Today's News

  • World champion kayaker talks course feasibility for Levy County

    Suzette Cook


    Eight hours into his visit to Florida and the Inglis Bypass Spillway, Whitewater Park Designer and Olympic Kayaker Scott Shipley said, “I think it’s a homerun here.”

    State, County and City officials and other invested representatives of environmental and economic organizations met with Shipley on Nov. 20 at the potential site of the first year-round whitewater kayaking venue in the U.S.

    Shipley, a mechanical engineer who is president of S2O Design, has been hired by the City of Inglis to complete a feasibility study which Shipley said he will deliver to Inglis Mayor Drinda Merritt in about six weeks. The design firm has completed projects across the globe from Durango, Colorado to London, England.

    Shipley is veteran of three Olympic games in 1992, 1996, and 2000. He earned four world titles during his 25-year-long career in the sport. Now he uses his experience and degrees Mechanical Engineering to create recreational and competition courses.

  • Local veteran parting way with his patriotic ‘Vette

    By Suzette Cook/Reporter

    Now that his family is growing, local Barnhill Landscapes Owner Bobby Barnhill says he’s is ready to part with his one-of-a-kind-treasured 1977 Corvette.

    “I bought it on Veteran’s Day six years ago, and painted it red, white and blue,” Barnhill said about the once white Corvette that is now decked out in stars and stripes.

    The hood front of the car has red stripes veering off in V formation and the center of the hood becomes the star spangled section with more white stars in blue wrapping around the rear tires.

    Barnhill, a 2001 graduate of Chiefland High School, says he’s not a professional painter by any means, but this car inspired his patriotic side. He was ranked as a sergeant when he got out of the United States Army National Guard and spent 17 months in active duty stateside during Operation Enduring Freedom. Barnhill worked in small engine repair.

  • Interagency agreement played crucial role in CPD raid

    By Suzette Cook/Reporter

    Chiefland City Commissioners joked during the Nov. 12 meeting that Chiefland Police Chief Scott Anderson timed the raid of eight local internet cafés to happen as the date of his annual review approaches. But Chief Anderson was quick to explain that the Nov. 3 bust was carried out as soon as his fiscal year reset and funding was available.

    “It had to do with manpower and search warrants,” Anderson said. “It was based on the issuance of search warrants from the State Attorney’s Office and the allocation of manpower from several law enforcement agencies.”

    At the State Attorney’s request, Anderson gathered evidence two weeks prior to the raid of the internet cafes The Fish Treasures, Blumas, Tropical Treasures, Chiefland Arcade, Hady Days Arcade, Cyber Center, Patriot Social Club, and Blue Lagoon.

    “We had officers go into all of the casinos and gamble,” Anderson said. “And they were paying out cash money which they can’t do, it’s against the law. We did all that on video for court documentation.”

  • Annual pie auction serves up $4,600

    By Suzette Cook/Reporter

    When Chiefland High Senior Ashtyn Brown lifted the cover of pie auction entry number 20 and revealed a triple-layered lemon chiffon cake dripping with frosting and lemon filling, a showstopper was born.

    Student Government Association members stared at the cake and auctioneer Chad “Cracker” Johnson asked the crowd, “What’s a chiffon?”

    Two minutes later, the cake crafted by Sherry Smith McElroy garnered $285 and was in the hands of Jack Spann of Spann’s Heating and Air.

    The tradition of the 27th Annual Pie auction played out in the CMHS cafeteria and, in about an hour, generated $4,600 in proceeds that directly benefit the SGA.

  • Anglers offer advice ahead of saltwater license-free fishing day

    By Suzette Cook/Reporter

    Florida residents and visitors can try their skills and luck at catching saltwater fish without being required to have a recreational saltwater fishing license on Nov. 24.

    The rest of the year, a recreational saltwater fishing license is required for Florida residents and nonresidents who fish for saltwater fish, crabs, clams, marine plants or other saltwater organisms except for non-living seashells and lionfish with certain gear. 

    According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), free fishing days “provide an excellent opportunity for parents who don't yet have licenses to take youth fishing, or avid anglers to introduce a friend to fishing without having to purchase a license.”

    There are four freshwater and four saltwater license-free fishing days scheduled throughout the year.

  • Branching out

    By Suzette Cook/Reporter

    It didn’t take long for Treehouse Designer B’Fer Roth to sketch a decked-out treehouse that would perfectly settle into four towering water oaks on a property just off a sandy dirt road in Old Town.

    The pencil drawing became a blueprint for episode 208 of ‘The Treehouse Guys,’ which was filmed in 2016 on a 5-acre parcel owned by Jamie and Sara LaCourse.

    The LaCourses purchased the vacation property that is 90 miles north of their home in Oxford as an escape for their family, which includes their three sons. But the LaCourse family leads a busy life and can’t get to the retreat every week.

    “If we’re not here to enjoy it, we want other people to enjoy it, it’s just so cool,” Sara said. “Why can’t we share our oasis with others?”

    The LaCourses decided to claim the getaway one weekend a month and rent out both the treehouse and the traditional cabin to others during the rest of the month.

  • Seafood fest weekend lures record crowd

    Suzette Cook, Reporter

    Just as Richard Rooney of Gainesville was toting an artisan designed flamingo lamp to his car, floats, students, Cedar Key locals, and hopeful politicians began making their way around the corner and over the bridge.

    Hundreds of 49th Annual Cedar Key Seafood Festivalgoers were lined up on sidewalks and waving at the stars of the traditional parade held on Oct. 20. Kids were scurrying around grabbing tossed candy off the streets, while the rest of the crowd was sharing in a chuckle here and there as pirates, cruising clams, colorful “Spiced Girls” sea goddesses, the S.S. Minnow, the Crab Crew, and Cedar Key School’s shark mascot surrounded by cheerleaders passed by.

    Veterans of Foreign War members led the parade proudly presenting the American flag. The CKS Safety Patrol was perched on a float surrounded by purple and yellow balloons, cheering about selling ice cold water to “Help us get to Washington.”

  • Safe school procedures, religious expression among School Board policy review items

    Suzette Cook, Reporter

    The Levy County School Board will spend the next two months addressing the language of five school policy areas, including safe schools, religious expression, and school entry.

    Levy County School District Assistant Superintendent John Lott presented the first drafts of the policies at the Oct. 22 Board meeting.

    “These things come to us in a package,” Lott said. “We study them, get public input and ask for a final vote in December.

    “When we bring policies in front of the Board, most of the time it’s because of changes in the (State) statute.”

    Policy 3.06, known as the Safe and Secure Schools policy, addresses the district’s obligation to “provide a safe, secure and orderly learning environment in all schools and at all sponsored activities.”

  • Trick-or-treat is Saturday

    The Chiefland Police Department’s Halloween Haunted House returns this scary season for the two weekends before Halloween.

    The House opens Oct. 19, Oct. 20, Oct. 26 and Oct. 27, at the old CFEC Warehouse behind Hardee’s on 11th Ave., starting at 6:30 p.m. each night. Admission is $8 for adults and $5 for children 12 and under. Visit ChieflandPD.com or the CPD Facebook page for more information.

    On Oct. 27, at the same site as the haunted house, there will be the Chiefland Trunk-or-Treat. There will be a Halloween Costume Contest (for age groups: 0 to 3; 4 to 8; and 9 to 12), a pumpkin carving contest and a photo area. The event is at 6:30 p.m.

    The City of Chiefland’s official trick-or-treating day is Saturday, Oct. 27.

    On Thursday, Oct. 25, Chiefland Elementary School is holding its rescheduled Fall Festival from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.

  • Chiefland votes to expand alcohol sales

    Suzette Cook, Reporter

    The Chiefland City Commission gave City Attorney Norm Fugate the go ahead to prepare an amended alcohol sales ordinance that will include sales on Sundays.

    After some discussion during the Oct. 22 meeting, the commission voted 3-2 to modify the days and hours of alcohol sales to Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to Midnight, Saturdays 7 a.m. to 2 a.m. and Sundays from 1 p.m. to Midnight.

    The new proposed hours not only add sales to Sunday, but also would extend sales on Saturday from Midnight to 2 a.m. as was suggested by Commissioner Chris Jones who also suggested that Sunday sales start at 1 p.m. instead of noon, “Out of respect for those who are in church on Sunday.” The new draft will retain no sales on Christmas, and sales until 1 a.m. on New Year’s.