The Voice of the Gem City

News January 20, 2022

This is Marcia Lane, your roving reporter.

Several sheriff’s offices including ones in Putnam and Flagler counties have issued consumer alerts regarding phony T-shirt sales. What puts the twist in the story is that the sheriff’s offices are being targeted. Putnam and Flagler as well as Columbia County have put out warnings about residents getting text messages saying local sheriffs’ offices have t-shirt for sale. A $10 off offer and a link are included. Putnam warned of the hoax after seeing the notice although they haven’t been hit yet. Flagler County Sheriff’s Office has and sent out a notice: “This is NOT a text from us! We will never send texts with links like this.” Putnam advised people to delete the message and block the number.

A former Putnam County resident is still waiting for a further explanation from Facebook after they shut down his site saluting Congressional Medal of Honor recipient Robert H. Jenkins Jr. as well as other Putnam residents who have died in service to the U.S. Mike Cooper posted on another site about the shutdown, noting “Why they shut it down is a Mystery.” Reason given was “we violated standards. We have not heard back from them.” The site has been up about 11 months before it was shut down at the end of December. Jenkins was 20 and a private fist class in the U.S. Marines when he was killed in March 1969 during the Vietnam War. Several buildings are named in honor of the Interlachen native. Cooper was a staff sergeant in the U.S. Marine Corps.

Palatka City Commission holds a special called meeting Friday at 9 a.m. to replace a city garbage truck that caught fire on Tuesday. Compressed natural gas fuels many of the city vehicles and hissing sounds were reported when the truck caught fire off Reid Street. The fire was put out and no one was injured. The truck was scheduled for replacement next year and the city was putting money in a reserve fund of $350,000 to cover the cost. A demo model for $270,000 has been found and the city staff is proposing buying that one. Plans for next year call for replacing the city’s other commercial front end loader although actual purchase will be another year down the road.

Arbor Day ceremonies are scheduled around the area Friday and Saturday. The St. Augustine Garden Club on Friday will be giving away more than 200 free trees between 9 a.m. and noon at their clubhouse. It’s best to get there early. In Putnam County a tree planting ceremony is set in Palatka Friday at 10:30 a.m. at St. Johns River State College. At noon Interlachen will hold a ceremony. On Saturday Welaka holds a tree ceremony at Jefferson Smith Park at 2 p.m., according to Nicole Grace executive director of Keep Putnam Beautiful. Crescent City did have a ceremony planned for Saturday but because of expected rain will reschedule. Pomona Park held a ceremony last week.

The 13th annual St. Augustine Film Festival begins this evening with an opening night dinner at the Lightner Museum in St. Augustine. Friday the movies begin with showings at the Alcazar Room at City Hall and Lewis Auditorium. The flicks continue Saturday and Sunday at Gamache-Koger Theatre on the Flagler College campus as well as the Alcazar Room and Lewis Auditorium. Go to for details.

A water pipe break at the Government Services Building in Bunnell has rearranged some offices including Flagler County Veterans Service. Temporary offices have been set up in the third floor of the building with staff not certain when they’ll get to return to their regular offices on the first floor.

One- time Indian Trails Middle School student Reilly Opelka is playing some great tennis at the Australian Open. The 24-year-old has advanced to the third round after beating Germany’s Dominik Keeper and South Africa’s Kevin Anderson. He’ll now face Canadian Denis Shapovalov, ranked no. 14. Opelka is ranked 23rd on the ATP Tour. 

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