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Local News

  • Sheriff Johnny Smith's statement to Levy County Commission

    This is the statement read by Sheriff Johnny Smith to the Levy County Commission at its meeting on Wednesday, Sept. 30, regarding the purchase of 15 patrol cars:

    Good Morning, Chairwoman and Commissioners

    • Thank you for allowing me to come before you today.

    • Over the past few months I have come before you on several occasions

    concerning budgetary issues and the fact that our 09-10 budget has been cut

    by over $400,000.00

    • One of my greatest concerns has been our aging fleet of vehicles and how we

  • Pony up another $15 for that traffic ticket

    Watch your speed, make sure the kids are restrained and buckle up your seatbelt because it will cost another $15 to pay your traffic ticket.

    The Levy County Board of County Commissioners on Tuesday gave second and final approval to an ordinance slapping a $15 court building fee on “non-criminal traffic infractions.”

    The new fee was approved by the Legislature in its session earlier this year.

    Clerk of Court Danny Shipp said in July that 8,000 tickets are issued annually in Levy County and the new fee could raise about $120,000.

  • Bumped by test

    Levy County students did not watch President Barack Obama's speech to students on Sept. 8, prompting questions from teachers and parents as to why the speech was not shown live to area schools.

    Ann Coffel, of Williston, said she was surprised to hear from a teacher in the school district that the speech would not be shown live to students. Coffel said she comes from a family of educators, and Obama's speech would have been a worthwhile teaching opportunity.

  • Bronson man rebuilds life after found not guilty

    Dennis Russell, 45, has been busy trying to regain pieces of his old life.

    Since being found not guilty by a jury on Aug. 28 on charges of lewd and lascivious behavior with a child under the age of 12 and participating in a sex act with a child in custodial care, the road has been difficult for Russell.

    The charges were filed after a teen wrote a note to a teacher accusing him of the behavior.

    Russell, who spent 53 days in the Levy County Jail, before being bailed out on the charges in December 2007, was well known at the time of his arrest in the fall of 2007.

  • County passes on joining water authority for now

    The Levy County Commission has decided to pass on an invitation to join a regional water authority — asking the group to initiate discussions with the county's municipalities to join, then return to the board with its invitation.

    But then the county entertained another suggestion at its regular Tuesday morning meeting — possibly forming its own water authority with the municipalities. That suggestion could run afoul of the board's stated policy that it does not want to be in the utility business.

  • 7 minutes to spend $61 million

    It took all of 7 minutes, in a special meeting Monday night, for the Levy County Board of County Commissioners to approve the budget for the fiscal year beginning Oct. 1 and the resolutions setting the property tax at 7.4212 mills and the road, fire, solid waste and Emergency Medical Service assessments.

    The property tax of $7.4212 per $1,000 of a home's assessed value is the same rate as last year, but with decreasing home values, will raise only $14,771,592 on property in the county with a total value of $1,990,458,715.

    The total county budget is $61,799,394.

  • Levy Health Department addresses swine flu and the elderly

    While it may seem that the mainstream media is overlooking the elderly in its swine flu updates, the Levy County Health Department is taking measures to educate and inform the county's aged on the pandemic.

    Monday morning, Liz Powers, director of nurses at the health department, addressed members of Williston's AARP to ensure correct information about H1N1, or swine flu, is disseminated throughout the county.

  • Feds seek info on gopher tortoises

    Residents of Levy County can play an active role in determining if the gopher tortoise gets placed on the endangered species list, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

    The agency is conducting a 90-day study to see if the tortoises, which are currently listed as “threatened” in Florida, should be reclassified at the federal level.

  • Temporary closure at Shell Mound beginning Sept. 28

    The Lower Suwannee National Wildlife Refuge Shell Mound Unit fishing pier, both foot trails and the road will be closed beginning Monday, Sept. 28, for improvements to the parking area and road for approximately two weeks or until work is completed, Refuge Manager John Kasbohm said.

    The site is at the end of County Road 326 adjacent to the Shell Mound County Campground.  Kasbohm said the area will be closed for safety reasons as trucks and other heavy equipment will be operating in the area.  

  • Unemployment down in Levy

    Unemployment in Levy County dropped by 0.6 percentage points from July's 12.1 percent to 11.5 percent in August, according to the Florida Agency for Workforce Innovation.