The Voice of the Gem City

March 19, 2020

This is Marcia Lane, your roving reporter.

A crash involving a train caused a fatality in St. Augustine this morning, according to the St. Augustine Police Department. The crash occurred in the area of North Ponce de Leon Boulevard and Saragossa Street. Traffic was blocked and had to be rerouted. The accident is under investigation.

Putnam County Property Appraiser Tim Parker has opposition. Freddy Wayne Garrett of Satsuma has filed his plans to run. His campaign treasurer is Lisa DePriest. In Palatka, David Parsons has officially announced his plans to run for the Group 3 Palatka City Commission seat. That’s the post currently held by Mary Lawson Brown, who has decided not to seek re-election. She was honored last week for her 35 years as a commissioner, making her one of the longest serving elected officials in the state. Former city commissioner Allegra Kitchens also has filed to run for the seat.

St. Augustine voters apparently want to be sure political candidates really are local. During Tuesday’s Presidential Preference Primary, St. Augustine residents also had changes to the city charter to decide. By 91percent they agreed that commissioners have to live in the city continuously and maintain registration in the city for at least a year before they can qualify for election or appointment. Also approved an amendment extending terms of police and fire departments reps serving on the city’s Civil Service Board from one to three years.

Putnam County Emergency Management has gone to a rumor control update. So far no coronavirus cases in Putnam. To find out information, the number for the public to call is 386-329-1904.

Courts in Florida are going through some changes in response to the coronavirus situation. The Seventh Judicial Circuit, which includes Flagler, Putnam, St. Johns and Volusia counties, earlier announced all criminal proceedings were being pushed back two weeks. On Tuesday a new order went into effect ending all but “mission critical” proceedings. That ends April 6.

The AARP sponsored free tax preparation service for seniors in Putnam County has been suspended. Paul Farris says the program at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church had been scheduled into April but the coronavirus has changed those plans. For more, call 1-888-687-2277.

City of Palm Coast is stepping up to help out those facing unexpected financial constraints. City government is suspending late fees on utility bills immediately and will not cut off service to customers who are behind on their payments. Currently the city shuts off water on around 300 customers a week because of late or non=payments

When the coronavirus crisis ends, parents may have a whole new appreciation of teachers. While spring break has in effect been extended by an extra week, students will be returning to school March 30 only the classroom will be in their homes. St. Johns County teachers are to return to schools Monday as the district looks at how to provide lessons to students. Middle and high school students currently use Schoology online and the district expect to make that a major part of their teaching program. When it comes to elementary students the district is looking at a combination of online learning and packets to help younger students keep learning. In Putnam County teachers will be going online March 26 and 27 to learn how they’ll be providing lessons. Flagler County schools had already been working on a distance learning plan before the crisis. Several years ago they launched a one-to-one plan putting a computer or tablet in the hands of every student. When students headed off for spring break fourth through 12th graders were sent home with their devices. In the works now are plans to get devices to students who normally don’t take their devices home plus get devices for younger students.

Among federal level responses to the coronavirus is a plan that will ease paying federal taxes. You still must file by April 15 or apply for an extension. However, unless you had an income of more than a million dollars payment won’t be due until July 15.



Categorised in: News and Weather, Radio Blog/Updates

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