March 14, 2008 edition of:

Community Update
A Report on the Activities of Alachua County Government


This Issues Features:

Graded (unpaved) Roads Improvement Program 5-year draft presented
Ogden School Road Dedication
Citizens can participate in the Evaluation and Appraisal Report to assess the Comprehensive Plan
Gainesville Vet Center Grand Opening
Alachua County Forever purchases River Styx
County to hold Bike Rodeo for Florida Bicycle Month—free helmets available while supplies last
County Update TV on Community 12
Rod Smith to speak at Sexual Assault Awareness Fundraiser
County Event and Meeting Reminder
Waste Collection helps Sidney Lanier Anchor School in phonebook recycling competition
JCPenney Recalls Cooks Deep Fryers Due to Fire and Burn Hazards
Health Department urges residents to prevent STDs
What’s on Alachua County Talks?
Commission Meeting Highlights
Alachua County Advisory Boards


Graded (unpaved) Roads Improvement Program 5-year draft presented

The Alachua County Board of County Commissioners discussed the Graded Roads Improvement Program on March 11, 2008, during the 5:00 p.m. evening Commission meeting. County staff presented a draft 5-year capital improvements list for County unpaved roads.

The Graded Roads Improvement Program is a plan to apply hard surface treatments to some of the graded roads in Alachua County. The seven factors for determining roads prioritization were:

The Board approved project list per staff recommendation with one revision: to move SW 95th St into 2009. The Board also asked staff to coordinate with property owners on Old Bellamy Road.

The Commission has allocated 15% of the nickel local option gas tax, approved in June 2007, and instituted in January 2008, to fund this program.

For more information, contact Chris Zeigler, Senior Engineering Technician at 352-374-5245 ext. 271 or visit the

Graded Road Improvement Program

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Ogden School Road Dedication

The Alachua County Board of County Commissioners, the Bland Community Families, Inc., and the City of Alachua invite the public to attend the Ogden School Road Dedication. The ceremony begins at 2:30 p.m. on Wednesday, March 19, 2008 at the actual historical site of the school (see map below).

Ogden Elementary School was an African American, two-room schoolhouse that operated from 1907 to 1951 about eight miles north of the city of Alachua. It was the only African-American elementary school in the area. The conditions at the school were sub-standard, considerably less favorable to learning than white schools. Most books, hand-me-downs from local white schools, were written in and missing pages. There was no electricity for lighting and heat until 1939. Children attending Ogden walked to school, often many miles, while white children rode busses.

Despite the sub-standard conditions, many African American students of the era embraced their chance to get an education. Many used their education to become teachers, nurses, x-ray technicians, military officers, business owners, and other professionals. Former students and teachers at Ogden Elementary School will be speaking at the ceremony.

For more information, contact the Alachua County Public Works Department at 352-374-5245 ext. 215.

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Citizens can participate in the Evaluation and Appraisal Report to assess the Comprehensive Plan

Alachua County’s Growth Management Department invites all citizens to attend the third of a series of community workshops being held throughout the County on the Evaluation and Appraisal Report (EAR) for the Comprehensive Plan. This workshop will be held on Monday, March 17 at 4:30 p.m. at the Alachua County Health Department, located at 224 SE 24th St., Gainesville, FL.

The EAR is the community’s opportunity to evaluate the success of the Comprehensive Plan in addressing major community issues and will be the foundation for the next update and revision of the Plan. The agenda for the meeting includes a presentation on the EAR process followed by a group exercise to identify potential issues, with additional time for questions and discussion.

The State of Florida requires all local governments (counties and municipalities) to adopt Local Government Comprehensive Plans that guide future growth and development. The State’s Growth Management Act (Chapter 163, Part II, F.S.) also requires each local government to adopt an Evaluation and Appraisal Report (EAR) once every seven years to assess progress in implementing the local government’s Comprehensive Plan and identify recommendations for update of the Plan.

EAR Community Workshops

Alachua County Health Department
Monday, March 17, 4:30 p.m.
224 SE 24th Street
Gainesville, FL 32641

Newberry City Hall
Monday, March 24, 4:30 p.m.
25440 W Newberry Road
Newberry, FL 32669

Go to or call 352-374-5249 for more information.

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Gainesville Vet Center Grand Opening

Alachua County Veterans Services is announcing the grand opening of the Gainesville Vet Center, which will take place on Monday, March 17, 2008 from 12:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. The Gainesville Vet Center is located at 105 NW 75th St., Suite #2, near I-75 exit 387.

Congress established Vet Centers in 1979 in response to difficulties of readjustment by Vietnam era veterans. The counseling provided at the Gainesville Vet Center is a free service to veterans who served in any designated theater of combat operations during a period of war or areas during which hostilities took place. The Gainesville Vet Center provides clinical counseling for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, counseling to veterans’ families, and bereavement recovery counseling to eligible family members.

For more information, to give assistance, or to RSVP, please call 352-331-1408.

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Alachua County Forever purchases River Styx

The Alachua County Forever land conservation program, with co-funding from the St Johns Water Management District, has purchased 1,428 acres of timberland along the River Styx in southern Alachua County. The purchase brings the County one-step closer to creating an uninterrupted wildlife passage around the Lochloosa Lake area as well as providing more woodland space for citizens to pursue resource-based recreation. The property was purchased from Rayonier, a forest products company based in Jacksonville, FL, for $4.8 million.

Alachua County Forever program officials worked closely with Rayonier in the purchase in order to create a connector between several conservation properties in North Florida.

Alachua County Forever Program Manager Ramesh Buch said that the property is a keystone parcel in the connector project. He described the River Styx area and the associated river, strand and swamp communities, as extremely important for wildlife such as the Florida black bear, bald eagles, and a number of wading birds, several of which are on the U.S. Fish & Wildlife threatened and endangered species list.

“The property is biologically connected to the Micanopy Wood Stork Rookery, which houses the largest and most stable rookery for protected storks in north central Florida,” said Buch. “We’re very pleased to add this outstanding property to our portfolio. We are encouraging members of the local community to visit this property and Alachua County’s entire network of trails, streams, and greenways.”

In speaking of the purchase Ed Montgomery, director of rural properties for Rayonier said, “The sale of land for conservation is a win-win situation for everyone. As a business, we have maximized the value of our property for shareholders, and at the same time, we have helped contribute to the preservation of native forest landscapes that maintain the character of local communities.” Montgomery added, “Rayonier has sold more than 90,000 timberland acres to government and conservation groups in the past decade, much of it in Florida.”

For more information, contact Ramesh Buch at Alachua County Forever, 352-264-6800 or
Shannon Thuren at Rayonier, 904-357-9181.

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County to hold Bike Rodeo for Florida Bicycle Month—free helmets available while supplies last

March 2008, has been declared “Florida Bicycle Month” by Governor Charlie Crist. To celebrate, Alachua County 4-H and Alachua County Fire/Rescue are promoting bicycle safety by holding a “Bike Rodeo” at the Alachua County Fairgrounds on March 29, 2008 at 8:30 a.m. The event is for youth ages 5 to13 as of September 1, 2007. Participants are asked to bring their helmets. For those without, helmets will be available while supplies last. Children will learn pre-riding safety tips and will practice riding on a skills course.

“Bicycling has many rewards and benefits,” Alachua County Fire/Rescue Public Education Coordinator Lorraine S. Williams said in speaking of the event, “Riding your bike provides low cost transportation, much needed exercise and health benefits, lowers your carbon footprint, promotes ecotourism in historic and natural areas, and is just plain fun.”

Williams said she urges parents to bring their children to the “Bike Rodeo” to assist them in understanding bike basics such as:

Bicycles are consider vehicles and should be ridden with traffic rather than facing it

Cyclists should yield to oncoming traffic

Traffic signals and stop signs must be obeyed by cyclists

Cyclists under 16 must wear a helmet

A properly fitted helmet reduces head injuries by 85%

For more information, or to pre-register, contact Fire/Rescue Public Education Coordinator Lorraine S. Williams at 352-384-3106 or lsw@alachuacounty .

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County Update TV on Community 12

This month’s County Update, premiering next week, includes a feature on Frank Towers, a veteran of the Allied invasion of France as a member of the U.S. Army 30th Infantry Division, and the recipient of the first Jim McCawley Veterans Service Award for (in 2006) for his work in creating Les Fleurs de la Memoire (the Flowers of Memory) program which allows French families and individuals to adopt the gravesites of American serviceman buried in Normandy and Brittany cemeteries. Frank lives in LaCrosse.

Other features include a Groundbreaking at new green Fire/EMS stations, green landscaping with EPD and Cooperative extension, 39th Ave. signalization, the recent mental health grant press conference. Channel 12 Schdule

Click to link to Video- on-Demand

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Rod Smith to speak at Sexual Assault Awareness Fundraiser

The Alachua County Victim Services & Rape Crisis Center Advisory Board is holding its annual fundraiser to celebrate April as Sexual Assault Awareness Month. The Fundraiser will be held 6:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m. on April 18, 2008 at the Gainesville Country Club, 7300 SW 35th Way, Gainesville, FL. A silent auction and cash bar will take place from 6 p.m. - 7:10 p.m. followed by a buffet style dinner and desserts.

Guest speakers will be former State Attorney and State Senator and State Attorney Rod Smith Esq. and Gretchen Howard from Alachua County’s State Attorney’s Office.

Attendees can donate by buying individual seats for $50 each, two seats for $95, or an entire table of 10 for $500 which includes the donor’s name used on printed materials. Those who are unable to attend are encouraged to send a one time donation. Donated items are also accepted and will be used to raise money in the silent auction.

Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network estimates that “one in six American women are victims of sexual assault, and one in 33 men, but more than half of sexual assaults go unreported.”

All donations from the fundraiser will be used towards funding medical exams for non-reporting victims, purchasing of materials for teen and male support groups, translators to assist victims in any language, conversion of the Center’s English reference materials into Spanish, and emergency care packages for rape victims.

For more information call toll free 1-866-252-5439.

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County Event and Meeting Reminder

Ogden Road School Dedication

Alachua County Bike Rodeo

Gainesville Vet Center Grand Opening

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Waste Collection helps Sidney Lanier Anchor School in phonebook recycling competition

On February 22nd, the Alachua County Office of Waste Collection and the Alachua Regional Service Center partnered to assist Sidney Lanier Anchor School in collecting phone books for an annual recycling competition.

Several volunteers and 15 students from Sidney Lanier arrived to pick up phone books that were collected by state employees. Sidney Lanier is a public school in the Alachua County School District serving students with severe developmental or multiple disabilities.

Jean Calderwood, Facilities Manager for the Florida Department of Management Services coordinated the event for the fourth consecutive year with Ed Wilson, DMS Maintenance Mechanic. Seven state agencies participated in the collection.

“The first year it started small,” said Calderwood. “Over time it’s grown. We really try to make an all-out effort for these kids.”

The phone books are collected as part Alachua County’s annual School Telephone Book Recycling Program, now in its 16th year. Sidney Lanier has recently won first prize in the most books collected category twice – in 2005 and 2007.

Greeting the students this year was Alachua County’s recycling mascot, “Big Blue,” worn by Dana Young from the Office of Waste Collection. It was her first experience acting as the mascot.

“It was a nice change of pace from what I normally do,” Young said. “And it was great to see the thrill the kids had when they saw Big Blue. I didn’t think it would put such smiles on their faces.”

After the event, the students were given goodie bags full of donated items as a thank you for their hard work.

For more information about the Program, or to schedule an appearance of Big Blue for your school or community group, please call the Alachua County Office of Waste Alternatives at 352-374-5213.

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JCPenney Recalls Cooks Deep Fryers Due to Fire and Burn Hazards

Due to fire and burn hazards Alachua County Fire Marshal Mark Smith has requested the distribution of the following press release sent by JCPenney recalling the JCPenney Cooks Deep Fryers due to fire and burn hazards. View the press release here:

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Health Department urges residents to prevent STDs

Due to an alarming rise in the frequency of Chlamydia cases, Alachua County Health Department officials today urge residents and visitors to take precautions to limit their risk of exposure to Chlamydia and other sexually transmitted diseases. This is an especially important message for students during Spring Break.

Last year in Alachua County the incidence of Chlamydia, a sexually transmitted disease (STD), increased to 2247 new infections, up 865 cases from the previous year. This increase is part of a progressively rising trend over the last ten years. The highest incidence, and the highest increase in incidence, was almost exclusively among 15-24 year olds: 15-19 year old women, and 19-24 year old men. It is the most frequently reported infectious disease in Alachua County.

Chlamydia is spread through sexual contact and is usually silent for many years, causing irreparable damage to the reproductive system. This damage leads to serious complications such as infertility, ectopic pregnancy, pelvic inflammatory disease, tubo-ovarian abscess, peritonitis, and even death. It is prevented by abstinence, mutual monogamy, or use of safe sex techniques.

For more information contact Health Department official Emily Wilson at 352-334-7900 ext. 3480, visit

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What’s on Alachua County Talks?

Check out the latest editions of Alachua County Talks on Community 12 TV by viewing the Channel 12 Show Schedule, or click on the images below to view streaming video of the episodes.

Click to watch Cindy Sanders, Cooperative Extension Director, discuss the County’s Cooperative Extension.

Click to watch Ken Zeichner, Principal Planner for the County’s Growth Management Department discuss the County’s Comprehensive Plan.

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Commission Meeting Highlights

Presentations, Proclamations and Recognitions

Announcements - Mark Sexton, Communications Coordinator


The Board accepted a presentation of the fiscal year 2007 Audit and 2007 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report and authorized the Chairman to sign the Management response letter.

2007 CAFR.pdf
Management Response letter 2007.pdf


Concerning the Main Street Mill and Resurfacing Project – The Board approved two modifications to the cross-section between NW 8th Avenue and NW 16th Avenue: 1) 11' wide travel lanes with a 10' wide center turn lane, and 2) Widen the existing concrete sidewalk on the east side of the road to an 8' multi-purpose path.



The Board deferred the decision on the Recommended Corridor for the SW 62nd Boulevard Connector Project to the next Metropolitan Transportation Planning Organization meeting to discuss the issue with the City of Gainesville particularly the right-of way acquisition issue. The Board asked the attorney to get an opinion from the Federal Highway Administration as to our responsibilities for building a 4-lane vs. a 2-lane road.

SW 62nd Blvd 22908.pdf


The Board approved the request to advertise amendments to the Concurrency Management System



Commission Comments

Chairman Long requested and the Board approved a resolution supporting/encouraging the enactment of SB1634, a coastal protection bill.


The Board appointed Chairman to the Florida Community Design Center.


The Chairman asked that the retreat agenda should begin with constitutional officers and include mandated expenditures, discuss advisory boards/committees, development rights and wetlands with maps from EPD.


The Board thanked Dr. Hilliard-Nunn for her collaboration with the Communications Office in creating “In the Shadows of Plantations”


Public Hearings

The Board approved the Unpaved Road Surface Treatment Program project list per staff recommendation with one revision: to move SW 95th St into 200. They asked staff to coordinate with property owners on Old Bellamy Road. Amount:$432,000.00



The Board approved the Comprehensive Plan amendment to the Future Land Use Map of CPA 06-08 form preservation to rural/agriculture

PPT CPA0608 preservation to rural ag.pdf
Staff report for CPA 06 08 _Azzerelli_.pdf
ORD 08__ cpa 06 08.pdf


The Board approved the Comprehensive Plan amendment to the Future Land Use Map of CPA 07-08 form preservation to rural/agriculture

Staff report for CPA 07 08 _Herrera_.pdf
ORD 08__ cpa 07 08.pdf
PPT CPA0708 preservation to rural ag.pdf

The Board approved the transmittal of CPA-10-08 - Comprehensive Plan Amendment for Public School Concurrency to the Department of Community Affairs for review.

ILA 2006.pdf
HIGH CSA MAP CPA 10 08.pdf
ELEM CSA MAP CPA 10 08.pdf
DATA PSFE CPA 10 08.pdf
FIVE YR CIE CPA 10 08.pdf
FLUE CPA 10 08.pdf
ICE CPA 10 08.pdf
CIE CPA 10 08.pdf
PSFE CPA 10 08.pdf

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Alachua County Advisory Boards

The Alachua County Commission is committed to citizen involvement on its advisory boards and is soliciting applications for the following vacancies:

Get Involved - Click here for an application:

Applications are also available at the County Manager’s Office on the Second Floor of the County Administration Building, 12 SE 1st St., Gainesville. For more information, call (352) 264-6904.

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Thank you for your continued interest in County Government!

Community Update is produced by the County Manager's Communications Office.