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NEWBERRY – The City of Newberry has approved an application by M3 Development, LLC, acting as Agent for C.L. Brice, Inc., owner of property known as Lexington Station Mixed-Use Development. The property is located directly north and west of the Easton-Newberry Sports Complex on two parcels consisting of approximately 196-acres.

Ordinance 2020-21/LDR 20-02 was heard in a quasi-judicial public hearing on June 22. Newberry Planning and Economic Development Director Bryan Thomas presented the application to allow an amendment to Development Order 05-1, which currently requires a five-foot setback at the front of the house and a 10-ft. setback at the side (interior) yard in the residential development areas.

M3 Development’s David McDaniel said a change to a 20 ft. setback at the front of the house would allow properties to have their own driveways for parking. The other requested change was to reduce the side (interior) yard setback to five feet.

Extended discussion centered on whether the change would prevent cars from parking on the streets, an issue which has been a concern in other subdivisions. Thomas explained that on-street parking would be determined during site plan approval and depended upon whether the roads were wide enough to allow street parking.

He also said keeping the setbacks as they are would mean people would have to access their properties from the rear of the house, which would likely require an alleyway to be created for access.

“The applicant believes that the amendment will facilitate a residential development pattern that more closely aligns with current market demand and provide for adequate parking area in the front driveways without encroaching on the neighborhood sidewalks,” said Thomas.

Thomas also explained that the existing development order was approved in 2005. That order allows for up to 214 single-family, and up to 226 multifamily units. “The proposed amendment would not change the allowable residential density,” he said.

In roll call vote, Commissioner Monty Farnsworth cast the only dissenting vote. The ordinance passed on first reading with a vote of 4-1.

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NEWBERRY – Newberry may be one step closer to instituting a program they have been working on since 2015. During the June 22 Commission meeting, City Manager Mike New reviewed progress in researching and establishing an Automated Metering Infrastructure (AMI) program for Newberry.

Commissioners authorized New to negotiate an agreement with the only company compliant with a request for proposal (RFP) put out by the City in March to provide AMI system services. In the event the city manager is unable to negotiate contract terms with the compliant submitter, Commissioners also authorized the termination of negotiations and re-issuing an RFP for AMI services.

With the assistance of Quanta Technology Engineering Project Manager Bob Dumas, the City developed the RFP and pre-qualified four firms from which to solicit proposals.

“We received proposals from three of the pre-qualified firms,” said New. “The fourth firm, Aclara, declined to submit a proposal citing previous commitments.”

Quanta performed a high-level compliance review of the three submittals and found that only one, Sensus, was compliant with the RFP document. The other two submittals by Honeywell and Landis+GYR were found to be non-compliant, New said.

The RFP evaluation committee consisting of Florida Municipal Power Agency (FMPA) Manager of Member Services Development Mike McCleary, Lakeland Electric Utilities Assistant General Manager for Customer Service David Kus and Mike New met remotely on June 11 to discuss Quanta’s compliance review. The RFP evaluation committee unanimously approved a motion to find the same two company’s proposals non-responsive and recommended that staff be authorized to negotiate a contract for AMI service with Sensus, and that staff be authorized to re-issue the AMI service RFP if negotiations with Sensus are unsuccessful.

If negotiations are successful, this project could be rolling out as soon as this fall.

The City estimates deployment cost for AMI to range from $1 million - $1.2 million. “The budget for FY 2020/ 2021 includes funding for this project,” New said.

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ALACHUA – Bioservices Inc., a biologics contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO), announced it has been awarded a contract to advance development of a cocktail of anti-botulinum neurotoxin monoclonal antibodies (mAb) by the Department of Defense (DOD) through the Joint Science and Technology Office of the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) and the Joint Program Executive Office for Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Defense (JPEO-CBRND). The contract ceiling value is $42.6 million. 

In this program, Ology Bioservices will execute a randomized, double-blinded Phase 1 dose-escalation clinical trial of a cocktail of mAb against botulinum neurotoxin serotypes A and B. In addition, the company will further refine the manufacturing process for the mAb as well as conduct nonclinical studies to support advanced development of the product. The candidate was originally developed by Xoma Corporation and later acquired by Ology Bioservices.

Ology Bioservices successfully transferred the technology and manufactured this candidate therapeutic for the DOD under a previous contract awarded in 2017.

“This contract is an important milestone for both Ology Bioservices and the DOD,” said Peter H. Khoury, Ph.D., President and Chief Executive Officer of Ology Bioservices. “Monoclonal antibodies represent an important, innovative option in medical countermeasure development, allowing the DOD to more effectively layer CBRN defense. We are excited to bring this next generation of countermeasure to the clinic.”

About Ology Bioservices

Ology Bioservices is a privately held, full-service Contract Development Manufacturing Organization (CDMO) serving both government and commercial clients, specializing in biologic drug substance manufacturing from early stage through commercial product. The company has 183,000 square feet of manufacturing, process development and QA/QC space in its state-of-the-art Advanced Development and Manufacturing Facility in Alachua, Florida.

The company’s infrastructure provides unique services to its clients, including full regulatory support from preclinical through licensure, clinical trial operational support and bioanalytical testing, as well as CGMP manufacturing up to Biosafety Level 3 (BSL3). Ology Bioservices has more than 20 years of experience developing and manufacturing drugs and biologics for the U.S. government, with over $1.8 billion in government contracts awarded. The team at Ology Bioservices has decades of experience manufacturing, developing and licensing vaccines and protein/antibody therapeutics. For more information, visit the company’s website at www.ologybio.com.

About DTRA

The Defense Threat Reduction Agency enables the Department of Defense, the United States Government, and international partners to counter and deter weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and improvised threat networks.

Countering WMD and improvised threats is a global problem that requires DTRA’s unique global presence and execution capabilities. As a Combat Support Agency, DTRA provides various forms of support to the Combatant Commands (CCMDs) and the military services with both defensive and offensive capabilities. The agency is uniquely prepared to address some of the most immediate, consequential, and non-conventional weapon threats to national security through leveraging and expanding collaboration with interagency and international partners.

As the DoD’s research and development leader focused on WMD and improvised threats, DTRA facilitates innovation through combining traditional research with unconventional means to develop and quickly field solutions to the most complex, deadly and urgent threats facing the United States and the rest of the world.

DTRA has over 2,000 uniformed military personnel and DoD civilians working on every continent except Antarctica. The agency has thousands of global engagements in more than 100 countries and in addition to multiple locations stateside and overseas, the agency has liaisons in many embassies.

About the JPEO-CBRND

The Joint Program Executive Office for Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Defense (JPEO-CBRND) is the DOD Joint Service’s lead for development, acquisition, fielding and life-cycle support of chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear defense equipment and medical countermeasures. As an effective acquisition program, the JPEO-CBRND puts capable and supportable systems in the hands of the service members and first responders, when and where it is needed, at an affordable price. Our vision is a resilient Joint Force, enabled to fight and win unencumbered by a chemical, biological, radiological, or nuclear environment, championed by innovative and state-of-the-art solutions.

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HIGH SPRINGS – A suspect in the May 29, 2020 High Springs shooting that left one person injured has been arrested.

Web Strawder MugshotNineteen-year-old George Mack Strawder III was apprehended by authorities Sunday.

Strawder was identified by witnesses as the man who shot another man during an argument. The High Springs Police Department (HSPD) responded to a call involving a shooting near the Catherine Taylor Park and arrived on the scene within minutes of the call. Officers discovered an adult male victim on the ground, suffering from a single gunshot wound near the lower back. HSPD personnel administered first aid until EMS arrived on the scene. The victim was then airlifted to a local hospital.

According to the investigation, the victim was part of a group involved in a physical altercation with another group and the victim was allegedly shot by Strawder, who along with others, fled the scene on foot and eluded a search by law enforcement.

This was the second shooting incident in the vicinity within a month. While authorities are not sure if the two incidents are related, they do believe that Strawder was involved in both cases.

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GAINESVILLE – After weeks of intensive work that included reviews of return-to-school plans from districts across Florida and other states, surveys of families and staff, consultations with local healthcare experts and guidance from the Florida Department of Education, Alachua County Public Schools has released a draft plan for the reopening of schools in the fall of 2020. That plan is available on the district’s website at https://fl02219191.schoolwires.net/Page/30007.

The plan outlines strategies that will be implemented depending on the community spread of the virus—no spread, minimal/moderate spread and significant spread. According to the Alachua County Health Department, Alachua County is currently in the minimal/moderate spread category, although that could change.

The plan also offers families different educational options ranging from in person instruction to a Digital Academy to enrollment in the Alachua eSchool. Under the Digital Academy option, students would receive individualized instruction at home, including live lessons. Students would be expected to be engaged in digital learning following their typical school schedule—for example, 7:45 a.m. to 1:52 p.m. for most elementary schools.

Students enrolled in Alachua eSchool would receive virtual instruction from eSchool teachers which allows for more flexibility, particularly in terms of a schedule. Alachua eSchool has been in place for several years and currently serves about 3,000 full- and part-time students.

More information on all options will be provided to all families during the week of July 6.

A survey previously sent to parents showed a plurality of the more than 12,000 respondents (about 36 percent) completely supported a return to in-person schooling with precautions, including frequent handwashing and enhanced cleaning of facilities, while about 26 percent did not.

“We recognize that no single plan will meet every family’s needs, particularly in this very challenging environment,” said Superintendent Karen Clarke. “What we’ve tried to create is a draft plan that provides options and covers a variety of scenarios depending on the course of the virus.”

The draft plan has been reviewed by the Alachua County Health Department and the district’s medical director, a pediatrician with UF Health. District staff will remain in constant contact with local healthcare professionals about COVID-19 and its impact on schools.

The district will be seeking more input from staff, families and the community before the plan is finalized, which is scheduled for July 15. A school board workshop on July 8 at 2 p.m. will include a presentation on the draft plan, including the instructional options, and an opportunity for citizens to comment and ask questions. That workshop will be held online and will be open to the public. In the meantime, citizens can submit their input at returntoschool@gm.sbac.edu.

The district currently plans to reopen schools to students on Aug. 10. Emails, texts and phone messages with a link to the plan are being sent to all families in the district.

“Ultimately our goal is to provide a high-quality education and other critical services to our students while promoting their health and well-being and that of our families and staff,” said Clarke.

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GAINESVILLE ‒ Two public input sessions have been scheduled for those who would like to suggest a new name for J.J. Finley Elementary School.

On June 16, the School Board of Alachua County voted to change the name of the school, which opened in the 1930’s and was named for a Confederate general. The Board also approved the selection of a committee of local citizens who will review all suggestions from the community and recommend a new name.

The target date for the Board to approve a new name is August 4. The J.J. Finley name has already been removed from the building.

More than 150 names have already been suggested. Those names can be found on the J.J. Finley Renaming page on the district’s website. The direct link is https://fl02219191.schoolwires.net/Page/30000

The first meeting to take additional suggestions is scheduled for Tuesday, July 7 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the District Office at 620 E. University Avenue. Social distancing measures will be in place, and space in the boardroom will be limited. Those wishing to attend are asked to wear masks.

The second meeting will be held virtually on Thursday, July 9 from 4-6 p.m. and will be broadcast live on the district’s YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCFbqdGz4v9-8ag-607GvxaQ. Participants will be able to call in to that meeting to offer their suggestions.

Community members can still recommend a new name by submitting an email to newname@gm.sbac.edu by July 17.

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HIGH SPRINGS – The High Springs City Commission has set the date of Nov. 3 for the City’s 2020 municipal election. The two commission seats expiring this year are Seat #1, currently occupied by Commissioner Nancy Lavin, and Seat #2, presently held by Vice-Mayor Gloria James.

Resolution 2020-C sets the qualifying period to begin during business hours on Monday, July 20 and ending at the close of business on Thursday, July 23, 2020.

Any High Springs citizen who is registered to vote may run for a Commission seat by filing the necessary qualifying papers provided in Florida Statutes with the High Springs City Clerk’s office during the qualifying period.

Candidates must file a Statement of Financial Interests Form, notarized Loyalty Oath/ Oath of Candidate, Affidavit of Residency and pay the qualifying fee or file a waiver (Affidavit of Undue Burden). They must also submit an Appointment of Campaign Treasurer and Designation of Depository and Statement of Candidate forms.

An appointment of Campaign Treasurer and Designation of Campaign Depository form must be filed before opening a campaign account. Candidates may submit the form at any time during the qualifying period. The filing of this form triggers the requirement to file the treasurer's reports. Candidates may not collect or spend money on their campaign until after submitting this form.

The qualifying fee for running for City Commissioner is $108, which is one percent of the $10,800 salary of the office sought.

Questions may be directed to the City Clerk’s Office at High Springs City Hall.

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