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Things I'd like to see when I come back to Chiefland for a visit:
The new hospital: I remember writing editorials years ago about how much we needed a hospital. I remember going through the process of getting a certificate of need. I remember people getting mad at me because I said they didn't have their “ducks in a row” before they submitted their first request, and then they were strangely silent when my predication that the certificate would be rejected proved correct. Later I agreed with them when they submitted the second request and we fought to have it approved, and it was.
But we're still waiting for the dirt to be turned. I have to admit, I'm getting a little nervous. But I hope when I come back for a visit then the hospital will be there.
A completely repaved U.S. 19-98, especially at the corner of Main and Park. The work on that intersection started in March, for two weeks, and it just finished. But there were still people working there on Monday.
The people of Levy County no longer ripped off on gas prices: Monday I left to drive to Ocala, and the gas tank on my car, actually my wife's car, was getting low. I thought I could make it back to Ocala, but it was obvious when I got to Bronson I had to get gas.
It cost $2.69 a gallon. I only put a few bucks in and continued to the intersection of U.S. 27 and Interstate 75, where I paid $2.38. When I came back into town on Tuesday morning, I took a quick look and the price I saw was in the low $2.60s. Mind you, this is the same day that I passed a bunch of stations in the $2.30s in Ocala.
You have to wonder if the people of Levy County even realize that this is going on. Someone should be fighting for a cut in local gas prices and, if they don't get it, making sure they go out of the area for gas whenever possible.
Everyone says you should buy local, but if the price of gas is 31 cents per gallon more expensive in Bronson than it is 35 miles down the road in Ocala, it's awfully hard to justify spending that extra money.
Road paving near Strickland Park: The road leading to the park is disgraceful. Considering all that is done, including putting money in the pockets of local people by hosting events such as the state tee-ball tournament, the least someone could do is make sure that those attending have a smooth road to drive on to get to the complex.
We want these people to come back and spend money here … it would be nice if we put forth an effort to make things look nice.
BACK FOR A VISIT? If you've been paying attention, you've noticed that phrase a couple of times earlier in this column. It's not an accident or a misprint.
This is my last week at the Citizen, at least at THIS Citizen. Starting shortly, I'll be transferring within the company to the South Marion Citizen, which covers the communities along State Road 200 southwest of Ocala, with an office on 200.
One big advantage is being about 10 or 15 minutes from the mall where my wife works (at Macy's). Another more practical (for me) advantage is that I'll be working within a couple of minutes of Walmart, Big Lots, Publix, Wendy's, McDonald's, Chili's, I-Hop, and various other eateries, and if you know me, I like to eat.
You'll be getting a new editor here, but the transition should be smooth. I'll be watching the Web site to see the news, especially with the upcoming city election and, of course, the sports seasons after the big shakeups in coaching staffs here in Chiefland.
I won't be covering much in the way of high school sports, so I'll be popping in at a game here and there to see how my former local teams are doing.
See you there!
Jim Clark is soon to be the editor of the South Marion Citizen.