Nearly 250 bass fishermen are on the St. Johns River today taking part in the second day of the three-day FLW Toyota Bass Series Tournament. First day leader was pro fisherman Trevor Fitzgerald. From Belleview, he caught 21 pounds 2 ounces of bass. Weigh-in today and Saturday will be after fishermen return at 2:25 p.m.
A Palatka man wanted in a shooting has turned himself in and now faces charges of attempted first-degree murder, firing a weapon from a vehicle and possession of a weapon by a convicted felon. Leroy Reaves, 34, was booked into the Putnam County jail Wednesday on the charges related to a shooting Dec. 29. Reaves and another man had been feuding for nearly a year when the shooting occurred near Washington and North 17th streets. The victim has since recovered.
Two new schools will be opening in 2021-22 in the northern section of St. Johns County. The school district just approved a $60 million high school and work is moving forward on a K-8 school in Nocatee. The K-8 school is budgeted at approximately $40 million and completion date has been moved up in order to handle growing numbers of students at Palm Valley Academy, already nearly 400 students over expected numbers. The school will be near Crosswalk at Nocatee, just north of Pine Island Road.
Palatka Art League members turned out Thursday to show their support of allowing the organization to continue to lease the Tilghman House. New City Manager Bill Shanahan is conducting a cost-benefit survey at the request of the city commission looking at various city-owned properties including the Tilghman, Train Depot, Hammock Hall, Bronson-Mulholland House, Larimer Arts Center and Waterworks Nature Center. All are leased by volunteer groups, which operate the facilities. The study hasn’t been finished but was expected to be discussed Thursday. Although the item wasn’t on the agenda, city commissioners let people talk about the house and its value including how classes for students have more than tripled and how the annual six-week Holiday House draws hundreds of out-of-town visitors.
St. Augustine continues its Historic Saunter tonight in honor of the 501st birthday of city founder Pedro Menendez. Re-enactors will make the stroll down St. George Street beginning at 6 p.m. On Saturday it’s the Lincolnville Porch Fest from noon to 10 p.m. Willie Nelson and Family are at the St. Augustine Amphitheatre Saturday night. YMCA Mardi Gras 5K 2020 runs and walks at Anastasia State Park Sunday beginning at 8:30 a.m.
Rodeheaver Boys’ Ranch is filled with music today and Saturday as the 16th annual Bluegrass Festival draws visitors from around the country. Name groups perform and many of the audience do a little pickin’ of their own while at the Ranch, 12 miles south of Palatka.
River City Players presents the comedy 37 Postcards today and Saturday at 7 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. at Larimer Arts Center on Reid Street in Palatka. The Palatka Art League hosts a free Tea For Two from 11 a.m to 2 p.m. Saturday at the Tilghman House on River Street in Palatka. Besides a spot of tea, you can see arts and crafts created by local artisans. A Putnam County Genealogical and Historical Expo Saturday at the Bronson-Mulholland House offers the chance to mingle with William Bartram, George Washington and Gov. and Mrs. William Duval. Authors, historical groups from throughout Putnam and a host of re-enactors will be on hand from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the house at 100 Madison Street. The Putnam County Genealogical Society offers help with family searches and offers the chance at a free DNA testing kit. The event is free.
Gravel U. “Hoppy” Hopkins Sr. served in the U.S. Army in World War II, Korea and Vietnam. On Thursday the City of Palatka and a roomful of citizens said thanks during the city commission meeting. “You’re the ones I fought for,” he told the audience. His aunt’s signature got him in the army at the age of 16 and his first assignment was the liberation of a German concentration camp. He made the army his career and was a three-time Purple Heart recipient as well as getting the bronze Medal of Valor. Now 88, the San Mateo resident delights in fishing.