The Voice of the Gem City


Christians throughout the world are preparing for Good Friday tomorrow and Easter on Sunday. Last year churches were closed because of coronavirus, this year a number in Florida are open although safety precautions including distancing and masks will be in place. Some special services for Maundy Thursday are planned including one at St. James United Methodist Church and a Lord’s Supper at Francis Baptist Church in Palatka.

Don’t forget schools in Putnam and St. Johns counties will be closed Friday. Most government offices including county and city offices in Flagler, Putnam and St. Johns will be closed Good Friday.

Normally Crescent City would be hosting Catfish Festival this weekend in South Putnam County but coronavirus caused the Rotary Club of Crescent City to cancel the event again this year. However, they are hosting a Dollars for Scholars Fish Fry Fundraiser on Saturday. Proceeds from the festival normally go for local projects including scholarships for Crescent City High School Jr./Sr. High School students. Cost is $12 per dinner, which is from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. You can pick up a meal at Crescent City Winn Dixie, 1115 Summit St. Order online at Paypal or call 386-937-2021.

Florida Department of Health figures show upticks in new coronavirus cases in the tri-county area. St. Johns County reported 207 new coronavirus cases for a total of 21,337 since counting began March a year ago. Flagler County reported 30 new cases for a total of 6,685. Putnam County reported 24 new cases for a total of 6,051. In Putnam today the Department of Health is hosting an open vaccine distribution from 9 a.m. to noon and from 1 to 3 p.m. at the 1101 Husson Avenue location in Palatka. No appointment is required.

A joint campaign aimed at convincing people in Flagler County not to text and drive led to nearly 100 traffic stops. Flagler County Sheriff’s Office, Florida Highway Patrol and police departments in Flagler Beach and Bunnell took part in Operation T.I.D.E.S. in March. In all five criminal citations, 27 non-criminal citations, 71 written warnings and two arrests were made. In addition, a Flagler County deputy on March 30 clocked a red sports car traveling at 124 miles per hour in a 60 MPH speed zone on State Road 207. A deputy on a department motorcycle turned on lights and sirens but the vehicle kept going. When it came to a stop on County Road 302, driver Jayden Donohue, 18, admitted he was on vacation from North Carolina and decided to flee to avoid a “big ticket.” He ended up under arrest and in jail on a $5,000 bond.

St. Augustine is going forward with plans for a return of Fireworks Over the Matanzas, the city’s annual Independence Day celebration. City Manager John Regan is warning CDC guidelines will be followed and “this means being completely agile if we need to cancel it.” Entertainment will be provided by The All-Star Orchestra in the Plaza de la Constitucion followed by fireworks at 9:30 p.. Satellite parking and shuttle service will not be provided this year.

Weather temps are taking a drop for the Easter weekend, but the Putnam County Parks and Recreation Department still has the opening of the splash pad at Project P.L.A.Y. on their schedule for Friday. Hours for the pad during the season will be 9 a.m.-7 p.m. daily. The department also has announced Tanglewylde Nature Park is closed for repairs.

The person many consider the heart of the Small Business Development Center in Palatka is retiring this Friday. For the past nine years Cheryl Lynch has headed up the office that helps people start and run small businesses. As Richard Gierlich noted, “She’s who helped me launch my dream into a reality and has helped me along the way with questions on how to proceed on ventures.”

Putnam County Animal Control reportedly has zero kennels available. That means pups such as 7-month-old Scar are having to be crated. He’s a rescue that would love a home. You can find out about Scar and other animals for adoption or fostering by calling 386-329-0396 or go to their facility at 174 County Landfill Road. Call first

It’s April Fool’s Day. Given the state of the world we couldn’t think of any silly prank that would top what’s going on day-to-day.

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