The Voice of the Gem City

News August 13, 2021

This is Marcia Lane, your roving reporter.

One woman was killed and four people injured in a single vehicle crash Thursday afternoon on Interstate 95, according to Florida Highway Patrol. The SUV was headed south when it went off the road for unknown reasons and crashed into a tree near International Golf Parkway exit around 2:28 p.m., according to FHP. One woman passenger was killed and four others injured. The driver had minor injuries, said FHP.

Putnam and St. Johns counties are readying for the opening of the 2021-22 school year next week. To cope with continued growth, St. Johns will be opening two new schools on Monday — Tocoi Creek High School in the World Golf Village area and Pine Island Academy, a K-8 school in Nocatee. Both schools are still being worked on but will be ready to open, say school officials. Putnam County schools will open Tuesday after deciding to close five schools this year and put all Palatka pre-Kers into one school, as they consolidate. 

Tropical Storm Fred isn’t living up to its potential, according to the National Weather Service. That will be a good thing in most people’s book. Putnam Emergency Management says to expect about an inch to an inch-and-a-half of rain over the weekend.

Time is running out to take part in a survey on the future of Flagler County schools. The district is creating a new strategic plan and seeking input from parents, students, staff, teachers and administrators. A survey on the Flagler district site is available through Monday, Aug. 16. Schools in Flagler opened this week.

Beginning Monday you can be tested for coronavirus at two sites in St. Johns County. County administration in conjunction with Nomi Health is offering free testing seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Wind Mitigation Building near the St. Johns County Agricultural Center. That’s off Interstate 95 at the exit to the outlet malls. City of St. Augustine in conjunction with Flagler Health+ and Ivy Medical begins testing Monday at the Visitor Information Center on South Castillo Drive. The site will be open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Preregistration through Flagler+ is required and testing will be at the bus loop of the facility. At both locations Rapid tests and PCR tests will be given. PCR results are available within two days and Rapid in two hours.

If you want to learn more about the Delta variant of Covid 19, tune in to WPLK/WIYD Sunday morning.Express Medical Matters Show. That’s at 7 a.m.

An alleged drug dealer in Flagler County turned himself in Thursday as law enforcement geared up to hunt him. A warrant for Nysean Giddens, 23, was issued after an investigation into the death of a drug overdose victim that was traced to fentanyl. Giddens had admitted selling the narcotics to the victim on Sept. 12, 2020. The victim’s body was found Sept. 13, 2020. Giddens was originally arrested on other charges related to the case while detectives built a murder case. A warrant was issued Thursday and Flagler County Sheriff’s Office began pressing to find Giddens who turned himself in. He’s charged with manslaughter and is being held on a $25,000 bond.

Flagler College in St. Augustine hosts ShepardFest today through Sunday to salute noted American playwright Sam Shepard, considered one of the greatest of the American theater. A full theatrical production of The Late Henry Moss is at Lewis Auditorium today and Saturday plus screenings, staged readings and academic panel discussions. Florida-based quintet Wild Shriners band will perform  Sunday.

In Palatka Arts Council of Greater Palatka hosts an open house for the gallery opening Saturday of works by artist Michael Everett and his Drawing From Life exhibit. The reception is from 6-7:30 p.m. at the Larimer, 216 Reid St. Everett, who graduated from Interlachen High School played on the basketball team at St. Johns River State College and has taught at a couple of colleges as well as being art instructor at Palatka High School for 15 years. His graphite work has been featured in numerous galleries. 

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