Community Briefs 1/25/18

Clay Today
Posted 1/24/18

Health Department: be aware of flu seasonGREEN COVE SPRINGS – Clay County is not immune during this year’s flu season as health officials report that throughout Florida and the U.S., flu …

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Community Briefs 1/25/18


Health Department: be aware of flu season

GREEN COVE SPRINGS – Clay County is not immune during this year’s flu season as health officials report that throughout Florida and the U.S., flu activity is on the rise.

The Florida Department of Health Clay County urges residents to get a flu vaccine now as there are still weeks of flu activity to come. It is not too late to get a flu vaccine, which is safe and recommended for everyone six months and older, including pregnant women.

Heather Huffman, health officer and administrator for Clay County, said flu vaccines are available for free for children and uninsured or underinsured adults in Clay County.

Flu vaccines can vary in effectiveness from season to season, but they continue to be the best way to prevent influenza infection and serious influenza complications.

Flu vaccines are given at the Bear Run Clinic, 3229 Bear Run Blvd. near Orange Park, Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. and no appointment is needed.

Huffman recommends residents already having flu-like symptoms to contact their health care provider as soon as possible to get an antiviral treatment, if appropriate. Treatment is most effective when started within 48 hours, so calling as soon as you become ill is important, especially if you or your loved one is at a higher risk for complications: children younger than 5, adults over the age of 65, pregnant women, and those with underlying medical conditions.

Stay home from work and keep children home from school or daycare when sick to help prevent spreading the flu to others. Practice good hygiene by properly and frequently washing your hands. Clean and disinfect commonly used surfaces in your home, school or office.

Reinhold Foundation accepting celebrate clay applications

FLEMING ISLAND – The Paul E. and Klare N. Reinhold Foundation Inc. is accepting applications for the 2018 Celebrate Clay awards, a community service awards program that recognizes nonprofit organizations and individuals serving the Clay County community.

Applications will be reviewed by a panel of community judges and cash awards will be presented at the Awards Breakfast to those non-profit groups providing outstanding services during calendar year 2017.

Up to $75,000 in cash awards, ranging from the $750 Category Awards to the $10,000 Paul E. Reinhold Community Service Award, will be presented at the 2018 Awards Breakfast on April 24th. The 2018 program will bring the total cash awards to nearly $690,000 presented to Clay County area nonprofit organizations since Celebrate Clay’s inception in 2009.

All 501(c)3 non-profit groups including school and church outreach groups that provided services to Clay County residents in 2017 are encouraged to apply. Details and applications are available at The application deadline is Feb. 6.

For more information, contact Amy Parker, executive director, at (904)269-5857 extension 404 or email,

Property tax exemption renewal cards mailed

GREEN COVE SPRINGS – Clay County property owners will soon receive tax exemption renewal cards, according to Property Appraiser Roger A. Suggs.

Cards will be mailed Jan. 19.

Florida law provides for a number of property tax exemptions, classifications and assessment reductions, which will reduce the taxable value of real property. One of the responsibilities of the Clay County Property Appraiser’s Office is to ensure that all eligible property owners receive the full benefit of those exemptions in which they are eligible.

In Clay County, most property tax exemptions are renewed annually. Once an initial exemption application has been filed and granted, a subsequent application to maintain the exemption is not required. On or before Feb. 1, the Property Appraiser mails property tax exemption renewal cards to each property owner who qualified for specific exemptions in the prior year. If exemption eligibility has not changed, the renewal card serves as a receipt.

It is the responsibility of the property owner to notify the Property Appraiser if exemption eligibility has changed. Failure to promptly notify the property appraiser may result in significant penalties pursuant to Florida law. Property owners are asked to detach the bottom portion of the card, indicate which exemptions should be removed and return it.

A Property Tax Exemption Renewal Card Guide has been developed to assist property owners in understanding the renewal cards. To review the guide or for additional information, please visit, or contact our office at (904) 284/269-6305 to speak with an exemptions specialist.

Jax Symphony coming to Orange Park

ORANGE PARK – An ensemble of the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra will perform in concert Feb. 4 at 4 p.m. at Island View Baptist at 900 Park St. in Orange Park.

The performance will be centered around the theme of “Celebrating Diversity and Inclusion.”

This event will also feature a community choir composed of singers from various schools, churches and community organizations. If you are interested in singing on the community choir please call (904) 562-8409 or (904) 264-6411 and leave your information via text or voicemail, or the church secretary at Island View Baptist Church.

You may also email your information to All rehearsals will be conducted at Island View Baptist Church and rehearsal times will be announced on Jan. 17.

The event is free to the public but seating is limited, and is on a first come, first served basis.

Kids Fest named Top 20 event in Southeast

ATLANTA – Southeast Tourism Society recently named the 5th Annual Town of Orange Kids Fest as one of its Top 20 Events in the Southeast for June 2018.

The STS Top 20 Festival and Event Awards have highlighted programs around the Southeast since 1985. Travel industry experts select 20 events per month, and STS publicizes them throughout the United States.

The Town of Orange Park will host its 5th Annual Kids Fest on June 8-9 from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. both days. The festival takes place at Town Hall Park at the corner of Kingsley and Park Avenues. Admission is free and includes low-cost activities, live entertainment, food, vendors and more. Free parking and shuttles are provided by Moosehaven.

“The Southeast is home to unique and memorable events throughout the year. In spotlighting the Top 20 festivals and events each month, STS is not only giving these events the recognition they deserve but we’re also creating a quick reference guide to some of the best festivals in the Southeast,” said Bill Hardman, president and chief executive officer of the Southeast Tourism Society. “These events are important to the economic vitality of our communities and this is a way for us to acknowledge the time and resources organizers have tirelessly spent to create memories for their attendees.”

Clay County honored as ‘Public Health Ready’

GREEN COVE SPRINGS – The National Association of County and City Health Officials and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently recognized the Florida Department of Health in Clay County for meeting rigorous national standards of public health preparedness.

Project Public Health Ready is a collaborative initiative between the Florida Department of Health, NACCHO and the CDC that sets state and national criteria in all-hazards preparedness planning, workforce development and demonstration of readiness through exercises or real events. DOH-Clay has received PPHR recognition three times since 2006.

“The health department is prepared to respond to any public health emergency and during Hurricane Irma, we put our plans to the test. Our staff worked tirelessly to assist Clay County residents in the county’s special needs shelter. We learned some lessons that we will use to continue to improve our plans, but our staff is prepared and ready,” said Heather Huffman, Health Department administrator.

PPHR recognition confirms that DOH-Clay has a thorough and coordinated emergency response plan in place and that staff have the training to protect the health of the community during an emergency.

Feb. 16 is deadline to apply for cost-share funding

PALATKA – The St. Johns River Water Management District is accepting applications through Feb. 16 from farmers and ranchers interested in participating in the districtwide Agricultural Cost-share Program funding for agricultural projects that promote water conservation and reduction of nutrient runoff.

“Our goal is to engage the agricultural community by encouraging more efficient water use and reducing excess nutrients entering natural waterways,” said Ann Shortelle St. Johns River Water Management District executive director. “Implementing agricultural best management practices can provide long-lasting benefits to growers and ranchers.”

The program provides up to 75 percent of cooperative funding, not to exceed $250,000 per applicant annually, toward the design, construction and implementation of technologies and strategies to improve water efficiencies and protect natural systems. In total, up to $1.5 million is available to support this round of cost-share funding.

Eligible projects include irrigation system retrofits, soil moisture and climate sensor technology, rainwater recovery, subirrigation drain tile, tailwater recovery and reuse, expanded waste storage, and soil mapping with variable rate fertilizer application.

To ensure a return on investment in the form of an actual reduction in water use, one requirement of the cost-share agreement is that the recipient be willing to memorialize the savings produced by district funds through a modification in terms of a decrease in their consumptive use permit.

A list of eligible projects and equipment can be found online at, along with details about the application, review and selection process.

District staff will evaluate each project based on the evaluation criteria approved by the district's Governing Board and prepare a recommended list for board approval tentatively scheduled for April 2018. More information is on the district’s website or contact technical program manager Suzanne Archer at

Conservation Stewardship Program applications due March 2

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Agricultural producers wanting to enhance current conservation efforts are encouraged to apply for the Conservation Stewardship Program.

Through CSP, USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service helps private landowners implement conservation practices that help sustain their entire operation. NRCS plans to enroll up to 10 million acres in CSP in 2018.

While applications for CSP are accepted year-round, applications must be received by March 2 to be considered for this funding period.

Through CSP, agricultural producers and forest landowners earn payments for actively managing, maintaining and expanding conservation activities like cover crops, ecologically-based pest management, buffer strips and pollinator habitat – all while maintaining active agriculture production on their land. CSP also encourages the adoption of cutting-edge technologies and new management techniques such as precision agriculture applications, on-site carbon storage and planting for high carbon sequestration rate, and new soil amendments to improve water quality.

Some of the benefits of CSP include improved cattle gains per acre, increased crop yields, wildlife population improvements and increased resilience to weather extremes.

Sheriff’s Office issues fraud alert

GREEN COVE SPRINGS – The Clay County Sheriff’s Office reports that multiple residents have called the agency about a phone scam claiming to involve the federal Internal Revenue Service.

Residents report having received threatening messages stating that warrants are being issued for residents and that law enforcement will become involved unless they contact the caller back.

CCSO officials said these threats are false and not from the IRS and residents should not respond to these calls.

If you or someone you know receives one of these calls, hang up and report it to the Federal Trade Commission by calling 1-888-382-1222.

Remember, phone scams often involve unusual payment methods, such as gift cards or your personal checking account information. CCSO said under no circumstances should Clay County residents ever provide these types of info to them.

Conference to focus on sex trafficking

JACKSONVILLE – The issue of human trafficking will be the key topic of a regional seminar planned for February.

The Multiagency Network for Students with Emotional and Behavioral Disabilities hosts its 9th Annual Conference on Feb. 16 from 8 a.m.-3 p.m. at Journey Church at 6225 Lake Gray Blvd., Suite 2.

Guest speaker Brook Bello will discuss “Survivor to Champion,” her personal story of overcoming abuse and trauma.

Qualifying attendees can also earn Continuing Education Units provided by University Behavioral Center. Registration is $25 through Jan. 31 and $35 thereafter until the day of the event. Lunch is not provided at the event. For more information, contact Darrell Thompson at (904) 336-4407 or

SEDNET serves public school students in Clay, Duval and Nassau counties.


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