The Voice of the Gem City

News June 14, 2022

This is Marcia Lane, your roving reporter.

It’s June 14 — Flag Day in the United States. Today commemorates the adoption of the nation’s Stars and Stripes by the Second Continental Congress on July 14, 1777. The Revolutionary War was underway when Congress voted the American flag would have “13 stripes, alternate red and white” and “13 stars, white in a blue field, representing a new constellation.” Each star represented one of the original 13 colonies. Flag Day officially began in 1916 under Pres. Woodrow Wilson, although a Waubeka, Wisc., teacher is credited with holding the first celebration in 1885.

Palatka officials are moving forward with the selling of Hammock Hall, a city-owned facility purchased with a grant to be a community center for the South Historic District area. The city has put the 0.56 acres that includes three lots and the building out for sealed bids for a minimum of $150,000. An independent appraisal put the property value at between $95,000 and $150,000. Some city commissioners weren’t happy about the amount. Deadline to submit a bid is July 12 at 2 p.m. The property backs up to the old Mellon family home and includes three lots, one of which has the 2,294-square-foot facility on it.

An 18-year-old Jacksonville man is in Flagler County jail charged with the armed carjacking of a street sweeper from Volusia County. Daytona Beach Police notified Flagler Sheriff’s Office Monday around 4:15 a.m. that they were looking for an armed suspect described as a light-skinned black male wearing a gray hoodie and dark pants driving a stolen pick-up truck used as a street sweeper and taken during an armed carjacking. Flagler deputies later spotted the vehicle and the driver exited, running off with what appeared to be a firearm in his hand. During a three-hour search in the P section of Palm Coast, deputies, K-9 teams and Volusia Sheriff’s Air One combed the area. A resident around 7:30 a.m. notified a deputy a man fitting the description was in his backyard and a foot chase ensued until a Flagler deputy tackled the suspect, Sterling Orlando Davis-Jones, sending them both into a mud-filled ditch. The deputy received minor injuries but is expected to make a full recovery. Davis-Jones, who first gave his a false name and said he was 17, was taken to the hospital and then Flagler jail where he faces a number of charges. Davis-Jones has a criminal history dating back to 2014 when he was 10 and has been arrested in South Florida on 18 misdemeanor offenses and 18 felony offenses including burglaries and robbery.

Multi-story modern buildings may be in the future of St. Augustine as a long-time property owner seeks to put in a development including apartments, parking garage, transportation hub and possibly a walk-over skyway to the downtown area. Barry Broudy has again approached city officials about putting up 75-foot-high buildings on the family property at U.S. 1 and West King Street, which is a major intersection and an entryway to the historic downtown. The St Augustine Planning and Zoning Board has approved the project that calls for a 75-foot-high apartment building, transit station and 300 space parking garage on the property where one of the Broudy liquor stores is currently located. The property is next to railroad tracks used daily and looks over a marsh in the area. Some citizens are protesting concerned the move will change the basic historic look of the downtown area. The 75-foot high, the highest ever, has recently been adopted.

If you’re outdoors today, take care. National Weather Service is predicting a heat index as high as 105 degrees although there is a 40 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms mainly after 2 p.m. On Wednesday heat index value will be as high as 110.

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