The Voice of the Gem City

March 16, 2021

This is Marcia Lane, your roving reporter.

The familiar red-and-white signs for the 71st annual Putnam County Fair are going up. The fair opens this Friday at the Putnam County Fairgrounds in East Palatka. Quite a change from its beginnings in 1950 when the fair was held on the courthouse lawn in downtown Palatka. Steers and heifers were tied to the parking meters. One thing is still the same – residents taking part in various competitions. Today entries in horticulture must be delivered between 2 and 6 p.m. On Thursday take entries for bakery, candy and canning divisions between 8 and 10 a.m.

Because of the Putnam County Fair the Florida Health Department in Putnam County is moving their vaccination operation from the fairgrounds to their Husson Avenue site across from William D. Moseley Elementary School in Palatka. The change is in effect through April 2. Beginning Monday all Floridians over the age of 60 now qualify for vaccines

Florida Department of Health in Flagler County on Monday reported 19 new coronavirus cases bringing their total since counting began last March to 6,280. Putnam County reported two new cases for a total of 5,936. St. Johns County reported 17 new cases for a total of 20,574.

Two of the golfers competing in The Players Championship last week in Ponte Vedra Beach tested positive for coronavirus. Neither Gary Woodland nor Scott Piercy will be competing in the upcoming The Honda Classic in Palm Beach Gardens. At The Players, Woodland missed the cut while Piercy tied for 69th place.

Don’t forget students, teachers and school personnel in Putnam and Flagler counties are on a week-long spring break this week. St. Johns County students and teachers have an abbreviated spring break that begins Wednesday.

New high school football classifications are out for 2021 with several area school seeing changes in district and region assignments. In St. Johns County Nease High School moved down from 8A to the District 3-7A category. Ponte Vedra High moved up from 6A in the District 3-7A category. Creekside High moved up to District 1-8A. In Putnam County Palatka moved up to District 4-5 A, which includes Clay, Gainesville Eastside, Menendez and North Marion high schools.

A Flagler County man may have trouble going home again after being charged with stealing more than $5,700 from family members. Flagler County Sheriff’s Office first was called to house on Hickory Street in Bunnell on March 4 in response to a report of a stolen generator valued at $1,000. Two days later they got a call from another member of the family who lived in a trailer on the property. She reported $1,300 worth of jewelry stolen. Further investigation revealed another $3,450 in jewelry had been stolen from the main residence. Victims said they suspected David Hospodor, 42, who lived in the main residence. Detectives eventually traced all stolen items to pawn shops in Flagler. Hospodor used his Ohio driver’s license and a phone number off by one digit from his real number to provide required information to the pawn shops. Hospodor is in jail on $50,000 bond facing nine counts of dealing in stolen property, nine counts of false verification to a pawnbroker and burglary of a dwelling.

Florida story teller Bill Ryan will be sharing some of his extensive knowledge of Flagler County roads and history at 6:30 p.m. tonight via Zoom. He’s guest speaker for the Palm Coast Historical Society. Go to the Society’s website for more information.

Trinity Episcopal Church in Melrose holds a special ceremony Sunday for the dedication of a state historic marker. The marker will tell of the history of the church that began in 1881. The building, constructed in what’s known as Carpenter Gothic style, was put up in 1886 on what’s now State Road 26 where it stands today. A ceremony starts at 11 a.m. Sunday in the Parish Hall followed by unveiling of the marker, which is sponsored by Historic Melrose Inc., Trinity Episcopal Church and Florida Department of State.

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