News briefs for the week of October 6-12, 2022


Mystery mishaps and behind the scenes of a network TV series

Award-winning writer, editor and former owner of an interactive live murder mystery production company, John Boles will offer the Northeast Florida Sisters in Crime chapter insight this Saturday, Oct. 8, based on his personal experiences. He will discuss a few pitfalls that mystery writers should avoid. He will also share some behind-the-scenes stories from his work on the ABC prime-time mystery series “Hart to Hart.” The meeting will start at 10:15 a.m. and end by 12:45 p.m. It will be held at the Ponte Vedra Beach Branch Library, 101 Library Blvd., Ponte Vedra Beach.

For further information, contact

Good Halloween fun for a good cause

On Oct. 15, Community Hospice & Palliative Care Foundation’s 18th annual Halloween Doors & More will transform the Jacksonville Fairgrounds Exhibition Hall into a magical, superhero-themed day of family-friendly fun.

Halloween Doors & More will offer fun attractions with candy, toys, food, interactive experiences and live characters from 2 to 7 p.m. Trick or treat at 14-foot-high Fantasy Doors, stroll the Magical Meet and Greet Streets to see favorite costumed characters, show off dance moves in the Fiesta Family Disco, visit the Booutiful Salon for a spooktacular make-over and stop by the Grown-Up Grotto and Food Court to enjoy gourmet foods and drinks.

Proceeds benefit Community PedsCare.

Jacksonville Fairgrounds is located at 510 Fairground Place, Jacksonville.

To purchase admission, call 904-886-3883 or go to


Democratic Club program is ‘Our Region’s Waterways’

The Ponte Vedra Democratic Club will meet Tuesday, Oct. 18, at Christ Episcopal Church's Westbury Hall, 400 San Juan Road in Ponte Vedra Beach. “Chat & chew” is at 6 p.m. and the meeting begins at 6:30 p.m. The speaker is Jen Lomberk, the Matanzas Riverkeeper. The program will be “Our Region's Waterways: Trouble, Terror, or Terrific?” For more information, email

Palm Valley Market every Tuesday

The Palm Valley Market is held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. every Tuesday at 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.

Cleanup referrals offered

For those needing assistance with damage from Tropical Storm Ian, a home cleanup hotline has been arranged. Call 800-451-1954 to ask for help. Volunteers will connect callers with representatives of local relief organizations, community groups and faith communities who may be able to assist with cutting fallen trees; drywall, flooring and appliance removal; tarping roofs and mold mitigation. All services are free, but the service is not guaranteed due to the overwhelming need. The hotline will remain open until Oct. 28. To learn more, go to

Sunshine Bus running again

St. Johns County Council on Aging’s Sunshine Bus resumed its normal service and schedule on Saturday, Oct.1, following Tropical Storm Ian. For updates, go to or call 904-209-3716.

$7 million grant to help ease teacher shortage

The University of North Florida’s College of Education and Human Services has been awarded a $7 million partnership grant, Project PREP (Partnering to Renew the Educator Pipeline), alongside Clay County District Schools and UNF’s College of Arts and Sciences to address the critical teacher shortage and create equitable teaching outcomes for every student.

Awarded by the U.S. Department of Education, Project PREP is the largest single grant that the College of Education and Human Services has received to date. Spanning five years, the total amount awarded will be $7,023,252, with the first-year funding at $1,012,347.

This school-university-district partnership grant is a systemic approach to building an educator pathway to enhance recruitment, preparation, induction and retention of teachers and teacher leaders across the teacher pipeline in a high-need school district.

FEMA OKs Clean and Sanitize Assistance

The State of Florida and FEMA have approved Clean and Sanitize Assistance. Eligible applicants may qualify for a one-time $300 payment to help with cleanup of their damaged dwelling.

FEMA has authorized the National Flood Insurance Program to approve Florida’s request for a waiver allowing policyholders within the program to access a portion of their claims without going through the full claims process. If you have an NFIP policy, ask your agent about advance payment on your claim.

— Compiled by Shaun Ryan