Today's News

  • Five years later, family is mired in red tape, sewage

    Roberto and Debby Tarafa moved to their home in Levy County in 2004 and began noticing wet spots in the lawn as soon as they began mowing the grass. The mower left ruts, but the couple said they could never see the water.

    “It was below the surface, but that was it,” Roberto [Bo] said. “We knew we had an issue, we just weren’t sure what it was.”

    “No toilets backed up — nothing to make us think — and nothing was running anywhere, in the street or anywhere at that time,” Debby said. “It was just wet and mushy in the middle.”

    Their neighbors were all snowbirds at the time, so there was no one to ask. There was an old man who lived across the street. He has since died, but Debby used to ask him why it was so wet? He just responded with a smile, Debby said.

  • Lady Indians' improvements evident in convincing district tourney win

    One way to measure the improvement made this season by the Chiefland girls’ basketball team is to check its results over time against the same opponents.

    The Lady Indians, who earned the third seed in the district tournament with an 8-4 mark in league play, met Cedar Key for the third time this season in the 1A-7 quarterfinals Monday, Feb. 5.

    In their first meeting, Chiefland escaped with a single-digit victory. For the rematch, Chiefland picked up a 12-point win, extending its advantage on the Lady Sharks thanks to a second-half push.

    Monday’s meeting was a different story, however, as the game completely belonged to CMHS from start to finish, with the Lady Indians prevailing 40-18 to advance to the district semifinals.

    Chiefland faces No. 2 seed Branford, which defeated No. 7 Bell, 6 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 8, in Trenton. The winner earns a berth to the playoffs and meets the winner between top-seeded and No. 2-ranked Trenton and Bronson.

    The Lady Indians lost their two regular meetings with Branford by at double-digit margins, but defeated the Buccaneers 49-44 in Cedar Key’s holiday tournament.

  • Chiefland keeps steady against rising area power

    Chiefland faithful would have been forgiven for carrying low expectations into the Indians home finale against Crystal River.

    The Pirates, a Class 6A program that’s been on the rise over the last four years, cruised into town with one of its better squads in school history to face a sophomore-laden Indians squad.

    The overall result went as expected, with CRHS prevailing 75-53.

    But Chiefland, which already trailed by as much as 19 points in the second quarter, reined in their deficit in the second half, avoiding getting overwhelmed in the mismatch. The Indians stayed to within 15 points for much of the fourth quarter.

    Chiefland appeared to gain confidence in the paint against the much bigger squad as the game wore on, competing for more put-backs and points around the rim. CRHS took advantage of some breakaway scores in the early minutes.

    The squad got a boost from junior Kirk Williams, who, with nine points, was his most active in a game since returning from an ankle injury. L.J. Jenkins also provided a lift after being limited with an injury.

  • Lady Eagles notch comeback win in district tourney opener

    It didn’t exactly go as Rod Thomas planned it, but the head coach and his Bronson girls’ basketball squad got the result they were looking for: survive and advance.

    The Lady Eagles overcame an eight-point second-half deficit to prevail 35-31 against Dixie County in the District 1A-7 quarterfinals in Trenton Monday, Feb. 5.

    Bronson advances to face No. 1 seed and No. 2-ranked Trenton Thursday, Feb. 8, at 7:30 p.m. in the semifinals.

    The Lady Eagles, who are having to make do without their injured No. 2 guard, Neomi Thomas, went 14 minutes without a field, starting from midway through the first quarter.

    But Thomas’ sister, junior point guard Yelena Thomas, did plenty of heavy lifting in scoring a game-high 25 points, helping Bronson escape the drought as she posted 17 points in the second half alone.

    A put-back by Brandi Strong in the third snapped that field goal drought for BMHS, setting the stage for a back-and-forth battle to the finish.

    Yelena Thomas then put together a string of baskets, including a floater in the lane, to knot the game at 20-20 late in the third.

  • Volunteers, citizen supporters help power local parks

    The Chiefland Chamber of Commerce meeting Jan. 26 boasted an exceptional turnout, thanks to all of the volunteers and supporters for the local parks in attendance.

    With Manatee Springs State Park as the meeting co-sponsor, guest speaker Mark Abrizenski, the park manager for Manatee Springs and Fanning Springs State Park and the Nature Coast State Trail (NCST), took the opportunity to highlight the contributions of park volunteers and the Friends of Manatee Springs, Inc. And to illustrate that level of support, he invited those individuals – and the park rangers – whose work is so critical to the parks’ functioning.

    The Gathering Table co-sponsored the meeting and catered lunch.

    It was the first meeting with new Chamber president Dr. Bennitt Patterson at the helm, as well as the first with new executive director Joy Parker. More than 50 attendees filled the room at the Haven Hospice Community Center.

    Patterson announced the annual Citizen of the Year banquet, normally held in February, has been pushed back to April 21, adding that he hopes to build up the banquet attendance to past heights.

  • Full slate of constitutional proposals in pipeline

    The Florida Constitution Revision Commission (CRC), a group of 37 delegates charged with examining the Florida Constitution and filing amendment recommendations to go before voters this November, is only on its third edition in state history.

    The first CRC came in 1977-1978, and there has only been once since, in 1997-1998, as the Commission operates once every 20 years.

    But this cycle is figuring to be the most significant yet, as the Commission is currently weighing 103 amendment proposals.

    Stephanie Marchman, senior assistant attorney for the City of Gainesville, and representative for the Eighth Judicial Circuit to the Florida Bar’s Board of Governors, paid a visit to the meeting of the Suwannee Valley Rotary Club Jan. 11 to discuss the Florida Constitution and the CRC.

    Before addressing the CRC’s current business, she outlined the function of the Florida Constitution, noting its role in defining the structure of the state government and citizens’ state rights.

  • Whitehurst takes over as tourism director

    After recasting its advertisement for a new tourism director, with more of an emphasis on marketing, the county turned inward to find the candidate it was looking for.

    Tisha Whitehurst, the current grants coordinator for Levy County, was warmly welcomed at the County Commission meeting Jan. 23 as the new director of tourism. Whitehurst will remain the grants coordinator.

    “We’re just piling on, don’t worry about the mule or the wagon,” Commission chairman John Meeks said jokingly at the meeting of Whitehurst wearing multiple hats.

    The jobs are far from unrelated, however.

    As grants coordinator, Whitehurst also coordinated the county’s interests with regards to the RESTORE Act (Resources and Ecosystems Sustainability, Tourist Opportunities, and Revived Economies of the Gulf Coast States Act of 2012), a federal law that directs fines from BP and others responsible for the Gulf oil spill disaster of 2010 toward improving the ecosystems and economies of the Gulf communities.

  • County Commissioners quiz FDOT on trouble spots

    The Board of Levy County Commissioners argue that the county’s unique traffic patterns might be preventing the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) from properly measuring its worst traffic hazards along state highways.

    At the County Commission meeting Jan. 23, they voiced those concerns to Jeff Scott, the District Safety Program Engineer for the FDOT, who reported on recommendations from safety reviews concerning four potentially problem roadways along state roads in the county.

    The study process for each location, which were requested by the county, included collecting crash report data, conducting a field review by an engineer, providing a crash analysis and concluding with recommendations. The crash data was from 2012 to 2016.

    The two main areas of concern for the Commission in the report included: 1) the stretch of State Road 24 in front of the Bronson Speedway, extending to Andee Road, and 2) the intersections of State Road 45 (US 41) and County Roads 326 and 323 in Morriston.

  • Girls’ hoops tourney tips off Feb. 5 in Trenton

    The Chiefland girls (12-8) are the No. 3 seed in next week's District 1A-7 tournament in Trenton. They face Cedar Key Monday, Feb. 5, at 6. The Lady Indians defeated the Lady Sharks twice in the regular season, 39-31 and 55-43. The winner plays Thursday, Feb. 8, at 6 p.m. versus No. 2 seed Branford or No. 7-seeded Bell. Bronson kicks off the tournament at 4:30 Monday against Dixie County. The championship game will be held Feb. 9 at 7:30 p.m.

    District 1A-7 Girls’ Basketball Tournament in Trenton
    Monday, Feb. 5
    Game 1: No. 5 Dixie County Bears vs. No. 4 Bronson Eagles, 4:30 p.m.
    Game 2: No. 6 Cedar Key Sharks vs. No. 3 Chiefland Indians, 6 p.m.
    Game 3: No. 7 Bell Bulldogs vs. No. 2 Branford Buccaneers, 7:30 p.m.
    Thursday, Feb. 8
    Game 4: winner of Game 2 vs. winner of Game 3, 6 p.m.
    Game 5: No. 1 Trenton Tigers vs. winner of Game 1, 7:30 p.m.
    Friday, Feb. 9
    Championship game: winner of Game 4 vs. winner of Game 5, 7:30 p.m.

  • Lady Indians clip county foes

    It was supposed to be a rebuilding year for the Chiefland girls’ basketball team.

    The Lady Indians were tasked with adjusting to a world without do-it-all standout Takiya London, who helped lead the squad to four-straight playoff berths and a final four, while acclimating an inexperienced group of younger players under a new head coach in Buddy Vickers.

    While the program certainly is building for times ahead – Vickers likes to call it a five-year plan – the team hasn’t let this season become a forgettable sacrifice for the future, as Chiefland, with a pair of recent wins over county rivals Bronson and Williston, has guaranteed itself a winning season and heads into the district tournament as a No. 3 seed.

    On senior night Jan. 23, the Lady Indians cruised to a 52-22 win over Bronson, before knocking off the Lady Red Devils 50-35 on the road Jan. 29.