ALACHUA COUNTY  - Registration for summer camp at Cuscowilla Nature and Retreat Center is open. This year's theme is "EPIC Summer Adventure. Where campers will Explore, Play, Investigate, and Create!" Those registering for summer camps should visit the Camp Cuscowilla program page.

Day camps are offered for seven weeks from June 10 to July 26, Monday through Friday, from 7:30 a.m. to 5:15 p.m. Children ages 7 to 12 can register for one week or the whole summer. Each week offers archery, swimming lessons, recreational swimming, outdoor skills, arts and crafts, kayaking, and more. Campers will also attend field trips once a week to places in Alachua County, such as the Santa Fe Zoo, the Alachua County Sports Complex, Poe Springs, the Cade Museum, and more.

 Specialty camps are offered for ages 10 to 14, with themes such as Fish Camp from June 10 to June 14. There is also an all-new Teen Week from July 29 to August 2. Fish Camp is a Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission-based curriculum for campers to learn proper catch and release techniques while exploring George's Pond at Cuscowilla. The all-new teen camp allows campers to choose a track based on their interest, such as art and music, leadership skills, or outdoor adventure.

 These weeks have spaces available:

 Week 2: June 17 – 21 is for the sports enthusiast in your family. Campers will play throughout the week and learn some new games, too. The field trip location this week is the Alachua County Sports Complex. There will be no camp on Wednesday, June 19. 

 Week 3: June 24 – 28 UF IFAS Alachua County Extension will join us for some incredible programming and field trips. Campers will take a look at their areas of expertise, such as Entomology, Vet Science, Livestock, and Wilderness Survival. This is sure to be a week you don't want to miss. 

 Week 4: July 1 – 3 is our half week of camp celebrating the 4th of July. Campers will enjoy all that Cuscowilla has to offer and wrap up the week with a Cookout and Carnival. 

 Week 8: July 29 – August 2 is newly added for ages 7-9. Campers will enjoy a traditional week at day camp during the same week as our all-new Teen Week. 

 Teen Week: July 29 – August 2 is new for ages 10-14. Campers will choose a tract based on their interest and take a field trip to the Cade Museum. 

Art and Music – for those campers who want to learn new ways to create art or work on their skills. Local teachers and musicians will join us this week to help perfect their craft. 

Leadership — This is designed for campers to learn the attributes of a great leader. Campers will learn from local leaders and put their skills to practice working as a team. 

Outdoor Adventure – campers will experience all that Cuscowilla has to offer and work on their outdoor skills. 

 "This summer, we're teaming up with some incredible educational partners such as UF IFAS Extension, Micanopy Library, Harn Art Museum, and many more," said Camp Manager Jamie Bass. "Camp provides an increasingly rare opportunity for children to unplug and immerse themselves in the natural world right here in Alachua County."

 The weekly rate is $150 for day camps and $175 for specialty camps. Campers will receive breakfast, lunch, and a snack. Daily bus transportation to and from Lincoln Middle School (1001 SE 12th St., Gainesville) is included. Campers can also be dropped off and picked up from the camp (210 SE 134th Ave., Micanopy).

 Qualifying campers can also receive a scholarship from Alachua County Children's Trust and the Friends of Cuscowilla with completed applications and proof of documents.

 For more information, contact Jamie Bass at 352-574-2372 or

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ARTSPEAKSgnv presents the 2nd Annual Bard & Broadside: North Central Florida Poetry Festival. Festival will take place April 11-14, 2024 in several locations in Gainesville, FL. The Bard & Broadside: North Central Florida Poetry Festival invites the community to come together for four days of poetry readings, workshops, spoken-word, storytelling, teen monologues, poetry slams. open mics, creativity, art and more. This year’s festival theme is “Homecoming: A Sense Of Place”. All Festival Events Are Free and Open To The Public

Calendar of Events

Thursday, April 11th from 6-9 PM: Open Mic at Harn Museum of Art. Inviting the North Central Florida community to share their poetry at the University of Florida Harn Museum of Art Auditorium, (3259 Hull Road, Gainesville, FL). Co-Hosted by ARTSPEAKSgnv, University of Florida Living Poets Society and Civic Media Center “Thursday Night Poetry Jam”. Free and open to the public.

Friday, April 12th: Public School Text & Image workshop. Alachua County Poet Laureate E. Stanley Richardson and University of Florida Art Professor Patrick Grigsby collaborate with local public school students to create an improvisational print mural.

Friday, April 12th, from 7-9 PM: Poetry Workshop with local guest poet Jenna Nishida. Jenna Nishida will conduct an ekphrastic poetry workshop based on collections at the Matheson History Museum of Alachua County.. (513 E. University Ave., Gainesville). Free and open to the public.

Saturday, April 13th from 1-3 PM: WORD SLAY: “Standing on Words” Teen Monologue & Spoken-Word Competition. Come support our youth poets and orators as they compete for prizes in a poetry and monologue competition at the Alachua County Library District Headquarters (401 E. University Ave., Gainesville). Free and open to the public.

Saturday, April 13th from 2:00 - 4:00 PM: Cancer Awareness Poetry Slam. Featuring local, regional and national slam poets. Spoken-Word poets will use their artistry to bring awareness to cancer specific issues from prevention to survivorship. The goal is to help lessen the cancer burden in North Central Florida. The poetry slam will be followed by a discussion with the poets and community members. Sponsored by UF Health Cancer Center.

(Oakview Community Center, 810 NW 8th Ave. Gainesville, FL.)

Saturday, April 13th from 6:00 - 10:00 PM: Swampberry Jam: North Central Florida Poetry Slam. 20 slam poets from Gainesville FL. and cities across the United States will compete for cash prizes in the inaugural Swampberry Jam Poetry: North Central Florida Poetry Slam.

(5 Star Event Center, 534 N. Main Street, Gainesville, FL.)

Sunday, April 14th from 1-3 PM: Poetry Workshop with special guest poet Natalie J. Graham. Join award-winning poet Natalie J. Graham for a free poetry workshop at Alachua County Library District Headquarters (401 E. University Ave., Gainesville, FL.)

Free and open to the public

Sunday, April 14th from 4-5 PM: Poetry Reading & Book Signing by special guest poet Natalie J. Graham at Alachua County Library District Headquarters (401 E. University Ave., Gainesville, FL.) Arrive early as seating is limited. Free and open to the public.

Sponsored in part by Florida Humanities, Visit Gainesville/Alachua County, Arts Council of Alachua County, The Alachua County Friends of the Library, UF Health Cancer Center, The City of Gainesville PRCA, and Alachua County Library District.

For more information contact E. Stanley Richardson at or (352) 792-2846

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HIGH SPRINGS – In an important development for the City of High Springs, the City Commission has named a new city manager. On Thursday, March 14, Jeremy Marshall was unanimously selected to fill the position vacated by former city manager Ashley Stathatos.

jeremy marshallPrior to the selection, citizens were given the opportunity to get to know the two finalists for the position at a meet and greet at 4:30 p.m. The Commission then conducted interviews at a Special Commission meeting at 5:30 p.m. with Marshall and Jeff Shoobridge, the two finalists for the position.

During the regular City Commission meeting held at 5:30 p.m., Commissioners voted on the two applicants and chose Marshall.

Marshall has a bachelor’s in business administration and is a candidate for a master’s degree in public administration. He worked as administrator of Valley, Nebraska, in 2022 and served as chairman of the Zoning Board of Appeals in Farmington, New York.

The City and Marshall are currently entering into contract negotiations. Should the City and Marshall be unable to successfully complete a contract, City staff may move to negotiate with second-ranked candidate Shoobridge.

Marshall’s application indicates a $100,000 salary request. The position was advertised at a salary range of $100,000 - $120,000 annually “with generous benefits which include a vehicle allowance, retirement benefits through FRS, health, vision, life, dental, short- and long-term disability insurance.”

A requirement of the position is that the city manager reside within the city limits of High Springs.

Until the contract is finalized and the new city manager is in place, three city staff members will take over the responsibilities of city manager.

Police Chief Antoine Sheppard will manage law enforcement and City Clerk Angela Stone will oversee the city clerk’s office, with spending authority of the city manager and decision-making on employee appointments and dismissals. Public Works Director Thomas Henry will head up the remaining City departments.

Previous City Manager Ashley Stathatos submitted her letter of resignation in November 2023; and officially ended her service to the City at the end of February 2024.

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Lillian Eunice Brown, 83, of High Springs, Florida, passed away March 26, 2024. She was born January 16, 1941 in Gainesville, Florida to the late Elery D. and Leta Bedenbaugh Witt.

Lillian Brown webLillian was a member of the Mt. Horeb Baptist Church. She had retired from Energizer in Alachua and then from her daycare business. She enjoyed reading, crocheting, gardening, and playing piano.

Lillian is survived by her husband, Sam “S.J.” Brown, her son Jeff Brown (Liz), her daughter Lisa Baldree (Bunky), her grandchildren Travis Brown (Brielle), Morgan Baldree, and Stephen Haefner (Catalina), her great-grandchild Gunnar Brown, her sister Lucy English, and other extended family members.

Funeral services for Lillian will be held 11:00 AM Friday, March 29, 2024, at the Mt. Horeb Baptist Church in High Springs, FL, with Rev. Tim Wimberly officiating. Interment will follow at the Mt. Horeb Cemetery in High Springs. The family will receive friends at the Church one hour prior to the service.

Arrangements have been placed under the care of the Rick Gooding Funeral Home Chiefland Chapel, with locations in Cross City 352-498-5400 and Chiefland 352-493-0050.  Please sign the online guest book at

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GAINESVILLE ‒ Although the Gators recently lost the game to Florida State University (FSU), one Newberry couple was ecstatic when they won a two-year lease on a 2024 Chevy Trax from Davis Gainesville Chevrolet. The couple won the car when Gator infielder Cade Kurland hit a Grand Slam in the fourth inning with the bases loaded.

Davis Chevy, as part of their long-standing relationship with Gators Sports Properties Learfield, promised to give away a new car if the Gators baseball team hit a grand slam in the fourth inning of any home game or any inning during the match-up with the rivals from that school out west.

Fans were invited to sign up to enter the drawing to become the Davis Chevrolet Grand Slam Fan of the Game, and they didn’t need to be present to win. Winner Zack Leggett was working from home when he won. However, his wife, Alex, was in the ballpark.

Davis Chevy, located on North Main Street in Gainesville, undoubtedly is a proud partner of the Florida Gators. This season, they expanded their promotion to include a grand slam in the fourth inning of any Gators home baseball or softball game. With the majority of both seasons still in front of them, they look to see if a second Trax will be awarded to a Gator fan.

Fans can still enter the Fourth Inning Grand Slam contest for the rest of the season at

Davis has been a proud supporter of Gators athletics for years and uses the opportunity to meet and interact with Gator fans.

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ALACHUA ‒ On Tuesday, March 19, 2024, the Alachua County Commission held a groundbreaking ceremony to mark the beginning of construction of the new Alachua County Fire Station #21 located at 16121 N.W. 173rd Street/CR 235A, in Alachua.

In attendance were members of the Alachua County Commission and staff, Alachua County Fire Rescue, Alachua City Commission and staff as well as members of the Alachua Chamber of Commerce and members of the public. Speakers included Alachua County Manager Michele Lieberman, Fire Chief Harold Theus and County Commission Chair Mary Alford.

Just days prior to the groundbreaking ceremony Lieberman said, “We have planned for the relocation of station 21 for many years, and we are so happy to see it become a reality.”

Station 21 will be the second fire station of the new Alachua County Fire Rescue prototype design, with Station 80 on Southwest 20th Avenue in Gainesville being the first.

The planned single-story concrete masonry facility features energy-efficient equipment and sustainable design features, with 100 percent backup generated power. There will be three drive-through bays and 10 bunkrooms. The $7 million 11,500-square-foot state-of-the-art building is estimated to last 50-plus years.

At the time of opening, six people will operate out of the station 24 hours a day seven days a week. The station will house an Advanced Life Support Fire Engine, an Advanced Life support Ambulance, a brush truck, a water tanker, and a District Chief.

Liberman said, “The station is designed to house 10 people and as this area continues to grow, strong consideration s needed in adding an aerial apparatus to serve this area.”

Fire Chief Theus estimated a construction period of about 12 months. Once the new facility is operational, the current Fire Station 21 operations will be relocated from 15040 N.W. U.S. Highway 441 across from Alachua Elementary School to the 173rd Street location. The new Fire Station 21 will provide coverage to the western part of Alachua and the new Fire Station 25, located in Tech City, will provide coverage to the other end of Alachua and the surrounding county area.

“We have recognized the need for a new Station 21 for decades, and it came down to finding a good location for it to go,” said Liberman. “And with the addition of Fire Station 25 in the Tech City area, it makes sense to move to a different location within the city.”

The Lunz Group, from Lakeland, provided architectural and engineering services for the project and the D.E. Scorpio Corporation is the construction management firm “at risk”.

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HIGH SPRINGS ‒ City of High Springs Finance Director Diane Wilson, in a Dec. 5, 2024, memo to the High Springs Mayor and City Commission, lodged complaints about events that allegedly took place during the 2023 Fiscal Year. Wilson has been on administrative suspension from the City of High Springs for the past three months, and the matter has not been publicly discussed by the City Commission.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, sources say that Wilson’s suspension was lifted this past week and that her suspension may have been due in part to factors related to the budget process, alleged mistakes in vendor payments and tardiness in submitting requests for reimbursement to governmental agencies.

In Wilson’s December memo, she claimed that High Springs Fire Chief Bruce Gillingham worked for another employer while being paid to work for the City, misused his City vehicle to travel back and forth to Ocala to work at his second job, used City property and staff for a private fundraiser, and asked to use the City’s Tax Exemption Certificate and City credit card for personal use.

Additionally, Wilson charged that Chief Gillingham and Deputy Chief Andy Burkhalter did not properly mark their company vehicles as required by tax code, and because of that, their W-2s will need to be adjusted to show their personal vehicle allowances as additional taxable personal income.

Wilson also claimed the Florida Building Code was violated when the City Hall elevator was used nine different times during a period when it had not passed inspection.

In her memo, Wilson said she was addressing “concerns about potential ethics, city policy and state law violations.” She said all of the issues were reported to former City Manager Ashley Stathatos “over the past 18 months, with several being discussed on multiple occasions.” Wilson noted that it is her fiduciary responsibility to report these concerns along with applicable documentation and that any additional actions will be at the City Commission’s discretion.

In her previous employment with the City of Gainesville, Wilson’s job was eliminated in a city staff reorganization effort led by interim City Manager Cynthia Curry. Curry took over as interim city manager following former City Manager Lee Feldman’s resignation. Upon her termination, Wilson filed a lawsuit against the City of Gainesville claiming gender discrimination by Feldman when he promoted a male employee into a position she believed she should have had.

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