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St. Johns County Sheriff David Shoar won’t be running for re-election. He made it definite Wednesday and endorsed his choice for a replacement – Republican Rob Hardwick who is currently St. Augustine Beach police chief. Shoar, who has been sheriff for 16 years, started in law enforcement at the St. Augustine Police Department the same year he graduated high school. He was appointed police chief 19 years later and ran for sheriff four years after that. Shoar, 57, also served in the Florida Army National Guard for 24 years and earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees. He’s hoping to teach at the college level after retirement.
The head of Putnam County Sheriff’s Police Athletic League was injured Wednesday in a single-car accident in St. Johns County. The Sheriff’s Office says PAL director Barry Stewart is in stable condition after being flown to Orange Park Medical Center with serious injuries. Florida Highway Patrol says the accident happened about 12:30 p.m. on State Road 206 at Hamilton Avenue, just south of Elkton. He was driving a PAL vehicle when it flipped.
A stunt pilot who owns an air show company housed out of the Northeast Florida Regional Airport received minor injuries when her plane flipped at the St. Augustine airport Wednesday. Patty Wagstaff, a six-time member of the U.S. Acrobatic Team, had landed and was taxiing when her 1958 Beech K35 went off the runway and flipped in the grass median. Florida Highway Patrol said her passenger, a 59-year-old man who is one of her company flight instructors, was not hurt. Wagstaff posted a message that the plane had a mechanical issue.
Palatka city commissioners meet at 6 p.m. today at City Hall. Among items on the agenda an update on a proposal to move city hall, the police department and the sanitation department to the western edges of Palatka. The building at the Putnam County Industrial Park is a former call center and would cost $4 million to purchase and renovate. The building is 5 miles west of the current city hall and half-a-mile from the town limits of Francis. There’s speculation the city might be looking at annexing the area.
Hurricane Dorian delayed proposed budget hearings for the city of St. Augustine, the Historic Area Community Redevelopment Area and the Lincolnville Area Community Redevelopment Area. The city gets back to track with those hearings tonight at 6 p.m. at the Alcazar Room in St. Augustine’s City Hall.
Flagler Beach City Commission will be holding the first of two budget hearings today at 5:01 p.m. at City Hall. They’re looking at what amounts to a 13.5 percent tax increase. At 5:30 p.m. the commission will look at bids for $1.4 million for city sewer plant improvements.
Epic Cure will be handing out food supplies at First Baptist Church in Interlachen beginning at 9 a.m. Friday. At noon St. Vincent de Paul in Interlachen will be handing out items.
An area man is in the Flagler County Jail on a variety of charges after he was found sleeping in a car reported stolen from Daytona Beach. Timothy Smith, 60, of Daytona Beach, was found in the car in Palm Coast. He told deputies he got the car from an unknown man on a street corner in Daytona and said he frequently got cars in that manner. Two driver’s licenses and credit cards not in his name were found on him. They were found to have been stolen earlier from vehicles. It really wasn’t Smith’s day. While he was being booked into the Flagler jail, deputies identified him on surveillance tapes showing unsuccessful break-ins to two other vehicles. He ended up with nearly a dozen charges and no bond.
Residents in Putnam, Flagler and St. Johns counties joined the rest of the nation Wednesday to remember 9-11 when the Islamic terrorist group al-Qaeda launched four attacks on U.S. targets and killed nearly 3,000 people. St. Augustine held early morning ceremonies at the main fire station on Malaga Street. Ceremonies also were held at the Flagler Beach Pier in Flagler County. Putnam County commissioners declared today Patriot Day and a Day of Prayer, Service and Remembrance before ceremonies at the Putnam County Complex on Crill Avenue. At noon, the Putnam Ministerial Association holds a commemorative ceremony in the sanctuary of St. James United Methodist Church. At 6 p.m. Mt. Tabor Baptist Church at St. Johns and Moody avenues held a service honoring local hometown heroes. First Coast News’ Ken Amaro was guest speaker.
In St. Augustine the iconic carousel in Davenport Park may be on its last whirl. Owner Jim Soules died last week and his family says they plan to close the attraction Sunday. His widow says it will be dismantled Monday and moved to her home in Port Charlotte. The family company recently signed a five-year contract with the city to continue operation of the ride and the family is asking to be released from the agreement. The carousel is on San Marco Avenue by the city’s main library and has been there since 1994. Built in 1927, the carousel was moved to St. Augustine from Fort Wayne, Ind.
In Palm Coast Saturday more than 300 families and groups took part in the 12th annual Intracoastal Waterway Cleanup. Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officers served as judges for the most unique find contest. Winner was Lia Raposo who found a bread maker.
St. Johns River Water Management District reports rainfall for August was above average districtwide. Flagler County had the lowest monthly rainfall total at 3.3 inches for August while Alachua and Marion counties were well above average with nearly 10 inches of rain. Hurricane Dorian reportedly brought between 1 and 3 inches of rainfall across the district in early September. A narrow band of land in Flagler saw 4-5 inches.
The driver who struck a couple walking by the Tolomato Cemetery during St. Augustine’s Nights of Lights has been found guilty of two counts of DUI causing serious bodily harm and has been sentenced to 7 ½ years in prison. Justin Lee Edwards, 29, also will face three years of probation after prison. Zanobia Sterbia, 20, and Leigh West, 27, were walking by the cemetery on Jan. 29 when Edwards’ truck struck them. He had pulled out of the cemetery parking lot, lost control and then ran into the couple on the sidewalk sending them into the concrete wall and fencing at the cemetery. The couple is still recovering and a motor vehicle negligence lawsuit has been filed against Edwards.
Palatka city commissioners are hearing from citizens regarding a proposal to move city hall from Second Street out to the Putnam County Industrial Park on the edge of the city. Turns out that would be five miles from its current location in the heart of downtown. Good news is its only half a mile from the limits of Francis. Commissioners will be hearing a report on the proposal at a meeting at 6 p.m. today. Cost would be $4 million for buying and renovating a building at the park. Plans include moving city hall, the police department and the sanitation department. Word is the city is now talking about leaving the fire department downtown.
Nease High School was briefly on lock down Tuesday, according to the St. Johns County School District. A man was seen climbing the school fence into the facility. Turned out it was a coach who had gotten locked out.
This is Marcia Lane, your roving reporter.