This is Marcia Lane, your roving reporter.
Palatka City Commission looked at a long list of wants and needs at a workshop Thursday night. Department heads and commissioners got their say but the public, with only a few watching online, was mainly quiet. Mayor Terrell Hill said the city needed to maintain facilities and vehicles without blowing the budget but then pushed again for new buildings for public works, police, a fire station at the airport and not only a new city hall but a new annex. Hill also wants to see a new position created for a public information officer who could both market the city and let the public know what was happening. A couple of other commissioners agreed there was a need to have better communications with the public. In past years keeping people up with the commission has been a job handled by the city clerk or commissioners themselves.
Florida Highway Patrol is investigating a crash Thursday night involving a St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office deputy. FHP says an SUV turned in front of a patrol cruiser on Ocean Trace Road at St. Augustine Beach. The deputy and the two people in the SUV were taken to the hospital with minor injuries, according to authorities.
The Putnam County corrections office killed in a crash Thursday morning as he headed to work has been posthumously raised in rank to captain. Lt. Mark Elam was to be promoted in May, according to Sheriff Gator DeLoach. “Captain Elam left an indelible impression on everyone he met. He was firm and never minced words but was fair. His work ethic and dedication to the sheriff’s office is unparalleled and served as an example … His loss is the kind we feel in our bones.” According to FHP, Elam was traveling north on U.S. 17 in San Mateo on a Harley Davidson Electra Glide when a Palatka Daily News van that had been at the stop sign on North Boundary Road attempted to cross the northbound lanes on U.S. 17 and the two collided. Elam was taken to Putnam Community Hospital where he was pronounced dead. An honor escort took his body to the medical examiner’s office in St. Augustine and another brought him back in the afternoon. Elam, who was a former marine, worked for the Sheriff’s Office 18 years. He and his wife had two sons. The couple was in the process of adopting a sibling group of five children. Services will be at Coventry Oaks Farm on Monday at 4 p.m. Johnson-Overturf Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.
Florida Department of Health in St. Johns County reported 74 new coronavirus cases Thursday for a total of 21,507 since counting began March a year ago. Putnam County reported 17 new cases for a total of 6,108. Flagler County reported 12 new cases for a total of 6,829.
Work on Veterans Villas continues is Saturday at 103 Westover Drive in Palatka and volunteers are needed. Habitat for Humanity is overseeing the build that gets underway at 8 a.m.
Putnam County Mobile Food Pantry offers a drive-thru food pantry and prevention resources distribution this Saturday from 10 a.m. to noon at Palatka High School. The pantry is open to all Putnam County residents and each vehicle can collect for up to four households.
Public gatherings are continuing to open up in the tri-county area.
In Flagler County the City Repertory Theater stages Arthur Miller’s drama The Crucible this weekend and next. Today and Saturday the play will be at 7 p.m. and Sunday at 3 p.m. Performances will be at Palm Coast Arts Foundation
Art is in the air in St. Augustine. St. Augustine’s Limelight Theatre opens a new production Popcorn Falls tonight at 7:30 p.m. The production is a comedy that sets out to prove art can change the world. The production runs through April 25.
St. Augustine Art Association Spring Members Show is on display at the association at 22 Marine St. and features work by some of the city’s best local artists.
Lightner Museum offers a look at the Nation’s Oldest City through the eyes of American Impressionist painters. Paintings are from the museum’s collection and feature artists who wintered in St. Augustine at the dawn of the 20th century. Also up the inaugural Lightner Local exhibit featuring art by Orlando-based Antwan Ramar.
Flagler College thespians are performing the Vietnam-era play Tracers through Sunday at Lewis Auditorium.
Tab Benoit and Samantha Fish perform Saturday at The St. Augustine Amphitheatre and Robert Earl Keen with guest Waylon Payne play Sunday.
First Coast Opera offers An Evening of Arias: Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy on Saturday at Marsh Creek Country Club.
In Palatka the Bronson-Mulholland House at 100 Madison St. features living history re-enactors portraying civilian life in 1861 on Saturday from 1-4 p.m. Tours are also available Sunday.
In Satsuma Hope Lutheran Church holds a rummage sale Saturday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. The church is at 273 County Road 309.
Residents in the South Historic District of Palatka are holding a community yard sale this Saturday at various locations in the district.