The Voice of the Gem City

News December 16, 2021

This is Marcia Lane, your roving reporter.

More than 1,500 residences and businesses including the Francis area of Putnam County were hit by a power outage Wednesday evening for more than two hours. Several vehicle crashes including one at State Roads 19 and 20 were the cause, according to Clay Electric, which had crews out to fix the problem. Power was reported back up shortly after 9:45 p.m.

St. Johns County School Board has given the go-ahead to five new or upgraded schools in their latest five-year work plan. On Tuesday the board approved submitting the plan to the state. Plans call for building three K-8 schools and one elementary school. Also set an addition to South Woods Elementary School on State Road 206 outside of Hastings. School capacity will go from 604 to 850 students. 

On Monday the St. Johns County citizens advisory committee for a half-cent sales tax for schools meets at 4 p.m. The meeting will be virtual and the public can sign on by going to the St. Johns County School District website.

Putnam County Sheriff’s Office found people stepping up to identify suspects in two cases after they posted video on Facebook. A package thief in San Mateo who had been swiping boxes left by delivery companies has been arrested. He turned out to be a juvenile but is charged with burglary. The Sheriff’s Office is working to get him into a juvenile diversionary program. In Crescent City the Facebook posts helped catch an individual who burglarized the Crescent City Baja Taco restaurant. That man is charged with third-degree felony burglary.

In Flagler County three career felons are facing charges after reports of a verbal disturbance gave Flagler Sheriff’s deputies probable cause to search the vehicle they were in. A witness reported multiple people screaming and yelling outside a Kingswood Drive residence Tuesday and then driving off. Deputies stopped the vehicle at Royal Palms Parkway and Town Center Boulevard to check on the occupants’ well-being. A strong odor of marijuana led to a search that found 13 grams of Fentanyl and the discovery that one occupant — Cozy Jones — was wanted for felony aggravated battery in Ormond Beach. He was arrested on the Ormond Beach charges that included false imprisonment, domestic battery and domestic aggravated assault by strangulation. He’s being held on no bond. Occupant Jayla Steward was arrested for Fentanyl trafficking and is being held on $25,000 bond. The third person, Brett Savage, was arrested for possession of Methamphetamine and is being held on a $25,000 bond.

Flagler County Judge Andrea Totten will seek election for the county judgeship in 2022. Totten was appointed to the seat in 2019 by Gov. Ron DeSantis. The judgeship was created through the legislature to relieve the case load in the county. Totten was one of 14 who vied for the newly created judgeship.
Putnam County people are in the giving spirit. Betsy Driggers reports contributions were steady as she rang the bell for the Salvation Army at Publix in Palatka. Driggers, who used to be city clerk for Palatka, is now executive director of the Northeast Florida League of Cities and one of the “celebrity ringers” for the national charity. Money donated her stays her, she said.

Christmas events continue. At Sykes Family Farms off State Road 207 catch their Elkton’s Bright Nights of Drive Thru Lights tonight through Sunday from 6 to 9 p.m. At Bronson-Mulholland House in Palatka Friday night the Putnam County Community Band performs during a free open house from 5-7 p.m. Tours of the decorated-to-the-rafters house are available. The Nutcracker Ballet will be performed Saturday and Sunday at Lewis Auditorium in St. Augustine. The Wiz Production: Youth Rendition is set for C.L. Overturf Jr. Center on South 18th Street in Palatka Saturday at 6 p.m. by The Heart & Soul Youth Fine Arts Club. The City of Palatka is hosting a Jingle Jam at the riverfront from 1-8 p.m. Saturday. In Palm Coast Saturday it’s the annual Boat Parade featuring more than 65 vessels.

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