Front Page

    Let’s put on a show!

    10-23-2014

    Kai Miller, 9, of Fleming Island, Leityn Blake, 10, of Orange Park and Cameron Carter, 11, of Orange Park are ready to wow audiences as Orange Park Performing Arts Academy preps to stage its first play. The charter school will stage "Pinocchio" in ...
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    School board members take a walk of a different nature

    10-23-2014

    By Eric Cravey
    Managing Editor FLEMING ISLAND – A month after asking school board members and district officials to ‘walk a mile in their shoes,’ members of the organization representing school district support personnel thanked the three ...
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    Gruesome animal cruelty case found in Clay

    10-23-2014

    By Mike Ford
    Staff Writer MIDDLEBURG – An 11-year-old boy has been accused of killing a dog that was found with its head missing in a shallow grave behind the family home. The grave was in a wooded area where other animals had dug up the remains, according to Mary Justino, public information officer for the Clay County Sheriff’s Office. The charge is aggravated animal cruelty because a knife was used. Because it is a felony charge, the child’s name was not redacted from the police report. However, Clay Today is not making the child’s name public in accord with the newspaper’s ...
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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

      Soil and Water District here to serve, raise awareness

      10-23-2014

      By Mike Ford
      Staff Writer GREEN COVE SPRINGS – For years, Clay County voters have been asked to cast ballots for members to serve on the Soil and Water Conservation District board, but many residents may not know what the organization is or does. ...
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      Council to meet in special session

      10-23-2014

      Special redevelopment authority raises concerns
      By Pete Geiger Correspondent GREEN COVE SPRINGS – Verbal fireworks could result when the City Council tonight, Thursday, Oct. 23, holds a public meeting to air the permissible uses of property in Green Cove Springs’ "Gateway Corridor." No council vote is expected, but some objections might be heard from business owners along Orange Avenue, U.S. Highway 17, north of the city’s center. The meeting will be at 7 p.m. in City Hall. The Gateway Corridor, as it is dubbed in the city zoning code, includes Orange Avenue through most of the ...
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      Sharing a personal history

      10-23-2014

      OAKLEAF – Holocaust survivor Bob Fischer, 79, of Jacksonville, speaks with Oakleaf High School student Bradley Cheshire Tuesday at the school. Taken captive by the Nazis in Czechoslovakia when he was seven, Fischer told students in an AICE ...
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      Clay County seniors have help preparing for Medicare enrollment period

      10-23-2014

      Clay County seniors who need enrolling in Medicare can get help doing so from a Jacksonville-based nonprofit organization.
      The Department of Elder Affairs’ SHINE, or Serving Health Insurance Needs of Elders program, – in partnership with Elder-Source – provides free information and assistance at several locations in Clay County through Dec. 7. To make an appointment, call the Elder HelpLine toll-free at 1-888-242-4464 and ask to be connected with a SHINE counselor. Residents can also go to flashine.org to find when a presentation is being made in Clay County. Residents seeking ...
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      Celebrating fall with a festival

      10-23-2014

      ORANGE PARK – An estimated 29,000 guests took part in the 32nd Annual Orange Park Fall Festival last weekend at Town Hall Park. Clay Today reader Jacque Ottosen sent us this photo of her family posing at one of the colorful displays that captures ...
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      Letters To The Editor Policy

      10-23-2014

      Clay Today welcomes readers to send letters to the editor on topics of common interest to Clay County. Letters should be no more than 600 words and should include the writer’s name and town they live in. Clay Today reserves the right to edit letters for grammar, content and length.
      Email: to eric@opcfla.com Mail: Eric Cravey, Editor Clay Today, 3513 U.S. Hwy. 17 Fleming Island, Fla. 32003
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      Town of Orange Park creates Nuisance Abatement Board

      10-23-2014

      By Mike Ford
      Staff Writer ORANGE PARK – To help get a handle on certain crimes, town leaders have created a five-member board with authority to deem a property a nuisance when multiple crimes of the same nature continue to occur there. The final member of the town’s Nuisance Abatement Board was appointed at the Oct. 21 Town Council meeting. Council member Jim Renninger – a hold out from the Oct. 7 meeting – appointed his wife and former council member Phyllis Renninger to fill the fifth and final slot on the panel. At the council’s Oct.7 meeting, Mayor Steve Howard appointed ...
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      This Week

      10-23-2014

      5 Years Ago, 2009
      Flanked by then-Gov. Charlie Crist, Clay County Sheriff Rick Beseler announced that the body of Somer Renee Thompson, 7, had been discovered among piles of trash in a Folkston, Ga. landfill. Investigators from the Florida ...
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      Orange Park to dispense nearly half-million for road project

      10-23-2014

      By Mike Ford
      Staff Writer ORANGE PARK – When America’s highway system boomed along with the auto industry shortly after World War II, the nation’s economy rebounded as a result. Having never looked back from segregating living space from workplace and shopping areas, Americans have long been dependant on cars and roadways. Such a system requires taxpayer dollars to maintain roads each year. Tuesday, officials here voted to spend more than $455,000 on their constituents’ behalf. Town Council approved a re-negotiated contract with J.B. Coxwell to reconstruct Old Orange Park Road ...
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      Community

      10-23-2014

      Clay County Agricultural Fair unveils 2015 logo, theme
      GREEN COVE SPRINGS – Officials with the Clay County Agricultural Fair have unveiled the theme and logo for the 2015 Clay County Agricultural Fair. The new theme is "Farm Fresh Family ...
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      Military News

      10-23-2014

      Three Clay Countians complete U.S. Air Force training
      SAN ANTONIO, Texas – Three Clay County residents recently completed basic military training at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland in San Antonio, Texas. Recruits completed an eight-week program ...
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      A welcome with a pin

      10-23-2014

      ORANGE PARK – Twelve seniors from the Ridgeview High International Baccalaureate program welcomed this year’s 68 juniors into the prestigious rigorous program at the school in a ceremony Oct. 21. Seniors lit candles explaining each of the tenets ...
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      Honoring a volunteer

      10-23-2014

      ORLANDO – Karen Robinson, district media services specialist for Clay County Schools, was recently honored with the Administrator Advocacy Award from the Florida Association of Media in Education, an award not handed out every year. Robinson, ...
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      Get ahead before ‘fall back’

      10-23-2014

      In just a few short weeks, on Nov. 2, it will be time to ‘Fall Back’ into daylight savings time. The time change marks more than the change of season that will come as winter approaches. For lawn and garden, it is the season when the ...
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      One final year to cheer

      10-23-2014

      ORANGE PARK – As the 2014-15 school year winds down next June, so will the 42-year career of educator Kathy Brannon. Last week, Orange Park High teachers, students and alumni surprised Brannon with a special half-time show tailored just for her. ...
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      Alesia Scott-Warren

      10-23-2014

      ORANGE PARK – Sounds of West African drumming and Broadway show tunes emanate daily from the middle of Kingsley Avenue in Orange Park.
      The sounds are part of the community’s newest educational offering, Orange Park Performing Arts Academy, ...
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      Art(s) Notes

      10-23-2014

      The Bard’s works come to Orange Park
      ORANGE PARK – A trio of high school students will converge on Orange Park Community Theatre from Oct. 6-9 to stage some of the works of The Bard. Troupe 7056, a one-act play troupe from Keystone Heights ...
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      Jekyll & Hyde coming to Thrasher-Horne

      10-23-2014

      By Mike Ford
      Staff Writer ORANGE PARK – He’s a complicated man. He’s also a sick man. Dr. Henry Jekyll has questions about the good and evil coexisting in human nature while dabbling with an elixir that unchains his inner monster from the ...
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      Showfrom

      10-23-2014

      page 17
      "They’re coming along beautifully. There’s so much raw talent in this area. I am very pleased to be placed here because the children here are so willing and eager to learn, so it’s a wonderful feeling," said Alesia Scott-Warren, who ...
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      Murder comes to Moody Avenue

      10-23-2014

      By Eric Cravey
      Managing Editor ORANGE PARK – High jinks, hilarity and who done it are key themes in murder mysteries and Orange Park Community Theatre delivers on these age-old theatre aspects with its current show, "Murder Among Friends." The ...
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      Annie

      10-23-2014

      Oct. 21-26, matinees & evenings The Times-Union Center’s Moran Theater
      Leapin’ Lizards! The world’s best-loved musical returns in time-honored form. Directed by original lyricist and director Martin Charnin and choreographed by Liza ...
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      DINNER GALA:

      10-23-2014

      To benefit Mercy Support Services, Oct. 23 at 6:30 p.m. at First Baptist Church, 1140 Kingsley Ave., Orange Park, "An evening of International Cuisine" with guest host, U.S. Rep. Ted Yoho. To sponsor a table or ticket sales, Sandra Conklin, (904) ...
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      Faith Walk

      10-23-2014

      One of the greatest victories you can ever have is a victory over fear. Fear can paralyze you. It can immobilize you. It can destroy you.
      There are fears, or phobias, that everyone faces. There are some fears that seem strange – even odd – ...
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      Johnson & Johnson fuel Knights’ playoffs quest

      10-23-2014

      By Randy Lefko
      Sports Editor GAINESVILLE – The Johnson & Johnson trademark usually means a company geared to healing and pain-reduction, but in local football circles, the names Johnson and Johnson – namely Jordan Johnson and Marcus Johnson – have become synonymous with inflicting plenty of pain. Case in point, ask the Gainesville Buchholz Bobcats, who showed symptoms of being very much bruised, woozy and lightheaded at about 9:30 p.m. Thursday after being bashed 35-14 by the unbeaten Oakleaf High Knights in a key district 3-7A contest at Gainesville’s Citizen Field. The Knights ...
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      Camp teaches youth leadership skills, wellness for life

      Eric Cravey 08-07-2014

      By Eric Cravey Managing Editor CAMP BLANDING – James Houston has friends from all across Florida thanks to a summer camp he is attending this week at Camp Blanding. The rising high school freshman from Mount Dora, Fla. is one of 49 Florida ...
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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

        Hurricane Gonzalo hits Orange Park

        10-23-2014

        Raiders use "hurricane" effort in fourth to win first
        By Randy Lefko Sports Editor ORANGE PARK – With a guy on the sideline named Gonzalo and an impending hurricane named Gonzalo sitting in the Atlantic Ocean, the fans at Orange Park High School ...
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        FIHS "double-headed monster" rips Fletcher

        10-23-2014

        Sneed-Showers: 3TDs By Anthony Richards
        Correspondent NEPTUNE BEACH – Fleming Island coach Frank Hall challenged his offensive and defensive linemen to bring home a strong effort in the Golden Eagles’ district 3-7A matchup against Fletcher High ...
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        Swimming and Diving District Championship

        10-23-2014


        Classes 3A-4A:
        Mon.-Sat., Oct. 20-25 Classes 1A-2A Mon.-Sat., Oct. 27-Nov. 1 Class 3A-District 3Teams:
        Fleming Island, Middleburg, Oakleaf, Orange Park, Atlantic Coast, Bartram Trail, Creekside,
        Ed White, Englewood, Nease, Robert E. Lee, St. ...
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        District Cross County

        10-23-2014

        From FHSAA handbook:
        District Meet to Regional Meet. The first three placing teams and the top 15 runners in each district meet in which six or less teams of five to seven runners are entered, and the first four placing teams and the top 15 ...
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        District/Region Golf Results: Waidner leads Fleming Island girls to region title

        10-23-2014

        District 3-3A/Region 1-3A (Girls)
        Fleming Island sophomore Lauren Waidner dominated the second nine holes of the district 3-3A golf championships and whittled a one stroke lead from teammate Sarah May to score a 67 and lead the Golden Eagles to a ...
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        Ridgeview Panthers fall to Ponte Vedra

        10-23-2014

        By Jerry Norton
        Correspondent ORANGE PARK – The Ridgeview Panthers crossed the St Johns river last Friday evening visiting Ponte Vedra for a District 4-5A matchup and came out on the short end of the 38-19 score. With the loss, the Panthers’ ...
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        County champ Tigers complete perfect season 8-0

        10-23-2014

        Lake Asbury 14, Orange Park 6
        By Randy Lefko Sports Editor LAKE ASBURY – Using the hard-running legs of tailback J.R. Collins, the Lake Asbury Junior High Tigers football team completed an unbeaten season and won the Clay County football title ...
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        Spartans defeat Oak Hall 48-0

        10-23-2014

        By Randy Lefko
        Sports Editor ORANGE PARK – St. Johns Country Day School senior wide out Josh Minkel connected with quarterback Billy Sellinger on two long passes; one for a touchdown, to push the Spartans to a 48-0 win over Oak Hall Friday night ...
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        J.T. Turner returns to the field; Clay rolls Menendez

        10-23-2014

        Wilson: 1187 Yds Rushing, 20 TDs
        By Doug Deters Correspondent ST. AUGUSTINE – Clay High quarterback J.T. Turner returned to the Blue Devils’ backfield after a week off with a minor injury and popped off a 95 yard touchdown run on the first ...
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        Jaguars win first game

        10-23-2014

        MHS alum Barnridge in town with Browns
        By Anthony Richards Correspondent JACKSONVILLE – It took a little longer than most expected, but at last the Jacksonville Jaguars were able to taste the thrill of victory for the first time during the 2014 ...
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        21 points in fourth not enough

        10-23-2014

        By Randy Lefko
        Sports Editor KEYSTONE HEIGHTS – Keystone Heights High scored 21 fourth quarter points off three onsides kicks, but fell short 48-42 to district 4-4A leader The Villages in a homecoming game spoiler Oct. 17 on home turf. The ...
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        Opinion

          Letters

          10-23-2014

          Former superintendent supports appointed superintendent ballot measure
          I understand that the discussion of "Elected vs. Appointed" Superintendents is coming up again in Clay County. Just perhaps, third time’s a charm! As the elected Superintendent in Clay County from 1992-1996, I very strongly supported this issue, both times it came up, even if it meant that I would have been replaced. It’s hard to justify and, quite frankly, embarrassing in the rest of the country to even tell people that you live in a place where the Superintendent of Schools is a political position with ZERO ...
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          Reader says no more Van Zant shenanigans

          10-23-2014

          Something not mentioned in the debate over whether Clay County should vote to change to an appointed superintendent is the manner in which Charles Van Zant Jr. was elected.
          One would have to use the word manipulation to describe his election in 2012 by Clay’s current process. Van Zant knew this election would be decided in the primary when he chose to challenge the incumbent, Ben Wortham. Van Zant exploited a loophole in Florida election laws that allowed a write-in candidate to close the primary to Republicans only. Democrats and Independents were denied the chance to vote for the ...
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          Corrections

          10-23-2014

          • In a business story headlined "A gym for the ‘rest of us’ that ran in the Oct. 16 paper, an editing error resulted in wrong information. Eric Leister purchased Achieve Fitness on Dec. 29, 2012 from Harvey Grant Investments LLC of Fleming Island.
          • In the centerpiece photo from last week’s cover, a Middleburg High student was improperly identified. Ali Robertson, Miss MHS 2014, was the student who placed the sash on Homecoming Queen Erica Cole.
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          Reader questions BCC straw ballot questions on Nov. 4

          10-23-2014

          There is a county straw ballot question in the approaching election worded so it sounds reasonable. They want "diversification of our revenue sources in a way that reduces reliance on property taxes."
          Plainly stated, they want to lower taxes on wealthy land owners and pass the burden on to the rest of us with economy stiffling sales taxes and "fees." For the average homeowner it will mean $100 annual savings in property taxes but new fees of $50 a month. The ones who benefit are those with massive estates who will save thousands. This is just another money grab from the elites who ...
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          Time to vote to appoint a School Superintendent

          10-23-2014

          Appointed Superintendent is on the ballot and it is finally time to vote! A "Yes" vote means that starting immediately the Superintendent of Schools will be appointed by the School Board, and a "No" vote means that voters will continue to directly elect the Superintendent every four years. I believe that Clay Schools will greatly benefit from a "Yes" vote because: Increased professionalism and performance in the Superintendent Office: With appointment you start with someone highly qualified and they are held accountable on their performance to the School Board on a monthly basis. That is ...
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          • 23 Oct 2014

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