This is Marcia Lane, your roving reporter.
Two Putnam County deputy sheriffs are in serious condition after colliding while responding to an emergency call Tuesday night. Both deputies, one 24 and the other 25, are “facing a very long road to recovery,” said Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Allison Waters-Merritt this morning. One deputy underwent emergency surgery last night after both were flown to an Orange Park hospital. The accident occurred around 7:42 p.m. on State Road 20 in an area known as Nine Mile Swamp, according to Florida Highway Patrol. The collision happened just west of Motes Road. The two were responding to a 9-1-1 call reportedly involving a vehicle on the roadway. Sheriff Gator DeLoach in a post on Facebook said: “I want to express my gratitude at the outpouring of care and concern our community has conveyed.” FHP is investigating the crash.
Development is picking up in St. Johns County where county commissioners Tuesday gave the go-ahead to a housing and business planned unit development at the former location of Best Bet dog track and betting room. Plans call for 915 multifamily units and 250,000 square feet of commercial and office use. The development will be on 103 acres at the intersection of U.S. 1 North and Race Track Road. Jacksonville-based Gatlin Development Company requested the required rezoning from open rural to intensive commercial for the Grand Cypress project.
On Monday the St. Augustine City Commission will be voting on whether to move to public hearings on what’s being called a “gateway project” to the city. The Sebastian Inland Harbor project has been on and off since the original plans were submitted in 2004. The real estate bust halted efforts for the housing, commercial and marina project on King Street, the main entry into the Nation’s Oldest City. In the intervening years the project has expanded from the original footprint and includes the neighboring San Sebastian Winery and King Street property between the winery and San Sebastian River. It’s expected to generate more than 4,000 additional trips a day in the area. Numerous questions are being raised including ones concerning drainage and flooding, architectural compatibility, traffic congestion and loss of open space.
An additional 70,000 doses of Moderna coronavirus vaccine are coming to Publix pharmacies in the state including ones in Flagler and St. Johns counties. People in three approved categories including health care personnel, long term health care facility residents and staff and people 65 and older can use the online reservation system beginning today for appointments that get underway Thursday.
In Putnam County Putnam Emergency Management and the Florida Department of Health will be giving out vaccinations today and Thursday after another 600 vaccines doses have become available. The testing site in Putnam on Husson Avenue is closed today and Thursday, but reopens on Friday.
Florida Department of Health in Putnam County reported two new coronavirus related deaths on Tuesday. Deaths of a 79-year-old woman and a 77-year-old man bring the death total since counting began in March of 2020 to 91. Another 15 new cases with one transfer into the county were reported Tuesday, bringing the total number of cases to 5,058. St. Johns County reported 90 new coronavirus cases Tuesday, for a total of 16,763. Flagler County reported 29 new cases for a total of 4,764.
A 40-year-old man who has been cited repeatedly for illegal dumping and parking cars on state right of way has been arrested by the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office and jailed. Since February 2020, the Sheriff’s Office and various state agencies including the Department of Transportation and Florida Highway Patrol have been working on the cases involving continued illegal dumping at 8899 State Road 11 in Bunnell. Some 14 ordinance violations have been issued after Flagler Deputy Steve Williams tracked vehicles routinely parked in the area to Stephen J. Horton. In July it cost FDOT $4,200 to clean up debris and fix the right of way. By August the problem began again. Multiple vehicles have been tagged and towed from the property. On Saturday Horton was arrested by the Flagler Beach Police Department and jailed. He was released after posting a $1,000 bond.