Administrator’s Report – November 5, 2010
At the next County Commission meeting on November 16th, we will say goodbye to outgoing Commissioner Phil Mays and welcome new Commissioner Jay Morris. Commissioner Mays has represented District 4 since December of 2008 when he was appointed by Governor Charlie Crist, and he chose not to seek election for another term. As an attorney and businessman, Mays has brought significant experience to the Commission that has been invaluable to our community during the past two years. Please join me in thanking Commissioner Mays for his service. We wish him the best for his future.
I also hope you will join me in welcoming Commissioner Jay Morris to the Board of County Commissioners. Commissioner Morris also brings extensive business and military experience. He is a Vietnam Veteran who served in the Army, followed by a distinguished business career, including twenty-two years as Executive Vice President of RPM International, Inc. I look forward to working with Commissioner Morris and am confident he will represent District 4 and all of St. Johns County very well.
Although he is certainly not new, Commissioner Ron Sanchez will also begin his second term as County Commissioner following his re-election in August. Both Commissioners Morris and Sanchez will take the oath of office at Commission meeting on November 16th.
- Water Restrictions – The time change on November 7th brings adjustments to watering rules in St. Johns County. In an effort to conserve water, irrigation is now limited to once per week until daylights savings time returns in March. Odd numbered/no addresses water on Saturday, and even numbered addresses water on Sunday. Non-Residential property waters on Tuesday. Remember, water only when needed and not between 10:00 am and 4:00 pm. For more information, visit www.sjcfl.us/ProtectOurWater.
- Amphitheatre Receives Special Recognition – October was a month of celebration for the St. Augustine Amphitheatre with the announcement of several awards and recognitions. The Amphitheatre was voted Best of Jacksonville in Jacksonville Magazine for “Best reason to drive to St. Augustine” and Best of Jacksonville in Folio Weekly for “Best place to attend a concert”. Additionally, the St. Augustine Amphitheatre has been nominated for the 2010 Pollstar Concert Industry Award in the category of Red Rocks Award/Best Small Outdoor Venue. Each year POLLSTAR invites a cross-section of international music business professionals to make the nominations for The Pollstar Concert Industry Awards. The awards honor artists, management, talent buyers, venues, support services and more for their professionalism, achievements, and abilities. The Pollstar Awards are the highest honor given in the industry.
- By the Numbers – The 2010 concert year has been very successful, with the St. Augustine Amphitheatre attracting over 200,000 visitors with 70,000 tickets sold. The sold out concerts for 2010 included Toby Keith, Aretha Franklin, Paramore, Moody Blues, Ringo Starr, Sublime, Lady Antebellum, Darius Rucker, and REO Speedwagon/Pat Benetar. A Prairie Home Companion, broadcasting live worldwide on November 13th, is also on track to sell out. The 3rd annual Winter Wonderland returns November 19th and is expected to exceed 50,000 people in attendance.
- Congratulations to Mike Adams – Last month Commissioner of Agriculture Charles H. Bronson awarded St. Johns County Land Acquisition and Management Program (LAMP) Board Member Mike Adams the Commissioner of Agriculture’s 2010 State of Florida Ag-Environmental Leadership Award. Adams was recognized for his dedication to conservation, education, and environmental preservation for the 94-acre Saturiwa Conservation Area in Elkton. Award winners were chosen by an independent committee of agriculture, environmental, and government groups, and Adams was featured in a front page article in the St. Augustine Record. St. Johns County is fortunate to have Mike serve as a member of our LAMP Board.
- Monarch Butterfly Migration – Monarch butterflies, the only butterfly known to make a two-way migration as birds do, are in the peak migration season. These beautiful butterflies migrate to Mexico every year starting around October because they are not able to survive the cold winters of most of the United States, with some flying 3,000 miles to reach their winter home. Monarchs only travel during the day and need to find a roost at night when they cluster together to stay warm. It is during these migrations that the female monarchs deposit eggs for the next generation. The butterfly garden at the Nease House, which was planted over the summer with help from Student Conservation Association, is hosting a regular stream of monarchs and other butterflies. The Nease House is located on State Road A1A approximately one-half mile north of the Vilano Bridge. The garden is located at the rear of the house and is open to the public. No appointment is necessary, but the best chance to view the butterflies is early morning or late evening.
- Fire Prevention Month – Nationally, October was recognized as Fire Prevention Month, and accordingly last month St. Johns County Fire Rescue focused non-emergency activities on fire prevention and educating the community in valuable fire safety lessons. This year’s theme was “Smoke Alarms: A sound you can live with.” Fire Rescue personnel spent October visiting preschools, day cares, elementary schools, and various community groups throughout St. Johns County with fire trucks, the fire robot, and the now famous fire safety house complete with the ever popular “smoke room” where students have the opportunity to experience escaping from a smoke-filled bedroom. During this month, the fire safety program reached upwards of 13,000 children and residents of St. Johns County, instilling safety messages that prevent loss of life or injury from fire.
- Veterans’ Nursing Home Broadcast on GTV – The dedication ceremony of the Clyde E. Lassen State Veterans’ Nursing Home will be rebroadcast on GTV throughout the month of November. The ceremony was on September 25th at the nursing home, located on State Road 16 in St. Augustine. The video, which was filmed, produced, and edited by GTV staff, features a picture montage from the ground breaking all the way to the ribbon cutting ceremony. To see a complete listing of times and dates when the ceremony will rebroadcast, click here.
- US Census Final Mailback Rate is 79 Percent – The U.S. Census recognized the St. Johns County Board of County Commissioners, the St. Johns County Complete Count Committee, County staff, and the community by awarding the “Above and Beyond” award for the County’s efforts in achieving a 77 percent “Fill out and Mail Back” return rate, according to the initial count. Benefits of the Census are already being seen as Florida is being considered for two new seats in the United States House of Representatives based on the overall population for the State. St. Johns County through its excellent participation contributed significantly to this outcome. Further, during the week of October 12th the Census released their final “Fill Out & Mail Back” percentage rates for the nation, and St. Johns County reached 79 percent. This exceeds the national return average rate of 74 percent. Over the next ten years, the County could be allocated millions of additional federal funds through programs and grants because of the St. Johns County Counts 2010 Census effort. Congratulations to St. Johns County residents for this impressive Census response rate.
- 2025 Comprehensive Plan Update – On August 17, 2010, the Board of County Commissioners adopted the 2025 Comprehensive Plan, including the Future Land Use Map Series and Goals, Objectives, and Policies. The Florida Department of Community Affairs found the Plan “in compliance” on October 6, 2010, and it became effective October 29, 2010. The 2025 Plan includes updates required by the Florida Growth Management Law, adds economic development opportunities, and adds energy policies. The Plan is available on the County website or by contacting Teresa Bishop, Long Range Planning Director, at (904) 209-0581 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Health and Human Services
- Adoption Day – In conjunction with November being National Adoption Month, the St. Johns County Family Integrity Program invites the community to the 3rd annual Adoption Day Celebration on Friday, November 5th, 5:30 – 7:30 pm at the Solomon Calhoun Community Center in West Augustine. Activities will include free food, fun, and games for all ages. The celebration is in honor of Adoptive parents and families, and information will be provided for anyone interested in becoming a Foster or Adoptive parent. An ongoing need exists in St. Johns County, and throughout Florida, for Foster and Adoptive homes to care for teenagers and older sibling groups currently in the State’s custody. For more information, visit www.adoptflorida.org or contact Richard Zicht with the St. Johns County Family Integrity Program at (904) 209-6127.
- Garden Project Pairs Children and Seniors – Through a partnership of the County Health and Human Services Department and THE PLAYERS Championship Boys & Girls Club in St. Augustine, ten children got a hands-on lesson in both horticulture and community service. The students spent three weeks putting together windowsill gardens, and each student hand-delivered his or her garden to a resident at Emeritus of St. Augustine Assisted Living Facility. The program was initiated by HHS Prevention Support Specialist Laura Folk, who recently completed her master’s thesis on horticultural therapy. Her research on resiliency showed that community involvement significantly decreases the risk for drug and alcohol abuse in youth. This joint program was a win for both the children and the seniors.
- Clinical Therapy Team – Jennifer Giblin, a member of the Clinical Therapy Team, has been providing many trainings and most recently presented “Understanding Trauma and Attachment: Strategies to Assist in Placement Stabilization and Facilitate Healing” last week at the Florida Children’s Coalition conference. She was so positively received that she has been asked to also train Family Integrity Program staff and Child Protection Investigators with the Florida Department of Children and Families. We are fortunate to have Jennifer on our team.
- Hastings Christmas Parade – Mark your calendars now for the Hastings Christmas Parade on Saturday, December 11th, beginning at 10:00 am. This is a collaboration between the Health and Human Services Department, the Recreation and Parks Department, and the Hastings Ministerial Alliance. The theme this year is “A Patriotic Christmas – Honoring our Heroes”. For more information contact Brenda Ware at (904) 209-6080 ext 4070.
- Wildflower Clinic – The Wildflower Clinic in St. Augustine provides free, non-emergency medical and dental services to St. Johns County adults who are medically uninsured and unable to afford healthcare. The Wildflower Clinic is located at 268 Herbert Street, one block west of King Street. The Clinic is staffed by volunteer medical and dental providers who donate their time and services. Call the Wildflower Clinic at 829-1962 for more information.
Housing and Community Services
- Housing Grant – The Housing and Community Services Division has successfully applied for a $750,000 Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) with the Department of Community Affairs Small Cities Program. This housing grant will enable income-eligible county homeowners to have their homes rehabilitated. The rehabilitation efforts will focus on the health and safety of residents’ homes.
- Neighborhood Stabilization Program – The Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP) has provided funds for the purchase and rehabilitation of seventeen local homes that had been abandoned due to foreclosure. The NSP program is a federally funded HUD program that is administered via the Florida Department of Community Affairs (DCA). Eight of the NSP purchased and rehabilitated homes will be available for re-sale to income eligible homebuyers and the remaining nine homes will be used to assist income eligible renters in St. Johns County.
- CWHIP – The Community Workforce Housing Innovative Pilot Program (CWHIP), which provides purchase assistance funds for homebuyers earning 80 to 140 percent of area median income, has had four closings in the past two months with two more scheduled by the end of the year. We are proud to be able to offer outstanding energy efficient, green building certified homes to interested homebuyers. Call 827-6895 and speak to Dana Moore, Homeownership Programs Administrator, for more information.
- Food for Fines at the Library – The Library System kicks off the 3rd annual “Food for Fines” program on Monday. Food for Fines permits patrons to bring one sealed, non-expired, non-perishable food item to the library in exchange for each $1 in overdue fines. The program will run November 8 – December 22. Last year, more than 10,000 food items were collected, surpassing the 8,000 items collected in 2008. All food collected during Food for Fines will be given to the Health and Human Services food pantry for local distribution to those in need. While Food for Fines is a great way for overdue patrons to balance their accounts, the food drive is not limited. The general public is also encouraged to drop off non-perishable food contributions at any library branch through December 22. The Food for Fines waiver is for library fines only and may not be applied to fees for printing or lost items, nor may it be used as credit against future fines. For more information call Library Administration at (904) 827-6925 or visit www.sjcpls.org.
- Upcoming Community Collection Days – The Solid Waste Management Division will host several Community Collection Days in the next few weeks. Community Collection Days are limited to St. Johns County residents only and provide an opportunity to safely dispose of household hazardous waste, obsolete electronics including old computer equipment, and tires. Some examples of household hazardous waste items include paint, oil, cleaners, pesticides, batteries, and pool chemicals. To allow the best service to residents, a few restrictions apply. For instance, no microwave ovens or large appliances are accepted. Also, each household is limited to disposing no more than ten tires. The Community Collection Day is limited to residential materials; no commercial items, construction materials, garbage or yard trash will be accepted. For more information or bad weather updates, contact Chris Benjamin at (904) 669-4327. Collection begins at 8:00 am and ends at noon. The dates and locations are:
- November 6th – TPC Parking Lot located at County Road 210 near State Road A1A in Ponte Vedra
- November 20th – Murray Middle School located at 150 N. Holmes Boulevard in St. Augustine
- December 4th – Anastasia Square Shopping Center at State Road 312 & State Road A1A in St. Augustine Beach
A previous Community Collection Day at Bartram Trail High School on October 16th had participation by more than 500 residents who disposed of nearly 50,000 pounds of hazardous waste and garbage.
Recreation and Parks
- St. Augustine Amateur – The 2010 St. Augustine Amateur was played October 22nd through 24th at St. Johns Golf Club. This year’s winner of the “John C. Jennison Cup” was Chris Bray (Flagler College), with rounds of 71-67-68/206. He narrowly edged Chris Kennedy (University of North Florida), who had rounds of 68-68-72/208. Duke Butler won his second mid-amateur championship in a row with rounds of 73-73-73/219. The top finishers receive World Amateur Golf Ranking and Golf Week/Titleist points.
- Phone Calls from Santa – Ho, ho, ho, Santa is coming soon! The annual Phone Calls from Santa program will begin taking registrations on November 29th. Your child can get a personalized phone call from Santa. Find the registration and details later this month at www.sjcfl.us/recreation.
- 2011 Impact Grant Awarded – The Elks National Foundation has awarded the St. Augustine Elks Lodge #829 a 2011 Impact Grant of $5,000 to again support the Elks Kid Fit Club. The St. Johns County Recreation and Parks Department partners with the Elks Lodge to offer this program to children in the after school programs at Hastings Recreation Center and the Solomon Calhoun Center. This grant helps continue the fight against childhood obesity through education and physical activity.
- Veteran’s Day Events – As the County celebrates Thursday, November 11th as Veterans’ Day, the public is invited to attend these events:
- Sunday, November 7th – From 3:00 to 5:30 pm, come to the Flagler College Auditorium to enjoy an afternoon of patriotic music, comedy, and a Vietnam documentary “Service, Sacrifice, and Courage” featuring five local Vietnam War heroes. This event will be a special welcome home that Vietnam Veterans never received. The Vietnam Traveling Wall will be on display.
- Wednesday, November 10th – Come to Veterans Park beginning at 5:30 pm for the 2nd annual Veterans Day Sunset Celebration. Festivities will salute troops with military equipment displays, the Bartram Trail High School Air Force ROTC, the Fruit Cove Middle School Jazz Band, the Liberty Pines Academy Chorus, and a performance by Skin ‘n Bonz. Refreshments and children’s activities will also be provided. This event is a great way to honor local veterans and enjoy great family activities. Veterans Park is located at 1332 Veterans Parkway in St. Johns. The event is made possible by community volunteers, St. Johns County Recreation and Parks Department, CR 210 Rotary, Bartram Trail Rotary, and the Northwest Chamber of Commerce.
- Thursday, November 11 – The Veteran’s Day Ceremony in St. Augustine begins at 11:00 am at the Special Events Field with military displays from 9:00 am to 2:00 pm.
- Thursday, November 11 – Beginning at 6:00 pm, the St. Augustine Lighthouse & Museum invites you to the Veterans Day Ceremony to honor Veterans and Active Duty Military. Reservations are encouraged. For more information visit www.staugustinelighthouse.org or call (904) 829-0745.
Please note all St. Johns County offices and libraries will be closed on Thursday, November 11, in observance of Veteran's Day. Normal hours at all locations will resume on Friday, November 12. All garbage, yard debris and recycling in St. Johns County will be collected on its normal weekly schedule. I encourage you to take this special day to participate in one of the events listed above or, in your own way, show respect and appreciation to those who have served and are serving our Country.