The Voice of the Gem City

News January 24, 2022

This is Marcia Lane, your roving reporter.

Teachers of the year in the tri-county area have been named. Asia Kellner from William D. Moseley Elementary School is the 2021-2022 Putnam County teacher of the year. Kellner is a former reporter for the Palatka Daily News who returned to teaching. Superintendent Rick Surrency made the announcement at the annual Employee of the Year Recognition Ceremony Friday. Guest speaker was Florida’s Teacher of the Year Sarah Painter from Pinellas County. Also honored were Scarlett Williams from James A. Long Elementary School who is the school-based school related employee of the year and Marta Arthur with the Transportation Department who was chosen the department-based school related employee of the year.In St. Johns County the district’s 2021-22 Teacher of the Year is Andrew Burk, the music teacher/band director at Valley Ridge Academy. St. Johns Rookie Teacher of the Year is Kaitlyn Holle, a middle school science teacher at Mill Creek Academy. INK! (Investing In Kids!) sponsors the special recognition program annually. In Flagler County, Flagler Palm Coast High math teacher Jim Gambone is the county’s Teacher of the Year. Gambone grew up in the Flagler County school system. Both Gambone and Employee of the Year Judy Gallo of Food and Nutritional Services were given Superman capes. The three teachers will represent their counties for statewide teacher of the year.

Yes, it was just as cold as you thought last night as the area saw freezing temperatures. This morning large patches of frost were visible in fields and lawns not protected by trees. The weather was expected to nip more exotic plants such as hibiscus and even the azaleas most have been doing a double take. It’s warming up today but expect showers Tuesday, according to the National Weather Service.

During the winter, the waters off Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas turn into a nursery for North Atlantic right whales, an endangered species. Researchers keep an annual watch on the whales and their calves and so does the public. On Sunday reports came in of a right whale named Derecha with a calf heading south off Flagler Beach.

St. Augustine City Commission holds a workshop today at 3 p.m. to discuss affordable workforce housing. Special presentations include an overview of the present state of the housing market and availability of affordable housing options for the local workforce. Also being presented options for meeting the needs of the homeless.

Jacob Oliva, a former Flagler County school superintendent, is in Miami today to interview for superintendent of schools in Miami-Dade. He’s one of three finalists for the job of running schools in the nation’s fourth-largest district. Oliva, who still maintains a residence in Flagler, is a senior chancellor of education with the state. 

Putnam County’s Gina Gillman will be taking part Tuesday in the Folds of Honor HERO 100 Golf Marathon 2022 PGA Show at the Orange County National Golf Course.  Founded in 2007 Folds of Honor provides educational scholarships to spouses and children of America’s fallen and disabled service members.  Her goal is to play 100 holes of heroic golf and raise enough to fund one scholarship which is $5,000. A native of South Africa, she’s playing for her adopted country of the United States and sees it as a way to give back and say thanks to those in the service. A professional chef, she did play for a year on the women’s amateur golf tour. If you want to help out you can pledge money to her Facebook site Gina Gillman or directly to Folds Of Honor, which is a top-rated charity.

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