The Voice of the Gem City

News April 7, 2021

This is Marcia Lane, your roving reporter.

Flagler County Fair and Youth Show 2021 has been canceled but the livestock show and sale will happen beginning today. The 4-H and FFA Youth Exhibitor Livestock Show and Sale includes a goat, heifer and steer show today and swine show Thursday. On Friday at 7 p.m. the livestock sale takes place after opening ceremonies at 6 p.m. No gate admission will be charged on Friday and the Bunnell FFA will be sole food vendor. The fair was to open today and run through Friday.

Students in Florida are taking the 2021 statewide Florida Standard Assessment tests this week. St. Johns County got underway Monday with the writing portion of the test and continues through the week. On Friday St. Johns students will be out of school as teachers hold a planning day. Testing in Flagler and Putnam counties begins today and continues Thursday. Other FSA tests are scheduled later this month and in May.

Former St. Augustine Mayor George Gardner has died. Gardner, who was a newspaper reporter and editor, never lost his love of the news or his interest in St. Augustine. He published the St. Augustine Report, a two-time-a-week internet paper that consistently scooped everyone. Like a good newspaperman, he kept working finishing his last report from the hospital. His St. Augustine Bedtime Stories, telling the history of St. Augustine, are popular sellers.

The name of Putnam County Medal of Honor recipient Robert H. Jenkins Jr. will be going on a Putnam County school. In the proposed massive closings and consolidation of schools, Jenkins Middle School in Palatka is being closed. Interlachen residents had hoped their high school would be renamed in his memory but instead the board decided to rename Interlarchen Elementary School. Jenkins, who was born in Interlachen, was a U.S. Marine killed in Vietnam in 1969 when he jumped on a grenade and saved the lives of several men. So far the district hasn’t talked about honoring two other people whose names are attached to schools that are closing. C.H. Price Middle School is being folded into Interlachen High School to become Interlachen Jr./Sr. High School. Price basically brought the school district into the 20th century and under his administration Central Academy became the first accredited black high school in the state of Florida. E.H. Miller School, which has been for the district’s special needs students, is being folded into what will become Mellon Learning Center, where Palatka area pre-K students will go. Eleanor Miller was a former school board member and board chair who was instrumental in getting a school dedicated for special needs students.

Flagler County hoped to be building a long-planned general aviation terminal this year, but coronavirus has put a crimp in that plan. Last year the Flagler County Commission okayed purchase of a $250,000 15-acre parcel adjoining the county airport and was told within three years the terminal would be in place. Airport Director Roy Sieger now has told the commission the airport has seen a drop in revenues and that’s putting a delay in the project. He’s gotten the okay to delay the terminal a year but will go forward with building t-hangers, a more financially feasible project.

Palatka City Commission holds a special meeting tonight at 6 p.m. at City Hall on Second Street. A workshop is set for 4 p.m. Normally the commission meets twice a month on the second and fourth Thusday.

Florida Department of Health in Flagler County has reported two new coronavirus-related deaths bringing their total to 102 deaths since counting began in March a year ago. Eleven new cases were reported Tuesday bringing the case total to 6,788 in Flagler. Putnam County reported nine new cases for a total of 6,080. St. Johns County reported 33 new cases for a total of 21,394. In Putnam an Open Vaccination event is scheduled Thursday and Friday with no appointments required. Hours on Thursday are 1-3 p.m. and on Friday, 9-noon and 1-3 p.m. Shots are given at the 1101 Husson Ave. site, across from Moseley Elementary School. This is for the Moderna vaccine and is for those 18 and older. On Monday state officials opened the coronavirus vaccinations to Floridians 16 and older although only Phizer vaccines are approved for those 16 and 17.

Weather is warming up and so are the yard sales. Hope Lutheran Church in Satsuma holds a Rummage Sale this Saturday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. The church is at 273 County Road 309 in Satsuma. No clothing or bake sale this time and masks are required.

Tickets for the Palatka High School Musical Theatre Department’s annual spring musical are on sale. Roald Dahl’s Matilda The Musical will be held two weekends — April 29-May 2 and May 6-9 —  at C.L. Overturf Sixth Grade Center Auditorium. Tickets are $15 in advance and $20 at the door. Call Ralph’s House of Flowers at 386-325-4734.

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