The Voice of the Gem City

LOCAL NEWS 6/17/2021

This is Marcia Lane, your roving reporter.

Most of Palatka was without power this morning after a sudden outage shortly before 9:30, although power was coming back on by 10. City officials said they didn’t know what had happened, but Florida Power and Light was working on the problem. Users received notices the problem would be fixed by 11 a.m. On Wednesday Palatka officials announced none of their phone system was working although that problem apparently has been fixed.

A shooting in St. Johns County Wednesday evening left one person, reportedly a mother of a 4-month-old child, dead. St. Johns County Sheriff’s deputies were called to the intersection of Christopher and Herbert streets near New Mount Moriah Christian Ministry in West Augustine around 6 p.m. They found a crashed vehicle had crashed and the victim inside was taken to a hospital where she died. No arrest has been announced and the investigation continues. If you have information, call 904-824-8304 or Crime Stoppers at 1-888-277-TIPS.

Juneteenth, a holiday celebrating the Emancipation Proclamation and freeing of slaves in the United States, will be getting national status if President Joe Biden signs the bill passed by the Senate and House. Palatka Mayor Terrill Hill already had declared the city would celebrate the day by giving all workers a holiday on Friday, virtually shutting down city services. On Saturday, a public Juneteenth celebration is set from noon to 4 p.m. at Family Life Center, 1414 Bronson St. including music, food and speeches. In St. Augustine on Sunday an event titled Let Freedom Sing will be celebrated at St. Augustine Amphitheatre at 3 p.m. The Ritz Chamber Players will perform with the St. Augustine Music Festival Chamber Orchestra. The Juneteenth name is a combination of the month and day that federal officials announced in Texas in 1865 that the Civil War was over and slaves had been freed.

Violent storms and heavy rains hit the three-county area Wednesday, causing flooding in some areas and lighting strikes. Palatka Fire Department made several runs. St. Johns County Fire Rescue responded to a roof fire at The Legends condo complex at in World Golf Village early Wednesday evening. A portion of the roof caught on fire although no condo units were beneath the roof. Lightning is thought to have started the fire, although the Fire Marshal’s Office is investigating.

Only 25 reprinted yearbooks have been requested by Bartram Trail High School students following a controversy when about 80 photos of female students were doctored in order to cover up necklines ruled too low. The St. Johns County school district said only 12 people requesting new yearbooks returned their original yearbooks, which were being reprinted by the yearbook company at no charge.

A 25-year-old Palm Coast resident ended up booked into Flagler County jail  Tuesday evening after becoming belligerent and hitting three people in the AdventHealth emergency room in Palm Coast. Authorities say Kory Prusaitis became upset after hospital staff told him his mother couldn’t come into the waiting room with him. Prusaitis is charged with two counts of simple battery and one felony count of battery on a person over 65. No bond was issued.

The Donald Ross-designed Palatka Municipal Golf Course is one of the 30 best municipal golf courses in the United States, according to The course was constructed in 1925 and is one of more than 2,500 municipal golf courses in the country. Palatka’s course was ranked 29th on the list. It is run by Heartz Golf LLC. Several years ago Mayor Terrell Hill and other commissioners were seeking to close the course because of losses, but was convinced to give the Heartz company a chance. Through the years several efforts have been made by various commissions to shut down the course and put in condominiums of the city property.

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