This is Marcia Lane, your roving reporter.
With the San Sebastian Inland Harbor project apparently back on track in St. Augustine, city commissioners want to see something special. They’ve given developers to Feb. 22 to come up with a revised design for the project on about 13 acres bordered by King Street, Riberia Street and the San Sebastian River. Questions about design, landscaping, parking, potential flooding and increased traffic were raised on Monday at the commission meeting regarding the site, which for many is the main entry into the historic downtown. Commissioner John Valdez suggested developers of the long-delayed project consider taller buildings, a move that could be a real change from the traditional look of downtown. Two multi-story parking garages and a hotel are already in the plans.
Outstanding Putnam County teachers and personnel were named Tuesday at a special ceremony at C.L. Overturf Sixth Grade Center. Alexis Strickland-Tilton, an agriculture teacher at Palatka High School, was named teacher of the year and Jennifer Rawski, a paraprofessional from Mellon Elementary School, was named school-related employee of the year. Jackie Smith, who is an executive secretary in the district’s Human Resources Department, was named District-Related Employee of the Year.
A businessman’s plans to redevelop a boat yard at the Hammock area in Flagler County into a 240-boat storage facility ran into another snag Tuesday. Jim Buckley had appealed a lower court decision stopping the development of Hammock Harbor. On Tuesday the Fifth District Court of Appeal denied Buckley’s appeal of Circuit Judge Chris France’s ruling that the county commission in okaying the change did so without substantial evidence and documentation. The Hammock Community Association has led efforts to prevent the change in usage.
St. Johns County schools go back to early release today. Superintendent Tim Forson sent out a message to parents that the district is returning to their standard one-hour early release schedules on Wednesdays. The reminder was part of a letter updating parents as of the beginning of the second semester to school improvements related to instruction and safety concerns during coronavirus.
Flagler County saw a jump in coronavirus-related deaths as the Florida Department of Health in Flagler Tuesday reported eight new deaths. That brings the total since March of last year to 68. In addition, 46 new coronavirus cases were reported in Flagler, bringing the total to 5,064. Putnam County reported 42 new cases with two transfers out of county. Total cases for Putnam are 5,304. St. Johns County reported one new coronavirus-related death for a total of 157. On Tuesday another 124 coronavirus cases were reported bringing the total to 17,695.
Putnam County has once again closed its library to the public beginning today due to coronavirus concerns. Pickup service is available if you reserve a book online or by phone. Staff is available at the branches in Bostwick, Crescent City, Interlachen and Melrose during their regular hours. Palatka staff will be available from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday. A number of books and magazines are available online. In the near future the library will offer virtual story times, take-and-make craft bags and Make-It Kits for all ages.
Scammers are using supposed missed jury duty and the threat of a pair of sergeants showing up at your house to con people in Putnam County. The Sheriff’s Office says the scammers are pretty good, reading docket and case numbers when calling people to tell them they’ve missed jury duty and will be arrested. But the information is inaccurate and the office doesn’t call to warn you if you have a warrant out against you. They also won’t allow you to pay to skip jury duty or pay a fine. Besides, courts aren’t holding jury trials in the Seventh Judicial Circuit due to coronavirus concerns. You can contact the warrants section at 386-329-0839.