July 10 – Roving reporter
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Increased testing locations for coronavirus may be upping known cases although Putnam and Flagler counties both saw a drop in numbers as figures were released Thursday. Putnam County did report a new death, a Crescent City woman. That made seven deaths since the last was reported more than a month ago. Total number of cases Thursday in Putnam was 25 with median age 38. Total is now 619. St. Johns County went up to three digits with 114 cases reported. Median age was 36. Total for the county is now at 1,632 cases.
Among those is reportedly Paul Waldron, a St. Johns County commissioner. His family says he’s in critical condition. Flagler County reported nine new cases with median age of that group 49. Total is 434 cases.
Flagler Beach and Bunnell city commissions both voted unanimously Thursday to require masks in all public places and outdoors when social distancing isn’t possible. Earlier in the week Palm Coast commissioners enacted a mask requirement. A number of exceptions are in each resolution including people with certain health conditions and those eating and drinking in restaurants.
A 33-year-old Pomona Park man has been indicted for two counts of sex trafficking children and four counts of using a cellular phone to entice children to engage in unlawful sex acts, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Edward Alan Hardin was charged by a grand jury. If convicted he faces a mandatory minimum penalty of 10 years and up to life in federal prison for each count plus supervised release.
In Flagler County Palm Coast City Councilman Jack Howell has resigned. Howell turned in his resignation Thursday morning to the city manager, citing a recurrence of cancer and a need for less stress. He’s represented District 2 less than two years.
Even as Gov. Ron DeSantis extended a quarantine banning visitors to long-term health facilities, Putnam County was reporting additional cases within three facilities. At Lakewood Nursing Center in Crescent City 14 staff members and six residents transferred positive. Solaris HealthCare in Palatka reported two employees. The Arc of Putnam County reported one case of coronavirus. Long-term facilities, which include nursing homes, already have had a ban on visitors for more than 115 days.
Coronavirus came along just about the time Daniel Martinez was set to be honored by the Boy Scouts of America for his longtime support of the organization. On Thursday Martinez was finally presented with the Silver Beaver at a small ceremony including scouting supporters Anand Kurvilla, Wayne McClain, Mouse Sterling, JD Hardy, Mark Motl and Bill Herrington. Danny Martinez, who once headed in the Palatka G-P operation and went on to corporate headquarters, retired back to Putnam with his wife, Katy, and the two have been longtime community supporters. Martinez has backed the scouts since the 1980s.
On Monday St. Johns County District School Superintendent Tim Forson will talk about district challenges, safety and future growth during the St. Johns County Civic Association Roundtable. The meeting is at 9 a.m. via Zoom teleconference.
SAFE, the animal rescue group in Putnam and St. Johns counties, is looking for a little sweat equity this Sunday at their pet adoption center on Moody Road in Palatka. Director Robin Kantner-Nordan says the group doesn’t have much money to spend on beautifying centers but the Palatka adoption center is in need of helping. Volunteers will be painting the outside of the building and putting up a vinyl fence. Donations also are appreciated.
This is Marcia Lane, your roving reporter.
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