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Today's News

  • Members of the Bridle Brigade to test their metal

    Members of the Bridle Brigade 4-H Club spent Thursday afternoon, July 27, building two robotic fish. The club divided up into two teams with each member taking turns drilling holes and cutting the needed PVC sections for the two robotic sea perches. In the fall, the club will travel to Orlando to compete in a statewide competition. The competition is part of the 4-H State Marine Ecology Event.

    The 2017 Sea Perch Remote Operated Vehicle Mini-challenge will be Nov. 4. The Marine Ecology Event offers opportunities to demonstrate their knowledge of the marine and aquatic worlds. To prepare for the event, 4-H leaders and club members go on marine field trips, visit museums and aquariums, have group study sessions, conduct Internet research and develop their own “mock contests.” In the process, youth learn important life skills. 

    Club members will work on the robotic fishes over the next several weeks. The final step is adding the motors. Once completed, an underwater obstacle course will be set up where the club members can hone their robotic fishes’ maneuvering skills for the competition in Orlando. 

  • County adopts tentative millage rate

    Levy County was on its way to being unable to pay its bills by the end of 2019, according to budget figures presented by Finance Officer Jared Blanton at the tentative millage meeting Thursday, Aug. 3, in Bronson.

    Recent moves by the county commission – most notably, an uptick in millage, a new gas tax, department cuts and reallocations, and, going forward, a cap on employee insurance plans – have helped paint a more optimistic financial future for the county.

    The board passed a tentative millage resolution at the meeting that will keep the millage rate at 9.0. The resolution passed unanimously, on a motion by Matt Brooks, backed by Rock Meeks.

    The final millage rate can be lower than the tentative rate, but it can’t exceed that number. While it’s the same rate, it will generate $641,000 (approx. 3.1 percent) in additional tax revenue – and costs to taxpayers – thanks to rising property values.

  • County caps insurance payouts for employees

    Levy County is on the high end of spending on health insurance for employees among Florida counties, and it’s proving costly to keep up with rising insurance costs while still offering competitive compensation packages to recruit and retain its workforce.

    At the Board meeting on July 18, the County Commission voted unanimously to cap its health insurance payouts for non-elected county employees who sign up for insurance.

    The resolution also increases employee wages while bringing insurance costs for the county more in line with similar-sized counties, as Levy is relatively low on the spectrum in employee pay in the state.

    The Board voted to max out its payouts for employee insurance at $9,512 per employee, while increasing the average wage of full-time employees by $2,180. The wage increases will be offered in tiers, with the highest paid employees seeing $1,000 more per year, and the lowest gaining $3,000 in per-year salary.

    Commissioner Matt Brooks offered the motion, and it was seconded by Rock Meeks.

    The resolution doesn’t change the coverage options, so employees can keep their current plans.

  • County criticized over handling of insurance, wage changes

    The Levy Board of County Commissioners Tuesday came under criticism during public comments for their handling of recent changes to insurance and wages for county employees.

    The Board on July 18 voted unanimously to cap insurance payouts while offering tiered offsets in the form of increased wages.

    Sally Ann Collins introduced the issue in public comments, lamenting the lack of transparency over the changes. She criticized the Board for voting on the changes during an afternoon budget meeting, rather than during it’s regular morning meeting.

    “I’m here in hopes of allowing the public to become more aware of the pros and cons of what’s happening, since I had absolutely no idea of the ramifications of these changes until now,” Collins said.

    Collins then invited up to speak Jeremiah Tattersall, of the North Central Florida Central Labor Council, which represents Florida AFL-CIO, a federation of local labor unions, in the 12-twelve county North Central Florida area.

  • Lady Indian netters boast promising talent, team chemistry

    At first glance, it looks like it should be a rebuilding year for the Chiefland varsity volleyball squad.

    The team lost six seniors to graduation, including leading hitter Takiya London and setter Lauren Parker, as well as underclassman Madison Baynard, an outgoing transfer who led the team in service aces last season.

    But the returning players back this year look improved on the court, and they’re embracing their new roles as team leaders.

    “We’re not quite as talented, but it’s a really, really good group,” CMHS coach Debra Weeks said at practice Monday. “We’ve got a couple of the kids that are already stepping up. Our seniors want to be the ones that lead the team.”

    It’s also evident this is an upbeat and close-knit group that is brimming with team camaraderie, eager to prove it can maintain the recent success of the program, which includes three straight state playoff berths and a state final four appearance.

  • College of Central Florida to host open house Friday, Aug. 11

    The College of Central Florida Jack Wilkinson Levy Campus, 15390 N.W. Highway 19, will host an open house celebration Friday, Aug. 11, from 2-4 p.m.

    The first permanent facility for higher education in Levy County, the campus features a comprehensive student center, campus bookstore, student lounge, health and wellness area, a large multi-purpose room, a multidiscipline science lab, classrooms, computer labs and faculty offices.

    The college is offering 100 scholarships valued at $500 each to students who want to be among the first to attend the new campus. To be eligible, students must take six or more credits at the new campus when classes begin Aug. 21. The scholarships are available to new and returning students, as well as students enrolled at another college or university.

    The scholarships are a one-time opportunity to celebrate the opening of the campus, which is the first permanent higher education facility in Levy County. The $30 college application fee will also be waived for students to plan to attend the new campus.

  • Bronson city elections will be held September 12

    By JOHN TYLER NILSEN, Citizen Correspondent

    Town clerk Pamela Whitehead announced three qualifying candidates for the town council’s open seat during the Aug. 7 council meeting. First District Councilman Aaron Edmundson said he will retire, leaving his seat open. Edith Brown, Robert Partin, and Virginia Phillips are the qualifying applicants. Mayor Bruce Greenlee, fifth district, and Vice Mayor Beatrice Roberts, third district, will run unopposed for their re-election bids. The city election will be held on September 12.

    Parks and Recreation director Curtis Stacy announced divisions for fall youth sports. Contact football includes 8U, 10U, and 12U teams. Flag football will be available for ages 7 to 10. Youth soccer will include 6U, 8U 11U teams. Girls’ cheerleading will be available for ages 6 to 12. Stacy announced girls’ volleyball would be added to for fall as well. Signup for all sports will be held Aug. 12 at James H. Cobb park.

    • The date and time for Trunk or Treat activities is Oct. 28 from 6:30 to 9 p.m.

  • Chiefland FFA meets to plan for the future

    By KATE SHERIDAN, Citizen Correspondent

    The Chiefland FFA Alumni Chapter held its monthly meeting Aug. 1 at the Chiefland High School Ag Barn.

    During the treasury report the budget and expense sheets were reviewed. The minutes read from the previous month and the next order of business was the upcoming elections. Lack of attendance due to the summer months with families and members being out of town has pushed back the elections back to the Sept. 5, with the hope of all open seats to be filled. The topic quickly turned to motivation for attendance at the alumni meetings.

    Ideas were discussed for representation at the upcoming open house at the high school and Chiefland Middle School with an information table where flyers will be available to students and parents.

    New business was opened with Chiefland Middle School Ag Teacher Matt Detloff requesting a donation of 50 percent of the admission fee for each of the six students who will be attending the Chapter President Conference scheduled the last weekend in August. A $300 donation was unanimously approved.

  • Food pantry recognizes student’s community service

    Bill Brown wanted to recognize the kind of students that embody the values of giving back that his food pantry The Children’s Table has practiced.

    Brown says The Children’s Table has distributed 29 million pounds of food to the needy in North Florida in its 21 years of operation, with a primary focus on Levy County, and rural communities from Putnam, Alachua, and Bradford counties.

    His food charity has now created a new program to award Levy County students who excel in community service.

    At the Levy County Commission meeting Tuesday, Brown presented the first such award to Thomas Ruth.

    Ruth was presented a plaque in recognition of his “dedicated service as an outstanding junior citizen for the citizens of Levy County.”

    Brown noted Ruth’s service, including through programs for the homeless as well as his work with The Children’s Table, which has included carrying baskets of food for those who were physically impaired.

  • LCSO adds K-9 Unit to roadways

    By LT. SCOTT TUMMOND
    LCSO Public Information Office

    Sheriff Bobby McCallum announced recently the addition of Molly, the newest member of the K-9 Unit at the Levy County Sheriff’s Office. The addition of Molly to the unit was made possible through a generous donation of $5,500 made by Barbara Snow on behalf of the U.S. War Dogs Association, Southern Chapter 2. Snow, executive director of the Southern Chapter, is not only a concerned citizen of Levy County, but also an active participant in the Levy County Sheriff’s Office program. She believes the K-9 Unit is an essential component to the safety and wellbeing of the community. She presented the donation to Sheriff McCallum July 28. The sheriff accepted the donation and expressed his sincere appreciation on behalf of the agency and the citizens of Levy County.