Community Briefs 3/23/17

Clay Today
Posted 3/22/17

Clay County students urged to audition for Jacksonville Symphony Youth Orchestras

JACKSONVILLE – The Jacksonville Symphony Youth Orchestras, under the direction of Scott C. Gregg, will hold …

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Community Briefs 3/23/17


Clay County students urged to audition for Jacksonville Symphony Youth Orchestras

JACKSONVILLE – The Jacksonville Symphony Youth Orchestras, under the direction of Scott C. Gregg, will hold auditions for the 2017-18 season May 30 through June 4, 2017.

Auditions will take place at JSYO’s main site, Florida State College at Jacksonville’s South Campus and at the Clay County satellite site Wehner School of the Arts on College Drive.

JSYO is comprised of more than 400 musicians between 7 and 21 years old. Students accepted into JSYO’s program are placed in one of six orchestral groups based on their instrument and playing ability, including Foundation Strings I, Foundation Strings II, Encore Strings, Premiere Strings, Repertory Orchestra and the Philharmonic. All orchestral group auditions require a solo piece, scales and sight-reading. Repertory Orchestra and Philharmonic group auditions additionally require Arpeggios and Orchestral excerpts.

The Jacksonville Symphony Youth Orchestras are Northeast Florida’s premiere developmental orchestral ensembles. Serving over 400 young musicians, each orchestra improves its skills and understanding through the in-depth study of classical repertoire. In addition to traditional performances, the Jacksonville Symphony and the Youth Orchestras perform free community engagement concerts, both in Jacoby Hall at the Times-Union Center for the Performing Arts and at other venues around the First Coast.

Students interested in auditioning should apply online at by May 15 or call (904) 354-5120 with any questions.

Manufacturers join governor’s campaign to save Enterprise Florida and Visit Florida

JACKSONVILLE – In order to protect future jobs and to continue bolstering local economies through the recruitment of manufacturing, the First Coast Manufacturers Association has joined Gov. Rick Scott’s campaign to prevent the elimination of Enterprise Florida and Visit Florida by the Florida Legislature.

Both Enterprise Florida and Visit Florida are state agencies that use state funds to promote tourism and business relocation to the state. The Florida House of Representatives has voted to eliminate both agencies in the current legislative session.

According to the governor’s office, 56,130 jobs have been created in Duval County since 2010 as a result of Enterprise Florida efforts. In addition, more than 82 million tourists visited Duval and Nassau counties in 2015 with direct spending resulting in $1.8 billion economic impact.

“You only have to look at the jobs being brought to the area by Amazon, the jobs created by Johnson & Johnson VisionCare’s expansion, and the new jobs from General Electric to see how critical Enterprise Florida is to Northeast Florida,” said Lake Ray, FCMA president.

“It is important that we remind our legislative delegation that jobs are the key to the growth of the First Coast, that in turn, benefits our economy, our schools and our quality of life.”

The First Coast Manufacturers Association is a nonprofit trade association serving Northeast Florida. There are over 1,500 manufacturing companies on the First Coast, supplying over 30,000 jobs and generating nearly 15 percent of the total gross regional product. Additional media information on FCMA is available at

Public invited to Trap, Neuter and Return/Release workshop

ORANGE PARK – A nonprofit organization that was born out of a citizen’s committee of the Orange Park Town Council is inviting the public to a workshop.

Community Critter Care of Clay County Inc. will host the workshop this Saturday, March 25 from 2-4 p.m. at the Orange Park Library at 2054 Plainfield Ave.

Guest speaker Audrey Garrison, executive director of Operation Catnip Gainesville, will discuss the nonprofit’s track record of success in spaying, neutering a vaccinating more than 50,000 cats since it was founded in 1998.

Garrison will also discuss Targeted Trap-Neuter-Return as the only proven method for ending the needless deaths of community cats, and successfully controlling free-roaming cat populations.

Great education forum for residents of Orange Park and Clay County area who have questions about trapping community cats with the intention of spay or neutering them. This workshop is free to the community but, capacity is limited.

Sponsored by Community Critter Care of Clay County, Inc. a nonprofit corporation dedicated to reducing the number of homeless cat populations through trap, neuter, return/release efforts, public education as well as colony health and management. We affect this reduction by implementing the highest quality standards as we work with local governments, businesses and residents of Clay County, Florida.

FWC encourages boaters to ‘Spring Aboard’ by taking a boater education class

TALLAHASSEE – World-class fishing, crystal blue waters, endless sunshine – there’s so much about Florida’s waterways to enjoy. During the week of March 19-25, the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission encourage all boaters to take part in the national “Spring Aboard” campaign by taking a boating safety course.

“We know that an educated boater is safer on the water. If a boat operator has taken a boating safety education course, the likelihood of their time spent on the water being a safe and enjoyable experience is much greater for them as well as their passengers,” said Stephanie Weatherington, president of NASBLA. “March is the perfect time to take a course before the summer boating season begins.”

Many course providers will offer incentives or course discounts for students who enroll in or complete a course during the “Spring Aboard” campaign. For a summary of Florida’s regulations and available courses, go to

“In Florida, boaters who were born on or after Jan. 1, 1988, are required to complete and pass a boater safety education course. But everyone interested in boating should take a course – it’s the smart thing to do,” said Maj. Robert Rowe, FWC’s Boating and Waterways section leader. “Boaters have many ways to get educated, from classroom courses offered by the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary and United States Power Squadrons to online offerings available anytime day or night. There’s no reason to head out on the water without this knowledge.”

Florida boating accident statistics from 2015 indicate that, when the level of operator education was known, 72 percent of boating deaths occurred on boats where the boat operator had never received boating education instruction.

Green Cove Springs man claims $1 million scratch-off prize

TALLAHASSEE – A Green Cove Springs man recently claimed a $1 million prize from The Florida Lottery.

Danny Tippett, 69, of Green Cove Springs, claimed the prize in the $10,000,000 FORTUNE Scratch-Off game last week at Florida Lottery Headquarters in Tallahassee.

Tippett chose to receive his winnings as a one-time, lump-sum payment of $792,000.00. He purchased his winning ticket from Winn-Dixie, located at 1545 County Road 220 on Fleming Island.

The $25 Scratch-Off game, $10,000,000 FORTUNE, launched in February 2016, and features more than $623 million in total cash prizes, including 46 prizes of $1 million and four prizes of $10 million. The game’s overall odds of winning are one-in-2.88.

Scratch-Off games are an important part of the Lottery's portfolio of games, comprising approximately 65 percent of ticket sales and generating more than $734 million for the Educational Enhancement Trust Fund in fiscal year 2015-16.

Time to decorate your pallet or hay roll

GREEN COVE SPRINGS – While many are aware of the rides and food available at the Clay County Agricultural Fair, it’s the unknown that could turn out to be attendees’ new favorite thing to do while at the fair this year.

Each year, hay rolls and pallets become canvasses for artists of all ages as participants are given a unique opportunity to turn something ordinary into something creative and extraordinary. Usually, the hay rolls and pallets would be turned in early. Fairgoers could stop by and check out these decorative pieces but this year, guests can be a part of the fun, but you would have had to turn in an entry form in earlier this month.

If you did turn in an entry form, on March 28 and 29, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., you can decorate your pallet or hay roll to your heart’s content. On March 30, the creations will be judged.

Why do this?

“We are decorating hay rolls, and new for this year, pallets as well to get the community involved in the rich, wholesome fun at the fair,” said Tasha Hyder, the Clay County Agricultural Fair Manager.

While it is a contest, for Hyder, it’s about entertaining the guests, just like any other event you might find at the fair.

“The guest love seeing the uniquely, creatively decorated hay rolls and pallets and I can’t wait to see what we see this year,” said Hyder.

If you’re interested in seeing art on a non-traditional canvas, you can find the pallets and hay rolls scattered throughout the fair all week long.


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