This is Marcia Lane, your roving reporter.
Better get ready – that jolly old elf is coming down the chimney tonight and so will the cold air. Old Man Winter is moving in for a long weekend that will include rain, winds and cold. Protect your pets, plants and pipes. Latest forecasts predict the rain tonight will not come until evening. If you have citrus, think about picking it since temperatures are expect to be below freezing. This will be one of the coldest Christmases in 20 years for the area.
While some churches are holding Christmas Eve services tonight, live outdoor Nativities are unlikely due both to weather and coronavirus. The Sisters of St. Joseph in St. Augustine are offering a virtual Nativity as a stand-in for their usual open house. Go online to their website and remember the real reason for the season.
Not everyone’s so lucky as to have a place to stay in from the cold. St. Francis House in St. Augustine and The Sheltering Tree in Bunnell are among facilities open. The Sheltering Tree has relocated to Church on the Rock.
Longtime St. Augustine Record women’s editor Anne Heymen has died after a short illness. She retired about six years ago after working for the Record for 49-and-a-half years. Anne knew everyone and everyone knew Anne. Her popular column continued to run in the Record and she often wrote of her cats, Howling and Cleo-pawtra. She was gregarious, feisty, a lover of Nascar and almost any of the Housewives of … TV franchises. Her house was a gathering spot for many who always found a meal and a warm welcome.
In Flagler County the Sheriff’s Office is searching for a man following a disturbance call involving a weapon on Rainbow Lane. A firearm has been located but no injures are reported. People are asked to avoid the area of Rainbow Lane near Belle Terre Parkway. Details are vague although the man is said to be unwilling to surrender, according to authorities.
On Wednesday the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office arrested a 56-year-old man on North Ocean Shore Boulevard after using crisis negotiations to get the man to surrender peacefully. Timothy Gibson was reportedly breaking car windows, screaming and behaving erratically as well as threatening to harm his family. He was intoxicated and ended up barricading himself in his house. Deputies set up a perimeter and the SWAT team was on hand. Negotiations led to Gibson’s surrender and a search of his trailer found firearms and ammunition. He is in jail facing two counts of aggravated assault, two counts of aggravated stalking and one count of resisting without violence.
Putnam County Sheriff’s Office is seeking the public’s help to locate Jon Farmer, 37, of Palatka, who is wanted for grand theft. On Dec. 13 deputies received a stolen camper report. On Dec. 19, the camper was located and personal possessions belonging to Farmer were found inside. A press release from the Sheriff’s Office noted “Since Farmer doesn’t have the camper to lay his head, we are happy to offer up accommodations at the Putnam County Jail for Christmas. Contact CrimeStoppers of Northeast Florida if you have information.
Coronavirus numbers from the Florida Department of Health show St. Johns County reported 156 new cases Wednesday, bringing their year total to date to 11,818. Flagler County reported 33 new cases, bringing their total to 3,378. Putnam County reported 55 cases, bringing the total to 3,651. Lakewood Nursing Home in Crescent City has announced no visitations of residents will be allowed after staff members tested positive for coronavirus.
State coronavirus testing sites are closed today through Sunday. They’ll reopen on Monday.
WPLK and WIYD have a present for you tonight with a broadcast of A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. The recording dates back to the days when radio and imagination ruled and is the 1939 Campbell Playhouse production featuring Orson Wells and Lionel Barrymore. It goes on the air at 8 p.m. Grab a cup of cocoa and snuggle in. As Tiny Tim observed, God Bless Us Every One.