This Week in History 11/1/18


5 years ago, 2013

The Clay County School Board held a special called meeting to discuss the “Dare to Think” conference planned by Superintendent Charlie Van Zant Jr. and would feature William Korach, then-head of the Republican Executive Committee of St. Johns County.

Orange Park Junior High students took part in “Mix It Up at Lunch Day” with the help of volunteers from the U.S. Navy. Students received conversation prompts so they could talk and possibly learn something about kids from other races and cultures.

Col. Craig Aldrich of the Clay County Sheriff’s Office presented a “Citizen’s Commendation Award” to Devin Richard McEwen of Keystone Heights for rushing to pull a woman from her sinking SUV after it crossed the Blanding Boulevard median at Old Jennings Road and crashed in a retention pond.

10 years ago, 2008

Clay County Supervisor of Elections Barbara Kirkman described the 2008 General Election as “truly a historical election” and said Early Voting turnout had surpassed 2006 numbers fivefold.

First Coast Winter Lights organizer Ronnie Munsey cancelled the 2008 event at Reynolds Park in Green Cove Springs and said he planned to bring it back bigger and better than ever in 2009.

Fourth Circuit Court Judge William Wilkes head impact statements from family members of murder victims Phillip Perrotta, John Whitehead, Oliver Ellis Jr. and Robin Selkirk in what’s called a Spencer Hearing. The statements would be used to help the judge determine the sentence for convicted murderer Gary McCray II.

20 years ago, 1998

After weeks of citizens’ uproar, the Clay County Planning Commission placed the controversial School Q site on its agenda to determine the site’s worthiness. Residents complained that the site at County Road 209 and Heath Road was unsafe.

In preparation for the forthcoming First Coast Expressway – then called the Outer Beltway – a group of about 20 gathered at Tynes Elementary to discuss development standards for the Branan Field Road corridor and how they would fit in with a larger master plan.

Black, white, young and aged, joined hands and encircled the renovated one-room school house in the Historic Hilltop Community in Middleburg, which months earlier, had been rocked by vandalism. Residents came together to celebrate the center’s renovations.

30 Years ago, 1988

Circuit Court Judge Giles Lewis ruled that Clerk of Court/Comptroller General George Carlisle does not have the authority to freeze county funds earmarked for operating the Clay County Sheriff’s Office in the aftermath of an ongoing dispute with Sheriff Jennings Murrhee.

Park West residents Roger Gill, 42, his wife Melody, 37 and their two children, Sarah, 11, and Paul, 9, were killed in an auto accident on Interstate 75 in Sumter County while driving back to Clay County from a visit to Busch Gardens in Tampa, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

A two-month drug operation netted 16 arrests for the Clay County Sheriff’s Office and involved undercover officers attempting to buy drugs from suspected dealers.

40 years ago, 1978

Facing a Nov. 9 remembrance celebration for her husband at Cecil Field, Mary Hein Hoff of Orange Park, said she refused to accept the government’s conclusion of her missing husband, Navy Cmdr. Michael G. Hoff, whose plane was shot down during a reconnaissance mission over Laos in January 1970.

Green Cove Springs Police charged Hollis Virgil Batton, 19, of Green Cove Springs, with kidnapping, aggravated battery and DUI of 33-year-old Carole Labit of Green Cove Springs.

Actors from Orange Park Community Theatre were set to compete in the Florida Theatre Conference Festival of American Community Theatres in DeLand with its one-act play, “Next.


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