The Voice of the Gem City

News September 2, 2021

This is Marcia Lane, your roving reporter.

Palatka City Commission faces a busy day with a budget hearing at 3 p.m. today and commission meeting at 6 p.m. Both were postponed last week after only two commissioners showed up for the budget hearing although four of the five commissioners did make the 6 p.m. meeting so they could cancel it.

Biggest item on tonight’s City of Palatka agenda is turning out to be proposals to sell two city buildings, get rid of two others to the state and alter agreements with non-profits that run half-a-dozen other buildings that include a couple of museums, an arts center and a food pantry. Community Resources Department, that also runs the city’s youth sports programs, is in charge of the buildings that provide cultural resources including musical entertainment, art programs and historical museums. Department head Eddie Cutwright is looking for direction from the commission to sell the Tilghman House, which is maintained by the Palatka Art League, and Hammock Hall in the South Historic District. Hammock Hall has become increasingly popular after the city hiked up the price to rent the Price-Martin Center on 11th Street. The selling issue comes as the city is talking about buying the former Jenkins Middle School and moving all city facilities to it. 

The attorney for a man accused of manslaughter in the shooting death of a St. Augustine man says he will be filing a “stand your ground” petition. Adam Amoia, 37, was killed in May outside a bar on Hypolita Street ,and in June Luis Casado, 30, was indicted on charges of manslaughter and carrying a concealed weapon. The State Attorney’s Office Wednesday released videos of the shooting. One showed an apparent disagreement between the two and Casado being struck in the face several times before he pulled a gun and fired. Patrick Canan, who is representing Casado, told St. Johns County Judge R. Lee Smith he wants a “stand your ground” hearing and says his client was acting in self-defense, which Florida law protects.

U.S. Congresswoman Kat Cammack is joining 158 other legislators who have introduced legislation to posthumously award the Congressional Gold Medal to the 13 U.S. military service members killed in Afghanistan last week. “The 13 men and women we lost in Afghanistan were American heroes and we vow to never forget their service and sacrifice to this great nation,” Rep. Cammack said in a press release Wednesday. She represents Alachua, Bradford, Clay, Putnam and Union counties and a large portion of Marion County

Putnam Community Medical Center’s CEO is leaving, heading to Fort Wayne, Ind. where he will be CEO of DuPont Hospital. Mark Dooley, whose last day at Putnam is Sept. 24, took the Palatka job in 2018. 

Temporary median closures along U.S. 17 in Putnam County have been extended through mid-September, according to the Florida Department of Transportation. The closures at Hoot Owl Road, Islander Road and San Mateo Road/Magnolia Trail are part of the $36.5 million Dunn’s Creek widening project.

Keep those umbrellas handy, there’s an 80 percent chance of rain in the area today, according to the National Weather Service. On Wednesday the rain gauge at WPLK/WIYD showed one-half inch and our East Palatka correspondent noted one-third inch.

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