The Voice of the Gem City

News May 6, 2022

This is Marcia Lane, your roving reporter.

Thunderstorms are possible tonight but sunny weather is expected Saturday and Sunday. Good news for the annual Mug Race is that winds are predicted Saturday. The sailing race from Palatka to the Rudder Club in Jacksonville is divided into classes with the first group going out at 8 a.m. Great places to watch all along the riverfront where sailors are already gathering today as they prepare for Saturday’s start.

These days school pranks can have more serious consequences than they used to. Five Ponte Vedra High School students could be facing criminal charges and suspension after they apparently snuck the carcass of a dead shark into the high school Thursday and hoisted it up over a staircase in the main courtyard where it was hanging when others arrived for school. Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is investigating.

The accused killer of a 13-year-old in St. Johns County was in court Thursday in St. Johns County to enter a not guilty plea. On Mother’s Day a year ago, cheerleader Tristyn Bailey was reported missing from her Durbin Crossing home. Her body was found hours later and a fellow Patriot Oaks Academy student was charged with first-degree murder in her stabbing death. Aiden Fucci, now 15, was in court Thursday with a newly-assigned public defender. Fucci did have a private attorney when he was first charged but later was declared indigent and a public defender attorney appointed. He recently got a new public defender. Next pre-trial hearing is June 7. Bailey’s family and friends were at Thursday’s hearing with many wearing aqua, her favorite color. On Monday groups in St. Johns have indicated they’ll be wearing aqua as a way of remembering the girl and showing their support for her family.

In Flagler County Sheriff Rick Staly is holding a press conference today updating the public on the murder of Noah Smith, a 16-year-old student at Flagler Palm Coast High School. He was shot and killed in January. Earlier this week another FPC student was shot and killed.

If you missed the National Day of Prayer ceremony in Palatka Thursday, you can catch it online at the St. James United Methodist Church site or the Central Putnam Ministerial Association site. Pastors from around Palatka took part in the ceremony as well as a couple of excellent musicians. The annual event is just returning after the Covid-19 restrictions. This year’s event, normally held on the Putnam County courthouse lawn, was held at St. James and, given the heat, it was a smart move.

In Putnam County this weekend the Rotary Club of Palatka begins its annual blood screening and other tests at St. Johns River State College. Register at or go to the college on St. Johns Avenue in Palatka. Palatka High School Musical Theatre Department offers the musical Hello, Dolly! tonight and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 2:30 p.m. at C.O. Overturf Jr. Center, 1110 South 18th St. River City Players present the murderous comedy Francine’s Will tonight and Saturday at 7 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. at Larimer Arts Center, 216 Reid St. Palatka Art League holds their annual tea Saturday at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. at the Tilghman House, 324 Reid St. Tickets are $15 in advance. Call 407-718-0667. 

In St. Augustine, tonight is First Friday Art Walk on King Street from 5-9 p.m. and a free concert at 7 p.m. at Cathedral Basilica. Gamble Rogers Music Festival is today and Saturday at Colonial Oak Music Park on St. George Street. The Latin American Festival is Saturday at Francis Field. St. Augustine Cruisers Annual Car Show is Saturday at Classic Car Museum. Third annual St. Augustine Craft Brewers Festival is Saturday at the Fountain of Youth. St. Augustine Food + Wine Festival continues through Sunday at World Golf Village. A Classic Theatre presents The Immigrant Friday through Sunday at The Waterworks Building, 184 San Marco Ave.

Palm Coast in Flagler County celebrates its 17th annual Arbor Day event Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Central Park in Town Center. This year trees are available for the donation of a non-perishable food item for humans or animals. New will be the release of native monarch butterflies. Lots of fun things for kids and families are featured.

Don’t forget Sunday is Mother’s Day. If you can, give your mom a hug.

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