The Voice of the Gem City

June 16, 2021 News

This is Marcia Lane, your roving reporter.

Palatka government offices are once again without telephones. This morning  officials announced phone system outages at City Hall, the City Hall annex, Palatka Municipal Airport, public works, water treatment plant, police department, fire department and waste water treatment plant are unable to receive calls. For fire or police emergencies, call 9-1-1. The city has had recurring problems with the system.

In St. Johns County a mother’s complaints about the school district have led to an investigation that the district discriminates against female students through its enforcement of the dress code. Nancy Tray, who has three children in the school system, filed the Title IX complaint with the U.S. Department of Education and the department’s Office for Civil Rights is investigating. The mother says the district’s dress codes at all levels are enforced differently for female and male students.

Putnam County School District has revised their initial strategic plan for revamping and reportedly upgrading schools. On Tuesday board members saw what’s being called the final plan – Shaping the Future. The plan gained unanimous approval from the five-member board although comments on Facebook aren’t nearly so positive.

In Flagler County school board members are continuing to wrestle with the future of the Belle Terre Swim and Racquet Club. They’ve owned the facility since 1996 and it’s been a popular facility for the community. However maintenance costs and lack of money have the district looking at new options. Latest discussion shows no buyer or eligible organizations have been found to run the facility. Now the district is considering either turning it into a facility only Flagler students can use or leaving things as they are.

A 60-year-old former Palm Coast resident is in court today seeking to return to live in Flagler County and asking for full freedom, without medical or other supervisory restrictions. Both his family and members of the community are pushing back. Richard Dunn 15 years ago was found not guilty by reason of insanity in the stabbing death of his father, 89-year-old Dr. Jack Dunn. Dunn was reportedly one of Palm Coast’s first private practice physicians.

Gay pride supporters were celebrating having the Palatka City Commission approve a proclamation supporting gay rights as human rights at Monday’s meeting. The website The Local Trust carried the story on Facebook and quoted Joshua Mast, vice president of the Putnam County Democratic Party. At the meeting Mast said he was the first gay candidate to run for offices although he did lose.

Putnam County Sheriff’s Office reports a potentially dangerous standoff on Crestwood Avenue in Rolling Hills was safely resolved Monday. The Sheriff’s Office Special Operations Bureau including the SWAT and Crisis Intervention Teams were called out to assist the Palatka Police Department with the arrest of a barricaded and possibly armed suspect wanted for aggravated stalking of his victim. The suspect was peacefully arrested without injury to himself or officers, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

St. Johns County commissioners are looking at upping the bed tax that is added to all visitors’ bills if they stay in hotels and beds-and-breakfast in the county. For every dollar spent, a four-cent tax is added. Commissioners Tuesday discussed adding another penny although how the money will be spent isn’t certain. One group wants to see it used for destination advertising, another for beach renourishment and easing beach erosion.

SAFE, the pet adoption agency in Putnam and St. Johns counties, has a couple of cuties in need of a home. Robin Kantner-Nordan says the facility on Moody Road has two Shepherds who were dropped off Tuesday. They want the bonded pair – named Fritz and Sassy Sue – to be adopted together. They were dropped off at a rural shelter by family after their human mom passed away.

More rain and thunderstorms predicted for this afternoon and evening in the three-county area. In Palatka WIYD/WPLK gauges showed a half-inch of rain. Interlachen was pounded by storms with hail predicted. Weather alerts were up throughout the counties. Forecasters say the rain should ease up for the rest of the week. We’ll see.

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