This is Marcia Lane, your roving reporter.
St. Augustine’s Castillo de San Marcos is about to go traveling – as a stamp. The U.S. Postal Service has announced the fort, which is the oldest masonry fortification in the United States, is being used for their new $7.95 Priority Mail stamp. The stamp, which becomes available Jan. 24, features a digital illustration of the fort based on a contemporary. Construction on the fort began in 1672 after one too many British raids left St. Augustine in ashes.
Upswings in coronavirus numbers have a number of city and county governments returning to Zoom meetings. In St. Augustine, the city cancelled tonight’s meetings saying the two items on the agenda weren’t of compelling importance or time sensitive. One of those items has to do with going to a hybrid meeting proposal that in part will depend on finding needed technology. Putnam County Commission, which meets Tuesday, is going back to Zoom meetings to allow people to participate but not be in the same room with commissioners. Other governments are posting on YouTube including Putnam County School District, which meets at 3:30 p.m. Tuesday. Among their items, explanation and discussion of a strategic plan proposal for the district.
Flagler, Putnam and St. Johns counties all saw new coronavirus-related deaths over the weekend, according to the Florida Department of Health. Among new deaths in Flagler County was Jon Netts, who last summer was appointed to serve out the term of former Palm Coast City Council member Jack Howell. Netts previously served 14 years on the Council. Flagler County now has 51 coronavirus-related deaths. Between Friday and Sunday 186 new cases were announced bringing the total for number of coronavirus cases in Flagler to 4,342 since March of last year. Putnam County announced two new deaths, an 86-year-old man and an 89-year-old man. Total death count is now 86. Between Friday and Sunday, 176 new coronavirus cases were reported for a total of 4,549. In St. Johns County, the death rate is at 123. Between Friday and Sunday 625 new coronavirus cases were reported for a total of 15,329.
Flagler County has arrested two 26-year-old men in a murder investigation that began 15 months ago. The shooting described by authorities as “hit-style” at the Circle K on Palm Coast Parkway in October 2019 killed Deon O’Neal Jenkins, 25, and left another injured. Arrested were Derrius Braxton Bauer of Jacksonville and Marcus Avery Chamblin of Palm Coast. The two had attended school in Flagler County. Chamblin is charged with premeditated first degree murder. He was easy to find since he was already in state prison after violation probation on earlier charges of carrying a concealed firearm and grand theft. Bauer, who allegedly drove the getaway car, was arrested in Jacksonville and faces charges as a principal to first degree murder. Sheriff Rick Staly says motive for the shooting is unclear but “it appears to be fear of betrayal.” Drugs were not involved, according to Staly.
An Interlachen man wanted on warrants for grand theft, fraud and dealing stolen property just couldn’t catch a break last week when stopped by Putnam County Sheriff’s deputies. Hunter Spence, 32, was in the driver’s seat of a van in front of a Hollister business when deputies found him. He threw his car into what he thought was reverse and put on the gas – only to find he was in neutral. The deputy pulled him out of the car and Spence tried to make a run for it, but the deputy was fleeter of foot. He’s currently being held without bond with new charges including resisting an officer without violence meth possession, drug equipment possession and failure to appear.
Florida Bass Nation High School and Junior anglers were on the St. Johns River in Palatka Friday and Saturday. Cold weather for the first event of the organization’s Spring Trail. Tampa Bay Junior Bass Club High School teams took both senior and junior division. Aaron Yavorsky and Jett Stanley took the senior class with 18.48 pounds of bass. Dominic Andux and Nathan Greico won junior with 13.72 pounds.