https://www.chieflandcitizen.com/todaysnews/rss.xml en The Ultimate Survival Challenge https://www.chieflandcitizen.com/content/ultimate-survival-challenge <img src="https://www.chieflandcitizen.com/sites/www.chieflandcitizen.com/files/imagecache/thumb85/survival_challenge.jpg" alt="Chiefland Middle High School senior Jimmy Boyle is planning a Survivor-styled challenge for willing participants on a Cedar Key island in 2020." title="Chiefland Middle High School senior Jimmy Boyle is planning a Survivor-styled challenge for willing participants on a Cedar Key island in 2020." align="left" hspace="6" /><p> Suzette Cook, Reporter</p> <p> Jimmy Boyle is standing on a deserted island off Cedar Key. He is dressed in camouflage. The beat of tribal drums echoes as the aerial footage captured by a drone scopes out the uninhabited landscape. The music fades as the camera zooms in on Boyle. He offers this challenge to the viewer: &ldquo;Whoever outlasts each other through the effects of hunger, dehydration and mental insanity will gain the pot prize.&rdquo;</p> <p> Boyle, 17, is a senior at Chiefland Middle High School and a big fan of the CBS show &ldquo;Survivor.&rdquo; He said he would like to compete on the show but has to turn 18 first. The accomplished pole vaulter is getting a jumpstart on his plan by creating a competition that involves a $50 entry fee and allows 25 people to join him on an undisclosed island.</p> <p> The event is planned for next summer 2020, Boyle said. &ldquo;I got the idea while sitting in class one day,&rdquo; he said. He asked a few friends what they thought and they encouraged him to &ldquo;go for it.&rdquo;</p> School grades up across the board https://www.chieflandcitizen.com/content/school-grades-across-board <p> The Levy County school district saw across-the-board gains on the latest annual school and district grades released by the Florida Department of Education this month, as the county increased its overall score by 11.5 percent to go from a C to a B district.</p> <p> The district earned its largest improvements in the areas of middle school student performance and English Language Arts (ELA) gains for the bottom quartile of students.</p> <p> The grades are based on 11 criteria, which measure student performance and student improvement on subjects such as mathematics, social studies, science and ELA. Graduation rates and acceleration success at the high school and middle school levels, which include data on Advanced Placement, dual enrollment and industry certifications, are also figured into the scores.</p> <p> The district showed improvement in all 11 categories, moving up its ranking among districts to 42nd out of 67, up from 56th in 2018. Levy scored a C in six of the previous seven years.</p> <p> &ldquo;I&rsquo;m very proud of the district overall,&rdquo; Superintendent Jeff Edison said. &ldquo;Almost every school came up, and some of them significantly.</p> Flea market vendors reveal their prized possessions https://www.chieflandcitizen.com/content/flea-market-vendors-reveal-their-prized-possessions <img src="https://www.chieflandcitizen.com/sites/www.chieflandcitizen.com/files/imagecache/thumb85/fm_7.6.19_anvil.jpg" alt="" title="" align="left" hspace="6" width="115" height="85" /><p> Suzette Cook, Reporter</p> <p> Wally Hill has a 200-pound anvil complete with tools sitting in the back of his pickup truck parked at booth No. 4. It only that took four people to move. For a mere $450 it could be yours.</p> <p> More than 100 vendors man their booths throughout the rows of spaces inside and outside at the Chiefland Farmers Flea Market every week. Ask then what their prized possession are and you might be surprised.</p> <p> More than 15 years ago, Vendor Richard Bograd won a turn-of-the-century rocking horse at an auction in St. Petersburg, Florida. Bograd, who moved here 40 years from New Hampshire, says the ride made of solid wood and measuring 48 inches toe to toe is a rare piece of Americana.</p> <p> He left the horse in original condition, but said a buyer could update the markings. &ldquo;I figured somebody might want to redo it.&rdquo;</p> <p> He has four booth spaces, 46-49, with jewelry on one side and collectibles on the other. Hanging overhead is a bicycle built for two that Bograd said isn&rsquo;t really for sale because, &ldquo;he&rsquo;s looking for someone to ride it with.&rdquo;</p> Bronson volunteers answer call to save BPR https://www.chieflandcitizen.com/content/bronson-volunteers-answer-call-save-bpr <img src="https://www.chieflandcitizen.com/sites/www.chieflandcitizen.com/files/imagecache/thumb85/dsc_0425.jpg" alt="Greater Works Ministries Church in Bronson provided free chicken dinners for the volunteers participating in the community clean-up at the James H. Cobb park in Bronson on June 29. Forty-four volunteers signed up at the clean-up event to help at future sports events in the park. Front row, from left: Liz Bryant, Clifford Bryant, Robin Norris, Pat Carter, Juanita Hunter, Barbara Stacy, Jerome Mayes, and Geroldine Jones. Back row, from left: Bo Cox, Bishop Curtis Stacy, Alice Griffin, Charlene James, and Vashtye Sales. " title="Greater Works Ministries Church in Bronson provided free chicken dinners for the volunteers participating in the community clean-up at the James H. Cobb park in Bronson on June 29. Forty-four volunteers signed up at the clean-up event to help at future sports events in the park. Front row, from left: Liz Bryant, Clifford Bryant, Robin Norris, Pat Carter, Juanita Hunter, Barbara Stacy, Jerome Mayes, and Geroldine Jones. Back row, from left: Bo Cox, Bishop Curtis Stacy, Alice Griffin, Charlene James, and Vashtye Sales. " align="left" hspace="6" /><p> A two-hour workshop meeting and a Bronson City Council meeting on June 17 led to a proposed ultimatum for Bronson Parks and Recreation (BPR) and its management of youth sports.</p> <p> A push from citizens to give the BPR Program another year led to a stipulation from Councilman Berlon Week that BPR remain in place another year as the caretaker of Bronson youth sports, under director Curtis Stacy, as long as at least five volunteers could be recruited to help run concessions. A community park cleanup day had been previously scheduled for June 29, making it a convenient date to hold a volunteer signup. BPR&rsquo;s fate hung in the balance.</p> <p> Whatever the challenges and causes behind the decline in volunteers at the park, the town stepped up in a big way on clean-up day, as parents and grandparents came pouring out at James H. Cobb Park, where 44 volunteers attended.</p> Lower Suwannee National Wildlife Refuge accepting comments on hunting permit fees https://www.chieflandcitizen.com/content/lower-suwannee-national-wildlife-refuge-accepting-comments-hunting-permit-fees <p> The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service&rsquo;s Lower Suwannee National Wildlife Refuge (Refuge) is accepting public comments on increasing the yearly hunter access fee for hunting on the Refuge. The current fee is $15.00 and we are proposing a $10.00 increase to $25.00 for the 2020-2021 season.</p> <p> The recreational fees will be retained by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as a part of the Recreational Fee Program and used for road maintenance as part of the administration of the hunting program.</p> <p> The Refuge maintains 194 miles of public driving and secondary grass road/trails accessible by walking or biking, providing public access to some of the most remote parts of the Refuge.</p> <p> Since 1981, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has had authority to collect recreation fees. Since 1997, the Service has been able to retain fees collected at the station, first under the Recreation Fee Demonstration Program and then, in 2004, under the authority of Federal Lands Recreation</p> Fishing club owner wants to give back https://www.chieflandcitizen.com/content/fishing-club-owner-wants-give-back <img src="https://www.chieflandcitizen.com/sites/www.chieflandcitizen.com/files/imagecache/thumb85/dale_mcclellan.jpg" alt="Dale McClellan" title="Dale McClellan" align="left" hspace="6" width="93" height="85" /><p> Suzette Cook, Reporter</p> <p> Gulf Hammock Fishing Club owner Dale McClellan grew up visiting and fishing in Levy County and has fond memories of riding on his cattleman grandfather&rsquo;s tractor.</p> <p> On his 65th birthday, McClellan visited the Levy Board of County Commissioners to &ldquo;Put a face with a name&rdquo; and to make a pledge to the community.</p> <p> &ldquo;If you&rsquo;ve got a cause, and it needs a facility,&rdquo; McClellan said, &ldquo;you can consider that facility yours.&rdquo;</p> <p> McClellan said he purchased the Waccasassa Fishing&nbsp;Club a year ago and has been making improvements ever since.</p> <p> He renamed it Gulf Hammock&nbsp;Fishing&nbsp;Club and labeled it as being &ldquo;In the heart of the Nature Fishing Coast.&rdquo;</p> <p> McClellan lives in Hillsborough County when he&rsquo;s not at the club but says, &ldquo;I&rsquo;m not a guy here from out of town trying to cause harm to this community. I love Gulf Hammock, I love that river, and spent a fortune updating the facility.</p> <p> &ldquo;If you ever have a need, wedding funeral, we can hold quite a number of people.&rdquo;</p> Warren named Levy County Extension Agent https://www.chieflandcitizen.com/content/warren-named-levy-county-extension-agent <img src="https://www.chieflandcitizen.com/sites/www.chieflandcitizen.com/files/imagecache/thumb85/mark_warren.jpg" alt="Mark Warren" title="Mark Warren" align="left" hspace="6" width="73" height="85" /><p> Suzette Cook, Reporter</p> <p> Newly hired UF/IFAS Extension Agent Mark Warren was introduced to the Levy Board of County Commissioners at the July 2 meeting.</p> <p> Warren will earn an annual salary of $79,900 paid by 40 percent ($31,960) from Levy County and 60 percent from the University of Florida ($47,940).</p> <p> According to the University of Florida Agricultural&nbsp;Extension&nbsp;Service, &ldquo;UF/IFAS Extension Levy County educates the people of Levy County in the areas of agriculture, livestock, horticulture and 4-H youth development. It is a partnership between the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences and the Levy County government.&rdquo;</p> <p> Warren will work under the direction of Levy County Extension Director Ed Jennings and the Northeast District Extension Director Eric Simonne.</p> <p> Levy County Coordinator Wilbur Dean said it was a process to get the position filled due to a recent hiring freeze at UF.</p> Skulls become canvases for local artist https://www.chieflandcitizen.com/content/skulls-become-canvases-local-artist <img src="https://www.chieflandcitizen.com/sites/www.chieflandcitizen.com/files/imagecache/thumb85/skulls_a.jpg" alt="" title="" align="left" hspace="6" /><p> Suzette Cook, Reporter</p> <p> Artist Mike Fett is sitting on a stool under a tree listening to Garth Brooks and enjoying a slight breeze.</p> <p> His acrylic paints are spread out and his latest skull score is resting on a crate in front of him.</p> <p> It&rsquo;s already been sealed with white paint and has become a the perfect canvas for Fett, 63.</p> <p> &ldquo;The whole process is about five hours,&rdquo; Fett says about how long it takes him to paint a cattle or hog skull.</p> <p> &ldquo;Sometimes I work on one, set back and look at it, figure out what I want to do next.</p> <p> &ldquo;Color contrast makes a difference.&rdquo;</p> <p> Fett is a self-trained artist. &ldquo;I was always good at it,&rdquo; he says.</p> <p> But his craftsmanship and eye for detail come from his decades spent as a carpenter.</p> <p> Suzette Cook, Reporter</p> <p> &ldquo;Built more than a hundred homes in Gainesville,&rdquo; he says.</p> <p> Fett move to Florida from Indiana in 1979 and has lived in Jonesville, Williston and now Old Town.</p> <p> He scores his skulls from friends who come across them and from a hog farm he worked at.</p>