Keystone Heights Amvets conducting fundraiser for Lake Area Ministries
KEYSTONE HEIGHTS – Amvets Post 86 will host a fundraiser and food drive this month for Lake Area Ministries.
The fundraiser is scheduled for Jan. 22 while the food drive will run from Sunday through Jan. 22. The Post, located at 6685 Brooklyn Bay Road, will be offering a raffle during the food drive, with winning tickets being selected during the Jan. 22 dinner.
For more information, contact Cindy Lee at (352) 478-9338.
Orange Park man wins $1 million with scratch-off ticket
TALLAHASSEE – The Florida Lottery announced that Brandon Thomas, 36, of Orange Park, claimed a $1 million top prize from THE FASTEST ROAD TO $1,000,000 Scratch-Off game at the Lottery’s Jacksonville District Office. He chose to receive his winnings as a one-time, lump-sum payment of $790,000.
Thomas, who is self-employed with Green Thumb Landscaping, purchased his winning ticket from Prime Time Food Store, located at 188 Arora Blvd. in Orange Park. The retailer will receive a $2,000 bonus commission for selling the winning Scratch-Off ticket.
The $30 game, THE FASTEST ROAD TO $1,000,000, was launched in February 2020 and featured 155 top prizes of $1 million and more than $948 million in cash prizes. The game’s overall odds of winning are 1-in-2.79.
Scratch-Off games are an important part of the Lottery's portfolio of games, comprising approximately 75% of ticket sales and generating more than $1.3 billion for the Educational Enhancement Trust Fund in fiscal year 2020-21.
Grant applications available for Art Ventures
CLAY COUNTY – Applications are now open for individual artists in Northeast Florida to apply for an Art Ventures grant of $3,500. Interested artists who reside in Baker, Clay, Duval, Nassau, Putnam and St. Johns County are encouraged to apply for funding to help them develop the next level of their artistic careers. Applications are due by 5 p.m. on Feb. 15.
Black artists have additional opportunities this year with the recently created Delores Barr Weaver Black Artists Endowment. This will specifically fund three Black artists each year. These will be additive to the Art Ventures cohort of grantees which has always supported Black artists and has made grants from the Independent Life Minority Arts Fund. Applications will be judged on the applicants’ artistic accomplishments, their proposal to use the funds to advance their work, and the extent to which their artistic practice is rooted in Northeast Florida.
Extension Office’s ‘From the Ground Up’ program set for Jan. 28
GREEN COVE SPRINGS – January is a wonderful time to walk around our homes and think about our landscapes and consider the possibilities. Maybe this is the year you are going to lessen the maintenance in your landscape, or try for fewer annuals and more perennials, or replace some of the lawn with flower beds, or add plants to bring more color into your winter landscape. So many possibilities!
Why not, spend the day with master gardeners learning about Northeast Florida gardening, and getting ideas to improve your own landscape.
Attendees are sure to see a plant or design idea just waiting to be implemented in their own gardens. And if you are new to Northeast Florida, this is definitely the training for you because lawns and gardens and their care are different here.
Florida Clay County Master Gardeners host a day of education, “From the Ground Up”, for the public Friday, Jan. 28 from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Extension Office 2463 State Road 16 West in Green Cove Springs (next to the Fairgrounds).
The event starts with a Master Gardener-guided tour of the Extension Office grounds, showcasing the plants that bring winter color and interest to our gardens, our native plants, and pollinator, succulent and herb gardens. Following the tour, learn from Master Gardeners and County Extension Agents about good and bad insects; designing color into your garden; and seasonal gardening. Also attend two workshops on the following topics: Easy Orchids, Hydroponics, Culinary Herbs and Kokedama.
Bring a soil sample, about ½ cup of soil in a paper or plastic container, for pH testing and receive the results within seven to 10 days. Get your questions answered by the master gardeners during the course of the day. Morning and afternoon refreshments are provided with lunch on your own.
Capacity is limited, register early, select your workshops, and pay a $15 fee before Jan. 20 at clayextension.eventbrite.com, call the Extension Office and speak with Michelle Alters at (904) 284-6355 or visit the office.
Winn-Dixie offers COVID-19 vaccines to children 5-11
CLAY COUNTY – In accordance with updated CDC and FDA guidelines, Southeastern Grocers’ Winn-Dixie stores will be administering Pfizer vaccines to children ages five to 11 at its in-store pharmacies, upon receipt of vaccine supply.
As a preferred retail partner in the fight against COVID-19, SEG is committed to the safe and equitable distribution of the vaccine to customers in this newly expanded age group in communities throughout the Southeast.
The grocer is offering online appointments, which are preferred, and convenient walk-ups, as available, for Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines to eligible individuals and encourages qualified individuals to visit http://www.frescoymas.com/pharmacy/covid-vaccine, www.harveyssupermarkets.com/pharmacy/covid-vaccine and www.winndixie.com/pharmacy/covid-vaccine for timely updates including available appointments, pharmacy locations, frequently asked questions and guidance to support the health and well-being of the communities they serve. The grocer continues to work diligently to keep appointment availability updated online in real time as additional vaccines are regularly received or due to cancellations. SEG continues to enhance its efforts to safeguard the communities it serves by doubling vaccine incentives for customers who receive two vaccines on the same day in all Fresco y Más, Harveys Supermarket and Winn-Dixie in-store pharmacies to further encourage vaccine administration. To take part in the incentive, customers can walk into any SEG in-store pharmacy or make an appointment online to get a flu vaccine, which are free with most insurances, or COVID-19 vaccine and receive a free $10 grocery voucher. Additionally, customers who choose to receive both or a second vaccine of their choice on the same day, will receive an additional $10 in grocery savings.
Clay County Winn-Dixies can be found at:
• 3260 U.S. Highway 17, Green Cove Springs (904-529-8888)
• 3212 State Road 21, Melrose (352-475-1115)
• 2720 Blanding Blvd., Middleburg (904-282-3818)
• 2851 Henley Road, Lake Asbury (904-899-6900)
• 1339 Blanding Blvd., Orange Park (904-272-1547)
• 1545 County Road 220, Fleming Island (904-264-0398)
• 1900 Park Ave, Orange Park (904-278-2691)
• 8560 Argyle Forest Blvd., Oakleaf (904-779-5000)
Clay Bridal Spectacular Expo returns in February
ORANGE PARK – Calling all bridal parties! Thrasher-Horne Conference Center presents the fourth Annual Clay Bridal Spectacular Expo on Sunday, Feb. 27, 2022, from 1 p.m.- 4 p.m.
The Clay Bridal Spectacular is a mid-size expo focused on creating an intimate and exclusive setting for one-on-one opportunities between our visiting brides, and attending vendors. Featuring the very best of local professionals, brides will have the opportunity of planning conversations for their weddings with a variety of vendors.
The Clay Bridal Spectacular Expo, located at the Thrasher-Horne Conference Center, will showcase an amazing selection of wedding professionals ready to help brides and their guests find the perfect gown, wedding décor, photographer, florists, music, menu and more. You won’t want to miss out! Don’t miss the music, door prizes and Grand Prize Giveaway drawn at the event.
Tickets are available at THcenter.org or at (904) 276-6815. Prices range from $5.00 in advance or $10.00 at the door.
The Thrasher-Horne Center is an event center owned and operated by St. Johns River State College. It is located on the Orange Park campus at 283 College Dr.
Safe Animal Shelter’s Wizard of Paws moved to April
MIDDLEBURG – Due to the newest outbreak of COVID-19, the Safe Animal Shelter’s Wizard of Paws annual dinner and auction for the Safe Animal Shelter was moved to April 9.
The newly-scheduled fundraiser will be held at the Thrasher-Horne Center at 283 College Dr. in Orange Park from 5-9 p.m.
Tickets already purchased for the original Oct. 23 event will be honored in April. Tickets are $60 and can be purchased at Safe Animal Shelter, 2913 County Road 220 in Middleburg or by calling (904) 375-9122.
ElderSource Looking for volunteers to call seniors
CLAY COUNTY – The pandemic has underscored how older adults living alone in our area are often more isolated and need a connection to the community and friends. You can help solve this problem without even leaving your home.
ElderSource, a nonprofit organization that works to empower seniors with dignity and independence, is recruiting volunteers for its Caring Connections Telephone Reassurance Program. Caring Connections offers a simple way for someone to make a difference in the life of a homebound older adult.
“It’s widely known that many older adults live alone, protecting their independence. However, that doesn’t mean they still wouldn’t appreciate a call from a friend,” said Linda Levin, ElderSource CEO. “Caring Connections offers them a friendly check-in call and gives them the chance to connect with someone beyond their front door.”
Caring Connections volunteers are needed immediately with approximately 40 seniors currently waiting to be matched with volunteers. All volunteers are trained, background screened and matched with a special friend. Hours are flexible, as the volunteer and the senior work together to set the days and times convenient for each person to connect by phone.
Volunteers are needed in all seven counties of the ElderSource service area that includes Clay, Baker, Duval, Flagler, Nassau, St. Johns and Volusia.
To learn more about how to be a Caring Connections volunteer to if an older adult would like to be matched with a volunteer, call the ElderSource HelpLine at (904) 391-6699, or email Volunteers@MyElderSource.org.
AARP Foundation now recruiting volunteers for Tax-Aide service
CLAY COUNTY – AARP Foundation Tax-Aide has kicked off volunteer recruitment for its Tax-Aide program, the nation’s largest volunteer-run tax preparation service. The program is looking for individuals to volunteer virtually or in-person in a number of roles to provide help to taxpayers.
Northeast Florida has started volunteer recruitment for its Tax-Aide program for the upcoming tax season. It offers free in-person and online tax preparation and assistance to low and moderate-income taxpayers nationwide.
In addition to tax preparation help, volunteers can serve as client facilitators and providers of technical and management assistance. Every level of experience is welcome.
Volunteer tax preparers complete tax preparation training and IRS certification. To learn about our volunteer opportunities, visit aarpfoundation.org/taxaide or call (888) 687-2277. AARP Foundation Tax-Aide is offered in coordination with the IRS.
Tax-Aide offers free in-person and online tax preparation and assistance to low- and moderate-income taxpayers nationwide. Because of the complexity of the U.S. tax code, many taxpayers overpay their taxes or turn to paid tax services they cannot afford. Some may forgo filing their taxes and miss out on the credits and deductions they’ve earned because they are unable to pay for assistance. Tax-Aide volunteers can help by providing necessary services right in their communities.
Volunteers can serve in person or coach taxpayers online or by phone. In addition to tax preparation help, volunteers can serve as client facilitators, providers of technical and management assistance, and interpreters. Volunteer tax preparers complete tax preparation training and IRS certification.
AARP Foundation Tax-Aide has grown since its inaugural team of just four volunteers in 1968 and has served more than 68 million taxpayers since its inception. The program has volunteers in every state and now involves more than 36,000 volunteers. This past tax season in Clay County, Tax-Aide volunteers assisted as counselors, virtual coaches, managers and administrators, technologists, and translators, among other valuable roles.
COVID-19 forces adjustments to county’s library hours
GREEN COVE SPRINGS – Clay County public libraries are taking additional precautions to protect the health and safety of our patrons and staff.
All library branches will be limiting library hours and encouraging everyone to practice CDC-recommended physical distancing guidelines.
Libraries will be open from noon to 8 p.m. Mondays and Tuesdays; 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Wednesdays and Thursdays; and, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.
To make browsing and checking out materials more convenient, patrons can utilize the HoldIT Self-Service pick-up kiosks located at each branch. The library catalog is available online at http://insignia.claycountygov.com/Library/Home.
Using your library card to log in to your account, you can select up to 15 items to place on hold. You will have the option to select from which branch you want to pick up the materials, and if desired, choose “pick up from locker” to retrieve the items. Items can be retrieved from lockers and dropped off in the book drop next to the lockers 24 hours a day.
Additional library services include:
• Seating is available for studying and Wi-Fi use
• Free Wi-Fi is available in all library parking lots 24 hours a day
• Mobile Wi-Fi “SmartSpots” are available to check out for 14 days with your library card
• Chromebook laptops are available to check out for 14 days with your library card
• Newspapers are available for public use
• Meetings rooms are available for reservations
• Study rooms are available
• Self-check stations are available for contactless service at all branches
Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information or call the branch directly, contact information here: https://www.claycountygov.com/community/library/library-locations-and-hours.
Clay County looking to fill several job openings
CLAY COUNTY – The Board of County Commissioners are looking for a few good people – make that a lot of good people.
The county posted several job openings, including animal control officer, building inspector, deputy director of engineering, engineering specialist, equipment operator, firefighter/EMT, grants administration analyst, grounds maintenance technician, HVAC technician, kennel attendant, laborer, permit services technician, veterans’ services officer and 4-H young development extension agent (apply through University of Florida).
For more information, click the Career Opportunities tab on the county’s website, www.claycountygov.com.
Guess Who coming to Thrasher-Horne Center
ORANGE PARK – The Guess Who, a group that's connected with the masses throughout an exultant hit parade spanning fourteen Top 40 hits, including "These Eyes," "Clap For the Wolfman," "Hand Me Down World," "No Times," "Star Baby" and "Share the Land" will perform at the Thrasher-Horne Center on Feb. 18 at 8 p.m.
Add in fellow classics and double-sided singles like their No. 1 rock anthem "American Woman and "No Sugar Tonight," plus "Laughing" and "Undun," and the Canadian bred stateside conquerors are amongst music's most indelible treasures who are eternally etched within the very fabric of pop culture history.
"You're going to see an excellent version of the songs and hear exactly how they should sound or be played," said founding member and original drummer/songwriter Garry Peterson.
"We're coming at a new generation of fans who are seeing how the band can execute with enthusiasm. And we're also making sure the respect level remains at an all-time high for how the music was initially recorded and remains at an all-time high for the fans who have been with the band from the beginning."
Tickets for non-members will go on sale on Nov. 8. To buy tickets, visit thcenter.org or call (904) 276-6815.
Oak Ridge Boys making May 12 stop at Thrasher-Horne
ORANGE PARK – Theirs is one of the most distinctive and recognizable sounds in the music industry. The four-part harmonies and upbeat songs of The Oak Ridge Boys have spawned dozens of Country hits and a Number One Pop smash, earned them Grammy, Dove, CMA, and ACM awards and garnered a host of other industry and fan accolades. Every time they step before an audience, the Oaks bring four decades of charted singles, and 50 years of tradition, to a stage show widely acknowledged as among the most exciting anywhere. And each remains as enthusiastic about the process as they have ever been.
“When I go on stage, I get the same feeling I had the first time I sang with The Oak Ridge Boys,” says lead singer Duane Allen. “This is the only job I've ever wanted to have.”
“Like everyone else in the group,” adds bass singer extraordinaire, Richard Sterban, “I was a fan of the Oaks before I became a member. I’m still a fan of the group today. Being in The Oak Ridge Boys is the fulfillment of a lifelong dream.”
The two, along with tenor Joe Bonsall and baritone William Lee Golden, comprise one of Country's truly legendary acts. Their string of hits includes the Country-Pop chart-topper “Elvira,” as well as “Bobbie Sue,” “Dream On,” “Thank God For Kids,” “American Made,” I Guess It Never Hurts To Hurt Sometimes,” “Fancy Free,” “Gonna Take A Lot Of River” and many others. In 2009, they covered a White Stripes song, receiving accolades from Rock reviewers. In 2011, they rerecorded a 13th anniversary version of “Elvira” for a Cracker Barrel Old Country Store project.
The group has scored 12 gold, three platinum, and one double platinum album—plus one double platinum single—and had more than a dozen national No. 1 singles and over 30 Top-10 hits.
The show starts at 7:30 p.m. on May 12. Tickets, which start at $29, are available at thcenter.org.