Community Briefs 11/28/19


Donations needed for Wreaths Across America celebration

CLAY COUNTY – The National Wreaths Across America’s deadline for purchasing wreaths is quickly approaching, and two local organizations are looking for donations to complete their missions.

Wreath Across America ceremonies will be on Dec. 14 at Jacksonville Memory Gardens, 111 Blanding Blvd., Orange Park, and Keystone Heights Memorial Gardens, State Road 100.

Organizers said they need receive all donations by Dec. 2 to remember fallen U.S. soldiers, honor those who’ve served and teach children the value of freedom.

There are 5,000 graves at Jacksonville Memory Gardens with only 442 wreaths collected so far. Keystone Heights Memorial Gardens collected 451 wreaths for 860 graves.

The American Heritage Girls Troop FL5312 and the Trail Life USA Troop FL0033 will be collecting at Tractor Supply this Saturday at 1455 Blanding Blvd. in Orange Park. Wreaths Across America is hoping to receive donations for an additional 610 wreaths from the two groups.

Donations can be made online at Wreaths Across America at

If they use this link for Jacksonville Memory Gardens – “Friends of Jacksonville Memory Gardens” – they will get one free for every two purchased.

SJRWMD cited for excellence for 15th consecutive year

PALATKA – For the 15th consecutive year, the St. Johns River Water Management District has been awarded the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting for its fiscal year 2017-2018 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report. This is the highest honor given by the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada.

“This award recognizes the district’s accounting team for holding themselves to the highest standards of financial responsibility and transparency,” said St. Johns River Water Management District Executive Director Dr. Ann Shortelle. “This is our 15th consecutive year to receive this recognition — that speaks volumes about our staff’s commitment to accountability to taxpayers and our governing board, as well as our dedication to excellence and integrity.”

According to GFOA, the Certificate of Achievement is the highest form of recognition in governmental accounting and financial reporting and its attainment represents a significant accomplishment by a government and its management. The CAFR was judged by an impartial panel to meet the high standards of the program, which includes demonstrating a constructive “spirit of full disclosure” to clearly share financial information.

The GFOA’s Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting is the only national awards program in governmental accounting and financial reporting. Headquartered in Chicago, Ill., GFOA is a major professional organization serving the needs of nearly 19,000 appointed and elected local, state and provincial level government officials and other finance practitioners.

Workshop series helps people find relief from holiday grief

FLEMING ISLAND – The festive holiday season can be challenging for those grieving the loss of a loved one. They may find themselves torn between the need to grieve and pressure to get into the holiday spirit. For these grievers and their families, Community Hospice & Palliative Care offers a free workshop series, Hope for the Holidays. The annual program is designed to help people learn new ways to cope with grief, which may occur throughout the year but can become amplified during the holiday season.

Community Hospice & Palliative Care bereavement counselors will guide attendees through exercises and discussion on Dec. 12 from 6-7:30 p.m. to help grievers refocus energy on positive activities that honor and remember lost loved ones. The goal is for attendees to leave with a renewed sense of hope for the season to come.

“With Hope for the Holidays, we try to help people find ways to make the holiday season more meaningful by learning ways to remember and honor their loved ones and include them in the holiday season,” said Byron Beall, bereavement and community grief manager for Community Hospice & Palliative Care. “Whether the loss was recent or long ago, Hope for the Holidays can help.”

Hope for the Holidays is one of a series of bereavement and grief programs offered year-round by Community Hospice & Palliative Care, 4689 U.S. 1, Suite 9, on Fleming Island, to support area residents grieving a loss, regardless of whether their loved one received hospice care. Learn more at

Clay County offices closed for Thanksgiving holidays

CLAY COUNTY – All Clay County government buildings will be closed in observance of the Thanksgiving Holiday on Thursday and Friday.

These closures include the County Administration Building, Clerk of Court, Property Appraiser, Tax Collector, Supervisor of Elections, and Sheriff’s Office Non-Emergency Administration Offices.

Office closures on Wednesday, Nov. 27, will vary.

All Clay County library branches also will be closed Thursday and Friday. Libraries will close at 5 p.m. on Wednesday.

Camp Chowenwaw Park will be closed from Thursday, Nov. 28, through Sunday, Dec. 1, and will reopen on Monday, Dec. 2, at 8 a.m.

The Rosemary Hill Solid Waste Management Facility and all the Environmental Convenience Centers will be closed Thursday. Residents whose regular pickup is on Thursday will receive pickup service the Friday after Thanksgiving. Residents whose regular pickup is on Friday will receive pickup service the Saturday after Thanksgiving.


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