The Voice of the Gem City

September 14, 2020

This is Marcia Lane, your roving reporter.

A JEA worker is expected to recover after he was shocked by electricity while working to repair a power outage in St. Johns County Sunday morning. The St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office said the worker was taken to a hospital with non-threatening injuries. Stormy weather rolled through St. Johns County Sunday and crews were called to a power outage affecting a traffic light and several homes. Exact location of the accident was not released but a power outage of about 120 customers was reported around 11 a.m. in the area of Race Track and Bishop Estate roads.

Putnam County court employees won’t be going in the courthouse today after the chief judge for the Seventh Judicial Circuit ordered them to vacate the building on Friday. Judge Raul Zambrano cited unresolved environmental issues the county hasn’t taken care of. County officials, meanwhile, say they have been working on humidity and temperature issues caused in part by the courthouse being shut down for months due to coronavirus. Some court business has been carried on via Zoom and video. For several years judges have been pushing for a new courthouse to be built, with estimates for a new complex as high as $100 million.

Putnam County’s library system reopens today, but with changes. Among those are new hours – Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Patrons can browse and check out books inside, but all returns must go in the metal book returns outside. Free public WiFi is available 24 hours a day. More good news – the library is waiving all overdue fines and as long as materials are in good condition, no charges will be required.

If you notice Palatka’s downtown looks cleaner, thank the volunteers from Downtown Palatka and Keep Putnam Beautiful for their work Saturday.

Florida Department of Health in St. Johns County Sunday reported 27 new coronavirus cases, with 47 reported Saturday and 53 Friday. Total number of cases is now 4,887. Florida Department of Health in Putnam County Sunday reported 22 new coronavirus cases with one case transferred. On Saturday 17 cases were reported with one case merged. On Friday 30 cases were reported. Overall case count is 1,958. In Flagler County 29 coronavirus cases were reported Sunday, 26 Saturday and 19 Friday. Overall, total case count is 1,560.

Remembrances for 9-11 included ceremonies around the area and salutes to fire and police who were mainstays during the attacks. In Melrose where four counties meet, a group known as The Melrose Patriots took a more practical approach. They sold barbecue dinners on Friday and then walked across the street to present the Melrose Fire Department with a donation of $1,048. As the Fire Department noted:  “This generous donation will be put to good use as running a Fire Department is no easy or cheap thing.” The Patriots also supplied dinners to the firefighters in Melrose as well as Windsor Fire Department Squad 61, Alachua County Sheriff’s deputies and Putnam County Fire Rescue units who came by.

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