This is Marcia Lane, your roving reporter.
A community forum on the Putnam County School Board’s revitalization plan is tonight at 6 p.m. at Miller Middle School Auditorium in Crescent City. The district is seeking passage of a $300 million bond issue to support building all new schools in Putnam. The vote is set for the November general election.
James A. Long Elementary School in Palatka went on lockdown this morning but was able to open on time. A school bus driver spotted a 7-year-old boy with an air soft gun on the bus and notified officials, according to the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office. The principal put the school on lockdown but once the boy was isolated by authorities the lockdown was lifted. Air soft guns are not lethal but are in the gaming toy realm and can cause injuries. Guns of any kind are not allowed at schools, according to the Sheriff’s Office which is investigating.
Putnam County Sheriff’s Office says an internal investigation is underway after a Putnam deputy was arrested after an alleged fighting incident in Duval County Tuesday morning. Deputy Michael Law, who has been with the Putnam Sheriff’s Office a year, was arrested by the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office following a disturbance between Law and a woman at a home in Duval County, Putnam reports. The two were previously in a relationship and the two were arrested for battery.PCSO says Law was booked into the Duval jail and released after a first appearance hearing. Initially charged with misdemeanor battery, the violation was amended by the state attorney’s office to a municipal ordinance violation pertaining to fighting. Law has been placed on administrative leave by the Putnam Sheriff’s Office and an inspector with the agency’s Office of Professional Standards will conduct the internal investigation. Law’s status with the Sheriff’s Office will be determined after the investigation. He has no previous complaints or discipline.
Flagler County Commission voted Wednesday not to give Sheriff Rick Staly an additional $700,000 he requested. Observers were surprised by the 3-2 vote since last week it appeared commissioners would side with the sheriff. Now commissioners say they hope unspecified savings can fix the budget gap. The commission had earlier OKed a $4.5 million increase in the Sheriff’s budget. He said the additional $700,000 was needed to close the gap in growing expenses including overtime that has increased as the county grows.
Officials say the five dogs involved in the attack and death of a 61-year-old U.S. postal worker in Interlachen will be euthanized. Putnam County Sheriff’s office confirmed the five dogs who mauled Pamela Rock will be put down within 10 days. The Sheriff’s Office is working with Putnam County Animal Control after the attack Sunday that led to Rock’s death Monday evening. No charges against the owner have been filed so far. The incident has drawn nationwide attention including stories in USA Today and papers and stations across the nation.
At tonight’s 6 p.m. Palatka City Commission meeting several public hearings are scheduled including one that continues what is known by citizens as the fire tax. Rate is set to stay at the 2021 level. Other hearings deal with establishing a new minimum residential living space size and extending suspension of impact fees on new construction to April 2023.
Take Stock in Children holds a Kick-off Celebration tonight at the Putnam County Fairgrounds in East Palatka at 6 p.m.
Word is a Margaritaville hotel will be among projects coming to Beachwalk in St. Johns County. Yes, that’s Margaritaville as in the Jimmy Buffett backed hotels. Beachwalk is the new community in northern St. Johns County off County Road 210. St. Johns School District just opened a new high school for the area to cope with growth. And no, it’s nowhere near the beach although there is a manmade lagoon and beach.
Take a trip to Hawaii tonight courtesy of the free Concerts in the Plaza in Downtown St. Augustine. The popular group Big Pineapple will perform from 7-9 p.m. in the Plaza de la Constitucion.
Congrats to Cap’s On the River in St. Johns County. They’ve been named No. 9 of the 15 most beautiful restaurants in the U.S. by tripstodiscover.com.
And if you’re in Palatka take the time to check out Debbie’s Bakery that opened Tuesday at 623 Laurel St. The Bakery is inside Rusty Duck’s and next to Duck Realty. Cowboy cookies, mud pie brownies, key lime cupcakes and hummingbird cupcakes are among the offerings as well as cakes to order. Down the road plans include offering sandwiches and lunch items.