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CommunityInterestACBeyondALACHUA COUNTY – The Alachua County Public Works Department announces upcoming lanes shifts and closures on SW 20th Ave (from SW 62nd Blvd to SW 34th Street) and SW 43rd Street (North of SW 24th Ave to SW 20th Ave) for road paving work in association with the SW 62nd Blvd Interim Projects. The periodic lane shifts and closures on SW 20th Ave and SW 43rd Street will occur at night from Monday, December 12, 2011, through Thursday, December 22, 2011 (Monday through Thursday nights only), during the time frame of 10 p.m. to 6 a.m.

In addition, there will be upcoming lanes closures on SW 40th Blvd and Archer Road at the intersection of Archer Road and SW 40th Blvd in order to set up the Maintenance of Traffic Plan,perform some median modifications, and install mast arms traffic signal poles. The lane closure will occur at night from Monday, December 12, 2011, through Thursday, December 22, 2011 (Monday through Thursday nights only), during the time frame of 10 p.m. to 6 a.m.

For more information, contact Alachua County Project Manager, Ha Nguyen at 352-374-5245 ext. 1223

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CommunityInterestACBeyondGAINESVILLE – The consumer confidence index among Floridians remained at 65 in November, a ranking that matches a revised mark set in October and is only six points higher than the record low of 59 set in June 2008.

The index used by UF researchers is benchmarked to 1966, which means a value of 100 represents the same level of confidence for that year. The lowest index possible is a 2; the highest is 150.

The November survey reveals a mixture of positive and negative perceptions.

“Consumers are slightly less optimistic about current conditions than they were last month and slightly more optimistic about long run conditions,” said Chris McCarty, director of UF’s Survey Research Center in the Bureau of Economic and Business Research, which conducted the survey.

McCarty noted that of the five categories used to measure consumer confidence, two decreased, two increased and one remained unchanged, resulting in an overall mark of 65.  Perceptions, for example, that compare personal finance levels with those of a year ago fell two points to 52. However, expectations that personal finances will improve a year from now went up three points to 79.

Meanwhile, respondents’ overall view that the U.S. economy will improve over the coming year fell two points to 52. However, their expectation that the economy will improve over the next five years remained unchanged at 67.

Finally, the perception that now is a good time to buy big-ticket consumer items, such as televisions and laptop computers, rose four points to 75.

Sources for optimism, however, don’t necessarily indicate a recovery is on the way.  Most of the index components, for instance, are lower than they were at the same time a year before. Not only is the consumer confidence level stuck at historically low levels, it “has previously been associated with recessionary levels,” said McCarty.

If consumer confidence attitudes are mixed, so, too, are reports of economic activity. The jobless rate for Florida, for example, remains high at 10.3 percent, though there was an encouraging three-tenths of a percent decline in unemployment from September to October. Some of the new hiring occurred in the health and education sectors. An uptick in Florida tourism also spurred job creation in the leisure and hospitality sectors. However, McCarty said sustained increases in tourism may fade if austerity programs in Europe and the U.S. curtail personal spending on travel.

Meanwhile, Florida’s consumer confidence continues to be shaken by a slump in housing activity. The median price for a single-family home at $131,550 is down from both September and October of last year.

The gloomy housing outlook is accompanied by modest good news of gasoline prices, which command a larger share of lower income consumers' spending. They dropped 7 cents in November from the previous month to $3.35 for a gallon of regular gas.

McCarty also anticipated a future with mixed prospects.

“The Gross Domestic Product (the nation’s annual product and an indicator of economic health), though revised downward for the third quarter, was still positive at 2 percent nationally,” he said. “Florida's gross state product is forecast to be low, but positive.”

McCarty added that although the U.S. and Florida may avoid experiencing the effects of negative GDP, most economic indicators “suggest sluggish growth for the next few quarters.” In addition, he said that worsening economic problems in Europe may drag the U.S. into a lower GDP.

Even though retail sales were down in October and consumer confidence levels are low, McCarthy predicted modest growth this holiday season compared with 2010.

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CommunityInterestACBeyondALACHUA COUNTY:

Archer Road (State Road 24) Daytime lane closures from Southwest 13th Street (US 441) to the Levy County line to repaint the roadway markings.

 Interstate 75 Possible daytime lane closures at the northbound exit ramp to Newberry Road (State Road 26) to widen the ramp. The speed limit is reduced to 60 mph. Semi-trucks are allowed to use the northbound inside lane approaching the Newberry Road interchange.

 Main Street (State Road 329) Daytime lane closures from Williston Road (State Road 331) to North Eighth Avenue to repaint the roadway markings.

 Southeast and Southwest 16th Avenue (State Road 226) Daytime lane closures to repaint the roadway markings from Archer Road (State Road 24) to Williston Road (State Road 331).

 Southwest 13th Street (US 441) Daytime lane closures south of Archer Road (State Road 24) to modify sidewalk and driveways on both sides of the road to make improvements for pedestrians and bicyclists. The work is being overseen by the Gainesville Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA).

 State Road 121 Crews will be repainting the roadway lines from US 441 to the Union County line.

 US 301 Daytime lane closures between the Bradford and Marion County lines to repaint the roadway markings.

 West University Avenue (State Road 26) The eastbound right turn lane onto Northwest 13th Street will be closed Tuesday to allow the City of Gainesville to replace the flier kiosks.

 BAKER COUNTY:

 County Road 125 (Manntown Bridge) Daytime lane closures weekdays after 8:30 a.m. to replace the bridge by installing piers for the new bridge foundation. Also, grading the ditches, placing sod and rocks along the embankment.

 US 90 Daytime lane closures to repaint the roadway markings between the Columbia and Nassau County lines.

BRADFORD COUNTY:

Southeast 144th Avenue The road is now reopened to traffic between Hayes Avenue and the CSX Railroad crossing.

 CLAY COUNTY:

County Road 315C Daytime lane closures from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. between Christian Camp Road (County Road 214) and Blanding Boulevard (State Road 21) near Keystone Heights for cleanup and painting the pavement markings.

COLUMBIA COUNTY:

Baya Drive Crews will be repainting the roadway lines from US 90 East to US 90 West.

Interstate 10 Daytime and nighttime lane closures between US 441(Exit 303)  and the Suwannee County line (west of Interstate 75) for milling and paving beginning Monday at 6 a.m.. until Friday at 6 a.m. The speed limit is reduced to 60 mph during lane closures. Only two miles will be closed at one time. No lane closures allowed Friday (after 6 a.m.) through Sunday.

 Interstate 75 Daytime lane closures for northbound traffic north of the US 41/441 overpass in Ellisville to work in the median. The speed limit is reduced to 60 mph during lane closures.

 State Road 136 Daytime lane closures at the Suwannee River Bridge in White Springs on Monday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. for routine bridge maintenance.

 US 41 (North Main Boulevard) Daytime lane closures for southbound traffic from the railroad overpass to Long Street on Monday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. to allow the City of Lake City to repair a manhole.

 US 41/441 Crews will be repainting the roadway lines from the Alachua County line (Santa Fe River Bridge) to US 90.

 US 441 Crews will be repainting the roadway lines from US 41 to the Georgia line.

 US 90 (Duval Street) Crews will be repainting the roadway lines from Baya Drive to State Road 100.

 DIXIE COUNTY:

US 19 Daytime lane closures from Cross City to the Levy County line (Suwannee River Bridge) to rework the grassed shoulder to improve drainage.

 GILCHRIST COUNTY:

State Road 26 No work expected at Southeast 70th Avenue, a mile west of the Alachua County line, where the supports for the flashing caution signal are being replaced.

 US 129 (Upcoming) The road will be closed Saturday, December 3 from 1:30-3:30 p.m. between County Road 236 and Pine Avenue in downtown Bell for the Christmas parade. The Gilchrist County Sheriff’s Department will detour traffic.

 HAMILTON COUNTY:

Interstate 75 Daytime and nighttime lane closures between US 129 (Exit 451) and State Road 6 (Exit 460) for placing rumble strips on the paved shoulders, replacing deficient asphalt and sealing the bridge joints on the Alapaha River Bridge and railroad overpass. Also, work on the State Road 6 exit ramp to finish the placement of new high mast light poles. The speed limit is reduced to 60 mph during lane closures.

Interstate 75 The southbound agricultural inspection station at mile marker 446 is closed until February 2012 while a new station is built.  All livestock is redirected to the FDOT weigh station  at mile marker 451 which is north of the closed agricultural inspection station.

 US 41 The road will be closed Friday, December 2 from 6-8 p.m. between Adams Memorial Drive and the Stephen Foster State Park in downtown White Springs for the Festival of Lights Christmas parade. White Springs Police will detour traffic.

 LAFAYETTE COUNTY:

State Road 349 Daytime lane closures from the Dixie County line to US 27 to trim trees.

 US 27 Daytime lane closures from County Road 53 in Buckville to the Suwannee River bridge just west of Branford to trim trees.

 LEVY COUNTY:

US 19  (Upcoming) The road will be closed on Saturday, December 3 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. in downtown Chiefland for the Christmas and Winter Festival parade. Chiefland Police will detour traffic.

 MADISON COUNTY:

State Road 145 Daytime lane closures for work on the shoulders and drainage pipes between Hanson and the Georgia state line.

 US 221 Daytime lane closures from US 90 in Greenville to the Jefferson County line to clean ditches.

 SUWANNEE COUNTY:

Interstate 10 Daytime lane closures Monday through Thursday between US 90 (Exit 275) and US 129 (Exit 283) to repave the shoulders. Also, daytime lane closures to replace the guardrail in the median.  The speed is reduced to 60 mph during lane closures. No lane closures allowed Friday through Sunday and lane closures are restricted to two miles.

 US 90 The road will be closed on Friday, December 2 at 5 p.m. through Saturday, December 3 at 5 p.m. from US 129 to Houston Street in downtown Live Oak for the Christmas on the Square.  The road will also be closed Saturday, December 3 until 9 p.m. for the Christmas parade. Live Oak Police will detour traffic.

 TAYLOR COUNTY:

US 98 Possible daytime lane for the construction of a temporary bridge across the Aucilla River at the Jefferson County line. No detours will be required for this project.

 UNION COUNTY:

State Road 100 Work is underway to build a multi-use trail that follows the old Norfolk Southern rail corridor adjacent to SR 100 from State Road 238 to County Road 237.

 State Road 121 Crews will be repainting the roadway lines between the Alachua and Baker county lines.

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CommunityInterestACBeyond ALACHUA COUNTY – The Alachua County Extension Office is offering the Family & Consumer Sciences Program, “Food Safety and Quality Program (ServSafe®),” for December 2011. This program is offered by Dr. Brenda Williams, Family & Consumer Sciences Agent, and will be held at the Extension Office located at 2800 NE 39th Avenue, Gainesville on Dec. 15 from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

This program provides training which enables food managers and staff to offer Florida consumers food that is prepared in a clean and safe environment. For further information and to register, visit http://foodsafety.ifas.ufl.edu, or call toll-free at 1-888-232-8723.

For more information about this program call 352-955-2402. Visit http://alachua.ifas.ufl.edu/calendar.shtml for additional programs offered by the Extension Office.

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CommunityInterestACBeyond GAINESVILLE – The Matheson Museum on 513 East University Avenue, Gainesville, will have the Polar Express along with five other holiday trains on display from Dec. 2, 2011 through Dec. 4, 2011.

The Matheson Museum will become a winter wonderland where the entire family can come and enjoy model railroads and catch the Polar Express running.

The show will be open on Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. and Sunday from 1 p.m. until 4 p.m. Admission for adults will be $3 and children 12 and under accompanied by an adult will be $1.

There will also be the opportunity to buy Christmas train sets and accessories at the show. Three operating model railroad layouts can be seen such as the 1930s Lionel Standard Gauge Layout.

More information about the 2011 Holiday Train Show can be found at the Web site http://www.mathesonmuseum.org.

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