Local News

  • Deputies cleared in shooting

    The Levy County Grand Jury found two Levy County deputies were within their rights to use deadly force on a Chiefland man armed with two knives in November 2017.

    Levy County Sheriff Bobby McCallum said Tuesday morning that “no true bill” was the decision he expected.

    “Based on our initial investigation and review of the information I had, I believed it was justifiable, though I do feel bad for the family,” the sheriff said. “These are three of the most experienced deputies. I know their communications skills in dealing with suspects and knew they had done everything they could do and the shooting was the last option they had. This was the last thing they wanted to do.”

    According to a press release by State Attorney Bill Cervone, deputies responded Nov. 16, 2017, to a domestic dispute and found 34-year-old Michael Goodale armed with two knives.

  • Honey the Wonder Dog reaches 'end of tour'

    By Deborah Goad
    Citizen Correspondent

    March 2 was a very sad day for many as final goodbyes were said to Honey “the Wonder Dog.”

    Recently celebrating her eighth birthday, Honey's health had been steadily declining and the time had come to release her from her pain.

    Honey was a decorated medical service dog and companion to Michael Gaither for the past eight years.

    She saved his life many times by calling 911 when he'd fall him his wheelchair, barking two times into the receiver, alerting dispatchers to send help. Honey would wake him when he lost his oxygen mask, take him his medication and assist him with daily needs.

    Gaither, who suffers from PTSD, multiple sclerosis and osteoporosis, found his life unbearable before Honey came into it. She gave him the will to live.

    Through Kids for K9's, a program designed to teach children in Levy and Gilchrist County schools the value of all service dogs, Honey touched many children. Visiting hospices and veterans’ programs, Honey gave countless demonstrations showing the benefits of medical service dogs.

  • Veterans Night at the ballpark

    Note: The Veterans Night game has been moved to March 22 due to concerns over cold weather. CMHS baseball and the Interact Club apologize for any inconvenience.

    The Chiefland High School Interact Club would like to invite all veterans to the Williston-Chiefland baseball game at Chiefland High Baseball Field Thursday, March 22. The game starts at 7 p.m., and veterans are encouraged to show up before 6:30 p.m. for a special pre-game recognition. Admission is FREE for veterans. Any veteran interested in the event can call Chiefland Middle High School at (352) 493-6000.

  • CF hosts Preview Night for future enrollees

    The College of Central Florida Levy Campus held its Preview Night March 1 for students looking to continue their education at the local campus.

    Attendees had their $30 admission fees waived for their participation.

    Workshops were available for prospective students, offering guidance on topics like financial aid, dual enrollment, CF student life and registration.

    Additionally, professors from various fields – including economics, biological sciences, humanities, welding and emergency medical services – hosted stations where they answered questions on degree and certificate programs and directed students to helpful literature on hand.

    Administrators also helped prospective students with enrollment inquiries, and there were representatives from the University of South Florida and University of Central Florida to inform students on more long-term educational paths that begin at CF.

    Current seniors from Chiefland Middle High School and Cedar Key School were among those attending the event.

    The Ocala and Lecanto campuses held similar events.

  • SCORE to assist Levy businesses

    By Michael Bates, Citrus County Chronicle

    The Citrus County SCORE chapter got the green light this month to expand into Levy County.

    That will be a big deal to businesses there because it will have closer representation and no longer have to rely on its distant SCORE affiliate all the way in Gainesville for business assistance, said Jim Green, chairman of the Citrus SCORE.

    “We thought it would make more sense for us to do it,” Green said.

    Now the work begins, he said, to meet with Levy County civic, community and government leaders to get the word out. That process starts this week.

    “We’ve been here for 25 years (in Citrus County), but they don’t know us there,” he said.

    Green said he has appointed a Levy County expansion team among his volunteers who will make those contacts.

  • City approves grant application for police cars

    By C.L. Watson, Citizen Correspondent

    Tri County Community Resource Center Director Beverly Goodman requested the city donate use of the Tommy Usher Pineland Center for an event with chef Laura Fowler Goss.

    The event is a parent and child cooking class instructed by Goss March 21 from 10 a.m. to noon. Commissioner Teresa Barron made the motion to donate use of the center. Commissioner Donald Lawrence seconded. The motion was unanimously approved.

    City Manager Mary Ellzey presented the USDA Community Facility Grant for purchase of four police vehicles. In October 2017, the commission gave approval to file the application for the 4-to-1 matching grant. The USDA would pay $140,595 and the cost to the city would be $46,865 for four new Chevy Tahoes. Lawrence made the motion that was seconded by Barron and unanimously approved.

    Police Chief Scott Anderson informed commissioners that police officers would soon need their body cams replaced and the wireless printers in eight patrol units needed updating.

  • County may join opioid lawsuits

    In a scene reminiscent of the successful lawsuits against Big Tobacco in the 1990s, pharmaceutical companies have become a target for their role in the opioid crisis.

    The Levy County Commission on March 6 signaled its intent to join in on the action in order to recover costs that the opioid addiction has wreaked on local services and healthcare. The lawsuits, both federal and state, contend that the drug makers have knowingly misled users about the harmful effects of their painkillers, leading to widespread addiction and long-term health problems.

    County attorney Anne Bast Brown said at the meeting she has consulted with other counties that have reached agreements with firms to join in lawsuits, and has spoken with law firms seeking business from counties. She says counties like Alachua and Osceola have signed onto agreements with firms that avoid any costs up front for the counties, and those counties are shielded through the agreements from counter-suits from the pharmaceuticals.

  • Citrus County teacher removed from classroom for racist podcast

    By Carly Zervis, Citrus County Chronicle

    A Citrus County middle school teacher removed from the classroom after being outed as the host of a racially charged podcast has no record of suspensions or other disciplinary action by the Citrus County School District, an examination of her personnel file revealed Monday.

    Dayanna Volitich, originally from Aliquippa, Pennsylvania, and in her second year as a teacher in the district, was hired in August 2016 as a middle school social studies teacher, the position she continued to occupy at the time of her removal.

    According to a resume included with her employment application, Volitich earned a bachelor’s degree in history from Ohio State University in May 2014 and was pursuing a master’s degree in educational studies at Johns Hopkins University when she applied for a Citrus County teaching position in June 2016. The Chronicle was unable to confirm Monday whether she obtained the degree.

  • CK open house educates on a range of environmental topics

    The Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s open house Feb. 22, held at the UF/IFAS Nature Coast Biological Station, was a chance for residents to learn about the purpose and history behind the environmental regulations and restoration efforts that affect Cedar Key and the surrounding area.

    And while environmental regulations might not sound like sexiest of topics, the morning and midday event was a hit by all accounts, with around 80 attendees, proving again that Cedar Key citizen are passionate about its ecological standing.

    The open house presented an arrangement of stations, where, joining the DEP, there were representatives from UF/IFAS, Levy County’s Solid Waste department, an Ocala-based waste and recycling company, and Florida’s Aquatic Preserves, which, like the Florida Park Service, falls under the umbrella of the DEP.

  • CareerSource opens new office

    By Lori Prevatt, Citizen Correspondent

    CareerSource Citrus Levy Marion staff cut the ribbon and held an open house Feb. 22 at its new center at 2175 NW 11th Dr., in the Walmart Supercenter (Suwanee Plaza) off North Young Boulevard.

    The Levy County Career Center opened to the public in December 2017 to better serve businesses and candidates. The office was formerly located at the Old Post Office located behind the Levy County Tax Collector's Office.

    About 30 guests were present for the Chamber of Commerce ribbon cutting ceremony at noon. Among the guests were business participants that collaborate with the CareerSource employees, CareerSource board members and Chiefland Chamber of Commerce members.

    CareerSource staff all agree that moving to the new location will be greatly beneficial for the community. Moving to the center location makes career services more accessible to the public.

    “We moved to a more central location because the college is down the road and this is a much better place to provide services to residents,” said CEO of the Career Source Center Rusty Skinner Jr.