Today's News

  • Interagency agreement played crucial role in CPD raid

    By Suzette Cook/Reporter

    Chiefland City Commissioners joked during the Nov. 12 meeting that Chiefland Police Chief Scott Anderson timed the raid of eight local internet cafés to happen as the date of his annual review approaches. But Chief Anderson was quick to explain that the Nov. 3 bust was carried out as soon as his fiscal year reset and funding was available.

    “It had to do with manpower and search warrants,” Anderson said. “It was based on the issuance of search warrants from the State Attorney’s Office and the allocation of manpower from several law enforcement agencies.”

    At the State Attorney’s request, Anderson gathered evidence two weeks prior to the raid of the internet cafes The Fish Treasures, Blumas, Tropical Treasures, Chiefland Arcade, Hady Days Arcade, Cyber Center, Patriot Social Club, and Blue Lagoon.

    “We had officers go into all of the casinos and gamble,” Anderson said. “And they were paying out cash money which they can’t do, it’s against the law. We did all that on video for court documentation.”

  • Local veteran parting way with his patriotic ‘Vette

    By Suzette Cook/Reporter

    Now that his family is growing, local Barnhill Landscapes Owner Bobby Barnhill says he’s is ready to part with his one-of-a-kind-treasured 1977 Corvette.

    “I bought it on Veteran’s Day six years ago, and painted it red, white and blue,” Barnhill said about the once white Corvette that is now decked out in stars and stripes.

    The hood front of the car has red stripes veering off in V formation and the center of the hood becomes the star spangled section with more white stars in blue wrapping around the rear tires.

    Barnhill, a 2001 graduate of Chiefland High School, says he’s not a professional painter by any means, but this car inspired his patriotic side. He was ranked as a sergeant when he got out of the United States Army National Guard and spent 17 months in active duty stateside during Operation Enduring Freedom. Barnhill worked in small engine repair.

  • Branching out

    By Suzette Cook/Reporter

    It didn’t take long for Treehouse Designer B’Fer Roth to sketch a decked-out treehouse that would perfectly settle into four towering water oaks on a property just off a sandy dirt road in Old Town.

    The pencil drawing became a blueprint for episode 208 of ‘The Treehouse Guys,’ which was filmed in 2016 on a 5-acre parcel owned by Jamie and Sara LaCourse.

    The LaCourses purchased the vacation property that is 90 miles north of their home in Oxford as an escape for their family, which includes their three sons. But the LaCourse family leads a busy life and can’t get to the retreat every week.

    “If we’re not here to enjoy it, we want other people to enjoy it, it’s just so cool,” Sara said. “Why can’t we share our oasis with others?”

    The LaCourses decided to claim the getaway one weekend a month and rent out both the treehouse and the traditional cabin to others during the rest of the month.

  • Safe school procedures, religious expression among School Board policy review items

    Suzette Cook, Reporter

    The Levy County School Board will spend the next two months addressing the language of five school policy areas, including safe schools, religious expression, and school entry.

    Levy County School District Assistant Superintendent John Lott presented the first drafts of the policies at the Oct. 22 Board meeting.

    “These things come to us in a package,” Lott said. “We study them, get public input and ask for a final vote in December.

    “When we bring policies in front of the Board, most of the time it’s because of changes in the (State) statute.”

    Policy 3.06, known as the Safe and Secure Schools policy, addresses the district’s obligation to “provide a safe, secure and orderly learning environment in all schools and at all sponsored activities.”

  • Chiefland votes to expand alcohol sales

    Suzette Cook, Reporter

    The Chiefland City Commission gave City Attorney Norm Fugate the go ahead to prepare an amended alcohol sales ordinance that will include sales on Sundays.

    After some discussion during the Oct. 22 meeting, the commission voted 3-2 to modify the days and hours of alcohol sales to Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to Midnight, Saturdays 7 a.m. to 2 a.m. and Sundays from 1 p.m. to Midnight.

    The new proposed hours not only add sales to Sunday, but also would extend sales on Saturday from Midnight to 2 a.m. as was suggested by Commissioner Chris Jones who also suggested that Sunday sales start at 1 p.m. instead of noon, “Out of respect for those who are in church on Sunday.” The new draft will retain no sales on Christmas, and sales until 1 a.m. on New Year’s.

  • Seafood fest weekend lures record crowd

    Suzette Cook, Reporter

    Just as Richard Rooney of Gainesville was toting an artisan designed flamingo lamp to his car, floats, students, Cedar Key locals, and hopeful politicians began making their way around the corner and over the bridge.

    Hundreds of 49th Annual Cedar Key Seafood Festivalgoers were lined up on sidewalks and waving at the stars of the traditional parade held on Oct. 20. Kids were scurrying around grabbing tossed candy off the streets, while the rest of the crowd was sharing in a chuckle here and there as pirates, cruising clams, colorful “Spiced Girls” sea goddesses, the S.S. Minnow, the Crab Crew, and Cedar Key School’s shark mascot surrounded by cheerleaders passed by.

    Veterans of Foreign War members led the parade proudly presenting the American flag. The CKS Safety Patrol was perched on a float surrounded by purple and yellow balloons, cheering about selling ice cold water to “Help us get to Washington.”

  • Residents speak out on Sunday alcohol sales; City vote on Oct. 22 agenda

    By Suzette Cook/Reporter

    As Hurricane Michael steered toward the Gulf Coast on Oct. 9, more than 75 Chiefland residents made it a priority to attend a workshop at Chiefland City Hall to discuss the pros and cons of allowing alcohol sales in Chiefland on Sundays.

    More than two dozen people addressed the commission and spoke on the record.

    Many residents acknowledged that they like to drink socially, and often family and friends are only off on weekends, so meeting up on a Sunday would be convenient if they didn’t have to leave town.

    One longtime resident thanked the commission for the opportunity to speak and said she was worried that the character of Chiefland would change if alcohol was sold on Sundays. She read a description from the City’s website and urged the commission to consider that World Health Organization statistics emphasize the negative impacts of excessive alcohol consumption.

  • CR 40 widening project advances

    By Suzette Cook/Reporter

    The Levy County Commission voted to move forward with a road widening and resurfacing project for a 6.6-mile stretch of County Road 40.

    According to Alice LaLonde, administrator manager for the Levy County Road Department, the project will be funded by a $2.65 million grant from the Small County Outreach Program (SCOP).

    The Florida Department of Transportation describes the SCOP as assisting “small county governments in repairing or rehabilitating county bridges, paving unpaved roads, addressing road-related drainage improvements, resurfacing or reconstructing county roads, or constructing capacity or safety improvements to county roads.”  

    “This is the second half of our CR 40 widening project,” said Commission Chair John Meeks. “Our Legislature decided to give State Road 40 back in the ‘80s,” Meeks said. “It’s become our responsibility ever since.”

    The 6.6-mile stretch is from Bird Creek Boat Ramp to U.S. Highway 19.

  • CFEC crews help restore power in the Florida panhandle

    By Suzette Cook/Reporter

    Central Florida Electric Cooperative (CFEC) of Chiefland sent six line workers on Oct. 12 and four project managers on Oct. 14 to assist Gulf Coast Electric Cooperative in Wewahitchka, Florida to help restore power and repair damage caused by Hurricane Michael.

    The crew brought equipment including two bucket trucks, one digger derrick truck with a load of poles, and a one-ton flatbed truck. CFEC Vice President of Member Services Tony Wasson said a second team went up Sunday and “we already have a team waiting to go. We’re certain the line crews will need to be rotated out.”

    “CFEC was fortunate to receive help from cooperatives across the country when we restored power from Hurricane Irma,” said CFEC Vice President of Engineering and Operations Ben Dawson. “Cooperation among cooperatives is critical to restoring power as quickly, and as safely as possible.”

  • Encore! Luke Bryan Farm Tour brings country music back to Whitehurst Cattle field

    By Suzette Cook

    As a crowd of about 13,000 gathered on Whitehurst Cattle Company acreage bordering Levy, Alachua and Marion counties, a drone flying overhead documented the Oct. 4 benefit concert from above.

    Country Artist Jon Langston, the concert opener, paid tribute to Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers with a performance of Petty’s “Won’t Back Down.” And the crowd joined in.

    “That’s what I’m talking about,” Langston said. “Y’all came to party!”

    Langston then performed his hit “She Was the Right Girl at the Wrong Time” and told the crowd how he became a songwriter.

    “I started writing songs in college ‘cause I got hurt playing football,” Langston told the crowd. Then he performed “Forever Girl” and the crowd sang along. “Man I got chills up here,” he said. “I love you all so much.” Then he continued with his Billboard hit “When It Comes To Loving You.”