Today's News

  • 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.

  • 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.”

  • 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.”

  • Bridges to close ahead of Hurricane Michael

    Levy County Sheriff Bobby McCallum announced that in preparation for the significant tidal surge anticipated for our coastal areas in Levy County, SR 24 at the Number 4 Bridge will be closed to traffic going onto the island of Cedar Key at 5 PM Tuesday, October 9, 2018. Only residents and business owners with proper re-entry credentials after the closure is posted will be allowed onto the island to make any final preparations.

    SR 40 west at the Yankeetown General Store will be closed to all traffic at 5 PM tomorrow.

    The following public boat ramps will be closed at 12 PM tomorrow October 9, 2018. Boat ramp closures will be in effect until the storm passes and can be safely reopened for boating traffic.

    · SR 40 - Yankeetown
    · Shell Mound
    · Number 4 Bridge - Cedar Key
    · Both ramps in the City of Cedar Key.

    The inside and outside ramp in the City of Cedar Key will remain open only for commercial fishermen use after 12 PM tomorrow.

  • Evacuation ordered for coastal residents in Levy County

    An evacuation has been ordered for Levy County residents and visitors in the coastal areas of Levy County. This includes, but is not limited to Cedar Key, Yankeetown, Fowlers Bluff, Fanning Springs, and any other area that is prone to storm surge. Please start your preparations for evacuations as soon as you can and be completed by 8pm on Tuesday. Residents and visitors of Cedar Key need to be off the island before the storm surge arrives.

    The bridges throughout the island cannot withstand the storm surge and will become impassable. Once the storm surge comes in, help may not be able to reach you.

    The Special Needs shelter will be open Oct. 9 at 2 pm at the Bronson Elementary School located at 400 Ishie Ave, Bronson, FL 32621

    A shelter of last resort will be available Tuesday October 9th at 2pm at the Bronson Elementary School located at 400 Ishie Ave, Bronson, FL 32621

    Residents and visitors seeking shelter at the general population shelters will need to bring pillows, blankets, and bedding. Cots will not be available.

  • Monday afternoon update on Hurricane Michael

    Levy County residents and visitors along the coast are urged to finish their preparations for Hurricane Michael. Hurricane Michael is expected to make landfall as a possible Category 3 Hurricane in the panhandle of Florida. Even though the storm is not expected to hit us directly, dangerous storm surge flooding along the Coast of Levy County is expected. Residents and visitors must make preparations now in order to make sure they are safe.

    Public Information: Public Information lines are open at 352-486-5155 for people to call if they have any questions or concerns. Residents and visitors are strongly urged to pay attention to their local media sources and follow us on our social media at www.facebook.com/lcdem and visit our website at www.levydisaster.com

  • Tropical Storm Michael update

    Levy County Emergency Management is continuing to monitor the path of Tropical Storm Michael. Currently Michael is expected to make landfall in the Florida Panhandle as a Category 1 or 2 Hurricane. We are continuing to work with the National Weather Service and National Hurricane Center to determine the effects on Levy County. We are expected to experience some impacts on Levy County, with the main concern being the storm surge potential along the coast. We will have a better picture of things after our afternoon briefing with the National Weather Service and National Hurricane Center.

    Public Information: Public Information lines are open at 352-486-5155 for people to call if they have any questions or concerns. Residents and visitors are strongly urged to pay attention to their local media sources and follow us on our social media and visit our website at www.levydisaster.com

  • South Levy rec area proposal needs County buy-in to progress

    Suzette Cook, staff writer

    Members of the Withlacoochee Area Economic Compact are looking for buy-in from Levy County and for the completion of a comprehensive engineering study in order to move forward with the development of the first year-round whitewater kayaking venue in the U.S.

    In a Sept. 26 meeting held in Inglis, representatives of the compact, Florida Springs Council, Cross Florida Greenway, historians, Florida Fish and Wildlife Service and interested residents discussed the progression of building the South Levy Recreational Area.

    The approximate 65-acre project would be established south of Highway 40, where the canal for the now defunct Cross Florida Barge connects with the lower Withlacoochee River and along with the whitewater kayaking component would possibly include zip-lines, disc golf, open paddling, training for competitions, additional trails, a dog park and swimming areas.

    “The engineering study starts in November,” Inglis Mayor Drinda Merritt said. “As soon as we have the study done, we can talk to the State,” she added.

  • Fee increases for Waste, Fire Protection

    With the setting of annual assessment rates on the docket, the Board of County Commissioners held a four-hour public hearing Sept. 6 with approximately 30 Levy citizens in attendance.

    After receiving feedback from numerous attendees, the Board passed a new rate for Solid Waste that shifts the burden of costs from user tipping fees to a $116 assessment fee. Fire Protection Services and EMS assessments also saw an increase in their respective rates.

    Fire Protection was first on the agenda.

    “The fire rate was raised to $90 in 2012 and has not been raised since,” BOCC chairman John Meeks said. “Keep in mind, all dual-certified firefighters receive a portion of their pay from this.”
    Heather Senoza, an associate of Jeff Rackley, who conducts revenue studies based on proposed fees, presented the fees proposed by the Board in July: $129 for residents; $0.36 for commercial; $0.15 for industrial and $12 for agricultural lands.
    Jared Blanton, the County Finance Director, responded to a request for an explanation of how the current $90 fee would not fund fire services.

  • Tim West draws winning straw in City election tiebreaker

    Every vote counts.

    It’s the old cliche that comes up whenever you hear someone urging citizens to do their civic duty at the polls.

    But sometimes, every vote – and every subsequent coin flip or drawing of straws – really does count.

    In the Chiefland City Commission Group 4 election August 7 between incumbent Teresa Barron and challenger Tim West, the race was decided by something even slimmer than a single ballot – a straw.

    The night ended with West drawing the long (winning) straw from County Judge Tim Browning, who was serving as the Canvassing Board Chairman, after the pair managed to yield the exact same number of votes at 90 apiece.

    A manual recount of all votes August 9, part of an already-schduled provisional review and voting system audit, confirmed the machine tally.

    In a surreal scene at City Hall, Barron and West and their respective supporters were informed around 7:30 p.m. that the election was dead even and a machine recount was required by law. The recount didn’t find an discrepancies, however, and there were no over or under votes to manually recount.