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A Gainesville man may have gotten overambitious about gardening plans. John Grimes, 50, is in Putnam County jail on a $75,000 bond after allegedly stealing everything from rose bushes to potting soil to bags of white marble from Ace Hardware in Melrose. A Putnam Sheriff’s deputy spotted his white Chevrolet truck parked at a neighboring business around 5:30 a.m. Sunday and then saw a man run from the bushes, get in and take off. Later in the day the deputy saw the same truck at a residence on Putnam Loop in Putnam Hall. A chase ensued but broke off because of high rates of speed in a residential area. The deputy returned to the Putnam Loop residence and found items reported stolen from Ace. Some plants already were in the ground and freshly mulched. A K-9 eventually tracked Grimes to a wooded area north of the residence. Deputies said he admitted to stealing from Ace twice and had been scared off when the deputy showed up. He sold the landscaping supplies for $100 to $120 to the homeowner. He’s charged with grand theft, burglary and fleeing and eluding law enforcement with disregard for safety to people.
A 2,000 acre farming operation that covers parts of St. Johns, Flagler and Putnam counties will be supplying produce to local food banks as part of the new federal Coronavirus Farm Assistance program. L&M Farms Inc. will be supplying 432,000 pounds of assorted produce weekly. The contract is for $1.9 million, according to a release. This is part of the new Farmers to Families Food Box program. Food banks need more produce as people continue to look for help and farmers and ranchers need customers. L&M Farms is one of 40 awardees in the United States Department of Agriculture Southeast Region, which includes eight states. L&M will be supplying 12 truckload per week to three local agencies: Bread of Mighty in Gainesville, Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida in Daytona Beach and Feeding Northeast Florida in Jacksonville. Those groups supply to smaller food banks throughout the area.
Flagler County Sheriff’s Office is investigating a reported shooting on Rockefeller Drive in Palm Coast around 1 a.m. Tuesday. Sheriff’s Office says the woman was standing in a driveway when a man walked by, said hello and kept walking. She began walking into the house and he reportedly fired a gun, shooting her in the leg. She was taken to Halifax Hospital in Daytona Beach with non-life-threatening injuries. No names have been released. If you have information, call the Sheriff’s Office at 386-313-4911.
Florida Department of Health in Putnam County reports an additional coronavirus case, an 84-year-old woman in Florahome. She had not traveled and it’s unknown if she’s been in direct contact with a coronavirus case. That puts the total in Putnam to 144 cases as of Tuesday. St. Johns County is at 241 cases and Flagler is at 177 cases since counting began.
Flagler County Sheriff’s Office is investigating how a 41-year-old woman fell from her balcony early Sunday morning. Susanne Rachel Whitaker lives in a second-story apartment at European Village in Palm Coast. Early Sunday morning she was found on the ground below the balconies. Her boyfriend, Brett Laloma, 49, lives in the same apartment and told authorities he didn’t know what happened. He said earlier Whitaker might have injected fentanyl and said the two hadn’t argued. A neighbor reported hearing a man and a woman arguing, then a woman scream and looked out to see the woman on the ground. Whitaker is still hospitalized.
Gov. Ron DeSantis has lifted coronavirus-related instructions on youth activities, including summer camps and athletic events. He says he trusts parents to use common sense and local officials to make the right decisions. In Putnam County organizers of Box City at First Presbyterian Church have decided not to hold the camp this year. Box City has become a summer favorite with children getting a chance to learn about architecture, history and building. Each year they put together their own version of Palatka using, what else, boxes. Sally Jan Smith came up with the idea and hopes to hold a camp in 2021.
In St. Augustine people are looking for a man who rescued a woman from a rip tide Saturday at St. Augustine Beach. The woman was at the beach with her husband, kids and friends when the current began to pull her and her 14- and 12-year-old out to sea. Family and friends got the children out of the water, but they credit the unknown man with rescuing the woman. Two nurses at the beach gave her CPR and she was taken to Flagler Hospital.
This is Marcia Lane, your roving reporter.