The Voice of the Gem City

Local News 2/16/2021

This is Marcia Lane, your roving reporter.

Putnam County’s School Board is set to vote today on a plan to revamp all district schools including closing some, selling some, tearing down others and building nine new ones. The ambitious plan slated to take 10 years was unveiled in January by Superintendent Rick Surrency and Assistant Superintendent Thomas Bolling. The initial plan has been “tweeked and changed” some, Surrency said. That includes not closing Melrose Elementary School where the parents and community put together a strong campaign that now means students will stay on campus in portables if necessary while a new school is constructed. Still set to be closed at the end of this year are the special needs facility at E.H. Miller School plus Jenkins Middle, Mellon Elementary and George Miller Middle schools. Mellon will become a pre-K school for all the area as well as all special needs students. Elementary schools will go back to including sixth grades, eliminating the need for the district’s sixth grade center at C.L. Overturf. That school will become a place to house district personnel. The district will hire and take the advice of a real estate broker when it comes to a proposal to sell E.H. Miller, according to Surrency. Funding plans include using state money and possibly federal money. The public will have to approve a local bond issue in order to get state funds that will mean voting themselves a tax increase for at least 20 years. Today’s meeting, the third since the plan was announced, is at 3:30 p.m. in district headquarters on Reid Street in Palatka and is open to the public.

Rotary Club of Palatka begins its 25th annual blood screening program this Saturday from 6:30-9:30 .m. at Westminster Hall on Second Street across from First Presbyterian Church. Several other dates are scheduled at the Hall as well as in Crescent City and Interlachen. Coronavirus has limited the Rotary Health Fair, but the low-cost blood screening program as well as several other tests will be available. Register at

In Flagler County, an 18-year-old student-athlete at Flagler Palm Coast High School, was killed Sunday night in a single-car crash. Nehemiah Gilyard of Bunnell was working – delivering pizzas – when for some reason his vehicle went off County Road 302, about half a mile west of State Road 100.

Flagler County Sheriff’s Office is investigating an apparent suicide attempt by a woman at the RaceTrac gas station on Palm Coast Parkway early Monday morning. The woman, whose name has not been released, was critically injured when she shot herself as deputies approached the stolen car she was in. Deputies located the vehicle reported stolen out of Volusia County at the gas station and had surrounded the car when gunshots were heard, according to the report.

A 31-year-old Palatka man is in Putnam County jail facing sexual assault charges on a girl under 18. Jacob Jepson was arrested and charged with two counts of first-degree felony of sexual assault of a victim older than 12 but under the age of 18, according to the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office. The incident occurred in September 2020. Jepson originally was booked on $30,000 bond, but bond was later denied.

Tickets for The Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach go on sale today. Coronavirus has cut way back on attendance allowed – this year, say organizers, only 20 percent capacity for fans will be allowed. All tickets and parking passes will be sold online as a safety measure. Even at the golf tournament, cash can’t be used to pay for food and beverages. The tournament is March 11-14.

Enjoy today with good weather expected. It will make up for last night’s display by nature of rain, thunder, lightning, hail and tornado warnings in Putnam and St. Johns counties. Today’s also Fat Tuesday, the last day of celebration before Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the 40 day Lenten Season. Coronavirus is affecting even Mardi Gras in New Orleans where Bourbon Street is barricaded and no parades are planned. That’s ok, homeowners in the city have decorated their houses like floats – it’s hard to keep the folks of the Big Easy down.

%d bloggers like this: