GAINESVILLE, FLORIDA (March 21, 2024) – The Santa Fe Winds will include traditional classics along with new musical selections in the annual “Spring Winds and Classics” concert at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, April 4, 2024, in the Lyceum at the Northwest Campus of Santa Fe College, 3000 NW 83 Street, Gainesville. The Lyceum is the renovated auditorium in Building E on the west side of campus.

The concert is free, but tickets are required because of limited seating. For tickets, call the Santa Fe College (SF) Box Office at 352-395-4181 or visit Showpass online at:

“I invite people to come out for a joyful experience in the Lyceum, the home of the Santa Fe Winds,” said SF Associate Professor of Music and Band Director David L. Smith, who will direct the 11 musicians. “You’ll hear some of the greatest pieces from the classical wind repertoire that feature students performing challenging selections in different styles.”

New selections on the program this year include “Fanfare and Flourishes,” written in 1991 by American tuba player James Curnow; “Nimrod” from “Enigma Variations” by English composer Edward Elgar, written between 1898-1899; and “March of the Belgian Paratroopers,” written during World War II by Belgian composer Pierre Leemans.

The opening fanfare in Curnow’s “Fanfare and Flourishes” gives way to Renaissance-inspired melodies that feature multiple sections of the Santa Fe Winds in turn.

The title of “Nimrod” in Elgar’s “Enigma Variations” refers to the composer’s publisher, Augustus Jaeger, because “Jäger” in German means “hunter” and Nimrod was the name of a great hunter in the Bible. “Nimrod” was played at the funerals of Princess Diana and His Royal Highness Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.

Leemans wrote “March of the Belgian Paratroopers” in one night, basing the musical themes on one of his earlier compositions.

“For our students, there is nothing like the experience of performing in front of a live audience,” Smith explained. “The reward for the audience is that you can take something with you when you leave, because music has the power to do what words cannot—change your mood, relieve stress and inspire you!”

“Spring Winds and Classics” is organized and sponsored by the Santa Fe College Fine Arts and Entertainment Technology Department.

For more information about the concert or SF’s band programs, call David Smith at 352-395-5313. For more information about tickets, call the SF Box Office at 352-395-4181.

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NEWBERRY ‒ In what may be a pivotal moment for Newberry, the question arose at the March 11, 2024 City Commission meeting if the City might limit “big box” development in the city. Big box development refers to the construction and operation of large, typically single-story retail stores or commercial spaces as well as warehouse spaces or distribution centers.

Newberry Planning and Economic Development Director Bryan Thomas asked for direction from the Commission on whether to draft amendments to the Land Development Regulations designed to limit or further regulate “big box” retail stores in Newberry.

Although the City has not received any applications from large retailers, Thomas said that the Publix development is likely to draw attention to development opportunities in the city from other large stores. He added that development of large-scale retail establishments can become a contentious issue, especially in small and rural communities.

Following discussion, Mayor Jordan Marlow suggested that since Commissioner Monty Farnsworth was not in attendance to postpone further discussion until a full Commission could consider the issue. In addition, commissioners requested that staff obtain examples of how other small towns have been impacted by large retailers.

Solar Farm Regulation Changes

The City has modified its existing Land Development Regulations for solar farms based on concerns raised by residents about noise, visual pollution and damage to wildlife posed by approval of solar farms.

Changes require a minimum 25-foot setback and existing natural vegetation must be left in place up to 15 feet deep. When adjacent to existing residential properties, the developer must plant a 20-foot vegetative buffer within the setback that will grow to obscure visibility within five years.

The original regulation required that the solar farm be surrounded by a minimum of a six-foot chain link fence. Concern for wildlife attempting to travel through the area changed this regulation to say that the developer may use other types of fencing to promote wildlife movement through the fencing.

Although grateful for the regulation changes, Jeff Holcomb, an advocate for tightening the regulations, said he thought that solar farm developers will attempt to “wiggle out” of the regulation requirement to buffer adjacent properties.

Legislative Funding

City Manager Mike New informed the Commission that with the Florida Legislative session ending, the City may be receiving funding for several projects. The City submitted three funding requests, two of which at this time appear to be funded, noting that the governor still has veto power. Funding requests included $250,000 for the Vietnam Memorial Park project, $1 million for the wastewater treatment plant and a third request related to the cost of the water tower. It appears that the Vietnam Memorial Park project was fully funded and the wastewater treatment plant was funded at $500,000. Funding for the water tower did not receive approval.

All Florida Enterprises

The City Commission on second reading approved changes to the City’s Future Land Use Map and its Zoning Atlas for two petitions submitted by Intellectual Partners LLC. The 3.67-acre property is located on the south side of west Newberry Road / State Road 26 and is also partially bordering the west side of Southwest 218th Street.

On the same property, the Commission also approved a change to the Official Zoning Atlas from Agricultural (A) to Commercial, Intensive (CI). The property owners also own All Florida Enterprises, a fence installation supply company. They are leasing the current location about a half mile to the west of the property on SR 26 and plan to move the business to the new site.

Norfleet Industrial Development

Also on second reading, the Commission approved applications to amend the City’s Future Land Use Map and Zoning Atlas and a zoning change from Agricultural (A) to Industrial (I) on 50 acres of land located at 21831 West Newberry Road. Commissioners first approved a land use change from Agriculture to Material-Oriented Industrial, which maintains the one dwelling unit for five acres designation. The property is owned by E.D. Norfleet, Jr., Phyllis Norfleet and Katrina Bill.

During first hearing of this item, CHW Professional Consultants Gerry Dedenbach said that other businesses seeking to locate in this industrial park area would need a special use permit approved by City Commission.

The Commission voted 3 – 1 to approve both requests with Commissioner Tony Mazon casting the dissenting votes with no comments.

Abandoning Alleyway

The Commission unanimously approved second reading of an amendment to the downtown plat addition, providing for closing, abandoning, releasing and vacating of public alleyways as part of the plat entitled Original Newberry Chapman and White’s Addition. This amendment pertains to the series of downtown plats found in Ordinance 25-14.

The next City Commission meeting is scheduled for March 25 at 7 p.m.

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HIGH SPRINGS ‒ This year has been a rocky one for the City of High Springs as yet another key employee has tendered his letter of resignation. Code Compliance Officer Christopher Barnes will be leaving the City as of March 18. Barnes has accepted a position with the City of Alachua.

“I have been waiting for this position to open up for seven years, and it finally has so I couldn’t resist applying for the job over there,” said Barnes. “I expect to find structure and availability in Alachua, which is something I was used to when I worked for the County,” he said.

“I have enjoyed working in High Springs and have many friends in both communities. We actually live in between both cities and love this area,” said Barnes. “I don’t know if it’s possible, but if Alachua and High Springs can work out an agreement to allow me to help High Springs part time until they find a replacement, I would be happy to do so.”

In addition the City’s Building Official, Alan Alligood also tendered his letter of resignation at about the same time as Barnes. However, Alligood recently rescinded his resignation citing conversations with his wife and searching his heart through prayer to determine the best course of action.

“High Springs is my city. I live here, and I want the best for the citizens of High Springs. I am planning to see it through so I will stay,” Alligood said.

Other key personnel who have left the City in the past few months include High Springs Sports and Recreation Director Elliot Harris, City Manager Ashley Stathatos, City Commissioner Steve Tapanes, and late last year, Assistant City Manager/Fire Chief Bruce Gillingham.

Meanwhile, the High Springs City Commission is honing in on a new city manager who they hope will be able to stem the tide. On Thursday, March 14, the City is hosting a Meet and Greet at the old school building behind City Hall for the top two candidates, Jeremy Marshall and Jeff Shoobridge.

At 5:30 p.m. Commissioners will hold a Special Commission Meeting to conduct candidate interviews. During the 6:30 p.m. Regular Commission Meeting, Commissioners will consider making an offer to one of the candidates for the position.

Those meetings will not be available online as the City doesn’t have equipment for that at the old school building, although it is larger in size to accommodate increased citizen seating.

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ALACHUA ‒ In an inspiring blend of cuisine and generosity, restaurants are joining the fight against cancer by participating in Relay for Life and donating a portion of their sales to the cause.

This past Wednesday, March 6, 2024, City of Alachua Commissioners and staff donned their restaurant aprons, serving breakfast and lunch at Mi Apa Latin Café in Alachua.

Known as “Stick a Fork in Cancer,” this event is replicated across the country as inspiration and support for those affected by cancer. Last Wednesday, the Alachua Mi Apa donated 25 percent of proceeds during the day to the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life.

There were two shifts of volunteer servers, one for breakfast and one for lunch, staffed by City of Alachua staff and elected officials. The breakfast shift was run by City of Alachua Mayor Gib Coerper, Alachua Police Department (APD) Chief Jesse Sandusky, Assistant City Manager Rodolfo Valladares, APD Lieutenant Jason Moses and APD Officer Thomas Stanfield. The lunch shift included Commissioners Jennifer Blalock, Shirley Green Brown and Ed Potts as well as City Manager Mike DaRoza and Public Information Officer Kyler Burk.  

“The turnout from the community was nothing short of spectacular,” Coerper said. “It was a great event for an even greater purpose.”

The heartwarming initiative not only served up delicious meals and enjoyable company but also contributed to critical funding needed for cancer research, patient support, and community.

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HIGH SPRINGS ‒ The High Springs Police Department (HSPD), in collaboration with Alachua County Sheriff’s Office and Alachua Police Department, were on scene of a shooting near Subway at Northwest 248th Street and Northwest 188th Avenue on March 4, 2014.

HSPD announced that the suspects were at large immediately after the incident, but were not in the immediate area. One of the victims sustained a minor gunshot wound.

“We are actively investigating the incident,” said HSPD Chief Antoine Sheppard. “Releasing details at this time may compromise the investigation.”

Sheppard did, however, say that all participants have been identified and are being interviewed, so that “we can piece together what happened.”

Sheppard expects to file charges in the near future and release additional information at that time.

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HIGH SPRINGS ‒ The High Springs Police Department (HSPD) is welcoming its newest four-legged recruit, a police canine ready to join the force's dedication to public safety.

As the newest member of the force, K-9 Santa Fe will be assigned to High Springs Community School by handler Officer Montana Sayer. Santa Fe’s role is to forge a stronger bond between the community and foster mentorship. And equipped with a keen sense of smell, Santa Fe is set to play a crucial role in firearm-ammunition detection on the school campus. High Springs Community School serves elementary and middle school students in grades K through 8.

The HSPD voiced thanks to Aimpowers Retrievers and Santa Fe Ford for their generous donations, which allowed Santa Fe to come to HSPD and start her training.

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ALACHUA ‒ The Alachua City Commission on March 11, 2024, unanimously approved the Kirkland Farms Phase 1 Final Plat. Kirkland Farms, owned by Garden Street Communities Southeast, LLC, is a proposed 36.58-acre subdivision consisting of 70 lots, common areas and road right-of-way. The property is located south of Peggy Road and Legacy Park, east of I-75 and north of the CSX rail line right-of-way.

The Preliminary Plat was approved by the City Commission on Feb. 27, 2023. The Kirkland Farms subdivision is comprised of two phases and will consist of lots ranging in size from some 6,000 square feet to approximately 9,335 square feet, with the majority of lots being roughly 6,000 square feet. The approved preliminary plat included 150 single-family residential lots.

Garden Street Communities Southeast, LLC provided a Common Law Performance Bond of $5.8 million as surety for infrastructure improvements, other than the house sidewalks, and an additional Common Law Performance Bond of $205,560 as surety for house sidewalks.

In response to Commission questions, it was clarified that there will be a pedestrian path from the Hal Brady Recreation Complex to the neighborhood that will connect to existing sidewalks. Claudia Vega, P.E. of eda consultants, inc., said the company is working with Alachua County regarding a formal crosswalk with intentions of a flashing light activated by a push button.

Commissioner Ed Potts offered a motion to approve the Phase 1 Final Plat with Commissioner Jennifer Blalock providing the second. The matter was approved by a 4-0 vote.

In other City business, the City Commission took action through a roadway agreement to move forward plans for construction and operation of a new Alachua County Fire and Rescue (ACFR) station to serve the eastern part of the City and surrounding Alachua County, including the contiguous developing commercial and residential areas.

The Commission approved a roadway agreement Between IIP-FL 3, LLC and the City of Alachua, clearing the way for the construction of a permanent fire and rescue station to replace the temporary facility currently operating off U.S. Highway 441. Commissioner Blalock offered the motion to approve with Commissioner Shirley Green Brown providing the second. The measure passed 4-0.

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