Local News

  • Good Samaritan administration arrested for neglect

    By Carolyn Ten Broeck, Williston Pioneer Editor

    The administrators at Williston’s Good Samaritan Retirement Home were arrested last week and charged with neglect of the elderly.

    The arrests came on the heels of many complaints over the past year, including several this month, including one that ended in the death of one of the home’s residents this past November.

    Arrested were Rhaimley Yap Romero, 31, of Apopka and Nenita Alfonso Sudeall, 48, of Williston.

    Romero Arrest

    On Dec. 11, the Williston Police Department, along with the Levy County Department of Public Safety, was dispatched to the home where a resident required medical attention.

    The investigation concluded that the resident, a male patient had a catheter removed at UF Urology on Dec. 7. Since his return to the facility, his health had declined and the morning of Dec. 9 he became too weak to move from his bed and was incontinent requiring staff to put him in a diaper.

  • Santa Claus visits library

    Santa Claus visited the Luther Callaway Library in Chiefland Friday, Dec. 15. Library Youth Services coordinator Jenny Rodgers started the evening reading the book “Santa’s Underwear.” Asking the children who they came to see, the kids shouted, Santa! After excited chants of Santa! Santa! Santa Claus appeared to their delight. Tables of craft projects entertained everyone while children had their photos taken with Santa. Each child had their picture taken with Santa to take home, along with a digital copy available online. Sue Ann Burkhardt manages the library.

  • Chiefland Elementary Pre-K, kindergarteners and first graders write letters to Santa Claus

    Dear Santa, I would like an Elsa doll, BB gun, kitchen set, Hello Kitty make-up and a fidget spinner. Bristol Barker

    Dear Santa, I would like a Barbie Doll, a bike, and a baby doll. Sarenity Chadwick

    Dear Santa, I would like a baby doll, a Muana book, a watch, and a bracelet. Aaliyah Hayes

    Dear Santa, I want a fidget spinner, a baby doll that talks, pees and poops, and a meowing kitten, and a frog that jumps. McKenie Herrington

    Dear Santa, For Christmas I want a Barbie Doll, a Barbie House, a princess carraige jeep and a fidget spinner. Shyleigh McCraney

    Dear Santa, I want a necklace, a Barbie doll, a bracelet and a watch for Christmas. Kyndal Miller

    Dear Santa, I want a dinosaur, a car and a candy for Christmas. Giovanni Morales

    Dear Santa, I would like a DS, a dart gun, a bracelet that you hear songs on, candy and an IPAD for Christmas. Michael Morales

    Dear Santa, I want some skate shoes, baby doll and a purple hover board for Christmas please. Trinity Morton

  • Vessels held on $4 million bond

    By Scott Tummond, LCSO Public Information

    LCSO published details Nov. 28 of a reported shooting that occurred Nov. 24 at Melvin and Alice’s Restaurant. The investigation revealed that two victims had been wounded by shotgun rounds fired by an unknown suspect. Based on an extensive investigation, LCSO Investigator Justin Douglas was able to obtain an arrest warrant for Anthony Walter Vessels, 26, for two counts of attempted murder.

    Members of the U.S. Marshal’s Service Florida Regional Fugitive Task Force located and arrested Vessels Dec. 11 in Broward County. Vessels will be held at the Levy County Detention Facility on a bond of $4 million dollars.

    Sheriff Bobby McCallum said he is very proud of the investigative work by LCSO personnel and appreciative of the assistance provided by the Fugitive Task Force and others in this investigation.

    Investigators have already interviewed Vessels and the case remains active.

    LCSO urges anyone with information regarding this incident to contact Investigator Justin Douglas or Justin VanDuren.

  • What if every day were Christmas?

    I like history.

    I’m not a student of it, but I like researching historical sites for ideas and articles I can use.

    The following article from “Biblical World” published in December 1913 caught my attention because I have bemoaned for years that Christmas is way too commercialized; that the true meaning of Christmas is lost in all the decorations, lights and gift-giving.

    I am comforted knowing that I am not much different than they were 104 years ago.




    “Heaven defend us from such a misfortune!” you say. For Christmas is one of the most dreaded joys of life.

    But this terror at the mention of Christmas is due to our having commercialized the day until it is a synonym for anxiety lest we give someone a present of less (or more) value than the present this someone has given us.

    Yet in reality Christmas is a bit of prophetic idealism. It is a testimony to our persistent belief that our present economic order is not ideal. Even the most brutal industrialism cannot destroy this faith.

  • Nameplate on historic locomotive is stolen

    By Toni C. Collins, Levy County Historical Society

    Recently, the more than 100 year-old historic locomotive on display in Wayside Park in Gulf Hammock was damaged when the manufacturer’s plates donated by the Levy County Historical Society were stolen.

    The Paterson-Mcinnis Locomotive has been on display since 1969 when Georgia-Pacific donated the land to establish Wayside Park for the display. In 1992, the Florida Department of Transportation donated Wayside Park and locomotive to the people of Levy County. In June of this year, the historical society submitted an application, which was approved, for a Florida Historic Marker to be placed at the site. The display was established as a reminder of the locomotive that contributed greatly to the history and heritage of Levy County.

    This is the second time the manufacturer’s plates have been stolen. Following the first theft, a chain link fence was erected around the display to prevent any further theft or damage to the historic locomotive. However, that did not deter the current thieves who cut a hole in the fence to access the locomotive.

  • Victims: they will not forget Perez's deceit

    Roberteus Perez stood quietly alongside his attorney as four victims’ statements were read Wednesday, Dec. 13, during sentencing proceedings in front of Judge Mark W. Moseley.

    The former Chiefland Elementary School custodian arrested April 4 after a hidden camera was found in a staff restroom pled guilty as part of a plea agreement.

    There were no images of children found in the seized videos though all of the victims expressed belief that children were caught on camera. The recovered images were of short, edited video clips of women using the bathroom. Some women were identifiable and some were not.

    Two CES staff members came forward to read victim statements and the victim advocate read two other statements.

    The first victim said that after the shock wore off, they were left with the destruction Perez left behind.

    “We went from trusting, caring women to suspicious characters who question every time we go to the bathroom or a dressing room. You could barely look us in the eye when we tried to engage you in casual conversation, yet you could watch videos of us in the comfort of your own home.”

  • Judge explains sentencing rules

    Judge Mark W. Moseley said Wednesday, Dec. 13, during the sentencing of Roberteus Perez for video voyeurism at Chiefland Elementary School that he wanted to explain to the victims why the prosecution agreed to the plea agreement. (Please see the associated story for details.)

    “The legislature in their wisdom, which I have to accept, as the intent of the legislature, which I must support and follow, deems this crime at this point to be on par with felony petty theft; for driving on a suspended license, habitual,” he said. “It scores as a Level 1 offense.”

    He said that may seem outrageous, but the people they need to write to change the offense level is their state legislators. Express to them that voyeurism is not a victimless crime and to make them appreciate the gravity so that in a single instance, the court could have discretion if the particular case rose to that of a Level 4 offense.

  • Fanning Springs prohibits internet cafe, marijuana

    By Kate Sheridan, Citizen Correspondent

    The Fanning Springs City Council voted to place a 365-day moratorium on an internet cafe and medical marijuana.

    In explaining the details found and reasons behind the decision to not approve any permits or licenses for the internet café, City Attorney Michael O’Steen said that at this point, internet cafes are quite simply illegal. There are several loopholes and rule bending done to allow the businesses to function, but bottom line said O’Steen, is that if you go into one of these locations, hand over your money, there is a chance you will walk out and lose that money. It is still considered gambling and that is illegal. At this stage, there are just too many negatives to clearly state that these businesses should even be open and running at all. Rather than be the pioneers, Fanning Springs opted for the moratorium.

    Also voted and approved was to adopt a 365-day moratorium to not permit for a facility for the medical marijuana. The action does not infringe on persons to use their prescriptions. It only prevents a facility from opening within Fanning Springs.

  • Lions Club announces expanded vision services

    Cedar Key Lions Club today announced an expanded coverage area for Lions Club Vision Services. Residents of Levy, Gilchrist and Dixie counties are now eligible to receive free vision services from the Lions.

    Club President Dale Register remarked, “Ninety years ago, Helen Keller challenged the Lions Club to take up the cause of the blind. Lions in Cedar Key have answered that challenge since 1968. As we approach our Club’s 50th Anniversary, I’m honored to announce an expanded service area. It’s a privilege for the Cedar Key Lions Club to provide eye exams, eyeglasses, glaucoma treatment and cataract surgery to individuals demonstrating financial need in Levy, Gilchrist and Dixie counties. This expanded service area triples our ability help those in need. Our club proudly upholds the Lions motto: We Serve.”

    Cedar Key Lions have streamlined the application process to deliver benefits faster.  Find the the Lions Vision Service Program application online at www.cedarkeylionsclub.com