The Voice of the Gem City

News June 24, 2022

This is Marcia Lane, your roving reporter.

Diligence paid off for the Palatka Police Department Wednesday night with the arrest of a man for a murder more than 16 months ago. Malcom Jay Miles, 27, of Palatka, was arrested Wednesday night for the pre-meditated murder of Artavius Brown, 37. On Oct. 20, 2020,  Brown’s body was found at 7:45 a.m. in an empty field in the 1700 block of Olive Street on Palatka northside. A graduate of Palatka High School, Brown was a construction worker specializing in concrete masonry. He had been in trouble with the law in the past including a 2018 arrest in Gainesville after breaking into a girlfriend’s house and threatening to shoot her. The search for his killer has been going on for months with Palatka Police Department detectives and State Attorney’s Office investigators sifting through leads, identifying suspects and processing evidence, according to a press release from Palatka Police. On Wednesday Det. Sgt. Colten Lee arrest Miles, taking him into custody without incident and booking him into the Putnam County jail. Miles is being held without bond and is charged with first-degree premeditated murder. Col. Joe Wells with the Sheriff’s Office posted on Facebook: “Excellent work PPD. Way to stick with it and persevere!”

A two-year-old girl drowned Tuesday in a pond in the Hollister area, Putnam County Sheriff’s Office reports. The child and a 4-year-old boy were playing outside a residence on Teddy Lane for “about 10 minutes”, according to the mother, when adults realized they were missing. The mother told deputies she ran down to a nearby pond and saw her child face down in the water and unresponsive, according to the Sheriff’s Office. Deputies were called to the scene at a pond near State Road 20 and Willis Road and began CPR. When Emergency Rescue arrived, they took the child to a hospital but were unable to resuscitate her. The family had been staying at the house about two days, according to officials. Deputies are continuing the investigation. Sheriff Gator DeLoach is reminding people of the need to be vigilant with children because of the many water sources. “Water is unforgiving,” DeLoach said. One recommendation from officials is to look at drown-proofing children by teaching even toddlers how to float and swim.

Palatka City Commission is expected to make a decision tonight on a request for $35,000 to repair a pool at a church facility in order to open the pool to the public. Family Life Center made the request a couple of months ago and the issue has gone back and forth including questions regarding whether the city could give money to a religious organization. Also on the agenda, discussion about buying a former bank building on St. Johns Avenue for a city hall, getting work underway on a new home for the city’s maintenance and garbage departments and an update on the city-funded Blue Crab Festival held Memorial Day weekend. The meeting is at City Hall at 6 p.m. and is open to the public.

Beginning Monday in Flagler County, expect to take a detour if you use Florida Park Drive as the city begin a major utility reconstruction project. Local access will be available but accessing either Holland Park or most of the neighborhoods along Florida Park Drive from Palm Coast Parkway will probably require detours. A 40-year-old sanitary sewer lift station in the middle of the Drive is being converted to a standard manhole manual and a new lift station will be built. Depending on extent of excavation and potential problems, reconstruction could go beyond four months, say Palm Coast City officials.

At World Golf Village in St. Johns County some of the best local women’s amateur golfers are playing in the First Coast Women’s Amateur. Final round teed off this morning with Sara Scott of Merrit Island and Elizabeth Kondal of St. Augustine leading the amateur division and Mary Helen McElreath of Ponte Vedra Beach leading the super senior division. 

Looking for fun stuff to do with kids today? Flagler Auditorium along with City Repertory Theatre in Flagler County presents School House Rock! Junior tonight at 7 p.m. In St. Augustine enjoy a shortened version of Mary Poppins Jr. at Lewis Auditorium Friday at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday at 2 p.m.

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