A lone coyote travels through the light rain on a field used by dairy cows on
Thursday morning (March 6).
Photo by Jeff M.
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The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission notes all of the
following (and more) about coyotes. In the western United States, coyotes are
the main predator of domestic sheep, causing significant losses in select
areas. They can also prey upon goats, calves, hogs, poultry and watermelons.
Coyotes will also kill domestic dogs and house cats. The type of damage
attributed to coyotes in Florida is similar to that in the western states, but
so far, the damage has been infrequent and restricted to small areas. Coyotes
are not a threat to human safety. There are a few reports from the western
United States of coyotes biting humans, but this behavior is very unusual.
Coyotes are normally timid towards people.If you have experienced coyote
damage, or anticipate damage, several prevention options are available. The
most effective approach is to use a combination of lethal and non-lethal
methods. Non-lethal methods to protect livestock include exclusion fencing,
corralling animals at night and using trained guard dogs. Fencing is possibly
the most effective. To exclude coyotes, woven or welded wire fences should be
at least 4 feet high with barbed wire above for a total minimum height of 5
feet. Adding height to the fence will increase its effectiveness. Mesh sizes
should not exceed 4 x 6 inches (coyotes can squeeze through fences with larger
mesh). An outward overhang of fence wire will help prevent coyotes from jumping
over. Electrifying the fence may also help to deter coyotes from crossing.
Though fences probably will not offer complete protection, they will keep most
coyotes from crossing. Minimally, fences will guide coyotes to specific
crossings, most likely a crawl space under the fence, where they can be trapped
or snared more easily. If lethal control measures are necessary, they should be
directed at specific coyotes or toward coyotes in a specific area.
Indiscriminate killing of coyotes is unlikely to reduce coyote populations,
which can withstand 70 percent annual kill. Some evidence suggests that light,
indiscriminant harvesting of Coyotes may actually stimulate production and
further increase numbers. There is no closed season on coyotes in Florida.
Legal methods of take are by gun, bow or snare. Steel traps and can be used
only by special permit issued by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission, and
use of poisons to kill coyotes is illegal. A permit is not required to take
coyote with a gun and light at night on private property with landowner
Otter Creek keeps trying
for water deal with Chiefland
By Jeff M. Hardison © March 6, 2014
LEVY COUNTY -- Chiefland Mayor Teal
Pomeroy and Chiefland City Manager Kevin Gay both said they plan to attend the
March 17 meeting in the Town of Otter Creek as part of the Conflict Resolution
Procedure noted in a Feb. 28 letter to them from the Town Council of Otter
The alleged conflict involves a proposed deal, where
Chiefland had considered allowing a pipe to be built from Chiefland to Otter
Creek for the delivery of drinking water.
A special meeting of the Otter Creek Town Council on
Monday (Feb. 24) resulted in a resolution that was delivered to Chiefland City
Hall (Hardy Dean Sr. Municipal Building) on Monday (March 3).
Unanimously voting in favor of the resolution were
Otter Creek Mayor Cleah Martin, Vice Mayor Don Severino, Councilwoman Marie
Murray, Councilman John Morris and Councilman Randy Caldwell.
“The conflict between the Town of Otter Creek
and the City of Chiefland arises from Chiefland’s breach of contract to provide
water to Otter Creek and misrepresentations regarding same,” Otter Creek Town
Clerk Connie Caldwell noted in the cover letter dated Feb. 28.
While the town alleges a “breach of contract to
provide water,” the votes to create a final contract never happened. At a
meeting in April of 2013, Chiefland City Commissioner Rollin Hudson was against
the deal altogether because he did not want to sell bulk water at a rate lower
than the rate at which in-town consumers purchased it.
Back then, the consensus of the other four Chiefland
City Commission members -- Mayor Pomeroy, Vice Mayor Teresa Barron,
Commissioner Sammy Cason and Commission Frank Buie -- was to keep moving
forward with a plan to sell Chiefland water to the Town Otter Creek, but that
plan never reached a final vote.
Since then, Commissioner Buie died and Commissioner
Cason chose against running for reelection.
In September of 2013, after the seating of two new
Chiefland City Commission members – Chris Jones and Betty Walker -- the
Chiefland City Commission had a majority that expressed a belief that Chiefland
water consumers were unhappy with selling water at a bulk rate to the town to
the south of Chiefland.
A Chiefland City Commission meeting in January ended
after more than an hour of ironing out details, where an agreement between the
City of Chiefland and the Town of Otter Creek died after a motion by Vice Mayor
Barron found no person to second it.
Back when it first started, Greg Lang of
Mittauer & Associates Consulting Engineers said Chiefland would see a
benefit from the construction -- creating more of a looped system at some of
the end points for the current water distribution. This would have meant better
flow for people at various ends of the existing line in the south end of
service in Chiefland.
The bigger pipeline on the end closer to Chiefland
would have allowed for the addition of fire hydrants, and it would have opened
the south end beyond the city limits more for development.
The improvements benefiting the Chiefland system were
seen as being about $1.5 million back in the first version of the
As for the possible revenue stream to the city from
bulk water sales, the new agreement called for Otter Creek buying the water at
a rate of 25 percent higher than the residential and business customers within
the four corners of Chiefland’s city limits – just like Central Florida
Electric Cooperative and the state’s plant nursery pay now.
Even at the higher rate, however, Hudson said at the
January meeting that he had heard no positive comments from residents and only
a couple of Chiefland’s business interests who supported the sale of water to
the neighboring town.
When it came time for a person to second Barron’s
motion, Hudson mentioned to Mayor Pomeroy that the mayor could pass his gavel
to make the second. Pomeroy said at the meeting in January that even if he
wanted to second Barron’s motion to the deal it would still die from a 2-3
The proverbial bottom line for Chiefland is that a
majority of its City Commission in January chose against continuing to move
forward with the water deal.
On Thursday (March 6), Chiefland Mayor Pomeroy said
the City of Chiefland and the Town of Otter Creek have enjoyed a good working
relationship in the past. He plans to go to the March 17 meeting with an open
mind, because he foresees no problem between the two municipalities that can’t
be worked out in some way.
As it is, the Chiefland Fire Rescue Department
responds to calls for help from within the incorporated area of the Town of
“Chiefland considers Otter Creek to be a good
neighbor,” Pomeroy said.
He noted, however, that Chiefland entertained the idea
of providing water to Otter Creek, but after two new City Commission members
came on board, the majority of Chiefland City Commission members never
committed to sell water to Otter Creek.
The deal was never closed, except to reject the
On Thursday (March 6) City Attorney Fugate said that
although Gay and Pomeroy may have said they will attend the March 17 meeting,
it is up to the whole City Commission to vote whether that is to occur – where
Pomeroy and Gay would represent the city.
In its letter, the Otter Creek Town Council suggested
Fugate attend as well. The matter is to be discussed Monday (March 10) at the
regular Chiefland City Commission meeting.
The March 17 meeting in the Town of Otter Creek starts at
5:30 p.m. and is open to the public. It will be in the Otter Creek Town Hall
Building, 555 S.W. Second Ave.
Bronson defers merge offer
Bronson Interim Fire Chief Dennis Russell and volunteers Mark Marrazo, Cecilia
Rainvilla, John Stephenson, Scott Bulson, Travis Raphael and Jesse Baggett were
greeted with enthusiasm by the Bronson Town Council on Monday night.
Story and Photo
By Jeff M. Hardison © March 4, 2014
BRONSON -- The Bronson Town Council
unanimously deferred an offer to merge the Bronson Fire Department, or to lease
the fire station and equipment, to the Levy County Department of Public
The Monday night action marks at least the second time the
city told the county that it wants to keep its volunteer fire department
separate from the LCDPS. Bronson, Cedar Key, Chiefland, Fanning Springs and
Williston are towns and cities with their own fire departments, which also
cover the unincorporated part of the county that surrounds them.
was on a motion by Town Councilman Bruce Greenlee, seconded by Councilman
Berlon Weeks that this motion passed unanimously. Town Attorney Steven Warm
suggested the word "defer" rather than "reject," because there may be a time in
the future when the town would accept some sort of merge offer from the
In other fire-oriented news from Bronson, Interim
Chief Dennis Russell continues making strides to improve the department after
the departure of former Chief Jeff DiMaggio, who seemed more inclined to want
to merge with the county. The Town Council unanimously approved giving Russell
administrative pay of $500 a month.
DiMaggio had started at $500 a month and was earning
$700 a month when he resigned from Bronson.
On Monday night, Russell brought six of the seven
volunteers he spoke to the Town Council about. They are Mark Marrazo, Cecilia
Rainvilla, John Stephenson, Scott Bulson, Travis Raphael and Jesse Baggett.
Russell said he sees no reason why Bronson Fire Rescue can't be the best fire
department in Levy County.
As for scheduling, Russell said that with his
core group of volunteers now, the department is safely scheduled with
firefighters. Town Councilman Aaron Edmondson is the liaison between the Fire
Department and Town Council.
Town keeps motel closed
By Jeff M. Hardison © March 4, 2014
BRONSON -- Town Building Inspector
Robert Niffenegger told the Bronson Town Council on Monday night (March 3) that
he was posting notices on the Bronson Motel, 315 N. Hathaway Ave. (U.S. Alt.
27), that it has been deemed uninhabitable.
Although there was a fire Thursday that caused the
electricity to be turned off, it was not until Monday night that Niffenegger
made the announcement and it is not until Tuesday that the Levy County
Sheriff's Office will be asked to mandate people to vacate.
The American Red Cross is providing a place for motel
residents to stay at an Econo Lodge in Gainesville, as part of its disaster
relief program. However, some motel tenants did not want to accept that
Niffenegger said he believes that rather than the
cause of the fire being arson, as one of the owners thought, the flames
originated from an electrical problem. As a result, it will not be until the
motel has an electrician completely check out the motel for more issues to
prove it is safe. He is also not going to allow the motel to be occupied by
residents again until it is inspected for other fire safety compliance.
The building official said the motel is not able to be
lived in without electricity.
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