to the Ravines caused by recent hurricanes. The front section of the park including the Campbell civic center remains open during the project that’s expected to take about 10 weeks.

An accident involving two semis and a pickup truck on Interstate 95 at State Road 16 in St. Augustine Tuesday tied up traffic for more than six hours. Florida Highway Patrol says one semi rear-ended the semi in front of it around 5:30 a.m. Then a pickup struck the rear of the second semi. Traffic had to be diverted for hours as crash damages including a 100-gallon diesel fuel spill were cleaned up. Then, the highway had to be closed again as materials cleaned up from the wreck caught fire and that had to be dealt with.

Two brothers have been jailed on drug possession and child neglect charges in Flagler County. On Friday at a gas station in Palm Coast a Flagler Sheriff’s deputy ran the plate of a man pumping gas and found he did not have a valid drivers license. When he was pulled over, Andre Wheeler, 36, only had a suspended license. His brother, Alfonzo Wheeler, 39, was in the passenger seat and in the back seat was an 11-year-old boy, who the deputy said, appeared scared. The odor of marijuana was around him and when asked by deputies he pulled out of his underwear a baggy with 11.5 grams of marijuana. He said his uncle Alfonzo had given him the bag. The two men were arrested.

In St. Augustine free park and ride shuttle services are returning as the city copes with the surge in downtown festivals. Beginning Saturday the shuttle will run from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. every Saturday through April 11. The city in cooperation with Romanza Celtic Festival, Lions Seafood Festival and Rotary’s Rhythm and Ribs is providing the service to ease traffic congestion in downtown. The shuttle will also run March 22.

St. Johns County commissioners have given the OK to putting a Circle K station on the site where another gas station exploded nearly nine years ago. The station will go at the southeast corner of State Road 16 and Masters Drive. Commissioner Paul Waldron had to recuse himself from voting since he owns properties in the area. The BP explosion in 2011 shut down roadways and led to evacuations in the area around 5th Wheel BP.

On Saturday as the Azalea Festival in underway, the Palatka Trail Town Committee dedicates the trail informational kiosks going up in locations in downtown Palatka. The ceremony is at 1:30 p.m. at the Clock Tower at the end of St. Johns Avenue.

 

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