The Voice of the Gem City

November 16, 2020

This is Marcia Lane, your roving reporter.

City-driven changes for downtown Palatka are once again on the horizon. What’s being called the St. Johns Avenue Reimagining Project is up for public input through meetings and interviews conducted by a landscape architect with Ayers Associates, the company hired by the city. Property owners and business operators can have architect Chris Silewski stop in for one-on-one talks Wednesday between 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. On Thursday the architect is available for one-on-one meetings with others at the St. Johns River Center from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. You have to set up an appointment. That same day from 5 to 6 p.m. at the center a public meeting will be held and the public will get a brief overview of the project.

Florida Department of Health in St. Johns County reported 215 coronavirus cases between Friday and Sunday. That brings total number of cases since counting began in March to 7,524. One coronavirus-related death was reported, bringing the total in St. Johns to 89. Flagler County reported 62 cases during the same period, bringing their total to 2,399 cases. Putnam County reported 19 cases as well as one new coronavirus-related death, a 70-year-old woman. Death count is 55 cases. Total number of cases is 2,535.

Two brothers wanted for questioning in the death of a 21-year-old Winter Haven man are being sought in the area. On Nov. 6 the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office stopped a vehicle registered to Danne Frazier who was reported missing Nov. 4 after last being seen at a Wawa gas station. During the stop on U.S. 1 the driver, Jo “JoJo” Lobato, 19, fled on foot from the driver’s side. His brother, Angel Lobato, 18, refused to talk to deputies. JoJo wasn’t found and Angel was given a courtesy ride to a gas station in Ormond Beach where he was picked up. Four days later, Frazier’s body was found in an orange grove in Polk County. “He was brutally murdered, and then dumped in an orange grove,” according to Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd. Warrants are now out on the brothers for changes including grand theft of a motor vehicle, giving false information and accessory after the fact of a criminal investigation. The two are considered armed and dangerous. Photos are available on the Flagler County Sheriff’s website. If you spot them, contact the Sheriff’s Office. Tips can be sent to Heartland Crime Stoppers at 1-800-226-8477.

A crash Sunday in Flagler County sent a seriously injured motorcyclist to Halifax hospital in Daytona Beach. Florida Highway Patrol is investigating the crash that happened around 6 p.m. at the intersection of Belle Terre Parkway and Royal Palms Parkway in Palm Coast. The driver and passenger of the Toyota Corolla involved in the accident had minor injuries. The motorcyclist was catapulted off his Harley Davidson and onto the ground.

A flatbed hauling a plane fuselage drew more than a few glances in St. Johns County Friday. The plane section will actually be staying in St. Johns at the bottom of the pond at the Sheriff’s Office new training center. Northrop Grumman Corporation donated the Gulfsteam 4 fuselage to be used for training. The fuselage was hauled up from the company’s Melbourne location.

Putnam County Speedway has a new name Putnam Raceway Inc. and owners are hoping people will be able to see some racing at the dirt track in South Putnam by 2021. Right now they are tentatively working on holding an open practice Sunday, Dec. 13, of this year. This is a case of bringing a track back to life after many people had written it off.

Flagler Estates homeowners are looking for ways to make Christmas a bit brighter. Residents of the large development that straddles several counties including St. Johns are urging people to dress up their property for the holidays to give families and kids something to enjoy while social distancing. Kandi Williams is asking people to let her know on Facebook who is decorating so a map can be put together that people can use to find the bright lights. At her house she’s planning on a fake elf café near the road, canes in the candy jar for kids and a real red mailbox.

And our congrats to Quincy Masters in Palatka who on Saturday took part in the Salute to Veterans 5K in Jacksonville. He reports it took him 42 minutes and 21 seconds. While he says that’s not very fast, he did finish first out of the three runners in his age group. And he got a winner’s plaque.

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