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).
St. Johns County schools reopen today with about 30,000 of the district’s 40,000 plus students returning to brick-and-mortar schools for the first time since March. Masks are a requirement and student distancing and Plexiglass shields are some of the more obvious changes as the school district seeks to keep students and staff protected from coronavirus. Flagler and Putnam counties reopened their schools last Monday.
Two men were killed and two others injured in a two-car accident involving a Palatka Police Department vehicle in Palatka Friday night. Names of victims have not been released by the Florida Highway Patrol, which investigated. A pickup driven by a 56-year-old man reportedly headed to work around 10:40 p.m. failed to yield to the police vehicle at the intersections of South 14th Street and Reid Street (U.S. 17), according to FHP. The patrol car’s front hit the driver’s side of the truck, which flipped. The patrol car rolled on, jumping the curb and hitting the side of Matthews Mattress building on Reid. The driver of the pickup and his 47-year-old passenger died. Neither was wearing a seatbelt, according to FHP. A 19-year-old passenger in the truck was critically injured and taken to a hospital. The 31-year-old police officer was flown to an Orange Park hospital. He apparently was not wearing a seatbelt either, according to FHP. His name has not been released, but it was confirmed he had worked for the department almost a year.
One new coronavirus related death has been reported in Putnam County, according to Florida Department of Health. The death of a 73-year-old woman announced Sunday is the 37th since counting began in March. On Sunday the Putnam department also announced 12 new cases and one transfer out of county, bringing overall total to 1,774 cases. Flagler County announced seven new cases Sunday bringing their total to 1,310. St. Johns County announced 36 new cases. Their overall total is now 4,321.
An Ormond Beach woman died early Friday morning in a two-vehicle crash on Interstate 95 south of the State Road 100 interchange in Flagler County. Florida Highway Patrol reported the 26-year-old woman was driving south in the center lane at 1:25 a.m. when her Chevrolet Trax hit a Lexus SUV in front of hr. The Chevy rolled several times including flipping over the Lexus, according to the driver of the Lexus, a 38-year-old man from Ocala. He was not injured. The Chevy struck the center guardrail and came to a stop on the shoulder. The woman was ejected and died at the scene.
A Go-Fund-Me account started by the older brothers of two Melrose boys murdered last week at their new home has raised more than $18,000. Mark Wilson Jr., of Newberry, was arrested one day after the boys’ mother found her sons’ body in the back of the home the family had moved into about two weeks before. The family allowed Wilson, who was dating the boys’ aunt, to live in a shed on the property. Victim Tayten Baker was 14 and his brother, Robert Baker, was 12. Their brothers, Kolton and Kolby Baker, started the fund on Friday and by Sunday evening 407 people had contributed $18,200. The older brothers said money would go for funeral expenses and to help financially while their dad “is out of work dealing with this tragic loss and for relocation as they are unable to even think about returning to the house.”
Keep Putnam Beautiful volunteers and Putnam County Historical Society members turned out Saturday to clean up part of the Madison Street property where the Bronson-Mulholland House is located. It’s been closed by order of the City of Palatka since March due to coronavirus. More than two loads of yard trash were hauled off. If you have public property you’d like help with check about a partnership with Keep Putnam Beautiful. Call director Nicole Grace at 386 325-9598.
And kudos to a group that calls itself The Morning Maniacs. For several years they’ve been walking on Saturday morning and sometimes during the week over the Memorial Bridge to East Palatka. They also pick up trash they find along the way. You’d be amazed at what they find.
This is Marcia Lane, your roving reporter.