Last updateTue, 24 Nov 2015 12am


And the Kiwanis Club iPad winner is…

W_-_Santa_Fe_Kiwanis_IpadDr. Gene Stine (right) takes possession of a new iPad from Kiwanis Club of Santa Fe president Tom Weller (left) after winning the device in a raffle.

HIGH SPRINGS – Dr. Gene Stine is the winner of the new iPad raffled off by the Kiwanis Club of Santa Fe.  The raffle was recently held by the club to raise funds for its projects to help the children and others in need in the Alachua and High Springs communities.

Dr. Stine, a veterinarian, is shown receiving the device from club President, Tom Weller, who practices law in High Springs.  Dr. Stine said that he was happy to support the club and its endeavors in the area.

The club recently donated a large trailer to the local Bread of the Mighty Food Bank project.  Now it is far easier to collect and distribute the food for the communities.

The club has been active in the nine years of its existence.  Club membership is open to all who want to help out children and the less fortunate.  The club meets weekly at Brown’s Country Buffet in Alachua.

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Alachua City Commission honors 2012 military recruits

W_-_Military_kids_DSCF6017_copy  The City of Alachua Commission took time out of their meeting Monday, May 21 to honor four Santa Fe High School graduates-to-be who have committed to entering various branches of the military.  A plaque expressing the City’s appreciation for the recruits’ willingness to serve was presented by Mayor Gib Coerper to each of the students.  L-R: Santa Fe High School (SFHS) Registrar Donna Bradley, U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Velarde, SFHS Principal Bill Herschleb, Marine Corps recruit Amanda Veil, Air Force recruit Clinton Vaughn, Army recruit Joseph Robinson, Army recruit Korina Coe and Army Sgt. Marro. The young men and women were joined by their families and local recruiters as they accepted their plaques.

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Haven Hospice ViVA! goes carnival


ALACHUA – A sold-out crowd of 650 guests walked along the stylized vintage 1920s boardwalk on a beautiful Saturday evening for ViVA! 2012 at the Rembert Farm in Alachua.

The new theme – a Coney Island Carnival – was a smash hit for attendees at the eighth-annual Viva!

Guests played carnival games while snacking on gourmet classic carnival treats prepared by Embers Wood Grill. After dinner they were able to witness an extraordinary acrobatic display.

Clearly ViVA! 2012 was a big success, raising more than in 2011, as well as creating awareness and educating people about the mission of Haven Hospice, which has been providing compassionate end-of-life care in North Central Florida since 1979. Proceeds will go to unfunded Haven Hospice programs and services like Camp Safe Haven, Transitions, pre-hospice programs and community grief and loss support.

Approximately 130 volunteers worked to ensure that it was a fantastic evening. Almost 100 items were on display in the Remberts’ barn – all part of the silent and live auctions.

“ViVA! 2012 was a great success,” said Haven Hospice Vice President of Organizational Development Michael Morse. “Whenever you change themes, like we did this year, you don’t know what to anticipate, but this event went beyond all of our expectations.”

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Watermelon Queen visits Newberry Elementary

W_-_Newberry_Elem_Watermelon_visit_copyL-R: Jenna Garrett, Principal Lacy Redd, and Katie Florence Thomas

NEWBERRY – On Thursday, May 3, the Newberry Watermelon Queen visited Newberry Elementary School. Jenna Garrett, representing the festival, talked with the grade levels about melons and farming and the importance of agriculture. Katie Florence Thomas, last year’s 9-year-old queen helped with the presentations. Principal Lacy Redd always supports the festival and enjoys have the queen come for a visit. This year’s festival will be held at Oak View Middle School on Saturday, May 19

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Third Annual Pangea Missing River Adventure Race returns to North Florida

O'Leno State Park Ranger Rick Redding on a walking bridge which spans the "missing" Santa Fe River.

HIGH SPRINGS – North Florida explorers, nature lovers and adrenaline junkies are in luck: The third annual Pangea Missing River Adventure Race, a self-navigated race through the 4,500-acre River Rise Preserve State Park, returns to High Springs on May 5.

The race, which is produced by Pangea Adventure Racing, a Central Florida-based organization, puts a unique spin on the traditional footrace, allowing participants to use maps and compasses to create their own routes. Racers face mental, physical and natural challenges as they make their way by boat, bike and foot to a series of checkpoints.

The Missing River Adventure Race is named for the “disappearing” Santa Fe River that flows underground in O’Leno State Park and reemerges miles later in River Rise Preserve State Park.  The Santa Fe River feeds into the Suwannee River near Branford, Fla.

In 2011, the race attracted about 250 participants, more than doubling the turnout of its first event in 2010.

Jeanette Ciesla, a 32-year-old Gainesville resident, competed in the Missing River race in 2011 as well as in 12 other adventure races over the past two years. Ciesla said her favorite part about the races is the self-navigation.

“You’re thinking the whole time,” Ciesla said.

She competed in Pangea’s most recent race, Myakka Mud Slide, in Sarasota, Fla., on March 31. She came face to face with nature when canoeing down a gator-filled river.

“We had to get out of the boat and push the canoe in parts of the water that were too shallow,” Ciesla said.

Ciesla said she also enjoys the team atmosphere of adventure racing. During races in which she did not have a partner, she said she completed the race with strangers, making new friends along the way.

The registration deadline for the Missing River Adventure Race is April 10, and the late registration deadline is April 30. There are two divisions within the competition: a sport division and an elite division. The sport division is for beginners and lasts three hours. The elite division is for experienced adventure-racers and lasts eight hours.

The participation price differs based on division, team size and time of registration. Within the port division, the price ranges from $120 for a single person to $320 for a four-person team if registered by April 10. Within the elite division, the price ranges from $220 for a two-person team to $400 for a four-person team if registered by April 10. The price increases $10 per participant if registered between April 11 and April 30.

Ted Spiker, a journalism professor at the University of Florida, has completed similar adventure races in the past, such as the obstacle-based Tough Mudder challenge. Spiker said he has seen adventure racing explode in popularity in the past 10 years.

“I was sore, tired, with bruises all over my body, but the first thing we said was, ‘Which are we going to do next year?’”

Morgan Tyrone, park manager at River Rise Preserve, said the event is low-impact on the environment, causing no damage to animals or to vegetation. It also increases awareness of the state-park system, he said.

While the course does not have any set obstacles, Tyrone notes that there are always natural obstacles participants will have to face.

Tyrone said the Missing River race is more rustic than other adventure races.

“It takes into account things out of your control and makes you deal with them,” Tyrone said.

He recalled the first event in 2010, when a big storm the night before the race put branches and unexpected amounts of water on the paths.

At the end of the race, two young women were covered in dried, cracked mud. When someone pointed out how dirty they’d become, the women replied, “But that’s what we love about this.”

A portion of the profits from the Missing River Adventure Race go toward the River Rise Preserve State Park.

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