Nicole del Castillo produced this update.
Hourly News Update
Nicole del Castillo produced this update.
A boy identified as Moses stands behind a cloud of smoke at the the Swallowtail Farm Country Fair Saturday afternoon.
Devin Bayly, 22, of Arizona juggles pins at the the Swallowtail Farm Country Fair Saturday evening.
A girl plays atop a hay pile at the Swallowtail Farm Country Fair Saturday evening.
Anna Fuller, 9, plays with a dog while Brian Block, 40, runs for a frisbee at the Swallowtail Farm Country Fair Saturday evening.
Ryan Lacovacci sits by a fire at the Swallowtail Farm Country Fair Saturday evening.
Attendees are seen walking past “Monty, a doggone dragon” at the the Swallowtail Farm Country Fair Saturday evening.
Maya Ovia watches while Zana Alves paints a plant pot at the Swallowtail Farm Country Fair Saturday evening.
Onna Maya Meyer, of Alachua, hoops at the Swallowtail Farm Country Fair Saturday evening.
Meg Taylor, 30, of Gainesville spins fire at the Swallowtail Farm Country Fair Saturday night.
A man sits atop a table at the Swallowtail Farm Country Fair Saturday night.
Swallowtail Farm held its 5th annual country fair at its farm just north of Alachua on Saturday.
The event ran from 12:00 p.m to 10:00 p.m. and saw an outpouring of community support. Daily Green, Humble Pie, Jersey’s Creamery, Off The Griddle and Swamp Head Brewery provided numerous food and drink options to attendees.
There were farm tours, numerous workshops and both a pie- and cookie-baking contest. However, the main attraction was the stage that saw Shena Groger, Hard Luck Society, Tierra Libre, Nook & Cranny, Ricky Kendall & The Healers, MSNRA and the Captive Eddies perform throughout the day, with festival goers hooping, dancing and singing along.
To get a glimpse of the day’s events, flip through the gallery above.
All photos taken by WUFT photographer Ryan Jones.
Hundreds of plastic yellow ducks were bagged and prepared for the 3rd annual Duck Derby at Westide Park.
A younger member of the O2B Kids Fusion Dance Companyshows off her flexibility during a dance routine at the 3rd annual Duck Derby on Sunday afternoon.
Performers from the O2B Kids Fusion Dance Company performed at Westisde Park on Sunday afternoon.
Children pose for a picture with a duck mascot at that 3rd annual Duck Derby at Westside Park on Sunday afternoon.
5-year-old Libbi gets her face painted at Westside Park on Sunday afternoon.
Philomena Brotherton, 4, prepares to toss a beanbag at the 3rd annual Duck Derby hosted by the Child Advocacy Center and Children's Home Society of Florida.
Aaron, 7, and Jonathan, 3, slide down an inflatable slide at the 3rd annual Duck Derby at Westside Park.
The sun was shining and fun was in abundance at Gainesville’s 3rd annual Duck Derby Sunday afternoon.
The event, which took place at Westside Park, was sponsored by the Child Advocacy Center and the Children’s Home Society to bring awareness to issues of child abuse and to highlight different programs available to assist children.
Entrance to the event was free, but participants could choose to purchase miniature duck toys for $5 a piece to enter in the Duck Derby.
There was an inflatable slide, beanbag tosses and face painting booths set up to entertain enthusiastic youngsters and a large, yellow duck mascot at the park for the children to take photographs with.
Performers from the O2B Kids Fusion Dance Company, tumblers from the Sun County Gym and synchronized swimmers entertained attendees as they awaited the Duck Derby that took place later on in the afternoon.
The Duck Derby consisted of hundreds of plastic yellow ducks propelling down the Westside Park water slide and across the pool. The lucky owner of the first squeaky bath toy across the finish line was awarded $1,000.
Jay Stoeber’s quacker was the winner, and he took home the prize.
All photos taken by WUFT photographer Amber Riccinto.
It used to take Bobellina Moric about four to six hours to travel to and from the doctor. Thanks to a new program in Citrus County, medical treatment can come to her.
Moric, a homeless veteran who lives in Citrus County, used to schedule transportation and appointments ahead of time with her local Department of Veterans Affairs.
The Citrus County Health Department is now helping low-income and homeless patients like Moric who don’t have transportation get basic medical services with a new health bus.
On the bus, health professionals can do general check-ups and gynecological exams. They can also prescribe medication, conduct labs and STD tests, and provide free birth control and condoms.
Jim Rashley, assistant director, said the bus aims to serve areas far away from health centers.
Moric first used the health bus when it was in front of the Citrus County Family Resource Center. She said she was surprised by the speedy and kind attention she received during her physical and dental exams.
“For being a broke county [Citrus], this is just phenomenal,” she said.
The bus was funded by a grant from the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration, which classifies the county as a health professional shortage area, according to its website.
Citrus County is also considered low-income by HRSA because it has lower income per capita and a slightly higher poverty rate than the rest of Florida, according to the U.S. Census.
McKinley Lewis, a Florida Department of Health spokesman, said FDH provides 20 buses around the state. Though UF Health hosts a mobile clinic throughout Alachua County, the Citrus County bus is the only one funded by the FDH in North Central Florida.
The need for a mobile health unit is determined by each county, in order to address health outcomes specific to the local communities, he said.
Linda Wall, a bus staff member, said the bus started its rounds in March and operates four days a week. Services are offered depending on income, with the minimum fee of $10 for a physical exam. But, staff members try to be flexible with patients.
“We’re not going to hinder them getting care if they’re unable to pay us at that moment,” said Erika Tomin, a bus coordinator.
Valerie Altman, a nurse practitioner on the bus, said some patients have not seen a doctor in more than 10 years. Within a month on the bus, she said she’s seen patients ranging in age from 20 to 86. Some patients are migrant farm workers, unemployed or low-income residents.
“We’re dealing mostly with the homeless,” she said. “There are a lot of injuries. They hurt themselves or cut themselves.”
If more specialized care is needed, the nurses help patients decide where to go next and who to contact if they can’t pay for services.
However, Wall said Citrus County doesn’t have many specialists and sometimes they have to refer patients to Gainesville.
The bus intends to be the primary care provider and full-service clinic for hard-to-reach patients, Tomin said. After their initial visit, they can return to the bus and get follow-ups or pick up lab results.
James Sleighter, the director of the Homeless Shelter Mission in Citrus County, said the bus has fulfilled a big need for the homeless persons they see coming to their shelters. They don’t have many working vehicles and the number of people in need of their services is increasing.
Rashley said the county determined the area’s need for a mobile clinic after speaking with community leaders who work with impoverished groups.
The health department is relying on them to spread the word about the bus and build confidence in a community that typically is not trusting, he said.
“We are really the safety net in these communities,” Rashley said.
Cailey Marsh produced this update.
That highest ranking comes even though Suwannee is one of the least populated counties in the state. Out of the 67 counties in Florida, only 28 reported using corporal punishment during the 2011-12 academic year.
According to Tiffany Cowie, spokeswoman for the Florida Department of Education, Suwannee reported 359 students received corporal punishment during the 2012-13 school year.
Corporal punishment is still a routine practice in public schools throughout the United States. There are 19 states that still engage in this form of penalty.
According to the Florida Department of Education Student Information Database, during the 2011-12 school year, 360 students received corporal punishment in the Suwannee County School District.
When asked about the county’s high number of corporal punishment incidents, Suwannee School District Superintendent Jerry Scarborough declined to comment.
“We have a serious problem here and it needs to be scrutinized,” said James McNulty, founder of Floridians Against Corporal Punishment in Public School.
As a civil rights and human rights activist, McNulty has recently made corporal punishment in Suwannee County the next mission of his campaign. He has already had success in Santa Rosa County. He said he is ready to focus on this county because of the alarming numbers of reported incidents.
McNulty’s passion for the movement is undeniable.
“It is in Florida’s public schools, of which I am a product of, that I first learned to hate, to fear, to hold contempt, to have feelings of rage and revenge,” he said. “Public school is where I also learned what violence was.”
The Suwannee County School District student code of conduct for the 2013-14 school year defines corporal punishment as “the moderate use of paddling in front of a certified adult witness by a principal/administrator may be necessary to maintain discipline or to enforce school rules.”
Although the code of conduct includes a permission form for parents to check yes or no to using the punishment on their children, there are many unanswered questions about the practices.
McNulty said the code of conduct does not specify the measurements of the instrument being used to hit the student, how many hits are being administered, what specific actions warrant corporal punishment, if there are gender restrictions (males hitting young females) and more.
“You will find that virtually anything goes,” McNulty said.
McNulty’s first pursuit was in Santa Rosa County, where months of opposition ended with a victory. According to the Northwest Florida Daily News, school officials will abolish corporal punishment, also known as “paddling”, in the student code of conduct for the 2014-15 school year.
He recalls the tedious process that went on for many months; endless public record requests, ignored emails and phone calls, and frenzied school board meetings. McNulty’s determination and perseverance marked a milestone in Santa Rosa County, but only a minor accomplishment in his civil rights campaign.
McNulty first became involved when he was at work and overheard two parents discussing school officials calling them for approval to paddle their teenage high school daughters.
Marie Caton, a parent of a Santa Rosa County student, initially said yes and gave permission to use corporal punishment on her 10-year-old son. It was after seeing “the deepest shade of black and purple” on her son’s body when the guilt ensued for giving permission, she said.
“These people are paid and hired by the state to protect our children, not physically hurt them,” Caton said. “As educated people you’d think they could come up with something better than punishment with a board.”
McNulty is currently awaiting requested public records of the recent school year for Suwannee County.
However, eliminating the use of corporal punishment does not alleviate the problem of student misbehavior.
“The use of out of school suspension should not be increased due to a reduction in the use of corporal punishment,” said Joseph Gagnon, association professor in special education at the University of Florida. “To do so, would be to replace one ineffective method of intervention with another ineffective method.”
Last year, Gagnon was approached by the Southern Poverty Law Center and teamed up with Professor Brianna Kennedy-Lewis to conduct the study “Disciplinary Practices in Florida Schools.”
According to the study, corporal punishment models and teaches that violence is an effective approach to solving problems. It also said paddling only punishes misbehavior and doesn’t teach positive social behavior.
After surveying Title I school principals, Gagnon noted these schools haven’t implemented policies that “prevent problem behavior and promote appropriate behavior.”
The intensive study offers recommendations concerning the use of corporal punishment starting with the immediate abolition of corporal punishment in Florida schools.
According to the study, individualized intervention and positive behavior intervention and support are shown to promote social and emotional learning for students.
He recommends “ongoing professional development to help educators, school staff and administrators implement evidence-based alternatives to corporal punishment and other ineffectual punishments.”
“We think we’re so advanced in the United States, but South Africa outlawed corporal punishment 20 years ago,” Gagnon said. “We’re not always ahead of the curve.”
Kathryn Williams produced this update.