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Local News

  • Levy fossil site offers wealth of discoveries for volunteer diggers

    By NATALIE VAN HOOSE
    FL Museum of Natural History

    Volunteers can channel their inner paleontologist by digging alongside museum scientists at the Florida Museum of Natural History’s Montbrook fossil site south of Williston starting Thursday, Oct. 5.

    The excavation area includes an exposed riverbed close to an ancient coastline that has produced a wealth of fossils about 5 to 5.5 million years old, an age not commonly found in Florida.

    Among the more common turtle and fish fossils, last year’s findings included bones from a saber-toothed cat, a six-pronged antelope, otters, a tapir, elephant-like gomphotheres, horses, llamas, a variety of birds and possibly the oldest deer fossil discovered in North America.

    The richness of the site is one of the factors that makes it an ideal volunteer opportunity, said Florida Museum curator of vertebrate paleontology Jon Bloch.

  • Climate change lecture discusses impact on local environment

    The University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences through the Levy County Agricultural Extension Service presented the facts of climate change Friday, Sept. 22 that are supported by documented geological evidence, and the potential impact on agriculture and horticulture.

    Levy County Extension Agent Anthony Drew began by asking the audience how many have planted dogwood trees recently and how were those trees doing?

    The overwhelming response seemed to be that the trees are not doing well. According to Drew, the warmer temperatures in the atmosphere are to blame. It seems the trees are falling victim to global warming. Drew gave examples of what he called “anomalies” being witnessed in the plant kingdom. He then went on to introduce Dr. James E. Channell, his friend of several years. They met at a dinner party, and while the wives discussed tile colors the men started talking about their careers.

  • Beast Feast coming Oct. 21

    The annual Levy County Schools Foundation Beast Feast is 6 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 21, at the Etheridge Produce Farm in Williston.

    The annual fundraiser event features a variety of great food from clam chowder to “yard bird on a stick” prepared and served by cooks from local businesses and civic groups in a casual, picnic setting.

    The 2016 menu included gator, gumbo, fried frog legs and fried mullet fillets, wild hog chili, spicy creamed corn, “possum” (pork) ribs, clams from Cedar Key, cornbread and other wild delights.

    The evening includes door prizes and drawings.

    Tickets are $20 for adults and $10 for students age 8-17. Tickets are on sale.

    Proceeds support Levy County School programs promoting student learning, effective teaching and scholarships for Levy County seniors.

    For more information please e-mail Donna Turner at lcsf@levyk12.org.

    Foundation Executive Director Donna Turner said after the 2016 Feast they were hoping for their normal number of 200 people. She had serving ware for 325 people and ran out of plates. That won't happen again.

  • Potential Levy ag project still moving forward

    An agriculture-based business that would be among the five largest employers in Levy County is still part of discussions for a site in Levy County.

    Dave Pieklik, of the Nature Coast Business Development Council, reported at the County Commission meeting on Oct. 3 that the speculative establishment, which he refers to as a large-scale, agricultural project, is still moving forward in site evaluation.

    “The site is perfect for the space, but there are obviously requirements like rail and electrical upgrades, and those things are being explored,” Pieklik said during his quarterly projects overview with the Board of County Commissioners. “We have every belief this is going to happen, it’s just a matter of at what point. It is very much on the horizon.”

  • Peaton: 'We got lucky'

    As the cleanup continues from the debris left by Hurricane Irma, Levy County Emergency Management Assistant Director David Peaton said Friday, Sept. 15, they are in the recovery stage. They are checking on all the buildings, getting all the shelters and county equipment cleaned up and then just collecting data.

    “We’re checking on what was the financial burden on the county and what was the financial burden on the citizens, getting schools open as well as government offices,” he said.

    There were still about 2,000 customers of Central Florida Electric Cooperative without electricity. That number was down from 26,168 customers countywide who lost power during Hurricane Irma that hit North Central Florida Sept. 10 – 11.

  • LifeSouth sends out plea for blood donors

    LifeSouth began calling for blood donors after Hurricane Harvey pummeled Texas, then came Irma and now the pleading continues.

    The call was not lost on at least two women who were in the Chiefland LifeSouth location Friday, Sept. 8, giving blood before Hurricane Irma hit.

    Madeline Travers, of Bronson, said she donates blood “because it’s needed and I want to do everything I can to help. They were asking for O-positive blood donations and that’s what I am.”

    Travers said she tries to give blood often, but doesn’t give as often as she should.

    Vickie Menasco, Chiefland, said she donates blood because, “I just feel like it’s a way I can give back.”

    Though she has not given blood “for awhile, I’m hoping to start back. I’m just trying to do my part because I know there are a lot of people who can’t or will not. It’s something I can do and I’m willing to do my part.”

  • Levy escapes worst from Irma

    The worst-case projections for Irma predicted a potential Category 2 – even 3 – barreling through the area, with sustained winds of more than 100 miles per hour, and a storm surge around 15 or 20 feet, leaving parts of Cedar Key and Yankeetown inaccessible for the foreseeable future.

    Thankfully, the county was spared from that scenario.

    Widespread power outages to the majority of homes in the county as well as an ongoing extensive gas shortage – before and after its arrival -- appear to be the worst the storm brought to Levy County, besides the sporadic damage to individual homes from fallen trees.

    The center of what was left of Irma passed through Bronson in the early hours of Monday, Sept. 11, but the region appears to have been largely – or completely -- spared of hurricane-force winds.

    Irma was the most intense hurricane ever measured in the Atlantic outside of the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico, and set a record in sustaining winds of 185 miles per hour for 37 hours.

  • Police struggle to keep traffic moving north ahead of Irma

    By the time Hurricane Irma passed, the city of Chiefland fared well, except for car after car after car, camping trailers, motorhomes and more cars lined up one after another as they fled north from south Florida ahead of Hurricane Irma.

    Friday seemed like a typical day. The weather was nice, sunny, a few fluffy clouds floated through the sky, there was nothing threatening that would explain an impending natural disaster.

    Police officers directed traffic Friday at Murphy Express and the North Marathon gas stations after all the other stations were out of fuel. Tuesday, it was virtually the same scene again when the line of evacuees reversed course and headed back home again to south Florida.

    But on Friday, the Wal-Mart parking lot was filled with motorhomes and campers filled with travelers; some staying overnight to rest and some maybe thought they had gone far enough, but that was when Irma was supposed to turn north from Cuba and then go up the East Coast.

  • Mandatory Evacuation for Levy County

    A MANDATORY EVACUATION has been ordered for Levy County residents beginning at 4 p.m. today, September 8, 2017.

    Shelters in Levy County including the special needs shelter, will be opening at 4 P.M. today, September 8th. The first shelter location opening is the Bronson Elementary School, this is our only special needs location, but will also house general population. Overflow from this shelter will be moved to the Bronson Middle/High School, today if needed. The Williston Middle/High School will be the third facility to open for citizens seeking shelter on Saturday 9/9/17 at 9 a.m. Overflow from the Williston Middle/High will be moved to the Williston Elementary School, as needed.

    Citizens seeking shelter at any of the listed general population shelters will need to bring pillows, blankets, and bedding. Cots for sheltering citizens will not be available.

    Special needs citizens need to be prepared to move to the special needs shelter at Bronson Elementary beginning at 4pm today.

  • Levy Emergency Director completes FEMA course

    Levy County Emergency Management Director John MacDonald graduated the FEMA National Emergency Management Advanced Academy Aug. 18 after completing 160 hours of course study. The academy is one of the most demanding programs FEMA offers and includes "Best Practices" in leadership, preparedness and response to disasters.

    The National Emergency Management Advanced Academy reinforces qualities needed to lead emergency management programs, provides relevant management theories and concepts, and utilizes appropriate case studies. Advanced Academy participants worked within a collaborative environment on projects and established a network of peers.

    The academy is designed for emergency management mid-level managers with a minimum of three years-experience in an emergency management position. Students learn skills critical to performing their responsibilities, such as: program management and oversight, effective communication at all levels, integrated collaboration and strategic thinking, along with completing a research project one month prior to attending the final course.