The Voice of the Gem City

News February 17, 2022

This is Marcia Lane, your roving reporter.

Opponents of a proposed bio-solid waste dumping site in the Lake Como area won a victory Wednesday as the Putnam County Zoning Board of Adjustment voted 6-0 to deny the application by Volusia County owner Lawrence Downes. He has 30 days to appeal and has indicated in the past he would fight a turndown. Opponents were protesting plans to bring in about five truckloads of semi-treated human waste from out of county to be dumped daily on nearly 50 acres of his property. The effort to stop the plan has been going on for about a year and “Don’t Poop on Putnam” signs have gone up around the area as locals and environmental groups joined forces to stop the effort. Opponents raised concerns about pollution to wetlands and eventually Crescent Lake and the St. Johns River as well as drops in property value and harm to wildlife.

Florida Highway Patrol is investigating a crash with one fatality this morning on County Road 308B and Peach Orchard Road in Pomona Park. The accident happened reportedly happened at 1:16 a.m.

A new flight city has been added to EliteAirways service from the Northeast Florida Regional Airport in St. Augustine. Beginning March 26 the airline is adding a weekly flight to Portland International Jetport in Maine. Saturdays a flight will travel south to St. Augustine and Sundays the flight will be northbound to Maine. Elite already offers flights twice weekly to Newark, N.J.

Flagler County students will see a change in school times next year following a recent 4-1 vote by the district school board. Changes are coming because of a proposed seven-period day at the high schools that will affect all grades since bus schedule changes will be needed. Middle schools will start five minutes earlier going from 7:25 a.m. to 7:20 a.m. although dismissal remains at 1:40 p.m. High schools will start 10 minutes later than in the past at 8:10 a.m. and end 25 minutes later at 2:40 p.m. Elementary schools will not have staggered starts next year with all five starting at 9:10 a.m. and ending at 3:40 p.m.

Four shootings in Palatka have led to two arrests and may have been the cause of fighting at Palatka Junior-Senior High School Monday. No injuries were reported in shootings on Sunday evening. The first occurred  at 2:30 p.m. when several people in a vehicle on North 16th Street reported a white pickup truck drove by and fired. A second shooting was reported about 9 p.m. into a house on Madison Street. Two more shootings were reported early Monday morning, both on the northside of Palatka. In the first incident shots were fired into a vehicle and one individual was hit in the foot. In the second incident shots were fired into a vehicle on North 8th and an individual struck. Both victims went to Putnam Community Medical Center. Between the two sets of incidents Palatka Police investigated two vehicles in the area and arrested Jerome Leon Royal and Favian Williams. Both were charged with illegal possession of semi-automatic firearms and drugs were reported found, according to police. On Monday a fight at Palatka High School may have been related to the shooting incidents and school officials brought in additional personnel for increased security.

Today San Mateo Presbyterian Church holds its monthly dinner, this time featuring fish. The eat-in or take-out meal is available from 4 p.m. until they run out at the church off State Road 100 in San Mateo. Cost is $10.

The annual One Book One Putnam read is drawing to a close and this year’s close out party will be special. Sean Dietrich author of this year’s novel — The Incredible Winston Brown — will be at the finale on March 3 at Florida School of the Arts auditorium on the campus of St. Johns River State College in Palatka. Best of all, the program is free although you need to get a ticket. Go to for free tickets.

This Saturday the Hastings Boulevard Car Show is back on Main Street in Downtown Hastings in St. Johns County. The fifth annual event put on by Christ United Methodist Church features cars, food and music from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Food includes fish sandwiches, Menorcan clam chowder, wings, cabbage and corn

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