This is Marcia Lane, your roving reporter.
Elections offices in the tri-county area are preparing for what they hope will be a steady turnout for Primary voting Tuesday. Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Early voting brought out about 16 percent of the voters in Flagler and Putnam counties with St. Johns County slightly higher. Voters will notice some changes in polling places as elections supervisors have installed new safety regulations in order to cut down chances of the spread of coronavirus. You can get voting results quickly by listening to WPLK and WIYD, available both on AM and FM.
Nine new coronavirus deaths were reported in the tri-county area between Friday and Sunday. Putnam and St. Johns counties had four deaths each. Flagler County reported one death. The Flagler death of a 71-year-old man was the 14th reported coronavirus related death. In addition 45 new coronavirus-related cases were reported bringing Flagler’s total to 1,160. St. Johns reported four deaths including two on Sunday bringing the death total to 46. In addition 151 new cases were reported bringing that total to 3, 971. In Putnam County three men – ages 79, 83 and 51 – died as well as one woman, age 86. Fifty-one new cases and one transfer were reported over the weekend bringing the total of cases since counting began in March to 1,611.
A car chase that began in Flagler County ended in St. Johns County Sunday with two suspects in jail. Flagler Sheriff’s deputies reported two suspects were wanted for an aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer as well as other charges. The two crossed into St. Johns where stop sticks had been deployed. The chase continued with St. Johns County deputies pursuing. At U.S. 1 and Wildwood Drive the suspects were involved in a crash. Two people in another vehicle were life-flighted to area hospitals, but officials said their injuries were not life-threatening.
In Flagler County a crowd-funding call raised $40,000 to pay 11 property owners who haven’t been willing to sign easements that would allow a dune-building program at Flagler Beach. Some 300 people donated to the privately begun effort and in 40 hours the needed money was raised. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers could make a decision on the project this week. The project is intended to put in new dunes and save the beach as well as State A1A. Easements are needed on about 139 pieces of property and all but 11 owners have signed. The $25.5 million project would build dunes along 2.6 miles of beach.
If you’re on Racetrack Road in St. Johns County today, drive carefully. Crews are working on power lines and some traffic delays are reported.
In Putnam County Florida Depart of Transportation is warning drivers to be cautious as work continues on two projects. In west Putnam widening improvements on State Road 20 from the county line to SW 56th Avenue in Alachua County are underway today through Aug. 24. County Road 20A will be temporarily closed at State Road 20 and traffic detoured via County Road 21. Heading to South Putnam, on U.S. 17 South be prepared for flagging operations for the southbound lanes of U.S. 17 from just north of Hoot Owl Road to just north of the Dunn’s Creek Bridge today through Friday. Lane closures are necessary to complete roadway widening activities.
Flagler College holds a virtual town hall tonight at 5:30 p.m. to discuss reopening plans and steps being taken to prevent the spread of coronavirus. Participants will be able to ask questions. Go to the college website to find instructions for joining the webinar. Classes are to start Aug. 26.