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Today's News

  • 18th Annual Levy Black History Program celebrates 11 outstanding individuals

    The 18th Annual Black History Program was held Feb. 15 in the Levy County Courthouse. This year’s two-hour program was titled “Faith, Family and Friends” and highlighted 11 individuals, living and deceased, who made contributions in the Levy County communities.

    County Commissioner Matt Brooks welcomed everyone to the event and warmly introduced author and artist, Carolyn Cohens. It is due to Cohens’ hard work and dedication that the celebration continues to take place each year.

    This year’s event saw each bench seat in the courtroom filled, as three educators, two church leaders, a law enforcement administrator, a military administrative specialist, a singer and performer, a tax preparer and child care provider, a mother and cook, and a sharecropper who later became the first black bus driver for Levy County were honored and recognized for their achievements and contributions.

  • Chiefland attorney in Levy County jail on civil matter

    By Suzette Cook, Reporter

    As of March 5, Chiefland-based Attorney Gregory Vance Beauchamp, 70, remains in Levy County Jail on a civil matter without bring charged with a crime.

  • FFA quilt brings $4,000 at auction, heads to Washington, D.C.

    By Suzette Cook/Reporter

    Six former members of the Bronson chapter of Future Farmers of America and a handful of School Board members, local business owners and county staff members pooled their funds to win the high bid of $4,000 for a quilt made up of 12 FFA jackets.

    The quilt, crafted by Cathy Weeks of Archer, stole the show at the annual Bronson FFA Alumni Food Fest held on Feb. 22.

    The winners of the quilt include six FFA alumni: County Commissioner John Meeks; School Board Member Chris Cowart; James Trimm; School Board Member Cameron Asbell; JR Trimm of Trimm Auction Services; Wesley Asbell; as well as School Board Member Paige Brookins; Levy County Supervisor of Elections Tammy Jones; Levy County School Superintendent Jeff Edison; Ethan Bray; Attorney at Law Norm Fugate; County Commissioner Rock Meeks and Congressman Neal Dunn, U.S. House of Representatives FL District 2.

  • Police chief requests permit update to deter internet cafes

    Suzette Cook, Reporter

    Chiefland Police Chief Scott Anderson recently requested the City update the language of business permit applications to avoid possible entrapment problems in the future.

    “Internet casinos are still haunting us to this day.” Anderson said to the City Commission. “They are still trying to pull permits under false pretenses.”

    On Nov. 3 in 2018, eight internet cafes were simultaneously raided and shut down in Chiefland after they were caught awarding cash payouts which is illegal in the State of Florida.

    Anderson and City Manager Mary Ellzey presented a request to the Commission at the Feb. 11 meeting to add language to the permit application that states any kind of internet gambling is illegal. If an applicant signs off on that, they are acknowledging that paying cash awards is illegal.

    “We had one of the same entities that tried to open an internet café, they said it wasn’t,” Ellzey said. “Their lease said it is an internet café. It was invalid, not notarized, handwritten parts scratched out.

  • County narrows list of potential satellite waste collection sites

    Suzette Cook, Reporter

    The County Commission has asked for more details on five potential satellite waste collection sites before they move forward with a vote.

    Levy County Solid Waste Department Director Rod Hastings presented nine possible locations throughout Levy County to the Commission on Feb. 19. Some of those locations are County-owned properties and others could be purchased or leased.

    Those sites included: CR 347, an abandoned fire station in Gulf Hammock, Camp Azalea, Highway Patrol station off Highway 19, Behind the Moose Lodge, Morriston, Lebanon Station asphalt plant and one in South Morriston at 60th and Highway 41.

    The Commission asked for more details about leases and site conditions of the locations at CR 347, Camp Azalea, Gulf Hammock, Lebanon Station and the South Morriston location.

    Hastings presented details about the current status and his opinion of the positives of each venue.

  • First African-American woman elected to Chiefland City Commission, Mayor Betty Walker, passes away

    Note on sevices for Ms. Betty Walker: A wake will be held at Mt. Pleasant Baptist Church from 5 to 7 p.m. on March 8. It’s located at 310 SW 5th Street Chiefland. Funeral Service will be at the Chiefland Middle High School auditorium (808 N Main St.) on March 9 at 11 a.m.; repass at Haven Hospice after the ceremony.

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    A longtime advocate for Chiefland with a smile to light up any room, Mayor Betty Walker, or “Miss Betty,” as she was best known by those who knew her, passed away on Feb. 25 after recent health complications.

    Walker was the first African-American woman to be elected to the Chiefland City Commission. She was 72 years old.

    It’s the second time in less than four years that the sitting mayor of Chiefland has died in office. Teal Pomeroy died in a diving accident while serving as mayor in August 2016.

    Walker was serving as vice mayor at the time of Pomeroy’s death and was subsequently elected mayor in 2016, 2017 and 2018 by the Commission.

  • First African-American woman elected to Chiefland City Commission, Mayor Betty Walker, passes away

    A longtime advocate for Chiefland with a smile to light up any room, Mayor Betty Walker, or “Miss Betty,” as she was best known by those who knew her, passed away on Feb. 25 after recent health complications.

    Walker was the first African-American woman to be elected to the Chiefland City Commission. She was 72 years old.

    It’s the second time in less than four years that the sitting mayor of Chiefland has died in office. Teal Pomeroy died in a diving accident while serving as mayor in August 2016.

    Walker was serving as vice mayor at the time of Pomeroy’s death and was subsequently elected mayor in 2016, 2017 and 2018 by the Commission.

    Politics is normally fraught with contention and controversy, but Walker remained a popular figure through more than 15 years serving as a Commissioner, even among her peers. She was first elected in 1997 and served through 2007. Her second stint on the Commission was from 2013 until her passing. She was elected mayor for seven terms and vice mayor for five terms. Those respective positions are elected each year by the Commission.

  • Chiefland renews fire chief’s contract

    Suzette Cook, Reporter

    Chiefland Fire Chief James Harris signed his annual contract after receiving kudos from the City Commission on Feb. 11.

    “I’ve only known James for little bit,” said Commissioner Tim West. “I look forward to working with you in the future. You have good character and work ethic. Great person.”

    Commissioner Donald Lawrence added, “Man of his word who speaks it like it is.” Lawrence commended Harris and his team of grant writers for the thousands of dollars in equipment and training that the department has received through grant applications. “I guarantee there’s not many communities this small that have that type of equipment,” he said. “You amaze me how you get money from nowhere.”

    “It’s not just me,” Harris said about how the fire department gets awarded grant monies. “It’s a team of people and it starts right over hear with Ms. Belinda (Wilkerson) who is doing the grant writing. I’ve got firefighters who are looking for grants and searching for what’s going on.”

  • Superintendent rolls out grassroots strategic planning goals

    Suzette Cook, Reporter

    Levy County Superintendent Jeffery Edison stood at the podium at the Feb. 12 School Board meeting and pointed to the district mission displayed on the wall behind him. “Our mission is to educate all students in a safe environment and to graduate them ready for college and career success,” the statement reads.

    Every year, the School Board approves a strategic plan. This year, Edison is changing how the Board achieves that goal.

    From the podium, Edison brought the attention of the Board members, staff, community members, teachers and students at the meeting to an 8-foot board with five topics listed. He assigned a Board Member to each topic.

    Student achievement: Ashley Clemenzi, human resources: Cameron Asbell, fiscal resources: Brad Etheridge, public relations: Chris Cowart, and safe schools Paige Brookins. He also assigned district staff and school administrators to those topics.

    “Every school district is required to have a strategic plan,” Edison said. “A lot of times, we redo something we’ve adopted, something we were working on.”

  • Government shutdowns leave impact on Levy County

    Suzette Cook, Reporter

    With a possible government shutdown on the horizon, Levy County farmers and federal programs could be affected again by lack of funding.

    President Trump set Feb. 15 as the date of a second shutdown which is three weeks after he opened the government up after record closure of 35 days.

    For rural Levy County and its thousands of acres dedicated to agriculture, a national wildlife refuge, and an aquatic farming industry on the Gulf Coast, the impact of another shutdown could mean further disruptions in federally funded projects, research and of ongoing farming practices.

    Michael Allen, director of the UF/IFAS Nature Coast Biological Station based in Cedar Key, said the last shutdown did take a toll on the Gulf region.

    “From the University’s perspective, the biggest impact is to our federal cooperators like the Lower Suwannee National Wildlife Refuge which was shut down for a month,” Allen said. “We work with those folks on a daily basis on everything from monitoring wildlife populations to hosting internships to habitat restoration work, fire control burns.