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).
Two missing persons cases ended in positive outcomes Thursday. A 12-year-old who had been missing from her Putnam County home since Monday was found safe Thursday evening. Putnam County Sheriff’s Office also reported Arnaldo Ruiz, 94, has been found. He was last seen in the area of St. Johns and Carriage Place in Satsuma.
A Satsuma man died apparently of a self-inflicted gunshot wound as Putnam County deputies were attempting to serve him with a warrant for child pornography. Gordon Popp was facing five counts of possessing and transmitting child pornography. Deputies attempted to arrest Popp at 12:08 p.m. Thursday at his Payne Road home and heard a single gunshot. Attempts to call Popp were unsuccessful and officers used drones to survey the house. Tear gas was finally used. Two dogs were in the house. Popp’s body was found when SWAT and other deputies entered. An autopsy is scheduled.
Palatka has a new city manager. By a 4-to-1 vote Thursday city commissioners approved a contract with William Shanahan for $120,000. That’s the highest salary paid for a Palatka city manager. Officials said they were saving money on insurance for Shanahan and his family since the former Army major has government insurance. Biggest discussion was where the new city manager would live. In the contract is a clause that if Shanahan and his family are unable to find a home “acceptable to them” in the city they can live outside the city. Last night commissioners put a 10-mile limit on how far outside the city they can move. Because of that Vice Mayor Mary Lawson Brown voted against the contract. “I do feel if we have to live in the city then he should live in the city.” Last city manager allowed to live outside the city was Allan Bush more than 15 years ago. Zeriah Folston the previous city manager who was fired in July 2018, was given an extension to find a home inside the city.
School superintendents including St. Johns County’s Tim Forson were in Tallahassee Thursday before the House subcommittee on Pre-K through 12 appropriations. Topic of discussion included salary negotiations. That’s because Gov. Ron DeSantis is pushing raising beginning salaries for Florida public school teachers to $47,500. What that will do to the rest of teacher salary schedules is up in the air. Superintendents want the proposal clarified since contract negotiations are required and other teachers would expect higher compensations as well. Districts have been fighting for years what they see as the erosion and removal of local control over schools by the state.
In Flagler County
It’s HOLLER-ween at Florida Agricultural Museum today and Saturday with haunted house and trails.
In St. Johns County
Ripley’s Believe It or Not! offers a Wild and Weird Halloween Extravaganza Saturday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Dusty Crum of TV’s Guardians of the Glades will be on hand for the not-so-scary events.
First Coast Opera kicks off its 20th season with Pasta & Puccini an evening of dinner theater at St. Anastasia Catholic Church’s fellowship hall on Saturday.
The Nocatee community in Ponta Vedra holds their inaugural NOCtoberfest event, an Oktoberfest-style festival Saturday and Sunday at the Nocatee Splash Park.
In Putnam County
St. Mark’s Episcopal Church on Main Street holds a spaghetti dinner tonight beginning at 5 p.m.
Purple Plum Playhouse presents a reading of The War of the Worlds and dinner tonight and Saturday at Howe Memorial Fellowship Hall in Crescent City.
Ravine Gardens State Park offers Spooktacular featuring classic monsters Saturday from 6-9 p.m. at the Gardens on Twigg Street. Kid-oriented.
Palatka Railfest 2019 Train Show is Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at historic Union Depot and Price Martin Center at U.S. 17 and 11th Street in Palatka.
A Halloween Bash at the Shrine Club in East Palatka from 7-9 p.m. Saturday helps the county’s Feed the Need program
At the Bronson-Mulholland House in Palatka on Saturday two events are going on. At 6 p.m. it’s Haunted Theatre by the Double Trouble Theatre Company. Cost $8. At 8 p.m. enjoy a free movie and popcorn. Featured is Creature From The Black Lagoon, a 1954 sci-fi classic filmed in part in Putnam’s Rice Creek.
This is Marcia Lane, your roving reporter.