The Voice of the Gem City

News May 13, 2022

This is Marcia Lane, your roving reporter.

Palatka Mayor Terrell Hill was facing four opponents in his bid for re-election but reportedly it’s now down to two as the deadline to file by petition nears. One — Jose Moldonado — hasn’t turned in any written petitions to the Putnam elections office and has told friends he has decided not to run. The other — Latonya Johns — withdrew from the race but is now running for the seat held by Commissioner Rufus Borum. After Monday candidates who file must pay a fee to qualify rather than collect signatures. Commissioner Justin Campbell hasn’t drawn any opponents so far.

After Thursday’s lengthy Palatka City Commission meeting, two groups meeting at city-owned Hammock Hall in the city’s South Historic District found themselves out on the street. A science club and the Palatka Duplicate Bridge Club have been paying to rent the building for their meetings. Commissioners now have decided to sell the building and and parking lot at 429 Kirby St. It’s the second time the bridge players have been tossed to the curb. They used to meet at the Cooper Center off Crill Avenue. Commissioners decided to up the rent and the group went to Hammock Hall, a building bought and paid for by Community Redevelopment money. Two commissioners Thursday did get the commission to go for giving them a two-month grace period and move them to the Price-Martin Center. Commissioners appeared shocked to learn Hammock Hall was in a residential zoned area and said the community building was inappropriate for the zoning. They’ve been arguing with the group running the building for several years, noting they were having to make repairs but receiving no money from rental of the building. Commissioner Justin Campbell said “anyone in their right mind” would have been looking for an alternative meeting place. It was revealed an offer for the property had been received Thursday although no details were given.

The family of an U.S. Army soldier who once lived in St. Augustine is seeking to have him buried at the St. Augustine National Cemetery after he was killed by a bear during training exercises in Alaska. Staff Sgt. Seth Plant was in a remote portion of Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson with a small group when he and another soldier were attacked by a mother bear apparently trying to protect her two cubs. A spokesman for authorities say the bear is still being sought. The National Cemetery is at capacity, according to officials.

First Baptist Church is holding a reunion and catered dinner Saturday for members of youth groups from the late 1960s through 1970s who once attended. You can make a reservation by calling Billy Hoare Herrington at 386-972-1789. John Hewett, the Rev. Kenny Jones and Craig Sherouse initiated the event.

Palatka Christian Service Center Inc. also known as Heart Of Putnam this Saturday celebrates 30 years of serving the community with an expo at Palatka’s riverfront Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. A short program and some of the group’s collaboration partners including Epic-Cure, Salvation Army and God’s Kitchen will be at the event, according to Executive Director Sheila McCoy.

A free daylong Putnam County Agriculture Summit is going on today at St. Johns River State College in Palatka. St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Palatka holds an eat in or take out spaghetti dinner tonight from 5-7 p.m. Rotary Club of Crescent City holds their Dollars For Scholars 5K Run Saturday beginning at 8 a.m. to help raise scholarships for local high school students. Saturday is the grand opening of the Fruitland Peninsula Historical Society’s Margary Neal Jones Nelson Archives at the former Miller Middle School. The $20 admission includes a barbecue dinner.

In Flagler County tonight Flagler Palm Coast Jazz Band holds a concert in Veterans Park from 6-8:30 p.m. in Flagler Beach. 

St. Augustine Shrine Club hosts a barbecue and horse games at the St. Johns County Fairgrounds in Elkton Saturday. Admission is free.

St. Augustine it’s all things historical this weekend as about a dozen groups and historic sites come together for the St. Augustine History Festival. Colonial medical practices, lectures, scavenger hunts, duels and Drake’s Raid are part of the weekend. A history passport helps maneuver the events. You can go online to pick up one at

You can enjoy theatrical productions in all three counties this weekend.  Flagler Palm Coast High School’s FPC Thespians Troupe offers the musical Singin’ In the Rain tonight and Saturday at Flagler Auditorium. The production features the Broadway stage musical taken from the 1952 movie musical. In Palatka River City Players present tthe murderous comedy Francine’s Will at the Scarlett-Hill Theatre in the Larimer Arts Center at 216 Reid St. tonight through Sunday And in St. Augustine A Classic Theatre offers the play The Immigrant Friday, Saturday and Sunday at the newly restored St. Augustine Water Works building at 184 San Marco Ave. 

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