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).
It’s Election Day in Florida with several races in the tri-county area being determined in today’s primary rather than in the November general election. Election hours continue to 7 p.m. tonight at polling places around the area. Coronavirus is making a difference with observers seeing an uptick in early and mail voting. As of 10 this morning 25 percent of Flagler County’s 88,806 voters had turned out. Mail accounted for 15,856 of those votes and early voting 5,546. St. Johns County was at a little over 21 percent with 24,589 of those votes coming from mail-in. Early voting contributed 15,257 votes. In Putnam County voting is at almost 20 percent. Mail voting was at 4173. Early voting 4,143. You can find out election results after 7 p.m. tonight on WPLK/WIYD on both AM and FM.
St. Johns County has one new death attributed to coronavirus, according to the Florida Department of Health in St. Johns on Monday. Their death total is at 47. Only nine new coronavirus cases were reported, bringing the total to 3,978 in St. Johns. Flagler County reported four new cases with their total at 1,152. Putnam County reported three new cases. Their total since counting began in March is 1,611.
In Flagler County a decision by the county commission to allow a boat storage facility and restaurant to go in the Hammock has been stopped by Circuit Judge Chris France’s ruling they didn’t use substantial evidence in making their decision. The Holiday Harbor development including a 240-boat storage facility wasn’t popular with residents who mounted a legal challenge. One of the issues raised concerned whether the facility was or wasn’t a permitted use, but that wasn’t addressed in the ruling.
Although the Florida High School Athletic Association has ruled fall athletics can go forward, not everyone is taking advantage. Flagler County is apparently delaying sports indefinitely. That includes football and volleyball. In Putnam County sports are going forward with practice set to begin next week and first formal football game Sept. 11.
Former Putnam County businessman Randy Matthews has been arrested on a variety of drug charges after what began as a traffic stop Sunday by Putnam County Sheriff’s deputies. Mathews, 57, now lives in Georgia and told deputies he was driving to Daytona Beach to party with some girls.
Deputies stopped him after noticing he wasn’t wearing a seat belt. He consented to a vehicle search and deputies found 3.5 pounds of marijuana, 300 vaping cartridges which contained THC along with possession of a controlled substance without a prescription and 21 THC gummy packs. The marijuana and cartridges have a street value of about $20,000 (more than is legal to possess with a medical marijuana card). Mathews reportedly told deputies when you go to party “you have to be a good host”. He reportedly also told them he distributes the marijuana and vaping cartridges because he’s cheaper than a medical dispensary. He was arrested and faces 21 drug related charges. Mathews was taken to jail and released on $44,500 bond.
St. Johns County deputies are seeking the public’s help to solve a 2011 cold case that left a bicyclist dead and a hit-and-run driver unpunished. Bryan Wrigley was found dead in a ditch off County Road 214. He had been riding his bicycle east on the road when a westbound vehicle struck him. Evidence at the scene indicated the vehicle was a 2001-2003 blue Ford Ranger XLT pickup. The driver left the scene and the vehicle was apparently seen shortly after with a bicycle tire stuck to the front. He was described as a while male 17-22 years of age. The crash happened April 13, 2011. A $5,000 reward is available by calling Crime Stoppers at 888-277-TIPS.
In Putnam County Eddie Wilds captured a picture to remember especially on Election Day. He was eating at Niko’s, a local Palatka restaurant, when he saw a table of uniformed Putnam Sheriff’s deputies stand up. At first he thought they were leaving, then realized they weren’t moving. He wrote on Facebook: “I quietly asked my friend “Why aren’t they moving? Why are they just standing there?” His friend answered, “The National Anthem is playing (on the radio).” The officers were youth resource deputies sharing lunch, according to the Sheriff’s Office.
This is Marcia Lane, your roving reporter.