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A spike in coronavirus cases Thursday brought a new single-day high for the state, which now has 69,069 cases. Florida Department of Health in Putnam County reported five new cases putting the total coronavirus cases to 181. One of the cases is currently defined as a non-Putnam resident. None of the new cases were travel related and three had no record of contact with a confirmed case. Newest cases include a 48-year-old man from Palatka, a 5-year-old girl from East Palatka, a 24-year-old man from Satsuma and two women from San Mateo, one 28 and the other 64. In Flagler County the number of cases went up by one to 201, and in St. Johns County the number is 287.
Palatka Mayor Terrell Hill during Thursday’s city commission meeting praised two college students who held a rally and led a peaceful march for removal of all oak trees including the 175-year-old Maltby Oak as well as the Confederate memorial from the courthouse. He called for others to back their cause. He was critical of merchants who he said boarded up their stores saying they didn’t do that for hurricanes and instead should have been at the rally. He questioned the effectiveness of any referendum allowing the public to vote concerning the future of the trees and statue noting the county’s African American community would be in the minority during such a vote. The Putnam County Commission, which has control of the courthouse property, has said they will be holding a workshop in July so they can hear from the public on the issues.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has released what’s being called a road map to open public schools at full capacity. The Re-Open Florida Task Force developed the plan with input from the Florida Department of Health and the federal CDC. School districts in Putnam, Flagler and St. Johns counties have been exploring options, including surveys of parents and employees. In St. Johns about 30 percent of teachers expressed concerns over reopening. Among proposals have been requirements to wear masks. Deep cleanings have been going on in schools since they closed in March. The state plan includes funding from a $2.2 trillion federal act and includes summer reading programs, more reading coaches and a number of early learning programs.
A St. Augustine man faces vehicular manslaughter and DUI charges after an investigation by the Florida Highway Patrol into a 2019 wreck that left a 20-year-old motorcyclist dead. Kevin Adams was arrested Wednesday and bail set at $51,500. According to the FHP, Adams was driving south on U.S. 1 on June 2, 2019, when he made a U-turn at Moses Creek Boulevard, pulling into the path of motorcyclist Brandon Carter, also of St. Augustine.
The Auxiliary of American Legion Bert Hodge Post 45 in Palatka is inviting the public to celebrate the 245th birthdays of the Merchant Marines and the U.S. Army. On Saturday they’ll be serving cupcakes at Memorial Fountain on the Palatka waterfront from 1 p.m. until the cupcakes run out. You might want to be prompt. Today is the Merchant Marines anniversary, Sunday it’s the Army’s birthday.
Don’t forget Sunday is Flag Day. If you have an American flag, now is a good time to show the colors.
This is Marcia Lane, your roving reporter.