In The Spotlight
NEWBERRY – The City of Newberry plans to spend an estimated $3 million over the course of eight years as an investment in the existing infrastructure of The Easton Newberry Sports Complex, Jimmy Durden Park, Freddie Warmack Park, Lois Forte Park, Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center and Park, and the City Municipal Building.
Newberry expects their share of the incremental funding from the half-cent sales tax referendum, approved by voters in 2016, to be approximately $2.4 million, which will pay for the anticipated improvements. Wild Spaces Public Places (WSPP) is the depository for those funds in Alachua County and the funds are earmarked for recreation improvements. Funds will be received yearly for the next eight years by each of the nine Alachua County cities.
“In 2017 Newberry [also] received an additional $400,000 in WSPP funding,” said Interim Recreation Director Travis Parker. “[Those funds came] from Alachua County and are intended for construction of multi-purpose turf facilities at the Easton Newberry Sports Complex,” he said. The total of both WSPP grants is expected to bring $3 million in revenue into the City’s coffers during the funding period.
Prior to voter approval of the 2016 referendum, the County asked each municipality to create a list of planned projects. Newberry’s focus was on infrastructure improvement projects at existing parks, rather than new projects, said Parker.
At that time, Newberry City Commissioners told staff that their focus should be on projects to improve and maintain City parks and recreational facilities.
At a January commission meeting, staff requested further clarification on establishing a final list for approval. Based on their direction, staff further refined the list into the proposed final project list presented on Feb. 25.
The project plan reflected the Commission’s desire to focus on existing infrastructure, with the exception of three projects, explained Parker during his commission presentation.
The projects providing additions to park facilities include a beach volleyball court at Jimmy Durden Park, construction of a band shell at Lois Forte Park, and the addition of multi-purpose fields at Easton Newberry Sports Complex.
The list and associated costs of the remaining projects recommended and approved by Commissioners at the Feb. 25 meeting include $255,900 for Freddie Warmack Park, $167,200 for Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center, $86,400 for the City Municipal Building, $69,400 for Lois Forte Park, $311,400 for Jimmy Durden Park, and $2,163,100 at the Easton Newberry Sports Complex. The total of the projects come to a little more than $3 million.
Proposed enhancements to Freddie Warmack Park include renovations to the existing baseball field, basketball court and concessions areas, improvements to security/parking area lighting and improvements to tables, park benches, trash receptacles and fencing.
Visitors to the Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center and Park can expect to see a renovation to the basketball court as well as improvements to restroom facilities, the parking area, playground equipment, benches, fencing and the grilling area.
The inside of the City Municipal Building will receive a kitchen renovation, floor refinishing, painting and restroom and storage closet renovations. Roof replacement, roof fascia replacement, exterior trim paint, plus improvements to the parking area, exterior landscape, lighting and signage can be expected for the outside of the building.
The Lois Forte Park will receive parking area improvements, landscaping and signage, additional walkways, additional park benches and trash receptacles, along with the addition of an amphitheater.
The Jimmy Durden Park will, much like all the other facilities, receive enhancements to the parking area, additional walkways and multiple field renovations to include a renovation of the existing basketball court.
Lastly, the Easton-Newberry Sports Complex will receive enhancements to the interior roads, parking, walkways, and lighting. This complex will also see additional multipurpose fields to accommodate the growth of youth sports in Newberry.
Commissioners unanimously approved the list of items presented for each park. Now the City must develop a program to implement the project plans.
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FLORIDA – The rivers are an integral part of life in North Central Florida. They are the life blood of communities providing water for plants, wildlife and people. They are also an important part of our economy. Florida leads the southeast in farm income, produces about 67 percent of the U.S. oranges and accounts for about 40 percent of the world’s orange juice supply as well as numerous other crops. Tourism brings over 87 million visitors to the state, with an economic impact of $67 billion. The North Central area of Florida brings many tourists to the pristine springs and rivers for camping, kayaking and cave diving.
But periodic droughts, groundwater pumping to satisfy residential, agricultural, and industrial water demands, and groundwater pollution from urban and agricultural lands are impacting Florida’s spring systems. Water flow in many of Florida’s springs has been declining, while nutrient loading to the springs has been growing, affecting the condition of aquatic ecosystems and water clarity in the springs and downstream bodies of water. Changes in spring water flow and quality can also degrade the recreational experiences of springs users, affecting both the economy and the health of the rivers.
A group of concerned citizens banded together to increase awareness of the health of the springs and aquifer and its impact.. Our Santa Fe River (OSFR), which is a nonprofit organization, was founded in 2007 as a grassroots educational organization to help raise awareness of the importance of the springs and aquifer.
For the past eight years the organization has sponsored the RiverFest song writing contest as a way to raise funds to promote awareness of the rivers and fund projects to protect and preserve the rivers and springs. The contest is open to all song writers, but the songs have to be about the Santa Fe River. The OSFR members pick the best 6-10 songwriters who then compete on stage at Rum 138, which is located in Fort White. Originally a canoe and kayak rental place, Rum 138 has added a stage for concerts, an art gallery, a cafe and has become a resource center for the springs and rivers. Rum 138 has also become the headquarters of the local Sierra Club. The RiverFest songwriting contest is held each spring on the outside stage. The winning songwriter receives a prize of $300 and all songwriters that perform get a video of their performance. Each year the contest has grown, attracted a broader audience and raised more money.
This year the OSFR decided to expand the RiverFest contest to a series of events covering the whole month of March. These include kayak trips on the river, plant hikes to learn about the plants that comprise the river ecosystem, lectures by experts on the ecosystem and a reunion concert of past Riverfest winners.
These events are all geared toward raising awareness of the rivers in a hands on experience. “Our goal is to make it easy for the area residents and visitors to have fun and learn more about our precious water resources. As those of us who volunteer with the Our Santa Fe River organization have experienced firsthand, there is a lot to learn,” said Sharon Yeago, RiverFest Event Chair. “The events also will enable us to raise funds so we can continue our grassroots efforts to protect the aquifer, springs and waters in this area. This year we had the support to sponsor more events. These events become a vehicle for us to raise awareness among the area residents about the unique beauty and activities the rivers provide,” Yeago said.
The events begin on Saturday, March 3, with a plant hike at Rum Island Park. Starting at 9 a.m., Colette Jacono, Ph.D, a botanist and plant ecologist specializing in aquatic and wetland plants, will lead a short hike through a low-lying hardwood forest and swamp adjacent to the Santa Fe River. Participants will learn how to identify various trees and plants that make up the river ecosystem. The hike is limited to 20 people and there is a $20 donation.
The following day, March 4, there will be a three hour paddle up the Santa Fe river starting at 10 a.m. from the bible Camp Boat Ramp on U.S. Highway 441. Led by Master Naturalist and river guide Lars Andersen, the trip will explore the quiet and remote section of the Santa Fe River, above the River Sink and O’Leno Park. It will be an up-and-back paddle, going up to the Santa Fe’s confluence with Olustee Creek. The tour includes shuttle and is $50 with boat rental and a $20 donation to OSFR; $30 with a participant’s own boat with a $15 donation to OSFR. This is limited to 24 people.
The following Saturday on March 10, there will be another paddle guided by Andersen. A nine-mile section of Santa Fe River, from Highway 27 to Highway 47 will be paddled over five hours, guided by Master Naturalist Lars Andersen. The route will include the river’s most famous springs: Poe, Rum Island, Blue, Ginnie, Devil’s Ear & Eye, July and Myrtles Fissure. The group will leave at 10 a.m. From the Highway 27 boat ramp. Tour includes shuttle: $50 with boat rental and $20 donation to OSFR) or $30 with partiicpant’s own boat with a $15 donation to OSFR. This is limited to 24 people.
On March 17, Our Santa Fe River and the North Central Florida Blues Society, will co-sponsor a paddle of the Santa Fe River from Highway 27 to Rum Island starting at 9:30 a.m.. Participants will rendezvous at Lazy Turtle Lodge for an old-style picnic with live music featuring award-winning Bear & Robert. The event is free, but paddlers should bring their own picnic lunch and liquids, blanket or chair. Rum 138 is offering canoe and kayak discounts for this event. There is no charge for this event.
On March 18, there will be a songwriters reunion concert. Co-sponsored by High Springs Music in the Park, previous songwriting contest winners and select contestants from the annual contest sponsored by Our Santa Fe River organization will showcase their songs about the river . The concert will take place at James Paul Park from 1 p.m. to 3:30 and then move to the Great Outdoors Restaurant for more performers from 4 to 7 p.m.
On Saturday March 24, there will be another plant hike with Colette Jacono. This will be through a riverside hammock. Starting at 9 a.m. from the Highway 47 boat ramp in Gilchrist County. This is a 1.5 mile hike along the Santa Fe River. The area contains the largest numbers of tree and shrub species per unit area in the continental U.S., with canopy is so dense that sunlight touches the ground only in the winter. There is a $20 donation and the hike is limited to 20 people.
The following day on March 25, the Annual Songwriters contest will be held at Rum 138. Besides the music performances by contestants, the event also features a silent auction, a 50/50 raffle as well as food and drink. The event runs from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. with additional musicians performing after the contest. Admission to the event is $5 in advance, $7 at the door, and free for 12 and under.
In addition to these events, OSFR is also co-sponsoring 12 other events with local organizations. These include full moon paddles on evenings of March 2, 30 and 31, 10Can’s 4th Annual Survival Race For heroes at Blue Springs State Park on March 3, Rum 138 Rumba concerts on March 10 and 24 featuring a variety of local music acts and the O’Leano Chilli Cook off and Springs celebration on April 7. Additional information is available at OurSantaFeRiver.org.
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HIGH SPRINGS – The High Springs Community School Agriculture Department is now home to a couple of farm animals, but eventually will house more. This addition is thanks to the generous support of the community and the school administration.
Recently, the school granted permission for students in the Agriculture Program to house their animals on school grounds. Following that action, agriculture students went out into the community seeking financial contributions from local businesses so that they could afford to purchase the materials needed to build pens for their animals.
A financial contribution was provided by Kelly Barber through Edward Jones Investments. Labor to construct the pens was provided by Maintenance Management, Inc.
The school now has four secure and permanent animal pens that are currently being used by two students, but the pens will serve many more students’ animals in the future.
The two students currently housing their hogs in the pens are Tony Myers and Olivia Beavers. Both students are in the sixth grade, are members of the High Springs FFA Chapter and are showing pigs for the first time at the Alachua County Youth Fair and Livestock Show in Gainesville. The Youth Fair is held at the Alachua County Fairgrounds during the first weekend in March.
During the year, each student is responsible for the care of maintenance of their animal. Both Myers and Beavers stated that what they have enjoyed most about this project is being solely responsible for their animal.
In addition, said Beavers, “One of the things I’ve learned raising my hog is that this responsibility is different than caring for a standard pet like a cat or dog.” She does plan to show an animal at the fair again next year but may switch to showing cattle instead to broaden her horizons.
“When working with livestock, not everything goes as planned,” said Myers. “You must be flexible in finding solutions to the problems you encounter.” He also plans to show an animal at the next year’s Youth Fair.
Both students are raising market hogs, which means they will be sold at auction at the upcoming fair. The money these students receive for selling their animal is often put toward the cost of purchasing a future animal or for future expenses like vehicles and college.
Having the opportunity to experience raising a farm animal first hand not only enhances the agriculture education they receive but will also provide them with many life skills.
“Raising animals teaches students valuable lessons on ethics, animal care, profit and loss, and many students use the money earned to contribute to their own college fund,” said High Springs FFA Advisor Jessica Butts.
Butts said, “I am very pleased with the progress of our Ag program this year at High Springs Community School. Thanks to the FFA Chapter’s Alumni, a generous donation from Kelly Barber of Edward Jones, and others we have transformed an unused area into four new pig pens.”
“These facilities allow students who are not able to raise an animal at home the opportunity to participate in raising swine for the Alachua County Youth Fair and Livestock Show. Before this addition we did not have a place to raise swine,” she said.
Butts added, “We are very grateful to all the donors who helped to make this project happen.
“Our FFA Chapter has been growing and we are happy to be able to offer more opportunities to our members.”
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NEWBERRY – Newberry City Commissioners were faced with unexpected expenses during their March 12 meeting.
The first unexpected expense was the cost of nearly $43,000 to perform geo-technical repairs to remediate a sinkhole that opened up at the intersection of Southwest 3rd Place and Southwest 265th Terrace.
During Hurricane Irma, Newberry experienced more than 10 inches of rainfall. Two sinkholes and a water main had to be repaired due to that event. As those repairs were being conducted, a stop sign on the northwest corner of the intersection was observed as it slowly sank into the ground several feet.
The City contacted GSE Engineering and Consulting, Inc. to perform a geotechnical site evaluation to determine if additional sinkhole activity was occurring under this intersection, which would also potentially damage the potable water mains and sanitary manhole/gravity sewer lines located at the intersection.
Based on their report, the City went out for bids and obtained three, but the bid amounts were above the purchasing policy threshold that requires sealed bids. According to the staff report by Director of Utilities and Public Works Jamie Jones, “Staff has also worked with FEMA to secure funding for these repairs, but it remains to be determined as to if the work will be eligible for FEMA funding.”
Ultimately, commissioners voted to authorize City Manager Mike New to execute a purchase order for $42,990 and have GSE Engineering oversee the geo-technical repairs to the intersection. They also authorized New to approve change orders not to exceed 15 percent of the purchase order amount.
“The repair will be made by pumping concrete under the street to fill a bunch of voids,” said New. “I expect repairs to be completed within a month,” he said.
A second issue requiring immediate attention was emergency repairs to the waste water treatment plant (WWTP) tank #2, which had suffered a critical failure. The staff report indicated, “The failure was to the clarifier drive unit, which caused structural and mechanical damage to the clarifier, rendering it inoperable.” As the City only has three tanks and Tank #3 is currently operating at 100 percent of design capacity, Tank #2required repairs as soon as possible.
Tank #1, which had already been taken out of commission to make recommended repairs, is being readied to go back into service. Funding of $125,000 budgeted for repairs to Tank #1 are being redirected to repair Tank #2, this year and to schedule repairs to Tank #1 next year. “Basically, we just switched the order of those repairs and will repair Tank #2 next year,” said New.
In addition, the Commission authorized suspension of the requirement for competitive procurement and authorized the city manager to execute a purchase order with a qualified contractor to perform all necessary repairs.
It is anticipated that a qualified contractor would be on site in two to three weeks. The repairs will likely take approximately 90 days to complete.
A third item commissioners considered was the transfer of a little more than $76,000 into the Fire Station Construction fund to complete the work begun in January 2017 by Tumbleson White Construction, Inc. (TWC). According to a summary of this issue, “the project was scheduled to be substantially complete on Aug. 17, 2017.”
The City terminated the agreement on Nov. 8, 2017 due to default by TWC. In December 2018, commissioners directed staff to complete TWC's work using the same subcontractors that had been used by TWC.
The City had paid TWC for work completed by their subcontractors. However, TWC failed to pay their subcontractors for work they had completed on the Fire Station project.
“It was very important to the city commissioners that the subcontractors not be penalized because Tumbleson White Constructors went out of business prior to paying them,” said New. The commission authorized payment to the subcontractors for work completed prior to TWC's termination for which TWC had been paid. At the time the City estimated that the cost to complete TWC's work scope and pay the subcontractors was a little more than $88,000.
Additional subcontractors who said they, too, had not been paid by TWC began to come forward. After the claims were substantiated, the total amount to complete TWC's work scope is $126,201, leaving a difference of $38,169.
Commissioners approved staff's recommendation to provide funding of $43,600 from budgeted projects that are unlikely to be used during this fiscal year and the balance of $32,500 from General Fund reserves, which currently total $1,450,000.
“We will pursue this matter further with TWC, which will take some time,” said New. “Right now we are paying for this project twice to get it completed,” he said.
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ALACHUA – The Turkey Creek Golf Course restoration is moving forward. The course has been aerated and calcium has been applied to stimulate root growth. In addition, the recent showers are helping.
The next large project is to get the sprinkler system operational again. Currently there is an initiative to replace all 362 sprinkler heads at a cost of $300 per sprinkler. The cost includes installation, wiring, and the electronic computer boards. If anyone is interested in a sprinkler sponsorship they are available.
Also, the Turkey Creek Golf LLC has decided to sell partial shares. As little as one-tenth a share ($500) can be purchased. Some restrictions may apply, but dividends will be paid.
It is anticipated that in the middle of May 2018 the former Mulligans will be reopened as the “Chef Brothers at the 19th Hole” restaurant.
Last, but not least, there are a variety of advertising and promotional opportunities available from the Leaderboard to the tee markers. All reasonably priced and sure to be seen by a great many people as they play our course.
For more information please call 386-518-6815 or stop by the office located at the entrance of the subdivision.
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HIGH SPRINGS – Spring is a great time to enjoy North Florida’s springs. From Wednesday, April 11 through Sunday, April 15, 25 local and out of town emerging and professional artists will be painting the springs of the Santa Fe River as part of the 2018 Santa Fe Springs Plein Air Paintout.
The schedule for painting includes details on Public Viewing Days. Artists will paint during normal operating hours at each location.
Wednesday Apr. 11 – Artists Painting Days
Various Springs locations - Artists Choice
Thursday April 12 – Gilchrist Blue Springs State Park, 7450 NE 60th St, High Springs, FL 32643
Painting - Public Viewing Day (State Park fees, $4 per person or $6 per car.) Artists will be painting throughout the park.
Friday April 13 – Ginnie Springs, 7300 Ginnie Springs Rd, High Springs, FL 32643
Painting - Public Viewing Day ($12 Entrance Fee) Artists will be painting throughout the park.
Saturday April 14 – Artists Painting Days
Various Springs locations - Artists Choice
Sunday April 15 – Downtown High Springs
Painting - Public Viewing Day - Artists will be painting throughout downtown High Springs followed by a Special Art Preview Pop Up Show at Great Outdoors’ Opera House
Once completed, the paintings will be available for viewing and purchasing at three art receptions and during two exhibits through July 30th:
Saturday, April 14 – The Great Outdoors Restaurant, Opera House, 65 North Main Street, High Springs, FL 32643
Special Art First Preview Pop Up Show 5 - 8 pm.
Sunday, April 15 – Lanza Gallery & Art Supplies, 23645 W US Hwy 27, High Springs, FL 32643
Opening Art Reception, 5pm - 7pm
Paintings for exhibit and sale April 15 thru June 20
Saturday, June 23 – Rum 138 Springs Gallery, 2070 SW CR 138, Fort White, FL 32068
Art Reception 6pm - 8pm
Paintings for exhibit and sale June 23 thru July 30.
The Santa Fe Springs Plein Air Paintout is sponsored by Lanza Gallery & Art Supplies. Maps and information are available during the event at Lanza Gallery & Art Supplies, 23645 W US Hwy 27, downtown High Springs. Hours are Tuesday – Thursday and Saturday from 11am to 5pm and Friday open 12 Noon - 6pm.
For more information, visit www.lanzagallery.com or call Lanza Gallery & Art Supplies at 352-474-9922.Add a comment
TALLAHASSEE. – Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam today announced that there are currently 33 active wildfires in Florida burning 33,605 acres.
Significant Wildfires in Florida:
Greenway, Collier County: 17,957 and 95 percent contained.
Firebreak, Gulf County: 8,080 acres and 90 percent contained.
Old Blade Line, Polk County: 450 acres and 60 percent contained.
Mud Dauber Road, Polk County: 139 acres and 100 percent contained.
The Florida Forest Service is urging residents to be cautious with fire and heat sources and to remember the following:
Develop and implement a family wildfire action plan;
Call 911 or a local Florida Forest Service field unit office immediately in the event of a wildfire;
Obey Florida’s outdoor burning laws;
Never burn on windy days;
Always keep a water source and suppression tools on hand when burning yard debris;
Never leave an outdoor fire or hot grill unattended; and
Avoid parking vehicles on dry grass.
The Florida Forest Service, a division of the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, manages more than 1 million acres of state forests and provides forest management assistance on more than 17 million acres of private and community forests. The Florida Forest Service is also responsible for protecting homes, forestland and natural resources from the devastating effects of wildfire on more than 26 million acres. Learn more at FloridaForestService.com.
For more information about the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, visit FreshFromFlorida.com.Add a comment
TRENTON – Trenton’s Suwannee Valley Quilt Festival greeted visitors with a beautiful Florida spring day and with fun and good spirits fostered by celebrating St. Patrick’s Day.
In downtown historic Trenton, thousands crowded north Main Street and the charming old railroad depot. Seventy-two craft, six antique and 13 food vendors displayed wares and offered fare, and 17 participating quilt groups sold quilts, quilting materials and supplies, and demonstrated quilting techniques.
Inside the Florida Quilt Museum, a visitor could enjoy meeting renowned quilting author Mary C. Kerr and master doll maker Charlie Patricolo, peruse antique quilts offered from Marie Miller’s collection, see feed sack materials displayed by Cecilia Reed, and enjoy expert quilt turning lectures by collectors Kathy Cray and Teddy Pruitt.
“We had a wonderful turnout, and I think our vendors had a good day, said Crafter Coordinator Pat Watson. “We had many vendors return who have been with us several years now, but we added 25 new vendors so that gave us a mix of the familiar and of new offerings to enjoy and explore. We are always pleased to hear from vendors that tell us that they view us as their favorite festival.”
Festival founder and Quilt Coordinator Stephanie Metts added, “We explored some new things this year, like Hawaiian quilting by Elaine Nemeth and the Japanese craft of Kimekomi by Bettie Rowe. We continue to have many quilt groups who support us every year from around our area. We are grateful for their participation.” Stephanie noted, “This year not only did the festival coincide with St. Patrick’s Day, it was held on National Quilt Day as well.”
Dan Sierra, Director of Merchandising for Best Drugs of Trenton, was delighted with their experience as featured sponsor this year. “We met people visiting from as far away as Wisconsin and enjoyed chatting with longtime customers. Our pharmacy experienced record breaking gift sales and the Life South Mobile Blood Collection unit in our parking lot exceeded their goal by more than 20 percent. All around it was a fabulous day for us,” said Sierra.
Festival visitor Stacy Clifton said, “It was great! The creative craft ideas were exciting. My friend, Teresa, bought some beautiful fabric from the quilt shop, and my daughter, Megann, thought the selection of food vendors was terrific.”
Food offerings included made-on-the-spot brick oven pizza, fresh off the grill barbecue, and deep fried seafood. Many others offered meals and baked goods, while the Suwannee Rose Cafe featured a back room Irish Pub experience.
The 2018 festival was sponsored by the City of Trenton, Gilchrist County’s Tourist Development Council, Ameris Bank, Best Drugs, Capital City Bank, Drummond Community Bank, Gray Construction, McDonald’s-Trenton, Trenton Animal Hospital, Trenton Hardware & Farm Supply, Trenton Wine & Spirits, Tri County Metals and the Suwannee Valley Quilt Shoppe.
Looking ahead, the 13th annual Trenton’s Suwannee Valley Quilt Festival will be held Saturday, March 16, 2019, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information about the festival, visit the festival website, www.TrentonQuiltFestival.com, or contact the Suwannee Valley Quilt Shoppe at 352-463-3842.
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GAINESVILLE – As part of its commitment to assist motorists traveling on Florida roadways, the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) this week expanded its Road Ranger program into the Gainesville area.
The Road Ranger program provides free highway support services during incidents to reduce delay and improve safety for motorists. Since the program’s inception in 2000, the Road Rangers have made more than 4.3 million service assists, with more occurring daily. Road Rangers provide services to motorists by quickly clearing travel lanes of minor incidents and assisting motorists, which include providing a limited amount of fuel, assisting with tire changes, and other types of minor emergency repairs.
The service has existed for many years in the Jacksonville area.
The expansion onto Interstate 75 in Gainesville began Monday and service hours are from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. The patrol area currently includes I-75 between Micanopy and Alachua and includes one Road Ranger unit. A second unit is expected to be added in the coming weeks.
Motorists can request Road Ranger service by dialing *347 (FHP).
FDOT expects to expand the Road Ranger program before the end of the year to include all of Interstate 75 between Gainesville and the Florida/Georgia line, as well as Interstate 10 between Jacksonville and Madison.
FDOT also has plans to expand its RISC (Rapid Incident Scene Clearance) Lite units in the coming months on Interstate 75 in Gainesville. These units are used primarily to remove passenger vehicles involved in crashes
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GAINESVILLE – Keep Alachua County Beautiful is hosting a free tire dropoff for residents on Saturday, April 7, at Albert “Ray” Massey Park, at 1001 N.W. 34th Street, from 8 a.m. to noon.
Approximately 750 tons of tires are collected and hauled off site from Alachua County to be recycled each year. Recycled tires are made into rubber mulch and asphalt additives.
Residents of Alachua County can bring up to four automobile tires and light truck tires to the roundup event at no charge. Tire rims are not accepted. There is a charge of $3 for these tires and $4 for larger truck tires, 17” or greater, brought to the Leveda Brown Environmental Park and Transfer Station for disposal. For more information or to volunteer for cleanups, painting or planting projects, visit kacb.org or call 352-371-9444
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Vote for Gary Hardacre
From serving as a Scout leader and volunteering at the Alachua schools and the Community Center to serving as a City Commissioner for the last nine years, and being an active member of the Lion’s Club, Gary Hardacre has been working hard to make Alachua a better place to live and has touched the lives of many of the citizens and their families.
Gary has a sincere desire to serve his community. After having served in the military and retiring after many years of working for AT&T, he now has the time to fulfill that desire.
Gary would like to continue to serve the community as a City Commissioner to be able to continue supporting some of the numerous projects that he has been involved with during the last nine years and I fully support him to do so.
I have always found Gary to be very approachable when I have an issue or a concern and he has always been very responsive to get me the assistance or answers I need. Gary does not serve to promote any particular business interest or special interest groups. Gary serves to promote the City of Alachua and its citizens.
Please join me in re-electing Gary Hardacre to the Alachua City Commission Seat 5.
Support for Melanie Bishop Wells, Archer City Commission
The citizens of Archer will go to the polls on April 10 to vote for City of Archer Commission Seat 4. There are two people in the race.
In 2012, 13, and 14, the Holly Hills neighborhood experienced a lot of rain which caused the retention pond in their area to overflow. Yes, it was an act of God, but the Archer Commissioners, Manager and Assistant Manager during these years did nothing to help the situation. There was one, Commissioner Fletcher Hope, who stood with the citizens and tried to help. Keep in mind he was just one of five. Most recently (March 2018) grants finally reached Archer to make repairs.
We cannot elect someone who did nothing to help this situation. I will let you figure out who was in office during this time and who is in the race for Seat #4 now.
As a former mayor and commissioner of Archer, my heart went out to the citizens of Archer who suffered and were disrespected at meetings when they voiced their concerns. It is for this reason I will cast my vote for Melanie Bishop Wells on April 10.
Roberta Lopez, former Mayor/Commissioner
Vote for Gary Hardacre
On April 10, I will be placing my vote for Alachua City Commissioner Gary Hardacre. I will do this because I have known Gary and been a witness to all that he does for our community since we moved to Alachua in 2013.
Gary is a tireless volunteer, through his many leadership roles in the Alachua Lions Club, tutoring students at Irby Elementary, his support and involvement with Boy Scout Troop 88, the Alachua Chamber of Commerce and diabetes screening and education. This is only a portion of the work and the dedication that comes naturally to Gary.......and he loves the City of Alachua.
We have been truly fortunate to have had Gary Hardacre serving our community as a commissioner, and I could not possibly be more confident that he will continue to do an exemplary job in his next term. Please take the time to vote and seriously consider choosing Gary Hardacre for seat 5.
Vote for Gary Hardacre
Commissioner Gary Hardacre has been a great supporter for the City of Alachua citizens. He has volunteered with the food program at the Hathcock Community Center. He has supported the youth athletics at the Recreation Center. And he has represented the City’s interests on numerous Regional board meetings. Gary has volunteered at the local schools tutoring our students. You could not ask for more support from a City Commissioner.
Retired Director of Recreation and Parks
Hardacre, Brown, Miller should be re-elected to Alachua City Commission
City of Alachua voters will soon cast ballots to elect three commissioners. The three incumbents, Dayna Miller (Seat 3), Shirley Green Brown (Seat 4) and Gary Hardacre (Seat 5), are facing a wave of challengers – all political newcomers. Seat 3 challengers are Malcom Dixon and Edward Lamour Ford. The sole Seat 4 challenger is James Szjczuk. Commission hopefuls for Seat 5 include Dietra Howard, Douglas Hancock, and Gary Kocher.
Endorsement of Dayna Miller for Seat 3
City Commissioner Dayna Miller has previously served on the Citizen’s Advisory Task Force and the City of Alachua Planning and Zoning Board. While serving on that board, Miller offered thoughtful debate and was conscientious in consistently researching the issues on which she was expected to cast a vote. When sometimes controversial issues arose, Miller has been quick to demonstrate thoughtful questioning and careful analysis and logic to substantiate her votes. During her time in Alachua she has established a track record of community service and leadership with local civic organizations, such as the Lion’s Club and Kiwanis. She is also a leader in the private sector business world, holding a management position with Waste Pro, a company she has been with for over 11 years. Miller’s life experiences, business acumen and fresh ideas will be a welcome addition to the Commission. While she is relatively new to politics, being appointed to complete the remainder of Commissioner Ben Boukari, Jr.’s term when he stepped down on Feb. 12, 2018, Miller has shown she is up to the challenge of leadership in this City.
Endorsement of Shirley Green Brown for Seat 4
Alachua City Commissioner Shirley Green Brown has deep roots in Alachua, having lived here for more than 40 years, working, worshipping and raising her family. In addition to her tenure on the Commission, Brown has an impressive resume of professional and volunteer experiences. Brown was a teacher for many years at both Alachua and Irby elementary schools. She is a strong advocate for youth and the elderly and a staunch supporter for a healthier community. In addition to volunteer work at her church, she has served in numerous civic organizations and genuinely loves her community and her neighbors and listens with an open mind and heart to constituents citywide. Brown has truly been a quiet, yet extraordinarily unifying leader in Alachua. Her experience prior to and while on the commission gives her a decisive edge as she is familiar with issues both historically and presently before the commission. And Brown has proven herself to be a community-minded, honest and involved individual with a calming demeanor even in the face of contentious issues.
Political newcomers vying for seats 3 and 4 on the Alachua City Commission would do well to get involved, and gain knowledge of how governments work and experience through civic/municipal volunteer boards. The occasion will arise in future years for them to seek public office, and armed with knowledge and experience gained by board service, they may each one day be fine commissioners.
Endorsement of Gary Hardacre
Seat 5 appears to be the race to watch as incumbent Commissioner Gary Hardarce faces off against Dietra Howard, Douglas Hancock and Gary Kocher.
Alachua Commissioner Gary Hardacre brings much to the table. Hardacre’s heart is in public service. He has served his country as a veteran of the U.S. Air Force during the Vietnam Era, and he has served the interests of the citizens of this city well, publicly and privately. Due to his longevity in this community, Hardacre brings insight into the nuances of local issues that affect citizens as well as patience and an open mind. He spends an enormous amount of his personal time helping those most in need. His extensive track record on volunteerism in schools, senior centers and service organizations is remarkable.
From supporting economic development and the business community, to helping champion the ongoing resurfacing of local streets, to updating neighborhood parks, to bringing improvements to the Hathcock, Sr. Center, Hardacre has fought for all corners of Alachua. As the City’s liaison to the Suwannee River Water Management District, he has been a strong advocate for natural resources, helping to bring $1.4 million to the City for long-term protection of Mill Creek and Mill Creek Sink, among other projects. During Hardacre’s tenure, the City has placed one police officer in every public school in Alachua and expanded recreation and cultural opportunities. He has helped lead Alachua to where it is today, and he has the passion to continue to represent all of Alachua with a balanced, yet critical approach that is vital to continued success. We believe Hardacre has served the citizens well during his tenure as commissioner.
While challenger Douglas Hancock boasts of his status as a State Certified Electrical Sign Contractor and as a business owner on Main Street as his bedrock qualifications to serve on the Alachua City Commission, he lacks knowledge of local government and issues –– current and past –– on Main Street and throughout the city. As a relative newcomer, Hancock is grossly lacking in genuine community involvement, experience and knowledge. Unlike Hardacre, a 31 year established citizen, Hancock has moved around to more cities than many others will visit in a lifetime. Hancock’s stated agenda plainly shows he does not understand how a city manager/commission government works. His declared intentions to singularly direct city staff to carry out his wishes are illegal (charter violations) and he appears opposed to working within the appropriate framework of the city commission, as one member of five on a collegial body.
Incumbent Hardacre has demonstrated in the years he has served that he considers the welfare of the community as a whole and not the interests of any single individual or business. We believe Hardacre has a genuine concern for the well-being of the City of Alachua as well as for all residents. His record demonstrates that he diligently considers many positions before making decisions. Hardacre isn’t in anyone’s back pocket.
Although Alachua’s troubled times seem far in the past, voters must recall that just a few short years ago, the commission was temporarily derailed from its comprehensive plan and progress toward self-sustainability. At times, just one commissioner was able to create gridlock on the commission. For those who do not remember, that former city commissioner, Tamara Robbins, supported lawsuits against the City of Alachua that cost substantial City of Alachua taxpayer dollars. Yet Ms. Robbins, whose avowed agenda was to create chaos at City Hall and “bankrupt” the city, is actively supporting Doug Hancock. Ms. Robbins and associates, known in years past as the Alachua Leadership Alliance (ALA), are once again seeking to slide their “no-growth, anti-business” platform into City Hall – this time through Hancock. Also not surprisingly, the tactics Hancock uses to garner support seem to come directly from Tamara Robbins’ playbook.
Their misinformation campaign, either intentional, or due to a lack of basic knowledge, is patently unfair to the voting public and can have devastating results for this City. Blanket promises to put restrooms in neighborhood parks without due consideration for the public safety concerns of patrons and neighbors is not only not good governing – it is reckless. A new fire station near Turkey Creek? A good idea … but guess what, voters? That is already in the works. Criticizing Alachua Police Department tactics while not being privy to the inside information of ongoing law enforcement efforts is arrogant, divisive and further evidence that Hancock has neither the knowledge nor judgment to lead this community. Voters must question the legitimacy of a candidate who aligns himself with a group intent on destroying the very city he claims he wants to represent.
Voters put their faith in the commission as a whole to make wise decisions for the community. The looming and unanswered question is exactly what kind of commissioner would any of the challengers be – given their lack of experience at any level of city government? Commissioners who are inexperienced in City government are unlikely to understand the issues facing Alachua. And just as importantly, the lack of commitment to community service raises questions about their dedication to this City. When you cast your votes on April 10, consider those who have already objectively demonstrated a desire for the betterment of Alachua and an ability to make good decisions on your behalf.
The Alachua County Today editorial board takes great pride in endorsing Dayna Miller for Seat 3, Shirley Green Brown for Seat 4 and Gary Hardacre for Seat 5 for the Alachua City Commission.Add a comment
Support for Hardacre, Miller and Brown
On April 10th, the Citizens of Alachua will have an opportunity to exercise their right to vote. Every vote counts. your vote could make the difference in electing commissioners who will fairly represent you with experience and integrity and will not be influenced by personal agendas or special interest groups.
Gary Hardacre, Dayna Miller, and Shirley Green Brown are good stewards of our community and have only one agenda, to put you and the City of Alachua first.
Join me at the polls on April 10th and cast your vote.
Virginia H Johns
Support for Shirley Green Brown
Shirley Green Brown has been a special person in the Alachua Community for many years. She has helped many seniors at her church and at the City’s Hathcock Community Center, helping with the Food program. She has teamed up with many volunteers organizing the Health Fair. She has served as President of the Women’s Club.
Shirley has also touched the lives of so many children in her years at Irby Elementary School. She has been a big supporter of all the special events in our City from the Egg Hunt, Tree Lighting, Parades, 4th of July and sporting events at the Recreation Center.
Please join us in voting for Shirley Green Brown, Seat 4, Alachua City Commission.
Hal and Cindy Brady
Support for Hancock
I am new to Alachua, having retired from a job with an electric cooperative up in the cold, nasty, wet, not sunny northland. I am following with interest the upcoming elections for the City Commission.
As a former two term mayor, city council member, two term Red Cross county chair, two term county historical society board member, planning commission chair, airport commission member, and state board member of an organization that supports veterans, I am very interested in the history and attitudes of the candidates, and their actions.
In the City of Alachua I see a pattern of going along to get along, lack of forward thinking planning and leadership. Change is needed and needed desperately in Alachua. This does not mean the current folks are conspiring or doing anything illegal, they are just settled in and riding along comfortably, complacent if you will. They seem to have lost their vision.
With income to the city from electricity, trash, water/sewer, mosquito control, sales taxes, and other fees and sources, why are property taxes so high? A new vision and respect for the taxpayer needs to be awakened. After all, there cannot be “city money,” it is money the city has taken by force from taxpayers, under threat of lights out, home seized, etc. Treat it as such.
Restraint needs to come to them, or perhaps a new candidate needs to get in with his fresh ideas and research.
I support Douglas Hancock for Position 5 in the Alachua City Commission. Douglas Hancock has certainly done his research, attended meetings, is a generous local business owner on the wonderful and unique Main Street, and cares deeply and with passion about Alachua. On April 10, please join me in voting for Douglas Hancock for Alachua Commission.
Support for Gary Hardacre
I am writing in support of Gary Hardacre for City Commission Seat 5. I have personally known Gary for 29 years. He has served in many organizations such as the Alachua Lions Club, The Alachua Chamber of Commerce, The Boy Scout Pack and Troop 88. He has coached at the Hal Brady Recreation Center, and served on numerous boards and task force committees to help make Alachua a great place to live.
Gary is involved in all of these because he cares about the quality of life here for our children and grandchildren. His family, three generations of Hardacres, all live in the city of Alachua. He has made this his home and wants only what is best for the citizens of this city.
Over the past 15 years, Gary has worked diligently to bring thousands of jobs to Alachua. I am positive he will continue to advocate and support economic development that promotes growth and increase job opportunities for citizens with all levels of educational backgrounds and experiences.
I support Gary because he has a proven record of improving the quality of life in our community. If there is a problem, he quickly assesses it, helps to find a solution and works to fix it. I know he will work even harder for Alachua if re-elected. Gary is a great city commissioner and I urge you to support him and re-elect him on April 10.
Support for Gary Hardacre
This letter is in support of Gary Hardacre for re-election to the Alachua City Commission. Gary has invested many years in our community, and he has shown his concern for people by serving in several capacities.
His work with Boy Scouts exhibits his leadership with our youth. The next generation will continue to provide meaningful activities because of Gary being such a great role model.
The Alachua Chamber of Commerce is very community and youth focused with members who work together as a team. Gary demonstrates his concern for families through his volunteer work with Food4Kids of Alachua. This program is in its tenth year because of volunteers like Gary.
Our town is a better community; thanks to Gary and his willingness to serve in so many positive ways as a commissioner. Please consider and vote for Gary Hardacre, seat 5,Alachua City Commission.