Last updateWed, 22 Jun 2016 9pm

Slain town marshall's portraint donated to museum

HS Town MarshallPortraitIMG 1882

Photo by ED BOOTH/Special to Alachua County Today

HIGH SPRINGS – David Rivers, great grandson of Town Marshall George Lasonro Bryant, presented a portrait of his great grandfather to High Springs Police Lt. Antoine Sheppard and High Springs Police Chief Joel DeCoursey on Thursday, Jan. 21.

Although the presentation was made to the High Springs Police Department, the portrait was actually donated to the High Springs Historical Society Museum and will be displayed by them after it has been framed, according to Historical Museum President Bob Watson.

Bryant was officially honored on Dec. 3, 2015, at a memorial dedication ceremony at the site of a newly-installed commemorative sculpture in front of the City of High Springs Police Department.

Bryant was killed in the line of duty on Dec. 3, 1908, after serving 15 years as Town Marshall for the City of High Springs. He was shot by an intoxicated man while investigating a disturbance.

Historical records show he was the first law enforcement officer killed in Alachua County and the only law enforcement officer slain in High Springs.

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It's all about trains at Santa Fe's community ed class


CAROL WALKER/Alachua County Today Walker - Train IMG 1871


HIGH SPRINGS – For those who had model trains when they were kids and wish to relive the fun of one of the world's greatest hobbies, Santa Fe College's Community Education Enrichment program is offering two ways to renew acquaintance with this interesting pastime.


The first of two short, two-hour courses, “Model Trains:  History,” began last Thursday, Jan. 21, by exploring model trains from the early 1900s to the present.  The class is being held at the Historic High Springs Elementary School and Community Center. 


The second half of the course will be held on Thursday, Feb. 4.  The course instructor for both classes is Robert Watson, President of the High Springs Historical Museum. 


While the first class had to do with sharing information on the history of model trains, the second class will continue that theme for about 30 minutes before taking field trips to the local homes of two guest speakers, Sam Viviano and Pete Woodward. 


Both have a long history of model railroading, and each has their own train layout.  Viviano's is a Lionel three-rail, while Woodward's is an American Flyer two rail.


An assortment of interested people joined the first class.  At least two people were members of The North Central Florida Model Railroad Club, housed in Alachua.  Some were just interested in the topic, and some were trying to reconnect with a past hobby.  All expressed delight at being able to visit two train layouts in the second class session.


Watson explained that others can join for the second class and field trips by contacting Santa Fe College.


The second course, which begins Feb. 11, is “Model Trains:  Gauge, Setup, Care.”  This course explores the various gauges and sizes of model trains from G Scale to Z Gauge.  Layout, diorama building and model train maintenance will be the areas covered in this two-hour, two-class course. 


Participants will see a diorama being created by the course instructor.  The course will be held in the same location and runs from 6-8 p.m.


The fee for each of the two courses is $24.


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Turkey Creek homeowners re-open golf club

Turkey Creek

RAINA BARNETT/Alachua County Today

Turkey Creek residents Russ Pisano, 75, and his grandson, Doug McDermott, 15, look out over the Turkey Creek Golf Course from their vantage point of the clubhouse patio.

ALACHUA – The homeowners of Turkey Creek have finally completed the purchase of the community golf course and reopenned the golf club.

An accumulation of over 6,000 volunteer hours spanning just over a year culminated in the ribbon-cutting ceremony inside the newly-renovated golf club Saturday.

It has been a long time coming for the more than 1,200 residents to celebrate an arduous purchase process.

In January 2015, the Turkey Creek Master Owners Association (TCMOA) Board of Directors were anxiously awaiting news that the property had been sold to a private investment, but the deal did not close, and the parties walked away, according to TCMOA Treasurer and Secretary Todd Hutchison.

In the February board meeting, Hutchison brought up the idea that the board of directors should consider making the purchase.

“In March of 2015, we held a workshop at the Santa Fe High School auditorium,” Hutchison said. “We invited all of the community to come out and hear our presentation on a purchase plan. We had several hundred people attend that workshop. We had an overwhelmingly positive response. I would say 90 percent of the people who attended that meeting supported the idea of Turkey Creek Master Owner’s Association purchasing the property.”

The primary goals in the purchase plan were to gain legal control of the dormant and overgrown golf course property for maintenance, to seek a tenant to manage the 152 acres, and for residents to get free use of the pool and tennis court.

From March to October, there were hearings, appraisals, and finally a community vote.

“There is a statute that says 75 percent of the community has to formally approve a purchase, and October 14 is when we learned that we met the 75 percent threshold,” Hutchison said.

The ribbon-cutting ceremony represented many things, including all the hard work, lobbying, and investment in the project coming to reality.

The next step will be locating a management group for the golf course.

On Dec. 28, twenty-five invitations to negotiate (ITN) were sent to prospective tenants to begin the process of finding a golf management company.

“Right now the board has created two committees, a selection committee and a negotiation committee to help find a tenant,” Hutchison said.

The project has brought together hundreds of passionate residents and volunteers who have worked together to bring about the success of the golf course.

“We put together the scope of the budget,” said Renovations and Volunteer Coordinator Carol Walker. “We had walk-throughs with the fire marshal and with contractors to address safety issues and obtain a certification to occupy.”

Marianna Kampa, leader of the Landscape Committee, has invested countless hours with the volunteers.

“Volunteers from the community are key,” she said. “We cleaned up the golf course and worked really hard.”

The anticipated opening date of the pool and tennis court is April 1. This is also when the ITN review and recommendations are scheduled to be completed.

The ITN proposal deadline is Feb. 9. For more information, please visit

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Changing the history of LaCrosse

lacrosse marker spc to photo1

Photo special to Alachua County Today

LACROSSE – A new historical marker stands near the intersection of SR 121 and SR 235, providing a fuller history of the LaCrosse area than the first marker placed in 1978.

A Dedication Ceremony was held Saturday at Town Hall in front of a standing-room-only crowd.

The impetus for placing a new marker was Cindy Gallop, a resident of LaCrosse who grew up hearing stories from her mother about her family’s contributions to the establishment of the first settlement.

Gallop said she had been living in LaCrosse for several years before she finally stopped to read the original historical marker. She was surprised to find no mention of her mother’s family, the Parkers, listed.

“I came to the conclusion that either mother had embellished her family tales, or there had been some huge mistake,” she said.

After three years of research, Gallop said she was able to conclude that her mother had been correct: the Parkers were indeed the founders of LaCrosse.

The first historical marker was thus accurate but incomplete.

“Not only did I discover that my mother’s stories about the Parker family were true, but there were other early settlers that needed to be added to this historical account such as the Cellon family,” Gallop said.

Indeed, the new marker lists French immigrant John Cellon as the first settler of the area in the 1840s. It also names for the first time early settlers Thomas Green, Abraham Mott, Richard H. Parker, William Scott and Thomas Standley.

The marker also notes that the town was founded on land granted to Parker by the U.S. government in 1856. While LaCrosse wouldn’t be incorporated until 1897, the community dates back to the earlier time.

Information from the original marker was also included on the new one, including the source of the town’s prosperity in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries owing to cotton.

Boll weevils destroyed the cotton industry locally and throughout the American South, but at its height, LaCrosse – according to the new marker – had “two cotton gins, grist mills, multiple stores, and a hotel.”

Gallop said that finding the correct historical information and taking the steps to update the marker was a collaborative effort between several people in County government, local residents, and family.

“Today some historical data has now been included which honors more families, and it provides a richer heritage,” she said.

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Joy is High Springs Citizen of the Year

Joy HS Chamber COY IMG 1853

Photo special to Alachua County Today

L-R: High Springs Chamber President Eyvonne Andrews, High Springs Police Officer Adam Joy and last year's award winner Gloria James.

HIGH SPRINGS – Crinoline slips under full skirts, bobby socks, rolled up jeans and ponytails were the required dress of the evening as the High Springs Chamber of Commerce held this year's Annual Banquet with a 50s Sock Hop theme.

Disk jockey Michael Loveday provided themed music as Chamber members celebrated Friday at St. Madeleine Family Life Center. Hamburgers, hot dogs, ice cream sodas and floats were on the menu in keeping with the 50s theme.

One of the highlights of the evening was the presentation of an engraved Citizen of the Year plaque given to High Springs Police Officer Adam Joy. Joy, who hadn't known he’d been nominated for the honor, was surprised when his name was announced by last year's Citizen of the Year, Gloria James.

“I was told by Lt. Antoine Sheppard to be there and dress nicely,” said Joy. “It was a great surprise to be named for something like this. I am very honored and humbled to receive this plaque because everything I do is to help the community and not for recognition.”

Joy joined the High Springs Police Department in December 2010 after serving four years at the Alachua Police Department. He is also Assisting Elder of Anderson Memorial Church of God in Christ.

Joy organized the city's first National Night Out, the first breast cancer survival walk and the first 5K Splash Run to earn money for scholarships for graduating high school seniors. Joy and two other officers also founded the local Explorer Program.

Through his organization, Global Impact Charities, Inc., Joy is responsible for a $500 donation of school supplies for community children, donating gift cards to Santa Fe High School teachers for Teacher Appreciation Week, providing free hot breakfasts for elementary and middle school students at bus stops on their first day of school, and providing free meals on Thanksgiving in Alachua, High Springs and Gainesville.

When it’s time for report cards, parents of children who have made the honor roll in Alachua and surrounding counties can enter their child's name in a drawing to receive gift cards to local restaurants.

Asked how he manages to afford all of these donations, Joy said that people give by either going to his Facebook page, Global Impact Charities, Inc., or his website,

“People who know us know we actually do what we say we're going to do with their donations and can review photos of some of our project results,” he said. “If they choose to donate, that's great and we really appreciate any help they offer.

“The best thing about going to the website is that people can see what events we have participated in and what we have planned for the future,” said Joy. “There are lots of constructive activities people can get involved in, and we welcome all who are interested in participating with us.”

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