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  • The Lower Suwannee & Cedar Keys National Wildlife Refuges open house and Friends annual meeting was recently held at the Lower Suwannee Refuge's headquarters.

    Manager of the Refuges, John Kasbohm kicked off the day by welcoming the Friends and visitors of the refuge.

    Jay Bushnell, president of the Friends of the refuges announced many projects and new developments that are in the works or coming soon. Among those mentioned is the new Forestry Office that now finally furnishes adequate space at the refuge.

  • A couple of weeks ago, my husband I were riding bikes when we stopped at the little store in Gulf Hammock to get water. It's a regular stopping point for us and I was surprised when this Expedition limousine pulled up and a tall ( 7 feet, 1 inch) guy came in for a junk food stop.

    I asked him how the weather was up there, and we began having a conversation.

    He told me his name, said he had played basketball for the Miami Heat and the Philadelphia 76ers and was now retired.

    He was on his way from Tallahassee to Tampa.

    He was a pleasure to talk with.

  • I was raised in Chiefland but when I turned 18 I moved to Los Angeles. I have met several celebrities over the year I have lived here: Pauly Shore, Kevin Nealon, Kimbo Slice (youtube fighter), Pauly (from the Rocky movies), Nia Long, Young Berg (rapper) and I've seen Bruce Willis and Cedric the Entertainer and Anna Farris (from the Scary movies).

    Most of the time it's just a simple 'hello' or something to acknowledge them.

    But being out here has shown me how simple these people are.

  • Being a journalist has given me the opportunity to meet a number of celebrities from the sports and entertainment arenas.

    However, I figured that would be an unfair advantage for this section.

    It would have to be someone I met per-chance on the street. Or in this case, in a hotel lobby waiting for an elevator.

    I can't remember the exact year ... maybe 1992 or 93. It was in Daytona during Speedweeks. There were a few of us up from the Port Charlotte area to take in the races.

  • I grew up in a New York boarding house so celebrities were always passing through, but to me they were just regular people-like Robert Ripley. I was used to sword swallowers and glass eaters.

    Once though on my lunch break, I went to a department store. There was a lot of activitiy going on because Gypsy Rose Lee was there. I thought she was an author for a book signing or something.

    I had done modeling and someone from the store approached and asked if I could model, since one of the regulars hadn't shown.

  • I wanted to share my story with you about getting to meet country music superstar Alan Jackson.

    My employer, Capital City Bank, had a contest called "Cornbread and Chicken". This was a message about Alan Jackson coming to Tallahassee and the first 35 associates to find the hidden message received two tickets each.

    I started looking for the e-mail and finally found it hidden in our marketing department's information. I was elated when I won two tickets so I called my grandson, Logan Malphurs to see if he would like to go with me.

  • I am old now with achy breaky arthritic joints to bare witness. I was young then with ambition to succeed in business.

    I joined a professional business organization and soon attended a far away convention thinking, "WELL, isn't THIS cool." I felt like I could hear the swelling of a French horn chorus.

    This, after I made arrangements for my children and spouse to have meals, money and tranportations. I packed a suitcase, loaded the car with three passengers plus luggage and drove all day.

  • My celebrity encounter was on the beach in South Florida in the late 60s. I was 15 at the time and had borrowed a surfboard from a friend to try to learn to surf. I paddled the board up the beach away from my peers so they wouldn't laugh at my attempts to a spot which was used by tourists staying at an upscale condo.

    While I was there I spotted an older man, probably in his mid-20s, sitting on the beach playing a very unusual looking instrument which resembled a guitar. The instrument was about 4-feet long or so with a small ukulele looking base.

  • Several years ago in Tampa my family had the opportunity to meet Vince Gill. He was very nice to us, and posed for pictures with each of us-my husband Ken, my daughter Whitney, and my sister Molly Beckham Cowart.

    Later, we all also went to his celebrity golf tournament in Nashville, called "The Vinny." There we met Amy Grant, who later became his wife!

    Vanessa Edmunds

    Cedar Key

  • I think I have the best one of all, ELVIS!

    When Elvis was filming "Follow That Dream" at Yankeetown, my Mother, my brother John, my cousins Nadine, Geraldine and their mother, Thelma Sheppard left early one morning for Yankeetown to see if we could catch a glimpse of him.

    We were the only people there and one of the filming crew told us if we wouldn't scream that Elvis would stop and take pictures with us and he did! We were all so nervous we couldn't have screamed if we wanted to!

  • In 1987 I was in the Dallas-Fort Worth Airport waiting for my cousin to come in from the Philippines. I noticed a gentleman standing along the wall, alone. He looked familiar and I realized it was Kevin McCarthy, actor, star of "Invasion of the Body Snatchers".

    I walked over and asked if he was in fact Kevin McCarthy, he said yes.

    I told him I enjoyed his work and we talked for maybe five minutes. He was very pleasant, but he never offered to shake my hand.

    Becky Williams

  • Our family was at the Martin County Fair in Stuart where country star John Anderson was playing that night.

    While waiting in line for the concert, a young lady said to come with her and took us to a tent behind the stage and said Mr. Anderson would be out momentarily.

    There was a large table of food and we were told to help ourselves, which our four-year-old son John promptly did.

    When Mr. Anderson walked up, our son's face was smeared with strawberries and Anderson laughed, stooped down and asked his name.

  • I encountered a celebrity while at a concert in Orlando. My boyfriend, Tyler Hart, and I went to see a band called Circa Survive play at a local club. During the show, my boyfriend lifted me up above the crowd and they proceeded to shove me onstage while the band was playing. I rolled over to stand up and was face to face with the lead singer, Anthony Green.

    I tried to say something but I was too astonished to even utter a word. I touched his arm and then the security guard grabbed me and guided me backstage. I was definitely star-struck.

    Tiffani Mathis

  • BRONSON - "Prepare and stay aware! The Florida spring tornado season is upon us," Levy County Emergency Management Director Mark Johnson said on Feb. 6.

    The day before, dozens of tornadoes ripped through the southern United States, killing more than 50 people and injuring hundreds of others, according to reports.

    Know the threat of hazardous weather exists, Johnson said. Prepare for potential problems caused by these climactic events, he said, by having a weather radio and a disaster kit. Know what to do when dangerous weather strikes, he added.

  • Alysia Gabel was too young to remember most of what happened on that April day in 2001.

    Just 2 1/2 years old, Gabel was a passenger in a pickup truck driven by an aunt. She was in the process of making a turn on Suwannee Road in Old Town. The three-wheeler in the bed shifted, causing the truck to roll.

    Little Alysia was tossed from the vehicle. The injuries were life threatening.

    "She remembers the helicopter,"said her father, Shawn. "That's about all."

  • A very special young boy from Archer recently enjoyed an exciting trip to Disney World thanks to Kids Wish Network, an organization that grants wishes to children with life-threatening illnesses.

    Andrew, who has Down Syndrome, had a blast in Orlando; for this brave teenager, it was truly a dream come true.

  • Sitting comfortably at his dining room table in his home west of Chiefland, 83-year-old Raymond O. Knisley Jr. spoke on Dec. 31, 2007 about a life-changing event that happened to him on Dec. 31, 1944.

    New Year's Eve 1944 was 63 years ago, but Knisley remembers being captured by German soldiers during World War II -- like it was yesterday.

    It was about 2 a.m. on Jan. 1, 1945 when the Army private heard small arms fire, he said.

  • For the first time in more than three decades, Sandra Allen won't have to rise to the shrill of an alarm clock this week.

    On Dec. 20, Allen, a Chiefland native, put in her last full day of work at Green South and is ready to step into another adventure.

    For more than a year the effervescent Allen knew she was going to retire and has anticipated the day she could forget about payroll, taxes and ledgers.

    But that's not to say that she hasn't loved–and still loves–the contribution she has made to the area's John Deere dealership.