Feb. 20: Marcia Lane, roving reporter
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What appeared to a grenade without a pin brought out the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office and later the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office Explosive Ordinance Disposal team today. Deputies were called to Johns Tomoka Auto Parts at 454 N. U.S. 17 when an employee reported finding an item that looked like a grenade. He had been working on a pile of scrap when he kicked an item on the ground. He told deputies he picked it up, saw there was no pin attached and called the Putnam Sheriff’s Office. The device, which resembles a grenade, was being taken to St. Johns County to be detonated. Deputies said there is no indication the item was intentionally left at the business, a scrap yard.
Disruptive students not only keep others from learning but they are chasing off teachers as the Putnam County School Board found out Tuesday. The workshop meeting was to give board members an overview of severe discipline problems and how the district is addressing the concerns. Several new programs are underway that are aimed at helping students change their conduct. The board also learned of two teachers who reportedly have quit or are quitting and who cited extremely disruptive students who act out in the classroom which means other students don’t get a chance to learn. A committee will be working on recommendations for the extreme cases. The board’s expected to hold at least one more workshop.
A Clay County student won the First Coast Spelling Bee Tuesday night in Jacksonville. Erik Williams now gets a chance to represent the county n Washington, D.C. after he correctly spelled “dalliance”. Fourteen students took part in the bee including Armand Kuykendall, Putnam County; Addison Davis, Flagler County; and Manischa Wijayawardhana, St. Johns County
Flagler County Sheriff’s Office has been notified 27 agency members intend to file a lawsuit regarding working conditions in the revamped Sheriff’s Operations Center in Bunnell. Shortly after the building was renovated, employees began reporting health issues and eventually were moved out of the building as environmental tests were conducted. Sheriff Rick Staly, noting he was not sheriff at the time the building occupation began in 2015, issued a statement saying the “litigation is no surprise to me and should be no surprise to anyone.”
St. Augustine Mayor Nancy Shaver is trying to get the public’s support to persuade other city commissioners not to purchase two lots on Coquina Avenue in Davis Shores. Shaver, who voted for the $459,000 project, now says the lots didn’t need to be purchased in order to perform a flood control project and that another park is already on Coquina. She’ll need another two votes in order to stop the project and the deadline is Monday, the next commission meeting.
Another major development is proposed in St. Johns County. This one would be at the corner of St. Johns Parkway and Race Track Road. Four hundred multifamily units and a 250,000-square-foot commercial space are proposed. Developer says units would be more affordable for working people such as police and fire officers and teachers. The process for approval is just beginning.
Friday Circuit Judge Christopher Ferebee will be sworn into office at the St. Johns County Administration Building in St. Augustine at 4 p.m. Ferebee was appointed by Gov. Rick Scott in November. He presides in the unified family court division at the Putnam County Courthouse in Palatka.
State Rep. Bobby Payne out of Palatka has filed a House bill seeking $670,000 for a public service academy. The district would match any funding okayed by the state. Students would get technical training for firefighting and policing options. Some of the funding would also provide equipment for an advanced manufacturing program at Interlachen High School.
At the Thrasher-Horne Center on the Orange Park campus of St. Johns River State College, summertime will come early as The Beach Boys take to the stage March 1. Mike Love’s version of the band will bring back some good vibrations for fans of the band that’s been around 57 years. After a Florida tour they’re headed to the United Kingdom.
This is Marcia Lane, your roving reporter.
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