The Voice of the Gem City

February 22, 2021

This is Marcia Lane, your roving reporter.

Putnam County Sheriff’s Office is waiting for the results of an autopsy in an effort to discover the identity of human remains found Saturday morning as deputies searched for a missing Fruitland area woman. Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Allison Waters-Merritt said it would be this afternoon at the very earliest before the District 23 Medical Examiner’s Office will have finished an autopsy. The remains were found in a heavily wooded area off County Road 308, about two miles from Middleton-Burney Elementary School in Crescent City. Deputies were searching for Nyeisha Nelson, 20, who was last seen Feb. 11 when she took her five-year-old daughter to Middleton-Burney. Nelson’s 2007 gray Honda Accord was found Thursday in a wooded area off Old U.S. 17 near Crescent City. Although the identity of the remains isn’t yet known by Saturday at least one fake Go Fund Me account to pay for Nelson’s funeral had been posted, Waters-Merritt said. If you have information on Nelson’s whereabouts or saw her after Feb. 11, call the Sheriff’s Office at 386-329-0800 or remain anonymous by calling CrimeStoppers of Northeast Florida.

A 32-year-old Seville woman was killed Saturday as she backed out of driveway off of U.S. 17 in Crescent City, according to Florida Highway Patrol. A 7-year-old child in the car was critically injured. FHP reported the accident happened as the woman exited the driveway and entered the northbound lane of U.S. 17 where she was T-boned by a pickup truck. The 28-year-old Crescent City driver of the pickup suffered serious injuries, according to the report. The accident happened just north of Ewers Road in Crescent City.

Developers of the long-delayed Sebastian Inland Harbor Planned Unit Development are asking St. Augustine City Commission to give them more time to redesign the project. The plans passed city boards but ran into questions from commissioners and a call for “something that makes the pulse rush” when it went to the city. Developers also want to increase the number of housing units within the project that includes a hotel, shopping space, multi-story parking garages and marina. The project, which includes a portion of King Street in the old downtown, will be along one of the main entries into the city.

Coronavirus continues to bring cancellations in St. Johns County. Officials say the Celtic Festival and St. Patrick’s Day Parade won’t happen this March. Also cancelled is the Easter Parade in April. A number of other annual events are listed as “planning to move forward if permitted” and City Manager John Regan will be going over permit requests at tonight’s city meeting. The annual Cathedral Parish Festival at Mission Nombre de Dios is still planned for this weekend.

St. Augustine isn’t the only place struggling with holding festivals. St. Ambrose Catholic Church in Elkton has cancelled plans for the annual Spring Fair. They say still on is the Fall Festival in October which features music, kids’ rides, booths and Minorcan clam chowder. The annual Boulevard Car Show at Christ United Methodist Church on Lattin Street set for February has been postponed and organizers are looking at Fall. In Palatka the Azalea Festival and Azalea Days have been cancelled. However, local organizations are looking at several activities for the first weekend in March, when the festival was scheduled. A downtown clean up, a two-day art show by the Palatka Art League at the Tilghman House and re-enactors and tours at the Bronson-Mulholland House are planned. Also coming up the March Pickleball Tournament held on the courts at Palatka High School.

Florida Department of Health in Putnam County reported three coronavirus-related deaths between Friday and Sunday. On Friday the death of a 92-year-old woman was announced and two more deaths were listed Sunday. That brings the death total to 122 for Putnam County. Over the three-day period 31 cases of coronavirus were reported. St. Johns County reported one new coronavirus-related death over the three-day period bringing their total to 186. In addition 139 new cases were reported for a total of 19,705. Flagler County reported 68 new cases over the same three-day period, bringing their total to 5,714 cases.

For fans of Buc-ee’s, it’s a good day. Buc-ee’s is the Texas-sized gas station-convenience store change out of Texas that today opens its first store in Florida. It’s happening off Interstate 95 at the World Golf Village exit. The store is about 55,000 square feet with 104 pumps serving customers outside. Daytona Beach will be opening another Buc-ee’s shortly.

Fans of Rodman Reservoir got a boost with a story by Florida Sportsman that put the popular Putnam County lake as the third best place in the state to catch a 10-pound largemouth bass. Catching a bass that age and size, wrote the author, was akin to a mountain climber scaling Mount Everest. Top of the five-location list was Lake Kissimmee.

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