June 29th edition of:

Community Update
A Report on the Activities of Alachua County Government

 

This Issues Features:

SWAG Family Resource Center Ribbon Cutting
What’s On “Alachua County Talks”
Dangerous Conditions on the Santa Fe River
Residents Invited to Report Newly Formed Sinkhole Features
Health Department Warns of Flood Water Risks
eCivis Grants Network Training
Gainesville Hosts Annual Jehovah’s Witness Conference
Voters Are Now One Scan Away From Their Voter Information
Independence Day Waste Collection Schedule
July Extension Programs
Commission Highlights

SWAG Family Resource Center Ribbon Cutting

The Alachua County Commission, the Southwest Advocacy Group (SWAG), and the Partnership for Strong Families (PSF) hosted the Ribbon Cutting for the SWAG Family Resource Center on Thursday, June 28. The event took place at the Center (807 SW 64th Terrace, Gainesville), and featured speakers, and a guided tour of the facility.

The SWAG Family Resource Center developed after SWAG went to the Alachua County Board of County Commissioners (BoCC) to ask for help. The BoCC allocated $225,000 to purchase and renovate two buildings in the Southwest community. Renovations on the Family Resource Center started on February 13, and were completed on May 18. The Rotary Clubs of Gainesville Foundation awarded the project $57,000 for furnishings, appliances, and computers. Partnership for Strong Families (PSF) provides a full-time manager to run the facility.

“This is a great example of partners and stakeholders joining with government to address the needs of citizens,” commented County Manager Rick Drummond. “It is amazing and heartening to see what a single minded group of people can accomplish when they have the determination and patience to pursue the collaboration necessary to make this kind of project a reality.”

“I am so grateful for everyone who stepped forward to help us get to where we are now,” said Katie Fields, SWAG Family Resource Center Manager. “It has been very impactful to see the community embrace this facility now that our doors are open. We even had a twelve-year old boy ask his mom if he could donate his old books after he came to SWAG and saw our children’s library.”

“We are thrilled with the results of this renovation project and to see the vision come to fruition and begin making a real impact,” said Shawn Salamida, President/CEO of Partnership for Strong Families. “We are glad to partner with SWAG and the County to make this dream a reality and to see the impact meeting this community’s needs has on improving outcomes for our most vulnerable children.”

SWAG is a community-based organization that strives to improve living conditions, educational opportunities, and quality of life for residents in the Tower Road corridor just west of I-75 in the 32607 zip code.

Partnership for Strong Families is the lead community-based care agency for Florida Judicial Circuits Three and Eight, including Alachua County. PSF is contracted by the Florida Department of Children and Families to deliver comprehensive child welfare services to children who are victims of abuse and neglect. Partnership for Strong Families also works with at-risk families to prevent child abuse and to decrease the risk of children entering the foster care system. PSF serves more than 5,000 children in 13 counties annually.

Click to learn more about SWAG. Click to learn more about Partnership for Strong Families.

For more information, contact the Alachua County Communications Office at 352-264-6979.

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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 Director of the H.T. Odum Florida Springs Institute Dr. Robert Knight.
Dr. Knight will be discussing the Institute’s Santa Fe Springs Restoration Action Plan and the general health of our region’s waters supply and the Floridan Aquifer.

Click here to view this edition of “Alachua County Talks.” It features an interview with Alachua County Environmental Protection Department Director Chris Bird.
Bird discusses issues related to the degradation of the local springs and rivers, and the challenges facing Floridians concerning an adequate supply of fresh water going into the future.

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Dangerous Conditions on the Santa Fe River

Due to dangerous water conditions resulting from the recent tropical storm, the Alachua County Environmental Protection Department is advising people to temporarily avoid swimming, tubing, canoeing, or kayaking in the portion of the upper Santa Fe River bordering northwest Alachua County west of Interstate 75.

“I can’t stress enough the need for people to be aware of the dangerous conditions”, said Chris Bird, Alachua County Environmental Protection Director. “The river poses hidden environmental hazards, including strong currents and submerged trees and other debris that can cause entrapment, serious injury, or drowning.”

In addition, Bird warns that the river’s high flow conditions, combined with low groundwater levels from the drought, are creating powerful, hidden siphons that can drown even a strong swimmer by pulling them through underwater cavities in the bottom of the river.

These unusually dangerous conditions in the upper Santa Fe River are expected to persist for 7-10 days until the river levels are projected to subside. Flood and water level updates are available from the Suwannee River Water Management District website at www.mysuwanneeriver.com

For more information, contact Chris Bird at 352-264-6801.

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Residents Invited to Report Newly Formed Sinkhole Features

The Alachua County Environmental Protection Department (ACEPD) invites residents to promptly report newly formed sinkhole features. Early detection and repair of sinkholes and other solution features (including solution pipes, chimneys, and collapsed soils) is critical to ensure the safety of county residents as well as prevent potential contamination of our drinking water. With the extreme drought we have experienced in the past few years, there is increased risk of sinkhole formation as the rainy season approaches.

Residents can report observations of newly formed solution features by filling out the online form found on the ACEPD website (or here) or contact the ACEPD office at 352-264-6800, or epd-reception@alachuacounty.us (include location, type of concern, and contact information)

ACEPD staff can direct residents to local resources (such as licensed professionals in the area who can oversee repairs as needed), or forward the complaint to the responsible entity if the feature is not located on private property.
Sinkholes are a natural and common geologic feature in areas underlain by limestone and other rocks that are dissolved by water, such as the majority of western Alachua County. While rapidly forming sinkholes rarely occur under natural conditions, human activities such as groundwater withdrawal, surface water diversion, and pond construction create conditions that make sinkhole formation more likely.

Please report only newly formed, active sinkhole features (including solution pipes, chimneys, and the like).  Historic sinkholes that existed prior to development activities are protected from disturbance or filling and a natural vegetative buffer is required to prevent impacts to the feature and our groundwater.

Remember, sinkholes are a direct link to our drinking water and are not a place for trash, hazardous materials, or unwanted debris.

For more information on sinkholes and other solution features, contact Senior Environmental Specialist, Betty Rosenblatt at 352-264-6800.

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Health Department Warns of Flood Water Risks

The significant rainfall associated with Tropical Storm Debby poses health risks associated with flood waters. “Displaced snakes, insects and other wildlife, downed electrical lines and bacteria are all potential health threats in flood waters.” stated Paul Myers, Administrator of the Alachua County Health Department (ACHD). “Residents are advised to be aware of the risks that standing water poses during and after the storm.”

Flood waters- take extra caution when traveling on area roadways, especially to and from work.

Mosquitoes- recent rains and now flood waters have created mosquito breeding grounds and an increase in the mosquito population is expected in the coming days and weeks. Practice the “5 D’s”:

Private wells- The ACHD advises private well owners affected by flood waters from Tropical Storm Debby to take precautions against disease-causing organisms that may make their water unsafe to drink and recommends one of the following precautions before using water for drinking, cooking, washing dishes, brushing teeth or making ice:

  1. Boil water before use, holding it at rolling boil for at least one minute; or
  2. Disinfect water before use by adding 8 drops (about 1/8 tsp – this would form a puddle about the size of a dime) of plain unscented household bleach (4 to 6%) per gallon of water, and then let it stand for 30 minutes. If the water is cloudy after 30 minutes, repeat the procedure. Use a container that has a cap or cover for disinfecting and storing water to be used for drinking. This will prevent contamination; or
  3. Use bottled water, especially for mixing baby formula.

After the flooding subsides, complete the following steps:

For more information, contact the Alachua County Health Department at 352-334-7930.

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eCivis Grants Network Training

Alachua County is offering three free training session in July on the use of the “eCivis Grants Network” for nonprofits, public agencies and municipalities (qualified agencies can access eCivis free of charge through Alachua County). Since 2004, over $14 million dollars in new grants have been received by Alachua County nonprofits and municipal agencies from grants found using eCivis Grants Network.

This year’s training will be conducted by William Sederholm, eCivis Client Services Associate for Alachua County. Alachua County is partnering with the Nonprofit Center of North Central Florida and the UnitedWay of North Central Florida to provide this training.

Each session will cover:

As seating is limited, reservations are recommended. The training is open to new and existing users and interested parties.

Training will be offered on:

Tuesday, July 17, 2012 (9 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.)
Alachua County Health Department/Community Support Services
218 Southeast 24th Street, Gainesville
Click to RSVP

Tuesday, July 17, 2012 (11 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.)
Santa Fe College – Charles L. Blount Center
401 NW 6th Street, Gainesville
Click to RSVP

Tuesday, July 17, 2012 (2 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.)
UnitedWay of North Central Florida
6031 NW 1st Place, Gainesville, near the Oaks Mall
Click to RSVP

If you are unable to RSVP on-line, contact the Alachua County Office of Management and Budget at 352-374-5262.

For more information about eCivis Grants Network, contact Annette Perez at 352-337-6109 and visit eCivis on the web.

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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Gainesville Hosts Annual Jehovah’s Witness Conference

Once again the University of Florida, the Stephen C. O’Connell Center, and VisitGainesville, the official tourism office for Alachua County, will be hosting the Christian Congregative of Jehovah’s Witnesses starting on this Friday, June 29, through July 1, 2012. Based on last year’s attendance figures, approximately 6,000 people will attend over the three day period.

“Hosting the Jehovah’s Witnesses has a significant economic impact for the Gainesville community”, said Roland Loog, Director of VisitGainesville. “Patience and understanding from faculty, staff, students as well as the general public, particularly during the morning rush hour on Friday, June 29th, is encouraged as we welcome them back to our community. With an increase in visitors to the Gainesville/Alachua County area many businesses will feel the positive economic impact of the Jehovah’s Witnesses Convention attendees.”

As in the past, intersections to avoid during the Friday morning rush hour are SW 34th Street and University Avenue as well as 13th Street and University Avenue.

“VisitGainesville wants to extend a special thank you to the Board of County Commissioners, Alachua County Legal Department and the Tourist Development Council for the development of a county-wide convention grant that assisted us in our negotiations with the O’Connell Center,” said Loog. “We also would like to thank the City of Gainesville for their contribution in bringing this prestigious Convention to the University and our community.”

For more information, contact Anna Mikell, Tourism Marketing Manager for VisitGainesville at 352-374-5260 or amikell@visitgainesville.com, or Nancy Fischer, Director of Sales for VisitGainesville at nfischer@visitgainesville.com.

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Voters Are Now One Scan Away From Their Voter Information

Alachua County voters can now connect to the Supervisor of Elections with one scan using Microsoft Tag smartphone technology. Once the Microsoft Tag is scanned, voters can instantly access the Supervisor of Elections Mobile Web Pages providing them with important election information. Voters will be able to verify their voter status, make sure their registration information is current, find their polling location, track their mail ballot status and view their sample ballot. Voters will also have the ability to view and access the full Elections’ website or stay on the mobile web page.

Microsoft Tag is a 2D barcode that can be scanned and read by any smartphone equipped with a camera. Voters can get the Microsoft Tag application for free by visiting http://gettag.mobi on their smartphone.

Look for this tag on our press releases, elections related brochures and advertisements.

For additional information, contact the Alachua County Supervisor of Elections Office at 352-374-5252.

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Independence Day Waste Collection Schedule

Residential curbside collection service for solid waste, recycling, and yard trash will be delayed by one day due to the observance of Independence Day, on Wednesday, July 4. Collection regularly scheduled for Wednesday will be picked up on Thursday and so on through the week. The regular schedule will resume on Monday, July 9.

The Office of Waste Collection, the Hazardous Waste Collection Center, and the Leveda Brown Environmental Park’s Transfer Station will be closed on Wednesday, July 4, and will reopen on Thursday, July 5.

The five Alachua County Rural Collection Centers will be closed as usual on Wednesday and Thursday and will reopen on Friday, July 6.

For more information, contact Alachua County Waste Collection Manager, Milton Towns at 352-338-3233.

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July Extension Programs

Agriculture & Natural Resources Programs

These programs are offered by Barton Wilder, Agriculture & Natural Resources Agent, at Alachua County Cooperative Extension Office (2800 NE 39th Avenue, Gainesville).

Right of Way & Natural Areas Weed Control Workshop – July 24, from 9 a.m. to noon

Topics include: exotic weed identification, herbicides for Natural Areas & Right of Way, principles of vegetation management and herbicide calculations.

Registration fee to attend this class is $5.00 (includes light refreshments). 3 CEU’s Natural Area & Right of Way will be available.

Alachua County Summer Pond Workshop – July 25, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Topics include: fish identification and management, aquatic weed control and pond water quality.

Registration fee is $5.00 (includes hot dog dinner).

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

Family & Consumer Sciences Programs

These programs are offered by Dr. Brenda Williams, Family & Consumer Sciences Agent. All of these programs are held at the Extension Office (2800 NE 39th Avenue, Gainesville).

Three-part Financial Summer Camp for Adults (program topics listed below) – offered from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and repeated from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Important Papers - July 9, Topics include: organizing important papers, what to keep, where and for how long and tips for record keeping for income tax.

Basic Estate Planning - July 16, Topics include: wills, living wills and surrogate designation for health care. This class is especially recommended for parents with minor aged children.

Making Credit Work for You - July 23, Designed for those who want to review the components of credit scores, better understand the credit laws and get finances under better control. This class is especially recommended for young couples and college students.

Click to view the program brochure.

There is no cost to attend these classes and pre-registration is recommended but not required.

Food Safety and Quality Program (ServSafe®) - July 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 further information and to register, please visit the Food Safety and Quality website, or call toll-free at 1-888-232-8723.

Commercial Horticulture Programs

These programs are offered by Aparna Gazula, Commercial Horticulture Agent at the Extension Office (2800 NE 39th Avenue, Gainesville).

Living on a Few Acres (12 part series) – Fruits and Nuts – July 19, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

This session will provide information on production of high value alternative fruit and nut crops for local and niche markets.

Cost to attend is $10.00 for individuals and $15.00 for couples for entire series (notebook & materials provided).

Green Industries Best Management Practices – July 26, 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.

Registration fee is $25.00 includes materials and lunch.

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

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


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Commission Highlights

Water Safety Month
The Board proclaimed July 2012 as Water Safety Month
Attachment:
Water Safety Month July 2012.pdf

Interlocal Agreement for Public Safety Radios
The Board did not approve the staff recommendation to approve the interlocal agreement for public safety radios between the City of Waldo and Alachua County and instead will continue with the litigation of City of Waldo v. Alachua County.
Attachment:
WaldoAgreement.pdf
Attachment:
WaldoComplaint.pdf

Water Conservation Resolution

Concerning the Water Conservation Resolution and Request to Advertise the Ordinance for a Public Hearing the Board:

Adopted the resolution

Authorized the Chair letter to the St. Johns River Water Management District
Authorized advertising a public hearing for the proposed water conservation ordinance
Attachment:
Chair Letter to SJRWMD Interagency Agreement Request.pdf
Attachment:
BoCC Mtg June 26 Water Conservation Powerpoint.pdf
Attachment:
DRAFT Resolution Extreme Water Shortage rev 6-18-12.pdf
Attachment:
Phase III Water Shortage Final Order.pdf
Attachment:
WaterConservationOrdinance.pdf

Storage Tank Compliance Verification Program
The Board approved FDEP GC689 Task Assignment No.6 and No.7 for Storage Tank Compliance Verification Program; Approve addition of 1.0 FTE Senior Environmental Specialist Position; Approve Budget Amendment and Adopt Resolution to Recognize Unanticipated Revenues in FY12 budget for Fund 125-5551 and authorize County Manager to sign subsequent Amendment No.3 that adopts language in Task Assignment No.6 and No. 7
Attachment:
Budget Amendment FDEP Fund 125_5551.pdf
Attachment:
FDEP #GC689 TA 7 Final.pdf
Attachment:
HR Classification Memo SES Position 06 2012.pdf
Attachment:
Current FDEP Contract GC689.pdf
Attachment:
FDEP #GC689 TA 6 Final.pdf
Attachment:
Resolution FDEP Unant Rev FY12.pdf

Eastside Community Redevelopment Area Report

Concerning the Eastside Community Redevelopment Area Report on Advisory Committee Input, the Board directed staff to bring back to the Board a work plan to develop capital project information to address needs in the eastside area but not to pursue the CRA solution.

Attachment: CRA Response to BoCC Nov 2012.pdf
Attachment:
FLU Plan East Gainesville CRA.pdf
Attachment:
CRA BoCC Report June 2012.pdf
Attachment:
EDAC minutes March 2012.pdf
Attachment:
CRA Finding Report.pdf
Attachment:
MTPO PEG Subcommittee Feb 2012.pdf
Attachment:
CRA BoCC Report June 2012.pptx
Attachment:
CRA Advisory Committees Report June 2012.pdf

Support for Celebration Point Partners
The Board approved the language of the attached letter of Support for Celebration Point Partners for the application for financing from the State Infrastructure Bank and authorize the Chair’s signature.
Attachment:
45thST30thAve.pdf
Attachment:
SIB Support Letter.pdf

Water Conservation and Springs Protection Update

The Board Received the presentation on Water Conservation and Springs Protection update. Attachment: BoCC Mtg June 26 Springs Protection Strategies.pdf

Unified Land Development Code
The Board held the first Public Hearing to consider the proposed changes to the Unified Land Development Code (Amended)

Attachment: Highlights_Ch_407.pdf
Attachment:
ULDC_Chapter400_General_Provisions.pdf
Attachment:
ULDC_Chapter402_Development_Application_Review_Procedures.pdf
Attachment:
ULDC_Chapter405_Special_Districts_and_Activity_Centers.pdf
Attachment:
ULDC_Chapter409_Violations.pdf
Attachment:
Highlights_CH_400_401_402_403_404.pdf
Attachment:
ULDC_Chapter401_Dev_Review_Bodies.pdf
Attachment:
2012_ULDC_Draft_Ordinance.pdf
Attachment:
Cost_of_Housing_Analysis.pdf
Attachment:
ULDC_Chapter404_Use_Regulations.pdf
Attachment:
ULDC_Chapter406_Natural_and_Historic_Resources_Protections.pdf
Attachment:
ULDC_Chapter408_Nonconformities.pdf
Attachment:
ULDC_Chapter410_Definitions.pdf
Attachment:
Highlights_Ch_405_406_408_409_410.pdf
Attachment:
ULDC_Chapter400_General_Provisions.pdf
Attachment:
ULDC_Chapter403_Zoning_Districts.pdf
Attachment:
ULDC_Chapter407_Gen_Dev_Standards.pdf
Attachment:
ULDC_Update_6_26_12_Presentation.pdf

For Our Roads Alachua County
The Board approved the ballot language for the “For our Roads Alachua County” referendum to go on the November 2012 ballot.


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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.