This is Marcia Lane, your roving reporter.
This Fourth of July weekend is shaping up to be a damp one with National Weather Service predictions of 70 percent chance of rain Friday through Sunday. Today and tonight in the three-county area chance of rain is 60 percent. This June has been wet with the WPLK/WIYD gauge in Palatka recording 16 inches of rain while our East Palatka connection recorded 10.5 inches for June.
A tri-county law enforcement operation involving an extended undercover operation led to the arrest of a 41-year-old Palatka resident. A search warrant executed Wednesday by the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office SWAT Team assisted by Palatka Police Department led to the arrest of Vincent Jerome Washington at an apartment in the 1700 block of Napoleon Street on Palatka Housing Authority property, say authorities. Information about the drug operation was developed through an investigation conducted by the Tri-County Task Force along with Florida Department of Law Enforcement agents, Homeland Security agents and other law enforcement officials from Putnam, Flagler and St. Johns counties. During the search Wednesday officers seized more than 50 grams of crack and powder cocaine as well as drug paraphernalia from the residence. Washington was booked into the Putnam County jail on a $43,000 bond with charges of trafficking cocaine, possession of cocaine, possession of drug paraphernalia and maintaining a dwelling for the purpose of trafficking in narcotics.
June 30 is the traditional end of the fiscal year for many agencies and also a time of transition. In St. Augustine, it was Flagler College President Joe Joyner’s last official day. He took over the helm in 2017 after more than a decade as superintendent of St. Johns County schools. St. Augustine Police Department also saw changes with Jennifer Michaux sworn in as the city’s police chief, following the retirement of Chief Barry Fox. Fox has been an effective chief and Michaux served as commander for him before taking over her new post. She’s the first woman police chief for the Nation’s Oldest City. Michaux began with the city in 1995 as a patrol officer and worked her way up through the ranks. She served in the U.S. Navy before beginning with the department.
Flagler County schools are seeing new leaders. Superintendent Cathy Mittelstadt Wednesday announced the appointment of five new officials. Ryan Andrews will be principal at Indian Trails Middle School, Travis Lee will head Rymfire Elementary and Erin Quinn will lead iFlagler, the district’s virtual school. Lee, who is black, last year filed a lawsuit against the district in federal court, saying he was being discriminated against “because of his race and national origin.” He had not been chosen for two principal jobs in the district where he’s worked for 17 years. The case was referred to mediation and no word on if the suit will continue. Also appointed, Marquez Jackson as director of student services and Dontarrious Rowls as director of transportation.
What employees at the Burger King in East Palatka took to be a violent clap of thunder Wednesday turned out to be man-made. Someone gave the freezer unit outside a “nudge” causing damage to the structure. They then drove off without informing staff. As some commented on Facebook: What is the matter with people these days?
A first-time money-raising karaoke night at Larimer Arts Center Wednesday night played to a full house as people turned out in Palatka to support the arts. The program emceed by Buffalo Munn raised money to help the youth programs being held at the center for children this summer. Theater, arts and music are being offered. Both the fundraiser and programs are being put on the Greater Arts Council of Palatka Inc. If you want to help out, call the Larimer at 386-328-8998.
Don’t forget the second tax free week begins today in Florida. A new addition, Freedom Week provides tax relief on a variety of outdoor activities and live events. No sales tax will be collected between July 1-7 on a variety of recreational activities and recreational supplies. That includes items such as surfboards and kayaks as well as admission to parks and year passes including Ravine Gardens State Park.