October 16th edition of:

Community Update
A Report on the Activities of Alachua County Government


This Issues Features:

Rachael Ray Challenge Results
Learn more about Moving Alachua County Forward
October NW 16th Ave Mill and Resurface Project Update
New Version of County Website Launches
Fire Rescue Partners with Hospitals for Better Cardiac Monitoring
10-21-14 Special Meetings
October Extension Programs
Countdown to the November 4 General Election
Flu Vaccine Available at the Alachua County Health Department
Commission Highlights

Rachael Ray Challenge Results

Alachua County Animal Services has officially wrapped up the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) Rachael Ray $100K Challenge.  The purpose of the challenge was to increase the number of saved lives over the summer months. Animal Services, with the help of volunteers, local rescue groups, and the community, came in second in their division and received $20,000 in grants for their effort.
The ASPCA recently sent the following message: 

Congratulations on completing the ASPCA Rachel Ray $100K Challenge and taking second place in your division!  This year’s Challenge has truly been inspiring and all the dogs and cats who found homes during the three months (and beyond) thank you for your hard work and commitment to saving lives!  It truly has been a pleasure working with your agency on your data.

View Alachua County’s Rachel Ray $100K Challenge Final Numbers.

“I am very proud of the staff and volunteers here at Animal Services who contributed their ideas, time, and energy to earn second place in our division and $20,000 in grants.” stated Animal Services Director Vern Sawyer. He continued, “Through tireless effort, together we saved 1,488 animal lives. This community’s commitment to the welfare of the animals in Alachua County is outstanding.”

For more information, contact Vernon Sawyer at 352-264-6870 or vsawyer@alachuacounty.us.

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Learn more about Moving Alachua County Forward

We are just a few weeks away from the November 4, 2014 election day.  There is a very broad community conversation happening about the Moving Alachua County Forward  transportation surtax that will be on the ballot. 

The County Commission believes it is important for voters to understand this issue.  To that end, it has authorized staff  to conduct a public education campaign.   

Here are several video and website links that you may find useful:

Print Stories and editorials:
Suwannee-St. Johns Group Sierra Club and Moving Alachua County Forward
Broad Coalition and Transportation Sales Tax
Every day we postpone road repairs, the cost goes up
Business in the heart of Florida Article (turn to page 40 of the digital document)
Editorial: Cutting congestion
Editorial: Common cause
Residents forming transportation tax PAC
Gainesville Chamber Announces Transportation Sales Surtax Coalition
Chamber and coalition on transportation sales tax
Take responsibility for roads
Editorial: The high road
Citizens share ideas on transportation tax at Chamber forum
Editorial: Moving forward
Editorial: A matter of trust

If you agree that it is important for people to have a thorough understanding of this issue before they walk into the voting booth, please share this newsletter with your contacts and consider posting the links (especially the video links) to your Facebook and other social media sites.

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October NW 16th Ave Mill and Resurface Project Update

Alachua County Public Works is informing citizens with a monthly press release giving updated information on the 16th Ave Mill and Resurface Project. During the month of September, the contractor completed the sidewalk widening on the south-side of the roadway from NW 35th Ter to NW 34th St and along the north-side of the roadway from NW 34th St to NW 31th Dr and from NW 16th Ter to NW 13th St (0.5 miles). Sidewalk widening and signal work will continue throughout October and motorist should expect nighttime lane closures along the project corridor. Public Works also encourages motorists to stay informed about the project by viewing the project report sheet.

Click to view the project report   (PDF). This document will be updated monthly and changes/new information will highlighted in red.

In addition to previously mentioned nighttime lane closures, the corridor will be reduced to one lane in each direction from approximately NW 31st Dr to NW 22nd St for water main relocation, gravity wall replacement, and reconstruction work (clay removal). Additionally, traffic patterns will be altered from approximately NW 58th Blvd to NW 54th Ter to complete roadway widening and reconstruction.  The first work zone will include partial removal of some of the medians and crape myrtles to accommodate the shift traffic; the medians and crape myrtles will be replaced at their current locations with the project. The contractor is currently implementing the new traffic patterns in the 2 work zones and motorists should expect daytime lane closures in these areas. The new patterns are scheduled to be completed in 2-3 weeks and the water main relocation, gravity wall replacement, clay removal and roadway widening will begin.

The current estimated completion date for the entire project is February, 2015.

For more information, contact Alachua County Transportation Engineering Manager, Brian Singleton at 352-548-1306 or bsingleton@alachuacounty.us.

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New Version of County Website Launches

On Sunday, October 5, 2014, the Alachua County Board of County Commissioners launched a new version of its public website. The new enhancements will be migrated to the County’s other public websites in the days and weeks to come.

The new site allows the full contents of the site to be displayed on mobile devices such as smart phones and tablets, as well as allowing for adaptation to future devices of varying sizes. The site also offers enhancements for visitors who are using desktop computers, such as improved navigation, a more information-rich home page, and improvements to accessibility and readability.

The site was developed internally by the Information and Telecommunication Services Department using tools and technologies that were either already licensed or were free and open-source, so no additional spending was required for maintenance of the site. 

“Knowing that most of our citizens were relying on their mobile devices for their primary internet connection, we realized the importance of providing a website that was accessible to everyone, regardless of the device being used to access the County’s information” says Kevin Smith, Director of the Information and Telecom Services department.

For more information, contact Alachua County Web Services at 352-338-7300.

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Fire Rescue Partners with Hospitals for Better Cardiac Monitoring

Alachua County Fire Rescue (ACFR) has partnered with UF Health Shands Hospital, and the North Florida Regional Medical Center for improved technology to the County’s EMS system.

In May, the two hospitals came together to grant approximately $41,200 to ACFR to upgrade the wireless routers in their ambulances. The new hardware increases the wireless speed from 3G to 4G LTE, allowing for a better and more reliable connection between the units’ cardiac monitors and the systems in the Emergency Departments (EDs).

As a result of this partnership, the community will benefit. ACFR’s crews will be able to quickly and reliably transmit important data to the physicians in the ED and issue an alert. The teams in the ED will be prepared (upon patient arrival) to provide definitive care to the patient, resulting in improved Door-to-Balloon Time (which is the time interval from the patient’s arrival at the ED to definitive cardiac care). The patients will be afforded the best care possible at no increased cost to the public.

For more information, contact Assistant Fire Rescue Chief, Harold Theus at 352-384-3132.

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10-21-14 Special Meetings

The Alachua County Commission will conduct two Special Meetings on Tuesday, October 21, 2014. At 1:30 p.m. the County Commission will hold a joint meeting with the Alachua County League of Cities. At 5 p.m. the Commission will hold a workshop regarding Plum Creek. Both meetings will be held in the Jack Durrance Auditorium (Room 209), located on the second floor of the Alachua County Administration building (12 SE 1st Street, downtown Gainesville).

The 1:30 p.m. meeting agenda includes:
1. Boundary Adjustment Act Discussion

The 5 p.m. meeting agenda includes:
1. Workshop on the Envision Alachua Sector Plan Comprehensive Plan Amendment Application
Plum Creek Major Issues Summary
09-02-14 Workshop Responses
09-16-14 Workshop Responses
09-22-14 Workshop Responses

Citizens are encouraged to attend these meeting. The 1:30 p.m. will be available to view live on Cox Channel 12 or on the County’s Video on Demand website. The 5 p.m. meeting will be pre-empted by the previously scheduled School Board Meeting, but will be available in its entirety on video on demand and will be replayed on Channel 12. Refer to the Channel 12 schedule for replay dates and times.

Citizens are encouraged to stay engaged by clicking on and signing up for the following products: Facebook Twitter Newsletter/Press Release

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

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October Extension Programs

Environmental Horticulture Programs
This programs are being offered by Wendy Wilber, Environmental Horticulture Agent, at the UF/IFAS Extension Alachua County Office (2800 NE 39 Avenue, Gainesville).
Cool Season Vegetable Gardening – October 22, from 4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.
This class will go over which plants to grow in fall and winter and how to grow them. Learn how to grow cabbage, kale, broccoli and different greens.
There is no cost to attend these classes, space is limited; pre-register at least 3 days prior to class by calling 352-337-6209 (voice mail).

Agriculture & Natural Resources Programs
These programs are being offered by Barton Wilder, Agriculture & Natural Resources Agent, at the UF/IFAS Extension Alachua County Office (2800 NE 39 Avenue, Gainesville) unless otherwise indicated.
Forest Stewardship/North Central FL CISMA Workshop: Invasive Exotic Species & Management – October 23, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., at the UF Austin Cary Forest Learning Center (10625 NE Waldo Road, Gainesville)
Many exotic plants are invasive weeds that form expanding population on the landscape, making land management a challenge. Some exotic animals have also become a program for land managers. This program will describe some of the more common and troublesome invasive exotic plants and animals in North-Central Florida.
Full day registration fee is $15.00 (includes lunch).  Please register online.
Florida Master Naturalist Program Freshwater Wetlands Module – October 22 through November 19, 2014
The Module is 40 hours and includes classroom presentations, discussions, videos, field trips, and practical experience in interpretation.  Students receive detailed course manuals and, upon completion, certificate of achievement, patch and pin, and registration in the online student database.
Students who complete all three Modules are designated Florida Master Naturalists and receive a plaque and special recognition in an online database.
This program consists of 11 classes that will begin on Wednesday, October 22, 2014 and continue through November 19, 2014.  Participants must attend at least 10 classes in order to receive the certificate of completion.  All classes (except for the field trips) will be held at the UF/IFAS Extension Alachua County Office (2800 NE 39 Avenue, Gainesville), from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., under the instruction of Barton Wilder, Agriculture & Natural Resources Agent.
The cost is $225.00 and registration deadline is October 20, 2014.  Class size is limited to 20 participants.
Click for more information regarding class schedules and registration. For additional questions, please contact Barton Wilder, Agriculture and Natural Resources Agent, UF/IFAS Extension Alachua County Office, at 352-955-2402.
Rural Energy Workshop – October 23, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Learn about sustainable energy sources for farms and homes.
Cost to attend this class is $5.00.
Please pre-register at least 3 days prior to class by calling 352-337-6209 (voicemail). 

Commercial Horticulture Programs
These programs are being offered by Aparna Gazula, Commercial Horticulture Agent at the UF/IFAS Extension Alachua County Office (2800 NE 39 Avenue, Gainesville) unless otherwise indicated.
Container Nursery Irrigation Workshop – October 23, from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
This workshop will present information on how much water should be applied to container plants, impact of irrigation pH, EC and biological components on plant growth, and cost share funding available through different agencies. CEU’s will be awarded.
Program will be held at the Marion County Extension Office (2232 NE Jacksonville Road, Ocala).
Pre-register by calling 352-671-8400.
Green Industries Best Management Practices – October 29, from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. (with Barton Wilder, Agriculture & Natural Resources Agent)
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.
Cost $25.00 includes materials and lunch.
Grants & Cost-Share Funding Available for Growers – October 30, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. (with Cindy Sanders, Director/Livestock Agent)
This program offers information about different grants and cost-share funding available through federal and state agencies.
There is no cost to attend these classes (unless otherwise indicated), space is limited; pre-register at least 3 days prior to class by calling 352-337-6209 (voice mail) unless otherwise indicated.

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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Countdown to the November 4 General Election

Alachua County Supervisor of Elections Pam Carpenter would like to encourage citizens who plan to vote in the November 4th General Election to remember the following helpful information:

The deadline to register to vote for the November 4, 2014 General Election was October 6, 2014 (29 days prior to the election).

Voters may check their voter registration status, update their voter information or signature, confirm and locate their precinct polling place, and view their sample ballot online at www.VoteAlachua.com and click on “My Registration Status”.

Voters may view the sample ballot for the November 4 General Election online at www.VoteAlachua.com on our home page by clicking on “Elections & Records” from the menu on the left side of the page then “Sample Ballots”, or they may view their individual ballot by clicking on “My Registration Status” in the upper right hand corner. 

An audio sample ballot is also available in MP3 format or in text version on the Supervisor of Elections’ website at www.VoteAlachua.com by clicking on “Elections & Records” from the menu on the left side of the page then “Sample Ballots”, or if you prefer, you may borrow a CD with the audio format from one of the following locations:
All Alachua County Libraries
Center for Independent Living of North Central Florida, 222 S.W. 36th Terrace, Gainesville
Division of Blind Services, 3620 NW 43rd Street, Suite C, Gainesville
Supervisor of Elections Office, 111 S.E. 1st Avenue, Gainesville

The deadline to request a ballot be mailed to you is Wednesday, October 29, 2014 by 5 p.m.

If you are voting by mail, make sure your signature on file in our office is current. The signature on your absentee ballot envelope will be compared to the signature on file, which may have been from several years ago.  If you have been voting at the polls, remember your signature on the poll register is compared to the ID you present, which may be very current, not the signature on file with the Supervisor of Elections Office.\

All absentee ballots must be received in the Alachua County Supervisor of Elections Office by 7 p.m. Election Day, November 4. You may deposit your ballot in the Supervisor of Elections front door anytime.

NEW LAWS:  If a voter realizes they have returned their absentee ballot without including their signature, they may submit an affidavit to our office no later than 5 p.m. the day before the elections to cure the unsigned ballot.  The Supervisor of Elections may not provide an absentee ballot to a voter or a voter’s immediate family member on the day of election, unless there is an emergency, to the extent the voter will be unable to go to their assigned polling place.  In order to provide an absentee ballot, an affidavit is required, which is available for download at www.VoteAlachua.com.

Early Voting is available starting Wednesday, October 22nd through Saturday, November 1st from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., except Fridays.  On Fridays only, Early Voting will be from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.  Early Voting locations:  Supervisor of Elections Office Location in the County Administration Building, Millhopper Branch Library, and Tower Road Branch Library.  For addresses of Early Voting locations, go online at www.VoteAlachua.com.

Florida Law requires voters to present current and valid picture and signature ID at the polls and early voting sites, or vote a provisional ballot.  Approved forms of picture identification are:  Florida driver’s license; Florida identification card issued by the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles; United States passport; debit or credit card; military identification and student ID; retirement center ID; neighborhood association ID; and public assistance ID.  If the picture identification does not contain a signature, you will be asked to provide an additional identification with your signature. If you need to locate your precinct, go to www.VoteAlachua.com.

Except for an active uniformed services voter or a member of his or her family, a voter whose change of address is from outside the county may not change his or her legal residence at the polling place on Election Day and vote a regular ballot; however, the voter is entitled to vote a provisional ballot. A voter who makes an in-county address change may vote a regular ballot.

Any voter may vote in the precinct of their residence between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. on Election Day, Tuesday, November 4. It is against Florida law to vote in a precinct in which you no longer reside.  If you have moved, you are required to vote in your new home precinct.

POLLING PLACE CHANGES:  Precinct 55 (old Carpenters Union Hall) now votes at the City Public Works Administration Building, 405 NW 39th Avenue, Gainesville.  Precinct 63 (old Turkey Creek Golf and Country Club) now votes at the CSI Academy of Florida, 12787 NW US Highway 441, Alachua.

If you have any questions, please contact the Alachua County Supervisor of Elections Office at 352-374-5252 or visit our website at www.VoteAlachua.com.

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Flu Vaccine Available at the Alachua County Health Department

The Alachua County Health Department (ACHD) is offering influenza vaccine starting Tuesday, October 14, 2014. “Receiving an influenza vaccine is a primary preventive measure against influenza infection.” stated Paul Myers, Administrator of the ACHD. “In addition to getting a flu shot, staying home when ill, practicing proper cough etiquette and washing your hands are effective personal means to protect yourself and the community from a variety of illnesses.”

Flu shots are being offered at the Health Department’s main clinic in (224 SE 24th Street, Gainesville) phone number 352-334-7950, and the City of Alachua satellite clinic (in the Hitchcock’s shopping plaza, 15530 NW US Hwy 441, Alachua) phone number 386-462-2542.  Walk-ins are accepted at the Gainesville site, Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Citizens will need an appointment at the Alachua clinic and these can be made by calling 386-462-2542.

This year’s flu vaccine is effective against the major circulating strains of flu.  The cost for the vaccine is $25.00. If citizens have Medicare part B, there is no charge as long as they bring their Medicare B card and any supplemental insurance cards with them.  Citizens who normally receive their vaccines from providers other than the Health Department should contact them for vaccine availability.  Those between the ages of 6 months and 18 years who are uninsured, have Medicaid or an insurance that does not cover the immunization may receive the vaccine at the Alachua County Health Department at no cost to them.

Parents of public and private school students are encouraged to review and complete FLUMIST consent forms provided by their child’s school, or complete the consent form securely online.

FLUMIST clinics will be held in the schools this fall and a completed consent form is required for participation.  FLUMIST is effective, painless and offered at no cost.

For general media inquiries contact Roger Dolz at 352-334-8873.

For more information, including forms to expedite visits, please review the Health Department’s website.

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Commission Highlights

Food Day
The Board proclaimed October 24th, 2014 as “Food Day” in Alachua County, Florida
Food Day 2014.pdf

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Days
The Board proclaimed October 17-26, 2014 as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Days” in Alachua County, Florida.
LGBT Pride Days 2014.pdf

Advisory Committee on Rural Concerns
The Board heard the presentation of the Work Plan and Accomplishments Report for the Advisory Committee on Rural Concerns.

Criminal Justice, Mental Health and Substance Abuse Grant Planning Committee
The Board heard the Annual Workplan/Accomplishments Report for FY 2014-15 for the Criminal Justice, Mental Health and Substance Abuse Grant Planning Committee.
CJMHSAG 2014-15 workplan FINAL.pdf

County Contributions to Medicaid
The Board agreed with the Florida Association of Counties’ recommendation that Case 2012-CA-1328, Alachua County et. al. v. Dudek, which challenged House Bill 5301 regarding 2012 County Contributions to Medicaid, be dismissed with prejudice.  The Board approved this action.
Attachment: medicaidUpdateMemo.pdf

United Nations Day
The Board proclaimed October 23rd, 2014 as “United Nations Day” in Alachua County, Florida
UN Day Proclamation 2014.pdf

White Cane Safety Month
The Board proclaimed October 2014 as “White Cane Safety Month” in Alachua County, Florida
White Cane Safety Awareness Month 2014.pdf

Wage Recovery Ordinance
The Board adopted the proposed amendments to the Wage Recovery Ordinance

Department of Facilities Management
The Board adopted the ordinance amending County Code to create a Department of Facilities Management, provide for a director of the department and establish the responsibilities, duties and powers of the department director
Facilities Department Ordinance.pdf

Old Oaks Estates
The Board approved the proposed replat of Old Oaks Estates Lot 8 based on the recommendation of the Development Review Committee and a finding of consistency with Florida Statues, the Alachua County Comprehensive Plan and the Alachua County Unified Land Development Code.

Small-Scale Map Amendment
The Board adopted Ordinance 14-XX, approving CPA-04-14, a small-scale map amendment to change the land use designation from Institutional to Commercial.

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Thank you for your continued interest in County Government!

Community Update is produced by the County Manager's Communications Office.