Host families needed

Education First Homestay, a non-profit division of EF Education First, is recruiting volunteer hosts for international students ages 13 – 18 who will be in the North Florida area in July 2016. Students need meals, a bed (they can share a room), weekday transportation to and from an EF bus stop and lots of English conversation.

International students attend English classes each morning and participate in activities in the afternoon. Evenings and weekends are spent with the host family. Students are from France, Italy, Spain and Taiwan.

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EF Education First Homestay has arranged escorted group travel for over 140,000 international students since 1979. For more information or to start your host application, contact Ginger Manning at or call 904-446-5646.


Palencia Book Club

The Palencia Book Club will meet on Jan. 21 at 6 p.m. at Jaybird’s Restaurant, 2600 North Ponce de Leon Blvd., St. Augustine (US 1 just north of State Road 16). The current book being discussed is “The Last Train to Paradise” by Les Standiford. The schedule below shows future books and meeting dates. All readers are welcome and all meetings are at 6 p.m. For more information call 954-850-6550.

Feb. 18 : “All the Light We Cannot See” by Anthony Doerr
March 10: “The Whip” by Karen Kondazian
April 14: “Death Comes for the Archbishop” by Willa Cather
May 19: “Snowflower and the Secret Fan” by Lisa See.


American Association of University Women

The American Association of University Women is hosting its February luncheon and card/games party on Feb. 11 from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the St. Johns County Convention Center in the Renaissance Resort, located at 500 S. Legacy Trail. Bring cards for bridge, other card games or your favorite board game. The reservation form is available at the branch website, Non-gamers are welcome to come for lunch only, which will include pan roasted chicken breast with haricort verts and rice pilaf, rolls, iced tea, coffee and New York cheesecake with seasonal berries for dessert. The price is $40 per person, inclusive. The funds from this program support the organization’s Jean Luoma Scholarship, the 2016 Tech Trek STEM Camp for girls, the

Branch Legacy Fund and mission-based initiatives. Reservations are payable in advance and must be made by Friday, Feb. 5 by calling Debbie Brinsfield at 904-940-7379.


The right whales are back

Despite the warmer temperatures, right whales have begun to appear in the calving grounds off the coast of Northeast Florida. On Dec. 10, members of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission aerial survey team discovered two mother/calf pairs with one of them, Catalog #3317, close to shore in Ponte Vedra Beach.

Joy Hampp, Marineland’s right whale project program coordinator said that this was the first mother and calf appearance along the coast of Florida for the 2015-2016 calving season.

The calving season runs from December through March, as whales move along our coast to warmer waters to give birth, according to Hampp.

To report a sighting, call the right whale hotline, 1-888-979-4253 (1888-97-WHALE)


Prepare for your spring vegetable garden

Soil preparation should be done four to six weeks before planting a production bed, so it is time to plan and prepare for the spring vegetable garden. On Feb. 5, the St. Johns County Extension Office will be conducting a class on this topic at the St. Johns County Extension Office, 3125 Agricultural Center Dr. from 9:30 a.m. until 12 noon.

In the class you will learn about amending the garden plot, vegetable varieties to grow for spring and gardening techniques. If you have not had a soil pH analysis done in several years you may also want to bring a one-pint soil sample to submit for free testing.

Pre-registration is required and there is a $5 registration fee. To register for the class, call 209-0430.

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