Community Update

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Weekly Wellness Walks
Jan. 10-Feb. 28, 8 to 10 a.m.
Santa Fe College Track

The public is welcome to participate in this weekly event to help combat obesity. The sessions include aerobic and stretching warm up exercises, health and fitness tips and bottled water and fruit. More information available at 352-870-9100.

T. rex Named Sue Exhibit
Jan. 24 – Sept. 13
Florida Museum of Natural History

This bilingual exhibit presents the story of “Sue,” the largest, most complete and best-preserved Tyrannosaurus rex ever unearthed. The exhibition was created by The Field Museum, Chicago. More information on exhibit hours at

AARP Foundation Tax-Aide Volunteers Needed
Feb. 2 – April 15
Alachua County

The AARP Foundation Tax-Aide needs volunteers to help with tax preparation and e-filing. The Tax-Aide services helps low-to- moderate income tax payers of all ages, especially those 60 and older. Training is provided in January for Tax Prepares and Client Facilitators. More information available or 352-665-0807.

Florida’s Got the Blues Exhibit
Through April 30
Matheson Museum

The Matheson Museum will host the “Florida’s Got the Blues” exhibit through April 30th. The interactive display showcases musicians who pioneered blues music during the early 20th Century. More information available at 352-378-2280.

Gainesville Bromeliad Society Program
Feb. 26, 2 p.m.
UF Entomology Building

Kenneth Stokes will speak on “Overcoming Bromeliad Defects and When to Clump and Divide” on Feb. 26 at Steinmetz Hall, 1881 Natural Area Drive. The event is open to the public and house plants will be for sale. More information available at

Restoring the Suwannee River: A Hopeful Future
Feb. 27, 7 p.m.
Great Outdoor Ballroom
High Springs

Save Our Suwannee, Inc. is hosting this presentation by Dr. Robert Knight. He will present the current understanding of impairments, their causes and effects, and will lay out a comprehensive plan for restoration and protection. The Great Outdoors Ballroom is located at 65 North Main Street in High Springs. The event is free and open to the public. For more information call 386-965-0901.

10-Minute Play Writing Competition
March 1 – Noon Deadline
Hippodrome Theatre

This competition is an opportunity for emerging playwrights in Gainesville and the surrounding areas to tell a story about multigenerational communication in the form of a 10-minute play. More information and guidelines available at

National Quilt Month Exhibit
March 2015
Tower Road and Millhopper Branch Libraries

The Quilters of Alachua County Day Guild will display quilts from March 1-31. More exhibit information available at 352-373-7791.

Citizen of Year and Young Floridian Awards Call for Entries
March 6 Deadline
UF Bob Graham Center for Public Service

This competition will recognize individuals who have made substantial contributions to enhancing the quality of life in Florida. The aim is to emphasize that true success is measured not only by educational and professional achievement, but also by the ways the person has contributed to the well-being of others and the society. Nomination instructions available at Winners will honored on May 20.

Animal Imagery in Medieval Manuscripts Exhibit
Through March 6
UF Smathers Library

The exhibit of animal imagery in Medieval manuscripts will be in the Library Gallery on the second floor. It is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. More information available at 352-272-2505.

Race the Tortoise 5K
March 7, 8 a.m.
O’Leno State Park
High Springs

The Friends of O’Leno will host the 7th annual Race the Tortoise 5K. This is a certified out and back race for runners and walkers along the Park’s scenic, paved main road. Proceeds help feed that animals in the O’Leno Nature Center and to expand its exhibits. More information available at

National Narcolepsy Day in Gainesville and Alachua County
March 7, 11 a.m .to 3 p.m.
Lucky’s Market

Proclamations from the City of Gainesville and Alachua County will be read and music will be featured. Lucky’s Market is located at 1459 NW 23rd Avenue.

A Conversation on Citizenship with Bob Graham and Martha Barnett
March 10, 6 p.m.
UF Pugh Hall Ocora

Former Florida Governor and U.S. Senator Bob Graham and legal pioneer and Knight Fellow Martha Barnett will speak at the Bob Graham Center. Barnett, former American Bar Association President and Retired Senior Partner at Holland and Knight, is the Bob Graham Center Knight Fellow in-Residence for spring 2015. The event will feature Graham and Barnett discussing the importance of civic engagement and will include insights both have learned about over long and distinguished careers. The event is open to the public. More info at 352-273-1086.

Seven Years a Hostage with Terry Anderson
March 16, 6 p.m.
UF Pugh Hall Ocora

In March 1985, Associated Press reporter Terry Anderson was abducted off the streets in Beirut and held at the mercy of his Hezbollah Shiite captors. He lived for nearly seven years in chains wondering fearfully if each day would be his last. But his spirit soared beyond captivity, and he never gave up, nor did those who loved him. And now, a free man and University of Florida lecturer in the College of Journalism and Communications, Anderson will tell the harrowing and poignant story of his survival. The is open to the public and sponsored by the College of Journalism and Communications and the Bob Graham Center for Public Service. More info at 352-273-1086.

Mid-Century Modern Home Tour
March 20, 6 p.m.; March 21, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Gainesville Modern in conjunction with the UF Historic Preservation Program will host a tour of five Mid-Century Modern residences. The March 20 event features a film screening of “The Siebert Effect” by Larry Reinebach at the Hippodrome Cinema. Home locations and tickets detials for the Saturday home tours available at or 352-562-1904.

Splendor: Dancing Under the Stars
March 21
UF Nadine McGuire Theatre and Dance Pavilion

The gala benefit for the UF’s School of Music and School of Theatre + Dance will support scholarships as well as other programs that enable students to achieve academic, artistic and professional excellence and features food, performance, dancing and a silent auction. More information available at

Spring Break Art Camp
March 23-27, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Harn Museum of Art

This camp for children ages 8-13 features instruction on drawing, prints and installations. Paper Play instructor for the camp is artist and UF instructor Patrick Grigsby. Details available at 352-392-9826.

Former First Lady Rosalynn Carter
March 31, 7:30 p.m.
Curtis M. Phillips Center

Rosalynn Carter has led the fight against the stigma of mental illness for nearly 40 years. The former first lady will discuss her tireless effort to improve the lives of those living with serious mental illnesses and their families. A driving force in the field of mental health throughout her public service career, Carter was instrumental in bringing about the passage of the Mental Health Systems Act of 1980. She continues her leadership through The Carter Center in Atlanta, founded by President and Mrs. Carter in 1982 and has received many honors and awards for her support of mental health causes. This event is sponsored by ACCENT, the College of Medicine, and the Bob Graham Center for Public Service. The event is free and open to the public on a first-come, first-served basis. More info at 352-273-1086.

Bike Rodeo and Safety Fair
April 25, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
O’Connell Center Parking Lot
UF Campus, Gainesville

UF Health Shands Children’s Hospital, the UF Police Department and community partners will provide information on how to keep our child safe and healthy this summer. Kids can participate in a bicycle obstacle course, interactive games and summer activities. More information available at 352-265-0373

Hernando Youth Orchestra Rehearsals
Ongoing Sundays from 3:30 to 5 p.m.
Heather Community Center
Weeki Wachee

Children ages 5 to 21 can learn to play an instrument, and learn music theory and site reading. Sessions will be held at The Heather Community Center, 9100 Nakoma Way in Weeki Wachee. The event is free and open to the public. More information available at

Cooking Oil Recycling
Alachua County Hazardous Waste Collection

The Alachua County Hazardous Waste Collection Program will recycle used peanut, corn, canola or olive oil into biodiesel fuel. The biodiesel is combined with standard diesel and used to power County fleet vehicles and a biofuel electrical generator. Oil should be cool, and placed in a metal or plastic container with a tight-fitting lid. The oil cannot mix will other fluids such as water, petroleum products or soaps. The collection center is located at 5125 NE 63rd Ave. in Gainesville. More information on hours or operation and other rural collection centers at 352-334-0440.

Free English Classes
Ongoing beginning Jan. 27
Millhopper Branch Library

Free adult English classes are available to newcomers to Alachua County. More information available at

Written and Spoken Language Study
UF Aphasia and Bilingualism Lab

The Aphasia and Bilingualism lab is currently recruiting healthy adults age 50 to 80 for a study on written and spoken language. Participants should have English as a primary language and have normal or corrected vision and/or hearing. More information available at or 352-273-3715.

UF Environmental Horticulture Gardening Study

The University of Florida Environmental Horticulture Department is seeking healthy women between the ages of 30-45 without gardening experience. Volunteers will undergo an MRI and participate in gardening session over an eight week period. For more information contact Christy at 352-273-4576.

AYA Needs Host Families for Students

The Academic Year in America program matches students from more than 40 countries with an American host family for a semester or academic year. Families can choose their student and must provide room and board. More information available at or 352-237-3966.

Alachua County Wage Recovery Ordinance

The Alachua County Wage Recovery Ordinance began on January 1, 2014. The ordinance provides Alachua County employees a method for collecting unpaid or underpaid wages. For details on the ordinance or how to file a wage theft complaint call the Alachua County Equal Opportunity Office at (352) 374-5275.

Institute for Workforce Innovation

The Institute for Workforce Innovation (IWI) is dedicated to improving the communities’ quality of life through education, employment and advocacy. For more information or to volunteer call 352-225-3307 or online at

Savvy Caregiver Training
Elder Options
100 NW 75th St., Suite 30

Elder Options in conjunction with the State of Florida Department of Elder Affairs offers free six week training programs designed for family caregivers who assist persons with Alzheimer’s and or dementia. More information available at 352-378-6649.

Operation PetSnip

Spay and neuter pet services available for qualifying low-income Alachua County and surrounding rural county residents. The cost of surgery, pain medication and anesthesia for pets spayed or neutered is covered. More information available from No More Homeless Pets’ Operation Petsnip at

The Salvation Army Thrift Store

The Salvation Army thrift stores are funded by generous donations of material goods. The stores accept gently used merchandise to be refurbished and resold. The Gainesville store is located at 55 NW 23rd Ave. More information on hours of operation available at 352-373-7597 or

Children’s Home Society Adoption Program

There is a significant need to find adoptive homes for children in the foster care system. Currently there are many children wanting and wishing to find a home to call their own. More information available 352-334-0955.

Gone 4 Ever Shredding
The Arc of Alachua County is a local not for profit that provides employment services to adults with developmental disabilities through several small business it has created. One of its businesses, Gone 4 Ever shredding, offers a free paper shredding service to all residents of Alachua County every Wednesday from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. at its main location at 3303 NW 83rd Street. Gone 4 Ever shredding hold a AAA certification in document destruction so all paper is safely and securely destroyed. For more information please call 352-334-4060 ext. 132 or visit

Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve- Supporting our Nation’s Service Members

Today, nearly half our nation’s fighting forces are members of the Guard and Reserve. When they are called is called to active duty, they leave behind a family, a community, and a job. Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve, a Department of Defense agency, honors and products the bond between service members and their civilian employers. Whether serving our country or supporting those who do, we all serve. To learning more about ESGR, call 1-800-336-4590, or

The Family Mealtime Project

This spring research at the University of Florida will conduct a research study to learn about families and their interactions during mealtimes. The Family Mealtime Project is available to two-parent families who live within 20 miles of Gainesville and have a child between the ages of 2 and 6. The study consists of three, 45 minute sessions in families’ home in which families will complete questionnaires and two video recordings of their mealtimes. Families will be compensated at the completion of the study. Families interested in participating or who have questions should call the Family Mealtime Project office toll free at 1-866-673-9623.

“Kidney Smart” Education Program

The “Kidney Smart” program educates and partners with people to take control of their health and helps them develop a plan to live a healthy life. The program features medication, diet and nutrition information, stresses the importance of choosing a heath care team, provides continuing education and treatment options. More information available at

Suwannee River Economic Council, Inc. Hosts Meal Site
Open every Tuesday, 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

The Suwannee River Economic Council, Inc. hosts a meal site at the Bronson Community Church located on Hathaway Ave. in Bronson, FL. The meal site serves seniors age 60 or older. Meals are served at noon. There is no cost, but donations are welcomed. For more information, call 352-490-7055 x1.

Ronald McDonald House Charities NCF Seeks Long-Term Volunteers

Ronald McDonald House Charities of North Central Florida, a non-profit organization in Gainesville that assists families with children being treated at local medical facilities, is looking for long-term volunteers to serve as hosts for its two core programs: Ronald McDonald House and Ronald McDonald Family Room at Shands Hospital for Children. For more information, visit or call Dorie Faulkner, Volunteer Coordinator at 352-374-4404 ext. 224.

Visiting Chef Program, Ronald McDonald House

Ronald McDonald House Charities of North Central Florida, a non-profit organization in Gainesville that assists families with children being treated at local medical facilities, seeks volunteer groups or families to provide a full-course dinner or weekend-breakfast for families staying at the Ronald McDonald House in Gainesville. Chefs may come equipped with ingredients to serve approximately 50 people and cook in a spacious, well-stocked kitchen or they may cater a meal from a local restaurant. Meals are served 7 days a week, including holidays. For more information, contact Judy Bates at or call 352-374-4404 ext. 299.

The Kindness Cookie Company

In partnership with The Arc of Alachua County, the Kindness Cookie Company bakes homemade cookies with our messages of kindness, gratitude and inspiration inside. In the spirit of these messages, Kindness for Cookies also seeks to raise awareness of the unique gifts of individuals with developmental disabilities and how they can teach us to live with greater compassion, acceptance and presence. The Kindness Cookie Company can bake for any event, or custom orders and gifts. For more information, contact Susan Thiele, founder, at 352-256-8084 or email at, you can also visit the website at

In the U.S., 19 people die each day waiting for an organ transplant—most of them for kidneys. has become the most successful nonprofit organization improving those odds by finding living altruistic donors for patients who desperately need transplants. Visit and meet some extraordinary people.

Help a Kid Start a Lemonade Stand

The National Federation of Independent Business Young Entrepreneur Foundation, based in Washington, D.C., is urging parents to teach their children lessons about entrepreneurship and responsibility by helping them start a lemonade stand. They provide free classroom curriculum and other resources to enable students to learn first-hand about the risks and rewards of operating a small business. This curriculum can be found at To learn more about the NFIB Young Entrepreneur Foundation, visit

Red Carpet Customer Service Training Program

This program, launched by FloridaWorks in partnership with Santa Fe College, Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce and Innovation Gainesville, has a goal of training 3,000 people in customer service. Each participant earns a certificate from Santa Fe College after completing the 3-hour course. To register, contact Santa Fe CIED at 352-395-5053. To become a community sponsor, contact the Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce at 352-334-7100.

Adoption from Foster Care

There are currently more than 107,000 children available for adoption in the U.S. Foster Care System. The Adoption from Foster Care campaign encourages potential parents to adopt and aims to increase the number of potential families inquiring about adoption. You don’t have to be perfect to be a perfect parent.

Veterans Outreach Program, Epilepsy Foundation

The Epilepsy Foundation wants to help men and women who’ve suffered traumatic brain injuries or TBIs, which are a common form of injury that can lead to seizures and epilepsy in some cases. Symptoms can include confusion, momentary black-outs and uncontrollable shaking or twitching. For more information about the foundation’s Veterans Outreach Program and other services, visit or call 1-800-332-1000.

Three Rivers Legal Services

Three Rivers Legal Services, Inc. is a local, non-profit corporation that provides free, quality civil legal services to low-income, eligible clients in seventeen counties throughout North Florida. Three Rivers is now providing representation to eligible clients who live in Alachua, Levy, Gilchrist, Bradford or Union County for family law cases, regardless of domestic violence. For more information, call the Legal Helpline at 866-256-8091.

To have your event included on Community Update, please send all relevant information to:
Sue Wagner
Community Update
P.O. Box 118405
Gainesville, FL 32611-8405
The e-mail address is, with the words “Community Update” in the subject line.

The Community Update fax number is 352-392-5741. All submissions must be made on organization letterhead at least two weeks prior to the event.

Please include only the basic facts:
who, what, where, when and why and a phone number or website address for more information.

Please note that not all submissions will be on-air due to time limitations.
All submissions will be included in this online listing.

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