The Voice of the Gem City

News April 8, 2022

This is Marcia Lane, your roving reporter.

In St. Augustine Easter Week festivities officially began Thursday with the Royal Transfer of Office at the Cathedral Basilica as three new people stepped into the roles of the Spanish Royal Family in 1672. Since 1959 three people who can trace their heritage to early St. Augustine history are chosen each year to portray the royals in power when  construction of the Castillo de San Marcos began. This year’s “family” includes Shauna Colee-Griffith as Queen Mariana, Griffin Corrigan as King Carlos and Cora Johns as Princess Margarita Maria. This Sunday — Palm Sunday — is the annual Blessing of the Fleet ceremony at the Bayfront and begins with a procession at noon from the Cathedral. The Bishop of the Diocese of St. Augustine, the Royal Family and Knights of Columbus will be among those taking part of the colorful ceremony.

A fire early this morning in the Francis area off County Road 309C  reportedly destroyed a mobile home. The fire was reported about 5 a.m. and area firefighters rushed to the scene.

Putnam County and Palatka commissioners held an amicable meeting Thursday to talk about issues ranging from potential franchise fees to urban service districts where county and city meet. No actions were taken but commissioners did agree to get together again. County officials did want to know why the city continues to allow internet cafes. In 2021 the county drew up a new ordinance that basically got rid of the cafes allowing game playing and illegal gambling. Complaints about the cafes became a serious drain on manpower and resources including conducting undercover operations, noted Putnam Sheriff’s Office Col. Joe Wells. When Palatka Commissioner Will Jones asked Palatka Police Chief Jason Shaw if it would help the city to have a similar ordinance, Shaw replied “I think it would be beneficial.” He noted one of the city’s two cafes had been shut down that day because of illegal activities, but it was back open already.

Palatka City Commission held a special meeting Thursday to approve the one and only vendor to apply to promote and conduct the Palatka Blue Crab Festival Memorial Day weekend. Commissioners did have concerns over buying alcohol for the event. Former commissioner Allegra Kitchens raised questions about insurance coverage and liability. The bid by RQ Music out of St. Augustine to put on the event is $160,000. The city is pulling $75,000 from general fund reserves and has gotten $25,000 from the Putnam Chamber of Commerce Tourism Development fund. They asked Putnam County for money but the county suggested going back to TDC. County chairman Bill Pickens is scheduling a meeting with the Chamber.

If you stopped by This N That Cafe in Palatka this morning, you walked into a breakfast for nearly 30 mayors from cities around Florida. Palatka Mayor Terrill Hill hosted the event for Florida League of Mayors, a group of which he’s former president. 

Spring is bringing lots of events. 

In St. Augustine this weekend the Betty Griffin Center Run for Peace takes off Saturday at 8 a.m. at the St. Johns County Ocean Pier, the Old Town Art Show is Saturday and Sunday at Francis Field on West Castillo Drive, St. Augustine Orchestra celebrates 60 years with a Six-TEA-th Anniversary Afternoon Tea from 4-5:30 p.m. at St. Anastasia Catholic Church. Tringali Barn on U.S. 1 hosts the Marshall Tucker Band Saturday at a fund-raiser with proceeds going to Builders Care. On Saturday the Bartram Bash Festival will be held at Alpine Grove Park in Switzerland beginning at 10 a.m. An inaugural St. Augustine PoetFest gives poets and book lovers a new event tonight at Relampago Coffee Lab and Saturday at Flagler College’s Ringhaver Student Center during a day-long celebration.

In Flagler County tonight the Flagler County Fair and Youth Show holds its annual animal sale to help defray costs for 4-H and FFA members who have been raising livestock. No fair this year but opening ceremonies for the sale are at 6 p.m. followed by the sale at 6:30 p.m. An extra sweet part — a silent auction dessert auction. On Saturday Sustainable Flagler hosts an electric vehicle showcase from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the parking lot of Palm Coast City Hall.

In Palatka St. Monica Catholic Church on Fourth Street holds its Lenten Fish Fry tonight from 4-7 p.m. Eat in or take out. Master Gardeners of Putnam County hold a plant sale Saturday from 9 a.m to 1 p.m. at the IFAS Extension Service auditorium in East Palatka. Crescent City Woman’s Club yard and bake sale is today and Saturday fro 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the club house on Summit Street. Pineland Lodge No. 86 F&AM holds a fish fry Saturday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Ravine Gardens State Park kicks off their Easter egg hunt Saturday from 8 to 11 a.m. The search is on for 10 large Easter eggs.  Celebrate Trails Florahome is today and Saturday. A Palatka Trail Town Reception is tonight at Azalea City Brewing Co. in Palatka and includes a one-hour cycling tour of Palatka’s murals. At 9 a.m. Saturday Florahome is the place to be for trail rides around the county.

And Putnam County is kicking off the annual Great American Clean Up Saturday morning. You can help out in Welaka and Crescent City with Keep Putnam Beautiful. 

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