Community Briefs 8/9/18

Clay Today
Posted 8/8/18

Navy to begin drinking water testingNAS JACKSONVILLE – The U.S. Navy will begin testing drinking water wells within identified areas in and around Naval Air Station Jacksonville this month as …

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Community Briefs 8/9/18


Navy to begin drinking water testing

NAS JACKSONVILLE – The U.S. Navy will begin testing drinking water wells within identified areas in and around Naval Air Station Jacksonville this month as part of a ongoing plan to ensuring drinking water supplies are not impacted from past Navy use of the air station. These tests will be at no cost to the well owners. This is part of Navy’s ongoing testing of drinking water that is currently taking place at and near Navy installations across the nation.

Navy officials have informed members of the staff at the Florida congressional offices on Capitol Hill regarding the Navy’s current plan to test drinking water wells around NAS Jacksonville for per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances, aka PFAS. Navy leadership has also informed local officials in Duval and Clay County.

PFAS are man-made chemicals persistent in the environment that are not absorbed well in soil and could migrate to groundwater. PFAS have been used for many years to make products that resist heat, stains, grease and water, and have been used in a variety of products and substances, such as non-stick pans; water resistant textiles and sprays with water resistant properties.

In May 2016, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued lifetime health advisory levels for two PFAS, specifically perfluorooctane sulfonate and perfluorooctanoic acid, at 70 parts per trillion, individually and combined if both are present. While there are no EPA regulations for these compounds, the EPA established these lifetime health advisory levels to offer a margin of protection for all Americans throughout their life from potential adverse health effects resulting from exposure to PFOA and PFOS in drinking water.

The most common historical Navy use of these chemicals has been as firefighting foam used on Navy installations. AFFF is the most effective way to put out petroleum-based fires, such as an aircraft accident.

In June 2016, the Navy issued a policy to identify areas of potential release of these materials to the environment. As part of this policy, the Navy is testing for PFOS and PFOA in and around NAS Jacksonville.

The Navy will provide alternate drinking water – typically bottled water – for residents if their drinking water concentrations exceed the EPA lifetime health advisory levels for PFOA and/or PFOS.

The Navy is committed to sharing additional information as it becomes available throughout the testing process. A public open house is scheduled to discuss the drinking water investigation on Aug. 16 from 4-7 p.m. at the Courtyard by Marriott, 610 Wells Rd., in Orange Park. The open house will include informational displays along with representatives from the Navy, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, JEA and Florida Department of Health. Media will be invited to attend at 3 p.m. for interviews. Another media advisory will be sent out prior to the open house.

More information about the Navy’s PFAS initiative and drinking water testing program may be found at:

Sponsorship opportunities available for North Florida Land Trust benefit concert

JACKSONVILLE – North Florida Land Trust has opportunities available for businesses to become involved with a benefit concert featuring JJ Grey, a Jacksonville native who has received worldwide acclaim with his band, JJ Grey and Mofro.

Businesses have an opportunity to sign on to one of five sponsorship levels ranging from $500 to the $10,000, which is the Black Bear title sponsor. Sponsorship of the event will mean more than 550 people who attend the event will see the business’ name and for the higher-level sponsors, the business’ name could be included in all NFLT’s marketing materials and on social media sites.

JJ Grey sells out arenas and amphitheaters all over the country and right now, all VIP tickets to the event are sold out, except for four VIP tickets, which are included with the Black Bear Sponsor. General admission tickets are going fast with just over 260 still available. Sponsors will also receive recognition in the event flyer that will be sent to more than 5,000 NFLT supporters.

Each sponsorship opportunity includes customization to meet a business’ diverse marketing needs. Those interested in sponsorships can contact Genevieve Fletcher at (904) 479-1962 or at

North Florida Land Trust is a nonprofit that works to preserve environmentally-sensitive lands in Baker, Bradford, Clay, Duval, Flagler, Nassau, Putnam, St. Johns, Union and Volusia counties. NFLT was founded in 1999 and has protected thousands of acres of environmentally significant land including property at Big Talbot Island, the River Branch Preserve, Pumpkin Hill State Park, Moccasin Slough here in Clay County, along the St. Marys River and other valued natural areas predominantly in Northeast Florida. NFLT is funded largely by private and corporate contributions and works closely with private landowners and other public agencies at all levels of government, not-for-profit partners, and foundations.

Wallace named president of JAXUSA partnership

JACKSONVILLE – Aundra Wallace will be the next president of JAXUSA Partnership, the economic development arm of JAX Chamber, which Clay County is a member.

For the past five years, Wallace has served as CEO of the Downtown Investment Authority, where he closed several key deals to jumpstart the redevelopment of downtown Jacksonville. Wallace will start Oct. 1.

JAXUSA is a private, nonprofit division of the Chamber that oversees economic development in Northeast Florida, working with regional and state partners to create jobs and generate investment. In 2017 alone, JAXUSA Partnership helped attract 5,000 new jobs and more than $633 million in private capital investment.

Longtime JAXUSA President Jerry Mallot announced earlier this year his retirement

effective Sept. 1.

Shortly after the Mallot announcement, JAX Chamber President and CEO Daniel Davis met

individually with top JAXUSA and Chamber investors to discuss what qualities they would want to see in the next JAXUSA leader. Overwhelmingly, the top priority was to find someone who understands Jacksonville and knows how to get deals done here.

“Through a very competitive process, Aundra emerged as the right person at the right

time to lead our economic development at JAXUSA Partnership,” Davis said. “We have

incredible momentum right now and Aundra will use his skills and relationships, both

within Jacksonville and around the globe, to keep the momentum going and attract jobs

to our region.”

Wallace moved to Jacksonville in 2013 for the DIA position and has helped finalize and

move forward deals which had struggled to take off over the years, such as the Barnett

Building and the Laura Street Trio and the former JEA Southside Generating Station on

the Southbank, which will be a mixed-use development known as The District. Wallace

also structured the financial incentive package to assist One Call Management with its

business expansion on the Southbank and participated in and helped facilitate the

VyStar headquarters relocation to downtown Jacksonville.

Wallace, 50, previously served as Executive Director of the Detroit Land Bank Authority

and as Senior Vice President for Real Estate Development and Lending at the North

Carolina Community Development Initiative in Raleigh. While in Detroit, Wallace led the

investment into five mixed-use and commercial properties in Downtown Detroit to

support the initiatives spearheaded by the CEO of Quicken Loans and his affiliated

companies to repopulate and revitalize the city. Over 1,000 jobs were created and

another 1,200 were retained.

Prior to moving to Raleigh, Wallace worked in a number of different senior executive,

economic development and department head roles in his 13 years with Miami-Dade


“I love Jacksonville and I’m excited for the opportunity to create jobs and attract

investment to our community,” Wallace said. “We have all the pieces in place and

JAXUSA has done phenomenal work putting our community on the map for business. I

look forward to getting started and working with all of our partners to keep the economy

growing in Northeast Florida.”

A local committee of past and current volunteer leaders of JAX Chamber and JAXUSA

Partnership worked with a search firm to vet and interview candidates from across the

country. The search committee was comprised of Tim Cost, Jacksonville University president and chair of JAXUSA Partnership, former Jacksonville Mayor John Peyton, president of GATE Petroleum and JAX Chamber chair, Kelly Madden, head of Commercial Banking for Florida for Wells Fargo and past chair of both JAX Chamber and JAXUSA Partnership, Darnell Smith, North Florida Market president for Florida Blue and past chair of

JAX Chamber and Davis.

“Aundra is a talented, respected economic developer who listens, develops a strategy

and executes,” Peyton said. “His track record with putting together complicated deals

and attracting businesses to a community speaks for itself. I look forward to the growth

and investment he will help attract to Northeast Florida.”

Wallace graduated from Georgia Southern University and has a master’s degree in public

administration from Clark Atlanta University.

NAMI family to family class

ORANGE PARK – A nonprofit is offering free education and support for families who have relatives with serious mental illness.

The NAMI Family-to Family Education Program is a 12-week course for families and friends of individuals with brain disorders commonly called mental illness. The course is taught by trained family members who have lived with the experience. All course materials are furnished free.

Course materials cover the major mental illnesses, problem solving workshops, communication skills, self-care workshop, understanding the experience of having a mental illness, rehabilitation services, and advocacy.

Participants will gain understanding, insight, and empowerment. Classes are once a week starting Sunday, August 19 and continue through Sunday, November 11 and will be held at Orange Park Medical Center, 2001 Kingsley Ave. in Classroom 2. Classes run from 2-4:30 p.m.

Class is limited to 25 and pre-registration is required.

Contact Judy at (904) 264-6402 or for more information. Please leave your name and phone number.

Waterkeepers unite to protect Florida waterways

TALLAHASSEE – On July 31, Florida Waterkeepers joined forces in Tallahassee to stand up for Florida waters. Waterkeepers united from across the state representing urban and rural communities and waterways in and around the watersheds of the Indian River Lagoon, Tampa Bay, Matanzas River, St. Johns River, St. Marys River, Suwannee River, and Apalachicola River.

At a time when waters and communities throughout Florida are plagued with harmful algal blooms and threatened by rising waters, Waterkeepers across the state met with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection to express serious concern and a sense of urgency to protect and restore Florida’s rivers, coast, bays, estuaries, lakes, springs and aquifer.

As demonstrated by Hurricane Irma, major storms deteriorate water quality, threaten human health, and undermine Florida’s economy. Absent more proactive action and investment in becoming more resilient, water quality protection, and adaptation efforts, Florida’s economy, environment, and public health will suffer.

Florida Waterkeepers submitted a joint request strongly urging FDEP to fully protect our waterways and our community by increasing Florida’s ability to withstand future storms. Recommendations include comprehensive audit of infrastructure vulnerability and storm risk to accurately price the cost of inaction, prioritization of green infrastructure, and enhanced protection of wetlands and mangroves.

Urgent action is long-overdue. Waterkeepers requested the activation of the Harmful Algal Bloom Task Force; prioritize testing the actual algal bloom and publicize health advisories of toxic outbreaks quickly, a statewide moratorium against sewage sludge disposal near waterways; septic tank phase out strategies and the development and enforcement of truly restorative Basin Management Action Plans. The entire group presented a resolution against phosphate mining. In addition, the water advocates further voiced their joint opposition to FDEP’s efforts to assume the dredge and fill permits regulated by Section 404 of the Clean Water Act.

Florida’s waterways are uniquely connected and thus should be comprehensively and collectively protected under the Clean Water Act. Florida’s Waterkeepers are united in our goals to protect Florida’s water.

The Florida Waterkeepers share an unwavering commitment to protect the environmental integrity of Florida’s rivers, coast, bays, estuaries, lakes, springs and aquifer through science-based advocacy and a unified voice. There are currently 14 Waterkeepers in the State of Florida and each independent organization is a member of Waterkeeper Alliance, a global movement of on-the-water advocates who patrol and protect thousands of rivers, streams and coastlines in North and South America, Europe, Australia, Asia and Africa.

Part scientist, teacher, and legal advocate, Waterkeepers combine firsthand knowledge of their waterways with an unwavering commitment to the rights of their communities and to the rule of law. Whether on the water, in a classroom, or in a courtroom, Waterkeepers speak for the waters they defend – with the backing of their local community and the collective strength of Waterkeeper Alliance.


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