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Early voting for the primary election begins today in St. Johns County. Even before polls opened so people could vote in person, 13,797 had voted by absentee using mail-in ballots, according to Supervisor of Elections Vicky Oakes. Early voting sites in St. Johns are at the Elections office, St. Johns Convention Center, Julington Creek Annex, Shoppes of St. Johns (Earth Fare), Ponte Vedra Beach Library, Southeast Branch Library, St. Augustine Beach City Hall and Hastings Branch Library.
In Putnam County, where early voting began Tuesday, nearly 7 percent of eligible voters have cast ballots. As of this morning 3,424 votes had been cast with 2,492 by mail and 930 in early in-person voting. Early voting locations are the Supervisor of Elections office in Palatka, Interlachen Community Center and South Putnam Government Complex in Crescent City, according to Supervisor Charles L. Overturf III.
In Flagler County, Supervisor Kaiti Lenhart reports 1,261 ballots have been cast in early voting. Early voting locations are at the Supervisor’s office, Flagler Public Library and Palm Coast Community Center. Voting began on Monday in Flagler.
Florida Department of Health on Wednesday reported two coronavirus related deaths in Putnam County and one in St. Johns County. A 40-year-old woman and a 94-year-old woman died in Putnam. Coronavirus death total is now at 22. The Putnam department also reported 23 new coronavirus cases and two transfers into the county, bringing total cases to 1,422. Nineteen of the cases are community-acquired and six report direct contact with a known case. In St. Johns County one new death was reported, bringing the death total to 31. Twenty-eight new cases were reported, bringing total to 3,450. In Flagler County 15 new cases were reported, bringing the total to 975.
A landmark in St. Augustine is biting the dust or the water. Demolition began Wednesday on the historic Santa Maria Restaurant, which is next to the St. Augustine Public Marina on the bayfront. Boaters going by the site are urged to proceed cautiously. The White family, owners of O.C. White’s Restaurant, is planning to rebuild and open a new restaurant on the site.
Putnam County law enforcement is preparing for two groups of protesters on the courthouse lawn Saturday. One group, led by two local college students and including out-of-town protesters, reportedly will be gathering at 2 p.m. at the County Complex on Crill Avenue and possibly march to the courthouse for where they’ve scheduled a 4 p.m. rally. The group is seeking removal of the Confederate soldier memorial and all the oak trees on the courthouse lawn. At 2:30 p.m. a counter-protest group from St. Augustine including local residents is scheduled to gather at the courthouse.
Flagler County Sheriff’s Office K-9 Axle received a bullet and stab protective vest thanks to a donation from nonprofit organization Vested Interest in K9s Inc. The vest is embroidered with the sentiment In honor of Gabo, Marko & Tag and was sponsored by a fundraiser hosted by Geraldine Marsh of the Women’s Balley Group at Grand Haven. The vest, say officers, will protect K-9 Axle and give peace of mind to his partner Deputy Aaron Beausoleil. Since it was established in 2009, Vested Interest in K9s has provided more than 3,980 vests to K-9s thanks to private and corporate donations.
If you have school-aged children, put school shopping on your list for the weekend. Beginning Friday and continuing through Sunday it’s the 2020 Back-to-School Sales Tax Holiday giving students and parents a break in taxes as they buy supplies, clothes and computers for students readying for school.
This is Marcia Lane, your roving reporter.