Daniel Parker, MSP
From: Herman Hale, RN
Subject: Update - West Ocala Neighborhood PACE EH
The funds secured by the Environmental Health Division of the Marion County Health Department will be used to facilitate a community-driven initiative. This project - West Ocala Neighborhood PACE-EH Project - seeks to collaboratively conduct an assessment, strategically plan and set priorities to address environmental health concerns. The goal of the project is to impact and improve the quality of life of the West Side community of the city of Ocala.
The Marion County Health Department's PACE-EH team has had a busy January and is happy to report the renewed efforts of its project in West Ocala. A group of community leaders from West Ocala (some of whom, were CEHA team members of the original PACE-EH project), were provided CEHAB funding via a grant application. Their intentions are to do additional environmental testing in their neighborhood (related to the residual effects of emissions from the Royal Oak Charcoal Plant, which shut down operations in the spring of 2006), educate their neighbors by sponsoring and organizing a health fair, and collecting data through a community assessment. The PACE-EH coordinator attended a neighborhood meeting on January 8, 2007, where he presented information related to the CEHAB funding and his role as a liaison between this group and the Marion County Health Department's fiscal branch (who will be overseeing the distribution of these funds). In conjunction with the health department's fiscal representative (Ann Deranzio), the PACE-EH team has been developing a grant contract specifically designed to address the goals identified in the grant and a target date of February 1, 2007 has been set for the contracts completion and signing.
The PACE-EH team has also developed a planning committee and has met to discuss the possible expansion of the project to include other areas of our county. Tom Moore, Environmental Health Administrator, Jim Padgett, Environmental Specialist, David Payne, Environmental Supervisor, and Herman Hale, RN, PACE-EH Coordinator, met to discuss their options. During the meeting, it was determined that other communities might benefit from this process and specific communities were identified. Also identified during this planning session, were specific problems related to these neighborhoods (illegal dumping, poor drainage/septic systems, lack of paved roads, water quality, etc).
Not wanting to bite off more than it can chew (in the 5th largest county in Florida), the group also sought direction from Dr. Nathan Grossman the Health Department Director and our state PACE-EH representative, Daniel Parker, to insure expansion plans were both feasible and prudent. After input from this group, it has been determined that we will continue to focus our efforts in West Ocala and at some point in the future (when the West Ocala project nears its conclusion), the project will open dialogue with new communities within our county.
The Marion County PACE-EH team will continue its forward progress; in support of the West Ocala PACE project and we are looking forward to the opportunities the new year will present.
Media Coverage (.pdf files <1mb)
August 1, 2006 - Royal Oak fined for violations
May 20, 2006 - Unlikely Rebels Defeat Gritty Plant
May 19, 2006 - Company Remains Silent
May 19, 2006 - Air of Suspicion
February 21, 2006 - Pollution concerns Royal Oak neighbors
January 25, 2006 - Ocala to fund charcoal plant emission tests
January 21, 2006 - Royal Oak says no to pollution inspection
January 13, 2006 - Ocala may inspect Royal Oak site
January 5, 2006 - Marion County PACE EH Project Wins Walter Driggers Award
January 3, 2006 - Editorial: Once they are heard, they roar
December 31, 2005 - Soot sleuths: Volunteers monitor industrial plant emissions
August 24, 2005 - Coat of charcoal: Residents concerned with soot from Royal Oak
April 10, 2005 - Unkempt properties, pollution cited in west Ocala survey
August 1, 2004 - West Ocala's health to get a close look