Rotary gears up for Tour de Melon

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By Mark Scohier, Staff writer

A Chiefland civic group has a plan for the city to capitalize on the area's rural beauty while at the same time contributing to charitable foundations.
Suwannee Valley Rotary President Paige Brookins told the Chiefland City Commission Monday night that the group is planning to organize a bike ride in June in conjunction with the city's annual watermelon festival.
Tour de Melon is the name of the event, and Brookins said she hopes to have hundreds of people participate
"We just feel that this is a really good fundraiser," Brookins said, adding that the event will help familiarize more people with the natural attractions of the area and help contribute to the local economy.
The event is split into two categories: a leisurely ride for families through the heart of Chiefland to the Greenway Trail, and a second 100-mile ride designed for more serious-minded riders.
"How long does it take to ride 100 miles on a bicycle?" Commissioner Rollin Hudson asked Brookins.
She said she thought it would take riders, on average, about four to five hours to complete the journey.
"And then they can go to the watermelon festival," she said.
Registration for the event, which will begin June 2, at 7:30 a.m., starts Feb. 1. There is a $20 registration fee. For more information, go to the Tour de Melon website at www.tourdemelon.com.
In other matters:
n Chiefland's water line extension project is progressing steadily. Commissioners voted unanimously Monday night to award a portion of the extension, in front of Bett's Big T, to a utilities construction company from Tallahassee.
R&L Virgin provided the city a quote of about $14,500 to perform a directional bore, a process that allows pipes to be pulled through the ground without digging trenches.
The bore, according to City Manager Grady Hartzog, will go from Badcock & More, under U.S. Highway 19, to Bett's Big T and then up to County Road 341, turning near the airstrip and connecting a loop.
"This is to connect the waterline that's already there on CR 341," Hartzog said.
The new line will help connect several more businesses to the city's water supply and is also necessary for fire suppression, Hartzog said.
n The Chiefland Police Department will be getting a grant for about $2,000 to help purchase new equipment.
Police Maj. Al Graves told the commission Monday night that the money would be used to buy stop sticks, a device used to pop the tires of speeding vehicles and special lights to be mounted onto police handguns.
"We're just, we're really trying to keep up with technology, "Graves said. "We buy things not only for the department but for the community."
Commissioners approved unanimously to accept the grant money.