February 2nd edition of:

Community Update
A Report on the Activities of Alachua County Government


This Issues Features:

Alachua County Crisis Center is Here to Help
Veterans Treatment Court Graduation
Call to Artists: Survivors of Violence Art Exhibit
Animal Services is Making Progress
February Extension Programs
City of Gainesville Election Information
SW 62nd Avenue and SW 63rd Blvd Road Closures
Commission Highlights

Alachua County Crisis Center is Here to Help

Alachua County Community Support Services’ Crisis Center is reminding the community that suicide is a significant public health issue. It is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States and the numbers are increasing. If you or someone you know is struggling with issues of loss or isolation, with feelings of hopeless, depression or thoughts of suicide, please call 352-264-6789 or 1-800-273-TALK. There is always someone there to listen.

The Crisis Center is available to help 24 hours a day. They provide support to anyone in emotional distress or anyone who might be concerned for a loved one. All resources provided through the Crisis Center are free. They strongly encourage anyone who is concerned about themselves or someone else to reach out for help.

Watch a 30 second public service announcement about suicide prevention.

In addition to the 24 hour hotline, the Crisis Center offers individual, couples, and family counseling services free of charge. To make an appointment, call 352-264-6789.

The Crisis Center also offers a variety of services and information specific to those who have lost a loved one to suicide. The Survivors of Suicide Support Group meets at the Crisis Center on the first and third Wednesdays of the month at 7 p.m. It is open to anyone in the community who has experienced the death by suicide of a loved one, family member or friend. Suicide is like no other death and this group provides a safe space that offers comfort, support, and information. Those with questions about the group should contact Jan Greene at 352-264-6782.

For those interested in getting involved, the Crisis Center provides training three times a year for those interested in becoming phone counselors. Applications can be found on the Alachua County Crisis Center Volunteer webpage. The next class will begin in May. The classes teach listening, paraphrasing and crisis intervention skills. For more information, contact Jan Greene at 352-264-6782.

The Crisis Center’s commitment to the community extends beyond its direct service to individuals in need. Each year the Crisis Center conducts workshops, lectures, consultation and other educational programs to churches, schools, hospitals, businesses and civic organizations. To schedule a presentation, call 352-264-6785.

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Veterans Treatment Court Graduation

On Tuesday February 3, 2015, at 3:15 p.m., the Alachua County Veterans Treatment Court Program, presided over by Circuit Court Judge Phillip A. Pena, will hold the inaugural Veterans Treatment Court graduation ceremony in Courtroom 4A of the Alachua County Family and Civil Justice Center located at 201 E. University Ave., Gainesville.  

Veterans Treatment Court is a collaboration of the Court Administration for the Eighth Judicial Circuit, the State Attorney’s Office, the Office of the Public Defender, Alachua County Court Services, the Veterans Health Administration, and Meridian Behavioral Health Services.

The first Veterans Treatment Court was established in Buffalo, New York in 2008. This specialty court was established to better focus on U.S. veterans and the issues they often face with associated military disorders such as post-traumatic stress disorder, brain trauma or substance abuse. Veterans Court allows participating veterans the opportunity to address these issues in a forum that best understands their special needs and that has access to various treatment alternatives.

Veterans Treatment Court in Alachua County was established through the support and efforts of Senator Rob Bradley.  Senator Bradley played an essential role in securing recurring funding in the state budget for Veterans Courts in Alachua, Clay, Duval, Okaloosa, Orange, Pasco and Pinellas Counties.

“Florida is home to many veterans. Unfortunately, some suffer from mental health and substance abuse issues that developed during their service. When these issues lead them down the wrong path, it’s appropriate to give them a helping hand. The Veteran’s Court program does just that and I’m pleased that we now have a program for veterans in this circuit. It gives these deserving people the tools they need to get back on the right path,” said Senator Bradley.

For more information, contact The Court Administration Public Information Officer Michael Reeves at 352-384-3012, or Alachua County Court Services Treatment Court Supervisor Frank Owens at 352- 384-3199.

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Call to Artists: Survivors of Violence Art Exhibit

Alachua County Community Support Services’  Victim Services and Rape Crisis Center invites survivors of violence to contribute original artwork to the 2015 Survivors of Violence Art Exhibit in recognition of Sexual Assault Awareness Month (April) and Crime Victims’ Rights Week (April 19 through 25). The deadline for submissions is March 24.

All survivors of violence are welcome to submit original work, including but not limited to survivors of sexual violence, intimate partner violence, child or elder abuse, stalking, trafficking, harassment, and assault. Works of all types are currently being accepted, including performance pieces to be presented at the reception.

The exhibit will be held at the Civic Media Center (433 S Main Street, Gainesville) and Wild Iris Books (22 SE 5th Ave, Ste D, Gainesville) from Friday, April 24 to Thursday, April 30. A reception for the artists will be held on Friday, April 24, beginning at 7 p.m. The reception will be free and open to the public.

“Art can be an expressive and healing way to cope,” said Alachua County Victim Advocate Counselor Jeanne-Marie Ritter. “Both the process of creating art and the completed work are valuable for the survivor and audience. The exhibit allows the community to hear survivors’ unique voices and show support.  If you’re a survivor and you can share your experience through any form of art, we would be honored to have your work submitted.”

View/download the “Call to Artists” flyer (PDF).

Visit the Alachua County Victim Services and Rape Crisis Center website.

To submit art or for more information, contact Ashley Flattery, Victim Advocate Counselor at 352-352-6763, or Jeanne-Marie Ritter at 352-393-7691..

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Animal Services is Making Progress

The Alachua County Commission, through its Animal Services division, its many community partners, and our citizens, is stepping up to create a “no kill” community. Click http://goo.gl/c4Mf82 to watch the video of a presentation to the Board about our progress and future efforts to achieve this goal (best viewed by clicking the full screen button at lower right).

Read a Gainesville Sun article about Alachua County Animal Services’ progress.

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February Extension Programs

Agriculture & Natural Resources Programs

These programs are being offered by Barton Wilder, Agriculture & Natural Resources Agent, at the UF/IFAS Extension Alachua County Office (2800 NE 39th Avenue, Gainesville) unless otherwise indicated.

Farm Bill Workshop – February 5, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Workshop topics include: Update & How to Complete Payment Yields, Crop History (reallocation), Choosing Between PLC and ARC, Generic Base (assigning “covered commodities” to Generic Base), STAX (new safety net for cotton), and the Noninsured Assistance Program (NAP)

There is no cost to attend.

Pre-register by calling 352-955-2402 no later than February 3.

Private Applicator Pesticide School – February 19, from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. (with Aparna Gazula, Commercial Horticulture Agent)

This workshop is designed to provide training for the private applicator agricultural pest control license.  The private applicator license is required for anyone that applies restricted use pesticides to their own farm, greenhouse or nursery. Topics include: private applicator and regulations, equipment calibration and pesticide arithmetic, pesticide safety, and principles of pest control. 

Full day registration fee is $15.00 (includes lunch), half day registration fee is $5.00 (no lunch). 

Alachua County Growers Meeting – February 26, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., at the Santa Fe College Perry Center (14180 NW 119th Terrace, Alachua), with Aparna Gazula, Commercial Horticulture Agent

The morning session will cover weed and disease management and sod based rotation for peanuts, corn, and soybeans. The afternoon session will cover insect, disease, and weed management for vegetable crops.  There is no registration fee and lunch will be provided.

View/download the meeting flyer (PDF).

Pre-register by calling 352-337-6209 (voice mail) at least three working days prior to program. 

Environmental Horticulture Programs

These programs are being offered by Wendy Wilber, Environmental Horticulture Agent, at the UF/IFAS Extension Alachua County Office (2800 NE 39th Avenue, Gainesville) unless otherwise indicated.

Rain Barrel Workshop – February 7, from 10 a.m. to noon, at Mentone Subdivision Soccer Field (located in SW Gainesville, 5 miles West of I-75 on Archer Road)is les west of I-

This class covers how to build and use a rain barrel to gather water for gardens.

Cost is $50.00 if participants would like to purchase a rain barrel.

Raised Bed Vegetable Gardening – February 10, from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.

This class explains what crops to grow in the spring garden, and shows efficient techniques for growing vegetables in raised beds.

Vegetable Gardening & Grow Great Potatoes – February 19, from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.

This class covers vegetable gardening basics and growing potatoes (includes soil preparation, and variety selection). Harvesting and curing potatoes will also be covered.

Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ - Getting Ready for Spring – February 24, from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m., at the Tower Road Library Branch (3020 SW 75th Street, Gainesville)

This class focuses on growing the right plants in the right place, watering efficiently, and fertilizer use.

Raised Bed Gardening & Herbs – February 25, from 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.

This class explains what crops to grow in the spring garden and shows efficient techniques for growing vegetables in raised beds. Traditional & exotic herbs will also be covered.

There is no cost to attend these classes (unless otherwise indicated), but space is limited. Pre-register at least 3 days prior to class by calling 352-337-6209 (voice mail).

Family and Consumer Sciences Programs

These programs are being offered by Brenda C. Williams, Family and Consumer Sciences Agent, at the UF/IFAS Extension Alachua County Office (2800 NE 39th Avenue, Gainesville).

Equipping Your Financial Toolbox (3-part series) – February 9, 16, and 23, from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

This 3-part series offers advice on planning a sound financial future. The classes are held on three consecutive Mondays, and will cover the following:

There is no cost to attend this class, space is limited. Pre-register at least 3 days prior to class by calling 352-337-6209 (voice mail).

First Time Home Buyers Education Program (3-part series) – February 11, 18, and 25, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

This 3-part series offers resources that can help with buying, maintaining and keeping a home.  Upon completion of this program, participants will receive a certificate of attendance.

The cost for the entire series is $10.00 per individual or couple.

Please pre-register by February 6, by calling 352-337-6209 (voice mail). Class is subject to cancellation if less than 6 people registered.

French Cooking Class – February 21 & 28, from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Run by French Chef Michel Maloiseau, the cooking classes include step-by-step recipes that are followed by tasting sessions. Brenda Williams will provide nutrition comments during the program. The classes can fit up to 25 people, and reservations must be made on the Charmes de la France website. The class fee is $45.00 per person and must be paid in advance.

View/download the class flyer (PDF). Class subject to cancellation if less than 15 people are registered.

Commercial Horticulture Programs

These programs are being offered by Aparna Gazula, Commercial Horticulture Agent, at the UF/IFAS Extension Alachua County Office (2800 NE 39th Avenue, Gainesville) unless otherwise indicated.

Green Industries Best Management Practices – February 18, from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. (with Barton Wilder, Ag & Natural Resources Agent)

This workshop is designed to provide training in Best Management Practices for anyone working in the lawn, landscape, pest control, or municipal grounds areas. This is a required training class for all commercial and institutional fertilizer applicators in Alachua County according to the Alachua County Fertilizer Standards and Management Practices Code.

Cost $25.00 includes materials and lunch.

View/download the program brochure (PDF).

Limited Commercial Landscape Maintenance – February 24, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (with Barton Wilder, Ag & Natural Resources Agent)

This class includes six hours of the required training for LCLM license applicants.  Participants needing recertification can attend the first four hours of class, but are encouraged to take the Advanced Landscape Training Workshop instead. The LCLM license exam will be given the same day as the class.

The registration fee is $30.00 and includes program materials, refreshments, and lunch for the day.

View/download the program brochure (PDF).

Beekeeping Short Course – Session One: February 28, beginning at 9 a.m. (with Barton Wilder, Ag & Natural Resources Agent)

Session one of a two-part short course will be putting together a bee hive. Class will be held outdoors, and participants should dress appropriately.

Registration fee of $200.00 includes the cost of materials to build one 10-frame brood hive with a screened bottom board, feeder lid, and lunch for session one. Pre-registration with payment is required and is limited to the first 40 paid registered.

Click for online registration (with additional fee).

View/download the program brochure (PDF). The brochure includes registration form.

For more information about these programs, please call 352-955-2402. Visit the Extension Office calendar for additional programs offered by the UF/IFAS Extension Alachua County Office.

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City of Gainesville Election Information

Monday, February 16, 2015 is the last day to register to vote for the March 17, 2015 City of Gainesville Election. You must be a City of Gainesville resident to vote in the Gainesville City Election. Voters are encouraged to verify and update their registration status online at VoteAlachua.com by clicking on the link, “My Registration Status.” The Supervisor of Elections Office is open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. until 5 p.m. to accept voter registration applications. The office is located at 111 S.E. 1st Avenue and has an after-hours mail drop located at the main entrance. Voter registration applications received through the mail drop will be accepted up until midnight on February 16th for the City of Gainesville Election.

Registration forms are available online at VoteAlachua.com. You may use this form to register to vote, update your voter information, or to update your signature by downloading the application, and returning the completed form to our office. You may also register to vote in person at the Supervisor of Elections Office or by mail. For a list of other facilities in the county where voter registration application forms may be obtained, please visit our website or call the Supervisor of Elections Office at 352-374-5252. To vote in the City of Gainesville Election, mail-in applications must be postmarked no later than the February 16th deadline.

For more information, visit our website at VoteAlachua.com or call the Alachua County Supervisor of Election Office at (352) 374-5252.

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SW 62nd Avenue and SW 63rd Blvd Road Closures

Alachua County Public Works is advising residents that beginning Monday, February 2, 2015, road closures will occur on SW 62nd Ave. and SW 63rd Blvd. due to utility construction.

Road closures will include:

For more information, contact Alachua County Construction Inspection Superintendent Timothy Mckenzie at 352-548-1244.

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Commission Highlights

School Crossing Guard Appreciation Day
The Board proclaimed February 6, 2015 as “School Crossing Guard Appreciation Day” in Alachua County, Florida.
School Crossing Guards 2015.pdf

Gainesville Community Redevelopment Agency
The Board heard a presentation from Gainesville Community Redevelopment Agency

Florida Solar Financing Action Plan
The Board received the Florida Solar Financing Action Plan and approved the supporting resolution.

Unified Land Development Code
The Board approved request to advertise proposed changes to the Unified Land Development Code
Draft_ULDC_Changes_Jan 2015.pdf

No-Kill Status
The Board heard presentation of No-Kill Status at Alachua County Animal Services.
Jan 27 Commission Presentation.pptx

Lochloosa Creek-Shimer Property
The Board exercised the option contract to purchase the Lochloosa Creek-Shimer Property, and amended the Cooperative Agreement to designate Alachua Conservation Trust as property’s primary manager, and authorized staff to execute additional documents as necessary to finalize the transaction.
Amount: Acquisition - $14,187. Annual Stewardship - $550.
Exhibit 4 150127 Shimer acq costs.pdf
Exhibit 3 ACT 1st Amend Final.pdf
Exhibit 1 Shimer Contract executed.pdf
Exhibit 2 Shimer Evaluation.pdf
Exhibit 5 Acquisition List Status report.pdf

SW 63rd Blvd/SW 62nd Ave Rehabilitation Project
The Board received a brief staff update and hear public comments for the SW 63rd Blvd / SW 62nd Ave Rehabilitation Project. Defer full presentation to February 10th Regular Meeting.

Wood-Based Industrial Uses
The Board approved a request to adopt changes to Policies 6.1.8 and 6.2 of the Alachua County Comprehensive Plan Future Land Use Element to permit wood-based industrial uses in the Rural/Agricultural land use
Comp Plan Staff Report.pdf
Ordinance for CPA0714.pdf


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Thank you for your continued interest in County Government!

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