The Voice of the Gem City

October 5,2020

This is Marcia Lane, your roving reporter.

Putnam County’s courthouse is reopening today after a Friday inspection got the okay from Seventh Judicial Circuit Chief Judge Raul Zambrano. Zambrano, who closed court because of concerns over humidity, temperature and a faulty elevator, walked through the building with county officials and discussed in detail actions taken. Portions of the courthouse had been closed for months due to coronavirus. Plans call for ongoing monitoring of the facility systems.

St. Augustine businessman Mark Bailey found himself in the crosshairs of the Rev. Ron Rawls and a group of protestors Saturday because of his efforts to keep a monument to the dead in downtown St. Augustine. Rawls, pastor of St. Paul A.M.E. Church, organized a group to protest and wants Bailey off the board of Flagler College. Another group came to stand up for Bailey and his contributions for many years to the community. This summer when Mayor Tracy Upchurch pushed to move the obelisk, Bailey stepped forward with a plan to keep the historic monument in place and instead use the money for sewer improvements in West Augustine. He offered to help raise additional money needed to complete the project. Rawls, who most recently has been involved with two college students in Palatka pushing to get the Confederate monument in front of the courthouse moved, decried the plan. Bailey and his family for many years have helped organize efforts to support St. Augustine including the hospice center and a teacher supply depot.

Today’s your last chance to register to vote in the November election. You can register or update your registration online or drop off voter registration forms at the Supervisor of Elections office in your home county.

Putnam County Sheriff’s Office is seeking the public’s help to find an East Palatka man wanted for first-degree robbery with a firearm. Hunter Shane Conner, 20, also is known to frequent St. Johns and Marion counties. Conner is aware detectives want to talk to him. If you know Conner’s location, contact CrimeStoppers of NE Florida.

Two coronavirus-related deaths in Putnam County and one in St. Johns County have been reported over the weekend by the Florida Department of Health. In Putnam an 84 year-old woman and a 62-year-old woman died, bringing the death total to 41 since counting began in March. An earlier death was taken off the list after an investigation. In addition, 20 new coronavirus cases in Putnam were reported over the weekend, bringing the total to 2,162 cases. In St. Johns County one new death was reported bringing the number of deaths to 74. Ninety-six new cases were reported over the weekend bringing the St. Johns total to 5,518. In Flagler County 25 new cases were reported bringing the total to 1,787.

Flagler County Sheriff’s Office is crediting RapidID technology with the capture of a fugitive wanted in an armed robbery case a year ago. Jimaya Baker, 21, was the passenger in a car during a traffic stop. The driver, Zyniah ONeal, 19, turned out to be knowingly driving without a valid license. Baker, who first gave a false name, was identified through RapidID technology and arrested. He’s in jail on a $40,500 bond.

Louis Kalivoda never ran for office, but he had a reputation for getting others elected. Kalivoda, 71, died Friday from pancreatic cancer. He grew up in Palatka and during his years in Gainesville was campaign coordinator for several local and state Democratic candidates. He began as a paramedic and later joined Santa Fe College, where as coordinator of school’s Institute for Criminal Justice was reportedly instrumental in getting the property and funds to build the college’s Police Academy.

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