EDUCATION: Florida is dealing with one of the highest rates of pedestrian injuries

Florida is dealing with one of the highest rates of pedestrian injuries in the nation and yet the School Board of Alachua County currently has elementary school children waiting for buses along highways.  They are merely a few feet away from cars traveling from 45-55 mph.

The 2004-2008 Pedestrian Accident Map indicates multiple pedestrian accidents along Highway #24 / Archer Road and yet at least 27 children stand and wait for the bus endangering their lives on a daily basis.  The answer is simple — alter the school bus route into the neighboring Mentone neighborhood.  Cars are mandated to travel at 25 mph and the amount of pedestrian accidents is significantly lower.

In October 2005, because of budget ramifications to fuel cost increases, Mr. Eubank, requested that the existing bus routes and busing policies be examined to ensure buses are being used most efficiently (School Board Meeting Minutes for October 4, 2005). Unfortunately, the decisions that ensued contradict the Transportation department’s objective in The School Board of Alachua County Florida Transportation Department Book I Basic Procedures, “The major objective of the Transportation Department of the School Board of Alachua County is to safely and promptly transport eligible students to and from school on a regularly scheduled basis” (3).  These children are not SAFELY transported to and from school.

The School Board of Alachua County endorses the Crosswalk Safety Program in a joint initiative with the Gainesville Police Department, the University of Florida Police Department and the Alachua Sheriff’s Office “to make the streets safer for everyone” (Gainesville Police Department Crosswalk Safety Brochure) and yet they force a vast number children to stand on a highway waiting for the bus.

On July 20 at the Alachua County School Board Meeting, a group of concerned parents, lead by Bryn Willis, will be addressing the school board to ask for a change in bus patterns.  Your support and coverage will be greatly appreciated.

Portable Saw Mill Demonstration

Gainesville, FL – Thursday, June 24, 2010

Dr. Mark Clark from the University of Florida IFAS Department will be attending Millhopper Montessori School’s woodworking summer camp and we will be using a WoodMizer portable sawmill to cut a pine log into rough cut boards.  He will talk about different types of cuts through the log (plain-sawn, rift-sawn and quarter-sawn), different terms used for rough cut pieces of wood, (slab, flitch, cant) and show them how the rough cut lumber is “sticker” stacked to air dry.  This demonstration will give the young carpenters a much better understanding and appreciation for how trees become lumber.

He will also be covering “How do trees become lumber?”

Aside from the incredible processes that allow plants to turn sunlight, carbon dioxide, water and soil nutrients into wood; the transformation of wood into usable lumber is another pretty remarkable accomplishment.  For trees to become usable lumber the tree first needs to be cut into logs, the logs need to be cut into rough boards, the rough boards need to be dried and then the dried boards need to be milled to final dimension before they can be used in a building or to build a table.  Most of this process happens in giant sawmills out of sight and out of mind (like most things these days).  Over the last century most of the process of turning trees into lumber has become highly industrialized and most of the local sawmills have disappeared.  As a result of fewer sawmills, choices in building materials and value placed on natural resources,  many trees that are cut to clear land or taken down in urban areas don’t find their way to a mill and instead are burned on site, hauled to a landfill, chipped for mulch or turned into firewood.  However, with the development of small portable sawmills some of these trees are finding their way into unique and personalized lumber.