Former deputy enters into agreement to avoid prosecution


ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. -- Two months after a St. Johns County Sheriff's Office Sergeant triggered a Florida Amber Alert for allegedly taking her son from school illegally, the now former deputy has entered into a pre-trial intervention agreement to avoid criminal proceedings.

Documents obtained by First News Coast list more than a dozen conditions that Catherine Payne must follow in order to avoid criminal prosecution.

Payne faces two felony counts for intervening with the custody of her 6-year-old back in October.

Part of the agreement requires the former deputy to perform 20 hours of community service.

The agreement with the State Attorney Office states that if any of the conditions are violated by Payne, prosecution for her alleged crimes could resume.

Payne's next scheduled court appearance is on Jan. 21.

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High tide blamed for flooding in St. Augustine


ID=20112143ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. -- Northeast winds and a high tide from a full moon are being blamed for flooding in downtown St. Augustine Monday morning.

The high tide caused traffic issues for those driving on King Street, Coquina Avenue, Anastasia Boulevard, Cordova Street and other roadways, officials told First Coast News.

The biggest impact appeared to be on King Street near US 1. Water was measured at 11-12 inches higher than normal, city public works director Martha Graham said.

One longtime resident said it's the worst flooding he's seen in his 60 years living in St. Augustine.

Deputies uncover possible meth lab


ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. -- St. Johns County Sheriff's deputies spent several hours Wednesday at the scene of a possible meth lab in the Samara Lakes community near the World Golf Village.

Deputies armed with a search warrant went to raid a home near Enon Court about 3:30 p.m. when they came across what they suspect is a meth lab.

Three individuals face charges, SJCSO spokesperson Kevin Kelshaw told First Coast News.

Two children living with the suspects are reportedly in the custody of the Department of Children and Families.

The SJCSO uncovered a similar meth lab in the neighborhood more than two years ago.

St. Augustine Shipyard could bring hundreds of jobs


ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. -- A major marine project is dropping anchor in St. Augustine.

The St. Augustine Shipyard is expected to bring jobs and money to St. Johns County.

On Tuesday, there was an official groundbreaking, but work is well underway on the former Luhrs and DESCO site. It's about 50 acres, with 1,000 feet spanning the San Sebastian River.

Co-owner and developer Bob Million has worked for years on the idea of the St. Augustine Shipyard.

Tuesday he said, "Today is the difference between reality and proposed. So today, it's real!"

The project is expected to have dry boat storage, a marina restaurants, and a hotel.

Million said it will also create hundreds of jobs. He described them as "mostly marine related, marine based. Craftsmen, small engine repair, canvas work, wood working, and boat repair."

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Building collapsed, but the business is bouncing back


ID=19764627ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. -- A small business took a beating this fall when the building it was in collapsed in St. Augustine.

Now Bath Junkie is bouncing back in a big way.

The store's at a new location is on Hypolita Street, in the former Go Fish store. It's just about half a block from where it used to be.

"It's been challenging, but we've got everything up and running," Becky Geiger said. She and her husband have owned the Bath Junkie for three years in downtown St. Augustine. Inside they sell custom-made soaps and lotions.

St. Augustine cracking down on bigger trucks


ID=19761009ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. -- There's not a lot of space for delivery trucks on many of the narrow streets in St. Augustine. Now the city is cracking down on trucks that are legally too big for the streets.

Images of delivery trucks crashing into balconies on historic buildings. They are instances in which the modern world literally collides with the past. And that's what a local law in St. Augustine aims to keep from happening.

Sail boat gets stuck to Bridge of Lions


ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. -- The person aboard a disabled sail boat that got entangled with the Bridge of Lions in St. Augustine has something to be thankful for after firefighters helped set it free on Thanksgiving Day.

The 36-foot vessel lost power to its engine Thursday and drifted into the bridge, St. Johns County Fire Rescue told First Coast News. The boat's lines got tangled with the bridge and the sailor could not get loose.

That's when first responders and the crew of Sea Tow stepped in, freeing the lines from the bridge and towing the boat to safety, SJCFR said.

There were no injuries reported. It's not yet clear if there was any damage to the bridge.