Oct. 20, 2014: Afternoon News In 90

By on October 20th, 2014 | Last updated: October 20, 2014 at 5:39 pm

Taylor Trache produced this update. 

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In the News: PSTA CEO Lies About Use of Federal Grant; UF Researchers Aim to Cure Arthritis in Dogs Using Stem Cells, Skeletal Remains Plane Wreckage Found, Man Accused of Killing Seven Women

By on October 20th, 2014 | Last updated: October 20, 2014 at 3:56 pm
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CDC Studies Effects of Nasal Spray Flu Vaccine Over Traditional Shot for Children

By on October 20th, 2014 | Last updated: October 20, 2014 at 6:14 pm
Victoria Rusinov administers FluMist to a child at the Control Flu clinic at Littlewood Elementary School.

Kai Su / WUFT News

Victoria Rusinova administers FluMist to a child at the Control Flu clinic at Littlewood Elementary School in Gainesville, Fla. on Thursday, Oct. 9, 2014. Control Flu has clinics on Wednesdays and Thursdays at public schools in Alachua County throughout the month of October, said April Wu, Control Flu program coordinator.

A nasal spray form of the flu vaccine is more effective than the flu shot in healthy children ages 2 to 8, recent studies suggest.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “the nasal spray flu vaccine prevented about 50 percent more cases of flu than the flu shot in younger children.”

UF Health Shands pediatrician Kathleen Ryan, M.D., said FluMist (the name of the nasal spray flu vaccine) contains a live virus, whereas the shot contains killed viruses. However, the virus is weak and cannot cause the flu, according to the CDC website.

Ryan said the flu virus enters the body through the nose, which is why FluMist is more effective in preventing the virus from actually entering the nose and growing.

“No one knows for sure, but most likely FluMist is more effective for younger people because as you get older, you’ve been affected with so many viruses throughout your life,” Ryan said. “You’ve been around longer, so immunity in the nose limits the effectiveness of the vaccine.”

She said there is good evidence FluMist is more effective for children and people older than 8-years-old, but the CDC did not feel it had been studied enough to make an official recommendation.

Ryan is also the medical coordinator for Control Flu, a program that aims to provide free FluMist vaccinations to pre-K through 12th grade Alachua County students.

“We do this by immunizing school children because school children are known to be the super spreaders of flu and often bring flu into the community,” Ryan said.

Each flu season Control Flu administers FluMist to children in the public schools who have returned signed consent forms from their parents.  If they have asthma, chronic heart disease or other chronic conditions, they are ineligible to receive FluMist.

University of Florida nursing senior Victoria Rusinova said this year she got the nasal spray flu vaccination for the first time. Rusinova said she preferred it just as well as the shot, but she liked that there was no soreness that usually comes from a shot.

“I wanted to get FluMist in order to be more immersed in this initiative,” said Rusinova, who administered FluMist for Control Flu’s elementary school clinics. “And to be on the receiving side as well as giving side.”

This year, Control Flu held clinics at UF for the first time.

“We’re hoping to get a good response,” said April Wu, Control Flu program coordinator. “We’re thinking there are UF students who are unaware of the vaccinations available to them.”

Ryan said there has been less flu in Alachua County than in surrounding communities because more people are vaccinated through the Control Flu program. She said she thinks we will always have the flu shot because there are age restrictions for FluMist and some people who are ineligible to receive it.

“But for healthy people that don’t have any illnesses, over time the FluMist might become more popular over the shot,” Ryan said.

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Oct. 20, 2014: Morning News In 90

By and on October 20th, 2014 | Last updated: October 20, 2014 at 11:58 am

Danielle Prinz produced this update. 

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In the News: Florida’s Economy in Governor’s Race, New U.S. Ebola Czar, Sexual Assault at UF, Gators Lose to Missouri

By on October 20th, 2014 | Last updated: October 20, 2014 at 10:43 am
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Gainesville’s Jam Set to Close

By on October 17th, 2014 | Last updated: October 17, 2014 at 6:34 pm
Meg Taylor, 31, spins fire beside the drum circle at the Jam.

Bradley Williams / WUFT News

Meg Taylor, 31, spins fire beside the drum circle at the Jam.

The Jam, a Gainesville bar and music venue, will close its doors on Nov. 12 due to leasing troubles. Although co-owner Blake Briand, 36, said the exact date is tentative, the venue will close before Christmas.

The Jam, located at 817 W. University Ave., has been operating for a little over two years now. Since its launch, the venue has developed a strong community of followers that come out weekly for their drum circles and live music, Briand said.

It’s is also known for its support of local bands, said Meg Taylor, a regular patron.

“All the money we collect at the door goes to the bands,” Eddy Arenas, another co-owner, said.

The entirety of the Jam’s profit comes strictly from bar sales.

“We have bonfires here, and I think it builds community in a way that a lot of businesses only wish they could,” Taylor said. “I don’t feel like this is a business here – it is a family. A lot of us call it the ‘Jamily.’”

Taylor, 31, has been coming to the Jam since it opened and spins fire there regularly.

While she spun fire, a crowd circled around her. Drummers played around the bonfire, and patrons danced or joined in with other instruments.

“I don’t even think of it as a bar,” she said. “I think I’ve maybe had one apple cider since I’ve been coming here. I’m not much of a drinker, but I just love coming out and seeing the same faces again and again.”

Taylor is moving to Seattle at the same time the Jam is closing its doors.

“It just felt like that sense of closure,” Taylor said. “Like I’m leaving and moving on from this place that’s been my home away from home. I’m not leaving it behind because it won’t even be there. So it was really emotional for me.”

Arenas said the reasons for closing center on their month-to-month lease. The lease stops them from receiving any type of help from investors because there is always chance a they could be immediately evicted on short notice, he said.

Having a month-to-month lease, the only option available for the venue, has created issues with the landlords, Briand said.

“We can’t call the landlord and tell them to fix things because if we press them, they’ll execute our lease,” he said.

Arenas also said that Innovation Square at the University of Florida is attempting to gentrify the area.

“From what I’ve seen, they’re trying to put a hotel and a conference center right where the Jam stand[s],” Arenas said. “That includes tearing down the house behind the Jam, which was built in the late 1800s. It’s been like David fighting Goliath, but we’ve lost any sort of chance.”

Innovation Square at the University of Florida has posted their plan for development online. 

“They’re trying to support arts and culture, and in same breath they’re negatively affecting the arts and culture already here,” Arenas said.

Redeveloping the area would affect all of the local business on the block, he said.

“We’ll have to see what the future of the Jam holds,” Briand said. “Right now, there’s 80 people in there, camp-firing, jamming out, playing djembe. That’s what I want.”

Briand said that the co-owners did not have a vision when they started the Jam.

Arenas’ sister had a lease for the rest of the year on her café, Tagwa, that was closing, and they came up with the idea to open the bar up just to finish out that previous lease. Tagwa, which originally started as a gift store that turned into a café, was open for about three years before closing.

Although saddened, the community continues dancing.

“Sometimes knowing things have a limited time make them a little more precious,” Briand said. “It’s going to be remembered for years to come, and nobody will be able to take that away from us.”

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UF Homecoming Parade 2014 Brings Music, Floats and Crowds

By on October 17th, 2014 | Last updated: October 17, 2014 at 5:58 pm
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Pizza and Parrot Lovers Come Together

By on October 17th, 2014 | Last updated: October 17, 2014 at 5:55 pm

Silvia Rueda / WUFT News

Casey Jr., or CJ as he is known to the locals, sipped casually from a glass of sweet tea at Napolatano’s Restaurant in Gainesville on a Wednesday night.

CJ, a blue and yellow macaw native to South America, visited the restaurant for Parrots and Pizza Night, a monthly event that connects parrot lovers and parrots.

The organization, Parrots and Pizza, works with the Open Wings Rescue and Sanctuary to bring parrots in need of new homes to the event in hopes of uniting them with those looking for a feathered friend.

The group currently meets on the first Wednesday of the month at Napolatano’s Restaurant at 6:30 p.m.

Casey Newick and Lindsay Rozboril founded Parrots and Pizza about three years ago. Newick said although it is a social event, bringing parrots in need of adoption has always been an important part of getting together.

“We wondered, how can we get some of the birds out in the public eye and seen and socialized?” Newick asked.

While some Parrots and Pizza attendees come to adopt, others bring their birds for interaction.


Silvia Rueda / WUFT News

Lisa Moore interacts with Casey Jr.,  Stephen Casey’s blue-and-yellow macaw at Parrots and Pizza Night Oct. 1. The event gives parrot lovers and owners a chance to interact with the exotic birds and meet parrots in need of new homes.

Although the parrots are often nervous upon arrival, they quickly settle down and enjoy the company.

Newick, who is also an officer at the Open Wings Rescue and Sanctuary,  said socialization is an important part of parrot care, and this organization provides a great opportunity for it.

Ginger Nappy, co-owner of Napolatano’s Restaurant, said customers are always drawn to the group’s colorful presence. She said kids get excited to pet the birds, and group members encourage them to get up close and personal.

CJ’s owner, Bell resident Stephen Casey, has worked with other parrot rescue groups in Florida and is now volunteering with Open Wings Rescue and Sanctuary. He currently has 10 birds in his home that he either owns or fosters.

Most of the birds up for adoption have lost their homes because owners were no longer able to care for them. Sometimes, the parrots outlive their owners and find themselves without a home.

Some parrots come from abuse situations. One of the parrots Casey keeps at home was recovered from a crack house. The bird has no feathers.

“They would blow the dope right in her face,” Casey said.

Newick said this is not uncommon.

“I could tell you 100 stories like that,” she said.

Usually birds are relinquished by owners, but there are times the sanctuary will hear of situations from social workers. The adoption cost for a parrot is between $400 and $450, depending on whether the parrot comes with its cage.

After daylight savings time ends, the group will meet on the first Sunday afternoon of every month because parrots expect bedtime when the sun goes down. The location will be The Red Onion Neighborhood Grill.

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Santa Fe Apes Get a New Home

By on October 17th, 2014 | Last updated: October 17, 2014 at 5:27 pm
All three white-handed gibbons at the Santa Fe Teaching Zoo brachiate down a rope in the enclosure. Brachiation is the swinging method of movement typical to white-handed gibbons.

Michaela Bisienere / WUFT News

All three white-handed gibbons at the Santa Fe Teaching Zoo brachiate down a rope in the enclosure. Brachiation is the swinging method of movement typical to white-handed gibbons.

Rainer received her first extreme home makeover at the age of 2, with renovations costing $350,000. Her new space is 70 feet in length, complete with rope courses, trees and tunnels.

Rainer is a white-handed gibbon, also known as a lar gibbon, living at the Santa Fe College Teaching Zoo.

On Wednesday the zoo opened a new habitat, about ten times the size of its previous one, to the public for these endangered apes, which are best known for their distinct whooping call, said Jonathan Miot, zoo director.

The gibbons now have the space to swing through the air more easily using a hand-over-hand motion called “brachiating” — an instinctive way of moving for the gibbons.

With more exposure to sun and rain, and more trees and vertical space available for climbing, the habitat aims to imitate the rainforest environment where gibbons are found in the wild.

“I think it’s really improved their quality of life,” Miot said.

The zoo is home to three gibbons: adult male Eddie; his partner, Cajun; and their daughter, Rainer.

Eddie and Cajun have been united for over 10 years in the original habitat, which was one of the first exhibits built at the zoo over 30 years ago.

The exhibit was funded by a combination of funds, including a private donation, in-house funding and a grant from the Visit Gainesville chapter of the Tourism Bureau, Miot said.

Construction for the new habitat began in December 2013. The gibbons moved into the enclosure in July to acclimate to the space before the visitors were allowed near the exhibit.

“A bigger space is definitely better for these animals, and it’s better for the public to see them in a larger space,” said Gabrielle Sachs, a graduate from the Santa Fe Teaching Zoo.

Sachs, who is now outreach coordinator at The Art Farm in the City in New York, said that the previous exhibit had been due for an update for many years.

Sachs said that the larger space allows the zookeepers to keep the gibbons mentally stimulated, by allowing them to explore and hunt for their own food for example.

“There’s a multitude of enrichment options that the zookeepers can do now. They can hide food in different places,” Sachs said. “Gibbons need a really large space, so I think this will be great.”

Miot said white-handed gibbons are on the endangered species list because their native territories in the rainforests of Asia are being torn down for the planting of palm trees to be used for palm oil production.

“They’re endangered animals, so their numbers are really dwindling,” Miot said.

At the zoo opening, President of Santa Fe College Jackson Sasser said the new enclosure will ensure that, as an endangered species, gibbons will continue to thrive.

Miot said because of the larger space, the gibbons are able to spread out to different areas of their territory and travel the enclosure, which is important for endangered species.

The ability to better reproduce, raise offspring and allow this offspring to exhibit normal behaviors shows how comfortable this expanded environment is, Miot said.

“These are all of the things we look at as animal behaviorists,” Miot said,  “to say ‘Hey, the things that we’re doing are good, and now, they’re even better. Now, we’ve even improved their quality of life.’”

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Gainesville Hires Third Party for GRU Audit, Examines GREC Contract

By on October 17th, 2014 | Last updated: October 17, 2014 at 2:15 pm

Gainesville city officials will hire a third party to audit Gainesville Regional Utilities in order to examine the biomass contract between GRU and Gainesville Renewable Energy Center. The audit will cost over $180,000, according to city officials. The contract, signed in 2009, allows GRU to buy power from the GREC biomass plant, and ultimately raised prices for GRU customers.

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