The Voice of the Gem City

News April 29, 2022

This is Marcia Lane, your roving reporter.

Flagler College’s library and surrounding streets were closed Thursday for several hours due to what the St. Augustine Police Department called a “suspicious incident.” Police activity was in the area of Sevilla Street between Valencia and King streets and people were asked to avoid the area. Police weren’t releasing details although they did say it was not a report of a suspicious package/bomb and there was no threat to a community. The incident comes a day after an individual set a fire inside the St. Augustine Pirate and Treasure Museum on Castillo Drive. Police have asked the public’s heap in finding that man, apparently Caucasian and wearing glasses. A photo is available on the police department’s Facebook page.

Saturday is Drug Take Back Day with locations set up to receive unused or unwanted prescription medications. Hours are 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the various locations. In Flagler County you can drop off medications at the Flagler Sheriff’s Office district office or the Publix stores at 4950 Belle Terre Parkway, 800 Belle Terre Parkway and 250 Palm Coast Parkway NE. In Putnam you can drop off at TMT Clinic in Interlachen, the Winn-Dixie parking lot in Crescent City and HCA Florida Putnam Hospital in Palatka. In St. Johns County drop off meds at Ponte Vedra High School and The Whetstone Building.

Palatka City Commission is considering putting up $35,000 to help Family Life Center get their Junior Olympics-size pool up and ready for use this summer by the public. Several Center supporters spoke at Thursday’s meeting including Lalita Thomas, representing Family Life which is owned by Calvary Missionary Baptist Church on Palatka’s Northside. The church is proposing the center as a way to provide programs for youth during the summer, a pressing issue since the former Jenkins School gym won’t be renovated in time. While four of the commissioners were ready to apparently vote for the measure as an emergency item, Mayor Terrell Hill said it could be put it on the next agenda and that would give the city time to research legal issues. Former Commissioner Allegra Kitchens also urged checking into potential liabilities noting a lifeguard and insurance would be needed. 

St. Augustine coach Bob Esguerra is ending five decades of coaching multiple sports at schools through St. Johns. For the last 12 years he’s been at St. Augustine High where Wednesday he coached his last home game, a 17-2 win for the Yellow Jackets over Riverside.

St. Augustine this week kicks off the annual Romanza Festivale featuring two weeks of mostly free concerts and performances throughout the city. Jazz vocalist Akia Uwanda sings Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at Trinity Episcopal Church. Astralis Chamber Ensemble performs Sunday at Ancient City Baptist Church. Check out all the events on their website. On Saturday it’s Art in the Park with a Bark at St. Augustine Beach’s Lakeside Park. Artisans, live music, food and beverages as well as animal groups will be at the park from noon to 5 p.m. Guana Tolomato Matanzas Research Reserve holds its annual OceanWise fundraiser beginning at 6 p.m. Saturday, the 9K for K-9s United run is Saturday beginning at 8 a.m. at Wold Golf Village. 

The fourth annual Palm Coast Songwriters Festival is underway in Flagler County. More than 30 songwriters will be at the Daytona State College Palm Coast Amphitheater for a weekend of music. 

In Putnam County Palatka High’s Musical Theatre Department presents Hello, Dolly! tonight and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 2:30 p.m. at C.L. Overturf Center Auditorium on South 18th Street. Veteran’s Freedom Fest is at Putnam County Fairgrounds Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. A free lunch will be provided veterans and their immediate families with others able to buy barbecue dinners. Music and information for veterans are part of the event. A Vintage Fair with 60 vendors will be Saturday at the corner of Radcliff Road and State 20 outside of Palatka from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. On Saturday Fruitland Peninsula Historical Society and Woman’s Club of Crescent City offer a luncheon and tours of the Hubbard House, the Little Blue House Museum and six historic churches on Saturday as a kickoff for Historic Preservation Month. Putnam County Historical Society presents a program on historical archives Saturday at 11 a.m. at the Bronson-Mulholland House in Palatka. Putnam Land Conservancy holds their annual Spring picnic Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at T.E. Triplett Memorial Nature Preserve near Melrose. 

And among returning festivals — the Bostwick Blueberry Festival this Saturday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Bostwick Community Center on Tillman Avenue off U.S. 17 North.  It’s the 23rd anniversary for the festival that celebrates everything blueberry including pies, ice cream, fresh blueberries sand a wonderful blueberry pancake breakfast from 8 a.m. to noon. Food, crafts, plants, live music, more than 100 vendors and a used book sale mean there’s something for everyone.

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