• I love spring.

    The other seasons are OK, but spring is — as Muhammad Ali described himself — the greatest.

    I like the boiling heat of summer. We always joked in Oklahoma and Texas that it was so hot you could fry an egg on the sidewalk, but I’ll bet in Florida that you could boil an egg in the Gulf. I wish the Watermelon Festival was in a cooler month. I guess it would be if melons were a winter crop.

    I couldn’t tell much difference between summer and fall during my one full year here in the Sunshine State. I didn’t like winter too much. It was much colder than I thought it would be, but it wasn’t as rainy as I imagined. Also, deer come out during the wintertime and stand alongside roads; staring, daring. At night, they’re hard to see with flat dull coats; they give me the creeps; ghosts with big eyes glowing red in my lights. Deer along the roadside instill fear in me until I pass it by. Then, dread starts to build again and I pray I’ll see the next one in my headlights.

  • Levy County Animal Services takes a small step forward in Levy County.

    We want to recognize the efforts of Levy County Animal Control for the new efforts to curb the number of unwanted animals in Levy County. The county recently launched a feral cat sterilization program. In this new plan, the county will provide traps to be used by residents to trap feral cats, so they can be brought to the animal control offices to be spayed or neutered.

    While the problem of unwanted pets is a challenge for many communities, we must take a more responsible approach. We as a community should recognize this first step of many needed improvements in how we treat our pets.

    The Levy County Animal Services always receives criticism for whatever they do. We know and understand the role they have. It is easy to be a critic. While we don’t know or are in a position to criticize or compliment their work, we all need to recognize the importance of their work.

  • I’ve been thinking about this for awhile now, but never seemed to get around to writing anything about it. But, while going through the police reports, I was reminded again that it takes someone unlike me to be a police officer.

    Police officers see good people at their absolute worst and — they also see bad people at their absolute worst. Fortunately, most bad people who commit criminal acts are either really dumb or careless and get caught sooner than later.

    To help those who have a propensity to break the law, I have come up with a few tips that might help you stay out of trouble.

    First tip: Anyone who is under the influence of alcohol or drugs should always perform a complete vehicle inspection before driving through Chiefland.

    Second: Highway 19 is wide and there is absolutely no reason to cross a yellow line into oncoming traffic unless you’re high.

    Third: You’re still high if you think you can speed through Chiefland.

  • This isn’t about taking away guns or repealing the Second Amendment to the Constitution, but there are far too many mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, extended family members, neighbors, friends, co-workers, fishing buddies, church members and teammates who are hurting from the loss of those people.

    People question whether or not the students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland should be granting interviews and marching in Tallahassee or later this month in Washington, D.C.

    Verbalizing trauma is cathartic for them and maybe, just maybe, they will force an open, honest and painful debate the nation needs to have. I would feel better about them protesting if the George Clooney, Steven Spielberg and Jeffrey Katzenberg families and Oprah Winfrey hadn’t donated $500,000 to the March for Life movement.

  • The first paragraph of a story in the March 10, 1892, edition of the Memphis Appeal-Avalanche stated that not since the race riot of 1866 has the community been in such a fever of excitement as it was yesterday.

    The story described the lynching of three black men: Tom Moss, the owner of People’s Grocery and two clerks, Calvin McDowell and Will Stewart. The store was located in a mixed-race neighborhood known as the Curve. A white grocer named William Barrett was apparently losing business to the nearby People’s Grocery. One narrative tells of rumors and trumped up charges sending a large group of armed white men into the store. Gunshots were traded and several white men were injured. An accounting of events by Damon Mitchell stated a racially charged mob grew out of a fight between a black and a white youth near People’s Grocery.

    A story dated March 10, 1892, in the New York Times stated, “today showed a decided reaction from the excitement into which the city was thrown yesterday by the lynching of the three negro rioters Tom Moss, Will Stewart and Calvin McDowell …”

  • By Bob Knight

    The Florida Springs Institute commends the efforts of the dozens of University of Florida research faculty and students who just completed a three-year study of Silver Springs and the Silver River. Tens of thousands of hours were spent on and under the cold spring water collecting information, and on computers analyzing the data and writing the 1,085-page final study report. After three years and roughly $3 million in state funding, UF has once again concluded that Silver Springs is experiencing excessive flow reductions and nitrate pollution.

  • President Franklin Delano Roosevelt felt that the future peace of the world would depend upon relations between the United States and Russia and devoted much thought to the planning of a United Nations, in which, he hoped, international difficulties could be settled, according to White House.gov

    As the war drew to a close, Roosevelt’s health deteriorated, he died April 12, 1945, while at Warm Springs, Georgia, he died of a cerebral hemorrhage.

    When President Roosevelt delivered his historic fourth and final state of the union address Jan. 20, 1945, in a United States that was much more homogeneous than it is now. The 1940 census showed the U.S. population was 132.2 million; 89.8 percent were white and 9.8 percent were minorities. So, when he delivered his final address, he was speaking almost exclusively to white people.

    He said, “Mr. Chief Justice, Mr. Vice president, my friends, you will understand and, I believe, agree with my wish that the form of this inauguration be simple and its words brief.

  • I struggled this last year to figure out what to get my wife for Christmas this year. I’m a good gift-giver and I started trying to look around in October. My birthday is in October so I’m usually thinking about gifts then.

    She didn’t drop any hints. If she did, I wasn’t listening until finally, I just came out and asked, “What do you want for Christmas?”

    “I want an Alexa,” she said.

    “I thought you said they were a waste of money and that you didn’t want one,” I queried.

    “I didn’t, but my sisters have one and they keep telling me how much fun they are having and all the things it will do,” she replied.

    I have to remember to thank her sisters for putting an Amazon Echo in her mind because it is absolutely the best gift I ever got her for myself.

  • By Ed Emrich

    I hate trash. I really do! I notice how people discard items out of their vehicle windows or how they allow trash to blow out the beds of their trucks. Take a look around during dear hunting season and you will see an increase of empty plastic deer corm, dog food and ice bags along the roadside. Are some hunters unconcerned because they believe that the plastic bags will be picked up by road crews or picked up by concerned citizens who work to keep the Nature Coast natural. Maybe "Litter Bugs" believe that the plastic will eventually dissolve into the landscape and disappear. So what is the life expectancy of plastic trash? How long does it take for plastic to deteriorate and disappear into the landscape? According to my research, the short answer is NEVER! Plastic trash is in fact IMMORTAL!

  • Dear Mr. C. C. Denier:

    I know, I know, I know. Everybody used to always talk about “global warming” and then one fine morning we all woke up and everyone was saying “climate change.” It was all over the TV and radio news and talk shows, the internet and in print.

    But, I have to tell you Mr. Denier, this is my second full winter in Florida and 2018 is much, much colder than 2017.

    According to Weather Underground, the average mean temperature from Dec. 1, 2016, to Jan. 19, 2017, was 63 degrees. The average low was 38 degrees and the average high was 75 degrees. During the same period from December 2017 to Jan. 19, the average mean temperature was 56 degrees, the average low, 38 is the same; but the average high is 70 — five degrees cooler.

  • Today, Jalen Hurts will not get the ESPN coverage. His image will not be plastered over Sports Center and other news programming. People will not be inundated with his heroic performance of throwing a perfect back-shoulder pass or some long beast mode type run to win the game.

    No. Those accolades will go to someone else- and deservingly so. However, in an age of “me, me” and “I have to get mine,” Jalen Hurt’s response to being pulled at the half of the national championship game will go highly unnoticed.

    Only a year removed from nearly pulling off one of the greatest plays in history for a true freshman quarterback until another great player and Heisman Trophy finalist quarterback upstaged him in defeat; he was devastated once again by being benched.

    While he clearly wanted to be in the game on that final drive evidenced by him visibly shaking on the sideline as adrenaline flowed; he stood there, cheered for his teammate, and once hugged the guy who had taken his place.

    After the game, he was all smiles and displayed genuine happiness for he and his teammates.

  • If you look to the left, you’ll notice a column by Dr. Kendrick Scott. I’ve been pestering him off and on to write a regular column for the Citizen since last February when I heard him speak at the annual Levy County Black History Program.

    There are reasons I wanted him. First, he’s smart and well spoken. Second, I really want the paper to represent all of Chiefland and not a bunch of old white men like myself. I don’t know yet how often he will contribute, but I hope it’s often because he’s already made me think about how I view sports on television.

    I never played sports too much. Oh, I rode in the annual donkey basketball game and sometimes followed behind the donkeys with a shovel. And, I was a four-year substitute on the high school basketball team. I never got to play many regular minutes and when I did, I only further solidified my role as the 10th Man. The last time I looked, I could still see the imprint of my butt on the far end of the bench where I sat from 1965 to 1969.

  • It's no secret that President Donald Trump admires President Andrew Jackson and recently, when the president invited the Navajo code talkers to the White House, a portrait of Jackson was hanging prominently on the wall in the background.

    I know it doesn't count for much, but in my opinion, that was a calculated staging by the president, someone on his staff or both.

    So, it wasn't much of a surprise to me when I read Jackson's 1830 address to Congress and found that it was quite similar to Trump's speech on Dec. 4.

    On Dec. 6, 1830, in a message to Congress, President Andrew Jackson called for the relocation of eastern Native American tribes to land west of the Mississippi River in order to open new land for settlement by citizens of the United States, according to archives.gov.

    The article stated, “With the onset of westward expansion and increased contact with Indian tribes, President Jackson set the tone for his position on Indian affairs in his message to Congress. Jackson’s message justified the removal policy already established by the Indian Removal Act of May 28, 1830.

  • Earlier this year, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service downgraded the West Indian manatee’s Endangered Species Act status from endangered to threatened.

    Although Save the Manatee Club believes that the species is endangered throughout a significant portion of its range, we are most concerned that downlisting will give the public and policymakers the impression that their work to protect the manatee is complete. Such an attitude risks undoing decades of effort and hard-won gains to conserve Florida’s treasured marine mammal and leaves us far from what is still needed to ensure the species’ recovery and long-term survival.

    Recent years have seen record manatee deaths from new and increasing threats, including extreme cold events, red tide outbreaks, and a still-unexplained unusual mortality event on the Indian River Lagoon. Last year, an unprecedented 104 manatees died from impacts with watercraft, and 2017 is closing in on yet another manatee watercraft mortality and injury record.

  • Today is Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day. Does anyone care?

    There are tons of written information, movies and historical information on the sneak attack perpetrated against the U.S. 7th Fleet and other military installations on the island of Oahu, Territory of Hawaii, on Dec. 7, 1941, by the Imperial Japanese Navy.

    It was a Sunday morning, much like this Sunday morning Dec. 3 at 7:50 a.m. as I try to put into words why remembering Pearl Harbor is so important these 76 years later. It is important for many reasons pertaining to national security, public policy, foreign affairs and many, many other governmental decisions. On that sleepy Sunday morning, the Japanese bombers from the “land of the rising sun” laid waste to the U.S. 7th Fleet and killed 2,403 Americans. That was the dawning of the era in which the United States became the dominant world power.

  • Henry David Thoreau said, “In wilderness is the preservation of the world.”

    We are so lucky and I am so grateful to have in our midst the Nature Coast State Trail. It is truly a part of the preservation of Florida’s Nature Coast.

    Like the springs throughout this area, the trail is one of the best kept secrets for easy and close contact with nature. It is a valuable asset for recreation and eco-friendly transportation, and I along with my better half and our two dogs use it every day as part of our exercise routine.

    The trail is a long skinny extension of the state park system that connects Trenton, Chiefland and Cross City. It offers a peaceful break from the hectic pace of life where you can walk, skate, ride your bicycle, horse or skateboard without the danger of highway traffic as motorized vehicles are strictly prohibited along the well maintained and paved reclaimed railway bed.

  • I suppose I should write a Thanksgiving column about all the things for which I am thankful. I’m probably not going to do that. First, there is not enough space for such a list. Second, I take for granted most of the things that should be on the list and I can’t think of a single one of them right now.

    There is the obvious; my wife. I’m deeply in love my wife and am very thankful for her. She recently returned from a weeklong trip from visiting her sister in South Carolina. I’m glad she’s back. I don’t do well when she’s gone. I’m barely functional.

    My wife is very supportive of me regardless of how stupid she thinks I’m being or how stupid that thing is that I’m doing. I'm not admitting to stupidity, mind you, but I am a man and based on recent revelations and allegations of sexual misconduct, men do seem to be generally stupid.

    Have you seen any of those guys? I believe the women because those men ain’t handsome.

  • By Ed Emrich

    I hate trash. l know that’s a bold statement in these days of political correctness when you are not allowed to hate anything. But, really I do! I’m just being honest with you.

    My father instilled the notion in me that trash discarded by thoughtless people is wrong at a basic level and it chews up so many of our local resources to clean it up, money that could be better used to fix bridges or pave roads.

    I hate trash, but I love this area so I am willing to do something about it by safely picking trash along my road in my community in my state. It’s a monthly effort to give something back and to help keep the Nature Coast natural. But, picking trash is not for the faint of heart. It is truly disgusting what some people throw out of the windows of their vehicles or stop and dump along the road. When you pick trash, you see the seedy underbelly of society in full bloom. You see the chaotic and wasteful way that some people live ... by desensitizing or self-medicating with alcohol, tobacco, sugar, fast food and the broken dreams of a winning lottery ticket.

  • Last week, I used the Opinion page to reprint a story I wrote in 2005 for the Cleveland (Tennessee) Daily Banner. The story was about William “Bill” Norwood, a former POW held captive by the North Koreans during the Korean War. This story is about his wife, Liz, that I wrote five years later in 2010.

    I want you to read this story because spouses do not get the recognition they deserve.


    Liz did not know Bill before he joined the Army. She didn’t know how captivity in a North Korean prisoner of war camp affected him, but she did see how the war and being held captive by the enemy changed her neighbor and she knew being married to a former prisoner of war wouldn’t be easy.

    Her neighbor was in the same prison camp as William “Bill” Norwood. “I knew the neighbor next door and he’d been back. I didn’t have a clue I’d ever marry someone that far away, me in Kentucky and him in Tennessee. It just worked out. It was the way it was meant to be,” she said.

  • I originally planned on writing something silly as I often do until I went to the Veterans Day luncheon Friday in the Haven Community Center. There are many things wrong with the United States of America, but there are many more things that are good and those good things far outweigh the bad.

    When the Pledge of Allegiance was spoken and the National Anthem was sung Friday, veterans with crooked backs, stood. Veterans in wheelchairs sat more erect and regardless of their condition, saluted, recited the pledge and then sung the anthem.

    The contrast between the men and women who sacrificed their health for their country and able-bodied professional football players was striking.

    I understand why they took a knee. Issues being ignored need to be addressed and talked about. However, we’re not talking about racism, police shootings, church shooting, school shootings, workplace shootings, black on black violence, white on white violence, black on white or white on black — we are only talking about the protest.