The Voice of the Gem City

February 19, 2021

This is Marcia Lane, your roving reporter.

The 25th annual blood screening put on by Rotary Club of Palatka begins this Saturday. Coronavirus has made changes to the testing which normally is part of a health fair. This year people will go to First Presbyterian Church of Palatka’s Westminster Hall to have tests between 7 and 9:30 a.m. The $50 blood screening provides a complete blood screening profile at a fraction of the normal cost. A variety of other tests including PSA screening for men is available. The fair was the brainchild of the late Dr. Iftikhar Ahmad, who got his fellow Rotarians to sponsor the event that has saved lives each year. Other screening days are available. Go to to make an appointment.

Putnam County Sheriff’s Office have found the car of a missing Crescent City woman in Fruitland. This morning they changed the status of Nyeisha Ariona Nelson, 20, to include “possibly endangered.” The young mother last talked to her family Feb. 11. That’s the day she took her child to school, according to family members. She was wearing a white t-shirt and gray shorts. Reportedly a neighbor saw Nelson in the yard of her house on Ohio Street before she left in her 2008 gray Honda Accord. Call the sheriff’s office or CrimeStoppers of NE Florida if you have information abut Nelson.

An unidentified woman died Thursday morning on State Road A1A south of St. Augustine Beach after being struck by a truck, according to Florida Highway Patrol. The woman was crossing at a crosswalk near Dondanville Road when the utility truck struck her. FHP said the driver failed to see the pedestrian. The driver, 49, was not injured. Two other unrelated wrecks occurred along the road about the same time. Residents and business owners have long complained about increased traffic and speed along the roadway. According to the state, statewide 217 deaths from traffic crashes have occurred so far this year.

Florida Department of Health in Putnam County reported one new coronavirus-related death Thursday. The death of the 42-year-old woman brings the death total to 119 in Putnam. In addition, six new cases were reported for a total of 5,749 since counting began in March of last year. Flagler County reported 24 new cases, bringing their coronavirus total to 5,714. St. Johns County reported 44 new cases, for a total of 19,705.

Winter storms in much of the rest of the country continue to hamper delivery of coronavirus vaccine. Federal deliveries of Moderna vaccine to Florida are being delayed by the weather. Florida Division of Emergency Management says appointments are being rescheduled as needed. Publix is not scheduling any new appointments for first doses in Florida due to the delays. Appointments already scheduled are being honored by the grocery chain.

Flagler County Sheriff’s Office continues cracking down on cybercrime with the help of a relatively new unit. Latest investigation has Elijah De’Shawn Hudson, 24, of Palm Coast, facing 17 felony charges of possession of images or videos of sexual abuse of children. Hudson is in jail on a $255,000 bond. The cybercrime unit says all their local cases have begun with an initial “CyberTip” from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. The Center reports a doubling of tips in just the first six months of 2020.

Florida Highway Patrol is investigating an accident this morning on State Road 100 near Bardin Road. Traffic was being diverted from the accident scene where a semi-truck overturned.

St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office is investigating an apparent self-inflected gunshot wound that sent a man to the hospital Thursday night after he was found in the parking lot of the Shoppes of Ponte Vedra. Deputies were called to the scene around 7:30 p.m. after the man, who was in his 30s, was found in the lot. He was reported in stable condition.

Operation Green Light begins Monday through the office of Putnam County Clerk of Court Matt Reynolds. Under the plan, the office waives the 40 percent collection surcharge on late payments of traffic tickets, partial payment plans and other court costs. It continues during business days for the next two weeks. For balance due and information, call 386-326-7680.

Miss Carrie Johnson was one of the best ambassadors St. Augustine ever had. On Saturday at noon a ceremony will be held on Bravo Street in Lincolnville to rename the street for the exuberant lady known as the Voice of Lincolnville. She never met a song she didn’t like, and she delighted in annually leading Christmas carolers. Johnson, who died in 2018 at 83, for many years was a familiar sight riding downtown on her three-wheeled bike and calling out “Hi darlin’” to friends and visitors alike.

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