This is Marcia Lane, your roving reporter.
Flagler County Sheriff’s Office sent in a bomb-sniffing dog to Belle Terre Elementary School in Flagler County Thursday morning after a parent found a note in her son’s backpack. The note found at home mentioned a bomb. The child was not considered a suspect. The Sheriff’s Office took the threat seriously, sending in Jax, a bomb-sniffing dog, along with a team of deputies and Belle Terre and district personnel to search the school. No bomb was found and school opened at 9 a.m. as usual.
One new coronavirus related death is reported by the Florida Department of Health in St. Johns County. That brings the death toll to 90 since counting began in March. In addition, St. Johns reported 87 new coronavirus cases bringing the total to 7,786. Putnam County reported 21 new resident cases and one non-Florida case, bringing the total to 2,596. Flagler County reported 14 new cases bringing their total to 2,484 cases.
The Rev. Karl Flagg is the new head of the board at Putnam Community Medical Center. He’s taking over from Deborah Strickland who was named chair in August. She stepped down about a month later after becoming chief nursing officer at the hospital. Flagg is pastor of Mt. Tabor First Baptist Church in Palatka as well as overseeing Flagg Serenity Memorial Chapel, a funeral home in Palatka. Flagg, a former Palatka mayor, was hospital chair for the 2000 calendar year. Putnam Community is part of the HCA Healthcare corporation.
The giving spirit is underway in the tri-county area. St. Johns County Library System is hosting the St. Johns CARES Inc. Giving Trees at four branch library locations through Dec. 9. Wish ornaments on the trees are submitted by non-profits serving veterans, senior citizens, children, the homeless and animals and the ornaments list needed items. Trees and collection boxes are at branches at Anastasia Island, Bartram Trail, Ponte Vedra Beach and Southeast. You can make monetary donations by going to stjohnscares.org. In Putnam County St. Johns River Baptist Association distributed 575 turkeys Thursday to 30 churches including ones in Putnam, St. Johns, Flagler and Clay counties. Those churches will give them to residents in need. St. Monica’s Catholic Church in Palatka holds a food-giveaway this Saturday from 9 to noon in a drive-thru at the church at 114 South Fourth Street. They won’t be holding their weekly giveaway next Saturday but will resume in December.
Flagler County Sheriff’s Office is warning people to be careful of having catalytic converters stolen from their vehicles. Seems the devices that turn harmful pollutants into safer emissions are expensive and thus a prime target for thieves who get under vehicles and cut off the devices, also damaging the cars and vehicles. In recent months five cases have been reported in Flagler including two in November. On Nov. 7 the Flagler Humane Society reported the catalytic converter from a work van was sawn off overnight and the vehicle damaged. Cost of repair $2,500. On Monday Paradise Landscaping and Nursery report the converter cut from a work tractor-trailer. Cost to replace the part and repair that vehicle is $20,000. The problem is widespread including thefts in Bunnell and into Volusia County, say authorities. If you have information, contact the Sheriff’s Office or Crime Stoppers.
You can get in the holiday spirit today and Saturday with the annual Christmas Bazaar at First Presbyterian Church in Crescent City. The women of the church say there will be Christmas decorations, handmade crafts and plants for sale from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the fellowship hall at the corner of Cypress Avenue and South Prospect Street. Because of coronavirus, they won’t hold their annual silver tea, normally part of the event. In Palatka the Tilghman House is once again the Holiday House as members of the Palatka Art League offer eight rooms of handmade crafts and art for sale at 324 River Street. Hours are 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. on Sundays.