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Coronavirus numbers increased over the weekend, according to the Florida Department of Health. In Putnam the total number of cases since the pandemic began is now up to 87. Latest cases include a Crescent City woman, 67; Interlachen man, 42; Palatka man, 40; Palatka woman, 28; Welaka man, 42; Palatka man, 88; Palatka woman, 45; Interlachen woman, 34; and Palatka woman 39. In St. Johns County the number is at 204, up four from Friday’s figures. In Flagler County number of cases took another jump going from 106 on Friday to 121 on Sunday evening. Two ways to help protect yourself and others – social distancing and frequent hand washing.
The body of an 18-year-old Interlachen High School student was recovered Saturday in the St. Johns River. Xavier Frazier was celebrating his birthday with his uncle and girlfriend in a rented boat in the Dunn’s Creek area Thursday when he jumped into the water to retrieve his hat, according to his girlfriend. The uncle also jumped in. Frazier’s leg cramped up and he couldn’t swim against the current. His uncle made it out of the water. Putnam County Sheriff’s Office and Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission searched for the next two days until sonar helped locate the body in the channel at Dunn’s Creek. Friends and family quickly covered a tree at Brown’s Landing ramp with photos and mementoes.
Flagler County reopened all 18 miles of its beaches full time on Sunday morning. Last week beaches opened for a couple of hours, now they’ll be open 24 hours a day seven days a week. No parking restrictions continue at the boardwalk at Flagler Beach and the pier will remain closed. Only exercise is allowed, no beach sitting. County officials say the reopening is in compliance with social distancing rules. Violation of those could lead to reclosing.
Two St. Augustine teens died early Saturday in a vehicle crash on the Suwannee County line, according to the Florida Highway Patrol. The 18-year-old male driver was headed west on I-10 near Adams Road when the vehicle began to drift left into the median. The driver overcorrected and steered back to the right and the vehicle left the roadway and struck a tree with its right side. The driver and his 16-year-old female passenger were pronounced dead at the scene. FHP says neither of the teens was wearing a seatbelt. Names have not been released.
The Putnam County deputy who tested positive for coronavirus has recovered. Deputy Kenny Roberts wrote on his Facebook page Sunday that after 17 days of quarantine he has now tested negative for the second time.
A man suspected of stealing from mailboxes in the Bardin area of Putnam County has been arrested. Damian Jodway, 19, was arrested and charged from fraudulent use of identification of a person 60 years or older, larceny and fraud to obtain property. Detectives have been investigating several reports of stolen mail. They say Jodway took a credit card from one victim’s mailbox and used the card to purchase tools and other items. The Putnam Sheriff’s Office believes more people have been victims in the last month. If you suspect you may have had mail stolen, call the Sheriff’s office at 386-328-8959.
Former college basketball coach Buster Harvey, 64, died Saturday. He was the last basketball coach at St. Johns River State College before the program was shut down. He’d been an assistant and then head coach at Jacksonville University and also coached at FCCJ and Edward Waters College. He was noted for his commitment to students up to and including helping them study for exams. When he retired he moved back to Palatka saying the town suited him.
This is Marcia Lane, your roving reporter.