News Briefs for the week of Jan. 27-Feb. 2, 2022


Novelist to speak at Sisters in Crime meeting

The Northeast Florida Chapter of Sisters in Crime will host Kaye D. Schmitz, a multi-published, multi-award-winning novelist, at its Feb. 5 meeting.

Schmitz will present “Research Like Crazy — Write Calmly” in the FOL meeting room of the Ponte Vedra Library, 101 Library Blvd., Ponte Vedra Beach.

The meeting begins at 10:30 a.m.

For further information, contact Audrey O’Neil at 904-945-5150 or by email at

Clerk of Courts warns against jury duty scam

The St. Johns County Clerk of Circuit Court and Comptroller’s Office is warning residents about fraudulent phone calls from scammers claiming to be representatives of the Clerk’s Office or law enforcement.

Many scammers claim that the individual has missed jury duty and must make immediate payment to avoid penalties. In some cases, the scammer indicates a warrant has been issued for the resident’s arrest and requests the individual provide personal information, such as Social Security number and date of birth for verification.

Additionally, some scammers seek payment of a bond or fine for failure to appear for jury duty.

Clerk's office employees will never phone a resident to request payment for failure to appear. Failure to appear for jury duty requires attendance in court prior to any penalties being imposed, which would be ordered by a judge.

When residents don't respond to a summons for jury duty, they are contacted through an official letter from the St. Johns County Clerk of the Circuit Court sent through the U.S. Postal Service.

If you receive a suspicious call, the Clerk's Office advises that you provide no information, end the call immediately and report the incident to the Florida Office of the Attorney General at 866-9NOSCAM (866-966-7226).

For questions regarding jury duty in St. Johns County, call 904-819-3629.

Circumnavigators forming chapter

If you've been around the world, there's a place to meet your fellow travelers.

A chapter of The Circumnavigators Club is being formed in Ponte Vedra, and there's just one requirement: You must have been around the world on one trip.

The international club traces its origin to 1902 when two men sailed around the globe and decided to start the club to share their experiences with others. Its early members included President William Howard Taft, Harry Houdini, William Jennings Bryan and John Phillip Sousa. Today's membership includes many astronauts.

There are 14 chapters, including Palm Beach and Naples in Florida. The goal is to bring people together who are interested in world travel and the Northeast Florida area may have many who qualify.

An introductory meeting in Ponte Vedra is planned for early April.

Information on the club is at The local representative is Fred Seely, who can be reached at

DeSantis Awards $2.3M for CDL training, workforce education

 On Jan. 20, Gov. Ron DeSantis awarded $2.3 million in funding to support rapid credentialing workforce and education programs, including commercial driver’s license and logistics training. These programs will help Floridians earn high-wage jobs and support the supply chain that is currently in great need of workers. DeSantis made the announcement at the Hardee Campus of South Florida State College, an award recipient and strong performer in the Florida Department of Education’s rapid credentialing program.

The total immediate collective impact is estimated to benefit 1,200 students by May and benefit 2,000 students by August. Class A and B CDLs remain in high demand across the state and can lead to mid-level family-sustaining wages, as can critical entry-level health care occupations.


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