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Local News

  • School Board approves plans for new CMHS

    If the School Board of Levy County gets its way, there will be a new Chiefland Middle High School built in the next five years.

    The Board Nov. 14 voted unanimously to include such a project in its Five-Year District Facilities Work Plan, which districts are required in Florida to submit. The Board has issued a request for proposal for the designing and building of the school.

    In order for the project to come to fruition, the district still needs approval for Special Utilities Funding from the Department of Education.

    According to the Board-approved Castaldi Generalized Formula for School Modernization Report, which provides a formula for designating whether it’s cheaper to build a new school or renovate current buildings, 92 percent of CMHS is at the critical need level, meaning it’s more cost prohibitive to renovate rather than build a new structure.

  • Students with disabilities are thriving in public schools

    Florida celebrated Disability History and Awareness Week last month, and the Levy County school district took the chance to reflect on its students with disabilities and their achievements.

    There are 937 students in Levy County with identified disabilities, and 83 percent of those are being educated alongside their non-disabled peers, according to figures presented to the School Board by Dr. Rosalind Hall, director of ESE and Student Services, who delivered a summary of the history and evolution of special education and the statistics for students with disabilities in Levy County.

    Hall’s data on the efficacy of inclusion in education was brought home by third-grader Kevin of Bronson Elementary School. Kevin Edwards, who couldn’t speak when he arrived at the school as a kindergartener, was kept in mainstream classes early on at the school to give him role models for speaking and developing language skills, according to Principal Cheryl Beauchamp. At the Board meeting, with guidance from his teacher, Rhonda Stephenson, Edwards introduced himself and handed out gifts to the Board.

  • Tax bill passes House, Senate is next

    The U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 1, the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act” Thursday, Nov. 16, by a vote of 227-205. Thirteen Republicans voted against the resolution along with 192 Democrats. Two Democrats did not vote.

    The 450-page resolution amends the 1986 Tax Code. U.S. Congressman Neal Dunn said Thursday after the vote, the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act” is the largest tax cut in American history.

    “It’s the largest tax cut both on individuals and on corporations in the history of this country,” he said. “People ask why cut corporate taxes? They create the jobs. That’s where the wages go up and jobs come from and that’s what makes the economy go.”

  • Chiefland man is killed as deputies respond to domestic disturbance

    Levy County deputies killed a Chiefland man Nov. 16, Thursday, after they responded to domestic disturbance. Three LCSO Patrol Division deputies responded to 7450 NW 110 St. to a domestic disturbance at 8:40 p.m. that ended in the death of 34-year-old Michael Wesley Goodale.

    The Florida Department of Law Enforcement is in charge of the investigation and will not release information until the investigation is concluded.

    According to a press release from the sheriff’s office, three deputies responded to the scene and were confronted by an armed male subject. After attempting to subdue Goodale with less lethal weapons, two deputies were forced to discharge their firearms. Goodale, 34, was transported to University of Florida Shands Hospital as a trauma alert, but he did not survive his injuries. 

  • Haven Hospice president: ‘We’re in this community for the long haul’

    Gayle Mattson wants Chiefland and the surrounding communities to know that Haven Hospice is here to serve them for the long run.

    That was the clear message the president of Haven Hospice delivered in her talk to the Suwannee Valley Rotary Club Nov. 16, on the heels of the closure of the Tri-Counties Hospice Care Center.

    The closure of the Care Center, which opened in 2004, and the corresponding re-positioning of employees, naturally sparked concerns around the community. Mattson issued a reassuring tone about Haven’s overall remaining presence in the area, noting that around 95 percent of the services delivered by Haven Hospice are done outside their care centers.

    “It was a very hard day for Haven,” Mattson said. “We did that to reposition the organization for the future. I hope that is last time I ever have to do that in my career – that’s my commitment.

    “Haven Hospice will have a presence in this community as long as they will have us,” Mattson added. “I hope that’s forever.”

  • Withlacoochee Chamber serves up amenities at ‘low boil’ dinner

    South Levy County is home to the Withlacoochee River, a glorious river that flows into the Gulf of Mexico. On any day of the week, any week of the year, the Withlacoochee Gulf Area Chamber of Commerce invites residents and visitors alike to come and enjoy all it’s great outdoor amenities. Conducive to boating, sailing, fishing, camping, hiking, bicycling, paddling, and birding, the river and surrounding areas have it all.

    The Withlacoochee Gulf Area Chamber of Commerce is the perfect host and hostess to acquaint those seeking that “Old Florida” adventure. Set in the laid back towns of Inglis and Yankeetown, the Withlacoochee Chamber works tirelessly to give residents and visitors a splendid, idyllic getaway whether it’s for a few hours, a few days, or a few months. Many residents came to the area as vacationers and found they just didn’t want to leave, making South Levy their permanent residences.

  • Faith, family, friends help Smith recover from freakish motorcycle accident

    Faith. Family. Friends. Sheila Smith says those are the reasons she survived a freakish motorcycle accident in 2010.

    Sheila fractured her skull in three places. Her sinus cavities collapsed and her face was paralyzed. Besides a big muscle knot and a bruise on one of her shoulders, “It was just my head and shoulder that was damaged. I was very fortunate.”

    She has no memory of the accident or the two months that followed. Because her face was paralyzed, she couldn’t close her eyes or mouth. Her right eye was stuck toward her nose, which caused problems with double vision, depth perception and vertigo. She had to wear a safety belt when she used a walker and someone had to walk behind her.

    To understand what led to the crash, it is necessary to know Sheila. She grew up in Pennsylvania as a little bit of a tomboy who was afraid of nothing, except maybe a Ferris wheel and other slow-moving things.

  • City moves on sewage plant

    Chiefland City commissioners found themselves in a situation they did not like Monday when they voted 4-1 to fund the city’s share of a grant to replace the digester at the wastewater treatment plant.

    It was either pay $148,600 for the city’s share of a grant now or fund the full cost at a later date.

    City Manager Mary Ellzey said staff applied for the Springs Project grant 18 months ago through the Department of Environmental Protection/Suwannee River Water Management District to replace the biosolids treatment unit that was built in 1968. The unit was refurbished once in 1999. The city is under a mandate to replace the equipment by 2020.

    At the of the grant application in January 2016, the estimated cost for the total project was $418,400 with the water management district funding $376,560 and city funding $41,840.

    Between the time construction plans were completed and the project was funded, there were substantial increases in labor and material costs. The cost is now estimated at $567,000, an increase of $148,600.

  • City Commission recognizes October Students of the Month

    By David Davis

    Editor

    Chiefland City commissioners recognized the October Students of the Month Monday, Nov. 11, during the regular commission meeting. Chiefland Elementary School nominated Carlos Salazar-Diaz, Chiefland Middle/High School selected Tyler Bass and Chiefland Middle/High School nominated Deshamar Shepherd for their outstanding behavior and scholastic achievement.

    CES fourth grade teacher Charlotte Andrews nominated Carlos, the son of Mirla Diaz and Carlos Salazar. The teacher said Carlos is a very conscientious student. He always comes to school prepared and eager to learn. He is very serious about his education. He is an English-Language Learner who has overcome language barriers to excel in all areas. Not only does he take his education seriously, but he also encourages and helps his classmates. He translates for other ELL students in the classroom. He is a real asset to his teachers.

  • Williston to host Veterans Day Parade

    By Carolyn Ten Broeck, Williston Pioneer Editor

    Men and women from all walks of life representing every branch of military service will be the guests of honor Saturday, when the city of Williston hosts the annual Levy County Veterans Day Parade..

    Step-off is at 10 a.m. Nov. 11. More than 35 units have pre-registered to participate in the parade down Noble Avenue including floats, motorcycles and horse and buggies.

    Following the parade, everyone is encouraged to come to the Heritage Park Pavilion where Mayor R. Gerald Hethcoat's annual Veterans Day Program will take place.

    In addition to patriotic music, where all branches of the military are honored with their anthems, Williston City Council President Charles Goodman, a Vietnam veteran, will deliver the keynote address.

    Following the hour long ceremony, the city will serve hot dogs and chips to those in attendance.

    For more information, call Latricia Wright at 528-3060.