Clay County


Clay County Superintendent Addison Davis said he wants parents to know the district is taking online threats to Clay Schools seriously and his staff is actively working to ensure all buildings are secure.

Jazmin Ortiz via Facebook

Clay County is extending hours at its public libraries, starting Thursday, Feb. 1. It’s a restoration of services following cuts during the recession a few years back and a standardization across the whole system.

Ryan Benk / WJCT News

Clay County residents were among some of the hardest hit by Hurricane Irma in September and many are still recovering.

To help them get back on their feet quicker, a group of residents, lawmakers and even a rock star are pulling together more funding for a new initiative

The weekend rain impacting Northeast Florida could push more water up along beaches and rivers.


A gunman ambushed a customs agent Tuesday afternoon, shooting him from behind before turning the gun on himself and taking his own life in the parking lot of a Publix shopping center in the Oakleaf area, Clay County deputies said.

Clay County: Hurricane Irma Recovery Status Update

Sep 14, 2017

Here’s a rundown of updates provided by Clay County Emergency Management at 4:30 p.m. on Thursday to WJCT News.


Clay County has wrapped up swift water rescue efforts and consolidated the emergency operations center as the recovery from Hurricane Irma continues.

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Florida Storms

  • Frequent tornado warnings are being issued in Northeast Florida as Hurricane Irma treks northward. Residents are urged to get to the most interior part of their homes when a warning sounds because tornadoes can form extremely quickly under these conditions.  

ph_so_6_Retiree / Flickr

Florida health officials are reminding parents and caretakers they can get kids’ back-to-school vaccines with no out-of-pocket costs — with or without insurance. All Florida counties offer the shots.

Today on “First Coast Connect,” we spoke with Operation New Hope president and CEO Kevin Gay (01:03) on U.S. Attorney General Jeff Session’s order for federal prosecutors to get tougher on drug crimes and how it could triggers more people receiving long terms in prison under mandatory minimum guidelines. Then we then spoke with President and CEO of Jacksonville Speech & Hearing Center Mike Howland (34:09) about May being Better Speech and Hearing Month. Concert on the Green President Lauren Hoffman (41:52) stopped by to talk about Sunday’s concert with the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra, and Kerry Speckman (44:20) told us about all the other events this weekend.   

Fort George G. Meade Public Affairs Office Follow / Flickr

Clay County Health Department Officials are spreading the word: If you haven’t gotten your flu shot, now’s the time.

Northeast Florida, like most of the nation, is currently experiencing an elevated number of flu cases.

Darryl Daniels, a Navy veteran who served 24 years with the JSO, is the first African-American to be sworn in as Clay County’s new Sheriff. He replaces the retiring Rick Beesler.

Fifty Florida counties will open early voting locations on Monday. Here's where they are in Northeast Florida, along with times and dates they'll be open before Election Day, Nov. 8. Registered voters can choose any early voting location in the county, unlike on Election Day, when they must vote in their precinct. 

Clay County Schools

Clay County School Superintendent Charlie Van Zant is defending mentions of his religious beliefs in his phone messages to parents. One parent says she’s uncomfortable with what she sees as his “editorializing” in official correspondence.

Lindsey Kilbride / WJCT News

 Updated 4 p.m.:

The Clay County School Board voted Thursday morning against stipulations teachers wanted in their contracts concerning job security and fair pay.

Clay County School Board building
Google Maps

Some Clay County parents will be holding their kids home from school Thursday to protest a School Board hearing in the middle of the day.

The Board will be considering teacher contracts that concern their pay and job stability.

Dana Baez is keeping her kid home. She says teachers shouldn’t have to choose between doing their jobs and taking a personal day to defend them.

Lindsey Kilbride


When it comes to registering voters, Northeast Florida has a few things figured out.

Four of the state’s top five counties with the highest voter-registration rates are in the same area.


Ryan Benk / WJCT News

Clay County officials outlined their legislative priorities in a two-hour meeting of the area’s legislative delegation Tuesday.

Clay County Supervisor of Elections Chris Chambliss aired his concerns regarding public records law.

Chambliss said personally identifying voter-registration information can be requested by anyone.

“We’ve had inmates who are serving life sentences that are making public records requests for individuals’ personal information, including their name, their full address and their full date of birth,” Chambliss said.

Clay County Sheriff's Office Warns About Rash Of Break-Ins

Sep 2, 2015

People living in Clay County are being told to lock the doors of their homes and cars after nearly a dozen crimes were reported over the past two weeks.

Investigators with the Clay County Sheriff's Office said homes were ransacked, and stolen items included guns, electronics and jewelry.

One homeowner even stopped a burglary in progress by honking a car horn when a burglar was caught trying to damage the front door of a home on Cattail Street in Middleburg, deputies said. The person ran away.

Baptist Clay Medical Campus

Baptist Health is asking Florida healthcare regulators for permission to build a 100-bed hospital in Clay County.

A county-wide assessment by the Health Planning Council of Northeast Florida shows access to healthcare is severely lacking in the area.

Baptist is proposing a facility that would employ around 400 people and serve 100 patients. It would be on the same property where the company first set up shop about two years ago.

Rusty Clark / Flickr

Adult entertainment businesses are cleared to set-up shop in Clay County after city commissioners voted 3-1 in favor of removing a 30-year-old ban this week.

The city was advised to vote the ban out, or face possible lawsuits.

Adult entertainment businesses can range from bookstores to dancing establishments.

Chairwoman Diane Hutchings voted in favor of lifting the ban. She says four law firms reviewed the ban and said it would not sustain a court challenge.


Tara Green, Clay County’s Clerk of Court, is Florida’s Clerk of the Year.

Green was recognized for her leadership in this year’s statewide launch of Operation Green Light.

Operation Green Light is a day of amnesty allowing people with suspended drivers’ licenses to pay traffic ticket fines — minus a 40-percent penalty tacked on as punishment — and get their license back.

In April, the project resulted in the reinstatement of nearly 10,000 drivers’ licenses and generated more than $5.4 million for participating counties.

Appeals Court Backs CSX In Conductor's Death

May 4, 2015
CSX train
Nate Beal / Wikimedia Commons

An appeals court has sided with Jacksonville-based CSX Transportation in a dispute over a train conductor who suffered a fatal heart attack.

The case was a disagreement over the railroad’s duty to provide medical assistance to conductor Larry Sells. The News Service of Florida reports the First District Court of Appeal upheld a lower court ruling in favor of CSX.

Ray Hollister / WJCT News

For people who find themselves needing help but unable to call 9-1-1, Clay County now allows text messages to emergency personnel.

The Clay County Sheriff’s Office launched the service Thursday.

CCSO Col. Craig Aldrich says talking on the phone may not be an option during some emergencies.

Tulio Bertorini / Wikimedia Commons

This May marks the 70th anniversary of the end of the Holocaust.

Clay County’s Oakleaf High School is hosting the county’s first-ever remembrance ceremony tonight. Students are encouraged to attend to learn about the Nazi regime’s massacre that killed almost 11 million people — including 6 million Jews.

Clay County Schools

A contentious measure on how the Clay County School Superintendent is chosen cleared a final hurdle Thursday on its way to the ballot.

The Clay County City Commission called an emergency meeting Monday night to discuss the School Board's vote to sue the Commission after it delayed a ballot measure to let voters decide how the school superintendent is chosen.

Dougher Emerges As Favorite For GOP State Party Chair

May 8, 2014
@DraftDougher / Twitter

TALLAHASSEE (The News Service of Florida) — With the official vote more than three weeks away and less than six months before crucial statewide elections, the head of the Clay County GOP appears a shoe-in to replace outgoing Republican Party of Florida Chairman Lenny Curry.

Michael Dunn, Jimmy Ryce, and Kelly Mathis are in the headlines today.

Michael Dorausch / Flickr

Orange Park police are in the process of visiting all the places where electronic cigarettes are sold to explain what’s in a new city ordinance regulating the vapor smokes.

Under the new law approved this week by the Orange Park City Council, stores will have to keep e-cigarettes behind the counter and they can no longer sell to anyone younger than 18

Plus, people who use e-cigs will now have to smoke outside with their tobacco-using counterparts.