The Voice of the Gem City

Local News 1/19/2021

This is Marcia Lane, your roving reporter.

Florida Department of Health in Putnam County reported two new coronavirus-related deaths Monday. The deaths of a 56-year-old man and a 59-year-old man bring the count in Putnam to 89. In addition, Putnam reported nine new coronavirus cases on Monday for a total of 5,042 since counting began in March of 2020. A new shipment of 600 vaccines is expected to arrive in Putnam shortly, according to health officials. More than 9,000 people are registered to get the vaccine. Florida Department of Health in St. Johns reported two new coronavirus-related deaths, bringing the total to 140 deaths. In addition 119 new coronavirus cases were reported, bringing the total to 16,673 in St. Johns. Flagler County reported 23 new cases of coronavirus, bringing their total to 4,735.

The February bluegrass festival that normally brings in thousands of fans to Rodeheaver Boys Ranch in Putnam County won’t be taking place at the ranch this year. Organizers are moving the festival to Brooksville after Rodeheaver’s board voted to hold off having the festival this year due to coronavirus concerns. Organizers reportedly hope to have their fall festival at Rodeheaver’s.

A 19-year-old Palm Coast resident was jailed Sunday in the stabbing of a 15-year-old boy at Holland Park. The stabbing followed a week-long argument on SnapChat between the 15-year-old and an underage teen girl. At the park the victim approached the girl and pushed her and a shoving match ensued. Jared Wayne Douglas stepped in and stabbed the 15-year-old in the chest, according to the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office. He and two others fled the scene in a red BMW convertible, but between witnesses and surveillance video deputies were able to trace the car to Douglas. Douglas and two others were found at his home and cooperated with deputies. Douglas was booked into Flagler County jail on a $25,000 bond and faces a charge of aggravated battery with permanent disfigurement while armed. The 15-year-old who was life-flighted to an Orlando hospital is expected to survive.

In St. Johns County work continues on International Golf Parkway with daytime lane closures at World Commerce Parkway and Interstate 95 through Jan. 23. Median and curb work is underway. On both May Street and San Marco Avenue in St. Augustine nighttime lane closures are underway. Both areas are in the midst of drainage projects.

Pushback to the proposed closing of five schools in Putnam County at the end of this school year is growing. Putnam County Commissioner Larry Harvey recently attended a meeting with Superintendent Rick Surrency and his staff to talk about the proposed closing of Melrose Elementary. Reportedly the district is looking at alternative plans to those first proposed. Also drawing protest from Putnam residents are plans to close Miller Middle School in Crescent City and E.H. Miller school in Palatka. E.H. Miller is the district’s special education facility. Two other schools in Palatka – Mellon Elementary and Jenkins Middle School – also are proposed for closing.

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