The Voice of the Gem City

local news 2/3/2021

Plummeting temperatures led to freeze warnings overnight for Putnam, St. Johns and Flagler counties although the beaches apparently didn’t go as low as predicted. However wind chill temperatures reportedly were below freezing for the beaches and areas east of I-95 Bundle up, Temperatures are expected to head into the 50s by afternoon then drop to 30 tonight.

A precautionary boil water notice is in effect for parts of Palatka following a drop in water pressure Tuesday. Areas affected are:

  S. 13th Street from Crill Avenue to Reid Street

·         St. Johns Avenue from S. 9th Street to S. 14th Street

·         Laurel Street from railroad tracks (S. 12th Street) to S. 16th Street

Palatka officials say there is the possibility that the drinking water in the neighborhoods has become contaminated with harmful bacteria. Boil drinking water for at least three minutes. Water may be safely used for washing and laundry without boiling. If you have questions, call the Palatka Water Department at 329-0144.

The St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office is investigating an apparent murder-suicide at a home in Sawgrass, a gated community in Ponte Vedra Beach.

The shooting happened Tuesday on Nautilus Lane, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

Deputies summoned to the house by a 911 call around 3 p.m. found two people dead.

Two eighth grade students at Buddy Taylor Middle School in Palm Coast in Flagler County were struck by a car early Monday morning but apparently escaped injury. The two were walking to school when the accident occurred around 6:42 a.m. The motorist in the incident reportedly didn’t see the two and said the light was green when he turned. A witness said she didn’t see the two until they were in the headlights of another car. The students said the crosswalk signal had cleared them to cross.

On December first 35-year-old Ariel Antonio contacted the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office’s and reported that his vehicle had been shot three times while it was parked in the driveway of his residence at 4 Eastern Place in Palm Coast. Diaz suggested that the suspect was likely his current girlfriend’s jealous ex-boyfriend, who resides in Miami. The next day Diaz again contacted the Flagler County Sheriffs office and reported another incident. Diaz stated that the unknown person fired a single gun shot at him and fled the area. FCSO Deputies, Major Case Detectives, Florida Fish and Wildlife and the FCSO K9 Unit were called to the scene and extensively searched the area for hours but did not find the suspect or any evidence.

While on scene, Diaz provided Detectives with text messages that he claimed to have received,indicating that the jealous ex-boyfriend was taking responsibility for both crimes.

Through investigative means, the FCSO Major Case Detectives were able to determine that the text

messages Diaz claimed to receive were actually sent by Diaz himself

Detectives conducted an interview with Diaz who

admitted to sending the text messages and fabricating evidence. Diaz also admitted to firing his own

gun at his property and falsely reporting to law enforcement that he had seen someone shooting at


Ariel Diaz was arrested and charged with False Report of a Crime, False Report to a Law Enforcement Officer, False 911 Calls, and Fabricating Physical Evidence. He was released after posting a $12,000 bond

The Putnam County Health Department has announced the death of a 99 year-old male and an 97 year-old male.  The recent death increases our total to 103 for Putnam County. 

In Putnam county there were 21 new cases with no transfers into our county.  All the cases are under investigation.  There were 2 new hospitalizations. Those wiisshing to be tested an visit the 1101 Husson Ave site in Palatka Friday starting at 8am Appointments are not necessary but arrive as early as possible.

St. Augustine police are searching for a man accused of raping a girl last month.

The St. Augustine Police Department announced Monday in a Facebook post Hunter Dylan Jones Buck, 25, of St. Augustine, is wanted for sexual battery on a minor,

The incident report shows the attack happened the morning of Jan. 19 when a 13-year-old girl heard a noise while she was at home and went outside, thinking it was her mother. The girl told police she saw a man, identified as Buck, driving around and thought he may have been doing work in the area.

The girl said he must have seen her standing outside and knew she was alone. She said she was able to run to her bedroom and close the door but couldn’t lock it, so the man was able to barge in. The girl told investigators she heard her mother returning home as she tried to fight off her attacker.

The girl’s mother told police she came home from work, went to her daughter’s room and found the man with blue and purple hair attacking her daughterThe report said the man yelled for the mother to get out of the way and shoved her aside. he ran out of the home to a dark-colored vehicle, which the mother was able to photograph as it drove away.

Anyone with information about Buck’s whereabouts is asked to call the St. Augustine Police Department at 904-825-1070 or Crime Stoppers at 888-277-8477.

St. Johns County officials say they have received 3,900 doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine this week from the state. Registration will open at 9 a.m. Thursday, Feb. 4, for vaccination appointments on Feb. 5, 8 and 10.

To schedule an appointment, visit or call the St. Johns County COVID-19 Vaccination Hotline at 904-295-3711 after 9 a.m. Feb. 4. You will not be able to register for an appointment through the website or hotline prior to that time.

Habitat for Humanity needs Volunteers this Saturday, Feb. 6,

First, a big thank you to TIC Power for pouring the slab and constructing the framing for our 2nd build in the Veterans Village of Palatka!

They are ready for volunteers to come help with sheathing on the walls and installing hurricane anchors. We are looking for a few skilled workers to come out this Saturday, 2/6, starting at 8 am.

This home build is sponsored by Marty’s Trailer Depot through the Community Contribution Tax Credit Program.

 Forget groundhogs, St. Augustine Alligator Farm Zoological Park released its own prediction. They used a youngish gator named Punxsutawney-Gator to tell the world “12 more months of Florida Sunshine.”

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