Around the region for April 20, 2013

Published: Friday, April 19, 2013 at 10:00 p.m.
Last Modified: Friday, April 19, 2013 at 6:22 p.m.


Test tubes prompt dorm evacuation

Several test tubes found in a University of Florida dormitory Friday afternoon forced an evacuation, though the tubes were later determined to be harmless, university police reported.

UPD Maj. Brad Barber said the tubes were spotted in the lounge of North Hall off Stadium Road and Gale Lemerand Drive.

“Out of an abundance of caution, we did have that area evacuated and checked out by our K-9 units,” Barber said. “They have not alerted to any substance.”

Barber said UF environmental health and safety staff cleared the building of any hazards.

The small test tubes were bound together, Barber said. He added that the substance in the test tubes will be tested to determine what it is.

— Cindy Swirko

Man accused of beating his girlfriend

A Gainesville man has been arrested by the Gainesville Police Department on allegations he beat his girlfriend so badly she needed treatment at a hospital for injuries.

Todd Jerome Frazier, 45, of 3403 NE 11th Terrace, was charged with felony battery, domestic battery by strangulation, depriving a crime victim of medical care and hindering communication to law enforcement, according to an arrest report.

The incident occurred April 11, when Frazier came home and began arguing with the woman.

Police reported the woman told them Frazier hit her in the face and head, choked her, slammed her head into kitchen and hallway walls and pulled hair out of her head.

The woman asked Frazier to take her to the hospital, but he initially declined unless she agreed to not report the incident to police, the report states.

She eventually went to the hospital after she agreed to let Frazier accompany her, the report states.

After being arrested, Frazier was booked into the jail, where he remained Friday in lieu of $50,000 bond.

— Cindy Swirko


Local student headed to Kenya on fellowship

A Gainesville native will travel to Kenya this month on a fellowship from Boston University.

Elizabeth Daube, 28, is one of eight recipients of the “Pamoja Together: Student Foreign Aid News Network” project fellowships, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

She leaves April 30 for Kenya, where she will cover critical health and development issues in the country by telling the stories of people who have been impacted by foreign aid.

Daube graduated from P.K. Yonge in 2003 and attended Flagler College in St. Augustine. She received a B.A. in communications in 2005.

At Boston University, she is part of the School of Public Health and has studied social work and global health.

“I’m looking forward to working on a project that uniquely blends those diverse interests and skills,” Daube said in an email. “And it’s awesome to be working with a mix of students and professors who are all bringing a lot of energy and talent to this project.”

— Erin Jester

Shands receives two Livestrong grants

Shands at the University of Florida in Gainesville and Jacksonville received two grants from the Livestrong Foundation to support their arts in medicine and palliative care programs, according to a news release Thursday.

The Livestrong Foundation, established in 1997 by cyclist and cancer survivor Lance Armstrong to help people affected by cancer, selected the Shands’ institutions out of a pool of applicants from around the country. The public then stepped in to vote on the final recipients.

Shands at UF in Gainesville spokeswoman Rossana Passaniti said the institutions used social media to get the word out to the public about voting, including posting the information on their Facebook pages.

A total of 72 organizations throughout the country received grants totaling $1 million to be distributed among them. Passaniti said Shands does not know exactly how much each institution will get yet.

The grants will fund the Arts in Medicine program in Gainesville to expand its Mobile Inspiration Station, which offers writing and arts activities to cancer patients and survivors in all stages, both at the bedside and in monthly workshops.

The grant at Shands in Jacksonville will be used for its participation in the Joint Commission’s Advanced Certification Program for Palliative Care model program, which assists hospitals in their efforts to obtain the certification.

— Kristine Crane

Butler Plaza site to handle driver’s licenses

Residents can get help with driver’s license services from the third and final branch of the Alachua County Tax Collector’s Office starting Monday.

The office’s Southwest Gainesville Branch is in Butler Plaza behind Walmart. Its address is 3207 SW 35th Blvd.

Alachua County Tax Collector Von Fraser has taken over the handling of driver’s license services following the March closure of the state-run office that used to manage those local transactions.

The tax collector now provides these services at its three Gainesville offices: the southwest branch, the downtown branch at 12 SE 1st St. and the northwest branch at 5801 NW 34th Blvd., according to a news release.

The downtown and southwest branches offer basic driver’s license services, while the northwest one is the place to go if you need an advanced transaction.

A grand opening and ribbon-cutting ceremony will be held May 1 at the northwest Gainesville branch.

-- Staff report

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