The Voice of the Gem City

September 10, 2020

This is Marcia Lane, your roving reporter.

A 14-year-old Hastings area girl missing since Tuesday has been found and returned to her family, according to the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office. Less than 12 hours after a Florida Missing Child Alert went out for Kyleigh Clark, she was reported found. Her last known location was in the area of 10000 block of McMahon Avenue in Flagler Estates. Her mother had been on Facebook repeatedly trying to get information on her whereabouts after she didn’t return home from Pedro Menendez High School, where she is a student.

A Putnam County library employee was arrested Wednesday after allegedly soliciting explicit photos of a minor, according to the State Attorney’s Office. Kurt Batucan Sheldon, 29, was arrested at his Interlachen residence after an investigation. Clay County Sheriff’s Office became involved after the parents of a 15-year-old girl reported their daughter had received sexually explicit text messages on the apps Whisper and Snapchat. Authorities used the IP address on the Snapchat account to trace the messages to Sheldon, according to the State Attorney’s Office. A search warrant was served Sept 4 at the home by Clay deputies and the Department of Homeland Security. Authorities said the suspect admitted to having child sexual abuse material on a computer. He also allegedly admitted knowing asking underage girls online to send nude pictures.

A shooting death in St. Augustine Wednesday is under investigation, according to the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office. The shooting at Sebastian Cove subdivision happened Wednesday afternoon a residence where two men lived. Name of the victim has not been released. The Sheriff’s Office said a fight between two individuals led to the shooting. The reported shooter left the house and asked someone to call 9-1-1. When deputies arrived at the scene the man still had the gun but immediately surrendered.

Palatka city sewer and water users can expect another increase in rates. On the consent agenda for tonight’s meeting is an item that will see rates for individuals go up almost $7. It’s part of a continuing increase plan authorized by city commissioners several years ago, when they said residents were paying enough for services in comparison to other cities in the area. The meeting is tonight at 6 p.m. via Zoom. You can watch the meeting on YouTube. The link entry will be on the city’s Facebook page Palatka-Florida-City-Hall.

A monument to St. Johns County residents who died fighting for the Confederacy during the Civil War is to be loaded onto a barge today and moved from the Plaza de la Constitucion in downtown St. Augustine. The trip to its new location at Trout River Fish Camp is expected to take about 12 hours. The 3-2 vote by the city commission to move the obelisk has been a divisive decision and the move is expected to cost tax payers more than $200,000.

The recently purchased Fish Island property is about to get a new neighbor–  an automated car wash courtesy of Gate Petroleum out of Jacksonville. Last year the state okayed $6.5 million to save the property which has been on the National Register of Historic Places since 1972. It is the site of the first commercial orange plantation in the nation and for several years residents struggled to save the property from development. Now the Friends of Fish Island group has a petition going around opposing plans to build the proposed car, wash which would be next to the entrance to the new park at the base of the State Road 312 bridge on the island side. In a week 2000 signatures have been gathered.

Remembrance ceremonies for the 9-11 terrorist attacks on the United States in 2001 are scheduled for Friday. The City of St. Augustine Fire Department continues its annual tradition at the main station on Malaga Street at 8:30 a.m. In Palatka ceremonies are set at the Putnam County complex parking lot at 10 a.m.

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