11
Sun, Apr
453 New Articles

ALACHUA ‒ The Alachua City Commission has approved the final plat for the proposed Briarwood Phase1 subdivision to be located in the 17000 block of CR 235A, west of CR 235A and Santa Fe High School, south of the Meadowglen subdivision, and north of the Santa Fe Hills subdivision.

Property owner Troon Creek, LLC, requested final plat approval for 84 lots on the 28.99 acres, with associated right-of-way and common areas. Individual lots will range in size from 7,500 square feet to 10,780 square feet, with the majority of lots between 7,500 square feet and 8,000 square feet.

Some neighboring residents are unhappy with the development that will bring increased traffic in an already congested area. Much of the issue with the surrounding neighborhoods is the location, which is between two other communities with a single access point of CR 235A. The two-lane road already experiences congestion from existing neighborhoods and Santa Fe High School. Traffic often gets backed up at the light to U.S. Highway 441, especially during school days. The addition of up to 84 families, possibly with multiple cars, has raised concerns from the residents and the school.

The subdivision plat proposes a series of common areas throughout the project area and along the northern and eastern boundaries. A 50-foot wide common area will be located between any lots and the northern property line, including an approximately 15-foot wide area outside of the stormwater drainage system.

Development within the proposed subdivision will connect to potable water and wastewater facilities. Stormwater for the proposed development would be conveyed to and treated by a connected, distributed linear network of retention basins to be located throughout the property. The developer is also providing a Accept the Common Law Performance Bond from Troon Creek, LLC., in the amount of $4,131,891 as the surety instrument for infrastructure improvements such as stormwater site, electrical and waters systems, streets and sidewalks. Approval of the final plat by the City Commission gives the go ahead for development to begin.

#     #     #

Email rcarson@

alachuatoday.com

Add a comment

HIGH SPRINGS ‒ On Nov. 8, the High Springs Police Department (HSPD) was called to the scene of a residential robbery and assault of a 59-year-old man. The time of the incident was 7:13 p.m.

HSPD’s investigation revealed that an unknown subject entered the victim’s residence at 23200 N.W. 178th Avenue, High Springs, through an unsecured door. The intruder struck the victim multiple times in the head with an unknown object and left after taking the victim’s wallet.

The victim was transported to a local hospital and is in stable condition.

Anyone with information about this crime is encouraged to contact HSPD Detective Tracy Taylor at ttaylor@highsprings.us or at 352-955-1818. Anyone can call Crime Stoppers at 352-372-STOP and report a crime and remain anonymous.

#     #     #

Email cwalker@

alachuatoday.com

Add a comment

ALACHUA COUNTY ‒ Unofficial election results are in for the City of High Springs Commission race.

Ross Ambrose won Seat One with 1,341 votes representing 38.46 percent against Sharon Decker, who received 1,181 votes representing 33.87 percent and Janet Evans who received 965 votes representing 27.67 percent of the vote. Total votes cast for Seat One were 3,487.

Incumbent Gloria James was victorious in Seat Two garnering 1,343 votes representing 38.25 percent, against Zachary Walter, who received 1,268 votes representing 36.12 percent and Katherine S. Weitz who received 900 votes representing 25.63 percent of votes. A total of 3,511 votes were cast for this seat.

The hotly contested Alachua County Charter Amendment regarding the County taking control of the Growth Management Area was close and may require a recount. Initial results indicate that 128,479 votes were cast for this issue with 64,327 (50.07 percent) voting Yes and 64,152 voters (49.93 percent) voting No.

A notice on the Alachua County Supervisor of Elections web page reads:

“The Alachua County Supervisor of Elections Office is preparing for a likely recount of the County Charter Amendment Establishing County Growth Management Area referenda.

“If ordered by the Alachua County Canvassing Board, the recount in Alachua County will begin with a public logic and accuracy test at 11 a.m. Sunday, November 8, with the recount process beginning immediately thereafter. Our office will remain open until the recount is complete.”

According to the Alachua County Supervisor of Elections office Alachua County has 190,451 eligible voters. In this election 143,364 votes were cast, meaning that 75.28 percent of the eligible voters turned out to vote.

#     #     #

Email cwalker@

alachuatoday.com

Add a comment

HIGH SPRINGS ‒ On Tuesday, Oct. 27 the ribbon was cut announcing the grand opening of the High Springs Farmers Market Pavilion located at 23517 N.W. 185th Road, High Springs. It has been an eight-year process to reach completion. It all started in 2012 when the City applied for a USDA Rural Business Enterprise Grant to build a permanent covered structure to house the farmers market. The proposed 100 ft x 30 ft building would provide cover and electrical power for the market to be open regardless of weather and offer a space for outdoor events including night activities.

In 2014, the USDA awarded the City a grant for $199,441 to help fund the project with the City providing an additional $45,800. Delays due to a number of factors included unanticipated USDA requirements, CSX railroad issues, environmental concerns and construction design revisions kept the dream from being a reality until last year. By then, the cost had gone up and the City's portion of the project had risen to $109,132 including $46,575 from Alachua County’s Wild Spaces Funding. During all this time, the market continued as a outdoor event with the vendors under tents at the mercy of the weather. For Market Director Carol Rowan it has been a struggle to keep enough variety of vendors at the weekly market, especially when competing against several larger, well established markets in Gainesville.

City and state dignitaries attended the ribbon cutting to celebrate the new building. Attending the opening were various city officials and candidates for the commission, as well as incoming Alachua County Sheriff Clovis Watson, Jr. and State Representative Chuck Clemons. Rowan, High Springs Mayor Brian Williams and Assistant Agriculture Secretary Debra Tannenbaum each spoke as over 20 vendors waited for the ribbon to be cut and the audience to enter.

After the ribbon was cut, the audience went from booth to both buying a variety of fresh produce, meat, shrimp, homemade bake goods, local honey and vegetarian meals. Interspersed with the farm vendors were crafters and artists selling their art.

For customers that don't have cash, the market will also offer credit alternatives. The FAB/Manager Booth can run debit or credit cards and the customer will receive blue tokens to spend at the market the same as cash. There are no processing fee and the tokens do not expire, so customers can use them on return visits. The market also participates in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). SNAP/EBT recipients can run their card and receive yellow tokens, which can be used only at this market for a large variety of SNAP eligible items, which includes most of the food items.

The Farmer's Market also participates in the Fresh Access Bucks/Feeding Florida program (FAB). It allows the market to double SNAP/EBT participates transactions, up to an extra $40 free each market day. Since 2017 the market has distributed over $20,000 in free incentive tokens to feed families in the community. In the last six months, over $5,000 in incentive/free tokens have been distributed from the farmers market. The green tokens can only be used on fresh produce, herbs, or any fruit or vegetable producing plant.

Anyone who is interested in being a vendor can apply at the FAB/Manager Booth for information on how to become a vendor. Produce vendors need a grower’s permit and plant vendors need a nursery license. Crafts are permitted, as long as they are homemade by the vendor. If interested in becoming a vendor contact High Springs Farmers Market Manager Carol Rowan at 352-275-6346 or crowan@highsprings.us. The High Springs Farmers Market will be open Fridays, 3 -7 p.m.

#     #     #

Email rcarson@

alachuatoday.com

Add a comment

Web Horror Road DSC0720NEWBERRY ‒ Every Halloween organizations create haunted houses for thrill seekers to be confronted with ghouls, zombies, witches and various types of mayhem. Haunted houses usually take the form of a maze in a darkened building with multiple scenes and characters to frighten people as they wander through. Some haunted houses are commercial ventures, but many local ones are held by charity organizations to raise money for various causes, and it is a popular pastime and for many families it has become a tradition. But in 2020, traditional Halloween haunted houses have been put on hold due to the COVID-19 Pandemic and need to social distance in enclosed spaces, especially darkened buildings where people may be disorientated.

This year the Newberry American Legion Post 149 switched up the familiar haunted house format to raise money for Veterans Programs and put together an outdoor haunted house for cars to drive through, maintaining a safe distance and following guidelines. According to Legion member Bob Watson, while the post hosted the event and built all the scenes, they had support from other organizations as well. Eight sponsors provided funding for candy, supplies and construction material. Volunteers helped with the construction, which took about 1,000 hours over a month. Volunteers also became some of the actors, including children and teens, including five students from Buchholz High School. The Youth Marine Corps also had 10 members volunteer as well.

Each vehicle took 10-15 minutes along Horror Road to slowly circle around the Legion's building, stopping at multiple fright-inducing scenes. Greeting each vehicle was a cemetery complete with skeletons, a demon and a long dead pirate. Then the frightening journey confronted Beetle Juice as the actor ambushed each car. Across the road was a guillotine with its victim holding her bloody head in her lap, as a mother and daughter zombie team came at the car from the other side. More child zombies approached as the car slowly proceeded, only to be stopped by a traffic cone and a witch in the middle of the road. As the witch cackled at the car to get the occupants’ attention, a giant red-eyed spider dropped on their car from above. Then it was on to a blood-soaked prom queen, finally to be stopped by victims of a car accident who were texting while driving as two of them lay on a tarp with multiple wounds.

Over the weekend 190 cars drove down Horror Road. Watson estimates that included 400 kids. “Some people came both nights and we had one family visiting from Japan that came through,” Watson said. “Altogether we raised $1,600 for Military Vets Programs that the American Legion supports in the area”.

Watson added, “We got a lot of compliments on the show, and we were glad to provide some Halloween entertainment for the kids and keep the tradition alive.”

#     #

 

Add a comment

 

HIGH SPRINGS ‒ Due to the current pandemic and COVID-19 concerns, the High Springs Police Department (HSPD) and the City of High Springs are changing the way Operation Holiday Cheer 2020 will be conducted this year. Instead of accepting toys and other items for High Springs’ children in need, Operation Holiday Cheer 2020 is asking for monetary donations.

The funds will be used to purchase and sanitize items for the children prior to making the annual holiday delivery.  

Monetary donations can be dropped off into the mailbox at the entrance to the HSPD, 23720 N.W. 187th Avenue. Deadline for drop off will be Wednesday, Dec. 9, at 4 p.m. If donations are in the form of a check, they should be made out to the High Springs Police Department.

City staff will team up to make special deliveries to families that have already been identified through the help of local schools. Questions should be directed to Angela Robertson at 386-454-7319 or through email at arobertson@highsprings.us.

The City of High Springs and the High Springs Police Department have expressed their appreciation of the community support that makes it possible to provide for children through Operation Holiday Cheer.

#     #     #

Email cwalker@

alachuatoday.com

Add a comment

NEWBERRY – For the fifth consecutive year the City of Newberry has won the 2020 “Building Strong Communities” award. The Florida Municipal Electric Association (FMEA) issued the award in recognition of the City offering its citizens extra services and programs beyond those normally provided.

Newberry was announced as an award recipient on Nov. 2 at the FMEA Energy Connections Virtual Conference, which ran through Nov. 6.

This year, 22 winners were selected for community programs that included environmental improvement, community education, public safety, charitable donations and sponsorships and other special services, such as lighting ball fields and playgrounds, parade and festival participation and building car and phone charging stations.

“We commend the City of Newberry for everything they have done to positively impact the lives of their families, friends and neighbors, especially in a year that has been everything but normal. We thank all the recipients for doing what they do best by putting the community they serve first,” said FMEA Executive Director Amy Zubaly Zubaly.

In the past year, Newberry supported a variety of community organizations and activities that impacted almost all of its residents.

Notable projects during the past year included support for the Newberry Watermelon Festival –the longest running festival in Florida, hanging holiday lights at Christmas and hosting the Tree Lighting event, support for numerous local volunteer organizations, providing support for charitable events through the community by sponsoring Relay for Life, United Way contributions, conducting an employee-donated food drive at Thanksgiving and a children’s gift/toy drive at Christmas.

Additional projects included sponsorship of the Energy Whiz Expo at Oak View Middle School, providing customers a free do-it-yourself online energy auditing tool, free yearly energy and water audits and energy efficiency kits to help customers save money as well as providing other energy-saving educational items.

Efforts related to the COVID-19 pandemic were also recognized. Public power utilities across the state suspended disconnects for unpaid bills, waived late and reconnect fees and offered payment assistance plans to help customers financially impacted by the pandemic. The City of Newberry offered meal delivery and homework printing services, hosted food distribution events, leveraged financial resources to lower utility bills, waived online fees, and established a donation fund to provide assistance to those needing help.

“Public power utilities have always been community-focused and invested in programs that give back to their communities” said Zubaly. “This year, with the pandemic impacting nearly every facet of our daily lives, public power utilities have found many ways to assist their communities during this difficult time. From easing financial hardships for customers to providing distance learning resources to students and teachers to providing food for those in need, public power utilities have stepped forward to help community members navigate the challenges COVID-19 has brought.”

According to FMEA, Florida’s 33 public power utilities, combined, are the third-largest electric provider in the state, serving 14 percent of Florida’s customers. Florida’s public power utilities serve more than three million customers and are a statewide employment leader with more than 5,400 employees.

“The City of Newberry’s utility serves 2,600 customers and employs numerous area residents,” said Director of Finance and Administration Dallas Lee. “For over 100 years, the City of Newberry has made it possible for residents of Newberry to own and control its energy future while receiving affordable, reliable and environmentally responsible power,” he said.

#     #     #

Email cwalker@

alachuatoday.com

Add a comment

More Articles ...