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Today's News

  • CMHS graduates reflect back, see world of possibility ahead

    Photos: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.1724257087627521.1073741928.18...

    In adversity, we find the opportunities that make us who we are. Every moment is pregnant with potential and the possibility for a better future, no matter the odds.

    Those were the through lines from a pair of addresses delivered by Class of 2018 valedictorian Savannah Hudson and salutatorian Anya Tapia at the Chiefland Middle High School graduation commencement June 1.

    Hudson and Tapia’s speeches – as well as those by Senior Class President Chelsea Parker and student government vice president Haitrieu Nguyen – didn’t shy away from life’s darker corners, whether it be the disappointments, the hardships, the failures or the bad breaks.

    Hudson admitted she was paralyzed with anxiety in the run-up to the ceremony, fearing should would come up short in the moment.

  • Top academic duo find passions outside classroom

    CMHS graduation photos: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.1724257087627521.1073741928.18...

    The Chiefland Middle High School Class of 2018 valedictorian and salutatorian are standouts in the classroom, naturally, as they possess the top two grade point averages among their classmates.

    But the things that really animate Savannah Hudson, the valedictorian, and her counterpart, Anya Tapia, are a long way from stoic academic pursuits.

    Hudson, who has collected at least six championships through FFA at the Suwannee River Fair, including a trio of grand championships, has been riding horses for at least nine years. She placed seventh at state in horse judging.

    “(Horses) are main thing that I do,” she said after collecting yet more academic honors on high school awards night May 23, including Summa Cum Laude (4.0 GPA or above) honors and A honor roll.

  • Royal treat

    The Annual Chiefland Watermelon Festival functions as an unofficial kickoff to summer for the City of Chiefland.

    In it’s 64th edition, on June 2, the atmosphere and weather certainly added to the summer vibes.

    The Watermelon staples were all in place: a head-spinning number of vendors, a seed-spitting contest, a parade, music, a watermelon auction, and, finally, the crowning of the 2018 Chiefland Watermelon Queen.

    That title went to Avianna Liuzzo, who succeeds 2017 Queen Catherine Bowman.

    The Queen contestants, which included Laken Carter, Sheila Engel and Devan Hodge, were joined by National Watermelon Queen Savannah Christensen, Florida Watermelon Queen Camri Campbell, and Alabama Watermelon Queen Sarah Jane Levine.

    Young Hayden Henderson was the big seller in the watermelon auction. Henderson won for biggest group of three melons, at 132 pounds, and tied with Bailey Parrish for biggest single melon – 51 pounds. Jack Prentice, Jr. and Terrence Reed received plaques for winning the purchase auction on Henderson’s batch.

    Jamey King provided the musical entertainment.

  • 'Soar like Eagles'

    Photos: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.1715334491853114.1073741927.18...

    The Bronson Middle High School graduation, held May 25 at the UF Curtis Phillips Center in Gainesville, was anchored by a couple of inspiring student speeches about perseverance and following big dreams.

    Valedictorian Taeya Mayes described life as a constant negotiation between the vision of a better future and the pursuit towards its realization. After deftly pivoting off a lyric from rapper Kevin Gates – “It’s the action, it’s the grind, it’s the hustle, and it’s the persistence that will allow us to reach our dreams.” – to a line from Proverbs – “When there is no vision, the people perish.” – Mayes challenged her classmates and the audience to “actually take the steps that are needed to make your vision a reality.”

    Mayes reminded her classmates of the obstacles they’ve already overcome, and thanked the parents, teachers and school staff who’ve made so much possible for her and her classmates.

  • Middle-schoolers garner top academic prizes

    Chiefland Middle Schoolers were honored for their outstanding academic achievements May 21 in the CMHS Auditorium.

    The top academic achievers in GPA per grade were eighth-grader Coburn Hardee; seventh-grader Adysen Baker and sixth-grader Oren Wilson; Wilson also picked up top reader honors in the Accelerated Reader Awards.

  • Inglis man accused of bank robbery

    By Buster Thompson, Chronicle Reporter

    An Inglis man with a history behind U.S. prison bars for robbing a bank is now facing a similar charge connected to a bank robbery in Marion County.

    On Wednesday, May 16, with a Marion County Sheriff’s Office arrest warrant in hand, authorities charged 52-year-old Jason Earl Hill with the May 11 unarmed robbery of the Harbor Community Bank in Ocala, according to a MCSO news release.

    Hill is accused of walking into the bank at 8290 S.W. College Road and passing a note to a clerk demanding money and also implying he had a weapon, although Hill didn’t brandish one, MCSO’s release says.

    It’s alleged that Hill left with an undisclosed amount of cash and drove away in a green Saturn Vue, which MCSO detectives were able to trace back to Hill, who also resembled the robber seen in bank surveillance footage.

    A bank teller also identified Hill as the robber for police.

  • Communities band together to help a toddler with a rare form of cancer

    By Lori Prevatt, Citizen Correspondent

    Chiefland and Trenton community members have showered a family with love and support by coming together to plan events to help raise funds for their sick daughter.

    Several events have passed and more are planned to help toddler Lauren Rood and her family. Lauren is a 3 year old who had surgery to remove a tumor in April. Lauren, of Trenton, was found to have stage two Clear Cell Sarcoma Cancer in her kidneys at the beginning of May. Her parents, Ashley Rood and Tim Crews, also have a 6-year-old son.

    Lauren is currently receiving chemotherapy and her family frequently travels back and forth from the hospital for treatment. This prompted many people from the tri-county area to help Lauren and her family.

    Marie Poppe, owner of Marie’s Sweets in Chiefland, is one of those people who graciously donated her time to help. She is incredibly close to Lauren and her mother. Poppe held a cake auction at the beginning of May and raised $2,185 to help the family with expenses. Poppe also took a portion of her Mother’s Day Money earned from cakes and donated it to them.

  • Pit bulls attack neighbour in south Chiefland

    A scary situation could’ve ended a lot worse than it did.

    Richard Corbin received a call from his son, Jay, who just left his side to visit neighbors on May 11.

    When Corbin looked up, Jay, a 23-year-old with special needs, was being attacked by three pit bulls approximately 200 feet away.

    Corbin rushed to the scene and scared the dogs away. Jay was able to fend off the dogs just enough to avoid going to the ground and undergoing more serious injuries, and somehow make the phone call, but his clothes didn’t survive the attack. He used his belt to repel the animals, Corbin said.

    Jay received stitches at Shands Hospital in Gainesville and was later released.

    “They were having a little campfire so he was going over to visit, and one of the neighbor’s three pit bulls was out – two came out of the pasture and one came out of the neighbor’s gate and attacked him,” Corbin said. “They shredded him up pretty good, man. They literally almost tore his clothes off him.”

  • Bright futures

    The Chiefland Middle High School Class of 2018 Florida Academic Scholars, which are students who are eligible to receive 100 percent tuition funding at a public university through the Bright Futures Scholarship Award Program, are, from left: Savannah Hudson; Anya Tapia; Nathalie Solatorio; Sarah Lourcey; Tori Hutson; Morgan Fisher; Enya Tapia; and Sydney Allen. See 4A and 5A for more.

  • Schools Foundation honors ‘best of the best’

    By Carolyn Ten Broeck, editor@willistonpioneer.com

    The Levy County Schools Foundation, along with the School Board of Levy County, honored the “Best of the best” Monday night with a reception and ceremony at Williston Elementary School.

    The Foundation will award 55 scholarships in 2018 totaling $45,000, according to its President Justin Hardy. He also told honorees and their guests that more than $55,000 came back to the schools themselves via education grants for teachers.

    “Every person who comes in contact with a student,” School Board member Cameron Asbell said, “whether it’s a janitor, a teacher or a volunteer, is shaping the future not just of a town, but of the world.”

    School Superintendent Jeff Edison said the evening was to celebrate the folks who change students’ lives and Paige Brookins, also a School Board member, added that volunteerism is the cornerstone of our country and schools are made better by those who donate their time.