This news bulletin is brought to you in conjunction with NATKIM Radio. Listen to WPLK (800 AM), WIYD (1260 AM) and WPLK FM (98.3 FM).
Expect a dry and hot weekend with heat predictions in the 90s and with the humidity it will feel 105 and 110 degrees. That makes staying hydrated a must. Some isolated thunderstorms are expected. Blame it in part on Saharan Dust, coming nearly 5,000 miles across the Atlantic Ocean. The sand particles will make sunrises and sunsets more colorful. Other good news is it helps delay tropical storm development.
Thunderstorms Thursday knocked out the power for some 4,000 of JEA’s customers in St. Johns, Duval and Clay counties. More than 2,500 in Fruit Cove were without power Thursday night, and earlier in the evening hail was reported in parts of St. Johns County.
Illegal fireworks in Palatka are pulling police away from other calls, say Palatka city commissioners who want that to stop. The issue came up at Thursday’s commission meeting as officials reviewed numerous complaints from residents tired of not being able to sleep or enjoy being outside because of heavy-duty fireworks particularly in the north section of Palatka. The fireworks are illegal except on the Fourth of July and New Year’s Eve. Noise violations can mean fines up to $500 for each episode. “We want the community to know we have heard the concerns and cries for peace and quiet,” Palatka Police said via Facebook.
The body of a 67-year-old man from Nocatee in St. Johns County was found this morning. David Berlin was reported missing by his daughter Thursday after he failed to return from a walk. The body was found in a wooded area along Wingstone Drive and Valley Ridge Boulevard about 10 a.m. Cause of death is being investigated.
St. Augustine city commissioners meet today to consider requiring face coverings inside businesses where social distancing isn’t possible. City Manager John Regan says the measure is needed to keep the economy moving forward. He noted several businesses especially in the restaurant sector have been forced to close because of coronavirus. Exceptions include medical conditions and eating or drinking.
In St. Johns County, Thursday figures from the state Department of Health showed 52 new cases. That brings the number to 599 since counting began more than three months ago. In Flagler County 12 cases were reported on Thursday bringing that total to 261. Putnam County saw nine cases plus one that hasn’t been confirmed with seven of the cases in Palatka and two from East Palatka. Total is now 271 cases.
Putnam County’s Lakewood Nursing Center in Crescent City has had one employee test positive and other staffers are out on quarantine until test results come back, according to Center officials. Testing began Wednesday and continues through today on staff. Residents also will be tested although none have shown symptoms, say officials.
If you need a mask, Palatka Art League can help you out. Each Monday afternoon they’ve been giving out masks for free at the Tilghman House. On Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. they will be giving them out at Dollar Tree at the Town and Country Shopping Center at the corner of St. Johns Avenue and State Road 19. Donations are appreciated to offset the cost of materials.
A search and recovery for a reported drowning victim Wednesday at Flagler Beach apparently was a misunderstanding. A man was observed swimming alone south of the pier, then disappeared under the water. Authorities were called out but later the apparent victim called to let them know he was safe. Turned out he was swimming underwater and a strong current carried him to his goal sooner than expected.
S.A.F.E. animal rescue is looking for some help to help a small Chihuahua type dog tossed out of car on U.S. 17 Thursday. A good Samaritan picked her up and took her to S.A.F.E. where she was found to have two broken femurs and a fractured pelvis. She’s being operated on this morning. The animal rescue that operates in Putnam and St. Johns counties expects expenses of about $2,000. The little dog that’s only a year or two old is expected to recover. She’s already has been renamed “Chica”.
St. Johns River State College will host another Fresh Food for Putnam County this Sunday from 1-3 p.m. Food is available to help combat food insecurity.
This is Marcia Lane, your roving reporter.