The Voice of the Gem City

LOCAL NEWS 8/16/2021

Students return to school today in St. Johns County and on Tuesday in Putnam County. Flagler County began last week. St. Johns had 36,000 plus students last year and will be opening two new schools — Tocoi Creek High School and Pine Island Academy. Putnam County ended up with a little over 11,700 students last year. They’ve closed five schools for this school year. 
A half-rotten water oak left a section of what’s known as Palatka Heights without power for most of Friday. City of Palatka crews as well as a private tree cutting firm were called in to take out the tree that crashed early Friday morning striking three cars and the roof of one house at the end of South 12th Street by Ravine Gardens State Park. Florida Power and Light workers headed in later to replace poles and at least one transformer. Debris clean-up continued Saturday as crews cleaned up the tree estimated to have been about 75 feet tall.
Today will be special for Mellon Elementary School in Palatka thanks to Metro by T-Mobile’s collaboration with the Building Blocks Mentoring Program. Along with teachers and administrators they’ll be dedicating a brand-new resource room in the school’s Learning Center. Roni Singleton the Sr. Manager, PR & Corporate Communications for T-Mobile said, “We wanted to ensure that the students have the tools to help them with anything school related regardless of the project or assignment. T-Mobile is committed to education and community and the resource room is one of the ways the company can help make an impact in Putnam County.” 
City of St. Augustine is planning several open house workshops to provide Flood Mitigation Assistance counseling to residents. Workshops will be in The Alcazar Room at City Hall on Aug. 24 from 10 a.m. to noon and from 6 to 8 p.m. and on Aug. 25 from 1-3 p.m. Project consultant is Quality Engineering and Surveying, LLC and they will be available for individual appointments and site visits Aug. 26 and 27 for those who have attended the workshops. Flooding has been an increasing problem in St. Augustine and citizens have been pushing for solutions for flood mitigation.
Two Palm Coast men and a 17-year-old girl are accused of smashing up and burglary of the closed former County Hearth Inn on Old Dixie Highway in Flagler County. According to the Flagler Sheriff’s Office the three admitted to using sledge hammers to smash a number of windows. Renovation work was going on at the motel which was bought last year. Apparently the individuals told friends it was a good place to go and “smash things.” Dylan Alvarez, 25, and Christopher Orlich, 19, were booked into the jail charged with burglary and criminal mischief a well as causing a child to commit an act of delinquency. 
Beginning today 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 today at the bus loop 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.
Today’s the last day 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. The survey is on the district’s website.

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