This is Marcia Lane, your roving reporter.
A program to help homeowners in Palatka’s historic districts apparently will be revived. At Monday’s Community Redevelopment Agency meeting, the board agreed to take as an emergency the repair of a house on River Street that was damaged when a portion of a neighbor’s tree hit it. CRA used to have a program that allowed residents in the historic districts to get low or no cost loans when repairing houses. That was put on hold more than a year ago. CRA revisited the issue agreeing to put forward $15,000 to homeowners Warren and Sue Wilhite whose roof and porch were damaged. Sue Wilhite did say a second opinion from a tree surgeon indicated the tree was rotten. Money in the repair fund comes from tax money paid in yearly by all property owners in the districts. CRA’s board includes the Palatka City Commission, a Putnam County commissioner and a downtown business owner.
Florida Department of Health in Flagler County reported one new coronavirus-related death bringing their total to 104 since counting began March a year ago. Six new cases were reported, bringing the total to 6,901. Putnam County reported one new coronavirus case bringing the total to 6,151. St. Johns County reported nine new cases, bringing the overall total to 21,652.
Vaccinations continue for coronavirus with St. Johns County leading northeast Florida in vaccination rates. Florida Department of Health reported 42 percent of the county has had at least one shot of the vaccine. When it comes to completely vaccinated residents St. Johns is second in the state with 31.46 percent. Sumter County is the leader with 50.03 percent.
Nearly 400 people showed up for funeral services for Putnam County Sheriff’s Office Corrections Capt. Mark Elam Monday at Coventry Oak Farm in Palatka Monday. Many more paused to watch the funeral procession making its way to the outdoor service. Fellow officers praised the corrections officer, speaking of his compassion, his love of family and his attitude. Elam was killed April 8 around 5:30 a.m. riding his motorcycle to work on U.S. 17 South in San Mateo. Elam, a lieutenant, was scheduled to be promoted in May to major. The day Elam died, Sheriff Gator DeLoach promoted him posthumously to major.
Palm Coast City Manager Matt Morton is considering legal action against council member Victor Barbosa after a meeting last week where Barbosa called Morton corrupt” and sought his firing, according to the electronic newspaper FlaglerLive. No one seconded the motion by Barbosa. Morton reportedly has hired a lawyer.
Efforts to get a new judge for the Seventh Judicial Circuit continue at this year’s Florida Legislature. The Seventh includes Putnam, St. Johns, Flagler and Volusia counties and legislators representing St. Johns County — Rep. Cyndi Stevenson and Sen. Travis Hutson — filed bills for a new judge in separate actions. Those didn’t go forward. However the request is part of another bill in the House, according to officials. Cost for a county judge and support staff is about $300,000 per year.
A 27-year-old Bunnell man was struck and killed on U.S. 1 in Flagler County Sunday night, according to the Florida Highway Patrol. The crash happened at 8:40 p.m. as cyclist Christopher Gordon Baxley was headed north on the right side of the highway. Just before Seminole Woods Boulevard his bicycle was struck from behind by first one car an then another, according to the report. When one of the drivers pulled over he found the bicycle stuck beneath his vehicle. Baxley, who lived at the Thunder Gulch campground in Bunnell, was reported riding near the center of the highway before the crash. The crash is under investigation.
Weight restrictions on the Bardin Bridge in Putnam County are causing changes to garbage pickup in the Bardin area beginning today, according to county officials. WastePro is having to drive a different route so they can pick up trash since trucks are too heavy to cross the current bridge. Residents on Bardin Broad from State Road 100 to Old Starke Road as well as residents on Wilkinson Road will be hit by the change. If you have questions, call WastePro at 386-328-5445.