The Voice of the Gem City

News October 5, 2021

This is Marcia Lane, your roving reporter.

An innovative program in Putnam County schools is bearing fruit as paraprofessionals become teachers. The first class of the new teachers will be saluted at today’s school board meeting. Superintendent Rick Surrency says the program is a joint venture between the school district and St. Leo University.

Palatka Mayor Terrill Hill is negotiating with the Putnam County School District to acquire the former Jenkins Middle School on North 19th Street as a new government complex for the city. “We have been talking with the mayor,” Putnam County School Superintendent Rick Surrency confirmed today. Hill is expected to be at today’s school board meeting at 3:30 p.m. While Hill has talked about a central government complex at Jenkins, the issue has not come before the commission for discussion and no public hearings on the change have been held.

A controversial amendment to Flagler County’s Land Development Code was rejected by the Flagler County Commission Monday. Commissioners by a 3-1 vote declined to pass the amendment that would have allowed marinas. It all ties back to an effort that began two years ago to build a 240-slip boat storage and restaurant in the Hammock next to Hammock Hardware. The amendment would have paved the way for the facility which had been approved by the commission but was overturned in the courts. The Hammock Community Association has opposed the facility from the start and been willing to hire attorneys to fight the facility which is seen as violating Scenic A1A corridor regulations.

Stopping a stolen vehicle southbound on U.S. 1 in Flagler County led to the arrest of a serial offender who is now in jail without bond, according to the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office. A deputy spotted a gray Mitsubishi Eclipse Friday that was on a BOLO list as stolen. As he followed, the vehicle began driving recklessly and then sped up on Railroad Street in Bunnell. Other units responded and StopSticks were put out causing three of the car’s tires to blow out. The vehicle kept traveling for another 12 minutes until it came to a stop and the driver Michael Rivera, 45, was arrested. Charges included violation of parole, driving while license suspended — with knowledge, fleeing and eluding law enforcement officers with lights and sirens, possession of drug paraphernalia equipment and grand theft — motor vehicle. Rivera has been arrested on a number of other charges in the past including kidnapping, sexual assault and attempted first-degree murder.

A Hawthorne area man arrested Sunday by Putnam County Sheriff’s Office has been transferred to St. Johns County because of connections between one of the victims involved and the jail. Cody McClure, 19, faces two counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon after an incident Sunday where he allegedly drove up to a woman of Korean descent and accused her of dumping trash in the yard of his Hawthorne home. He used several ethnic slurs and when neighbors intervened to say he had the wrong address, McClure then reportedly waved a handgun in the air and said he would kill anyone putting trash in his yard. Deputies found McClure on the side of the road near a Twin Lakes Road home. McClure told deputies he posted the encounter on Snapchat. His bond was set at $50,000.

Upgrades at the U.S. 1 and Wildwood Drive intersection are ongoing with overnight land closures at U.S. 1 from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. through Thursday. It’s part of a $1.1 million project tied in with increasing development in the area and will include a new traffic signal and additional turn lanes. Meanwhile nighttime lane closures on Interstate 95  continue from State Road 207 to the Flagler County line from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. through Thursday.

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