Last updateWed, 04 May 2016 8pm


Paint the Town with Pinwheels

Q - Pinwheels City Hall

Photo Special to Alachua County Today

The GFWC High Springs New Century Woman’s Club held a campaign to “Paint the Town with Pinwheels.” More than 480 pinwheels were purchased and are being displayed around High Springs for the month of April in honor of the victims of child abuse. The proceeds will be donated to the Partnership for Strong Families.

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New water lines for Douglas Street area

HIGH SPRINGS – A project to replace old water lines in part of the city is slated to begin in the next few days.

“Equipment has already begun to arrive at the staging area, the city's wastewater treatment plant,” said City Manager Ed Booth.

Project costs are estimated to be approximately $825,000. A Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) in the amount of $644,000 will help pay for the work.

“The city is matching the grant from our water and sewer enterprise fund with another $125,000,” said Booth.

According to the grant application, the project is anticipated to take 24 months.

“The area being addressed has experienced frequent pipe breaks and water outages,” Booth said.

“Approximately 11,400 linear feet of water lines is expected to be installed by project completion and will include all components, including fire hydrants and shut off valves… a complete installation,” explained Tim Norman of Mittaur & Associates Inc., the city’s engineering firm on this project.

New water meters will also be installed as part of the project.

Although the city hoped the project would begin last fall, it took until this spring to get everything ironed out, explained Booth.

The area being addressed is bound on the north by properties located on Southeast First Avenue, on the south by properties located along portions of Southeast Seventh Avenue and Northwest 178 Place, on the east by residences located on Southeast Douglas Street and on the west by the rear property line of the properties located along U.S. Highways 41 and 27.

In explaining the benefit of the new meters, which are more accurate than many of the older units, Booth said, “This is a real advantage in helping the city curtail water reading costs. We do not have dedicated water meter readers on staff, so personnel are currently being pulled from other crews to read meters. The new meters will allow a person with a handheld device to drive by and automatically read the meters. The new meters are expected to reduce meter reading man hours by as much as 90 percent. Instead of losing those people for a week each month, we will lose them for less than one day.”

Although other parts of the city could benefit from this type of project as well, CDBG grants are designated specifically for properties that meet low and moderate income standards as set by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

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O'Leno State Park to host chili cook-off and springs celebration

ALACHUA COUNTY – Alachua County Environmental Protection Department, Florida State Parks, and The Friends of O’Leno invite citizens to the O’Leno Ole’ Chili Cook-Off (from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.) and Springs Celebration (from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.), on Saturday, April 2 at O’Leno State Park (410 SE O’Leno Park Road).

Admission to the park is free with the donation of one can of food per person to benefit a local food bank.

The event includes: a chili cook-off, live music with the Weeds of Eden, Water Ventures interactive display, a guided walk, children’s activities and environmental and art exhibits. Chili tasting kits will be on sale for $5 and all proceeds assist the Friends of O’Leno, Inc., a non-profit organization with their mission of supporting the park.

“The Springs Celebration is a great event for learning how our actions are connected to the health of our springs, even when we live tens of miles away from them,” said Stacie Greco with the Alachua County Environmental Protection Department. “When we use a lot of water and fertilizer on our farms and yards we may be harming the springs of the Santa Fe River.”

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Annual Masonic Lodge Widows Luncheon

W - HS Masonic Lodge widows luncheon

Photo Special to Alachua County Today

High Springs Masonic Lodge hosted their Masonic widows on Saturday, March 12th, with a luncheon in their honor. L-R: Angie Hargrove, Thelma Gillis, Worshipful Mike Hinson, Dot Reeves, Verdelia Elbon, Wanda Kemp and Mildred Copeland.

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Alachua Prevails in Lengthy Lawsuit

ALACHUA – The City of Alachua has prevailed in a seven-year litigation with the developer of the Heritage Oaks commercial and residential development adjacent to Santa Fe High School on U.S. Highway 441.

“On March 9, less than 24 hours after presenting its argument before the First District Court of Appeal, the City received an opinion upholding the final judgment rendered in favor of the City by the trial court,” said Alachua Assistant City Manager Adam Boukari in a press release.

The case has undergone several twists and turns, including the City's appeal of the original results of a jury trial in which $3.9 million was awarded to developer John Curtis, Jr. on the grounds that the City interfered in the development of the subdivision.

Curtis was forced to abandon the project after the City banned him from working on the subdivision.

In the case, Heritage Oaks residents were able to show the damages that had occurred to their homes since he left the project, noting sagging roofs and unpaved roads as some of the issues that the development faced, according to reports.

Curtis alleged the city breached contract and interfered with the development. The trial called attention to issues relating to quality of construction, such as improperly paved roads. Photos at the trial showed that wastewater pipes had been repaired using duct tape.

According to reports filed by the court, Judge Hulslander set the jury verdict aside and called for an appeal because he felt that the City did not interfere with the construction, said David Theriaque, attorney for the City handling the lawsuit.

“He believed the jury verdict form was flawed and that a new trial needed to be held,” Theriaque said at that time. “It invalidates the $3.9 million jury verdict.”

The judge then made a summary judgment in favor of the City, which was upheld March 9 by the Florida District Court of Appeals after they heard attorneys from both sides present their cases.

“The City is pleased with the Court's decision and the conclusion of the lawsuit,” said Boukari.

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