The Voice of the Gem City


This is Marcia Lane, your roving reporter.

Palatka City Commission is looking at the fate of traffic lights on St. Johns Avenue at their meeting tonight at 6 p.m. Traffic signals at Third, Fourth, Sixth, Seventh and 11th streets are among those being considered. The city has been experimenting with four-way stops and blinking lights as a different means of controlling traffic. Among items on the consent agenda are special permits for the Blue Crab Festival and a budget transfer to cover the $75,000 the city pledged toward the festival held on Memorial Day weekend. The city has decided to take over the festival and run it using a professional coordinator. They are looking to the county for another $75,000.

A cold front continues pushing through the area and so will the rain today. While a severe weather threat is predicted for parts of northern Florida, Putnam, Flagler and St. Johns counties are more likely to see rain which may lead to some flooding. Temperatures are dropping into the 60s with rain expected to ease off during the night.

That rain does mean some changes for the Putnam County Fair. A decision on opening is on an hour-to-hour basis, say fair officials. Check WPLK/WIYD or go to the fair’s social media site. Tonight is the Continental Heifer Shows at 7 p.m. Those are English-based breeds. Senior Day at Wednesday’s fair was a success as was the Civic Club Luncheon Tuesday. Kiwanis Azalea City narrowly edged out the Noon Rotary Club for most members attending. A surprise 50/50 drawing was a windfall for Sunrise Rotary member Palmer Kinser and a boost for local Feed the Need food charity which netted $298.

On Wednesday a federal grand jury indicted a St. Johns County private school teacher on charges of trying to entice a minor for sexual activity. Matthew Yates, 27, of Veritas Classical School, discovered the on-line teen was actually an undercover agent. In addition to the charge of attempted online enticement he is also charged with attempting to entice a minor for sexual activity for the purpose of producing visual depictions of such conduct. Prosecutors say Yates wanted to produce child pornography from the act.

Palm Coast City Council is back up to full strength after council members chose district school official John Fanelli to fill the empty District 2 Seat. Council member Victor Barbosa quit the post recently after being accused of shoplifting, a charge that was withdrawn. Council members by a 3-1 vote chose Fanelli, currently district coordinator of student supports and behavior and a former school principal. The only member to vote against his appointment cited concerns of potential conflicts of interest if school items come up. The seat will be up for election this November.

A vehicle crash in Putnam County involving a motorcycle Wednesday sent one person to Orange Park Medical Center with trauma injuries. Florida Highway Patrol reported U.S. 17 North near Bostwick was blocked for a time because of the crash that is under investigation.

Flagler County’s Cracker Day returns this Saturday after a two-year hiatus. The popular event sponsored by the Flagler County Cattlemen’s Association is at the Flagler Fairgrounds in Bunnell with rough rider games beginning at 8 a.m., a barbecue lunch from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and a rodeo at noon. Admission is $20 for the 65th annual event.

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