The Voice of the Gem City

News September 29, 2021

Marcia Lane1:28 PM (1 minute ago)
to marcia, me

This is Marcia Lane, your roving reporter.

Boo on the Avenue will take place after all. The annual event put on by Downtown Palatka merchants will be Friday, Oct. 29, and lets costume-wearing children up to the sixth grade walk along St. Johns Avenue with parents collecting candy from participating businesses. The City of Palatka for the first time is charging merchants permit fees to put on the event. Details were worked out Monday with the city saying since some merchants sit outside their stores to hand out the candy, a permit would be required. Palatka Police will be  putting on an independent Trunk or Treat event with no limit on age at Palatka Mall. Palatka Commission has decided to allow trick-or-treating through neighborhoods Saturday, Oct. 30, although Halloween is Sunday, Oct. 31. Good news, no fees will be charged for that.

The five-day manhunt for a suspect in the shooting death of a Nassau County Sheriff’s deputy ended Tuesday with the arrest of Patrick McDowell, 35. Deputies used the handcuffs of Deputy Josh Moyers in the arrest at a sports complex on Ball Park Road west of Callahan. A K-9 was sent in to a bathroom at the facility when McDowell failed to respond to orders. The dog bit him and he complied with orders to come out. The bite and two gunshot wounds received during an earlier encounter led to his being taken to a hospital. He had shot a K-9 during the earlier encounter. Putnam County SWAT Team and deputies have been among area law enforcement taking part in the hunt.

Putnam County Commission will keep the same millage rates as last year. At 9.4404 mills they are nearing the state cap of 10 mills. A non-countywide millage rate for the fire tax Municipal Services Taxing Unit was okayed at 1.1 mills. Overall budget for the county is now $216 million, up from the original $198 million budget originally presented Aug. 10. Some additional funding from the federal government has been received by local governments across the nation.Commissioner Paul Adamczyk was not at the public hearing. The budget runs from Oct. 1, 2021, to Sept. 30, 2022.

Beginning Monday, the City of St. Augustine Beach is suspending recycling services. Lack of labor is the reason cited for the temporary suspension. The city outsources recycling services to  Advanced Disposal. That company, like a number of other trash haulers, is facing manpower issues. A dumpster will be available free of charge at St. Augustine Beach City Hall so people can drop off recycled goods. Beach Mayor Margaret England said the city is “working diligently to restart recycling services in-house.”

Florida School of the Arts presents the play “Lobby Hero” this weekend. Beginning Thursday and continuing through Saturday the play by Kenneth Lonergan will be presented at the FLoArts Auditorium on the campus of St. Johns River State College in Palatka. The play runs through Sunday. Cost for the limited social distance seating event is $10 and tickets are available at the door. Curtain goes up Thursday through Saturday at 7:30 p.m. with a Sunday matinee at 2:30 p.m.

Time to start planting those fall gardens. Water Works Environmental Education Center offers some free held doing a Fall Garden Workshop on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. The Center at 1101 WhiteWater Drive in Palatka has a community organic garden, nature trails and gopher tortoise enclosure as well as the Old Palatka Water Works which operated for 100 years from 1886 to 1986, providing up to one million gallons of water daily to Palatka residents. Guided tours of nature trails and the waterworks will be given. Fall planting information, free seeds and starter kits will be available.

Mellon High School may be just a memory for Palatka residents, but former students will be gathering Oct. 14 for a centennial celebration of the school. Contact Edwin Reid for tickets at 386-325-5077 by Oct. 8 to reserve tickets, which are $18. This year will also mark the 100th football game between Palatka and St. Augustine. During one of those years, the teams played against each other twice. Mellon used to stand in what is now the Putnam County Courthouse lot in Palatka.

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