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Inmates doing maintenance work along State Road 20 in Putnam County made a grisly discovery Tuesday – a body near a bridge in the area known as Nine Mile Swamp, an undeveloped low-lying area. Putnam County Sheriff’s Office says foul play isn’t suspected but deputies and detectives combed the area following discovery of the body. At times the road, which connects Palatka and Gainesville, was reduced to one-lane traffic. An autopsy is scheduled with the District 21 Medical Examiner’s Office in St. Augustine.
Palatka’s riverfront park area is crowded as vendors and anglers move in for the 2020 Bassmaster Elite Series that begins Thursday. Clouds are rolling in today with some thunderstorms and winds expected up to 28 mph moving in. By Friday sunny weather is predicted. Apparently anglers will get to fish in a little bit of everything.
A 9-year-old boy who has a traumatic brain injury will get to keep his flock of eight chickens at the family home at St. Augustine Beach. The city is looking at amending their code and allowing emotional support animals if people go through the proper channels. The chicken story made the news after a neighbor protested a decision by the Planning and Zoning Board that allowed the chickens to stay. The neighbor who had raised concerns about health issues and about the change setting a precedent for any kind of animal inside the city, appealed the board’s decision to city commissioners Monday. PZB didn’t have the authority to let the chickens stay, but commissioners are seeking a code change that allows them to consider such cases on an individual basis.
St. Johns County commissioners Tuesday voted 5-0 to make their area a Second Amendment sanctuary. Putnam County just went through the same process, drawing a roomful of people. Only one person spoke at the St. Johns meeting –that person was in favor of the amendment. Some 29 of the state’s 67 counties have now voted to be sanctuaries.
Good news for the North Atlantic right whales. The number of calves this season is up to nine. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says only about 400 of the endangered mammals remain. New mom Calvin and her calf were spotted off the coast of Georgia, new mm Echo and calf off Atlantic Beach and new mom Arrow and calf off Amelia Island. Of concern, Derecha and her calf who appeared to be injured from a propeller strike who haven’t been seen since Jan. 15. Remember it’s illegal to come within 500 yards of the animals.
In Flagler County a citizens committee is going through 35 applications for school superintendent. Their recommendations will then go to the school board, which makes the final decision. Board member Colleen Conklin, who has decided to seek the school superintendent job, has taken a leave of absence from all board meetings until the March 17 vote on superintendent is ten.
St. Augustine Planning and Zoning board on Tuesday continued a meeting on an extensive development off King Street until their March session. Sebastian Inland Harbor is seeking a variety of changes for their planned unit development including fewer hotel rooms but nearly double the original number of multi-family homes in an area that’s one of the gateways to the historic downtown.
A revamped bridge for Bardin is moving forward. Putnam County commissioners Tuesday selected Civil Services Inc. to provide design services. Contract negotiations will now get underway on the bridge that has been closed to heavy vehicles and trucks. The Bardin bridge and on County Road 310 are on the county’s priority list after they were declared unsafe by the state last year.
This is Marcia Lane, your roving reporter.