The Voice of the Gem City

News May 19, 2022

This is Marcia Lane, your roving reporter.

A two-vehicle crash Wednesday afternoon at State Road 207 and Country Road 207A in Putnam County sent several people to area hospitals. Four people were entrapped in the vehicles, according to Putnam County Fire Rescue Local 3529, and two medical helicopters including ones from Baptist Health Jacksonville Life Flight and Trauma One South were called to the scene. The crash happened around 5:30 p.m. and Florida Highway Patrol is investigating.

Palatka’s Citizens Advisory Task Force holds a public meeting at 3 p.m. today to look at community needs and possible projects that could be funded through grants from the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity’s Small Cities Community Development Block Grant Program. City officials are expected to make a recommendations for a project. Whatever’s chosen will go before the Palatka City Commission next week for approval.

Florida Department of Transportation is busy. On Wednesday night electricians were working on lights on Memorial Bridge with one lane on both sides of the bridge closed and no lights on. In St. Augustine Wednesday a new traffic pattern began on Ponce de Leon Avenue/U.S. 1 downtown as work continues on reconfiguring the much-traveled roadway.

Flagler College in St. Augustine has gotten its largest single donation in the private school’s history. A $12 million, 3-1 matching grant was given by the William R. Kenan Jr. Charitable Trust. That eventually will result in an additional $36 million that the college will use for projects ranging from technological infrastructure to restoration and better utilization fo rthe campus’ historic buidling, specifically the former Hotel Ponce de Leon, built by Henry Flagler. The Kenan family was related by marriage to Flagler.

Bass anglers taking part in the annual Lads and Lassies Tournament took off from Palatka’s city dock this morning. That’s the first of three events part of this years annual Wolfson Children’s Hospital Bass Tournament. The VIP & Friends Tournament is Friday and the 33rd annual Wolfson’s is Saturday. States are in place and weigh-ins will be held each afteroon. Since the first tournament in 1989, more than $6 million has been raised for the hospital in Jacksonville.

Interlachen Saturday steps back to 1881 when the train first came to town. Historical Society of Interlachen holds its annual Ice Cream Social  at Jenkins Park from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. with free ice cream for the public. The Glorious Victorians from St. Augustine will be there and people are urged to dress as their favorite 1881 Florida character.

A Palm Coast man is in jail in Flagler County without bond following a road rage incident Tuesday afternoon. Rafael Vincent Rivera, 50, got out of his silver Toyota Tacoma with a knife in his hand after allegedly cutting off a motorcyclist near the intersection of Pine Lakes Parkway and Whirlaway Drive shortly after 1 p.m. The motorcyclist, concerned about his safety, tabbed his metallic knuckles. The two exchanged words and Rivera reportedly began slashing at the other man with the knife. The motorcyclist, who had a concealed weapons permit, pulled a gun and warned Rivera to stop. He did and Flagler County Sheriff’s Office deputies arrived shortly after, having received six 9-1-1 calls about the incident. The motorcyclist passenger filmed the incident. After an investigation, Rivera was taken into custody and charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon without intent to kill.

If you were in downtown Palatka Wednesday, you may have seen a training exercise involving the Clay County Sheriff’s Office SWAT team take place. They were in the 600 block of Palatka and several pieces of equipment were brought in for the training, according to the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office.

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