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Local News

  • New worlds for sale

    Friends of the Luther Callaway Public Library is having a book sale Saturday, Feb. 3, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Octagon Building behind Chiefland Fire Rescue. Hardback covers are priced to sell at 50 cents each and paperbacks for a quarter.

    Some of the thousands of titles are library books that have not been checked out for a while, but most are donations. They will be organized on tables in categories of fiction and nonfiction.

    Books are always on sale inside the library, but Friends President Ann Brown said Thursday, Jan. 11, during the organization’s monthly meeting that the nonprofit organization is having the book sale to raise money to replace the carpet in the building. Instead of laying carpet rolls, they want carpet squares that will be cheaper in the long run though the upfront cost is about $10,000. Although the library is part of the county system and the building is owned by the city of Chiefland, the friends group helps support programs and other needs not funded through the county system or by the city.

  • Anderson: phone system is going to break

    Chiefland fire and police chiefs made their presentations to the city commission at the regular meeting Jan. 8. Chief James Harris said Chiefland Fire Rescue responded to 1,672 incidents in 2017 while Chief Scott Anderson warned the governing body that the phone system is about to crash.

    Harris said 827 responses were inside the city and 681 were in the county. CFR responded to 78 incidents where other agencies did not respond. CFR went to Bronson on 12 occasions and on three of those trips, CFR was the only agency to respond; Fowlers Bluff did not respond 26 times. CFR aided Fanning Springs 23 times, but Fanning Springs did not respond 36 times. CFR had 35 calls in Otter Creek and aided Rosewood four times, but Rosewood did not respond on five occasions; aided Trenton twice and Cedar Key four times.

  • Bronson celebrates Martin Luther King Jr. Day

    MLK Day in Bronson was a day filled of fun and games. Participants in the egg race (Page 4A) made their way down Main Street in Bronson with their heads up. The street was closed to traffic and vendors set up tables up and down the street. Free hot dogs and sodas were in abundance along with various other food delicacies.

  • Highway 19 to be dedicated to slain deputy

    A portion of U.S Highway 19 in Otter Creek will be dedicated to the memory of A. Haygood Ellzey, the only Levy County Sheriff’s officer killed in the line of duty. The dedication for Deputy Ellzey will take place at 11 a.m., Thursday, Jan. 25, at the northbound lane sign in Otter Creek.

    On January 28, 1945 while on patrol in the city limits of Otter Creek, Deputy Sheriff A. Haygood Ellzey was shot and killed in the line of duty by two men who lured him into a wooded area.

    Moments earlier Deputy Ellzey had asked the two white men to leave an African American juke to avoid having any problems between the white and black citizens.

    Before dying Deputy Ellzey was able to identify his shooter which led both men to be convicted of his murder and both were sentenced to prison.

  • Inglis kayaking project moving forward

    The plan for a whitewater kayak venue in Inglis was first proposed around 2000, with an eye toward possibly serving the 2012 Summer Olympics, if they were to be held in Tampa.

    Though those plans were washed away, the project never quite died.

    Now the town is moving forward with a feasibility study this April, which could attract a concessionaire that could finally bring the venue to fruition.

    Inglis Mayor Drinda Merritt announced the latest developments at the Levy County Commission meeting Jan. 9.

    The venue would be established south of Highway 40, where the canal for the now-defunct Cross Florida Barge connects with the lower Withlacoochee River.

    “That canal has about a 22-foot drop from the dam down to the where it reconnects with the river,” Merritt said. “So it was brought to my attention several years ago that if we reverse-engineered it, would could make a whitewater kayaking venue there.”

  • Whitewater idea is floated

    The Nature Coast Business Development Council has set five goals for 2018 to help build a stronger economic foundation for the future.

    The goals include completing the economic impact statement for the Inglis whitewater kayaking venue; countywide broadband; investment launch; relaunching the business alliance and establishing a food-related business incubator. Broadband internet and whitewater kayaking were discussed at the meeting Thursday, Jan. 11, at the Jack Wilkinson Campus of the College of Central Florida.

    Council Director David Pieklik opened discussion on the economic impact statement for a kayaking project in Inglis. Completion of the EIS by the University of Central Florida is expected in April.

    Richard Streeter, of Inglis, said a whitewater course in Inglis would have two advantages over any other similar venue in the country. It would operate year around and the water temperature is very important to Olympic kayaking.

  • WoW targets plastic along the coast

    Cedar Key’s Workout on the Waterfront (WoW) is an exciting day packed full

    of fun and active events, scheduled this year for Feb. 24.

    The WoW event aims to raise awareness about plastic pollution along our coasts.

    Proceeds from the 2018 races and silent auction will benefit the public aquarium at NCBS, Cedar Key School and the annual Cedar Key International Coastal Cleanup.

    WoW events include the Coastal Heritage 5K with runners of all ages following a route winding through downtown Cedar Key and along the historic waterfront. Race starts 9 a.m. at Lil Shark Park, 192 Second Street. Register at Active.com in advance or on race day at 6:30 a.m. Runner check-in begins at 6:30 a.m.

    Astena Otie Kayak Challenge is for kayakers ages 18 and above. It will start at the beach in downtown Cedar Key at 10:15 a.m. The course runs around and through Astena Otie Key and back to the City Park beach. Racers must pick up at least one item of garbage from Atsena Otie’s shoreline before racing back to City Park. Register at Active.com in advance or day of race at 6:30 a.m.

  • Changes proposed in waters around Snake Key

    The Cedar Keys National Wildlife Refuge is exploring a seasonal closure of Snake Key’s near-shore waters out to 100 yards to protect nesting birds from March 1 to June 30, mirroring the former closure at Seahorse Key.

    A public notification process will gather input on the proposed closure for 2018.
    Snake Key is an island off of the City of Cedar Key in the Gulf of Mexico and is part of the CKNWR established in 1929. The 800-acre refuge is managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for wildlife and wildlife-oriented outdoor recreation. The primary purpose of the refuge is to serve as breeding grounds for colonial-nesting marine birds. Snake Key is approximately 32.5 acres and is completely surrounded by shallow water, and is mostly closed to the public except for the small beach. The island is composed of two islands divided by a very narrow (~25 foot) channel, but is considered one landmass.

  • Complaint of shots fired at park leads to volley of words

    A complaint of guns fired within the city limits set off a heated discussion Monday evening at the Chiefland City Commission meeting.

    Shannon Iglesias said she was at a city park with her three children and her fiancé on the afternoon of Dec. 31 and heard a bullet whiz above her head. She told commissioners she called the 9-1-1. Emergency operators dispatched the Chiefland Police to the scene, “but they didn’t really investigate it.”

    She said Capt. Ray Tremblay advised her to attend the commission meeting and advise commissioners of a 2015 law prohibiting recreational shooting firearms in a primarily residential neighborhood with more than one dwelling place per unit acre.

    Iglesias said she believed the law was being misconstrued and is of the opinion that the law was supposed to be used as a residential unit as a whole as opposed to looking at a 10-acre parcel separately.

    “I’m concerned about my children. The FFA property is next door. My children go out there to feed the animals. They’re shooting and bullets are coming across the street to the park,” she said.

  • Hotel to break ground in spring

    By Bob McRae
    Citizen Correspondent

    Groundbreaking for the long-awaited hotel in Fanning Springs should be in the spring and is expected to be completed in nine to 10 months.

    Fanning Springs Mayor Trip Lancaster said Dec. 28 that Best Western Premier is working through the approval and permit process for a five-story hotel on four undeveloped acres north of the Agricultural Inspection Station on U.S. Highway 19 in Gilchrist County. The hotel will offer unique amenities including bike racks and horse stables and cater to boaters as well.

    The hotel was proposed approximately three years ago.
    Lancaster said he is committed to bringing new business to the area that will in turn boost the economy and provide much needed jobs for the Fanning Springs community. He expects the Best Western Hotel project will add $1 million of annual payroll to Fanning Springs and Gilchrist County.