The Voice of the Gem City

News 6/17/2020

This is Marcia Lane, your roving reporter.

Palatka Mayor Terrell Hill announced Tuesday during a 12-minute video on Facebook that he’ll be proposing a resolution to make Juneteenth an official city holiday in Palatka. Juneteenth, he said, was freedom day “celebrating the end of slavery in this country, at least the end of formalized slavery. But there’s a bigger fight that we still have before us and that’s the fight for social justice.” Hill said he’ll put forward the resolution on June 19 at a 9 a.m. meeting. As of this morning the meeting isn’t listed on the city website and the next official meeting is June 25. In his video Hill laid out a number of his concerns. More than 200 people had responded to Hill on Facebook as of 10 this morning. Juneteenth was originally celebrated in Texas on June 19, 1865, to commemorate the emancipation of slaves after the Civil War.

Gov. Ron DeSantis says he has no plans to shut down the state’s economy again. His comments Tuesday came as the state saw another high in new reported coronavirus cases. More testing has been a major factor in that reported increase, he said, and noted spikes in cases in agriculture communities, jails and long-term care facilities. The Florida Health Department in Putnam County reported eight new cases as of Tuesday bringing the total in the county to 198 cases. One case was from Hawthorne, all the rest were from Palatka and included three women and four men with ages ranging from two years old to 62. In St. Johns County the number of cases went up by 17 to 333. Flagler County stayed at 208 after several days of increases.

Palm Coast City Council Tuesday approved a 150-day moratorium on small box discount stores. Officials say they want to review regulations and make sure citizens have a say about any future stores in residential areas. Small box discounts include Dollar General and DollarTree type businesses. The vote was 4-1.

Residents traveling along State Road 100 spotted smoke Tuesday but discovered it was due to a prescribed burn in Etoniah Creek State Forest. The 208-acre burn was east of Coral Farms Road, north and south of Tinsley and North Cablegate.

A stolen car ended up in a canal in Flagler Beach after a chase that began in St. Johns County Monday. St. Johns County Sheriff’s deputies alerted Flagler County Sheriff’s deputies to the fleeting car, a red Toyota Corolla reported stolen from Melbourne. Shortly after noon, Flagler located the vehicle on A1A South and the driver began to speed and pass cars, running red lights and weaving in and out of traffic. Flagler deputies broke off the pursuit because of danger to the community. Florida Highway Patrol picked up the chase with deputies and Flagler police following. Shortly after 1 p.m. the vehicle crashed, coming to rest in a canal behind Lambert Avenue. The occupants, Alexander Craig O’Connor, 30, and Lacy Lynnann Major, 22, swam to shore where they were taken into custody. O’Connor posted a $19,500 bond. Major remains in jail on a $2,500 bond. FCSO Dive Team and Florida Fish and Wildlife recovered the vehicle from the canal.

On Friday Florida Department of Health in Putnam County has scheduled  a day-long coronavirus testing site at Price-Martin Center on North 11th Street. Testing will be done from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.


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