Today's News

  • Levy County residents can help map internet connectivity

    Suzette Cook, Reporter

    Levy County Commission Chair John Meeks can prove internet connectivity is below Federal Communication Commission (FCC) standards and so can any resident who wants to help supply data for a nationwide experiment that could help improve internet service.

    During the comments section of the April 16 meeting, Meeks took his phone out and encouraged residents to prove that the lack of reliable internet in Levy County is unacceptable.

    “If you would take the time to download this on your phone and more importantly tell two of your friends to download this on their phones,” Meeks said about the app TestIT which was developed for the National Association of Counties (NAOC).

    According to NAOC’s website “a Rural Community Assistance Partnership and Rural LISC have teamed to develop the “TestIT” app to collect data that can be used to advocate for funding for broadband infrastructure in unserved rural areas.

  • Valdosta promises early spill notice, makes upgrades to sewage facilities

    Suzette Cook, Reporter

    Levy County Commission Chair John Meeks brought back some answers after a visit with Valdosta, Georgia officials where sewage spills were taken to task.

    On March 19, the Board unanimously adopted a resolution that insisted that Valdosta answer concerns about making progress on sewage spill prevention.

    Meeks said those concerns about spillage were put into perspective and that facility upgrades have continued despite the fact that Valdosta has received no financial aid from FEMA or state agencies after a calculated 6 billion gallons of rainfall landed inside the municipality over a three-day period resulting in a sewage spill that affected downstream counties.

    “The incident happened in December and sparked the outrage that we have as citizens of Florida,” Meeks said.

    But what he learned in an hour-long time period with Valdosta officials and Georgia Tech engineers clarified the situation.

    “They’re doing as much as they can,” Meeks said about made major investments in improvements.

  • Guardian ad Litem needs more volunteers

    Suzette Cook, Reporter

    Lisa Siedzik, the newly appointment chair of the Guardian ad Litem Foundation is raising awareness and asking for community support and for more volunteers to help children who have been abused, abandoned, or neglected.

    At Chiefland Rotary, Siedzik gave the background and mission of the program that serves the Eighth Judicial Circuit which includes Alachua, Baker, Bradford, Gilchrist, Levy, and Union counties.

    According to its website, “The Florida Guardian ad Litem Program will continue to be a powerful and effective voice advocating for the best interests of Florida’s abused, abandoned and neglected children and be recognized and respected as a partnership of community advocates and professional staff. To the fullest extent possible, this vision will be realized through volunteers who will advocate as Guardians ad Litem for the children they serve.”

    Program volunteers are trained to visit children on a monthly basis to check on safety, and to be a mentor and collect information and identify resources.

  • Trenton veteran stays active despite disabilities

    Mike Worner, a 55-year-old veteran from Trenton, has been disabled since he was 22 years old. Worner is a quadriplegic who cannot use his legs and only has use of his fingers on one hand.

    While working on a submarine in the Navy, Worner one day had to go ashore to retrieve supplies and was hit by a newspaper delivery vehicle traveling 70 MPH. He was serving on the USS Dallas in Groton, Connecticut during the time of the accident.

    After his accident, Worner, who served two years in the Navy, tried everything he could to learn to walk again. At the point he realized that he would not be able to walk, he began to adapt to his lifestyle as a quadriplegic, not allowing his disability to get in the way of his favorite activities.

  • Bess the Book Bus is a calling for Rotary visitor

    The Suwannee Valley Rotary Club welcomed a special guest on April 18, as Jenn Frances, owner and manager of Bess the Book Bus, showed how she introduces the love of reading to children across the United States.

    Frances, who has a degree in child psychology, began her book bus business 16 years ago when she was looking for a career change.

    “I was very unfulfilled in what I was doing,” she recalled. “I started journaling and I was having trouble sleeping.” Frances the idea just came to her one day and she felt it was what she was meant to do.

    Frances started the book bus in the Tampa area and now makes nation-wide trips to visit schools and detention centers. Her visits begin with read-alouds with the students. Frances says the story time is very interactive. After the read-alouds, the students shop on the book bus. Each student is allowed to pick one book. Frances also goes to community events. There is no charge for the books.

    Frances says she has given away over 71,000 books through the book bus program.

  • Professional UF athletic trainers will continue to serve Levy County athletes

    By Suzette Cook, Reporter

    The School Board of Levy County will renew its contract with the University of Florida’s College of Medicine Department of Orthopaedics and Rehabilitation starting in July for the 2019-2020 school year.

    Williston High School will have a Certified Athletic Trainer (ATC) on duty for 20 hours a week, Chiefland Middle High School will have one for 25 hours a week, and Bronson/Cedar Key schools will have a ATC on duty for 25 hours per week.

    According to the contract, “The overall goal of the program is to help plan, organize, coordinate, and supervise the sports medicine program for all sports within the athletic program at the respective schools.”

    This will mark the third year that the UF Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine Institute's Adolescent and High School Sports Medicine Outreach Program will provide sports physicians to Levy County, according to Dr. Jason Zaremski who is Co-Medical Director of the Adolescent and High School Sports Medicine program.

  • County upgrades ambulance fleet

    Suzette Cook, Reporter

    With the approval of Levy County Public Safety Director Mitch Harrell’s request to transfer of $140,000 from reserves to the equipment fund, three new ambulances will be headed to Levy County.

    The Levy County Board of County Commissioners’ approval went toward the total $653,000 price tag for three Ford-550s.

    Harrell said changes in ambulance specifications in 2016, which added weight to the trucks, is prompting the change from Mercedes to Ford, along with a switch from diesel fuel to gasoline motors.

    “The diesel exhaust systems have issue,” Harrell said. “A major benefit of switching to Ford vehicles is that our fleet maintenance can work on the vehicles, and we have the computer to be able to read the codes when the check engine light comes on.”

    According to Harrell, the purchase order will be submitted by Friday “so that they can order the trucks.”

  • Final four on the line in fourth meeting between Chiefland-Dixie County

    The Chiefland baseball team is 0-3 against Dixie County this season after three closely-fought games.

    But the next one will be the most important, as the clubs are set to meet in the regional finals (“Elite 8”) in Cross City, Friday, May 17, at 7 p.m. The winner advances to the Class 1A final four in Fort Myers.

    Chiefland went on the road May 14 and defeated District 1A-8 champion Fort Meade 9-5, while the Bears beat 1A-8 runner-up Frostproof 12-2. It was Dixie County’s first playoff win in program history. The Indians are back in the regional finals for the second year in a row, looking for a chance to return to the state final four for the first time since 2016, when they made the state finals.

  • Lady Indians edged out in pitching duel

    The Chiefland softball team found itself in a pitching duel between its former ace and its young phenom in a high-stakes district semifinal game in Trenton.

    Bell senior Kensley Durrance and the Lady Bulldog defense foiled a masterful outing by CMHS eighth-grader Bria Hinkle, as BHS prevailed 1-0 to advance to the district championship on May 2 at TMHS and qualify for the regional playoffs.

    It was the second time this season third-seeded Chiefland lost a 1-0 game against No. 2 seed Bell, which will face No. 1-ranked Trenton in the championship.

    The end of Chiefland’s season also means farewell to one of the program’s all-time best sluggers, Macie Thomas, who holds multiple single-season hitting records, including most doubles in a season, and who is the last remaining starting pieces of Chiefland’s 2017 state finals team, which marked the end of a four-year run that included three state championships. It was a Thomas double that lifted CMHS to the state title game that season.

  • Chamber Banquet issues trio of major honors to community leaders

    Three major honors were the subject of the Greater Chiefland Area Chamber of Commerce Awards Banquet on May 2, making this year’s edition a big draw. Hosted at Haven in Chiefland with a slew of door prizes and an auction hosted by Daniel Jerrels, the banquet combined the Citizen of the Year and the Business of the Year awards and for the first time added the First Responder of the Year award.

    The funds raised from the auction go to a children’s backpack food program and a scholarship fund supported by the Chamber.

    The Chamber also presented the family of Betty Walker a special plaque for the late Chiefland Mayor’s “many years of dedication, caring and generosity to the community of Chiefland, Chiefland.” Walker passed in February after serving seven terms as mayor and more than 15 years on the City Commission.

    The Citizen of the Year award went to a tireless advocate for working service dogs, Barbara Snow, who is the executive director for the Southern Region of the U.S. War Dogs Association, Inc.