New sheriffs reach out with town meetings


Published: Thursday, January 20, 2005 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, January 19, 2005 at 11:46 p.m.
Some of the North Central Florida area's new sheriffs plan to hold town meetings to reach out to communities in the counties they serve.
Putnam County Sheriff Dean Kelly, formerly a major at the agency, will hold a "Your Sheriff's Office" meeting in Interlachen this evening. The event will be held at the Interlachen Elementary School cafeteria at 6:30 p.m. and is the first of 16 such meetings to be held around the county this year. Other communities that will host meetings include Johnson, Florahome and Interlachen Lakes Estates. The Putnam sheriff plans to hold similar meetings around the county annually, Capt. Steve Rose said.
Suwannee County Sheriff Tony Cameron said he plans to hold quarterly community meetings within the next few months. Cameron had previously served as a deputy under the late Suwannee County Sheriff Bob Leonard before he was elected.
In Clay County, Sheriff Rick Beseler has been attending civic meetings around the county, spokeswoman Mary Justino said. Plans also are in the works for some type of community meeting in Columbia County with Sheriff Bill Gootee although a schedule hasn't been set, spokeswoman Laurie Windham said.
The state has 27 new sheriffs after last year's election including new sheriffs in five North Central Florida counties - Clay, Columbia, Dixie, Putnam and Suwannee.
  • Easy rides: Creating a smoother ride for motorists is the motive behind a series of reflective blue signs positioned on the shoulders of Interstate 75 near the 39th Avenue overpass and State Road 26 east of Gainesville.
    The signs are part of a "rideability" study being conducted by a "smoothness" committee at the Florida Department of Transportation's State Materials Office in Gainesville.
    The study is trying to determine the point where motorists would find a road's roughness unacceptable, said Christine Syed with the agency's Public Information Office. The results will be used on future projects statewide.
    The signs list numbers showing the roughness reading for that section of road. Five is the best and 0 the worst, Syed said.
  • The old adage applies: After a suspicious man asked a 12-year-old Ft. Clarke Middle School student for directions to the mall on Wednesday morning and then repeatedly begged her to get into his silver Saturn so she could show him where the mall is, deputies are reminding kids to "Never talk to strangers or get into their vehicles."
    Lt. Jim Troiano, of the Alachua County Sheriff's Office recommends parents develop a password with their children, so in the event that another person picks them up, they will know to expect the password.
    Meanwhile, deputies are on the lookout for the white male suspect in his mid- to late-40s with brown and gray hair, and a mustache.
    A report said the man met the girl at a bus stop in the 2500 block of NW 51st Street. He was wearing a red shirt with blue stripes. The report also said that the silver Saturn had chrome rims, and the left taillight on the car was broken but had been repaired with yellow tape.
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