HIGH SPRINGS – The seasonal Art Walk events return to historic downtown High Springs on Saturday, April 20, 2024 from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. featuring 15-20 local artists and makers situated on the sidewalks of downtown.  Downtown High Springs also offers many eclectic restaurants and shops showcasing High Springs’ walkable, charming small-town hospitality they have become famous for.

This seasonal event is an opportunity for local artisans and artists to demonstrate and display their talents and offer their works for sale in front of storefronts throughout the downtown area. Participating merchants will offer specials and sales during the event.  

Lanza Gallery & Art Supplies will be displaying the Santa Fe Springs Plein Air Paintout Exhibit until May 4. Nineteen artists, local and out of town, painted on location for a week during the first week of April. Locations included Rum Island Springs, Gilchrist Blue Springs, O'Leno State Park and Grady House Bed & Breakfast. Ten percent of all painting sales goes to Howard T. Odum Florida Springs Institute to support our natural waters. 

Artists/creators interested in showing and selling in the High Springs Artwalk Events, should send an email with a picture of their items to downtownhighsprings@gmail.com.

For more information call Unique Notions at 352-318-5719 or Lanza Gallery & Art.

Downtown High Springs Art Walk is supported by the City of High Springs. 

#     #     #

Email editor@


Add a comment

NEWBERRY ‒ The City of Newberry was among 14 Florida public power utilities to receive a Florida Municipal Electric Association (FMEA) Safety Award, recognizing utilities’ commitment to safety. The award was presented at the Florida Lineman Competition awards banquet in Jacksonville.

Linework is listed as one of the top 10 most dangerous jobs. To provide reliable power, Florida lineworkers and power crews are frequently engaged in hazardous work that can place them at risk of serious or fatal injuries, which is why public power utilities place a significant emphasis on safety and training.

FMEA recognizes and rewards safe operations through its annual Safety Awards. Utilities are categorized based on their total worker hours and rewarded for the most incident-free records. The incidence rate used to judge utilities was based on the number of work-related reportable injuries or illnesses compared to the total number of worker hours during 2023, as defined by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

Newberry received a perfect rating in the category of other similar-sized utilities.

“We are honored by our receipt of the Florida Municipal Electric Association (FMEA) Safety Award, which highlights our team's commitment to safety in one of the most hazardous professions,” said City Manager Mike New. “This accolade is a testament to our dedication to maintaining rigorous safety standards and training, ensuring reliable power delivery to our community. We thank FMEA for acknowledging our efforts and fostering a culture of safety, which is essential in our mission to serve and protect our employees and residents.”

“We applaud each of these winners, including Newberry, for creating safe working environments and cultivating a culture of safety so employees can safely and effectively get their jobs done,” said Amy Zubaly, FMEA Executive Director.

Florida’s public power utilities are locally owned, locally controlled and locally operated, enabling them to respond to the needs of their communities quickly. “They are also among some of the most reliable power providers in the state, said Zubaly.

#     #     #

Email cwalker@


Add a comment

HIGH SPRINGS ‒ The City of High Springs has hired Jeremy Marshall as the new city manager. The High Springs City Commission held a special meeting on Tuesday, April 2, 2024, and finalized an employment agreement with Marshall by unanimous vote. The appointment of Marshall comes after a search process led by the City Commission, which included input from community members and evaluations of candidates' qualifications and experiences.

jeremy marshallThe six-page employment agreement is for an initial period of one year beginning on April 8, 2024 and ending on April 7, 2025. The agreement stipulates that it will automatically be renewed for successive one-year terms unless notice to terminate is given at least 90 days prior to the end of the contract term.

Marshall’s base salary is set at $112,500 annually, which the Commission may vote to increase at any time, based on their evaluation of his job performance. He is guaranteed to receive any annual cost of living adjustments given to all employees.

According to his contract, he is indemnified against any lawsuits or legal actions.

The City will pay for all of his professional dues and subscriptions, including travel expenses for conferences, short courses, seminars and other expenses associated with his professional development.

As an automobile allowance, Marshall will receive $3,900 annually or $325 monthly. He is responsible for his own automobile insurance costs and he is required to keep insurance coverage on his vehicle.

The City will also pay for his computer and other necessary equipment and supplies, including an $85 monthly cell phone allowance.

The contract stipulates that no other expenses will be paid without approval by the Commission.

Marshall will be expected to attend all Regular and Special Commission Meetings and workshops.

He will receive retirement benefits, and he has a few options to choose from. The City will pay for his health insurance coverage.

Marshall’s contract begins with 240 hours of paid time off which increases by 9.23 hours per pay period. He may accrue up to 800 hours.

The contract specifies that Marshall serves at the pleasure of the Commission. He may be terminated “without cause” at any time, in which case he would receive 12 weeks of pay and benefits, plus whatever paid time off he has accumulated, not to exceed 20 weeks total.

If his employment is terminated for misconduct or a crime, he will not receive any additional pay or benefits.

Marshall has a bachelor’s in business administration and is a candidate for a master’s degree in public administration. He previously worked as administrator of Valley, Nebraska, in 2022 and served as chairman of the Zoning Board of Appeals in Farmington, New York.

#     #     #

Email cwalker@


Add a comment

NEWBERRY - The Newberry Spring Festival, held on April 6, 2024, in historic downtown Newberry, was bustling with excitement as festivalgoers enjoyed live music, food trucks and the more than 150 assorted vendors.  

Weather for the event could not have been better with crisp, sunny blue skies as the backdrop for Saturday's festival.  The annual event is hosted by the Newberry Main Street Organization and attracts thousands of people from near and far.

There was a little something for everyone, including a petting zoo and an interactive audience kid's show.

#     #     #

Email editor@


Add a comment

ALACHUA – The Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) apprehended a man suspected of being involved in multiple criminal activities, including influencing children to engage in delinquent behavior, drug possession, and driving with a suspended license.

Gilbert JeanOn Saturday, April 6, 2024, an FHP officer conducted a traffic stop on a Chevrolet van on U.S. Highway 441 and Northwest 89th Street in Alachua. A 36-year-old man from Seminole County was driving with a suspended driver’s license. The stop was made after the officer determined that the license plate and tag were owned by a Gilbert Jean, who did not have a valid license.

The officer noted the smell of marijuana when approaching Jean and learned that he did not have a medical marijuana card. Jean initially said there was nothing illegal in the car but later stated there was some marijuana in the vehicle. The officer noted a young child in the back of the van and asked him to exit the car.

Based on probable cause, the officer searched and located approximately 18 grams of marijuana in a backpack in the front passenger seat, behind the radio, and a scale inside of a black bag next to Jean’s driver’s seat. A THC pen was also located inside the center of the vehicle next to Jean’s driver’s license.

Additionally, the officer discovered that Jean transported four juveniles from the Orlando area to Alachua County to use them to request money from people for a fraudulent nonprofit organization, “Awareness Youth.”

The children were later located by other assisting FHP troopers in separate locations and had been left unattended to roam the streets asking for money under Jean’s instruction. It was later disclosed that the children kept $4 for every $10 they obtained.

Jean was charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor, drug possession and driving with a suspended license. He has had 15 prior suspensions.

According to the FHP report, further investigation is pending with Florida Department of Law Enforcement and other multi-agency task forces.

Jean was arrested and transported to the Alachua County Jail with a $76,000 bond.

#     #     #

Email cwalker@


Add a comment

Photo special to Alachua County Today

ALACHUA ‒ In a heartening display of community pride, the Alachua City Commission came together on March 25, 2024 to acknowledge and commend businesses and individuals who generously donated funds and goods to support the City sponsored Alachua Youth Council project, “Restoring Dignity – One Wellness Packet at a Time.”

Conducted in late fall to early winter 2023, the effort was an initiative spearheaded by student members of the Alachua Youth Council (YAC) that aimed to provide basic hygiene supplies and support to their fellow students at Santa Fe High School.

The local group of concerned and community-minded high school students discovered an unmet need among their fellow students at Santa Fe High School. In cooperation with the school nurse, the YAC learned there were students coming to school who were in need of basic hygiene supplies.

YAC members devised a plan to elicit help from the community to collect items most in need. The group organized “Restoring Dignity – One Wellness Packet at a Time,” a collection drive for items such as deodorant, toothpaste, toothbrushes, bar soap, underwear and socks.

A number of businesses established drop off locations for donated supplies, and many businesses and individuals donated both goods and money to support the students in the effort.

On March 25, YAC members Selina Liu and Abby Bloomer presented certificates of appreciation to project partners. Among the notable contributors recognized were:

  • Alachua City Hall
  • Alachua Family Eye Care
  • Decades on Main (High Springs)
  • Dollar General Distribution Center
  • Douglas M. Adel, DDS, P.A. (Alachua)
  • China Express (Alachua)
  • Great Clips (Alachua)
  • HCA Florida Hospital (Gainesville)
  • Hitchcock’s Markets Pharmacy Desk (Alachua)
  • Infinite Wellness Gym (Alachua)
  • Joe Hancock
  • Kelly’s Kreations
  • Marian Rush of City of Alachua
  • Mitch Glaeser of San Felasco Tech City
  • New York Pizza Plus (Rolling Oaks Plaza)
  • O2B Kids (Alachua)
  • Okito America
  • Paradise United Methodist Church
  • Publix (Alachua)
  • River of Life Church
  • Paul AME Church
  • Santa Fe High School Guidance Office (Alachua)
  • The Healing House
  • Tony & Al’s Deli (Alachua)
  • Walgreens (Alachua)

The YAC serves as advocates for issues and initiatives to positively impact the lives of youth, discusses issues and offers suggestions for improvement to benefit youth in the community.

YAC members must be enrolled in a public school, private school or a home education program within the City of Alachua in grades nine through 12 or must be a City of Alachua resident enrolled in a public school, private school or a home education program in grades nine through 12 that is not within the City of Alachua's corporate limits.

#     #     #

Email editor@


Add a comment

NEWBERRY ‒ Commissioners in the City of Newberry received their annual audit report for the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, 2023.  The City had one finding in each the City audit and the Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) audit. 

The audit was presented by Barbara Boyd, a partner at Purvis Gray, the City’s contracted audit firm. 

This is the first year that the City has had its CRA separately audited.  The special review was triggered by a statewide law requiring such an audit in any year when the CRA has had $100,000 or more in either expenditures or revenues. 

Newberry received an unmodified opinion, the highest level of assurance auditors provide.

Auditors reviewed internal controls to determine if there are material deficiencies, finding none.  Internal controls are measures taken by the City to ensure the integrity of the city’s finances and transactions, such as requiring multiple signatures on checks, oversight of accounts, and the division of responsibilities across multiple personnel to improve transparency and oversight.

Boyd said the City’s local government investment policies materially complied with Florida law.

Because the City had more than $750,000 in grant funds, Purvis Gray also performed a State single audit to ensure that the City complied with the requirements of major grant programs, finding no internal control issues with respect to those funds.

The only issues cited by auditors centered on the City’s building permit process.  As the pace of growth in Newberry has continued to rise, so too have the number of building permits being issued.  In auditing the building permit process, Boyd said of the building permit packages “tested,” auditors found two building permits with incorrect rate type, while another permit had the incorrect valuation, which is used to determine the permit amount.

Boyd said while none of those issues caused any material misstatement, Purvis Gray makes a recommendation that the City’s management go back and evaluate the building permitting process to make sure sound policies and procedures are in place to prevent discrepancies.  

For the City’s Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA), the results were similar to the City’s general audit, garnering a “clean” opinion.  The only issue found during the audit process of the CRA related to the timely transmittal of its budget to the County.  The CRA is funded by tax increment financing from taxes returned to the CRA in part by the County and in part by the City.  Boyd said the City should submit its budget for the CRA to the County within 10 days after its adoption and within 10 days after any amendment to the budget.

The City’s total revenues and expenditures were both up about $1.1 million.  The primary drivers behind increased revenues for the year ending Sept. 30, 2023 was increased property values, a significant uptick in building permit fees, and additional interest income as a result of the City’s investment policies.  As for expenditures, the primary reason for the increase from the prior year to last year was an increase in the number of personnel as well as pay adjustments following a pay study.

City Manager Mike New lauded Assistant City Manager Dallas Lee and his team for keeping the City in compliance while continued growth increase opportunities for missteps.

Also during the April 8 meeting, the Newberry commissioners adopted an investment policy codifying the City’s current investment plan and allow the additional investment of surplus funds as permitted by Florida law.  The objective of the policy is to build the confidence of debtholders for improved bond issuance terms as the City embarks on major projects, including the construction of new City Hall facilities.

The Commission authorized the city manager to execute a contract with Coleman Construction to pave a new parking lot at the Easton Sports Complex.  The majority of the 42 new paved parking spaces will be located directly in front of the Easton Sports Complex.  The project also includes 64 new “stabilized” grass spaces in addition to stormwater improvements to deal with new runoff generated by the paved parking surfaces.  The total cost of the project is estimated at $581,000.  The project will be funded by nearly $448,000 in Wild Spaces Public Places sales tax funds and another $133,000 from the Alachua County Board of County Commissioners.  In addition to the parking project, the City is planning to construct a new gymnasium at the Easton site.

#     #     #

Email editor@



Add a comment

More Articles ...