Last updateTue, 24 Nov 2015 12am


Newberry 34, Eastside 14

Newberry takes another win scoring 34 to Eastside's 14 on Sept. 4.

Photo by SUZETTE COOK/Alachua County Today

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Hornets 27, Interlachen 7

The Hawthorne Hornets dominated Interlachen on Sept. 4 for a 27 to 6 win.

See this week's print edition for action and sideline highlights.

Photos by SUZETTE COOK/Alachua County Today


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Showing Strong support for athletes

Photo by SUZETTE COOK/Alachua County Today
The Santa Fe High School Raiders football team got their first workout in on Aug. 25 since the completion of a state of the art 12 station workout room made possible by patrons. Nose guard Steven Williams, above, takes his turn.




ALACHUA – It is 8 a.m. and Building 25 at Santa Fe High School is about to fill up with the Raider Varsity Football Team.

Head Coach Bill Wiles has his list ready. Jog, Raider jacks, plank, side bridge, leg throw, bench bar, squat bar, shrug, iso neck with partner. 

This is the first full workout for the Raider team in the school’s new weight room that is about four times bigger than it was a few months ago. Walls are down and with the help of fundraising leader Faye Zuidema, local businesses and patrons stepped up to support the request for a better way for all Raiders to build strength.

“We had a vision,” said SFHS Athletic Director Michele Faulk. “It was going to cost about $52,000, and Faye Zuidema got a lot of community business leaders involved. In less than two months, we raised $62,000.”

On Aug. 21, patrons were invited to Building 25 to see what their donations turned into.

“You can do so many different things with this,” Faulk said and pointed to one of 12 universal workout stations that cost about $5,000 each.

Coach Wiles came in for a quick visit before kickoff and shook hands with platinum sponsors Greg Waitcus of Santa Fe Ford and Alan Hitchcock. He made his way around the room and greeted and thanked all of the patrons involved.

Faulk addressed the attendees, “We wanted you to see, this is what your money went for and our kids can’t stay out of here. This community amazes me beyond words. You are so giving in less than two months we raised this money.”

On the donor wall, plaques list the sponsors: Santa Fe Ford, The Hitchcock Family, Darrell Timberlake, Coach Warren Buck, O'steen Brothers, Inc., The Crane Foundation, High Springs Electric, Inc., Zac Zedlais, Bev's Burger Cafe', Rothseiden Family, Jack and Faye Zuidema, Cedar Lane Farms, Inc., Rembert Family Foundation, Inc., Hitchcock's Foodway, Santa Fe High School Advisory Council, Captial City Bank, Raoul Wallenberg, Reverend Hillery & Donna Bassriel, The Thomas Family:Clay, Kevin and Jackson, Renasant Bank, Custom Lighting, Inc., Bottita Family, Gussie M. W. Lee and Family, Main Street Pie Co., Mason J. Hancock, Alachua Farm & Lumber and Joel DeCoursey, Jr.

Former Raider athletes and coaches names are on the wall. Former SFHS Coach Warren Buck is standing next to one of his players who also donated to the project. Darrell Timberlake, class of 1989, broke the record in points in a game, Coach Buck says. Buck graduated from SFHS in 1964 came back to coach in 1974. “I coached for 30 years,” Buck said. “We’ve never had anything this nice before. I know they’ll utilize it use it real well.”

He pointed to Timberlake said, “He still holds the record 54 points in one game against Interlachen.”

Timberlake was a forward for the Raider basketball team, and he also helped support the expansion with a substantial donation.

“It’s fantastic,” Timberlake said about the facility. “We’ve been very blessed and very honored to help the school out.”

Principal Dr. Beth LeClear joked that the place “looks like a college locker room,” and added, “Our community knew that we needed something for our children, and look at what we got. It’s amazing. No other place than Santa Fe.”

Assistant Track Coach and Algebra Teacher Basil Wetherington said he is excited to get his athletes on the equipment.

 “These are half-rack multipurpose, so we can do all of the Olympic exercises, the traditional static, all the compound exercises, suspension training,” Wetherington said.

“You’re talking about complete 100 percent total body exercise, all confined in a small space that you can get 3 or 4 athletes at each rack. With 12 racks, that’s 48 to 50 athletes working out at once, plus excess space to do our other exercise.

Platinum sponsor Alan Hitchcock said he has always been a fan of the Raiders’ sports teams.

“It’s very exciting,” he said. “Because it’s really a state of the art, brand new, first class facility that I hope the kids will really be excited about building their bodies and making themselves into bigger stronger athletes.”

Hitchcock said he was a basketball player and that he continues to follow SFHS sports.

“I’m a big supporter of Coach Wiles,” he added. “And I hope this really helps him take us to the next level.”

Wiles knew exactly what to do with the new equipment as he took over the workout room on Aug. 25.

“Front plank hold for 30,” he shouted out directions. “On your front, 30, on your right, 30, on your left, 30. Make sure your body is straight.”

Then he introduced his athletes to the equipment. “Take those off, lay them on the floor,” he said about weights on the rack. “Put them on about two or three, there you go,” he instructed.

Clink clank clink clank, metal on metal sounds took over the room.

The players dug into the workout.

“It a good atmosphere, said Isaiah Cromarty, 16. “It makes me want to work out.”

Junior Tryston Dejesus agreed. “It’s really nice, way better than we used to have.

Senior Defensive Nose Guard Steven Williams said his exercise of choice is the bench press. “It looks good,” he said about the new facility and added what he plans to get out of it.

“A lot of strength, a lot of team building.”

At the end of the workout, the team gathered in the center of the room and built up to the same team cheer they execute before taking the field. “Raiders, Raiders, Raiders,” they yelled in unison.

They showed up for that first workout filtering in one by one, stopping at the sponsor wall and reading the names of the people and businesses that made the workout space a reality.

They left Building 25 in a group, as a team and headed to class with more energy than they arrived with.

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U-turns causes accident in Newberry

SUZETTE COOK/Alachua County Today

Newberry Fire Rescue and Alachua County Sheriff's deputies responded to a two-car crash at the intersection of SR 26 and Main Street (SR 45) in Newberry on Aug. 22. According to Alachua County Sheriff's Office Public Information Officer, Art Forgey, the accident happened at 4:10 p.m. "Vehicle number one was traveling was eastbound," Forgey said. "Prior to the intersection, the driver made a u-turn from the lane intended for straight travel. This abrupt action occurred in front of vehicle number 2, which attempted to avoid collision. The driver from vehicle number 1 was taken by Alachua County ambulance to the hospital. Two children in the car were not injured. The driver of vehicle number two who tried to swerve out of the way, was unharmed. But the vehicle suffered major damage. SR 26 was closed for about an hour while emergency personnel from Newberry Fire Rescue prepared the driver for transport and waited for an Alachua County ambulance to arrive.

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Mayors honored at FLC conference

Photo courtesy KIM WORLEY/Special to Alachua County Today
Left to right, Florida League of Cities President and Hawthorne Mayor Matt Surrency, Diana Davis, E. Harris Drew Award Winner Waldo Mayor Louie Davis, Florida League of Cities First Vice-President and Boca Raton Mayor Susan Haynie.



HAWTHORNE/WALDO – Alachua County stood out this year as two local mayors were honored at the Florida League of Cities 89th Annual Conference in Orlando.  Hawthorne Mayor Matt Surrency was sworn in as president of the Florida League of Cities, which acts as a united voice for Florida’s Municipal Governments. 

This year's conference, “Florida Cities – A Public Conversation,” drew a crowd of approximately 1,000 city officials from across Florida.  Participants gather to share ideas, attend educational workshops and sessions, discuss strategies for Florida's future, determine League policies and visit the Municipal Marketplace.

The League's goals are to serve the needs of Florida’s cities and promote local self-government.

Surrency became second vice-president of the Florida League of Cities in 2013 after campaigning throughout the state.  In 2014, he became first vice-president of the organization and this year will serve as president.

Each year a presidential initiative is proposed for the League.  “This year, we're organizing throughout the state and promoting cities to work together on regional issues to solve issues state and federal government agencies are usually responsible for solving,” said Surrency. 

A good example of that is the Southeast Florida Regional Climate Compact.  “A federal grant was available to deal with sea level rise.  Instead of three or four cities in southeast Florida competing for the grant funding, the cities worked together as a unit to compete for the grant for the city that would benefit the most from winning it.  Because of the joint effort, it threw a lot more weight behind one community fighting for the grant against the rest of the country,” he said. 

Surrency was elected as commissioner in Hawthorne in 2009, elected as vice-mayor in 2010 and has served as mayor since 2011.  When he is not serving the needs of the people, he is in sales at Florida Septic, a local concrete manufacturer in Hawthorne.  He and his wife met in high school and have three sons.

Waldo Mayor Louie Davis also was honored as he received the prestigious E. Harris Drew Award during the League conference.  The award, sponsored by the Florida League of Cities, recognizes and honors a local elected official who has made a lasting and worthwhile contribution to the citizens of Florida through their efforts and dedication in the performance of their duties on the local level, thus fulfilling the FLC’s motto, “Local Self-Government - Keystone of American Democracy.”

“This is pretty much a Lifetime Achievement Award,” said Ben Boukari, Alachua City Commissioner.  “It's a really great honor to win this award.  We are very proud that this year's recipient is from Alachua County,” he said

Each year an honoree is chosen from nominations received by the three-person selection committee appointed by the League's president.  Mayor Davis’s name will be added to the permanent plaque located at the FLC's office in Tallahassee.  Davis has served the City of Waldo for 33 years, 29 of which were as mayor. 

During that time, Waldo has seen many changes, some more positive than others.  “One of the best things we did was to get a branch of the Alachua County Library in Waldo,” said Davis.  Another issue he feels has improved service in Waldo is that the city “went with the county for fire/rescue services.  I think we are experiencing better service now.” 

Davis also sees the development of the recreation parks in the city as a wonderful change.  “The city established the Sid Martin Park in the 1980s.  We decided to name the park after Sid Martin since he helped us to get it,” he said.

Some of the less than desirable changes he's seen during his tenure include the closing of the train station in Waldo, closing of the police department and the closing of the school.  “We're hoping to get another school here at some point,” he said.

Davis became Waldo's mayor in 1985 and has remained in that position ever since with the exception of two years serving on the council.  He also has served as a member of the Volunteer Fire Department and acted as Fire Chief for a while.  “I grew up in Waldo and I have enjoyed serving the public for a lot of years,” said Davis.

He says he is thankful to his wife, Diana, and his family for their support throughout the years.  He proudly announced, “We will be married 50 years this December.”  Of his family, he just as proudly said, “We have two girls, six grand kids and two great grand boys.”

While also serving as mayor, Davis also worked for the University of Florida as Facilities Director for the Department of Zoology for 35 years.  Although he retired from that position seven years ago, he still can't seem to sit still.  Currently, he is working as purchasing agent and maintenance manager for Ray's Metal Works in Alachua.

“I am honored to receive this recognition from the Florida League of Cities. Throughout my career I have worked closely with the Florida League, as well as the Alachua County League of Cities and the Northeast Florida League of Cities to try and make Waldo a great place to live, work and play,” said Mayor Davis. “I am grateful for the help and support I’ve received along the way from Florida League staff, the Alachua and NE Florida League of Cities, the City of Waldo, my wife Diana and family. We’re all in this together and together we can accomplish great things.”

There is only one thing Davis would like to have changed about his lifetime of work and service.  “I wish I had kept a journal all these years so I could write a book about small town politics,” he quipped.  “That would have been a real barn burner.”

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