May 30th edition of:

Community Update
A Report on the Activities of Alachua County Government

 

This Issues Features:

The Fate of Old Joe
Emergency Poison Alert
Countywide Burn Ban Lifted
County Stormwater Assessment Featured on Alachua County Talks
Fire Rescue Takes Part in We Remember Night, Raising Awareness of Firefighter and EMS Worker Suicides
County Court Services Awarded NACo Achievement Award
Mill Creek Preserve Temporary Closure
County Fire Rescue Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Exercise
Florida Healthy Babies Meeting
June Extension Programs
Commission Highlights

The Fate of Old Joe

At the May 23, Regular County Commission Public Hearing, the Board voted 4-1 to relocate Confederate Statue called “Old Joe” away from the Alachua County Administration Building. They are offering the statue to the Daughters of the Confederacy. If they accept the offer the organization will have pay any costs involved in moving the statue.

The Daughters of the Confederacy have 60 days to respond to the County’s offer. If they do not accept the statue, then they will make a public offering to see if there are interested parties.

Click to view the Commission discussion.

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Emergency Poison Alert

The Florida Department of Health in Alachua County is alerting residents to a dangerous circulating drug. Synthetic marijuana, commonly known by several names such as “Spice or K2,” has been implicated in at least 9 cases of serious, life-threatening illnesses requiring emergency room visits since Sunday, May 28, and continuing today, May 29. The source of the drug is unknown at this time. The adverse effects of synthetic marijuana use may include agitation, extreme nervousness, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, a racing heartbeat, elevated blood pressure, tremors and seizures, hallucinations and dilated pupils. Spice may also raise blood pressure and cause reduced blood supply to the heart. In a few cases, it has been associated with heart attacks. Regular users may experience withdrawal and addiction symptoms.

Synthetic marijuana is one of the substances whose popularity is “alarmingly high,” according to the Office of National Drug Control Policy. Labels on Spice products often claim that they contain “natural” psycho-active material taken from a variety of plants. Spice products do contain dried plant material, but chemical analyses show their active ingredients are synthetic cannabinoid compounds.

Anyone experiencing an adverse reaction to an illicit synthetic substance should contact their local poison center as soon as possible by calling 1-800-222-1222. If there is a life-threatening situation call 911 or go to the nearest Emergency Room.

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Countywide Burn Ban Lifted

Thanks to recent rain conditions, the mandatory countywide burn ban originally signed on April 25, 2017, has been terminated. The burn ban was formally terminated by a majority of the Alachua County Board of County Commissioners.

For more information, contact Alachua County Fire Marshal John Adler at 863-781-1452.

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County Stormwater Assessment Featured on Alachua County Talks

This edition of Alachua County Talks features an interview with Alachua County Environmental Protection Director Chris Bird. The program focuses on Alachua County’s Stormwater Assessment proposal, how it will impact citizens, and how it will improve our environment.

In speaking of the program, Alachua County Talks host Mark Sexton said, “Every day, pollutants found in stormwater runoff into our creeks, rivers and lakes, directly affecting our quality of life. The Alachua County Commission, County Environmental Protection and County Public Works are working hard to insure the proper steps are being taken to make our water is clean for people, plants and animals, while also making sure the proposed stormwater assessment is both equitable and effective.”

View the interview online

For more information, visit www.alachuacountywater.org, email stormwater@alachuacounty.us, or call the Stormwater Hotline at 352-264-6850.

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Fire Rescue Takes Part in We Remember Night, Raising Awareness of Firefighter and EMS Worker Suicides

Alachua County Fire Rescue (ACFR) took part in “We Remember Night” on Friday night, May 19, in recognition of Mental Health Awareness month. We Remember Night is a nationwide event that sheds light on the growing issue of firefighter and EMS provider suicide, and is a show of support for those families who have lost a loved one to this tragedy. 

Citizens were invited to join firefighters at any Alachua County Fire Rescue Station to take a moment and reflect on those firefighters and EMS workers who have died by completing suicide. Public Safety crews placed their apparatus on the station driveway and turned on their emergency lights for one minute to express support for all the families that have suffered a loss. Memorial candles were available for those that came out. 

We Remember Night was organized by the Firefighter Behavioral Health Alliance, an organization committed to drawing attention to the issue of suicide in the fire and EMS industry. Last year 134 firefighters died by suicide nationwide; this year there have been 31. 

The Alachua County Commission has made mental health awareness a point of focus. Recently, all Alachua County employees attended a “Mental Health First Aid” class which provided attendees with a broad understanding of mental illness and taught a variety of methods by which they could assist a person experiencing a mental health crisis. ACFR formed a Peer Support Team to assist department members in dealing with the traumatic events that are so often seen in their line of work. The department also works closely with the Alachua County Crisis Center for ongoing mental health training and understanding how post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can affect public safety workers.

This local event was organized by Robert Smith, who not only works as a firefighter, but also serves as ACFR Chaplin and the leader of the Peer Support Team. “We respond to so many terrible tragedies,” said Smith. “Any one of those calls has the potential to overcome the normal coping mechanisms that we have. In serving as Chaplain, I have seen the toll that years of dealing with these events have taken on some of my co-workers, and it’s important that we offer an outlet for them to deal with those feelings to prevent suicide.”

The Alachua County Crisis Center is available 24/7 for all citizens, including first responders, in distress. Additionally, individual, family and group counseling is available to those who have lost a loved one to suicide. The Crisis Center can be reached at 352-264-6789 or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK.

For more information, contact Robert Smith at 352-235-1280.

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County Court Services Awarded NACo Achievement Award

The Alachua County Court Services Department was awarded the National Association of Counties (NACo) 2017 Achievement Award for its program titled “The Performance Data Enhancement Program” in the category of Criminal Justice and Public Safety.

The Data program was developed by Court Services’ Criminal Justice Information Technology team to fulfill the Department’s need to manage, visualize, and report criminal justice program data. The data information system streamlines access to client data, automated performance reports, and other program data to support departmental decision making.

“This is the first year that this team has been honored by NACo for their work in Criminal Justice and Public Safety,” Alachua County Court Services Director Peria Duncan said. “The Program will benefit the Alachua County citizens with better information for decision making in public safety. I want to thank our Criminal Justice IT Team for developing this important resource. Court Services is very grateful to receive this recognition from NACo.”

For more information, contact Peria Duncan at 352-338-7390.

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Mill Creek Preserve Temporary Closure

Alachua County’s Mill Creek Preserve (14505 N.W. CR 236, Alachua) is temporarily closed ]as of Friday, May 19, for approximately one month. As part of the ongoing management and natural community restoration of the preserve, a timber thinning is planned in and near the public use areas of the Preserve. For public safety reasons, the preserve will be closed while heavy equipment is on site for the timber thinning operation.

Thinning of dense pine stands is an important part of the ecological restoration of the preserve. It improves forest health, reduces excess fuels to lessen the risk of severe wildfire, creates better habitat for wildlife, and increases water recharge of aquifers by allowing more water to reach the forest floor and removing trees that utilize that water. Proceeds from the timber harvest are used for management and improvement of the preserve. 

For more information, contact Alachua County Parks and Conservation Lands’ Kelly McPherson at 352-264-6800.

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County Fire Rescue Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Exercise

Alachua County Emergency Management, in coordination with Alachua County Fire Rescue’s Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) team, conducted an exercise of the UAV on Wednesday, May 3. The exercise was in the fleet yard at the Alachua County Public Works Headquarter. This exercise better prepared teams from multiple agencies to combine their equipment and assets efficiently and effectively assist first responders in disaster situations.

The UAV Team flew in a simulated disaster area, taking photos and mapping the simulated damages, and then this data was uploaded to equipment in the Mobile Incident Mapping Unit (“GIS Trailer”) for data analysis. This coordination between resources was the result of multiple agencies working together to develop materials first responders can immediately use in disaster situations.

The UAV Team has been deployed twice for actual brush fires in Alachua County and can assist in brush fires, floods, missing persons searches, and damage assessments. The GIS Trailer has been used multiple times throughout Florida in the past several years, most recently in Nassau County for a wildfire.

For more information, contact Alachua County Emergency Management Director John Shaw at 352-318-0747.

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Florida Healthy Babies Meeting

The Florida Department of Health in Alachua County in collaboration with the Department of Children and Families’ Child Fatality Prevention Partnership is hosting a Florida Healthy Babies meeting. The meeting is on Friday, June 9, 2017, from 1 p.m.to 4 p.m. in the Health Department’s Thomas Coward Auditorium (224 S.E. 24th Street, Gainesville).

There will be presentations about perinatal mental health, the Healthy Families program, the Healthy Start program, car seat safety, the Coordinated Intake and Referral program, and other updates from local community initiatives.

Those interested should RSVP by Friday, June 2, by email to healthyalachua@flhealth.gov.

For more information, contact Diana Duque at 352-225-4355 or Diana.Duque@flhealth.gov.

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June Extension Programs

Commercial Horticulture Programs

These programs are being offered by Dr. Tatiana Sanchez, Commercial Horticulture Agent, at the UF/IFAS Extension Alachua County Office (2800 N.E. 39th Avenue, Gainesville) unless otherwise indicated.

Green Industries Best Management Practices (GI-BMP) – June 1, from 8:15 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Florida law states that all commercial fertilizer applicators must have a certificate from FDACS. To get this certificate, each commercial applicator must be trained in the GI-BMPs and receive a certificate of completion from UF/IFAS and FDEP. GI-BMP Certification is required to apply for the Fertilizer Application License.

Earn Continue Education Units (CEUs) for pesticide license holders. Up to 4 CEUs will be available in the following categories: 2 Core, 2 Ornamental & Turf, 2 Limited Landscape Maintenance, 2 Limited Urban Fertilizer, 2 Private Applicator – AG, 2 Limited Lawn & Ornamental, 2 Commercial Lawn & Ornamental. 

Participants must register by May 29. The registration fee is $25.00 (includes lunch & materials). Participants must register online (for an additional fee). There are no refunds for registration costs.

View the event flyer.

Beekeeping – Honey Extraction & Hive Management – June 10, from 9 a.m. to noon, at the UF Bee Unit (2895 S.W. 23rd Terrace, Gainesville)

This class will cover honey extraction from bee hives and keeping a healthy hive.

The registration fee is $5.00 (includes lunch & materials). Participants must register online (for an additional fee). There are no refunds for registration costs.

View the event flyer.

Limited Commercial Landscape Maintenance – June 13, from 8:15 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The Limited Commercial Landscape Maintenance Workshop trains commercial landscape maintenance personnel to make correct pesticide applications to ornamentals and plant beds only.

Up to six (6) CEU’s will be available in the following categories: 3 General Standard/Core, 3 Ornamental & Turf, 3 Private Applicator Ag, 3 Limited Lawn & Ornamental, 3 Limited Landscape Maintenance, 3 Commercial Lawn & Ornamental.

Participants must register by June 8. The registration fee is $30.00 per person (includes lunch). Participants must register online (for an additional fee). There are no refunds for registration costs.

View the event flyer.

Pesticide Training for Private Applicator in Ag & Horticultural Industries – A Review – June 20, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., at Kanapaha Botanical Gardens (4700 S.W. 58th Drive, Gainesville)

This workshop is designed to provide training for the private applicator agricultural pest control license.  The private applicator license is required for anyone that applies restricted use pesticides to their farm, greenhouse or nursery. Topics include private applicator and regulations, equipment calibration and pesticide arithmetic, pesticide safety, and principles of pest control.

CEU’s available (maximum of 4 CEU’s earned): 1 General Standard/Core, 2 Private Applicator, 1 Aerial Application, 1 Ag Row Crop, 1 Ag Tree Crop, 1 Forestry, 2 Ornamental & Turf, 1 Right of Way, 1 Soil & Greenhouse Fumigation. CEUs will be offered for applicators that already have their licenses.

Participants must register by June 15. The registration fee is $18.00 per person (includes lunch). Late registration or at the door is $20. Participants can register online (for an additional fee). There are no refunds for registration costs.

View the event flyer.

Environmental & Community Horticulture Programs

These programs are being offered by Dr. Denise DeBusk, Environmental & Community Horticulture Agent, at the UF/IFAS Extension Alachua County Office (2800 N.E. 39th Avenue, Gainesville) unless otherwise indicated.

Landscaping for Newcomers – June 12, from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

This class is geared to the new homeowner or newcomer to Alachua County. It focuses on Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ principles, as well as Alachua County ordinances and soil and weather conditions specific to Alachua County and Florida. Participants will receive a newcomer’s packet filled with information and water-saving devices.

This program is free, but registration is required. Participants must register online.

Vegetable Gardening in the Summer – June 15, from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Participants learn what vegetables can grow in the heat. Other summer strategies such as soil solarization and cover cropping will be discussed.

The registration fee is $5.00. Participants must register online. There are no refunds for registration costs. This program is limited to 50 participants.

Organic Blueberry Farm Tour – June 21, from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m., at Melrose Organic Cornucopia, LLC (2911 CR 219A, Melrose)

Participants learn about organic blueberry practices from Master Gardener and u-pick grower Jeff Popowski. Practices such as mulches, fertilization, pruning, and growth will be covered. If time permits, other vegetables currently growing will also be covered. Participants have an opportunity to pick blueberries after the tour.

The registration fee is $5.00. Participants must register online. There are no refunds for registration costs. This program is limited to 30 participants.

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

Democratic Women’s History Month
The Board proclaimed May 2017 as “Democratic Women’s History Month” in Alachua County, FL
Item Summary Report
Democractic Women’s History Month

Public Works Week  
The Board proclaimed May 21st through 27th, 2017 as Public Works Week in Alachua County, FL
Item Summary Report
Public Works Week

Memorial Day
The Board proclaimed May 29th, 2017 as “Memorial Day” in Alachua County FL
Item Summary Report
Memorial Day

Emergency Medical Services Week
The Board proclaimed May 21st through 27th, 2017 as “Emergency Medical Services Week” in Alachua County, FL
Item Summary Report
Emergency Medical Services Week

Community Food Center
The Board heard a Community Food Center update.
Item Summary Report
Community Food Center Presentation
Community Food Center Letter of Support

Mental Health Recovery
The Board heard a mental health recovery through peer support presentation.
Item Summary Report

UF Innovation Hub
The Board heard an Economic Development Update on the UF Innovation Hub.
Item Summary Report

Court Security
The Board heard a Court security presentation by Sheriff Sadie Darnell.
Item Summary Report

Fire Services Assistance Agreement
The Board cancelled the Fire Services Assistance Agreement (FSAA) with the City of Gainesville effective June 1, 2018.
Item Summary Report
Presentation-Cancellation of the FSAA
FSAA Agreement
FSAA Agreement Amendment
Chair FSAA Cancellation Letter
Alachua County Fire/EMS Masterplan 2012

Business and Economic Growth
The Board heard the Business and Economic Growth action plan update.
Item Summary Report
Action Plan Update May 2017
Implementation Plan Progress Report
Recommendations Worksheets

2017 State of Florida Priority Land Trails
The Board accepted 2017 State of Florida Priority Land Trails network proposed changes with the addition of the Lake Butler Trail.
Item Summary Report
Proposed Trail Additions Map
Chair Letter
Presentation

New Alachua County Fairground
The Board approved the selection of the Construction Manager at Risk for the New Alachua County Fairground: RFP 17-672.
Item Summary Report
17-672 FR

Comprehensive Plan
The Board approved amendment to the Alachua County Comprehensive Plan: 2011-2030 future land use element related to cottage neighborhoods.
Item Summary Report
CPA_05_17_Staff_Report
CPA_05_17_Presentation

Evinston Rural Cluster
The Board adopted of Comprehensive Plan Amendment delineating the Evinston Rural Cluster on the Future Land Use Map (“CPA 08-16”).
Item Summary Report
Ordinance_CPA 08-16_Evinston Rural Cluster
Staff Report_CPA 08-16_Evinston Rural Cluster
Presentation_CPA 08-16_Evinston Rural Cluster

Aviation-Related Policies
The Board approved the proposed amendment to Alachua County Comprehensive Plan to update aviation-related policies and delete outdated maps (CPA 04-17).
Item Summary Report
Staff Report_CPA 04-17_Aviation Policies and Maps
Presentation_CPA 04-17_Aviation Policies and Maps

Confederate Soldier Statue
The Board decided to move the Confederate soldier statue. They are offering it to the Daughters of the Confederacy first. If they decline they will make a public offering to see if there are interested parties.
Item Summary Report
Historical Commission Minutes Aug. 12, 2015
Historical Commission Minutes Jan. 12, 2016
Veterans Minutes Oct. 10, 2016
Veterans Minutes Nov. 14, 2016
Historical Commission Minutes Nov. 14, 2016
Veterans Letter
Mitch Landrieu Article

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