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Monday, July 26, 2021

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Ocala Mayor speaking to local Republican women’s group

Ocala Mayor Kent Guinn will address the Republican Women of Ocala-Marion County Federated on July 27 at the Ocala Golf Club.

Ocala City Council member says audit shows Ocala Fire Rescue Chief termination followed protocol

Ocala City Council member Jay Musleh says he asked the city auditor to conduct an audit of the recent firing of former Ocala Fire Rescue Chief Shane Alexander. Musleh says the firing followed protocol.

City Gallery showcases completed, ongoing projects across Ocala

The City Gallery at Ocala City Hall highlights recently completed and ongoing projects across the city. Visit city hall at 110 SE Watula Avenue to see it in person.

Ocala resident asks city council for path forward to keep pigeons

A resident of northwest Ocala is hoping the city will make an exception for his pet pigeons after he was instructed he could no longer keep them.

Agendas are the ‘grocery lists’ of Ocala government meetings

Agendas are the “grocery lists” that keep Ocala, and all local government meetings, from veering out of focus. An agenda sets forth the topics to be discussed at any meeting of a governmental body. Across the county, every meeting of the Ocala City Council, local advisory boards, the Marion County Commission, or any other governmental agency or department has an agenda list.

Marion County Public School Teacher recognized nationally as ‘Gold Star Teacher of the Year’

Jenny Hoosac, a fourth-grade teacher at Sunrise Elementary School, has been awarded the first ever "Gold Star Teacher of the Year" from a national organization for educators. A 12-year teaching veteran and Dunnellon High School graduate, Hoosac will receive thousands of dollars in prizes, including a cash scholarship for her classroom and a three-day Disney vacation. Leave your thanks and congratulations to Hoosac for a job well done.

Ambleside School of Ocala reattains ‘historic landmark’ designation

The Ambleside School was approved as a Local Historic Landmark during the July 20 meeting of the Ocala City Council.

Attorney representing former Ocala Fire Chief cites termination letter as ‘abrupt, lacking truth’

“It’s very concerning, the lack of truth that’s placed in this letter. The reasoning that’s placed in this letter isn’t substantiated...There isn’t an announced investigation, this was abrupt" - An attorney representing former Ocala Fire Chief Shane Alexander addressed the city’s termination letter during a recent meeting of the Ocala City Council.

Marion Public Schools will reopen with voluntary face coverings

Marion County Public Schools will start the new school year on August 10 with optional face coverings, full-capacity athletic and arts events, and common student spaces. Face coverings can be worn by any student, staff member, or campus visitor/volunteer who feels it necessary to do so.

Ocala City Council President says termination is a ‘disgrace,’ ‘easiest to rehire’ fired Ocala Fire Rescue chief

“I think the easiest thing to do is to hire him back, make him chief. Put him back into that role that he was thriving in, and that the fire department was thriving under" - Ocala City Council President Justin Grabelle said he believes the city should rehire fired Ocala Fire Chief Shane Alexander during this week's Ocala City Council meeting.

Oakcrest Elementary to receive up to $300,000 in federal grants designated for ‘low-performing’ schools

Oakcrest Elementary School will receive over $230,000 in federal funding as part of a grant program that targets low-performing schools.

Hundreds of new homes could substantially increase population of Belleview

An Orlando-based investment group is planning to build hundreds of homes in three new communities across the city of Belleview that could have a profound impact on the city's population growth.

Former Ocala City Council president Mary Rich ‘clears name,’ lends support to City Manager

“Sandra Wilson is doing an excellent job running this city, and I don’t see why we have to bring this up each week...As long as Sandra is doing a good job, and she is following her contract, I don’t think we need to discuss it" - Former Ocala City Council president Mary Sue Rich made a passioned plea in support of City Manager Sandra Wilson.

Marion County generates over $340,000 from tourism tax, 300% increase over last year

Marion County generated over $340,000 from its tourism development tax from April to June 2021, an over 320% increase from the same period last year.

Ocala City Council members disagreed with city’s reasons for terminating former Ocala Fire Rescue Chief

Ocala City Council disagreed with City Manager Sandra Wilson's stated reasons for terminating former Ocala Fire Rescue Chief Shane Alexander during their last meeting. Grabelle: “I’ve been presented with no evidence of Alexander undermining Ocala City Council. All I've heard is hearsay." Bethea: “I can’t say whether Chief Alexander was politicking, because I don’t know.” Matthew Wardell: "I was never told I was being undermined. I still don’t have any evidence.” Jay Musleh: “I may not agree with the human resource file and the termination…but I’m going to support our city manager” Brent Malever: “It breaks my heart to see Ocala get into this situation."

Marion County unemployment rate increases 16% from previous month, still down 50% from 2020

Despite a decrease of 50% from last year, Marion County's June unemployment rate increased 16% over May this year. According to the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, there are 9,152 people that are unemployed Marion County.

City looking for nominations for Mary Sue Rich Diversity Awards

The City of Ocala is looking for nominations for the upcoming Mary Sue Rich Diversity Awards. Presented annually since 2003, these awards are given to those who promote racial harmony and equality, raise cultural awareness and/or celebrate diversity in Ocala/Marion County, according to the City of Ocala.

‘SOS Cuba’ supporters stage protest in Ocala

Protesters looking to bring awareness to Cuban residents' complaints of food and medicine shortages took to the streets in Ocala this past week. 

MCPS Principal appointed to serve on Department of Education task force

Oakcrest Elementary Principal Christine Sandy was appointed by the Speaker of the Florida House of Representatives Chris Sprowls to serve on the Florida Department of Education’s (DOE) Task Force on Closing the Achievement Gap for Boys.

Farmyard animals some of the many up for adoption through Marion County Animal Services

Did you know that farmyard animals are up for adoption through Marion County Animal Services? Check the organization's adoption webpage to search through all of the animals that are currently calling the shelter home.

Ocala attorney asks city council ‘how many residents is enough’

“We got 600 people in opposition. I would ask this for this council, or any council in any jurisdiction: How many is enough? What’s the right number for polls. Is it 600, 300, 5, 1?" - Ocala attorney Fred Roberts questioned city leaders during a recent meeting as to what threshold of residents was enough to sway their decision one way or another in reference to a proposed 7-Eleven near the intersection of SE Maricamp Road and SE 25th Avenue.

Candidate field set for upcoming Ocala City Council election

According to the Marion County Supervisor of Elections’ Office, a total of 15 candidates will run for the four open seats on the Ocala City Council and the mayor's office.

Optimum RV seeking $150,000 grant to renovate new headquarters, bring 50 jobs to southeast Ocala

Optimum RV is hoping for the City of Ocala’s approval for a grant to offset the costs of renovating a building for their new southeast Ocala headquarters.

Marion County solid waste improvements include potential additions of landfill, curbside service

The county’s growth plans for the next five years include updates to solid waste and the potential to build a new landfill.