HIGH SPRINGS – Thirty-four-year-old John Quinn Presnell, Jr. of High Springs was arrested on March 16, and charged with four counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, resisting an officer with violence, resisting a K-9 with violence, striking a K-9 and property damage.

At about 12:16 a.m. on Saturday, High Springs Police Department (HSPD) officers responded to a home in High Springs where the caller said her husband, a police officer, was being threatened by their next door neighbor, John Quinn Presnell, Jr. She also reported that Presnell had slashed two tires of her husband’s patrol car and one tire of his personal vehicle. She said that when he was asked to leave, Presnell threatened to kill her husband and then went back to his property.

As two HSPD officers arrived at the home, Presnell allegedly fired a single shot from a rifle. The officers took cover and ordered Presnell to surrender, but he reportedly kept yelling at them.

In response to the officers’ radio call about shots fired, Alachua County Sheriff’s Office (ACSO) Deputies also responded to the property.

Presnell allegedly fled into the nearby woods. Officers believed he may have been armed with a .22 caliber rifle that was stored in a shed that he was seen entering, along with the muzzleloader rifle he had allegedly fired earlier.

Deputies, HSPD officers, and Alachua Police Department officers set a perimeter and gave multiple commands for Presnell to come out of the woods with empty hands.

At approximately 2:17 a.m., Presnell reportedly came out of the woods, holding a closed pocket knife and continuing to ignore commands from deputies. An ACSO K-9 was deployed to apprehend Presnell. The K-9 bit Presnell while apprehending him. Presnell allegedly hit the K-9 multiple times with the closed pocket knife before he was taken into custody by deputies.

Presnell was transported to a local hospital to be medically cleared before being booked into the jail.

Presnell completed a pre-trial diversion agreement for possession of less than 20 grams of marijuana in 2013 and was convicted of two counts of possession of drug equipment in 2017. A charge of possession of a controlled substance with intent to sell was dropped in 2017. The previous charges were filed in Columbia County. He was convicted of driving without a valid license in Alachua County in 2016.

Judge Denise Ferrero set bond at $35,000. Four of the charges have a no bond attached.

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Alachua ‒ In a recent development a Santa Fe High School baseball coach has been placed on administrative leave.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) was on the campus of Santa Fe High School in Alachua on Monday, March 18, 2024 questioning staff and some students. The same day, Santa Fe Baseball coach and media specialist Travis Yeckring was placed on leave by the Alachua County School Board pending an investigation.

Days earlier, a local business owner reportedly requested that his company’s sponsorship banners be removed from the Santa Fe High School property in protest of allegations of inappropriate behavior by unnamed individuals.

On Tuesday, March 19, 2024, Santa High School Principal Tim Wright confirmed through a letter that FDLE was conducting an investigation. He wrote that the school and the District are cooperating with the investigation, but that he could not share any additional information.

Yeckring played baseball at Buchholz High School in Gainesville and Santa Fe College, later serving as an assistant coach at Buchholz High School and still later an assistant coach at Santa Fe College.

FDLE has released no information publicly regarding the matter and no charges have been filed.

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ALACHUA, FL - The School Board of Alachua County on March 27, 2024, released the following information about the Newberry public school conversion process. 

Ballots are being delivered this week to parents and teachers who will be voting on the conversion of the schools in Newberry to charter schools.

In keeping with state rules, ballots are being mailed to parents eligible to vote on the conversion of Newberry Elementary, Oak View Middle and Newberry High. In addition to the ballot, parents are receiving instructions for completing and submitting their ballot, either by mail or in person. The instructions for each school are also available in English and Spanish at https://www.sbac.edu/charterconversion.

The voting window runs from Friday, April 5 through Friday, April 12, not including the weekend. The in-person voting hours have been extended on three of those dates. The voting dates/times/locations are as follows:

Newberry Elementary School: Location--Portable 99-053, west wide of campus behind cafeteria

                                                   Dates/Times--April 5, 9 and 11; 7:15 am to 3:30 pm

                                                                         April 8, 10 and 12; 7:15 am to 7 pm

  

Oak View Middle School: Location--Portable 3, south of front parking lot

                                           Dates/Time--April 5, 9 and 11; 7:30 am to 4 pm

                                                                 April 8, 10 and 12; 7:30 a.m. to 7 pm

Newberry High School: Location--Ticket booth at football field

                                       Dates/Time--April 5, 9 and 11; 7:30 to 4 pm

                                                             April 8, 10 and 12; 7:30 to 7 pm

The schools have also provided parents with a self-addressed stamped envelope if they chose to mail in their ballot. Mailed-in ballots must be postmarked no later than April 12 and received by the school before the close of business on April 16 to be counted.

Alachua County Supervisor of Elections Kim Barton is providing the required ballot boxes and two staff members for each school to supervise the boxes and the voting process for all six voting dates.

Also in keeping with state law, the ballots will be counted by an independent arbitrator jointly selected by the school district and the citizens who requested the conversion vote. The count will take place during a public meeting on April 17 at 8:30 a.m. at the Mentholee Norfleet Municipal Building in Newberry.

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NEWBERRY – The City of Newberry is recognizing Commissioner James “Monty” Farnsworth as he marks 20 years of commitment to the Newberry community. A presentation will be made during the Monday, March 25, Newberry City Commission meeting beginning at 7 p.m. in the City Hall Meeting Room located at 25440 West Newberry Road, Newberry.

As the city celebrates this milestone, Newberry staff and commissioners are extending their “heartfelt gratitude to him for his selfless dedication, unwavering leadership and profound impact on the Newberry community. His 20 years of service stands as a testament to his enduring commitment to making the City of Newberry a better place for all. the exemplary dedication and tireless service.

“Throughout his terms on the City Commission, Farnsworth has demonstrated unwavering dedication to the betterment of Newberry and its residents.

“Local and regional residents and leaders are invited to join in as the City recognizes Commissioner Monty Farnsworth for this significant achievement and to publicly thank him for his outstanding service to the City of Newberry.

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GAINESVILLE, Fla., Mar. 21, 2024 – 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 Saturday, March 23, 2024.

A fly-in is a gathering for pilots who arrive by air. The event takes place from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. (pre-event pancake breakfast at 8:30 a.m.) at University Air Center, 4701 NE 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 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 Commander Lt. Col. Richard “Spad” McSpadden with a fitting and poignant ‘Flown West’ ceremony with a squadron of beautiful T-6 Texan and T-34 Mentors. This year we are especially focused on celebrating Women in Aviation. And as always, we look forward to sharing this very special celebration at our airport with the community.”

This year’s event will honor Commander Lt. Col. Richard “Spad” McSpadden with a Flown West Ceremony

Celebrating Women in Aviation and our Military

Planned events include opening ceremonies with a color guard and flyovers, most notably the “Flown West” ceremony for the late Commander Lt. Col. Richard “Spad” McSpadden, USAF (ret.), Friend of the Gator Fly-In, who served as commander and flight leader of the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds flight demonstration team, flying the lead aircraft in over 100 flight demonstrations. Most recently, Spad served as Senior Vice President of Aircraft Owner and Pilots’ Association’s (AOPA’s) Flight Safety Institute. Tragically, Spad lost his life in a plane crash in October 2023. Spad enjoyed the Gator Fly-In and was excited to attend this year’s event. The pre-event fun begins with a continuation of our celebration of the late Col. Joe Kittinger, with the second annual “Col. Joe ‘Pamcake’ Breakfast” at 8:30 a.m., with donations going to Col. Joe’s favorite charity, the International Sky Diving Museum & Hall of Fame (www.skydivingmuseum.org). In addition, Col. Joe’s autobiography, “Come Up and Get Me,” will be available for purchase at the event for $25. At 11 a.m., the gates will open to the public, with all participating aircraft in place. Opening ceremonies begin promptly at 1 p.m., with a color guard from Bucholz High School and drill team from the University of Florida (UF) Gator Guard, followed by the National Anthem, sung by “Big Jim” Adam (USMC, ret.). At 1:15 p.m. the “Flown West” ceremony honoring Commander Lt. Col. McSpadden will commence, with comments delivered by Kollin Stagnito, Senior Vice President of Media and Marketing, AOPA, and participation by the Civil Air Patrol. The flyover honoring McSpadden is planned to include T34 Mentor, T6 Texan and Socata TB-30 Epsilon aircraft. In addition, invited dignitaries will make speeches. (Distinguished Aviators include Lauren Monahan, UF alumna, former officer in the US Coast Guard, also a private pilot, and was just crowned Ms. Florida Senior America 2024; Elizabeth Gray, UF Alumna and Delta Pilot, and AOPA President, Kollin Stagnito.) 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 2:30 p.m.

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

Activities include touring static aircraft and Porsche Club 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 and a variety of food vendors will operate throughout the event.

Aircraft Rides for purchase – North American T-34B Mentor, Fairchild PT-19A, P51-D Mustang, Robinson 44 Helicopter and Cessna 172; “Swamp Tours”

For a fee, attendees can purchase rides in five different aircraft. Commemorative Air Force, Airbase Georgia will provide Beechcraft T-34B Mentor and Fairchild PT-19A Cornell flights for purchase. The Beechcraft T-34B Mentor is an American propeller-driven, single-engined, military trainer aircraft derived from the Beechcraft Model 35 Bonanza. The Fairchild PT-19A is a historic Tuskegee Airmen Trainer serving at Moton Field from 1943 to 1944. Interested parties may purchase T-34 or Fairchild PT-19 rides in advance of the event at https://airbasegeorgia.org/event/gator-fly-in-gainesville-fl/or walk-up tickets can be purchased at the UAC booth in the Mustang Hangar ($295 for 20 minutes; $395 for 30 minutes.) The Commemorative Air Force is also providing P51-D Mustang Rides ($2500 for 20 minutes). Interested parties may purchase P-51D rides in advance of the event at CAF Gunfighter Rides (p51gunfighter.com)

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 Bell 47-G or Robinson R-44 helicopter ($50).

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. As of this news release, confirmed military aircraft include UH-60 Blackhawk, Boeing P-8 Poseidon, North American T-6 Texan, TH-73A Thrasher, and T-34B Mentor, as well as Shandscair Helicopter and Alachua County Sheriff’s Office Helicopter, and Life South Bloodplane aircraft. 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 and pilots are subject to change due to weather, mechanicals and availability.

A schedule for the day follows:

  1. 9 a.m. Vendors arrive for set up
  2. Pre-Event: 8:30 a.m. – 11 a.m. First Annual Col. Joe “Pamcake” Breakfast
  3. 10 a.m. – aircraft arrive and park; all aircraft parked by 10:45 a.m.
  4. 11 a.m. – Public Arrive; helicopter and airplane rides begin
  5. 11 a.m. Live Music, food trucks
  6. 1 p.m. Opening Ceremony
  7. 1:15 p.m. Flown West Ceremony for Commander Lt. Col. Richard “Spad” McSpadden
  8. 1:20 p.m. Speakers begin
  9. 2:30 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 paml@universityaircenter.com or phone (352) 416-0787, visit the Gator Fly-In Facebook page or https://www.flygainesville.com

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HIGH SPRINGS ‒ In a tight race, Wayne Bloodsworth Jr., has won a seat on the High Springs City Commission. In the March 26, 2024 special election, Bloodsworth faced off against Chad Howell for Seat #2 on the Commission.

Bloodsworth won with 369 votes to Howell’s 305 votes.

The City Commission called a special election when the seat was vacated by Steve Tapanes who declined to fill out a financial disclosure Form 6 required by the State of Florida and resigned less than two months into his term. Elected on Nov 7, 2023, Tapanes cited a new law passed by the Florida Legislature in 2023 requiring elected officials to file Form 6 by Dec. 31, 2023.

Prior to the new law, mayors and elected city or town council members were required to file Form 1. However, Form 6 requires a more in-depth report of the filer's finances, including disclosure of net worth, information not required by Form 1. Form 6 filers must also disclose assets over $1,000, while the Form 1 threshold is over $10,000. Form 6 also requires filers to disclose clients that make up more than 10 percent of the filer's income.

Tapanes tendered his resignation as of Dec. 30

Bloodsworth will fill out the remainder of Tapanes’ three-year term.

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This information is public record and the booking report is provided by the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office Department of the Jail.  The charges listed are at the time of arrest and and all suspects are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. For more details on a specific inmate use the Sheriff’s Office inmate search (for inmates currently at the jail). More specific information on charges is available by searching court records.  Jail booking logs are removed from the Alachua County Today website after 30 days.

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