The Voice of the Gem City

News January 31, 2022

St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the deaths of two Hillsborough County Sheriff’s officers as a possible murder-suicide. According to St. Johns, the two were in a romantic relationship and were vacationing at Butler Beach with other deputies Sunday. The other deputies reported hearing arguing from a bedroom and the gunshots. The St. Johns Sheriff’s Office say Det. Daniel Leyden was the shooter and killed his romantic partner before shooting himself. Leyden worked in the Criminal Investigations Division. The other officer, whose name has not been released, was a deputy assigned to Uniform Patrol District III. Motive is under investigation. SJCSO responded to the 5300 block of A1A in the Butler Beach area early Sunday morning after getting reports of gunfire. Hillsborough Sheriff Chad Chronister released a statement saying “Our Sheriff’s Office family is still reeling from the shock of this unthinkable tragedy.” He urged any personnel dealing with a crisis to take advantage of agency  resources aimed at helping deputies. If you have further  information about the incident, call the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office at 904- 824-8304.

Temperatures over the weekend may not have gotten quite as low as predicted but the wind chill factor made itself felt. Concerns over expected 40 mph gale force winds were enough to shut down County Line produce on Saturday, an occasion rarer then hens’ teeth. Flagler Beach residents reported the temperature Saturday was about 33 degrees, not the 30 predicted. Palatka saw temperatures drop into the 20s on Saturday night.  A light freeze and frost did roll into interior areas this morning. The weather picture brightens this week with temperatures warming up. 

Good news — word is the Bostwick Blueberry Festival in Putnam County  is returning this year. Covid closed it down and organizers reimagined it last year. This year the blueberry pancake breakfast and the everything blueberry baked treats are back at the community hall. Entertainment and booths are planned. Date is April 30. Vendors are needed. Contact them on Facebook. The line’s already forming to buy one of their blueberry pies.

The 2022 election season is gearing up.Jane Gentile-Youd has filed to run for the District 4 seat on the Flagler County Commission. She ran in 2018, getting 40 percent of vote. This time her opponents include incumbent Joe Mullins as well as Victor Barbosa and Bonnie Leann Pennington. She’s running a no part affiliation campaign. District 4 includes Bunnell and much of western Flagler County.In Putnam County Carol Ann Williams has filed her intent to run for the District 2 seat on the Putnam County Commission, according to Putnam Supervisor of Elections Charles Overturf III. That seat is currently held by Jeff Rawls. Two other people have also filed for the seat — Leota Wilkinson and LaToya Anderson Robinson.

A 63-year-old Jacksonville man who walked out of a St. Johns County hospital where he was being evaluated has been found following a search. Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office reported Sunday night that Bernard Bethel had been located safe. According to  the Sheriff’s Office, St. Johns medical personnel was called due to his incoherent behavior and he was taken to the hospital for evaluation.  On Saturday he called an unknown individual who apparently picked him up Saturday afternoon upon his release. He had not been heard from since and the community was asked to be on the lookout for him.

Flagler Beach City Commission has given the people managing their nine-hole municipal golf course a 30-day ultimatum to fix a series of problems. Issues raised include financial transparency and public concerns in dealings at the Ocean Palms Golf Course.They won’t be dealing with Flagler Golf Management company owner Terry McManus. He’s serving time after being found guilty of DUI for the third time in 10 years. Currently  McManus’ wife, Tiffany McManus, is running the operation. The company has been running the course in southern Palm Coast since 2015.

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