The Voice of the Gem City

News June 20, 2022

12:29 PM (19 minutes ago)

This is Marcia Lane, your roving reporter.

The annual invasion of blind mosquitos is here. Buildings in Palatka are starting to get more than their fair share of the mosquitoes, also known as midges. Normally the life cycle is about two weeks and in the area you’ll see the majority of activity from June to September in the area including St. Johns, Putnam and Flagler counties. The mosquitoes are most frequently found around rivers and lakes, and people have been complaining about them since the first settlers. But remember those blind mosquitoes are part of food chain that takes care of feeding the bass.

Don’t expect to get mail today or to do banking — those are among institutions and businesses closed because of the observance of Juneteenth. Pres. Joe Biden last year made June 19th a national holiday. Only 18 states have made it a paid holiday for state workers. Florida is not among those. Most county offices in the area are open. City halls in Palatka and St. Augustine are closed today. No garbage pickup in Palatka. Juneteenth marks the notification of slaves in Texas in 1865 that they had been freed; they were the last group to get the word at the end of the Civil War.

Qualifying for Florida elections ended Friday. Scott King was the last to get his notification in in Putnam County. He’ll be running for the Group 1 seat on the Crescent City Commission. In Putnam County, neither Palatka City Commissioner Justin Campbell nor District 1 School Board member Holly Pickens drew opposition so they’ll go back into office. Pickens is currently chair of the school board. 

St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office reported a male inmate died at the jail Friday night. No foul play or extra injury to the victim was noted although an autopsy is scheduled. St. Johns County Sheriff’s Corrections deputies were notified at 7:35 p.m. that a male inmate was unconscious and not breathing after a recreation sessions. Deputies responded immediately and assisted with life-saving measures, according to officials. When St. Johns County Fire Rescue arrived they continued life-saving efforts but human was ultimately declared dead. Major Crimes Unit was called to the scene and is leading the investigation.

Within six hours of his arrest on drug and gun charges Friday, a San Mateo man, who is a six-time convicted felon, had posted $51,000 bail and was back on the streets. Lenwell Watts, 42, was stopped near the intersection of North 19th and Eagle streets on Palatka’s north side by Putnam County Sheriff’s Office K9 and Crime Suppression Unit. A search of his vehicle turned up trafficking amounts of narcotics and a rifle, according to the Sheriff’s Office. He faces multiple counts of possession and trafficking in narcotics, possession of firearm by a convicted felon, destruction of evidence and resisting an officer without violence. Most of his previous felony convictions have been for drug dealing, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

And here’s a Facebook post that may give you a laugh. Not sure who we should credit this to: “I feel bad for parents nowadays. You have to be able to explain the birds & the bees … The bees & the bees … The birds & the birds …The birds that used to be bees … The bees that used to be birds … The birds that look like bees … Plus bees that look like birds but still got a stinger!!!”

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