The Voice of the Gem City

News November 30, 2021

This is Marcia Lane, your roving reporter.

Northeast Florida Regional Council and the City of Palatka are hosting a strategic planning workshop today to talk about growth. The meeting, entitled “Let’s Talk About Growing Our Community”, is open to the public and some Palatka City commissioners are expected at the 5:30 p.m. workshop at Ravine Gardens State Park. Officials say commissioners will be using information gathered to help make their five-year plan. Following a presentation people will break into small groups to share ideas. Here’s a chance to make your voice heard on the growth issue. 

Florida Highway Patrol reports a 42-year-old foreign national from the Dominican Republic is facing charges of DUI manslaughter. Orlando Beato was driving an SUV northbound in the southbound lane of Interstate 295 at Baymeadows Road Friday when he crashed head-on into a van Friday. Van driver Corbin Wagner, 26, of St. Augustine died at the scene. Beato, who had no U.S.  driver’s license or address, did have a blood-alcohol level of .27, three times the legal limit. He was serious injured and remains in the hospital on an absentee booking and immigration hold. Bond is $125,000.

Three men are in Flagler County jail on a variety of charges after a high-speed chase Saturday that reached speeds of 108 mph. Flagler deputies attempted to stop the speeding vehicle in the area of State Road 100 West and County Road 45 but the driver raced off. When finally stopped the three men in the vehicle —  Jimnirable Curry, 21; Keyshawn Davis 20 and Ernest Hall, 21 — were found in possession of drugs, firearms and more than $15,000, according to authorities. When Curry provided deputies with his ID it had white power reside on it that tested positive for cocaine. Hall and Curry had marijuana on them and a search of the vehicle uncovered  a bag continuing $15, 720 in cash plus a container of marijuana and two firearms, one reported stolen from Flagler Beach in 2017. Curry said the cash was his, claiming it was “made by rapping and performing at shows.” He also stated “not a lot” of the money was from selling dope. The three face a variety of different charges including drugs and grand theft of a firearm. All are in the county jail. 

A Christmas tradition in Putnam County is on hold this year. The family that normally puts up a spectacular display of Christmas lights off West River Road in Bostwick won’t be holding the light show this year. Road work is going on in the area off U.S. 17 North making it difficult to get to the residence. Plans are to bring back the display next year.

You’ll want to keep the coats handy While today’s high will be near 68 in Putnam County, lows will be around 45. The pattern continues the rest of the week in the area.

St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office is seeking the public’s help to find two women wanted for shoplifting at the Michael Kohrs Outlet store at St. Augustine Outlets on Saturday. The two African-American women with blonde hair are wanted for taking handbags, scarves and wallets totaling $3,344. They left in what appeared to be a black Nissan Altima. Surveillance images can be seen online at the St. Johns Sheriff’s site on Facebook.

If you’ve ever used the Find-a-Grave site in tracking ancestors, you’ll appreciate the work done Sunday by members of the Putnam County Genealogical Society. Member Sharon Varnes reports volunteers on Sunday photographed and added GPS coordinates for gravesites at Westview Cemetery in Palatka to the site.

A joint effort started by a St. Johns County school counselor and her daughter helped feed more than 1,000 people and 180 families in the county. Carly Gordon, who works at R.J. Murray Middle School, and her daughter, Lottie Gordon, began the drive to provide home-cooked meals. Hundreds of volunteers took part including the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office. Support also came from Flagler Care Connect + BRAVE, Epic-Cure, Publix and local business owners and churches.

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