Community Briefs 5/10/18

Clay Today
Posted 5/9/18

Yockey leaving Thrasher-Horne CenterORANGE PARK – St. Johns River State College is conducting a national search to find a new executive director for the Thrasher-Horne Center, the performing …

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Community Briefs 5/10/18


Yockey leaving Thrasher-Horne Center

ORANGE PARK – St. Johns River State College is conducting a national search to find a new executive director for the Thrasher-Horne Center, the performing arts center on the college’s Orange Park campus.

On May 5, Executive Director Denton Yockey announced he would be resigning to take a position in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Yockey will become the head of the Division of Theatre Arts, Production and Arts Administration at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music in Cincinnati. He will also hold the position of professor of arts administration. His last day in Clay County will be June 28.

“We are appreciative of the many positive changes Denton has made in his time here,” said Joe Pickens, president of SJR State College. “His work and dedication over the past four years have helped Thrasher-Horne Center set a course for the future.”

Originally from Indiana, Yockey began working in theatre management in 1984. Yockey, who has a master of fine arts degree from the University of Georgia, came to the Thrasher-Horne in June 2016 from Kansas City, Mo. where he had served as executive producer of the Starlight Theatre.

He replaced THCA’s original and founding director Tony Walsh who retired in July 2016.

More information and applications for the position are available at

The Thrasher-Horne Center is a performing arts venue and conference center owned and operated by St. Johns River State College. It is located on the Orange Park campus at 283 College Dr.

Clay resident honored for Florida Hazmat Training Program

JACKSONVILLE – CSX Corp.’s Brooke Martin has received one of Florida’s highest civilian awards for contributions to the state’s emergency response system.

Martin was recently presented the Thomas Yatabe Award for Hazarous Materials by the State Emergency Response Commission. A hazardous materials manager, Martin was recognized for partnering with the Northeast Florida Local Emergency Planning Committee on a training and preparedness program to improve local fire departments’ train incident response capabilities. She has conducted hazardous materials training for various agencies, including Clay County Fire and Rescue.

Throughout the spring of 2017, CSX and LEPC conducted 16 awareness-level courses attended by 218 responders at fire departments in the region. Next, the CSX and LEPC provided technician-level training that included use of the CSX Safety Train to educate responders about railcar safety, common leaks and spills, and mitigation techniques for chlorine gas, LP gas, ethanol and molten sulfur.

At the end of the training, CSX and LEPC conducted a regional hazardous materials exercise that brought together the region’s three hazmat teams from Jacksonville, Clay County and St. Johns County.

For proposing the training program and working closely with LEPC to implement it, Marton was recognized for “superior participation in hazardous materials planning or response by an individual.” LEPC stated in announcing the award, “[We] can’t thank Brooke enough for her leadership and continued efforts to assist and improve the [regional hazmat teams’] response capabilities.”

Young Artists Concert on tap in Penney Farms

PENNEY FARMS – The Commemorative Concerts Series at Penney Memorial Church winds down this season on May 16 at 7 p.m. with the time-honored tradition of hosting the Young Artists Concert, part of the annual Concert on the Green.

Winners of the student competition always perform at the church prior to the annual outdoor concert, which will be held on May 27 at St. Johns Country Day School.

The Penney Memorial Church concert is an homage to the late Howard Tappan, who along with other Penney Retirement Community residents, were instrumental is launching what would later morph into Concert on the Green, which is operated by the nonprofit of the same name.

Tappan is a former director of music at Penney Memorial Church. The Penney Memorial Church Commemorative Program contributes, each year, toward scholarship funding for the student musicians.

Penney Memorial Church is located at 4465 Poling Blvd. The performance is free and open to the public.

April’s showers nearly double average rainfall

PALATKA – All counties in the St. Johns River Water Management District’s service area experienced higher-than-average rainfall during April, with several counties seeing twice their average. This is a departure from last year’s data, when rainfall was trending significantly below average. A full hydrological report was presented today during the district’s governing board meeting.

April’s showers brought the 12-month rainfall total to above average, with a zone of very high rain running through northern Alachua, most of Putnam, southwest St. Johns and northwest Flagler counties. Districtwide, the annual rainfall total is more than 11 inches above average.

Bradford, Clay, St. Johns, Alachua, Putnam, Marion, Flagler and Volusia all received enough rainfall during April to double their monthly average.

Putnam County had the highest rainfall, with 7.4 inches.

The southernmost part of the district, including Indian River, Osceola and portions of Brevard County, all had average rainfall, ranging from 2.4 to 2.7 inches.

Concert to benefit children’s programs

ORANGE PARK – The Heritage Singers of Jacksonville are coming to Orange Park to help raise money for children who need a forever home.

The group performs May 19 at 7 p.m. at the Moosehaven Chapel at 1701 Park Ave. in a show to benefit Kids First of Florida, the lead agency in Clay County serving children & families experiencing, or at risk of experiencing, abuse & neglect. Since 2003, Kids First has been providing foster care & adoption services & currently has responsibility for more than 400 children.

All net proceeds from the concert will directly benefit the children & families served by Kids First of Florida. There will be no admission charge for the performance, but all donations will go to help Kids First.

Under the artistic direction of Michael Dell, the Heritage Singers will perform using the theme of “Let Peace Begin With Me.” For more information, the chorale’s website is

Volunteers needed for national food drive

ORANGE PARK – Volunteers are needed to help a local food bank sort out and organize donations as part of the 26th Annual Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive held by the National Association of Letter Carriers on May 12.

Students who need community service hours can earn them by helping the Clothes Closet and Food Pantry of Orange Park with some heavy lifting on the day of the event.

Food sorting, general assistance with and clean up are needed at St Catherine’s Roman Catholic Church, 1649 Kingsley Ave, Haut Hall on May 12 from 2 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Assistance is also needed at the Kingsley Avenue and College Drive U.S. Post Offices especially those with pick-up trucks so that foods can be delivered to St Catherine’s.

Children are welcomed accompanied by an adult to help. This is an opportunity to learn and experience the joy of volunteerism and helping others. Snacks and pizza will be available during the late afternoon and water will be available all day. Questions, please call Kathy Wray at (904) 252-8992.

For those who do volunteer can donate food for the needy that day during Stamp Out Hunger.

A paper or plastic bag will be delivered to mailboxes for residents to fill with non-perishable foods in non-breakable containers. Out-dated, opened or damaged containers will be discarded. Canned foods, peanut butter, jelly, condiments and sealed boxed food items are requested.

The Clothes Closet and Food Pantry of Orange Park, which serves northern Clay County, provided a weeks’ worth of food four times a year to 7,380 individuals in 2017. During the Holiday season, 1,136 individuals chose to have a basket for Thanksgiving or Christmas which included a turkey or ham, fresh and canned vegetables and trimmings to prepare their feast in the comfort of their own home. The pantry especially needs peanut butter, jelly, breakfast foods, rice, canned meats, pasta sauce, canned pastas, canned fruit, dried milk, condiments, tea, coffee, juices, canned vegetables and baking staples. Small sizes are preferable.


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