This is Marcia Lane, your roving reporter.
Flagler County high school seniors graduate today in ceremonies at Ocean Center in Daytona Beach. Matanzas High School graduates at 4 p.m. and Flagler-Palm Coast High School follows at 7:30 p.m. In another return to normal, face coverings are optional. Last year coronavirus concerns turned into special ceremonies at Daytona Beach International Speedway with students and their families taking a lap when seniors got their diplomas. Today’s ceremonies are being broadcast online. The rest of Flagler County students will have their last day of classes Thursday with teachers finishing out on Friday.
Palatka City Commission holds a special meeting June 14 to look at acquiring Robert Jenkins Jr. Middle School gym from the Putnam County School District. The price is right: $10. The school board Tuesday okayed selling the city the facility. Jenkins is one of five county schools slated for closing. Seventh and eighth grade students at Jenkins, which is on North 19th Street, will be going to what is now Palatka High School off St. Johns Avenue. City officials in a way are only getting back their property; at one point they were part owners of what was known as the Northside Neighborhood Center. A couple of commissioners including Mayor Terrill Hill are supporting the idea although cost of maintaining the center and other potential costs haven’t been discussed.
St. Johns County School Board is working with the public to review their school dress code. Included on a committee will be two freshmen and their mothers who have been outspoken critics of the current code. The coeds were among 83 Bartram Trail High School students who had their yearbook pictures altered to bring them in compliance with the district’s dress code. The controversy ended up getting stories in The New York Times and The Washington Post. Among changes being sought: definition of the term “distracting, removal of the term “modest” and removing standards based on gender. Normally the code would be going to the board for approval by the second week of June.
Both the audience and the Palm Coast City Council kept their cool during a meeting Tuesday night to find an interim city manager. City Manager Matt Morton turned in his resignation last week but gave a 30-day notice. On Tuesday the council said good-bye to Morton and thanks but no thanks to his notice. Instead they voted to put in longtime employee Denise Bevan as interim city manager. Bevan most recently was appointed one of two chiefs of staff for the city. A contract still must be worked out.
The race for Palm Coast Mayor is heating up following the resignation of Milissa Holland last month. In her second term, she cited family health issues as the reason for her departure. With a week to go for qualifying, eight candidates have filed so far to run for the post. Election date is July 27 in the non-partisan race. There’ll be no runoff since it only requires a plurality to win. One vote truly counts.
St. Augustine is looking forward to the return of Concerts in the Plaza this Thursday. Ancient City Slickers, playing old-time Americana music, will kick-off the summer long series that happens every Thursday from 7-9 p.m. through Labor Day. Last year would have been the 30th consecutive year but concerts were cancelled due to coronavirus concerns. Remember to bring a blanket or chairs to sit on if you go. Picnicking in the downtown park is allowed. Masks are optional.
Putnam County School Board saluted former students who have become community leaders Tuesday during their third annual Product of Putnam ceremony. This year’s choices included: Agriculture – Scott Brauman; Business – Matt Buckles; Community Service – Heather Hoffman; Education – Sharice Williams; Health Care – Aaron Hall; Industrial Manufacturing – Wade Dallas; and Public Service – Trinisha Austin.
Hurricane season officially started Tuesday but Vilano Beach is ready. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reports their Vilano Beach renourishment project is finished ahead of schedule and under budget, says St. Johns County Director of Emergency Management Joseph Giammanco. The nearly three-mile project runs from Ocean Villas at Serenata Beach to north of Nease Beach Front Park. The beach has been widened and the dunes rebuilt to conditions before Hurricane Matthew hit in 2015.