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Local News

  • Chiefland woman charged with DUI manslaughter in Cedar Key wreck

    A Chiefland woman received multiple DUI manslaughter charges after she was involved in an accident in Cedar Key that resulted in the death of a New Port Richey man and teen.

    According to a Florida Highway Patrol report, Savannah Leigh Wilson, 29, was traveling north on State Road 24 around 4:30 p.m. on March 24 when her truck crossed over the centerline and struck a motorcycle head on, killing its two occupants, David Anthony Lewis, 40, and Suzanne Lewis, 14, both of New Port Richey. Wilson, who was determined to be driving under the influence of alcohol, was arrested on the scene and transported to the Levy County Jail. She was also charged with Driving With a Suspended License.

  • Local teen donates fair winnings to 3-year-old cancer patient

    Seventeen-year-old Brinley Bedford has been a longtime friend of the Cooper family from Bronson. When Brinley received the news that the Cooper’s 3-year-old son, Rhet, had cancer, she was greatly concerned for him and his family.

    Rhet was diagnosed with Rhabdomyosarcoma back in February 2018 and is undergoing Chemotherapy treatments.

    Like many area teens her age, Brinley decided to show a pig in the Suwannee River Youth Fair this year. She said she was working with her pig one day and had an idea to help Rhet and his family, deciding to donate the profits from her pig sale to Rhet’s family.

    “It just popped in my mind one day,” Bedford said. “No one wants to see a 3-year-old struggle.”

    Brinley said her family and the Coopers have been friends for a while, as her father works with Rhet’s father, Robbie, as mechanics.

    Brinley sold her pig on March 20 and Rhet’s grandparents attended the sale. Rhet and his parents

    were unable to attend due to Rhet’s chemo treatment.

  • County schedules workshop to tackle County Road repair policy

    Suzette Cook, Reporter

    County Commissioner Rock Meeks got a message that two drivers passing each other on Levy County Road 341 collided when their side view mirrors made contact. County Commissioner Lilly Rooks said she was almost hit twice by a truck pulling a trailer on County Road 345.

    “Let’s talk about roads,” Commissioner Meeks said during the commissioners’ report portion of the March 19 meeting.

    “Shoulders busted out, certain times of the year when tractors are on the roads,” he said. “The one in particular is CR 337, going out to Alachua County,” he said and added, “CR 341 south, the road is super narrow.

    “It’s roads not being wide enough and vehicles getting bigger,” Meeks said. “And lots of farm equipment. If we don’t start widening roads, working on shoulders of roads, it’s going to cost us money. I know we have a paving list that we’re working off of. There’s things we can do to get 10 to 15 more years out of these roads.”

  • Operation Jackpot nets $135,000

    Suzette Cook, Reporter

    Chiefland Police Chief Scott Anderson announced that the total funds recovered from “Operation Jackpot” is $135,000.

    On Nov. 3 in 2018, eight internet cafes were simultaneously raided and shut down in Chiefland after they were caught awarding cash payouts, which is illegal in the State of Florida.

    According to Anderson, the monies acquired as a result of the bust were delivered on Feb. 20.

    “We brought in $135,000,” Anderson told the Chiefland City Commission. “I can’t spend it on anything that’s budgeted,” he added. “It has to be used on law enforcement equipment.”

    Anderson was asked by the commission if the funds could be used in a future operation and Anderson replied, “That’s exactly what we’re doing with it.”

    Mayor Chris Jones thanked Anderson and the entire Chiefland Police Department for their efforts in organizing the operation. “Thank you. You’re doing a fine job cleaning up the atmosphere.”

  • CMHS hosts Career Day

    Chiefland Middle High School held its annual Career Day March 21, with more than 30 businesses and organizations visiting the campus to offer students a glimpse of the inner-workings of their programs and jobs.

    Representatives from the organizations hosted booths in the gym or gave 30-minute talks to students in classrooms. Students from the CMHS SGA Leadership class help run the event. The leadership students hosted lunch afterwards.

    “We thank you all the students and faculty who helped make the day run smoothly,” said Career Day organizer Valerie Perez, who teaches the leadership class.

    Katie Corbin, CMHS graduation coach, says the day presents a unique opportunity for students to gain exposure to career fields they otherwise would have no awareness for. Corbin says that the event would be impossible without those who generously offer their time to present and talk to the students.

  • Flag honoring Mayor Walker flies over Capitol

    A flag was flown over the U.S. Capitol to honor Chiefland Mayor Betty Walker, who passed on Feb. 25, and it was presented to City Hall for preservation by U.S. Rep. Neal Dunn on March 21. Dunn also presented a copy of a speech given about Walker on the floor of the House by Dunn’s district field director Will Kendrick, who is a longtime friend of Walker’s.

    “Mayor Betty Walker is obviously very well loved,” Dunn said. “What we’d like to do is present this to the City so that they can have something to remember Betty by, put it in their display case. It means a lot to us. We’re very, very pleased to be able to present that in honor of Mayor Betty Walker.”

    On hand to accept the flag, its certificate and the speech were Walker’s sisters, Fannie Bernard and Shirley Smith, as well as Mayor Chris Jones, Vice Mayor Tim West, Commissioner Rollin Hudson, Fire Chief James Harris, City Manager Mary Ellzey, Deputy City Clerk Laura Cain and Kendrick.

    “We are truly honored,” Ellzey said. “This is very, very special.”

  • Kid's discovery at Strickland Park leads to inmate arrest

    Suzette Cook, Reporter

    Lavontaye Depree Graham, 37, of Trenton was arrested for unlawful possession of prescription drugs, possession of drugs within 1,000 feet of school/place of worship, and possession with intent to distribute on March 19 after the Chiefland Police Department was alerted to a bag filled with contraband hidden in a bathroom at Strickland Park.

    According to police reports, a man reported on March 18 that his grandson discovered a white plastic bag in the men’s bathroom tucked under a sink. After looking in the bag, the man reported the discovery to Cody Carter, a board member for the (CAAA) who then locked the bag in a bathroom stall and called to report it to the Sheriff’s office.

    CPD Sgt. Willie Barnes responded to the call and, upon arrival, looked in the bag and took inventory. According to the report, Barnes counted “21 bundles of individual rolls of cigarette wrapped in a plastic sandwich bag and 10 packs of tops rolling papers, 10 containers of Kayak snuff, and one clear sandwich bag with green leafy substance that field tested positive for Marijuana weighed 21 grams.”

  • Holland, Brown at top of Class of 2019 at CMHS

    Chiefland’s valedictorian and salutatorian are recognized for their academic achievement, but it’s been their club and social experiences that have proved most memorable for the pair at Chiefland Middle High School.

    Paul Holland III, with a GPA of 4.36, is the Class of 2019 valedictorian, and Ashtyn Brown, 4.31 GPA, is the salutatorian.

    Holland and Brown are joined by fellow Summa Cum Laude (4.0+) graduates, in no particular order: Kent Sloan, Noah Nguyen, Madison Baynard, Julie Powers and Caroline Kohn. Wyatt Hammond is the class’ only Magna Cum Laude (3.85+) honoree, and Gabriel Stancil, Maria Carranza, Nadia Fumea, Aidan Horne, Jessika Weekley, Keegan McLelland, Hunter Barrand and Nelson Crawford are the Cum Laude (3.5+) honorees. Joining those students in the Talented 20 – top 20 percent of graduating class meeting university entrance requirements – are Macie Thomas and Victoria Thompson.

  • Renovations of future County offices moving along

    Suzette Cook, Reporter

    County personnel took a field trip to the old Bronson High School building on March 5 after the County Commission meeting to get an update on how renovations are going and to get input on how the new building will be wired for connectivity.

    “This is where our office manager will sit, our little copy area, this will be Wilbur’s office, my office,” said Levy County Procurement Coordinator Alicia Tretheway while giving an impromptu tour. “This will be a sitting area for new applicants who come in.”

    Contractors were hard at work sanding wood floors while County IT Consultant Brady Clark of New River Technology was given a tour of possible locations to house wiring and fiber optic cable for connectivity in the building.

    “Commissioners’ office wise, I was looking to do all of the drops back in here,” Director of Levy County Construction and Maintenance Jimmy Jones told Clark and showed him the location.

    Clark said he would need an area for the tax collector’s server as one server would not be able to handle the demand of the County offices.

  • Fire Chief: CPR devices will save lives

    Suzette Cook, Reporter

    Chiefland Fire Chief James Harris performed CPR at the March 11 commission meeting to prove a point.

    “You have never heard me come up here and ask to take money out of the fire budget,” Harris said to the commission after demonstrating the efficiency of an Automated Resuscitation Machine known as an ARM.

    “This is the very first time,” he added.

    Harris, along with Michael Lall, vice president of AED Professionals medical device company, acted out a scenario where a Harris started administering CPR to a “patient” while Lall set up the ARM at the same time. Once in place and powered up, the device allowed Harris to step away while compressions continued.

    “As great as we are, it doesn’t matter how strong you are, when we are doing compressions on a person, after about a minute even trained responders are going to get tired,” Lall said. “And the CPR is no longer performed at maximum efficiency. That’s why these devices were developed.”