The Voice of the Gem City

October 16, 2020

This is Marcia Lane, your roving reporter.

Interlachen will be holding a Christmas Celebration this year including fireworks. The Town of Interlachen has given Putnam County Commissioner Larry Harvey, who’s very active with the organization, permission to go forward with the celebration. Expect some changes due to coronavirus including social distancing and hand sanitizing stations. Fireworks will be held at Lake Lagonda Park although the park will be closed to prevent spreading of coronavirus. Kids can still get their picture taken with Santa at Dowda Field although he won’t be holding them so letters to Santa are important. Also planned, a reverse parade and a dramatic exit for Santa. Palatka, on the other hand, apparently won’t be holding a Christmas parade. The traditional event the day after Thanksgiving normally draws thousands downtown. As of last night Downtown Palatka Experiences, the non-profit that runs the event, decided not to hold the parade, said Sam Deputy. The city would have to give a permit for the parade and so far no permits have been issued for events due to coronavirus concerns.

Three locations for the Confederate monument on the Putnam County Courthouse lawn have been proposed by a citizens committee appointed by county commissioners. The group Thursday voted on three possible locations including leaving the statue in front of the courthouse or moving it to Heritage Park in Melrose or to Veterans Park on the east side of Memorial Bridge in Palatka. The group did not rank their choices in their 10-1 vote following a two-hour meeting including citizen input. The choices will go to the Putnam Commission Oct. 27. County commissioners have voted to move the statue but say cost must be borne by private citizens not taxpayers.

A 72-year-old man punched in the face by a 24-year-old man during a Trump rally in Nocatee recently now says he will press charges. The younger man says the older man approached him aggressively and he acted in self-defense. The younger man reportedly had a Trump sign with profanity written on it. One witness said the younger man also was making impolite hand gestures. The older man approached him, reportedly with his hands balled into fists. The 24-year-old’s lawyer says his client was physically attacked, a charge some witnesses contest.

Creekside High School teacher Ali Pressell has joined an elite group after being named one of the National Geographic Society’s “Emerging Explorers”. She’s one of eight people honored worldwide and only the second educator chosen. The Society said she was change-makers “who will transform their fields and further our understanding of our world and all that’s in it.”  They called her a “leader in career academy education.”

With October comes pumpkin patches and one of the oldest, First United Methodist Church of St. Augustine on King Street, is finally open for business. Now in its 24tth h year the pumpkin patch is something of a tradition. Opening of the stand was about a week behind reportedly because of a national trucking shortage. Hurricanes and coronavirus were named as the culprits. Trinity United Methodist Church of Palatka also reported a delay due to trucking issues, but pumpkins are available now.

Drivers on Belle Terre Parkway in Flagler County’s Palm Coast are seeing better at night. This week crews with L&S Lighting, a Florida Power and Light contractor, have been putting up light poles on Belle Terre, south of Pine Lakes. In all 213 lights are to go up on what has been one of the darkest and busiest roadways, say officials. The project is part of the city’s $860,000 plan to light up 23 miles of streets. The five-year project began in 2017.

Azalea City Brewing Company, which promises to be the first brewery in Palatka, continues to move forward. The company is ready to hire a full-time taproom manager and one full-time and one part-time beer tender. Craft beer knowledge is preferred but a friendly personality and strong work ethic are definitely required. The brewery is going in the former Coca-Cola Company building being renovated on South Fifth Street.

Fall is in the air and people are getting out. Tonight you and the family can enjoy a free showing of Pixar’s Onward at the Francis Sports Complex, 8012 St. Johns Avenue in the Palatka area. Movie starts at 7 p.m. Bring your own chair or blanket and snacks. On Saturday the St. Johns County Cattlemen’s Association hosts Cracker Day at the St. Johns County Fairgrounds in Elkton off State Road 207. Horse games and races, barbecue, farmers market and whip cracking contest are part of the day’s events from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Admission is $5 per carload.

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