Front Page

    BCC calls on outside counsel for help

    04-10-2014

    Expert attorney hired to draft adult entertainment ordinances
    By Debra W. Buehn Correspondent GREEN COVE SPRINGS – Clay County Commissioners took a big step forward April 8 in their efforts to deal with the adult entertainment industry by hiring an attorney considered an expert at regulating adult-oriented businesses. Michael Kahn, a Melbourne-based attorney who is renowned for his work in successfully fashioning adult entertainment ordinances that stand up to court challenges, was hired by the commissioners with a vote of 4-1. Commissioner Ronnie Robinson cast the lone dissenting ...
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    Economic development split clarified

    04-10-2014

    By Gregory A. Phillips
    Staff Writer GREEN COVE SPRINGS – It came as quite a shock two weeks ago when the Clay County Board of Commissioners voted 3-0 to sever financial ties with the Economic Development Council, a subsidiary of the Clay County Chamber of Commerce. Instead of working with the Chamber and the EDC in this area, the BCC will instead work – and consequently transfer at least $50,000 of funds each year – with the newly-formed Clay County Economic Development Corporation. The EDC spent close to 10 years as a department of the Chamber, but in 2012 it was "revamped" to ...
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    Big League Dreams moves step forward

    Super User 08-30-2013

    Residents do a little dreaming too By Debra W. Buehn Correspondent GREEN COVE SPRINGS – The proposed Big League Dreams sports complex, which moved another step forward at the Aug. 27 Board of County Commissioners meeting, looks to be leading some ...
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    Inmate death ruled homicide in state report

    Super User 08-30-2013

    By Eric Cravey Managing Editor GREEN COVE SPRINGS – A state investigation into the death of a Clay County Jail inmate has determined that the inmate’s death was a homicide. Associate Medical Examiner Stacey A. Simons, M.D. also determined ...
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    Van Zant, Board drop lawsuit

    Eric Cravey 05-20-2013

    Attorney fees $24,231.37 Managing Editor GREEN COVE SPRINGS – In an effort to minimize the expense of taxpayer dollars trying to get an appellate court to rule on a lawsuit filed April 18 by Superintendent Charlie Van Zant Jr. against the Clay ...
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    Community

      Can I have the pear?

      04-10-2014

      Do you know the difference between a perennial and an annual? Ever pointed out a plant by name, or looked at the detail on the edge of a leaf? Maybe you’ve even picked up an unfamiliar fruit or vegetable from the grocery and embarked on a ...
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      Diamond Rio to replace Ronnie Milsap for April 10 fair concert

      04-10-2014

      GREEN COVE SPRINGS – The Clay County Agricultural Fair announced April 4 that the Ronnie Milsap Concert scheduled for April 10 is cancelled due to circumstances beyond the performer’s control.
      Milsap offered a sincere apology to his many ...
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      Letters

      04-10-2014

      Superintendent, from 4
      though I never heard her mention this to anybody expressing concerns. A win-win for the Republicans; they get an attack issue on Mr. Van Zant and blame the Democrats. Let me turn the tide though. First, this movement was started by Republicans. Second, by state law, it only takes a majority vote of the School Board to get the issue on the ballot. You don’t need 10,000 petitions, just leaders acting like leaders facilitating debate so the public can hear the facts and decide in November. They don’t want to act like leaders, I will. I support both amendments, but ...
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      Say yes to appointed superintendent

      04-10-2014

      Last week’s letter from former Clay County Superintendent of Schools Ann Wiggins voiced concerns with the pending proposal to appoint rather than continue to elect School Superintendents.
      The groundswell supporting change from partisan election to appointment is not, as Ms. Wiggins wrongly stated, an attempt to remediate a perceived vitriol between the Superintendent and the Board. Broad consensus by Ms. Wiggins’ own education community agrees that appointment, by far, is the better option. In addition to expanding the talent pool from which to draw leaders, appointment draws on ...
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      Big tobacco-friendly bill blocks local governments from better regulating the sale of tobacco products

      04-10-2014

      Florida House Bill 169, with the stated intent of limiting youth access to e-cigarettes, is moving in the House of Representatives. But added amendment language would strip local governments of their ability to better regulate the sale of all tobacco products and e-cigarettes, overturn existing effective ordinances, and block future opportunities to protect kids in the retail environment. With this preemption language, the bill now does far more harm than good in the fight to keep Florida’s children tobacco-free.
      "Instead of protecting our kids and teenagers from getting addicted to ...
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      OP Council tackles town manager hiring

      04-10-2014

      By Gregory A. Phillips
      Staff Writer ORANGE PARK – With its newest member officially sworn in, the Orange Park Town Council is moving forward in its search for a new town manager. Steve Howard, who ran unopposed, and Eugene Nix, who defeated ...
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      Cancer survivor inspires health care group

      04-10-2014

      By Gregory A. Phillips
      Staff Writer ORANGE PARK – Like any other college senior, Matt Jones was looking forward to graduation in September 2002 until he was sidelined by a headache that was so bad it forced him to sleep as much as 23 hours in one ...
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      Community Briefs

      04-10-2014

      Relay for Life planning meeting
      ORANGE PARK – Are you ready to get your pink on? Clay County residents are invited to join The American Cancer Society at its Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Committee Rally on April 24 from 5:307 p.m. at Orange Park Town Hall, 2042 Park Ave. Officials are gearing up for their annual event in October and need committee members. The rally is an opportunity to learn how to be a part of the planning committee or start a team of your own. There will be refreshments and door prizes. For additional information, contact Patty Foster at ...
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      Look for gopher tortoises out on a spring stroll

      04-10-2014

      TALLAHASSEE – A gopher tortoise strolling across the landscape is a common sight during spring in Florida. Yet as tortoises become increasingly active, they are vulnerable to being struck by vehicles and injured or killed.
      The Florida Fish and ...
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      Quilt of valor warms the heart of veteran

      04-10-2014

      By Weston Williams
      Correspondent ORANGE PARK – An Orange Park resident is now wrapped in love, honor, and most of all, a huge thank you. Robert Watkins, 99, received a Quilt of Valor in a special ceremony Monday at the Life Care Center nursing ...
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      The Magnificent Five

      04-10-2014

      ORANGE PARK – Clay County Fire Rescue conducted its annual awards ceremony March 13 at the Thrasher-Horne Conference Center in Orange Park. This annual event allows the department to publicly recognize the achievements and outstanding ...
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      Community Briefs

      04-10-2014

      Bass tournament benefits Haven Hospice
      PALATKA, Fla. – Clay County residents are invited to register for the 11th Annual Northeast Florida Association of Realtors Bass Tournament to benefit Haven Hospice. The fun kicks off at safe light on ...
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      The ‘thanked’ returns the thank you

      04-10-2014

      By Eric Cravey
      Managing Editor ORANGE PARK – For Julie Handley, St. Valentine’s Day this year was quite the mixed bag. What began as a tiring day of breast cancer treatment, ended with a surprise she will remember for a lifetime. After she ...
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      Meet Tasha Hyder: Unstoppable worker

      04-10-2014

      By Gregory A. Phillips
      Staff Writer ORANGE PARK – If you’ve ever been to the Friday Night Movies or the farmer’s markets or the new inclusive playground at the Orange Park Town Hall and wondered who the young lady is rushing to and fro, she ...
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      Faith Walk

      04-10-2014

      The two greatest days in history
      Many will disagree with my statement that the two greatest days in the world’s history are the day of the crucifixion and the day of the resurrection. The Bible assures me that they are the two greatest of all ...
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      School

      04-10-2014

      Clay Schools staffer finalist for state honor
      TALLAHASSEE – Clay County Schools’ School-Related Employee of the Year is one of five finalists for the same honor on the state level. Toni Padgett, career specialist at Fleming Island High and ...
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      St. Johns River State College accepting applications for Health Information Technology program

      04-10-2014

      ORANGE PARK – St. Johns River State College is accepting applications for its Health Information Technology program through May 15.
      Classes begin in August and are offered as hybrid classes with online and on-campus components. The program is based on the St. Augustine campus and is designed to train students as technicians who provide health information services throughout the health care industry. These technicians serve as medical coders, clinical data specialists, data quality managers, and information security officers. Admission requirements and prerequisites apply. For more ...
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      Riebe completes Navy training

      04-10-2014

      GREAT LAKES, ILL. – Navy Seaman Brianna Riebe, daughter of Jeff S. and Kris K. Riebe of Middleburg, Fla., recently completed U.S. Navy basic training at Recruit Training Command, Great Lakes, Ill.
      During the eight-week program, Riebe completed a variety of training which included classroom study and practical instruction on naval customs, first aid, firefighting, water safety and survival, and shipboard and aircraft safety. The capstone event of boot camp is "Battle Stations," which gives recruits the skills and confidence they need to succeed in the fleet. "Battle Stations" is ...
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      Business

      04-10-2014

      Haunted House getting a jump on spook season
      GREEN COVE SPRINGS – Although Halloween is still six months away, a Clay County company is already getting ready to spook Northeast Florida better than their 2013debut. Company President Ryan Allen said his new design for 2014 is the result of feedback he received from more than 5,000 surveys guests answered last year when his company staged the haunted house for the first time at the Clay County Fairgrounds. He said the surveys proved two key things – guests loved the haunted house and wanted more and parents want more kid-friendly ...
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      Community rallies to help students buy gaps and gowns

      04-10-2014

      ORANGE PARK – Mercy Network Services recently worked with donors, the Kids Council and Project Reach to help 10 homeless students at Orange Park High School with their upcoming graduation ceremony. When the project began, Melissa Whitaker of ...
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      School Board votes to sever possible ties with controversial conference

      Eric Cravey 10-21-2013

      By Eric Cravey Managing Editor FLEMING ISLAND – A controversy that sprang up last week surrounding a planned November conference that Clay County School Superintendent Charlie Van Zant Jr. had previously worked to co-sponsor with a St. Johns County nonprofit is closer to being ended. In its October meeting, the Clay County School Board voted 5-0 to cut any ties that may appear between the District and The Report Card and its "Dare to Think" conference scheduled for Nov. 4 and 5 at the Thrasher-Horne Conference Center on the campus of St. Johns River State College. However, a check of ...
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      This

      Melissa 08-29-2013

      2003, 10 Years Ago • Father Moises Palaroan, 52, of St. William Catholic Church in Keystone Heights was arrested on charges of allegedly stealing $196,707 in church funds and close to $100,000 from parishioners. • Rep. Jennifer Carroll(R-13) held a community meeting with residents at Kirkwood Presbyterian Church in Argyle. • Clay County School Superintendent David Owens wrote members of the Clay County Legislative Delegation asking for more state funds for local school coffers. He said the district was among one of the lowest funded in the state yet conversely was one of the ...
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      Sports

        Raiders’ Baker still dreaming of NFL

        04-10-2014

        By Randy Lefko
        Sports Editor ORANGE PARK – Former Orange Park High all state football and track standout Demetre Baker returned home in March to be with his family and to assess his next move in his quest to put his football skills to work. "I just finished a NFL-Pro Day combine at the University of South Alabama in March and came away with some good numbers," said Baker, 6-foot and 210 pounds, still fast at 4.39 seconds in the 40 and still strong at 21 reps of 225 pounds on the bench press. "Now, I wait. I still dream of playing in the National Football League and winning a Super Bowl ...
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        Little League action: Fleming Island and Oakleaf

        04-10-2014

        Little Leaguers from the Fleming Island Little League Dodgers and the Oakleaf Athletics Association Astros competed in a little inter-county rivalry game on Saturday at Armstrong Park. Clay Today Sports Editor Randy Lefko caught some action at the ...
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        Golden Eagles finish perfect district season

        04-10-2014

        Cooley: Lead off gets runs
        By Anthony Richards Correspondent NEPTUNE BEACH – With a six-run scoring explosion ignited by the big bat of senior Reece Cooley, the Fleming Island High baseball team got a 6-3 district 3-7A win over Fletcher High April ...
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        FIHS lacrosse has bull’s eye on Bolles

        04-10-2014

        By Mike Zima
        Correspondent JACKSONVILLE – Surging Fleming Island High’s boys lacrosse team cruised to a 15-3 victory over visiting Mandarin Thursday night, fueled by a suffocating defensive effort and a double hat trick by junior Hayden LaVangie. The three goals allowed were a seasonlow for the Golden Eagles, who shut out the Mustangs in the first half while taking an 8-0 lead. Fleming Island’s man-to-man defense was especially dominant during the second quarter, allowing only three shots. "We’ve gone back to basics," explained Fleming Island coach Jeff LaVangie. "We’re just ...
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        New and outgoing?

        04-10-2014

        Fleming Island coach Jeremiah Klosterman, left, chats? with Clay High baseball coach Rob Thompson during March game won by Clay at Jacksonville Baseball Grounds. Klosterman, in his second year as head coach at Fleming Island, won the district 2-7A ...
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        Pieces coming together for Lady Spartans’ softball

        04-10-2014

        Pitching last part of puzzle
        By Randy Lefko Sports Editor ORANGE PARK – Big bats and strong pitching are two reasons the St. Johns Country Day School girl’s softball team has improved over the course of the 2014 year to be in contention for a ...
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        Leddy wins 3-2 over Irwin

        04-10-2014

        By Anthony Richards
        Correspondent FLEMING ISLAND – The 7A Fleming Island High Lady Golden Eagles and KK Leddy outlasted the 6A Orange Park Lady Raiders and Maddy Irwin to win a pitcher’s duel 3-2 in non-district play in front of the Fleming Island High School home crowd. Fleming Island hitter Taylor Steczo delivered a twoout RBI hit for the game-winner in the fifth inning. Both teams head to district tournament play which begins April 14 with Fleming Island traveling to Atlantic Coast High for district 3-7A, topped by Fletcher High with Fleming Island as the fourth seed, and Orange Park ...
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        District Boys Weightlifting

        04-10-2014

        The Oakleaf High boy’s weightlifting team, undefeated in regular season matches, will be sending a strong contingency to Flagler Palm Coast High School on April 11 for the district 2-2A qualifier with a chance to advance to the FHSAA state meet ...
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        District 3-3A Tennis results

        04-10-2014

        * Last area state finalists were in 1984: Chris Garland, MHS for girls, Thomas Parks OPHS for boys.
        Girls team: Orange Park No 1., Gainesville No. 2, Fleming Island No. 3 Singles No. 1 Jessica Mangum FIHS beat Sara Michal GGS. Mangum beat Karen Wilkening of MHS in semifinal. Emily Wood OPHS lost to Michal. Rose Lockhart OHS lost in first round. Singles No. 2 Nikolle Garcia FIHS lost to #1 Hanna Helmerson GHS. Helmerson beat Carly Hall OPHS then Amellia Brumfield MHS. Brumfield beat Erika Hinds OHS. Singles No. 3 Rebecca Cannon OPHS beat Kelsey Mama GHS. Cannon beat Kourtney Thomas FIHS ...
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        Opinion

          Letters

          04-10-2014

          Reader says give voters the chance to decide on the superintendent issue
          There’s an interesting dynamic in America on full display in Clay County. I’m talking of the split between moderate and "Tea Party" Republicans. Take a look at one issue showcasing this divide. Children over Politics is collecting signatures on two petitions. One seeks to make the School Superintendent a nonpartisan position. The other makes it an appointed position. Many believe this is an attack on Mr. Van Zant. It’s a valid point that may motivate some. However, this idea deserves full consideration. ...
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          Guest Column

          04-10-2014

          by Kevin Concannon
          As a child, I always looked forward to the carefree joy of summertime. I remember the long days of playing outside at a nearby park until I needed to come home for lunch. Unfortunately, many of our nation’s children do not ...
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