Commission may honor Bowles with an official city song

Published: Monday, January 4, 2010 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, January 3, 2010 at 9:18 p.m.

Home to a major public university and a vibrant music scene, Gainesville has a lot of things going for it. But the city lacks at least one thing: theme music.

City Commissioner Lauren Poe thinks it's time to change that.

Poe's plan is to honor longtime University of Florida band director Richard W. Bowles, who died in early December at age 91, by making Bowles' "Tree City Fanfare" the city's official song.

That would be appropriate, since Bowles composed the song as a musical tribute to the city.

"It's written by a Gainesvillian with Gainesville in mind," Poe said when suggesting the honor during a Dec. 17 meeting.

Poe's father, Gerald Poe, knows the song well and knew Bowles well. He took over as band director at the University of Florida several years after Bowles, and the two were on the UF faculty together. As director of the Gainesville Community Band, Gerald Poe asked his friend Bowles to compose a song with the city in mind, and the resulting composition was "Tree City Fanfare."

The rest of the City Commission supported Poe's idea, and city staff, with an assist from Gerald Poe, now will work to see if Bowles' family will allow the city to use the song.

State recognition: Alachua County's Wellness Works program recently won some recognition from state government.

The program was named one of the first recipients of the Florida State Surgeon General Health Innovation, Prevention and Management Award, which honors businesses and government agencies that find innovative ways to promote healthy lifestyles among their employees.

Florida State Surgeon General Dr. Ana M. Viamonte Ros announced the honor in a Dec. 18 letter to Alachua County Risk Management Director Wade Gillingham. In the letter, Ros commended the program for "increasing access to a healthier workplace."

Gillingham credited Wellness Coordinator Amy Eisenson for the program's success.

Back from the holidays: Following a holiday lull, county and city meetings resume this week. Today, local government representatives and FloridaWorks officials will meet to try to hammer out details of an application for funding through the Florida Back to Work program, which will use stimulus money to create temporary jobs for income-eligible individuals who are parents of minor children.

That meeting is at 2 p.m. in the County Administration Building in downtown Gainesville.

The Gainesville City Commission meets on Thursday. The agenda includes a request to allow beer and wine sales at the new cafe that will open this year at Bethel Station on the Bo Diddley Downtown Community Plaza.

Allowing beer and wine sales will require a change to the city codes and, therefore, will have to come back for another vote if commissioners decide Thursday to move ahead. The City Commission meets at 1 and 5:30 p.m. Thursday at City Hall, 200 E. University Ave.

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