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Today's News

  • Grant supports efforts to extend mental health services in Levy

    There are efforts underway to bring a mental health court to Levy County, and a new grant approved by the county will support fact-finding and organizing that could help lead to its realization.

    At the Levy County Commission meeting Dec. 19, the Board approved 4-1 to offer a letter in support of a Department of Children and Families (DCF) planning grant that would assign an individual to determine mental health needs in the county for inmates. The program is ultimately aimed at improving jail diversion efforts through mental health treatment.

    Leah Compton, Vice President of Forensic Services at Meridian Behavioral Healthcare, went before the commission to request the grant endorsement. DCF requires that subjected counties offer their approval for the grant. The planning grant and its resulting process is required before a county can be eligible for an implementation grant that would fund more mental health services.

  • Williston site approved for RV park

    A 180-acre site located on the southeastern edge of Williston has been approved by the county for use by a prospective RV park.

    Jose Morales’ requests for the site, which included changes to part of the property’s land-use designations, a rezoning as well as a special exception that is required by all prospective RV park sites, were approved unanimously by the Levy County Commission Dec. 19.

    Public hearings were at the meeting before the adoption of the ordinances, and no objections were raised.

    The amendment to the county’s Comprehensive Plan required the county to earlier submit a petition to the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, while other state agencies also screened the request. The agencies approved the change with no comment on the changes.

    The RV park would receive water and sewer services from the City of Williston. Williston submitted a letter to the County Commission expressing its approval of the venture, while noting its capacity to serve the project’s utilities.

  • Bronson Elementary ‘heroes’ recognized for life-saving efforts

    The morning of Sept. 25 started like nearly any other at Bronson Elementary School.

    The school was getting its footing after Hurricane Irma, during which it served as the shelter hub for the county.

    But it quickly took a turn when ESE aides Marilyn Johnson and Caeli Woodard saw one of the students they look after unresponsive at around 9:15 a.m.

    “Kids pass out all the time, but this was different, and she knew it,” said Liz Powers, the director of nurses at the health department.

    Karra Cardwell, a 12-year-old student with special needs, remained unresponsive after 10 minutes of receiving CPR. She survived the mysterious episode, which earned her an eight-day stay at the hospital, and the heroic efforts by various staff to save Karra were recognized by administrators at a meeting of the School Board in November.

    “This is not something Karra does,” Powers said. “She’s here with us today and back with us at school. She did a great drill with us that we hope she never does again.”

  • Cross country standout recognized by School Board

    When it comes to state competition, no athlete outside the school’s softball program has seen as much success recently at Chiefland Middle High School as eighth-grade cross country star Lauren Jones.

    On Dec. 12, the School Board of Levy County recognized Jones’ feats, as CMHS assistant principal Aaron Halderman recounted her accomplishments.

    Family, coaches and supporters filled the room to celebrate the moment for Jones, who, after already qualifying for the state championship as a seventh-grader, took a significant step this past season in finishing 14th overall at the Class 1A championships against a field of more than 175 runners.

    “When you see that many kids running, that’s a big accomplishment,” Halderman said. “And to know that she’s got her high school years ahead of her – a lot of the athletes that came in ahead of her, I don’t think she’ll be running against in the years to come.”

    Halderman recalled when he first saw Jones run a race. It was Chiefland Elementary School’s annual Run-for-Fun.

    A future star was born.

  • Football players, cheerleaders recognized at Chiefland banquet

    Adam Gore, the head football coach at Chiefland Middle High School, was aware he had a young team this past season.

    But it wasn’t clear just how new it was until, after combing through the roster for first-year lettermen, he realized there wouldn’t be enough C letters on order to be handed out Dec. 15 at the CMHS Football and Cheer Banquet Dec. 15.

    “We had about 26 (first-year lettermen),” said Gore, who assured everyone would eventually receive their C’s. “We weren’t ready for that.”

    In the end, the cafeteria stage at Chiefland Elementary School was nearly too short to accommodate them as flooded the stage.

    The number of superlatives handed out to sophomores bodes well for the program’s future.

  • School Board makes plans to strengthen voice in Tallahassee

    In the face of what it sees as an encroachment on local control – highlighted recently by favorable legislation for charter schools – the School Board of Levy County is seeking new ways to make its voice heard in Tallahassee.

    At the close of its regular meeting Dec. 12, the Board proposed strategies for strengthening its influence on state lawmakers for the legislative season, informally offering a plan to bus parents to Tallahassee with an aim to present with Board members specific concerns on issues to legislators.

    Board member Brad Etheridge (Williston) said he received interest for his proposal to try new methods of local advocacy during his Master Board Program training in Tampa. The remainder of the Board at the meeting expressed their support for such moves and informally brainstormed their own ideas.

  • Public Safety employee recognized

    The Levy County Commission recognized the Department of Public Safety employee of the year Matt Cribbs at its meeting Dec. 18. Commissioner Matt Brooks, of Williston, who invited Cribbs to be recognized before the Board after seeing Cribbs receive the honor from Public Safety director Mitch Harrell at the LCDPS Christmas party, described Cribbs as “one of those employees that goes above and beyond for the Department of Public Safety.”

  • 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.

  • Chiefland Elementary Pre-K, kindergarteners and first graders write letters to Santa Claus

    Dear Santa, I would like an Elsa doll, BB gun, kitchen set, Hello Kitty make-up and a fidget spinner. Bristol Barker

    Dear Santa, I would like a Barbie Doll, a bike, and a baby doll. Sarenity Chadwick

    Dear Santa, I would like a baby doll, a Muana book, a watch, and a bracelet. Aaliyah Hayes

    Dear Santa, I want a fidget spinner, a baby doll that talks, pees and poops, and a meowing kitten, and a frog that jumps. McKenie Herrington

    Dear Santa, For Christmas I want a Barbie Doll, a Barbie House, a princess carraige jeep and a fidget spinner. Shyleigh McCraney

    Dear Santa, I want a necklace, a Barbie doll, a bracelet and a watch for Christmas. Kyndal Miller

    Dear Santa, I want a dinosaur, a car and a candy for Christmas. Giovanni Morales

    Dear Santa, I would like a DS, a dart gun, a bracelet that you hear songs on, candy and an IPAD for Christmas. Michael Morales

    Dear Santa, I want some skate shoes, baby doll and a purple hover board for Christmas please. Trinity Morton

  • 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.