News Briefs for the week of May 12-18, 2022


Arboretum & Botanical Gardens begins charging admission

The Jacksonville Arboretum & Botanical Gardens, which has experienced significant growth in attendance throughout the pandemic, has begun charging a $3 admission fee per person – with members receiving unlimited visits each year.

Children 3 years or younger are admitted free. Admissions will be collected at a drive-up payment station inside the front gate. Visitors can use credit cards with Venmo, or purchase through the QR code on the entrance sign. People can also purchase a membership online, with a membership card sent to their smartphone or laptop.

Revenue from entrance fees will help offset costs of continued improvements and educational programming as popularity of the arboretum continues to rise.

Membership levels are: individual (one named adult), $40 a year; dual: (2 adults) $55 a year; family (2 named adults and all children): $70 a year.

To purchase a membership,

Nonprofit grant applications accepted by alliance

The Ponte Vedra Women’s Civic Alliance is accepting applications through June 30 for their $10,000 grant. The grant will be awarded to a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization located in St. John’s County or to an organization that serves the Beaches area, including Ponte Vedra Beach, Jacksonville Beach, Neptune Beach and Atlantic Beach.

To request an application and to review the grant guidelines go to

The Ponte Vedra Women’s Civic Alliance is a nonprofit organization established in 2011 to foster friendship by working together for the good of the community. The alliance awards grants yearly.

Book store owner to speak at library

Rona Brinlee will be the speaker Tuesday, May 17, for the Friends of the Ponte Vedra Beach Library Speaker Series. The free program will be held at the library, located at 101 Library Blvd., Ponte Vedra Beach. Doors open at 6 p.m. The program starts at 6:30 p.m.

Brinlee is the owner of The BookMark book store in Neptune Beach. She and her husband purchased it in 1995 and moved it to its current location in 2010. 

Brinlee earned her B.A. from Barnard College and her Ph.D. from Columbia University before moving to Jacksonville in 1980 to start the Anthropology Department at UNF.

The BookMark is known for its carefully created selections, diverse offerings and a host to best-selling authors on a regular basis. It also helps numerous book clubs in the area with recommendations.

The store is located at the corner of 1st and Orange streets in Neptune Beach. In August, the BookMark will celebrate 32 years in the beaches.

— Compiled by Shaun Ryan


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