Community Briefs 5/5/22

Posted 5/4/22

Barras appointed to State Apprenticeship Advisory CouncilTALLAHASSEE – Gov. Ron DeSantis announced the appointment of Kirk Barras, Steve Cona III, Marcelo Dossantos, Eric Kennedy, David McCraw, …

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Community Briefs 5/5/22


Barras appointed to State Apprenticeship Advisory Council

TALLAHASSEE – Gov. Ron DeSantis announced the appointment of Kirk Barras, Steve Cona III, Marcelo Dossantos, Eric Kennedy, David McCraw, Lee Middleton, Natasha Sherwood, and Kathryn Starkey to the State Apprenticeship Advisory Council.
Barras, of Middleburg, is the Training Director for Jacksonville Plumbers and Pipefitters. He is a veteran having served in the United States Navy. Barras is the President of the Jacksonville General Apprenticeship Association and serves on the Board of Directors for CareerSource Northeast Florida.
These appointments are subject to confirmation by the Florida Senate.

Governor appoints Schoeff to Florida Building Code Administrators and Inspectors

TALLAHASSEE – Gov. Ron DeSantis appointed of Charles Howe, Jane Decker, Mark Grenier, Alexander Hernandez, Peter Ringle and Steven Schoeff to the Florida Building Code Administrators and Inspectors.
Schoeff, of Keystone Heights, is currently the Building Official for Clay County Board of Commissioners. He has over 25 years of experience as a building inspector. Schoeff is a member of the Code Interpretations Committee.
These appointments are subject to confirmation by the Florida Senate.

State accepting applications for Boating Advisory Council

The Florida Boating Advisory Council makes recommendations to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and the Department of Economic Opportunity regarding issues affecting the boating community. Eleven of the 18 members of the BAC are appointed by the governor. The Executive Director of the FWC nominates individuals for the governor’s consideration.
Gubernatorial appointments to the BAC serve staggered three-year terms. They are not compensated but are entitled to payment for expenses in accordance with section 112.061, Florida Statutes.
The FWC is currently receiving and reviewing applications from those who are interested in being considered for appointment to the BAC, and whose experience qualifies them to represent the following interests:
• Manatee protection interests
• Water-related environmental groups
• Marine special events
Applicants are asked to complete the questionnaire located at the following link: ( as well as a statement of the experience and qualifications you possess in one of more of the boating interests above that qualify you to be appointed to the position.
Once completed, please submit the questionnaire and statement to both and by following the instructions for completing a board application located at the following link:
To be considered timely, the questionnaire and statement should be received before close of business June 1.
Submission of the application documents is an expression of interest and willingness to serve on the BAC. Neither nomination by the FWC Executive Director nor appointment by the governor are guaranteed.

Hitchcock’s Markets accepting SNAP for online grocery orders.

KEYSTONE HEIGHTS – The Florida-based regional grocery chain announced all Hitchcock’s locations that offer online delivery and pick-up orders will now accept SNAP benefits. SNAP beneficiaries can order groceries through the Hitchcock’s Markets website or app and use their EBT card to complete purchases.
Using EBT as a form of payment online is a simple process. Hitchcock’s customers can visit or download the Hitchcock’s Markets app, create an account, and enter their EBT card information as a form of payment. Customers can then pick from a large assortment of SNAP-eligible groceries and add them to their virtual cart. Orders can be placed for same-day delivery or pick-up and can be scheduled up to eight days in advance.

Heritage Commission hosts walking tour of historic Keystone Heights homes

KEYSTONE HEIGHTS – Residents in and around the Lake Region are invited to attend a walking tour of 20 historic homes in Keystone Heights on May 7. The tour, which starts at the Keystone Pavilion at Keystone Beach, is sponsored by the Keystone Heights Heritage Commission.
Brochures will be provided listing each property and will be referenced by a sign in front of the house or business. In honor of Mother’s Day, the first 50 attendees will be given a rose.
Members of the Heritage Commission will be available to answer questions about the history of the city.
For more information, contact Deirdre Murphy at (352) 281-3026.

New show, ‘Art in the Courthouse,’ now on display

GREEN COVE SPRINGS – As part of a new community outreach effort, Art in the Courthouse, the Clay County Clerk and Comptroller’s Office proudly announces Show 2, “Brush Strokes of Light,” brought to the community by members of First Coast Plein Air Painters, is on display on the sixth floor of the Clay County Courthouse.
This is a juried and judged show. The juror/judge for this show, Charles Dickinson, will award first-, second- and third-place awards, as well as three honor mentions. Following the reception, artwork is viewable during normal courthouse business hours, 8 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday-through-Friday.
Thousands conduct business inside the Clay County Courthouse each year and, regardless of the reason for their visit, the clerk’s office wants the building to be a peaceful venue where citizens and employees feel at ease when conducting business. This new program is a partnership involving the Clerk of Court and Comptroller’s Office, Clay County Judiciary, local art groups’ amazing artists, Clay County government, civic organizations, the school system and more.
New displays rotate into the gallery every three-to-four months.
The Clerk of Court’s public website ( provides information about each art show and links to each organization. Other shows include the Clay County Women’s Clubs from July 18 to Nov. 3 and Holiday Season Children’s Art from Nov. 18 to Jan. 31.

‘Unite for Michael’ trivia night set for May 6

ORANGE PARK – The Rotary Club of Northeast Florida will host a “Unite for Michael” trivia night on May 6 to raise money for his medical bills. The fundraiser will be at the Courtyard Marriot of Orange Park at 610 Wells Road.
Michael Soltys was diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer in February. Soltys was a firefighter who also served as a combat firefighter with the U.S. Department of Defense. He is undergoing aggressive radiation and chemotherapy treatments and is no longer able to work.
The cost is $20 a team, and teams are limited to six players. The doors open at 6:30 p.m. and the first question will be asked at 7.
For more information, contact Sandra at (904) 923-9884 or Susan at (904) 631-2156.

Daylily Society hosts plant sale and show in Orange Park

ORANGE PARK – The North Florida Daylily Society will host a plant sale and show on May 14 at the Courtyard Marriott at 610 Wells Road. The event will run from 1-4 p.m.
More than 100 varieties of daylilies all from local growers. Residents are encouraged to chat with the growers. The public will have the opportunity to view these beautiful flowers then go into the next room and select plants to purchase. Prices range from $10-$20.
For more information, visit

Everybody’s Favorite BBQ & Hot Sauce Festival coming to OP Mall

ORANGE PARK – A family-fun event was created specifically to enhance the quality of life and culture while motivating the mind, body and soul with laughter, music, food and fellowship.
Everybody's Favorite BBQ & Hot Sauce Festival is an inviting diverse event that highlights the aroma of North Florida's best barbecue while bringing together a multi-cultural outdoor social setting that is sure to evoke a spirit of love, unity and memories among all those in attendance. The three-day festival will be at the Orange Park Mall from May 13-15 starring a host of food vendors and entertainment.
On Friday, May 13, the featured entertainment is Grammy-winning Taylor Dayne, Tiffany and All-4-One. On May 14, the lineup includes Morris Day, After 7 and Leela James, followed by shows from Purple Madness and The Ultimate King of Pop on May 15.
The BBQ & Hot Sauce Festival is a celebratory platform commemorating all teachers from kindergarten through 12th grade from Clay, Duval, St Johns, Nassau and Baker counties who will be extended free admission each day upon registration. Teachers with 20 years or more experience will be awarded a “Medal of Honor” for their amazing Journey of work. The award will be presented by Rhonda Ross, the daughter of Diana Ross and Motown founder Barry Gordy. The presentation will be broadcast live via streaming which would allow one to tune in from their vehicle while patronizing curbside service or watching from the comfort of their home.
For more information or to become a sponsor, visit

Middleburg Garden Club to dedicate Blue Star Marker for military

MIDDLEBURG – The Garden Club of Middleburg is inviting the public to attend the dedication of the Blue Star Marker to honor former, present and future members of the military on May 21 at the Middleburg Clay Hill Library, 2245 Aster Ave. at 10 a.m. To reserve a spot, visit or text (904) 252-7818 or (904) 343-8233.

Grant Professionals Association looking for new members

CLAY COUNTY – Northeast Florida fundraising professionals may apply for a scholarship to earn a 12-month professional membership to the Grant Professionals Association valued at $250.
The membership also includes entry into the North Florida GPA chapter. GPA serves grant professionals throughout the United States. Current members have diverse backgrounds and work in a variety of industries including higher education, K-12 education, healthcare, government, nonprofit, consulting and more.
The North Florida GPA chapter offers quarterly meetings and professional development opportunities with local and national subject matter experts. The chapter also hosts fun networking opportunities throughout the year to allow members to get to know one another, share and seek advice, and celebrate successes.
To request an application, please contact the North Florida GPA chapter at The application deadline is May 27.

‘Capturing the Moment’ fine art show at Thrasher-Horne

ORANGE PARK – The Thrasher-Horne Center currently is hosting “Capturing the Moment,” a Juried Fine Art Exhibition featuring the Art Guild of Orange Park.
The 75-piece exhibit will include the announcement of first-, second- and third-place winners, along with five honorable mentions.
Winners will have the opportunity to speak about their artwork. Event includes a cash bar. All gallery artwork is for sale and available to purchase through Thrasher-Horne Center ticket office unless marked otherwise.
“Capturing the Moment” is currently open for viewing at Thrasher-Horne Center Art Gallery, Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. until April 3.
The event is free to the public.
The Thrasher-Horne Center is an event center owned and operated by St. Johns River State College. It is located on the Orange Park campus at 283 College Dr. in Orange Park.

Clay County 4-H Summer Day Camps start in June

CLAY COUNTY – Clay County 4-H Summer Day Camps Clay County 4-H is proud to offer summer day camps for youth to explore their interests. From animals, cardboard canoes, plants, art and beyond, we have a variety of camps to peak your child's interest. All 4-H camps are coordinated through the Clay County 4-H office and implemented by trained staff or volunteers. While the day camps are not overnight adventures, they do fill the campers’ day with education, hands on activities, and fun. The day camps offer field trips, guest speakers and activities that will make a lasting impression on the campers.
This summer’s day camps include:
• Cooking Camp (June 1) for ages 6-18, cost $30 from 9 a.m.-3:30 p.m. with Gerri Barron: If you love to cook or bake, come join us for a day of fun and cooking with fellow peers ages between 6-18. Basic cooking and baking skills will be taught, and you’ll be cooking your own lunch and dessert that day. T-shirt included in cost of camp.
• Kayak and Cardboard Canoe Camp (June 1-3) for ages 11-18, cost $200 from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. with Elaine Giles: Join us and Clay County Parks and Recreation as we explore the concept of engineering through canoeing and kayaking. Throughout this adventure, campers will work in teams to build the sturdiest cardboard canoe and ride out on it to the water. Campers will be able to participate in a half-day kayaking adventure. Field trip and water bottle included. Bring bag lunch and kayak/water shoes.
• Mini-Master Gardener Camp (June 6-7) for ages 8-10, cost $40, from 9 a.m.-2:30 p.m. with Wayne Hobbs: Learn from our awesome Master Gardener Volunteers about gardening in Florida through two days of fun workshops and activities. Throughout the camp you will learn about growing vegetables, plant identification, growing your own flowering plants and even create your own portable pollinator garden.
• Tween Wellness and Adventures Retreat (July 27-29) for ages 10-14, cost $100 from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. with Annie Wallau: The Tween Wellness and Adventure Retreat will help you focus on your own wellbeing, gain interpersonal skills, and provide hands-on experiences to lower your stress and enjoy life.
• Career Exploration and Job Preparation (June 12-17), ages 14-18, cost $75 from 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m. with Peyton Beattie: Do you know where you are headed after high school? Come explore all of your options – large universities, community college, trade/technical schools, and non-college career opportunities. We will take fieldtrips for you to experience these options hoping that you find your path beyond high school. Other activities: preparing resumes, professional etiquette and interview practice.
• All About Animals (animals and agriculture, June 27-July 1) for ages 5-10, cost $135 from 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. with Stephanie Conner: Join us as we connect agriculture and animals to our everyday life. Throughout this adventure campers will gain communication skills, healthy-living tips and develop their creative side while gaining knowledge specific to agriculture and animal topics.
• Eat Smart, Play Hard Summer Camp (July 20-22) for ages 5-9, cost $30 from 9 a.m.-noon with Christine Snyder: This camp will provide hands-on activities to encourage little ones to fuel up with foods from each food group and to be physically active. Each day will include a story time, healthy snack, arts and crafts, and fun physical activity. Participants will receive a t-shirt and a water bottle.
• Fur, Feathers, and Friends Camp (Aug. 1) for ages 5-12, cost $27 from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. with Virginia Harris: A fun and educational day camp about rabbits and chickens. Learn about breed ID, general care, anatomy, at-home wellness checkups, nutrition, candling and incubating eggs for hatching and more.
For more information, visit or call (904) 284-6355.

Orange Park American Business Women’s Association Offers Pat Walker Scholarship

ORANGE PARK – The Orange Park Charter Chapter of the American Business Women’s Association is offering a scholarship worth $2,000 funded through the Stephen Bufton Memorial Educational Fund to a deserving area student.
Each year, local chapters of ABWA provide Stephen Bufton Memorial Scholarships to girls who will be attending accredited U.S. colleges, universities and community/vocational schools. Applicants for this scholarship must be citizens of the United States; residents of Northeast Florida; attending any Florida college or university at any grade level Fall semester 2022; and have a current GPA of 3.0 or higher.
Eligible women interested in applying for the scholarship should contact: Lynn McCarthy, Scholarship Chair Orange Park Charter Chapter of ABWA, (904) 504-8181.
Once added to the database by the Scholarship Chair, applications must be completed online by May 15. The scholarship recipient will be notified in July 2022. SBMEF, ABWA’s national educational fund, is one of the most highly respected grants and scholarship funds in the country.
For more than 60 years, ABWA has helped women achieve their business and professional success through educational scholarships. Since its inception, more than 17,000 women nationwide have been awarded more than $17 million in scholarships. The Stephen Bufton Memorial Educational Fund is a 501 (c) 3 charitable trust and public foundation. It has the same tax status as public schools, churches and community funds. The fund is listed in the U.S. Internal Revenue Service “Cumulative List of Organizations” described in Section 170(c) of the IRS code of 1954 – revised Oct. 31, 1974.
The Orange Park Charter Chapter and the American Business Women’s Association The Orange Park Charter Chapter was chartered by the American Business Women’s Association in 1976 to support girls and women in developing business skills and to foster business networking. Members of the chapter meet the third Tuesday of every month from 6-8 p.m. at The Club Continental in Orange Park.
More information about the leading association for working women and women business owners can be found at or on Facebook http: // / pages/ ABW A-A-place-to-connect-learn-and-grow / 110652155635738.


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