The Voice of the Gem City

April 9, 2020

This is Marcia Lane, your roving reporter.

A 42-year-old woman apparently under the impression she was an Easter bunny has been arrested after allegedly putting plastic eggs containing pornographic images in people’s mailboxes throughout Flagler County. Abril Cestoni told investigators she placed the items in mailboxes as a way of educating people. Since Sunday Flagler County Sheriff’s Office has received multiple calls about the eggs and late Wednesday evening reports of individual in a 2004 silver Honda Civic putting eggs in mailboxes led officers to stop the car on Belle Terre Parkway. A bag full of pornographic material was found inside the car. The eggs also contained a cracker shaped like a fish, a sheet of toilet paper, a powdered drink mix and non-threatening references to local churches and county buildings. Sheriff Rick Staly thanked people for helping find the woman he referred to as a “deranged offender.” Cestoni faces 11 counts of distributing obscene material, driving with a suspended license and violating the order for conducting travel not related to essential services. She’s in the county jail on a $7,000 bond.

St. Johns River Water Management District reports below average rainfall is causing increasingly dry conditions in the 18-county district that includes Putnam, St. Johns and Flagler counties. Officials are urging people to practice outdoor water conservation. Rainfall in the district is almost six inches below normal for the past three months, and March rainfall averaged barely ¼ inch. Putnam and St. Johns are among counties that have developed moderate drought issues.  Groundwater levels in the Florida Aquifer have dropped approximately 15 percent over last month.

Coronavirus concerns continue. State Department of Health figures show Putnam County has four new cases bringing the total to 24. A 33-year-old Palatka woman, 67-year-old Palatka man and two 28-year-old East Palatka men have tested positive for the virus. At least one of the East Palatka cases is travel related. In Flagler County 36 people have tested positive. In St. Johns County the number is up to 156. One of those cases is a Publix employee who works at 220 Front St. in Ponte Vedra Beach. Another Publix employee at a Jacksonville Store on Duval Station Road also tested positive. Exactly when the cases were spotted was not released but both quarantined for 14 days and were on paid leave.

Beginning Friday traffic patterns on State Road 20 in the Interlachen area are scheduled to shift. It’s part of the SR 20 widening improvement project from County Road 315 to Southwest 56th Avenue. The shift is between Commonwealth Avenue and Lottie Avenue.

Flagler Beach commissioners go to a virtual meeting tonight with new commissioners Deborah Phillips and Ken Bryan taking their seats. Commission items include ratifying a decision to hand over running of the city to Fire Chief Bobby Pace as City Manager Lary Newsom recovers from the flu. He does not have coronavirus, according to tests. Newsom proposed the succession plan last month.

Palatka City Commission holds its on virtual meeting at 6 p.m. tonight. Details of viewing the meeting and hopefully listening are still being worked out. City officials say you can go to the city’s Facebook site at 5:30 p.m. and be directed to the link for watching the meeting.

Among industries not considered essential is chocolate making – we know, what were they thinking. However, Virginia Whetstone of Whetstone Chocolates in St. Augustine decided the company’s chocolate bunnies needed a home for Easter and is sending chocolate rabbits, chocolate dipped Peeps, foiled chocolate eggs and bunny corn to staff at Flagler Hospital, The Mayo Clinic St. Augustine, City of St. Augustine Police and Fire Department and the St. Augustine Beach Police Department.

 

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