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Local News

  • Chiefland establishes fee for events that require road closures

    Suzette Cook, Reporter

    The Chiefland City Commission established a $250 fee to be charged to any event held in the City that requires road closures and the use of City personnel and equipment.

    Annual events that require road closures include the annual Watermelon Festival and parade, the Homecoming Parade, Veterans Day parade, Winter Christmas Festival and 5K run and the MLK Love March.

    According to City Manager Mary Ellzey, the City expensed more than $5,000 covering the costs of road closures for these five events. The cost of closing roads in Chiefland for events often involves overtime or holiday pay for police officers, plus utilities and other expenses.

    The average annual fiscal impact to City taxpayers for the Watermelon Festival is $1,849.23, the Winter Christmas Festival is $1,822.77, the Chiefland High Homecoming Parade is $392.14, and the MLK Love March is $883.98.

    Newly appointed Mayor Chris Jones said he wanted to make sure any fees agreed on by the Commission are applied across the board. Initially, he said there was discussion of grandfathering in some of the traditional events.

  • Jones named mayor of Chiefland

    Suzette Cook, Reporter

    Chiefland Commissioner/Vice Mayor Chris Jones called the March 11 City Commission meeting to order and asked for 30 seconds of silence to remember Mayor Betty Walker.

    “I’d like start off by on behalf of the family thanking everyone here that attended and came out to support their family. It’s definitely a big loss. I can’t even express my feelings, knowing her as far as a City official and a close friend since my childhood.”

    With Walker’s passing on Feb. 25, the Commission moved to appoint a new mayor and vice mayor. The Commission nominated and approved Jones as the new acting mayor.

    Commissioner Donald Lawrence was then nominated to fill the vice mayor position, and Commissioner Tim West asked to also be considered for the role. “I would be up for the challenge,” West said. Commissioner Lawrence then said he was honored to be considered but added, “I think new young blood would be good.” With that the Commission approved West’s nomination and named him as vice mayor.

  • County IT consultant makes system adjustments after attacks on email accounts

    Suzette Cook, Reporter

    After multiple attacks on County employees’ email accounts, IT consultant Brady Clark, owner of New River Technology, told the Board that he is upping systems security.

    “We’ve had emails compromised in the past,” Clark said told the Board on March 5. “Those emails get on a list on the internet that say ‘this person is a finance person’ so what they do is send an email pretending to be him with his email in the subject line.

    “How they get caught is when it’s (the message) in broken English,” Clark said.

    “There’s a lot of that going around, so I want to put on a spam filter,” Clark added. “The only caveat is that is emails might get missed if they are caught in the filter.”

  • 67th Annual Suwannee River Youth Livestock Show

    Events are at the Suwannee River Fair Pavilion, located at 17851 90 Avenue, Fanning Springs.

    Thursday, March 7:

    4:00p - 6:00p - Poultry Entry

    Friday, March 8:

    4:00p - 6:00p - Dairy Cow & Heifer Entry

    3:30p - 5:30p - Rabbit Entry

    5:30p - Cloverbud Rabbit Show/Showmanship

    After Cloverbud Show - Rabbit Show

    6:00p - Poultry Show

    6:00p - Poultry & Rabbit Showmanship

    After Show - Rabbit & Poultry Release, Superintendent must approve other release times

    Saturday, March 9:

    7:30a - 8:00a - Horse Entry

    8:30a - Horse Show

    After Horse Show - Speed Contest

    11:00a - 1:30p - Dairy Cow Show/Showmanship

    After Show - Dairy Cow Release

    12:30p - 2:30p - Ag-Life Contest

    4:00p - Heifer Show

    After Show - Home Grown Heifer Show

    After Home Grown - Heifer Showmanship

    Sunday, March 10:

    1:00p - BBQ Contest

    1:00p - Goat Doe Entry

    2:00p - Dairy/Meat Doe Goat Shows/Showmanship

    After Show - Dairy/Meat Doe Goat Release

  • County says scallop season date change will have negative economic impact

    Suzette Cook, Reporter

    Levy County Commission Chair John Meeks sent a letter to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Chair on Feb. 19 expressing concerns about changes in regional scallop season dates.

    “You may ask why is that important to us?” Meeks said at the Feb. 19 Commission meeting. “They changed it last year to allow scallop season to open in neighboring counties because scallops, for whatever reason, tend to arrive in that area before they arrive in the Southern region, which is Citrus County or out at the Panhandle region,” he said.

    “It was a huge economic boon for Dixie and Taylor County. In addition, it is a huge economic boon for us because these people travel from the south, come up (US Highway) 19 and they stop at the Walmart, they stop at the Winn Dixie, buy gas and do commerce here.

    “In addition, it allows our folks to be able to go and participate earlier too.”

  • Busy weekend in Cedar Key

    There’s a lot going on in Cedar Key this coming Saturday, March 9, why not “Make It a Day!” The weather is supposed to be perfect (sunny, high of 73 degrees), shops and galleries all over town will be open and there are some special annual events that you just might not want to miss.

    The Cedar Key Arts Center is hosting the Tiny Treasures Artful Home Tour from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Twelve homes and one rental unit, all less than 1,000 square feet, will be on the tour this year. Most of the homes are in the Historic District and all are accessible by golf cart (the Gulf Kart Co. is offering a special rate for tour participants – 352-477-0041). 83 West on Dock Street is also offering tour participants a quick pick-up box for $10 each from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tickets and maps are on sale at the Cedar Keyhole Artist Co-op through noon on Saturday for $20. For questions, email CedarKeyArtsCenter@gmail.com.

  • Services for Betty Walker

    A wake for Betty Walker, who died Monday, Feb. 25, will be held Friday, March 8, at Mt. Pleasant Baptist Church from 5 to 7 p.m. The church is located at 310 SW 5th Street in Chiefland. A funeral service will be held at the Chiefland Middle High School auditorium, 808 N Main Street, on Saturday, March 9, at 11 a.m. A repass will follow at Haven Hospice after the ceremony.

    Walker served more than 15 years on the Chiefland City Commission and was currently in her seventh term as mayor. She was the retired longtime director of Levy ARC. Walker was 72.

  • “Shaping your Future Through Education” is theme of Chiefland Black History program

    “Shaping your Future Through Education” will be the topic of the Black History Committee’s upcoming fundraiser banquet, March 9, 7 p.m., at the Usher Pineland Center. The annual event is a fundraiser for scholarships provided by the Committee.

    Dr. Shalay Jackson, DrPH, MSW, will be the guest speaker. Dr. Jackson is currently an Assistant Teaching Professor at the Florida State University College of Social Work. The educator and researcher earned her doctorate in Public Health at the University of South Florida and has a master’s degree in Social Work from the University of Michigan. Her research interests include: social policy; resilience; school social work; positive youth development; community practice; adolescent behavioral health; and prevention.

  • Bronson softball monument a tribute to Durden, Class of '82

    If you were lucky enough to meet James “Jimmy” Durden, the first thing he’d ask you was whether you played ball or raced. His passion for sports and his compassion for people were bound together, and Bronson Middle High School recently unveiled a statue and plaque at its softball field that’s a dedication to both of those attributes of the late Bronson coach.

    With around 60 to 80 former players, friends and family in attendance, some of those who knew Durden best shared their memories of the beloved Bronson figure, before a statue of a catcher’s mitt with three entwined bats was revealed. Each of the three speakers struggled to finish as they remembered Durden and were overcome with emotion.

    The monument was dedicated by Durden’s Bronson Class of 1982. The plaque displayed at the base of the memorial structure reads, “BHS Class of 1982, In Dedication. Jimmy Durden ‘Eagle Risen’ Forever Friend, Classmate, and Coach.” The memorial is also a reminder that the 1982 Bronson softball team advanced to the state championship game.

  • County gives go ahead for first satellite waste station

    Suzette Cook, Reporter

    The County Commission did not hesitate at the March 5 meeting to choose the site of the first of at least three future satellite waste stations.

    As requested by the Board, Levy County Solid Waste Department Director Rod Hastings presented additional details about the list of proposed locations and what the materials, construction requirements, equipment and staff would cost per station. The average price tag per location, according to Hastings, will be $71,710 for construction and equipment and $20,000 to staff the facility at least three days a week.

    Hastings estimated that the initial cost to get three stations up and running would total $215,130 “turnkey and get three of them on the ground running.”

    Once open, Hastings said the operating costs would drop significantly. “Once you get past that first year it will drop off to $20,000 per site,” he said.

    While Hastings did his due diligence and came prepared with specific budget items, the Board had few questions about those detail, they just wanted to know how soon they could be built.