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Local News

  • City OKs RV site plan

    Chiefland City commissioners unanimously approved the final site plan for Strawberry Fields for Rvers Monday, Aug 14. The plan was recommended for approval 30 minutes earlier by city commissioners setting on the planning commission. They met in that capacity at 5:30 p.m.

    Members present for both meetings were Rollin Hudson, Mayor Betty Walker, Donald Lawrence and Chris Jones. Commissioner Teresa Barron was absent.

    The city received the first RV Park conceptual site plan for review on Feb. 24 and the preliminary on June 1. After meetings between city planning staff, Mr. Lyons and his engineer, Henry Vorpe Jr., with AVA Engineers of Jacksonville, the final site plan changes were approved pending approval of Suwannee River Water Management District. There is one outstanding comment regarding the drainage on the RV park property that will be addressed by the water district.

  • Texting bill gets Levy support

     Emily Slosberg, a Democratic State Representative from Boca Raton, was a long way from her home district.

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    But in her visit to Levy County earlier this month, she found common ground in support of her cause – passing stricter texting-while-driving laws.

    Her passion has led her on a statewide campaign to drum up support to pressure the legislature  to strengthen the state’s texting and driving laws.

    Slosberg presented a resolution to the Levy Board of County Commissioners on Aug. 8 that urges the legislature to act on the issue by making texting and driving a primary offense.

  • Rotary makes a difference

     By REBECCA GALLAGHER

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    Citizen Correspondent

    Rotary District 6940 Governor Lisa Weeks visited the Chiefland Rotary Club and the Suwannee Valley Rotary Club where she delivered enthusiastic speeches about “Making a Difference,” the theme chosen by Rotary International President Ian H.S. Riseley. 

    She visited Chiefland Rotarians Wednesday and Suwannee Valley Rotarians Thursday.

    Weeks reminded the groups of the challenge Riseley had put to Rotarians to “make a difference” by planting a tree for every member in the club between July 1, 2017 and Earth Day, April 22, 2018. 

    Weeks said, “It doesn’t have to be a big tree, just a little sapling.”

  • Members of the Bridle Brigade to test their metal

    Members of the Bridle Brigade 4-H Club spent Thursday afternoon, July 27, building two robotic fish. The club divided up into two teams with each member taking turns drilling holes and cutting the needed PVC sections for the two robotic sea perches. In the fall, the club will travel to Orlando to compete in a statewide competition. The competition is part of the 4-H State Marine Ecology Event.

    The 2017 Sea Perch Remote Operated Vehicle Mini-challenge will be Nov. 4. The Marine Ecology Event offers opportunities to demonstrate their knowledge of the marine and aquatic worlds. To prepare for the event, 4-H leaders and club members go on marine field trips, visit museums and aquariums, have group study sessions, conduct Internet research and develop their own “mock contests.” In the process, youth learn important life skills. 

    Club members will work on the robotic fishes over the next several weeks. The final step is adding the motors. Once completed, an underwater obstacle course will be set up where the club members can hone their robotic fishes’ maneuvering skills for the competition in Orlando. 

  • Members of the Bridle Brigade to test their metal

    Members of the Bridle Brigade 4-H Club spent Thursday afternoon, July 27, building two robotic fish. The club divided up into two teams with each member taking turns drilling holes and cutting the needed PVC sections for the two robotic sea perches. In the fall, the club will travel to Orlando to compete in a statewide competition. The competition is part of the 4-H State Marine Ecology Event.

    The 2017 Sea Perch Remote Operated Vehicle Mini-challenge will be Nov. 4. The Marine Ecology Event offers opportunities to demonstrate their knowledge of the marine and aquatic worlds. To prepare for the event, 4-H leaders and club members go on marine field trips, visit museums and aquariums, have group study sessions, conduct Internet research and develop their own “mock contests.” In the process, youth learn important life skills. 

    Club members will work on the robotic fishes over the next several weeks. The final step is adding the motors. Once completed, an underwater obstacle course will be set up where the club members can hone their robotic fishes’ maneuvering skills for the competition in Orlando. 

  • Bronson city elections will be held September 12

    By JOHN TYLER NILSEN, Citizen Correspondent

    Town clerk Pamela Whitehead announced three qualifying candidates for the town council’s open seat during the Aug. 7 council meeting. First District Councilman Aaron Edmundson said he will retire, leaving his seat open. Edith Brown, Robert Partin, and Virginia Phillips are the qualifying applicants. Mayor Bruce Greenlee, fifth district, and Vice Mayor Beatrice Roberts, third district, will run unopposed for their re-election bids. The city election will be held on September 12.

    Parks and Recreation director Curtis Stacy announced divisions for fall youth sports. Contact football includes 8U, 10U, and 12U teams. Flag football will be available for ages 7 to 10. Youth soccer will include 6U, 8U 11U teams. Girls’ cheerleading will be available for ages 6 to 12. Stacy announced girls’ volleyball would be added to for fall as well. Signup for all sports will be held Aug. 12 at James H. Cobb park.

    • The date and time for Trunk or Treat activities is Oct. 28 from 6:30 to 9 p.m.

  • June home sales look good

    By DR. EUGENE GIBBINS
    DGL Board of Realtors

    A large white house with black shutters made its way south on NE 80th Avenue Tuesday, Aug. 1, near the Levy County Sheriff’s Office, causing people to make double takes.

    The home was built in 1958 by Linus Sache of Chiefland. Sache was Donna Shipp’s uncle, brother to Shipp’s mother Muzeta Sache Wilkerson. Upon Linus Sache’s death, Wilkerson purchased the home and moved it across a pasture to her 10 acres. When she died, Donna and her husband, Danny, bought the house and moved it to Bronson in January 1990.

    The remodeled house with added porches, the house sat on five acres for 27 years. After acquiring 30 acres in Levyville, and loving the white house, the Shipp’s decided to move their house instead of building another one.

  • County caps insurance payouts for employees

    Levy County is on the high end of spending on health insurance for employees among Florida counties, and it’s proving costly to keep up with rising insurance costs while still offering competitive compensation packages to recruit and retain its workforce.

    At the Board meeting on July 18, the County Commission voted unanimously to cap its health insurance payouts for non-elected county employees who sign up for insurance.

    The resolution also increases employee wages while bringing insurance costs for the county more in line with similar-sized counties, as Levy is relatively low on the spectrum in employee pay in the state.

    The Board voted to max out its payouts for employee insurance at $9,512 per employee, while increasing the average wage of full-time employees by $2,180. The wage increases will be offered in tiers, with the highest paid employees seeing $1,000 more per year, and the lowest gaining $3,000 in per-year salary.

    Commissioner Matt Brooks offered the motion, and it was seconded by Rock Meeks.

    The resolution doesn’t change the coverage options, so employees can keep their current plans.

  • County adopts tentative millage rate

    Levy County was on its way to being unable to pay its bills by the end of 2019, according to budget figures presented by Finance Officer Jared Blanton at the tentative millage meeting Thursday, Aug. 3, in Bronson.

    Recent moves by the county commission – most notably, an uptick in millage, a new gas tax, department cuts and reallocations, and, going forward, a cap on employee insurance plans – have helped paint a more optimistic financial future for the county.

    The board passed a tentative millage resolution at the meeting that will keep the millage rate at 9.0. The resolution passed unanimously, on a motion by Matt Brooks, backed by Rock Meeks.

    The final millage rate can be lower than the tentative rate, but it can’t exceed that number. While it’s the same rate, it will generate $641,000 (approx. 3.1 percent) in additional tax revenue – and costs to taxpayers – thanks to rising property values.

  • County criticized over handling of insurance, wage changes

    The Levy Board of County Commissioners Tuesday came under criticism during public comments for their handling of recent changes to insurance and wages for county employees.

    The Board on July 18 voted unanimously to cap insurance payouts while offering tiered offsets in the form of increased wages.

    Sally Ann Collins introduced the issue in public comments, lamenting the lack of transparency over the changes. She criticized the Board for voting on the changes during an afternoon budget meeting, rather than during it’s regular morning meeting.

    “I’m here in hopes of allowing the public to become more aware of the pros and cons of what’s happening, since I had absolutely no idea of the ramifications of these changes until now,” Collins said.

    Collins then invited up to speak Jeremiah Tattersall, of the North Central Florida Central Labor Council, which represents Florida AFL-CIO, a federation of local labor unions, in the 12-twelve county North Central Florida area.