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Local News

  • Victims: they will not forget Perez's deceit

    Roberteus Perez stood quietly alongside his attorney as four victims’ statements were read Wednesday, Dec. 13, during sentencing proceedings in front of Judge Mark W. Moseley.

    The former Chiefland Elementary School custodian arrested April 4 after a hidden camera was found in a staff restroom pled guilty as part of a plea agreement.

    There were no images of children found in the seized videos though all of the victims expressed belief that children were caught on camera. The recovered images were of short, edited video clips of women using the bathroom. Some women were identifiable and some were not.

    Two CES staff members came forward to read victim statements and the victim advocate read two other statements.

    The first victim said that after the shock wore off, they were left with the destruction Perez left behind.

    “We went from trusting, caring women to suspicious characters who question every time we go to the bathroom or a dressing room. You could barely look us in the eye when we tried to engage you in casual conversation, yet you could watch videos of us in the comfort of your own home.”

  • Judge explains sentencing rules

    Judge Mark W. Moseley said Wednesday, Dec. 13, during the sentencing of Roberteus Perez for video voyeurism at Chiefland Elementary School that he wanted to explain to the victims why the prosecution agreed to the plea agreement. (Please see the associated story for details.)

    “The legislature in their wisdom, which I have to accept, as the intent of the legislature, which I must support and follow, deems this crime at this point to be on par with felony petty theft; for driving on a suspended license, habitual,” he said. “It scores as a Level 1 offense.”

    He said that may seem outrageous, but the people they need to write to change the offense level is their state legislators. Express to them that voyeurism is not a victimless crime and to make them appreciate the gravity so that in a single instance, the court could have discretion if the particular case rose to that of a Level 4 offense.

  • Fanning Springs prohibits internet cafe, marijuana

    By Kate Sheridan, Citizen Correspondent

    The Fanning Springs City Council voted to place a 365-day moratorium on an internet cafe and medical marijuana.

    In explaining the details found and reasons behind the decision to not approve any permits or licenses for the internet café, City Attorney Michael O’Steen said that at this point, internet cafes are quite simply illegal. There are several loopholes and rule bending done to allow the businesses to function, but bottom line said O’Steen, is that if you go into one of these locations, hand over your money, there is a chance you will walk out and lose that money. It is still considered gambling and that is illegal. At this stage, there are just too many negatives to clearly state that these businesses should even be open and running at all. Rather than be the pioneers, Fanning Springs opted for the moratorium.

    Also voted and approved was to adopt a 365-day moratorium to not permit for a facility for the medical marijuana. The action does not infringe on persons to use their prescriptions. It only prevents a facility from opening within Fanning Springs.

  • Lions Club announces expanded vision services

    Cedar Key Lions Club today announced an expanded coverage area for Lions Club Vision Services. Residents of Levy, Gilchrist and Dixie counties are now eligible to receive free vision services from the Lions.

    Club President Dale Register remarked, “Ninety years ago, Helen Keller challenged the Lions Club to take up the cause of the blind. Lions in Cedar Key have answered that challenge since 1968. As we approach our Club’s 50th Anniversary, I’m honored to announce an expanded service area. It’s a privilege for the Cedar Key Lions Club to provide eye exams, eyeglasses, glaucoma treatment and cataract surgery to individuals demonstrating financial need in Levy, Gilchrist and Dixie counties. This expanded service area triples our ability help those in need. Our club proudly upholds the Lions motto: We Serve.”

    Cedar Key Lions have streamlined the application process to deliver benefits faster.  Find the the Lions Vision Service Program application online at www.cedarkeylionsclub.com

  • Chiefland Rotary Club holds annual dove hunt

    Two Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officers were the guest speakers at the Nov. 29 meeting of the Chiefland Rotary Club.

    Rotarian Stoney Smith introduced officers Morgan Willis and Paul Schulz. Since hunting and fishing regulations are constantly changing due to conservation and environmental concerns, the officers presented updated information that will help members stay safe and avoid law enforcement issues. 

    Schulz went covered deer management areas and antler size regulations, which changed three years ago. With the dove shoot Dec. 2 and the opening of dove season on Dec. 12, he laid out the regulations: hunting license is needed, shotgun must be plugged and there is a 15 dove limit per hunter per day. A hunter may be in possession of 45 doves — but each hunter may only personally have 15. The example given was that if one or two hunters gave their birds to a third hunter to take home, each hunter must provide their name, address and phone number for those 15 doves. The hunter in possession must be able to prove to the officer those were not all his kill.

  • Little critter packs a punch in citrus greening

    Citrus greening has hit North Central Florida and the residents now have a weapon to fight back: the Tamarixia Wasp.

    Citrus greening causes blotchy mottled leaves and it changes the flavor in your harvests. Huanglongbing (HLB), more commonly known as citrus greening is thought to be caused by a particular strain of bacterium called, Candidatus Liberibacter Asiaticus. Citrus greening symptoms include pointed leaves on new leaf growth, described as “rabbit ears,” blotchy mottle leaves, leaf drop, reduced fruit size, bitter tasting fruit, poorly colored fruit, lopsided fruit with curved columella (column-like structures), yellow stain at base of fruit and excessive fruit drop.

    The Asian Citrus Psyllid feed on and damage citrus plantings. They lay eggs on citrus trees and through their feedings, spread the bacterium that causes the disease. The Tamarixia wasp, is a parasite that ultimately destroys its host. The tiny wasp has only one host and that is the ACP nymph. The female Tamarixia wasp lays an egg on the underside of the developing ACP. Once the larva hatches it will feed externally on the ACP nymph until it eventually dies.

  • Joyner gets award named in his honor

    So many of the details of Mike Joyner’s extensive career in law enforcement – particularly his heralded undercover work – will never be available for public consumption.

    Joyner, who has served as a Levy County Commissioner since 2011, and has been called an expert in undercover drug investigations, has been everything from Chief Deputy in Jefferson County, a captain in the Gadsden County Sheriff’s Office, a lieutenant in the Citrus County Sheriff’s Office, and bailiff and agriculture investigator in Levy County.

    While some of the details of that work might remain exclusive for his closest friends, the broad contributions of Joyner’s career are now being recognized in a big way. The Florida Intelligence Unit (FIU), which has trained officers since 1961, has announced a new annual award to go to the officer of the year.

    They’re calling it the Mike Joyner Law Enforcement Officer of the Year Award.

  • CF holds graduation at new campus

    The College of Central Florida graduated a pioneering class of adult education students Dec. 7 in Chiefland.

    The group represented the first to make its graduation walk in the conference room of the new Jack Wilkinson Levy Campus, which opened for classes this past August.

    “We’re looking forward to growing in this building and providing additional programs and services for our students, and tonight’s program is a prime example of what can be accomplished here,” said Holly McGlashan, Levy Campus Manager, in her introduction.

    There were 22 adult education students receiving the State of Florida High School Diploma, known as the General Education Development (GED), for the Fall 2017 graduation.

  • Gaithers live with trials, blessings

    The lives of Michael and Kaye Gaither are a series of trials followed by blessings. The overarching trial is that Michael; the most kind, sweetest, loving man in the eyes of his family, is in heart failure, and Multiple Sclerosis. The blessing is that he is under the care of Haven Hospice, an organization for which Kaye, Michael and his service dog, Honey, are volunteers.

    A trial is that Honey, who will be eight years old Jan. 22, is in the terminal stages of a fungus-born disease. The blessing is that on Monday, she made her 89th appointment with veterinarians at the UF Small Animal Hospital in Gainesville. Honey is a certified full mobility, PTSD medical service dog. She and Michael are members of team No. 001 in a critical VA research project and the two are inseparable. Honey picked up the fungus as a puppy, before she came to the Gaithers.

    Michael suffered a heart attack in January and has struggled to breathe for a long time. During his career, he was an electrician in textile mills and he repaired vehicles as a civilian employee for the National Guard.

  • Christmas Golf Cart Parade returns to Old Town

    The 10th annual Christmas Golf Cart Parade will be Dec. 16 at 6:30 p.m. at the Turner Point Boat Ramp in Old Town. Santa and Mrs. Claus will be there with bags of candy for all the boys and girls. We invite everyone to decorate their golf carts and join