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Almost 15 years after the tragedy, Diena Thompson reflects on Somer's legacy. Once a place of unspeakable tragedy, the mother finds peace at a place where she knows Somer's legacy will live forever.
ORANGE PARK —   When Diena Thompson was given the keys to 1152 Gano Ave., she decided to burn it down. As she threw the match in, she watched for hours as the house disappeared forever. …
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GREEN COVE SPRINGS —   At the stroke of noon last Friday, 35 unopposed candidates, including County Commissioners Jim Renninger and Kristen Burke, Superintendent of Schools David Broskie, …
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Meet the candidates for School Board District 2

19-year-old Matthew Mitchell running for School Board

CLAY COUNTY  — At just 19 years old, Matthew Mitchell said he vows to invoke change in the Clay County school district. And he is not letting his age hold him back. Mitchell is running for the …

Hughes: Education is the foundation that affects a child’s future success

CLAY COUNTY — Jim Hughes considers what is taught in school to be just the beginning of a child’s education, an important bedrock that will affect their future path to success. He wants to …

Robert Alvero escaped Cuba believing in freedom, education

CLAY COUNTY — After a vicious raid on his home by the Cuban government, Robert Alvero was left with no other options. He took off from a boat and fled the island. He secured political …

Sharon Flowers to focus on students, teachers, parents working together

CLAY COUNTY — Sharon E. Flowers believes education should be a collaboration between a student, teacher and parents. Along with classmates, educators and parents, everyone can create a …
More local news

Watchers party as Caeleb Dressel wins 100 butterfly at Olympic trials

INDIANAPOLIS – Caeleb Dressel won the 100-meter butterfly at the U.S. Olympic swimming trials Saturday night, and the Clay High graduate was cheered on by friends, family and fans at a Watch …
The BASCA community center is also the site of its thrift store, BASCA Bargain Boutique, which sells and accepts donations for furniture, clothing, knickknacks, art, books and toys.

BASCA's 30-year anniversary celebrates its 'forever homes'

ORANGE PARK  — BASCA CEO Patrick Kennedy gave Clay Today a house tour of a property located on Old Jennings Road, the  permanent home for seven with disabilities.  The home was …
Sunshine State Games officials marveled how sharp the lines were painted on the fields.

New Sports Regional Complex meets, if not exceeds, expectations

MIDDLEBURG — Taxpayers were told that if they helped pay for the Clay County Regional Sports Complex, teams from around the country would come to use the facility, and they’d be repaid when …

Health alert: Toxic blue-green algae at Doctors Lake

DOCTORS INLET  —  The Florida Department of Health Clay County issued a health alert for harmful blue-green algae toxins in Doctors Lake based on samples taken  on June 11. Water …
MIDDLEBURG - This year's Juneteenth holiday celebrations took place in Middleburg and Eagle Landing Parkway. St. Mark Missionary Baptist Church and the Hilltop Community hosted their celebration at …
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Director Junior Ashwood, right, stands with his wife, middle, and talks about his movie on the red carpet.

‘Rights of a Father’ highlights conversation of pro life/choice

JACKSONVILLE — “Rights of a Father,” a film featuring a fictional court case set in Clay County and  filmed at the historic 1890 Clay County Courthouse , was premiered at the Ritz Theatre …

Proposed business park still on hold in Green Cove Springs

GREEN COVE SPRINGS — The final reading of an ordinance that would allow for the development of nearly 112 acres on the southeast corner of U.S. Highway 17 and State Road 16 was taken off the …

Leadership Clay tours Mid-Clay Wastewater Treatment Facility in Green Cove Springs

GREEN COVE SPRINGS—The Clay County Utility Authority was honored to take the Leadership Clay group on a tour of the Mid-Clay Wastewater Treatment Facility. The group toured the water filtration …
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In the Community

Review of 'Wiregrass Moon' by John M. Weeks

John M. Weeks holds up a copy of
KEYSTONE HEIGHTS — For his first published poetry collection, John M. Weeks put his ear up to Northeast Florida's natural environments and transcribed its echoes and songs.  "Wiregrass Moon," …

Our Part of the River

Middle North Fork Black Creek

This is from my memory; Magnolias over black water, White blooms, tender and new, Floating slowly with tide currents Where forests melted into water. We were young and I ungrateful, Though I saw the …

Obituaries
William Raleigh Thompson, Jr.
Dr. William Raleigh Thompson, Jr. 90, died peacefully in his sleep on June 3, 2024, at home in Jacksonville. He lived a full and amazing life, bravely and honorably battling cancer and the …
William Bryan Penuel
William Bryan Penuel
July 21, 1959- May 22, 2024 William B. Penuel passed away on May 22, 2024, at Her Heart Facility in Jacksonville. He was the son of Betty and Franklin Penuel born in Seaford, DE. He is survived …
Sandy Johns
Sandy Johns, 81, of Orange Park, FL, passed away May 31, 2024. Please sign the family’s online guestbook at www.broadusraines.com Arrangements are under the care of Broadus-Raines Funeral Home, 501 …
Jean Southward Dinkins
Jean Southward Dinkins
Jean Southward Dinkins, educator, animal lover, adventurer, and advocate for children and adults with special needs, died peacefully Tuesday, May 28, 2024. She was 82 years old. Jean was born to Ira …
Crime & safety

Arrests and Bookings 6/20/2024

Tuesday, June 18

Amanda C. Marshall, 42, Middleburg, DWLSR

Dennis X.C. Robles, 44, Green Cove Springs, violation of injunction for protection against domestic violence

Jacob C. Bridges, 30, Orange Park, battery

Jesus M.S. Ortiz, 39, Green Cove Springs, VOP community control

Max A. Sportsman, 26, Orange Park, aggravated battery on pregnant woman

Sherman L. Williams, 43, Middleburg, domestic battery

Badcock Furniture Green Cove Springs
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Badcock Furniture Green Cove Springs

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And in Sports....

Ground Zero Boxing: 'A small gym with a huge heart'

Giovanni Cruz runs a free boxing program from his home in order to help at-risk youth.

KEYSTONE HEIGHTS — For Giovanni Cruz, being in the ring has always been his calling. “Boxing is pretty much my language,” Cruz said. “It’s something that I use as a tool because everything …

Wimberly expecting 'his' team to push for better 2024

ORANGE PARK - Into his upcoming third year as head coach at Orange Park High School football, Marcus Wimberly is expecting that the transition to him as a new coach and the new staff around the …

Dominated: Clay County saw plenty of state champions this season

GREEN COVE SPRINGS - Three first-time team champions, two three-time individual state champions, three repeat state champions; one undefeated state champion who did it twice and three guys who defied …
NEW YORK (June 7, 2024) - The National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) announced today the 11 players named to the Best XI of the Month, presented by Prime, for May by the NWSL Media Association and …
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The Clay County YMCA – For A Better Community

First Coast YMCA-Our DayStar Program

At DayStar, we are committed to ensuring everyone reaches their full potential with dignity while providing individuals access to the unique support they need. Daystar is committed to providing …

Here's what's happening around Clay County

CLAY COUNTY BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS will meet on May 14 at 4 p.m. in the BCC meeting room, fourth floor, at Administration Building, 477 Houston St. in Green Cove Springs. ORANGE PARK LIONS CLUB will …

Did you know: By the Numbers

Clay Today will test your knowledge weekly and provide interesting facts on various topics. This week, Clay County by the numbers. There are some interesting facts about our not-so-little county. Did …

Word of the Week

Jubilee : ( JOO-buh-lee ) a noun  usually referring to a special anniversary or a celebration of such an anniversary. It can also refer generally to a season of celebration or act of rejoicing, …

Briefs

Orange Park Hospital launches interfacility transport services

ORANGE PARK — HCA Florida Orange Park Hospital launched its interfacility transport services on Monday, June 17, at its Blessing of the Fleet. Team members and first responders gathered to …

Opinions & Viewpoints
Faith Walk

Live with Purpose

Pastor Billy Register

Living with purpose is a powerful scriptural value that calls us to recognize and fulfill the unique role God has designed for each of us. Ephesians 4:23 encourages us to " be made new in …

This Week in History

Kevin Gregorius suffered from alpha-gal syndrome, which made him allergic to red meat.

Five years ago, 2019 • “My whole life was changed by a tick,” Kevin Gregorius said after a Lone Star tick bit him when he was walking through the woods in Fleming Island. He said he was …

Columnists
This was supposed to be me last weekend. Instead, I spent hours sitting on a grounded airplane, waiting for air conditioning and getting peed on by a kitten.

I need a vacation from the memories of my ill-fated vacation

I was supposed to be a little, if not a lot, hungover and sunburned right now. I should have lost at least one flip-flop, forgotten my sunglasses and maxed out at least one credit card on my …

Women business owners lead with passion, optimism for success

Passion and personal satisfaction for their business or industry are the top factors women business leaders cited for starting and staying in business, with 43% of respondents choosing that over …

Men really want simple pleasures for Father's Day

A group of my friends sat watching the NASCAR race last Sunday, some with iced tea, others with frosty beers in our hands. No wives, girlfriends or children were around when somebody mentioned …
Special Sections
New from local businesses

Still hot off the 904 Printing press one year later

ORANGE PARK  — Jasmin demonstrated the printing press. The aromatic, cozy smell of warm paper filled the room as the machine churned and sheets of warm paper rolled out. Nothing beats that "new paper smell," not even a new car ...

Web extra content
Saying a final goodbye to Willie Mays, baseball’s ‘Say hey’ kid
Mays, who died on June 18, 2024, at the age of 93, was not only the greatest baseball player of the last 80 years, and quite possibly ever, but he was an enormously important figure in American sports, culture and history. …
Enjoy a Fruit-Infused Fourth of July
(Family Features) Fourth of July fun calls for favorite snacks that complement the excitement. Whether you're a pyro or prefer to leave the fiery entertainment to the experts, one thing you can take charge of is the dessert table with recipes like Apple and Berry Cream Cheese Tarts and Patriotic Apple "Donuts."
Fact or Fiction? Discover the Truth about Canine Osteoarthritis and Available Treatment Options
(BPT) - Has your dog been acting differently? Do they seem to be slowing down? What many pet owners don’t realize is that changes in behavior can also mean your four-legged friend is in pain. …
Everything You Need To Know To Host An Epic Summer Pool Party
(BPT) - Summer has arrived! If you're lucky enough to find a pool to spend the summer by, a pool party is a must. Whether you're taking advantage of the sunshine and hot weather during the day or …
Does your head ache? Discover how chiropractic care can help
(BPT) - Do you regularly experience headaches or migraines? You’re not alone. Headache disorders, including migraines, tension headaches and cluster headaches, are some of the most common …