This is Marcia Lane, your roving reporter.
Expect rain and more rain today as Hurricane Elsa is downgraded to a tropical storm – again. Concerns for the three-county area and Putnam County’s inclusion on state emergency lists had government officials Tuesday announcing services and offices would be closed today. However, Elsa didn’t come in at Cedar Key as predicted and but moved in further up the state. Rain and wind gusts are expected in Putnam, St. Johns and Flagler counties but it’s nowhere near what was predicted earlier. Authorities are warning to be careful of flooding, which makes for dangerous conditions while driving.
In Palatka and Putnam County most offices are closed and services cancelled. The Police Athletic League Summer Camp is closed for today. Household garbage pickup and commercial dumpster pickup is cancelled in Palatka and Putnam. Putnam school programs are canceled as is the food program pickup. St. Johns County was conducting business as usual although the library system bookmobile is not running today. Solid waste runs are being made. School activities and programs are in session. St. Augustine Beach government is open but don’t expect the weekly Music by the Sea concert at the St. Johns County pier tonight. The band will be rescheduled for September. A flood watch and wind advisoryalso remain in effect in Flagler County where officials were treating it as a “standard business day” although Emergency Management was on alert. Outdoor activities are suspended. St. Johns River State College’s three campuses are closed today. St. Johns River Water Management District closed all public lands and offices north of I-4 in anticipation of potential storm effects.
Today’s the last day for Freedom Week Sales Tax Holiday. Qualifying recreation and outdoor items as well as admission to entertainment and cultural events are tax-free through today.
City of St. Augustine is extending a pilot study testing the effectiveness of discontinuing the use of chloramines (ammonia) in the city’s water treatment process. The study has been going on since Jan. 5 and was to end July 4. The city announced today the study will continue another 90 days to early October. Official say quality of the water is not affected. For more info, call the Water Treatment Plant at 904-825-1044.
St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office is investigating a shooting Tuesday afternoon in the area of West 13th Street and St. Johns Street. One person was shot, but injuries were described as non-life-threatening. Authorities are seeking Devontae Lee Durden, a 26-year-old black male, who is described as a person of interest in the shooting, and say there is no deemed threat to the community. If you have information on Durden, call the St. Johns Sheriff’s Office at 904-824-8304 or CrimeStoppers of Northeast Florida at 1-877-277-8477.
Putnam County Sheriff’s Office is seeking an area man who not long after his release from Putnam County’s jail cut off his ankle monitor. Jamie Armstrong, described as a prolific felony offender, was out on bond after spending a year in jail. A Facebook post by the Sheriff’s Office noted the man has an extensive history of burglary and larceny and “we’re pretty sure he’s up to his old tricks and just didn’t want us monitoring him.” His bond has been revoked and a warrant is out for his arrest. Crescent City is a favored hangout for Armstrong. Call CrimeStoppers of Northeast Florida if you have information on his whereabouts.