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Local News

  • Little critter packs a punch in citrus greening

    Citrus greening has hit North Central Florida and the residents now have a weapon to fight back: the Tamarixia Wasp.

    Citrus greening causes blotchy mottled leaves and it changes the flavor in your harvests. Huanglongbing (HLB), more commonly known as citrus greening is thought to be caused by a particular strain of bacterium called, Candidatus Liberibacter Asiaticus. Citrus greening symptoms include pointed leaves on new leaf growth, described as “rabbit ears,” blotchy mottle leaves, leaf drop, reduced fruit size, bitter tasting fruit, poorly colored fruit, lopsided fruit with curved columella (column-like structures), yellow stain at base of fruit and excessive fruit drop.

    The Asian Citrus Psyllid feed on and damage citrus plantings. They lay eggs on citrus trees and through their feedings, spread the bacterium that causes the disease. The Tamarixia wasp, is a parasite that ultimately destroys its host. The tiny wasp has only one host and that is the ACP nymph. The female Tamarixia wasp lays an egg on the underside of the developing ACP. Once the larva hatches it will feed externally on the ACP nymph until it eventually dies.

  • Joyner gets award named in his honor

    So many of the details of Mike Joyner’s extensive career in law enforcement – particularly his heralded undercover work – will never be available for public consumption.

    Joyner, who has served as a Levy County Commissioner since 2011, and has been called an expert in undercover drug investigations, has been everything from Chief Deputy in Jefferson County, a captain in the Gadsden County Sheriff’s Office, a lieutenant in the Citrus County Sheriff’s Office, and bailiff and agriculture investigator in Levy County.

    While some of the details of that work might remain exclusive for his closest friends, the broad contributions of Joyner’s career are now being recognized in a big way. The Florida Intelligence Unit (FIU), which has trained officers since 1961, has announced a new annual award to go to the officer of the year.

    They’re calling it the Mike Joyner Law Enforcement Officer of the Year Award.

  • CF holds graduation at new campus

    The College of Central Florida graduated a pioneering class of adult education students Dec. 7 in Chiefland.

    The group represented the first to make its graduation walk in the conference room of the new Jack Wilkinson Levy Campus, which opened for classes this past August.

    “We’re looking forward to growing in this building and providing additional programs and services for our students, and tonight’s program is a prime example of what can be accomplished here,” said Holly McGlashan, Levy Campus Manager, in her introduction.

    There were 22 adult education students receiving the State of Florida High School Diploma, known as the General Education Development (GED), for the Fall 2017 graduation.

  • Gaithers live with trials, blessings

    The lives of Michael and Kaye Gaither are a series of trials followed by blessings. The overarching trial is that Michael; the most kind, sweetest, loving man in the eyes of his family, is in heart failure, and Multiple Sclerosis. The blessing is that he is under the care of Haven Hospice, an organization for which Kaye, Michael and his service dog, Honey, are volunteers.

    A trial is that Honey, who will be eight years old Jan. 22, is in the terminal stages of a fungus-born disease. The blessing is that on Monday, she made her 89th appointment with veterinarians at the UF Small Animal Hospital in Gainesville. Honey is a certified full mobility, PTSD medical service dog. She and Michael are members of team No. 001 in a critical VA research project and the two are inseparable. Honey picked up the fungus as a puppy, before she came to the Gaithers.

    Michael suffered a heart attack in January and has struggled to breathe for a long time. During his career, he was an electrician in textile mills and he repaired vehicles as a civilian employee for the National Guard.

  • Christmas Golf Cart Parade returns to Old Town

    The 10th annual Christmas Golf Cart Parade will be Dec. 16 at 6:30 p.m. at the Turner Point Boat Ramp in Old Town. Santa and Mrs. Claus will be there with bags of candy for all the boys and girls. We invite everyone to decorate their golf carts and join

  • Motorcyclists ride 1,000 miles in 24 hours

    Three Chiefland men make an annual endurance ride on motorcycles to raise money and awareness of the needs of some long-term nursing home residents.

    Brad Groom and Bruce Bryant have donated about $9,000 in the past five years.

    Groom said that through their proud donors, the 2017 Iron Butt ride raised about $1,500 upon completing the Southeast 1,000. The two men created that route, which is not listed with the Iron Butt Association as a sanctioned ride.

    The money raised is split evenly between eight needy residents living in Tri-County area nursing homes. The residents of Ayers, Cross City, Tri-County and Williston nursing homes must be long-term residents truly in need of financial assistance as determined by either facility case managers or social workers. The Iron Butt team has no input on who receives the donations.

  • Goodale shooting update released

    The Florida Department of Law Enforcement released an update on the officer involved shooting death of Michael Wesley Goodale on Nov. 16 in Chiefland.

    Levy County Sheriff’s Public Affairs Officer Lt. Scott Tummond said, “At this point in the FDLE investigation, we were authorized to release this information related to the current and open FDLE investigation.”

    According to a press release from the sheriff’s office, “Three Levy County deputies responded to 7450 NW 110 St. in Chiefland to a reported domestic violence complaint with an armed subject. Deputies arrived and confronted Michael Wesley Goodale, 34, at the front door of this residence. Goodale was armed with two knives and refused to comply with all lawful orders given by deputies. Deputies deployed Tasers in an attempt to disarm Goodale, but the Tasers were ineffective. Goodale attacked our deputies, which forced them to use their agency issued handguns to stop this attack. Goodale was struck by two bullets fired by our deputies and did not survive his injuries. Two deputies sustained minor injuries during the altercation.”

  • Former CES custodian to plead guilty on 2 counts of voyeurism

    A former Chiefland Elementary School custodian arrested April 4 after a hidden camera was found in a staff restroom is expected to plead guilty Dec. 13 as part of a plea agreement.

    According to an open letter to CES staff and faculty from Andrea Muirhead of the Levy County State Attorney's Office, Perez will plead guilty to two counts of video voyeurism.

    The agreement calls for Perez to receive 18 months in prison followed by eight years probation. During his probationary period, Perez must write a letter of apology to the faculty and staff at Chiefland Elementary School, have no contact with CES faculty and staff or campus, enter and successfully complete sex offender counseling, perform 200 hours of community service within the first two years on probation, and possess no camera, video camera, or surveillance equipment unless the recording devices is manufactured as part of a smartphone or computer.

    There were no images of children in the seized videos though there were short, edited video clips of women using the bathroom. Some women were identifiable and some were not.

  • Courthouse monument case dismissed in favor of County

    The lawsuit filed against Levy County by American Atheists, Inc., claiming a violation of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment and Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, was dismissed by in the U.S. District Court in Gainesville.

    The suit stems from the denial by the county of a local atheist group’s application to install a monument at the Levy County Courthouse, claiming it failed to meet guidelines. The county established guidelines in 2009 for the placing of monuments by local citizens and groups at the site.

    In 2010, a granite monument detailing the Ten Commandments, submitted by the Tri-County Pregnancy Center of Williston, was granted permission.

    Levy County, represented by Liberty Counsel, first filed a motion requesting a summary judgement over the summer, seeking a dismissal without trial.

  • County recasts qualifications for tourism director job

    Time is running out for the county to fill its soon-to-be-vacant executive position for Levy County Tourist Development.

    In a last-minute bid to net more ideal candidates, the county, behind a recommendation from outgoing director Carol McQueen, is recasting its description of the position to focus more on marketing skills and experience.

    The Commission voted 5-0 Nov. 21 on a motion by Matt Brooks to re-advertise the Tourist Development director job for at least two weeks with the new language. The current candidates will be contacted and asked to reapply under the new job description. The new advertisement wasn’t expected to be posted before Nov. 29.