The Voice of the Gem City

News March 22, 2022

This is Marcia Lane, your roving reporter.

Plans for the future are on the city of Palatka’s agenda this week. A workshop last night and a presentation to government agencies and the public Wednesday are part of the process. All may not be going as smoothly as some would like. Before the workshop planning session on Palatka’s needs could start Monday, Northeast Florida Regional Planning representatives had to agree to show audience members the results of an earlier workshop. In response to a request from City Commissioner Will Jones to let the public know what was said at the first workshop, Regional Planning’s Jack Shad hesitated, saying they wanted to get fresh input without responders having any preconceived notions. That didn’t go down well with workshop participants and eventually a compromise was worked out with Shad showing the results of the first workshop after Monday’s crowd had commented. Even then some of the results were skewed since the first workshop results didn’t incorporate all issues raised. City commissioners had pushed for the second workshop since they said it would bring out different people and different concerns. The first meeting was at Ravine Gardens State Park, the second at Price-Martin Center. The first meeting had about 50 participating, the second had around 30 with more than half the audience either city employees or Regional Planning workers. The results of those meetings is due in May. 

However a preview of proposed projects and workshop results apparently will be part of another meeting on Wednesday at City Hall. Representatives from state agencies will hear details of what’s been called Plan Palatka. It’s been described as the city’s to-do list and encompasses projects for the next 3-5 years. The city is hoping to get help from those groups for funding for capital improvement projects. Northeast Florida Regional Council will be doing a presentation also including input from the two workshops and potential planned projects. Public input is part of the meeting although the meeting runs from 10 a.m to 12:30 p.m., an inconvenient time for many working people.

A hit-and-run accident this morning on State Road 100 outside of  Palatka caused a delay in traffic this morning, according to Florida Highway Patrol which is investigating. The accident at 7:05 a.m. blocked eastbound lanes in the Carraway Church Road area.

On Monday a crash on Interstate 95 at International Golf Parkway caused traffic delays. Florida Highway Patrol reports a 75-year-old Georgia man was driving a semi south on I-95 when he hit the brakes slowing for traffic and caused the semi to jack knife and hit a guardrail. The driver was not injured.

Putnam County Fair continues today with a civic club luncheon. This evening kids will be taking part in the market swine show at 6 p.m. On Wednesday it’s the annual Senior Day at the fair including lunch at 11 a.m and a program. At 7 p.m. the annual market steer show takes place.

The annual Sheriff’s Gala for the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office

Saturday raised $156,000 for the Flagler Sheriff’s Employee Assistance Trust. The trust was created by Sheriff Rick Staly to provide financial assistance for employees. At the gala Master Deputy Christa Rainey was named the 2021 law enforcement deputy of the year. Deputy First Class Paul Luciano was posthumously named 2021 detention deputy of the year. He died from Covid-19 while working at the jail and this year’s gala was dedicated to his memory.  Nichole North was named 2021 civilian employee of the year. Gina Walters was named 2021 citizen of the year. Citizens Observer Chief Michael Muller was named 2021 volunteer of the year.

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