March 7 – Marcia Lane, roving reporter
This news bulletin is brought to you in conjunction with NATKIM Radio. Listen to WPLK (800 AM), WIYD (1260 AM) and WPLK FM (98.3 FM).
In Palm Coast the city council is interviewing the final round of candidates for city manager today and Friday. A reception this evening will give the public a chance to meet Robin Hayes, Donald Kewley, Matthew Morton and Palm Coast’s interim manager Beau Falgout, who is also in the running. During the day three of the council members are holding closed door meetings when they meet with the candidates.
Putnam County commissioners will be doing some interview of their own, this time for a county attorney. Stacy Manning, who’s been with the county since 2015, has handed in his resignation with his last day March 22. Stepping in temporarily will be former county attorney Rusty Castleberry. New commissioner Jeff Rawls has had run-ins with Manning recently to the point a deputy sat in at a recent workshop.
St. Augustine Beach will be looking for a new council member following the resignation Tuesday night of Rich O’Brien, who has been on the council 10 years. O’Brien said the increasing number of meetings was making it difficult to continue as his business and other responsibilities grow. His resignation came at the end of a special meeting regarding proposed changes to parking including charging for spaces. Names of possible replacements for O’Brien are being sought.
Ben and Louann Williams of Putnam County have been named Florida Land Steward of the Year. The couple owns a 3,725 acre tract next to Rice Creek Conservation Area and is being praised for good stewardship practices. At Wetland Preserve LLC, the couple plants longleaf pines, performs prescribed burns to restore wildlife habitat, offers river excursions and allows Florida Trail hikers to cross their land.
Flagler County Interim County Manager Jerry Cameron is dealing with his first crisis — where the homeless should go. A plan was under way to move the county’s homeless, including a group in a makeshift camp behind the public library to a primitive county campsite known as Russell Landing. It’s In the far west end of Flagler and busing the homeless to the area had been discussed. Now pushback from residents and some elected officials means the plan has been dropped and other solutions sought.
Officials with Lift Putnam, a non-profit seeking to provide more children the opportunity to attend pre-K, says a recent report from the Office of Inspector General critical of a perceived link between the foundation and Putnam County School District attorney was caused by a clerical error. Director Jim Padgett said the early version of Lift Putnam known as the Putnam County School District Education Foundation was drawn up by board attorney Charlie Douglas. However, he said, Douglas had not served on that foundation board and no meetings held. The issue came up as the Inspector General’s office looked into questions regarding the sale of the Campbell building by the district to Lift Putnam. The foundation in turn sold the building they bought for $10 for $450,000. The money was to be used for P-K scholarships. The Inspector General says the money must go for capital outlay.
In St. Johns County, Jeffrey Prevatt is the new fire rescue chief. St. Johns County Commission confirmed appointment of the St. Augustine native Tuesday.
Have lunch and possibly meet your new best friend Friday at Putnam County’s Pet Adoption Center at the corner of Reid and Sixth streets in Palatka. The county’s animal control shelter has a full house plus and dogs and cats are looking for forever homes. The adoption is from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday. Putnam Commissioner Larry Harvey and former commissioner Chip Laibl will be cooking up a free hot dog lunch so people can spend a little time getting to know their possible new roommate.
This is Marcia Lane, your roving reporter.
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