The Voice of the Gem City

News May 17, 2021

This is Marcia Lane, your roving reporter.

Centers for Disease Control officials say they used science to make the decision that masks can come off for those who have been vaccinated for coronavirus. Over the weekend people in St. Johns, Flagler and Putnam counties were enjoying the new freedom with fewer wearing masks at a variety of events including the annual Wolfson Children’s Hospital Bass Tournament in Palatka. Churches also were seeing more people without the masks. Health officials continue to push people to get the vaccine.

The future of Whispering Meadows Ranch, a therapy-riding facility, goes before the Flagler County Commission today at 5 p.m. Former state attorney John Tanner, a neighbor, reportedly is leading the charge to get rid of the 5.4 acre facility. That’s being done through a recent demand by the county that the facility apply for a semi-public use application. The facility that helps veterans and the disabled has been in place off John Anderson Highway for more than 20 years. The commission vote tonight can shut down the facility or allow it to continue. Anonymous letters recently went out that made a number of false claims about the establishment including saying it lowered property values, say supporters.

Former Flagler County School Board member and longtime county booster John Fischer, 76, has died. Fischer, who served on the school board from 2011-2014, often stepped up to help support a variety of causes in the county. His latest was an effort to keep Whispering Meadows Ranch, where he had helped out for 12 years.

Putnam County lost a couple of longtime supporters last week with the passing of Katie Martinez and Bert Scoggins. Katie, the wife of Danny Martinez, was active in the community for a number of years including being a staunch supporter of the GFWC Woman’s Club of Palatka. Bert, who owned apartments in Palatka, was active in a variety of organizations including efforts to get a riverboat for Palatka and to put up murals through the Conlee-Snyder Mural Committee. If it helped Palatka, she stepped up.

Change is in the air in Palatka where zoning changes may mean new housing on the horizon. In June the Palatka Planning Board is set to look at rezoning of nearly 17 acres at 6131 Crill Avenue from county urban reserve to Palatka residential medium density. Also up a large scale Comprehensive Plan Amendment for nearly 170 acres on Crystal Cove Drive from industrial to residential high density. Also requested for the property is a Planned Unit Development. Reportedly more apartment housing will be proposed in the Rolling Hills area.

Flowers, candles and teal ribbons continue to be put up at a memorial to Tristyn Bailey in the Durbin Crossing neighborhood where she lived. A Mass was held in the auditorium of Patriot Oaks Academy Sunday by St. Mark’s Catholic Church. The 13-year-old, who attended Patriot Oaks, was stabbed to death, and a 14-year-old classmate is charged. Aiden Fucci is facing second-degree murder charges and is currently at a state juvenile detention center in Volusia County.

A suspect is in custody after a high-speed car chase Saturday in Lincolnville in St. Augustine. The driver was traveling at about 80 mph heading from Marine Street towards Roberta, according to witnesses. He ran three stop sign but didn’t’ quite make the turn onto Riberia Street. The car crashed but he got out and ran. A St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office helicopter was in the area and able to follow him until officers on the ground could make an arrest.

Putnam County’s oldest 4-H Kountry Kids chapter is in danger of closing. After some 40 years 4-H leaders Teddy and Kathy Siehler are stepping down from the Crescent City chapter. UF IFAS Putnam County is seeking new caring adult leaders and asking for volunteers. If someone isn’t found, the club will be disbanded. Contact Crystal McCazzio of IFAS Putnam at 386-329-0318 to find out more.

%d bloggers like this: