This is Marcia Lane, your roving reporter.
The search for an 18-year-old who fell off a jet ski in the Intracoastal Waterway in Flagler County Wednesday continued this morning. Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission deputies remained on patrol during the night after the search was suspended Wednesday evening. Sonar and dive teams were used in the search. The missing teen was on a jet ski with another teen when he fell into the water. The two left out of Bings Landing around 2:20 Wednesday afternoon.
Crescent City no longer has a police department after commissioners by a 4-1 vote Wednesday night at a special meeting got rid of their longtime department. Putnam County Sheriff’s Office will take over law enforcement. When Commissioner Lisa DeVitto raised questions about the contract and reports, new Mayor Michele Myers didn’t provide a clear answer. The move to get rid of the police department has not been a popular one with many residents. The issue began when City Manager Michael Esposito raised questions about certification and training. An investigation by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement showed only two of the five members had all their certification. What will happen to the department’s officers who have all been on paid wasn’t addressed. The commission holds another special workshop and meeting tonight to go over replacing Esposito who is taking a job in North Georgia. He just reached his first year anniversary with Crescent City. Meetings can be viewed online.
Palatka City Commission meets tonight and among items on their agenda is approval of a permanent city attorney. City Manager Don Holmes, who held the attorney job for a number of years before becoming city manager, has chosen Valeria Bland Thomas. She’s been interim attorney. Commissioners also are expected to appoint Pastor Alonzo Mulberry to a newly created post as city chaplain. In the past ministers from different churches have given the opening prayer at meetings for free. Mulberry will also do ride-a-longs with police. He’ll make $500 a month.
St. Augustine High School girls basketball team plays Melbourne Palm Bay today in Lakeland for a chance to go on to the state championship game. However, what’s being talked about is not their hard work but a push by one team member to have players wear Black Lives Matter shirts during their warm-up session before the game. The player wore the shirt and then wanted all members to wear the BLM shirts. They said yes and a parent reportedly bought shirts for all. The District School Board has said no, pointing to a rule that says only school uniforms may be worn during warm up practice and games during events.
Florida Department of Health in Putnam County reported 14 new coronavirus cases with seven transfers into the county. Total number of cases since counting began in March of last year is 5,811. Flagler County reported 34 new cases for a total of 5,832. St. Johns Count reported 48 new cases bringing their total to 19,945.
Flagler County showcases local talent this Saturday at Flagler Auditorium as part of the Community Celebration Series. Cherry Drops, a retro-ish pop rock band, headlines the themed A Tribute to Flagler County. Also performing Capt. Nick and Matanzas Blue Steel Band. Flagler Beach Photography Club will have a display outdoors and the Flagler Beach Historical Museum will be showcased onstage.
About 200 barrel racers will be at the Palatka Horseman’s Club Saturday for a day of competition that will benefit a longtime local barrel racer. Dede Eubanks suffered a spinal injury in an accident at home and friends are rallying to help out with some of the unexpected costs including providing support for the Eubanks’ disabled child. Dede is undergoing therapy five days a week. Organizers say it will be a fun day including cake walks, live and silent auctions and a barbecue dinner. Admission is free to the event off State Road 19.