This is Marcia Lane, your roving reporter.
In a surprise move, Palm Coast Mayor Milissa Holland resigned Tuesday by email. She presided over a meeting Tuesday morning and sent the email in the early evening also announcing her decision on Facebook. Although recent meetings have had some tense moments, she cited the health of her daughter who has had a liver transplant as her reason for quitting. Holland won her second term in office in November. The council met this morning to set up a special election for July 27. Republicans David Alfin and Alan Lowe have both announced their candidacies. Lowe lost to Holland in November.
Florida Department of Health in St. Johns County reported four new coronavirus-related deaths on Tuesday, bringing their total to 218 since counting began in March a year ago. In addition, 39 new cases were reported for a total of 22,964. Putnam County reported 10 new coronavirus cases for a total of 6,615. Flagler County reported 11 new cases for a total of 7,406.
City of Palatka this morning is reporting phone issues in several buildings including City Hall, City Hall Annex, Public Works and the front desk of the Palatka Police Department. None of the offices can receive calls. For fire or police emergencies, call 9-1-1. City offices had a similar problem a couple of weeks ago.
Palatka Police say an argument led to the shooting of one man early Sunday in the 400 block of North 16th Street in Palatka. Police say they have no suspects and the case is under investigation. The shooting victim was taken to a hospital for treatment and released.
Putnam County Sheriff’s Office on Monday arrested a Palatka man they’ve been looking for since December for sexual assault and rape of a 9-year-old. The girl told a school guidance counselor in November about the attacks by Troy William Armstrong, 48, who lived with one of her relatives. Sheriff’s detectives began investigating and obtained an arrest warrant but were unable to locate him. Armstrong is now in Putnam County jail with no bail allowed and facing five counts of lewd/lascivious behavior and three counts of sexual assault.
School district officials in Putnam, Flagler and St. Johns counties are in agreement on continuing current face covering policies until the end of the school year. After that, district officials say, face coverings during summer programs will be optional unless a spike in cases is seen. A number of parents and students, meanwhile, continue to want districts to lift requiring masks now.
Florida Forest Service is mopping up the fire at Watson Island State Park in northern St. Johns County. Nearly 700 acres burned in the fire that started Monday. Officials now say it was a prescribed burn that got out of control. Forest Service officials say less than one percent of all prescribed burns go beyond perimeters. When the area cools, investigators will go in to determine cause of the fire. Breezy, hot and dry conditions may have contributed to the spread.
A Ponte Vedra Beach resident sent in a video to a Jacksonville TV station of an alligator walking along the beach near Mickler’s Landing over the weekend. That caught people’s attention. Now a Putnam County parent has put up at a shot on Facebook of an alligator strolling through a softball field at John Theobold Sports Complex off U.S. 17 in Palatka. Willie N. Sheena was dropping off her daughter when coach Erica Barrett started yelling for the girls to get off the field. Sheena photographed the alligator that was about three feet long rounding first headed to second base. “I tagged him before he got to second,” Sheena reported. Probably both the alligators were just enjoying the great Spring weather we’re having.