The Voice of the Gem City

News March 23, 2020

This is Marcia Lane, your roving reporter.

Traffic accidents over the weekend left two people dead and several injured.
In Putnam County a crash Sunday night around 10:45 p.m. in San Mateo killed a 43-year-old woman. Florida Highway Patrol says a Ford Mustang with three people inside hit a tree. Passenger Mildred Bastian of Satsuma was pronounced dead at the scene at State Road 100 and Tram Road. The driver and another passenger were taken to the hospital with serious injuries.
A crash on Saturday in Flagler County on Saturday night left one person dead in a seven-vehicle pile-up. A bull that had made his way onto Interstate 95 was blamed for the crash at mile marker 280. A BMW crashed into the bull around 10:30 p.m. and that began a domino effect involving six other vehicles. The BMW driver, Georgia Del Mastro, 68, died at the scene, according to FHP.
In St. Augustine Saturday two people were struck by a hit-and-run driver and FHP is seeking information about a maroon sedan. Just before 8 p.m. Saturday a maroon sedan headed north Old Moultrie Road reportedly struck Anna Crow, 33, and Blake Riley, 18, who were on the right side of the road. Crow was traveling on a motorized scooter. The sedan continued north on Old Moultrie, according to FHP. Crow was taken to Orange Park Medical Center with serious injuries. Riley went to Flagler Hospital with minor injuries.

St. Johns County beaches were closed to vehicles over the weekend and now the parking lots are closed, severely cutting the number of people allowed on the county’s 42 miles of beaches. Flagler County this morning put all 18 miles of that county’s beaches off limits. Parking is restricted in some areas. Also closed all parks, community centers, pavilions and camping areas in the county as of this morning. The moves came after near record crowds swarmed the beaches over the weekend. That followed the mayor of Jacksonville closing down beaches in Duval, which sent people south to St. Johns and Flagler counties.

Putnam, Flagler and St. Johns counties are now all reporting coronavirus cases. Friday Flagler County announced is first victim from the county, a 72-year-old woman. Putnam then identified its first two cases over the weekend. The first was a 67-year-old man who reportedly had been on a trip. An 82-year-old woman was also reported testing positive for the virus. In St. Johns County the number of coronavirus cases is up to 16. The first cast was from a visitor headed to Daytona Beach.

St. Augustine’s heritage tourism has taken a hit with the announcement by Pat Croce & Company that they’re suspending operations until further notice at the highly visible Colonial Quarter and Colonial Oak Music Park on St. George Street in the Old Downtown. In 2011 the company took over government leases for the colonial program. The Florida-based real estate and development company cited the coronavirus in making the announcement that also shuts down the St. Augustine Pirate & Treasure Museum, St. Augustine Seafood Company, Taberna Del Caballo, The Bull & Crown Pub and the Explorer’s Outpost. The company owns several restaurants and properties in Key West, which has been shut to tourists for the next two weeks.

This morning Palm Coast Mayor Milissa Holland signed a “Stay Home, Stay Safe” emergency proclamation for her town, located in Flagler County. Residents are being asked to stay home although they can leave for essential services including grocery shopping, gas and medicine.

Reunion for the Palatka Senior High School Class of 1965, set for April 17 and 18, has been canceled due to coronavirus concerns. Also canceled the Palatka South High School Class of 1975 reunion.

St. Augustine’s iconic Easter Parade and Promenade won’t be taking place this year as the city seeks to cut down on crowd gatherings. Also falling victim are the annual Royal Family transfer, Blessing of the Fleet and knighting ceremony.

In Putnam County free meals will still be available for those in need in Palatka and Interlachen but with some changes. Brown bag take-out meals will be served for Bread of Life from the fellowship hall of First Presbyterian Church. The Interlachen Soup Kitchen is also serving brown bag lunches to go.

When you get your sense of humor back, you may want to get a t-shirt commemorating these times. Life’s a Stitch in Palatka is making survivor shirts featuring a roll of toilet paper and proclaiming “I survived the toilet paper crisis of 2020.”


%d bloggers like this: