Member News


Clay Business Connection

News from around the Clay County business community and Chamber of Commerce.

Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association Needs Your Help

We are reaching out to ask that you consider enrolling your property in the FEMA Transitional Shelter Assistance program (TSA), also known as Emergency Lodging Assistance (ELA).  This program provides lodging to persons displaced by Irma, which is paid for by FEMA.  We hope you participate and encourage your peers to as well.  The paragraph below can be posted to your website and pushed out to your network in an email.  Program details and enrollment instructions are in the links below.

Florida Unemployment Rate Drops to 4 Percent

Today, Governor Rick Scott announced that more than 22,000 private-sector jobs were created in August, while the state’s unemployment rate dropped again to 4.0 percent, the lowest in more than a decade. August’s job creation brings the total number of new jobs added since December 2010 to 1,441,000. Florida’s annual job growth rate of 2.9 percent exceeds the nation’s rate of 1.7 percent, continuing the 65-month trend of our state’s rate being higher than the nation’s.

As of August, Florida’s unemployment rate had dropped 6.7 percentage points since December 2010, faster than the national decline. In the last year, 250,000 people entered Florida’s labor force, a growth of 2.5 percent. This rate is more than three times the national labor force growth rate of only 0.7 percent.

State and Federal Disaster Loan Programs Activated to Aid Businesses Impacted by Hurricane Irma

State Assistance

Governor Scott activated the Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program to provide short-term, interest-free loans to businesses damaged by the storm.


Everest University Becomes Altierus Career College

Earlier this month, Everest University-Orange Park changed its name to Altierus Career College. The new name reflects the college’s updated and expanded offerings in high-demand medical and trade industries, including efforts to ensure that students are well-matched with career choices and develop the soft skills local employers value most.

Hurricane Irma Update

OneBlood Urges Blood Donations Before Hurricane Irma Arrives

As Hurricane Irma moves closer to Florida, OneBlood, the local not-for-profit blood center serving Florida and the majority of the Southeast, is urging all eligible blood donors to donate now, before Irma potentially impacts its service area.

Category 5 Irma: Potential for Tropical Storm Conditions Increases Locally

* Category 5 Irma: Potential for Tropical Storm Conditions Increases Locally
* Moderate Risk of Rip Currents Today as Swells Increase
* Strong Storm Potential Today 

Synopsis & Timing


There is a chance of strong to severe storms today ahead of an approaching cold front. Storm hazards include strong wind gusts of 40-60 mph, hail and excessive lightning. Thunderstorms could hinder outdoor Hurricane Irma preparedness activities at times. Long period ocean swells from Irma are now within the local Atlantic waters. More frequent rip currents are expected, and a moderate risk of rip currents is highlighted for today. 

OneBlood Urges Immediate Blood Donations as Hurricane Irma Looms

 As all eyes are on Hurricane Irma, OneBlood, the local not-for-profit blood center serving Florida and the majority of the Southeast, says it must begin storm preparations now and is urging all eligible blood donors to donate before Irma potentially impacts its service area.

Gov. Scott Appoints Four to Clay County Development Authority

Gov. Scott Appoints Four to Clay County Development Authority

Gov. Scott Appoints Four to Clay County Development Authority


TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Today, Governor Rick Scott announced four appointments to the Clay County Development Authority.

Keith R. Ward, 56, of Orange Park, is the president of Thomas May Construction Company. He succeeds Matthew Carlton for a term beginning August 28, 2017 and ending July 1, 2021.


Bruce Butler, Jr., 37, of Green Cove Springs, is a Federal Law Enforcement Officer. He received his bachelor’s degree from Florida A & M University. He succeeds Ernest Dobson for a term beginning August 28, 2017 and ending July 1, 2021.


Tom Morris, 62, of Middleburg, is the executive director of Clay County Utility Authority. He received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Cincinnati and his master’s degree from the University of North Florida. He succeeds William Randall for a term beginning August 28, 2017 and ending July 1, 2021.


Amy Pope Wells, 46, of Green Cove Springs, is the owner of Link Staffing Services and president of Tire Diva, Inc. She received her associate’s degree from the ACC school of nursing. She fills a vacant seat for a term beginning August 28, 2017 and ending July 1, 2019.

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Americans Urged to Donate Blood in Aftermath of Hurricane Harvey


Hurricane Harvey and its associated flooding are impacting the nation’s blood supply. The AABB Interorganizational Task Force on Domestic Disasters and Acts of Terrorism is urging eligible donors across America, especially those with type O-positive blood, to make and keep donation appointments as soon as possible.

With blood drives cancelled for multiple days due to dangerous widespread flooding in Southeast Texas, all blood collection agencies in the U.S. are making every effort to meet the emergency blood needs of patients and ensure a sufficient blood supply in storm affected areas. It is important for blood donors to give in the coming days and weeks to meet the immediate and future needs in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. If donations are negatively impacted, the long-term needs of patients could be affected. 

“We are asking all potential donors, both current and first-timers, to make a commitment to donate blood or platelets as soon as possible,” said Dennis Todd, chair of the task force. 

Individuals with type O blood are critically important at this time and should schedule a blood donation appointment as soon as possible. Type O blood is the only blood type that can be safely transfused to most patients with other blood types and is frequently used in emergency situations. The task force applauds those who wish to help and encourages all eligible individuals to give blood regularly to help ensure that blood is available whenever and wherever it is needed. 

The task force will continue to monitor the situation and provide updates as blood needs change. Those interested in donating blood may contact the following organizations to find a local blood drive and to schedule an appointment: 

AABB:; +1.301.907.6977
America’s Blood Centers:
American Red Cross:; +1.800.RED CROSS (+1.800.733.2767)
Armed Services Blood Program:; +1.703.681.8024

The task force was formed in January 2002 to help make certain that blood collection efforts resulting from domestic disasters and acts of terrorism are managed properly and to deliver clear and consistent messages to the public regarding the status of America’s blood supply. The task force is composed of representatives from U.S. blood services, associations and commercial entities, as well as liaisons from governmental agencies, who work together in an effort to ensure that safe and adequate blood product inventories are in place at all times in preparation for disasters. In addition, the task force operates as a mechanism to assess the need for collections and/or transportation of blood should a disaster occur. 

AABB serves as the designated coordinating entity for the task force. In addition to AABB, members include AdvaMed, America's Blood Centers, American Association of Tissue Banks, American Hospital Association, American Red Cross, Blood Centers of America, College of American Pathologists, National Marrow Donor Program and the Plasma Protein Therapeutics Association. Liaisons from the following government agencies also participate in task force discussions: Armed Services Blood Program and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which includes the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Food and Drug Administration. 

In the event of an emergency, AABB immediately convenes a meeting of task force representatives. Local blood center(s) are responsible for ascertaining medical needs based on casualty estimates using pre-determined formulas, assessing available local supply, and communicating that information to the task force. In a disaster, the first priorities of the interorganizational task force are to: 

Verify and communicate to the blood community the medical need for blood;
Identify sites with existing excess blood inventory;
Determine the need, if any, for blood shipment and the logistics of such shipments; and
Develop public messages and facilitate the discussion of donor issues.