The Voice of the Gem City

News November 18, 2021

This is Marcia Lane, your roving reporter.

You might have a bit more cash than you think, according to Florida’s Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis who was in Palatka Wednesday. He was here to speak before a group of business and government leaders about the state of the economy. His office oversees the state’s financial health plus other duties including overseeing the state fire marsha’l’s office. That extra money item was one of the things he talked about. One out of five Floridians has unclaimed money currently in the custody of the state. To find out if you’re in that number, go to

Palatka City Commission meets at 6 p.m. tonight and it could be a lengthy meeting. Among items — a revision of the city’s alcohol ordinance that means liquor serving establishments including restaurants and bars can now be within 100 feet of one another as well as other bars, schools and churches. Currently the ordinance requires a 300 foot distance. Also changing in the ordinance would be allowing liquor to be served on Sundays beginning at 9 a.m. rather than noon. Commissioners say that way people can have a mimosa with their brunch. The future of the city’s water taxi is set for discussion. The city is trying to finalize the contract with the Lagasse family in an issue that has gone on for a couple of years. And among items on the consent agenda an application for a Florida African American Cultural Historical Grant for $880,000 for improvements to the Jenkins gym that is now owned by the city. The city will have to match it with $190,000.

Former Flagler County Sheriff Jim Manfre is at the top of a short list of possible candidates for Palm Coast city manager. He’s now on a list of six candidates for background checks and possible interviews in January. Manfre, a two-term sheriff, was defeated for re-election by current sheriff Rick Staly and many thought his political star was on the downswing. Some 86 people applied for the city manager post although the original wording did not specify it was for a city manager and a number of the candidates were dismissed for lack of qualifications.

The push by Ponte Vedra High School’s girls volleyball team for a third Class 6A state championship ended Wednesday when they lost to Mater Academy. The Ponte Vedra Sharks have had back-to-back titles and climbed to No. 1 national ranking by MaxPreps.

In St. Augustine the city is readying for the opening of Nights Of Lights on Saturday. Lots of buildings have their lights in place for opening ceremonies and signs are up reminding people trolley service will be available Saturday when thousands are expected to flood into the downtown and the Plaza de la Constitution. 

On Friday at Flagler Auditorium in Flagler County offers it’s Let’s Hang On!, a tribute to Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons. Let’s Hang On is considered the preeminent Valli tribute group. The show is at 7 p.m.

In Palatka Broadway hits the stage at Florida School of the Arts Sunday. The free show on the main stage of the school on the Palatka campus of St. John River State College is at 2:30 p.m. and features the school’s Theatre Vocal Company.

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