The Voice of the Gem City

News March 25,2022

This is Marcia Lane, your roving reporter.

While rain closed the Putnam County Fair Thursday evening, expect great weather tonight and Saturday at the fairgrounds in East Palatka. You can get real bargains tonight at the market swine and steer sale at 7 p.m. Go in with a couple of others if it’s too much meat for you. Don’t forget you’ll be helping defray costs for the youngsters who have been raising the animals for months.The fair with midway, entertainment and exhibits is 5 to 11 p.m. tonight and noon to 11 p.m. Saturday.

Palatka is about to become a two-stoplight town down St. Johns Avenue. Palatka commissioners voted Thursday to do away with most of the traffic lights on down St. Johns Avenue. Ninth and 11th street lights were spared. Other intersections will become four-way stops. Ninth is part of State Road 20 and 11th has city police and fire departments and the U.S. Post Office. City officials and design specialists have pushed for getting rid of all the lights as part of a streetscape project downtown but gotten push back from citizens. Commissioners plowed forward Thursday. They had planned on removing 11th also, but apparently listened when former commissioner Allegra Kitchens pointed out the government offices on that street. She tried to save other lights but failed. Lights at Third and Seventh streets were hit by lightning in the past and the city says it will cost more than $30,000 to repair those as well as requiring work to meet new Department of Transportation standards. On Thursday the stoplight at Fourth Street was hit by lightning, say officials. A DOT study requested by the city concluded not enough traffic went down St. Johns to require lights at the intersections. DOT, which is suppose to handle state roads, did recommend keeping the light at Ninth, which is part of a state road under their control.

A Michigan man injured Wednesday night in a crash on U.S. 17 North near Bostwick has died, reports the Florida Highway Patrol. Three motorcycles were headed north on 17 just north of Palmetto Bluff Road around 6 p.m. Wednesday when a vehicle exited a parking lot and the Michigan motorcyclist, 66, was unable to slow down. The Clarkston, Mich., man struck the back of a motorcycle driven by a 32-year-old Waterford, Mich., woman. Both were thrown from their cycles. The man was taken to Orange Park Medical Center in critical condition and later died. He was not wearing a helmet, according to FHP. The woman, who was wearing a helmet, was not injured.

Putnam County Sheriff’s Office deputies who went to arrest a man for who went to arrest a man for a probation violation in Lake County ended up arresting the man on two counts of child neglect. Deputies found Owen Kyle Watson, 34, at his home, a disabled RV. Inside they found a 2-year-old daughter and his one-year-old son. Both children were reported unclean with the boy covered in peanut butter and feces and the girl wet and smelling of feces and urine. The interior of the RV was described as deplorable. No running water, septic system or electricity was available. Department of Children and Families was called and the children eventually turned over to their grandmother. The children’s mother is reportedly incarcerated. Watson was wanted after being convicted of driving on a suspended license and fleeing police.

The race for Palatka city commission/mayor just got a bit more interesting. Businesswoman and real estate agent Robbi Correa has filed her intent to run for the post currently held by Terrell Hill. He recently filed his intent to seek re-election. Two other people had already filed. So far no one has filed to run against Commissioners Rufus Borom and Justin Campbell who are also up for re-election.

Flagler County’s Cracker Day returns Saturday after a two-year hiatus. Sponsored by the Flagler County Cattlemen’s Association the event is at 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.

St. Augustine is busy with the 39th annual St. Augustine Lions Spring Festival Saturday and Sunday at Francis Field. Expect seafood, arts and crafts, live music and family activities. Race Week kicks off Saturday with junior sailors taking part in the Youth Regatta along the Bayfront. EPIC Behavioral Healthcare hosts its annual Flower & Garden Expo Saturday and Sunday at Sykes’ Family Farm in. Elkton. Garden vendors, lecture and a children’s activity area are features. 

In Palatka tonight St. Monica’s Catholic Church continues their Lenten fish dinners from 4-7 p.m.. Palatka Art League hosts art and craft demonstrations by local artists on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Tilghman House. It’s free and includes activities for all ages. The Artisan Gift Boutique will be open. St. James United Methodist Church holds a Spring Fling Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the church fellowship hall at 400 Reid St. An upscale clothing boutique, unusual items, crystal and linens are for sale. You can enjoy lunch from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Crescent City Woman’s Club hosts a Sunday luncheon from 11;30 to 2 p.m. San Mateo Presbyterian Church will be celebrating their 140th anniversary this Sunday following the 10:30 a.m. service. Music, games and an old-fashioned picnic are planned. Bring a covered dish. RSVP to 386-546-4441.

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