Local News

  • Vessels held on $4 million bond

    By Scott Tummond, LCSO Public Information

    LCSO published details Nov. 28 of a reported shooting that occurred Nov. 24 at Melvin and Alice’s Restaurant. The investigation revealed that two victims had been wounded by shotgun rounds fired by an unknown suspect. Based on an extensive investigation, LCSO Investigator Justin Douglas was able to obtain an arrest warrant for Anthony Walter Vessels, 26, for two counts of attempted murder.

    Members of the U.S. Marshal’s Service Florida Regional Fugitive Task Force located and arrested Vessels Dec. 11 in Broward County. Vessels will be held at the Levy County Detention Facility on a bond of $4 million dollars.

    Sheriff Bobby McCallum said he is very proud of the investigative work by LCSO personnel and appreciative of the assistance provided by the Fugitive Task Force and others in this investigation.

    Investigators have already interviewed Vessels and the case remains active.

    LCSO urges anyone with information regarding this incident to contact Investigator Justin Douglas or Justin VanDuren.

  • What if every day were Christmas?

    I like history.

    I’m not a student of it, but I like researching historical sites for ideas and articles I can use.

    The following article from “Biblical World” published in December 1913 caught my attention because I have bemoaned for years that Christmas is way too commercialized; that the true meaning of Christmas is lost in all the decorations, lights and gift-giving.

    I am comforted knowing that I am not much different than they were 104 years ago.




    “Heaven defend us from such a misfortune!” you say. For Christmas is one of the most dreaded joys of life.

    But this terror at the mention of Christmas is due to our having commercialized the day until it is a synonym for anxiety lest we give someone a present of less (or more) value than the present this someone has given us.

    Yet in reality Christmas is a bit of prophetic idealism. It is a testimony to our persistent belief that our present economic order is not ideal. Even the most brutal industrialism cannot destroy this faith.

  • Nameplate on historic locomotive is stolen

    By Toni C. Collins, Levy County Historical Society

    Recently, the more than 100 year-old historic locomotive on display in Wayside Park in Gulf Hammock was damaged when the manufacturer’s plates donated by the Levy County Historical Society were stolen.

    The Paterson-Mcinnis Locomotive has been on display since 1969 when Georgia-Pacific donated the land to establish Wayside Park for the display. In 1992, the Florida Department of Transportation donated Wayside Park and locomotive to the people of Levy County. In June of this year, the historical society submitted an application, which was approved, for a Florida Historic Marker to be placed at the site. The display was established as a reminder of the locomotive that contributed greatly to the history and heritage of Levy County.

    This is the second time the manufacturer’s plates have been stolen. Following the first theft, a chain link fence was erected around the display to prevent any further theft or damage to the historic locomotive. However, that did not deter the current thieves who cut a hole in the fence to access the locomotive.

  • 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.