May 12 – Roving reporter
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Putnam County’s death toll from coronavirus has dropped from four to two after officials transferred two cases back to Clay County. A 71-year-old man and an 86-year-old man counted May 5 have been determined to have resided in Clay. According to a notice from the Florida Department of Health, multiple addresses and length of stay in a given county means cases are transferred to ensure the most accurate reporting. Number of cases in Putnam County went up by three Monday including a 74-year-old Crescent City man, 75-year-old Palatka man and 51-year-old Palatka man. All three had been in contact with confirmed cases. St. Johns County cases are at 222, Flagler is at 147 cases.
In St. Johns County, Clerk of Circuit Court Brandon Patty Monday began allowing St. Johns County residents to obtain marriage licenses and passport services. People have to make appointments in order to come to the courthouse on Lewis Speedway in St. Augustine.
On Saturday night Flagler County Sheriff’s deputies arrested a man after he allegedly pulled a gun on his wife and child while riding in the car with them. Larry Batson Jr., 41, pulled the gun and reported said, “You wanna die?” after a domestic disturbance escalated. He wanted them to return home for his dog, but his wife refused. After she reportedly got the gun from him and threw it out the car window, he got out also and ran into the woods. Deputies and K-9 Axle responded to the scene, and Batson reportedly came out after they threatened to send Axle after him. He was booked on possession of a concealed firearm, two counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, domestic violence and resisting arrest. Bail was $15,000.
A cybertip led to the arrest of a Palm Coast man on 30 counts of possession of images of sexual performance by a child. Flagler County Sheriff’s office began working on the case in December after getting the tip from Internet Crimes Against Children. Mario Arnez Arter, 46, was located Saturday by Florida Highway Patrol in Jacksonville. He was booked into the Flagler County jail on $100,000 bond.
A St. Johns County deputy who noticed a man going back and forth to his trunk while parked at a convenience store near the intersection of Abbey Avenue and Arthur Street Sunday night is credited with the arrest of a former convicted felon who now faces more than 40 criminal charges for possession of drugs and weapons. The car John Hurley, 33, of St. Augustine, was driving turned out to have a license plate not registered to it and the vehicle was pulled over when he left the lot. A K-9 alerted to the presence of drugs and a search revealed a variety of drugs as well as a loaded Glock. Hurley was jailed early Monday on an $86,000 bond.
A Palatka man was jailed Saturday after a series of events including ramming a Putnam County Sheriff’s vehicle in Palatka and getting into a wreck in Interlachen. Michael Anthony Hightower, 37, earlier allegedly began arguing with a woman, held a kitchen knife to her throat and bit her face. When the woman’s 13-year-old daughter tried to stop him, he punched her in the face. Authorities were called which led to the vehicle crashes.
The City of St. Augustine is helping businesses prepare for customers by temporarily going into the face mask business. Businesses operating in the city can order a minimum of 100 masks and pick them up at City Hall by appointment. The city has an initial order of 125,000 masks and is looking at a second order.
The National Park Service is canceling summer camps at the Castillo de San Marcos and Fort Matanzas Nation Monument due to coronavirus. Hands-on history and nature camps have been popular summer events at the facilities, which have been closed since March 17.
World Golf Hall of Fame will be reopening May 18 in St. Johns County. Museum capacity will be limited to 25 percent, visitors must practice social distancing and hand sanitizing stations have been added. Northeast Florida residents and anyone who lays a round of golf on a local golf course will get 50 percent off admission. For now, the IMAX theater remains closed.
Two additional candidates have filed intent to run for election in Putnam County, according to Supervisor of Elections Charles Overturf III. Joseph C. Svingala will seek reelection for Pomona Park mayor/councilman. He’s the second to qualify. In Palatka WIllie L. Jones has filed his intent to run for election to the Group 3 seat on the Palatka City Commission. Current commissioner Mary Lawson Brown isn’t seeking reelection. Two others have filed to run.
This is Marcia Lane, your roving reporter.
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