25
Sat, Sep
502 New Articles

HIGH SPRINGS ‒ High Springs, Florida has hosted visitors from all over the world as they discover and “Enjoy Our Good Nature” since 1892.­­ The city’s gateway signs welcome weary travelers, excited shoppers and explorers and returning residents alike.  This year, Heart of High Springs, Inc., a local 501c3 nonprofit, has revived a project that originally began in 2007, committing to updating these signs at gateways to the community and to work with the property owners and local government regarding easements for legal access ensure there is a long-term maintenance plan so the signs remain a positive reminder of the pride and investment in the community.

The primary Gateway Sign is located on the roadside of U.S. Highway 441 on property owned by High Springs Animal Hospital.  Secondary Gateway Signs are located along five additional gateway roadsides in cooperation with additional private property owners.  

High Springs-based creator, ThemeWorks, Inc. has been selected to partner with Heart of High Springs in this effort.  “We are very excited about this project.  It’s amazing how signs like these can really impact the way a community like High Springs is perceived, increase community pride, and really give visitors the sense of arriving in a special place,” said Ryan Kremser of ThemeWorks, Inc.

The signs will be durable and maintainable for many years and will be produced by ThemeWorks using the same high-quality materials and fabrication methods that they use when producing outdoor signs for the major Florida theme parks. Existing ThemeWorks signs that were similarly constructed and installed have continued to be useful for more than 20 years. The signs will be fabricated from PVC and marine grade aluminum and will be coated with high end outdoor sign paints with a UV clear coat.

Regarding maintenance, the biggest issue will be algae and lichens growing on the signs.  Occasionally washing the signs with some soapy water would be the best way to keep them looking good.  They should not be power washed because it could shorten the lifespan of the coatings.

#     #     #

Email editor@

alachuatoday.com

Add a comment

NEWBERRY ‒ For those folks who have been cooped up inside for way too long, relief is just around the corner. The City of Newberry approved a special use permit to allow Vivid Sky Vertical, LLC, to hold an outdoor carnival and concert in August.

Eric Lenasbunt of Vivid Sky Vertical, acting as agent for property owner Pat Post, made presentations before the Planning and Zoning Board and the City Commission on July 12 to explain what is planned for the event and discuss the site plan.

A carnival by Florida Carnivals and More will be open all three days of the event, Aug. 20 – 22. Carnival hours are 3 – 11 p.m. Friday, 11 a.m. – 11 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. Sunday.

Doors open for the Friday and Saturday night concerts at 5 p.m. and music will run until 10:30 p.m. both nights. Saturday night’s closing event will include a 15-minute fireworks display.

Knockin’ Boots Saloon in Gainesville will be serving alcohol and food vendors/trucks and souvenir event sales will also be included onsite.

Lenasbunt said he would be contacting the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office and will also have EMS services available. He also explained his parking plan for ingress and egress during the events.

The gate location is 28823 W. Newberry Road, but it is best described as being adjacent to the Gilchrist County/Alachua County Line on the southeast corner of West Newberry Road and Gilchrist County Road 20185 (Southeast 90th Avenue, Gilchrist County).

Approval was given for this event with several stipulations including proof of a valid liquor license, liability insurance for the outdoor carnival and two-concert event and also the policy must list the City of Newberry as an “additional insured.”

Lenasbunt was tight lipped about who would be performing at the concerts so that will have to be a surprise when the event is closer.

#     #     #

Email cwalker@

alachuatoday.com

Add a comment

HAWTHORNE ‒ The Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) was called to the scene of a single vehicle crash on Thursday, July 8, at 11:20 p.m. The incident occurred on County Road 325 near Southeast 152nd Lane in Hawthorne.

A 59-year-old Hawthorne man was killed when his vehicle ran off the roadway and hit a tree.

The driver was traveling north on County Road 325. According to the FHP report, the driver’s car exited the roadway to the right as the vehicle approached a left curve. Once off the roadway, the car traveled northward on the east grass shoulder and struck a standing tree with the front of the car.

The driver was pronounced dead at the scene.

According to FHP there were no passengers in the car and the driver was not restrained by a seat belt at the time of the crash.

#     #     #

Email cwalker@

alachuatoday.com

Add a comment

NEWBERRY – The June joint meeting between the Newberry City Commission and the Alachua County Board of County Commissioners ended with a number of items delayed until the July 12 City Commission meeting. The five-page agenda listed 14 quasi-judicial public hearings, along with a petition to vacate an unused street, a presentation on the City Fire Department’s equipment replacement needs, establishment of the preliminary fire assessment rate for next year, construction plan approval of Phase One of Country Way South and appointment of a Florida League of Cities Conference voting delegate.

Fire Chief Ben Buckner explained the need to replace the department’s aging 22-year-old quint. The apparatus serves as a fire pump, water tank, carries fire hoses, includes an aerial ladder device to reach the tops of tall buildings and roof tops and carries ground ladders.

In related business, commissioners set the preliminary fire assessment rate for fiscal year 2022 at $195 for residential properties. The rate is not final, and the Commission has the opportunity to lower the rate prior to setting the final fiscal year 2021-22 budget.

In other city business, applications by Causseaux, Hewett and Walpole, Inc. dba CHW, agent for Lexington Parke of Gainesville, LLC to amend the boundary of the City’s Economic Development Overlay Area boundary of the Comprehensive Plan was approved. Also approved was an application to amend the previously approved planned development known as “Sandia Town Parc” and an application to rezone 311.81+/- acres from Agriculture to Planned Development.

Three hearings were conducted on second and final reading to change the Future Land Use Map classification of the previously annexed properties. All three property classifications were changed from County Rural/Agriculture to City of Newberry Agriculture to bring them into conformance with the City’s Official Zoning Atlas.

The first property, owned by Justin and Susanna Richardson, consists of approximately 19.4 acres and is located on the east side of Southwest 250th Street, approximately .62 mile south of Southwest 46th Avenue.

The second property, owned by Emil and Deborah Hodge, consists of approximately 13.7 acres and is located on the north side of Southwest 15th Avenue, approximately .4 mile east of Southwest 226th Street

The third property, owned by Emmel Family Partners, Ltd., consists of approximately 80.87 acres and is located approximately .5 mile north of State Road 26/West Newberry Road and approximately 1.3 miles west of Northwest 202nd Street.

All three properties were then rezoned from Alachua County Agriculture (A) to City of Newberry Agricultural (A) in three separate hearings.

An application by Herb and Jeanie Marlowe, owners, to amend the Future Land Use Plan Map classification from low-density residential (1 – 4 Dwelling Units/Acre) to Medium Density Residential (less than or equal to 8 DU/Acre) on 2.08 acres was approved. The property is located at 24916 S.W. 4th Avenue, 24928 S.W. 4th Avenue and 24902 S.W. 4th Avenue. The property is located on the north side of Oakview Middle School.

Once the Future Land Use Map was changed, Newberry Principal Planner Kinser-Maxwell presented a second application to rezone the property from Residential-Single Family (RSF-1) to Residential, Multiple-Family (RMF-1) on the same 2.08 acres. This application also received approval.

Two separate hearings of Ordinance 2021-27 and 2021-28, which are contiguous, were heard and both received approval. The first property consists of approximately 40.3 acres and the second property consists of approximately 7.66 acres. Kinser-Maxwell said enactment would take place on July 26 of these two ordinances.

A public hearing was conducted on first reading to de-annex a parcel of land, which was earlier annexed into the City under a barrage of criticism by Alachua County. The property is referred to by the City as the “windmill” property because of its configuration. The de-annexation, when finalized, will resolve a conflict between the City and County. Planning and Economic Development Director Bryan Thomas presented this item and indicated that the property owner would not be able to reapply to the City later because the properties between the city limits and the subject property are now in the County’s Growth Management Area.

A legislative public hearing of Ordinance 2021-25 resulted in approval to vacate a portion of Northwest 2nd Avenue between Seaboard Coast Line Railroad and Northwest 254th Street. Property owners Pat Post and William Watson will each receive 25 feet of property from this transaction. City Manager Mike New said one of the property owners will have a utility easement on their property.

Construction plan approval for Phase One of Country Way South subdivision received approval, but not without a concern expressed regarding early morning traffic impacts as drivers attempt to exit Country Way. This subdivision is expected to build 41 houses. Engineer Allison Fettner was on hand to answer questions. A round about was discussed as one option for the City to look into with the Florida Department of Transportation.

In other business, Commissioner Mark Clark was elected to be the voting delegate at the Florida League of Cities 95th Annual Conference Aug. 12-14.

City Manager New announced a series of workshops, many of which are part of the budgeting process. The final workshop on the Visioning process will take place in August, but dates are not yet firm.

A new law passed by the State Legislature requires that a property rights element be added to all Comprehensive Plans in Florida. Until that element has been added and approved by the state, all amendments to Comprehensive Plans will be on hold.

#     #     #

Email cwalker@

alachuatoday.com

Add a comment

CROSS CREEK – The Friends of the Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Farm invite the public to join the 125th birthday celebration of famed author Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings. The celebration will be held on Saturday, Aug. 7, from 10 a.m. to noon, at Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Historic State Park, in Cross Creek, the homestead of the Pulitzer Prize winning author of “The Yearling” and “Cross Creek.”

Guests will enjoy live music, cupcakes served with Marjorie’s legendary mango ice cream, and a unique glimpse of the historic farmhouse while it is closed for archival cleaning.

There will be a special dedication ceremony of the new trail signs featuring quotations from Rawlings’ books with artwork by Dr. Robert Carson, the first host to live at the park in the 1970s. Special guest to attend is the Florida State Parks Director Eric Draper, park staff and volunteers.

The event will also feature a video interview with Claude Jarman Jr., who played Jody Baxter in the 1946 film adaptation of “The Yearling,” in preparation for an upcoming special event with Jarman in December.

The event is free with paid park admission of $3 per vehicle. Physical address is Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Historic State Park, 18700 S. County Road 325, Cross Creek, FL 32640. (352) 466-3672. More information is availableat https://marjoriekinnanrawlings.org/

#     #     #

Email editor@

alachuatoday.com

Add a comment

PONTE VEDRAThe Florida Pharmacy Association has announced that Alachua, Florida pharmacist William Garst has been named Pharmacist of the Year.  This award is named after James Hartley Beal, who was a pharmacist from Ohio and was the first recipient of the prestigious Remington Medal for Distinguished Service to American Pharmacy. James Beal was president of the American Pharmacist Association and eventually made Okaloosa County, Florida his home.

The award is also named after former FPA Executive Vice President James B. Powers in honor of his many years of service to the profession of pharmacy in Florida.

Garst is currently working as a part time pharmacist for the UF Health Psychiatric Hospital, Lake Butler Hospital and Best Drugs of Trenton.  Since his retirement from the VA he has authored columns in “The Pharmacy Newsletter” for a local newspaper, Alachua County Today, and has published several articles in “Florida Pharmacy Today,” a monthly publication of the Florida Pharmacy Association.

He has served as the Vice-Chair for the Health Care Advisory Board for the Alachua County Commission and is a volunteer pharmacist for Grace Pharmacy serving the homeless population of Alachua County.  He is also active with the Alachua County Association of Pharmacists and the Florida Pharmacy Association.

He received his Doctor of Pharmacy, University of Colorado, Denver, CO and a Masters of Pharmacy Administration, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida. He is also a recipient of the Masters of Public Health, University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida.

#     #     #

Email editor@

alachuatoday.com

Add a comment

TALLAHASSEE – The Florida Department of Education has awarded $44 million in federal Unified School Improvement Grant (UniSIG) funds to support 149 struggling schools in 29 districts. In Alachua County, schools receiving funding are Caring & Sharing Learning School, Idylwild Elementary School, Joseph Williams Elementary School and Lake Forest Elementary School.

“It can be hard for struggling schools to recruit and retain top talent, and today I’m proud to announce $44 million to address this problem,” said Governor Ron DeSantis. “I have consistently said that the number one way to create great opportunities for our students is by ensuring they have great teachers. In Florida, we will continue to take a strategic, data-driven approach to make our schools the best in the country.”

“Our number one goal is to ensure each of Florida’s 2.9 million public school students receive a world-class education and are given the tools to succeed,” said Commissioner of Education Richard Corcoran. “These funds help accomplish that important work by incentivizing great educators with proven track records of success to come help our most vulnerable students in our most vulnerable schools succeed.”

The funds provided through UniSIG will be used to support school improvement initiatives in Florida’s lowest performing five percent of schools. Teachers who teach at these low performing schools and have earned highly effective or effective ratings can receive up to $15,000.

Principals may qualify for up to $45,000 for recruitment/retention and performance, and one assistant principal from the school may also qualify for $10,000 for recruitment/retention.

Each school will receive up to $100,000 to fund an Early Literacy Coach to support the 2021-2022 adoption of and professional development for the English Language Arts B.E.S.T. Standards.

Each school will receive up to $100,000 to fund a school-based Strategic Initiatives Coach to support the B.E.S.T. Standards adoption. These individuals will continuously review the submission of real-time progress monitoring data to guide instructional support and teacher practices.

Each school will receive up to $30,000 to fund supplemental teacher professional development and instructional materials to support the B.E.S.T. Standards adoption and implementation.

See the full list of UniSIG award recipients.

#     #     #

Email editor@

alachuatoday.com

Add a comment

More Articles ...