Oct. 14, 2014: Afternoon News in 90

By , and on October 14th, 2014 | Last updated: October 14, 2014 at 4:40 pm


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UF Presidential Search Committee Moves Forward with Two Candidates

By on October 14th, 2014 | Last updated: October 14, 2014 at 4:27 pm

Kent Fuchs, left, and David McLaughlin are the two finalists for the UF president position.

Kent Fuchs, left, and David McLaughlin are the two finalists for the UF president position.

The University of Florida Presidential Search Committee narrowed the field of candidates from three to two and forwarded the recommendations to the Board of Trustees for consideration as UFs’ 12th president.

Dr. W. Kent Fuchs and Dr. David W. McLaughlin move forward in the search for a new president for the University of Florida. Dr. Sibrandes Poppema was not selected to continue on in the presidential search.

The University of Florida Presidential Search Committee held interviews Tuesday morning to determine which candidates would be selected as finalists. The candidates were asked questions on their strategies to retain and empower faculty, the land-grant mission of the university, student career opportunities, campus diversity and inclusion, NCAA athletics and financial management.

Dr. W. Kent Fuchs, current provost of Cornell University, said he is ready to make a commitment to this University.

“I will devote for the next ten years all my energies, all my experience, all my talents and abilities to achieve the aspirations that you all have for this great University,” Fuchs said.

Dr. David W. McLaughlin, current provost of New York University, said he is also prepared to take on the position.

“I really believe in the institution of the American research university,” he said, as it is where new knowledge is created, learned and transferred.

On pre-eminence: The University of Florida has a pre-eminence plan in place to establish itself as one of the nation’s best public research universities.

McLaughlin said that as president he would ensure the success of this plan by making himself available to meet with faculty candidates personally.

“It shows that the university is serious about their area,” he said.

Fuchs emphasized the importance of UF expansion. Presence in major urban areas helps the institution with visibility and gives the students new opportunities, he said.

On the land-grant mission: As a land-grant institution, the University of Florida is designated as one of the two universities in Florida that is granted land by the state to promote education and research in the fields of agriculture, science and engineering.

“It extends beyond that [agriculture, veterinary medicine]. It really is the entire university…even in the humanities,” Fuchs argued. As a land-grant University, UF has a role and responsibility in engaging society.

McLaughlin said that he supports agricultural activities, including sustainability and conservation, because it is important for the future of the planet. However, he also believes that the arts and humanities are at the center of a general education.

“They are what create a well-rounded citizen.” McLaughlin said.

On NCAA athletics: For the past six years, the University of Florida has placed first in the Southeastern Conference All-Sports Trophy.

To balance this tradition with academics, McLaughlin said he would ensure that strong leadership was in place in the athletic department to ”make sure that they [student-athletes] are treated absolutely fairly with no favoritism.” Student-athletes need to be successful in courses and graduate.

Fuchs commented on the visibility that sports at the Division 1 level bring to a University. “Seizing on that opportunity to bring together people that can benefit the University through philanthropy is a great opportunity,” he said.

The final two candidates will participate in campus and faculty assemblies Tuesday evening and then meet with the Board of the Trustees Wednesday morning, after which the new president-elected will be selected.

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Pictures: UF Presidential Finalists Visits

By on October 14th, 2014 | Last updated: October 14, 2014 at 5:11 pm

The three candidates had a busy schedule on their interview day on the UF campus, starting in the early morning with a meeting with the search committee, various constituencies and a photo and video session with the University communications office.


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Florida’s Fight Against Flu More Forceful This Season

By on October 14th, 2014 | Last updated: October 14, 2014 at 5:33 pm
A child participates in the Teach Flu a Lesson program and receives his annual flu vaccination. (PRNewsFoto/Families Fighting Flu)

A child participates in the Teach Flu a Lesson program and receives his annual flu vaccination. (PRNewsFoto/Families Fighting Flu)

Warding off the dreaded flu bug just got easier for Florida students.

Since last year, 16 more counties have joined expanding program efforts against the threat of influenza this season to better protect communities.

Almost half of Florida’s 67 counties are now participating in the “Teach Flu a Lesson” program, a campaign promoted by Healthy Schools LLC and Families Fighting Flu (FFF).

“Teach Flu a Lesson” began its pilot launch last year and allows children in grade school the opportunity to receive the nasal-inhaled flu vaccine, FluMist Quadrivalent, at no cost, even without medical insurance.

“The program has grown significantly this season, and a lot more counties have joined on and are participating,” said Laura Scott, the executive director of FFF.

Healthy Schools vaccinated a total of 11,000 students in northeast Florida during the 2013 flu season. This year, Healthy Schools and FFF hope to vaccinate more than 200,000 students across the state after they announced their partnership in September.

“Children are the key spreaders of influenza,” Scott said. “We’re kind of building this cocoon around the children to make sure that the elderly and other people within the community don’t get sick.”

Fewer than 1,000 children were vaccinated in Duval County during the program’s pilot season last year, and the program mostly focused vaccinating north of Volusia County.

This year, however, the program has vaccinated about 13,000 children so far at 163 schools in Duval County alone between Sept. 2 and Sept. 8, according to Katie Luebker, vice president of operations of Healthy Schools.

Luebker said the program recently expanded with two additional offices, in Ft. Lauderdale and Lakeland, to service regions of Florida in addition to its Jacksonville headquarters.

Healthy Schools is the only private company in Florida currently operating this type of program, according to the organization’s website.

Caroline Wiles, the executive assistant of Healthy Schools, said the program has expanded to 10 teams of nurses who each service about 30 schools a day.

“We are the largest (vaccination program for influenza) in the state of Florida, absolutely, and are eventually looking to expand outside of Florida,” Wiles said.

Healthy Schools is a company that focuses on providing flu vaccines to elementary through high school students at no cost to families, schools or health departments, according to the website.

FFF is a national advocacy organization, located in Arlington, Va., primarily made up of families who have lost children to influenza or whose families have experienced the tragedy of having a child hospitalized due to the disease.

Wiles said Healthy Schools and FFF recently partnered to spread awareness about the influenza virus and the importance of being vaccinated while in school.

“Our partnership is trying to get across the importance of vaccinations each year, as well as knowing the facts about flu,” Wiles said. “I think a lot of people don’t realize how potentially harmful the virus can be.”

The program is also implementing voluntary staff vaccinations through county request only, but it varies by county.

Luebker said Palm Beach and Okaloosa counties have already requested staff vaccinations, and she imagines most counties will next year.

“Teach Flu a Lesson” will be vaccinating Hillsborough County from Oct. 8 to Oct. 17, and the program will then tackle Polk and Seminole counties.

The program will continue to run clinics in schools all the way through Christmas break in December.

“We’re on a much bigger scale here, and it’s incredible,” Luebker said. “It’s been an adventure, and it’s been exciting to work with new staff.”

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Search for Ancestors Finds Popularity with County Residents

By on October 14th, 2014 | Last updated: October 14, 2014 at 11:40 am

When Kathy McCarthy Dugan’s mother encouraged her to find out more about the family tree, she didn’t realize she’d still be adding to all of her research eight years later.

“She was dying,” McCarthy Dugan said of her mother, Dorothy McCarthy. “We sat down several afternoons and talked about the family history and how far back it went — each branch, what she knew — and basically, what she knew started me on my journey.”

McCarthy Dugan isn’t alone in the search for family history.

Residents across Alachua County are heading to local libraries and the Family History Center at the Mormon Church in Gainesville to take advantage of the free-of-charge genealogy collection and databases.

In honor of Family History Month in October, Sylvia Ashwell, Alachua County genealogy librarian, is even offering the community introductory genealogical seminars to teach people how to work with the library’s materials.

“I’ve noticed that more and more patrons are trying to find out who their ancestors were by using our online databases, Ancestry.com Library Edition and Heritage Quest,” Ashwell said. “I wanted to be able to reach these and other people who wanted to start finding out more about their family by showing them these resources and what else we have available.”

Although the participation in Ashwell’s seminars varies week to week, sometimes with as few as five in attendance and sometimes as many as 30, independent pursuit of the history of individuals’ family trees is something eager residents in the community can’t seem to get enough of.

McCarthy Dugan is just one example of a county resident making huge strides in her search.

She was inspired to continue with her research because of what a character her great-grandfather was according to her mother.

Kathy McCarthy Dugan enters her grandfather’s name through another search engine before pulling up a type of registration card assigned to him during World War II.

Kathy McCarthy Dugan enters her grandfather’s name through another search engine before pulling up a type of registration card assigned to him during World War II.

After reviewing his records, she was contacted about an honor being presented to her great-grandfather, which she would have never known about if it hadn’t been for her discoveries through the center.

“All of a sudden, an individual through Ancestry.com contacted me from this New Jersey state corrections office institution where my great-grandfather was a policeman,” McCarthy Dugan said. “He was looking into individuals who fell in the line of duty who were skipped being recognized, and from there, he provided me with all of the articles that he had looked up on my great-grandfather.”

Shortly after, McCarthy Dugan learned of a marble plaque being put in her great-grandfather’s name in New Jersey in September 2013 and in Washington, D.C. in May 2013.

McCarthy Dugan said she believes the individuals who contacted her about her great-grandfather’s plaque were motivated to do so after they saw how active she was in the databases.

Rita Galloway, a worker at the Family History Center, explained now more than ever before is the best time for people to find out more about their roots because the center helps individuals gain access to microfilms about their families that can be viewed through their microfilm readers.

She said finding out about your family history can be exciting no matter where you are in your search.

“I especially love the beginners,” Galloway said. “You only begin once, and family history is never-ending.”

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Here Are The Three UF Presidential Finalists

By on October 13th, 2014 | Last updated: October 14, 2014 at 12:43 pm

The search for the University of Florida’s next president was narrowed from 15 candidates to three on Monday morning. The three finalists will be publicly interviewed on Tuesday, and the UF Presidential Search Committee will then forward recommendations to the Board of Trustees.

The three presidential candidates include W. Kent Fuchs, Ph.D., of Cornell University, David W. McLaughlin, Ph.D., of New York University and Sibrandes Poppema, Ph.D., of the University of Groningen in the Netherlands.

All of the finalists have strong academic backgrounds, as top executives for their universities or chief academic officers:

Kent Fuchs, Cornell University

Wesley Kent Fuchs, Ph.D.

Wesley Kent Fuchs, Ph.D.

Wesley Kent Fuchs, 59, is the provost for Cornell University. Fuchs received his doctorate in 1985 from the University of Illinois and is a former professor in the areas of electrical and computer engineering at the University of Illinois and Purdue University.

Fuchs served as a professor and the Joseph Silbert Dean of the College of Engineering at Cornell University from July 2002 to Dec. 2008 and has been a provost and professor since Jan. 2009. As provost at Cornell University, Fuchs’ accomplishments include leading Cornell’s New York City Tech Campus and developing Cornell’s strategic plan for achieving academic preeminence as one of the world’s top 10 universities.

However, Fuchs’ plan to move the African Studies and Research Center at Cornell from autonomous control to under the direction of the Colleges of Arts and Sciences caused fierce debates from the center’s faculty, students and staff in 2011.

Fuchs is married to Linda A. Fuchs, who taught at the King’s Academy in West Palm Beach before the couple met in seminary.

David McLaughlin, New York University

David Warren McLaughlin, Ph.D.

©NYU Photo Bureau: Asselin

David Warren McLaughlin, Ph.D.

David Warren McLaughlin, 70, is provost at New York University. Since receiving his doctorate from Indiana University in 1971, McLaughlin has worked as assistant professor and professor at several universities including Iowa State University, University of Arizona, Princeton University and New York University.

McLaughlin’s specialization includes mathematical neuroscience, applied mathematics and nonlinear waves. As provost, McLaughlin provided the academic leadership to establish two new degree-granting research universities: NYU, Abu Dhabi and NYU, Shanghai. McLaughlin also directed the expansion of the arts and sciences faculty in New York by over 100 people and enhanced the academic facilities for the New York campus.

McLaughlin is married to Ruth Ann McLaughlin and is a father of four.

Sibrandes Poppema, University of Groningen

Sibrandes Poppema, Ph.D.

Sibrandes Poppema, Ph.D.

Sibrandes Poppema, 65, is president at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands. Poppema trained as a physician and pathologist in the Netherlands, Germany and the United States and has a doctorate in the immunopathology of Hodgkin’s disease.

Poppema was first appointed as the JK de Cock chair of Immunopathology in 1985 and has since served as a specialist and clinician scientist in various institutions. Poppema has served as director of laboratory medicine at the Cross Cancer Institute in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada as well as the Dean of the Faculty of Medical Sciences at the University of Groningen, where he has been president since 2008.

Fuchs, McLaughlin and Poppema will be interviewed by the board on Wednesday before the 12th president-elect is announced.


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Oct. 13, 2014: Afternoon News In 90

By on October 13th, 2014 | Last updated: October 13, 2014 at 5:25 pm

Taylor Trache produced this update. 

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In The News: Vatican Proposes Shift In Relationship With Gay Members, Florida Colleges Avoiding Sunshine Law, Growler Bill Victory For Microbreweries, Sea Turtles On Rise In Florida

By on October 13th, 2014 | Last updated: October 13, 2014 at 5:13 pm
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Water-Saving Technologies And Conservation Goals Cut Confusion

By on October 13th, 2014 | Last updated: October 13, 2014 at 3:26 pm

Turning off the water while brushing your teeth and taking shorter showers are some of the more common ways people try to use less water.

However, are those two minutes with the water off actually making a difference in the water conservation process?

Indiana State University conducted a survey that found some confusion in terms of water conservation. According to the survey, most people underestimate the amount of water they use on a daily basis. They also believe cutting back on their water usage is the most effective way to save water, as opposed to replacing appliances and fixing leaks.

Amy Carpus, an efficiency program coordinator at Gainesville Regional Utilities, said the small efforts add up, but it is even more important to understand your consumption.

“The best message is to be aware of what you are doing and how much water it is actually using, and then go from that point,” Carpus said. “Learn what you’re doing now and figure out ways you can trim where you are comfortable trimming your water use, and then slowly work your way toward the stuff that you’re maybe not willing to do.”

By shortening a 10-minute shower down to five minutes, Carpus said you can save close to 1,000 gallons of water per person per month in the household, but you should always shoot to reach a higher conservation goal.

However, if you want to reach that higher goal, you have to be willing to spend an extra buck.

Appliances such as dishwashers, washing machines and toilets are starting to be made with new water-saving technologies that come with a price. New low-flow toilets now use less than two gallons of water per flush.

About half of water consumption is also used outside on lawns and landscaping. Instead of using the drinking water taken from the aquifers to water yards, GRU has about 1,500 customers using reclaimed water for irrigation. This process serves as a way to help preserve aquifers and to replenish the water taken from them.

The water reclamation process is actively putting back thousands of gallons of water into the aquifers to replenish their levels.

As a whole, GRU’s residential customers use only 71 gallons of water per person per day, as opposed to the national average of 109 gallons.

“I think a lot of people do know how to efficiently conserve water, but it’s a matter of balancing your knowledge with what you’re willing to pay for,” Carpus said.

Although the small efforts of taking shorter showers and turning off the water while brushing your teeth do make a difference, they are not as efficient as water-saving technologies. Those who want to make a bigger difference will find the best way to do it is to understand their water consumption, set a conservation goal and reach it.

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Two Hit On University Avenue

By on October 13th, 2014 | Last updated: October 13, 2014 at 3:02 pm

Christopher Olson and Audrey Clark were struck by a vehicle on Friday around midnight when they crossed W University Avenue against the light.

According to an email from Gainesville Police Department spokesman Ben Tobias, an eastbound vehicle struck Olson and Clark as they crossed at 17th Street. Both pedestrians hit the vehicle’s windshield before landing on the road.

Clark, 20, was conscious at the scene but suffered head injuries, and Olson, 21, lost consciousness due to heavy blood-loss from the back of the head. Their injuries were serious but not life-threatening, and they were both taken to UF Health Shands Hospital.

Tobias said GPD does not know if anyone involved was intoxicated. Toxicology results will be available in 6 to 8 weeks.

The driver involved was traveling down University Avenue at about 30 mph and had the green light. Olson and Clark did not have the signal to cross the street, and other pedestrians were waiting at the intersection when the pair decided to cross, according to the email from Tobias. Multiple witnesses confirmed the account provided by GPD.

GPD’s investigation did not indicate any violations on the driver’s part; however, Tobias anticipates both Olson and Clark will be cited for pedestrian violations.


Erica A. Hernandez contributed to this report.

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