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Local News

  • Sheriff seeks pay raises for department

    Col. Mike Johnson surely must wish he had accompanied Sheriff Johnny Smith on his religious mission to Romania rather than stand before the Levy County Commission Tuesday asking for a 3 percent pay raise in the annual budget.

     

    The county commission, which has asked departments to cut their budget requests by 5 percent from last year’s budget sent Johnson on his way with the direction to cut the sheriff’s budget by 5 percent.

  • Economy puts squeeze on festivals

    The Levy County Tourist Development Tax, paid by guests at hotels, motels, RV parks and other rental places with a six-month limit on occupancy, are dropping and the county Tourism Development Council has been forced to be choosy about where it spends the taxes.

    In its meeting June 25 to review grant applications for the November 2009 to October 2010 cycle, the council’s first action was to drop applications from new events that had not complied with paperwork requirements or provided a budget.

  • Storm surge project advances

    With help from local fishermen, guides and clam farmers, a mass-cooperative effort among local, state and national agencies to more accurately predict storm surge off the coast of Levy County is nearly complete.

    New storm tide markers based on accurate Mean Sea Level readings have been placed around Cedar Key and Yankeetown and will allow municipal emergency responders to work closely with the National Weather Service in Ruskin – resulting in more accurate data to determine storm surge behavior.

  • Two commissioners re-elected without opposition

    Incumbents Rollin Hudson Jr. and Sammy Cason, who drew no opposition at the close of qualifying for city elections, have won new terms, said City Clerk Mary Ellzey. In the only remaining race, incumbent Commissioner Frank Buie was not so lucky. He is being challenged by former Commissioner Alice Monyei in the Aug. 4 election. Qualifying opened at 8 a.m. Monday and closed at 4:30 Friday.  

  • Officials raid grow house in Chiefland

    A tip to the Levy County Sheriff’s Office resulted in officers raiding an indoor pot growing operation south of Chiefland shortly before midnight Tuesday night with 62 full grown potted marijuana plants.

    One man was arrested, but officers are seeking a second man who jumped through the window of the home and fled wearing only a pair of shorts through a prickly pear patch. Officers said Jesus Lopez was not wearing a short or shoes at the time he escaped.

  • Levy County earns a B in school grades

    The Florida Department of Education released school grades last week, giving the Levy County School District as a whole a B grade, the same it received last year.

    “We are proud of our schools, proud of our teachers,” said Patrick Wnek, Director of Curriculum. “We want to congratulate our students and teachers for a job well done – of course, parents play a big role in that as well.”

    Eight schools in the county received an A, including all elementary and middle schools, as well as Cedar Key School.

  • Accident fees dry up

    The Legislature has banned cities and counties from seeking reimbursement from insurance companies and motorists for handling vehicle accidents, which money will be a bit tight for Chiefland Police Department equipment.

    “We had a good run with it,” said Mayor Teal Pomeroy. “But it looks like the out-of-state companies which administer the program were beaten by the out-of-state insurance companies.”

  • City finances in good shape

    The city of Chiefland’s financial health received an “unqualified” endorsement, the highest available from its auditor, Robert Beauchamp.

    Beauchamp, who delivered his report on the state of city revenues and spending at Monday evening’s commission meeting, commended the city staff for its helpfulness and their attention to properly handling public funds.

    “They do a great job; they’re a great staff,” he said.

  • Exotic animal hearing scheduled for August

    The owners of a controversial exotic animal sanctuary in the Small Farms subdivision has filed a request for a special exception to zoning regulations to allow them to keep the lion, tiger, bear, two chimpanzees they have on the property.

  • Visitors Bureau meets local businesses

    The Levy County Visitors Bureau met with area businesses in Cedar Key this week to discuss how the agency works to promote local tourism.

    “I would like to make this an annual event – maybe in May with Tourism Week,” said Carol McQueen, Executive Director of the Visitors Bureau. “We collect a tax and I think people want to know what we do with it.”