This is Marcia Lane, your roving reporter.
Food giveaways continue to make a difference for people who are dealing with economic reverses due to coronavirus shutdowns. Today Island Doctors in Palatka holds a food giveaway today at their Palatka-Central location at 200 Mission Road in Palatka. Hours are 1-4 p.m. Participants are asked to enter from St. Johns Avenue and exit on Weaver Road. For more, call 877-434-4676. Food banks in the area are seeing an ongoing increased demand for help. The organization Feeding Northeast Florida reports food security hits about one in four residents in Northeast Florida. In In St. Johns County, for instance, nearly 40,000 people are now designated food insecure and that’s up about 13,000 people from the same time last year.
Reported coronavirus case numbers showed a drop in Monday’s report. Florida Department of Health in Flagler County reported 30 cases, bringing the total since counting began in March to 3,080. Putnam reported 16 cases Monday, bringing the total to 3,252 coronavirus cases. St. Johns County for the first time in four days was out of the three digit range, reporting 93 cases. Their total is now at 10,422.
Palatka’s Community Redevelopment Agency heard proposals for changes to improve the town’s looks and atmosphere. At a meeting Monday, Ayers Associates representatives talked about several possibilities including a second bike route through Palatka. This one would follow Reid Street, aka U.S. 17. That was the path originally proposed when the Rails-to-Trails Bikeway was being laid out. Instead a route along Main Street, a block off Reid, was selected. Among other proposals is softening the urban nature of Reid Street including removing portions where parking lanes are designated and turning those into landscaped spaces with trees.
Ayers Associates also is looking for input on the St. Johns Avenue Reimaging placemaking project. Goal, according to Palatka officials, is a vibrant, pedestrian area. On Wednesday Chris Silewski, a landscape architect with Ayers, will be walking St. Johns Avenue meeting with property owners and/on business owners. Appointments can be scheduled. On Thursday he’ll be at Azalea City Brewery on South Seventh Street from 1-7 p.m. for one-on-one meeting with people. You have to schedule a time. His email is SilewskiC@AyersAssociates.com.
Florida Highway Patrol officers ended up in a car chase Monday afternoon following reports of people stealing from the Ralph Lauren store in the St. Augustine Premium Outlets mall. Troop G officers pursued a Jeep Compass on Interstate 95 North from St. Johns County into Jacksonville. They used a pursuit intervention technique (PIT) maneuver to stop the vehicle. One person jumped out of the Jeep and began running along the road. Three suspects were arrested and FHP reported recovering more than $2,000 in alleged stolen merchandise.
Flagler County commissioners are moving forward rapidly with plans for a new Sheriff’s Operations Center. On Monday in a unanimous vote commissioners approved a $20 million commercial loan with CenterState Bank to finance the project south of the Government Services Complex in Bunnell. On Wednesday at 9 a.m. they plan a groundbreaking ceremony off State Road 100. The operations center will replace the building that reportedly had mold issues that forced officers to leave about two-and-a-half years ago.
Looking for a good Christmas giving project? Consider supporting the Lakewood Nursing Home Christmas gift drive. Gifts to make this Christmas a happier one for residents in the Crescent City facility can be dropped off by Dec. 21 at Compliments & More Salon at 14 N. Summit Str. N Crescent City. Games, puzzles, skin care products, phone charges/cords, goodies DVDS, pajamas and even bird feeders are welcome. Contact Wendy B at 386-559-3297 for more information. Here’s a project residents at any senior facility would appreciate. Maybe you want to adapt it for your area.