The Voice of the Gem City

News June 8, 2022

This is Marcia Lane, your roving reporter.

Dive teams resumed the search this morning for a man who reportedly jumped off Memorial Bridge in Palatka Tuesday morning, according to Putnam County Sheriff’s Office Col. Joe Wells. The search began Tuesday morning after several people reported seeing a man jump off the bridge into the St. Johns River around 10:30 a.m.  After no one was located on top of the water, officers began scanning the bottom using sonar and divers. No one was found and no reports of missing individuals have been received. Wells said officials do believe somebody jumped because there were a number of witnesses. He said it was possible the individual “made it to shore or they may be hung up in the rubble on the bottom of the river.” When the old Memorial Bridge was torn down after the new bridge was built next to it, contractors dumped a lot of the old bridge material into the river.

The St. Johns County youth accused of murdering a 13-year-old classmate at Patriot Oaks Academy was in court Tuesday for pretrial hearing. Aiden Fucci, who is now 15, got a new public defender, Rosemarie Peoples, last month and she asked for a continuance to Aug. 31, explaining a number of depositions still need to be taken from witnesses. Judge Lee Smith granted the additional time. Fucci is accused of stabbing Tristyn Bailey a number of times while the two were in an area near the Durbin Crossing subdivision where they both lived. 

Flagler County Sheriff Rick Staly will hold his annual Domestic Violence Community Update on June 9. It comes as the Sheriff’s Office was called out to 11 domestic violence-related incidents since last Thursday. Staly, who has put the spotlight on domestic violence problems, says since 2017 there has been a drop in domestic violence of 52 percent but called the recent spike “alarming.” Flagler Sheriff’s Office has a team of victims’ advocates and community partners and they will be part of the update set for 10 a.m. Thursday at the Hilton Garden Inn Town Center in palm coast.

The Small Business Development Center in Putnam County is hosting an open discussion with a focus on the City of Palatka business incubator tonight at 5:30 p.m. at the Putnam County Chamber of Commerce on Reid Street. The open discussion is to give business owners to learn more about the business climate in Palatka, say officials. The city is currently conducting a market data analysis and feasibility study to evaluate the current business climate in the city and the need for additional business support services. AE Engineering has been hired by the city to conduct the study.

As Florida grows so does the number of telephones. Florida Public Service Commission says it’s reached the point where an additional area code is needed in the north Florida area. The commission has approved a new area code overlay — 324 — that will have the same geographic boundaries as the 904 area code, including Jacksonville, Jacksonville Beach, Fernandina Beach, Orange Park and surrounding communities. Without it, PSC estimated the the 904 area code would run out of phone numbers by 2024. Until 1995 the state only needed four area codes including 904. Since then 14 more area codes including 352 and 386 have been added throughout the state.

Flagler College in St. Augustine is launching their Summer B term for their Lifelong Learning program that is aimed at the general community. The session runs from June 27 to Aug. 13 and includes course such as Foundations of Film Production, History of the Argentine Tango, How To Self Publish and Beginning Latin 1.  

St. Johns River State College, meanwhile, is urging students to register for the upcoming Fall semester. The college has campuses in Palatka, Orange Park and St. Augustine.

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