This is Marcia Lane, your roving reporter.
Fog delayed the start of fishing on the first day of the 2021 Bassmasters Elite at the St. Johns River in Palatka Thursday, but that didn’t stop Tennessee angler Gary Clouse from bringing in 25 pounds and 12 ounces to take first day lead. Second place went to Derek Hudnall of Baton Rouge, La., with 22-5. Australian pro Carl Jocumsen was third at 18-2. Fog kept the 99 pro fishermen at the Palatka dock until 10:15 a.m. Thursday. However, no fog this morning and the anglers headed out at safe light for the second day of fishing in the four-day tournament. Weigh-in is at 3 p.m. each day at the riverfront, or you can watch at bassmaster.com. FOX Sports 1 is covering the tournament Saturday and Sunday.
Today’s the last day for Flagler Beach residents and business owners to submit questions to be asked of candidates for city manager. The choice is down to two individuals – Dru Driscoll, who for 22 years has been with the Daytona Beach city administration, and William Whitson, a local government consultant who lives in Texas but has managed cities in three states including Florida. The city manager’s job opened after Larry Newsom died unexpectedly in August.
By a 4-1 vote the Crescent City Commission Thursday passed on first reading an ordinance that eventually will get rid of their police department and turn over enforcement duties to the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office. That came despite petitions signed by a number of businesses in the South Putnam town seeking to keep the department. The dissenting vote came from Commissioner Lisa Devitto who wanted the contract with the Sheriff’s Office to be reviewed and negotiated first. The move to abolish the police came following questions over certification of all the police department’s officers by City Manager Michael.
Four people have died in St. Johns County from coronavirus-related issues, according to the Florida Department of Health report Thursday. That brings total number of deaths since March to 180. In addition 113 new cases were reported for a total of 19,343. In Putnam County the death of a 93-year-old man brought the total to 109, according to the health department. Removed from the list was a 74-year-old man following a review by the department. In Putnam 17 new coronavirus cases were reported bringing the total to 5,666. Flagler County reported 23 new deaths bringing the total to 5,573.
A domestic violence call Thursday led to the arrest of a 66-year-old Palatka man after a chase along Crill Avenue, according to the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office. Lester Ray Stockwell is being held without bond at the Putnam jail after officers stopped him using a PIT maneuver at Crill and Corbett Avenue. Stockwell allegedly tried to strangle his wife and had pulled a gun before she and three young children escaped the residence in Thicket Lane. He then left the house and deputies stopped him after a 9-1-1 call was received. Stockwell fled then, only to be stopped again and arrested. His charges included aggravated battery, aggravated assault with a weapon, battery and two counts of resisting an officer.
The body of a St. Augustine man has been recovered in the St. Johns River north of Buckman Bridge. Michael Vaughn III, 20, apparently fell out of his 30-foot-crab boat last Thursday. The boat was spotted spinning in a circle before crashing into the bridge around 8 a.m. Despite a search his body was not found at the time.
Two men were arrested on drug charges Thursday at River Oaks Mobile Home Community on St. Johns Avenue after Putnam County Sheriff’s Office served warrants following an investigation. Patrick Lamont Offord, 26, who lives at the residence, is being held on $180,500 bond for a series of charges including drug trafficking, heroin trafficking, possession of drug equipment and possession of a weapon. Also arrested, Everett Legrant Andrew, 33, of Florida City. His bond is $6,000 and he faces charges of possession of cocaine and possession of marijuana.
Whatever you do, don’t forget Sunday is Valentine’s Day. And don’t forget Monday in President’s Day. Schools in St. Johns, Putnam and Flagler will be closed.