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Palatka is looking to the future and what residents want to see happen. At a meeting with a variety of what were termed community economic interest partners Thursday night City Manager Bill Shanahan asked what one priority project they wanted to see get underway in the next three years. The list was varied including stronger code enforcement, multi-use amphitheater, better ordinances, aggressive marketing, community theater/playhouse, updated zoning, more residential use downtown, centralized downtown city government complex and developing more venues using the St. Johns River. All those will be among proposals up for discussion at an upcoming all-day workshop looking to the future, Shanahan said.
Putnam County Clerk of Court Tim Smith’s announcement he won’t seek re-election this year is making the Supervisor of Elections office a busy place. Kenny Downs, Smith’s right-hand man, is running for the post with Smith’s endorsement. Also filing Thursday was Matt Reynolds, deputy county manager. He held a similar post when he was with the city of Palatka and then moved to the county at the request of Terry Suggs, when he moved from Palatka city manager to county manager.
In St. Johns County interim county administrator Hunter Conrad sat down with Commission Chair Jeb Smith and county staff Thursday to work out a contract for him as permanent county administrator. Salary agreed to in a four-year contract would be $211,000 a year. Conrad stepped down as clerk of court and comptroller to fill in as administrator after the commission fired Michael Wanchick in November. In a surprise move earlier this month the commission agreed to make Conrad permanent manager. That’s still causing grumblings from some residents who expected a search to be conducted nationwide as in the past.
Palatka Kiwanis members are hosting fund-raiser barbecue on Saturday. The very active civic club is selling ribs for $17 at Bramlett’s Plumbing on State Road 19 beginning at 10 a.m. until ribs are gone.
A 45-year-old Palatka man convicted of assaulting a child under the age of 12 has been sentenced to life behind bars. Stanley Hunter admitted to police he knew he was HIV positive when he attacked the 11-year-old. He was a friend of the victim’s family and reportedly raped her several times after the original assault. Hunter has a record of assault. He’s being transferred to state prison from the Putnam County jail.
This weekend is the last chance to see Nights of Lights in St. Augustine for the Christmas 2019 season. Trolleys are continuing to run and that makes it easier to enjoy the three million lights.
In Palatka Saturday it’s the 2020 Rotary Health Fair. The event that features health information and testing including blood screening is from 8 a.m. to noon at the St. Johns River State College gymnasium.
It’s apparently weather for running. In St. Augustine the third annual Conquer the Trails 5K Run/Walk takes participants through the wooded and paved trails in the TrailMark Community. The run begins at 9 a.m., beginning and ending at the TrailMark Community Center. In Flagler County on Saturday evening Rotary Club of Flagler Beach hosts the annual Race of the Runways for Rotary 5K Run/Walk. The 6 p.m. event is at Flagler Executive Airport in Palm Coast.
Sunday is the Super Bowl but for many it’s also become a way to help out those in need. A number of local churches are collecting non-perishables. At Pilgrim Congregational Church of Pomona Park you can enjoy soups, drinks and desserts at noon in their fellowship hall. Bring at least one non-perishable item or a financial donation. That goes to benefit the South Putnam Christian Service Center.
This is Marcia Lane, your roving reporter.