The Voice of the Gem City

LOCAL NEWS 8/12/2021

Area businessman Carl Beck Jr., 81, has died, leaving a legacy of five auto dealership, civic involvement and friends. The Indianapolis native became a true Floridian and a strong booster of Palatka and Putnam County. His death Wednesday was due to coronavirus complications, according to reports. Beck Automotive Group had its beginning in the late 1980s in Palatka when he opened a Chrysler car dealership. His company now employs about 340 people at dealerships in the area. Behind the scenes he helped a number of individuals, say businesses associates. Beck, who had been president of the Palatka Kiwanis and served on the board of St. Johns River State College, was well-known for his love of animals. His rescue white cat, Mopar, became an advertising face for the dealerships and among survivors in his obituary are his three dogs —River, Beauregard and Buster. He was a longtime supporter for Putnam County’s Humane Society and has given land for a county animal facility. Due to coronavirus, services will be streamed on the Facebook of St. Monica Catholic Church on Friday at 2 p.m. Donations can be made to S.A.F.E. Pet Rescue of Putnam County.
Multi-story buildings for hotels, apartments and businesses could be the new entrance to St. Augustine. The city’s Planning and Zoning Board Tuesday gave the go-ahead to Sebastian Inland Harbor. The project is at the corner of Riberia and King streets and will include a marina on the San Sebastian River. San Sebastian Winery is the only part of the project that is in place currently. Developers more than 20 years ago got the land rezoned from Residential General Office to Planned Unit Development. Now they want it changed back. The project will now go to the St. Augustine City Commission. As presented the development would mean a huge influx of people and businesses into a downtown increasingly struggling with growth.
A developer who has pushed to redevelop and repurpose an old boat manufacturing plant despite strong opposition from residents in the Hammock area of Flagler County is moving closer to his goal. The Flagler County Planning Board said it wasn’t ruling on the proposed Hammock Harbour project on North Oceanshore Boulevard but only considering whether marinas are allowed in the commercial zones along Scenic A1A. The board said yes and that begins the process to draw up an ordinance that’s expected to be approved at their next meeting. It would then go to the county commission. It’s the latest twist in a two-year battle that has included approval of the project by the county commission which then found their decision overturned following court rulings.
Flagler College in St. Augustine holds a three-day event this weekend saluting American playwright Sam Shepard, who has won a Pulitzer Prize for drama, an Academy Award nomination and 10 Obie awards. A full theatrical production of The Late Henry Moss is at Lewis Auditorium Friday and Saturday plus screenings, staged readings and academic panel discussions. Florida-based quintet Wild Shriners will perform  Sunday.
Speaking of bands, don’t forget the city-sponsored Concerts in the Plaza continues tonight in St. Augustine.  Favorite Lonesome Bert and the Skinny Lizards will be performing for free at the gazebo beginning at 7 p.m. Bert, of course, is one of those Hodge brothers from Palatka.
Larimer Arts Center in Palatka is ready for the public again with a gallery opening Saturday featuring the work of Michael Everett. Everett’s “Drawing From Life” will be at the Larimer at 216 Reid St. during August. Arts Council of Greater Palatka Inc. is sponsoring the open house from 6-7:30 p.m. Everett, who graduated from Interlachen High School played on the basketball team at St. Johns River State College before becoming an art instructor at Palatka High School. His graphite work has been featured in numerous galleries.

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