Community briefs 11/9/17

Clay Today
Posted 11/8/17

J.A. Long Design Builders annual Clay County food driveORANGE PARK – Custom Home Builder J.A. Long Inc. is teaming up with some of its long-time partners in the building industry for its annual …

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Community briefs 11/9/17


J.A. Long Design Builders annual Clay County food drive

ORANGE PARK – Custom Home Builder J.A. Long Inc. is teaming up with some of its long-time partners in the building industry for its annual food drive to benefit the Food Pantry of Green Cove Springs.

This is the 11th year the local family-owned business has coordinated drop off locations to collect nonperishable food items for Clay County families in need over the holiday season.

J.A. Long will be accepting nonperishable food items, cash, checks, or gift card donations for the Food Pantry through Dec. 21.

“The Food Pantry’s most requested items are nonperishable items such as boxed pasta, peanut butter, jelly, canned meats, canned vegetables, and canned fruits,” said Randy Long, J.A. Long chief operating officer.

To make food or monetary donations, stop by J.A. Long, located at 1677 Wells Rd., Suite D in Orange Park, or one of the other participating locations, whose locations are listed on our website,


Innovative book service coming to Clay County public libraries

GREEN COVE SPRINGS – Clay County Public Libraries are adding a unique book service to library members.

Tumble Books add animation, sound, music and narration to existing books resulting in an electronic picture book which can be read independently or read to others.

Tumble Book’s collections are ideal for students who are reading independently or who require skill building. Tumble Books feature unique offerings to enhance the libraries resources for learning.

Tumble Books include Math books that help students increase their skills while reading by counting, adding, subtracting, games, quizzes and more.

Tumble Books also include graphic novels that highlight the text in tandem with audio narration. It also has National Geographic videos that cover subjects such as history, geography, science and more. Tumble Books also help students learn foreign Language training in Spanish and French.

“Any way we can grow the skill and love of reading, we are doing the right thing for our community,” said Wayne Bolla, chairman of the Clay County Board of County Commissioners. “Interactive learning is what children are drawn to now, and the Public Libraries continue to provide relevant services to our local residents.”

“We want families to create great memories while using this learning tool,” said Pat Coffman, Clay County Public Libraries director.

To access the Tumble Book Library, go to and select the Tumble Book Library icon in the upper right of the page. You can then select books to read immediately or go to the “My Cloud” tab to register so that you can save books to read from any device.


National Wreaths Across America Day

KEYSTONE HEIGHTS – On Dec. 16, Clay County residents are invited to honor fallen veterans at Keystone Heights Memorial Gardens on National “Wreaths Across America” Day.

This year will mark the sixth annual ceremony that is part of a national growing movement to remember those who served during the holidays.

Residents who cannot attend can help out by making a donation of $15 for one wreath of two wreaths for $30, which comes with a third wreath for free. Donations are due Nov. 5.

At 9 a.m. that morning, volunteers will gather at the Gardens to help the Vietnam Vets & Legacy Vets of Keystone Heights unpack and setup approximately 700 wreaths, which arrives nine to a box.

The annual ceremony will be at noon. For more information please contact Joan Jones at (904) 894-8411 or Harry at (904) 465-1812.

Riders from around the Clay County, Duval, St. Augustine areas will be arriving during the morning to join in the celebration and to recognize the heroes and let them know that they are never forgotten.

If you wish to donate a wreath or more make your check out to Wreaths Across America, mail to P.O. Box 25, Keystone Heights, Fla. 32656, Attn: Joan or Harry.


Watch out for manatees

TALLAHASSEE – Florida manatees are on the move and public stewardship on the water makes a difference.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is asking people in November to watch out for manatees as they begin migrating to warmer waters. Watching out for the slow-moving creatures makes a difference in the species’ survival. Florida is home to more than 6,600 manatees.

Many seasonal manatee protection zones go into effect Nov. 15. Though some signs identifying manatee zones may have been damaged by Hurricane Irma, information on manatee zone locations is also available online. If you see damaged waterway signs, report them at by clicking on “Waterway Management,” “Waterway Markers” and then “Damaged/Missing Waterway Markers.”

Earlier this year, the Florida manatee was reclassified from endangered to a threatened status, under the federal Endangered Species Act, in a decision announced by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. While this is a notable step, there is still work to be done to ensure continued progress toward recovery of the official Florida marine mammal.

“People’s efforts to help Florida manatees are working. Let’s celebrate the fact that conservation actions are making a difference and manatees are no longer endangered by thanking all the individuals and organizations that contributed to this milestone,” said Carol Knox, who leads FWC’s Imperiled Species Management Section.

“It’s important though to remain vigilant,” Knox said. “Let’s keep up the efforts that are helping with manatee recovery.”

FWC also asks residents to report injured, entangled, orphaned or dead manatees to the FWC’s Wildlife Alert Hotline: 888-404-FWCC (3922), #FWC or *FWC on your cellphone or text


Melrose Library collecting oral histories

MELROSE – Do you have roots in Melrose, Florida and some great stories to tell? Did you family have ties in the Melrose business community? Then the UF Samuel Proctor Oral History project wants to hear from you! Hosted by the Melrose Public Library - UF’s oral historians will be conducting interviews on Nov. 30 starting at 9:30 a.m. at the library. If you’re interested in sharing your family’s history, please contact the Melrose Public Library at (352) 475-1237 or come in at 312 Wynnwood Ave. to sign up for a time slot. The oral histories will be archived by both the University of Florida and by Historic Melrose Inc.

The historians are especially interested in receiving stories from the 20th Century and earlier

(although the subject matter is not limited to this time period.) Please help us preserve the

stories of our lake area for future generations to hear!


Holiday garbage collection schedule

GREEN COVE SPRINGS – On Friday, November 10, 2017, Veterans Day, Advanced Disposal Services will collect wastes and recyclables as usual. Please remember to place materials at the curb before 6:00 am.

Rosemary Hill Solid Waste Management Facility will be open normal operating hours from 7:30 am to 5:30 pm. The Environmental Convenience centers will be open from 8:00 am to 6:00 pm.


‘Warriors’ to reunite in Jacksonville

Fox Lake, Illinois - Veterans of the U.S. Army’s renowned 2nd Infantry Division, “The Warriors,” will hold its 97th Annual Reunion at the Crowne Plaza Airport Hotel in Jacksonville from September 19 - 23, 2018. The reunion will be conducted by the division’s veterans’ organization, the Second Indianhead Division Association.

The reunion will include an early bird dinner on Sept. 19, A Demilitarized Zone/Korea Cold War Veterans Meeting, an Auxiliary luncheon and auction on Sept. 21, a muster dinner on Sept. 21 and the annual memorial service at 2 p.m. on Sept. 22. There will always be a grand banquet on Sept. 22.

The group is seeking all current and former 2nd Infantry Division Warriors to attend any or all days of the reunion. Good times and camaraderie are had by all, as the veterans recount stories from World War II, the Korean War, the Korean Demilitarized Zone/Cold War era, Iraq and Afghanistan.

For more information, contact Mike Davino at (919)498-1910 or email at


Understanding FEMA ‘Verified Loss’

ORLANDO – Residents may be eligible for FEMA help to restore your home to a safe, sanitary and functional condition following a disaster, if you don’t have insurance coverage – or if you have received an insurance settlement that is less than the cost to make your home habitable.

FEMA assistance is not the same as insurance. Assistance only provides the basic needs for a home to be habitable.

Once you register for assistance, FEMA is required to verify losses to determine your eligibility for disaster assistance.

FEMA’s standard method to verify a loss due to disaster damage and to determine initial eligibility is an onsite inspection by a FEMA inspector. Home damage must be disaster-related.

Safe, sanitary and functional homes meet the following conditions:

The exterior is structurally sound, including the doors, roof and windows.

The interior’s habitable areas are structurally sound, including the ceiling and floors.

The electricity, gas, heat, plumbing and septic systems function properly.

The home is capable of operating for its intended purpose.

Disaster recovery assistance is available without regard to race, color, religion, nationality, sex, age, disability, English proficiency or economic status. If you or someone you know has been discriminated against, call FEMA toll-free at 800-621-FEMA (3362). For TTY call 800-462-7585.

FEMA’s temporary housing assistance and grants for public transportation expenses, medical and dental expenses, and funeral and burial expenses do not require individuals to apply for an SBA loan. However, applicants who receive SBA loan applications must submit them to SBA to be eligible for assistance that covers personal property, vehicle repair or replacement, and moving and storage expenses.


Vets get free stay at all state forest campgrounds

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – This Veterans Day, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services’ Florida Forest Service is honoring active duty and honorably discharged military veterans with a free, one-night stay at any of Florida’s 64 state forest campgrounds when booking a three-night stay.

Veterans, active duty and reserve unit members can book their stay between Wednesday, Nov. 8, and Sunday, Nov. 13, to receive a third night for free.

To take advantage of this promotion, veterans must use the code FFSVET17 and book a three-night, consecutive campground stay through the Florida State Forests reservations website or call center at 877-879-3859 or TDD 800-373-3851. Upon check-in at the campground, veterans must provide proof of military service.

The Florida Forest Service offers reduced rates for campsite reservations and the Florida State Forests Annual Day-Use Entrance Pass to active military and honorably discharged veterans. Honorably discharged United States veterans with service-connected disabilities also qualify for a free Lifetime Military Entrance Pass.

The Florida Forest Service manages more than 1 million acres of state forests and provides forest management assistance on more than 17 million acres of private and community forests.


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