News Briefs for the week of Jan. 26 to Feb. 1, 2023


‘Color My Estuary’ contest accepting artwork now

The Friends of the GTM Reserve have announced the "Color My Estuary" calendar contest for students in grades K-12. Eligible students must live in one of six counties: St. Johns, Duval, Clay, Flagler, Nassau or Putnam.

“A lot of students enjoy hiking, biking and exploring the estuary,” said Ellen Leroy-Reed, executive director of the Friends of the GTM Reserve. “We are looking for bright-colored artwork showing a world that is enjoyed outdoors in the estuary, including a few words about what the estuary means to them.”

The contest is open now, and entries are due by April 4. Thirteen artwork submissions will be selected for the Friends of the GTM Reserve’s 2024 calendar. Artwork will be chosen for the cover and for each month of the year.

The entry form and the rules are available on the Friends website,, and at the GTM Research Reserve Visitor Center in Ponte Vedra Beach and at the GTM Marineland office.

For more information, contact the Friends at 904-380-8600 or email

Pickleball tournament to help victims of human trafficking

The Villages of Hope will host its inaugural charity pickleball tournament from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, January 28 and 29, at the Yards in Ponte Vedra Beach.

Spectators are welcome and encouraged to attend the event. There will be food trucks and a silent auction on site at the event. All proceeds will go directly to support The Villages of Hope’s mission.

To learn more about the event, go to

The Villages of Hope is a nonprofit organization in Jacksonville dedicated to providing a safe place for women seeking a life free from human trafficking, to live, to connect with a community of care and receive unconditional love. In early 2023, The Villages of Hope will have 14 tiny homes on a 1.3-acre lot.

To learn more, go to

Palm Valley Market every Tuesday

The Palm Valley Market is held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. every Tuesday inside the Palm Valley Community Center, 148 Canal Road. The market offers fresh produce, baked goods, local honey, tea, seasonal treats, soap, jewelry, plants and more.

Experts offering hurricane rebuilding advice

As part of a continuing effort to help Floridians rebuild from hurricanes Nicole and Ian, FEMA is offering free advice on how to rebuild stronger and safer against storms. The rebuilding advice will be offered 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday at The Home Depot, 1750 U.S. 1, St. Augustine.

FEMA mitigation specialists will answer questions and offer free home improvement tips and proven methods to prevent and lessen damage from future disasters. Mitigation is an effort to reduce the loss of life and property damage by lessening the impact of a disaster. The information is geared for do-it-yourself work and general contractors.

In addition to receiving in-person advice, survivors of hurricanes Nicole and Ian can call the FEMA mitigation line to speak with specialists. The number is 833-336-2487 and is available 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Learn more at

For the latest information on Florida’s recovery from Hurricane Ian, go to and For Hurricane Nicole, go to Follow FEMA Region 4 (@femaregion4)/Twitter and

Donations sought for homeless veteran luncheons

Donations are being accepted for the Luncheons for Homeless Veterans program hosted by the We Can Be Heroes Foundation.

What to donate: Nonperishable, individual servings of prepackaged or canned items with pop-top tabs, such as Vienna sausage, Beanie-Weenies, beef jerky, sardines, tuna, granola, cereal and power bars, fruit cups, cheese and peanut butter crackers, cookies, snack packs, peanuts or similar items and $15 gift cards from local stores. Bottled water or beverages are always a necessity.

Donors may email to arrange pick-up. Information is available at

Luncheons are scheduled for 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 27, and on Feb. 24 and March 24 at Clara White Mission Veterans Unit, 613 W. Ashley St., Jacksonville.

— Compiled by Shaun Ryan


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