This is Marcia Lane, your roving reporter.
Floridians are preparing for Tropical Storm Elsa with the west coast of the state expected to take the hit. However, in Putnam, St. Johns and Flagler counties people are preparing for flooding as the storm comes through tonight and Wednesday morning. The ground already is saturated with rains in some areas after a couple of weeks of rain. Strong winds are expected in all three counties and rainfall estimates range from two to four inches with up to six inches predicted in some areas. You can get sand and bags in Putnam at Huntington Landfill in Crescent City, East Palatka Community Park, Bardin VFD and Chesser Sand Pit in Hawthorne. In Palatka bags and sand will be at 11th Street and St. Johns Avenue today. Putnam County Commission at an emergency meeting signed a local state of emergency proclamation and the call center in Putnam will be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. to answer citizen question. Call 386-329-1904. Listen to WPLK/WIYD for updates.
Do you part to help with the rain runoff. If a storm water grate is in front of your business or house, clear it out before the rains hit.
Skies cleared for Fourth of July fireworks on Sunday and volunteers were at the beaches Monday to help clean up debris left by the annual celebration, back this year after coronavirus put the kibosh on gatherings last year. Remember in Palatka garbage pickup will be changed this week since crews were off Monday. Monday pickup is Tuesday, Tuesday’s is Wednesday. No trash pickup this week.
In Putnam County a multi-agency operation June 25 led to the arrest of five clerks for selling alcohol to minors. Authorities said complaints from the community plus deputies reporting an increase in crashes caused by impaired motorists under the legal drinking age of 21 led to the operation with agents from the state Department of Alcohol, Beverages and Tobacco provided a 19-year-old investigative aide to make purchases. Businesses that sold to the minor were Sahir Food Mart on Husson Avenue, El Cheapo on Reid Street, Ivan’s Food Mart on Reid, JAS Foods on North 19th and Palm and Crill Food Mart on Crill Avenue. Seven businesses did not sell to the minor.
Busy weekend for Flagler County deputies this weekend. Flagler County Sheriff’s Office in cooperation with Florida Highway Patrol ran a DUI Wolf Pack Operation over the weekend with 11 DUI arrests between 6 p.m. Saturday and 4 a.m. Sunday.
On Friday a 61-year-old stepfather was arrested on two counts of molesting an underage girl. Jimmy Harris of Jimmy’s Hang Ten restaurant in Flagler Beach was arrested and jailed without bond. According to the Sheriff’s Office Harris went into the 14-year-old’s room when he thought she was asleep and filmed her while he was touching himself inappropriately. She had set up her phone video and recorded him without his being aware. The Sheriff’s Office said it could indicate an ongoing pattern of abuse.
A suspect in the theft of more than $23,000 worth of construction equipment was captured by Flagler County Sheriff’s Office in part due to a surveillance camera. The camera was on the site behind the roundabout of U.S. 1 and Matanzas Parkway, and images showed James Perkins, 23. One of the victims contacted Perkins on social media and set up a meeting in Volusia County. Deputies were there and arrested Perkins who allegedly said he took the items because he “needed money.” Perkins was on probation for an arrest in 2018. He’s now in jail without bond.
St. Johns County sheriff’s deputies are looking for a guy who may get chutzpah award of the year. Video from Ace Hardware on A1A North in Ponte Vedra Beach shows a man entering, picking up a pair of bolt cutters inside the store and using them to cut the steel cable used to secure the chainsaws. He took one, walked to the front and picked up a 20 volt drill then walked out the door. Total loss was valued at nearly $1,400. The man got in a beige Jeep Liberty and drove off. The incident happened June 29. If you have information, contact the Sheriff’s Office.