The Voice of the Gem City

local news 8/19/2021

This is Marcia Lane, your roving reporter.
A Volusia County man is now charged with first-degree murder following the death of victim, Daytona Beach Police Officer Jason Raynor. Raynor’s shooting led to a massive search including the Flagler-St. Johns area. Othal Wallace, 29, was tracked to outside of Atlanta where he was arrested June 26. He’s been in jail since charged with attempted murder of a law enforcement officer. Those charges were upgraded Wednesday to first degree murder.
Ed Brooks, who loved politics and the process, has died at Haven Hospice in Palatka. Brooks suffered a stroke two weeks ago and never recovered, according to friends. In 1970 he plunged into Putnam County politics winning a term on the Palatka City Commission, then was appointed to fill in the unexpired term of Clint Snyder as Putnam Property Appraiser in 1974, later winning election to the office. For four years he worked in state offices in Tallahassee before returning to Putnam County where he was clerk of court from 1984 to 2000. He and wife, Dolores, moved to the mountains but retained ties to the area. About four years ago they returned to Palatka after their Tennessee home burned during a series of fires in the area and they escaped with the clothes on their back and one cat.
Putnam County Sheriff’s Office is seeking the public’s help to find a 15-year-old boy missing since July 21 from the west Putnam area. Cameron Joseph Kirkland may be in the Interlachen Lakes Estates in Putnam or in Alachua County, according to PCSO. According to the posting he may be staying with friends or with his biological parents, who deputies say no longer have custody of the youth. If you have information, contact Sheriff’s Det. Diamond Lewis at 386-329-0800.
A St. Augustine trolley driver may be looking at charges of reckless driving causing great bodily injury following a crash that sent 12 people to the hospital on July 17. According to an official report on the crash, Old Town Trolley Tours driver Gregory Robinson, 72, was attempting to make a left turn at the Oldest House at Charlotte and St. Francis streets when the last trolley car flipped and rolled on its side. According to witnesses Robinson was telling a story and mentioned his favorite ride at an amusement park was called “The Whip”. They say he told passengers “I’m going to whip it” as he accelerated and turned the corner warning people “Hold on to your kids and belongings.” The last trolley flipped, trapping some passengers. Others were able to right the trolley when Robinson stopped. St. Augustine Police officers investigating the incident said Robinson drove with “willful and wanton” disregard for the passengers. The case has now gone to the State Attorney’s Office.
Masks were on people’s minds at Tuesday’s Flagler County School Board meeting where a proposal to restore a mask mandate in schools died by a 3-2 vote. The public had their say pro and con but tempers flared and at one point deputies were called in by the board attorney to clear the room because some were not following rules of decorum. The audience was allowed back in after tempers cooled.
Issues over masking students could get worse now that President Joe Biden is calling in the Department of Education to take action against governors who are blocking mask mandates. Florida Republican Gov. Rick DeSantis in Florida is among those who have said the decision about students wearing masks should be left up to their parents rather than allowing government to make the decision. That’s not pleased government officials and the education feds are talking using civil rights laws to get their mandate.
Free Concerts in the Plaza continue tonight at the Plaza de la Constitucion in downtown St. Augustine. Acoustic folk rock group Timberwood plays from 7 to 9.

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