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ALACHUA COUNTY - The Alachua County Commission will conduct a virtual meeting on Friday, July 10, 2020, at 10 a.m. The County Commission will receive a presentation and have a discussion about police reform with Alachua County Sheriff Sadie Darnell. Citizen comment will be taken, but limited to one hour.
The public may attend virtually through Cox Channel 12, Facebook, and the County's Video on Demand website. For meeting audio-only, call 301-715-8592, and when prompted, use code 670 965 3024. The public may submit comments to the board through email (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) or by calling into the public comment message line when prompted to call during the meetings. Public comment will be taken by telephone for all non-ministerial items on which the Commission votes. Once public comment is opened for an item under discussion, please call 929-205-6099 (enter meeting code 273 174 8038). Callers will be put in a queue and prompted when it is their turn to speak. To avoid feedback, speakers must turn down their meeting sound when addressing the commission. Callers should state their name and limit comments to two minutes. The public is encouraged to submit any written or photographic documents prior to the meetings to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
The meeting agenda includes:
  • County Sheriff's Office Police Reform
Citizens are encouraged to stay engaged by signing up for the following: FacebookTwitterInstagram, and subscribe to the County's https://visitor.constantcontact.com/manage/optin/ea?v%3D001LBos8BrBhyq7a9DXsuW_2A%3D%3D&source=gmail&ust=1594406965999000&usg=AFQjCNH8HNJ3qAaOrUhYZ2tUmuCvf6O_IQ">Newsletter/Press Release
For more information, contact Alachua County Communications Director Mark Sexton at 352-264-6979 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
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ALACHUA COUNTY - The Alachua County Commission  at a July 7, 2020 meeting discussed the $46.9 million in Federal CARES Act dollars coming to Alachua County. They unanimously approved the expenditure of these funds as outlined in the County’s CARES Act Plan. In their action, the Commission emphasized that their most important priority was getting relief to individuals and businesses. 
 
The County is working on the application process and qualifications.  When completed, the County will make every effort to notify the public on how to apply. 
 
“Many in our community are hurting,” said Commission Chair Robert Hutchinson, “and we intend to get this money to those in need as soon as possible.”
 
The following is the approved distribution plan: 
 
1. $21.1 million for Individual Assistance Grants 
  • Rent, mortgage, utility, internet, phone and car payment assistance
  • Daycare assistance for school-aged children, if school attendance is limited
  • Documented issue related to COVID-19 (i.e. furloughed / laid off)
  • Citizens can apply for up to $5,000.  The first-round of grants will be up to $2,500 with the possibility of up to an additional $2,500 in the future as funding allows.
 
2. $7.5 million for Small Business Relief Grants – 25 employees and less
  • Small retail, salons, non-essential businesses, daycares, etc.
  • Documented lost profit from required closure
  • Documented employees (non-owner/family) remaining on payroll while on required closure
  • Up to $10,000 total
 
3. $7.5 million for Medium Business relief grants – more than 25 to 50 employees
  • Sit down restaurants, entertainment venues, etc. 
  • Documented lost profit from required closure
  • Documented employees (non-owner/family) remaining on payroll while on required closure
  • Up to $15,000 total
 
4. $2 million for Medical Expenses 
  • $1,250,000 allocated to the Alachua County Department of Health for contact tracing specialists, epidemiologists, and related support staff for testing, tracing, case management, and containment of COVID-19.
  • $750,000 allocated to other medical expenses to include, but not be limited to:
  • Expansion of testing sites and capabilities
    • Example: Tents with climate mitigation, testing kits, additional sites
  • Increased emergency transport cost
    • Example: Decontamination units, overtime due to quarantine issues, drug costs
 
5. $2 million for Public Health Expenses
  • $1 million for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and medical supplies for public health and safety workers
    • Example:  Masks, face shields, gowns, and similar items
  • $250,000 for disinfecting of public areas and facilities such as nursing homes
    • Example: Aerosol units, spray systems, and disinfecting products
  • $250,000 for quarantining health care and public safety officers 
    • Example: First responders, law enforcement officers, and health personnel
  • $250,000 for preparing public buildings to serve customers 
    • Example: Social distancing markers, signage, modifying counter areas, etc.
  • $250,000 crisis intervention from trauma as a result of COVID-19
 
6. $1 million for payroll expenses
  • Local share of FEMA expenses for county, municipalities, and constitutional officer employees responding to COVID-19.
 
7. $3.3 million for expenses of actions to facilitate compliance with COVID-19-related public health measures
  • $800,000 maintaining the county jail, including as relates to sanitation and improvement of social distancing measures, to enable compliance with COVID-19 public health precautions.
    • Example: Modification to Air Handling System, and inmates per pod / cell.
  • $500,000 local share of FEMA expenses for county, municipalities, and constitutional officer non-payroll expenses responding to COVID-19.
  • $500,000 cost to enforce public ordinances in place to prevent the transmission of COVID-19. 
    • Example: Overtime, additional staff, and law enforcement support
 
8. $2.5 million for any other COVID-19-related eligible expenses reasonably necessary to the function of government
  • To be held in reserve for programs not yet determined and expenses not yet anticipated. If not expended by October 30, 2020, this amount shall be redistributed to other categories.
 
The Commission’s motion also approved:
 
  1. The use of a third-party administrator to implement programming and monitor funds for the programs outlined in this plan.
  2. The Resolution and budget amendment for unanticipated revenues and budget amendment to receive and account for these funds.
  3. The execution of sub-recipient agreements by the Chair with any entity or agency receiving funding from the County. 
  4. Directing staff to work with all stakeholders’ utilities, landlords, etc. to get the word out to citizens regarding the County’s Assistance Program. The intent is to work with all agencies to get the word out for bills to be paid, and the Chair is authorized to sign Chair Letters to assist with the effort.
  5. Staff providing an update at the first meeting in August and all subsequent meetings in August of the funding program for the Board to determine if it wishes to reallocate.  
  6. A staff report to the Board on the July 14, 2020 meeting on the Code Enforcement activities of County staff and each of the municipalities’ enforcement activities. 
  7. Allowing for individuals to apply for up to $5,000.00 and cap the award at $2,500 per household for the initial round. 
  8. Including that assistance for complying with the County Public Health Ordinance is an eligible expense and asks that the Companies warrant that they are complying with the County Emergency Orders.
 
For more information, contact Alachua County Communications Director Mark Sexton at 352-264-6979 or 
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GAINESVILLE — Alachua County’s most current health data and leading health concerns are featured in the recently released "Alachua County Community Health Assessment 2020" by WellFlorida Council, the local health planning council of North Central Florida. The purpose of the community health assessment is to uncover or substantiate the health needs and health issues in Alachua County and better understand the causes and contributing factors to health and quality of life in the county.

 

 The comprehensive health assessment effort is based on a nationally recognized model and best practice for completing health assessments and improvement plans called Mobilizing for Action through Planning and Partnerships (MAPP). Use of the MAPP process and tools helped assure a collaborative and participatory process with a focus on wellness, quality of life and health equity that led to the identification of shared, actionable, strategic health priorities for Alachua County. Copies of the report can be downloaded from the WellFlorida website (www.WellFlorida.org) under “County Publications.”

 Conclusions and trends in the assessment were drawn from survey data, state and national database findings, and community stakeholder discussions.

The top five most important factors that contribute to a health community as identified by Alachua County residents are: 1) Access to health care including primary care, specialty care, dental and mental health care; 2) Access to convenient, affordable and nutritious foods; 3) Job opportunities for all levels of education; 4) Affordable housing; and 5) Healthy behaviors. The majority of residents rated the health of the county as “somewhat healthy” to “healthy.”

Immunization rates among kindergartners and seventh graders in Alachua County have seen positive trends over the last decade, surpassing state averages (94.2 percent of kindergartners and 97.4 percent of seventh-graders in 2019). The county also reports consistently lower rates of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) cases (16.3 per 100,000 population in 2018) over a decade.

Despite having a wealth of medical resources concentrated in the city of Gainesville, only 69.5 percent of Alachua County residents reported having a personal doctor, slightly lower than the state average of 72 percent. Inappropriate utilization of Emergency Department for dental or oral health reasons remains high at 2,793 preventable visits from January to September 2018.

Health disparities, which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines as “preventable differences in the burden of disease, injury, violence or opportunities to achieve optimal health that are experienced by socially disadvantaged populations,” were evident in maternal and infant health data, as well as in other categories such as morbidity and mortality, wealth and quality healthcare.

Rates of teen pregnancy have trended downward among White, Black and Hispanic populations. Black residents, however, continued to experience a higher teen pregnancy rate (2.1 percent) relative to White counterparts (0.3 percent) from 2016 to 2018.

 Infant mortality and low birthweight (LBW) births among the Black population in Alachua County is an area of particular concern. In the time period of 2016-2018, the infant death rate was almost fourfold higher among Black residents (15.8 deaths per 1,000 population) relative to White (4.2 deaths per 1,000 population) and Hispanic (4.3 deaths per 1,000 population) counterparts. The average infant death rate among Black residents in Alachua County is also higher than the average infant death rate among Black residents in Florida (11.2 deaths per 1,000 population). LBW birth trends since 2013 demonstrate a similar pattern with disparities widening in recent years.

The disparity in all-cause mortality rates between the White population and Black population in Alachua County has improved in recent years. All-cause mortality in the Black population decreased from 978 deaths per 100,000 population in 2014 to 909 deaths in 2018. However, this remains higher than the all-cause mortality rate among the White population of 749 deaths per 100,000 population in 2018.

White residents had much higher median household incomes ($54,112) compared to Hispanic residents ($42,410) and Black residents ($30,132) in the county. Income inequality by racial group was worse at the county level than the state level.

Considering all findings throughout the assessment process, community stakeholders identified the issues with the highest priority in Alachua County as access to affordable housing and utilities, health disparities, access to mental healthcare and access to nutritious foods, according to the report.

The project is funded by the Florida Department of Health in Alachua County and UF Health Shands Hospital.

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ALACHUA COUNTY — More than 40,000 vote-by-mail ballots for the 2020 Primary Election are being mailed to Alachua County voters.
 
Voters who signed up to receive a vote-by-mail ballot should expect to receive their ballots, which will arrive in a pink envelope, no later than July 23. The majority of domestic vote-by-mail ballots are being mailed today, while overseas ballots were mailed on July 2. Any voter who does not receive their vote-by-mail ballot by July 23 should contact the elections office at 352-374-5252 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
 
The deadline to request a vote-by-mail ballot is 5 p.m. Saturday, August 8. Vote-by-mail ballots can be requested online, in person, or by phone, fax, mail or email. Until the deadline, vote-by-mail ballot requests will be filled as they are received. Any voter can sign up to vote by mail.
 
The Supervisor of Elections must receive domestic vote-by-mail ballots by 7 p.m. on Election Day (Tuesday, August 18). Voters who vote by mail are encouraged to have their completed ballots mailed before Tuesday, August 11, to ensure ballots arrive at the Supervisor of Elections Office by the deadline. Voters should also make sure that their voter information and signature are updated before they return their ballot if they have moved or their signature has changed.
 
Additionally, voters are encouraged to be alert when filling out and mailing a vote-by-mail ballot. Advice from the Supervisor of Elections includes:
 
  • Completely color in the oval next to your choice on your ballot — do not circle or mark an “X” over the oval.
  • If you make a mistake on your ballot, call the Supervisor of Elections at 352-374-5252.
  • Be sure to sign your own mail ballot certificate envelope.
  • Return your mail ballot in the official envelope provided. Return postage is prepaid.
 
Any voter who does not sign their ballot or whose signature on the vote-by-mail ballot certificate does not compare to the signature in their voter record will be contacted by the Supervisor of Elections and provided the opportunity to correct the ballot. According to Florida Statutes, voters have until 5 p.m. Thursday, August 20, to complete an affidavit to correct a vote-by-mail ballot that does not have a signature or has a signature that does not match the person’s voter record signature.
 
Starting Sunday, August 9, voters may authorize another person to pick up a vote-by-mail ballot from the Supervisor of Elections Office. A designee must have a note signed by the voter and a picture ID. They must also complete an affidavit, which is available online at https://dos.myflorida.com/media/701775/dsde37.pdf. Designees may not pick up more than two mail ballots per election, excluding their own ballot and ballots for their immediate family.
 
Voters can drop off completed vote-by-mail ballots at the Supervisor of Elections office, located in Gainesville at 515 N. Main St., during normal business hours — 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday — or can use the secure, white afterhours drop-box located outside of the office’s main entrance. The drop-box is open 24/7. Voters have until 7 p.m. on Election Day (August 18) to deliver vote-by-mail ballots to the Supervisor of Elections.
 
For more information, contact the Supervisor of Elections at 352-374-5252.
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ALACHUA COUNTY –The continuing COVID-19 pandemic is making it nearly impossible to plan for future events, both personal and community wide.  The situation is continually evolving, making plans dependent on the virus and its infection rate. Due to the school shutdowns caused by COVID-19, educators have had to rethink and improvise teaching and communication with students and families.

Alachua County Public Schools (ACPS) had to transition rapidly from traditional teaching methods in a classroom setting to online and distance learning, finding ways to continue to teach, making use of the technology available.  Now Alachua County Public Schools has released a draft return-to-school plan.

On March 14, the State ordered that all Florida public schools take an additional week off after spring break with plans to reopen on March 30. But the numbers continued to rise rapidly to over a thousand cases by March 22. Less than two weeks later, on March 31 there were 6,741 cases and 85 deaths. The Board of Education announced that all schools would remain closed until at least May, but each deadline was pushed back due to the continued outbreak and eventually the schools would remain closed for the year while educators scrambled to reinvent education for remote learning.

On June 3, Governor DeSantis announced that Florida would enter Phase Two of reopening starting June 5. It looked like school would return to normal for the next year.

However, as people flocked to recreation areas and indoor activities, the numbers of cases suddenly spiked in mid-June, and plans are thrown into turmoil. The Florida Department of Education was tasked with coming up with different options for an unpredictable school year.

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.

The plan outlines strategies that will be implemented depending on the community spread of the virus in three scenarios—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 so the School Board came up with different options.

A survey previously sent to parents showed that 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 complete draft plan, with additional information, is available on the district’s website at https://fl02219191.schoolwires.net/Page/30007. The draft plan is not a final plan and is dependent on the future of the virus.

The Alachua County School 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 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

If the situation allows for it, 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 with students in the district.

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HIGH SPRINGS – The City of High Springs is postponing the purchase of a security system for City Hall. The City had asked for bids on an access control system and received a total of nine bids, which Emerald Data Partners founder Eric May said was surprising during a time when everything was locked down due to COVID-19. May said all but two of the submittals met the bid requirements. The range of bid amounts is $16,504 - $45,000.

May, a former High Springs City Commissioner, pointed out that this was a security issue that the City has wanted to address for some time. He has been working with the City to provide technology consulting services, strategy, data backup and disaster recovery services and was asked to spearhead the search for a structural security system for City Hall.

Although the bids were ranked and May reviewed the pros and cons of the top submittals, the High Springs City Commission declined to act on the bids at this time. That decision was made following a question to the Finance Director by Commissioner Scott Jamison as to whether the purchase had been included in this fiscal year’s budget.

Learning that it had not, Commissioners asked if the item could be re-bid for the next fiscal year’s budget or whether some of the bidders would extend their bids. May said it was unlikely they would extend their bids into or past October, the beginning of the City’s next fiscal year’s budget. May had said previously that the City had no idea what the costs might be for such a system. “Now that the City has received these bids, a reasonable amount can now be budgeted for the next fiscal year,” said May.

Commissioner Nancy Lavin moved and Commissioner Gloria James seconded a motion to table the issue until the next fiscal year. The motion was unanimously approved.

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TALLAHASSEE — As Independence Day approaches, the Florida Forest Service is encouraging residents to use caution with fire while celebrating. Since January, 1,845 fires have burned more than 86,600 acres throughout Florida.

“With most traditional organized firework celebrations being cancelled to reduce the potential spread of COVID-19, many people may be planning to enjoy celebrating our nation’s independence with fireworks, barbeques,, and campfires at home,” said Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried. “We need all Floridians and visitors to use fire responsibly and understand their role in keeping our families, friends and communities safe.”

Residents and visitors should always check local laws before using fireworks. Local fire and police departments as well as the State Fire Marshal’s Office can also provide guidance. If choosing to celebrate with fireworks, grills, or campfires, follow these safety tips:

  • Light fireworks in a cleared area free of vegetation or dry debris;
  • Clear debris from around campfires, grills and all fire sources;
  • Remove debris from any location where fireworks could land;
  • Always have a water source available;
  • Aim fireworks away from people, homes and wooded areas;
  • Never use homemade fireworks;
  • Discard used fireworks in a bucket of water;
  • Store unused fireworks, matches and lighters out of the sight and reach of children;
  • Never leave a fire unattended and ensure it is completely out before leaving it;
  • Report any fire immediately to 9-1-1.

“Despite recent rainfall, the potential for wildfire always exists when using fire and fireworks outdoors,” said Erin Albury, State Forester and Director of the Florida Forest Service. “It is important for everyone to understand that Florida’s unique, fire-prone vegetation has the potential to ignite a fire at any time.”

https://www.fdacs.gov/Divisions-Offices/Florida-Forest-Service/Wildland-Fire/Current-Wildfire-Conditions2" Click here to access current wildfire conditions in Florida, including active wildfires and additional fire safety information.

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TALLAHASSEE — Legislation championed by Senator Keith Perry (R-Gainesville) to promote well-rounded elementary education by increasing access to music classes in elementary schools has been signed into law with full funding. SB 156 "Early Childhood Music Education Incentive Pilot Program" establishes a three-year music education pilot program within the Florida Department of Education to assist needs-based school districts in implementing comprehensive music education programs for students in kindergarten through grade 2.

“What if we could raise the I.Q. of Florida students by an average of seven points with one simple change? Studies suggest that exposure to comprehensive music education has a dramatic effect on I.Q., long-term memory and concentration,” said Senator Keith Perry. “I thank Governor DeSantis for recognizing the vast benefits of increasing fine arts education and signing this transformative law to provide a more well-rounded education for our students and future workforce.”

Representative Vance Aloupis (R-Miami) said, “As someone who has worked in early childhood education for more than a decade, I know firsthand the importance of music in young children’s lives. This bill will be a wonderful partnership between UF and FIU as we expand music education across Florida and support our youngest learners.”

The bill also requires The University of Florida’s College of Education to coordinate with Florida International University’s College of Music to evaluate the program’s positive impacts on academic performance. The findings will be shared with the Florida Center for Partnerships for Arts-Integrated Teaching.

UF College of Education Dean Glenn Good, PhD said, “I am delighted that SB 156 has been signed by Governor DeSantis. This important project will advance our understanding of the relation between children’s early K-2 involvement in comprehensive music education and their subsequent academic performance.”

 UF College of Education Professors David Miller, PhD and Anne Seraphine, PhD said, “We are pleased to hear that the Governor has approved SB 156. The bill provides funding for an early childhood music education pilot program, which is much needed. As evaluators of the pilot program, our work will be a collaborative effort with FIU’s school of music and the state. We’re enthusiastic about music education being offered in the schools. We strongly believe that music education benefits Florida’s youngest citizens and their families, playing an important role in children’s growth, both intellectually, artistically, and psychologically. We look forward to this opportunity to do our part to serve the educational needs of Florida’s schools and children.”

In order for a school district to be eligible for the pilot program, the superintendent must certify to the Florida Commissioner of Education that the specified schools within the district have established a comprehensive music program that meets DOE standards. District selection will be prioritized by proximity to the University of Florida, and selected districts will receive $150 per FTE student in K-2 who are enrolled in music classes.

Senator Perry began championing the pilot program as one of his top legislative priorities in 2016. While the program has been established since 2017, implementation was made possible by Governor DeSantis’s approval of the full recurring funding in the state budget for Fiscal Year 2020-2021.

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FLORIDA - Florida’s SHINE (Serving Health Insurance Needs of Elders) program provides free, unbiased Medicare counseling and virtual Medicare classes to assist beneficiaries, families and caregivers.

Topics include: • Medicare 101 (English & Spanish) • Medicare Financial Assistance • Medicare Prescription Drug Coverage • Medicare Part C - Medicare Advantage Plans • Medicare & COVID-19 • Navigating Medicare.gov • Introduction to SHINE/SMP • Be Scam Smart

To join us: Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., call (352) 692-5262 or 1-800-262-2243 for details.

Elder Options is a non-profit agency that administers funds from the Florida Department of Elder Affairs for senior services in a sixteen-county area (Alachua, Bradford, Citrus, Columbia, Dixie, Gilchrist, Hamilton, Hernando, Lafayette, Lake, Levy, Marion, Putnam, Sumter, Suwannee and Union counties). Elder Options, mandated by the Federal Older Americans Act, exists to promote the independence, dignity, health, and well-being of our elder citizens; to plan, fund and administer a coordinated continuum of services; and to advocate for the needs of older Americans.

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TALLAHASSEE – COVID-19 is changing the way Floridians plan to celebrate Independence Day, but they’re not canceling plans altogether. A new survey reveals Americans are making plans to gather in small groups and honor America's independence, and shoppers have classic American favorites on the menu this holiday weekend. 

A recent survey by the National Retail Federation reveals that just three-quarters (76%) of consumers are planning to celebrate the Fourth this year, down from 86% last year and a record low for the decade. Consumers' average spending, however, is forecasted to increase over last year. Consumers are expected to spend $76.49 on average on food for their events this holiday, up from $73.33 last year. 

"Florida retailers are glad to have consumers shopping for food and other items this holiday weekend, and they're making every effort to ensure consumers stay safe and well while shopping in store," said Scott Shalley, president and CEO of the Florida Retail Federation. "We encourage shoppers to follow CDC guidelines and local restrictions - wear a mask and keep distance from others - while loading up on patriotic gear. Or take advantage of curbside and delivery services, where available."

While one-quarter of consumers have no plans to celebrate America's independence this weekend, a majority of consumers (56%) do intend to join family and friends for a BBQ or picnic. Less than one-quarter (24%) plan to watch fireworks or take part in community celebrations, down from 40% in 2019. Just 6% of consumers plan to watch a parade, which represents about half of the crowd from last summer (11%). 

Even among more intimate gatherings planned for the holiday, Americans are likely to still wear the Star-Spangled Banner proudly. Twenty-eight percent of consumers who plan to celebrate this weekend will purchase patriotic items to show their American pride. 

The data is informed by a survey conducted by the National Retail Federation among more than 7,000 consumers nationwide. For more information on the predictions of the National Retail Federation, visit: https://nrf.com/insights/holiday-and-seasonal-trends/independence-day

Florida is currently in Phase 2 of Governor Ron DeSantis's Safe. Smart. Step-by-Step. Plan for Florida's Recovery. Many local governments across the state have implemented restrictions to help slow the spread of COVID-19, including requirements for face coverings or limitations on capacity in stores. For a comprehensive list of local regulations, visit Florida Retail Federation's COVID-19 Resources page: http://www.frf.org/index.php/news/covid-19

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GAINESVILLE – Alachua County Commissioner Charles Chestnut IV has been elected Chair of the North Central Florida Regional Planning.  Commissioner Chestnut has served on the Council since 2012, representing Alachua County.  He previously served on the Council representing the City of Gainesville from 2000 to 2006.  Commissioner Chestnut also served for three terms in the Florida House Representatives from 2006 to 2012 representing District 23.

The Council, whose members are local elected officials and gubernatorial appointees, administers a variety of state and federal programs for north central Florida including Alachua, Bradford, Columbia, Dixie, Gilchrist, Hamilton, Lafayette, Levy, Madison, Suwannee, Taylor and Union Counties.  Programs include development of the Strategic Regional Policy Plan, technical assistance to local governments in development of comprehensive plans, land development regulations and grant management, and administration of hazardous materials, and economic development programs.  In addition, the Council staffs the Metropolitan Transportation Planning Organization for the Gainesville Urbanized Area, the North Central Florida Local Emergency Planning Committee, the North Central Florida Regional Hazardous Materials Response Team and The Original Florida Tourism Task Force.

Chestnut has been very active in the organization.  He has previously served as Vice-Chair and Secretary-Treasurer of the Council; Chair of the Finance Committee and Chair of the Program Committee; and a Florida Regional Councils Association Policy Board Representative.

The Council's offices are located in Gainesville.  More information about the Council can be found at ncfrpc.org.

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TALLAHASSEE – On June 26, 2020, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) issued an Immediate Final Order to Adolphe Take Out Restaurant & Supermarket, Inc., ordering an immediate cease of operations and closure of their Miami store. The order was issued after Adolphe violated multiple stop use and stop sale orders and endangered public health by using equipment and selling products that had violated sanitization requirements.

 

 “It’s our Department’s responsibility to protect Florida’s consumers and a major part of that is ensuring our food supply is safe — it’s unfortunate that Adolphe Take Out Restaurant and Supermarket chose to ignore our directives and compromise public safety,” stated Commissioner Nikki Fried. “Adolphe employees repeatedly disregarded directives, broke stop use and stop sale orders multiple times, failed to remedy numerous violations found upon inspection, and continued operation in a manner which could create a serious health risk. As we continue to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s crucial that businesses practice proper sanitization procedures and take precautions to minimize the risk of illness.”

 

Background

An FDACS Division of Food Safety inspector initially visited Adolphe on May 4 and followed up on May 18, May 19, June 17, and June 24, 2020. Upon initial inspections, violations were found that led  to the issuing of several stop sale and stop use orders. Upon return for follow-up inspections, our inspector found the facility had broken six of twelve stop sale and use orders, a clear violation. The inspector communicated to the facility employees that breaking stop sale and stop use orders results in a fine, directed them to remedy the issues that caused the orders, and warned them not to break the orders again.

 May 4 Inspection

Twenty-five violations were found upon our Division of Food Safety inspector’s initial inspection visit on May 04, 2020, ranging from Adolphe’s lack of an employee health policy, to employees consuming food and beverages while using a meat band saw, soap and paper towels not available at an employee sink, and more. The inspector also observed four cats and cat excreta throughout the establishment, multiple food products with compromised packaging due to rodent gnawing and feeding, products with grain insects and rodent excreta inside and outside of packaging, and dented and bulging cans of corned beef hash and spaghettios that were leaking on the storage shelf. All damaged products were voluntarily destroyed during the visit and witnessed by inspector. Nine stop use orders were issued for several pieces of equipment and facility areas.

 May 18 Inspection

Our inspector followed up on May 18, 2020 for a re-inspection visit and found issues which resulted in nineteen violations and two stop use orders being issued. Many violations included issues observed during the previous inspection which had not been remedied. New violations were witnessed, including issues like the lack of a certified food protection manager, automobile motor oil stored directly above single-use items like Styrofoam cups, dented and bulged at the rim canned tuna fish, coolers lacking thermometers. Rodent excreta and live roaches were observed in the facility front receiving and distribution area, in all retail aisles and shelving, in the dry storage area, meat and produce cooler, meat processing area, produce area, product repackaging area, beverage storage area, and backroom area. Inspectors also observed a live kitten trapped inside of a trapping control device. Two additional stop use orders were issued on all processing equipment and the outside receiving and distribution area. 

 May 19 Inspection

During the next follow-up focused inspection on May 19, 2020, three retail aisles and associated shelving areas were released from previous stop use orders. The produce area, retail aisle and shelving areas, product repackaging area, dry storage area, meat and produce cooler, receiving area, meat band, saw meat processing area, and the backroom area remained under the original stop use order issued due to rodent infestation.

 June 17 Inspection

Seventeen violations were found during the inspector’s June 17, 2020 re-inspection visit. Many of the violations were again previous issues that were not remedied. Some of the new violations observed include an excessive number of house and fruit flies and house flies in all areas of the establishment, live roaches in packaging and storage areas, retail and processing areas leaks in the plumbing infrastructure, soil build-up, dead insects, and debris found in all areas. Employees were also witnessed violating previously issued stop use orders. Six citations for breaking stop use orders were issued. A stop sale order was issued on all food items being sold by Adolphe Take Out Market and another stop use order was issued for the beverage storage area.

 June 24 Inspection

On the final follow-up focused inspection, our inspector found multiple stop use and stop sale orders being broken, employees were processing meats, receiving new product, repackaging items, selling food products to customers, and more. Thirteen citations for breaking stop use orders were issued. Two new stop use orders were issued on two reach-in freezers due to unsanitary conditions. 

 For full details from each inspection and on the Immediate Final Order, access the documents here.

 “Insects and animals like roaches, rodents, and cats, can contribute to the distribution of toxins and microorganisms that can cause severe illness and even death in some cases,”  stated Dr. Matthew Curran, Director of the FDACS Division of Food Safety. “The FDACS Division of Food Safety works every day to protect consumers, and ensure they are not exposed to harmful pathogens or chemicals.”

 For photos from the inspections and the Immediate Final Order issue, click here.

 Immediate Final Order

Following the June 24, 2020 follow-up focused inspection, the Department’s Director of the Division of Food Safety, Dr. Matthew Curran, determined that the continued operation of Adolphe Take Out Restaurant & Supermarket, Inc’s Miami store presents an immediate danger to public health, safety, and welfare. Today, inspectors visited the business and issued an Immediate Final Order to cease all operations without delay. Closure notices were attached to each entrance.

 Next Steps

Adolphe cannot re-open until they remedy all violations noted by FDACS’s Division of Food Safety and receive approval from the Department. Now that final order has been issued, the case will continue to be reviewed to determine further administrative action.

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Vaccines have been in the news lately with the COVID-19 situation; therefore, I thought a column about this topic would be timely, especially since we have known for a long time about William Garst Column HeadShot Webthe immunity conferred by exposing a person to the disease that we are trying to avoid.

A vaccine is defined as “a substance used to stimulate the production of antibodies and provide immunity against one or several diseases, prepared from the causative agent of a disease, its products, or a synthetic substitute, treated to act as an antigen without inducing the disease.”

The practice of inoculation (a term synonymous with vaccination), sometimes called variolation has been practiced in different forms since the 10th century. Edward Jenner of England is credited with being the “Father of Vaccines.”

In 1796, Jenner inoculated a boy with matter from a young dairymaid’s cowpox. The boy became mildly ill but recovered in a few days. He then inoculated the boy with material from smallpox and the boy showed no ill effects.

By the way, the reason the disease was called “smallpox” was to differentiate it from the “great pox” now commonly called syphilis. All of this occurred from the observation that dairymaids who were exposed to cowpox never seemed to catch smallpox, which was quite common in England and Europe. In addition, dairymaids were known to have nice complexions. Up to 25 percent of the people who contracted smallpox died, and the ones who survived were disfigured by the deep-seated pustules.

However, a little-known story about inoculation is told about Lady Montagu, an English aristocrat whose husband was appointed to be ambassador to Turkey in 1717. She was an inquisitive woman and wanted to learn as much as she could about the Ottoman culture. She quickly came to realize that smallpox was rare in that part of the world, when she learned that most of the children were “engrafted” with pus material from a person who had a mild case of smallpox.

The children would receive a scratch on their arms and then have the smallpox material rubbed into the scratch. They would fall ill for a few days and have a small number of mild pox but would recover quickly and their complexions would clear, and they would acquire immunity from smallpox.

Lady Montagu was so convinced of this procedure she had her son undergo the treatment with no ill effects. When she returned to England, she convinced Caroline, Princess of Wales, the wife of the future King George II to have her children “engrafted.” George II would allow only the female children to be engrafted, not the males.

The procedure was successful, and the female children recovered from a short illness. To test the procedure further, some prisoners and orphans were recruited for the procedure. They were all observed to recover fully and seemed to have protection from smallpox. This was the first recorded clinical trial, as crude as it was.

Initially, there was resistance to this procedure in the medical profession in England, but soon it caught on and became more common. The reason Jenner’s cowpox inoculation became the preferred method was that it was much safer. Sometimes patients would fall extremely ill with the engrafting and die, while Jenner’s inoculate could be transferred from arm to arm and not directly from cowpox material making it more reliable. In addition, there were rarely any serious reactions to Jenner’s method, and smallpox immunity was conferred.

Today, pharmacists are on the leading edge of providing immunizations to the public. Many pharmacies provide a variety of vaccines without a person having to go to the physician’s office. Check with your local pharmacy regarding availability and procedures for obtaining vaccinations because not all pharmacies offer vaccinations.

The final part of this column may be the most important: the reporting of adverse reactions to vaccines. The CDC and FDA co-administer a reporting program called the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS). This is much like the MedWatch program in which individuals, as well as pharmacists and physicians, report any adverse reaction that may be related to the administration of a vaccine. If you should experience an adverse reaction to a vaccine you can reach out to https://vaers.hhs.gov/.

Vaccines are not without their risks, but the benefits usually outweigh the risks. In fact, vaccines have eliminated or greatly reduced more than 14 preventable infectious diseases including, measles, polio, and smallpox. However, it is still an individual decision and should not be made without due consideration.

Ref: https://vaers.hhs.gov/index.html; https://www.honorhealth.com/healthy-living/benefits-outweigh-risks-when-it-comes-vaccination; “Ten Drugs by Thomas Hager.

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William Garst is a consultant pharmacist who resides in Alachua, Florida. He received his B.S. in Pharmacy from Auburn University in 1975. He earned a master’s degree in Pharmacy from UF in 2001. In 2007 he received his Doctor of Pharmacy from the University of Colorado. He is a member of many national professional associations as well as the local Alachua County Association of Pharmacists, and he serves on the Alachua County Health Care Advisory Board. He works part time at the UF Health Psychiatric Hospital. He retired from the VA in 2016. Dr. Garst enjoys golf, reading (especially history), and family. He writes a blog called The Pharmacy Newsletter (https://thepharmacynewsletter.com/). He can be contacted at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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Did you know that you can participate in healthcare in a meaningful way? You can do this by becoming familiar with the MedWatch Program. MedWatch was founded in 1993 to collect 

William Garst Column HeadShot Webdata regarding healthcare adverse events. This is a program run by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), in which consumers can report any adverse reactions directly to the FDA. An adverse event is any undesirable experience associated with a medical product.

The types of products include:

  • Prescription and over-the-counter medicines
  • Biologics such as blood components, blood/plasma derivatives, and gene therapies.
  • Medical devices such as hearing aids breast pumps and pacemakers.
  • Combination products such as pre-filled drug syringe, metered-dose inhalers, and nasal spray.
  • Special nutritional products such as dietary supplements, medical foods, and infant formulas.
  • Cosmetics such as moisturizers, makeup, shampoos, hair dyes, and tattoos.
  • Food such as beverages and ingredients added to foods.

Other products the FDA regulates such as tobacco, vaccines, and animal/livestock medicine and feed use different reporting pathways and it is recommended that reports concerning these products be sent directly to the appropriate FDA submittal portal.

Voluntary reporting by healthcare professionals, consumers, and patients are conducted on a single, one-page reporting form (Form FDA 3500). Reporting can be conducted online, by phone, or by submitting the MedWatch 3500 form through the mail or fax. Reporting helps in what is called Post-Marketing Surveillance, sometimes called Phase IV Studies.

There are several clinical trial phases that must be passed before a drug or device is eligible to be placed in the market. First, there is preclinical research to determine if a drug has merit for further study.

The next phase is Phase 0 trials in which a small amount of the drug is given to a few people to determine how the body reacts to the drug and how the body metabolizes the drug.

The drug then enters Phase I trials in which the dosage resulting with the fewest side effects is determined usually in 20 to 100 healthy volunteers or people with the disease/condition.

Next, there are Phase II trials where the drug is further tested for safety in a larger amount of people, up to several hundred people.

The last step before being allowed on the market are Phase III trials. In these trials, the new drug is usually compared to the current standard of care drug and is tested in more people, possibly 300 to 3,000 may participate. These trials are usually randomized so any bias is minimized that may affect any subjective outcomes.

The last phase is the above-mentioned Phase IV trials.

This is important because some serious, but rare adverse events cannot be detected until the medication has been used by many thousands of people in varying circumstances. In addition, some adverse events that may have been noticed in clinical trials were underestimated, and information about patients experiences with the medication is most valuable.

An example of how MedWatch helped remove a dangerous drug from the market involved the drug cerivastatin (Baycol, by Bayer Co.). This drug was approved to lower cholesterol and prevent cardiovascular disease. After being on the market for a few years it was reported that the drug had a higher than normal incidence of rhabdomyolysis, which is a breakdown of muscle and accumulation of protein in the kidneys. This can lead to kidney failure and serious injury. This class of drugs (statins) is known to cause muscle aches and pains, but the incidence of rhabdomyolysis was greater than expected as observed in the previous clinical trials for this drug.

The bottom line is to report any adverse reaction to your physician and pharmacist. Ask them to send in a MedWatch report, or you can do it yourself.

More information can be found about the MedWatch Program at www.fda.gov or ask your pharmacist or physician.

Ref: (https://www.fda.gov/safety/medwatch-fda-safety-information-and-adverse-event-reporting-program)

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William Garst is a consultant pharmacist who resides in Alachua, Florida. He received his B.S. in Pharmacy from Auburn University in 1975. He earned a master’s degree in Pharmacy from UF in 2001. In 2007 he received his Doctor of Pharmacy from the University of Colorado. He is a member of many national professional associations as well as the local Alachua County Association of Pharmacists, and he serves on the Alachua County Health Care Advisory Board. He works part time at the UF Health Psychiatric Hospital. He retired from the VA in 2016.  Dr. Garst enjoys golf, reading (especially history), and family. He writes a blog called The Pharmacy Newsletter (https://thepharmacynewsletter.com/). He can be contacted at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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Editor’s Note: High Springs Fire Chief Bruce Gillingham is also the Emergency Management Coordinator in High Springs, a position he has held for nine years, and he is the key contact between the City and other agencies regarding the Coronavirus. He meets remotely with Alachua County Department of Health three times per week, the Department of Health EMS twice weekly and the Florida Fire Chief’s Association weekly. He is knowledgeable about the Coronavirus pandemic, and periodically he will be writing about the pandemic and updates on best practices.

“Uncharted territory.” “Unprecedented times.” “Flatten the curve.” All phrases we have heard way too often. COVID-19 has changed life as we know it. Businesses have closed. There are now lines at grocery stores and millions out of work. To a certain extent, a modern day Pearl Harbor: “A [time] which will live in infamy.” (President Franklin Roosevelt)

As we continue to learn about this deadly virus, I encourage us all to do our part. The Stay-At-Home order is in place to protect your family and mine. Unless you need to travel for essential purposes, such as grocery shopping or going to an essential job, try to stay home. The only way to prevent the spread of this virus is to wash our hands often, wear a mask when in public and maintain social distancing.

As a department, we are taking extra steps to ensure our firefighters remain healthy and safe. Our lobby remains closed and new cleaning procedures, both for equipment and our personal gear, are in place.

While we manage a new normal, we are also trying to focus on a certain area of our community that is impacted the most by COVID-19—our seniors. Those are the people who may live alone, and who now find themselves in near total isolation with the cancellation of countless services and programs once available to them.

We recently launched the Caring Card Drive. With the help of members of our own community who are creating thoughtful and encouraging “caring cards,” we plan to deliver these cards to those in need in an effort to bring a moment of joy, and to remind them they have not been forgotten. This is the perfect activity to do with the kids. Cards can be big or small, simple or elaborate. Cards can include a saying, positive words, a poem or whatever card creators think fits best. A bin has been positioned outside of the main High Springs Fire Station lobby as a drop off location for cards. The address is 18586 N.W. 238th Street, High Springs.

In closing, let us remember to all do our part. We are in this together and we will persevere.

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During this time of crisis, America’s courageous patriots in uniform still deserve our utmost respect and admiration for keeping us free and safe from the bad guys of this world.

They are fulfilling an undying and faithful commitment to ‘'duty, honor, country” for every American no matter how they look or what they believe.

Today, these military heroes are joining countless millions of other American heroes in the brutal war against an adversary we call “Coronavirus or COVID-19.

The list of these patriotic heroes is long and consists of American warriors from every walk of life. They include:

  • Doctors, nurses, and other medical workers and support personnel,
  • Hospitals, nursing homes, and pharmacies,
  • Law enforcement and first responders,
  • Truckers and warehouse stockers,
  • Supermarkets and local grocery/convenience stores,
  • Restaurants and fast food chains who are finding creative ways to feed us and provide some degree of normalcy in our lives,
  • School systems for developing creative methods to teach our children,
  • Volunteers who are courageously putting others above self,
  • Corporations and small business who are “retooling” operations to make respirators, masks, and other personal protective equipment,
  • City, county, state, and national government bodies,
  • Broadcast and print media outlets, and
  • The millions of Americans who are faithfully committing to “social distancing” to combat the spread of this insidious and deadly disease.

Got the picture? We are all in this battle together. Sadly, just like every other war: “Some are giving some while others are giving all.”

Let us continue together as “One Nation Under God” in faithful commitment to “duty, honor, country” in fighting this war against humanity.

I am confident we will defeat this brutal enemy and come out stronger with renewed respect for one another. I know we can do it; I have to believe; I can do no other.

God Bless America!

Robert W. Wilford

City of Alachua

There is no legitimate argument for making this change now and sending government further into a black hole and out of the light.

If you haven’t heard, the Florida Legislature is attempting to abolish the requirement that governmental agencies publish legal notices in newspapers, which would push government further into the shadows and make it harder for Floridians to learn about public policy issues, make their voices heard and hold their leaders accountable. This bill, HB 7 is scheduled to be heard by the full House on Tuesday. 

First off, this bill flips public notice on its head by reducing government transparency. Simply put, putting legal notices on government websites means very few Florida citizens will ever read them.  Public notice along with public meetings and public records have been part of our nation’s commitment to open government since the founding of the Republic. Our Founders placed public notices in newspapers to be noticed.

Secondly, from the perspective of efficient use of technology, I believe the bill takes a step backwards by placing these notices on government websites. 

The Florida Press Association has a comprehensive website which aggregates and places all of the notices under one umbrella – it’s called floridapublicnotices.com.  We have invested hundreds of thousands of dollars building this website to serve Florida’s state government as well as its towns, municipalities, businesses and taxpayers. To date, we have over 32,000 registered users and over 70,000 monthly page views in addition to the notices in the newspapers and their websites. And, it’s free for the public to use. Why re-invent the wheel now? 

If this bill is passed, city and county governments will be required to recreate the same infrastructure currently in place to make notices easily searchable, mobile friendly, and provide email notification upon request of a specific notice (which newspapers do today), that recreation will not be cheap. In fact, the promised savings may not be there.  Nor will the audience, without a major investment in marketing to direct our citizens to what would be hundreds of government websites.

Further, the bill has the impact of significantly reducing notice. 

Despite what you read and hear, newspapers or should I say, media companies are alive and well. Our weekly newspapers are growing, and our dailies are growing digital subscriptions and page views. In some cases, double-digit online growth.  

Newspapers in Florida alone are reaching 7.5 million readers in any given week, and our websites typically will reach more audience than most city or county websites. Our websites draw a minimum of 58 million unique online users in any given month.

By moving notices to less-frequently visited government websites, not only will you reduce the reach to the Florida public, you also lose the active and well-informed citizen. These are people who read often and find notices while they’re staying current with other community news. 

Finally, while this bill claims to save cities and counties money, the unintended consequence is that notices will lose both readership and the legally important third-party verification. 

With notices in newspapers -- in print and online -- it provides a verifiable public record through sworn required affidavits of publication.   Does the government really want to take on this responsibility of residents not being properly notified? 

In closing, 250 years ago our founders decided to place these public notices in a public forum -- newspapers – an open space where The People were most likely to see them… not on hundreds of different government sites hoping folks will find them.

Let’s keep Florida transparent and informed.  Please feel free to call your local legislator to share your voice before it’s too late.

Jim Fogler is the President & CEO Florida Press Service

336 E. College Ave. Suite 304, Tallahassee, FL  32301

 This Valentine’s Day, many Veterans who fought to preserve our freedoms will be hospitalized, receiving the medical care they earned, but separated from the homes and communities they defended.  No one should be alone on Valentine’s Day, and with the help of our grateful community, no Veteran has to be.

I would like to personally invite every one of your readers to show their love and appreciation to Veterans by visiting the Malcom Randall or Lake City Veterans Affairs (VA) Medical Centers as part of the National Salute to Veteran Patients Feb. 9-15.

During the National Salute, VA invites individuals, Veterans groups, military personnel, civic organizations, businesses, schools, local media, celebrities and sports stars to participate in a variety of activities at the VA medical centers.

During the week we are excited to host many various organizations, groups, schools and others that are taking the time out of their busy schedules and visit our some of our facilities.

The love doesn’t have to end on Valentine’s Day.  Many of our Veterans are coming to the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) with special needs and challenges that require the hearts and hands of a new generation of VA volunteers. North Florida/South Georgia Veterans Health System invites citizens, young and old, to join us in honoring our Veterans year-round by learning more about VA’s volunteer program as well.

Every citizen can make a positive difference in the life of a Veteran patient.  Visits from community groups do so much to lift the spirits of our patients.  I invite every member of our community to participate.

Call our Voluntary Service office at 352-548-6068 for the Malcom Randall VAMC or 386-755- 3016, ext. 392032 for the Lake City VAMC to schedule a visit and learn how to join the VA’s National Salute to Veteran Patients.

Thomas Wisnieski, MPA, FACHE

Director

North Florida/South Georgia Veterans Health System

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TALLAHASSEE – On June 26, 2020, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) issued an Immediate Final Order to Adolphe Take Out Restaurant & Supermarket, Inc., ordering an immediate cease of operations and closure of their Miami store. The order was issued after Adolphe violated multiple stop use and stop sale orders and endangered public health by using equipment and selling products that had violated sanitization requirements.

 

 “It’s our Department’s responsibility to protect Florida’s consumers and a major part of that is ensuring our food supply is safe — it’s unfortunate that Adolphe Take Out Restaurant and Supermarket chose to ignore our directives and compromise public safety,” stated Commissioner Nikki Fried. “Adolphe employees repeatedly disregarded directives, broke stop use and stop sale orders multiple times, failed to remedy numerous violations found upon inspection, and continued operation in a manner which could create a serious health risk. As we continue to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s crucial that businesses practice proper sanitization procedures and take precautions to minimize the risk of illness.”

 

Background

An FDACS Division of Food Safety inspector initially visited Adolphe on May 4 and followed up on May 18, May 19, June 17, and June 24, 2020. Upon initial inspections, violations were found that led  to the issuing of several stop sale and stop use orders. Upon return for follow-up inspections, our inspector found the facility had broken six of twelve stop sale and use orders, a clear violation. The inspector communicated to the facility employees that breaking stop sale and stop use orders results in a fine, directed them to remedy the issues that caused the orders, and warned them not to break the orders again.

 May 4 Inspection

Twenty-five violations were found upon our Division of Food Safety inspector’s initial inspection visit on May 04, 2020, ranging from Adolphe’s lack of an employee health policy, to employees consuming food and beverages while using a meat band saw, soap and paper towels not available at an employee sink, and more. The inspector also observed four cats and cat excreta throughout the establishment, multiple food products with compromised packaging due to rodent gnawing and feeding, products with grain insects and rodent excreta inside and outside of packaging, and dented and bulging cans of corned beef hash and spaghettios that were leaking on the storage shelf. All damaged products were voluntarily destroyed during the visit and witnessed by inspector. Nine stop use orders were issued for several pieces of equipment and facility areas.

 May 18 Inspection

Our inspector followed up on May 18, 2020 for a re-inspection visit and found issues which resulted in nineteen violations and two stop use orders being issued. Many violations included issues observed during the previous inspection which had not been remedied. New violations were witnessed, including issues like the lack of a certified food protection manager, automobile motor oil stored directly above single-use items like Styrofoam cups, dented and bulged at the rim canned tuna fish, coolers lacking thermometers. Rodent excreta and live roaches were observed in the facility front receiving and distribution area, in all retail aisles and shelving, in the dry storage area, meat and produce cooler, meat processing area, produce area, product repackaging area, beverage storage area, and backroom area. Inspectors also observed a live kitten trapped inside of a trapping control device. Two additional stop use orders were issued on all processing equipment and the outside receiving and distribution area. 

 May 19 Inspection

During the next follow-up focused inspection on May 19, 2020, three retail aisles and associated shelving areas were released from previous stop use orders. The produce area, retail aisle and shelving areas, product repackaging area, dry storage area, meat and produce cooler, receiving area, meat band, saw meat processing area, and the backroom area remained under the original stop use order issued due to rodent infestation.

 June 17 Inspection

Seventeen violations were found during the inspector’s June 17, 2020 re-inspection visit. Many of the violations were again previous issues that were not remedied. Some of the new violations observed include an excessive number of house and fruit flies and house flies in all areas of the establishment, live roaches in packaging and storage areas, retail and processing areas leaks in the plumbing infrastructure, soil build-up, dead insects, and debris found in all areas. Employees were also witnessed violating previously issued stop use orders. Six citations for breaking stop use orders were issued. A stop sale order was issued on all food items being sold by Adolphe Take Out Market and another stop use order was issued for the beverage storage area.

 June 24 Inspection

On the final follow-up focused inspection, our inspector found multiple stop use and stop sale orders being broken, employees were processing meats, receiving new product, repackaging items, selling food products to customers, and more. Thirteen citations for breaking stop use orders were issued. Two new stop use orders were issued on two reach-in freezers due to unsanitary conditions. 

 For full details from each inspection and on the Immediate Final Order, access the documents here.

 “Insects and animals like roaches, rodents, and cats, can contribute to the distribution of toxins and microorganisms that can cause severe illness and even death in some cases,”  stated Dr. Matthew Curran, Director of the FDACS Division of Food Safety. “The FDACS Division of Food Safety works every day to protect consumers, and ensure they are not exposed to harmful pathogens or chemicals.”

 For photos from the inspections and the Immediate Final Order issue, click here.

 Immediate Final Order

Following the June 24, 2020 follow-up focused inspection, the Department’s Director of the Division of Food Safety, Dr. Matthew Curran, determined that the continued operation of Adolphe Take Out Restaurant & Supermarket, Inc’s Miami store presents an immediate danger to public health, safety, and welfare. Today, inspectors visited the business and issued an Immediate Final Order to cease all operations without delay. Closure notices were attached to each entrance.

 Next Steps

Adolphe cannot re-open until they remedy all violations noted by FDACS’s Division of Food Safety and receive approval from the Department. Now that final order has been issued, the case will continue to be reviewed to determine further administrative action.

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