May 11th edition of:

Community Update
A Report on the Activities of Alachua County Government

 

This Issues Features:

National Drug Court Month
05-15-12 Commission Special Meeting
What's On "Alachua County Talks"
Poe Springs County Park Prescribed Burn
Vermicomposting Workshop
Animal Services Renovations
Trans-Saharan Elections Project
Cinco De Meow Adoption Event
May Extension Programs
May 4-H Program
Election Workers Needed to Work the 2012 Elections
Commission Highlights

National Drug Court Month

May 2012 is National Drug Court Month. On behalf of the Alachua County Drug Court, the Honorable Walter M. Green received a proclamation from the Board of County Commissioners during the Regular Meeting on April 24, 2012, for local recognition of this nationwide event. He and the Honorable Martha Ann Lott preside over Alachua County's Drug Court.

Judge Green commended the Commission for their continued vision and courage of funding the Drug Court Program, stating, "Drug Court is one of the most effective programs and successful programs in the court system today." Judge Green added, "Alachua County's Drug Court is ranked among the best Drug Courts in the country."

The Drug Court is celebrating this year's national theme "Accountability through Compassion" with the recognition of many former program graduates at the May 11 Drug Court Hearing. After the hearing, the Drug Court Team will host an Open House for elected and appointed officials.

"We often talk about success stories in the abstract," stated Drug Court Supervisor Frank Owens. "This is an opportunity for officials to meet and speak with current and former participants who achieve and live those stories."
Nationally, more than 2,600 Drug Courts serve to reduce correctional costs, protect community safety, and improve public welfare. To ensure accountability, participants are regularly and randomly tested for drug use, required to appear frequently in court, rewarded for progress, and sanctioned for not living up to their obligations.

Alachua County's Drug Court program was established as one of the first Drug Courts in the nation and has served almost 2,500 participants in 19 years of operation. The program is fully funded by the Alachua County Board of County Commissioners in partnership with the local criminal justice system and social service agencies.

For more information about Drug Court, contact Frank Owens at 352-384-3199 or fowens@alachuacounty.us.

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05-15-12 Commission Special Meeting

The Alachua County Commission will conduct a Special Meeting/General Policy Discussion at 10 a.m. on Tuesday May 15, 2012, in the Grace Knight Conference Room on the second floor of the Alachua County Administration Building located at 12 SE 1st Street, downtown Gainesville.

The agenda includes the following items for discussion:

  1. Discuss possible meetings with surrounding Counties
  2. A discussion on smoking

View agenda

The Special Meeting/General Policy Discussion meetings are held twice a month on the first and third Tuesdays at 10 a.m. The agenda always includes a Commission Discussion agenda item so that Commissioners can discuss any item they choose. The Commission will not make motions or take action during the Commission Discussion period.

Citizens are encouraged to attend the meetings or to view them live on Cox Channel 12 or on the County's Video on Demand website.

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


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What's On "Alachua County Talks"

Click here to view this edition of "Alachua County Talks." it features an interview with A.L. Mebane High School Alumni Association member Verdell Washington Robinson.

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

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

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Poe Springs County Park Prescribed Burn

The prescribed burn at Poe Springs County Park on April 25, 2012 was a successful event. The 40 acre burn was performed entirely by the EPD Fire Team. Special approval was given by Forest Area Supervisor, Jamie Rittenhouse, of the Florida Forest Service for authorization to burn that day since open burning was restricted due to drought conditions. This demonstrated his confidence in our judgment and abilities. Bob Kennedy, Kelly McPherson, Earl Clark, Kevin Ratkus, Jim Myles, Greg Owen and myself were on the burn and we worked together safely in arduous conditions to achieve our objectives. The tortoise field that we burned was covered with bahia grass and dense patches of prickly pear cactus. It had a hardwood hammock in the middle that we needed to keep the fire out of, which made operations more complex. The Parks Crew had prepared the unit quickly and thoroughly, mowing the grass close to the ground around the perimeter of the unit. Sandy Vardaman, Ramesh Buch, Chris Bird, Robert Avery and James Robbins were behind the scenes working to make things happen smoothly between our departments.

Gusty winds were predicted for later in the day so we got an early start. Our group briefed at the site, readied our equipment and began ignition before 11 a.m. The fire spread steadily and slowly without gaining too much intensity. Small clouds of grasshoppers leapt and flew away from the low, advancing flames. The crew watched as turkeys walked unconcerned in the field catching grasshoppers and then calmly retreating into the nearby woods when the fire got closer. The fire was out a few minutes after 1 p.m. We drove around the field with our water equipment to put out the few old stumps left smoking and watched as sparrows flew onto the blackened ground grabbing the easily visible bright green grasshoppers. A short time later beside the field as we regrouped to gather our equipment and discuss the burn, a Swallow-tailed Kite wheeled low over the tree line and our heads to scan for prey. Though I have been bossing burns for a number of years, I am thankful to the people who made my first Burn Boss experience with Alachua County a rewarding one.
By David Hoyt

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Vermicomposting Workshop

The Alachua County Office of Sustainability, Gainesville Urban Homesteaders, Florida Organic Growers, and Gainesville Compost are hosting a workshop on worm composting (vermicomposting) on May 19, 2012 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the Downtown Farmers Garden on the west side of the Alachua County Administration Building located at 12 SE 1st Street Gainesville.

Vermicomposting is the process of using worms and microorganisms to break down vegetable scraps into rich compost. Chris Cano of local composting business Gainesville Compost explained, "Vermicomposting is a great solution for those who want to compost but only have a small amount of food waste or who do not have the space for a large compost pile." This workshop is free and open to the public.

The workshop will include:

To insure the proper amount of materials and worms are available, preregistration is required for those wishing to make their own worm bin during the workshop. Payment for materials can be made on the day of the event however, pre-payment is strongly encouraged. The cost is $20 for 1 pound of worms and $30 for materials to build a three-tier bin including bedding.

Vermicomposting Workshop Registration and Pre-payment

Vermicomposting Workshop Flyer

Registration must be completed by May 14th at 9 a.m.

For more information, contact Sean McLendon, Alachua County Sustainability Program Manager, at 352-548-3765 or smclendon@alachuacounty.us.


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Animal Services Renovations

Alachua County Animal Services hosted a "Cinco De Meow" adoption event on May 5.

The event was an opportunity to view the extensive renovations completed by the Alachua County Facilities division. These renovations include: complete Renovation of the Feline Adoption Center, a newly designed main lobby and vestibule, removal and replacement of the existing inefficient HVAC systems with new high SEER A/C units-to improve air flow, construction of one new office, installation of a building automation system in order to monitor energy consumption, installation of a 100% outside Desert Aire HVAC units to control of odors and provide improved air quality throughout the building and reduce the possibility of the spread of diseases through the proper exchange of air, installation of new furnaces in the kennels, cleaning of existing ductwork and installation new duct as needed for better air distribution, replacement of old inefficient boilers, new landscaping, and new signage.

In speaking of the event, Animal Services Public Education Program Coordinator Hilary Hines said, "With the assistance of Alachua County Facilities and University of Florida's Shelter Medicine program we are enriching the quality of life of the animals that are housed here. Join us and fall in love with your new best friend."

Click to view a short video about the renovation project and its benefits.

For more information, contact Hilary Hines at 352-264-1241 or heh@alachuacounty.us.

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Trans-Saharan Elections Project

On this past Thursday, Alachua County Supervisor of Elections, Pam Carpenter, hosted a day-long meeting with 16 African delegates participating in the Trans-Saharan Elections Project. This project brings together African Elections Fellows from six countries-Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Niger and Senegal with a wide range of American professionals involved in elections. This is the second year the Supervisor of Elections Office has participated in this project. The program focuses on comparing the organization, administration and monitoring of elections in the U.S. and in the six Francophone African countries of the Trans-Saharan region. Much emphasis was placed on the major objective of increasing the participant's understanding of issues and procedures so as to have a sustained and significant impact on African electoral processes.

Delegates along with their interpreters, and program coordinators met with the Supervisor of Elections and her staff to learn about Florida's election laws and voting procedures. The discussions covered several topics including the role of Supervisor of Elections, voter registrations, redistricting, district lines and representation, early, absentee and election day voting, candidate qualifying, petitions, poll workers, outreach programs, and more.
After lunch, delegates had the opportunity to tour the Elections Operations Center and interact with Elections' staff. The Center was staged as an Election Day precinct, complete with voter sign-in, voting booths and voting equipment. A mock election was held for the delegates in order to provide them with the opportunity to participate in the Alachua County voting process. Delegates also examined the forms and supplies sent to each precinct and noted the similarities regarding this area of election preparation.

The Trans-Saharan Elections Project is a three-week program being conducted through the University of Florida. After leaving Gainesville the delegates will journey to Tallahassee where they will have an opportunity to visit two Florida courts as well as meet with Leon County Supervisor of Elections. The final week will include a trip to Washington D.C. and meetings with the Federal Elections Commission and the U.S. Elections Assistance Committee.

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Simulated Gambling Moratorium

During the May 8, Regular Public Hearing, the Board held the first of two required public hearings to consider a proposed ordinance that will extend a moratorium for an additional six months on the acceptance of applications, the issuance of development permits, site plan approvals or any other official action of Alachua County permitting or having the effect of permitting new simulated gambling establishments.

The Board approved the First Public Hearing ordinance and instructed staff to schedule the second Public Hearing on May 22, 2012.

Click to view this item and scroll down to item 23 in the jump points.

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May Extension Programs

These programs are offered at the Extension Office (2800 NE 39th Avenue, Gainesville).

Commercial Horticulture Programs

Basics of Turfgrass Pest Management: Cinch Bugs Edition - May 17, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Topics of this pest training class include: Florida pesticide licensing requirements, label language, and how to avoid common mistakes that may result in fines. Also included are the best practices for liquid and granular applications, identification of key pest insects and beneficial insects. This hands-on pest control workshop will also introduce grass identification and growth requirements, and teach attendees how to identify and manage the major turfgrass pests of the Southeast.

Registration fee is $25.00 (includes lunch & class materials). This class is designed to give hands-on experience to lawn technicians.

Living on a Few Acres (12 part series) - This is a new program for 2012, and will be held on the third Thursday of each month. The fifth class of the series is entitled "Beef & Small Ruminant Production," to be held on May 17, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Topics include: breed selection, forage selection & management, and small ruminant health management.

This monthly program is designed as an introduction to basic production techniques on a wide variety of topics from pasture management and livestock production to growing vegetables and alternative enterprises. The program is designed to provide information to individuals interested in beginning or improving a small scale agricultural operation. Cost to attend is $10.00 for individuals and $15.00 for couples for entire series (notebook & materials provided).

Limited Commercial Landscape Maintenance Workshop – May 23, from 9 a.m. to 3:15 p.m.

This class includes six hours of the required training for LCLM license applicants.  Participants needing recertification can attend the first four hours of class, but are encouraged to take the Advanced Landscape Training Workshop instead. The LCLM license exam will be given the same day as the class.  You must have all of your license application paperwork completed to sit for the exam.

The registration fee is $30.00 (includes program materials, refreshments, & lunch for the day).

ID Card Holder Training – May 29 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. 

This training is only required for identification cardholders spraying under a licensed pest control operator.  Each new cardholder must receive 4 hours classroom training, 6 months after card issued. Each existing cardholder must receive at least 2 hours of continuing training by the renewal date of the card: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. New Cardholders, 9 to 10:40 a.m. Existing Cardholders.

The registration fee is $5.00 (includes materials & refreshments).

Green Industries Best Management Practices – May 31, from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

This workshop is designed to provide training in Best Management Practices for anyone working in the lawn, landscape, pest control, or municipal grounds areas. This is a required training class for all commercial and institutional fertilizer applicators in Alachua County according to the Alachua County Fertilizer Standards and Management Practices Code.

Best Management Practices are focused on reducing non-point source pollution resulting from fertilization or pesticide application.  In some areas, you need to be certified in the BMPs to be able to bid on jobs or have commercial customers.  It will be mandatory throughout the state in the near future. Stay a step ahead of the new requirements.

The registration fee is $25.00 (includes materials & lunch).

Selling Processed Food, Eggs, Meat, and Milk Products at the Farmers Market: Rules and Regulations - May 31, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

This workshop will discuss the Florida Cottage Foods Legislation, and the rules and regulations for selling eggs, meat, cured meat, milk and milk products at farmers markets.

Class is free of charge.

Please register at least three working days prior to these programs by calling 352-337-6209 (voicemail).

Agriculture & Natural Resources Program

Worker Protection Standard: Train the Trainer Workshop – May 22, from 8:30 a.m. to noon

Federal and State law requires that all agricultural workers be trained in the Worker Protection Standard by their 5th day on the job. Attendees will receive: training in all major aspects of Worker Protection Standards, WPS Train the Trainer materials, handouts of educational materials, and a Florida Department of Agriculture Inspector will be present to answer questions on WPS enforcement & compliance.

Registration fee to attend this class is $5.00. 3 Private Applicator CEUs will be offered. Pre-register by May 18, 2012, by calling 352-337-6209 (voicemail).

Environmental Horticulture Program

2012 Annual Alachua County Master Gardener Plant Sale - May 19, from 8 a.m. to noon

A variety of herbs, annuals, perennials, natives, trees and more will be available. Master Gardener volunteers will be on site for advice on selection and care of your plants. Admission and parking is free.

Family & Consumer Sciences Programs

Food Safety and Quality Program (ServSafe®) – May 24, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

This program is dedicated to providing training, which enables food managers and staff to offer Florida consumers food that is prepared in a clean and safe environment.

For more information and to register, please visit the Food Safety and Quality website, or call toll-free at 1-888-232-8723.

For more information about these programs, call 352-955-2402. Visit the Extension Calendar for additional programs offered by the Extension Office.


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Tree Removal on NW 16th Blvd and NW 16th Ave

As part of the County's routine maintenance activities, the Alachua County Public Works Department announces that tree removal will occur along NW 16th Blvd and NW 16th Ave between NW 43rd St and NW 13th St. County staff has identified twelve dead and dying crape myrtle trees and stumps along this roadway.  In addition, four loquat trees and one Jerusalem thorn will be removed due to decay.  The tree removal activity is scheduled to begin the week of May 14, 2012.

Replacement trees will be included in the landscape plans as part of the NW 16th Ave/NW 23rd Ave Resurfacing project which is tentatively scheduled to begin construction in Spring 2013.

For more information, please contact Ha Nguyen, the Alachua County Project Manager or Heather Martin, Alachua County Horticulturist at 352-374-5245.

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Commission Highlights

Emergency Medical Services Week
The Board proclaimed May 20 - 26 as Emergency Medical Services Week
Attachment:
EMS Week 2012.pdf

National Tourism Week
The Board proclaimed May 5 - 13 as National Tourism Week
Attachment:
National Tourism Week 2012.pdf

Corrections/Detention Employees Appreciation Week
The Board proclaimed May 7 - 12 as Corrections/Detention Employees Appreciation Week
Attachment:
Detention Employees Week 2012.pdf

Public Works Week
The Board proclaimed May 20 - 26 as Public Works Week
Attachment:
Public Works Week 2012.pdf

National Bike Month
The Board proclaimed May 2012 as National Bike Month
Attachment:
National Bike Month 2012.pdf

Public Service Recognition Week
The Board proclaimed May 6 - 12 as Public Service Recognition Week
Attachment:
Public Service Recognition Week 2012.pdf

Revisions to Employee Policies
The Board approved the revisions to Employee Policies: 2-6, Workplace Attire; 4-2, Types and Status of Employment; 6-6, Drug Testing; 9-2, Disciplinary Policy; 9-3, Disciplinary Offenses and Penalties; and 9-4, Appeals.  Under Disciplinary Policy the Board directed the  Manager to review Section 9-3,possibly increasing the severity of disciplinary actions available for Group II offense and exam some Group II offenses should be transferred to Group III
Attachment:
Pol 4 2 Types Status of Employmentproposedrevisedbudgetednonemployee062210.pdf
Attachment:
Pol 2 6 Workplace Attire add uniforms0112.pdf
Attachment:
Pol 9 4 Appeals proposed Feb 2012.pdf
Attachment:
Pol 9 3 Disciplinary Offenses Penalties proposed Feb2012 plusmissingcashpenalty2011 (2).pdf
Attachment:
Pol 6 6 Drug Testingproposeddefinepostaccidentandaddusingpersonalvehicle030812.pdf
Attachment:
Pol 9 2 Disciplinary Policy proposedFeb2012.pdf

Florida Department of Corrections Interagency/Public Works Agreement
The Board approved the Florida Department of Corrections Interagency/Public Works Agreement (Local Agreement) The Board finds that accepting this liability is in the best interests of Alachua County and the Board agrees to accept the liability under the Agreement.
Attachment:
DOC Inmate work Crew Final.pdf

Special Assessment Districts
The Board authorized staff to prepare a draft ordinance revising Chapter 37 of the Alachua County Code to include specific criteria for establishing Special Assessment Districts for the purposes of applying alternative surface treatments on County-maintained unimproved roads
Attachment:
Unimproved Road Special Assessment Districts Presentation 05 08 12.pdf
Attachment:
Unimproved Road Special Assessment Districts Presentation 05 08 12.pptx
Attachment:
Hardship Language.pdf
Attachment:
Unimproved Road Surface Treatment Program.pdf
Attachment:
2009 SAD Ordinance.pdf
Attachment:
Criteria for Unimproved Road SAD 2012.pdf

Poe Springs Retaining Wall

The Board approved the Budget Amendment for the Poe Springs Retaining Wall
Amount: $40,000.00
Attachment:
Poe Springs Retaining Wall BA.pdf

Santa Fe River Springs
The Board heard a presentation on the Recovery Plan for the Santa Fe River Springs by Dr. Robert Knight, Director, Florida Springs Institute.

Simulated Gambling Establishments
The Board held a public hearing on the ordinance extending a temporary moratorium for an additional six months on new simulated gambling establishments. A second public hearing will be required before adoption.
Attachment:
Moratorium_Ord_Internet_Cafe_Ext.pdf

Unified Land Development Codes
The Board provided policy direction on draft chapters 400-410 of the ULDC and authorized staff to advertise for Public Hearings.
Attachment:
Ch_400.pdf
Attachment:
Ch_402.pdf
Attachment:
Ch_404.pdf
Attachment:
Ch_408.pdf
Attachment:
PC_Cattery_Comments.pdf
Attachment:
PC_Claudio_e_mail_1.pdf
Attachment:
CHW__ULDC_Revision_Comments.pdf
Attachment:
Issues for Direction from County Commission.pdf
Attachment:
Ch_401.pdf
Attachment:
RuralConcerns_letter_to_BoCC.PDF
Attachment:
Ch_403.pdf
Attachment:
Ch_407.pdf
Attachment:
Ch_410.pdf
Attachment:
PC_Bahrs_email_2.pdf
Attachment:
Ch_405.pdf
Attachment:
Ch_406.pdf
Attachment:
Ch_409.pdf
Attachment:
PC_Bahrs_email_1.pdf
Attachment:
PC_Claudio_email_2.pdf
Attachment:
AHAC_Letter_to_BoCC.pdf
Attachment:
PC_Daycare_email.pdf
Attachment:
Presentation_ULDC_3_20_12.pdf
Attachment:
Presentation_ULDC_3_20_12.pptx
Attachment:
Highlights_of_Ch_407.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.