This is Marcia Lane, your roving reporter.
Two men died late Sunday night in a head on collision on State Road 20 near Hollister, according to the Florida Highway Patrol. A 66-year-old man was driving in the wrong direction and crashed head-on into an oncoming car driven by a 36-year-old man from Palatka. FHP reported neither driver took evasive action to avoid the collision, and both died at the scene in the Nine Mile Swamp area at Whispering Pines Trail. Both were wearing seat belts.
The Putnam County Sheriff’s Department has taken over law enforcement responsibilities in Crescent City at the request of local officials. The move came Friday following verbal reports of concerns with training records and irregularities in the police department. The city’s attorneys have recommended an independent audit, which will be conducted by Florida Department of Law Enforcement, according to a press release from the city which recently hired a new city manager. All police department personnel have been placed on administrative leave with pay, pending the review, according to the release. The town’s chief of police recently retired and a search is underway for a new chief. Calls to request a deputy for a non-emergency should be made to 386-329-0800. The 9-1-1- line remains in place for emergencies.
Putnam County Sheriff’s deputies wasted little time getting to work in Crescent City. On Saturday they arrested an 18-year-old “Grinch” involved in the theft of children’s Christmas presents. The items were reported missing after two residential burglaries. Jeremy Addison of Crescent City was also wanted on warrants for violation of probation for other burglaries and thefts he allegedly committed as a juvenile.
St. Johns County has reported the 100th coronavirus related death since counting began in March. Florida Department of Health in St. Johns County reported 327 new coronavirus cases for Friday through Sunday. Since March 9,542 people have tested positive for coronavirus in St. Johns. In Flagler County 76 new cases were reported over the three-day period bringing total number of cases to 2,889. In Putnam County 82 new cases were reported bring the total to 2,940.
People in Putnam County – even the visitors — are getting in the Christmas spirit. In Palatka Santa’s elves showed up in speed boats as part of a Toy Run put on by boaters and anglers Friday and Saturday. The Toys Tour brings boats from all over the nation including as far away as Wisconsin. Each participant brought bags of toys to fill a trailer at the Putnam Sheriff’s Office. The toys will be distributed to Putnam children. On Saturday Crescent City Yacht Club filled the sky over the lakes with fireworks, continuing a holiday tradition. And Palatka resident Sydney Sheffield has been recognized as one of the 12 unsung heroes on the First Coast by Channel 12 television in Jacksonville. Sydney, who is 18, appeared as Elsa during a Palatka High School production of Frozen. She realized the role was special to children and she began a Facebook effort to continue touching. What she thought would bring joy to a few kids stuck at home due to coronavirus has turned out to be much bigger involving online visits to 100 plus kids who get a chance to see the “real” costumed Elsa and talk with her.
One Book One Putnam is returning for 2021 although with some changes due to coronavirus. Chair Bob Lee says coronavirus means mass gatherings won’t be feasible but the committee that puts on the county-wide read will offer a variety of virtual activities. And this year they’ve selected three books. In January the choice is News of the World by Paulette Jiles, in February Cracker Gothic by Wanda Duncan and in March Stars of Alabama by Sean Dietrich.
In 1941 U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt declared Dec. 7 “a day which will live in infamy” after the Imperial Japanese Navy Air Services bombed the U.S. Navy base Pearl Harbor in Hawaii during an early morning sneak attack. Some 2,400 people were killed in the attack that would propel the United States into World War II. It’s a good time to remember tough times don’t last, tough people do.