January 14, 2008 edition of:

Community Update
A Report on the Activities of Alachua County Government

 

This Issues Features:

Commissioner Chair Rodney J. Long gives State of the County interview
MLK Week Events
New carpool matching website for Alachua and Bradford Counties premieres
East Side Activity Center Master Plan Draft Report will be discussed at January 22 meeting
Health Department reports flu increase
Alachua County / City of Gainesville Office on Homelessness effectively expands outside funding
What’s on Alachua County Talks?
Community 12 to temporarily limit programming
Alachua County to host career expo
Early Voting begins January 14, 2008
Extension Office offers gardening and landscaping classes
Alachua County Prescription Discount Card available
County Update TV on Community 12
Extension Office offers premarital class
Foster Grandparent volunteers needed
County Event and Meeting Reminder
Commission Meeting Highlights
Alachua County Advisory Boards

 

Commissioner Chair Rodney J. Long gives State of the County interview

The Alachua County Talks, State of the County interview with Alachua County Commission Chairman Rodney J. Long is now available on the County’s Video on Demand webpage. The in-depth interview covers the current state of many projects and programs as well as a general overview of the County as Chairman Long discusses the past year and the future goals and objectives of the County Commission. The interview includes a detailed discussion of the Jan 29 Amendment #1 property tax reform issue.

View the video here.

The program will have multiple airings on Community 12, Your Local Government Channel, during the month of January, so tune in.

Channel 12 Show Schedule (Due to damage sustained to equipment due to a water leak, the Channel 12 schedule may be temporarily unavailable.)

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MLK Week Events

Coordinated by the Martin Luther King, Jr., Commission of Florida, Inc., and co-sponsored by Alachua County, the celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. begins Monday, January 14, 2008 in Gainesville and Alachua County.

Established in 1985, the MLK Commission of Florida has continued the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. by advocating and promoting, nonviolently, the elimination of poverty and racism, and has worked to promote social and economic justice in Alachua County and the State of Florida.

For a complete schedule of MLK Week events, please follow with link:

http://www.alachuacounty.us/government/depts/comm/pressreleases.aspx?pr_id=5989

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New carpool matching website for Alachua and Bradford Counties premieres

FloridaWorks GreenRide web-based carpool matching service is now available to anyone who lives or works in Alachua or Bradford Counties. There is no charge for using FloridaWorks GreenRide.

To register, commuters sign up at www.floridaworks.greenride.com . FloridaWorks GreenRide shows all potential carpooling matches, and participants can email the matches to see if they would like to share rides to work. The potential carpoolers can then meet in a public place and decide if they would like to ride together and how they would like to share costs.

Carpooling to work or school saves commuters money and helps the environment by reducing fuel consumption and pollution. Sharing rides helps to relieve traffic congestion and parking problems in the city.

No personal information is released through the FloridaWorks GreenRide web site.

FloridaWorks GreenRide is the result of research done by the transportation committee of the Alachua County Poverty Reduction Advisory Board. The committee investigated many potential solutions to the challenges of inadequate transportation resources and decided that GreenRide was the best option for this region. Because transportation is one of the primary barriers to employment in Alachua and Bradford Counties, the Regional Workforce Board (FloridaWorks) purchased the software to run the web site. Alachua County is a marketing partner for FloridaWorks GreenRide.

For more information, please contact Radha Selvester at (352) 955-3011 or rselvester@fmsworks.com.

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East Side Activity Center Master Plan Draft Report will be discussed at January 22 meeting

The Alachua County Board of County Commissioners invites all citizens to attend a meeting of the County Commission on Tuesday, January 22, 2008. The agenda for the meeting will include discussion of the Eastside Activity Center Master Plan draft report. The meeting will take place at 5:00 p.m. in the Jack Durrance Auditorium, on the second floor of the County Administration Building, 12 SE 1st St., Gainesville. The Commission encourages citizen attendance at this meeting and welcomes input and ideas regarding the draft report.

The draft report is available online at: http://www.alachuacounty.us/gm

The Eastside Activity Center is a 312-acre area located north of the intersection of Hawthorne Road and SE 43rd Street, as depicted on the accompanying location map.

The draft report addresses issues such as mix of land uses, transportation, economic development, and natural resources for the Eastside Activity Center. The report is the result of a year-long planning process, and will serve as a basis for updating the Eastside Activity Center Interim Guidelines contained in the Alachua County Comprehensive Plan.

For more information, please contact Ben Chumley, Senior Planner, at (352) 374-5249, or at BDChumley@alachuacounty.us.

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Health Department reports flu increase

The Alachua County Health Department has noticed an increase in flu in the community. People with flu, or influenza, have been seen at the local hospital emergency rooms and doctors offices last week.

Influenza is a contagious respiratory illness that is caused by the influenza virus. The best way to prevent becoming ill with the flu is to have the vaccine.

Alachua County Health Department has both the shot and flu mist available at its office at 224 SE 24th St. in Gainesville. The vaccine can be received at the Immunization Clinic from 7:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. daily on a walk in basis.

For more in depth information about seasonal flu, go to www.cdc.gov/flu.

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Alachua County / City of Gainesville Office on Homelessness effectively expands outside funding

Pursuant to implementing the GRACE 10 Year Plan to End Homelessness, Alachua County has invested $36,000 in support of the Alachua County-City of Gainesville Office on Homelessness, and this investment has resulted in significant returns to the community. Most immediately, the City has announced that the HUD award of $821,693 in funding to local agencies which are providing permanent and transitional housing for homeless individuals is more than double the amount that was previously awarded.

The local Alachua County Coalition for Homeless and Hungry and its member agencies worked with the Office on Homelessness to develop the grant application. The funded projects will provide services which are integral elements of the 10 Year Plan, and it is no coincidence that the10 Year Plan has become the basis for expanded funding, not only in this case but in others as well:

Obviously, the return on investment—the benefits to the taxpayers as a result of County expenditures related to addressing matters related to homelessness—are having a big impact on the community. Local government assistance which enables individuals to get back on their feet not only helps the individual, but relieves and reduces the expenses otherwise incurred by the community. Reduced homelessness and increased employment demonstrates that the investment of taxes is a wise and fruitful expenditure. The County looks forward to ongoing returns from its investment in resolving problems related to homelessness.

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What’s on Alachua County Talks?

On the latest editions of Alachua County Talks, Alachua County Commission Chair Rodney J. Long is interviewed on the State of the County.

Also, Jonathan Paul, Alachua County’s Impact Fee Administrator for the Growth Management Department, discusses impact fees.

You can view the videos by selecting them from the video archive linked below.. Alachua County Talks is also shown on Community 12, Your Local Government Channel. Normally, we would direct you to the Community 12 online schedule, but due to damage sustained to equipment due to a water leak, the Channel 12 schedule will be temporarily unavailable.

Alachua County Talks Video Archive

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Community 12 to temporarily limit programming

Community 12, the government television channel for Alachua County and the City of Gainesville, will be providing limited programming on a temporary basis over the next several days. The station sustained damage to its equipment due to a water leak in City Hall.

Work is underway to repair the damage. The County apologizes for the repetion of programing, as all video data was lost and must be restored.

Live web streaming will still be available and viewers can still watch achieved meetings and programs online at http://www.alachuacounty.us/video .

If you have any questions, please call the Alachua County Communications Office at (352) 374-5226.

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Alachua County to host career expo

Alachua County will host a Career Expo, Tuesday, January 15th at the Santa Fe Community College Blount Downtown Center at the corner of University Avenue and Northwest 6th Street. The expo will begin at 10:00 a.m. and end at 2:00 p.m.

Meet with Alachua County representatives from the departments and divisions of Equal Opportunity, Human Resources, Waste Alternatives, Public Works, Administrative Services, Fire Rescue, CHOICES Health Services, the Alachua County Library district, and many more.

If you have any questions, please contact the Alachua County Human Resources department at (352) 374-5219.

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Early Voting begins January 14, 2008

Voting Is As Easy As 1 - 2 - 3

Alachua County voters are encouraged to take advantage of one of the three ways to cast their ballot. Voters may choose to vote absentee, early vote or vote at their polling location on Election Day.

 

Absentee Voting

Anyone may request an absentee ballot. To have your absentee ballot mailed to you, call the Supervisor of Elections office at (352) 374-5252 no later than 5 p.m. on January 23, the 6th day before the election.

To request a ballot for another voter, you must be a designated member of the voter’s immediate family or a legal guardian. Requests can be made online, in person, by mail, by telephone or by fax. All requests must include the voter’s name, residence address, and date of birth. The request must also include the requestor’s name, residence address, relationship to the voter and driver’s license number if available. Mail and fax request must also include the requestor’s signature.

A voter may designate in writing another person to pick up an absentee ballot not earlier than five days (January 24) prior to the Election Day. The designee must have a note signed by the voter, a picture identification of the designee and must complete an affidavit. The affidavit is available for download at http://elections.alachuacounty.us . The designee may not pick up more than two absentee ballots per election, not including the designee’s own ballot and ballots for members of his or her immediate family.

Election Day in-office absentee voting is available for voters who may have emergencies that will not allow them to go to their polling place to vote.

All absentee ballots must be received in the Supervisor of Elections Office by 7 p.m. Election Day.

 

Early Voting

Early Voting for the January 29 Presidential Preference Primary Election and the City of Gainesville Election will be available starting Monday, January 14, 2008 at 9:00 a.m. and end on Saturday, January 26, 2008 at 5:00 p.m.

Early Voting will be available at the following times:

Weekdays, Monday – Friday (9 a.m. to 5 p.m.)

Weekends

Early Voting Sites

 

Election Day Voting at the Polls

The polls are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Election Day. Florida Law requires voters to present picture and signature ID in order to vote, or you will need to vote a provisional ballot. If you need to locate your precinct, go to http://elections.alachuacounty.us/voter-registration/Precincts/precinct_finder.html . If you have any questions, please call the Supervisor of Elections Office at (352) 374-5252.

 

Signature Updates

A voter may update their signature at any time by submitting a completed Voter Registration Application Form to our office. The form is available online at http://elections.alachuacounty.us . Be sure to mark the box for signature update, and remember that all signature updates for use in verifying absentee and provisional ballots must be received by our office no later than the start of the canvassing of absentee ballots by the Canvassing Board.

 

Accessible Voting Equipment

One audio enhanced, accessible voting machine will be available in every polling place and each early voting site. This equipment enables voters with low vision, voters who are blind, or otherwise unable to cast a paper ballot to vote without assistance. The voter is able to listen to the ballot and vote independently using a keypad or by touching the screen. All other Alachua County voters will continue to use the optical scan (fill in the bubble) equipment they are accustomed to.

 

Become Part of Our Team – Be a Poll Worker

The Alachua County Supervisor of Elections is recruiting registered voters to work the January 29, February 19, August 26, and the November 4, 2008 elections. These are paid positions and training is required. This is also an excellent opportunity for County employees to take advantage of the County’s Volunteerism Program.

If you are interested in being a poll worker, please call the Alachua County Supervisor of Elections Office at (352) 374-5252 and ask to be a Poll Worker or you may fill in the form on our Website at http://elections.alachuacounty.us/voter-registration/Precincts/precinct_finder.html

For more information on voter registration, elections and how to become a poll worker, call the Supervisor of Elections Office at (352) 374-5252.

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Extension Office offers gardening and landscaping classes

The Alachua County Extension Office is pleased to offer the following gardening classes to start off 2008.

All classes will be presented by Wendy Wilber, Alachua County Horticulture Extension Agent. Call (352) 955-2402 or (352) 337-6209 (voicemail) to register for any or all of these classes.

Great Gainesville Gardening Course

Gardening & Landscaping in Gainesville can be unique. These classes will help participants have a great yard with minimum environmental impact. Classes will be held at the Alachua County Extension Office, 2800 NE 39th Ave. in Gainesville, from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Courses include:

Florida Yards and Neighborhoods Landscaping Program

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Alachua County Prescription Discount Card available

Alachua County, in conjunction with the National Association of Counties (NACo), is continuing to offer a discount card program to help residents with the cost of prescription drugs.

The Alachua County Prescription Discount Card is free and available to all County residents regardless of age, income or existing health coverage. There is no enrollment form, no membership fee and no restrictions or limits on frequency of use. Cardholders and their family members may use the card any time their prescriptions are not covered by insurance. Most commonly prescribed medicine is covered, as is pet medication.

The discount cards are accepted at more than 57,000 pharmacies nationwide. The overall average savings are about 20 percent. The savings range from 13 percent to 35 percent on purchases of drugs at a local pharmacy and up to 50 percent on mail order purchases. Savings differences are based on brand-named prescriptions vs. generic.

The card is a benefit of Alachua County’s NACo membership. There is no cost to NACo, no cost to the County and no cost to the citizens using the discount card.

Citizens do not have to fill out any forms to participate and, therefore, the County does not maintain a database of who has the cards. The card will be given to citizens with a brochure and can be used immediately.

The discount card program is administered by Caremark Rx, Inc.

Cards are available at Alachua County Social Services, located at 218 SE 24th St. in Gainesville. Social Services will also mail out cards. For further information or to have a card mailed to you, please contact Alachua County Social Services at (352) 264-6750.

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County Update TV on Community 12

This month’s County Update include features on the first Battle of Hogtown Civil War Reenactment, a tour of Paynes Prairie, fire safety tips for children, recognition of Foster Grandparents, and the Stand Down for Veterans.

The episode will premire on Community 12 on this week. Normally, we would direct you to the Community 12 online schedule, but to damage sustained to equipment due to a water leak, the Channel 12 schedule may be temporarily unavailable. Click below to go to the Video on Demand Archive, where the episode will be posted.

County Update Video Archive

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Extension Office offers premarital class

The Alachua County Cooperative Extension Service will be offering their 2-night class “Before You Tie the Knot: Premarital Preparation” in January, March and May. The classes will be held at the Extension Office located at 2800 NE 39th Ave. in Gainesville, 5:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. on the following days:

Before You Tie the Knot is an educational program offering constructive guidance to couples as they begin life as a married couple. The program is designed to help them understand that it takes both partners working together to make a marriage successful.

The program consists of two workshops, each lasting 2 hours. Those who complete the class will receive a certificate worth a $32.50 reduction of the fee for a marriage license obtained in Alachua County. Participants must attend both sessions to receive a certificate of completion.

These Extension workshops fulfill the requirements of Florida Statute 741, Marriage Preparation and Preservation Act, and have been approved by the Circuit Court of Alachua County. This program is intended for couples only; children are not permitted in the class.

Registration is due no later than one week prior to class. A minimum of three couples must be registered or class will be cancelled. To register, please call (352) 337-6209 (voicemail). For more information, call (352) 955-2402 between 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday - Friday.

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Foster Grandparent volunteers needed

The Alachua County Foster Grandparent Program is currently seeking interested seniors to serve special-needs children in our community, especially in local child care centers and after-school programs.

The next training session for new volunteers will begin on February 25, 2008. 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, child care 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 (352) 264-6757.

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County Event and Meeting Reminder

Alachua County Career Expo

East Side Activity Center Meeting

Extension Gardening Classes

Extension Premarital Class

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Commission Meeting Highlights

Presentations, Proclamations and Recognitions

The Board received the presentation from the Energy Conservation Strategies Commission (Advisory Board) updating their progress. The Board voted unanimously to extend the sunset date of the advisory board to November 30, 2008.

The Board approved the termination of the lease agreement signed on 12/11/07 between Sun Circle, Inc., and Alachua County for the Conflict Counsel office space and authorized the Chairman to sign termination letter.

The Board accepted the report, approved the Work Plan and Public Participation Plan for the Evaluation and Appraisal Report (EAR), and authorized the Growth Management Department to initiate the EAR Process.

The Board heard the Community Group comments and authorized the placement of an additional street name to NW 278th Avenue.

 

Public Hearings

The Board agreed to allow the Brytan Planned Development to proceed as originally approved. The directed the Manager to ensure appropriate traffic calming measures are used on SW 75th Street south and outside the limits of the development and to allow construction traffic to be distributed evenly over entire internal roadway network.

The Board exercised the option to purchase the Lake Santa Fe - Lake Alto LLC Tract and authorized staff to execute documents as necessary to close the transaction. Amount: $219,070.00

The Board approved amending the Future Land Use Map CPA 04 08 from Preservation to Rural Agriculture and approved the transmittal to the Department of Community Affairs.

The Board voted that CPA-02-08 not be transmitted to the Department of Community Affairs and that the item and that the item be revisited at the Feb. 12, 2008 meeting. The Board urged the applicant to meet with environmental stake holders prior to that meeting.

The Board agreed to Transmit to the Florida Department of Community Affairs the County-initiated Large Scale Map Amendment CPA 03-08 from Preservation to Rural/Ag

 

Commission Comments

Commissioner DeLaney asked for a report back on the occupancy of the Half Way House and whether it could be used by other agencies that provide youth services and shelter.

Chair Long requested an update on the National Association of Counties Prescription Drug Card. He also asked the Manager to see if the City of Gainesville Manager had referred the Wetlands Mitigation alternative for East Gainesville issue to the City subcommittee.

 

Advisory Board Appointments

CHOICES Advisory Board

Rural Concerns Advisory Committee

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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: http://www.alachuacounty.us/government/bocc/advisoryboard.aspx

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.