May 16, 2022
Alachua County Commissioner Mary Alford has submitted her resignation to Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. 

In a memo to Alachua County Chair Marihelen Wheeler, Alachua County Attorney Sylvia Torres outlined next steps according to the Florida Constitution and State Statutes. 

Alachua County Sports Event Center Topping Off Video
Alachua County recently celebrated the topping off of the Alachua County Sports Event Center in Celebration Pointe. The ceremony marks the placing of the final beam on the structure and represents a major milestone in the construction of the Sports Event Center.

“Alachua County’s public/private partnership with Celebration Pointe in the building and operation of this facility is a game-changer for our region,” said Alachua County Manager Michele Lieberman. “It will have an estimated net economic output of $77 million/year, create 1,150 jobs with $25.9 million in yearly wages, bring in 117,000 annual hotel room nights with over $12 million in hotel spending, generate $1.2 million in sales tax, and over $600,000 in bed tax.”
Alachua County Talks - Hippodrome History
In the latest episode of Alachua County Talks, we hear from Hippodrome Artistic Director Stephanie Lynge about the storied history of the theatre and the plans for the upcoming 50th season.

Conservation Easement Adds Protection to the Santa Fe River
With funding from Wild Spaces and Public Places, Alachua County has finalized the purchase of a conservation easement to provide additional protection to the Santa Fe River. 

The conservation easement, an agreement between the County and property owner David T. Brown of Gainesville, states that the property “will be retained forever substantially unchanged from its present condition of a mosaic of working pine forests and the natural communities buffering the Santa Fe River.” The current and any subsequent owners may continue to grow and harvest timber on most of the 400-acre property but must not impact wetlands or other naturally forested areas. Mr. Brown is in the process of converting from slash and loblolly pine plantations established by a previous owner to longleaf pine which once occurred naturally on the site.

National Emergency Medical Services Week
May 15 through 21, 2022, is “National Emergency Medical Services Week,” which celebrates EMS practitioners across the country and recognizes their significant contributions to their local community. The theme for EMS Week 2022 is Rising to the Challenge, presented by the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) in partnership with the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians (NAEMT) 

With different themed days, EMS Week aims to build awareness and provide education about EMS professionals who supply medical care at the forefront. Additional topics such as the promotion of public CPR programs, the wellness of EMS providers, and the importance of caring for children are also highlighted throughout the week. 
EMS professionals of Alachua County Fire Rescue provide pre-hospital medical treatment and transfer services 24 hours a day and seven days a week. They are instrumental in keeping the community safe. 

“On behalf of all Alachua County government, I want to thank all EMS heroes for their everyday commitment and resilience,” said ACFR Chief Harold Theus.

County Accepting Art for Loan and Display in the Jack Durrance Auditorium
Alachua County invites local artists to submit art for a three-month loan to display in the Jack Durrance Auditorium on the second floor of the Alachua County Administration Building (12 S.E. 1st Street, Gainesville).

The “Art in the Jack Durrance Boardroom Program” is part of the “Alachua County Public Arts Ordinance,” which declares, “Art shall be an integral part of Alachua County.”  

Those wishing to participate must submit both an art loan application and a public art loan and display agreement online. These forms should be emailed to or mailed to Alachua County c/o Gina Peebles 12 SE. 1st St., Gainesville, FL 32601.

The mission of the County public arts program is to enhance the quality of the visual environment in Alachua County, thereby adding to the quality of life and the level of citizen awareness of the importance of aesthetic experiences in their everyday lives.
County Accepting Waste Reduction Grant Applications
The Board of County Commissioners of Alachua County, Florida is calling for and requesting applications from parties who are interested in a Waste Reduction Grant. The Waste Reduction Grant is designed to stoke innovation, spur development, and encourage the enhancement of Waste Reduction programs within the non-profit and for-profit community for the benefit of the residents of Alachua County.

Alachua County Crisis Center Seeks Crisis Line Counselors
The Alachua County Crisis Center is seeking volunteers to become Crisis Line Counselors. The next training class begins on Saturday, May 28, 2022. After the initial session, training continues for seven weeks on Tuesday and Thursday evenings from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. There is no fee for training, and applicants do not need to possess any specific degrees or certifications. Training is held online and can be done remotely. After training is complete, the Crisis Center asks for a commitment of 24 four-hour shifts.

“Volunteers learn active listening, crisis intervention, suicide prevention, community disaster response, and more,” said Crisis Center Director Alexandra Martinez. “Volunteering is an opportunity to impact the lives of fellow community members and gain life-enhancing communication skills.” 

Commission Seeks Proposals for CHOICES Grants
The Alachua County Commission is seeking proposals from governmental and non-profit agencies (non-profits must have a current IRS 501(c)(3) designation) with a physical address in Alachua County, for delivery of programs to aid in the reduction of health disparities and the lack of access to care. The grants are for agencies providing medical, oral health, and mental/behavioral health services.
All proposals for the three-year (Fiscal Years 2023 thru 2025) Community Health Offering Innovative Care and Educational Services (CHOICES) grants must be completed electronically via ZoomGrants beginning noon on May 10, 2022, and submitted no later than 4:59 p.m. on May 31, 2022.

Upcoming Memorial Day Ceremony
Alachua County Veteran Services Division, in collaboration with the City of Gainesville, Evergreen Cemetery, and Milam Funeral Homes, is hosting the 2022 Memorial Day Ceremony on Monday May 30, at Evergreen Cemetery (401 S.E. 21st Avenue, Gainesville) at 11 a.m. The Memorial Day Ceremony is free open to the public. The event honors and remembers veterans and military service members who lost their lives in service to our nation.

This ceremony features multiple patriotic presentations, the Presentation of Colors, an American flag ceremony, musical tributes as well as inspirational words from area leaders. A free lunch will be available thanks to Milam Funeral Homes.

"Our nation has lost millions of Americans in service to our nation, and their loss has been much of the price paid for our freedom and safety,” said Alachua County Veteran Service Director Kim Davis. “Coming to this ceremony has a powerful impact on surviving veterans as they see that our community truly appreciates the service we have given."
ACFR Captain Weed Assembles Pediatric Tool Kits to Better Communicate with Young Patients
Alachua County Fire Rescue (ACFR) Health & Safety Captain Sarah O. Weed, with the assistance of UF Health Shands Hospital and Florida PEDReady, has assembled pediatric distraction tool kits for ACFR rescue vehicles while providing communication cards for each of the department’s engines. 

Each kit contains an array of distraction tools meant to decrease fear and anxiety in young patients or those with special needs. The items include sensory toys, coloring books, pacifiers, ice packs, and many others. The toolboxes are also equipped with both English and Spanish communication cards that can be used to indicate chief patient complaints and explain procedures. 

 “As emergency care providers, it can be challenging to communicate, assess, and treat pediatric and special needs patients,” stated Captain Weed. “They are not always able to effectively express what is wrong or how they are feeling. Though it is challenging for us, we know it is even harder for the patient who needs our assistance. I am very passionate about pediatrics, so this project is very close to my heart. I am always looking for ways to improve our quality of care and experience when encountering these patients.”
Citizens Needed for Citizen Climate Advisory Committee
The Joint Water and Climate Policy Board is seeking applications to fill four openings for the Citizen Climate Advisory Committee (CCAC). The CCAC currently meets via Zoom and in-person at the Grace Knight conference room on the third Monday of each month. The deadline to apply is June 24, 2022.

The CCAC provides an opportunity for citizen involvement in climate change issues and concerns affecting Alachua County, the City of Gainesville, and the surrounding municipalities. The committee advises the Joint Water and Climate Policy Board on bold and innovative climate adaptation and mitigation strategies, policies, and target goals. The primary task of the CCAC is to advise on the creation of a Countywide Climate Action Plan that will guide policy and decision-making in multiple jurisdictions. The committee also engages with relevant stakeholders, agencies, non-profits, and the community to ensure that neighborhoods and communities most impacted or disadvantaged by climate change are taken into account in developing policy recommendations and action strategies.

Alachua County Tax Collector Recognized for Performance Excellence
Alachua County Tax Collector John Power is pleased to announce that his office is the proud recipient of the 2022 Governor’s Sterling Award for performance excellence in management and operations. 

The Sterling Award is presented annually to organizations and businesses that meet or exceed the Sterling/Baldrige National Criteria for Performance Excellence – a framework for achieving and sustaining organizational performance excellence and efficiency. The Tax Collector’s office is the only organization in the state of Florida receiving the prestigious award this year.

The award follows a rigorous assessment process based on criteria from seven categories: leadership; strategic planning; customer focus; measurement analysis, and knowledge management; workforce focus; operations; and results. The Sterling Council’s panel of judges consists of six judges that are nationally and internationally recognized experts on organizational performance excellence in the Sterling/Baldridge Management System.