The Voice of the Gem City

News December 10, 2021

This is Marcia Lane, your roving reporter.

Approval of a draft contract between the City of Palatka and Palatka Boathouse Marina Inc. Thursday night means a long proposed water taxi service and marina operation is nearing reality. However, it took more than an hour of additional negotiations to reach that draft contract, that following on-and-off negotiations that are now in their seventh plus year. While Mayor Terrill Hill talked about the difficulty of negotiating in public, most of the negotiations have been going on behind the scenes including lawyers, even last night’s version. It wasn’t until a break and hallway negotiation between city officials and Scott Lagasse representing Boathouse that final details were worked out. Latest changes including a mirror clause that will allow both Lagasse and the city to have an option to terminate after three years. Originally only the Boathouse had that. Also amended was how much fiscal responsibility the city will bear in terms of repairs. That went from $60,000 to $45,000. 

The 37-year-old driver of an SUV involved in a school bus crash Thursday in  St. Johns County was seriously injured, according to the Florida Highway Patrol. Two students on the bus also went to the hospital following the crash, although FHP said that was for precautionary examinations. The bus driver was not injured. FHP said the both the bus and SUV were headed south on U.S. 1 when the SUV hit the rear of the bus.

A St. Augustine woman has been arrested on a DUI vehicular homicide charge for an accident in Putnam County just over a year ago. Stachelle Powell, 31, was booked into the Putnam County jail Wednesday on several charges relating to the Dec. 1, 2020, wreck on Stage Road 207 near Wildwood Lane, on the Putnam side of Hastings. Florida Highway Patrol reported Powell was driving her SUV southbound on 207 when it went off the road and into a ditch where it overturned shortly after 1 a.m. that morning. Her passenger, Michael McKnight, 31, of St. Augustine, was ejected and died at the scene. FHP said Powell was driving under the influence. She now faces a felony charge of DUI manslaughter plus two misdemeanors — DUI and driving with a suspended license. 

Another busy weekend.

In St. Augustine on Saturday, enjoy the 40th annual Holiday Regatta of Lights on the Bayfront. The lighted boat parade put on by St. Augustine Yacht Club is sat 6 p.m. along the riverfront.

International concert pianist Maria Dolores Gaitan performs in a free concert Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at Lewis Auditorium in St. Augustine. The free concert is hosted by St. Augustine Music Festival and Beaches Fine Arts and celebrates 240 years of cooperation between Spain and the United States.

On Sunday the Garden Club of St. Augustine holds its Christmas Arts and Crafts Festival at the clubhouse on 3440 Old Moulrtire Road from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. 

In Palatka tonight enjoy a free tour of the Christmas decoration filled Bronson-Mulholland House at 100 Madison St. from 5-7 p.m. Entertainment is provided by the Palatka Community Band.

Palatka Art League continues their Holiday House aka the Tilghman House on River Street this weekend. Eight rooms of crafts and art by local artisans.

On Saturday the Town of Welaka holds its annual Christmas Parade and Christmas on the River during a day of events beginning with the parade and 200 entries at noon. Arts and crafts, car show, live music and food trucks will be in the Downtown Park where a Christmas tree lighting is at 4 p.m. A boat parade is at 6 p.m.

On Saturday the Kick ’n Cancer 5K is at Ravine Gardens State Park in Palatka. The run benefits EMT/Firefighter Brooke Bateman who has Stage 3 Hodgkin Lymphoma.

Palatka’s Boy Scout Troop 64 holds their famous fried chicken dinner Saturday. You can buy the dinners from 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the parking lot of St. James United Methodist Church, 400 Reid St.

Faith Presbyterian Church in Melrose hosts a Christmas Gala featuring the Santa Fe Brass Ensemble, a Choral cantata entitled Peace and manger sets from around the world at the church on State Road 21 on Sunday from 2 to 4 p.m.

Palatka High School Musical Theatre Departments presents Elf the Musical tonight and Saturday at the C.L. Overturf Jr. Center on South 18th Street in Palatka. A matinee is Sunday. Tickets are available at the door. 

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