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HIGH SPRINGS – A study conducted by the Suwannee River Water Management (SRWMD) will likely lead to tighter regulations on water use and consumptive use permits according.

Speaking at the July 11, 2013 High Springs City commission meeting, SRWMD Assistant Executive Director Jon Dinges discussed a project his agency has been working on to establish minimum flows and water levels of the Santa Fe and Ichetucknee rivers. This project is referred to as The Lower Santa Fe River and Ichetucknee River and Priority Springs Minimum Flows and Levels (MFLs).

Florida Statutes direct the state’s water management districts to establish a baseline of the minimum amount of water required to keep rivers healthy for fish, the passage of fish through the river and recreation, as well as to continue to provide water to communities.

Dinges identified the study area as the lower Ichetucknee, Worthington Springs to Leon State Park and down to the Suwannee River. “The area is chock full of springs that need to be protected as well as the rivers,” he said.

Dinges mentioned several ways in which the SRWMD obtains comments from the public and anyone interested in knowing more about the study, how it was conducted and what it is designed to do.

The SRWMD held a science exposition at their district headquarters July 2, 2013, answering questions about the work and their methodology and requested input from attendees. A stakeholder advisory committee meeting of the North Florida Regional Water Supply Partnership was scheduled for July 15 at Florida Gateway College in Lake City. A July 17 meeting at the University of Florida Water Institute for peer reviews had also been scheduled.

“The degree of public involvement is very high,” said Dinges. “We continue to seek input from the public through our web site and will continue peer review and public input through mid October.”

Dinges encouraged anyone interested in providing feedback to use their online comment form or send an email to MFLs@srwmd.org. Although they will not be responding to public comments individually, the water management district will complete responses to public comments at the same time responses to the peer review are completed.

Once the minimums are established, Dinges said Senate Bill 244 gives the water management districts the ability to hand off the data to the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) for adoption. It will establish the distribution of water use across north Florida, he explained.

Once approved by DEP, it will be considered as a flow level standard. “It is expected to provide a mechanism to help the water management districts work together on each water body,” said Dinges. With the effects of rainfall and water withdrawals, actual flow has dipped below minimum water levels in the past.

Dinges expects that consumptive use permitting will be an important component of water regulations. “Instead of issuing 20-year duration permits, they may be issued for a shorter time period,” said Dinges.

Applicants may be required to provide more stringent water recovery projects as a condition of being issued a permit. Applicants may also have to start participating in water management projects financially. They may have to design and implement their own mitigation projects and have them in place before a permit is issued. “We have to very carefully look at allocations of water and could require an estimate of water use from anyone wishing to drill a well that is 8 inches or larger,” he said.

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HIGH SPRINGS – High Springs City Manager Ed Booth announced a trial period of six weeks to try out a four-day work week at City Hall.

“I have noticed very little citizen traffic in City Hall on Fridays and most of what we do get is at the beginning of the day,” he said.

Booth said most of the people he has talked with said they wouldn’t mind having City Hall closed Fridays as long as there were office hours before and after the traditional work hours.

City Hall will now be open from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Thursday, during this trial period according to Booth. “It is on our web page and we will advertise the change so our citizens know about it,” he said.

The employees are interested in trying it out and the City of Alachua says they have saved a lot of money since going to that type of work week, Booth told commissioners. “At the end of six weeks, I will come back to the commission and let you know how it is working out for the citizens,” he said. “They are the ones I’m most concerned about.”

The City of Alachua went to a four-day work week for City Hall in October 2010, using the same days of the week and hours of operation that the City of High Springs is proposing.

Alachua Assistant City Manager Adam Boukari said, “The savings to the City are not fully known, however after about nine months of implementation, the savings included $18,000in utilities and 1,200 gallons of fuel. Other savings factors were not calculated at that time,” he said. No formal savings analysis has been performed since and reduced use of sick leave and other variables were not calculated. Apparently the savings in fuel and utility usage alone was enough for Alachua to continue the practice to date.

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ALACHUA – The Alachua Woman’s Club has selected its new slate of officers for the 2013-2014 season. They are Joan Imler, President; Cheryl Hartley, Vice President; Kathy Colson, Treasurer; Emelie Matthews, Recording Secretary; Linda Shaw, Corresponding Secretary; Ruthie Moss , Publicity; Becky De Marie, Parliamentarian; Vada Horner, Historian and Valerie Taylor, Building Manager.

The new officers extend a warm invitation to those who would like to join and become involved in the activities sponsored by the membership.

The Woman’s Club celebrated its 100th Anniversary as an organization last year. The club hosts a variety of social and business related events at their historical building on North Main Street in Alachua.

For additional information about joining, contact Vada Horner at 386-462-1760 or Kathy Colson at 386-462-5520.

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HIGH SPRINGS – Former High Springs attorney and Circuit Court Judge David A. Glant, announced his early retirement from the bench on Thursday, June 13, 2013, at the age of 63. Glant, who has been dealing with cancer the past few years, said he felt he was physically unable to meet his own high expectations.

In 1989, Glant set up his law practice in High Springs. He lived in Ft. White for four years and then moved to High Springs in 1994, where he remained in private practice until he was elected to the Eighth Judicial Circuit of Florida in 2002.

The Eighth Judicial Circuit consists of 13 judges and serves Alachua, Baker, Bradford, Gilchrist, Levy and Union counties.

Being a judge has been Glant’s aspiration since law school. During his third year at the University of Florida, he clerked for the Honorable Judge John A.H. Murphree. “I traveled with him to the six counties he covered. It really gave me a fire to want to do that job,” Glant said.

“I was practicing law in High Springs when the state legislature created a brand new seat in this district,” he said. “I ran for it against a couple of other opponents and won the 2002 election.” Glant, who still lives in High Springs, was eventually also appointed Administrative Judge – Criminal Division in 2009.

“An administrative judge handles administrative matters for the division,” said Glant. “When there is new case law to be disseminated, we share it with the other judges. We’re there to help determine how the criminal division is run, but we are not ‘over’ the other judges,” he said. “We’re there to help the other judges. We are a very collegial body that helps each other all the time.”

Glant explained that some judges get appointed and some get elected. Because Glant is retiring before the end of his term, the governor will appoint someone to his seat. The 8th District Judicial Nominating Committee, made up of citizens, attorneys and people from other professions, will come together to create a blended panel. “They ultimately send up to six names to the governor for him to choose from and the governor makes the final appointment,” said Glant.

“I have had two satisfying careers and I did the best I could in both instances. I don’t feel I need to accomplish anything else. This job is very demanding physically and mentally,” he said.

“It has been a tremendous career. I practiced law 23 to 24 years and have been a judge for 10 ½ years. It’s been a great experience and I feel I helped a lot of people along the way. It [retirement] was a painful decision because I love the job, but it was the right decision,” he said. “That’s what judges do…they make hard decisions.”

Stacy A. Scott, Public Defender for the 8th Judicial District, commented that Judge Glant “was a very experienced judge. He respected the rule of law. He was a tough sentencer for criminal defendants, but was consistently tough,” she said.

As an example of how tough he could be, Scott said she had heard that Alachua County jail inmates nicknamed him, “Father Time.”

“I didn’t always agree with the sentences that he gave out, but I have a tremendous amount of respect for him. He treated everyone fairly. He didn’t play favorites. He applied his way of judging people the same way no matter who the defendant was,” she explained.

“Clients knew what to expect from him because he would tell them up front, ‘You’re getting probation. But if you violate your probation in any way, you will go to jail.’ And that is what he would do.”

“He evenly dealt out his sentences according to his moral beliefs and the law,” she said. “I felt lucky to have spent time with him outside of the court and you couldn’t meet a nicer person. I like him personally and respected him as a judge,” she said.

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W - Sportsfest Tickets

Tickets available at Alarion Bank, Capital City Bank, Sportsfest Committee Members or from Dot Evans at the Chamber Office (386) 462-3333.

Grills are on display at the Alarion Bank and Capital City Bank.

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