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Features

  • Up in snow country, folks get something called cabin fever.

    Days are short. Weather is ice cold. Travel, if possible, is treacherous.

    People get trapped indoors and lethargic. They need something, like perhaps spring, to make them want to bust out.

    In a way, the economy is like cabin fever.

    The price of fuel has folks staying close to home, less adventurous, to say the least.

    Yours truly is no exception.

    With gasoline prices at around $4.10-$4.15 a gallon, staying instead of straying had become the rule.

  • Hunched over his drafting table, Ferrell Croft painstakingly draws first one line and then another. Within minutes the lines connect, a shape develops and soon another parcel of Levy County land is mapped for posterity-or at least until it is subdivided again and the process starts over.

    Monday, Croft packed up his drafting tools and walked away from a job he's had for over 30 years as the county mapper.

    His career began by drafting survey maps and for years he worked for himself and the private sector.

  • Are the crystal clear Gulf waters and the wonders beneath calling your name?

    Break out your mask and fins! Scallop season began July 1 and runs through Sept. 10.

    Anyone who has scalloped before knows the technique of snorkeling along picking scallops off the bottom of Florida's coastal bay areas.

    This is typically done in 2.5 to 4 feet of water - an excellent activity for the whole family to enjoy. Other techniques involve wading and scooping up scallops with a dip net.

  • It's safe to say the decor at Mike Segal's Chiefland home is not typical for the area. Throughout his house, the walls are covered with groups of brightly colored paintings or stacks of rolled up drawings.

    In one area, the floor is so spattered with flecks of paint that only grooves between the boards offer proof of its true wooden nature.

    The layout is different, too. In many homes, the flow of the main living space centers on a television set, but in Segal's home, things seem to flow around the large wooden easel that displays his most current work.

  • Seven years constitute a lifetime for Andrea Walther.

    She's been a solid A/B student, a pregnant teenager, a high school dropout, a wife, a mother, a GED recipient, a deli worker, a rat farmhand and a restaurant worker.

    And then she made some choices that were detrimental to her life. That's when the changes began.

    Change of Plans

    In the midst of her junior year at Chiefland High School, Andrea, then 16, discovered that she was a statistic-a pregnant teenager. But she was determined that she wouldn't be another statistic.

    It wasn't easy.

  • He is not a celebrity or politician, but he has to be one of the most well-known people around north Levy County. Most everyone driving on U.S. 19 just north of Chiefland has seen him - the "Tater Man" - on Fridays and Saturdays on the roadside.

    Some stop to buy farm-fresh potatoes and other produce. Others stop by just to chat. A honk of the horn will suffice for others.

    Friendly Bobby "Tater Man" Chesser smiles and waves back.

    "I'm a people person," he said. "Look for the blue truck and the big umbrella."

  • Some days Keegan Caudill feels like he is a 40 or 50-year-old man.

    Most days he has a headache that no drugs can alleviate.

    Every day he remembers sights, sounds and smells from the most incredible journey of his young life.

    In the past six months, the 2005 graduate of Bell High School has experienced enough to fill the lifetime of an ordinary man.

    But he is no ordinary man and his experience was nothing short of a miracle.

  • Every weekday, Kay Maxwell wakes up at 3 in the morning, showers, has her coffee and makes her way to the cafeteria at Chiefland Elementary School.

    In front of her is the seemingly monumental task of feeding hundreds of hungry school kids.

    Maxwell along with her team of nine other workers perform the task day after day, week after week, month after month.

    Maxwell has been at it for 19 years now and still hasn't lost any enthusiasm.

  • Step back in time to the fun-filled 50s, into a world of hot rods, leather jackets, 45s, pedal pushers, D.A.'s, roller skates, drive-in movies, and musicians like Elvis, Fabian and Ricky Nelson singing that "new" music known as rock 'n' roll.

    Enjoy an evening with cool Burger Palace Boys and their fine Pink Ladies along with our favorite characters of Rydell High in this live classic rock 'n' roll musical, Grease, written by Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey, and sponsored by Drummond Community Bank.

  • 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!