The Voice of the Gem City

News January 12, 2022

This is Marcia Lane, your roving reporter.

An explosion at a St. Augustine recycling facility Tuesday injured one person and knocked items off walls in houses in the area. St. Johns County Fire officials confirmed a worker at Leth Metal Recycling on South Holmes Boulevard had been taken to Flagler Hospital and was in stable condition. An air tank at the salvage yard reportedly exploded at 11:20 a.m. causing the injury and a boom that was heard throughout town.

Palatka City Commission faces a full agenda Thursday as they look at decisions about negotiations regarding buying Jenkins Middle School from the Putnam School District and building a new public works facility. The city last year attempted to buy the now-closed school but didn’t offer enough. Also, they will be setting a workshop regarding the school gymnasium, which they purchased last year for $10. Also scheduled for discussion and possible action is a contract regarding the water taxi operation services with Palatka Boathouse Marina. All those items have come up in the past. 

New at Thursday’s Palatka City Commission meeting will be a public hearing on a proposal to designate the city as a Brownfield Area. Brownfields are environmentally impacted properties such as old dry cleaners, gas stations and industrial properties. An example would be the former Florida Furniture property. Residential property would also get the designation. City officials say the designation would promote economic development and voluntary environmental investigation or cleanup of current or former industrial sites. Money would come from state grants. Some citizens have raised concerns that being declared a brownfield will not only negatively affect property sales and values but hurt efforts to bring in new businesses and to upgrade the city’s public image and tourism.

In Flagler County Fourth of July may turn into the battle of the fireworks displays. Palm Coast council members Tuesday were expected to make a choice about where to hold fireworks this year, which normally are fired off July 3. They’ve been at the Town Center but officials had suggested moving them to the county airport. Instead, three of the council members said they want to have the fireworks go off July 4, the same day that Flagler Beach holds its display. That, said city officials, would be a major problem since the two towns have to share resources such as deputies, fire departments and volunteers. The three council members said that didn’t matter and they want the fireworks to go off July 4. The two towns for years have held their fireworks on different days in order to allow both to have celebrations and revenue from the crowds.

Putnam County School District holds its second community forum on the state of county schools Thursday at the Crescent City Junior-Senior High School cafeteria. Topics of discussion are COVID-19 and heath services, the 2021-26 strategic plan, the revitalization plan and student discipline. Superintendent Rick Surrency and some district officials will be at the meeting which is from 6 to 8 p.m. You can attend in person or by Zoom.

Putnam County students will have a holiday this Thursday and Friday. Teachers, however, will be working with Thursday a planning day and Friday an in-service training day. Students and teachers in Putnam, Flagler and St. Johns counties will be closed on Monday for Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

And congratulations to GFWC Woman’s Club of Crescent City that Monday held a celebration of their 132nd anniversary. That makes them the second oldest woman’s club in the state. They first organized in 1890 under the name Crescent City Village Improvement Association.

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