The Voice of the Gem City

News August 26, 2021

This is Marcia Lane, your roving reporter.

Florida Highway Patrol reports two crashes in Putnam County this morning. Troopers were working a hit-and-run crash this morning in East Palatka. The 6:16 a.m. crash happened at Putnam County Boulevard and Dog Branch Road. No road blockages. A second vehicle crash occurred about 8 a.m. on State Road 100 in Florahome. The crash was in the North Oak Avenue and Michigan Street area. 

The future of more than half-a-dozen city-owned buildings in Palatka are up in the air again. At tonight’s 6 p.m. meeting the city’s Cultural Resources Department offers a 45-page presentation and seeks the commission’s direction on the future of buildings including the Larimer Arts Center, train depot, Bronson-Mulholland House and Cooper Building. Cultural Resources proposes selling the Tilghman House, which is run by the Palatka Art League, and Hammock Hall in the South Historic District, and giving the Waterworks Environmental Center and the old pool house at the Ravines to Ravine Gardens State Park. Ways to reduce costs on other properties are sought.

It’s going to be a long day for Palatka City Commissioners. At 3 p.m. they’ll hold a budget workshop. The budget year begins Oct. 1. At 6 p.m. their regular commission meeting begins in what promises to be a lengthy meeting. You can watch on Zoom. Go to the city site for the link.

St. Augustine Amphitheatre officials say the fifth annual Sing Out Loud Festival is moving forward with musical performances to begin Sept. 10 and run through the 26th. September is the unofficial Month of Music in St. Johns County with free musical performances set for locations around the county. Part of this year’s event will include Colonial Oak Music Park hosting the Gamble Rogers Showcase.

In the Diocese of St. Augustine, changes are underway. Longtime Cathedral Basilica of St. Augustine pastor the Very Rev. Thomas Samuel Willis has been appointed to lead St. Mark the Evangelist Mission to full parish status. That’s in the growing northwest section of St. Johns County. Bishop Felipe Estevez made the appointment and moved Very Rev. John Tetlow into Willis’ former job. Tetlow has been pastor of San Juan del Rio Catholic Church.

St. Johns County School Board and the St. Johns County Commission met Wednesday to look at redistricting changes that will be brought about by results of the 2020 census. The census issue soon took the back seat to audience members wanting to talk about mask mandates. On Wednesday the district’s 5,000-plus employees and visitors began having to wear masks. The district is still allowing parents to make the decision whether or not their children wear masks.

In Flagler County, former Palm Coast Mayor Milissa Holland has agreed to a $1,000 fine proposed by the Florida Commission on Ethics advocate. The commission must make the final decision on accepting the fine. Previously the commission determined Holland violated state ethics rules when she sent three private business solicitation emails using her mayoral e-mail account. Holland said she did not realize she sent the emails from that account rather than her business account. A city employee filed seven allegations of misconduct against Holland in 2018. All but one were dismissed.

Tonight the sounds of Hawaii can be heard in St. Augustine during Concerts in the Plaza where Big Pineapple plays contemporary and traditional island favorites as well as some old standards. The free concert is from 7-9 p.m. in the Plaza de la Constitucion downtown. Also happening, although not for free, Earth, Wind and Fire are in concert at the St. Augustine Amphitheatre tonight.

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