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About two dozen people including Palatka city commissioners and some city staff turned out this morning for Mayor Terrell Hill’s resolution for celebration of Juneteenth. At the same time at the Price-Martin Center 11 blocks away lines stretched partly around the building as people turned out to be tested for coronavirus. The mayor called the special city meeting to pass the resolution making June 19 an annual holiday. Explaining why they waited to until the actual day, he said it was so that city employees could be told they would be getting the rest of the day off. Hill called Juneteenth a celebration of the end of slavery for African Americans in 1865 but said lots more needs to be done.
The meeting was announced to be a teleconferencing event, but actually was held on the steps of City Hall. Technical problems plagued a presentation by Angel Duke on the history of Juneteenth. Hill and other commissioners voted in favor of the holiday celebration resolution which begins in 2021 in Palatka. Commissioner Tammy McCaskill was excused because of work-related duties.
Meanwhile at the Price-Martin Center people lined up before 9 a.m. to be tested for coronavirus. The Florida Department of Health in Putnam County and Putnam Emergency Operations are sponsoring the event. Palatka’s Recreation and Cultural Resources Department oversaw readying of the center. The testing comes after an upswing in coronavirus cases. According to Palatka Mayor Terrell Hill, blacks account for 67 percent of the cases in Palatka. Total in Putnam County as of Thursday was 209 after four new cases were announced. They included a 21–year-old Melrose woman and three people from Palatka including one male,15, and two females, one 19 and the other 20. All the Palatka cases had contact with a confirmed case. In Flagler County the number of cases was at 216 as of Thursday with three new cases announced. In St. Johns County, the count is at 365 cases including 15 new cases cited Thursday.
Flagler County Sheriff’s Office is investigating a death in Palm Coast near the Cracker Barrel restaurant. The body of a white male in his mid-30s was found hanging from a tree shortly before 5 a.m. Thursday. Suicide is suspected, according to the Sheriff’s Office. The investigation is in its early stages, but authorities used the opportunity to remind people who are feeling suicidal to reach out for help. Among resources is the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-TALK.
In Ponte Vedra Beach Thursday about 100 people marched protesting racial injustice and police brutality. The crowd was mostly young. Some were wearing masks, most weren’t. The march was peaceful, say authorities.
St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office says a missing 68-year-old woman has been reunited with her family. A Silver Alert was put out Thursday for the woman who reportedly has diminished mental capabilities. She was found late Thursday.
The St. Augustine Music Festival has gone virtual this year. Performances are being streamed live from the Cathedral Basilica this weekend and next. Traditional and contemporary classical music is performed beginning at 7:30 p.m. and can be watched via YouTube.
On Sunday from 1-3 p.m. fresh food will be available for Putnam County residents during a food giveaway at the St. Johns River State College campus in Palatka. Hours are 1-3 p.m.
A storm that quickly pushed through Putnam County Thursday brought hail measured at nearly two inches to Satsuma and the Rodman area. Residents in the Francis area also reported hail, and about a half-inch of rainfall was recorded in Palatka during the sudden thunderstorm.
Weather predictions are for mainly sunny skies over the weekend with about 30 percent chance of rain. Saturday marks the official beginning of Summer. Sunday is Father’s Day. If you’re lucky enough to still have your dad, let him know he’s special.
This is Marcia Lane, your roving reporter.