This is Marcia Lane, your roving reporter.
People today are celebrating Martin Luther King Jr. Day and that means parades and activities honoring the civil rights activist. Longtime educator Evelyn Green was grand marshal of the parade in Palatka. A festival at the Palatka riverfront continues to 4 p.m. today, sponsored by the African-American Cultural Arts Council of Putnam County. In St. Augustine a commemorative breakfast at Flagler College was followed by a march from ML King Boulevard to the Plaza de la Constitucion. Because the day is a national holiday, schools and government offices in Putnam, St. Johns and Flagler counties are closed. Garbage pick-up isn’t happening in Palatka today but will resume Tuesday. Municipal garbage collection is on schedule in St. Augustine today.
The reward for tips for information regarding the murder of a 16-year-old Bunnell boy is now up to $10,000. Flagler Palm Coast High School student Noah Smith was shot last Wednesday during an altercation on South Anderson Boulevard. Flagler Sheriff’s Office was asked to be lead agency by Bunnell. Sheriff Rick Staly announced a $5,000 reward from CrimeStoppers of Northeast Florida has been supplemented by another $5,000 from the Florida Sheriffs Association’s Criminal Apprehension Assistance Program. Staly said the investigation is ongoing and active and asked people to help with information.
Cold weather blew in over the weekend and continues with a warning up for tonight about near freezing temperatures. That means it’s time to protect pipes, pets and plants. Cold weather shelters are opening and available to both the homeless and those without heat.
Today would have been actress Betty White’s 100th birthday. As a way to celebrate the late animal lover’s passion for pets lots of animal shelters and businesses are offering opportunities to donate to animal rescue. Don’t forget Putnam County’s animal shelter and S.A.F.E. which serves Putnam and St. Johns counties. Heck, go adopt a pet and make your day and theirs better.
Speaking of animal rescue, a post on Facebook remembered the late Mary Calhoun school nurse at Campbell Elementary School back in the 50s and 60s. She also was one of the reasons the Putnam County Humane Society was formed. Sari Edwards remembered going out to the Society shelter in San Mateo when she was a little girl to help Mrs. Calhoun with the cats.
Who’ll be managing the Palatka city marina and running tour boats is up in the air. At a Palatka City Commission meeting Thursday, commissioners split 2-2 on awarding a contract to Palatka Boathouse Marine LLC, the group they’ve been in negotiations for years. The contract was supposed to be signed late last year but city officials wanted both sides to have the opportunity after two years to end the contract. The rewritten contract didn’t get to them until Thursday and had a three-year clause, based on a misunderstanding. City officials had drawn up one with the two-year mirror clause. One of the main owners of the boathouse wasn’t at the meeting and that hampered changes. Commissioners Justin Campbell and Rufus Borom voted to award the contract. Mayor Terrill Hill and Commissioner Willie Jones voted against doing so. When Campbell wanted to know: “What is our plan? Where does this leave us?” he was told it could possibly be brought back up or go back out for bids. For now, Hill said, “There is no agreement, no contract.”