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Palatka City Commission won’t interfere with Halloween trick-or-treating but they’re not yet willing to give the go-ahead to special events such as parades including ones for Veterans Day and Christmas. That could change when they meet again in two weeks. However at Thursday’s meeting, the first ‘normal” meeting since March and coronavirus concerns, commissioners talked about the difficulty of enforcing social distancing and other safety measures. Also coming into play is the removal of fines etc. following Gov. Ron DeSantis’ decision to reopen business to full capacity. Halloween, which is Saturday, Oct. 31, will be from 6-8 p.m.
Commissioners did agree to allow renting of city facilities for special events but only at 50 percent capacity and with social distancing requirements.
Other municipalities are grappling with balancing the holding of events with public safety. Bunnell recently voted not to hold their annual large Halloween event in the Saw Mill Subdivision and the Florida Agricultural Museum in Palm Coast in September made the decision not to hold their very popular haunted house weekends. Palm Coast has decided not to hold their annual Starlight Parade for Christmas nor will they have the Halloween Hall of Terror at Fire Station 25. Still on, the all-American picnic in Palm Coast’s Town Center for Veterans Day. The city and Flagler County Rotary are working to keep the annual Fantasy of Lights in the center park during Christmas.
Florida Department of Health Thursday announced two coronavirus-related deaths in Putnam County and one in St. Johns County. In Putnam two men died, one 53 and the other 84, bringing the death total since March to 43. In addition, 12 new coronavirus cases were announced with seven linked to a confirmed case. Total cases in Putnam are now at 2,177. In St. Johns County the new death brings the death total to 76. In addition 30 new coronavirus cases were reported for a total of 5,618. In Flagler County, 19 new cases were reported for a total of 1,831.
Two people were arrested and cocaine and other drugs seized Thursday morning in Flagler County after a long-term joint investigation involving Flagler Sheriff’s Office Special Investigations Unit and Florida Department of Law Enforcement. Detectives seized trafficking amounts of cocaine, suspected fentanyl, miscellaneous prescription medications, various drug paraphernalia and more than $8,000 in currency during the search of a residency on Poppy Lane in Palm Coast. Jason Schmitt, 43, and Shannon Librera Seymour, 26, were arrested on a variety of drug charges.
Friends of a St. Augustine High School junior shot and killed Tuesday in the parking lot of a condominium off State Road 16 are seeking to help pay for her funeral. They’ve created t-shirts and bracelets that they’re selling in the memory of Sydnie Rounsville. A Go-Fund-Me account has been set up also. Rounsville and her 23-year-old boyfriend, Kyle Stein, were remembered during a memorial vigil at the parking lot Thursday. St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office is still investing and has arrested 19-year-old Afernee Wilson.
At a special Putnam County Commission meeting Thursday, commissioners voted 4-1 to drop the millage rate after getting word of a $600,000 adjustment upward in gross taxable value. They lowered the rate from 9.5946 mills to 9.4404 mills. Commission Chair Terry Turner championed the reduction rather than bringing in the extra money.
St. Monica’s Catholic Church in Palatka offers an evening of entertainment featuring pianist and jazz vocalist Harry Rios tonight at their fellowship hall. The fundraiser from 7-9 p.m. includes refreshments. Tickets are $20 each or $50 for a table of four. Tickets are available at the Parish Office at Fourth and Oak streets or go to the church website.
This is Marcia Lane, your roving reporter.