Community Briefs 5/3/18

Clay Today
Posted 5/3/18

Concert to benefit children’s programsORANGE PARK – The Heritage Singers of Jacksonville are coming to Orange Park to help raise money for children who need a forever home.The group …

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Community Briefs 5/3/18


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.

St. Vincent’s Medical Center owner reorganizes

JACKSONVILLE – As of May 1, the parent company of St. Vincent’s Medical Center is reorganizing and making some name changes.

Ascension’s health systems in Florida will be reconfigured into a single state-based Florida Ministry Market. Ascension Florida will be composed of Ascension St. Vincent’s in Jacksonville and Ascension Sacred Heart, which includes Sacred Heart Hospital Pensacola, Sacred Heart Hospital on the Emerald Coast and Sacred Heart Hospital on the Gulf.

Tom VanOsdol, who leads Ascension St. Vincent’s, will also serve as the president and CEO of Ascension Florida. At the same time, Susan Davis, will transition from her role as president and CEO of Sacred Heart Health System.

“Both St. Vincent’s and Sacred Heart are blessed with exceptional leadership teams, dedicated caregivers and support staff, and highly qualified and caring medical staff,” VanOsdol said. “I’m humbled and blessed by this opportunity and look forward to working together in our efforts to provide compassionate, personalized care to individuals from the First Coast to the Gulf Coast.”

“Achieving success in our rapidly evolving healthcare environment requires us to be flexible enough to quickly adapt to the changing needs of the individuals and communities we serve,” said Patricia Maryland, executive vice president of Ascension, and president and CEO of Ascension Healthcare. “We also must be strategic in our interactions with state-based third-party payers, including state Medicaid programs, and be organized to positively influence the state and local regulatory landscape.”

VanOsdol will work with Florida and national Ascension leaders to develop effective and appropriate organizational structures to best achieve the national health system’s Mission of serving all with special attention to persons living in poverty and those most vulnerable.

Tourist council to hold workshop

GREEN COVE SPRINGS – Calling all event organizers who would like to apply for grants from the Clay County Tourist Development Council.

The TDC is holding a workshop where event organizers will get an overview of the event marketing-grant process. There have been some significant changes from previous years that will be included in the workshop.

Event organizers planning events that will occur between October 1, 2018 and September 30, 2019 should attend the workshop. Event marketing must include a plan for reaching visitors who do not reside in Clay County.

The workshop is May 17 from 5-7 p.m. in the Clay County Board of County Commissioners Board Room, County Administration Building, 477 Houston St. in Green Cove Springs.

For more information, contact Kimberly Morgan, director of Tourism & Film Development, at or via phone at (904) 278-3734.

Public asked to comment on forestry plan

GREEN COVE SPRINGS – The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Florida Forest Service and the Jennings State Forest Management Plan Advisory Group wants the public’s input on the Jennings State Forest Management Plan.

The first meeting is organizational and will take place May 23 at 10:30 a.m. at the Clay County Extension office at 2463 State Road 16 in Green Cove Springs.

The purpose of the meeting is to allow the Jennings State Forest Management Plan Advisory Group to prepare for a public hearing later in the day which will provide recommendations to the Forest Service to help in preparation of a management plan for the Jennings State Forest.

The public meeting will begin 30 minutes afterward at 11 a.m. with the Jennings State Forest Management Plan Advisory Group, May 23 to solicit comments on management of the Jennings State Forest. Comments may be presented orally or in writing at the hearing. Written comments may also be submitted to FFS’s Jennings State Forest Office at 1337 Longhorn Rd., Middleburg, FL 32068 to the attention of Frank Burley and should be mailed so as to arrive at the office prior to the date of the public hearing.

Special accommodations for persons with a disabling condition should be requested in writing to the FFS’s Jennings State Forest office at the above listed address at least 72 hours in advance of these proceedings. Any request for special accommodations can be made by writing to the FFS’s Jennings State Forest Office at the above listed address.

Sign up for the 2018 Lionfish Challenge, win up to $5,000

TALLAHASSEE – Attention recreational and commercial lionfish hunters. It’s time to register for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission 2018 Lionfish Challenge. Register at

This year’s Challenge begins on Lionfish Removal and Awareness Day May 19 and will run through Sept. 3. The Challenge kicks off at the Lionfish Removal and Awareness Day Festival and the Lionfish World Championship Tournament May 19 and 20 at the Flora-Bama Yacht Club and Ole River Grill on the Florida Alabama coastal border. The event will also include a benefit concert by Little Texas at 5 p.m. Sunday, May 20, presented by Coast Watch Alliance and Lionfish University.

This year’s sponsors helped fund a new tagged-lionfish component to the Challenge. Catch an FWC-tagged lionfish and win up to $5,000.

Non-cash prizes, such as GoPro cameras, tumblers by Engel Coolers, puncture-resistant gloves by TurtleSkin, customized towels and more, will also be awarded to participants who remove and submit lionfish, tagged or not.

Participants who remove the most lionfish in the recreational and commercial categories will be crowned the 2018 Recreational Lionfish King/Queen and the Commercial Champion.

The goal of these programs is to encourage and track removals of nonnative invasive lionfish. Lionfish have no known predators outside of its native habitat, though there are reports that grouper, gray triggerfish and large eels have eaten healthy, uninjured lionfish in the Caribbean Sea. Lionfish are known to eat just about every marine creature in its range, by some estimates that includes over 70 different fish, invertebrates and mollusks. Their external spikes act as a shield to fend off most predators and make the fish extremely difficult to capture as well.

To learn more, visit or contact the FWC Division of Marine Fisheries Management at or (850) 487-0554.

May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month

TALLAHASSEE – The Florida Department of Transportation is observing May as Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month.

More than a million drivers in Florida have a motorcycle endorsement on their driver licenses, and many visitors ride motorcycles in the Sunshine State due to Florida’s great weather and roads. Safety is FDOT’s top priority and throughout the month the department is working to raise awareness and educate all road users on the importance of motorcycle safety.

“It’s everyone’s responsibility to use care and drive responsibly by looking out for all motorists, especially those on motorcycles. By working together, and following important safety practices, users of our roadways can become better aware of motorcyclists while traveling throughout the state,” said FDOT Secretary Mike Dew.

During Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, FDOT is asking motorcyclists and motorists to share the road by using these simple tips.

Tips for motorcyclists, include no drinking and riding, be more visible to motorists, wear bright colors, always wear adequate riding gear including DOT-compliant helmet, ride in Control, train regularly and get endorsed and inspect your motorcycle before each ride to ensure your safety by having it in good working order.


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