This is Marcia Lane, your roving reporter.
An 18-year-old died and a 20-year-old is in serious condition after a single-vehicle crash in Putnam County Sunday. Florida Highway Patrol reports Rhett Timothy McCool of Palatka was driving a Chevrolet Silverado north on Browns Landing Road around 7 p.m. when the truck went off the road and into a tree. McCool and passenger Brittney Kristen Green were thrown from the truck. FHP said McCool died at the scene, Green was taken to UF Health in Gainesville. Neither was wearing a seat belt, according to FHP.
Students in Florida return to school today although they’ll be at home. The coronavirus is putting a new face on education as students use computers and teachers go on-line to provide instruction. Concerns over increased Internet demand have some officials worried about potential computer outage problems especially since many parents are working from home as well. In Putnam County the Chamber of Commerce Friday put out an appeal to businesses to help out if people had trouble with Internet access. They were asking businesses to allow students to use their Wi-Fi from outside.
School food services are busy in Putnam, Flagler and St. Johns counties as meals continue to be made available to students in need. Those are available for pick up from schools and various bus stops. Check district web sites or call district offices for details.
Being able to make changes on a dime is the new norm. Over the weekend St. Johns County decided to close all 42 miles of its beaches. The ban went into effect Sunday at 6 a.m. Florida Fish and Wildlife officers were busy making people aware of new rules put out by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. Those orders: No more than 10 to a boat and boats must keep 50 feet apart. For now boat ramps in Flagler, Putnam and St. Johns counties remain open. Officials are becoming more stringent on who enters the state. Checkpoints were set up on the Florida-Georgia entry of Interstate 95 Sunday. At one point traffic was backed up for miles and the checkpoints closed for four hours.
A 16-year-old Palatka girl died Thursday night after being stabbed to death on Pink Orchid Lane off Husson Avenue. Palatka Police arrested Anthony Maurice Foxx, 19, who faces charges of second degree murder. He’s also charged with smuggling contraband into a detention center. Police were called to the scene Thursday night after a call about a young girl with visible injuries and unresponsive who was found in the lane. Investigators interviewed witnesses including Foxx, who approached officers at the scene and began talking with them. He was later determined to be a suspect and charged Friday. According to friends, the victim was Ayana Belton. Police did not identify her citing Marsy’s Law, which allows law enforcement not to release the ID of a victim. The girl was stabbed multiple times, according to a press release from the police department.
The Fifth District Court of Appeals has upheld the guilty conviction of former Flagler County Supervisor of Elections Kimberle Weeks. The three-judge panel upheld four counts and threw out four other counts, citing double-jeopardy. She will have to serve a month in jail and faces up to 18 months probation. She will lose her state pension. While in office Weeks and several other officials were at odds on various issues and Weeks recorded the individuals without their knowledge., leading to the original charges.
In St. Augustine city finance director Mark Robert Litzinger will retire May 15. He’s been with the city since he was 23 and in May will celebrate his 52nd birthday. Carl Lefleur, deputy director of finance, will serve in the transition period.
People are looking for ways to interact socially while still practicing social distancing. Latest proposal — Chalk your walk. You can express your creativity and spread some positivity by drawing messages on your sidewalk or driveway.
In Interlachen someone came up with a lot of positive putting up a sign made from balloons. Silver balloons proclaim BE KIND. Balloons of every color surround the balloon letters. Thanks to Sue Nicosia for posting on Facebook.