The Voice of the Gem City

June 25, 2021 The Roving Reporter

This is Marcia Lane, your roving reporter.

In Palatka Florida Highway Patrol is investigating a traffic fatality this morning at the underpass on Crill Avenue aka State Road 20. Traffic had to be rerouted due to the vehicle accident just after 6 a.m. at the area of the underpass where a train trestle runs above.

More delays mean Flagler County Sheriff’s Operations Center won’t be opening in November of this year as planned. Flagler County commissioners Monday did approve spending $2.4 million for site preparation work, but say it will be late 2022 before the building is completed. That will make it more than four years that the Sheriff’s Office hasn’t had a permanent location. The saga began when mold was discovered at the converted operations center in Bunnell.

A $100,000 reward has been offered for information locating the suspect in the shooting of Daytona Beach police officer Wednesday. Othal Wallace, 29, is being sought in the shooting of Officer Jason Raynor, who was shot in the head as he approached a suspicious vehicle on Kingston Avenue. The officer is in critical condition after surgery. Wallace may be driving a gray 2016 Honda HRV with California license plates. He is a black man about 5-feet 7 and weighing 200 pounds with a tattoo on his neck. Call 9-1-1 if you have information but don’t approach him, say authorities. Wallace has at least a dozen arrests in four different counties with convictions for aggravated assault, drug possession and driving while license suspended. Five domestic violence charges against him were dropped.

Rain and thunderstorms continue today and tomorrow in the three-county area but are expected to ease up Sunday, according to the National Weather Service. The WPLK/WIYD rain gauge in Palatka showed three-and-one-half inches Thursday while our East Palatka correspondent reported four-fifths of an inch.

Palatka City Commission is looking at potential wage increases for workers. A task force formed a month ago focused in on salaries and a salary survey was approved at Thursday’s meeting which saw a large turnout from employees in a variety of departments. Commissioners say the survey is needed before any action can be taken.

Independence Day gets an early start in Putnam County with the Crescent City Yacht Club offering fireworks, arts and crafts, live music, car show and food vendors this Saturday at Red, White and Boom! It’s the ninth annual celebration put on by the club with fireworks at dusk at the dock on Central Avenue. GFWC Woman’s Club of Palatka holds a low country boil Saturday at their clubhouse off Crill Avenue. Dean Parrish and his band are providing entertainment. On Sunday Readers Repertory presents Live Shorts, staged readings of three one-act plays at Westminster Hall at First Presbyterian Church on Second Street in Palatka. Tickets can be purchased at the door for the 2:30 p.m. performance.

St. Augustine Music Festival offers free classical music concerts tonight and Saturday at Cathedral Basilica of St. Augustine. Performances by members of the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra begin at 7:30 p.m. Prior registration is required. The 12th annual Big Bang 5K takes off Saturday at 8 a.m. through golf courses and neighborhoods in Ponte Vedra Beach. The race begins at Christ Episcopal Church at 400 San Juan Drive. At World Golf Village Saturday it’s The Geek Marketplace. From 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. fans of gaming, anime and cosplay can don their favorite costumes and enjoy their geekdom. It’s Last Sunday Open Mic Poetry the virtual way this Sunday from 3-5 p.m. as area poets speak up. Ancient City Poets puts on the event. Legendary rock vocalist Ann Wilson of Heart performs Sunday at 7:30 p.m. at St. Augustine Amphitheatre.

Flagler Auditorium in Flagler County welcomes Summer Breeze Saturday at 7:30 p.m. It’s the ultimate yacht rock experience, say organizers. Yacht rock is mellow pop-rocks songs from the ‘70s and ‘80s.

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