In Palatka a 28-year-old Taco Bell employee is in jail after stabbing a customer Thursday, according to the Palatka Police Department. During the lunch hour the victim, a woman, reportedly got into an argument with Mykeia Vekell Kelley, 28, of Palatka, that turned into a physical altercation. The victim was stabbed multiple times, according to a press released. She was transported to Putnam Community Medical Center and then flown to Shands Hospital where she was reported in stable condition Thursday. Kelley was arrested and is being held without bail on charges of aggravated battery and fraud.
Palatka City Commission unanimously voted Thursday night to go forward with hiring a firm to design a new Public Works facility for a project that will ultimately cost as least $3.4 million. Passero Associates, which has done several projects for the city, bid $158,704. One of Mayor Terrell Hill’s campaign promises has been to move the facility from Ocean Street and get garbage trucks out of the area he says is residential. The new location would be on PRC Way by the municipal airport next to a city-county business park. New neighbors in the area would then include several medical facilities including the hospital, apartments and rentals including Rosa K. Ragsdale apartments and St. Johns River State College. Commissioner Rufus Borum did raise questions about the cost of the proposed building, which has nearly doubled in cost projections since the first proposal. Commissioner Willie Jones pointed out the proposed upgrade is coming at a time when the city can’t find enough sanitation workers. City workers asked for raises rather than a new building.
Aiden Fucci, the 14-year-old suspect in the murder of Trystan Bailey in northern St. Johns County, is being charged as an adult and now faces first-degree murder charges, Seventh Judicial Circuit State Attorney R.J. Larizza announced Thursday. Larizza said Bailey was stabbed 141 times with at least 49 of the wounds to the 13-year-old’s hands, arms and head, indicating she tried to defend herself. A Buck brand folding knife was used and the tip of the blade was found in the body. Before the murder, Fucci reportedly told several people “that he was going to kill someone by taking them in the woods and stabbing them,” Larizza said. DNA evidence was found in Fucci’s room, according to the state attorney. “I hope that parents will learn something from this, this vicious and brutal murder, and that is that you need to know what your kids are doing and what they are saying,” he said.
A 51-year-old Oakland Park man died late Thursday night after being struck by a vehicle on U.S. Highway 1 in St. Johns County, according to Florida Highway Patrol. A 32-year-old woman was driving north of U.S. 1 when the front end of her vehicle struck a man standing in the outside travel lane. It was unclear why the man was in the lane near La Cocina restaurant. The driver pulled onto the outside shoulder of the road after the accident and was not injured.
Palatka Police Chief Jason Shaw told Palatka City Commission Thursday Palatka has become a training ground for officers who get experience and then leave. He was one of several department heads with personnel shortage issues. A competitive hiring situation has seen officers getting offers from Clay County to Flagler County with salaries rising although not in Palatka. “More than a leak, we have a fast-moving exodus,” Shaw said.
This Saturday Palatka Wine Mixer hosted by the Palatka Young Professionals will offer a day on the riverfront. A souped-up Farmer’s Marker will run from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Food trucks, a beer and wine tent and live music run from noon to 10:30 p.m. Bartram Frolic will be doing boat tours and some bike and walking tours. Palatka Art League at 324 River St. offers an Artisan Gift Boutique from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Tilghman House. Putnam County Historical Society will offer tours of the Bronson-Mulholland House and Putnam County Museum at 100 Madison St. Saturday through Monday.
Two new coronavirus-related deaths have been reported by the Florida Department of Health in Putnam County bringing the total to 158 since counting began in March of last year. Also reported Thursday 18 new coronavirus cases for a total of 6,690 in Putnam. Flagler County reported nine new cases for a total of 7,459. St. Johns County reported 21 new cases for a total of 23,184.
Nao Santa Marina, a replica of one of Christopher Columbus’s three ships that sailed the ocean blue in 1492 to discover the New World, is docked at St. Augustine Municipal Marina through Monday. Tours are available. St. Augustine Music Festival and The Woman’s Exchange host a free classical music concert Sunday at 2 p.m. at the Pena-Peck House.
Memorial Day is Monday and schools, government offices and businesses will be closed. Memorial Day commemorates those in the military who have lost their lives serving the United States. Today is National Poppy Day with many wearing red poppy flowers to commemorate the sacrifice of those Americans.
In St. Augustine the Memorial Day ceremony normally held at the National Cemetery will be at Anastasia Baptist Church on Anastasia Island with a gun salute and participation by VFW posts at 10 a.m. At 3 p.m. people will be waving flags on the Bridge of Lions. In front of City Hall, Pilot Club of St. Augustine is placing 7,000 plus small American flags labeled with names of veterans.
Flagler Beach holds a remembrance ceremony Sunday at Veterans Park downtown at 10 a.m. On Monday the City of Palm Coast holds a Memorial Day Ceremony at Heroes Memorial Park beginning at 8 a.m.
In Putnam County American Legion Post 293 hosts a Memorial Day Celebration with ceremonies Monday at 10 a.m. including a Walk of Honor Re-Dedication. After ceremonies a variety of celebrations downtown include food, performances by the Interlachen High School Band and games. In Palatka. American Legion Bert Hodge Post 45 holds a Memorial Day parade at 10 a.m. on St. Johns Avenue from 11th Street to the riverfront where ceremonies are planned.