ALACHUA COUNTY, FL - The Energy Efficiency and Weatherization of Affordable Housing Grant Program is designed to help lower utility bills for Alachua County residents by creating a fund to improve the energy efficiency of rental units. Participating units can request home upgrades ranging from better attic insulation to more energy-efficient electrical appliances such as stoves and air conditioners. This program is for renters in the unincorporated areas of Alachua County, and the County’s smaller municipalities.
Participants can receive up to $15,000 per rental unit. Participating property owners will be asked to commit to maintaining the unit's affordability for a length of time, depending on their chosen award amount. Participation in the program requires the consent of both the renter and the property owner.
For more information, contact Alachua County Sustainability Manager Betsy Riley at 352-756-1403 or

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GAINESVILLE, Fla., Feb. 1, 2023 — In a new study, scientists with the University of Florida found that a combination of silver nanoparticles and antibiotics was effective against antibiotic-resistant bacteria.


  • For centuries, silver has been known to have antimicrobial properties. New research investigated whether silver nanoparticles could amplify the effects of antibiotics on antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
  • The study found that small amounts of silver nanoparticles combined with a low dose of a common antibiotic inhibited the growth of resistant bacteria.
  • The scientists hope to use these findings to develop a treatment for some types of antibiotic-resistant infections. 

The researchers hope to turn this discovery into viable treatment for some types of antibiotic-resistant infections. Antibiotic-resistant infections kill more than a million people globally each year.

For centuries, silver has been known to have antimicrobial properties. However, silver nanoparticles — microscopic spheres of silver small enough to operate at the cellular level — represent a new frontier in using the precious metal to fight bacteria.

In this study, the research team tested whether commercially available silver nanoparticles boost the power of antibiotics and enable these drugs to counter the very bacteria that have evolved to withstand them.

“We found that the silver nanoparticles and a common class of broad-spectrum antibiotics called aminoglycosides work together synergistically,” said Daniel Czyż, senior author of the study and an assistant professor in the UF/IFAS department of microbiology and cell science.

“When combined with a small amount of silver nanoparticles, the amount of antibiotic needed to inhibit the bacteria decreased 22-fold, which tells us that the nanoparticles make the drug much more potent,” Czyż explained. “In addition, aminoglycosides can have negative side effects, so using silver nanoparticles could allow for a lower dose of antibiotic, reducing those side effects.”

The findings were both surprising and exciting, said Autumn Dove, first author of the study and a doctoral candidate studying microbiology and cell science in the UF/IFAS College of Agricultural and Life Sciences.

“When I first saw the result, my first thoughts were, ‘Wow, this works!’” said Dove.

Over the last several decades, overuse of antibiotics had led to the emergence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria and a decline in the effectiveness of traditional antibiotic drugs, the researchers said. The study’s findings indicate that silver nanoparticles have the potential to renew the effectiveness of some of these drugs.  

“Let’s say you get a bad burn on your hand, and it gets infected with one of these resistant strains of bacteria,” Dove said. “It’s possible that dressing that burn with a combination of silver nanoparticles and antibiotics could both clear that infection and prevent those resistant bacteria from spreading elsewhere.”

Though antibiotics mainly target bacteria, they can also damage human and animal cells. Using a microscopic worm called C. elegans, the researchers confirmed that the silver nanoparticles did not also make the antibiotic more toxic to non-bacterial cells.

Building off the study’s promising findings, the scientists next plan to seek FDA authorization for clinical trials and work with UF Innovate to patent an antimicrobial product that uses silver nanoparticles.

The silver nanoparticles used in the study were manufactured by the Natural Immunogenics Corporation, which helped fund the study through the UF Industry Partnerships Matching Grant Program. This program pairs UF researchers with Florida-based technology and energy companies to research and develop new products.

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HIGH SPRINGS ‒ Given that hot soup on a cold winter day is always a popular dish, the GFWC New Century Woman’s Club took the idea further and created a January charitable event of homemade soup. But to give the event a distinct spin, it was not the members of the Woman’s Club who made the soup, but rather, 14 men who volunteered to make their own special soup recipes for the event.

The High Springs New Century Woman’s Club has a long history of community involvement and charitable causes. The club was organized in 1899 by 12 women and it was federated with the national organization in 1900. The first president was Mrs. L.C. Gracy. In 1912, financed by Club president Mrs. James Paul and her husband, the building for the club was built on donated land and has been home to the group ever since.

They are also one of the oldest Woman’s Clubs in Florida, founded only nine years after the National Organization was founded. Today, there are over 60,000 members nationwide

The goal of all the chapters is to “transform lives each day, not simply with monetary donations, but with hands-on tangible projects that provide immediate impact through educational, literary, scientific, and charitable endeavors.”

The High Springs club focuses on major issues that affect communities daily such as supporting women’s health, preserving natural resources, promoting literacy and equality, citizen advocacy, and encouraging volunteer service. The High Springs Club motto is “Not for ourselves alone, but for others.” With that motto in mind, the club, which has about 100 members, organizes at least one large charitable event per month to raise money for various groups and projects.

January’s “Real Men Make Soup” charitable event had local men rolling up their sleeves and creating a diverse assortment of steaming homemade soup. Some participants made ethnic soups like Gumbo, Taco Soup, Tortellini and Italian Wedding soup. Others went with seafood and made clam chowder while still others brought their own favorite variations to the ever-popular chicken soup. Yet other men opted for heartier stick-to-your rib choices like lasagna soup, cheesy potato and bacon, chicken pot pie and meat stew.

Tickets to the sold-out event went for $15. And for people purchasing the $15 tickets—they had the enviable opportunity to sample all 14 soup varieties—as many times as they wanted. And members of the Woman’s Club served up a captivating array of homemade desserts. All profits from the event were donated to the High Springs Community School's Athletic Program.

Next month the club will feature a Spaghetti to Go take out dinner complete with a roll, salad and desert for $10. Pick up the dinners on Feb. 6 from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at the New Century Woman’s Club, 23674 West U.S. Highway 27 in High Springs. The money from the upcoming Spaghetti to Go fundraiser will be donated to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

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NEWBERRY ‒ The City of Newberry has approved two ordinances that the City Commission says will provide infill construction in the center of town. The two local ordinances were unanimously approved at the Jan. 23, Newberry City Commission meeting.

The first was a zoning change request made by eda consultants, inc. Director of Planning Clay Sweger, acting as agent for Pat M. Post, owner. Sweger requested an amendment to the Official Zoning Atlas of the City’s Land Development Regulations by changing the zoning from Residential (Mixed) Single-Family/Mobile Home (RSF/MH-2) to Planned Residential Development (PRD) on 48.2 +/- acres. The vacant property is located on the east side of Northwest 266th Street, between Northwest 8th Lane and Northwest 3rd Place.

The current zoning requires a minimum lot size of 10,000 square feet, which only allows 145 dwelling units. The zoning change to PRD would allow the developer to establish his own lot sizes and setbacks. He is proposing a lot size of 6,600 square feet within the first area, referred to as Area 1 and 5,500 square feet in Area 2. Over one-third of the site is open space and stormwater retention area.

The proposed lot sizes will allow for 30 – 40 homes in Area 1, the northern most area, and 135 – 145 in Area 2. During the first hearing on Dec. 12, Sweger said there was a possibility that 16 tiny homes may be part of the Area 2 lot configuration, but that had not been decided.

Minor modifications to the Preliminary Development Plan were made to incorporate 60-foot rights-of-way throughout the development, which adds a future right-of-way connection to the platted and unimproved Northwest 3rd Place.

CRA funding will be put into a sidewalks program and this area would be one of the areas considered for improvement, according to City Manager Mike New. Principal Planner Jean-Paul Perez said, “This project is expected to improve infrastructure in the CRA district with roadway paving and improvement and the extension of water and sewer to un-served areas.”

The zoning change was unanimously approved on second reading.

A request for preliminary plat approval from Gmuer Engineering, LLC, agent, on behalf of Morlynn Properties, LLC, owner, also received unanimous approval. Morlynn Subdivision is proposed to be constructed on 1.69 +/- acres located at 25749 S.W. 1st Avenue. This item received substantial discussion from Planning and Zoning Board members when it was heard by that board on Jan. 3.

Two recommendations from the Planning and Zoning Board included a request that the engineer consult with the Alachua County arborist on the existing trees that might hinder the installation of sidewalks and also that foundation surveys are to be conducted.

Christopher Gmuer spoke on behalf of the property owner and said he is waiting for the official report from the arborist but that the trees in question were not Live Oaks (which the Planning and Zoning Board wanted preserved), but instead were Water Oaks.

Although no formal decision was made about the sidewalks, it was implied that the developer would remove the existing trees to make room for sidewalks.

The Morlynn Subdivision property was rezoned from Residential, Single-Family (RSF-2) to Planned Development (PD) on July 11, 2022. This property is wholly or partially located within the Urban Service Area, Community Redevelopment Area, Historic District, Economic Development Opportunity Area and Transportation Enhancement Project Area ‒ an area the City would like to have developed because utilities are already present and the subdivision would provide infill.

The subdivision will contain 15 lots for construction of detached single-family residences. The existing home currently located on proposed Lot 15 will be preserved and incorporated into the Planned Development. Access to the homes will be by a private alley. Maintenance of the “open space” and alley will be controlled by a homeowners’ association. Electric, potable water and sanitary sewer services will be provided by the City. Gmuer said that water retention would be underground and due to the length of the alley, water could be retained for up to two back-to-back hurricanes.

In other business, the City of Newberry annexed four properties on July 11, 2022, and as required by law, the City’s Comprehensive Plan’s (CPA) future land use map must be amended. Alachua County’s land use classification and Newberry’s (less than or equal to one dwelling unit per five acres) for all four properties are identical.

The first application was for 22.75 +/- acres owned by Joshua P. and Tracie A. Blackford. The property is located on the west side of the intersection of Northwest County Road 235 and Northwest 46th Avenue.

The next application was for 4.35 +/- acres owned by Clifton A. and Shari D. Brown. The property is located on the west side of Northwest 32nd Avenue.

An application for 20.68 +/- acres owned by Richard Marion Fowler II was also approved. The property is located on the southwest corner of West Newberry Road/State Road 26 and Southwest 266th Street.

The last application was for 40 +/- acres owned by Martin and Martin (20 acres) and Todd and Lori Martin (20 acres). The property is located on the east side of Northwest 298th Street (County Line) in the southwest quadrant of Section 19, Township 17 East, Range 9 South.

Once the CPAs were approved, the Commission approved changing the zoning from Alachua County Agricultural to City of Newberry Agriculture.

The Commission also approved soliciting for a company to provide Construction Manager at Risk services for the construction of the changes to City Hall. The Construction Manager at Risk specializes in this type of project construction and reviews plans and orders items for the project in advance to forestall delivery delays of required items. Air conditioners and other large ticket items may take as long as one to one-and-a-half years to obtain given supply chain delays. The cost would for this service is expected to be one percent of construction costs or $60,000 - $70,000.

In other City business, several informational announcements were made. A proclamation calling for a regular election on April 11 for mayor and two city commission seats was read into the record. All three positions will serve two-year terms.

The City of Newberry has received FMEA’s 2022 Restoring Communities Award for assistance provided by Florida’s municipal electric utilities in helping to restore power to communities in emergency situations.

The Florida Department of State has designated Newberry Main Street Organization as the January 2023 Florida Main Street Program of the Month.

A State of the City address will be provided along with a Taste of Newberry event at 6:30 p.m. on Feb. 16.

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GAINESVILLE ‒ The internal signal to migrate sends birds on marathon journeys that can cross continents and oceans. Many of the birds that fill our yards and woods with song throughout the summer – vireos, tanagers, warblers, and flycatchers - will wing their way to Central and South America in September to winter in habitats replete with insects, berries, seeds and other food items necessary to sustain them for half of their annual life cycle. Even the ruby-throated hummingbirds that sipped nectar from flower blossoms and feeders vacate Florida and zoom southward to distant environs.

After many of our summer breeding birds depart in September, the true snowbirds slowly filter in and join the year-rounders such as Carolina wrens, tufted titmice, and Carolina chickadees. Flocks of tiny birds, some dazzling shades of yellow, others nondescript brown, many hyperactively pumping their tails up and down, and still others flashing yellow rumps as they flush to another feeding spot, replace our winter migrants. These are the true snowbirds from Maine, New York, Quebec, Nova Scotia, and other northern reaches that have departed their snowy habitat for Florida’s mild and more hospitable winter.

Many Floridians mark winter by the sight of the most notorious of snowbirds – sandhill cranes and American robins. And those who stock their bird feeders will marvel at the abundance of local birds as well as the snowbirds that visit your yard. If you place a heaping tablespoon of grape jelly in a dish suspended from your bird feeder, and wait patiently, you may be gifted with the sight of the most spectacularly plumaged snowbird of all, the Baltimore oriole. Or another winter treasure, a painted bunting, may sneak to the feeder to dine on the smorgasbord of seed.

What are some strategies for spotting the avian snowbirds? Groups of warblers – palm, pine, and yellow-rumped – form conspicuous flocks as they forage for seeds in grassy fields and road edges. Eastern phoebes are also quite easy to discern. Look for a cardinal-sized bird with a smudgy dark head, tail pumping up and down, and perched prominently on a fence post or exposed branch waiting to swoop out and nab an aerial insect. Two snowbird woodpeckers grace us with their winter presence – Northern flicker and yellow-bellied sapsucker. The tell-tale call of the flicker’s high, piercing, and clear keew or the sapsucker’s mewing neeah will reveal their whereabouts.

One technique that savvy birdwatchers employ to locate hard-to-find snowbirds (or migrants that pass through during fall and spring migration) is to closely scrutinize flocks of local birds, the tufted titmice and Carolina chickadees. These year-round residents are the most knowledgeable at finding local food sources, detecting neighborhood predators such as outdoor cats, and sounding the alarm when the resident Cooper’s hawk arrives. The snowbirds often use the knowledge of the locals by following along and forming mixed flocks with the year-round residents.

If you would like to learn more about attracting birds to your yard – both winter snowbirds and year-round locals – consider attending the Alachua Audubon Society-sponsored Backyard Birding Tour on Saturday, Feb. 18 from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. Explore some of Gainesville’s premier backyard birding habitats on a self-guided tour of five to six yards and learn how to attract birds to your own yard. Tickets are $12 each and available for purchase at Wild Birds Unlimited, 4121 N.W. 16th Blvd. Educational displays and bird experts will be present at each tour stop.

This winter spread your wings by learning to create a bird-friendly yard and discover chipping sparrows, orange-crowned warblers, gray catbirds, and others that have heeded their internal signal to flee their frosty habitats and spend the winter with us in sunny Florida.

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ALACHUA ‒ Suwannee River Area Health Education Centers (AHEC) serve Alachua, Bradford, Citrus, Columbia, Dixie, Gilchrist, Hamilton, Hernando, Lafayette, Levy, Marion, Putnam, Sumter, Suwannee, and Union counties. Suwannee River AHEC’s Navigators provide outreach and enrollment services to anyone looking to enroll for health care coverage in the Federal Health Insurance Marketplace. This Special Enrollment Period runs from Jan. 16, 2023 – Oct. 31, 2023. AHEC assists consumers with confidential telephone, virtual, and in-person enrollment service and provide public education and outreach activities at locations throughout the state throughout a 15-county services area. All services are offered free of chargeSuwannee River AHEC Navigators are trained and able to provide free and unbiased help to consumers as they look for health coverage options through the Marketplace, including completing eligibility and enrollment forms.

The Special Enrollment Period is available to those who have experienced one of the following qualifying life events in the past 60 days:

  • Lost coverage through a job for any reason including retirement, being laid off, being fired, death of a spouse, death of a parent, or loss of COBRA.
  • Lost Medicaid, Florida Kidcare, Medicaid Share of Cost, or premium-free Medicare.
  • Moved to another country, state, or from overseas.
  • Gained employment such that you now qualify for Marketplace financial assistance.
  • Turned 26 and aged off your parents’ health plan.
  • Lost a student health plan.
  • Gave birth to a child or adopted.
  • Got married or got divorced, either of which affected your health coverage.
  • Had a change in immigration status that made you newly eligible for the Marketplace.
  • Were released from incarceration

The pandemic has resulted in a tremendously increased level of need for services, and anyone impacted can find out what their coverage options are now. Call today for help with the specifics of your situation.

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HIGH SPRINGS, Fla. ‐‐  Just before 6 p.m.,  on the evening of Jan. 26, 2023, firefighters were dispatched to the Bailey Estates neighborhood in High Springs for a report of an individual stuck up in a tree.   Upon arrival, crews found a 13‐year‐old male stuck roughly 30 feet up a large tree in the woods. The teen, uninjured, was successfully rescued after a well‐coordinated rescue effort from High Springs Fire Department, Alachua County Fire Rescue, and High Springs Police Department.   Technical Rescues such as these, are just one example of the dozens of types of calls today’s firefighter trains for, and responds to.

 Video link here.

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