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Suspected murder weapon
found in canal at low tide
PrescottMurder092914
Photos Provided

By Jeff M. Hardison © Sept. 29, 2014
     DIXIE COUNTY – The suspected murder weapon in what appears to be the cold-blooded, premeditated murder of an 18-year-old man on Sept. 13 was discovered Sept. 23 by several family and friends of the victim who searched for it.



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      Tyler Snellgrove, 18, of the Town of Suwannee was shot in the chest by a shotgun and the Dixie County Sheriff’s Office charged Stuart Prescott, 48, who is also from Suwannee, with first degree murder and tampering with evidence.
     People found the pump shotgun they believe Prescott tried to conceal. It was found in the water at low tide in a canal.



    Prescott, Snellgrove and Cecilia Rae Gainey Carter, 36, of Cross City are the people most closely involved in this incident. Snellgrove was on the porch of a home as he spoke with Carter when Prescott came to the door and confronted Snellgrove before going back inside the home, DCSO spokesman Maj. Scott Harden has said.

     Prescott then reappeared on the porch, where he shot Snellgrove with a single shotgun blast to his torso, Harden said. Snellgrove left the porch area as he retreated to some nearby brush before collapsing, Harden said.
     At this point, Carter went to render aid to Snellgrove and to call 9-1-1, while Prescott remained on the property for a brief time before leaving to go to a nearby property where deputies located him, Harden said.
    During the execution of search warrants, various items of evidence were collected and were forwarded to the FDLE Crime Lab in Tallahassee.

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     Prescott was arrested on one count first degree murder and tampering with evidence, Harden said.
     On Sept. 15, Carter was arrested for forgery and uttering a forgery. Bond was initially set at $10,000, but later was reduced to release the suspected forger on her own recognizance.
     It was the morning of Tuesday (Sept. 23), at 8:30 a.m., when the tide was low and the water was calm, that the party of searchers found the pump shotgun. It had four live rounds -- three red shells and one purple shell -- attached to its stock. This was the shotgun Carter had described to investigators as being the one used by Prescott to kill Snellgrove.
     Michael Brannen of the DCSO is the officer who came and recovered the gun from the searchers. One search for the suspected murder weapon was performed on Sept. 20, but the people looking for the weapon said there was not enough daylight to find it at low tide then.
     The search party regrouped on Sept. 23.
      Coincidently, Snellgrove was murdered on his Aunt Donna Burkhart’s birthday – Sept. 13. She is credited by searchers with having found the murder weapon.

Rotarians hear about the
CF Jack Wilkinson Levy Campus;

Opening planned for fall of 2016
Rot092414E
Holly McGlashan, the manager of the Levy Center of the College of Central Florida, accepts a pen from Chiefland Rotary President Rob Alexander (right) as visiting Rotarian and State Rep. Charlie Stone joins for the photo opportunity.

Story and Photos

By Jeff M. Hardison © Sept. 26, 2014
     CHIEFLAND – Holly McGlashan, the manager of the Levy Center of the College of Central Florida, spoke about the pending construction at the Jack Wilkinson Levy Campus, which is located on the west side of U.S. Highway 19 just south of Fanning Springs.

     McGlashan was the guest speaker at the Rotary Club of Chiefland meeting on Wednesday (Sept. 24).

Rot092414     The College of Central Florida will receive $4.3 million in state funding for construction at the Jack Wilkinson Levy Campus of the first phase, as was noted in a previous story in June.

Holly McGlashan speaks about the money needed to complete the construction project.

     The estimated total cost is $17 million project, she said. Therefore CF needs about $12.7 million more to complete the work on the future Levy County campus, McGlashan said.
     CF received formal notice of Gov. Rick Scott's approval in June via a letter from Sen. Dorothy Hukill (R-Port Orange Dist. 8).
     Hukill's committee assignments as a member of the Florida Senate include Appropriations Subcommittee on Finance and Tax, which she chairs; Appropriations;  Appropriations Subcommittee on Education; Commerce and Tourism; Communications, Energy, and Public Utilities; Community Affairs; Governmental Oversight and Accountability; and the Joint Committee on Public Counsel Oversight.
     Sen. Charles S. "Charlie" Dean Sr. (R-Inverness Dist. 5) and Rep. Charlie Stone (R-Ocala Dist. 22) have both been intensely involved with seeking this funding to improve the facilities for what was Central Florida Community College before it was renamed, like all former community colleges and junior colleges in Florida.
     Rep. Stone and his legislative aide Evelio Silvera were among the guests at the meeting on Wednesday.
     The first phase of funding allows CF to begin planning and paying for infrastructure for the Jack Wilkinson Levy Campus, north of Chiefland. It is expected that the Florida Legislature will appropriate funds for construction and equipment in 2015-2017.
     Construction of a Levy Campus has been a priority of CF since 2004 when the CF District Board of Trustees approved a search for suitable properties.
     In 2006, former CF trustee Loy Ann Mann and her husband, Jack, donated 15.4 acres of undeveloped land to the college. That same year, Jack Wilkinson, a longtime Levy County teacher, donated $2.5 million.
     An additional $1 million has been secured from private donors. In 2007, additional acreage was purchased, expanding the site to 40.4 acres – north of Chiefland and south of the town of Fanning Springs on the west side of U.S. Highway 19.
     The College of Central Florida currently offers classes and full student services at a storefront facility in Chiefland, 114 Rodgers Blvd. (U.S. Highway 19, next to the Haven Hospice Attic).
     The project is hoped to be completed in August of 2016, McGlashan said. And classes could be slated for that fall.

Rot092414B
This is one version of what the main structure may look like, although this aspect of the project is not final.

     One artist rendering of what is a potential is a drawing that shows a plantation style of structure. McGlashan said this proposed appearance of the front of the main building mixes “southern charm” and “higher education,” so that the structure can be seen as “a landmark in Levy County.”
     Cultural events and community participation are anticipated to abound at the CF campus near Fanning Springs, McGlashan said, in addition to the academic activities that are bound to be on a college campus. She believes the campus and structure will be well utilized by all of the residents and visitors in the area.
     The CF campus currently provides many options, including the ability to earn an associate of arts degree without ever leaving Levy County, McGlashan said.
     Among the most popular curriculum is for Emergency Medical Technician and Paramedic certification. Currently at the Jack Wilkinson Levy Campus, there are three sections of welding students with 25 students per section, and there is a waiting list to take those classes, she said.
     There is a huge dual-enrollment program with high school students taking classes for college credit, she said.
     Another option is to earn a Certified Nursing Assistant certification from CF. McGlashan said the college partnered with Haven Hospice last year as part of that coursework, and the students are continuing to enjoy hands-on experiences as a result.
FOCUS GROUPS
     McGlashan’s message for the Rotary Club is that CF wants to have focus groups to help its administrators determine how to provide what the community wants from its college. The CF leaders want to know where people believe the focus should be placed in regard to credit and non-credit classes.
     One factor has been noted already. A state-of-the-art facility for training people in medicine, McGlashan said, is being sought as part of the campus.
     “We also know that dental hygiene and dental care is a big need in the area,” she said. “We want to put a lot of effort into dental programs.”
     Teaching students about agri-business is another area CF sees as a method of serving this area, she said. However, CF wants the people of the community to provide input in the focus groups.
     McGlashan said the college hopes to see equipment at the site in the near future.


Bronson breaks ground
on $2.9 million sewer project

Story and Photos
By Jeff M. Hardison © Sept. 24, 2014

     BRONSON -- With a grant-loan mixture from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development of $2.9 million, the Town of Bronson broke ground Tuesday (Sept. 213) on the expansion of its wastewater collection system.

      This system improvement changes commercial and residential property from being served by septic tanks to being served by the town's wastewater treatment facility. It improves the infrastructure along the U.S. Alt. 27 corridor for more commercial development, as well as eases the environmental impact on nearby springs, lakes and other natural waterways.
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(Above) Preparing to break ground (from left) are Bronson Public Works Director Jimmy Dunford, Town Councilman Aaron Edmondson, Town Councilman Berlon Weeks, (not wearing a hardhat in the back -USDA Rural Development State Director Richard Machek), Mayor Franklin Schuler, Vice Mayor Beatrice Roberts, Town Councilman Bruce Greenlee and Town Clerk Kelli Brettel. (Below) They break ground as Machek holds the umbrella.
Bron092414H.

     The project is funded by a $40,000 contribution from the town; a $1.27 million USDA Rural Development Community Facilities grant and a $1.6 millon USDA Rural Development Community Facilities Water and Wastewater loan.
 Bron092414
Bronson Parks and Recreation Director Curtis Stacy (left) prepares to say the opening prayer before the speeches as public Works Director Jimmy Dunford works with the audio system. Some parts of the speeches went unheard by a number of the audience because of the road noise, which was amplified by rain.

    The project shows a planned installation of 10,500 linear feet of gravity sewer lines, 14,200 linear feet of force mains, 40 manholes, nine grinder stations and three lift stations, according to information provided by USDA Rural Development.
 Bron092414B    Bronson Mayor Franklin Schuler welcomed everyone to the celebration. He note his appreciation for the USDA Rural Development for the loan-grant and to Mittauer & Associates for providing the engineering for the project.

Bronson Mayor Franklin Schuler opens the program by introducing Curtis Stacy, who gave the prayer to start the ceremony.

     Town Councilman Berlon Weeks, who is the liaison for sewer and water departments in the town and who was a moving force in completing the process leading to the loan-grant, spoke after the mayor's welcome. Weeks welcomed visitors: Levy County Commissioner John Meeks; Greg Lang of Mittauer & Associates; Joe Mittauer of Bron092414CMittauer & Associates; Jason Shepler of Mittauer & Associates; Richard Machek of USDA Rural Development; Nature Coast Business Development Council Executive Director David Pieklik; David Dickens with Suwannee River Water Management District; and the Sewer Committee Advisory Members -- Jim Beck, Aaron Robinson, Frances Akins and Wilbur Dean.

Town Councilman Berlon Weeks

     Other guests that day included Levy County Commission candidate Jamie Griffin, Fanning Springs Mayor Cheryl Nekola, Williston City Clerk Fran Taylor, State Rep. Jimmie R. Smith (R-Inverness, Dist. 34), Levy County School Board member Chris Cowart, Jessica Norfleet of the office of U.S. Rep. Ted Yoho (R-Fla., Dist. 3), Chiefland Wastewater Supervisor Randy Wilkerson and the whole Bronson Town Council.

Bron092414D     On Wednesday afternoon (Sept. 24), State Rep. Charlie Stone (R-Ocala, Dist. 22) said he had planned on being at this event, but Gov. Rick Scott and The Florida Cabinet were dealing with a matter related to Marion County and he needed to be in Tallahassee.

Jason Shepler of Mittauer & Associates

     Stone represents all of Levy County and the western part of Marion County.
     Bronson is a small community, Weeks said, and it took vision to reach this goal, Weeks said.
     The next speaker was from Mittauer of Mittauer & Associates.  
     Shepler said that Mittauer of Mittauer & Associates has considered itself to become an extension of the town staff as it has worked through the process to reach the point of starting construction now. When Mittauer of Mittauer & Associates first became engaged with this project in Bronson in 2009, Shepler said, he saw that the town leaders wanted to improve economic development as well as continue being good stewards to the environment.

Bron092414E.
USDA Rural Development State Director Richard Machek talks about how this project can help economic development as well as the environment.

     It was about eight years prior to this engineering firm's involvement that the vision for this project first began, he said. Bringing this vision to fruition, he said, by taking the baton and running with it shows the perserverance of this town's leadership and staff over the past several years.
     USDA Rural Development State Director Machek was the next to speak. He joked about the rain. President Barack Obama appointed Machek in April 2010 to serve as State Director of USDA Rural Development for Florida/U.S. Virgin Islands.
     "My father used to say, 'If you can't do anything about it, you just have to love it.' So I just love this rain," Machek said.
     The sound of traffic on the highway next to the grassy area in front of the Doyle Cobb Municipal Building, where the ceremony was held, was even noisier than on a dry day as the hiss of tires added to the roar of engines going down the road.
     Machek congratulated the town on taking initiative to become an active community in Levy County as it prepares for an economic upswing, which may be coming.
Bron092414F     It was November of 2011 when the check for this project was presented in a different ceremony, he said.

Bronson Public Works Director Jimmy Dunford gives the closing speech.

     “At the speed of government, you can see how fast this is getting going,” he said. “It’s going to make it. And it wouldn’t have made it without good people to work on these projects.
     Among the staff from USDA Rural Development who helped make this project succeed was Area Specialist Stephanie Hodges of Ocala and other staff from that office.
     Machek said USDA Rural Development has helped Bronson with projects before, and he invited the town to utilize the resources that can be provided to help improve the infrastructure of the town in the future.
     “President Obama’s plan for rural America has brought about historic investment and resulted in stronger rural communities,” USDA Rural Development spokeswoman Ellen Boukari noted. “Under the President’s leadership, these investments in housing community facilities, businesses and infrastructure have empowered rural America to continue leading the way – strengthening America’s economy, small towns and communities.”
     Bronson Public Works Director Jimmy Dunford concluded the speeches before the ceremonial groundbreaking.
     Dunford said there has been work going on that was not visible to people since the acceptance of the check in November of 2011. Now, people who asked him “When is construction going to start,” will be asking “When will construction be finished.”
     Dunford asked that anyone who has any concerns should contact Town Hall rather than asking the crews who are going to be working on the pipelines. The town’s public works director said residents and visitors of Bronson can expect to see machines working on the pipeline very soon now.
     With that, the groundbreakers went out into the drizzling rain, donned their custom made construction helmets, grabbed a gold-colored shovel and moved some sand.
     Delicious hors d'oeuvres from the Ivy House Restaurant of Williston were available for guests after the ceremony.


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Forty-Fifth Jingle Singer


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-- UPDATED --

TUE.  SEPT. 30   8:07 p
.m.

Levy, Dixie, Gilchrist counties


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