This is Marcia Lane, your roving reporter.
Azalea City Brewing Company has something to be thankful for — they’re holding their grand opening this Thanksgiving weekend. Located in the one-time Coca-Cola bottling plant at 120 South Seventh Street, the craft brewery is the brainchild of Andrea Conover and the opening comes after months of renovation. The opening begins Thursday, Thanksgiving Day, and runs from 5-10 p.m. On Friday hours are 3-11 p.m. and you can escape the turkey by trying the Porkupine Pub Food Truck. Saturday hours are 3-11 p.m. and Sunday hours are 3-9 p.m. Taco Gringo Food Truck will be on site. Outdoor seating is available. Masks and social distancing are required.
A reminder schools will be closed Wednesday, Thursday and Friday in St. Johns, Putnam and Flagler counties. Many government offices will be closed Thursday and Friday. That includes the Florida Department of Health so coronavirus testing will not be available. Also, U.S. post offices are closed on Thursday.
First of the year is the traditional time of change, but a couple of area residents are getting an early start. Putnam County government sees Julianne Holmes Young move up from the general services department to being promoted to deputy county administrator. That’s the number two job in county administration. Her boss is Terry Suggs. She’s taking over from Matt Reynolds who was voted in as the county’s new clerk of court. The Putnam County Chamber of Commerce is losing their vice president of economic development to St. Johns River State College. Brian Bergen, who’s been at the chamber since 2015, will become head of fundraising and alumni engagement for St. Johns River State College Foundation.
For the second time in three weeks the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office has used a sting operation, this time arresting five women on prostitution charges. On Nov. 23 five women were arrested after responding to ads posted to various websites “known by law enforcement to be frequently used to solicit prostitution.” Undercover detectives made arrangements to meet the women at an undisclosed site. None were local residents but came from Jacksonville, Daytona Beach and St. Augustine expecting to do conduct their usual business. Instead they were arrested on misdemeanor charges. One woman also was arrested for cocaine possession, a felony, after telling the undercover officer she had crack cocaine. Four pipes and a small amount of cocaine were found in her purse. On Nov. 5, the department conducted a sting operation at Graham Swamp Conservation Area in Palm Coast. That’s an area the Sheriff’s Office has frequently received complaints regarding inappropriate meetings of a sexual nature. Four men were arrested for exposure
Florida Department of Health in Putnam County Monday reported the coronavirus related death of an 87-year-old man. That brings the death total to 58 cases in Putnam. In addition eight new resident cases were reported bringing the total number of coronavirus cases since counting began in March to 2,653. In Flagler County a new coronavirus-related death was reported on Monday, bringing the total to 42 deaths. Also reported were 15 new coronavirus cases, bringing the total to 2,577 cases in Flagler. In St. Johns County 52 new coronavirus cases were reported Monday. Total number of cases in St. Johns is now 8,082.
Florida Highway Patrol reports a 60-year-old Interlachen man died Sunday evening when his truck went off the road. He was driving southbound on County Road 315 near Spring Lake Drive when for an unknown reason his vehicle went off the road and overturned. He wasn’t wearing a seatbelt. His name was not released.
Family and friends gathered Monday at St. Johns Family Funeral Home in St. Augustine to celebrate the life of Dustin James Acosta, 28, who died Nov. 18 after pointing a gun at two law enforcement officers. A St. Johns County deputy and a St. Augustine police officer responded to a domestic call after Acosta attempted to drive off after drinking heavily and people tried to stop him. The officers found him inside a condo on Masters Drive. The shooting is under investigation. Friends have set up a GoFundMe account to help with funeral expenses and support for his wife and daughter.
Pie in the Sky in St. Johns County is looking for 100 boxes of stuffing, 100 packets of gravy mix, 100 boxes of Jiffy cornbread mix, 100 cans of green beans and100 cans of cranberry sauce. The non-profit is working to make Thanksgiving a lot tastier for some 400 low-income senior citizens, says Malea Guiriba, executive director of the organization. Thanksgiving donations can be dropped off today at Pie in the Sky’s warehouse at 134 Riberia St, Unit 4, St. Augustine. Call Phyllis Wood at 904-444-4667 to schedule a drop off. Monetary donations are welcome and the organization also is working to helping seniors at Christmas.