The Voice of the Gem City

March 5, 2021

This is Marcia Lane, your roving reporter.

Bike Week in Daytona Beach starts today and continues through the 14t th as motorcyclists from around the country gather. Flagler County Sheriff’s Office is warning people to practice safe driving and common sense. Deputies are on patrol with instructions to have zero tolerance for aggressive driving and drinking and driving. Remember most of the motorcyclists aren’t familiar with the area and they will be taking rides to St. Johns, Flagler and Putnam counties.

Phone problems continue at some residences and offices in Palatka. Putnam County government expected to be fully functional by Thursday although some issues reportedly remain. Officials say issues began due to extensive damage caused by flooding. If you can’t get through to a government office, call the main recording line at 386-329-0200. Other businesses and residences on the south side of Palatka, including First Presbyterian Church, say they haven’t had service in more than 40 days.

Florida Department of Health in St. Johns County reported two new coronavirus-related deaths on Thursday. That puts the death total at 199 since counting began last March. In addition 52 new cases were reported in St. Johns for a total of 20,242. Putnam County reported the coronavirus-related death of a 75-year-old woman, bringing the death total to 128. In addition seven new cases with two transfers out of county were reported bringing the coronavirus total to 5,874. Flagler County reported 28 new coronavirus cases for a total of 6,063.

An attempt to kidnap a child on Wellham Lane in Palm Coast Wednesday led to a manhunt and eventual arrest of a 26-year-old neighbor. Zanut Jean Pierre-Theolin allegedly pushed her way into a house and attempted to grab a three-year-old child by the arm in front of her mother saying, “this is my baby.” The mother managed to get the woman out of the house and call law enforcement. A perimeter was set up and the Flagler Emergency FireFlight helicopter launched and K-9 units called out. The woman was found walking on a nearby road. She reportedly tried to enter a house on Woodhaven Lane through the garage door but was confronted by homeowners. Pierre-Theolin was arrested for burglary and kidnapping, loitering and prowling and trespassing and jailed without bond.

Knowing how to spell “dramatization” means Indian Trails Middle School student Daniel Belkin will be going the 77th annual First Coast Regional Spelling Bee March 29 although this year’s event will be via Zoom. The seventh grader competed against spelling bee winners from other Flagler County schools.

The passing of longtime Welaka town councilman and former Putnam County Sheriff’s deputy Willie Washington on Thursday is bringing tributes for the man who was also the county’s first black deputy constable. He later became a deputy with the Sheriff’s Office, reaching the rank of corporal. For four years he served as Welaka Police Chief. Putnam Sheriff Gator DeLoach said Washington “… always made decisions to help others and he was genuine at a time when he and others in our community were faced with adversity and he persevered. He never tarnished his badge in serving as a law enforcement officer for 35 years, and our condolences go to his family and friends.” Mayor Terrill Hill in Palatka ordered flags be flown at half-staff through Saturday.

Azalea Festival isn’t taking place this weekend due to coronavirus concerns but you’ll find plenty to do in Palatka. Saturday and Sunday it’s the Palatka Azalea Pickleball Tournament at Palatka High School tennis courts on Mellon Road. Proceeds benefit communities through the programs of the Rotary Club of Palatka Sunrise. Also Saturday and Sunday Palatka Art League holds Azalea Spring Fling at the Tilghman House, 324 River Street. An artisan gift boutique, vintage items and a plant sale are open to the public. Bronson-Mulholland House on Madison Street features tours and re-enactors Saturday and Sunday. Garden Club of Palatka holds an open house at their clubhouse at Ravine Gardens State Park Saturday form 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Great chance to also walk or ride around the Ravines where the azaleas have come into their own. Azalea City Brewing Company in the old Coca Cola building on South Seventh Street has live entertainment and food trucks this weekend.

If you forgot to order azaleas from the GFWC Woman’s Club of Palatka, you still have a chance today to buy plants since the club ordered about 100 extra. From noon to 6 p.m. azaleas can be bought and orders picked up at the clubhouse at 600 S. 13th Street.

In St. Augustine tonight you can enjoy First Friday Art Walk both downtown and on Anastasia Island from 5 to 9 p.m. At St. Johns County Fairgrounds in Elkton from 7-8:30 p.m. tonight you can find out what’s up in the sky as the county Parks Department partners with Ancient City Astronomy Club. Country music star Rodney Atkins is at the Tringali Barn for a 7 p.m. Concerts for a Cause Series. This concert benefits INK aka Investing in Kids. Historic Florida Militia presents a Timeline Saunter from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday along St. George Street and the Plaza de la Constitucion. Jerry’s Girls, a musical salute to Mame and Hello Dolly composer Jerry Herman is at Limelight Theatre this month.

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