Community Briefs 3/21/19

Clay Today
Posted 3/20/19

Top Cat: Local kids treated to the definitive writings of Dr. SeussORANGE PARK – Two local preschools were treated to story time and free copies of “Ten Apples Up on Top” as part of …

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Community Briefs 3/21/19


Top Cat: Local kids treated to the definitive writings of Dr. Seuss

ORANGE PARK – Two local preschools were treated to story time and free copies of “Ten Apples Up on Top” as part of the monthlong celebration of Dr. Seuss’s birthday.

The Early Learning Coalition of North Florida picked Orange Park Methodist Preschool and First Class Learning Center in a random drawing. Children visited with The Cat in the Hat, followed by various activities relating to Dr. Seuss books. Teachers received a resource bag filled with a set of eight Dr. Seuss books and other teaching materials.

“Promoting early literacy is a priority mission for us at the Early Learning Coalition,” said Joan Whitson, ELC’s Literacy Outreach Manager. “Getting children excited about books and making sure that all children have them can make all the difference in their success in school all during their lives.”

The ELC of North Florida provides child care assistance to families who meet certain income requirements and who are working or going back to school. This school readiness program is designed to increase a child’s chance of achieving future educational success. The ELC also administers and manages Florida’s FREE VPK (voluntary pre-kindergarten program for four-year-olds). To learn more, visit: or call (904) 342-2267.

St. Johns River Water Management District

offers vacation tips in your own backyard

CLAY COUNTY – If you’re looking for a quick get-a-way for spring break but don’t want to break the bank, then lands owned by the St. Johns River Water Management District offer the perfect one-tank stay-cation.

“These lands — more than 700,000 acres — have been brought into public ownership to help us carry out our core missions to protect water resources,” said St. Johns River Water Management District Executive Director Dr. Ann Shortelle. “Wherever possible, we’ve opened these lands for the public’s enjoyment.”

Across its 18-county service area, the district is lead manager on more than 40 properties that are open to the public for free. Stretching from the Florida-Georgia state line, south to Indian River County, these are diverse properties. Visitors will see such natural communities as marshes at the headwaters of the St. Johns River, pine and hardwood forests, and natural seepage ravines, as well as a wide variety of wildlife.

The Bayard Conversation Area, Black Creek Ravines Conversation Area are two of the 41 public-owned properties.

These lands provide nature-based activities such as hiking, bicycling, wildlife viewing, geocaching, picnicking and water-based activities such as kayaking. For the more adventurous visitor, consider an overnight stay at one of the primitive camping sites, where you can pitch a tent, cook a meal over a campfire ring and watch the stars come out in the evening sky. Visitors will want to make sure to carry in all their drinking water, insect repellent and other supplies, and carry out all trash.

Visit the district’s website at for individual property descriptions and maps, trail guides, driving directions and a list of activities for each property.

Island Walk Dental Care

offers free care to uninsured

FLEMING ISLAND – Residents will get free dental care at Island Walk Dental Care on April 6.

As part of Free Dentistry Day, Drs. Renata Folstein and Renee Schulte, along with their team, will provide care to patients who don’t have dental insurance. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, approximately 108 million Americans don’t have dental insurance.

“We understand that many people in our community and across the nation haven’t been to the dentist for a long period of time. Some don’t understand the importance of dental health, but more often than not, they don’t have the financial means,” said Dr. Folstein. “This event is a great opportunity for us to share our time and resources with those less fortunate and give back to the community.”

There is increasing evidence that links oral health to overall health and well-being. The signs and symptoms of over 100 medical conditions, including diabetes, HIV/AIDS, Lou Gehrig’s disease and oral cancer may first be detected through traditional oral examinations.

“Dental health is a vital part of a person’s overall health,” said Dr. Schulte. “Through this event, we hope to educate patients on the importance of dental health and encourage them to adopt an ongoing oral care regimen.”

During Free Dentistry Day, free extractions will be provided per patient on Saturday, April 6, between 7 a.m. and 3 p.m. at 1647 County Road 220, Suite 101 on Fleming Island. Patients will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis. For more information, please call (904) 278-6229 or visit

“It’s very gratifying to see the impact that events like Free Dentistry Day can have on the life of a person. At the same time we’re changing their life, they’re changing ours,” said Dr. Folstein.

SJR State invites public

to African American film series

ORANGE PARK – A variety of engaging film screenings from “The Whole Staircase: Films Celebrating 400 Years of African American History and Culture” is at St. Johns River State College, and the public is invited to visit any of the College’s three campuses to view these screenings and participate in related discussion.

Locally, the series is available at the Orange Park campus at 283 College Dr.

The 400 Years of African American History Commission Act designates 2019 as a yearlong Commemoration of the resilience of African Americans and their significant contributions to America. Offering “The Whole Staircase” film screenings to the community is one of several ways SJR State is participating in the Commemoration.

“In recognition of the Commemoration, St. Johns River State College will pay tribute to the rich history of African Americans, as well as the impact African Americans have made throughout the nation and within our own communities,” said SJR State’s Dean of Learning Resources Christina Will. “We hope SJR State’s Library events will serve as opportunities for celebration, education and reflection. We look forward to engaging our students and the community through these experiences.”

Upcoming screenings include “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks,” which will be presented by SJR State biology professor Kim Van Vliet, who explained, "`The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks’ is about an African American woman whose cancer cells were removed. In an effort to find cures and treatments, these HeLa cells were widely distributed to research labs and sold to laboratories around the country without the family’s knowledge...The title of the movie is a play on this scientific fact that Henrietta Lacks’ life still lives on through her cells…”

“The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” will be shown at the Orange Park campus on March 28 in Building A, room A-72 at 3 p.m.

Anther screening on April 1 includes, “The Birth of a Nation” presented by history professor Gregory Shealy at Building D, room D-14 at 5:30 p.m.

For additional information and the calendar of screenings and other events, visit

OPMC will go guns-a-blazing

to raise money for tragedy victims

ORANGE PARK – Orange Park Medical Center and Commercial Construction Services will partner to raise money for the HCA Healthcare Hope Fund by organizing a sporting clay shooting tournament on Friday. The event, called Shooting for Hope, is open to the public. Team and individual shooter openings are available.

Last year HCA Healthcare, Orange Park Medical Center’s parent company, helped more than 6,000 employees with $6.4 million in grants during financial hardship due to natural disasters, domestic violence, death of a loved one and other special situations, thanks to the Hope Fund. The employee-supported charity helped many Orange Park Medical Center employees on the First Coast get back on their feet following Hurricane Irma and Matthew.

“Being in healthcare, it’s natural for our people to rally together when devastation strikes,” said Richard Michaux, Orange Park Medical Center’s Director of Facilities and Shooting for Hope Organizer. “Not only does our staff stand-by during disasters for our community, they also step-up when it’s one of their own going through a difficult time.”

The 501(c)3 charity is funded by both employee and public contributions. Michaux says a gift of just $2 per pay check by one employee at Orange Park Medical Center can change a life and employees do not hesitate to give to the cause.

“What’s special about the Hope Fund is that it’s colleagues helping colleagues. Spreading awareness and getting the community involved is really exciting for us.”

If you’re interested in participating in the tournament or sponsoring the event visit or call 904-551-3003.

Shooting For Hope will be at Bradford Sportsmen’s Farm at 11394 S.W. 106th Ave. in Graham. Activities will kick off at 11am and event will include lunch.

Application deadline approaching

for Young Artists Music Competition

ORANGE PARK – Clay County students have until April 5 to submit their applications to participate in the Concert on the Green Young Artists Music Competition.

The winner will get a $1,000 scholarship and will perform as a soloist with the Jacksonville Symphony during the Memorial Day weekend festival on May 26.

The contest is open to students from grades 6 through 12.

Vocalists and instrumentalists are eligible for the competition. And again, this year, the Concert on the Green competition includes an Outstanding Jazz Musician Award. The first round of the competition will take place on April 13. Concerto Competition contestant finalists will perform in front of a live audience on April 15 for the final judging. All winners, including the Jazz Competition winner, will be announced on April 15. All finalists will receive an award or a scholarship.

The public is invited to attend the exciting concerto competition finalist recital and finalist judging event. It will be held at 7 p.m. on April 15th at Grace Anglican Church, 5804 U.S. Highway 17 on Fleming Island.

Grand prizes will be $1,000 scholarships which may be awarded to the first-place vocalist, instrumentalist and jazz musician.

The Concerto Competition scholarships are named after Howard Tappan, a chorus teacher for 30 years and one of the founders of Concert on the Green, who was a Minister of Music at Penney Farms Retirement Center. The new Jazz Competition scholarship is named after Dr. Bill Prince, Professor Emeritus of the School of Music at the University of North Florida. Prince is an internationally known jazz educator, composer and performer. These scholarships are supported by Penney Farms Memorial Church Commemorative Fund and Oxley-Heard, Inc.

A 32-year tradition in Clay County, Concert on the Green has awarded over $360,000 in scholarships to Clay County students and county schools since its inception. The annual fundraising event and concert which features the scholarship winners will be held on May 26.

For more information and to apply on-line, go to

Customers can donate to charity

with Winn-Dixie’s Community Bag

JACKSONVILLE – Southeastern Groceries, Inc., parent company and home of BI-LO, Fresco y Mas, Harveys Supermarket and Winn-Dixie, has announced the launch of its Community Bag with a Giving Tag Program. The reusable bag program empowers customers to make a difference in the communities they live and work in while helping the environment.

With each purchase of a reusable Community Bag with the Giving Tag, customers can direct a $1 donation to the non-profit of their choice to benefit the work a local charity is doing in their community. The specially designed reusable bags are made from recycled materials and can be found by registers on the reusable bag rack at all of their grocery stores in the Southeast.

Anthony Hucker, President and CEO of Southeastern Grocers, said, “We are committed to being a company our customers, associates and communities can always count on. This includes investing in the charitable causes they care about most. The community bag program further demonstrates our commitment to giving back by enabling us to reach thousands of organizations, both small and large, to make a greater difference within the communities in which we serve.”

Each Community Bag comes with an attached Giving Tag that features a blue heart and instructions on how to make the donation. At the time of purchase, customers will be directed to visit where they will have seven days to remove the scratch-off layer from their Giving Tag to reveal and submit their unique identifier and select the non-profit they would like to receive their $1 donation.

If customers do not see their favorite non-profit listed among the thousands of charitable partners, they can submit it for consideration and approval via by selecting “Submit a Non-Profit” from the menu option. If a customer does not assign the $1 donation to a charity within seven days, the donation will automatically default to a non-profit organization selected by the store manager at each store location, so the donation will still support that store’s community.

For more information about the Community Bag with a Giving Tag program, please visit

PDCA promotes Harper

to Manager of Education and Events

ORANGE PARK – Kathy Harper recently was promoted to the Manager of Education and Events for the Pile Driving Contractors Association.

Harper brings years of experience working with non-profit associations, including 10 years with the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists.

“It’s my goal to provide the best possible education and programming to PDCA’s members,” Harper said. “The Association already provides valuable technical knowledge to its members and it’s exciting to now be a part of that process and to see where there are areas for improvement.”

Primarily, Kathy will be responsible for planning and organizing PDCA’s educational programming, professional development functions and national conferences. Her first project is to oversee and coordinate all aspects of PDCA’s 22nd Annual International Conference and Expo from July 9-12 at Orlando.

County offers low bono program

to assist family legal matters

CLAY COUNTY – Residents who can’t afford an attorney can turn to a low bono program offered by the Clerk of the Court.

Anyone with a family law matter can hire an attorney for $1 hour. To schedule an appointment with a local, licensed Florida attorney, call (904) 269-6363.


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