January 26 , 2007 edition of:

Community Update
A Report on the Activities of Alachua County Government


This Issues Features:

Day of Champions Ceremony
Community Meeting Feb. 21
Home Heating Oil Recovery Program
County looking for volunteers
Animal Services Reaches Milestone
Waste Watchers Tips of the Month
Annual Veterans Awards Banquet
ACCESS is back & better than ever
Springs Protection Area Signs
Roadside Litter Prevention
Commission Meeting Highlights
Get Involved


Day of Champions Ceremony

The historic University of Florida men’s basketball and football championships will be honored by elected officials at a joint meeting between the Alachua County Commission and the Gainesville City Commission on Monday, January 29 at 5:00 p.m. in the Jack Durrance Auditorium located on the 2nd floor of the Alachua County Administration Building, 12 SE 1st St., Gainesville. The first item on the agenda will be the “University of Florida Day of Champions Proclamation.”

The ceremony will include a resolution from the United States Senate presented by Senator Bill Nelson, proclamations from the County Commission, the City Commission, and the University of Florida Student Senate presented to University of Florida Athletic Director Jeremy Foley. University of Florida mascots Albert and Alberta will be in attendance to kick off the celebration.

Senator Nelson’s presentation will include a video of Senator Sherrod Brown (US Senator, Ohio) doing push-ups. The push-ups were the result of losing a wager with Senator Nelson on the National Championship Game.

For more information, please contact Alachua County Communications Coordinator Mark Sexton at (352) 374-5226 or City of Gainesville Communications and Marketing Manager Bob Woods at (352) 334-5017.

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Community Meeting Feb. 21

Alachua County Government invites all interested citizens and property owners to a second Community Meeting about the Eastside Activity Center Master Plan. The meeting will be held Wednesday, February 21 at 6:30 p.m. at the Alachua County Health Department, 224 SE 24th Street, Gainesville.

The purpose of the meeting is to receive public input about conceptual planning options for this area.

For more information about this project, visit our web site at http://growth-management.alachua.fl.us , or contact Ben Chumley, Senior Planner, at (352) 374-5249, or BDChumley@alachua.fl.us .

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Home Heating Oil Recovery Program

The Alachua County Environment Protection Department (EPD) is continuing its program to recover heating oil from abandoned or unused residential heating oil tanks. This is a free service benefiting residential property owners in Alachua County.

In speaking of the program, Alachua County Environment Protection Department Director Chris Bird said, “By eliminating heating oil from tanks that pose contamination concerns from old and leaking systems we protect both surface and groundwater resources . The heating oil, pumped out and recovered by County staff, is recycled and used for fuel blending.’

Since the inception of the program in March 2005, 71 homeowners have participated and EPD has recovered and properly managed over 9,400 gallons of heating oil.

If you are interested in participating in this program or receiving additional information, please contact Tim Ramsey at 352-264-6843 or the Hazardous Waste Collection Center at 352-334-0440. Commercial properties are not eligible to participate in the program.

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County looking for volunteers

Alachua County Victim Services and Rape Crisis Center

Duties are based on the volunteers interests and availability, and include immediate outreach to victims, short-term counseling, telephone and online hotline counseling, facilitating support groups, providing therapy under supervision of a licensed supervisor, giving community presentations, and assisting with special events and projects. Thirty hours of training will be provided in crisis counseling and advocacy skills, with additional training as needed for certain positions.

If you are interested in volunteering or would like additional information, please call (352) 264-6760 or toll free1-866-252-5439.


4-H School Garden Volunteer Program

The 4-H School Garden Volunteer program will provide training classes on February 6, 7, and 8th at the Cooperative Extension Office from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. This training program will provide adults with basic gardening knowledge and skills, youth development concepts, tips for working with youth out of doors, knowledge of available grants, and knowledge of various gardening curriculums that are available. Vegetable, flower, butterfly and wildlife gardening topics will also be covered.

“Rarely are there enough volunteers to go around. Many adults would like to help, but feel they don’t have an adequate background in gardening knowledge,” said Lorraine Williams, Alachua County 4-H School Garden Program Coordinator. The training is free, however, participants will be expected to volunteer 1-2 hours per week between March and May in 2007 in an Alachua County 4-H school garden upon completion of the program. Participants will also be required to complete the Alachua County 4-H volunteer screening process. Safety is a top priority.

4-H is for youth ages 5-18. Membership is open to all youth regardless of race, creed, color, sex, national origin, handicap or geographic location within Alachua County.

For questions or to register, call or email Lorraine Williams at (352) 955-2402 or LGSmith@ifas.ufl.edu by January 24th.


Alachua County Foster Grandparent Program

The Alachua County Foster Grandparent Program is currently seeking interested seniors to serve special-needs children in our community, especially in local foster homes, daycare centers, and after-school programs. The next training session for new volunteers will begin on January 29th. Alachua County residents ages 60 and over who live on a limited income are encouraged to apply. Volunteers serve 15-40 hours per week, working one-on-one with special-needs children in schools, childcare centers, foster homes, after-school programs, and other nonprofit organizations throughout the County. In return for their service, volunteers receive an hourly stipend of $2.65, a daily meal, assistance with transportation, an annual physical examination and supplemental insurance.

For more information, call Pat Knight at (352) 264-6731.

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Animal Services Reaches Milestone

Last year (2006), Alachua County Animal Services attained a very significant milestone. For the first time in the history of the animal shelter they actually adopted or returned more animals to their owners than they had to euthanize.

In 2006 Animal Services received in excess of 8,500 animals. They adopted, transferred, relocated or returned to owners 4,760 animals. This represents a live release rate of 56%, a feat never before achieved by this organization.

The corresponding euthanasia rate for the year was 44%.

Alachua County Animal Services adopted, transferred, relocated or returned 2,600 of the 4,760 animals, i.e., 55% of all live released animals. Community partnerships have significantly aided their efforts. Without these community partnerships this accomplishment would not have been possible.

The Alachua County Humane Society, one of the Maddie’s Fund Partners assisting Animal Services in reaching their goal to end the euthanasia of healthy and treatable animals, has also achieved a milestone heretofore unmatched. The Humane Society transferred 1,000 animals from the shelter in 2006. This is the first time a single organization in Alachua County has transferred 1,000 animals for adoption.

Ray Sim, Director of Alachua County Animal Services said, “We wish to express our thanks and appreciation to all of our community partners for their assistance in achieving this success. We want to especially congratulate and thank the Alachua County Humane Society for their individual achievement."

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Waste Watchers Tips of the Month

Happy New Year! If you have not already put your New Years resolutions in stone, here are a few ideas towards becoming more green in 2007!

Drive with less impact!

Have a little holiday money burning a hole in your pocket? Always wanted to do something a little better for the environment? Then TerraPass might be exactly what you are looking for! TerraPass is an annual pass you purchase to offset the carbon emissions your vehicle emits each year. By funding clean energy and alternative energy sources such as wind power, biomass and industrial efficiency projects, each TerraPass offsets 12,000 pounds of CO2. TerraPass is available in 4 vehicle categories: economy, hybrid, standard and SUV. The standard pass costs about $50.00. For more information check them out on the web www.terrapass.com.


Reduce your electric costs and energy consumption at home!

Ever notice the odd swirly looking light bulbs that are appearing everywhere from TGI Fridays to your neighbors house? Wondering if there is something they know that you don’t? Well if you have not jumped on this bandwagon yet, you are missing out! These oddly shaped lightbulbs are known as CFLs, compact fluorescent lighbulbs. They use 66% less energy than a standard incandescent bulb (the traditionally shaped light bulbs we are all familiar with).

Not only will CFLs use less energy, they last ten times longer than a standard bulb. While the upfront cost of the bulb may seem high, remember the savings in energy and the future cost of purchasing bulbs over the next few years. Many CFLs are gauranteed to last 5 years and will save you $30 in energy costs over the bulbs lifetime. Many home improvement stores sell larger packages of CFLs. For more information visit www.energystar.gov.

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Annual Veterans Awards Banquet

The military and veteran community of Alachua County invites you to attend the second Annual Veterans Awards Banquet. The banquet is on Saturday January 27, 2007, starting at 1830 hours (6:30 PM civilian time). The banquet is at the Paramount Plaza Hotel and Conference Center, 2900 SW 13th Street, with a cost of $20.00 per person, which includes a buffet dinner, dessert, and entertainment.

This special evening allows former military personnel to meet and greet those currently serving. It will also be an opportunity to thank our veterans of the Afghanistan and Iraq wars. Hosting this years banquet will be WKTK DJ Storm Roberts. Snap Shot, singing inspirational patriotic songs, will provide the evenings entertainment. The keynote speaker is Captain Bill Pokorney, U.S. Navy (ret). Captain Pokorney will share interesting stories of his 20 plus years in naval aviation.

Alachua County Veterans Services Director Jim Lynch, in speaking of the event, said, “This is the one time of year for our community to gather and show support of our military veterans and enjoy an evening of camaraderie. Due to the overwhelming success of last years inaugural event, we have had to move to a larger location. If you can still fit into your uniform, you are encouraged to do so. For the rest of us formal dinner attire will do. Last year was an evening of fun and surprise with WW II D-Day veteran Frank Towers being selected as the ‘Jim McCawley Veteran of the Year.’ Nominations are being accepted for this years award, which will be announced after dinner. We hope to see you there.”

Please make checks payable to Veterans Memorial Committee/VAB and mail to County Veterans Office, 218 SE 24th Street, Gainesville, FL, 32641 or call (352) 264-6740 for more information.

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ACCESS is back & better than ever

We invite you to join us in the Alachua County Civic Education Series (ACCESS). This program is designed to increase your knowledge and understanding of Alachua County government. You will meet the men and women who serve the County, visit key County buildings and get a behind-the-scenes look at County operations. You will learn a great deal about the diverse services of the County and the teamwork that goes into providing those services.

This area’s quality of life has made Alachua County one of the best places to work and live, not just in Florida, but in the entire United States. The Board of County Commissioners is committed to actively enhancing our quality of life while preserving our environment and promoting social equity.

The Alachua County Civic Education Series reflects our commitment to citizen participation and providing a strong and effective organization.

Please sign up. Your involvement in Alachua County government will help us serve you while improving the quality of life for all our citizens. For class schedule, or to register, please call (352) 374-5219.

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Springs Protection Area Signs

Alachua County, in cooperation with the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), will be installing “Springs Protection Area” signs adjacent to selected county and state roadways. Approximately 60 signs will be installed by FDOT and Alachua County on selected county and state roads in portions of northwestern Alachua County, northeastern Gilchrist County, and southern Columbia County.

Alachua County Environmental Protection Director Chris Bird stated, “These signs are intended to be an important first step in raising public awareness on the need to better protect our local springs. During the past few years, we have discovered that the springs on the Santa Fe River are increasingly being threatened by multiple sources of pollution including the use of fertilizers, land development, and inadequate waste treatment and disposal. Our success in protecting and restoring these precious waterways will require the cooperation of area residents and visitors.”

Citizens requiring further information can call the Alachua County Environmental Protection Department at (352) 264-6800. Press inquiries should be directed to Chris Bird at (352) 264-6802.

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Roadside Litter Prevention

Roadside litter seems at an all time high. During the winter months, grasses and vegetation die back and litter seems to pop to the surface and be everywhere. These times offer us an opportunity to identify problem areas and apply our litter clean up and prevention strategies.

Every person has a stake in our community, including a stake in our community’s litter challenges. Litter attracts the eye and sometimes, litter attracts MORE litter. We know from history that a clean community discourages littering.

By accepting responsibility for our actions we can influence the actions of others. So, be a role model by reducing, reusing, recycling first, and then properly disposing trash – DON’T LITTER!

Here are some ways you can help…….

• Use a litter bag in your vehicle

• If you drive a pick up truck, make sure items in the back are securely tied and bagged

• Bag and tie your curbside garbage so trash stays in its place


Adopt – A – Spot
Adopt – A – Park
Great American Clean - Up
Organize a Neighborhood Clean-Up
Keep Alachua County Beautiful

Adopt – A – Street
City of Gainesville Solid Waste Division

Adopt -a-County Road
Alachua County Public Works
352-374-5245 x 212

Adopt -a-Highway
Florida Department of Transportation

Fritzi Olsen at Current Problems

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Commission Meeting Highlights

Presentations, Proclamations and Recognitions


Advisory Board Appointments

Health Care Advisory Board
The Commission transferred Health Care Board member Ms. Lo from Organizational Representative category (Shands Teaching Hospital & Clinics) to the Health Care Professional citizen-based category, to a term ending January 2008
Appointed Georgiann Ellis, a representative from Shands Teaching Hospital & Clinics, to the Health Care Board, to a term ending August 2008.

Recreation and Open Space Advisory Committee
The Board appointed Patti Atchison, to a term ending Feb 2009.
The Board appointed Rhonda Clark, to a term ending Sept 2009.
The Board appointed James Goachee, to a term ending Feb 2009.
The Board appointed Anne Koterba, to a term ending Feb 2009.
The Board appointed Barbara Welsch, to a term ending Sept 2008.
The Board appointed Carrie Roberts as Alternate to a term ending April 2008.

CHOICES Health Service Advisory Committee

The Board appointed Myra Williams, Nurse to a term ending November 2009.
The Board appointed Sarah Bartlett, Alternate CHOICES Program Participant to a term ending November 2008.
The Board appointed Jeff Feller, representative from WellFlorida to a term ending November 2009.

Veterans Services Advisory Board
The Board appointed Donald Sherry, Korean War Veteran to a partial term ending August 2008.
The Board appointed Richard Wilcox, Citizen who is a Veteran to a partial term ending September 2008.
The Board appointed William Wiest, Organizational Representative of Disabled American Veterans to a term ending September 2008.
The Board appointed Peter Sabo, Organizational Representative of the American Legion to a partial term ending August 2008.


Constitutional Officers

The Board heard a presentation from Alachua County Sheriff Sadie Darnell on her plans to address the issue of jail overcrowding from an Alachua County Sheriff’s Office perspective.

Sheriff Darnell made three requests of the Board.

  1. Authorize the County Manager to make construction, renovation, and maintenance projects for the jail the number one priority of the County.
  2. Court Services provide a timely and thorough assessment of diversion programs.
  3. Sheriff will continue working with the Chief Judge and the PSCC on issues of overcrowding.

The Board made several requests of the County Manager.

County Manager Reid has scheduled a special meeting for the Commission and the Sheriff for Tuesday, February 6, 2007 to continue discussions.


Advisory Board and Committee Reports

Commission asked that the County Manager set up a way of informing them of Action Items from Advisory Boards meetings on a regular basis, preferable through a brief email, perhaps by the day after the action.


County Attorney

The Board Approve the letter of agreement with Shands Hospital for FY06 arrestee/inmate care, the agreement for FY07 and future years care of arrestee/inmates and authorize the Chair to sign.


County Manager’s Reports

The Board authorized a public hearing on Feb. 8, 2007 to consider a resolution authorizing the issuance of Industrial Development Revenue Bonds for the Oak Hall Private School project.


Community Planning Group

The Board approved the proposed Waldo Road Corridor work plan, with any changes or modifications, and authorized staff to prepare the inter-local agreement between the City of Gainesville, the University of Florida, and Alachua County. Amount: $35,000.00

The Board denied the resolution delegating certain powers associated with a community redevelopment area from Alachua County to the City of Newberry, per F.S. Chapter 163, Part III. They encouraged The City of Newberry to reapply when they have resolved the issue of paying their fair share for County funded Law Enforcement services.

The Board approved the agreement with Timber Works of Interest for the preservation of the Scott-Phifer House and the sole source certification. Amount: $72,322.00

The Board approved the request to advertise amendments to the Alachua County unified land development code revising several sections.


Community Services Group

The Board directed staff to bring back information, financial analysis, and options on absorbing the Volunteer Center as a County department/division. If Commission chooses not to absorb the Volunteer Center, the Center should have the option of pursuing CAAP funding within the existing CAAP timelines.

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Get Involved
Alachua County Advisory Boards

Applications are available in the County Manager's Office on the second floor of the County Administration Building, 12 SE First St., Gainesville, or on the Web at: http://boards.alachua.fl.us/app/application.aspx

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Thank you for your continued interest in County Government!

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