The Voice of the Gem City

News November 22, 2021

This is Marcia Lane, your roving reporter.

You’re not wrong — there is a nip in the air and one expected to continue as we count down to Thanksgiving. In Palatka today the National Weather Service is calling for a high near 75 and a 40 percent chance of rain. Tonight the temperature drops to around 47. The trend continues through the week.

Palatka City Commissioner Justin Campbell thinks it’s time he and fellow commissioners get on a bus and take a tour of the city. At Thursday’s commission meeting he told commissioners he’d taken a tour with some citizens as he promised. “I recommend we as a commission take a ride about the city,” Campbell said. “You’ll be amazed at some of the stuff I saw.” He didn’t specify what he’d seen, but people have been at meetings complaining about piles of trash, problems with pickup, torn up streets and sewer issues. “We have a lot of work we need to do,” agreed Commissioner Tammie McCaskill. 

Good news when it comes to trash, prison crews with the East Palatka facility will be back to work in Palatka probably this week. Cost concerns including supervision expenses led to the city of Palatka stopping its contract with the prison crews who have provided clean up including maintenance and trash pickup help. Two city workers have been trained to handle supervision of the crews.

St. Augustine officials say they’re seeing increased numbers of tourists over 2019 as people return to the Nation’s Oldest City. One of the biggest boosts came Saturday night with the opening of the 28th annual Nights of Lights. With a flip of the switch three million white lights went on much to the crowd’s delight. The lights will be on nightly now through the end of January. 

Ponte Vedra Beach Library is hosting the annual PAM Jam now through Nov. 30. Local poets, artists and musicians have collaborated with visual artists to to create a story through words and visual art including painting, sculpture and pottery. Visual art installations are on display along with a QR code so people can access the video on smartphones or tablets.

Flagler County School Superintendent Cathy Mittelstadt was on the road Friday to personally notify this year’s district winners of principal and assistant principal of the year. Buddy Taylor Middle School’s Cara Cronk was chosen top principal and Amy Neuenfeldt at Indian Trails Middle School was chosen top assistant principal. They’ll be in competition with other school district nominees for state honors.

Today is one of those “do you remember where you were” days. Today in 1963 President John F. Kennedy was in Dallas in a presidential motorcade through Dealey Plaza when gunshots rang out at 12:30 p.m. Central Standard Time. Thirty minutes later the 35th president of the United States was declared dead. Vice President Lyndon Johnson was sworn into office as the 36th president aboard Air Force One with his wife on one side and First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy on the other.

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