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September 18, 2023

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Watch the latest episode of Alachua County Talks featuring an interview with Eighth Judicial Circuit Public Defender Stacy Scott.


PD Scott discusses the history, challenges, and duties of her office in representing residents in the Circuit in all manner of cases.


In speaking of the interview, Alachua County Talks host Mark Sexton said, “The work performed by Public Defender Scott and the Eighth Judicial Circuit Public Defender’s Office is crucial to the Constitutional commitment to ensuring equal justice for all."

Learn more about the Public Defender online or call 352-338-7370.

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Hispanic Heritage Month

Hispanic Heritage Month (HHM) takes place from September 15 to October 15 every year to recognize and celebrate the many contributions, diverse cultures, and extensive histories of the American Latino community.


Beginning in 1968, Hispanic Heritage Month was originally observed as “Hispanic Heritage Week”, but it was later extended to a month in 1988. Since then, HHM has been celebrated nationwide through festivals, art shows, conferences, community gatherings, and more. The month also celebrates the independence days of several Latin American countries, including Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua on September 15th, Mexico on September 16th, and Chile on September 18th. They also include holidays recognizing Hispanic contributions, such as Virgin Islands-Puerto Rico Friendship Day, celebrated in the U.S. Virgin Islands.


The Gainesville Latino Film Festival is happening at multiple locations through September 26.

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County Equity Advisory Council Seeks Volunteers

Alachua County invites residents to join the newly created Equity Advisory Council (EAC). The eight-member EAC advises the County Commission and works alongside staff and the community to build open dialogue and partnerships and to implement County plans. The EAC is taking applications until October 16, 2023, for its initial council.


The EAC is looking for members of the community with the following characteristics: a commitment to racial and gender equity, social and environmental justice, diversity, and inclusion; the ability to work collaboratively with people of diverse perspectives and experiences; connections with local historically marginalized communities; experience/expertise in education, employment, housing, health and human services, criminal justice, or business; and experience, skills, and knowledge in policy development, research, evaluation, program/service design, and delivery.


“Please join Alachua County in becoming part of the change we want to see in the world,” said Alachua County Equity and Community Outreach Manager Diedre Houchen. “Join us in creating a stronger, more inclusive, equitable Alachua County.”


Learn more about the Equity Advisory Council vacancies.

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The Alachua County Crisis Center Seeks Crisis Line Counselors

The Alachua County Crisis Center seeks volunteers to become Crisis Line Counselors. The next training class begins on Saturday, September 23, 2023. After the initial session, training continues for eight 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. Volunteering is an opportunity to impact the lives of fellow community members and gain life-enhancing communication skills. 


Sign up online or learn more about volunteering as a Crisis Line Counselor.

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Commissioners Alford, Chestnut, and Cornell Appointed to FAC Policy Committees

Commissioners Mary Alford, Charles Chestnut, and Ken Cornell were recently appointed to multiple Florida Association of Counties (FAC) committees by association president Bill Truex of Charlotte County. FAC’s Policy Committees are responsible for proposing, debating, and adopting policy positions focused on improving and preserving Florida’s counties.


Commissioner Alford was appointed to the Health, Safety, and Justice Policy Committee. 


Commissioner Chestnut was appointed to the FAC Presidential Select Committee on Preemption.


Commissioner Cornell’s appointments:  


  • The Agriculture & Rural Affairs Policy Committee
  • The Federal Policy Committee  
  • The Finance, Tax, & Administration Policy Committee 
  • The FAC Water & Environmental Sustainability Policy Committee, and
  • The FAC Presidential Select Committee on Preemption


Find out more about the appointments.

Claudia Tuck Appointed to Two NACo Committees

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The National Association of Counties (NACo) has appointed Alachua County Community Support Services Director Claudia Tuck to be Vice Chair of both its Human Services and Education Steering Committee (Social Services Subcommittee) and its Veterans and Military Services Committee.


“I am honored to have the opportunity to serve on the Veterans and Military Services Committee as Vice Chair, continuing to work with Commissioner Lukasevich to build on the work we have done over the past few years,” said Claudia Tuck. “I am also excited to continue as the Social Services Subcommittee Vice Chair of the Human Services and Education Steering Committee, engaging with commissioners and staff from across the country, sharing ideas and information to continue improving services for our residents.”


Read more about the appointment.

The September Plant of the Month is Sage

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The UF/IFAS Extension Alachua County Office is pleased to announce that the September “Plant of the Month” is sage.


Sage has long, grey-green leaves with a slightly furry surface. The flavor of sage is lemony, camphor-like, and pleasantly bitter. Sage should not be eaten raw. It should always be cooked. It has a pungent aroma with a strong, slightly minty, musky taste.


September is a good time to grow sage in North Central Florida. Check the Plant of the Month website for information on planting, harvesting, recipes, and more. Listen to the Extension Cord Podcast to get further insights on the Plant of the Month.


The Plant of the Month program is a collaborative effort between Alachua County Board of County Commissioners, UF/IFAS Extension Alachua County, Alachua County Master Gardener Volunteers, Alachua County Public Library, and Working Food.

Visit Gainesville, Alachua County Partnerships Community Information Sessions

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Visit Gainesville, Alachua County, is holding two community information sessions focusing on how non-profit organizations, attractions, special event producers, and hospitality-focused businesses can partner with Visit Gainesville, Alachua County, to promote tourism and increase audience size. The sessions are on Wednesday, September 20, 2023, from 10 a.m. to noon and repeated on Thursday, September 21, from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Both sessions are at the Downtown Headquarters Library (401 E. University Avenue, downtown Gainesville).


Those wanting to attend must register via email at [email protected]. Participants must include their name, organization, and contact information.


Learn more about the information sessions.

Planning Commission Vacancy

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Alachua County seeks volunteers to fill one Citizen-at-Large vacancy on the Local Planning Agency (LPA)/Planning Commission. The Local Planning Agency/Planning Commission meets once a month on the third Wednesday at 6 p.m. in the County Administration Building (12 S.E. 1st Street, downtown Gainesville).


The Local Planning Agency/Planning Commission comprises eight members serving four-year terms. The membership includes seven citizen-at-large positions and one School Board member (appointed by the School Board).


The LPA/Planning Commission is responsible for making recommendations to the County Commission for updates to the comprehensive plan; reviewing and making recommendations on rezonings, special use permits, special exceptions, and land development regulations upon the request of the County Commission.


View the Local Planning Agency/Planning Commission opening.

Alachua County Exclusive Solid Waste Franchise Agreement

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On June 27, 2023, the Alachua County Commission approved an exclusive solid waste collection franchise agreement between Alachua County and GFL Solid Waste Southeast, LLC. Beginning October 1, 2023, all commercial properties in the unincorporated area of Alachua County will be required to use GFL Solid Waste Southeast, LLC for solid waste collection services. 


This exclusive franchise agreement is for solid waste only. Solid waste includes garbage, rubbish, and refuse, among other things. This does not include source-separated recyclable materials or construction and demolition materials.


Affected commercial properties are encouraged to contact GFL Solid Waste Southeast, LLC at 1-800-535-9533 or 352-377-0800 to establish a customer account and enter into a collection agreement effective October 1, 2023.

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