The Voice of the Gem City

September 21, 2020

This is Marcia Lane, your roving reporter.

A nor’easter that blew in for the weekend continues to make its effects felt. St. Augustine has a flood watch alert on today and Tuesday. “These high tides and localized flooding are above and beyond what we’ve seen in decades,” City Manager John Regan said. The city will continue to close roads in flood-prone areas and drivers are urged not to drive through water unless absolutely necessary. If you have to drive, do so slowly. Along the A1A coastal highway in Flagler and St. Johns counties erosion damage is apparent at beaches. The St. Johns River is “super high” in the words of one area fisherman and Crescent Lake is more than a foot-and-a-half higher than normal. Woods are saturated and creeks are overflowing banks. The nor’easter is expected to continue today and Tuesday. The excess water may also mean the annual shrimping run along the St. Johns is over, but fishing is reported good.

The new veterans outpatient clinic off State Road 207 in St. Johns County is expected to be named in honor of the first St. Johns County soldier killed in the Vietnam War. Leo C. Chase Jr. was a private first class and a rifleman in Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 7th Cavalry. He was part of troops flown into the la Drang Valley of South Vietnam in Nov. 1965. Those troops were immediately attacked by thousands of North Vietnamese troops during a battle that lasted four days. Private Chase died Nov. 15, 1965. Legislation for the naming has passed the U.S. Senate and is expected to be approved by the U.S. House and signed by Pres. Donald Trump. A temporary clinic is in operation on South Park Boulevard.

State unemployment figures saw a drop of nearly four points as August unemployment figures were released. Area counties also reflected that improved work picture. Flagler County went from 10.3 percent in July to 6.7 percent in August. St. Johns County went from 7.5 percent unemployment in July to 4.7 percent in August. Putnam County also saw the drop, going from 10.5 percent in July to 7.1 percent. The decrease in unemployment is in part because of easing of coronavirus restrictions and reopenings for many businesses.

Flagler County is cancelling the remaining Access Flagler First events for 2020 and the future of the events are uncertain for 2021. Health and safety concerns were cited. Access Flagler brings together social service agencies that help those in need. Among the services is providing food during the events. Food pantries will continue to provide help including those at First Baptist Church of Bunnell Hope House, First United Methodist Church of Bunnell, Flagler Beach First Baptist Church and Flagler Beach United Methodist Church.

Putnam County Sheriff’s Office is looking for a man whose been nicknamed the Georgetown Handyman. “Unfortunately this isn’t the helpful kind of handy,” notes the Sheriff’s Facebook site. This man recently helped himself to two televisions and alcohol located in a camper in Georgetown. A photo is available at the site. If you have information, let the Sheriff’s Office know or contact CrimeStoppers of Northeast Florida.

Florida Department of Health  in Putnam County reported 13 new coronavirus cases Sunday, 18 Saturday and eight Friday bringing the total number of cases since counting began in March to 2,054. In Flagler County nine cases were reported Sunday, 14 Saturday and 18 Friday. Total number of cases in Flagler is 1,653. In St. Johns County 34 cases were reported Sunday, 38 Saturday and 44 Friday. Total number of cases for St. Johns is 5,102.

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