August 17th edition of:

Community Update
A Report on the Activities of Alachua County Government

 

This Issues Features:

Wi-Fi Wire Cutting
Dr. John Mousa Retires
North Central Florida Blues Society on Alachua County Talks
Florida Department of Health in Alachua County Receives Community-Based Tobacco Prevention Grant
Florida Department of Health in Alachua County Recognizes Breastfeeding Awareness Month
08-18-15 Alachua County/City of Alachua Joint Meeting
Commission Highlights

Wi-Fi Wire Cutting

Alachua County, in partnership with the City of Gainesville and GRUCom Fiber Optic Communications, hosted a “Wi-Fi Wire Cutting” event on Thursday, August 13, at the Eastside Community Center.  The public was invited and refreshments were served.

The event celebrated the installation of free Wi-Fi in three East Gainesville facilities.  The installations provide Internet access to residents who either cannot afford it or do not have reliable or adequate service available in their area.

The three sites are:

  1. The Eastside Community Center, 2841 E. University Avenue
  2. The Thelma Bolton Senior Activity Center, 516 N.E. 2nd Avenue
  3. The Martin Luther King, Jr. Center, 1028 N.E. 14th Street

In speaking of the installations, Alachua County Manager Lee A. Niblock said, “Because of this service, the digital divide just became smaller.  Lack of Internet service separates some our citizens from the access that has become a necessity for thriving in the modern world.”

View/download the event flyer (PDF).

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

Return to Top

Dr. John Mousa Retires

Dr. John Mousa, Pollution Prevention Division Manager in the Environmental Protection Department (EPD), will be retiring from Alachua County at the end of August 2015. John’s working career has spanned 41 years, including 18 years with Alachua County and 23 years in the environmental consulting and chemical industries. He received a Bachelor’s degree in Chemistry from the University of Houston and his Ph.D. in Analytical Chemistry from the University of Florida.

After 20 years working for local environmental consulting firm ESE in various management and technical positions involving environmental testing, John joined the Alachua County EPD in 1997 to manage the Pollution Prevention Division including the Hazardous Materials and Petroleum Programs. One of his first major projects at EPD was the design and establishment of the Hazardous Waste Collection Center (HWCC) Facility at the Leveda Brown Transfer Station and Environmental Park in 1999. Under his guidance as division manager, and through the efforts of HWCC staff, the HWCC program has grown to be a premier program in Florida. John also provided strong technical and managerial oversight to help the growth of the Petroleum Cleanup and Tanks Compliance programs. He was also the lead on air quality issues within EPD. In the last decade, John has been the key County technical leader overseeing the investigations and clean-up by USEPA at the Cabot-Koppers Superfund site.

“I enjoyed working with other EPD staff and as part of a local intergovernmental team on Cabot-Koppers to make sure that local community concerns were addressed by USEPA and that we got the best cleanup possible. I also enjoyed the communication to the public and elected officials,” said John. “Working for the County, I have been impressed with the professionalism and dedication of my coworkers at EPD and the friendliness and dedication of all County employees I have interacted with.”

On a personal note, John and his wife Joanne are celebrating their 40-year wedding anniversary this year. He has two grown children, one grandson, and a granddaughter on the way. After a long working career, John hopes to relax some and enjoy his retirement by doing some traveling. He also anticipates spending time with his grandchildren and working on home improvements. But John also likes to stay busy so he may be involved in some part-time consulting work after he retires.

Return to Top

North Central Florida Blues Society on Alachua County Talks

This edition of Alachua County Talks features an interview with North Central Florida Blues Society Vice President Mark Armbrecht. Armbrecht discusses the Blues Society and its mission to preserve, cultivate, nurture, and promote the indigenous American musical form and culture of the blues.

In speaking of the program Alachua County Talks host Mark Sexton said, “Through the local bed tax the Alachua County Visitors and Convention Bureau supports numerous arts and cultural organizations which encourage commerce and tourism. The North Central Florida Blues Society is a great example of how the local arts community enriches Alachua County both culturally and commercially.”

View the Interview online.

For more information, visit the North Central Florida Blues Society or email rob@ncfblues.org.

View the complete Channel 12 Schedule.

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

Return to Top

Florida Department of Health in Alachua County Receives Community-Based Tobacco Prevention Grant

The Florida Department of Health in Alachua County received a grant that began on July 1, 2015, to continue their Tobacco Free Florida program for the next three years. The “Community-Based Tobacco Prevention Interventions” grant is awarded by the Florida Department of Health to one organization in each county to improve the health of Floridians by reducing tobacco use and exposure to secondhand smoke. With this funding the health department will continue to support multiple long-standing tobacco prevention programs including the Tobacco Free Alachua community partnership, and the Students Working Against Tobacco (SWAT) youth leadership program.

Since Tobacco Free Florida first started in 2007, the Tobacco Free Florida program in Alachua County, and its counterparts all over Florida have worked to produce impressive results both locally and state-wide through integrated state, county, and community efforts.

In addition to this progress, the Florida Department of Health in Alachua County has helped dozens of local housing communities, businesses, and organizations as varied as The Arc of Alachua County, Sandvik Mining and Construction, Holy Trinity Episcopal School, and Meridian Behavioral Healthcare, Inc. to create tobacco free residences and worksites for thousands of Alachua County residents.

“We’re proud of what we’ve done to make Alachua County a healthier place to live, play, and do business,” stated Paul Myers, Administrator of the Florida Department of Health in Alachua County. “Over the next three years, our Tobacco Free Florida program will be engaging new partners to create tobacco free worksites and communities for Alachua County businesses and families.”

Businesses, organizations or rental housing communities wanting to go tobacco free should contact the Tobacco Free Florida program at 352-334-7914 or tobaccofreealachua@flhealth.gov.

 

Return to Top

Florida Department of Health in Alachua County Recognizes Breastfeeding Awareness Month

The Florida Department of Health in Alachua County (FDOH-Alachua) is celebrating National Breastfeeding Awareness Month this August. Expanding on the Baby Steps to Baby Friendly Initiative, which seeks to increase breastfeeding initiation and duration, FDOH-Alachua is working to promote breastfeeding as a vital health activity and encourage breastfeeding-friendly hospitals.  In addition, staff is promoting similar programs in child care facilities and across the community.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, mothers who breastfeed their children are at a healthier weight on average than those who do not. They also have a lower risk of developing Type 2 diabetes and breast and ovarian cancer. Children who are breastfed have a lower risk for developing respiratory and gastrointestinal infections, asthma, obesity, Type 2 diabetes and SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome).

Paul Myers, Administrator of the Florida Department of Health in Alachua County, stated, “Breastfeeding is a key strategy in achieving the Department’s number one priority - helping all citizens achieve their healthiest weight. To reach the goal of exclusive breastfeeding for at least six months, mothers need supportive maternity leave policies, flexible work hours, infant and child-care at or near the workplace, and private facilities for expressing and storing breastmilk. It takes time and practice for both mother and baby to learn how to breastfeed, and to establish a good milk supply.”

Julie Samples, Assistant Chief Nursing Officer at North Florida Regional Medical Center, stated, “We clearly want to work with community partners such as the Health Department and the Healthy Start Coalition to advance breastfeeding and to support other community efforts.”  In 2014, North Florida Regional Medical Center created “Women and Wellness”, an online community dedicated to women’s health.  During August, “Women and Wellness” is turning the spotlight on breastfeeding. The website will be updated with articles from breastfeeding moms, lactation consultants, providers and other experts. Please visit www.womenandwellness.com during August to learn more and to become a member.

For the month of August, all Alachua County breastfeeding mothers eligible to participate in the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) supplemental nutrition program will receive breastfeeding certificates acknowledging their breastfeeding success.  The WIC special educational theme of the month will be support for breastfeeding mothers, highlighting the U.S. Department of Labor Nursing Mother’s Law which requires employers to give breastfeeding mothers reasonable time and a place to pump in the workplace.

For more information call 352-334-7900.

To help new mothers find breastfeeding support, visit the newly revised North Central Florida Breastfeeding Support Resource List on the Alachua County Department of Health website.

For more information, visit the Florida Breastfeeding Coalition’s Quality Maternity Care Initiative.

Healthiest Weight Florida is a public-private collaboration bringing together state agencies, nonprofit organizations, businesses and entire communities to help Florida’s children and adults make consistent, informed choices about healthy eating and active living. To learn more about how to be active and make nutritious food choices visit www.healthiestweightflorida.com.

FDOH-Alachua works to protect, promote and improve the health of all people in Florida through integrated state, county and community efforts. Follow us on Twitter at @HealthyFla and on Facebook.

For more information about the Florida Department of Health please visit www.floridahealth.gov.

 

Return to Top

08-18-15 Alachua County/City of Alachua Joint Meeting

Alachua County is involved in a dispute with the City of Alachua over the City’s rezoning of approximately 154 acres near the I-75 overpass of Highway 441. The Commissions have agreed to a joint mediation session to be led by professional mediator Carlos Alvarez, Esq.  The meeting will be held at 1 p.m. on Tuesday, August 18, 2015, at Alachua City Hall (15100 NW 142nd Terrace, Alachua). This session will be open to the public.

The Joint Meeting agenda:

1. Alachua County, Florida v. City of Alachua Chapter 164 F.S. Mediation

View agenda.

View the County’s mediation statement.

View the City of Alachua’s mediation statement.

The public is invited to attend the meetings. Due to technical issues, this meeting will not be broadcast live or be available on the County’s Video on Demand website

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

Return to Top

Commission Highlights

John Mousa’s Retirement

The Board recognized John Mousa’s 17 years of dedicated service by presenting him a token of appreciation on the occasion of his retirement.

Business and Economic Growth Task Force

Concerning the Business and Economic Growth Task Force, the Board appointed Robert Woody, Ismael Reyes, Kinnon Thomas, Adrian Hayes-Santos, Svein Dyrkolbotn, Doug Jones, Reverend Carl Anderson, Andy Sherrard, Mitch Glaeser, and Denise Hutson.  The motion carried 5-0.

Department of Juvenile Justice

Concerning the Department of Juvenile Justice Cases and Discussion of Payments to the Department, the Board approved the sending of a letter to the Legislative Delegation explaining the County’s position and requesting their assistance to adjust the amount to the 57% as submitted by DJJ and appropriated by the Legislature, and to pay the full bill moving forward with a letter of protest.

Attachment: 2_DetCostShare.pdf
Attachment: 
6_Inv201508.pdf
Attachment: 
5_Letter.pdf
Attachment: 
4_2015Billing.pdf
Attachment: 
3_2014Estimate.pdf
Attachment: 
7_Inv201507.pdf
Attachment: 
1_DJJpayments.pdf

Zero Drug Tolerance

Concerning the “Zero Drug Tolerance “ signs on State roads leading in to the County the Board:

Directed the County Attorney’s Office to prepare a resolution to remove the  signs and place it on the next available agenda for approval.

Directied staff to create a new sign for display that is the same size as the current sign.

Advised that the language on the new sign is to be “Where Nature and Culture Meet” with no County logo.

Encouraged staff to seek State funding for the signs on the State roads and, if that is not available, seek Tourist Development Funds. The Board also encouraged the posting of the same signs on major County roads.

Annexations
Concerning annexations, the Board requested that the County Attorney brief the Board at a subsequent meeting on the options available to the County to address the issue of annexation through amendment of the County Charter.

The Board heard the presentation and accepted the staff report on the review of Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing programs in Florida, the current legal issues related to PACE, and steps to adoption and implementation of PACE in Alachua County in advance of the Florida Supreme Court Decision. The Board decided to defer the item until after the County budget process unless the Supreme Court issues its ruling, and requested that the three third party providers be invited to attend the meeting in which the matter will be discussed.

Attachment: Response to Vendors Alachua County PACE specifications final.pdf
Attachment: 
vendor response ranking sheet.pdf

515 North Main Street Building
Concerning the Lease/Purchase Analysis of the 515 North Main Street Building, The Board directed the County Manager and the County Attorney to return with a purchase agreement for the 515 building within 60 days.

Attachment: leaser purchase letter from owner.pdf
Attachment: 
515 Building Lease vs Lease Purchase Analysis Draft.pdf
Attachment: 
Contract Lease Purchase for 515 Building.pdf

Rural/Agricultural Future Land Use Designation

Regarding Rural/Agricultural Future Land Use Designation in Objective 6.2 of the Future Land Use Element, the Board requested the removal of the Board of Adjustment policy regarding family homestead subdivisions and density requirements for accessory dwelling units in the rural area.

Attachment: Rural_Events_Report_7_6_15.pdf
Attachment: 
Holt_Rural_Events_Letter_6_23_15.pdf

Empowerment Center Oversight Advisory Board

The Board reviewed the Empowerment Center Oversight Advisory Board recommendation that the Oversight Empowerment Center Advisory Board scope described in the Inter-local agreement be expanded to include the broader range of homelessness issues that impact the operations of Grace Marketplace and Dignity Village. The Board voted for staff to work with the City of Gainesville to amend the inter-local agreement and return it to the Board as soon as possible.

Attachment: Empowerment Center Oversight Advisory Board meeting minutes July 1 2015 with attachments DRAFT.pdf

Grace Marketplace and Dignity Village Vendor

The Board accepted the report on the Empowerment Center Oversight Advisory Board’s recommendation to the Alachua County Commission that a single vendor manage both the Grace Marketplace and Dignity Village.

Attachment: Empowerment Center Oversight Advisory Board meeting minutes July 1 2015 with attachments DRAFT.pdf

Empowerment Center Medical Clinic Building

Concerning the Empowerment Center Oversight Advisory Board’s recommendation to include capital funding for the Empowerment Center medical clinic building in the FY 16/17 legislative request, the Board approved supporting the City of Gainesville in this request.

Attachment: Empowerment Center Oversight Advisory Board meeting minutes July 1 2015 with attachments DRAFT.pdf

Citizen Workgroup Recommendations

The Board reviewed the Empowerment Center Oversight Advisory Board’s recommendation to share its Citizen Workgroup recommendations with Alachua County and City of Gainesville Commissions. The Citizens Workgroup recommends that it expand its focus to include both Grace Marketplace and Dignity Village, as well as related homelessness issues. The workgroup also recommends that a single vendor manage both Grace Marektplace and Dignity Village. In an effort to coordinate the various community groups that assist the homeless, the workgroup plans to convene a meeting of the various stakeholders in part to assist with fundraising efforts.

Attachment: Empowerment Center Oversight Advisory Board meeting minutes July 1 2015 with attachments DRAFT.pdf

Paynes Prairie

Concerning the State’s idea of expanding grazing and logging on Paynes Prairie, County Manager Niblock stated that grazing can be an appropriate land management tool provided it is used to support and not supplant or undermine ecological restoration and limit public access. He requested the Board authorize the Chair to sign a letter stating the County’s position for dissemination to appropriate parties. The Board direct staff to draft letter to the State Department of Environmental Protection and any other appropriate entities opposing this expansion.

Landscape Irrigation Code

County Manager Niblock stated that the County has met with the municipalities regarding the proposed landscape irrigation code.  He stated that County staff is currently revising the code based on some of the suggestions from the meeting. It is his recommendation to proceed with the item on the August 25, 2015, County Commission Meeting.

Palm Street

The Board adopted the resolution to vacate the portion of Palm Street as requested, execute the County Deed, and that the Chair be authorized to execute any additional documents approved by the County Attorney necessary to complete this transaction.

Attachment: Tamiami_Hgts_PALM_ST_powerpointPDF.pdf
Attachment: 
Palm_St_maps.pdf
Attachment: 
Palm_St_County_Deed.pdf
Attachment: 
Palm_St_RESOLUTION.pdf

SW 45th Street

The Board adopted the Resolution to vacate the portion of SW 45th Street as requested, and execute the County Deed, and that the Chair be authorized to execute any additional documents approved by the County Attorney necessary to complete this transaction

Attachment: SW_45_Street_MAPS.pdf
Attachment: 
SW_45_Street_RESOLUTION.pdf
Attachment: 
Sw_45_St_powerpointPDF.pdf
Attachment: 
SW_45_Street_COUNTY_DEED.pdf

Smithers Survey

The Board adopted the Resolution to vacate the portion of Smithers Survey as requested.

Attachment: Smithers_Survey_powerpointPDF.pdf
Attachment: 
Smithers_Survey_RESOLUTION.pdf
Attachment: 
Smithers_Survey_MAPS.pdf

SW 63rd Blvd / SW 62nd Ave

Concerning the final design and finalizing the bid process for the SW 63rd Blvd / SW 62nd Ave rehabilitation project, the Board directed staff to coordinate another meeting within the community to seek input on specific changes relative to what is being proposed, and to come back to the Board with that list at the August 25, 2015, meeting at 5 p.m., or as soon thereafter as can be heard. Staff is to provide specific changes for the Board to consider at that time.  

Attachment: Presentation.pdf

Return to Top

Thank you for your continued interest in County Government!

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