January 25th edition of:

Community Update
A Report on the Activities of Alachua County Government


This Issues Features:

Levy Prairie Opening Ceremony
Election Workers Appreciation Week
Vernon Sawyer Appointed Animal Services Director
Blue Oven Kitchens on Alachua County Talks
A “Call of Duty” for the Alachua County Foster Grandparent
February Extension Programs
Commission Highlights

Levy Prairie Opening Ceremony

Alachua County will be celebrating the acquisition and public opening of the Levy Prairie portion of the Barr Hammock Preserve on February 2, 2013, at 9:30 a.m., at the North Trailhead (at SE 11th Drive, off Wacahoota Road). After February 2, the Preserve will be open for hiking and biking on 6½ miles of established paths with incredible views of over 1,000 acres of marsh and wet prairie.

The celebration will introduce you to the Preserve through a ceremonial ribbon cutting, a brief introductory talk, and guided nature walks.

Barr Hammock Preserve was acquired through the Alachua County Forever Program; the voter-approved initiative to acquire, improve and manage environmentally sensitive lands to protect water resources, wildlife habitat and natural areas suitable for resource based recreation. The referendum was passed in November 2000. It was funded again by the voters in 2008 with the Wild Spaces and Public Places Referendum.

Barr Hammock Levy Prairie was acquired in 2009 with funding from the North American Wetlands Conservation Act, Florida Communities Trust, and a generous donation from the Whitehurst Family.

Directions: North or south on US441 to Wacahoota Road
West on Wacahoota Road over I-75 (no exit to or from I-75)
First left after overpass on SE 11 Drive
South on SE 11 Drive to preserve trailhead/ parking
Overflow parking available along SE 11 Drive

Click to find out more about Alachua County Land Conservation.

For more information, contact the Alachua County Environmental Protection Department’s Land Conservation Program at 352-264-6848 or kmcpherson@alachuacounty.us.

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Election Workers Appreciation Week

Alachua County Election Workers were recognized and honored at this week’s Commission meeting for their hard work and dedication to the voters of Alachua County.   Over 100 election workers filled the commission chambers to hear the proclamation read by Vice-Chair Lee Pinkoson declaring January 21 – 25, 2013 as “Election Workers Appreciation Week” in Alachua County. 

Over 750 election workers served Alachua County voters during the November 6, 2012 election day and completed over 3,332 hours of training.  Election workers serve as poll workers, phone bank operators, temporary office staff, temporary operations staff, outreach volunteers, election night workers, and Election Day roving technicians.

Accepting the proclamation on behalf of the election workers, Alachua County Supervisor of Elections Pam Carpenter thanked the County Commission, Sheriff Sadie Darnell and the election workers in attendance.  “You are the people who make elections possible through your dedication, your commitment to democracy and your many long hours of service.  Elections in Alachua County are conducted in a fair and transparent manner because of you.”  Carpenter recognized her staff and thanked them publicly for the long days, nights, and weekends of service they provided to the citizens of Alachua County.  Recognition was also given to the Alachua County Information Services Department for their can-do and will-do attitude in setting up the communications for the early voting sites, phone bank, and any other assistance required. 

After the proclamation ceremony, a reception was held in honor of the elections workers in the Supervisor of Elections County Administration Building location.  The room was decorated in a red, white and blue patriotic theme, in the spirit of the 2012 election season.

Carpenter thanked the election workers once again.  “We simply could not put on an election without you.  You are truly champions of democracy”.   

For more information on becoming a poll worker, go online to www.VoteAlachua.com or call the Supervisor of Elections Office at (352) 374-5252.

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Vernon Sawyer Appointed Animal Services Director

Alachua County is pleased to announce the appointment of Vernon Sawyer as the County Animal Services Director. The Director position was broadly advertised and Mr. Sawyer was chosen from a field of forty-five applicants.

Mr. Sawyer served as the interim Animal Services Director for the past year, and prior to that served as an Animal Services Field Supervisor. Mr. Sawyer also brings with him more than 20 years of animal enforcement experience in the state of Florida. He and his team have been recognized by community leaders for their progress in reducing the euthanasia rate by 50% over the last year. They have also improved the live release rate of shelter animals through improved relationships with local rescue groups and improvements in shelter operations.

Director of the University of Florida’s Maddie’s Shelter Medicine Program, Dr. Julie Levy said, “Under Mr. Sawyer’s leadership over the last year, Alachua County Animal Services is well-positioned to become recognized as a national leader in shelter-based life-saving.”

For more information, contact Vernon Sawyer at 352-264-6890.

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Blue Oven Kitchens on Alachua County Talks

A new edition of Alachua County Talks featuring an interview with Blue Oven Kitchens President Val Leitner is available. Leitner discusses the creation of the nonprofit Blue Oven Kitchens commercial kitchen rental service as well as future plans for the establishment.
In speaking of the program Alachua County Talks host Mark Sexton said, “Ms. Leitner has been an integral part of the creation of Blue Oven Kitchens and a prominent voice for local agriculture and independent businesses in the region.”

The latest editions of Alachua County Talks air at 7 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. every night except Thursday, and at 7 a.m. and 7:30 a.m. and 11:30 p.m. and 12 a.m. every day. Special or regular County Commission and Gainesville City Commission meetings may preempt any showing.

View Alachua County Talks: Blue Oven Kitchens.

Click to subscribe to the County’s YouTube channel (and receive updates when new videos are published).

View the complete Channel 12 Schedule.

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

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Florida Stormwater, Erosion, and Sedimentation Control Inspector Training and Certification Program

The Alachua County Environmental Protection Department (ACEPD) is offering the Florida Stormwater, Erosion, and Sedimentation Control Inspector Training and Certification Program on Tuesday, and Wednesday, February 5, and 6, 2013, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (doors open at 8 a.m.), at the Wacassassa Forestry Center’s District Office (5353 NE 39th Ave, Gainesville, east of airport). The program is free of charge.

Participants will learn why it is important to prevent construction site erosion from polluting local water bodies and will become familiar with techniques to minimize erosion and sedimentation.

This certification program was developed by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) and will be team taught by staff from FDEP and ACEPD. This class is co-sponsored by the Gainesville Clean Water Partnership.

Qualifying participants can earn 8 Continuing Education Units for their contractor’s license and/or 8 Professional Development Hours for their Florida Professional Engineer’s license.

Click to view the event flyer.

Interested parties must register, either online or contacting Alachua County Senior Environmental Specialist, Jennifer Mitchell at 352-264-6809 or jdmitchell@alachuacounty.us.

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February Extension Programs

February Commercial Horticulture Programs

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

Growing Shiitake and Oyster Mushrooms - February 2, from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Learn how to grow mushrooms. This workshop will teach how to grow shiitake and oyster mushrooms. Shiitake mushrooms are grown on oak logs, while oyster mushroom can be grown on straw. Oyster Mushroom Production Kits are available for purchase at $5.00 per kit. Orders are limited to the first 50 pre-orders. The kit includes mushroom spawn, a grow bag, straw, lime, and other resource materials. Pre-register by February 1, no cost.

Hobby Beekeeping Short Course – February 16, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

This short course is designed to provide information to individuals interested in beginning or improving a small scale beekeeping operation. Participants will receive a complete perspective of the process and expense involved with keeping honey bees. Pre-register by February 14, cost is $10 (includes lunch & class materials).

Growing Vegetables - February 21, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

This class is designed to provide information to individuals interested in beginning or improving their vegetable production. Whether producing vegetables on a small or medium scale or looking to receive income from property, this class has something to offer. Pre-register by February 20, no cost.

Limited Commercial Landscape Maintenance – February 26, from 9 a.m. to 5 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 registration fee is $30.00 includes program materials refreshments and lunch for the day. Pre-register at least three working days prior to the event.

February Family and Consumer Sciences Programs

These programs are being offered by Brenda C. Williams, Family and Consumer Sciences Agent, at the Extension Office (2800 NE 39 Avenue, Gainesville).

$mart Financial $tart Series – February 4, from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. (This financial series begins February 4, with additional sessions on March 4, April 8, & May 13.)

This series is designated for married couples to assist with budgeting, using credit wisely, determining what type and how much insurance they need and getting their important financial papers and records organized. Session One: Developing a Spending Plan & Finding Money to Save. No cost.

Before You Tie the Knot – February 18 & 25, from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Before You Tie the Knot is a premarital preparation course.

Topics include: Communication, Conflict Management and Resolution, Financial Responsibility and Spending Plans, and Children and Parenting Responsibilities.

Completion of this course is required to receive a $32.50 reduction of marriage license. Attendees will receive a certificate of completion and a copy for the Clerk of the Court.

There is no cost to attend this two evening class.

February Environmental Horticulture Programs

These programs are being offered by Wendy Wilber, Environmental Horticulture Agent, at the Extension Office (2800 NE 39 Avenue, Gainesville).

Raised Bed Vegetable Gardening – February 11, from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. and repeated February 13, from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Learn what crops to grow in spring gardens and about the efficient technique of growing vegetables in raised beds.

Growing Citrus – February 14, from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Learn how to grow oranges, tangerines, lemons and grapefruit in the home landscape. This class will also cover variety selection & freeze protection.

Growing Tomatoes in North Central Florida – February 28, from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Learn to have success growing garden vegetable. This class will cover growing tomatoes in the garden and containers. The basics of how to grow tomatoes in Florida’s challenging environment will be covered. Topics include tomato pest control options, including non-chemical choices of combating the scores of tomato insect and disease problems.

There is no cost for these classes, pre-register at least 3 days prior to class by calling 352-337-6209.

February Agriculture & Natural Resources Programs

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

Private Applicator Pesticide School – February 21, from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.

This workshop is designed to provide training in practices related to Private Applicator Agricultural Pest Control License for anyone working in the agricultural industry.

Full day registration fee $10.00 (includes lunch), half day registration fee $5.00 (no lunch).

Please register by calling 352-337-6209 (voicemail) no later than February 18. For more information call the Extension Office at 352-955-2402.

Agronomic Crop Workshop – February 25, from noon to 2:30 p.m., at the Alachua Public Library (14913 NW 140 Street, Alachua).

This workshop will discuss disease control strategies and irrigation management for peanuts, corn and soybeans. Speakers include: Dr. Nick Dufault & Dr. Diane Rowland.

Free registration (lunch provided). 

Register by calling 352-337-6209 (voicemail) no later than February 21.

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

Election Workers Appreciation Week
The Board proclaimed January 21 - 25, 2013 as “Election Workers Appreciation Week”
Election Workers Appreciation Week 2013.pdf

School Crossing Guard Appreciation Day
The Board proclaimed February 1st, 2013 as “School Crossing Guard Appreciation Day”
School Crossing Guard Appreciation Day 2013.pdf

Local Food Week
The Board proclaimed February 9 - 16, 2013 as “Local Food Week”
Local Food Week 2013.pdf

Bicycle and Pedestrian Work Program Priority List
The Board approved the updated Bicycle and Pedestrian Work Program Priority List and amended the Capital Improvements Program.
Amended CIP MultiPath SW 75th Terr to SW 75th St.pdf

Youth Fair Location Process
The County Manager reported on the progress of the Youth Fair location process.  They are hoping to use the fairgrounds building which would mean an onsite solution such as a tent.  The Manager will keep the Board updated. He also discussed the State health report concerning the Cabot Koppers Superfund site. 

Lake Forest Creek - Lewis Property
The Board exercised the Option Contract to purchase the Lake Forest Creek - Lewis Property and authorized the execution of documents as necessary to close the transaction.
130122 Lewis Exercise.pptx
Exhibit 3 Lewis costs.pdf
Exhibit 1 Lewis Contract.pdf
Exhibit 2 Lewis Evaluation.pdf
Exhibit 4 Acquisition List Status report.pdf

Alachua County Forever Hunting Business Plan
The Board approved the Alachua County Forever Hunting Business Plan and adopted its associated principles, policies and directives to guide recreational hunting on Alachua County Forever Preserves
Exhibit 4 Stewardship Strategy Memo to the BoCC 060217.pdf
Exhibit 7 Stewardship Leveraging 2012.pdf
Exhibit 1 ACF Hunting Business Plan 121211.pdf
Exhibit 3 Stewardship Strategy Memo to the BoCC 050928.pdf
Hunting Business Plan 121113.pptx
Exhibit 2 EPACCommentsACFHuntingPlan.pdf
Exhibit 5 Stewardship Strategy Memo to the BoCC 060717.pdf
Exhibit 6 Stewardship Strategy Memo to the BoCC 070907.pdf

Archer Braid Trail Phase 2
The Board approved the 60 percent design plans for the Archer Braid Trail Phase 2 (with some alterations), and directed staff to proceed with final plan development and proceed to the bid phase.
Archer Braid 60 Plans BoCC.pdf
Archer Braid Presentation BoCC 012213.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.