This is Marcia Lane, your roving reporter.
Memorial Day drew people to ceremonies in Putnam, St. Johns and Flagler counties on Monday. To be ready for Monday’s ceremonies in Interlachen, Putnam County Sheriff’s Office held an early event Saturday with the honor guard replacing the American flag that flies over the Interlachen memorial to the late U.S. Marine Corps Private First Class Robert H. Jenkins Jr. He died March 5, 1969 in Vietnam after leaping on top of a fellow Marine to shield him from a enemy hand grenade thrown into the emplacement containing Jenkins and his 12-man recon team. Jenkins died saving his fellow Marine and received the Medal of Honor for his action. Since 1863 when the honor was established only 3,508 medals have been given out; of those, 618 were posthumous.
St. Augustine Police are investigating the death of a downtown businessman and entrepreneur shot and killed early Saturday morning. Adam Amoia was reportedly killed about 1:50 a.m. outside of Dos Gatos, a bar and cocktail lounge on Hypolita Street in the heart of the historic downtown. A suspect is in custody, according to officials, but no name has been released. Witnesses say several shots were fired outside the bar following a fight. Friends of Amoia held a vigil Saturday night.
Florida Department of Health closed for the Memorial Day Weekend holiday so the last coronavirus information is from May 27. Flagler County overall numbers since March of last year are at 7,480 cases with 112 deaths. Putnam County reported 6,703 cases overall with 158 deaths. St. Johns County reported 23,228 cases with 221 deaths.
Change continues in Flagler County and Palm Coast where both Mayor Millisa Holland and City Manager Matt Morton have resigned. Holland quit last week citing family health issues. Morton still has most of the month to go before he’s leaving. It will take an election to replace Holland, but Morton’s job replacement will be made by commissioners and is leading to lots of speculation. County Administrator Jerry Cameron’s name has come up to take over the job. Cameron is nearing the end of his job with the county and some think he would be a good interim replacement for Palm Cost.
Putnam County School Board will meet the 2021 Product of Putnam recipients at today’s meeting at 3:30 p.m. These are products of local schools who have become community leaders. The program is designed to give recognition to locals who have made a difference and is now in its third year.
Palatka Planning Board will be looking a couple of changes in zoning at today’s 4 p.m. meeting that would increase allowed residential density in some areas. One piece of property involving almost 17 acres is across from Putnam Community Medical Center and would go from county agriculture to city residential, medium density. Another application is a large scale Comprehensive Plan Amendment for about 170 acres on Crysstal Cove Drive from industrial to Planned Unit Development. Two parcels are being looked at for annexation into the city on Bill Ding Avenue and involve about eight acres.
A 14-year-old Flagler Palm Coast High School student has been arrested on a second-degree felony charge of written threats to kill. Flagler County Sheriff’s Office reports the boy allegedly threatened to shoot a girl at the school after the two got into an argument on Snapchat Wednesday. The girl reportedly asked the boy if he intended to fight another student at the school and the argument deteriorated from there with the boy eventually saying he was going to shoot her. School officials and the threat assessment team became aware of the threat and determined law enforcement intervention was needed. The boy was arrested and turned over to the Department of Juvenile Justice.
The City of St. Augustine launches its Tree Canopy Enhancement Program today. Homeowners with city limits can request a tree, provided and planted free of charge by the city, that will go on right-of-way adjacent to homeowners’ property. People can apply online through Aug. 31 to be considered for one of nine available tree species.
Center State Bank goes to a new name as of today. New signs and building upgrades were underway over the weekend as the banks became South State Bank. This isn’t the first name change for the operation which began as Putnam State Bank then to Harbor Bank then to Center State Bank and now to South State Bank.