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In the News – September 2023

In the News – September 2023

By Breanna Gallo 

 Maternal Care Excitement 

UF Health Shands Hospital has recently been designated as a Level IV maternal care verified facility for the care they provide for women through pregnancy, childbirth and postpartum. This new level of classification was evaluated by the Joint Commission’s Maternal Levels of Care (MLC) Verification program in collaboration with the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Level IV designation is the highest level classification that a health facility can receive.  

The classification was based on UF Health Shands’ demonstration of on-site medical and surgical care of the most complex maternal conditions and critically ill pregnant women and fetuses. The MLC Verification program evaluates a facility’s capabilities, making sure that a hospital has the equipment, resources and expertise to handle patients’ risk levels and specific needs. 

Tackling the Gameday Parking 

Perch, a new gameday parking web app has launched to try and alleviate the stress of gameday parking. This would allow residents and businesses to sell their parking spots for home football games and other events. Recent University of Florida graduate, Dustin Karp, and current Santa Fe College student, J.J. Paulsen, were inspired to create the platform based on their frustration with the chaos of parking during Gators games. 

Perch had soft-launched last fall and was able to provide parking for around 300 cars during the football season by only using residential parking. The full-scale launch will also provide information on spots that businesses are already selling, saving them from having to advertise. With the introduction of businesses to the platform, Perch will also offer season parking so that fans have a guaranteed spot for every home game. 

Throw, Score, Explore 

The Alachua County Sports & Events Center recently hosted its grand opening at Celebration Pointe. This 96,000 square-foot arena can accommodate 10 basketball courts, indoor batting cages, 18 volleyball courts, 21 pickleball courts and even has a portable indoor track dedicated to Florida Gators track and field legend Jimmy Carnes. The facility also has a competitive cheerleading room, a wellness and fitness center, breakout rooms, two lobbies and a sports therapy room. 

This space was a dream, made a reality through a private-public partnership between Alachua County and Vikings Companies, LLC. The $35.32 million project was funded by Alachua County’s Tourist Development Taxes, Viking and the State of Florida. The facility will create a positive economic impact on tourism and job production along with elevating competitive sports.


School in Style 

Santa Fe College’s new high school, the Academy of Science and Technology, is set to open this fall. This new school will be located on the college’s Northwest Campus in Gainesville and students will be able to attend at no cost. The Academy will offer two tracks in health science and two tracks in information technology.  

Students will be able to select one of the four college-level tracks to specialize in. They will also have the opportunity to graduate with their high school diploma, an Associate in Science degree and at least two industry certifications. 


A Top University Experience 

UF-Online was recently named one of the best colleges in the United States to receive a bachelor’s degree from. UF was one of the 93 colleges that were honored for ranking in the top third regionally by the Best-In-Class Colleges ranking system. The honor, titled “Best in the United States: Baccalaureate Colleges with Diverse Fields” adds to UF’s already existing honor for the number one online college program, which was named by the U.S News & World Report back in January. 

These rankings are conducted by evaluating student satisfaction, enrollment standards, the percentage of students successful at degree attainment, on-time graduation and more. Data is also collected from public records as well as authoritative sources such as the U.S. Department of Education, the U.S. Treasury Department and other national data systems. 

Among the Wildflowers 

The Cade Museum for Creativity and Invention is launching a new Tom Petty exhibit called Among the Wildflowers. This exhibit will feature artifacts previously on display at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio. It will explore the joys, pains and creative awakenings that Tom Petty experienced while creating the album, Wildflowers.  

The space will be divided into three segments of artifacts that showcase the creative process of Wildflowers: songwriting, recording and reception and delivery. Visitors will be able to view artifacts relating to the album, such as the original guitar and outfit featured in Tom Petty’s 1995 Rolling Stone Magazine cover, original lyric sheets and instruments used in the album recording 

Seeing in Style 

Warby Parker, a direct-to-consumer eyewear brand is opening a retail store in Butler Town Center. The store will offer eye exams along with offering products such as their full optical and sun eyewear line, the Scout by Warby Parker daily contact lenses and more. The grand opening celebration will include special postcard gift sets with purchase, the unveiling of custom store artwork and even gourmet ice pops from Hyppo for those in attendance. 

Warby Parker focuses on increasing access to holistic vision care with a mission to impact the world with vision, purpose and style. This mission extends through their Buy a Pair, Give a Pair program and also through their partnership with nonprofits to distribute more than 13 million pairs of glasses to those in need. The addition to Butler Town Center will be the company’s 14th location in Florida. 

A Taste of Crumbl  

Butler Enterprises has announced that Crumbl Cookies will be coming to Butler Plaza. Crumbl Cookies is a family-owned business with over 870 locations across over 40 states. This company is the nation’s fastest-growing cookie delivery and takeout company.  

Since 2017, Crumbl Cookies has continuously lived up to its hype, with weekly flavor rotations that keep customers returning for more. Some of the many flavors coming to Butler Plaza include Milk Chocolate Chip, Blue Monster, Apple Crumb Cake, Salted Caramel Cheesecake, and French Toast. 


A Trip Around the World 

Mirror Image Leadership Academy (MILA) completed its first international exposure trip to Ghana. MILA is a non-profit based in Gainesville that helps young black males discover leadership through self-image, purpose, faith, character and work ethic over the course of three years. Since its inception in 2021, MILA has grown from 12 scholars to 51 scholars. 

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The scholars traveled abroad to Ghana for seven days where they were able to get a better sense of enrichment, education and exposure, even spending time at the Accra Academy, bonding with Ghanian students. While in Ghana, the scholars attended a Family Day, where they participated in a traditional naming ceremony. They also visited the Last Slave Bath and the Cape Coast Castle, where they learned about their ancestors and saw first-hand remnants of the slave trade. 



Sipping in Style 

The Laurel Oak Inn Bed and Breakfast hosted “Sabores de España: A Journey through Spanish Wine, where guests were able to learn about all things having to do with Spain’s wine selection. Guests were able to immerse themselves in an experience that transported them to the sun-kissed vineyards of Spain through the venue’s atmosphere that resembled the rustic charm of Spanish vineyards.  

Wine expert, Melody Wilson from Beaker & Flask hosted the class, guiding guests through each wine while sharing stories and insights into the vineyards, regions and winemakers behind the selections. The class offered four carefully selected wines to taste, pairing them with charcuterie.  


Adding up the Championships 

The Buchholz High School (BHS) math team won their 15th national championship at the Mu Alpha Theta math competition held in Fayetteville Arkansas. The team’s seniors are also celebrating their wins in three of their four years at the school.  

BHS defeated 31 other schools, even beating American Heritage by 379 points, making a big comeback from their 17-point loss back in April. Over the course of the four-day competition, the team earned 282 trophies and medals, including 28 first-place awards. Buchholz has now won 15 of the past 16 national championships they have attended. 

Serving the Community 

The City of Alachua Youth Advisory Council has been named one of three winners of the 2023 Municipal Youth Community Service Contest. This honor was awarded by the Florida League of Cities (FLC) which serves as a united voice for Florida’s municipal governments. The annual competition looks at community service projects that successfully address the needs of the local community. 

The project that earned the City of Alachua Youth Advisory Council its winning title was a collaboration with the Alachua County Quilt Remembrance Project through the Equal Justice Initiative. This project comprised of a quilt constructed to remember lynching victims in Alachua County, using embroidered name blocks and quotes to give voices to those who were silenced. The quilt is currently on display in the front lobby of the City Hall.

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