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Happy New Year!
Having eaten my fair share of hog jowls, rice, black-eyed peas and collard greens on Jan. 1, 2008, I sat back and pondered the near future.
I wondered about the unfolding events in 2008. Will Tarmac America obtain a special exception to mine hundreds of millions of tons of limerock from the Gulf Hammock Area?
Will Ameris Health Systems obtain funding to build Tri-County Hospital in Chiefland?
Will State Attorney Bill Cervone prosecute alleged voter fraud cases in Levy County?
Will Central Florida Community College start a fund drive to build its new permanent campus between Chiefland and Fanning Springs?
Will Progress Energy Florida see success in its effort to start-up two nuclear reactors in southern Levy County to meet demand for electricity?
Will the people of Florida vote to change their property tax structure?
Will exotic animal owners see less zoning restrictions in Florida?
These are all just start-up questions. They trigger a cascade of follow-up questions and answers.
The Levy County Board of County Commissioners in 2007 sent a note to the Citrus County Board of County Commissioners saying it is the opinion of Levy County commissioners that the expansion of a mine operation in Citrus County would adversely impact the Inglis and Yankeetown communities.
This mine issue revolves around two points - property rights and water. If Plum Creek leases land to Tarmac America, then shouldn't Tarmac be allowed to mine the rock?
Residents from miles around question what impact this will have on the Floridan Aquifer and the Gulf of Mexico. As it stands, blasting regulations are controlled by the state - not by city or county ordinances.
Will the Florida Legislature again attempt to circumvent local control of mining?
And this is just the start of questions about one of the big topics.
My advice to all readers right now is to subscribe to the Chiefland Citizen. Be sure to get each edition before they are sold out. After that recommendation, I suggest people find time to read each issue from cover to cover, and to think about how these matters might affect your life.
Beyond all of that, I hope everyone has a great 2008.
Jeff M. Hardison is a reporter with the Chiefland Citizen. His may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (352) 493-4796.