The Voice of the Gem City

News April 12, 2022

This is Marcia Lane, your roving reporter.

As Covid-19 restrictions ease, more events are returning. Coming up for two weekends beginning April 28, Palatka High School’s Musical Theatre Department rolls out Hello Dolly! It’s been called “Broadway’s Greatest Musical” and director Jim Pignato and Putnam County performers will be giving it their all. You can buy tickets in advance at Ralph’s House of Flower in Palatka for $15. Or buy they for $20 at the box office on the day of the performances. In Crescent City Rotary Club will be putting on their Dollars For Scholars 5K Run May 14. To take part in the sanctioned run, to Facebook and DollarsforScholars5K. Waste Pro is major sponsor for the event.

The annual Knighting Ceremony in St. Augustine saw three special people honored for their continual efforts to help the city. Honorees knighted by the recently installed Royal Family include Kelli Meacham, who owns Ann O’Malley’s, formed the Pink Heals local chapter in 2012 and began with the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office in 1995 and supports many activities through fundraisers at O’Malley’s. Also honored were Bob and Maria Alvarez, who moved to St. Augustine from New Jersey in 2010 and have become an integral part of the Historic Militia and the St. Augustine Garrison. It’s all part of the annual St. Augustine Easter Week Festival which this year includes a grand drawing  featuring two handcrafted dolls in costumes created by Joan Taylor, the official Royal Seamstress who creates the magnificent costumes worn by the Royal Family.

A 27-year-old Interlachen man ended a seven-hour standoff early Monday morning after he surrendered to Putnam County Sheriff’s deputies at a residence on Country Road 315 South in Interlachen. They had been searching for him following a Sunday episode in Melrose where he allegedly struck a family member in the face and choked the victim. Deputies were called to the Interlachen house at 12:11 a.m. Monday where Lewis was reported to have earlier stolen a firearm two days from a locked safe belonging to another person also living at the house. Deputies got the other occupants out but Lewis, who has been convicted several times, refused to exit saying he “wasn’t going back to prison.” He was released by the Department of Corrections on April 1 following a two-year sentence for domestic battery with strangulation in Alachua County. Because of Lewis possibly having a firearm plus his violent and erratic behavior over the past couple of days, deputies, after trying to talk him out, twice deployed pepper spray canisters and, at 7:19 a.m., Lewis came out after the second one was fired into the house. He is in the Putnam County jail charged with domestic battery by strangulation and other charges are pending.

A wreck this morning on State Road 100 at the Bardin Road in west Putnam County blocked the eastbound lane. The wreck happened at 6:14 a.m. and Florida Highway Patrol arrived at 7:21. The crash with injuries occurred in an area that has seen several recent wrecks and is under investigation.

Putnam County Commission holds workshops beginning at 2 p.m. today, first, in their capacity as Port Authority and then as the commission, where they’ll be looking at budget development for fiscal year 2023 personnel and funding of constitutional officers. 

At a workshop this morning in Palm Coast the city council was looking at water recreation issues. One had to do with the repair of the splash pad at Holland Park. Due to the rubber pad surface deteriorating, the park was closed last year in October. Some repairs have been made but the pad surfacing isn’t finished. Also being discussed creation of a new aquatic center. Recently the Flagler County School Board opted to cut hours of the Belle Terre  Swim and Racquet Club, one of two community pools in Palm Coast. Local youth swimming groups were at a recent town council meeting seeking help in getting a new pool.

Students at Belle Terre Elementary School in Flagler County found themselves having an unplanned holiday due to a power outage Monday morning. District staff made the decision to dismiss students early. Lunches were prepared for all the children and they were supervised until parents could pick them up.

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