The Voice of the Gem City

News June 4, 2021

This is Marcia Lane, your roving reporter.

St. Augustine Police say the 30-year-old who shot and killed a downtown entrepreneur over Memorial Day told them he fired in self-defense. They didn’t charge Luis Casado with a crime and have since turned over the case to the Seventh Judicial Circuit State Attorney’s Office. The shooting outside of Dos Gatos bar on Hypolita Street happened May 29 around 1:50 a.m. and left Adam Amoia dead. When police arrived at the scene they found Casado who told them he was talking to two guys outside the bar when some girls began yelling at him and then Amoia came up and punched his several times in the face. Casado apparently fired his gun several times. He gave officers his broken eyeglasses and said the gun was in his front pocket. He was put in handcuffs and taken to the police station for questioning. Amoia’s family released a statement that said in part: “This is a huge loss not only for our family but for the community and neighborhood as well. We have great faith that justice will prevail, and we can commence our grievance process.”

The James Hotel at 300 St. Johns Avenue in Palatka has a new owner. Palatka attorney Charlie Douglas is the agent for purchasers Hotel James Palatka LLC and oversaw the recent purchase for $375,000, according to county records. The hotel was sold by Tate Miller and Mei-Ling Wang, who bought it in 2018 for $200,000. Some work has been done to clean out the property and one developer began a crowdfunding effort so the building could be restored to include a restaurant, shops and living space. The three-story landmark building was designed by noted architect John Henry Klutho, known for his prairie-style designs. Ground was broken for the building in 1916.

St. Johns County schools finish up most of their graduation ceremonies this weekend with all taking place at TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville. Tonight Bartram Trail High School graduates at 6 p.m. Saturday Creekside High graduates at 9 a.m. and Ponte Vedra High at 7 p.m. First Coast Technical College will hold online graduation ceremonies June 18.

Palm Coast officials and Waste Pro, the city’s garbage service provider, are working on issues regarding service. Last week the city gave the company a week to straighten out problems or lose their $9 million contract. The company responded including buying three new trucks, contracting with another hauler to help with routes and upping driver wages. Lack of workers has been an ongoing issue, according to the company. The garbage service contract is coming up for renewal next year.

Putnam County Department of Health offers daylong vaccination opportunities Saturday at three county high schools. Free vaccinations are scheduled at Crescent City High, Palatka High and Interlachen High Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Phizer vaccine is available for those 12 and up. Appointments are not needed. Today at the Melrose Center on State Road 6 vaccinations are  available from noon to 5 p.m.

Coronavirus cancelled last year’s St. Augustine Greek Festival so this year Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church decided on a Greek Food To Go Fest. You can order food for today and/or Saturday and then pick it up at the church on County Road 214. Pick-up hours today are 3-8 p.m. and Saturday 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Contact them at or call 904-829-0504. The church is looking at an expanded festival celebrating all Greek culture in October.

Tonight is the monthly art walk in St. Augustine as art galleries throughout downtown open up from 5 to 9 p.m. St. Augustine Art Association also will be opening its annual Honors Invitational Art Exhibit showcasing the work of exhibit winners over the last three years.

Get a laugh and figure out a mystery this weekend as River City Players and GFWC Woman’s Club of Palatka present a staged reading of The Murder Room tonight through Sunday. Proceeds support local domestic violence shelter, The Lee Conlee House. Tickets are $15 and there is a donation bar. The event is at Palatka Woman’s Club, 600 S. 13th St.. For ticket info, call 386-325-3803.

In Flagler County Palm Coast Arts Foundation hosts the Creative Bazaar Arts & Crafts Flea Market Saturday. On Sunday the European Village Farmers Market in Palm Coast host 40 vendors selling handmade items, produce and fruit.

People in Putnam County today said good-bye to Sally Boyles, a funny and laid-back lady who grew up in Crescent City and became a stalwart of San Mateo. She and her late husband, Judge Stephen Boyles were married for 50 years and raised four children. She was an active member of St. Mark’s Episcopal church and as her obituary noted “in her free time, she enjoyed playing bridge, shopping and heping raise her 12 grandchildren, even while battling heart failure.” Sally always had time for friends and for laughter.

Summer must be here; high school reunions are beginning. This weekend members of Palatka High School Class of 1965 are gathering.

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