Wolfson Children’s Hospital Bass Tournament held in Palatka has come and gone leaving lots of good feelings in its wake. More than 1,000 anglers fished the three-day tournament on the St. Johns River with Kenneth Owen and Cole Kite of Lake Butler winning both the overall competition and the big fish competition, picking up $15,000 Saturday. The tournament raised some $300,000 for the Jacksonville-based hospital. Palatka had some winners too. In the drawing for the bass boat, coveted by many, Andy and Kayla McClain of Palatka won.
The machinery key to the $425 million expansion at Georgia-Pacific’s Palatka Mill will be arriving at the Barge Port this week floated up on the St. Johns River. The 170-ton Yankee dryer and two 80-ton paper machine rolls then will be escorted from the Barge Port to the mill as Putnam County Sheriff’s Office, mill officials and other partners coordinate the drive.
Flagler County Sheriff’s Office is investigating a building site vandalism where four construction machines were dumped in a pond next to the Dollar General being built on U.S. 1. A superintendent for Fulcrum Construction Group reported finding a CAT excavator, a CAT bulldozer, a Bobcat Skid steer and a CAT Skid steer in the pond. Also vandalized a water pump on site. Value of the equipment was set at $1.36 million. The superintendent said only five people knew the code to operate the machinery. One was fired recently.
Forestry officials warn dry conditions mean potential wildfires are a concern. A 30-acre fire at Ortega River in Duval County is one of 22 reported wildfires in the state. Hot weather is in the forecast throughout the week with temperatures in the high 90s expected for the weekend. Forestry officials remind people to dispose of cigarettes property, keep vehicles off dry grass, avoid power equipment that creates sparks and obey burn bans.
Hot weather also means snakes. The St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office responded to a call over the weekend in the northwest part of the county where a snake was found by a pond where a boy was fishing. The call reported the snake was possibly an anaconda. The deputy who responded instead found a large rattlesnake and the Sheriff’s Office posted the two online.
A father and son were arrested after alleged attacking deputies and attempting to flee in Flagler County. Sheriff’s deputies responded to reports of a man yelling and acting strangely outside a trailer on Old Kings Road early Friday morning. The man was Darren Kuback, 51, who reportedly got in a confrontation with deputies as they arrested his son Tyler Kuback, 25, who was wanted on a warrant from Volusia County. Eventually both men got in a fight with deputies and more officers had to be called in before the two were brought under control.
Sites in both Putnam and St. Johns counties are on the 2019 Florida’s 11 to save, the most threated historic properties in the state. The Florida Trust for Historic Preservation publishes the list yearly. Fish Island in St. Johns County made the list although it appears 57 acres will be saved following a deal with the North Florida Land Trust that’s waiting approval from the governor. In Palatka the James Ross Mellon house in the 400 block of Emmett Street made the list. Mellon was part of the Mellon banking family in Pennsylvania, and he and his wife made Palatka their winter home for more than 30 years. He built the city the Larimer Library now Larimer Arts Center on Reid Street after his wife’s death and was instrumental in the building of Mellon High School. The Mellon house is owned by an out-of-town individual.