The Voice of the Gem City

News March 30, 2022

This is Marcia Lane, your roving reporter.

Putnam County School District has announced graduation schedules for this year. Putnam Virtual School graduates May 31 at 6 p.m. in the School District Board Room. Interlachen Jr,-Sr. High graduates May 31 at 8 p.m. at Thompson-Baker Stadium in Interlachen. Mellon Learning Center graduates June 1 at 9:30 a.m. in the school cafeteria. Crescent City Jr. -Sr. High graduates from Wilcher Stadium in Crescent City June 2 at 7:30 p.m. Palatka Jr.-Sr. High graduates June 3 at 8 p.m. at Veterans Memorial Stadium in Palatka. Q.I. Roberts Jr.-Sr. High graduates June 4 at 7 p.m. at Veterans Memorial Stadium.

Teens from across Northeast Florida will be at The St. Augustine Amphitheatre this afternoon, but not to listen to music. They’ll be hearing from some of TikTok’s most popular mental health advocates including keynote speaker Johnny Crowder. The BRAVE Summit in conjunction with CareConnect+ from Flagler Hospital ant The Players is seeking to open a dialogue with teens in order to address the stigma associated with mental health and to encourage teens to learn how to foster mental wellness. The event begins at 3 p.m and includes complimentary food, entertainment, giveaways and, yes, some music.

Crescent City in South Putnam County continues to look for ways to help the Lara family who lost their son after he walked away from his backyard Sunday and drowned in a septic tank on the property. A massive 24 hour search brought an outpouring of support including food and supplies from residents and businesses in the small community for the officers and rescue workers from Putnam County Sheriff’s Office and four other counties. Now people are looking for ways to help the family. One woman has organized a meal train to provide meals for the family. On April 6 a pair of Volusia County residents who live about three miles from the Lara’s Putnam County residence are holding a dance class at the Pomona Park Community Center with 100 percent of the fees going to the family. Cost is $5. Items for the family will also be accepted, according to the Volusia residents who run Zumba with Kandy and Molly. The Lara family moved to the area from Central America a couple of years ago. The mother, Mary Magdelena, was in the backyard with her children when she took her 6-year-old daughter inside to clean her up. Jose, her 22-month-old son, wandered off. She also has newborn baby son less than a month old. A GoFundMe account has been set up to help with funeral expenses. The Laras reportedly have no family here. 

This weekend Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission holds its annual free chance to go fishing. On April 2 and 3 Florida residents and visitors won’t need a license to go recreational freshwater fishing. All other rules including seasons, bag and size limits still apply.

The arts may build bridges but not Russian ones these days. First Coast Opera was set to present a program in St. Augustine focusing on 19th-century Russian opera selections but the company and artists including Russians and Ukrainians decided to postpone that program. The performance is still on for Thursday at 7 p.m. at the Lightner Museum but will focus on selections from Italian, French and German operas.

Flagler Beach is going to the dogs. Surfing dogs that is. On May 21 the city is planning the Hang 8 Dog Surfing Contest. Officials think the zaniness of the event will be a perfect fit at dog-friendly Flagler Beach. The contest will be held on the beach parallel to South Fifth Street off State Road A1A.

And under best news category, St. Ambrose Catholic Church is holding their Spring Fair in Elkton this Sunday. COVID-19 postponed the event for a couple of years, but church members are moving forward to put on the 139th fair from noon to 4 p.m. As always expect authentic Minorcan clam chowder as well as pulled pork dinners and taco dinners. Kids actives and hayrides, a better than a garage sale, drawings, bake sale and country store are in the works. Proceeds to to support St. Ambrose parish and ministries.

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