The Voice of the Gem City

September 24, 2020

This is Marcia Lane, your roving reporter.

As tides begin returning to normal, damage reports to beaches from the recent nor’easter are coming in. In St. Johns and Flagler counties erosion issues hit most beaches. St. Johns County reported an overwash on Old A1A in Summer Haven, an area that’s had ongoing erosion issues. In part people walking over man-made dunes is blamed. Rain is expected to return to the area this weekend. And Captain Gator, our man on the St. Johns River in Putnam County, after a run Wednesday reports shrimping on the river may be at an end for the season. The shrimp come from the Atlantic Ocean to the St. Johns and head to Lake George to spawn before heading back to sea. That’s when those in the know get out their nets

Flagler County Sheriff’s Office showed off its Real Time Crime Center Wednesday to area media. As they put it, “cutting-edge technology … allows for fighting crime in real time.” That technology is keeping people safe through use of technology including license plate readers and potential access to personal home or business surveillance systems and pubic school cameras as needed. Officials emphasized they’re not seeking to become “Big Brother” and cameras in live-feed mode are only used when the office is alerted to a crime in progress of if they’re assisting a deputy looking for a potential suspect, missing person or victim.

The Class of 2021 is probably feeling a lot of empathy for what the Class of 2020 went through. Palatka High School is celebrating homecoming this week and for a couple of hours Wednesday it looked as if the traditional Friday night football game was off. The Palatka Panthers were to play Clay High School but that was canceled after Clay High’s football and volleyball teams were quarantined due to coronavirus. Scrambling by coaches and administration, however, led to a new opponent – East Lake High School of Tarpon Springs. East Lake had lost their Friday partner to coronavirus concerns, too. The teams play in Veterans Memorial Stadium in Palatka Friday. WIYD will be covering the game.

Palatka High School swimmers know what rejection feels like, too. Their match with St. Johns Country Day School today was canceled due to coronavirus concerns there. Next meet is Saturday at Solomon Calhoun Center in St. Augustine.

If you’re in St. Augustine and the water doesn’t taste quite right, the city has started three weeks of adjusting chlorine and ammonia levels to the water. It’s a standard operating practice recommended by the American Water Works Association to maintain disinfection of water.

Florida Department of Health in St. Johns Country reported another coronavirus-related death Wednesday. That brings their death toll to 69 since counting began in March. In addition 29 new cases were reported, for a total of 5,167. Putnam County reported 17 new cases plus four transfers bringing the total number of cases to 2,088. Flagler County reported 13 new cases, bringing their total to 1,687.

During a special Interlachen Town Council meeting Wednesday, members gave the go-ahead for a special exception allowing for a landfill at an abandoned sand mine. Despite public opposition, the council voted 4-1 for the request from Waste Pro, a garbage collection firm. The land in the Keuka area includes pits once mined by Florida Rock Industry. Waste Pro says trucks won’t be traveling through residential areas and the project isn’t detrimental to public health, two objections raised by opponents.

Palatka City Commission meets tonight via Zoom at 6 p.m. for their second and final public hearing on the 2020-21 budget. Access to the meeting is through the city’s Facebook site.

A proposed development application for a project known as The Gardens didn’t go anywhere during a meeting of the Flagler County Commission earlier this week. The developer originally envisioned a 4,000 home and apartment project on either side of John Anderson Highway by Flagler Beach. The new proposal was for a 335-home development. The project has drawn opposition and at the commission no one would make a motion for or against the Planned Unit Development project. The commission will hear the issue again in October.

Keep your car doors locked says the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office. They reported seven vehicle burglaries in the past two weeks in an area of Interlachen off Country Road 315. The burglaries happened during the night to vehicles along Sleepy Hollow Drive and Thralls Avenue. If you have information on the crimes, contact the Sheriff’s Office or CrimeStoppers.

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