May 29 edition of:

Community Update
A Report on the Activities of Alachua County Government

 

This Issues Features:

Cabot/Koppers Offsite Soil Samples
Large Turnout at Alachua County Economic Stimulus Summit
Foster Grandparent Volunteers Needed
County Commission to Appoint Charter Review Commission
Special Stormwater Meeting
County Update
Commissioner Chestnut Participates in D.C. Obesity Summit
Hunger Summit II
EPD Wins Outreach Award
Wild Spaces & Public Places Oversight Committee

National HIV Testing Day
What’s On “Alachua County Talks”
Post Disaster Redevelopment Plan Meeting
Supervisor of Elections Register Over 200 High School Students to Vote

Commission Meeting Highlights

 

Cabot/Koppers Offsite Soil Samples

The Alachua County Health Department has reviewed the results of recent soil samples taken from the easement along the west border of the Koppers industrial site and in street rights-of-way approximately 100 feet west of the Koppers site.  Levels of dioxins, arsenic, and benzo(a)pyrene in some surface soil samples tested are above the State residential  standards. 
The US Environmental Protection Agency is the lead agency for environmental monitoring and clean-up of the Cabot/Koppers Superfund site and has indicated they will require the responsible parties to conduct additional sampling to further define the area and extent of contamination.  The Health Department will continue to evaluate the health risks as more test data becomes available.  
 
The Alachua County Health Department will continue to work with Alachua County, and the City of Gainesville to inform citizens about health risks associated with this issue.  The three agencies are working to schedule a public meeting in the near future.  
To view the soil the soil sampling results click here.
 
For more information, contact Alachua County Health Department Environmental Health Director Anthony Dennis at 352-258-0257.
For toxicology information, contact the Florida Department of Health, Health Assessment Team Leader Randy Merchant at 850-245-8444 ex. 4240.
To contact Scott Miller, United States Environmental Protection Agency Section Chief in charge of this Superfund Site project, call 404-562-9120.    

While the preliminary test results do not indicate an immediate health hazard to area residents, the Health Department recommends the following precautions: Children should avoid playing in the 15’-20’ City of Gainesville easement just west of the Koppers facility western boundary fence between NW 26 Avenue and NW 30 Avenue. Children under the age of six are at a higher risk of exposure from incidental ingestion (swallowing). Area residents should practice good general hygiene including hand washing with soap and water after contact with bare soil.                                       

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Large Turnout at Alachua County Economic Stimulus Summit

Despite rainy weather, an Economic Stimulus Summit hosted by the Alachua County Board of County Commissioners experienced heavy participation as community leaders and local stakeholders came out to hear State and Federal officials discuss the ins-and-outs of obtaining stimulus funding made available through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.
165 people from across Alachua County gathered at the Best Western Gateway Grand Hotel in Gainesville to join in the event, which was organized by County officials for the purpose of disseminating information intended to maximize the flow of stimulus dollars into Alachua County. Representatives from public and non-profit agencies were given the opportunity to learn how to effectively identify and apply for stimulus funding, as well as being given the chance to network with their peers to discuss opportunities for forming partnerships on projects benefiting the community.
Among the various State and Federal agencies represented at the Summit were FloridaWorks, FDOT, the US Department of Agriculture – Rural Development, the Florida Department of Community Affairs, the US Small Business Administration, and the Florida Agency for Healthcare Administration. Alachua County Office of Management and Budget staff were present to provide information on grant research and application methods which participants could use to identify and obtain stimulus funding.
County officials deemed the Economic Stimulus Summit a success overall, and pointed to the large turnout as an indication of how much interest has been generated throughout Alachua County in the Federal Stimulus. Alachua County Economic Stimulus Coordinator Doug Drymon commented: “When an Economic Stimulus Summit was first discussed back in March, there were some people who wondered if it would be necessary to plan for more than 50 people attending. The fact that more than 160 people chose to come to the Summit is an indication of just how important this subject has become in the last several months.”

 

Click here to view the Economic Stimulus Summit Presentation.

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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 be held June 29 thru July 10, 2009. 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, 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 352-264-6758.


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County Commission to Appoint Charter Review Commission

The Preamble of the Alachua County Home Rule Charter states:

The citizens of Alachua County, Florida, believing that governmental decisions affecting local interests should be made locally rather than by the state, and, in order to bring to the county the full home rule benefits afforded by the constitution of the State of Florida to charter counties, do ordain and establish this home rule charter for Alachua County, Florida.

The County Commission is urging citizens to engage in the Charter Review process. Every ten years, eleven to fifteen Alachua County citizens are appointed by the Commission to review Alachua County’s Home Rule Charter. Known as the Charter Review Commission (CRC), the group will decide by majority vote if Charter amendments or revisions should be placed on the general election ballot for November of 2010.

The commitment of time to the CRC will be substantial. Applicants should carefully consider their ability to attend meetings at least monthly starting in October of 2009 and continuing through July of 2010.

“Thomas Jefferson believed an informed and engaged citizenry was democracy’s greatest safeguard,” said Alachua County Manager Randall H. Reid, “As our Charter is our local constitution, the Charter Review Commission is a very powerful way for citizens to participate in their government.”

To view the Home Rule Charter click here.

To fill out and submit an application, click here. The deadline for application to the CRC is July 31, 2009.

For more information, contact the Advisory Board Program Coordinator, Mary Lowry, at (352) 264-6904.



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Special Stormwater Meeting

The Public is invited to attend a special County Commission Meeting on Stormwater on Tuesday, June 2, 2009 at 1:30 p.m. in the County Administration Building’s Jack Durrance Auditorium, located at 12 SE 1st Street, Gainesville. 
County staff will be presenting the findings and status update of the Stormwater Master Plan and seeking direction from the Board on whether or not it wishes to proceed with, fund, and implement a Stormwater Management Program.  The meeting will be available live on Channel 12 and on the County’s Video on Demand site.  The meeting will be replayed on Ch. 12 and archived and available “on demand’ on the web.

In June of 2005, Public Works staff presented the need for a countywide Stormwater Management Program to the Board.  The presentation outlined stormwater management, and funding issues.  In 2006, the Board of County Commissioners funded the initiation and setup of the Stormwater Program and the development of a Stormwater Master Plan.

The Stormwater Master Plan includes an inventory of existing facilities, a countywide stormwater model, and an assessment of needs and problem areas with conceptual improvement concepts for those areas.  From the needs assessment and projected costs for these improvement concepts, an analysis was completed to project funding needs for a stormwater management program. The Stormwater Master Plan also includes funding options should the Board wishes to implement the Stormwater Management Program.

To view the Stormwater Management Program Update presentation click here.

For more information, contact Rahim Harji at 352-374-5245, extension 314 or e-mail him at rharji@alachuacounty.us.

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County Update

County Update is a half hour news program providing in-depth information on County programs, services and initiatives. County Update airs on Community 12 and the Video On Demand website. Click here to view this month’s show.

Features This Month


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Commissioner Chestnut Participates in D.C. Obesity Summit

County Commissioner Cynthia Moore Chestnut recently joined 200 other public officials from across the country to discuss policies to advance healthy eating and increased physical activity for America’s children.

Commissioner Chestnut represented the National Association of Counties (NACo) at the Childhood Obesity Prevention Summit, held from May 7 to May 8, 2009 in Washington, D.C., hosted by Leadership for Healthy Communities (LHC). NACo is one of 11 national groups representing state and local governments and schools working in partnership with LHC to reduce childhood obesity.

“I was honored to represent the nation’s counties at the Childhood Obesity Prevention Summit,” Commissioner Chestnut said. “As county officials, it is critical that we work together with all stakeholders in our communities to encourage healthy eating and active lifestyles for children and families.”

According to the National Association of Counties, “Nearly 33 percent of children and adolescents and about 65 percent of adults in the United States are overweight or obese. This health crisis placing them at increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease and other serious, chronic problems. Beyond the personal health toll, overweight and obesity put added pressure on an already overburdened health care system. Studies estimate that the obesity epidemic is costing the country more than $117 billion per year in direct medical expenses and indirect costs such as reduced productivity and absenteeism.”

For more information, contact Alachua County Commissioner, Cynthia Moore Chestnut at 352-264-6900.


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Hunger Summit II

Alachua County and the City of Gainesville are conducting “Hunger Summit II” on June 3, 2009 from 8:30 a.m. until noon at Trinity United Methodist Church located at 4000 NW 53rd Avenue, Gainesville. Co-Chaired by Alachua County Commissioner Rodney J. Long and Gainesville Mayor Pegeen Hanrahan, the event is sponsored by the Alachua County Commission, the Gainesville City Commission, the Alachua County School Board, The Florida Department of Children and Families, and United Way of North Central Florida. Bruce Delaney, Executive Director, Florida Natural Resources Leadership Institute, is the summit facilitator.

Hunger Summit II will include the presentation of the Alachua County/ City of Gainesville Hunger Abatement Plan. The plan addresses local food and nutrition providers including programs serving elders as well as USDA programs such as Women Infants and Children, School Meals, Summer Youth Food Program, Food Stamps, and Farmers Markets.

Registration begins at 8:30 a.m. Refreshments will be served.

For more information, contact Alachua County Poverty Reduction Director John Skelly at 352-264-6700.

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EPD Wins Outreach Award

The Alachua County Environmental Protection Department (EPD) won the People’s Choice Award for two public service announcements encouraging people to pick up pet wastes at the National Nonpoint and Stormwater Outreach Conference in Portland, Oregon on May 13, 2009.

“These public service announcements are a key element of Alachua County EPD’s public outreach campaign designed to encourage citizens to scoop, bag, and trash pet wastes at home and around the community’” said Chris Bird, Director of Alachua County EPD. He continued saying, “I want to recognize Stacie Greco, EPD Senior Environmental Specialist, for her work in obtaining funding for, designing, and implementing the pet waste campaign.  In addition, Group 5 and Associates has done an excellent job creating the campaign materials, including the public service announcements.  Finally, I would like to thank the Gainesville Clean Water Partnership for funding this important campaign to help reduce bacteria levels in our creeks”.

Many of the creeks in Alachua County are listed as Impaired Waters by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, due to their high levels of fecal coliform bacteria. Pet waste is a known source of bacteria that can be reduced by simply changing behaviors. EPD’s campaign uses innovative social marketing techniques; such as, providing free bag dispensers to attach to leashes and installing pet waste disposal stations in public parks, to help citizens overcome the barriers of cleaning up after their pets. Many local veterinarian offices are participating in the campaign by displaying EPD’s posters and distributing pet waste pamphlets and magnets to their clients.

EPD is also working with the Alachua County Health Department, the City of Gainesville Public Works Department, and Gainesville Regional Utilities to identify and reduce additional sources of fecal coliform bacteria to our creeks.

For more information, or to view the commercials, click here or call Chris Bird at 352-264-6801.


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Wild Spaces & Public Places Oversight Committee

A “Wild Spaces and Public Places Citizen Oversight Committee” is being formed as specified in the ballot language for last November’s Wild Spaces & Public Places Environmental Lands, Parks and Recreation One-Half Percent Sales Tax referendum.  The purpose of the committee is to assure citizens and elected officials that funds approved through the referendum are expended only for:  

Parks and recreation facilities that were on approved project lists attached to the Sales Surtax Ordinance approved by the Alachua County Commission 
Conservation land purchases consistent with referendum language 

The committee will be made up of five voting members and three alternates.  Alachua County and the City of Gainesville will appoint two members each.  The Alachua County League of Cities will appoint one member.  Each entity will appoint one alternate.  Applicants must be Alachua County residents and must not hold elected office. 

For more information, contact Alachua County Program Coordinator Mary Lowry at 352-264-6904.

Interested citizens can apply online by clicking one of the following:  

Alachua County Board of County Commissioners, click here.

City of Gainesville: (must be City of Gainesville residents) click here.

To apply for the League of Cities slot, send an email to the Chair of the Alachua County League of Cities at louie45@gmail.com

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National HIV Testing Day

On Monday June 22, 2009, from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m., the Alachua County Health Department will be observing “National HIV Testing Day.”  This year’s theme is “Take the Test, Take Control.”  In support of this important public health initiative, the Alachua County Health Department (224 SE 24th Street, Gainesville) will be providing free HIV/STD testing in addition to offering free and confidential HIV counseling. The free tests utilize the OraQuick Advance finger stick test and citizens will only have to wait 20 minutes for their HIV results. 

Please call 352-334-7960 to schedule a free and confidential HIV OraQuick test.  Other Sexually Transmitted Disease information and screening will also be available.

For more information, click here.

The goal of the Alachua County Health Department is to promote, protect, maintain and improve the health and safety of all citizens and visitors.

If any accommodations are needed for persons with disabilities, please contact the Equal Opportunity Office at (352) 374-5275 or (352) 374-5284 TDD.




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What’s On “Alachua County Talks”

Click here to watch Alachua County Poverty Reduction Director John Skelly talk about Poverty Reduction Programs in Alachua County.

Click here to watch Alachua County Sustainability Manager Sean McLendon discuss sustainability in Alachua County.

Check out the latest editions of Alachua County Talks on Community 12 TV by viewing the Channel 12 Show Schedule.

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Post Disaster Redevelopment Plan Meeting

The next Alachua County Post Disaster Redevelopment Planning Process meeting will be Wednesday, June 3rd, from 6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. at the Alachua County Health Department Auditorium, 218 SE 24th Street, Gainesville, Florida 32641.

The purpose of this meeting will be to review the planning process, and to discuss the makeup and roles of the executive and working committees. Additionally, the group will review the preliminary Hazard Vulnerability Assessment and begin identifying community issues that will impact the plan or result from the plan’s implementation.

To make this planning process successful, participation is needed from all sectors of the community, including the local governments, major industries, business and community groups, educational institutions and the public.
For more information, about the Post-Disaster Redevelopment Plan or this upcoming meeting, contact David Donnelly at dad@alachuacounty.us or 352.264.6500.

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Supervisor of Elections Register Over 200 High School Students to Vote

Over 200 high school students registered to vote through the High School Voter Registration and Education Program. This program is a partnership between the Alachua County Supervisor of Elections Office and Alachua County high schools which allows hands on voting experience while encouraging students to exercise their right to vote once they become eligible.

The Elections Office recently visited the county’s high schools registering and pre-registering eligible students to vote and educating students on the importance of their participation in democracy. Students also learned about the electoral process and were provided an opportunity to practice their new voting skills by using demonstration ballots and the optical scan voting equipment used in County elections. Students were provided voter education materials along with “I Registered to Vote” and “Future Voter” stickers.

Over 45 students elected to become even more involved by signing up to serve as poll workers on Election Day.

“I’m really excited by the response we’ve received this year from our high school students. Not only are they eager to vote in the next election, but they want to participate in the experience of actually running the election itself.”

Schools visited during this campaign include Buchholz, Santa Fe, Hawthorne, Newberry and the Professional Academies Magnet at Loften School.

For more information on this program or to become a poll worker, please contact the Supervisor of Elections at (352) 374-5252.


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Commission Highlights

Announcements
Mark Sexton, Communications Coordinator
Attachment:
Announcements

Young Marine Sergeant Major Kayle M. Hill Day
The Board proclaimed Saturday April 25, 2009 as “Young Marine Sergeant Major Kayle M. Hill Day” in Alachua County, Florida.
Attachment: 
Young_Marine_Kayle_M_Hill_Day_2009.pdf

Milton Lewis Young Marine Day
The Board proclaimed Saturday June 6, 2009 as “Milton Lewis Young Marine Day” in Alachua County, Florida.
Attachment: 
Milton_Lewis_Young_Marine_Day_2009.pdf

The Board accepted the progress update of the Newberry/Cooperstown baseball park project.
Attachment: 
Key Points Regarding the Cooperstown Dreams Park Project in Newberry.pdf

County Manager’s Report
Attachment: County Manager’s Report

Board approved/confirmed the action of the Local Planning Agency to transmit proposed EAR to Dept of Community Affairs2

 

Commission Comments
Attachment:
Commission Comments

Chair Byerly asked that DOT be contacted in regards to an update on the contract for the replacement of the dead trees on Williston Road

 

 

Special Exception Resolution

The Board adopted Resolution Z-09-04, a request for a special exception to allow a 2,200-foot long private landing strip in an Agriculture zoning district on approximately 155 acres.

Attachment: Resolution_for_ZOX0109.PDF
Attachment: 
ZOX0109_Powerpoint_Presentation.pdf
Attachment: 
ZOX0109_Supplemental_Background_Information.PDF
Attachment: ZOX0109.pptx
Attachment: ZOX0109_Citizen_Comments.PDF
Attachment: ZOX0109_Background.pdf
Attachment: ZOX0109_Staff_Report.pdf

 

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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.