This is Marcia Lane, your roving reporter.
Florida Department of Health reports three new coronavirus-related deaths in the tri-county area – two in Putnam County and one in St. Johns County. Putnam coronavirus-related deaths now total 140 since counting began in March a year ago. Also reported in Putnam Thursday 14 new cases bringing the total to 6,333. St. Johns County’s death total is now 207. In addition 51 new cases were reported bringing the total to 22,131. Flagler County reported 21 new cases for a total of 7,103 cases.
Two students at C.H. Price Middle School in Interlachen are charged with a third-degree felony after one brought a meat cleaver to school. Putnam County Sheriff’s Office says while there was no perceived threat and no apparent intent to harm, every incident involving a weapon is taken seriously and arrests will continue. The two arrested – one 12 and the other 13 – had been talking about collecting knives and their collections. The 12-year-old brought the meat cleaver from home to give the 13-year-old. They were seen exchanging the cleaver and that led to the sheriff’s office being notified. The sheriff’s office is asking parents to talk with students about the seriousness and consequences of bringing any kind of weapon to school.
A Bunnell couple is in jail in Flagler County on multiple felony charges of child neglect after their three children were found living in what were described as “deplorable conditions.” Flagler Sheriff’s deputies were called to the house Thursday after neighbors heard children screaming inside. They found one child inside calling his mother and banging a juice cup against the wall to get something to drink. Large piles of trash were near the front door and inside the house more trash was scattered and rooms were in total disarray. Numerous cockroaches were inside the house and feces was seen on the walls and in the children’s beds. Mother Christina Coe, 26, said she was “doing her best.” Father GIlbert Bridewell, 27, also was at the house as were the children, ages 2, 1 and seven days old. Department of Children and Families was contacted and the three children were removed and placed into the custody of a family member.
National Drug Take Back Day is Saturday, a chance to safely discard unused or expired medications. The federal effort is in coordination with police and sheriff’s departments throughout the nation. In Putnam County you can drop off medications at Aza Health in Interlachen, the Sheriff’s substation in Crescent City and Putnam Community Medical Center. St. Johns County locations are Southwoods Elementary School in Hastings, Gamble Rogers Middle School, Creekside High School, Ponte Vedra High School and St. Augustine Police Department. In Flagler County locations include Flagler County Sheriff’s Office, Flagler Beach Police department and Publix stores in Palm Coast at 800 Belle Terre Parkway, 4950 Belle Terre Parkway and 250 Palm Coast Parkway.
Palm Coast Council by a 3-2 vote has given the go-ahead for a site plan for a nine-building, 300-unit apartment complex to be built on the north side of Pine Lakes Parkway. Pointe Grande Apartments has raised concerns about density and traffic but a swing vote came the developers’ way Tuesday after it was pointed out the land has been zoned for apartments for some time.
What to wear to school keeps causing issues. In St. Johns County more than 4,700 signatures have been gathered on an online petition seeking changes. The petition came about after several dozen female students at Bartram Trail High were required to change clothes or face suspension. Students and some parents protested with one complaint being the policy was unfair to females. Last week students at Palm Valley Academy, a K-8 school, also protested dress rules. One solution that’s been proposed – go to uniforms.
Busy weekend in the tri-county area with a number of events.
In Putnam County, St. James United Methodist Church holds its sixth annual fire sale today and Saturday with thousands of items in and around the church at 400 Reid St. in Palatka. Georgetown United Methodist Church is holding a spaghetti dinner tonight from 4-6 p.m. at the church on Country Road 309. In Florahome it’s Celebrate Putnam Trails Ride, Walk and Run this Saturday with check-in beginning at 8 a.m. The event benefits the historic Palmetto Park Clubhouse. Rotary Club of Palatka finishes up its 25th annual blood screening at Westminster Hall this Saturday from 7 to 9:30 a.m. Make an appointment online at palatkarotary.com. Azalea City Cruisers hold a cruise-in at Pizza Boyz this Saturday from 5-8 p.m. and are collecting hygiene items for those in need for their Aiden’s Angels foundation. In Melrose on Sunday at 6 p.m. an historical program entitled Rebel Patriots of the 1800s is planned at Mossman Hall.
In St. Johns County, St. Augustine tonight presents the Cellus & Vibe Live Band and Pheenix Brown at the Colonial Oak Music Park downtown. On Saturday it’s the Lullaby of the Rivers Music Festival at Vilano Beach featuring live music, food and storytelling plus a kid-friendly Earth Day Resources Fair. Roscolusa Songwriters Festival is Saturday evening at Ponte Vedra Beach. Florida Chamber Music Project is Sunday at 3 p.m. at Ponte Vedra Concert Hall. Sunday at St. Augustine Amphitheatre it’s the annual Taste of St. Augustine highlighting the city’s culinary side. All weekend the fifth annual Plein Air Paint Out is going on around town including a quick draw event Saturday morning at the Lightner Museum. Race Week goes on this weekend on Matanzas Bay, Tolomato River and the Atlantic Ocean as sailors take to the water. Party tents at the downtown municipal marina are open to the public.In