News Briefs for the Week of May 16-22, 2024


Blood donations sought for new moms

LifeSouth Community Blood Centers is celebrating those who give the gift of life — including blood donors who play a vital role in maternal health. According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, approximately 11% of maternal deaths in the United States can be attributed to postpartum hemorrhage. Between 54% and 93% of these deaths may be preventable with proper identification and treatment, including blood transfusions.

LifeSouth is aiming to raise awareness toward maternal blood loss in an effort to ensure blood is available to support a safe delivery experience. Below are three ways blood donors can honor those who give the gift of life:

  • Donate blood. From now until May 31, all donors who give at a LifeSouth donor center or blood drive will receive a $20 e-gift card. All donors who visit a donor center will be given a postcard to send to a loved one in honor of their donation.
  • Host a blood drive. LifeSouth regularly partners with organizations and businesses to hold blood drives.
  • Consider cord blood donation. Mothers who deliver a healthy, single baby at a participating LifeSouth Cord Blood hospital may be eligible to donate cord blood to the LifeSouth Cord Blood Bank.

A donor center at 7840 Baymeadows Way is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday; 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesday; and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday.

Another center at 292 S.R. 312, St. Augustine, is open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.

Information on mobile blood drives can be found at 

For more information, call LifeSouth at 888-795-2707, go to or download the LifeSouth app. Appointments can also be made online.

Pedestrian bridge over A1A to close for repairs

The pedestrian bridge over State Road A1A from North Beach Park (3721 Coastal Highway, St. Augustine) to Vilano Beach will close for repairs from May 20 to 23.

Gateway Contracting, St. Johns County’s chosen contractor for this project, will proceed with these repairs in order for the pedestrian bridge to meet its safety requirements to remain open.

Repticon Jacksonville here this weekend

Repticon is coming to Jacksonville with a mixture of vendors and breeders. This family-oriented event offers guests the opportunity to learn about reptiles and exotic animals not normally seen in local pet stores.

Guests can also shop for a new family pet among the hundreds of animals available. Repticon Jacksonville is also the perfect place to get merchandise, cages, supplies and both live and frozen feeders, as well as expert advice. 

This event will be held at the Greater Jacksonville Agricultural Fair & Expo Center, 510 Fairgrounds Place.

Hours are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, May 18, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, May 19.

Tickets are sold online only. Prices are: $15 Super Ticket (entry for both days), $12 Saturday (all day), $10 Saturday after 1 p.m., $12 Sunday (all day), $6 for children ages 5-12. Children 4 and younger are admitted free.

To purchase tickets or for more information go to

C.R. 208 to be closed May 31 to June 11

St. Johns County will close County Road 208 from 5 p.m. Friday, May 31, to 7 a.m. Tuesday, June 11, to install new water and reclaimed transmission lines. Construction will require a complete closure of C.R. 208 at the location of the pipelines, about 50 feet east of the intersection with Toms Road. Detours will be established with necessary signage to provide advanced warning and directions for roadway users.

This pipeline crossing is part of two projects, the C.R. 208 water booster ground storage tank and booster pump station, which provides additional water flow to the south and will provide service and fire flow protection to the east of I-95 and the State Road 207 water reclamation facility, and pipeline project, which will provide reclaimed water to all service areas including the State Road 16 and Northwest regions.

Petticoat Schmitt is the contractor, and the full improvement project is anticipated for completion in the fall.

Explore the beach at GTM Research Reserve

Join volunteers at the Guana Tolomato Matanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve (GTM) for a beach exploration 9-11 a.m. Saturday, May 18. Collect seashells, search for shark teeth and learn about coastal wildlife. Meet at GTM Research Reserve Visitor Center, 505 Guana River Road, Ponte Vedra Beach.

Wear comfortable closed-toe shoes. Hat, insect repellent, water and sunscreen are recommended. The event is free but online registration is required. To register, 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.

— Compiled by Shaun Ryan