The Voice of the Gem City

News May 12, 2021

This is Marcia Lane, your roving reporter.

A cyberattack targeting Colonial Pipeline, which delivers about 45 percent of the fuel used on the East Coast, is making itself felt in northern Florida including Putnam, St. Johns and Flagler counties. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis Tuesday declared a state of emergency and says the impact is being monitored even as auto owners line up at pumps. State Rep. Bobby Payne from Palatka this morning echoed the governor urging people not to panic and reminding them fuel trucks are bringing in needed gas. Some areas are reporting long lines and some stations were empty after heavy buying. In Tallahassee on Tuesday gas was up to $3.09 a gallon although in Lake City the price was at $2.79. The lines reminded some of the gas crisis in 1973 during an oil embargo.

In St. Johns County a 14-year-old is being held by the Department of Juvenile Justice on second-degree murder charges as authorities discuss whether to try him as an adult or a juvenile. Aiden Fucci, 14, allegedly stabbed his 13-year-old classmate Tristyn Bailey to death. The two attended Patriot Oaks Academy. Sheriff Rob Hardwick, in talking about the crime, said the killing was “not an accident” and described the death as “cold-blooded murder.” The Sheriff’s Office reported several people were using the case “to try to gain fame and followers. Please know that these individuals had nothing to do with this incident.” They did confirm Fucci took a selfie in the back seat of a police cruiser using a peace sign and the caption “Hey guys has inybody seen Tristyn lately.”

Be prepared this weekend for traffic – on the St. Johns River out of Palatka. Wolfson Children’s Hospital annual Bass Tournament is back although with some restrictions. Fewer vendors will be on hand and the annual drawing for a bass boat won’t take place until the week after on Facebook. However, 800 fishermen are expected. Thursday it’s the Lads & Lassies Tournament, Friday the VIP & Friends Tournaments and Saturday the 32nd annual fishing tournament.

A memorial tea to celebrate the life of the late Anne Heymen, longtime St. Augustine Record editor and reporter, is Saturday from 2-4 p.m. at the St. Johns County Agricultural Center with the Pilot Club of St. Augustine hosting.  Some openings remain for the second seating of the tea, which will include people sharing memories of Anne. Coronavirus distance restrictions are being observed. To reserve a space, call 904-540-2122.

Welaka Town Council chose the daughter of late Council member Willie Washington to fill the seat left vacant by his death. On Tuesday the Council voted 3-1 for Kathy Washington. Kathy Washington retired after a 30-year career in the U.S. Army. She’ll be up for election in February.

What’s known as a downdraft caused damage in two areas of Putnam County Tuesday. In the area of U.S. 17 and State Road 100 near the weight station a large DOT sign was flipped and several trees came down during violent winds. At the turn on 100 to Bunnell a couple of large water oaks were down and one broken in a small park near the San Mateo Woman’s Club and the San Mateo Presbyterian Church. Both St. Johns and Flagler counties were under severe weather watches Tuesday afternoon.

An attempt to build a 240-boat storage facility next to Hammock Hardware in Flagler County continues to meet resistance. Now the argument is over whether the facility qualifies for the marina designation sought by the developer. Residents of the Hammock Community Association continue to fight the project, which was before the county planning board Tuesday. The board eventually tabled the item for two months and is seeking to have the county draw up an ordinance defining marina.

On Thursday, Palatka City Commission swear in new firefighters and honor firefighter promotions during their city commission meeting at 6 p.m. Also planned is recognition by VFW Post 3349 of David Zimmer as firefighter of the year and Lt. Scott Mast as police office of the year.

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