The Voice of the Gem City

September 28, 2020

This is Marcia Lane, your roving reporter.

Weather –  specifically rain – continues to dominate. While Palatka only got about two inches of rain Sunday, some parts of St. Johns and Flagler counties reported 4-6 inches with flooding an issue once again in all three counties. National Weather Service expects rain to continue today and Tuesday. On Sunday rainfall plus higher-than-normal tides brought flooding on State Road 312 and State Road 207 with portions of the roadways closed. Flooding also was reported on King Street from Ponce de Leon Boulevard to Whitney Street. Also seeing flooding Anastasia Island, North City and Oyster Creek. At tonight’s St. Augustine City Commission meeting Public Works Director Reuben Franklin is scheduled to talk about flooding for the nor’easter last week. He’ll be making recommendations for workshops to look at specific areas and neighborhoods.

Gov. Ron DeSantis launched Phase 3 of the state’s response to coronavirus on Friday and that sent businesses including restaurants and bars scrambling to open up.  Phase 3 of the governor’s Safe. Smart Step-by-Step Plan for Florida’s Recovery. does away with a number of restrictions. Some confusion remains about protective face coverings although the governor has said collection of fines and penalties for violating mask ordinances will stop. The order should open up public meetings again. Government meetings have been held on Zoom and posted on YouTube since coronavirus restrictions went into effect. Other government offices are reopening including the Putnam Couonty Sheriff’s Office, which this morning said all lobbies will once again be open to the public.

Over the weekend Florida Department of Health in Putnam County reported the death of an 83-year-old woman due to coronavirus related issues. That brings the total death toll to 39 in Putnam County. Coronavirus case total for Putnam is now at 2,127 with six cases reported on Sunday, 15 on Saturday and four on Friday. In Flagler County the number of coronavirus cases is at 1,726 with four reported on Sunday, 10 on Saturday and nine on Friday. In St. Johns County, coronavirus case total is 5,308. Twenty-nine new cases were reported on Sunday, 43 on Saturday and 33 on Friday.

A person identifying themselves as Mad Maddie posted a 17-minute video exchange with Putnam County Sheriff’s deputies over the weekend. The incident was recorded on Sleepy Hollow Drive and Maddie approached a deputy while filming with a cell phone and attempting to push by. Although deputies declined to answer Maddie’s questions about why they were there, the Sheriff’s Office has reported several car burglaries in the area.  Maddie, who identified as transgender, repeatedly used curse words and made obscene hand gestures in the video.  Eventually Maddie got three tickets including improper parking and not exhibiting a driver’s license when asked.  The Sheriff’s Office said the deputy was responding to an unrelated call when Maddie approached. One viewer complimented the officers for handling “themselves incredibly professional.”

Although Putnam County officials had hoped to reopen the courthouse today, issues with humidity have delayed that probably at least a week. Seventh Judicial Circuit Chief Judge Raul Zambano closed the courthouse two weeks ago citing issues with elevator and humidity problems.

Congratulations to Palatka High School’s 2020 Homecoming Queen and King, Ke’Marie Hunter and Gabe Herrington. They were crowned at Friday night’s game at Veterans Memorial Stadium.

Congratulations also to Woman’s Club of Palatka who won a top prize at the GFWC Fall Board in Orlando. They won first place in Category 4 in the LBP Outstanding Club Award.

S.A.F.E., the pet rescue group in St. Johns and Putnam counties, is doing some celebrating of their own. With the help of volunteers, 19 pups and 15 adult dogs are on their way from Florida to rescue partners in New York, Connecticut and Massachusetts for forever homes. No worries if you want to adopt, they still have more animals needing a home.

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