The Voice of the Gem City

News August 2, 2022

This is Marcia Lane, your roving reporter.

Dry weather ended with a boom around midnight Monday as expected thunderstorms rolled in. Lightning, thunder and rain came down for more than an hour. In Palatka 2 and1/2 inches were recorded at the WPLK/WIYD studios while weather watchers in East Palatka reported 1 and 3/4 inches. In the area today a 40 percent of showers and thunderstorms, mainly after 2 p.m. is forecast. Be careful if you’re out; heat index values will be between100 and 107.

School districts in St. Johns, Putnam and Flagler counties are looking for teachers. That puts them in the same boat as every other district in the state as schools ready to open. Teachers in the three counties are already heading back to work for planning and in-service training. Students follow on Aug. 10. Districts are on the lookout for teachers, bus drivers and crossing guards. Putnam County School Superintendent Rick Surrency summed up this coming school year as a “relaunch. We’re getting back to normal after two years of COVID.”  In Putnam, Middleton-Burney Elementary in Crescent City is among schools seeking teachers. Districts don’t know what official student counts will be until 10 days into a new school year per state requirements. Because schools are starting so early this year, those counts may be off since Labor Day is traditionally when schools see their student count solidify. 

If you’re going to school in Putnam County, Aug. 8 is open house at schools, giving parents and students a chance to meet teachers and check bus schedules. You can check for individual schools by going to their websites.

St. Augustine Beach city officials say the $1.3 million received from the State Fiscal Year 2023 budget will go for two stormwater projects. One is for Magnolia Dunes/Atlantic Circle regional stormwater resiliency improvement and the other is for stormwater improvements to alleviate flooding on the west end of Seventh, Eighth and Ninth streets.

A 10U baseball team from Julington Creek in St. Johns County is headed for the Cal Ripken 10U World Series in Vincennes, Ind., this month. The Julington Creek Diamond Kings 10U Elite team won the Southeast Regional Championship title and is now on a fund-raising frenzy to come up with $12,000 so they can make the trip in a week.

Monkeypox continues to make the news with about 5,000 cases reported in the United States. In Northeast Florida two confirmed cases and four probable cases are listed. Flagler County reported one of the probable cases.

Palatka Recreation Department is holding flag football sign-ups through Aug. 26. The program is for ages 5-13. Registration fee is $25. Call 386-329-0100 Extension 323 for information or go the Palatka recreation website.

Expect a busy week at the beach as people enjoy the last days before summer vacations end. Lifeguards along the coast from Jacksonville to Daytona Beach are cautioning people about sharks. Last week one man was injured by a shark at Jacksonville Beach. On Monday a television station posted a photo from Ponte Vedra Beach of two sharks near the water’s edge apparently chasing something … but not a human. In Daytona Beach two reports of people being treated after stings from the barbs of stringrays.

Got a knack for rhyme? Apply to be the official Poet Laureate of St. Augustine. The St. Augustine Commission approved the post to promote poetry and enrich lives of citizens. Officials are seeking a poetic identity for the Nation’s Oldest City. They shouldn’t have any problems — they already have an Ancient City Poets group that meets and reads selections monthly and Flagler College is putting on their second annual Poet Fest. If you’re interested in applying for the job, go to or call the City Clerk’s Office at 904-825-1007. Deadline to apply is Aug. 31.

And a belated happy birthday to a lady who brought grace to countless numbers of dance students in Palatka and St. Augustine for decades. She’s also a past Queen of the Royal Family of St. Augustine. Sally Reyes Walton is still one of the most elegant ladies you’ll meet.

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