This is Marcia Lane, your roving reporter.
Weather is making itself felt. A nor’easter played havoc with the coastline in St. Johns and Flagler counties over the last couple of days. St Johns County authorities declared a local state of emergency for Porpoise Point. Over the past two days truckloads of sand, rock and concrete have been dumped at the eastern edge of Porpoise Point Drive. About 100 feet of the road has been taken out by the nor’easter and repairs are expected to be about $20,000. This comes as the county commission gave a go-ahead to spending $39 million in the South Ponte Vedra and Vilano Beach area for a 50-year dune erosion project. The dune project at Matanzas Inlet at the Flagler-St. Johns county lines also saw erosion. There surfers and Jet Skiers were taking advantage of the waves as Mother Nature pounded the area. On Thursday the National Weather service in Jacksonville issued a red flag warning including Putnam County warning of west winds at 15 mph with occasional gusts to 20 mph and high humidity during the afternoon hours. The warning included an advisory against outdoor burning noting fires would spread rapidly.
Six people were involved in a three-vehicle crash Thursday around 7 p.m. in the construction zone for a planned roundabout at U.S. 1 and Old Dixie Highway in Flagler County. A 13-year-old boy was flown to Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children in Orlando with head injuries. He was in serious but stable condition. Five others were taken to area hospitals. Florida Highway Patrol is investigating the accident.
A new gated community for people 55 and older gained approval from the Palm Coast Planning Board. The three-building, four-story apartment complex will be surrounded by 45 single homes in P-Section off Pritchard Drive.
Efforts to repair and return to service the Fort Gates Ferry in southern Putnam County are moving forward. St. Johns Ship Building Inc. and donors are helping to return the Ferry barge and tug to operation. Hurricane Irma hit Fort Gates damaging the ferry and it has not yet been repaired. The ferry ride is a mile across the St. Johns River between Putnam County and the Ocala National Forest. Without it, people must make a 50-mile drive to cross. The Putnam Way, a local Facebook site, has been pushing the project and set up a Go Fund Me account at save-fort-gates-ferry. St. Johns Ship Building in Putnam County took delivery of the Too Wendy Thursday.
Several Putnam County Girl Scouts from Interlachen will be taking part in a 1740s re-enactment at the Fountain of Youth in St. Augustine Saturday from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Girl Scouts of Gateway Council are putting on the event.
Tips from the public led St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office to find a large claw vending machine taken from WalMart in St. Augustine by three men who claimed to be with a maintenance company that repairs the machines. The three put the machine into a Ford F-150 and security cameras caught them and their actions. After those were posted, the tips came in. The machine has been returned to WalMart and the investigation continues although no arrests so far. The same three are suspects in the taking of a similar vending machine from the Gainesville WalMart.
In St. Augustine the Lions Seafood Festival opens at 5 p.m. today and runs through Sunday at Francis Field. Now in its 38th year the festival includes arts and crafts, kids activities and lots of seafood. On Saturday and Sunday the Youth Regatta on St. Augustine’s bayfront will kick off the annual Race Week for Sailors. On Saturday the annual Spring Open House and Plant Sale is from 9 a.m. to noon at the Flagler County Extension Office in Bunnell. Also Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. it’s the second annual Strawberry Fest at Central Park in Palm Coast’s Town Center. Today the 69th annual Putnam County Fair opens at the Fairgrounds in East Palatka. For 10 days, farm animals, midway rides and lots of fair food will make the fairgrounds the place to be.