The Voice of the Gem City

News June 13, 2022

This is Marcia Lane, your roving reporter.

Gov. Ron DeSantis was in Flagler County Friday to sign legislation setting aside $300,000 yearly for veterinary care for retired police dogs around the state. One of the people watching the signing was Emma Stanford, a 14-year-old student, who has a love for police dogs. When she was 11 she met Flagler Sheriff Rick Staly and he noticed her attention to the dogs. He sent a unit to her house so she could meet some of the dogs and shortly after that she began selling German Shepherd plushies to raise money for them. Eventually she raised enough to fund a metal shed for the unit’s equipment. Then she got behind an effort to help defray vet expenses, an idea Staly supported. He began putting money in his budget to help the owners who take the dogs, usually the K-9 officer who worked with them. After that  Rep. Sam Killebrew, a Republican out of Polk County and dog lover, got involved and introduced the legislation to make helping the dogs possible. Who says you can’t make a difference?

It’s a week full of meetings. At 5 p.m. today Palatka’s Community Redevelopment Agency meets to look at items including recommendation for a CRA governing board community appointment. Nominees include Dannise Kemp, Sam Deputy, Teresa Jackman and Annie Svetlik. St. Augustine City Commission meets today at 5 p.m. at City Hall. Among items will be a presentation on the Home Again St. Johns strategic plan. That’s the group that helps the homeless and for several years has been looking for more housing opportunities. Other items include a public hearing for the city to apply for a Small Cities Community Development Block Grant, review options for the Fish Island logo and creation of the post of city poet laureate. On Tuesday the Putnam County Commission meets for their regular meeting at 9 a.m. at the county complex. They’ll hold a Port Authority meeting before going into the regular agenda. At 2 p.m. they’ll be back for a board workshop that includes discussion of a bi-weekly pay proposal plus HVAC system replacement at the Putnam Courthouse expected to cost $120,000 as well as a security camera system for more than $186,000.

If you wondered about the tent at the front of the Church of the Holy Comforter in Crescent City, it was for a special reception Saturday. Their pastor, Charlie Erkman, was ordained as priest by Bishop Howard of the Episcopal Diocese of Florida.

And speaking of changes in Crescent City, give a nod to some dedicated volunteers who spent Friday cleaning lamp posts on the west side of Central Avenue. Next step is painting the 30 lamp posts as part of a spruce up effort in the South Putnam town. On Friday the group of volunteers known as the Crescent City Downtown Partnership will be at work on the posts on the east side of Central. Congrats also to the National Honor Society students at Crescent City Jr.-Sr. High School. Erin Delany, their advisor, has been coordinating with the city for fix up projects for the students.

While several area towns are planning Fourth of July fireworks, Flagler Beach won’t be firing off any pyrotechnics. At a meeting Thursday a proposal to have Green Cove Springs-based producer Ryan Allen the job died for lack of a second. Mayor Suzie Johnston and other commissioners pointed to unapproved changes to the fireworks contract they signed off on two weeks ago and were also concerned because they have never seen a proof of insurance certificate. Several other issues also surfaced. Bottom line, for the third year in a row, no fireworks show will go off from the Flagler Beach pier.

This weekend is already building. On Thursday in St. Augustine the Dewey Via Band will be featured at the free Concerts in the Plaza in the Plaza de la Constitucion. The band offers a blend of acoustic country and rock beginning at 7 p.m. On Friday, Flagler Auditorium in Flagler County welcomes John Mueller’s Winter Dance Party, the official live and authentic re-creation of Buddy Holly, Richie Valens and the Big Bopper’s final tour. The part was set for Jan. 7 and tickets purchased are valid. The show begins at 7 p.m. Palatka is one of several area locations celebrating Juneteenth, a commemoration of the ending of slavery in the U.S. The community cultural event is Saturday from noon to 5 p.m. at Palatka Jr.-Sr. High School and features arts and crafts, food vendors, a blood drive and mammogram screenings.

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