The Voice of the Gem City

Oct. 28, 2020

This is Marcia Lane, your roving reporter.

Where Putnam County’s Confederate statue will end up won’t be decided until Nov. 10 during a workshop meeting of the Putnam County Commission. Although county commissioners Tuesday got recommendations from a committee they appointed and heard from residents, they weren’t ready to make a decision. Commissioner Jeff Rawls again tried to let citizens vote on the issue, but couldn’t get a second for his motion. In August commissioners agreed to move the statue and appointed an 11-member committee to come up with a location. The three choices – Melrose Historic Park, Veterans Memorial Park in East Palatka or leave it where it is at the Putnam County Courthouse. Commissioners say wherever it goes, the moving costs will not be paid for by the county.

Florida Department of Health in Flagler County on Tuesday reported one new coronavirus-related death, bringing their total since March to 38 deaths. Twenty new coronavirus cases were reported, bringing their total to 2,103. In Putnam County nine new coronavirus cases with two cases merged were reported. Putnam’s total is now at 2,362. In St. Johns County, 59 new coronavirus cases were reported, bringing the total to 6,384.

An 18-year-old girl from Interlachen will be in the inaugural class of female Eagle Scouts. Kelly Myers is scheduled to be the first of several girls to receive the top honor. Myers organized a team to build and install bat houses to help strengthen the ecosystem in her community. Boy Scouts of America in 2019 changed their name to Scouts BSA for older scouts and opened up the Eagle program to females. Less than 10 percent of BSA scouts earn the rank of Eagle.

St. Augustine is seeing something of a return to normal when it comes to activities. For the 12th year the St. Augustine Ballet will present their annual performance of The Nutcracker. The event at Lewis Auditorium is Dec. 18-20. For tickets, call 855-222-2849 or go to Social distancing will limit number of seats. Also reopening, although not until January, is the St. Augustine Amphitheatre. First show is Jan. 15 and 16 with Jacksonville’s JJ Grey and Mofro in concert. Social distancing measures include masks and limited seating with only about 36 percent capacity.

Flagler County Sheriff’s Office continues to look for two missing people in unrelated cases. Latest information is that neither are any longer in Flagler County so the Sheriff’s Office is seeking help from other agencies to find Xandar Garrett, 13, and Jamal Bell, 30. The two cases don’t appear to be related and foul play isn’t suspected. If you can help, call 386-313-4911 or email

St. Augustine Police should be wearing body cameras by December. The city has signed a contract with Axon Enterprise for training and 60 sets of cameras and stun guns. Cost is slightly over $150,000.
Ponte Vedra High School boys golf team is going for their fourth consecutive boys golf championship. If they win, they’ll be the only boys golf team in state history t win four straight golf championships.

An 18-year-old Palm Coast resident accused in the shooting death of a 17-year-old some 15 months ago will be going to trial on first-degree murder charges. Benjamin Allen rejected a settlement offer from the state Tuesday and not heads to trial, probably in January. If convicted of the killing of Elijah Rizvan, Allen faces life in prison.

Putnam County schools are seeking ways to make the environment safer for students during the coronavirus pandemic. The School Food Service Department has purchased and installed touchless water bottle filling stations at 17 schools. The 18th school – E.H. Miller – will have a station installed next month.

The Junior Service League of St. Augustine has created a 2021 calendar to salute St. Johns County essential workers. Funds raised will go back to non-profits in the county. Photos feature workers posed at well-known landmarks in the city and represent everyone from sanitation workers and childcare staff to grocery store workers and area farmers.  We couldn’t get along without them.

And a happy 90th birthday to two Putnam County stalwarts – Ruth Vickers and Jean Deputy.

%d bloggers like this: