The Voice of the Gem City

News May 18, 2022

This is Marcia Lane, your roving reporter.

Competitors are in Palatka registering for the 33rd annual Wolfson Children’s Hospital Bass Tournament and getting in a little practice time before the tournament that runs Thursday through Saturday. Anglers will be taking from the Palatka city docks with the Lads and Lassies Tournament Thursday, VIP & Friends Tournament Friday and the 33rd annual Wolfson’s on Saturday. More than $48,000 in cash prizes will go to competitors who come in from across the Southeast. Since the first tournament in 1989, more than $6 million has been raised for the hospital in Jacksonville. Boat trailers and trucks are already crowding the downtown area.

Despite a three-hour hearing Tuesday and lots of concerns voiced by residents, St. Johns County commissioners have given approval for another 5,600 homes at the Silverleaf Community off of State Road 16A in northwest St. Johns County. The commission had already given the ok for Silverleaf to build 10,700 homes. When all the projects are completed, 13,000-16,000 additional residents are expected in an area of almost 10,000 acres. Lack of infrastructure including roads and schools as well as environmental impact concerns were among issues raised during sometimes heated meeting. The vote was 4-1. 

On Thursday Palatka’s Citizens Advisory Task Force holds a public meeting to look at community needs and possible projects that could be funded through grants from the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity’s Small Cities Community Development Block Grant Program. City officials are expected to make recommendations for a project also. A recommendation will go to the city commission. Fred Fox, who has long applied for grants for Palatka, will give a presentation on CDBG at the meeting that begins at 3 p.m. Thursday at City Hall on North Second Street.

In St. Augustine sanitary sewer manhole rehabilitation work begins May 23 throughout the city, according to city officials. The rehabs are part of the city gravity sanitary sewer inflow and infiltration and part of an effort to prevent further deterioration or failures of vulnerable infrastructure. It’s also expected to eliminate ground water and soil from entering the sanitary sewer collection systems. Crews are putting door hanger notices in areas where work will be done. A map of locations is available online at If you have questions, call the Water Works Department at 904-825-1040.

Martha Mann has filed to seek election to the Pomona Park Town Council, according to Putnam County Supervisor of Elections Charles Overturf III. She’s seeking Seat 1.

St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office has released the names of two men killed in a reported murder-suicide between neighbors on Saturday. Suspected shooter was Jose Alberto Melendez, 74. The victim was Anthony Chavez, 42. According to 9-1-1 calls released by the Sheriff’s Office, neighbors went to help Chavez after the shooting and called the Sheriff’s Office to the townhouse community on Servia Drive off St. Johns Parkway in northern St. Johns County. One caller told dispatchers Melendez had been known to “pull his gun before multiple times.” The caller then reported Melendez was walking away from the cul-de-sac back toward his house. He then went into his backyard and reportedly turned the gun on himself. No motive has been released.

GFWC Woman’s Club of Palatka is once again holding their “Crape Myrtles for the Community,” a way to beautify the community. Seven types of crape myrtles are available at $6 per 1 gallon plant. Pick-ups are June 24 at the clubhouse on South 13th Street. To order, go online to Proceeds from the sale will go to the beautification fund for the club’s grounds. 

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