This is Marcia Lane, your roving reporter.
St. Johns County Sheriff’s deputies are looking for a hit-and-run driver who killed a woman early this morning as she was walking on International Golf Parkway at Royal Pines Parkway. The incident happened between 5 and 5:45 a.m., according to the Sheriff’s Office. The woman apparently was walking in or near the road when struck. A vehicle with recent front-end damage, including missing headlight components, is being sought. Debris at the scene has been recovered. Multiple lanes of International Golf Parkway westbound have been closed and traffic rerouted.
Flagler County has its first confirmed case of coronavirus. Florida Department of Health notified Flagler one person tested positive for the virus. However, the individual is a resident of Volusia County. St. Johns County has four cases. Putnam has none. Testing is increasing and more cases may be detected.
Thursday signaled the end of the 2020 Florida legislative session. Normally that would mean celebrating and lots of gatherings but the coronavirus was taking precedent. Health care professionals were on hand checking legislators and staffers. Legislators passed a $93 billion budget that includes $3.8 million for coronavirus response.
Gov. Ron DeSantis has resisted closing the state’s beaches, leaving that up to local governments. Flagler Beach and beaches in St. Johns County remain open although people are being reminded that gatherings should be kept down to 10 and people should be six feet apart. In Florida tourism is a $40 billion a year industry.
St. Augustine Police haven’t released the identity of a woman struck and killed by a train early Thursday in the area of North Ponce de Leon Boulevard and Saragossa Street. The accident happened around 5:30 a.m. Police say they don’t know why the woman was on the tracks.
While social distancing is the new watchword, implementing it is another animal all together. U.S. Marshals were reported in Putnam County Thursday talking with several bar owners and nightclub owners. On order from the governor those establishments are no longer allowed to serve alcohol on the premises and can only serve food. If a bar has a drive-thru package store, liquor may still be sold but cannot be consumed on the premises.
It will be an even quieter than usual Sunday. Many churches in the area have announced they won’t be holding services. Some ministers will be going online to deliver sermons. The Diocese of St. Augustine announced Thursday all public masses have been suspended in parish churches and chapels. Priests will continue to office Mass daily, but without participation by the faithful. They’re live-streaming on Facebook.
The realities of corona virus keep coming home. In Putnam County the fair would have been opening tonight but has been canceled due to coronavirus. It’s going to be a hard time for students who normally raise swine and steer and then show and sell them at the fair. This year they’re not expecting much of a return on their investment of time and money with shows cancelled. Normally the animals are auctioned off with family, friends and businesses stepping up. This year livestock sales will be via an online auction from noon March 27 to noon March 28. Some students and parents are getting creative, going online to sell their animals individually in the hopes of raising enough to cover costs. C.H. Price Middle School ag teacher Tracy Hornsby posted on Facebook a photo of her FFA chapter’s pig along with intended handler Makayla Serrano. It would have been Serrano’s first year showing and she was excited at the prospect and working hard. Hornsby noted: “However, in life there are disappointments and things out of our control, and these experience only make us stronger and we learn valuable life lessons.” With that being said, she added, the FFA chapter is looking for a buyer and would appreciate help as the money raised goes back to the FFA chapter. Interested buyers can message her.