Local Behavioral Healthcare Provider Elected to the National Council for Mental Wellbeing's Board of Directors
Yulee, Fla: On Tuesday, June 14th, 2022, Dr. Laureen Pagel, CEO of Starting Point Behavioral Healthcare, prevailed in her campaign and was elected as the Region IV (Alabama, North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, Tennessee) Director on the National Council for Mental Wellbeing Board of Directors. Dr. Pagel will serve an initial three-year term and then be eligible for re-election into a final three-year term.
“I am honored to receive this designation and to have the opportunity to represent District IV,” says Laureen Pagel, CEO at Starting Point Behavioral Healthcare. “I intend to focus on meeting the unique needs of small healthcare systems and to advocate at the federal level for sustainable improvements to the ever-evolving healthcare system. I look forward to beginning this important work and am so grateful for the endorsements and support that got me here.”
The National Council for Mental Wellbeing is a membership organization that drives policy and social change on behalf of over 3,100 mental health and substance use treatment organizations and the more than 10 million children, adults and families they serve. Its Board of Directors represents the membership of the nonprofit association and is dedicated to promoting excellence in mental health and addictions treatment.
About Starting Point Behavioral Healthcare
Starting Point Behavioral Healthcare provides mental health and substance abuse treatment services to children, teens and adults in Northeast Florida and Southeast Georgia. The non-profit agency serves more than 3,000 individuals each year and has been serving the region for more than 30 years. Starting Point is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF). For more information, please visit www.spbh.org.
Attached is the May 2022 edition of the Board of County Commissioner's newsletter. This monthly publication features a variety of information related to projects and activities for departments under the Board of County Commissioners. It also includes information about road projects, special events, adopted policies and procedures, budget discussions, and more!
Topics in this edition includes information on:
If you have any questions, please contact the County Manager's Office at (904) 530-6010.
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Clerk of Circuit Court & Comptroller
June 23, 2022
For the second year, the FCCC awarded the Florida Clerks who have met or exceeded current statewide benchmarks in their policies and procedures for service to their citizens. Mr. Crawford was presented with 11 Best Practices Recognition of Excellence Awards for Bail Bonds, Compliance Services, Confidential Judicial Records, Eviction, Evidence Storage and Destruction, Exploitation of Vulnerable Adult Injunction, Marriage License, Public Records Requests, Recording Fundamentals, Requests to Redact Exempt Personal Information, and Service Documents by Clerks for Pro Se Litigants. These awards are the results of the hard work and commitment to excellence by the Clerk and his staff.
Florida’s Clerks and Comptrollers have collaborated on Best Practices for more than 14 years. The Best Practices Excellence Program was established last year as an opportunity for Clerks to receive Recognition of Excellence certificates for completing assessments that evaluate acceptance of certain Best Practices.
The Florida Constitution established the Clerk of the Circuit Court as a public trustee, responsible for safeguarding public records and public funds. Clerk John A. Crawford is independently elected by and accountable to the Nassau County residents. In addition to the roles of Clerk of the Circuit Court, County Recorder, and Clerk of the Board of County Commissioners, the Clerk is the Chief Financial Officer and Auditor for Nassau County.
6/23/22 @ 9:20 a.m. - At the Wednesday, June 15th meeting, the Board of County Commissioners approved Resolution No. 2022-128, proclaiming the week of June 25-July 1, 2022, as "National Boys & Girls Club Week" in Nassau County, Florida.
Boys & Girls Clubs of Nassau County instill young people with the self-confidence to believe that they can succeed at anything they put their minds to and stand at the forefront of efforts in the areas of child safety, academics, fair play, healthy lifestyles, and character. They also help ensure that young people have a safe supportive place to spend time and will provide them with quality youth development programs.
There are approximately 4,000 clubs and over 2 million children and teens attendees nationwide. Nassau County currently has three Boys & Girls Club locations that serve 700 young people annually. To learn more about Boys & Girls Club centers in Nassau County, please visit their website at https://bgcnassau.org/.
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Board to Designate ARPA Funds to Town of Callahan to Expand Water & Sewer Services for Economic Development and Job Growth
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
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Nassau County, Florida, June 23, 2022 – The Crawford Diamond Industrial Park is a McCallum Sweeney Certified Industrial Park consisting of 1,814 acres and approved for up to 10.5 million square feet of heavy industrial use. It’s proximity to three ports, two interstates, and two railroad lines makes it a prime location for Economic Development with the opportunity to brings thousands of jobs to Nassau County. However, attracting companies has been difficult due to the site’s lack of water and sewer services.
A coalition consisting of the Board of County Commissioners, the Nassau County Economic Development Board, JaxUSA, and the Town of Callahan have been collaborating efforts to expand the Town’s current water and sewer system to the Crawford Diamond.
In an attempt to fund the expansion, the Town of Callahan applied for a 21/22 Florida Job Growth Public Infrastructure Grant from the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity in the amount of $4 million. In order to qualify for the grant, the Town of Callahan needed support from the Board of County Commissioners. The County’s contribution will be the final financial piece to make this estimated $12 million project a reality. The investments into these critical infrastructure projects will place the County in a very competitive position to bring significant economic development and job growth within the County.
On January 4, 2022, County Manager, Taco Pope, sent a letter to the Economic Development Board tentatively committing $4 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding received from the U.S. Department of Treasury following the COVID-19 pandemic. Funding the project is consistent with guidelines set forth by the U.S. Treasury and the Nassau County Prosperity Plan adopted by the Board of County Commissioners in May 2021.
In the January 4th memo, Mr. Pope stated, “The establishment of a public water system to serve the Crawford Diamond Industrial Park supports community goals by creating a more diversified, resilient, sustainable and prosperous local economic ecosystem; improves access to public water; creates high wage jobs; leverages state and federal dollars to build strategic infrastructure; and expands the local tax base”.
We are excited to announce that on Monday, June 20, 2022, Governor Ron DeSantis visited Nassau County and presented the Town of Callahan with a check to assist in funding the project! This funding is in addition to $4 million awarded to the Town during the previous fiscal year.
Following the Governor’s check presentation to the Town of Callahan, County Manager, Taco Pope, stated, “This is a big day for Nassau County! By working together to find solutions, the Coalition has finally found a way to bring water to the Crawford Diamond. The Board of Commissioners will continue to invest in infrastructure and to expanding our County’s workforce to strengthen our local economy”.
Construction of the water plant follows the $9 million Crawford Road improvements project completed by the Board of County Commissioners in November 2021. Later this year, the Board of County Commissioners will commence a $2 million intersection improvements project at US 301 and Crawford Road to allow heavy truck traffic to access the Crawford Diamond Industrial Park.
Sherri Mitchell, Executive Director for the Nassau County Economic Development Board, stated, “This is such an exciting time for Nassau County and I couldn’t be more thrilled! When we all work together to create planned developments that are diverse, we are truly paving the way for a stronger future. I want to thank the Board of County Commissioners and the Town of Callahan for their commitment to this specific infrastructure project for the Crawford Diamond. Infrastructure is crucially important to foster Nassau County’s economic development and prosperity. This is a game changer and will have a direct effect as it contributes to higher productivity and growth, facilitates connectivity, and promotes economic inclusion”.
JAXPORT Completes Final Phase of $100 Million in Berth Improvements to Enhance Container Handling Capabilities at Blount Island
The Jacksonville Port Authority (JAXPORT) announced today the completion of the final phase of $100 million in berth enhancements at the SSA Jacksonville Container Terminal (JCT) at Blount Island. The last stage of the project, the rehabilitation of 700 linear feet of deepwater berthing space, was completed at the end of June in coordination with the recently completed Jacksonville Harbor Deepening Project.
The SSA JCT now features a 47-foot channel depth with 2,400 linear feet of newly rebuilt berthing space capable of simultaneously accommodating two post-Panamax container ships.
The multi-faceted berth rehabilitation project began in 2016 with the installation of a high-voltage electrical system equipped to power up to 10 state-of-the-art environmentally friendly container cranes, including three already in use and an additional three currently on order by SSA Atlantic.
Subsequently, the berths were reconstructed in a series of four phases. Together, the berth improvements and eco-friendly cranes increase energy efficiencies, reduce emissions from diesel-powered cranes and enhance night-time operations through the addition of high-powered LED lighting. The berths also offer on-dock rail for cargo handling and feature heavy lift capabilities, including one of the nation’s highest weight-bearing capacity docks.
The project was funded 75% by the Florida Department of Transportation with a 25% JAXPORT match.
“This project significantly enhances our deepwater berthing capabilities at Blount Island, maximizing the efficiencies created by the deepening project,” said JAXPORT CEO Eric Green. “We are grateful for the continued support from the State of Florida as we work to build the port of the future and bring more cargo—and the jobs and economic impact it supports—to Jacksonville.”
In addition to the reconstructed berths and new cranes, more than $72 million in phased yard improvements are underway to enable the SSA JCT to accommodate 500,000 TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units) annually. The yard improvements are funded by SSA Atlantic and a $20 million grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation Maritime Administration (MARAD).
The federal project to deepen the Jacksonville shipping channel to a depth of 47 was completed through Blount Island in May 2022. The project included the construction of a new vessel turning basin that now allows larger vessels calling the SSA JCT to turn around at Blount Island.
JAXPORT is Florida’s largest container port and one of the nation’s top vehicle-handling ports. Jacksonville’s 47-foot deepwater shipping channel offers two-way river traffic and no berth congestion. Nearly 100 million consumers live within a one-day truck drive with major interstates located within minutes of port terminals.
6/22/22 @ 11:15 a.m. -
June 17th was the final date to qualify for the 2022 election. The Supervisor of Elections has announced that there are 35 qualified candidates. To view a list of candidates, please click here:
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Florida Department of Economic Opportunity Announces $30 Million Available to Florida Rural Communities for Economic Development
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Today, the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) announced $30 million in available funds for Florida rural communities through the Rural Infrastructure Fund (RIF). Rural communities can apply for this grant beginning July 15, 2022, to make infrastructure improvements and facilitate economic development activities that have positive, long-term impacts on local economies.
“Governor DeSantis secured a record increase in RIF funding - from $5 to $30 million - for the upcoming fiscal year, reaffirming his commitment to fostering generational growth and success within Florida’s rural communities,” said DEO Secretary Dane Eagle. “Rural communities are encouraged to apply for this historic funding to better position themselves for future economic development opportunities.”
RIF is a reimbursement grant program that facilitates the planning, preparing, and financing of infrastructure projects in rural communities, which encourage job creation, capital investment, and the strengthening and diversification of rural economies by promoting tourism, trade, and economic development.
$30 million is available for eligible communities listed under the Rural Economic Development Initiative (REDI):
Awards will be made on a rolling basis as applications to the program are received. For more information about RIF and the application cycle, as it becomes available, please visit www.FloridaJobs.org/RIF.
The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity combines the state’s economic, workforce and community development efforts, expediting economic development projects to fuel job creation in competitive communities and promote economic resiliency. For more information, including valuable resources for employers and job seekers, please visit www.FloridaJobs.org.
6/16/22 @ 2:45 p.m. -
PROPERTIES TO BE CONSIDERED FOR ACQUISITION
From July 24, 2021 through December 31, 2021, the Board of County Commissioners sought nominations from the public for properties to be considered for acquisition by the County for conservation purposes. A total of 750 nominations were received.
At the May 19, 2022 Conservation Land Acquisition Management (CLAM) Committee, Assistant Planning Director, Holly Coyle, did a presentation on criteria that was used in selecting the properties to be considered. At this time, 30 projects consisting of 173 parcels and 10,000 acres and a total value of $110 million have been recommended.
To view Ms. Coyle's May 19th presentation, please click here.
To view the staff reports related to each property under consideration, please click here.
A CLAM Meeting has been tentatively been scheduled for Wednesday, July 6th at 4:00 p.m. to rank the properties and proposals.
At the May 23, 2022 meeting, the Board of County Commissioners approved a Resolution authorizing placement of a referendum on the ballot for the November 2022 election for residents to vote on whether the County should issue up to $30 million in general obligation bonds for a Conservation Land Acquisition and Management Program.
If approved by the voters, the bond funding would be used to purchase properties identified by the CLAM Committee for conservation purposes. The proposed Conservation Land Acquisition and Management Program would be subject to oversight and full public disclosure of all bond spending.
If you have any questions about the CLAM, please contact the Planning Department at (904) 530-6300 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Public Information Officer
Nassau Habitat for Humanity
Submitted by Cindy Jacoby
June 21, 2022
Nassau Habitat for Humanity Board of Directors invites the community to attend a reception at Mocama Beer Company on Sunday, June 26th at 5 P.M. Nassau Habitat is excited to reveal our goals to increase the number of affordable homes we build each year and expand our building footprint off Amelia Island by 2026.
In 2021, 88 eligible applicants applied for the two houses that were funded and built. This is a 57% increase over 2020. Habitat estimates that the local unmet need in Nassau County is up to almost 88% compelling Habitat to do more.
Nassau Habitat relies on the local community for funding and for the volunteers we need to help build homes that can be purchased by Nassau County residents at an affordable rate. It will take this village to reach our important new goals.
At the event the leadership will launch our newest fundraiser She Nailed It!– an all women, nail-hammering relay competition to be held on October 23, 2022, in partnership with Mocama Beer Company and the New South Food Truck.
This inaugural event will feature a fierce competition between local hammering teams from our community along with a silent auction, raffle prizes, food, and beverages. Don’t miss the fun! Gather June 26th 5 P.M. at Mocama Beer Company!
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