Today's News

  • Levy County goes after collusion in lawsuit against opioids suppliers

    Suzette Cook, Reporter

    The Board of Levy County Commissioners has agreed to pursue a claim in federal court that addresses collusion of companies involved in the distribution of opioids.

    According to a lawsuit filed in April 2018 by Levy County against Purdue Pharma and dozens of doctors and medical clinics that write prescriptions for opium “opioids” painkillers, Levy County claims greed and profits have been put “above the health and well-being of Levy County consumers” at the cost of the County.

    “Levy County spends millions of dollars each year to provide and pay for healthcare, services, pharmaceutical care and other necessary services and programs on behalf of residents of its County whom are indigent or otherwise eligible for services, including payments through services such as Medicaid for prescription opium painkillers (“opioids”) which are manufactured, marketed, promoted, sold, and/or distributed by the Defendants,” the lawsuit says.”

  • 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.”

  • Website reveals data about Florida counties, forecasts trends

    By Suzette Cook, Reporter

    The Florida Chamber of Commerce has launched a scorecard that identifies and tracks key metrics about the State and its counties. The website is www.thefloridascorecard.org and by selecting a county of interest, data about the unemployment rate, housing permits, annul job changes, sale tax revenue, wealth migration, poverty rate, high school graduation, land in conservation and population is available.

    The site color codes each category to reveal its status. Green means improving, Red means declining, and Blue means no change.

    By first looking at data about the State in the categories, users can compare county to county where they stand. According to the site, Levy County has an 87 percent overall graduation rate compared the State rate of 86.1 percent and that is on rise.

    Data topics include Talent Supply and Education, Innovation and Economic Development, Infrastructure and Growth Leadership, Business Climate and Competitiveness, Civics, Governance, and Quality of Life.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Chiefland man claims $5 million in scratch-off ticket

    Luis Bruno, 55, of Chiefland, claimed a $5 million top prize in the $20 GOLD RUSH CLASSIC Scratch-Off game at Florida Lottery Headquarters in Tallahassee. He chose to receive his winnings as a one-time, lump-sum payment of $3,550,000.

    Bruno purchased his winning ticket from Murphy Express, located at 2126 North Young Boulevard in Chiefland. The retailer will receive a $10,000 bonus commission for selling the winning Scratch-Off ticket.

    The $20 GOLD RUSH CLASSIC game launched in October 2018 and gives players the opportunity to win up to $5,000,000. Overall odds of winning are 1-in-2.99.

  • Celebrating Mayor Betty

    Suzette Cook, Reporter

    First came the beat of the drums, then the keyboard joined in, hands were clapping and the choir brought the room to a crescendo singing “When the Saints Go Marching In.”

    Pastors, ministers and family members entered Chiefland Middle High School auditorium and walked down the aisle to make their final farewells to Chiefland Mayor Betty Stockton Walker.

    Walker, who passed away on Feb. 25, was adorned with a tiara before the casket was closed, and when the music faded out, Rev. Walter Hunt lead crowd of more than 300 friends, coworkers and family members in prayer. “The Lord gave her breath, and the Lord took it back,” he said.

  • 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.”

  • “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.

  • 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.