GAINESVILLE –  The annual Friends of the Library Spring Book Sale will take place from Saturday, April 22, through Wednesday, April 26, 2023 at the FOL Bookhouse located at 430 N. Main Street in Gainesville.

Patrons will be able to browse through more than 500,000 items for sale. Most of the items will range in price from $0.25 to $5. On the fifth and final day of the sale, April 26, all items will be $0.10.

As is tradition, a bagpiper will play some traditional Scottish tunes to open the sale Saturday, April 22.

Profits from the sale support the Alachua County Library District and community literacy projects throughout the county.

2022 Fall Book Sale hours:

  • Saturday, April 22, 9 a.m.- 6 p.m.
  • Sunday, April  23, noon - 6 p.m.
  • Monday, April  24, noon - 6 p.m.
  • Tuesday, April  25, noon - 6 p.m.
  • Wednesday, April  26, noon - 6 p.m.

To learn more about volunteer opportunities, contact P.J. with Friends of the Library at 352-375-1676 or find out more information at the website

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GAINESVILLE, April 17, 2023 – Santa Fe College’s Provost Search Committee has recommended three individuals as finalists for the position of Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs. The candidates are listed in alphabetical order with a brief bio on each candidate. 

Dr. Jodi Long currently serves as the Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs – Health Sciences at Santa Fe College, a position she has held for the last 10 years. Prior to her current position, Dr. Long has been a Department Chair of the Sciences for Health Programs, where she previously was a full-time tenured professor. Dr. Long also has teaching experience at Georgia Southern and the College of Coastal Georgia and continues to teach as an adjunct at Santa Fe College. 

Under her leadership, she oversees both open and limited access programs in the Health Sciences on the Northwest Campus and the Perry Center for Emerging Technologies as well as multiple clinical sites across the region. She assures compliance with the college’s clinical affiliations to maintain good standing with accrediting bodies, seeks out alternative funding sources to support students and academic programs, and co-chaired and co-authored the college’s quality enhancement plan in 2012. 

Dr. Long balances her students-first mindset with the need to address external social and economic issues that students and faculty face on a daily basis. 

Dr. Long earned her Ph.D. in Exercise Physiology from the University of Florida, her M.S. in Kinesiology from Georgia Southern University, and her B.A. in Mathematics from Erskine College in South Carolina. 

Dr. Margo Martin is the Chief Accreditation and Institutional Effectiveness Officer at the College of Southern Nevada. During her five years at that institution, she also served as Vice President for Academic Affairs and as Acting President. Under her leadership, she improved collaboration among Accreditation, Assessment, Strategic Planning, Institutional Research and other departments; expanded opportunities for student athletes; and helped develop noncredit to credit pathways for nontraditional students. 

Prior to arriving at her current institution, Dr. Martin served as Dean in multiple areas at Florida State College at Jacksonville. She also has a long history as a tenured full-time professor at FSC-J and has continued to serve as an adjunct faculty member at a number of institutions while maintaining her leadership roles. 

Dr. Martin is committed to establishing and growing partnerships across the region to expand educational opportunities for community college students. 

Dr. Martin earned her Doctor of Education from the University of North Florida in Jacksonville. She earned her M.A. (English) and B.A. (English and Earth Sciences) from Stephen F. Austin State University. 

Dr. Irene Rios is the Chief Executive Officer and Executive Dean at Suffolk County Community College’s Ammerman Campus, a post she has held since 2018. Under her leadership, the college expanded opportunities for students and grew enrollment in Practical Nursing, organized a weekend Business program for working adults, and designed a Learning Commons plan at the college library. Her previous leadership experience includes roles as an academic dean in both community college and private college settings. 

Dr. Rios also has a background in the classroom and has served as an adjunct professor for most of the last 20 years. 

She shifted her focus to community colleges because of the opportunities these institutions can provide, especially to underserved communities. She is focused on removing barriers to education and working with community stakeholders to expand opportunities for community college students. 

Dr. Rios earned her Doctor of Education from the University of Hartford School of Education. She earned her M.S. (Curriculum Design and Instructional Strategies) and B.S. (Business Administration and Management) from Rochester Institute of Technology. 

The finalists will be scheduled for two-day visits to SF for their interviews as well as forums with students, employees and the community. The community is invited to attend a Community Social for each of the candidates during their visits. The reception for Dr. Rios will be Tuesday, April 25, the event for Dr. Martin will be Tuesday, May 2, and the reception for Dr. Long will be Thursday, May 4. All of the Community Socials will be held from 4:30-6:30 p.m. in Building S, Room 29 on SF’s Northwest Campus. All updates will be posted on the college’s Provost Search

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GAINESVILLE ‒ Daniel Deon McNair, 25, was arrested on Monday, April 3, after allegedly selling a stolen golf bag and golf clubs to Play it Again Sports. McNair is also facing other sworn complaints for burglary and theft and is currently on probation for armed burglary and other charges.

On Feb. 27, McNair allegedly brought the golf clubs, valued at $1,000, to Play It Again Sports and sold them for $60. The store manager later positively identified him in a photo line-up, and the store video reportedly clearly showed McNair in the process of selling the equipment to Play It Again Sports.

A sworn complaint alleges that McNair stole about $8,800 in equipment, including a remote-control car and a large amount of associated equipment and parts, from a parked car on Jan. 24, 2022. The victim reportedly found the equipment for sale online and a Gainesville Police Department officer watched nearby while she bought it back from McNair for $300.

Another sworn complaint alleges that McNair took a wallet from a parked car on Feb. 12, and then attempted to make a purchase with cards from the wallet. That complaint also mentions allegations of fleeing and eluding in a stolen vehicle on Jan. 15 and another burglary on Feb. 6.

McNair has five felony convictions and has served one three-year prison sentence for Alachua County charges that include armed burglary and theft. He was released in April 2022 and is currently on probation in that case.

Bail was set at $35,000 on the charges related to the golf clubs and Judge Susan Miller-Jones ordered him held without bond for violation of probation.

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By JENNIFER CABRERA/Alachua Chronicle

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. ‒ Florida House Speaker Pro Tem Chuck Clemons (R-Newberry), on April 10, 2023, filed HB 1645, which would create a governor-appointed board to govern Gainesville Regional Utilities (GRU).

The board, which will be known as the Gainesville Regional Utilities Authority, will begin governing GRU on Oct. 1, 2023, if the bill passes. The Authority’s powers and duties will include managing, operating, and controlling all GRU utilities; establishing and amending all rates, fees, regulations, and policies related to selling utility services; acquiring property and constructing projects, provided that the title to all of the property is vested in the City of Gainesville; exercising the power of eminent domain; issuing revenue bonds to finance or refinance projects; disposing of GRU assets under the same conditions that the City Commission must meet in disposing of those assets; submitting a budget to the City Commission every year; and appointing and/or removing GRU’s General Manager.

Each member of the Authority must be a “person of recognized ability and good business judgment as identified by the Governor,” and they are expected to perform their duties “in the best interests of GRU and its customers.” Except for one member who must be a resident of the unincorporated area of Alachua County or a municipality other than Gainesville, members must be qualified electors in the City of Gainesville and must maintain their primary residence within the electric service territory of GRU’s electric utility system.

  • One member shall be a residential customer “with substantial knowledge of GRU, its operations, and its history.”
  • One member shall be the owner or a representative of a private, non-government customer consuming at least 10,000 kilowatt hours per month of electric usage during each of the previous 12 months.
  • Three members shall be competent or knowledgeable in one or more of the following fields: law, economics, accounting, engineering, finance, or energy.

Members can be removed if they stop receiving GRU electric service at any time during their appointment. If more than 40 percent of GRU’s electric meters serve customers outside the city limits in the future, the governor must appoint a second member who lives outside the City limits at the time of the next appointment. Members of the board are not term-limited.

Authority appointment process

The governor will issue a public notice soliciting citizen nominations for the board at some point between July 1 and Oct. 1; the nominations will remain open for 30 days, then the governor will appoint the initial members of the Authority. One member’s term will expire on Oct. 1, 2024; one will expire on Oct. 1, 2025; one will expire on Oct. 1, 2026; and two will expire on Oct. 1, 2027. Subsequent appointments will be for four-year terms.

The first meeting of the Authority is set for 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 4, 2023, and the first official action of the Authority will be the election of a chair and vice chair from among its members; the GRU General Manager will serve until the Authority appoints a General Manager.

Authority members will not be compensated, but expenses can be reimbursed after the approval of a majority of the members. The Authority will meet monthly and will be a Sunshine board.

All GRU employees will report to the General Manager, who will have the exclusive authority to hire, fire, and set salaries. The General Manager’s salary will be set by the Authority.

The existing Utility Advisory Board, or any other utility advisory board established by the City Commission, will “have no role with respect to the Authority.”

The bill puts a cap on the General Services Contribution (GSC), which is currently referred to as the General Fund Transfer (the amount transferred from GRU to the City’s General Government budget each year). The GSC may not exceed the amount left over after operating expenses (as defined in the bill) are subtracted from net revenues. The bill states that any excess funds above the GSC shall be dedicated to debt service or used as equity in future projects.

The Authority is required to make decisions based on “only pecuniary factors and utility industry best practices standards, which do not include consideration of the furtherance of social, political, or ideological interests.” The bill further specifies that these factors “are those which solely further the fiscal and financial benefit of [GRU] and customers.”

The bill will likely have committee hearings before it goes to the floor of the House and then to the Florida Senate, but those have not yet been scheduled. The last day of the Florida 2023 Legislative Session is May 5, 2023.

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HAWTHORNE ‒ At 3:19 p.m. on March 30, units from Windsor and Melrose Fire Departments and Alachua County Fire Rescue were dispatched to a residential building fire on Southeast 218th Street in Hawthorne.

Crews from Station 62 in Hawthorne arrived less than six minutes after being dispatched and found smoke and flames coming from the laundry room. They made an immediate attack and had the fire out within a couple of minutes. Thanks to a closed door between the laundry room and the rest of the house the fire did not spread to any other rooms in the residence. Crews were able to extinguish it before it spread up into the attic.

All of the occupants and pets escaped without harm. The cause of the fire is under investigation. ACFR cautions everyone to make sure they have working smoke detectors and to keep interior doors closed when not in use.

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NEWBERRY ‒ The Newberry City Commission has reconsidered its March 13 decision regarding impact fees. Following input from area developers, the City modified the April 10 meeting agenda from second reading of an ordinance to establish impact fees to a discussion item instead.

The proposed impact fees were based on a study commissioned by Benesch, a Tampa based firm. At the March 13 meeting, the Commission reviewed impact fee recommendations based on projected growth along with fees charged by other cities and Alachua County in two categories—Public Buildings (i.e., fire stations, public works departments, city halls) and Multi-Modal Transportation (i.e., design and construction of road improvements).

At that time, the Commission approved increasing fees on new construction the first year based on 80 percent of Benesch’s recommended amounts with an increase of 10 percent more per year for the following two years. Based on those figures, Newberry would gradually achieve fees commensurate with Benesch’s suggested fee schedule. The fees would not be applied to any development that had already received construction plan approval by the City. The purpose of impact fees is to pay for future growth as a one-time fee collected for new construction.

At the April 10 meeting, Commissioners who were not in attendance at the earlier meeting as well as developers, argued that the proposed fees would add substantial increased cost to commercial construction, something the City has been attempting to cultivate, that commercial development may be slowed by implementing the fees.

At the April 10 meeting, the Commission dictated several changes to the proposed ordinance. Commercial construction would be assessed nothing the first year. The fees will be increased by 5 percent of the study’s recommended amount every year for the next four years. Residential construction would be assessed 70 percent of the recommended amount the first year and 10 percent for each of the subsequent three years. The Commission is expected to take up the matter again at their next meeting scheduled for April 24.

In other City business, Commissioners adopted a resolution approving a Water Facilities Plan, which will now be sent to the state for review and acceptance as part of the State Revolving Fund (SRF) Loan program. If approved, the SRF Loan program will enable the project to move toward the design phase.

The Water System Facilities Plan evaluated alternatives for providing additional water storage capacity and determined that construction of a 500,000-gallon pedosphere-type water storage tank is the most cost effective approach. The cost is $5.75 million. Currently, the City has a 150,000-gallon and 300,000-gallon tank. The new tank is planned to be located on State Road 26, approximately 2.5 miles east of downtown, as part of the Tanglewood Development.

Commissioners unanimously adopted a resolution approving an application for submission of a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) in the Neighborhood Revitalization Category. The application was submitted to the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) on July 28, 2022. If awarded, the CDBG grant will provide $700,000 in administration and construction funding for the City's infrastructure needs.

The City is proposing to pave 2,260 linear feet of existing streets, which include Northwest 4th Avenue from Northwest 255th Street to Northwest 257th Street (400 feet), Northwest 5th Avenue from Northwest 255th Street to Northwest 257th Street (410 feet) and Northwest 255th Street from Northwest 2nd Avenue to Northwest 6th Avenue (1,450 feet). The City also proposes to construct an estimated 2,260 linear feet of new sidewalks adjacent to the streets being paved and will provide 25 percent local match funding towards the project.

Plans are moving forward for a property to be developed as a commercial center toward the front of the site and to provide additional boat and RV storage to the south, with possibly mini storage between. The Commission approved on first reading, a request to amend the Official Zoning Atlas of the City’s Land Development Regulations on approximately 8.28 +/- acres from Commercial General (CG) to Commercial Intensive (CI) on property located on the south side of West Newberry Road/State Road 26 between Southwest 218th Street and Southwest 226th Street. The application was presented by eda Consultants, Inc., agent for Tibbetts Land Holdings, LLC, owners.

In other City business, the Commission approved on first reading assigning the mayor to serve as the Chair of the Board of Adjustment. The commission also approved on first reading changes to the terms of office for the Planning and Zoning and Historic Architectural Review Boards to mirror the same schedule as the City Commission (two-year terms) and also to designate the mayor as the Chair of both boards.

Mayor Jordan Marlowe, Commissioner Group IV Tim Marden and Commissioner Group V Tony Mazon will be sworn into their next terms on April 24. All candidates for the April 11, 2023, election ran unopposed.

City Manager Mike New announced that plans are underway for a joint meeting with the Alachua County Board of County Commissioners and Newberry City Commissioners in June at Newberry City Hall.

The next City Commission meeting is scheduled for April 24 at 7 p.m.

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ALACHUA ‒ Two separate traffic incidents occurred on Friday, April 7, and resulted in the death of two drivers. In one crash a 38-year-old Alachua man was killed at the southbound exit ramp of Interstate 75 and U.S. Highway 441 on at 8:20 a.m. His vehicle was traveling east in the outside lane on U.S. Hwy 441, approaching the red traffic signal at the intersection of I-75, southbound exit ramp.

A tractor trailer driven by a 37-year-old Crawfordville, Florida, man was stopped for the red traffic signal at the same intersection in the outside lane, facing east and directly ahead of the van.

According to the Florida Highway report, the Alachua driver failed to stop for the traffic ahead causing the front of his van to collide with the rear of the tractor trailer.

The Alachua man was pronounced deceased on the scene by EMS personnel. He was not wearing a seatbelt at the time of the crash. The driver of the tractor trailer reported no injuries and no passengers were reported in either vehicle.

In a separate incident at 5:43 a.m. on the same date, a 57-year-old Starke man was killed when the motorcycle he was riding hit a deer on State Road 235 near Northwest 40th Terrace. The motorcyclist was traveling west bound when he struck the deer and was subsequently ejected onto the roadway.

A 23-year-old male from Hampton was traveling east in a pickup truck and hit the motorcyclist. He reported no injuries and had no passengers in his vehicle at the time of the incident.

The Starke man was pronounced deceased on the scene.

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