Today's News

  • McCallum, Edison talk school security

    By Lori Prevatt, Citizen Correspondent

    A public school security meeting at Chiefland Elementary educated about 30 parents on some changes coming to the security measures at the school and possible changes coming in the near future.

    The changes were prompted March 9 when Gov. Rick Scott signed Senate Bill 7026, a 105-page bill addressing school security and safety. The bill was proposed after the Valentine’s Day school shooting at Marjory Douglas Stone high school.

    Sheriff Bobby McCallum addressed the crowd of parents and citizens on the evening of March 16.

    “I don’t think I have been anymore stressed as I am right now for the task set before us. This bill has left the superintendent and I in a very tight spot,” McCallum said. “The bill requires a school resource officer in every school. The sheriffs department works hand in with the police department. They will back up school resource officers. We’ve increased the numbers of patrol officers, so we can pay close attention to our schools,” McCallum said.

  • Residents: Keep Withlacoochee as it is

    By Fred Hiers, Reporter, Citrus County Chronicle

    When weather permits, 78-year-old Jodie Roberts sits on her deck on the Withlacoochee River a mile downstream from the Lake Rousseau dam and watches the water’s flow and enjoys the wildlife. She wants to keep it that way.

    To try and do that she was one of about 20 people who attended the Southwest Florida Water Management District’s kickoff meeting this week that began the process of establishing minimum flows and levels (MFL) for the middle and upper portion of the river.

    “I think it’s important we keep the river like it is,” she said after the water agency’s presentation about the fundamentals of setting MFLs. The meeting was at Cornerstone Baptist Church in Inverness.

    “That’s my concern. If they don’t get the numbers right, the water and the quality will go down,” she said.

    MFLs are important because, once established, the water district uses them to determine whether to grant groundwater or surface water withdrawal permits.

  • Missing Child

    Todd Watson has been located.

    Todd Watson, a 2 year old toddler, wandered from his home earlier today in Rosewood. Law enforcement from the Levy County Sheriff's Office, the Florida Department of Corrections Cross City K-9 and the Citrus County Sheriff's Office Aviation Unit and approximately 150 volunteers searched the wooded area near the child's home located at 9730 SW 67 Street in Rosewood.

    Todd was found safe and is currently being evaluated by EMS.

    The LCSO and Sheriff McCallum want to offer our sincere thanks to all of the volunteers who offered their time and extraordinary efforts to make this a successful community effort.  

  • Zino is Levy spelling champ

    Courtesy of School Board of Levy County

    Bronson fifth-grader Mina Zino is the Levy County District Spelling Bee Champ. Zino was also recognized in fourth grade for having perfect scores on her FSA Reading and Math, and was recognized in third grade for having a perfect score on her FSA Reading.

  • DOH issues mosquito borne illness alert

    The Florida Department of Health in Levy County issued a mosquito-borne illness alert for Levy County. A case of Eastern Equine Encephalitis has been confirmed in a flock of Emus in the Bronson area and there is a heightened concern that residents could become ill.

    DOH-Levy continues to advise the public to remain diligent in their personal mosquito protection efforts by remembering to “drain and cover.”

    Drain standing water to stop mosquitoes from multiplying.

    •Drain water from garbage cans, house gutters, buckets, pool covers, coolers, toys, flower pots or any other containers where sprinkler or rain water has collected.

    • Discard old tires, drums, bottles, cans, pots and pans, broken appliances and other items that aren’t being used.

    • Empty and clean birdbaths and pet’s water bowls at least once or twice a week

    • Protect boats and vehicles from rain with tarps that don’t accumulate water.

    • Maintain swimming pools in good condition and appropriately chlorinated. Empty plastic swimming pools when not in use.

  • Deputies cleared in shooting

    The Levy County Grand Jury found two Levy County deputies were within their rights to use deadly force on a Chiefland man armed with two knives in November 2017.

    Levy County Sheriff Bobby McCallum said Tuesday morning that “no true bill” was the decision he expected.

    “Based on our initial investigation and review of the information I had, I believed it was justifiable, though I do feel bad for the family,” the sheriff said. “These are three of the most experienced deputies. I know their communications skills in dealing with suspects and knew they had done everything they could do and the shooting was the last option they had. This was the last thing they wanted to do.”

    According to a press release by State Attorney Bill Cervone, deputies responded Nov. 16, 2017, to a domestic dispute and found 34-year-old Michael Goodale armed with two knives.

  • LCSO to hold school security briefings

    By Lori Prevatt, Citizen Correspondent

    The Levy County Sheriff’s Office is holding a community school security meeting Thursday, March 15, in the Chiefland Elementary School cafeteria at 6:30 p.m.

    The meeting comes after Gov. Rick Scott signed House Bill 7026. The bill, signed March 9 by the governor is also referred to as the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Act.

    The bill addresses many concerns that were brought to light by the school shooting that took place Valentine’s Day.

    According to the Florida Senate website, the bill will allow law enforcement officers to seize weapons from mentally ill persons and hold those weapons until those persons have received appropriate treatment.

    Also, the bill calls for placement of extra resource officers, retired law enforcement officers, or school workers that volunteer to carry firearms in the schools solely for the protection of students and staff.

  • Ed. bill has some good, some bad

    By Lori Prevatt, Citizen Correspondent

    Passage of House Education Bill 7055 has been making headlines across the state and country because of the complexity of the 200-page bill, funding going to private charter schools and the requirement that teachers’ unions must have at least 50 percent of teachers in membership to remain intact.

    Gov. Rick Scott signed the bill March 11.

    Levy School Board Superintendent Jeffery Edison stated in email correspondence that, “Normally a bill only has one or two sections, and this bill has 43 sections. You can see that private and charter schools are receiving funding and the bill makes it more difficult for public schools to operate.”

    Levy County School Board member Chris Cowart summed up his concerns due to upcoming changes facing school boards and district superintendents. Cowart was greatly concerned about district superintendents being instead of them being elected by citizens as they are under the current system.

    He also expressed concern over the possibility of school board salaries being decreased.

  • Homan greets students after holiday break

    By Lori Prevatt, Citizen Correspondent

    A new principal greeted students when they returned to Chiefland Elementary School in January after the Christmas Holiday.

    Michael Homan, originally from Baltimore, began her career in education as a volunteer, then as a substitute and eventually became an Exceptional Student education teacher at Bronson Elementary where she spent 12 years working her way from ESE teacher, to reading coach and to assistant principal at BES for five years. She in that capacity at CES for one year before moving on to the district office where she served as Title 1 Coordinator for the next four years.

    Homan said some changes she has made is the way teachers do intervention time. Interventions are extra activities used to help students meet specific needs in the areas in which they are academically weak.

  • County may join opioid lawsuits

    In a scene reminiscent of the successful lawsuits against Big Tobacco in the 1990s, pharmaceutical companies have become a target for their role in the opioid crisis.

    The Levy County Commission on March 6 signaled its intent to join in on the action in order to recover costs that the opioid addiction has wreaked on local services and healthcare. The lawsuits, both federal and state, contend that the drug makers have knowingly misled users about the harmful effects of their painkillers, leading to widespread addiction and long-term health problems.

    County attorney Anne Bast Brown said at the meeting she has consulted with other counties that have reached agreements with firms to join in lawsuits, and has spoken with law firms seeking business from counties. She says counties like Alachua and Osceola have signed onto agreements with firms that avoid any costs up front for the counties, and those counties are shielded through the agreements from counter-suits from the pharmaceuticals.