This is Marcia Lane, your roving reporter.
Hot weather and the nearing of summer break bring upswings in the number of beach visitors. Rip currents made the waters tricky over the weekend and life guards were active along the coast with nearly four dozen people pulled from the water at Jacksonville and four rescued at St. Augustine Beach. A father drowned at Huguenot Park after saving his children and a swimmer rescued at Neptune Beach died. When it comes to rip currents, remember don’t panic. Swim parallel to the shore until you’re out of the currents.
Temperatures are expected to be in the 90s today and the UV Index is higher than normal, a good thing to remember if you’re out for any length of time.
Palatka Police report a man was shot and killed on North 11th Street early Sunday morning. Few details, including the man’s name, are being released but police say they’re investigating and have a person of interest. The shooting happened around 5 or 5:30 a.m.
St. Johns County School Board meets today and upset parents are speaking out. Some are mad that some 80 girls’ photos in the Bartram Trail High School yearbook were altered. The decision was reportedly made by one person who was attempting to cover up body portions exposed by clothing not in compliance with the district’s dress code rules. The board also will be hearing from parents who want to see the dress code changed including making rules the same for boys and girls. Guess that means no more off-the-shoulder shirts for guys. One other requested change will be a change in measurement for skirt, dress and shorts lengths. Currently they can be no more than four inches above the knee. A definition of the term “distracting” is also sought. No decision is expected today.
A Palm Coast man is in jail charged with two felony counts of aggravated battery with a deadly weapon following a double stabbing early Monday morning. Rene Laso, 55, reportedly got in an argument with a couple at Smiles, a bar on Palm Harbor Village Way in Palm Coast. The female victim said Laso had been harassing her for several months and had previously offered her $5,000 to perform sexual favors, an offer she declined. When he turned up at the bar, the first victim’s boyfriend confronted Laso, which led to a verbal argument outside. The woman attempted to come between the two men and Laso reportedly pulled a knife and stabbed the two. When Laso tried to leave the parking lot on his motorcycle, other bar patrons came outside and kicked over his bike, preventing his leaving. The two victims were treated for multiple stab wounds and taken to Advent Health.
A three-vehicle accident Monday morning in St. Johns County blocked all lanes on Interstate 95 at County Road 210 for several hours. Florida Highway Patrol reported a dump truck loaded with asphalt was driving south on I-95 when its left front tire tread separated, causing the driver to lose control. The dump truck went into a spin, traveling into the center lane of a truck loaded with granite. That truck went to the left, hitting a cargo van. The three vehicles went through the center guardrail and ended in the northbound lanes of I-95. The dump truck overturned while the other truck and van ended in the northbound lanes.
News that proposed 2021-22 Putnam County government expenses will be about $14 million over budget made for a tense meeting Tuesday. The preliminary budget meeting included commissioners hearing from half-a-dozen department heads about projected needs for equipment and employees. It also led to a heated disputed between Commissioners Terry Turner and Jeff Rawls. The board did vote 3-2 to look at balancing the upcoming budget without using reserve money and while lowering the millage rate and reducing solid waste fees. How that will be possible wasn’t clear although other fundraising methods were touched on.
State Attorney R.J. Larizza will give an update on the Tristyn Bailey murder case later this week, according to his office. His office is reviewing the facts, circumstances and law regarding the case. Officials have seen a huge push by the public to see the 14-year-old suspect charged as an adult in the 13-year-old girl’s death. Some also want to see the second-degree murder charged upped to first degree murder.
Florida Department of Health in Flagler County Tuesday reported four new coronavirus cases for a total of 7,447 since counting began in March a year ago. Putnam County reported six new cases for a total of 6,655. St. Johns County reported 17 new cases for a total of 23,144.