Community Briefs 5/17/18

Clay Today
Posted 5/16/18

Revised minimum levels plan will help lakes Brooklyn and GenevaPALATKA – The St. Johns River Water Management District Governing Board authorized staff to initiate the rulemaking process to …

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Community Briefs 5/17/18


Revised minimum levels plan will help lakes Brooklyn and Geneva

PALATKA – The St. Johns River Water Management District Governing Board authorized staff to initiate the rulemaking process to revise the existing minimum flows and levels for lakes Brooklyn and Geneva near Keystone Heights.

The board also approved moving forward with development of any required recovery or prevention strategies necessary for the lakes to achieve the revised water levels. The MFL report for lakes Brooklyn and Geneva is currently undergoing the peer review process and the final peer-reviewed MFL report will be available in June.

A public workshop to address draft revised MFLs and any required recovery or prevention strategies for lakes Brooklyn and Geneva is scheduled for 5-7 p.m., July 26, at district headquarters at 4049 Reid St. in Palatka.

Minimum levels for lakes Brooklyn and Geneva were adopted in January 1996. Those MFLs were based on a methodology designed to maintain the location of existing stable wetlands and organic soils. However, stable wetlands and organic soils do not exist at these sandhill lakes. A reevaluation is necessary to ensure that appropriate, protective minimum levels are developed.

When a water body or watercourse currently does not or is anticipated to not meet a proposed MFL, the district is required to develop recovery or prevention strategies for adoption in conjunction with the proposed MFL.

To learn more about MFLs, visit

Orange Park Medical Center getting cardiology fellowship program

ORANGE PARK – The Graduate Medical Education program at Orange Park Medical Center is adding a new specialty in July. By adding a Cardiology Fellowship Program, the hospital will bring future cardiologists to the area to further their medical training.

The new program is designed to prepare the physicians – also known as fellows – for academic or clinical practice in general cardiology or a subspecialty. The fellowship program follows a specialty training program known as a residency program. During their time at Orange Park Medical Center, fellows will have the benefit of instruction and mentorship of cardiologists that specialize in all areas of adult cardiology.

“Orange Park Medical Center is a growing academic center,” said Dr. Andrea DeNeen, a cardiologist who runs the Cardiology Fellowship Program. “Given our high volume of diverse cardiac patients and excellent outcomes, it was a natural next step to add cardiovascular training.”

Orange Park Medical Center is the only Comprehensive Stroke Center in Clay County.

“Having this new group in our facility will not only give them great experience and bring Orange Park Medical Center to the next level for heart care, it will help contribute to the nation’s effort to increase the number of well-trained cardiovascular specialists.”

Orange Park Medical Center’s will accept new fellows each year with their first class starting July 1. The program lasts 3 years.

OPMC currently has 68 residents in its graduate program with an additional 41 starting in July. The program includes family medicine, internal medicine, dermatology, a transitional year program which focuses on subspecialties, psychiatry and cardiology. The programs vary from 1-4 years in length. During their time at OPMC, residents and fellows see patients both in the hospital and in a clinic setting.

Air potato leaf beetles coming to help control invasive vine

TALLAHASSEE – The enemy and devourer of the invasive air potato vine is coming to North Florida. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and partners are sponsoring an Air Potato Challenge to distribute air potato leaf beetles to people trying to get rid of invasive air potato vines on their property. Air potato leaf beetles will be handed out to people at two free upcoming events.

The first is May 18 in Leon County from 9 a.m. to noon at the Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University, Center for Viticulture and Small Fruit Research, 6505 Mahan Dr. in Tallahassee.

The second event is June 6 in Bay County from 9 a.m. to noon at the University of Florida/Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Extension Office, 2728 E. 14th St. in Panama City. This event will end with an afternoon talk and workshop.

“Air potato leaf beetles are being used in Florida as a safe natural bio-control that helps us combat the invasive air potato vine. This nonnative vine can grow up to 8 inches a day and up to 70 feet in length, crowding out or killing native vegetation,” said Matt Phillips, who leads the FWC’s invasive plants section. “Air potato leaf beetles are small, colorful and harmless to us and other plants, but they have aggressive appetites when it comes to eating air potato vines.”

People who attend Air Potato Challenge events should bring a sample of air potato vine from their yard or land, so its identification can be verified by biologists. If they do have the vine, people will receive a container of 10 to 100 air potato leaf beetles to take home and release on their property.

The events are informal, and people are invited to come and go throughout the morning. People are asked to pre-register for the events at Beetles also will be available to people who attend and have not pre-registered.

The Air Potato Challenge is sponsored by the FWC and partners, including UF/IFAS, FAMU Center for Biological Control, Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and U.S. Department of Agriculture. The beneficial beetles are reared at FDACS’ Division of Plant Industry’s biological control facilities in Gainesville.

FWC is also accommodating those who can’t attend an Air Potato Challenge event. Sign up online at

Air potato is one of Florida’s most problematic invasive plants. The air potato leaf beetle (Lilioceris cheni) is bright red, about the size of your little fingernail, and has a big appetite only for the invasive air potato plant whose vines can completely consume natural areas, smothering other plants and degrading native habitat. Researchers have shown that air potato leaf beetles are host-specific to air potato vines and will not feed on other plants. The beetles chew through air potato leaves, leaving them riddled with holes.

Air potato leaf beetles were discovered in Nepal and China by scientists from the USDA’s Invasive Plant Research Laboratory in Fort Lauderdale, and were first released in Florida as a biological control agent in 2011.

Learn more about the air potato vine and air potato leaf beetle at and

4th Annual Hug a Survivor Festival honors cancer survivorship

JACKSONVILLE – Clay County residents who have survived cancer or wish to celebrate the life of a survivor have a chance on May 19 to hug it out for cancer.

Ackerman Cancer Center is hosting the 4th Annual Hug a Survivor Festival on May 19 from 9 a.m. to Noon at its Mandarin office at I-295 and San Jose Boulevard. The event is free and open to the entire Jacksonville-area community.

The Hug a Survivor festival provides education and resources for patients currently undergoing treatment, cancer survivors and caregivers. The event will incorporate gentle yoga sessions, art stations, health and cancer wellness booths and educational programs on nutrition, exercise and gardening.

All patients, caregivers, family, and friends are invited to join us as we honor each survivor and support those who are just starting out on their cancer journey. The Center’s BEAM Team – which stands for Bravely Educating And Mentoring – will be on hand to provide patients and caregivers with insight into their own cancer journeys and answer any questions from a patient’s perspective.

Community partners for the festival include the American Cancer Society, the Wellness Working Group, Live for Today, In the Pink and the Mammoglams, Bosom Buddies, the Christina Phipps Foundation and the American Lung Association.

To learn more about Hug a Survivor contact Alison Jerreld at (904) 880-5522 or visit

Cross to address historical society

PENNEY FARMS – Take a trip through time at the Penney Farms Historical Society’s May 17 meeting.

Lt. Gary Cross of the Clay County Sheriff’s Office will present a program entitled “Local Law Enforcement” where he discusses some interesting Sheriffs of the past and the crimes they had to deal with. Although cattle rustling and moonshine stills are mainly crimes of yesteryear, there are equally difficult assignments facing the officers of today.

This program will be held in the Penney Farms Town Hall at 4100 Clark Ave. at 7 p.m. on May 17 and will be the last program for the 2017-18 program year.

The program is free and open to all interested persons. Free street parking is available.

Art contest seeking submissions

MELROSE – The Mossman Home Preservation Foundation and Gallery 26 are teaming up to host the Mary H. Mossman Inspired Art Contest.

Art entries should commemorate and honor the life’s work of Mossman who was a renown religious leader and faith healer in the late 1800s who traveled the globe giving Bible teachings and ministering to the sick.

Mossman, along with her sisters Annie E. Harper and Alta Trimmier, established “Faith House” in 1881 in Melrose. Today, the house remains as the second-oldest standing structure in the community.

Artists who wish to participate in the contest are asked to visit the website where they can read Mossman’s book “Steppings in God or The Hidden Life Made Manifest” to get inspiration for their new art.

Entries should include a brief description of what inspired the artist’s contest submission and any other stories or inspirations received while studying Mossman’s life and work.

Art submissions are limited to the first 30 entries and the entry fee is $10. Entries are limited to one entry per person and the deadline for submissions is June 29. A public showing and announcement of winners will be held July 6 from 6-9 p.m. at Gallery 26’s Art Walk.

First prize will receive a half-ounce gold American eagle coin valued at $700, second prize will receive a quarter-ounce gold American eagle coin valued at $350 and third prize will receive a tenth-ounce gold American eagle coin valued at $140.

Additional prizes and gift certificates will be awarded for honorable mentions and other categories.

Contestants will also be able to offer their art entries for sale at the gallery showing for a 30 percent gallery fee.

St. Vincent’s HealthCare rolls out online scheduling

JACKSONVILLE – St. Vincent’s HealthCare is now offering online scheduling for both new and existing patients across all of its primary care and pediatrics providers in Northeast Florida and Southeast Georgia. St. Vincent’s is also the first and only health system in the area to offer online scheduling for urgent care, emergency care, and mammography, according to a press release.

Patients can now view available appointments for their preferred location or provider and select a time that fits their schedules. Appointments can be scheduled for services that individuals and families need most frequently and most urgently, including regular check-ups, physicals or sick visits.

“We currently have the largest local primary care network that offers online scheduling, which exemplifies our commitment to provide more convenient access to the best possible healthcare at the greatest value for those we’re so privileged to serve,” said Tom VanOsdol, president and CEO of Ascension Florida. “To further improve the healthcare experience in our community, we must work in both traditional and innovative ways to increase access to our world-class care and mission-centered, compassionate caring.”

The addition of online scheduling is part of a nationwide effort by Ascension to provide easy access to personalized care. Plans to expand online scheduling capabilities at St. Vincent’s to include specialty care and diagnostic/imaging services beyond mammography are under way.

Appointments can be scheduled at


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