December 15 , 2006 edition of:

Community Update
A Report on the Activities of Alachua County Government

 

This Issues Features:

East Gainesville Meeting - Dec. 18 Meeting on E. Gainesville / Waldo Rd.
County Annual Report is Mailed - All County residences will receive a copy
Communications Wins Awards - FGCA awarded the office two Crystal Awards
Cassie Ricks says farewell to the Community Update newletter
Health Department Offers Flu Shots - The final allocation of flu shots has been received
Garbage and Recycling Collection - Delayed one day during each holiday week
Waste Watchers Holiday Tips - Deck the Halls with Less Waste This Year!
Holiday Safety Tips - Brought to you by Alachua County Fire Rescue
Commission Meeting Highlights
Let’s All Get Involved - Alachua County Advisory Boards

 

East Gainesville Meeting - Dec. 18 Meeting on E. Gainesville / Waldo Rd.

An East Gainesville / Waldo Road Community Meeting will be held on Monday, December 18 from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at the Alachua County Health Department, 224 SE 24th St., Gainesville. Meeting topics will include implementation of Plan East Gainesville and an introduction of the visioning process for Waldo Road.

Attendees will include County Commissioner Rodney J. Long, County Commission Chair Paula M. DeLaney, Mayor Pegeen Hanrahan, City Commissioner Sherwin Henry, and UF President Bernie Machen.

For more information, please contact Assistant County Manager Mark Hill at (352) 374-5204.

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County Annual Report is Mailed - All County residences will receive a copy

The new County 2006 Annual Report and 2007 Calendar is in the mail and on its way to Alachua County citizens. The report features information on Alachua County activities, accomplishments, finances and programs. This year’s theme is “Creating Respect for People and Place.” In addition to Annual Report information, the calendar includes interesting Alachua County historical information.

In speaking of the report County Manager Randall H. Reid said, “This functional 2007 calendar provides dates of holidays and County meetings plus plenty of space for citizens to note important family activities and appointments. We urge the public to use it all year long.” He continued saying, “Inside the Annual Report is a postage paid survey asking citizens’ opinions on numerous issues and giving them an opportunity to rank satisfaction with County services.”

This year 99,960 annual reports were mailed to local residential addresses. The cost of the document including preparation, printing, and mailing is approximately 67 cents each.

Alachua County will send a copy of this report with a personalized letter from our Chairperson to any member of the armed services who resides permanently in Alachua County.

If you do not receive a copy of the Annual Report by Wednesday, December 20, 2006, or if you would like to arrange a mailing to armed services personel, call the Alachua County Communications Office at (352) 374-5210.

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Communications Wins Awards - FGCA awarded the office two Crystal Awards

Two Alachua County Communications Office projects have taken top honors at this year’s Florida Government Communicators Association (FGCA) Awards Reception, which was part of the Association’s Annual Conference, held this year in Miami Beach Nov. 8 – Dec. 1.

The Alachua County Communications Office received a Crystal Award in the Single Topic Publication Category for the 2006 Fair Housing Poster. The design project was managed by Mark Sexton, Alachua County Communications Coordinator and designed by Cassie Ricks, Alachua County Public Information Specialist. The poster is displayed in all County facilities, state housing offices and all housing rental and purchase locations. The poster is a vivid piece of wall art showcasing student artwork by Hansol Na of Eastside High School. Na won the student contest, open to all children in Alachua County in grades K-12 in Alachua County.

The Alachua County Communications Office also received a Crystal Award in the Technology Services Category for Community Update the County’s electronic newsletter. Community Update is managed by Mark Sexton and designed and laid out by Cassie Ricks. The newsletter keeps citizens apprized of the business and events of the County and the Board of County Commissioners. The publication is sent to citizens, media contacts, advisory board members, list serves, and all County employees. The newsletter is sent out twice a month on the Fridays following regular Commission Meetings. Each month it electronically reaches more than 3,700 people.

FGCA is the largest state-wide association consisting of communication specialists for cities, counties and other governmental agencies. The FGCA Crystal Awards recognize excellence in government communications.

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Cassie Ricks says farewell to the Community Update newletter

This issue marks the end of a wonderful, four-year ride for me in the Alachua County Communications Office. While new and exciting opportunities await me as the Public Education Coordinator for Alachua County Fire/Rescue, I will never forget the time and the people I have met here. This will always be a special place for me.

Over the years it has been a pleasure to provide you with Alachua County’s Community Update Newsletter. Your continued interest in the happenings of your County government has been greatly appreciated. I have enjoyed receiving feedback from many of you and was excited about our newsletters recent Crystal Award. Nothing like going out with a bang!

I would like to thank you, the readers, for supporting this newsletter, whether it was through emails, phone calls or coming by the office to talk with us. Without you, this newsletter wouldn’t exist, and I wouldn’t have had such a fun time. I would also like to say thanks to the many staff members from every County department who have worked hard to help me make this newsletter as good as it can be.

While this issue marks the end for my time as the newsletters producer, it also marks the beginning for Mike Fara, Alachua County’s Graphics Designer. Mike has been assisting me for more than a year with the editing of the newsletter as well as a barrage of other publications including the County’s internal employee newsletter. I hope you all will give him a warm welcome as I am sure he will do a great job with Community Update.

Farewell and thank you for your continued interest in Alachua County government.

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Health Department Offers Flu Shots - The final allocation of flu shots has been received

The Alachua County Health Department has received its final allocations of influenza vaccinations and is continuing to offer flu vaccination to medically eligible adults. While Health Department officials are still targeting high risk individuals, they are making vaccines available to the general public.

Vaccinations are available either by appointment in the outlying clinics, or by appointment or walk-in at the main Gainesville site. The locations are:

Gainesville - 224 SE 24th Street, 352-334-7950

Alachua - Hitchcock Plaza US 441, 386-462-2542

High Springs - 245 NW 2nd Street, 386-454-2421

Newberry - 25435 W. Newberry Road, 352-472-1160

Hawthorne - 22000 SE 65th Avenue, 352-481-2388

Health Department Director, Tom Belcuore stressed that we are just now beginning the influenza season. Belcuore stated, “The Thanksgiving Holiday travel of individuals both into and out of our area will bring the first wave of contact with influenza that is now circulating in the Country. The strains being identified coincide with the strains used in the vaccine this year so we can anticipate good protection.” The season usually peaks in mid to late January so vaccination at this time will assure antibody development.

Citizen inquiries about immunizations should be directed to the Health Department Immunization Program at 334-7950.

For additional press information, contact Tom Belcuore at (352) 334-8892 or (352) 258-4295.

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Garbage and Recycling Collection - Delayed one day during each holiday week

Curbside residential collection service of solid waste and recycling in the Alachua County curbside collection area will not occur on Monday, December 25 or Monday, January 1. These services will be delayed one day for the remainder of each week. Monday’s services will occur on Tuesday, Tuesday’s will occur on Wednesday, etc. The regular collection schedule will resume on Monday, January 8.

The five Alachua County Rural Collection Centers and the Leveda Brown Environmental Park and Transfer Station will be closed on Monday, December 25 and Monday, January 1. These facilities will reopen on the Tuesday following each holiday.

If you have any questions, please call Milton Towns of the Alachua County Office of Waste Collection at (352) 338-3233.

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Waste Watchers Holiday Tips - Deck the Halls with Less Waste This Year!

It is estimated that between Thanksgiving and the New Year an extra million tons of waste are generated nationwide each week. In fact, 38,000 miles of ribbon alone is thrown out each year—enough to tie a bow around the Earth! Here are some ideas to reduce waste for the holidays.

No-Waste Gift-Giving Ideas

No-Waste Gift-Wrapping Ideas

More Waste Reduction with Wrapping, Packaging, Greeting Cards

 

For more information on being a Waste Watcher, call the Office of Waste Alternatives (352) 374-5213.


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Holiday Safety Tips - Brought to you by Alachua County Fire Rescue

Now that the holiday shopping has begun and the decorations are up, many families are turning their attention to planning their holiday feasts. After protecting your family from kitchen fires, burns and other dangerous kitchen mishaps, it is important to remember that food safety matters, too! Don’t forget to protect your family from foodborne illness this holiday season. Keep in mind that the elderly, children, and individuals with weakened immune systems—including pregnant women—are especially at risk of foodborne illnesses.

Because the holidays present special food safety challenges, precautions are necessary in handling, cooking, and refrigerating foods. To help ensure that holiday foods are not only delicious but also safe, Food and Drug Administration (FDA) suggests taking these steps to reduce the risk of foodborne illnesses:

Clean: Wash hands and food-contact surfaces often. Bacteria can spread throughout the kitchen and get onto cutting boards, knives, sponges, and counter tops.

Separate: Don’t cross-contaminate: Don’t let bacteria spread from one food product to another. This is especially true for raw meat, poultry and seafood. Experts caution to keep these foods and their juices away from ready-to-eat foods.

Cook: Cook to a safe internal temperature. Foods are properly cooked when they are heated for a long enough time and at a high enough temperature to kill the harmful bacteria that cause foodborne illness. Use a food thermometer to measure the internal temperature of foods.

Chill: Refrigerate promptly to keep most harmful bacteria from growing and multiplying. Refrigerators should be set at 40 degrees Fahrenheit and the freezer at 0 degrees Fahrenheit. The accuracy of the settings should be checked occasionally with a thermometer.

Be careful to keep your holiday foods chilled properly. Keep these foods refrigerated:

• Cream pies, cakes with whipped-cream and cream cheese frostings, and other creamy desserts.

• Cold pasta dishes with meat, poultry, seafood, or dairy products. Quiches and soufflés,

especially if you aren’t serving them immediately.

For more information, please visit the FDA website “Keep Holiday Food & Drink Safe” at

http://www.cfsan.fda.gov/~dms/foodrink.html .

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Commission Meeting Highlights
12-12-06

Presentations, Proclamations and Recognitions

The Board proclaimed the week of January 9th-15th Martin Luther King, Jr. Week 2007.

The Board proclaimed January 15th Martin Luther King, Jr. Hall of Fame Day 2007.

The Board heard a presentation regarding the 12/14 MTPO Agenda and approved the agenda.

The Board heard a presentation regarding the recognition of Alachua County by DHS/FEMA for the County’s participation in the National Flood Insurance Program’s Community Rating System.

The Board heard a presentation on RTS Tower Road Route 75 and approved Option 2 in the presentation.

 

Advisory Board Appointments

Bicycle/Pedestrian Advisory Board

Poverty Reduction Advisory Board

Rural Concerns Advisory Committee

 

County Attorney

• The Board adopted the Resolution Health Facilities Authority: Resolution to Approve Issuance of Bonds by the Alachua County Health Facilities Authority.

• The Board approved the settlement agreement with Paul G. McKinley

 

County Manager’s Reports

• The Board approved the Regular Meetings Calendar for 2007 as submitted, including no meeting July 24, 2007, and the scheduling of no other meeting during the weeks of July 22 and July 29, 2007.

• The Board, concerning the Oak Hall Private School Application Submittal for the issuance of Industrial Development Revenue Bonds, authorized the advertisement of a public hearing to consider the project and the resolution of inducement, and requested that the Economic Development Advisory Committee review the proposal using the sustainability matrix and complete the report by 18 days prior to January 23 meeting.

• The Board approved the following concerning the issuance of public improvement revenue bonds
Adopt resolution authorizeing the issuance of Series 2007A public improvement revenue bonds not to exceed $21M and authorize the Chair’s signature.
Adopt resolution authorizing the issuance of Series 2007B public improvement revenue refunding bonds not to exceed $45M and authorize the Chairs signature.
Adopt staff recommended action, increasing (1) Series 2007A to $23M and including the Rescue 1 station as an approved project for the 2007 bond issue.

 

Community Planning Group

• The Board approved the draft deed restriction language for the proposed Fairgrounds on the Weseman property and authorized the staff to initiate the discussions with the City of Gainesville regarding the land use and zoning change amendments for the current Fairgrounds and accepted the Trustee’s Deed for the Weseman property.

• The Board took the following action concerning the proposed Hawthorne annexations appending to areas currently under legal challenge on the basis of compactness
1. Authorized the Chair to sign a letter to the Hawthorne Mayor:
a. Indicating the County’s concern that the annexations of 06-5 and 06-12 through 06-16 would be appending to already non-compact annexations and that the annexation of 06-4 with 06-5 would result in a new pocket.
b. Requesting that they do not proceed with the annexations of 06-5 and 06-12 through 06-16 until the lawsuits are resolved.
c. Requesting the timeline of the actions on these currently proposed annexations and notification when the referenda will be held.
2. Authorized staff to make a presentation and establish a record of the hearings in the event that Hawthorne proceeds with the annexations prior to the resolution of the lawsuits.

 

Community Services Group

• The Board adopted the Rural Collection Centers Policy to Accept Out-of-County Residential Solid Waste, Recyclable Materials and Household Hazardous Waste and Authorization to Implement a Subscription Program for the Collection of Fees.

• The Board approved the First Amendment to Interlocal Agreement among City of Gainesville, Alachua County Housing Authority and Alachua County regarding One Stop Homeless Assistance Center.

• The Board approved the Budget Amendment to transfer $25,000.00 from General Fund Reserves to the Entrepreneurship School mentoring account, approved of the Interlocal Agreement and authorized staff to initiate the procurement process to retain a mentoring organization.

• The Board approved that the county continue to comply with the Florida Law regarding loyalty oaths and prepare a legislative item to amend the law.

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Let’s All Get Involved - Alachua County Advisory Boards

The Alachua County Commission is committed to citizen involvement on its 33 advisory boards and is soliciting applications for the following vacancies:

Board of Adjustment : One citizen-at-large

CHOICES Health Services Advisory Board : One program participant (alternate)

Citizens Disability Advisory Committee : Three citizens-at-large

Community Agency Partnership Program: One citizen-at-large

Community Development Block Grant Advisory Committee : Three citizens-at-large, one alternate

Cultural and Environmental Funding Advisory Board : One Heritage organization member, one Alachua County resident alternate

Economic Development Advisory Board : One representative of UF

Environmental Protection Advisory Board : One alternate and three citizens-at-large

Fair Housing Human Rights Board : One lending institution representative, one alternate

Gainesville/Alachua County Cultural Affairs Board : Two citizens-at-large

Health Care Board : One Alachua County Dental Association representative

Health Facilities Authority : Two citizens-at-large, one alternate

Land Conservation Board: One citizen-at-large

Local Planning Agency and Planning Commission: One citizen-at-large

Poverty Reduction Advisory Board : Two citizens-at-large with a disability, one citizen 55 or older, one low income citizen, one representative of faith-based organization

Regional Transit System Advisory Board : One senior citizen

Recreation and Open Space Advisory Committee : Four citizens-at-large, one alternate

Veterans Service Advisory Board : One Alternate, one American Legion Representative, one citizen-at-large, one citizen-at-large Alternate), one Disabled American Veteran Representative, one Operation Enduring Freedom Veteran, one Marine Corps League Representative, one VA Medical Hospital Representative, one Korean War Veteran, one VFW Representative

Victims Services and Rape Crisis Center Advisory Council : Two citizens-at-large, one alternate

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Thank you for your continued interest in County Government!

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