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Today's News

  • Extra effort

    Two evenly-matched teams battled for nine innings in Fort Meade in the baseball regional semifinals March 9.

    Chiefland lost a lead it maintained throughout the game in the bottom of the seventh on a squeeze bunt, but survived by the skin of its teeth to take things to extra innings.

    In the end, it was the Miners who flinched first, as the Indians took advantage of a couple of costly errors in the ninth to prevail 5-3.

    CMHS (12-11), which traveled three hours to play Fort Meade (15-14), advanced to the regional final to face Trenton on May 15.

    Juniors Kelby Osteen and Wyatt Hammond boarded on walks to put two on with one out for Chiefland in the top of the ninth with the scored knotted at 2-2. After senior Josh Webber moved the pair over to second and third on a ground ball, sophomore newcomer Luke Reidy bounced a grounder up the middle, which was mishandled in front of second base, allowing Osteen’s run to score for a 3-2 lead.

  • 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.

  • Raising the bar

    Courtney Hayes proved the stage wasn’t too big in her first trip to the track and field state championships.

    The Chiefland junior overcame some nervousness and set a new personal record – 1.62 meters – in the girls’ high jump at the state meet in Jacksonville May 4 to collect a third-place medal in Class 1A.

    Hayes placed higher at state than any Chiefland Indian since 2005, when Lequenda Ward won the state title in the girls’ 400 meter and took third in the 100 and 200. The Chiefland boys’ 4x100 relay team of Jamaal Riley, Cornelius Dexter, Jonas Randolph and Alonzo Guyton also collected a state championship in 2005.

    Cody Coley, who finished eighth in the shot put finals in 2016, was the most recent state medalist from Chiefland, and, along with Hayes, was the only one since Ward double-medaled in 2006.

    Hayes was the lone district champion from CMHS this season.

  • Bronson celebrates blueberries

    The Town of Bronson is celebrating the Fourth Annual Blueberry Festival Saturday, May 19, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at James H. Cobb Park. The Festival hosts local growers with fresh berries for sale as well as vendors selling a wide assortment of crafts, goods and various foods, blueberry-related and otherwise. There will be music and a children’s play area. The morning of the festival will include the 5k Blueberry Stomp, with registration starting at 7 a.m. and the race starting at 7:30am. The 3.2-mile course will wind through town to finish in the James H. Cobb Park. The Blueberry Pageant will be May 12 at 9 a.m. at Bronson Elementary School. The Blueberry Parade is May 18 at 6:30 p.m. Call (352) 486-2354 for more details.

  • A day of remembrance

    Sergeant Noel Ramirez’s infectiously positive attitude and smile could brighten anyone’s day.

    Deputy Taylor Lindsey always seemed to know the right thing to say to lift up a fellow officer or friend.

    According to many of those who knew them best, both officers were exemplary in their service, representing the best their profession had to offer.

    On May 3, at the Gilchrist County Sheriff’s Office, fellow officers and friends joined Ramirez’s widow and mother of his two children, Gigi, to provide a testament to the lives touched by the two fallen Gilchrist officers who were killed while having lunch together in Trenton on April 19.

    “I think it’s changed everybody’s life from here on out,” said Kyle Schultz, a K-9 unit officer for the Chiefland Police Department and close friend of Lindsey’s. “It’s hard to say it, but when you take two people out of this world that were so special and meant so much to you, you feel like a piece of you is gone.

  • Y-I club awards scholarships

    The Yankeetown-Inglis Woman’s Club held its Scholarship Luncheon and installation of new officers meeting Wednesday, May 2.

    President Helen Ciallella shared the history of the scholarship luncheon. Graduates from the Citadel, UF, FSU, College of Central Florida, including a Ph.D. from Ohio State have all received Woman’s Club Scholarships.

    In 1970, scholarships were $75 - $200 and the ladies played Bridge games to generate the scholarship fund, handing out three scholarships each year from Bridge. In 1989 Bingo took over scholarships. Playing Bingo every Thursday night, and now having the option of purchasing dinner prepared by Lucy Duncan, the revenues have increased. To date, the Woman’s Club has raised over $100,000 for scholarships.

    “Thank you Bingo players and thank you community for supporting this. We are real excited about it, I love being able to say over $100,000 because it makes me smile.” Ciallella said.

  • Wild waters

    The extremely low water level in the Waccasassa River made last year’s Wild Hog Canoe Race, its 40th anniversary, a tough slog for canoers and kayakers.

    The water was up for this year’s event, held April 28, making for a smoother ride.

    But it’s never easy, as the 107 boaters who participated this year can attest.

    One of the early finishers was lamenting the spider web he passed through as he swatted away one of those spiders from his head after arriving on the banks.

    The charity ride, which starts at the Wacassassa Bridge along Highway 24 and leads to the event site just north of Gulf Hammock along U.S. 19, is 15 miles and generally takes at least two hours for the full distance. Riders can go solo or as duos, and there a divisions that categorize participants by their ability, experience, age and boat type.

    The boaters face a handful of obstacles along the way, including a couple of logs toward the finish that require competitors to submerge their bodies in the water and lift their boat over the wood.

  • Chiefland Rotarians hear issues facing prep football

    Steven Crews introduced the guest speaker and brother, Shelton Crews, at the April 18 Chiefland Rotary meeting who spoke on safety, coach education and parenting in high school athletics.

    Shelton is the executive director of the Florida Athletic Coaches Association, a group of coaches who provide fellowship and “professional development for coaches.” Through four clinics a year and 10 all-star games in football, volleyball, cross country, boys and girls soccer, boys and girls basketball, girl’s flag football, softball and baseball.

    Crews left his native Chiefland for Tallahassee in 1981. That is where he met his wife and started a family. With his office, family and now twin granddaughters in Tallahassee, Crews says he’s “deeply rooted there and will probably stay.”

    Crews spent 25 years teaching and 29 years coaching, mainly football, before becoming executive director of the association eight years ago.

  • CRC approves 8 ballot proposals

    By Lori Prevatt, Citizen Correspondent

    The Constitution Revision Committee approved eight of 12 proposals recently that are wide ranging in scope when they appear on the November ballot.

    According to Chris Doolin of the Small County Coalition of Florida, many items were grouped together in order to pass certain pieces that would not pass on their own merit.

    Levy County Schools Superintendent Jeff Edison, shared a series of email correspondence from Doolin regarding the committee. Twelve proposals were on the CRC agenda, according to Doolin, but the number was reduced to eight.

    Proposals on the November ballot are listed:

    Proposal 6001 involves restoring rights to victims of crime and increases the age limit that judges may serve.

    Proposal 6002 aims to add an additional fee to college tuition and establishes death benefits for families of military and first responders.

    Proposal 6003 changes the way charter schools are designated; and proposes an eight-year term limit for school board members. It also requires civic literacy to be added to public education curriculum.