The Voice of the Gem City

October 6, 2020

This is Marcia Lane, your roving reporter.

Ravine Gardens State Park in Palatka Monday reopened the 1.8 mile paved loop around the ravines. Three years ago Hurricane Irma severely damaged the state-owned park, which centers around a natural ravine. Although the front portion of the park remained open, the loop was closed to driving traffic and repairs did not begin until March of this year. A variety of issues delayed the work originally scheduled to be completed in about three months. Now Park Manager Terri Newmans is welcoming the public back and says park access is fully opened. Vehicles are permitted on the park loop/drive from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily. Cost is $5 per car or buy a park pass.

Florida Department of Health officials in Flagler County have linked two coronavirus-related deaths and a couple of dozen coronavirus cases to August gatherings at the Social Club of St. Augustine. Health Officer Bob Snyder told Flagler County commissioners Monday that the cases were preventable had social distancing and mask wearing been practiced. A club official said preventative measures had been taken. Tracing showed three quarters of 23 cases among members were linked to an entertainment event Aug. 28. The report came as efforts continue throughout the state to have people voluntarily continue distancing and wearing masks. Reports from FDH in Flagler County on Monday showed only six cases, ringing the total since counting began in March to 1,793. Putnam Country reported two new cases plus one transfer into the county for a total of 2,165. St. Johns County reported 12 new cases for a total of 5,526.

Palatka City Commission will be looking at the issue of reopening city-owned buildings including the Price-Martin Center and the Bronson-Mulholland House at their Thursday meeting at 6 p.m. Also expected to come up, returning to in-person meetings for the commission. On Wednesday the Airport Advisory Board meets at noon at Palatka City Hall. The meeting is open to the public and will be streamed live on the city’s YouTube page.

A committee appointed to propose a new site for the Confederate statue currently on the lawn of the Putnam County Courthouse holds its first meeting Friday at 9 a.m. The meeting in the Putnam County Commission chambers at 2509 Crill Avenue is open to the public and will be broadcast live on the county’s YouTube channel. While no guidelines are mandates, the county is reminding people of CDC suggestions for in-person meetings.

Fake $100 bills are reported showing up at businesses in St. Johns, Clay and Marion counties. The fake bills can apparently pass inspection when older detection pens are used, but they don’t pass scrutiny when used with newer technology. The Lemon Twist at Sawgrass Village in St. Johns County was one of businesses taken in, according to St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office. In that case a man used what appeared to be one of the older style $100 bills. 

First Baptist Church in Palatka on Facebook was celebrating Jim Pignato’s 43rd year as their pianist. Pignato, a longtime teacher, is also justly known for his first-rate high school musical conductions that allow Putnam County’s musical thespians a chance to shine.

Look in the sky this week and you’ll have a chance to see the Red Planet the closest it will be to Earth for 15 years. We’re talking about Mars, of course, and even close it’s still 38.6 million miles from Earth, reports NASA. A telescope will make seeing it easier, but it will still be visible at night in the southern sky and tonight is your best chance of all.

If you’re a history buff, take the time today to think about Mary Emily Boyd, The Rhode Island native moved to Palatka before the Civil War and today’s the day in 1862 she saved the town from being burned to the ground by the federal gunboat Cimarron. She also kept former Gov. William Moseley from being hauled off to prison. Turned out the commander of the Cimarron was also a Rhode Islander.

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