Last updateTue, 25 Nov 2014 9pm


Man arrested to using forged checks

W - Dyer mugshot mugshotALACHUA –A Georgia man was arrested in Gainesville after buying around $540 worth of merchandise from the Lowe’s in Alachua with fraudulent checks.

The Gainesville Police Department notified the Alachua Police Department about the arrest of Ricky Demond Dyer around a 4:45 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 19.

Dyer went to Lowe’s in Alachua and purchased $541.66 worth of items several hours before he tried to do the same at a Home Depot in Gainesville.

After Dyer tried to purchase $527.87 worth of merchandise at the Home Depot, store employees denied the transaction because the routing numbers on the check were fictitious.

Dyer tried to leave in a Chevy Malibu. Officer Pat Donnelly stopped him at 4400 NW 20th Street in Gainesville.

Dyer threw a wallet out of the car just before being stopped. It had four different Georgia ID cards with variations of his name and different dates of birth.

He was found in possession of several fraudulent Bank of America checks.

Items from a Sears in Valdosta, Ga. were also found.

Alachua Police Department public information officer Jesse Sandusky was unable to comment, since the investigation is still ongoing.

Dyer is being held at the Alachua County Jail, with a $50,000 bond, according to the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office website.

He is being charged with four felonies related to counterfeiting and fraud.

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Pharmaceutcal firm to bring jobs

ALACHUA –When Alachua City Commissioner Gary Hardacre’s children graduated, they had to leave town to find a job, he said at an Alachua City Commission meeting. The next generation may be more fortunate, as another 164 jobs are coming to the city of Alachua.

Coqui Radio Pharmaceuticals Corp. selected Alachua as the site for a new facility for designing, constructing and supplying medical isotopes.

Over 10,000 hospitals worldwide use radioisotopes in medicine, mainly for diagnosis procedures, according to the World Nuclear Association. The isotopes are generally injected, inhaled or taken orally, giving off energy that can be detected and tracked by special equipment so doctors can learn more about what parts of the body are failing or diseased.

The 164 jobs will be created over a three-year period, said Assistant City Manager Adam Boukari at the Monday, Feb. 24 commission meeting.

They will range from unskilled jobs to careers requiring doctoral degrees, said Susan Davenport, vice president of economic development for the Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce. About 87 of the jobs are unskilled or semi-skilled, she said.

Not only will residents of Alachua have more jobs available, but people from all around the area will too, Davenport said.

“It will be a great opportunity for people in the region,” she said.

It’s a time for Alachua to be on the map and shine, said Alachua Mayor Gib Coerper.

The new 100,000 square-foot facility, with a capital investment of $227 million over the next for years, is the only of its kind in the country and one of only three or four in the entire world, Davenport said. The average annual compensation for workers will be $70,000.

Because there is a shortage of one of the particular isotopes the company will create, Alachua will have a chance to have a major impact on global health, she said.

At the Feb. 24 meeting, the commission approved a motion to offer Coqui a Qualified Target Industry Tax Refund.

Coqui qualified for a $7,000 tax credit for each job that will be created, amounting to $1,148,000.

The program requires a 20 percent match from local government, meaning local government will provide $229,600. The City of Alachua will provide $114,800, with Alachua County providing the rest.

The program was set up by the state to make Florida an attractive environment to business.

In order to be considered, companies have to apply to the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity. There are six criteria. The company has to be in a target industry, demonstrate it will make a material difference in expanding the local community, create at least 10 new full-time jobs or expand an existing operation by 10 percent, pay an average annual wage at least 115 percent of the state or local wages, demonstrate the jobs make a significant contribution to the area and get a resolution passed by local government to commit to providing 20 percent of the refund.

Last year, Alachua-based Encell Technology, which designs high-efficiency batteries, received just a little over $1 million in tax credits from the program.

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Boukari unchallenged in third term run

ALACHUA – Alachua City Commissioner Ben Boukari, Jr. will be serving another term, after nobody else challenged him in the uncoming election.

Boukari said he likes to think nobody challenged him because people are generally happy with what they are doing on the commission. There might be minor disagreements, he said, but they work together for the good of the community.

The city’s qualifying period for the scheduled April 8 election ended at noon on Thursday, Feb. 20. Only Boukari’s seat was up for grabs.

Since there were no other races, the April election has been cancelled, according to a press release from the city.

There will be a swearing-in ceremony held on April 14 as Boukari enters another three-year term.

Boukari first ran in 2010, competing with activist Michael S. Canney. Boukari received 633 votes to Canney’s 248.  

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Youth share vision of city's future

ALACHUA –A group of high school students was asked to present their vision for what the City of Alachua will look like in 100 years.

The workforce will triple, the government will be more automated and Alachua will have a higher quality of life for its citizens, the students said.

The City of Alachua Youth Advisory Council participated in the Florida League of Cities Municipal Youth Council Video Competition and took third place.

The competition was inspired by last year’s Viva Florida campaign, which aimed to educate people about the rich history of Florida’s cities, said Sharon Berrian, associate director for membership in the area for the Florida League of Cities.

The Alachua Youth Advisory Council presented their award-winning four-minute video discussing the future of Alachua at the Alachua City Commission meeting on Monday, Feb. 24. They were then given a trophy and a check for $250 from the Florida League of Cities.

“We will see major increases in the arts and culture realm,” a student said in the video.

In addition to looking forward toward the city’s future, the youngsters also recounted the past. They talked about important events and monuments in Alachua’s history, including the incorporation of the city in 1905 with a population of just over 500.

The video pointed to the Sid Martin Biotech Incubator and Alachua’s sports programs as major drivers of growth, with agriculture still being a central force of the economy. It predicted the proliferation of more museums and public facilities.

Berrian congratulated the students on winning third place.

“It is a wonderful accomplishment for your youth council,” she said.

The Alachua Youth Advisory Council will go to the annual League of Cities convention in Agust where their project will be highlighted again.

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Speaker set for Lions Club Cattlemen’s Banquet

ALACHUA – Jim Handley, Executive Vice President of the Florida Cattlemen’s Association, will be the keynote speaker at the Alachua Lions Club’s 75th Annual Cattlemen’s Banquet on Thursday, March 27, in Alachua. This popular event, the longest running, continuous Lions fundraiser in Florida, will move to a new and larger venue this year, Santa Fe River Ranch, to accommodate the nearly 400 attendees expected. Other new features this year include a social hour from 6 p.m. - 7 p.m., a live and a silent auction and corporate sponsorship tables. Live musical entertainment, then a traditional beef steak dinner and dessert bar will also be provided.

Jim Handley, fourth generation native Floridian from the Central Florida community of Sebring, Fla., currently serves as the Executive Vice President of the Florida Cattlemen’s Association, Chief Executive Officer of the Florida Beef Council, Editor of the Florida Cattleman and Livestock Journal and Executive Director of the Florida Cattlemen’s Foundation. The headquarters office of these organizations is located in Kissimmee, Fla.

J.K. “Buddy” Irby will be the Master of Ceremonies. Irby is the Clerk of the Circuit Court and has served the people of Alachua County and the state in various capacities for 37 years. He is a graduate of Santa Fe High School and the University of Florida. Both his father and grandfather were long-time members of the Alachua Lions Club. Past speakers have included President Jimmy Carter, Florida Governors Bob Graham, Buddy MacKay, Lawton Chiles, Bob Martinez and Claude Kirk, U.S. Senator George Smathers, Congressman Cliff Stearns, Congressman Ted Yoho, and Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam. Lion Tommy Harris is chair of the Cattlemen’s Banquet.

Money raised by the Alachua Lions Club supports eye surgery, eyeglasses, and hearing aids for those in need, Alachua recreation programs, Alachua Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, and Girl Scouts, an early college scholarship program for a Santa Fe High School student, Food for Kids of Alachua program and tutoring of students at Alachua Elementary School. The Alachua Lions Charitable Foundation supports the work of the Alachua Lions Club.

For ticket information contact any Alachua Lion or call Lion Gunter Hirsch at 386-462-3702 or 352-538-9709. For program ads call Lion Gary Hardacre at 386-462-4582 or 352-214-2452. Ad deadline is March 1.

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