The Voice of the Gem City

October 20, 2020

This is Marcia Lane, your roving reporter.

Palatka City Commission is looking at building a new $2 million public works facility on municipal airport property next to the Putnam County Business Park. A resolution authorizing development is before the city commission at this Thursday’s meeting at 6 p.m. Last year Palatka Mayor Terrill Hill pushed to move city hall as well as public works out to the business park but ran into opposition. The move would have put city government five miles from downtown and almost in Francis. What is known as the city lot, which houses city vehicles and garbage trucks, is currently on the north side of Palatka next to Lefty Turner Field.

Latest coronavirus numbers released Monday showed three new cases in Putnam County, according to the Florida Department of Health. Since March 2,272 cases have been reported. Flagler County reported 17 new coronavirus cases on Monday bringing their total to 1,971. Over the weekend two coronavirus-related deaths were reported, a 71-year-old man and a 76 year old man. In St. Johns County 19 cases were reported Monday for a total of 5,990.

One of the major symbols of St. Augustine reopens Wednesday. The Castillo de San Marcos, better known as the Old Fort, will be opening its gates to the public for the first time since March, according to the National Park Service. Hours will be 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesdays through Sunday. The fort will be closed on Mondays and Tuesdays, but the public can access the ground. Maximum capacity will be 100 visitors in the fort at any one time.

Elections offices in St. Johns, Putnam and Flagler counties reported steady turnouts on the first day of early voting Monday. In Putnam, the three early voting locations are open from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. In St. Johns hours are 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and in Flagler hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. As of this morning St. Johns has had 20.8 percent of eligible voters turn out, Putnam has had 15.09 percent and Flagler has had 23.6 percent so far. Supervisors are expecting a record overall turnout for the 2020 general election with Vicky Oakes in St. Johns expecting 85-90 percent and Charles Overturf III in Putnam estimating 80 percent.

A former New York City police officer who retired to Palm Coast on a medical disability after being shot by another officer in 1994 has died following a motorcycle accident. Desmond Robinson was working undercover and in pursuit of two armed teen suspects in a subway station in Manhattan in 1994 when he was shot by another officer who thought the black man was a criminal. Robinson recovered from four shots to the back and retired on medical disability. He remained supportive of officers and had taken part in police fund-raisers in the area. On Thursday morning he was in an accident and died with severe injuries.

The 150th anniversary of Florida’s first diocese will be celebrated Friday at the Cathedral Basilica of St. Augustine. The Very Rev. Thomas S. Willis, rector will celebrate with a special 6 p.m. Mass at the Basilica in downtown St. Augustine. On the weekend of Oct. 22-23 in 1870 the first bishop of the Diocese of St. Augustine, Right Rev. Jean-Pierre Augustin Marcellin Verot first took possession of the cathedral. Verot had a major influence in the spread of the Catholic faith including bringing the Sisters of St. Joseph in France to teach newly freed slaves after the Civil War and securing the 16th century sit of Mission of Nombre de Dios.

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