The Voice of the Gem City

News October 27, 2021

This is Marcia Lane, your roving reporter.

Threats circulating on social media against schools have extra St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office personnel on the campuses of Pedro Mendez High School and Nease High School today. Other districts and other states are facing similar threats although no specific school was named in the threat posted on Snapchat last night, according to St. Johns district school officials who indicated they thought the local threats were fake. In a statement the district said: “This is not a credible threat though in an abundance of caution we will have additional law enforcement on campus today.”

An 86-year-old Gainesville woman died Tuesday after a collision with a logging truck in the Grandin area of Putnam County, according to Florida Highway Patrol. The woman was driving a pickup truck north on County Road 315 and stopped at a flashing red traffic signal at the intersection of 315 and State Road 100. When she pulled into the intersection a logging truck headed east on SR 100 crashed into the driver’s side of the pickup, said FHP. A 55-year-old Florahome man was driving the logging truck. The woman, who was wearing a seatbelt, died at the scene, according to FHP. 

An update on a survey regarding Putnam County’s future will be the subject of a review tonight at 6 p.m. Pensacola businessman Quint Studer of Studer Community Institute will be going over results of the survey tonight as part of a continuing effort to revitalize and improve Palatka and Putnam County. The presentation will be in the commission meeting room at the Putnam County Government Complex on Crill Avenue.

Additional charges have been filed against a 65-year-old man stopped in Flagler County Monday for an expired tag and then found to have a live grenade in his car. Louis Branson, whose license expired in 2019, was charged with driving with an expired license and possession of drug paraphernalia and booked into the Flager jail. Further investigation has led to charges of possession of a firearm, weapon or ammo by a convicted felon, possession of marijuana and possession of cocaine. The grenade he was carrying turned out to be live and was exploded by the St. Johns County Sheriff’s bomb squad.

Palatka City Commission Thursday will be hearing a proposal for a $146 million project involving the former Florida Furniture location and former Wilson Cypress Company on River Street. Colin Bingham, CEO of Community Development Coalition Corporation, a private development company, says a hotel, 3,000-seat amphitheater, marina townhouse units and multi-family apartments are among his proposals for the land.

Get your ghosts, goblins and action figure costumes ready — Palatka’s downtown merchants on Friday will once again be putting on Boo on the Avenue. The candy giveaway focuses on giving little ones through the sixth grade a chance to show off their costumes and collect some sweets. This year’s event is Friday from 2:30 to 5 p.m. along St. Johns Avenue. Children must be accompanied by an adult. For the first time, the City of Palatka is charging merchants a permit fee in order to give away candy, says downtown merchant Sam Deputy. Exact amount hasn’t been determined.

Churches and community groups in Flagler, St. Johns and Putnam counties are planning trunk or treat events and fall festivals. Among those in St. Johns will be a trunk or treat event  tonight Anastasia Baptist Church on A1A South from 6 to 8 p.m. On Friday St. Augustine Police Department holds Trick or Treat fun from 5 to 8 p.m. in their parking lot at 2300 A1A South, next to City Hall.

Three men described as “career felons” were arrested Monday in Flagler County after a vehicle burglary at Waterfront Park in Palm Coast. Each is facing a variety of charges with bonds ranging from $11,500 to $28,000. Deputies responded to a call around 2:30 p.m. after people returning to their vehicle found a broken window and a wallet and purse stolen. The victims also got a call from their credit card company saying one of their cards had been declined at the nearby Walmart. Deputies headed there and stopped a vehicle containing Tra’ Qua Gervin, Malachi Lemar Cruse and Eiyaun Smart, all from Daytona Beach. A search of the car uncovered the missing purse and a firearm. Shards of glass were found in Cruse’s pocket.

Florida School of the Arts offers an entertaining weekend with “The World Goes Round,” a musical revue by the Tony award-winning songwriting team of John Kander and Fred Ebb. Performances are Thursday through Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at FloArts’ Main Stage on the Palatka campus of St. Johns River State College. A Sunday matinee is at 2:30 p.m. Tickets are $10. Among works by Kander and Ebbs are stage musicals including “Cabaret” and “Chicago”. 

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