.....Advertisement.....
.....Advertisement.....

Local News

  • FFA quilt brings $4,000 at auction, heads to Washington, D.C.

    By Suzette Cook/Reporter

    Six former members of the Bronson chapter of Future Farmers of America and a handful of School Board members, local business owners and county staff members pooled their funds to win the high bid of $4,000 for a quilt made up of 12 FFA jackets.

    The quilt, crafted by Cathy Weeks of Archer, stole the show at the annual Bronson FFA Alumni Food Fest held on Feb. 22.

    The winners of the quilt include six FFA alumni: County Commissioner John Meeks; School Board Member Chris Cowart; James Trimm; School Board Member Cameron Asbell; JR Trimm of Trimm Auction Services; Wesley Asbell; as well as School Board Member Paige Brookins; Levy County Supervisor of Elections Tammy Jones; Levy County School Superintendent Jeff Edison; Ethan Bray; Attorney at Law Norm Fugate; County Commissioner Rock Meeks and Congressman Neal Dunn, U.S. House of Representatives FL District 2.

  • Police chief requests permit update to deter internet cafes

    Suzette Cook, Reporter

    Chiefland Police Chief Scott Anderson recently requested the City update the language of business permit applications to avoid possible entrapment problems in the future.

    “Internet casinos are still haunting us to this day.” Anderson said to the City Commission. “They are still trying to pull permits under false pretenses.”

    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.

    Anderson and City Manager Mary Ellzey presented a request to the Commission at the Feb. 11 meeting to add language to the permit application that states any kind of internet gambling is illegal. If an applicant signs off on that, they are acknowledging that paying cash awards is illegal.

    “We had one of the same entities that tried to open an internet café, they said it wasn’t,” Ellzey said. “Their lease said it is an internet café. It was invalid, not notarized, handwritten parts scratched out.

  • County narrows list of potential satellite waste collection sites

    Suzette Cook, Reporter

    The County Commission has asked for more details on five potential satellite waste collection sites before they move forward with a vote.

    Levy County Solid Waste Department Director Rod Hastings presented nine possible locations throughout Levy County to the Commission on Feb. 19. Some of those locations are County-owned properties and others could be purchased or leased.

    Those sites included: CR 347, an abandoned fire station in Gulf Hammock, Camp Azalea, Highway Patrol station off Highway 19, Behind the Moose Lodge, Morriston, Lebanon Station asphalt plant and one in South Morriston at 60th and Highway 41.

    The Commission asked for more details about leases and site conditions of the locations at CR 347, Camp Azalea, Gulf Hammock, Lebanon Station and the South Morriston location.

    Hastings presented details about the current status and his opinion of the positives of each venue.

  • First African-American woman elected to Chiefland City Commission, Mayor Betty Walker, passes away

    Note on sevices for Ms. Betty Walker: A wake will be held at Mt. Pleasant Baptist Church from 5 to 7 p.m. on March 8. It’s located at 310 SW 5th Street Chiefland. Funeral Service will be at the Chiefland Middle High School auditorium (808 N Main St.) on March 9 at 11 a.m.; repass at Haven Hospice after the ceremony.

    --

    A longtime advocate for Chiefland with a smile to light up any room, Mayor Betty Walker, or “Miss Betty,” as she was best known by those who knew her, passed away on Feb. 25 after recent health complications.

    Walker was the first African-American woman to be elected to the Chiefland City Commission. She was 72 years old.

    It’s the second time in less than four years that the sitting mayor of Chiefland has died in office. Teal Pomeroy died in a diving accident while serving as mayor in August 2016.

    Walker was serving as vice mayor at the time of Pomeroy’s death and was subsequently elected mayor in 2016, 2017 and 2018 by the Commission.

  • First African-American woman elected to Chiefland City Commission, Mayor Betty Walker, passes away

    A longtime advocate for Chiefland with a smile to light up any room, Mayor Betty Walker, or “Miss Betty,” as she was best known by those who knew her, passed away on Feb. 25 after recent health complications.

    Walker was the first African-American woman to be elected to the Chiefland City Commission. She was 72 years old.

    It’s the second time in less than four years that the sitting mayor of Chiefland has died in office. Teal Pomeroy died in a diving accident while serving as mayor in August 2016.

    Walker was serving as vice mayor at the time of Pomeroy’s death and was subsequently elected mayor in 2016, 2017 and 2018 by the Commission.

    Politics is normally fraught with contention and controversy, but Walker remained a popular figure through more than 15 years serving as a Commissioner, even among her peers. She was first elected in 1997 and served through 2007. Her second stint on the Commission was from 2013 until her passing. She was elected mayor for seven terms and vice mayor for five terms. Those respective positions are elected each year by the Commission.

  • Chiefland renews fire chief’s contract

    Suzette Cook, Reporter

    Chiefland Fire Chief James Harris signed his annual contract after receiving kudos from the City Commission on Feb. 11.

    “I’ve only known James for little bit,” said Commissioner Tim West. “I look forward to working with you in the future. You have good character and work ethic. Great person.”

    Commissioner Donald Lawrence added, “Man of his word who speaks it like it is.” Lawrence commended Harris and his team of grant writers for the thousands of dollars in equipment and training that the department has received through grant applications. “I guarantee there’s not many communities this small that have that type of equipment,” he said. “You amaze me how you get money from nowhere.”

    “It’s not just me,” Harris said about how the fire department gets awarded grant monies. “It’s a team of people and it starts right over hear with Ms. Belinda (Wilkerson) who is doing the grant writing. I’ve got firefighters who are looking for grants and searching for what’s going on.”

  • Superintendent rolls out grassroots strategic planning goals

    Suzette Cook, Reporter

    Levy County Superintendent Jeffery Edison stood at the podium at the Feb. 12 School Board meeting and pointed to the district mission displayed on the wall behind him. “Our mission is to educate all students in a safe environment and to graduate them ready for college and career success,” the statement reads.

    Every year, the School Board approves a strategic plan. This year, Edison is changing how the Board achieves that goal.

    From the podium, Edison brought the attention of the Board members, staff, community members, teachers and students at the meeting to an 8-foot board with five topics listed. He assigned a Board Member to each topic.

    Student achievement: Ashley Clemenzi, human resources: Cameron Asbell, fiscal resources: Brad Etheridge, public relations: Chris Cowart, and safe schools Paige Brookins. He also assigned district staff and school administrators to those topics.

    “Every school district is required to have a strategic plan,” Edison said. “A lot of times, we redo something we’ve adopted, something we were working on.”

  • Government shutdowns leave impact on Levy County

    Suzette Cook, Reporter

    With a possible government shutdown on the horizon, Levy County farmers and federal programs could be affected again by lack of funding.

    President Trump set Feb. 15 as the date of a second shutdown which is three weeks after he opened the government up after record closure of 35 days.

    For rural Levy County and its thousands of acres dedicated to agriculture, a national wildlife refuge, and an aquatic farming industry on the Gulf Coast, the impact of another shutdown could mean further disruptions in federally funded projects, research and of ongoing farming practices.

    Michael Allen, director of the UF/IFAS Nature Coast Biological Station based in Cedar Key, said the last shutdown did take a toll on the Gulf region.

    “From the University’s perspective, the biggest impact is to our federal cooperators like the Lower Suwannee National Wildlife Refuge which was shut down for a month,” Allen said. “We work with those folks on a daily basis on everything from monitoring wildlife populations to hosting internships to habitat restoration work, fire control burns.

  • Inglis takes steps to control litter along CR 40

    Suzette Cook, Reporter

    The County approved an agreement with the Town of Inglis that refuse containers be placed along the right of way adjacent to County Road 40.

    “They’re going to purchase, install and maintain them,” said Administrative Field Manager Casey Duquette, who said he thinks that people will use the containers “instead of throwing a water bottle in the woods.”

    Inglis Mayor Drina Merritt said she thinks the containers will foster a pitching-in mentality from pedestrians as well. “People out walking, if they see a piece of trash out by the sidewalk, they might put it in the trash if they so choose,” she said.

    Concerns about trash along the route were brought up by residents at the recent Bird Creek Boat Ramp town hall meeting.

    The new containers will be on a trial basis said Duquette. “If it becomes a problem, and the City is aware, and it isn’t corrected in a certain amount of time, we’ll request in writing to have them removed,” he said.

  • Recuperating Joyner attends Commission meeting via phone

    Suzette Cook, Reporter

    With assurance of legality from Levy County Attorney Anne Bast Brown, County Commissioner Mike Joyner attended the Feb. 5 regular meeting via phone call and took part with full capacity.

    “When the cause for the absence is a medical issue, it is allowable for a commission member to appear by phone,” Brown answered when Joyner asked her to provide the go ahead for his participation. “Full voting rights, full participation,” she said. “Everything is fine.”

    Joyner, who suffers from several injuries as a result of a mishap while riding a horse last month, also reached out to his colleagues and constituents at the top of the meeting.

    “I would like to thank everybody for the prayers and well wishes,” he said. “They say it will be nine weeks before I walk again, but I guarantee I’ll be back in six,” he said.