This is Marcia Lane, your roving reporter.
The new normal will include the old normal – beginning today hairstylists, barbers and manicurists can reopen in Florida. State rules say customers must be by appointment only and masks must be worn by employees while performing personal services.
Sunday afternoon brought out the St. Johns County SWAT team to a house near R. J. Murray Middle School in St. Augustine after a man reportedly fired into a car including an adult and child. The driver apparently wouldn’t drive the man to another location. The suspect went into the house and officers arrived. After nearly four hours of attempts at negotiation, the SWAT team went in but the man wasn’t there. They found several holes cut in the floor and, using a camera system, were able to find the suspect. He faces two charges of aggravated assault and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. His name has not been released.
After three days of no known coronavirus cases, Putnam County had six new cases over the weekend bringing the total to 126. All six had contact with confirmed cases. A 28-year-old Crescent City woman, a 66-year-old Palatka woman, an 84-year-old Palatka man, a 64-year-old Pomona Park man and two 79-year-old women from Palatka tested positive. In St. Johns County the number of coronavirus cases is now at 222 and in Flagler County the number is at 147.
Two teens were arrested in Volusia County in a stolen vehicle following a high speed chase on Interstate 95 through St. Johns and Flagler counties Thurday. Driver Detraun Davonte Vaughan and passenger Dashawn Brown, both 18, face numerous charges including vehicle beak-ins and grand theft of a motor vehicle. At times the car chase reached speeds of 120 mph and the Volkswagen Beetle the two were in nearly crashed into several cars. Volusia deputies finally caught the two after they crashed the stolen car in Deltona and were spotted by Air One on a roadway.
St. Augustine City Commission returns to 5 p.m. Monday meetings today although they’ll still be meeting through communication media technology. During April the commission met at 10 a.m., a time many residents found inconvenient. Commissioners indicated they wanted the public to be involved and the usual time was restored.
As part of the effort to get things back to normal the City of St. Augustine for the next 30 days is allowing licensed restaurants to reduce their parking area to create temporary outdoor dining. The restaurants with no parking can enter into agreements with other property owners by them to create the extra dining area.
As St. Johns County looks for ways to reopen, County Commission Chair Jeb Smith says as part of the strategy beaches reopen to cars today and the St. Augustine Beach Pier will reopen today at no charge. Commissioners already have announced the 2020 annual on-beach driving pass will be good through the 2021 beach season.
If you’re in Ponte Vedra remember Pone Vedra Boulevard will be milled and resurfaced beginning today. The project is from Corona Road South to SR-A1A. In Palatka, work has begun on Crill Avenue. That’s being done at night. If you’re on Silver Lake Drive, be aware new concrete electric poles are going up, causing some delays.
Palatka’s proud of its brick streets. When residents on Hotel Street in the South Historic District saw bricks being pulled up and reports circulated asphalt would go in their place, they let their displeasure be known. Rita Yeats went on Facebook, parked her car to block the street and put up signs protesting the work. That led to the police showing up and a meeting with Jonathan Griffith who heads up public works. He says the bricks will be going back down once other work is done. Residents say they hadn’t been notified. Reportedly city officials say citizens haven’t let them know if they want brick or asphalt. Residents can make their preferences known at Thursday’s city commission meeting which once again will electronic. They may find it more effective to call city commissioners and the city manager.