The Voice of the Gem City

LOCAL NEWS 7/15/2022

Palatka City Commission will be busy with finances tomorrow. First they hold a Community Redevelopment Agency budget workshop at 9 a.m. The commission, a downtown business owner and one county commissioner make up the CRA board.  At 10 a.m. the Palatka Commission holds a budget workshop for the coming fiscal year. Both meetings are at City Hall on North Second Street.   Tonight at the Crescent City Commission meeting, Putnam County School District officials will be talking about their plans for South Putnam schools. The school district began a plan last year for what they’re calling “right sizing” and that has already led to closing some schools and joining junior and senior high school populations. They’re also seeking a massive bond issue to pay for new schools. That is expected to include a new high school and a new elementary school in the south Putnam town. The future of Miller Middle School, which was closed when the junior and senior highs consolidated this year, will be up for discussion. Tearing down the historic Miller School is one option..    On Monday City of St. Augustine launches a pilot program at the Historic Downtown Parking Facility that allows people to use the ParkStAug mobile app or a payment kiosk. Since the facility opened a parking attendant has been on duty. “This payment option at the parking garage has been in the works for quite some time             The Putnam County Sheriff’s office arrested 29 year old William Merrill for numerous charges for assaulting a child. Merill reportedly kept a minor child in an abusive sexual relationship for two years.  He has been charged with lewd and lascivious behavior on a victim 12 to 16 years old, possession of a weapon by a convicted felon, cruelty toward a child, aggravated assault, contributing to the delinquency of a minor and tattooing a minor without a parent or guardians consent. Reportedly, Merrill burned the child’s skin, tattooed his initials and other symbols on her body, and sold pictures of her and a video of them having sex.  Sheriff Gator Deloach urged all parents to review their children’s social media and see who is contacting them. The Flagler County Sheriff’s Office ended their two month investigation with the arrest of 18 drug dealers in Flagler County and seizing enough drugs to kill more than 98 thousand people. Operation Meth Side Story  resulted in 13 arrests with five other arrests pending. Putnam County Supervisor of Elections Charles Overturf noted that two races will be decided in the upcoming August 23 Closed Primary Election.  The two school board races will be decided with Jane Thomas’s seat up for grabs with Phil Leary and Kevin Whitlow running for the District 5 seat and incumbent Bud McInnis and challenger Linda Wagner running for the District four school board seat.  Early voting begins August 8th and two polling locations have changed. Precincts 8 and 9 have changed the Satsuma Fire Department is now at Hope Lutheran Church in Satsuma and the Hollister Fire Department is now at the Dunham Woods Baptist church.  If you hear increased aircraft activity and noise today and is the Palatka Municipal Airport joint military training exercise going on today and tomorrow from 9am today to 2:30 tomorrow.  The airport will be closed to the public during this time. The residents of Welaka are all smiles today after receiving news they would get more than three million dollars in state funds to pay for upgrades to the town’s wastewater treatment plant. Govenor Ron Desantis visited Welaka yesterday7 for ythe presentation.  The new treatment plant will be on line in about three years.   a Special Called Meeting of the Palatka City Commission has been called to be held on Monday at 9:50 AM at City Hall located at 201 N. 2nd Street, Palatka, The purpose of the meeting is to authorize the Mayor to sign a grant agreement for the Airport Improvement Program Putnam County Sheriff’s Office’s Police Athletic League holds a week-long summer camp in Interlachen beginning Monday. Registration is $15 and includes breakfast and lunch. Sign-ups are for children 7-14 with attendance limited to 75. The program will be at the former C.H. Price Middle School campus. For more, call 386-329-1231.   St. Augustine’s Fourth of Youth Elks Lodge #684 in Lincolnville will be getting major renovations through the Florida African American Cultural and Historical Grants program. Funding is provided by through the Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds program from the federal government. Facilities that highlight the contributions, culture or history of African Americans will benefit. The Elks Lodge at 100 Washington St. was awarded $891,932, after an additional $30 million became available.   The City of Palatka will hold collective bargaining negotiations between the City of Palatka City Manager and the Professional Firefighters of Palatka on July 22 Palatka’s American Legion Bert Hodge Post 45 is holding a rib sale this Saturday from noon to 4 p.m. at Hitchock’s Supermarket in East Palatka. Cost is $20 per slab. American Legion Auxiliary Unit 45 will also be holding a bank sale. Money goes to support local veterans.   St. James United Methodist Church holds their Vacation Bible School Friday through Sunday at the church at 400 Reid St. in Palatka. The morning VBS has a barnyard theme. Call 904-806-1426 to pre-register for the free ecumenical VB
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