This is Marcia Lane, your roving reporter.
A Crescent City middle school administrator is the latest coronavirus victim in Putnam County. Elias Ramirez became dean of students at George Miller Middle School in 2018, following teaching at three area schools. He was 47. His death is the 28th linked to coronavirus in Putnam County. Also announced Wednesday by the Florida Department of Health in Putnam County were 11 new coronavirus cases, all of which were community acquired. Overall case total is 1,550. St. Johns County on Wednesday announced three new deaths from coronavirus bringing their death total to 39. In addition, 36 new cases of coronavirus were reported with overall total 3,774. In Flagler County six new cases were reported with total since counting began in March at 1,101.
Flagler County’s Planning Board has okayed a couple of major changes for The Gardens, a large development set to go up on two sides of John Anderson Highway in Flagler Beach. They okayed the Planned Unit Development proposal for a preliminary 335 lots to be developed in six phases. The development has drawn lots of push back from residents. Originally it was scheduled for more than 3,000 units. Even with the reductions, another 100 plus residential homes and apartments could go in the 824-acre property. Final approval will be up to county commissioners.
Money will be on Palatka city commissioners’ minds tonight during an on-line meeting at 6 p.m. Budgets for the City of Palatka and the Community Redevelopment Agency are on the agenda as is a reorganization plan. That plan includes a new and salaried position for an assistant city manager, one who reportedly can take care of day-to-day issues freeing up the city manager, currently former city attorney Don Holmes, to work on commission goals, continuity and planning. The public can comment but only through Zoom.
The former administrator of Haven Hospice in Palatka has been named the new patient safety director for Putnam Community Medical Center. Deborah Strickland is already familiar with the hospital, she’s currently serving as chair of the board. Reportedly she’ll step down in September when she takes the job.
St. Johns County school administration will be requiring masks to be worn in schools. Only a few exceptions are in place including when a student is at lunch or can social distance. Days will start with temperatures being checked. Students who repeatedly disobey the mask policy will find themselves in distance learning. District Superintendent Tim Forson says violators won’t have a more severe code of conduct punishment, but mask wearing will be enforced. St. Johns schools reopen Aug. 31. Flagler and Putnam reopen Aug. 24.
Congratulations to E.H. Miller School. Graduation ceremonies were held today at the special education school. This wraps up 2020 graduation ceremonies in Putnam County.
Free coronavirus testing in your car will be available two days next week at the Putnam County Fairgrounds. No appointment is necessary. Children can be tested with parent or guardian present and consent. You stay inside your vehicle and test results will be available within 5-10 days. Days are Sunday, Aug. 16, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Tuesday, Aug. 18, from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. The free regional testing is partnered by the Florida Department of Health in Putnam County, Putnam County Emergency Management and Putnam County Fair Authority.