The Voice of the Gem City

LOCAL NEWS 6/8/2021

This is Marcia Lane, your roving reporter.

Florida Department of Health is no longer putting out daily reports on coronavirus statistics for each county. As of Friday, when they pulled the plug on the reports, the state had 2.33 million coronavirus cases and 36,972 deaths reported since counting began in March of last year. Gov. Ron DeSantis’ office said there was no longer a need for the daily report since cases had significantly decreased and the state was returning to normal. Weekly reports may be issued. As of June 2, Flagler County reported three new cases for a total of 7,507 with 114 deaths. Putnam reported seven new cases for a total of 6,733 with 160 deaths. St. Johns County reported 23 new cases for a total of 23,319 with 221 deaths. A state of emergency due to the pandemic remains in effect until June 26.

Palm Coast voters will have seven choices when they go to vote for a new mayor July 27. David Alfin, Kathy Austrino, Carol Bacha, Kevin Cichowski, Doug Courtney, Alan Lowe and Cornelia Manfre have qualified for the post left vacant by the recent resignation of Milissa Holland, who resigned due to family health issues. Lowe and Holland were locked in a fierce race for mayor last year with Holland winning by about 5 percent. All of the candidates with the exception of Austrino and Cichowski have run campaigns before although none won election. Tight qualifying deadlines are cited as the reason all chose to qualify by paying the $1,140 election fee rather than seek 500 petitions signed by eligible voters.

E.H. Miller School held its last graduation at the Horseman’s Club Road location this morning. The school is on the list of five to be closed this year in what the district calls a revitalization program. The land, in the middle of upscale housing, is expected to be sold for development. Miller students will be moving to Mellon Elementary School, which will no longer be an elementary school but instead a hub for the area’s pre-K as well as the special education students from Miller and students in the county’s disciplinary program.

Amy Alysia and The Soul Operation will be this Wednesday’s performers at the St. Johns County Ocean Pier in St. Augustine Beach. It’s the 19th season for the free concerts at the pier. Each week a food truck is on hand offering meals for $10 or below. People can bring coolers and picnic baskets. The free concerts are held each Wednesday through Labor Day. Chairs and bug spray are encouraged.

Flagler County interim administrator Jerry Cameron says July 3 will be his last day on the job. He stepped in almost two-and-a-half years ago but said then it would not be permanent. Chief of Staff Jorge Salinas, who began in January, has been tapped to be interim administrator. Flagler County commissioners haven’t said when they will begin a search for a new administrator. This is a year of change for Flagler County. Last week Denise Bevan was appointed Palm Coast city manager following the resignation of Matt Morton. Also due to come on board July 7 in Flagler County will be Michael Taylor, the county’s new fire chief.

Thanks to River City Players and GFWC Woman’s Club of Palatka all the money raised from a weekend of performances will be going to the Lee Conlee House, Putnam County’s domestic violence shelter. Thanks to Lori Blackwelder Slaven, Jamila Theobold, Linda Priest, Kevin Sharbaugh, Tom Deputy, Robert Marc Hewes, Kay Hope and Elizabeth Van Rensberg. Oh, and of course, Mavis’ cat.

This would be the 100th anniversary of Mellon High School and organizers of the yearly get-together need your help. At least another five classmates are needed to sign up in order to make the event happen Oct. 14. Edwin Reid, who along with his wife Rachel, have been the behind-the-scenes organizers says any classmate who ever attended Mellon High on “Lemon Street” is invited and their guests. Edwin doesn’t have mailing lists for 1950-54 nor 1957-61. That’s a lot of names and he could use your help. You can contact him on Facebook or call 386-972-3795. The elegant three-story high school once stood in what is now the Putnam County Courthouse parking lot.

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