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News Briefs: July 12, 2018

Summer reading program aims to help struggling readers
Although the Gadsden County School District’s state third-grade reading scores rose six percent this past year, the district is holding a mandatory reading camp this summer for those 60 percent of its third-graders who scored below Level 3 on the 2018 Florida Standards Assessment reading exam.

District Elementary Education Director Tammy McGriff Farlin said the Florida Department of Education requires third-graders who score below Level 3 to attend a summer reading camp. This reading camp is being held at Quincy’s George W. Munroe Elementary School for all affected students.

County requests state funds to beautify Blue Star Highway
On June 15, Gadsden County Commission Chair Brenda Holt (on behalf of the commission) sent a letter to Dustie Moss, district landscape project manager for the Florida Department of Transportation, requesting mitigation funds for the beautification of Blue Star Highway, U.S. 90, in Midway.

Gadsden County is seeking mitigation funds for the beautification of the Midway I-10 interchange in a joint participation agreement with the state. The funds would pay for construction and establishment costs, with the understanding that the county would be responsible for design fees, project administration and long-term maintenance.

Holt said the county commission is confident that the requested funds will enable the county to improve the visual appeal of the community. As of press time Tuesday, the Florida Department of Transportation had yet to respond to the county’s request.

County Commission approves Midway Business Park preliminary plat
At its July 3 meeting, the Gadsden County Commission finally approved the preliminary plat for the Midway Business Park by a unanimous 5-0 vote.

The plat calls for the creation of 33 lots on 191.29 acres in Midway on the south side of Highway 90, south of Brickyard Road.  The application for the plat was first brought before the county commission May 15, but the commissioners voted to send the proposal back to the county’s Planning and Zoning Commission for further review.

The Planning and Zoning Commission then voted unanimously at its June 14 meeting to recommend the updated plans for the plat to the commission. Throughout the approval process, the biggest change that Anderson Columbia, the project’s developer, had to make was to put up a sign and make sure that all traffic leaving its new development will turn right toward Route 90 instead of turning left toward Brickyard Road. The requirement was added in the hope of easing citizens’ concerns about an increase in industrial traffic on Brickyard Road.

County Commissioner Viegbesie earns advanced designation
Gadsden County Commissioner Anthony “Dr. V” Viegbesie (District 2) recently earned the Advanced County Commissioner designation by the Florida Counties Foundation following the completion of a comprehensive study program.

Viegbesie was recognized, along with nine other county commissioners, at the Florida Association of Counties’ Annual Conference and Educational Exposition in Orlando in late June. Viegbesie said he was very grateful to the Florida Counties Foundation for giving him an opportunity to expand his wealth of knowledge.

The Advanced County Commissioner program was started in 2006 for graduates of the foundation’s Certified County Commissioners program. The course content focuses on leadership with an emphasis on the future of Florida. Participants are tasked with preparing for the future by thinking and acting anew, as well as asserting skillful leadership in times of daunting challenges and rapid change.