The Voice of the Gem City

March 2, 2021

This is Marcia Lane, your roving reporter.

Putnam County School Board today meets at 3:30 p.m. to look at financing paths for a proposed revamping of all the district’s schools. This is the right sizing proposal that the board passed last month by a 3-2 vote and will mean the closing of five schools this year and building of nine new schools over the next 10 years. The board is expected to pass a bond resolution that then goes to the state for approval. Putnam residents will vote on it in November 2022. Today’s meeting can be seen online or some seats are available.

Two teens are under arrest in Flagler County following a series of incidents over the weekend including a false bomb threat. On Saturday the KFC restaurant on Old Kings Road in Palm Coast was temporarily closed while Flagler County Sheriff’s Office conducted a sweep of the building after a bomb threat. No explosives were found. On Sunday, two juveniles playing basketball at Ralph Carter Park in Palm Coast reported individuals in a Ford F-150 truck fired BB gun pellets at them. One youth received a minor injury. An hour-and-a-half later deputies were called to Royal Palm Drive and Belle Terre Parkway after a driver heard two pops and saw her rear windshield shatter from what was determined to be a BB pellet. Shortly after that another individual reported the rear window of his vehicle parked at the Palm Coast WalMart had been broken by a BB pellet.  Deputies traced the bomb threat phone call back to Kyle Sanderson, 16, of Palm Coast. The vehicle used in the BB gun episodes was registered to his mother and she confirmed a security footage photo was of her son. Sanderson later identified his companion as Christian Boyd, 18. He said Boyd made the phone call and fired the rounds from a BB gun. The two were arrested with Boyd booked into county jail on a $9,000 bond and Sanderson turned over to the Department of Juvenile Justice and then to his parents to await a court date.

The Sea to Sea race put on by Adventure Races Georgia over the weekend led to multiple crashes involving bicyclists including one death. Law enforcement in St. Johns and Flagler counties now say nine bicyclists were injured in four separate crashes. In St. Johns County Dr. Troy Manz, a captain with the Air National Guard in Illinois, was killed early Sunday morning, and his fiancé, Trish Wilkinson, and a friend Barbara Gilmore were taken to UF Health with serious injuries after being struck by a car on U.S. 1. In one of the other accidents, two cyclists were struck by a hit-and-run driver who is being sought by law enforcement. The two other accidents occurred in Flagler County. ARGeorgia puts on endurance races that have teams trekking, kayaking and biking set courses. The Sea to Sea race was a 72-hour endurance race from the west coast of Florida back to St. Augustine.

In 2022 Palm Coast government will be looking at their garbage hauler contract. They’re starting now to get public input and during the month of March are asking people to fill out a short survey. You can do it online or fill out the form that will be added to this month’s utility bills. Forms also are available at the Palm Coast City Hall and the Palm Coast Community Center. Options the city is considering include staying with Waste Pro, the current contractor, going with a new garbage hauler or altering the type of hauling contract, which is for five years.

Things really are going to the birds. Cassidy Baugh in Flagler Estates reports finding a racing pigeon from Oklahoma City. It was located Monday in the middle of the road after apparently taking a wrong turn somewhere on its race. A local rescue group is helping out and the owners have been contacted. Seems about once every other month a racing pigeon turns up in St. Augustine. This one just needs some food and a rest, Baugh said.

Florida Department of Health in Putnam County announced one new coronavirus related death on Monday. The death of the 78-year-old woman brings the death total to 127 people who have died since counting began last March. Three new cases were reported on Monday, bringing the total to 5,843.  St. Johns County reported one new coronavirus related death bringing their total to 198 deaths. Eleven new coronavirus cases were reported Monday, bringing the count to 20,105 in St. Johns. Flagler County reported six new cases on Monday for a total of 5,971.

Last week we told you about the Azalea City Brewing Company winning state honors for their repurposing of the old Palatka Coca Cola building into a craft brewery. And then we told you how the business had planted azaleas front and back only to have the plants stolen. Over the weekend Paul Mack at Hagan Ace Hardware in East Palatka replaced the stolen azaleas free of charge. Larra Wallace helped to plant and mulch the azaleas Saturday. Always nice to see people stepping up to help one another.

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