The Voice of the Gem City

News September 14, 2021

This is Marcia Lane, your roving reporter.

A single-engine plane crashing into a marsh off a runway at Northeast Florida Regional Airport in St. Johns County Monday morning left the pilot seriously injured and two passengers with minor injuries, according to officials. The Beachcraft C24R went into the marsh and flipped during takeoff shortly after 10 a.m., according to the Federal Aviation Administration. The 67-year-old Ponte Vedra pilot was seriously injured and passengers — a 22-year-old West Palm Beach woman and a 23-year-old Holliston, Mass, man — had minor injuries. National Transportation Safety Board will oversee the investigation. This is the third crash this summer at the airport located north of St. Augustine on U.S. 1. On June 29 a pilot and passenger were killed when their plane crashed and burned. On July 17 landing gear collapsed on a small plane causing damage to the plane, but no injuries.

Coronavirus vaccinations continue to be an issue. Gov. Ron DeSantis in Alachua County Monday said workers won’t lose their jobs if they decide not to be vaccinated. DeSantis called it “basically a personal choice on their individual health” and said Florida won’t allow jobs to be destroyed. He was critical of cities requiring their workers to get vaccinated citing SB 2006 which among other provisions bans government agencies from requiring their workers to be vaccinated. Government agencies face a $5,000 per incident fine, he said. His remarks come following Pres. Joe Biden declaration ordering vaccination requirements that may affect 100 million Americans, a decision that is raising legal questions. 

Palatka like other municipalities is struggling with fall out from coronavirus. On Thursday the Palatka City Commission changed its rules regarding how long employees have to stay out if they’re exposed to the virus. Latest decision, based on new times set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is employees must quarantine three to five days and have a negative test. Previously it was 14 days and then 10 days. A recent exposure in the Palatka Fire Department took an entire shift off line, according to Fire Chief Chris Taylor. 

A 17-year-old with marijuana and a loaded gun in a backpack was arrested at Indian Trail Sports Complex Friday afternoon. Flagler County Sheriff’s Office responded to reports of a juvenile with a gun and driving a vehicle. When deputies arrived they found three apparently underage males at a table and a strong odor of pot. That and a beer can on the table gave them probably cause for a search. In the backpack of Ryan M. Jackett, deputies found marijuana, a glass bowl for smoking and a Sig Sauer firearm with two bullets in the gun’s magazine. Jackett was charged with unlawful possession of a firearm and carrying a concealed firearm, both felonies, and pot possession under 20 grams, a misdemeanor After being taken to the jail, he was turned over to the Department of Juvenile Justice. This is the second criminal incident at the Complex in less than a week, say authorities.

In St. Augustine today the historic Waterworks Building reopens to the public. An open house is set for 3-5 p.m. and self-guided tours will be available. A limited-capacity appreciation program set for 5:30 p.m. is at capacity. The building is on San Marco Avenue near the main public library.

On Wednesday a public information workshop to discuss King Street ownership, development and design will be at The Alcazar Room at City Hall from 7-8:30 p.m. The city wants to take over the main thoroughfare through the Old Downtown from the state. Among plans they’re looking at is a massive development at the entrance to the city off Ponce Boulevard. Sebastian Inland Harbor Planned Unit Development has been stalled for years but is beginning to move forward. It would include San Sebastian Winery and a large portion of Riberia Street in addition to King.

St. Augustine businesswoman Counselo Lippi stepped up to receive a proclamation for National Hispanic Heritage Month at Monday’s St. Augustine Commission meeting. St. Augustine has a sister city in Aviles, Spain. Lippi belongs to Pilot Club of St. Augustine which helps support an orphanage in Ecuador.

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