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Local News

  • Ten Commandments dedicated

    The Rev. Carl Carnegie is dry despite the rains as he blesses and dedicates the new Ten Commandments monument at the Levy County Courthouse as Kellie Stevens of Williston, wife of Levy County Commissioner Danny Stevens, shares her umbrella. About two dozen people turned out for the dedication despite rainy skies and cool temperatures. The monument is provided by the Tri-County Pregnancy Center of Williston on behalf of an anonymous donor. Under County guidelines the Center is responsible for the maintenance of the monument and any legal challenges to its placement on public land.

  • Deputy’s affair almost came to confrontation

    On July 17, 2009,  Melissa Owens called her daughter Crystal Owens Stephens because her son-in-law, Walt Stephens, a man with a temper who also owns guns, was headed to Deputy Charles “Chuck” Johnson Jr.’s home to confront his wife and the deputy.

    Stephens was also on the phone to dispatch saying he wanted to file a complaint about the affair and he was going to confront the two.

    Although Stephens did not have any of his guns with him that night, it was not known if he did have any weapon with him.

  • Smoke clears around fire job

    After four months of being without a permanent fire chief, city commissioners voted unanimously 4-0 at Monday’s special meeting to hire James L. Harris, of Chiefland, for the position.

    Vice Mayor Teresa Barron, at the beginning of the meeting, expressed interest in only two candidates, Harris and David R. Dobrzykowski, of Minneola.

    And despite Harris being one of the three final applicants Barron expressed doubt about at last month’s special meeting, she said, “I really do think that either of these two guys is great.”

  • Florida counties named natural disaster areas due to Jan. freeze

    U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack issued an official declaration designating 60 Florida counties, including Levy, Gilchrist and Dixie counties, as primary natural disaster areas, due to losses caused by record cold weather, frost, and freezes that occurred from Jan. 2 through Jan. 14.

  • No vote on Levy County Judge; ditto on one circuit judgeship

    Levy County voters will not get to vote this year on two of Gov. Charlie Crist's judicial appointments.

    That is because Article V, Section 11 (b) of the Florida State Constitution says appointees to vacancies will not have to stand for election for at least one year after their appointment.

  • Sheriff changes punishment for deputy who tased pet dog

    Sheriff Johnny Smith ignored the advice of two internal disciplinary boards and reduced the punishment  recommended for a deputy who admitted he used his Taser on a pet on several occasions.

    Deputy Charles Johnson Jr., the son of the department's No. 2 in command — Col. Mike Johnson, will not serve the three-day unpaid suspension, but instead get a written reprimand for tasing his German shepherd Kaiser.

  • Deputy’s father retiring amid controversy

    Col. Mike Johnson, second in command at the Levy County Sheriff’s Office has notified Sheriff Johnny Smith he will be retiring on March 1.

    Johnson, who has a history of health problems in his family, cited it in his letter dated Feb. 9.

    Johnson’s son, Charles M. Johnson Jr., has been the target of an internal investigation. The investigation has been the subject of media coverage and other complaints aired about the department at an NAACP meeting last week.

  • Sheriff speaks out

    Levy County Sheriff Johnny Smith defended his second in command, Col. Mike Johnson, denying favoritism was shown to Johnson's two children by the department, but he acknowledged there have been mistakes and he is correcting them..

    “I view this as we have had a few bumps in the road,” Smith said, but added the Sheriff's Office “is in great shape.”

  • Breaking NewsDeputy resigns ahead of firing

        Levy County Sheriff's Deputy Charles M. “Chuck” Johnson Jr., resigned Thursday morning just hours after a disciplinary review board decided he should be terminated after a new complaint arose that he had a sexual encounter with a pregnant married woman in the driveway of his Bronson home.

  • Deputy apologized to co-workers for actions

    The following email was sent by Deputy Charles M. “Chuck” Johnson last week after reports surfaced about his affair with a married woman, the use of a racial epithet in talking to a second woman, conduct unbecoming to the department and the tasing of his pet dog with a department-issued Taser.

    From: Chuck Johnson

    Date: Wed, Feb 3, 2010 at 1:50 PM

    Subject: Poor Judgment