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Today's News

  • Former CES custodian to plead guilty on 2 counts of voyeurism

    A former Chiefland Elementary School custodian arrested April 4 after a hidden camera was found in a staff restroom is expected to plead guilty Dec. 13 as part of a plea agreement.

    According to an open letter to CES staff and faculty from Andrea Muirhead of the Levy County State Attorney's Office, Perez will plead guilty to two counts of video voyeurism.

    The agreement calls for Perez to receive 18 months in prison followed by eight years probation. During his probationary period, Perez must write a letter of apology to the faculty and staff at Chiefland Elementary School, have no contact with CES faculty and staff or campus, enter and successfully complete sex offender counseling, perform 200 hours of community service within the first two years on probation, and possess no camera, video camera, or surveillance equipment unless the recording devices is manufactured as part of a smartphone or computer.

    There were no images of children in the seized videos though there were short, edited video clips of women using the bathroom. Some women were identifiable and some were not.

  • Goodale shooting update released

    The Florida Department of Law Enforcement released an update on the officer involved shooting death of Michael Wesley Goodale on Nov. 16 in Chiefland.

    Levy County Sheriff’s Public Affairs Officer Lt. Scott Tummond said, “At this point in the FDLE investigation, we were authorized to release this information related to the current and open FDLE investigation.”

    According to a press release from the sheriff’s office, “Three Levy County deputies responded to 7450 NW 110 St. in Chiefland to a reported domestic violence complaint with an armed subject. Deputies arrived and confronted Michael Wesley Goodale, 34, at the front door of this residence. Goodale was armed with two knives and refused to comply with all lawful orders given by deputies. Deputies deployed Tasers in an attempt to disarm Goodale, but the Tasers were ineffective. Goodale attacked our deputies, which forced them to use their agency issued handguns to stop this attack. Goodale was struck by two bullets fired by our deputies and did not survive his injuries. Two deputies sustained minor injuries during the altercation.”

  • Motorcyclists ride 1,000 miles in 24 hours

    Three Chiefland men make an annual endurance ride on motorcycles to raise money and awareness of the needs of some long-term nursing home residents.

    Brad Groom and Bruce Bryant have donated about $9,000 in the past five years.

    Groom said that through their proud donors, the 2017 Iron Butt ride raised about $1,500 upon completing the Southeast 1,000. The two men created that route, which is not listed with the Iron Butt Association as a sanctioned ride.

    The money raised is split evenly between eight needy residents living in Tri-County area nursing homes. The residents of Ayers, Cross City, Tri-County and Williston nursing homes must be long-term residents truly in need of financial assistance as determined by either facility case managers or social workers. The Iron Butt team has no input on who receives the donations.

  • Indians’ long ball sinks Sharks in overtime

    In a game filled with ups and downs from both teams, Chiefland, fortunately, finished high in its Nov. 30 overtime bout with Cedar Key.

    Behind a quartet of 3s from sophomore Ty Corbin, the Indians went on an 18-7 run to finish the game and notch a 68-62 win.

    CMHS went into its Dec. 5 game at Dixie County at 1-2 overall and 1-1 in District 1A-7 play. The Sharks were 0-4 at the same point, with two of those losses coming by six points.

    The Sharks overcame an eight-point deficit in seizing a 55-50 lead with a minute to play in the fourth quarter, on the heels of a Michele Dibari layup.

    Offensive rebounds by sophomore Jarrett Jerrels led a Corbin 3 and a Jarrels put-back, which combined to erase the CKS lead and force overtime.

    Corbin wasn’t finished with his long-range work, as he drained a couple more 3s, including one approaching 30 feet, in the extra minutes. Fellow sophomore guard Jalen Rutledge, meanwhile, went 5 for 6 from the foul line in overtime to help matters for Chiefland.

  • Courthouse monument case dismissed in favor of County

    The lawsuit filed against Levy County by American Atheists, Inc., claiming a violation of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment and Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, was dismissed by in the U.S. District Court in Gainesville.

    The suit stems from the denial by the county of a local atheist group’s application to install a monument at the Levy County Courthouse, claiming it failed to meet guidelines. The county established guidelines in 2009 for the placing of monuments by local citizens and groups at the site.

    In 2010, a granite monument detailing the Ten Commandments, submitted by the Tri-County Pregnancy Center of Williston, was granted permission.

    Levy County, represented by Liberty Counsel, first filed a motion requesting a summary judgement over the summer, seeking a dismissal without trial.

  • Hoops coach discusses life lessons from basketball

    At the Suwannee Valley Rotary Club meeting Nov. 30, guest speaker Buddy Vickers, the first-year head coach of the Chiefland Middle High School girls’ basketball team, was officially there to talk Lady Indian basketball.

    But it was the lessons one gains from basketball and athletics – discipline; learning how to work toward an achievement; losing the right way – that Vickers was really interested in relaying.

    “I’ll talk to you about basketball, but you know basketball in itself is not really that important,” he started. “But I think the things you learn from basketball, or any athletic endeavor, is important.”

    Vickers discussed the coaches who influenced him, including former Trenton and Bronson coach John Rowe.

    “You never know what’s going to influence you,” said Vickers, who was previously a middle school and JV coach at Trenton. “I never expected to be a coach. In fact, I expected to be in front of a judge. Coach Rowe, my dad, my wife, helped keep from getting there.”

  • County extends moratorium on medical marijuana dispensaries; seeks ban ordinance

    The Levy County Commission voted unanimously Nov. 21 to extend by three months its moratorium on medical marijuana dispensaries in unincorporated areas of the county.

    The motion for the extended moratorium was offered by Rock Meeks and seconded by Matt Brooks. It passed 5-0.

    The Board also offered a consensus opinion guiding county attorney Anne Bast Brown to craft an ordinance that bans dispensary facilities in unincorporated areas for the long term. Brown requested direction on constructing an ordinance as she advised that passing any further moratoriums would potentially test constitutional grounds.

    Brown put the question before the Board in bifurcated terms, with one part concerning medical marijuana dispensaries, where counties have more discretion, and the other dealing with the cultivation and processing of medical marijuana. She warned that if the county issued an across-the-board ban of the cultivation, processing and dispensing of medical marijuana in Levy County, it would be challenged in court and the county would lose.

  • County approves spay, neuter trial program for ‘community cats’

    Levy County Animal Services euthanizes around half of the feral cats that are brought in.

    After department officials recently met with animal rescue groups at a no-kill summit in Gainesville, the county may have a solution that could help tackle the high rate of cat euthanasias.

    With extensive backing from Gainesville Pet Rescue, Alachua County Humane Society and at least one major donor, Animal Services is introducing trial program for free spay and neuters for “community cats,” which are cats that are cared for but don’t necessarily have a home.

    The Board of County Commissioners approved the program unanimously at its meeting Nov. 22.

    The plans for the program were presented to the Board by Darlene Esler, DVM, who was representing Animal Services. She was joined by Chelsea Bower, the associate director of Gainesville Pet Rescue.

  • County recasts qualifications for tourism director job

    Time is running out for the county to fill its soon-to-be-vacant executive position for Levy County Tourist Development.

    In a last-minute bid to net more ideal candidates, the county, behind a recommendation from outgoing director Carol McQueen, is recasting its description of the position to focus more on marketing skills and experience.

    The Commission voted 5-0 Nov. 21 on a motion by Matt Brooks to re-advertise the Tourist Development director job for at least two weeks with the new language. The current candidates will be contacted and asked to reapply under the new job description. The new advertisement wasn’t expected to be posted before Nov. 29.

  • Asbell assumes chairmanship on School Board; Etheridge picked as vice chairman

    Cameron Asbell was unanimously voted the new chairman of the School Board of Levy County Nov. 28.

    Rick Turner offered the nomination of Asbell.

    “Mr. Superintendent (Jeff Edison),” Turner said, “it is with honor and a great privilege I offer to you in the form of a nomination the most honorable and admirable Cameron Asbell to serve as chair of the Levy County School Board.”

    Asbell, who has served on the Board for eight years, represents Bronson on the Board, and also owns Cameron Asbell Insurance Agency in the town. He is a Bronson High School alumnus.

    Asbell succeed Chris Cowart (Cedar Key) in the position.

    “I can’t live up to it,” Asbell said jokingly of Turner’s nomination. “I want to thank Mr. Turner for that rousing introduction.

    “I also want to thank Mr. Cowart for an excellent job, and I hope I do half as good,” Asbell added. “It’s going to be a fun year. I promise to stay focused; ya’ll work with me.”