The Voice of the Gem City

July 16, 2021 News

The State Fire Marshal’s Office and Putnam County Sheriff’s Office are working in conjunction investigating an early morning fire in Satsuma that left one individual dead. The call went out at 4:30 a.m. this morning and firefighters found a fully involved mobile home at 105 Barbados Avenue. Because the trailer was engulfed in flames they could not get inside until later this morning. The District 23 coroner was on site and the body is being taken to the St. Augustine facility for an autopsy, according to the Sheriff’s Office. 

A train wreck north of Palatka late Thursday night left three people with minor injuries after an Amtrak train ran into a tractor-trailer stopped on the railroad crossing off U.S. 17 North near Seminole Electric and a drywall manufacturing company. The 55-year-old Louisville driver of the tractor-trailer was cited by Putnam County Sheriff’s Office.  Railroad warning signals were activated but the semi didn’t move and the Amtrak train hit the trailer, split the flatbed in half and disabled the train’s engine. The train did not derail and all cars stayed upright. The truck was carrying a load of drywall. Area fire departments, Sheriff’s office deputies Amtrak police and CSX police were among responders.  Northbound lanes were closed due to the crash and a possible fuel leak near the front of the rain.

Putnam County Sheriff’s deputies are headed to Missouri where the suspected shooter of a Crescent City man was found during a routine traffic stop. A nationwide warrant had been issued for Francisco Arroyo, 27, who finished a 10-year prison sentence in December 2020. Arroyo was stopped in O’Fallon, Mo., and Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Allison Waters-Merritt said he was headed to Mexico. Arroyo was sought in the shooting death of a Crescent City man and the shooting of the man’s two brothers. Arroyo previously had been convicted for a 2010 robbery with firearm and shooting in Crescent City and sentenced to prison. Although his residence was reportedly in Bradenton he was well-known in Crescent City, Waters-Merritt said. A vigil is planned tonight at 8:30 p.m. for Mark Anthony Arbelo Jr., 24, at his father’s tire business, M.A. Rims & Tires, on Summit Street.

Early voting begins Saturday for the special election for Palm Coast mayor, according to Kaiti Lenhart, Flagler County Elections Supervisor. Early voting runs until July 24 with election day July 27. Six candidates are running for the seat left vacant after the resignation of Mayor Milissa Holland, who cited health issues in her family as her reason for leaving. Six candidates have filed for the post. 

A Flagler County mother is sung the Flagler School District in the suicide of her 17-year-old daughter Carissa Jackson says her daughter, Shautiana Stafford was bullied and harassed and Flagler Palm Cost High School failed to protect her. The district is denying most of the allegations in the wrongful death lawsuit. Circuit Judge Terence Perkins held a status hearing on the lawsuit that is in early stages. The family is seeking $30,000.

A Satsuma man is one of 16 people facing federal charges for their involvement in what’s described as a violent, Florida-based white supremacist gang. The Department of Justice announced the arrest Thursday and said defendants were members of Unforgiven, a racketeering enterprise engaging in acts of murder, violence, kidnapping, robbery, obstruction of justice and other offences. Levi Sharp, 38, from Satsuma faces charges of assault in aid of racketeering and kidnapping in aid of racketeering activity.

Despite summer heat there’s plenty to do this weekend.

In Vilano Beach in St. Johns County on Saturday, it’s the Pop-up Market at Airstream Row featuring artisans and local entrepreneurs from 5-9 p.m.

At Lewis Auditorium from 2-4 p.m. a special symposium highlights the county’s history and vision for the future. The free event is part of a celebration of the 200th anniversary of Florida becoming a U.S. territory.

From 5 to 7 p.m. it’s the St. Augustine Classic Car Cruise-In at the Classic Cr Museum of St. Augustine on Dixie Highway. 

Today through Sunday Palatka Art League holds Christmas in July at the historic Tilghman House, 324 River St. Handmade items by local artists are featured. Hours today and Saturday are 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Sunday noon to 3 p.m.

In Palatka on Saturday Putnam Habitat for Humanity dedicates another new home for a veteran at 10 a.m. Mr. and Mrs. Freddie Lewis will open their new home at 24 Veterans Way to visitors.

The monthly Putnam County Historical Society meeting features historic re-enactors from St. Augustine focusing in on Putnam history at 11 a .m. The meeting at the Bronson-Mulholland House, 100 Madison St., is open to the public. Free tours are available Saturday and Sunday.

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