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The news flash that fizzled

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By Lou Elliott Jones, Editor

It was a slow and absolutely beautiful day Wednesday when a co-worker said while visiting Trailhead Park a ranger came up and locked the restroom.

He informed her that he did so because “terrorists were putting something in the soap dispensers.”

She came back to the newsroom with her news flash and as newsies are wont to do on a slow day, we jumped on it.

Cedar Key Bureau Head Kellie Rae Parkin searched the Internet for soap+rest stop+I75+florida and narrowed it to the last 24 hours.

The list of stories came rolling out. It was even on MSNBC.

An acid smelling substance was found mixed in soap dispensers in the men’s rooms at two rest stops in Alabama on March 10. This was March 11 and a report said a substance was found in a stop in Marion County.

That hit a little close to home and explained why on a sunny afternoon when folks would be enjoying the trail they would have to use other facilities.

A call to Manatee Springs State Park found they were not closing their rest facilities and the word that the mystery stuff in Marion County tested negative.

A call to the state trails office in Ocala got Mickey Thomason on the line who was quite busy ordering the facilities re-opened after having to get them closed.

For a moment I did not envy his job. He sounded frustrated and had been instructed not to discuss the situation because it was still under investigation.

I’d like to say he was truly patient as I tried to wheedle information out of him.

This was a false alarm, but it is commendable that he and his staff acted quickly on our behalf.

I hope he gets to relax.

Lou Jones is the news editor of the Chiefland Citizen. You may contact her at news@chieflandcitizen.com or by calling 493-4796.