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Local News

  • City, Police deliberate over pay, vehicle requests

    C.L. Watson, Citizen Correspondent

    The Chiefland City Commission on July 9 received an insurance bid presentation for city employees from Mike Michaelis with Don Martin Insurance.

    Michaelis presented a rate increase proposal of 7.7 percent with Florida Blue Plan 59 as the base plan for city employees. Most of the plans offered cover a full-time City employee at no cost, under Plan 59, yet a family plan would cost the employee $1,001.24, a weekly increase of $18.33. Aetna and AvMed declined to send offers saying they would not have competitive rates. The Chiefland City Commission voted unanimously in favor to accept the Florida Blue rate increases.

  • School district retains C grade

    For the third year in a row, the Levy County school district scored a C in the Florida Department of Education accountability report.

    Despite earning the same grade, the district saw small gains in most of the 11 categories that go into the final tally. Items that factor into the grades include achievement and learning gains measures in English Language Arts, mathematics and science as well as achievement in social studies, as rendered by various standardized tests. The scores also incorporate graduation and acceleration rates, which take into account students receiving credits in dual enrollment college courses or earning industry certifications.

    The districts biggest gains were in the areas of “college and career acceleration” and mathematics assessments. The district is two percentage points from a B.

  • Meet the candidates

    By Carolyn Ten Broeck, Pioneer Editor

    Wishing for an easy way to meet candidates for office and ask about issues that matter to you? If so, mark your calendar for the 2018 Candidates Forum. This free nonpartisan event will be Saturday, July 28 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Williston Middle/High School cafetorium.

    Doors open at 9:30 a.m. and all voters are welcome to fill out question cards for county, state and federal candidates.

    Supervisor of Elections Tammy Jones will be on hand to update voter registrations and take new registrations. Information on the many ballot initiatives to appear on the November ballot will be given to everyone.

    The forum is non-biased, with all candidates having equal time to address voters. It is organized by Citizens for an Engaged Electorate and AARP Williston Area Chapter #912 and made possible through generous donations from local businesses.

    For more information, call 352-441-4326.

  • Cedar Key, Bronson host fireworks

    Cedar Key is holding its annual Independent Day celebration, culminating with the “best small city fireworks display” over the water.

    The day of festivities takes place Wednesday, July 4, kicking off with the Fourth of July Parade of Golf Carts at noon.

    Spectators can watch the fireworks from Dock Street or City Park – or pretty much anywhere on the island – starting at 9:15 p.m.

    To help support the fireworks fund, visit http://cedarkey.org/cedar-key-july-4th-fireworks-fund.

    Bronson is also hosting a fireworks show on July 4 in the Park at 20 Picnic Street. The setup will begin around 7 p.m., with fireworks expected to launch shortly after dark. Signage will be in place to inform attendees where they can park and watch the fireworks.

  • County candidates set for August elections

    A pair of Levy County Commission races and a School Board race highlight the county election season, which could be completely determined by the end of the primary on Aug. 30.

    The qualifying deadline for county-wide offices was June 22.

    The two County Commission seats both feature a pair of Republicans squaring off, so the races will be decided in the primary, which will be open to voters of all affiliations.

    School Board races are nonpartisan and appear on the primary ballot. If there are at least two candidates, the top two vote-getters in the primary will appear on the general election ballot unless a candidate receives a majority of the total vote, in which case she is declared the winner.

    Vying for the open School Board seat – District 5, also known as the Yankeetown seat – are Gary Bennett, of Morriston, and Ashley Breeden Clemenzi, of Williston. The seat is currently held by Rick Turner, who is not running for reelection. School Board members serve four-year terms.

  • Gov. Scott visits Levy for Lincoln-Reagan Dinner during campaign for US Senate

    The highest-profile guest speaker in the history of the Levy County Republican Executive Committee’s annual Lincoln-Reagan Memorial Dinner guaranteed its largest ever turnout.

    Gov. Rick Scott joined Republican Party officials, supporters, office holders and candidates representing Levy County and the area June 23 at Bronson Middle High School as the headline speaker for the banquet.

    Scott, who is leaving the Governorship due to term limits, is the overwhelming favorite to be the Republican opponent to incumbent Bill Nelson in the U.S. Senate race this fall.

    At the dinner, the two-term Florida governor touted his record on the economy, education and the state budget, and outlined a few proposals from his senatorial campaign. Scott lamented the lack of cooperation in congress, arguing the federal government would be more effective if it emulated the more collaborative tendencies of state and local government.

    “How do we improve the way D.C. works?” Scott asked rhetorically. “It’s way too partisan up there. You should expect your government to work together.

  • Chiefland high-schoolers garner academic honors

    Photos: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.1734360986617131.1073741929.18...

    Many of the top high school students from Chiefland Middle High School were recognized May 23 in the CMHS Auditorium at the High School Awards Ceremony.

    The school district has introduced the Latin honors system for the Class of 2018, making the recent group of Chiefland seniors the first to be recognized with Cum Laude honors at the school. The honors replace the class top 10 in distinguishing the top academic finishers.

    At the awards ceremony, nine CMHS seniors were recognized as achieving Summa Cum Laude honors, a designation that requires at least a weighted GPA of 4.0. Those students included: Savannah Hudson (valedictorian); Anya Tapia (salutatorian); Enya Tapia; Sara Langston; Nathalie Solatorio; Cheyanne Walker; Tori Hutson; Morgan Fisher and Jommielle Quiambao.

    The students recognized as Magna Cum Laude, which includes those carrying a minimum GPA of 3.85, were Seth Thomas; Krisa Sharpe; Sydney Allen and Sarah Lourcey.

  • McLelland returns to helm at CMHS

    Matt McLelland has a new appreciation for the behind-the-scenes, unsung work done by school district staff.

    But he’s happy to be back on the ground with the students, where the work of educators produces a more tangible reward.

    McLelland is succeeding Dennis Webber as the new Chiefland Middle High School principal just one year after leaving the school for a district job. The longtime Chiefland administrator took over in June after the end of the school year.

    “The highlight of my day is the students, being able to be around them,” McLelland said. “That was something I really missed when I was at the district offices. There was an opportunity to come back and I realized that’s my heart, with these kids and this community. I love it. I’m just very thankful to have the opportunity.”

    McLelland says the experience at the district should make him a better administrator. As he enters his 10th year as either a principal or assistant principal at the school, including five years as the former, he enjoys bumping into former students at the grocery store as their now raising families of their own.

  • D&D hosts 13th Spring Dance Revue

    D & D Dance Studio proudly presented its 13th Annual Spring Dance Revue Friday, June 8 and Saturday, June 9.

    This year, as in years past, it was once again, standing room only inside the Chiefland Middle High School Auditorium. Once the stage curtains opened, the audience experienced two-and-a-half hours of delightful dance. Thirty-five dance numbers were performed, everything from adorable 3-year-olds dancing tap to the 1957 Broadway hit, “I Feel Pretty”, to choreographed ballerinas imitating the dance of a music box ballerina, set to Frank Mills’ 1979 piece, “Music Box Dancer.” Performed by the Adult Jazz class, Meghan Trainor’s “I’m a Lady”, the spicy number from the “Troll’s” movie, had the house rocking.

    Announcer Norman Weaver opened the event in welcoming parents, grandparents, family and friends of the over 150 students set to perform. Pastor David Jones offered the benediction and Amy Brodahl sang the National Anthem.

  • Renovated Blue Springs Park reopens in time for summer

    After months of renovation work, Blue Springs in Bronson is once again open for swimming and picnicking.

    Ten pavilions, numerous new concrete tables and benches and freshly painted restrooms with newly built changing rooms and a paved parking lot have all been added to enhance Blue Springs Park.

    The park, a once privately owned spring, was sold to the Board of Public Instruction of Levy County back in early 1950 for a nominal fee of one dollar. Since the 1950s, between the School Board, the town of Bronson and Levy County, Blue Springs has changed hands several times. Levy County now owns Blue Springs Park and Little Blue Springs.

    Blue Springs is a second magnitude spring, meaning water flows from the aquifer to the surface at a discharge rate of 280 to 2800 liters or 10 to 100 cubic feet of water per second. Blue Springs discharges to the southwest down a short run and into the Waccasassa River, which flows south to the Gulf of Mexico. Florida springs range from 69 to 97 degrees, and Blue Springs seems to maintain an average of 72 degrees, according to Matt Weldon, director of Levy County Parks.