Community briefs 8/31/17

Clay Today
Posted 8/30/17

Hanson honored for advocacy workORLANDO – Orange Park Town Manager Jim Hanson was one of 36 people honored this month by the Florida League of Cities for their advocacy work.Hanson and his …

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Community briefs 8/31/17

Jim Hanson
Jim Hanson

Hanson honored for advocacy work
ORLANDO – Orange Park Town Manager Jim Hanson was one of 36 people honored this month by the Florida League of Cities for their advocacy work.
Hanson and his colleagues received a “Home Rule HERO Award” at the Florida League of Cities 91st Annual Conference held Aug 17-19 in Orlando.
The Home Rule HERO Award was created to recognize city officials who went above and beyond to advocate for the league’s legislative agenda during the 2017 legislative session. The award is presented to recipients at either their commission or council meeting or other municipal venue of their choice. Other officials from Northeast Florida who received the honor are George Forbes, city manager of Jacksonville Beach, Charles Latham, mayor of Jacksonville Beach and Jacksonville City Council Member Matthew Schellenberg.
Hero recipients work came in the form of letters defending home rule, trips to Tallahassee to speak to legislators and various other tactics aimed at allowing cities to keep their individual nature and not just become part of state government.

Catholic diocese assisting Hurricane Harvey victims
JACKSONVILLE – Bishop Felipe J. Estévez of the Diocese of St. Augustine will take up a special collection to support the victims of Hurricane Harvey and to provide pastoral and rebuilding support to impacted dioceses. The collection will be held in all 61 parishes and missions of the diocese the weekend of Sept. 9-10.
“Our hearts and prayers go out to the families that have lost loved ones and to all who have lost
homes and businesses along with their sense of peace and normalcy,” Bishop Estévez said. “We also stand with our brother bishops in the region who have the difficult task of providing pastoral care in these most trying times while also managing their own losses.”
Funds given to the collection will support the humanitarian and recovery efforts of Catholic
Charities USA and will provide pastoral and rebuilding support to impacted dioceses through the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. The hurricane has affected southeast Texas, including the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston, and could also strike Louisiana.
“We are grateful to the first responders and countless volunteers who are assisting the Gulf Coast
region in countless ways and keep them all in our thoughts and prayers,” Bishop Estévez said.
For more information on how the community can participate, contact Catholic Charities at (904)
899-5500 or email

Orange Park Medical Center bolsters trauma staff
ORANGE PARK – A former Jacksonville Fire and Rescue captain is now the EMS Coordinator at Orange Park Medical Center.
Timothy Devin comes to the position after 27 years of experience with JFRD, most recently retiring as captain in the emergency preparedness division.
Throughout Devin’s time with JFRD, he held numerous positions on some of the city’s busiest units, including paramedic-in-charge. Devin oversaw patient care quality improvement and coordinated all emergency medical services training for nearly 1,100 healthcare providers. He closed out his career overseeing all disaster related health and medical issues for all healthcare facilities in the area.
Devin began his career as a firefighter and paramedic with both Clay County Fire Rescue and the Orange Park Fire Department.
“Our emergency and trauma teams do extraordinary work caring for patients quickly when every second matters. Strong partnerships with Clay County Fire Rescue, JFRD and the surrounding areas allow us to work together to deliver quality and efficient care to the communities we serve. As we continue to make these relationships a priority we look forward to having Tim as part of our team,” said Kathy Hester, Orange Park Medical Center’s chief nursing officer.

Chamber has interim president
ORANGE PARK – The Clay County Chamber of Commerce has named its vice president to serve as interim president in the wake of President Doug Conkey resigning to take a position with the YMCA.
The chamber board named Tresa Calfee to fill position until a new president is hired. In a press release, the board states the formal search process will begin “early in 2018.”
“Doug has served us well over the past four years as the face of the Clay County Chamber. Under Doug’s leadership, we have experienced significant membership growth and outstanding program development. We wish Doug well in his new endeavor,” said Blain Claypool, chair of the Board of Directors.
Claypool said he is grateful Calfee accepted the interim position.
“One of the great things about Tresa is that she has years of Chamber experience as well as long-standing relationships with key players in our region. She brings to this new role a deep understanding of the Clay Chamber’s strengths and opportunities,” he said.
Calfee joined the chamber in July 2014 as vice president, and during that time, membership has increased to nearly 1,000.
“I am honored to be asked to serve as interim president at this exciting time in the Chamber’s history and in the business growth and expansion in Clay County. We are working on several initiatives to capitalize on this wave of opportunity, many of which will take advantage of our new facility in Fleming Island. I am grateful to the board for allowing me to serve in this role and encouraging me to do so. I have every confidence that the Chamber team – the board and the staff – will continue to add value for Clay Chamber members,” Calfee said.
Calfee came to the chamber from JAXChamber where she served as director of member benefits.
She serves on several professional boards including Jacksonville Women’s Business Council and Florida Association of Chamber professionals and on civic boards including Kiwanis of Clay County and Sunrise Rotary of Orange Park.

Hospital has new vice president of quality resources
ORANGE PARK – Orange Park Medical Center has promoted its director of quality to become its new vice president of quality resources.
Cheryl Jones’ new role encompasses oversight of safety, quality and regulations. Jones is in charge of ensuring Orange Park Medical Center’s patients receive the safe and quality care they expect to receive.
Jones has experience in a variety of nursing director and management positions. Prior to joining Orange Park Medical Center Cheryl served as director of quality at Putnam County Medical Center in Palatka.
Jones holds a master’s degree in healthcare administration from Walden University, a bachelor of science degree in nursing from Ohio University and an associate degree in nursing from West Virginia Northern Community College. She is also a certified professional in-patient safety and healthcare quality.

Funding available for longleaf pine habitat work on private lands
TALLAHASSEE – In an effort to increase the number of acres of longleaf pine from 3.4 to 8 million acres by 2025, the Florida Forest Service, The Nature Conservancy and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation are investing money to help private landowners contribute to that effort. The Longleaf Pine Landowner Incentive Program application process has been extended in select counties. The deadline for submitting applications in Alachua, Bradford, Brevard, Citrus, Clay, Lake, Levy, Marion, Orange, Putnam, Seminole, Sumter, and Volusia Counties has been extended through Sept. 15. Program information and application can be found at:
Clay residents who are managing longleaf pine habitat or would like to plant longleaf pines, this is a great time to do so and get assistance and join America’s Longleaf Restoration Initiative. Contact your County Forester for more information and to apply.
Longleaf pine habitat once covered more than 90 million acres in theSsoutheast and there is funding available now for private landowners looking to restore or manage longleaf habitat in 13 counties surrounding Ocala National Forest.

OHS student honored for academic achievement
ATLANTA – Oakleaf High student Steven A. Londono was recently selected to become a member of a prestigious academic organization.
The National Society of High School Scholars recognized Londono for outstanding leadership, scholarship and community commitment. The announcement was made Aug. 4 by National Society of High School Scholars Founder and Chairman Claes Nobel, senior member of the family that established the Nobel Prizes.
“On behalf of NSHSS, I am honored to recognize the hard work, sacrifice and commitment that Steven has demonstrated to achieve this exceptional level of academic excellence, Nobel said. “Steven is now a member of a unique community of scholars – a community that represents our very best hope for the future.”
Londono is now a lifetime member of NSHSS, which connects young scholars with the resources they need to develop their strengths and pursue their passions.

Do a ‘good thing’ for Miriam’s Basket
ORANGE PARK – Good food and swing band music take center stage Oct. 7 at 6 p.m. at The Family Life Center at Orange Park United Methodist Church.
The 7th Annual Fundraiser “Doin’ A Good Thing!” supports the programs of the nonprofit Miriam’s Basket Inc.
The evening will include a buffet dinner prepared by Chef Richard Gonzales and a Silent Auction featuring a wide variety of items from local businesses and individuals. The event will again be offering a North Carolina mountain cabin getaway, in addition to jewelry, gift baskets, family fun packages, David’s Famous Cheesecakes, Flour Bin Cookies, Alhambra Theatre & Dining tickets, and more from many local businesses. Live entertainment will be provided by the Clay County Community Swing Band.
Miriam’s Basket, Inc. is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that provides clothing and shoes for Clay County children who experience a family crisis and are in immediate need. As an all-volunteer organization, Miriam’s Basket is dependent upon the generosity of the community to meet the needs of these innocent children. The average value of each bag distributed is $150. As of Aug. 23, the organization has provided more than 1,800 children with bags of clothing valued at more than $270,000.

‘American Law and New Global Realities’
JACKSONVILLE – The World Affairs Council of Jacksonville and the University of North Florida will co-host an evening with The Honorable Stephen G. Breyer, associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, at 7 p.m. Monday, Jan. 22, 2018, at the UNF Arena, Building 34.
He will discuss “The Court and the World: American Law and the New Global Realities.” This event is part of the Presidential Lecture Series, supported by the UNF Foundation and co-hosted by the World Affairs Council of Jacksonville’s Global Issues Evenings.
Justice Breyer was nominated by President Bill Clinton as associate justice of the Supreme Court and took his seat in 1994.
Complimentary tickets are required for this Presidential Lecture. E-tickets will be available Tuesday, Jan. 2, 2018, at or at (904) 620-2117. For those with a disability that require an accommodation, such as disability parking for this occasion, call (904) 620-2117 five days before the event to provide a reasonable accommodation.

Haunted Hike at Gold Head
KEYSTONE HEIGHTS – It’s almost time to get spooked in the woods at Mike Roess Gold Head Branch State Park, just north of Keystone Heights.
The park’s annual “Haunted Hike” takes place Oct. 7 from 7-9 p.m. at the park located at 6239 State Road 21. Tickets are $5 per person.
Park officials recommend parents use discretion in bringing young children on the hike because of its scary nature. Hikers should wear closed-toed shoes as the one-mile is on uneven terrain. To ensure the safety of everyone, baby strollers and pets are prohibited.
Food and drinks will be available for purchase.
For more information, call the Ranger Station at (352) 473-4701.

Leave turtle hatchlings alone
TALLAHASSEE – Clay County beachgoers should remember to keep hands-off if they encounter sea turtle hatchlings emerging from nests and clambering toward the water.
From now through the end of October, sea turtle hatchlings are breaking out of their eggs, digging out of nests and making their way across beaches to begin their lives in the Atlantic Ocean or Gulf of Mexico. They usually emerge from their nests at night.
“Sea turtle hatchlings are small and appear helpless, so people may make the mistake of thinking they need assistance getting to the water. But you can help hatchlings home by leaving them alone,” said Robbin Trindell, who heads the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission sea turtle management program.
“Sea turtle hatchlings are biologically programmed to look for the brightest horizon and walk toward the water,” Trindell said. “Any interference or disturbance by people, such as getting too close or taking flash photos, increases the chances the hatchlings will get confused, go in the wrong direction and not reach the ocean quickly. That makes them vulnerable to dehydration, exhaustion and predators.”
FWC requires a special permit to interact with sea turtle hatchlings. Trindell said beachgoers should never handle turtle hatchlings.
Beachgoers are also asked to report hatchlings that are stranded, wandering on roads or parking lots, heading away from the water or dead to the FWC’s 24-hour Wildlife Alert Hotline, 888-404-FWCC (3922) or *FWC or #FWC on a cellphone.


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