This is Marcia Lane, your roving reporter.
Coronavirus vaccinations are seeing a drop in participants, according to state figures. That comes even as the state reports more vaccines for younger Americans are becoming available. Florida Department of Health in Flagler County reported 11 new coronavirus cases on Wednesday, for a total of 7,359 cases since counting began in March a year ago. In that time 111 coronavirus-related deaths have been reported in Flagler. Putnam County reported 15 new cases for a total of 6,559 cases and 151 deaths. St. Johns County reported 30 new coronavirus cases for a total of 22,796 cases and 212 deaths.
St. Johns River Water Management District board is giving the go-ahead to 24 water resource protection projects in northeast and east-central Florida. Nearly $10.6 million in projects were ranked for cost-share funding including money for the Rural Development Initiative communities and innovative projects. Restoring and enhancing of the Florida aquifer, the St. Johns River, Indian River Lagoon and Outstanding Florida Springs are among projects being funded. A fourth phase of the Elsie and Horse Landing roads septic to sewer REDI/Innovative project in Putnam County is on the list. Silver Springs is among restoration projects.
In St. Johns County the District School Board says it will be summer before a decision is made on mask wearing for the next school year. On Tuesday dozens of people were at the board meeting seeking to make mask wearing optional. With Gov. Ron DeSantis easing up restrictions, people are urging the board to ease restrictions that currently include requiring masks be worn on buses, between classrooms and when classroom social distancing is impossible.
The Lads and Lassies portion of the Wolfson Children’s Hospital Bass Tournament in Palatka is taking place today. Weigh-ins begin at Palatka’s riverfront at 3 p.m. today. Tickets are still available for a bass boat, trailer and motor grand prize with sales continuing until May 22 when the drawing will be made online. Organizers are hoping to raise $400,000; so far, they’re at a little over $367,000. Tournaments continue Friday and Saturday.
Telephone issues plagued Palatka City Hall, the City Annex and the Police Department Wednesday. By the afternoon the problems were resolved and the phone system is reported working today.
U.S. Congresswoman Kat Cammack saluted Putnam County Sheriff’s Office Captain Dominic Piscitello Wednesday as part of National Police Week. A New York native, he began his career with Putnam County in 1993 as a patrol deputy and worked his way through the ranks to become a patrol captain in 2008. In 2009 he took over the criminal investigation bureau.
Flagler County Sheriff’s Office holds their Fallen Officer Memorial tonight at 7:30 p.m. The annual ceremony honors officers who have died in the line of duty. It will be shown on Zoom or you can attend the ceremony at the Kim C. Hammond Justice Center in Bunnell.
Events and facilities continue to reopen after a year of coronavirus shutdown. In Palatka the Arts Council of Greater Palatka Inc. reopens the Larimer Arts Center with an evening of country, folk and western swing music May 21. Chuck Hardwicke and Sam Wimberly will perform along with guest Robert Murff. Tickets will be available at the door for $5. Welaka is holding the Welaka Freedom Fest including parade and festival on July 3. St. Augustine Art Association is open and once again partnering with the St. Augustine Music Festival for Sundays with SAMF. Next performance is May 23. You also can enjoy The Great Outdoors exhibit in gallery or online as well as the entries in the fifth annual Plein Air Pop Up Exhibit. In Flagler County tonight the Flagler Palm Coast High School Thespian Troupe will be treading the boards for the first production in more than a year as they perform the musical Into the Woods. The show is 7p.m. tonight and Friday and 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. May Saturday. For tickets, call 386-437-7547. Seating is limited.
The Palatka Police Department saluted a citizen Wednesday on Facebook for an act of kindness. A family traveling from Live Oak to Flagler Beach had to stop for a train to pass. When they tried to start the car back up, it wouldn’t move. Jason Brown of St. John’s Auto Body saw what was happening and stopped to help. He fixed the problem, the family tried to pay him but he declined saying he was happy to help. As the department pointed out: Brown wasn’t called out to help, he simply observed a family in need and wanted to lend a hand. “Acts of kindness are all too often overlooked but we feel deeds like this should be recognized,” noted the post.