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PUBLIC COMMENTS FROM THE TOWN HALL MEETING Here is a summary of the comments that were spoken or written down at the March 28 Town Hall meeting. City Staff and Vision 2035 members are looking at all of these comments and appreciate the feedback. Topics shared include:

  • Smoother flowing traffic with more attention to turn lanes and speed bumps to slow traffic through residential areas.

  • Better lighting to increase safety and reduce crime.

  • A desire for sewer hook-ups.

  • A request for sidewalks and benches at the SunTran bus stops. Covered benches would be even better.

  • More full services for area residents including grocery stores, medical facilities and a comprehensive community center.

  • Beautification and noise buffering around new and existing business areas.

  • Easier and free access to public parks.

  • A plan for activities for teenagers.

  • An end to business owners in the community taking advantage of neighbors/customers.

  • Run down stores and homes on State Road 40 should be fixed up or town down.

  • More information is desired on the Pay as you Go Electric Plan. (Look for this to begin perhaps in July)

  • What are plans for small, minority businesses to benefit from the new Vision plans?

  • What is the city’s plan for diversity and equitable goals in employment, promotions and procurement?

  • Regular police patrols at night throughout the community.

  • Stop outsourcing city jobs to out of town businesses.

  • Greater diversity in the type of businesses that are in the community.

  • No libraries in the area and local children being bused to other schools.

  • Concerns about utility late fees, the upcoming summer credits, budget billing, use of late fees and consistency of billing throughout the city was discussed.

  • Questions were asked about the proposed railroad spur and widening of roads to proposed industrial parks.

HAVE YOUR VOICE HEARD – MEETINGS YOU DO NOT WANT TO MISS Governor’s West Ocala Neighborhood Revitalization Council has resumed meeting monthly and invites all community residents to attend. The next meeting will be at Howard Academy at 9 a.m. on Tuesday, May 10. If you live in Poinciana Heights their Neighborhood Association has also resumed meeting on a monthly basis at Dr. N. H. Jones Elementary School at 6:30 p.m. on the first Monday of the month. Formed to create a fraternal spirit, to enhance home ownership through civic pride and to promote a good neighbor policy, the next meeting will be on May 2. The West Ocala Community Plan is making great progress in its development. You have the opportunity to help create the future of your community. The next community workshop to design your community will be held on Saturday, May 7 starting at 11 a.m. at the Croskey Center. Let your voice be heard!

AT THE BARBARA WASHINGTON / OCALA SENIOR CENTER So many activities take place at the Senior Center you truly need to call Director Grace Huffman at 629-8357 or visit the center to learn about all the possibilities. Highlights this month include WellCare Bingo on May 2 and 9 at 12:30 p.m. It is free to play and prizes are given. Join the Healthy Lifestyle Seminar on May 19, 26 and June 2 from 10 – 11 a.m. This free program will help you with meal planning, portion control and much more. A bowling team has been set up for Tuesday mornings at 10 and swimming is coming in June from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. at

the Hampton Pool for a fee of $27.

SUDDEN INFANT DEATH SYNDROME TRAINING FOR PROFESSIONALS If you work for an organization that works with families free training is available for your group on ways to reduce the risk of SIDS. Other information will also be presented on topics where some mixed messages have been heard, such as breast feeding and co- sleeping. Provided by the Department of Children and Families Circuit 5 office, please contact Philip Scarpelli at Philip_Scarpelli@dcf.state.fl.us or 1-352-330-5512 for this excellent opportunity for your organization.

NEIGHBORHOOD SCHOOLS IN WEST OCALA Do you live close to your neighborhood elementary school but your child is sent on a bus to school miles away? Would you like things to be different? The Marion County School Board is holding a workshop that is open to the public on Thursday, April 28, in the School Board meeting room at 512 S.E. 3 Street at 9 a.m. Compliments go to the School Board for recognizing that many residents have concerns about their children being bused out of the community to other schools and for scheduling this workshop to discuss this issue

GIRL SCOUT SUMMER CAMPS

HAVE CHILDREN AGES 3 – 5

Girls entering grades 1 -12 are invited to have fun at camp this summer. Day and overnight camps are offered in June and July at five locations in West Central Florida. Horseback riding, water skiing, marine labs and

Head Start is an early educational program for children 3 – 5 years of age. The program is offered free of charge! Children in Head Start receive school skills to prepare them for kindergarten; hearing, vision and speech screenings, dental exams and physical and speech therapy, if needed. Families are offered additional support services to help your child prosper. Parents do not need to work or attend school to qualify. To apply bring your child’s birth

much more await every girl, whether or not they are in Girl Scouts. Visit www.gswcf.org or call 1-800-

certificate and proof of family income for the last 12 months to CDS at 1601 N.E. 25 Avenue, Suite 900.

881-4475 for information.

Call 629-0055 X 293 for information.

HOWARD MIDDLE S YMCA YOUTH ACHIEVER PROGRAM Through April 26 at the J.C. Penney store in the Paddock Mall you can help the Youth Achiever program that meets daily at Howard Middle School. Under the direction of Narvella Haynes, this outstanding program has made a difference in the lives of participating students for many years. If you shop at J.C. Penney in the next few days please ask them to round up your purchase to the next whole dollar. The difference will be donated to the YMCA Youth Achiever Program at Howard.

GIFT WRAP FOR A CAUSE AND MOM’S NIGHT OUT If you are shopping at the Paddock Mall, perhaps for Mother’s Day, between May 5 and May 7 please take your gifts to the Marion County Children’s Alliance’s Family Violence Prevention table located by Victoria Secrets to have them gift wrapped. For a small fee your gifts will be beautifully wrapped with all profits going to support this cause. Mom’s Night Out is a special event for the ladies in our community. The Paddock Mall will open its doors on May 5th from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. to pamper the women in the community with a night of food, fashion, shopping and entertainment.

FREE LEGAL HELP FOR SENIORS & THOSE CARING FOR SENIORS Community Legal Services has a new program to provide free legal help for senior citizens and those involved with seniors. Covering many areas such as problems with mortgage holders, people you owe money, being victimized by a scam, failing health, abuse including mental, physical and financial, or problems in receiving assistance such as food stamps this new program is here for you. Please call 629-0105 X 2915 for help.

MAILBOX FOOD DRIVE MAY 14 Saturday, May 14 is the day for the annual Letter Carriers National Food Drive to Stamp Out Hunger. This day has become the largest one day food drive in the country. In Marion County last year 382,000 pounds of food was collected and donated to Interfaith Emergency Services who shared the food with agencies such as the Salvation Army, Brother’s Keeper, the Help Agency of the Forest and other organizations that serve the hungry. If you can, hang one or more cans of food on your mailbox before the letter carrier comes on May 14. If you would like to help load, unload and sort please call Thomas Curtis at 572-5634. Service hours are available for high school students.

CHURCH NEWS

Free meals are provided at a number of area churches. Holy Band on N.W. 10 Street has not been previously mentioned and they invite you to free breakfast on Sunday mornings from 8 – 9:30. Please call 732-3300 for a complete list of churches serving free meals. Holy Band also holds a Men’s Group twice a month. Call 622-3467 for details. St. Paul A.M.E. has their Annual Health Fair on Saturday, April 23 from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. Greater Hopewell Baptist Church invites you to a Showcasing of Student Accomplishments and Portraits of Excellent on April 30 at 6 p.m. The event is free and middle and high school students will be recognized. Kingdom Christian Academy is recruiting 50 children who just finished VPK or will enter Kindergarten or First Grade in the fall. Low income families may be eligible for scholarships. Call 369-3119. Pastor Brandon Cave at Higher Ground Worship Center, 1710 N.W. Martin Luther King, hosts a first Saturday of the month prayer followed by a neighborhood prayer walk. Please wear a red shirt and black or blue pants or jeans. Call 843-7210 for more information. Pentecostal Full Gospel Worship Center is the site of FirePower Conference May 20 – 22 featuring concerts, workshops and much more. Showcasing Kierra Sheard, Davell Taylor and Pastor Brondon Mathis, tickets are

$20 in advance. Call 622-8960 for details

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