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Florida Department of Health in Putnam County reported five new coronavirus- related cases and one transfer on Monday. That brings the overall total since counting began in March to 1,780 cases. Flagler County reported two new cases for a total of 1,312. St. Johns County reported nine cases for a total of 4,332.
Seminole Electric Cooperative is going forward with plans for a gas-fired plant in Putnam County that’s expected to be up and running by 2023. Financing it will be federal loans totaling $727 million from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development program. The new 1,050 megawatt plant will be gas-powered and will be built next to the coal-powered plant Seminole first built near Bostwick. Former Palatka city commissioner Phil Leary, who is now director for Rural Development Florida and U.S. Virgin Islands, said the project will assure a dependable, financially sound source of electricity for rural counties.
In Flagler County a drug dealer who pled guilty to second-degree murder was sentenced Monday to 30 years in prison for an overdose death. Flagler Sheriff Rick Staly called it “poetic justice” that the first drug dealer in Flagler County to be charged with murder in connection with a drug overdose was on International Drug Overdose Awareness Day. Joseph Colon was indicted in 2018 on a first-degree murder charge in the overdose death of 23-year-old Savannah DeAngelis. The case began on Oct. 28 2017 when deputies responded to an overdose call in Palm Coast after DeAngelis’ father found her on the bathroom floor with a syringe and a baggie containing heroin and Fentanyl. She died two weeks later in an area hospital. An exchange between DeAngelis and Colon was captured on surveillance video shortly beforehand.
Firehouse Subs opened Monday in the 500 block of State Road 19 in Palatka Monday. Company officials say the new operation includes designs that improve efficiency in serving customers. Firehouse Subs is the second fast-food operation to open on SR 19 within the last several weeks; the first was Captain D’s about two blocks further down the road.
Putnam County deputies and detectives involved in the investigation of the murder last week of two young brothers in Melrose took part in a mandatory debriefing Monday aimed at helping them cope with the event. The debriefing was with Dr. Tina Jaeckle, a licensed medical health professional who works with law enforcement agencies. Sheriff’s officials say many of the law enforcement officials have children and the murders where a knife and hammer were used may have a traumatic effect on those investigating. Mark Wilson Jr., 30, who has been charged with the murders of the 12- and 14-year- old, has been denied bond and remains in isolation, heavily guarded.
St. Johns County schools saw a relatively calm opening Monday with about 30,000 students returning to brick-and-mortar schools and another 10,000 plus opting to receive instruction at home. In an effort to prevent the potential spread of coronavirus St. Johns has spent about $2.5 million in CARES funding for desk barriers, cleaning supplies, technology upgrades and signage to ready schools. An early report of a coronavirus case in St. Johns turned out to be false. An uptick in cleaning is apparent throughout school districts. For instance, in Putnam County this week the district is advertising for additional custodial workers.
This is Marcia Lane, your roving reporter