This Week In History 2/14/19

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5 years ago, 2014

Clay County School District officials unveiled a proposal called “wall-to-wall” academies for each high school in the district. Re-dubbed the Academies of Clay, the program restructured how each high school offered students a relevant, rigorous course of study and a sense of community.

After pleas from a number of Middleburg residents, the Board of County Commissioners agreed to write the Florida Department of Environmental Protection regarding the dubious road fill product EZ Base, which is known to contain arsenic and other toxins.

The St. Johns River Water Management District approved spending up to $100,000 to remove obstructions in Alligator Creek that may be hindering water flow downstream to the Keystone Heights lakes in Clay County.

10 years ago, 2009

School Board members reached a consensus on where more than $17 million in cuts would come from the school district’s 2009-10 budget. Cuts included 160 teaching jobs and several administrative positions after news of impending state budget cuts.

Keystone Heights Mayor Mary Lou Hildreth cut the ceremonial ribbon to open a 5.5-mile bike and hiking path that runs from Gold Head Branch State Park north of the city southward to inside the city limits.

Clay County School Superintendent Ben Wortham announced that Lee Oliver, the district’s director of elementary education, would become the new principal of Plantation Oaks Elementary in Oakleaf that was set to open the fall of 2009.

20 years ago, 1999

State Attorney Harry Shorstein said an investigation found allegations were unfounded that the Clay County Sheriff’s Office conspired against the re-election campaign of County Commissioner Buddy Griffin.

As the widening of Wells Road dragged on, residents and businesses continued to seek help from the Board of County Commissioners who assured commission meeting attendees that the construction end date is near.

The Allstate Foundation presented Quigley House with a check for $10,000 to help fund its programs for victims of domestic violence and sexual abuse.

30 Years ago, 1989

The Clay County Sheriff’s Office launched a search for 17-year-old Andrew Scott Allison who wrote his parents a note indicating he was running away. He then drove to Craig Airfield in Jacksonville and flew out in his father’s Piper Warrior aircraft.

A state Department of Transportation official told local elected officials that the federal deficit is forcing the state to cut funding for road construction in Clay County. Some projects would be pushed back from five to six years.

Clay County School Superintendent Ann Wiggins asked a Blue Ribbon Education Committee to approve an additional 2-mill property tax levy for two years in order to fund two new schools needed in the district due to growth.

40 years ago, 1979

The St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office ruled the hanging death of Ben Gordon a suicide days after he was arraigned on charges of sexual battery of a Green Cove Springs minor in Clay County. His body was found hanging from a tree in a wooded area off State Road 13 near Orangedale.

Jules Nagy Jr., a member of Boy Scout Troop 420, was elevated to the rank of Eagle Scout during a celebration at center court in Orange Park Mall that wrapped up a week of activities for Scouting Week 1979. U.S. Rep Bill Chappell was the guest speaker.

After operating from December 1977 to May 1978, Orange Park residents rallied to re-launch the Grove Park Civic Association. State Rep. Frank Williams(D-Starke) was set to be the group’s guest speaker at its re-organization meeting.

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