This is Marcia Lane, your roving reporter.
Graduation ceremonies at E.H. Miller School Tuesday morning and at Interlachen High School Tuesday evening marked the beginning of graduations in Putnam County. For Miller students, this was the last graduation at the Horseman’s Club Road location as the school is one of five slated for closing by the school district this year. The school, which once housed the private Briarwood School is in the midst of upscale housing and the land is expected to be sold. For Interlachen High the graduation was a partial return to normal since students didn’t have to wear masks and were allowed to sit next to each other, something that didn’t happen last year because of coronavirus. One seat was set aside for Xavier Frazier, an 18-year-old classmate who died in a boating accident last year. Crescent City High graduates Thursday, Palatka High Friday and Q.I. Roberts Jr.-Sr. High Saturday.
Two Flagler County schools are looking for new principals after their leaders were tapped to move to the school district’s county offices. LaShakia Moore from Rymfire Elementary School and Paul Peacock from Indian Trails Middle School are becoming part of Superintendent Cathy Mittlestadt’s reorganized administration. The plan was approved by the board last month. Moore will become director of teaching and learning for the district, a job similar to that of curriculum director, long held by Diane Dyer, who is retiring. Peacock becomes chief of operational services. He was chosen for district administrator honors in 2018 and led the A ranked Indian Trails for 11 years.
Attendance zones are changing in northwest St. Johns County particularly for the Nocatee community for 2021-22. The district school board Tuesday approved changes as they continue to struggle with exploding residential growth in the area. All students living in the west end of the Nocatee Town Center who currently go to Palm Valley Academy will be going to Pine Island Academy, the K-8 school about to be completed. The second change in Nocatee is on the eastern edge of the Twenty Mile neighborhood where students will go to Nease High, where the rest of Nocatee already attends. Coming up in 2022-23 will be changes along County Road 210 and Race Track Road where students will move to High School III.
A Palm Coast man facing sentencing for 30 counts of possession of child pornography killed himself Tuesday morning as he sat in his truck in the parking lot of the Kim C. Hammond Justice Center. Mario Arter, 47, called Flagler County Sheriff’s Office to tell them where he was and that deputies would find his body in the truck. Bunnell Police, Flagler deputies and Sheriff Rick Staly responded and paramedics found Arter dead from an apparent gunshot to the head. He was due in court that morning for a sentencing hearing. A Cyber Tip from Internet Crimes Against Children in December 2019 began the investigation that led to Arter’s arrest in May 2020.
Putnam County commissioners Tuesday began the process of protecting all the county’s historical buildings, landmarks and monuments. The 5-0 vote now means an ordinance will be drafted. That will come back to the Board of County Commissioners and a public hearing will be held.
St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office is seeking Tyler Anthony Hillegas and asking for the public’s help. The 29-year-old white male is known to run from law enforcement and has resisted prior attempts at arrest. In addition to two counts of failing to appear, Hillegas faces two counts of grand theft of a motor vehicle, two counts of burglary, two counts of grand theft and two counts of felony criminal mischief. His bond was more than $50,000.
The family of a 19-year-old Interlachen man killed Sunday evening in a single-vehicle wreck is seeking help with funeral expenses. Tyler May was driving the vehicle when he went off the road and the vehicle rolled several times, ejecting him, according to a family memeber. He died at the scene while passenger Bryan May escaped with minor injuries.