January 19th edition of:

Community Update
A Report on the Activities of Alachua County Government


This Issues Features:

Interstate 75 Relief Task Force Meeting
Joe Dell Retires
New WIC Clinic in City of Alachua
Don’t Throw Away Hazardous Waste
CareerSource NCFL Kicks Off 2016 with Record Number of Hiring Events
Animal Services Open House
Public Defender’s Office Groundbreaking Ceremony
Important Presidential Preference Primary and City of Gainesville Election Information
County Crisis Center on Alachua County Talks
Commission Highlights

Interstate 75 Relief Task Force Meeting

Alachua County is alerting and inviting citizens to participate in the Interstate 75 Relief Task Force. The next Task Force meeting will be held on January 25, 2016, at 9 a.m. at the Crystal River National Guard Armory (8551 West Venable Street, Crystal River, Florida).

The meeting will include County presentations on priorities and visions for near and long-term planning in the areas of conservation, countryside, centers and communities, and corridors (the 4 Cs). Commissioner Charles Chestnut, IV is representing the Alachua County Commission on the task force.

Details about the 4 C topics:

The purpose of the Task Force is to provide consensus recommendations on maximizing existing and developing new high-capacity transportation corridors to serve the Tampa Bay-Northeast Florida study area with initial emphasis on the region west of Interstate 75.

Citizens can find out more information by visiting the I-75 Relief website

Those not able to attend but wanting to communicate their viewpoints, should contact Commissioner Chestnut at 352-264-6900 or cschestnut@alachuacounty.us. The entire County Commission can be reached at bocc@alachuacounty.us.

For more information, or to submit comments to I-75 Relief, contact Project Manager Huiwei Shen at 850-414-4911 or Huiwei.Shen@dot.state.fl.us.

Media inquiries should be directed to Communications Director Dick Kane at 850-414-4590 or Dick.Kane@dot.state.fl.us.

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Joe Dell Retires

Alachua County Facilities Supervisor Joseph Dell is retiring after over 48 years of employment with the County.

Hired in 1967, Mr. Dell holds the record for the longest employment in County history.

Watch Mr. Dell accept his retirement plaque from the County Commission (click on item 4).

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New WIC Clinic in City of Alachua

Travelers on Interstate 75 will experience nighttime northbound and southbound double lane closures from 9:30 p.m., Sunday, December 20 to midnight, Monday, December 21, 2015, just south of the Archer Road (Exit 384).

DETOUR: Beginning Monday, December 21, from midnight through 4 a.m., drivers traveling north on Interstate 75 will be detoured to Archer Road (Exit 384), then to S.W. 34th Street (State Road 121), then to Newberry Road (State Road 26), and finally to Interstate 75 North.

The Archer Road Interstate 75 northbound on-ramp will be closed. Drivers will be detoured to Tower Road, then to The Florida Department of Health Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infant, and Children (WIC) in Alachua County will be opening a new clinic in the City of Alachua. This is WIC’s fourth clinic in Alachua County and is located at the Alachua Elementary School in the Family Service Center Building (13800 NW 152 Place, Alachua). The clinic will begin providing services on Tuesdays, beginning January 5, 2016. Prospective and current clients may call to inquire about the program or schedule an appointment at 352-225-4343, or 1-800-494-2543.

“The continued collaboration between the WIC Program and the School Board of Alachua County is an excellent partnership that reduces disparities, improves access to healthcare, provides nutrition education, and enhances educational outcomes to low income families.” stated Diana Duque, Community Program Manager at the FDOH-Alachua. “We are pleased to be able to continue expanding services to those who benefit from WIC.” “This is going to be so good for our school and community,” said Eva Copeland, principal of Alachua Elementary School. “It will offer our families easier access to a wide array of services, which ultimately means we’ll be able to better serve the whole child.”

For more information, visit the FDOH-Alachua website

The mission of FDOH-Alachua is to protect, promote and improve the health of all people in Florida through integrated state, county, & community efforts.

For more information, contact Diana Duque at 352-225-4355 or Diana.Duque@flhealth.gov.

Newberry Road (State Road 26), and finally to Interstate 75 North.

The detour is needed to move construction equipment across the Interstate 75 northbound lane and position it in the median.

For more information, contact Karen Harrell with Quest Corporation of America at 800-927-0062 or info@CelebrationPointBridge.com.


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Don’t Throw Away Hazardous Waste

On Friday, January 9, there was an explosion and a fire at the High Springs Rural Collection Center. This was caused by a rechargeable battery being thrown into the regular household garbage container. When the garbage was being compacted, the battery ruptured and made contact with the metal box and caused a large explosion and fire. Luckily no one was injured and no equipment was damaged, but it could have been a lot worse.

This incident is one of the reasons we have hazardous waste recycling. There are many items that end up in people’s garbage that are hazardous and potentially dangerous. These items can either can be recycled or need proper disposal and handling through the Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) Program. These high risk items include: batteries (rechargeable, lithium, 9 volt and others, all recyclable), household chemicals, pesticides, old gasoline engines (from mowers, weed eaters, boat motors – can be recycled but need to ensure all fuels are removed, best to take to HHW), aerosol cans (recyclable, and depending on what is in them, can be hazardous), and hot coals and ashes from grills, fireplaces and fire pits.

There is danger in any area of solid waste disposal. Residential curbside, rural collection and commercial services have all experienced these hazards. Please recycle for the health and safety of all of us.

For more information on proper disposal and recycling, visit the Alachua County Household Hazardous Waste website, or call curbside at 352-338-3233, rural collection centers at 352-334-0172, or household hazardous waste at 352-334-0440.

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CareerSource NCFL Kicks Off 2016 with Record Number of Hiring Events

At just six months into its program year, CareerSource North Central Florida (NCFL) has already surpassed the total number of hiring events it hosted last year. The agency hosted 92 events between July and December of 2015. That’s compared to 90 events last year. This marks a roughly 102% year-over-year increase for hiring events so far.

Don Davis, chair of the board of directors, credits the rapid growth to a competitive business services team and several strategic decisions the board made in the past year.

“In an effort to better service our competitive business community, we made a number of strategic shifts. These shifts include the selection of a new workforce services provider (Dynamic Workforce Solutions) and a new centralized location downtown (10 NW Sixth St).” said Davis. “We’re proud to see these strategic decisions are resulting in a record number of employers interacting with our business services team to hire the incredible talent in our community.”

CareerSource NCFL, the regional workforce board for Alachua and Bradford counties, coordinates and hosts hiring events such as job fairs and recruitment events at no cost to area employers or jobseekers. The events range from one-on-one interviews to match skills to an employer’s needs, to full scale hiring fairs and recruitment events.

Restaurateur Omar Oselimo, owner of Reggae Shack, Southern Charmed Kitchen, and an upcoming new restaurant, The Twisted Peacock, regularly hires through the CareerSource NCFL business services team.

“I continue to partner with CareerSource North Central Florida because everyone we have dealt with on the team has an obvious passion and genuine commitment to finding people jobs,” he said. “When we host a job fair with CareerSource North Central Florida, we get better turnout than when we try to do it ourselves.”

The record high numbers come just a few weeks after CareerSource NCFL joined the Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce, City of Gainesville, and Alachua County in welcoming USR Systems’ new Gainesville operations center to the area. USR Systems expects to bring 140 jobs to Alachua County.

Alachua County has maintained one of the lowest unemployment rates in Florida. Last month, unemployment in Alachua County fell to 4.1 percent, its lowest mark since May 2008, and third lowest in the Sunshine State (tied with Okaloosa County) according to the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity.

Businesses looking to host a hiring event can contact CareerSource NCFL at 352-955-2245 or contact Business Services Manager Sean McCoy at smccoy@fmsworks.com.

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Animal Services Open House

Alachua County Animal Services invites citizens to their Open House on Saturday, January 23, 2016, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., at the Alachua County Animal Services Headquarters (3400 N.E. 53rd Ave, Gainesville). 

During the Open House, Animal Services is offering free adoptions to qualified homes and free microchipping (while supplies last). Representatives from local animal organizations (Operation Catnip of Gainesville, the Spay-Neuter-Release program, Alachua County Humane Society Vaccination Clinic, and others), several boarding facilities, and pet supply stores will be available.

View/download the event flyer (PDF).

The Animal Services Headquarters is open Tuesday through Saturday, from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

For more information, contact Alachua County Animal Services at 352-264-6870.

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Public Defender’s Office Groundbreaking Ceremony

The Alachua County Commission, the Public Defender for the 8th Judicial Circuit, and the Alachua County Facilities Management Department invite the public to the groundbreaking ceremony for the new Alachua County Public Defender’s Office. The groundbreaking is on January 25, 2016, at 11 a.m. adjacent to Alachua County Criminal Courthouse (220 South Main Street, Gainesville). The ceremony will be held in the Northwest parking lot. Parking will be available in the City of Gainesville Parking Lot 10, directly across from the ceremony site.

Speakers at the event will include County Commission Chairman Robert “Hutch” Hutchinson, County Manager Dr. Lee A. Niblock, Public Defender Stacy A. Scott, Court Administrator Paul Silverman and County Facilities Director Charlie R. Jackson.

The project budget is $5,289,682 and will include the following features:

Public Defender Stacy Scott said, “Moving into this modern facility will allow us to better serve the public. My staff and I are thrilled to see the project moving forward.”

The Office of the Public Defender, 8th Judicial Circuit, represents adults and children charged with criminal offenses and clients held in civil commitment under the “Baker Act” and the “Sexually Violent Predator Act.” The 8th Circuit is comprised of Alachua, Baker, Bradford, Gilchrist, Levy, and Union counties.  In FY 2014-15, circuit-wide the Public Defender’s Office represented a total of 13,985 clients in a total of 16,541 cases. In Alachua County, the office represented 8,835 clients with 10,387 cases. The office employs 68 people, with 50 of those employees working in the Alachua County headquarters.

For more information, contact the Alachua County Communications Office at 352-374-5204.


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Important Presidential Preference Primary and City of Gainesville Election Information

Voter Registration Deadline/Party Change Deadline
Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Deadline to Request Mail Ballot
March 9th by 5 p.m.
Early Voting
Fri., March 4th thru Sat., March 12th
Early Voting Locations
Supervisor of Elections Office
515 N. Main Street, Suite 300 – New
Millhopper Branch Library
3145 NW 43rd Street
Tower Road Branch Library
3020 SW 76th Street

Presidential Preference Primary & Gainesville Election
Tuesday, March 15, 2016
Polls open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016 is the last day to register to vote or change your party affiliation for the March 15, 2016 Presidential Preference Primary and City of Gainesville 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 new office is located at 515 North Main Street, Suite 300.

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

Florida is a closed Primary state. This means in a Florida Primary Election, you may vote only for candidates of the political party in which you are registered.

All registered voters living within the Gainesville city limits are eligible to vote in the Mayor race.  Only eligible City of Gainesville voters living in Gainesville District 4 may vote in the District 4 race.

If you have any questions or need additional information, please contact the Supervisor of Elections Office at 352-374-5252.


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County Crisis Center on Alachua County Talks

A new edition of Alachua County Talks, featuring an interview with Alachua County Crisis Center Director Alexandra Martinez is available. Martinez discusses the services provided by the crisis center, as well as the center’s history, its mission and the challenges faced in providing 24 hour-a-day phone crisis and suicide intervention counseling.

In speaking of the program Alachua County Talks host Mark Sexton said, “The Alachua County Crisis Center is an example of the County’s commitment to the wellbeing of citizens. Through the center, citizens can receive potentially lifesaving counseling either over the phone or in person. Those who are having difficulty coping with crisis situations, the loss of a loved one or other traumatic events are encouraged to seek out the center’s services.”

View the Interview Online.

For more information, visit the Alachua County Crisis Center or call the Alachua County Crisis Line at 352-264-6789.

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Commission Highlights

King Celebration 2016
The Board Proclaimed January 10 - 18, 2016 as “King Celebration 2016” in Alachua County, FL

Attachment: King Celebration 2016.pdf


Meridian Behavioral Health Care
Concerning funding for Meridian Behavioral Health Care to support its Primary Care unit’s capital needs, the Board authorized $30,000.00 for capital expenses: $25,000.00 out of the $150,000.00 Mental Health Fund and $5,000.00 out of the Community Fund and to waive any policies necessary to conduct the transaction.
Item Summary

Florida Water Policy Legislation
Concerning the Resolution requesting specific amendments to Florida water policy legislation to provide stronger springs protection, the Board agreed on the following four amendments to water legislation:

Water-metering provision should be strengthened to include all users of 100,000 gallons per day or more,
with more frequent reporting, and with metering paid by the user;

Water Management Districts (WMD) should estimate a maximum sustainable groundwater withdrawal for
each district

The legislation should authorize an independent study of water fees

The legislation should name a “Restoration Focus Spring” to be restored within 15 years

Attachment: Item summary and Resolution

Students to Successful Citizens/System of Care Program
The Board heard the presentation about the Students to Successful Citizens/System of Care Program and referred it to the Manager to return to the Board with recommendations.

Attachment: System of Care Overview for the Gainesville City Commission.pdf
System of Care with partners Powerpoint Presentation.pdf

Alachua County Historical Commission
The Board heard the Alachua County Historical Commission’s 3 minute reading of local history titled “Art Deco Nightspot.”

Attachment: Art Deco Nightspot.pdf


RAD Rape Aggression Defense

The Board heard a presentation by Sheriff Sadie Darnell on an ACSO free program called RAD, Rape Aggression Defense.


Howard Bishop Community School

Concerning the Children’s Home Society’s request for financial support for the Howard Bishop Community School, the Board voted to:

1.             To approve the $5,000.00 request for the Howard Bishop Community School Program

2.             Change the policy to indicate that in the event that there has been a CAPP funding award to an organization they cannot request funding for the same program but can for a new program 

Amount: $5,000.00

Attachment: Howard Bishop Community School Application 120915.pdf
15 01 Financial Support of Special Event or Program 100915.pdf
Childrens Home Society IRS Determination Letter.pdf


Lussier Dairy
Concerning the update on Lussier Dairy, the Board:

Received staff report

Authorized staff to take the necessary steps to close County Road 223

Attachment: SJRWMD StanleyPrairiePlan.pdf


Melrose Volunteer Fire Department Fire Services Agreement

Concerning the Melrose Volunteer Fire Department Fire Services Agreement, the Board:

Approved the original offer by Chief Northcutt of a prorated cash payment of $134,767.00

Required two certified people on a truck

Authorized staff to negotiate and coordinate with both Melrose Volunteer Fire Department and Putnam County Fire Department, a renewal of continued Alachua County service coverage for FY17 by June 30, 2016

Subject to Attorney approval, the Chair is authorized to sign an extension of previous agreements to maintain liability indemnification and to initiate automatic aid as soon as possible

Hopewell Estates
The Board approve the proposed replat of Hopewell Estates Lots 6, 7, 8, 15 and 18 based on the recommendation of the Development Review Committee and a finding of consistency with Florida Statues, the Alachua County Comprehensive Plan and the Alachua County Unified Land Development Code.

Attachment: HWE_orig_Plat.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.