Last updateWed, 17 Dec 2014 11pm


Full Hawthorne staff CPR certified

W_-_Hawthorne_CPR_Pictures02012_023_copyFront L-R: Brenda Cooper(staff), Jennifer Tozzo (instructor) Ellen Vause(city manager) Debbie Pennington, (staff), LaKesha McGruder (City Clerk); Back Row L-R: Commissioner Tommie Howard, Kit Randall, Mayor Matt Surrency and Commissioner DeLoris Roberts.

 Thanks to donations from a former City of Hawthorne employee, the town now has an automatic external defibrillator (AED).  And thanks to donated certification services by resident and CPR/AED certified instructor Jennifer Tozzo, all of Hawthorne’s staff and four city commissioners have now been trained and qualified to administer CPR and use the AED.

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Historic Swick House renovations on tap

W_-_Swick_House_DSCF7104_copyALACHUA – Alachua’s city commission approved a proposal for the restoration of the historic Swick House during the Aug. 27, 2012 commission meeting.

The Swick House, located on Northwest 142nd Terrace, has been an Alachua landmark for 60 years. The current plans include bringing the city owned building into compliance with ADA regulations and opening it to the public for meetings and gatherings.

Architect Jim McGinley volunteered his time and developed basic plans for the Swick House redesign. Brame Architects, located in Gainesville, will carry out the work.

According to Cap Wilson, Alachua’s compliance and risk management director, the cost of the recommended proposal won’t exceed $22,321.

“That’s an agreed-upon ceiling for the work we set out in the proposal,” Wilson said.

Brame Architects has estimated the total cost of construction to be between $130,000 and $140,000.

Vice Mayor Robert Wilford voiced concerns about the possibility of asbestos in the building due to its age. Wilford asked if this might add to the predicted cost.

“Both the architects and the mechanical engineer don’t think this will be a problem,” Wilson said.

According to Wilson, when restoration is completed, the entire 4,472-square-feet of the Swick House will be utilized. There will be five meeting rooms and multiple bathrooms added, and the outside patio will be used for public gatherings.

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Catherine Bowman named State Star Farmer

W_-_FFA_Catherine_Bowman_copyCatherine Bowman of Santa Fe High School was named the State Star Farmer by the Florida FFA Association during the 84th Florida FFA State Convention in Orlando

 ORLANDO – A new star shines over the Academy of Agriscience at Santa Fe High School.  The Florida FFA Association recently selected finalists in the highly coveted "Stars of Florida" award recognition program.  This program symbolizes the highest recognition for FFA members and their Supervised Agricultural Experience program.  More than 200 applicants were considered during the selection process.  Each candidate was then interviewed by a team of FFA, industry and Agriculture Education representatives.

Catherine Bowman of the Santa Fe FFA Chapter was named as the State Star Farmer during the 84th Florida FFA State Convention which was held in Orlando.  During the convention FFA members come together to celebrate the achievements of past and present generations of agriculturalists while continuing to develop their potential for premier leadership, personal growth and career success.

The awards continued to accumulate for Bowman.  When the Florida FFA announced the finalists for the 2012 Agricultural Proficiency Award program, Bowman’s name appeared in three categories.  She was named as a top four State Finalist in three categories - Agriscience Research, Emerging Agricultural Technology and Goat Production.  More than 350 applicants throughout Florida submitted applications for recognition within this program.  The Agricultural Proficiency Award program rewards FFA members at the local, state and national levels for exceptional accomplishments and excellence in a Supervised Agricultural Experience program.  These supervised programs are planned, practical activities that are conducted outside of class time that help students develop and apply agricultural knowledge and skills learned inside the classroom in a real world environment.  Bowman will travel to Indianapolis, Ind. to compete at the National FFA Convention in October.

Bowman truly works hard for her family on a 120-acre family farm that has a hay operation, a herd of Boer goats, a rabbitry and a horse training business.  She has attended the Made for Excellence Conference, Advanced Leadership Conference, Florida FFA Chapter Presidents Conference, Chapter Officer Leadership Training Conference, Florida State FFA Convention and the National FFA Convention.  She was a State Star Greenhand Finalist and a National Agriscience Fair Gold Medal Award winner.

At the 2011 State FFA Convention Bowmane was the Agriscience Student of the Year, a top four State Finalist in the Equine Science Placement Proficiency and also a top four State Finalist in the Forage Production Proficiency.  Three years ago she started an Agriculture Research project in which she studied the effects of Army Worm infestations on Coastal Bermuda grass hay fields.  Bowman is an excellent leader and role model.  She was a four year student in the Veterinary Assisting Program in the Academy of Agriscience at Santa Fe High School.  She has maintained a weighted GPA of 4.131 while taking Advance Placement courses in high school.  May this new star continue to shine brightly.

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Former APD officer wins House District 87

David Kerner elected


WEST PLAM BEACH – A former officer with the Alachua Police Department has been elected to Florida’s State House District 87 covering parts of West Palm Beach and Lake Worth.

In May 2006 David Kerner was named as the Alachua Police Department (APD) Officer of the Year.  He began his employment with the department in February 2005 and while employed with the City was a student at the University of Florida majoring in Political Science with two minors in Criminology and Policy/Regulation.  Prior to joining APD, Kerner was an officer for the University of Florida Police Department.  He graduated from the Police Academy at the Institute of Public Safety at Santa Fe Community College in the summer of 2004.

Kerner, a newcomer to politics, defeated his opponent Mike Rios with 68 percent of the vote in the primary.

A native of Palm Beach County, Kerner won the seat in a universal primary, meaning all candidates in the race had the same party affiliation and he will have no opposition in the General Election.

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Inaugural games kick off at Nations Baseball Park


Baseball teams faced off at Nations Baseball Park last week, with the Chain Dirtdawgs winning the inaugural tournament.

NEWBERRY – Some spent the Fourth of July at barbeques or family functions, but several teams travelled to Newberry for the first week of baseball tournaments at Nations Park.

The teams arrived on Saturday evening and the last game was played on Thursday. The championship game between the Chain Dirtdawgs and the South Florida Blaze ended as the clouds began to roll overhead. The Georgia-based Chain Dirtdawgs won the inaugural tournament for the park.

Coach Mike Rhodes said winning the inaugural games was especially rewarding to him. He was part of the Class of 1995 at the University of Florida.

The Chain Dirtdawgs got an early lead in the first inning, but the South Florida Blaze caught up toward the second half of the game, tying the score at 8 each.  Finally, the Chain Dirtdawgs closed out the game with a two-point lead, making the score 11-9 by the end of the 7th inning.

Though the tournament was part of a soft opening for the park, park developer Lou Presutti said he felt encouraged by the positive feedback from the opening tournament. There are still little things to be fixed before the grand opening of the park, such as fans in the parent seating areas, Presutti said.

Parents at Thursday’s game said that though fans in the parent seating would make the Florida heat more bearable, the inaugural games of the $7 million park were off to a smooth start.

“Our opinion matters because we’ve been to about every baseball park between here and about seven states,” said 35-year-old Chain Dirtdawgs parent Steve Hall.

Others noted that Newberry has been accommodating for the teams. South Florida Blaze parent Dave Marks, 46, said Newberry’s Backyard BBQ has been a popular spot for the traveling teams to grab a bite after a long day of playing games. Marks called Newberry an “up and coming town.”

Another parent from the same team, Jen Volpe, 41, said she’s enjoyed the shopping and sites in Gainesville, such as the UF campus.

Compared to the Cooperstown Dreams Park, on which the park is based, grandparent Armand Scatena, 64, said the layout is pretty similar and the kids seem to be having a great time at the park. This tournament is a lot smaller compared to the Cooperstown Dreams Park, which may have as many as 106 teams at the park, he said.

The first tournament of the park is history, but there are still two more tournaments to be played during the soft opening of Nations Park. On Saturday, about a dozen more teams arrived for the second week of games, which will conclude this Thursday.

The final week of the inaugural games will take place the week of July 28.

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