The Voice of the Gem City

Local News 2/1/2021

Can you spell I – N – S – U – L – I – N…. Armand Kuykendall, a 7th grader at Miller Middle School can. After 24 impressive rounds Friday afternoon Kuykendall is Putnam County School District’s Spelling Bee Champion for a THIRD year in a row! Armand will represent Putnam County as he continues on to the 76th Annual First Coast Regional Spelling Bee which will be held virtually on Monday, March 29th. 

The runner-up for the Putnam County School District Spelling Bee is Connor Huntley, a 5th grade student from Melrose Elementary School. We are VERY proud of all of the participants of this year’s Spelling Bee Competition.

Superintendent Rick Surrency praised the 13 students competing. “This is just a sign of their commitment to education and bettering themselves,” Surrency said, “It is quite an honor to represent their school and their entire student body

Vehicles are again permitted on Vilano Beach after a monthslong beach renourishment project to restore the dunes.

St. Johns County officials said on-beach driving there was reinstated Sunday.

According to county officials, the renourishment project was designed to restore critically-eroded shoreline and dunes.

County officials said the use of four-wheel drive vehicles is recommended on Vilano Beach.

St. Johns County is reviewing plans for a grocery-anchored shopping center by The Sembler Co. at northeast Florida 207 and Brickhoff Road, east of Interstate 95, not far from St. Augustine.

No grocer is identified, although its size matches that of Publix Super Markets Inc. 

The center also will have a liquor store operated by the grocer.

There are two additional multitenant retail shops buildings – one on each side of the grocery

construction will start in July or August and be completed in summer 2022.

In PONTE VEDRA BEACH A womans body was found Sunday on the right shoulder of A1A South, just south of J. Turner Butler Boulevard, according to the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office.

A passerby reported the discovery around 4:40 a.m., the Sheriff’s Office said.

The cause of death was not immediately known.

The Flagler County Sheriff’s Office (FCSO) responded to a call after residents in the “K” section of Palm Coast reported hearing gunfire on Kalamazoo Trail around 6:48 pm on Thursday night. Deputies located a silver Ford Fusion fleeing the area, which matched the description of the vehicle involved in the incident. Deputies conducted a felony traffic stop on the vehicle and detained all five occupants. Two handguns could be seen in plain view.

A video and audio segments from a home surveillance systems in the area showed the suspect vehicle arrive at the victim’s residence 6:48 p.m. Gunshots can be seen seconds later from the front passenger of the vehicle and the backseat passenger on the driver’s side. The suspect vehicle then leaves the scene at a high rate of speed less than one minute late

There were no injuries reported from the shooting. Numerous shell casings were recovered along with evidence of gunshots hitting a parked car on the property as well as numerous bullets that landed inside the residence. “Here we have grown men who think they can handle disagreements with gunfire. Two of them aren’t even from around here and they thought they could come here and commit a crime and get away with it,” Sheriff Rick Staly said. “They are lucky they did not injury anyone this reckless and very dangerous behavior. Violence doesn’t solve problems, it only creates more problems. Our deputies and detectives did a great job in quickly locating the suspects and taking them off the streets and to the Green Roof Inn. I hope the system holds these offenders accountable and send them to prison for a long time.” 18-year-old Jamey Jahiem Bennet was arrested and charged with Shooting a Missile at a Dwelling. 25- year-old Paul Philippe Pajotte was arrested and charged with Shooting a Missile at a Dwelling and Possession of a Weapon by a Convicted Felon. He also had an active warrant out of Orange County for Violation of Probation for Identity Fraud. 21-year-old Randy Alexandre was arrested and charged with Shooting a Missile at a Dwelling. All three are being held with no bond allowed. Two 16-year-old juveniles who were passengers in the vehicle were released at the scene to their parents.

And we hope you enjoyed those weekend temperatures because the high today will only be 50 degrees and tonight the temperatures will fall to 36 degrees with a wind chill of 29.  That will be the case for the next few days.

And today we kick off our Pick It Up Putnam litter drive.  We invite you to pick up the trash around your home or business and email us a picture.  We will showcase you on our website and enter you into a drawing for prizes.  Just send your pictures to

BE ON THE LOOKOUT that’s what St Johns Deputies asked the public to do Saturday. Deputies were in the area of SR 16 and Rues Landing Road attempting to locate the owner of several seemingly domesticated pigs along road and deputies were attempting to keep them out of the traffic-way.  If you know of anyone who may be missing pigs in the area, please call 824-8304 so the owner may be contacted.

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