The Voice of the Gem City

News August 31, 2021

Marcia Lane12:04 PM (13 minutes ago)

This is Marcia Lane, your roving reporter.

Beginning Wednesday Putnam County students and personnel riding district school buses will be required to wear masks as part of efforts to cut down the spread of the Delta variant of COVID-19. School Superintendent Rick Surrency made the announcement Tuesday. 
A two-alarm fire at Georgia-Pacific’s paper mill in Palatka is contained after a quick response by local firefighting organizations. Putnam County Fire Rescue, Palatka Fire Department and several other departments including East Palatka were called to the plant off County Road 216. By 10:30 a.m. officials said the sawdust fire which began this morning was contained.
Palatka City Commission meets Thursday at 6 p.m. after last week’s meeting was delayed due to lack of a quorum. Still on the agenda the future of more than half-a-dozen city buildings used by non-profits. Community Affairs Department is making recommendations to sell the Tilghman House and Hammock Hall Community Center, give the waterworks environmental building and old pool house to Ravine Gardens State Park and change agreements with non-profits running the Larimer Arts Center, Cooper Building aka Teen Town, Bronson-Mulholland House and train deport. At 3 p.m. the commission is set to hold a budget hearing, also canceled last Thursday because of lack of a quorum.
A belated happy birthday to Walt Riddle in Palatka. He turned 90 Sunday. For years he ran Palatka Office Supply along with his wife Cynthia. She kept adding gift items until finally they turned another store into Cynthia’s and he got back space for his art supplies, adding machine tapes and pens. He can still fix a typewriter with the best of them.
In the Ponte Vedra Beach community of Dolphin’s Cove, people know how to say thanks. Neighbors banded together recently to thank mail carrier Leisa Atkins. Her mother ran the route before her and Atkins took over after her retirement. Hundreds of neighbors took part in the recent Leisa Appreciation Day. Resident Gloria Wild came up with the idea and residents left cards, balloons and gifts at their doors for the carrier who has been delivering mail 25 years.
A former Bunnell man on death row will be getting a new sentencing hearing next spring. Cornelius Baker, now 35 was convicted in 2007, for the kidnapping, brutalizing and murder of Elizabeth Uptagrafft in 2004. Baker brought her from Daytona Beach to Flagler and after shooting her three times left her in the woods to die. He was found guilty, and a jury in a 9-3 vote recommended the death penalty. Then-Circuit Judge Kim Hammond sentenced him to die. Despite conflicting rulings by the Florida Supreme Court since, he’s been given the opportunity to re-argue his sentence.
A St. Petersburg man is in Putnam County jail without bond charged with aggravated stalking, sending a written threat to kill and possession of a weapon by a convicted felon. The case began in August when Putnam detectives learned of threats related to a dispute between a Tampa-St. Petersburg gang and several individuals. Roadblocks were set up Friday in Putnam after information received from Hillsborough County. Reported gang member Jean Clyffe-Candy Jean, 26, was stopped Friday as he was leaving Palatka on County Road 310. He then fled and Putnam County Sheriff’s deputies gave chase for eight miles with speeds reaching 100 mph before Jean’s vehicle overturned  on County Road 315 about 10:30 p.m. He was taken into custody and a rifle and other firearms were in the vehicle, which was stolen, according to the Sheriff’s Office.
Putnam County holds a legislative delegation from 2-5 p.m. today at the Putnam Government Complex on Crill Avenue. State Rep. Bobby Payne and State Sen. Keith Perry will be on hand to hear from elected officials and citizens.

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