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Second Dollar General store in Alachua delayed

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U. S. Highway 441 near Hague is the proposed site of a Dollar General retail store.

ALACHUA – Where the new Dollar General store in Alachua is likely to locate appears to have hit a roadblock at a city commission meeting Monday evening.

On June 11, the City of Alachua Planning and Zoning Board approved a site plan for the property located at the northwest corner of CR 237 and U.S. 441. This is the proposed location for a second Dollar General retail location in Alachua and is being developed by Concept Development, LLC.

However, facing pressure from a half dozen residents opposed to the development at that location, which is near the Oaks of Hague neighborhood, on June 24, the city commission scheduled a special commission meeting on July 8 for further discussion of the matter.

At Monday’s commission meeting, City Planner Brandon Stubbs recommended to adopt a resolution vacating two platted streets, which lie within the property to be developed. The streets had never been dedicated to the City of Alachua, opened or used by the public.

“…. Vacation of the governing body of the county will not affect their ownership or the rights for the owners,” Stubbs said.

Lynn Coullias, a resident of Oaks at Hague, presented information in conflict with what the city planner presented about the history of the immediate area. Five other residents followed her lead.

“It is Oak Street and Stanley Street…. which belongs to the Stanley Estate,” Colias said. “It is preserved land under the Domingo Fernandez Land Grant and borders J. S. Sanchez Land Grant.”

Coullias added that Spanish land grants protect the property.

John C. and Kelly S. Freeland, owners of the property, were present at the meeting and denied there being any connection of those grants and their property.

Kelly S. Freeland said the residents were not focusing on the issue at hand. The Freelands want the two streets in between their property to be vacated for their title over that property.

It doesn’t matter what is placed on the land for years to come, it has to be settled eventually, she said.

Dan MacDonald, senior director of corporate communications for Dollar General, said the permitting process was still set for the U.S. 441 location.

“We’re working on something, but we haven’t gotten all the pieces together,” MacDonald said.

Matt Cason, a developer for Concept Development, said, “We’ve followed your code [and] your land development regulations. We’ve held neighborhood workshops and advertised as it is described in your code. We disclosed who the tenant is. We came to the P and Z [planning and zoning] board and addressed any concerns that arose. We were issued a site plan approval.”

A traditional Dollar General retail store hires six to 10 people. For determining a location, the company looks at population within 5 miles and a minimum of 5,000 people within a 10-minute drive, among other factors. As few as 1,400 households can support a Dollar General retail outlet, MacDonald said

According to an impact analysis of the property, the average daily trips will be 521, including 50 trips during morning rush hour and 51 trips during afternoon rush hour.

The building meets the permitted use requirements because of the city’s existing Future Land Use and Zoning designations of the property.

The site plan was approved for a 9,100 square foot retail store, a parking lot and associated amenities. It also suggests a freestanding monument sign rather than a tall pole sign.

No vote was taken on the matter as commissioners Gary Hardacre and Robert Wilford and Vice Mayor Shirley Green Brown said they needed more time to review the new materials handed to them at the meeting and the July 8 special meeting was scheduled.

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Operation Smile gets boost from local organizations

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Woman’s Club members and volunteers display Smile Dolls and small hospital gowns created for children receiving reconstructive surgery through Operation Smile. L-R: Sylvia Fidler, Savannah Hoelle, Barbara Miller, Judi Lewis, Joyce Rodriguez.

HIGH SPRINGS – Two local groups have joined forces in support of Operation Smile, an organization that provides free reconstructive surgeries to repair cleft lip, cleft palate and other facial deformities for children worldwide.

The local General Federation of Women’s Clubs (GFWC) New Century Woman’s Club and the High Springs Sewing Society, a neighborhood group of the American Sewing Guild, are creating smile dolls for the children undergoing surgery. “The dolls’ faces are intentionally left blank so the children can create their own faces on the dolls,” explained Woman’s Club International Outreach Program Chairman Judi Lewis. “The dolls help reduce anxiety and give the children a way to express their feelings about their new faces.”

In addition to the dolls, drawstring care bags and small-sized hospital gowns are being sewn for each child. All are given to the children to keep after their surgeries.

“Regular hospital gowns are too big for these small children,” said Lewis. The bags are created to contain small items for children to play with like crayons and small toys.

Each surgery costs $240 per child. In addition to providing hospital gowns, dolls and care bags, the High Springs Woman’s Club has raised $261 to date to help pay for surgical costs. The money donated was matched by Operation Smile to help fund the cost of surgery for two children.

“Many of the children live in rural areas and have to make their way to makeshift stations for their surgeries,” said Anne Redlus, former GFWC Partnership Chairman located in West Hampton, N.J. “A lot of children are not allowed in public and a lot die young because of their deformity,” she said in a recent telephone interview. Redlus said, “A 45-minute surgery can change their whole world around.”

According to information on Operation Smile’s website, the exact cause of the defect is unknown, but scientists believe genetic and environmental factors, such as maternal illness, drugs or malnutrition, may lead to a cleft lip or cleft palate. If one child in a family is born with a cleft, future children in the family have increased risk to suffer from the same defect. Operation Smile, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, was founded in 1982 in Norfolk, Va. by Dr. William Magee Jr., a plastic surgeon, and his wife, Kathleen, a nurse and clinical social worker. It is now headquartered in Tidewater, Va.

Operation Smile reports that “every 3 minutes a child is born with a cleft. “One in 10 of those children will die before their first birthday. The children who survive are often unable to eat, speak, socialize or smile and, in some places, they are shunned and rejected. In too many cases their parents can’t afford to give them the surgeries they need to lead a productive life.” That is where Operation Smile comes in.

The program has provided 3.5 million comprehensive patient evaluations and over 200,000 free surgeries for children and young adults born with facial deformities. The group also trains doctors in over 60 countries to be able to perform the same surgeries.

For more information on the Operation Smile program or to make a donation, call 386-454-9640 or go to www.operationsmile.org. According to Lewis, donations of office supplies are also needed by the organization to help defray operating costs.

Redlus said the General Federation of Women’s Clubs works with U.S. Fund for UNICEF, Heifer International and Shot at Life through the United Nations Foundation and Operation Smile.

The local High Springs New Century Woman’s Club, with approximately 50 members, supports the efforts of Operation Smile through the eight member International Outreach Program with Lewis at the helm. The 10 member High Springs Sewing Society’s neighborhood organizer is Suzie Ann Clark. Both organizations work together on various projects to help the local community as well as on national and international projects.

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Woman’s Club artists chosen for state competition

HIGH SPRINGS – Three High Springs New Century Woman’s Club Arts and Craft Competition winners have been chosen to represent the members of District 5 of the General Federation of Women’s Clubs (GFWC) at the state level competition in April.

The projects, all of which won blue ribbons at the local level in early January, went on to compete with other district clubs at the District 5 Arts & Craft meeting, hosted by the Gainesville Woman's Club on Feb. 23. The top winners were chosen during that meeting to represent the district in the next round of judging at the GFWC State Convention in Orlando April 11-15.

First place in the Mixed Media category was awarded to Joyce Hallman for her painting, “Flowers and Apples,” to Suzie Clark in the Fabric Craft category for her quilt, “Bugs in a Jar,” and to Carole Tate for two items, one in the Photo-Natural History category, “Natural Bridge” and the second in the Doll Making category for her “Yarn Doll.”

First place winning entries from the GFWC State Convention will be judged at the GFWC Annual Convention in Hollywood, Fla., June 30-July 2.

National GFWC winners receive bragging rights and $100 in prize money for first place, $75 for second place and $50 for third place winners.

Upon learning the news that two of her items had been chosen, Carole Tate said, “I am very surprised and pleased to have won at this level. It’s exciting to have my work recognized.” The Photography Category garnered more entries than any other, which made it one of the most competitive categories.

“Bugs in a Jar” quilter Suzie Clark said her quilt idea came from an old Australian folk magazine article about the use of novelty fabrics. “I had a bunch of bug fabrics in my stash. One of the fabrics is bugs in a jar that are in another jar,” she laughed. Another fabric she used has termites on it. Clark explained that it is an Australian aborigine fabric. “Each one of their fabrics has a complete story behind it.”

Another fabric featured in her quilt is a reproduction of a 1830s American fabric of honeybees in a honeycomb. “I guess people were fascinated by bugs even then,” Clark said. “I embroidered spider webs on the quilt, lady bugs on the jar lids, used buttons and other tchotchke to help bring the quilt to life.” The varied types of bugs are assembled on the quilt to appear as if they had been caught in Mason jars, “thus naming the quilt was easy,” said Clark.

“I’ve never been really competitive about my quilts before,” she vows, “but now I really want to win. It was a fun project to do and I enjoyed every minute of creating it.”

Painter and Art Committee Chairman Joyce Hallman expressed delight at her win at District as well. “This competition gives the women in our club a chance to display their creative talents,” she said. “It’s highly motivational to me as an artist.”

The club’s arts group and the culture of art in High Springs are but a few of the reasons Hallman sought a creative outlet closer to home. “I initially visited a group in Gainesville which was a sister group to my previous arts organization,” she said. She found the sister organization was not as good a fit for her in north Florida as it had been in south Florida, where she lived prior to moving to High Springs..

Seeking the company of like-minded artists and crafts people, Hallman said she found the Woman’s Club to be a creative group of women who use their artistic, organizational and business skills in ways that help others. “Craft projects and workshops not only allow our members to express their creativity, but also provide items we can sell to help raise funds for other worthy causes.”

The club, which has served High Springs for more than 110 years, is located in the Historic District of High Springs, next door to High Springs City Hall, and currently encourages youth and elder art projects and art shows in the community.

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Woman’s Club artists advance to state competition

HIGH SPRINGS – Three High Springs New Century Woman’s Club Arts and Craft Competition winners have been chosen to represent the members of District 5 of the General Federation of Women’s Clubs (GFWC) at the state level competition in April.

The projects, all of which won blue ribbons at the local level in early January, went on to compete with other district clubs at the District 5 Arts & Craft meeting, hosted by the Gainesville Woman's Club on Feb. 23. The top winners were chosen during that meeting to represent the district in the next round of judging at the GFWC State Convention in Orlando April 11-15.

First place in the Mixed Media category was awarded to Joyce Hallman for her painting, “Flowers and Apples,” to Suzie Clark in the Fabric Craft category for her quilt, “Bugs in a Jar,” and to Carole Tate for two items, one in the Photo-Natural History category, “Natural Bridge” and the second in the Doll Making category for her “Yarn Doll.”

First place winning entries from the GFWC State Convention will be judged at the GFWC Annual Convention in Hollywood, Fla., June 30-July 2.

National GFWC winners receive bragging rights and $100 in prize money for first place, $75 for second place and $50 for third place winners.

Upon learning the news that two of her items had been chosen, Carole Tate said, “I am very surprised and pleased to have won at this level. It’s exciting to have my work recognized.” The Photography Category garnered more entries than any other, which made it one of the most competitive categories.

“Bugs in a Jar” quilter Suzie Clark said her quilt idea came from an old Australian folk magazine article about the use of novelty fabrics. “I had a bunch of bug fabrics in my stash. One of the fabrics is bugs in a jar that are in another jar,” she laughed. Another fabric she used has termites on it. Clark explained that it is an Australian aborigine fabric. “Each one of their fabrics has a complete story behind it.”

Another fabric featured in her quilt is a reproduction of a 1830s American fabric of honeybees in a honeycomb. “I guess people were fascinated by bugs even then,” Clark said. “I embroidered spider webs on the quilt, lady bugs on the jar lids, used buttons and other tchotchke to help bring the quilt to life.” The varied types of bugs are assembled on the quilt to appear as if they had been caught in Mason jars, “thus naming the quilt was easy,” said Clark.

“I’ve never been really competitive about my quilts before,” she vows, “but now I really want to win. It was a fun project to do and I enjoyed every minute of creating it.”

Painter and Art Committee Chairman Joyce Hallman expressed delight at her win at District as well. “This competition gives the women in our club a chance to display their creative talents,” she said. “It’s highly motivational to me as an artist.”

The club’s arts group and the culture of art in High Springs are but a few of the reasons Hallman sought a creative outlet closer to home. “I initially visited a group in Gainesville which was a sister group to my previous arts organization,” she said. She found the sister organization was not as good a fit for her in north Florida as it had been in south Florida, where she lived prior to moving to High Springs..

Seeking the company of like-minded artists and crafts people, Hallman said she found the Woman’s Club to be a creative group of women who use their artistic, organizational and business skills in ways that help others. “Craft projects and workshops not only allow our members to express their creativity, but also provide items we can sell to help raise funds for other worthy causes.”

The club, which has served High Springs for more than 110 years, is located in the Historic District of High Springs, next door to High Springs City Hall, and currently encourages youth and elder art projects and art shows in the community.

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Waldo’s glimpse into the past at Annual Cultural Affair

WALDO – “These are pants from the first war and this is a bayonet from the Civil War.” Robert Hill, 55, demonstrated the items he had brought for display on Saturday, Feb. 23. Donated to him and passed down by his relatives, Hill showed pictures of soldiers from the Civil War, mess kits and even a weapon carrier from the Spanish American War.

Hill was one of the many people with items on display for the cultural affair in Waldo. The week-long event began on Monday, Feb. 18, and ended Feb. 23, taking place in the Waldo Community Center located at 13550 NE 148 Avenue.

Sponsored by The Waldo Concerned Citizens for the Community (WCCC), Inc., the organization has aimed to get more involved with children and young adults. Students from the Waldo Community School in 3rd, 4th and 5th grades attended the fair on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday to learn about The Black Heritage Trail, Tuskegee Airmen and African American History and poetry.

Randy Adams, known as “The Wayward Potter,” had his display of unique and handmade pottery. A University of Florida graduate, he has been told that he is one of the best pottery artists in the southeastern United States and has participated in many folk art festivals.

“I like to make functional pottery art and I like being specific,” Adams said. “I see art different and I see people different.”

His pieces include chalices for ministers, an African Udu, jugs and pitchers that portray fish or the head of Abraham Lincoln and cups with scriptures.

Mary Ann Rich spoke about the history of some of the surrounding buildings. The Waldo Community Center, which was built in 1954, was once a cafeteria.

“We have this event on African American history every year on the last Saturday of February,” said Barbara Rainer-Lee, a member of WCCC.

All the items on display were donated by members of the community and are displayed every year matching up with Black History Month and its relation to Waldo’s own history. Bottles of moonshine, uniforms, pictures of the first black schoolhouse in Waldo were some of the select items chosen for this year.

“There are many more items that we didn’t show today,” said Rich.

Members of the WCCC include Mary Ann Rich, Barbara Rainer-Lee, Christine Mays and Larry O’Neal. Established in 1982, the annual cultural affair event began more than 10 years ago. This year was the first time that the event last an entire week.

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