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Putnam County high school seniors will be throwing their mortarboards in the air after all. Graduations will take place in August depending on guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control, according to the Putnam School District. Interlachen High will graduate Aug. 4 at 8 p.m., Crescent City High Aug. 6 at 8 p.m., Palatka High Aug. 7 at 8 p.m., Q.I. Roberts Jr.-Sr. High on Aug. 8 at 7 p.m. and E.H. Miller School Aug 13 at 10 a.m. Plans being considered include a traditional graduation, ticket graduation and a graduates only event that would be live streamed. In Flagler County, a decision on graduation is expected by May 1. St. Johns County has cancelled traditional graduation plans and is looking at virtual graduations.
Putnam, Flagler and St. Johns counties all saw increases in coronavirus cases on Monday. Putnam now has 58 cases reported with the latest a 47-year-old Palatka woman and a 30-year-old Palatka man. St. Johns County is up two to 192. Flagler County is at 76, up one. Under pressure the state Department of Health has released a list of nursing homes and long-term care facilities where the virus has occurred. Exact numbers are unclear, but cases have been reported at Vintage Care Senior Housing in Palatka and Starling at Nocatee in St. Johns County.
St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office is seeking information in the shooting of two men early Sunday morning off West King Street in St. Augustine. A deputy heard shots in the area and a 9-1-1 call led officers to a car off Chapin Street. Two men with gunshot wounds in their lower extremities were found and sent by air ambulance to Orange Park Medical Center. They were in stable condition on Monday. Neither could immediately give a description of the shooter or shooters. If you have information, contact the Sheriff’s Office or Crime Stoppers of Northeast Florida.
A state task force created by Gov. Ron DeSantis says more than 40 percent of tourism, recreation, retail, real estate, construction and transportation jobs are at risk because of coronavirus. The task force is seeking ways to get business back on track. Predictions by the state Chamber of Commerce include a best case scenario with the gross domestic product taking only a 2.3 percent hit and coming back by the end of the year. Worst case is an 8.9 percent drop and up to four years to recover.
Putnam County’s Chamber of Commerce is seeking ways to help improve business including a Take Out Tuesday Contest today and next Tuesday. Go to a Putnam County restaurant, take a picture of your takeout order and the receipt with date showing. Then post it to the Putnam Chamber’s Facebook site. A random drawing will be held April 29 and winner gets a $100 gift certificate redeemable at that restaurant. Buy a gift certificate for $10 or more at the same time and you could double your winnings.
Businesses also are seeking ways to bring in new trade even if they’re closed. Miss D’s Quilts on St. Johns Avenue in Palatka today offered a free sewing webinar online.
Looking for something to do? Don’t forget this is National Library Week. While physical library locations in Putnam, St. Johns and Flagler area closed, you can free access to eBooks and other resources by going online to library websites.
Think you’re tired of being inside? Imagine how the carriage horses in St. Augustine feel. To help them get outdoors and moving around the city is allowing horses, carriages and drivers to drive around the streets downtown although not pick up fares. Large signs on the carriage sides proclaim: “Just stretching our legs.”
This is Marcia Lane, your roving reporter.