The Voice of the Gem City

May 6, 2020

This is Marcia Lane, your roving reporter.

An apparent murder-suicide on Palatka’s northside early this morning is under investigation by the Palatka Police Department. Identity of the two victims has not been released although next of kin has been notified, according to the department. Yellow crime tape surrounded the property and the brick residence  in the 900 block of North 19th between Washington and Ocean streets as Florida Department of Law Enforcement Crime Scene unit and the District 27 Medical Examiners Office processed the scene along with Palatka detectives.  The shooting was reported around 1 a.m. and at 8 a.m. half-a-dozen police vehicles were still around the home, which is about two blocks from Jenkins Middle School. North 19th is also known as Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. Palatka Police said they did not believe there was any threat to the community because of the shootings.

Two deaths in Putnam County and one in Flagler County are being attributed to coronavirus, according to the Florida Department of Health. In Putnam, a 71-year-old man and a 73-year-old man, both from Palatka, have died. The 71-year-old was reported positive on April 22, the 73-year-old on April 23. In Flagler County a 68-year-old woman died from coronavirus, according to authorities. She was first reported on May 1. None of the three cases was travel-related. Four people each have now died from the virus in Putnam, Flagler and St. Johns counties. The health department also reports two new cases have been reported in Putnam — a 75-year-old man from Melrose and a 78-year-old man from Palatka.

A Ponte Vedra High School sophomore is looking to the future. Cole Stellmacher has qualified for the 2020 World Barefoot Skiing Championships. The competition was to take place in Sydney, Australia, but the coronavirus pandemic has postponed the event. Stellmacher will have to wait and see where he’ll be competing as part of Team USA.

Flagler County is opening additional park areas as are Bunnell and Palm Coast. The walking trail around the Carver Center fields in Bunnell and the trails at Graham Swamp and Lehigh Trail in Palm Coast are open. Tennis and pickleball courts will be open at Old Dixie Park, the Hammock Community Center and Flagler Technical Institute A1A Center. Not open in parks are bathrooms and water fountains or playgrounds, exercise equipment and picnic tables.

Flagler County’s libraries will be reopening Monday, May 11, in Bunnell and Palm Coast. Wearing of cloth face coverings will be mandatory.

Many court functions in Florida will remain suspended including jury trails until July 2. Supreme Court Justice Charles Canady issued the order and told courts to continue with other procedures using telephones or video conferencing.

Jerry Bedenbaugh, who died Tuesday after a short illness, was a Florida Highway Patrol officer with a stellar reputation. It was said, lovingly, that he would arrest his own mother if she broke traffic laws. Bedenbaugh, 86, last week was honored by the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office for his service to the community. He and his wife for many years owned Brunner Building Supply in East Palatka.

From St. Augustine word that historian Dr. Eugene Lyon, 91, has died. An expert on Spanish Colonial Florida, he directed the St. Augustine Foundation for 14 years and data he collected helped Mel Fisher locate and identify two treasure ships in the lower Keys. Steve Hardin, former St. Augustine offensive coordinator for the Yellow Jackets, died last week at 69. He helped the Jackets win 97 football games during his tenure and was a member of the Florida Athletic Coaches Association Hall of Fame.

The St. Augustine Beach Civic Association will be moving in August. The St. Augustine Beach Commission has voted to end the lease between the two. The Association has been located in the former police garage by the St. Johns County Pier Park.

 

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