This is Marcia Lane, your roving reporter.
Tropical Storm Elsa brought more rain to areas already soaked by a couple of weeks of precipitation. However, little damage has been reported in the Putnam-Flagler-St. Johns area. As Putnam County Emergency Management Center posted: “We got lucky with Elsa’s more westward track.” Palatka got an inch-and-three-quarters of rain while our East Palatka weatherman reported an inch. Flooding was seen in the usual areas in St. Augustine and Flagler. Today started sunny, but National Weather Service is predicting 70 percent chance of rain later today. Jacksonville reported a couple of tornadoes and one death in the Ortega neighborhood when a man was killed after a tree branch fell and hit two vehicles. A possible waterspout was spotted on the St. Johns River near Green Cove Springs.
Bunnell has been the one stable government in Flagler County over a past year that has included the resignation of Palm Coast’s mayor and city manager as well as some argumentative moments in county government and a new interim county manager. That changed this week as Commissioner Bill Baxley turned in his resignation. Baxley first went into office eight years ago and was in the second year of his third three-year term. Baxley says he’s retiring and moving to New Hampshire to be nearer his daughter. His wife died recently. Also uncertain are future plans of Commissioner Donnie Nobles who has missed meetings following a stroke. Both the seats are up for election in March. Commissioners now have to decide whether to leave the seats vacant until March or make at least one appointment.
St. Johns River Water Management District has reopened headquarters in Palatka, centers in Jacksonville and Maitland and field stations in wake of Tropical Storm Elsa. To ensure public safety, staff is assessing public land in its north, north central and west regions before reopening.
A correction on a story about DUI arrests over a 24-hour period during the Fourth of July. It was St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office not Flagler that made 11 DUI arrests. Flagler Sheriff’s deputies were busy, however, with 1, 298 calls for service during the long holiday weekend. Deputies conducted 267 traffic stops and made 41 arrests with three of them for driving under the influence.
Over the weekend Flagler County Sheriff’s Office also recovered two stolen vehicles and made four arrests. On July 3, deputies located a vehicle pulling a trailer with jet skis reported stolen in North Carolina. The passenger, Tre’vaugh Meyers, 23, said he purchased the skis and trailer from a man he couldn’t identify in North Carolina. Driver Quintin Wright, 37, said he had just met Meyers and agreed to drive him and the trailer to Miami for $500. The two were arrested and both charged with two counts of grand theft of a motor vehicle and one count of grand theft. Bond for each was $7,500. A second arrest was made July 4 after deputies found a vehicle reported stolen from Lake City in a Palm Coast Walgreens parking lot. A man in the passenger seat, later identified as Frank Davin, 30, said he was waiting for the driver who was shopping in the store. Deputies detained Vincent Hutchinson, 37, as he exited the bathroom inside. Hutchinson said the car owner’s boyfriend, who he said owned him money, told him he could use the vehicle until July 2. He didn’t have an answer when told it was July 4. Inside the vehicle console, cocaine was found. Both men were arrested and charged with grand theft of a motor vehicle. Hutchinson turned out to be in violation of probation in St. Johns County and is being held without bond. Davin also was charged with possession of cocaine and bond set at $10,000.
St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office continues to seek 26-year-old Devontae Lee Durden for questioning in a shooting Tuesday afternoon in the West 13th Street and St. Johns Street area in West Augustine. The victim had non-life-threatening injuries. The Sheriff’s Office also is investigating a shooting Sunday at 2 a.m. at the Circle K at 4564 U.S. 1 North. No suspects have been named and apparently no one was shot, say authorities. If you have information in either case, contact Crime Stoppers or call the Sheriff’s Office.