ALACHUA COUNTY ‒The on-time graduation rate for high schools run by Alachua County Public Schools increased in 2022 from 90.9 percent to 91.4 percent according to data released today by the Florida Department of Education (FDOE).

The state lists the district’s overall graduate rate as 85.8 percent for 2022, a decrease of 8/10ths of a percentage point over 2021. However, that includes the graduation rates for students at independently-operated charter schools in the county, which dropped from 39.6 percent to 37.7 percent

Florida’s overall graduation rate for 2022 fell by 2.8 percentage points in 2022, from 90.1 percent to 87.3 percent. Fifty-six of the state’s 67 school districts saw graduation rates fall for 2022.

In its report, FDOE pointed out that the Class of 2022 was the first required to pass state tests in order to graduate since 2019. During COVID, the test requirements for graduation were waived.

The district continues to address the ‘COVID lag,’ learning losses associated with the pandemic that have affected students worldwide. Jennie Wise, the district’s Chief of Teaching and Learning, says some of the most exciting initiatives involve collaborative efforts with the University of Florida and other partners.

“At the high school level, we’re working with our partners to give students opportunities outside of regular school time that connect the curriculum with the real world,” said Wise. “That includes experiences to bring to life subjects like algebra and biology, which students must pass to graduate.”

Newberry High School had the district’s highest graduation rate in 2022, at 98.5 percent, followed closely by the Professional Academies Magnet @ Loften High School with a 98.3 percent rate.

Alachua eSchool, the district’s virtual school, had the district’s highest jump in graduation rates in 2022, increasing from 68.4 percent to 85.5 percent.

“I’m very appreciative of the hard work of our faculty and staff and the dedication of students and parents who work together as a learning team to promote our students’ success,” said principal Jessely Alvarez.

PAM@Loften had the next-highest increase in graduation rates of nearly two percentage points.

“One of the best parts of being an educator is seeing a student who has worked so hard reach the required assessment score, raise their GPA or get the final credit they need for graduation,” said principal Kris Bracewell.

The 2022 graduation rates for district-operated high schools are:

Alachua eSchool:                                                                    85.5 percent

Buchholz High School:                                                             95.9 percent

Eastside High School:                                                               88.4 percent

Gainesville High School:                                                           88.7 percent

Hawthorne High School:                                                           81.4 percent

Newberry High School:                                                            98.5 percent

Professional Academies Magnet @ Loften High School:              98.3 percent

Santa Fe High School:                                                            88.8 percent

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. – The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) will host a hybrid public meeting Jan. 24, 2023, to discuss proposed median modifications to Northwest 39th Avenue (State Road 222) and Northwest 13th Street.

The meeting will take place both virtually and in person Tuesday, Jan. 24 at the St. Andrews Episcopal Church, 2715 N.W. 39th Avenue, Gainesville, FL 32348. A 4 to 6 p.m. open house will be followed by a presentation and public comment period at 6 p.m.

Virtual participation instructions and project documents are available at Participants who are unable to attend the webinar virtually or in person may listen to the meeting by calling 213-929-4214, access code 780-905-322. All participants, regardless of the platform they choose, will be able to view project documents, ask questions and make comments for the public record.

Proposed changes include the addition of traffic separators on Northwest 39th Avenue (State Road 222) along both the eastbound and westbound left turn lanes to Northwest 13th Street. The project would also extend the existing eastbound and westbound left turn-lanes from 39th Avenue to 13th Street.

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Collaborative lab space enables the development and growth of the next generation of life science companies in the greater Gainesville region

ALACHUA, Fla - As part of its efforts to support emerging biotechnology companies with addressing key challenges of bringing new therapies to market, Thermo Fisher Scientific today announced it has become a founding sponsor of Momentum Labs in Alachua, Fla. Momentum Labs will serve as a collaborative laboratory and office space for growing biotech businesses in the greater Gainesville region.

“From a regional and state perspective, Momentum Labs provides critical infrastructure and business development resources to support the growth of life sciences in Florida, giving the ecosystem the opportunity to retain companies rather than losing them to other communities,” said Abhinav Akhoury, vice president, corporate accounts, Thermo Fisher Scientific. “Through our sponsorship, Momentum Labs has the ability to provide the latest innovative technologies to high-growth life science companies that are developing tomorrow’s life-changing medicines.”

The North Central region of Florida is one of the largest biotech clusters in the state, home to over 100 life sciences companies and supporting around 1,200 jobs. Despite this established footing, there is a lack of flexible growth space, making it difficult for emerging companies to succeed. Momentum Labs will be the first space of its type in the region, providing growing life science companies with the ability to scale without having to move to other markets.

Companies that receive support from incubator programs are 87% more likely to survive after five years. Upon graduation, 84% of those companies stay in the communities where they received their support and funding. In partnership with Thermo Fisher, members of Momentum Labs will have access to innovative life science instruments and state-of-the-art lab equipment, infrastructure and resources within the region to support their growth.

“It’s challenging for growing companies to stay ahead of their space needs,” said Brian Crawford, chief executive officer at Concept Companies. “Not only is there a large expense for all the equipment needed, but there are also often extraordinary lead times associated with the acquisition and installation. Partnering with Thermo Fisher Scientific gives us the ability to offer the latest innovative instrumentation and equipment to our members allowing them to leverage their capital for growth.”

“By developing a purpose-built facility for emerging science in the Gainesville community, Momentum Labs is providing critical lab space, access to quality equipment, instrumentation and services, and tailored business development support these companies need for continued exponential growth,” said Kyla Frye, director of science and technology ecosystems and lead for Momentum Labs. “This ultimately helps us retain growing life sciences companies and their talent in the region while giving them the vital resources to advance their therapies from research to the clinic.”

About Thermo Fisher Scientific

Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc. is the world leader in serving science, with annual revenue of approximately $40 billion. Our Mission is to enable our customers to make the world healthier, cleaner and safer. Whether our customers are accelerating life sciences research, solving complex analytical challenges, increasing productivity in their laboratories, improving patient health through diagnostics or the development and manufacture of life-changing therapies, we are here to support them. Our global team delivers an unrivaled combination of innovative technologies, purchasing convenience and pharmaceutical services through our industry-leading brands, including Thermo Scientific, Applied Biosystems, Invitrogen, Fisher Scientific, Unity Lab Services, Patheon and PPD. For more information, please visit

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GAINESVILLE, Fla., Jan. 13, 2023 – Gainesville Regional Airport (GNV) and its FBO, the University Air Center (UAC) will once again host the Gator Fly-In and Armed Services Appreciation Day on Saturday, March 25, 2023.

A fly-in is a gathering for pilots who arrive by air. The event takes place from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. at University Air Center, 4701 N.E. 40th Terrace, Gainesville, Fla. (Enter at General Aviation Entrance, Waldo Road) and is open to the public. Admission and parking are free, and a complimentary shuttle will be provided.

“Our annual Gator Fly-In and Armed Services Appreciation Day is our way of honoring all branches of the military, including some great Gator dignitaries, military and civil aviators who will be flying in many different types of aircraft to the UAC for the event,” says Allan Penksa, CEO, Gainesville Regional Airport. “It’s an exciting day for our community — especially anyone who is curious about flight — to learn more about aviation. We are honored to dedicate this year’s event to our dear friend and Gator Aviator Col. Joe Kittinger with a fitting and poignant ‘Flown West’ ceremony with a squadron of beautiful T-6 Texan and T-34 Mentors. We always look forward to sharing this very special celebration at our airport with the community.”

Celebrating our Military and Distinguished Gator Alumni

Planned events include opening ceremonies with a color guard and flyovers, most notably a T34 “Flown West” ceremony for the late Col. Joe Kittinger, USAF (ret.), Vietnam Prisoner of War (POW), Purple Heart Veteran and holder of the world record for the highest skydive (102,800 feet) from 1960 until 2012. The event begins with the first annual “Col. Joe ‘Pamcake’ Breakfast” at 8:30 a.m. and at 10 a.m., the gates will open to the public, with all participating aircraft in place. Opening ceremonies begin promptly at 11 a.m., with a color guard and drill team from the University of Florida (UF) ROTC program, followed by the National Anthem and “America the Beautiful.” At 11:15 a.m. a T34 Mentor and T-6 Texan “Flown West” ceremony honoring the late Col. Joe Kittinger will commence with participation by the Milton Lewis Young Marines. In addition, invited dignitaries will make speeches. (Invited guests include guests renowned American Aviator and U.S. National Aerobatic Champion Patty Wagstaff and Jamie Beckett, AOPA Ambassador and Pilot Safety Expert, with more to be announced.) Veterans’ groups from the North Central Florida region have been invited to participate.

Static Display:

All branches of the military have been invited to fly in and participate in the event’s static display. We also expect aircraft manufacturers, privately owned aircraft and law enforcement aircraft to be on display. 

Best Aircraft Contest and People’s Choice Awards

A “Best Civilian Aircraft” and “People’s Choice: Best Aircraft” contest will be held, allowing event attendees to vote for their favorite aircraft at the Gator Fly-In. The two winners will be announced and presented with awards at 1 p.m.

Live Music, Classic Cars, Kids’ Activities and All-Day Food Trucks

Activities include static aircraft and classic car displays, military trucks, a kid’s corner with face painting, toy airplanes and coloring, arts and crafts vendors, and food trucks. Live Music by The Treetop Flyers will take place throughout the event. In addition to the “Col. Joe ‘Pamcake’ Breakfast” from 8:30 a.m. – 11 a.m., food trucks will operate throughout the event. Confirmed food vendors at the event include Cheffrey’s Food Trailer, Mexi Coquina, Mely’s Munchies and Iguana Joe’s Tropical Snow.

Aircraft Rides for purchase – North American T-6 Texan, Robinson 44 Helicopter and Cessna 172; “Swamp Tours”

For a fee, attendees can purchase rides in three different aircraft. Commemorative Air Force, Dixie Wing will provide North American T-6 Texan flights for purchase. A two-seat pilot trainer, the T-6 Texan is an American single-engine advanced trainer used to train pilots during World War II and into the 1970s. Interested parties may purchase T-6 Texan rides in advance of the event at or walk-up tickets can be purchased at the UAC booth in the Mustang Hangar ($250 for 20 minutes; $320 for 40 minutes; $380 for 60 minutes.) Walk-up tickets can also be purchased at the event. In addition, UAC is offering “Swamp Tours” lasting about 15 minutes, in which passengers can fly over the UF Football Stadium in a Cessna 172 ($50) or a Robinson R-44 helicopter ($50).

Pilot Seminars

Jamie Beckett, AOPA Ambassador and Pilot Safety Expert will offer a pilot seminar at 10 a.m.  at the UAC Conference Room.

A wide variety of general aviation, corporate, aerobatic, glider and homebuilt aircraft are expected at the Gator Fly-In.

All branches of the military have been invited to fly in and participate in the event’s static display. Confirmed military aircraft will be updated as they are scheduled. We also expect aircraft manufacturers, privately owned aircraft and law enforcement aircraft to be on display. All aircraft are subject to change due to weather, mechanicals and availability.

 A schedule for the day follows:

  1. 7 a.m. Vendors arrive for set up
  2. 8:30 a.m. – 11 a.m. First Annual Col. Joe “Pamcake” Breakfast
  3. 9 a.m. – aircraft arrive and park; all aircraft parked by 9:45 a.m.
  4. 10 a.m. – Public Arrive; helicopter and airplane rides begin; Pilot Seminar with Jamie Beckett
  5. 11 a.m. Opening Ceremony
  6. 11:15 a.m. Flown West Ceremony for Col. Joe Kittinger
  7. 11:20 a.m. Speakers begin
  8. 12 noon Live Music, food trucks
  9. 1 p.m. People’s choice and Best of Show Airplane Contest Announced
  10. 3 p.m. Final thank you and prep for departures

Please tell your flying friends and anyone who would rather be “flying in.” For more information on the Gator Fly-In and Armed Services Appreciation Day, please contact Pam Landis at or phone (352) 416-0787, visit the Gator Fly-In Facebook page or

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ALACHUA COUNTY, FL - Keep Alachua County Beautiful is putting high school students at the forefront of community cleanup efforts. The nonprofit organization was awarded the $10,000 Keep America Beautiful MLK Jr. Neighborhood Building Grant, which is designed to help local organizations beautify and improve their communities. The cleanups will focus on improving the MLK corridor adjacent to NW 13th St./U.S. Highway 441 in Gainesville and the city of Alachua.

KACB was one of 11 projects awarded nationally. The proposed program will employ 10-12 high school students to lead cleanup projects involving their peers. The program is designed to help high school students meet their community service requirements while also building an appreciation for the natural environment. Team leaders are responsible for recruiting peers, classmates, family members, associates, etc. to join the cleanup.

Each week, student team leaders will work with peers for three hours on a scheduled cleanup. The job requires another two hours dedicated to recruiting volunteers, planning logistics, and receiving job training. Staff members from KACB will collaborate with the team leaders and provide supervision and mentoring.

KACB University of Florida student staff members will serve as supervisors and mentors to the high-school-aged team leaders. These staff members come from all over Florida and have diverse backgrounds, and will share their experiences and knowledge with the local students to build a greater sense of community between “town and gown.”

KACB is excited to engage the youth, create job opportunities, and beautify Alachua County. “This grant will allow us to provide mentorship and job training to our youth, while also making a positive impact on the environment,” said Executive Director Gina Hawkins. “It's a win-win situation for everyone." For more information about Keep Alachua County Beautiful or to apply for a position with the program, please visit

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. - Below are the updated City of Gainesville traffic impacts scheduled for January 13-20, 2023. 

 New Notices

NW Fifth Ave.: Northwest Fifth Avenue will be closed from Northwest 14th Terrace to Northwest 15th Street for curb and gutter repairs from Monday, Jan. 16-Monday, Jan. 23 (7:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m.). 

Continuing Notices 

SW Ninth Terrace: Southwest Ninth Terrace will be closed between Southwest First Avenue and University Avenue due to the construction of a new development. Construction is expected to last through August 2023.

 Note: All lane and road closures are subject to change due to unforeseen conditions, such as inclement weather.

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GAINESVILLE, Fla.,Jan. 13, 2023 - Scientists have discovered a way to alter the chemical properties of fentanyl, offering a safer alternative to the powerful pain reliever.

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid similar to morphine but up to 100 times more potent. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it is among the most abused pain relievers in the U.S. and the leading cause of overdose deaths. More than 80,000 Americans died from an opioid overdose in 2021.

In a study published in the journal Nature, a team of scientists from the University of Florida, Washington University in St. Louis, the University of Southern California and Stanford University, report how they modified fentanyl’s chemical structure to maintain its pain-relieving properties while reducing harmful side effects.

“Fentanyl is one of the world’s most powerful, yet dangerous pain-relieving medications,” said study co-author Jay McLaughlin, Ph.D., a professor of pharmacodynamics in the UF College of Pharmacy, part of UF Health, the University of Florida’s academic health center. “A team of multidisciplinary scientists from some of the nation’s leading universities came together to gain a new understanding of how the opioid receptor works, and from that research, we sought to generate a new medication that will be a safer pain reliever.”

Pain-killing drugs like fentanyl and morphine bind to the mu-opioid receptor on nerve cells. The interaction triggers a series of responses — from beneficial pain relief to serious side effects like respiratory distress, sedation, addiction and even death.

By applying new insights into the receptor structure, researchers designed a medication that binds to the established site of activity on the outside of the mu-opioid receptor, while also engaging a binding site for sodium ions that exists deep within the receptor. McLaughlin described these receptor sites as switches that turn on and off to control the drug’s effect on the body. Researchers found that when the new drug interacts with both sites on the mu-opioid receptor, it maintains its painkilling effects while reducing harmful side effects.

“The newly designed fentanyl medication is engineered to work as a partial agonist, which are drugs that bind to and activate a receptor but only have partial efficacy,” McLaughlin said. “When the drug binds to the mu-opioid receptor site, the interaction triggers pain relief, but the engagement with the sodium ion essentially turns the receptor off before the adverse effects can occur.”

Susruta Majumdar, Ph.D., led a team of scientists at Washington University to design the new fentanyl drug. Other researchers provided computer modeling support and studied it in cell assays before animal studies began at the University of Florida. McLaughlin tested the altered fentanyl drug in mice and found it provided pain relief without causing respiratory depression or other opioid side effects.

“The more we can learn about how opioid receptors work, the closer we get to developing safer pain medicines,” McLaughlin said. “We can expand this research to target other receptors and see if similar results may improve medications for substance abuse, mood disorders and other health conditions.”

Other scientists contributing to the study included Nobel Prize winner Brian Kobilka, M.D., Ph.D., and Georgios Skiniotis, Ph.D., from Stanford University; Vsevolod Katritch, Ph.D., from the University of Southern California; and Tao Che, Ph.D., from Washington University.

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