The Voice of the Gem City

News April 14, 2021

This is Marcia Lane, your roving reporter.

Although the Putnam Count Commission meeting Tuesday turned into a marathon session, one of the major issues wasn’t discussed. A proposed change to the future land use portion of Putnam County’s Comprehensive Plan would have meant an increase in building density from 12 housing units per acre to 24 units per acre. The change only would have applied to unincorporated areas. County officials said it was a way of coping with expected growth as developers in other counties look at expanding into Putnam. Instead, commissioners decided not to take up the issue saying data was too old to help with a decision. Local opposition to the change has been growing.

A Flagler County man who headed to work Monday found himself greeted by Flagler Sheriff’s deputies who then took him to jail. Jordan Greendale, 24, was charged with battery on a person over 65 years of age following an incident over the weekend. Greendale was accused of pushing a 79-year-old woman during an argument and then pulling out her mobile cardiac monitor wires attached to her chest. He fled the scene and couldn’t be found. The victim didn’t wish to pursue charges, but, based on evidence deputies, did file charges. Greendale was booked into the jail without bond.

Concerns over the Johnson & Johnson vaccine have led Gov. Ron DeSantis to temporarily stop use in Florida. DeSantis says it shouldn’t be a problem since only about 37,000 doses from the company are expected this week as compared to nearly 550,000 Moderna and Pfizer doses. However, it does mean that three pop-up vaccination clinics in St. Johns County won’t take place this week. The pop-ups were to be held at the St. Augustine Tourist Information Center, Hastings Public Library and Mills Field in on Racetrack Road. They will be rescheduled.

A St. Johns County man facing trial over his participation in the Jan. 6 march on the Capitol in Washington wants information collected by the government made
public. The lawyer for John Steven Anderson, 61, said prosecutors want to have an “informational blackout” of the evidence they’ve collected. Attorney Marina Medvin was before a federal judge in Washington saying the “protective order” sought by prosecutors would keep the records from being circulated to the general public and was an increase in government power over public information. Protective orders are most often used in financial crimes to protect records such as financial statements and credit card numbers.

Logs littered an intersection at an area known as the Y in Palatka Tuesday afternoon after a log truck apparently tipped. Roads were blocked at the intersection of U.S. 17 North and State Road 100 near McDonald’s restaurant and traffic had to be rerouted. The accident is under investigation.

Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Graham Nash is in concert tonight at Ponte Vedra Concert Hall. His “An Intimate Evening of Songs and Stories” was originally scheduled for March 2020 but was postponed due to the coronavirus emergency. He made the Hall of Fame for his work with Crosby, Stills, and Nash, as well as with the Hollies.

Congrats to Elizabeth Van Rensburg of the GFWC Woman’s Club of Palatka who’s been named District 4 Volunteer of the Year by General Federation of Women’s Clubs. She now goes on to compete for top honors in the stats. Van Rensburg, the immediate past president of the club, says it’s just been announced the Palatka club is the largest in the state.

Saturday and Sunday plan on going to the St. Johns River Bartram Frolic on the riverfront in downtown Palatka. The annual event focuses on the river’s heritage and history and remembers William Bartram, the first native-born naturalist in the United States. Hiking, biking, kayaking and equestrian activities, nature-based exhibitors and food trucks, river music at the Amphitheater and a Sunday Bartram Symposium are on the schedule.

Also coming up Saturday is the Vets Freedom Fest 2021 at the Putnam County Fairgrounds in East Palatka. It’s hosted by Hillcrest Baptist Church and honors the nation’s veterans.

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