The Voice of the Gem City

News December 2, 2021

This is Marcia Lane, your roving reporter.

The holidays are here, but politics are never far behind anything these days. Former Palatka City Commissioner Phil Leary has filed his intent to run for the District 5 school board seat in Putnam County, according to Supervisor of Elections Charles Overturf III. That’s the post currently held by Jane Thomas. Leary recently stepped in to serve as interim city manager in Crescent City while officials sought a full-time manager. He is a former state director at USDA Rural Development. His sister, Phyllis Criswell, is a former Putnam school superintendent.

If you didn’t make it to the planning session put on by the City of Palatka and the Northeast Florida Regional Council earlier this week, there’s still a way to give your input. Go to Palatka commissioners reportedly will be using the information gathered for their next five-year plan. At the meeting officials were seeking opinions on infrastructure, small business and quality of life issues.

Good news if you’re a golf fan — TPC Sawgrass tickets are on sale. The major golf tournament at the course in Ponte Vedra Beach will be March 8-13. COVID-19 restrictions have done a number on the tournament with the event cancelled after one round in 2020 and limited attendance allowed in 2021. The 2022 tournament is expected to be back at full capacity.

A former Palatka resident who on Nov. 1 was sentenced to 60 months probation in a drug case in Putnam County is once again having legal troubles. Randall Mathews, 58, reportedly has been accused by his son, Ryan, of deliberately shooting him in 2019 while the two were at Randall Mathews’ Fannin County, Ga., home. Originally Ryan Mathews said it was an accident. He changed his story on Nov. 3, two days after his father was given 60 months probation to be served in Georgia. After a pre-warrant hearing Tuesday, Randall Mathews was out on bond and it’s up to the Fannin County District Attorney to decide whether to proceed with the case. 

The driver of an Old Town Trolley Tours bus escaped without injuries after the bus caught fire Wednesday morning in St. Augustine. City of St. Augustine firefighters rescued the man and put out the fire at the intersection of Ponce de Leon Boulevard and Rhode Avenue just before 9 a.m., when traffic is at its heaviest. The driver reportedly was headed to get fuel when he smelled what he thought was the heater coming on. Shortly after, smoke filled the vehicle. Officials say an electrical issue caused the problem. No passengers were on the bus.

A man facing trial in a vehicular homicide and DUI manslaughter case didn’t get the break he was hoping for from Circuit Judge Terence Perkins in Flagler County Monday. Angelo Antolino wanted his $75,000 bond reduced to $30,000. Perkins didn’t halve the bond, but did drop it by $5,000. In the April 1, 2020 head-on collision, Indiana Kerns, 59, was killed and her husband, William Kerns, was in critical condition. He opposed the bond reduction. When Antolino was served a warrant for the accident, he was in state prison serving a conviction for beating up an elderly person. 

Crescent City in Putnam County kicks off a three-day Christmas celebration tonight with tree lighting and caroling in Eva Lyons Park from 6-8 p.m. The Purple Plum Players and Crescent City Venture Corps are presenting the event. Two more days of Christmas in the Park are set for Friday and Saturday.

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