April 8 – Roving reporter
This news bulletin is brought to you in conjunction with NATKIM Radio. Listen to WPLK (800 AM), WIYD (1260 AM) and WPLK FM (98.3 FM).
A 29-year-old Welaka woman is the latest person in Putnam County to test positive for coronavirus, according to state Department of Health. The case is not travel related. Putnam now has 20 confirmed cases of coronavirus and one death. St. Johns has 154 recorded cases and two deaths. Flagler has 35 cases and one death.
Sunshine Bus Company in St. Johns County has suspended normal service through April 30. Run by the St. Johns Council on Aging, the company will continue to provide door-to-door services for riders who require transportation to obtain or provide essential services or to conduct essential activities. Call Sunshine Bus at 904-209-3716.
Governments are seeking ways to let people take part in meetings, but unless you have a computer or smart phone you’re out of luck.
Palatka city commissioners will “meet” Thursday although not at City Hall. The public can listen and speak if acknowledged by using an app called Zoom. Security and privacy issues have been noted with the app when used elsewhere. The meeting, which is also available on the city’s Facebook page, is set for 6 p.m. A 10-item consent agenda includes approval of postponing scheduled workshops for the Tilghman House indefinitely. The city wants to push out the Palatka Art League , which has been in the city-owned building for 25 years. Among city proposals – turn it into a welcome center (that would make three welcome centers), rent it to a business or sell the River Street property across from the city dock area.
Putnam County School Board went forward with its regular meeting Tuesday but only members Jane Crawford and Holly Pickens were physically at the meeting. Superintendent Rick Surrency and Board Attorney Charlie Douglas were also on site. Other board members participated virtually. They won’t be holding any other April meetings and have turned over executive powers to Surrency but actions must be directly related to coronavirus.
St. Johns County Commission went the virtual route Tuesday. One issue they didn’t budge on was reopening the county’s 42 miles of beaches. It isn’t happening for now. A petition started by the surfing community already has more than 11,000 signatures. The petition calls for limited hours and would only allow St. Johns County residents on the beaches.
Flagler County sees coronavirus as possibly having some unexpected consequences for budgets down the road. County administrator Jerry Cameron told commissioners at a meeting Monday that a 2.6 mile Flagler Beach-reconstruction project by the U.S. Corps of Engineers may hit a snag. The federal government is putting up $11.3 million of the $17.5 million project. Flagler County is to get a $6 million state grant for their share. However, Cameron warned that money may not be available depending on how much the state has to divert to deal with unexpected costs tied in to coronavirus.
A sailboat went aground Tuesday near the St. Augustine Pier. St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office deputies aided the two boaters aboard after their vessel ran out of fuel. Neither was injured.
Putnam County jail officials say they’re slowly trying to restore some programs and other services to inmates while maintaining safety and health. Religious leaders in the community have been asked to provide comfort and reassurance during what is a traditional Holy Week. “We will continue to strive to do the best for our inmates as we continue to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic,” reported the Sheriff’s Office on Facebook.
The St. Monica Food Pantry is reopening but with a new social distancing procedure to protect volunteers and those getting food. Each Tuesday and Thursday from 10 a.m. to noon the pantry at 410 Oak St. will become a drive thru operation. Those needing food must stay in their car while volunteers load the bags into the trunk. If the trunk doesn’t work, a volunteer will set the bags by the car. Once the volunteer walks away, people can retrieve the bags.
This is Marcia Lane, your roving reporter.
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