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The mid-year statistical report is out from Florida Department of Law Enforcement with Putnam, Flagler and St. Johns counties all showing drops in crime. Putnam County had the second greatest drop in the state with overall crime falling 33 percent. The Sheriff’s Office, Palatka Police, Crescent City Police and Welaka Police departments all saw reductions in both violent and non-violent crimes. Interlachen’s department was unable to report for either 2018 or 2019. Flagler County saw a 15.1 percent drop. Significant reductions were seen in crime in Flagler Beach and Bunnell. St. Augustine also saw a drop in crime of 8.9 percent. Lafayette County saw the biggest drop for the first six months of 2019 with a 40.4 percent decrease in crime.
Putnam County commissioners finish up a two-day strategic planning workshop today. The day- long meeting includes a review of vision, values and missions, establishes goals and looks at internal issues and trends. This afternoon they’re scheduled to determine objectives and select priorities for the coming year. The meeting is in the commission chamber at the Putnam County complex on Crill Avenue and is open to the public.
Putnam County School Superintendent Rick Surrency gives a state-of-the-school summary at today’s Putnam District School Board meeting. That’s at 3:30 p.m. in board offices on Reid Street and is open to the public.
An emergency road closing shut down part of Pope Road in St. Augustine Beach Monday evening. The road had to be closed between A1A Beach Boulevard and Mickler Boulevard due to a TECO gas line repair. Residents were allowed to return to their homes after the reopening but other traffic was asked to avoid the area.
Two called meetings today for Palatka officials. The city’s Audit committee meets at 4:30 p.m. in City Hall. Following that the Palatka City Commission holds a called meeting at 5 p.m. A $300,000 plus grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture is scheduled to be approved. The grant, which doesn’t require a match by the city, will go for a continuing sewer line project on North Third Street.
Palatka City Hall will be closing at 2:30 p.m. on Friday for maintenance to the building. Due to the nature of the maintenance, all employees will be required to leave the building, according to a release from the city.
Parents, better get ready. School districts in St. Johns, Flagler and Putnam counties are readying for the beginning of the Christmas holidays or Winter Break as most are calling it. Last day of school in Putnam County is Thursday then students and teachers go on a break from Dec. 20-Jan. 5 In Flagler County teachers have a workday Friday which means no school for students. Winter Break is officially Dec. 23-Jan. 3. In St. Johns County teachers and students will be out. Dec. 23-Jan. 2.
In Putnam County Sam Carr has received the St. Johns Riverkeeper Advocate of the Year award from Lisa Rowe Rinaman the Riverkeeper. He’s been a leading force behind promoting the William Bartram Trail through the area. St. Augustine attorney Tance Roberts, who’s from Putnam County, was doing her part for the Rotary Club of St. Augustine Endowment Fund. She and Dan Hilbert were dressing up to raise money for the fund. Tance ended up with a hair-do out of Dr. Seuss’ Whos thanks to hairdresser Robin Amato.
Five people were rescued from a sailboat taking on water near Vilano Beach Monday night. The sailboat ran aground near St. Augustine Inlet shortly after 7:15 p.m. Three children and two adults were taken off the sailboat by rescuers from St. Johns County Fire Rescue, St. Augustine Fire Department, St. Johns Sheriff’s Office and Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. Attempts to recover the sailboat are underway.
This is Marcia Lane, your roving reporter.