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Dixie County High School members of the Class of 2017 move toward the acceptance of their diplomas. For more on the DCHS graduation, please visit the LIFE PAGE.

Photo By Terry Witt, Senior Reporter For HardisonInk.com
© May 21, 2017 at 3:47 p.m.  All Rights Reserved.


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Visiting sheriff honors
The Thin Blue Line

Marion County Sheriff Billy Woods pays respect to the memory of the officers who gave their lives in the line of duty in Levy County and in Williston, and he speaks to the families of those men, to law enforcement officers and to the general public.

Story, Photos and Video
By Jeff M. Hardison © May 20, 2017 at 9:47 p.m.
As the bell in the pavilion rang 10 times to mark the moment, Williston Police Department Chaplain the Rev. Charlz Caulwell gave the opening prayer Friday morning (May 19).

     Marion County Sheriff Billy Woods was the keynote speaker as the Williston Police Department and Levy County Sheriff's Office hosted the Annual Law Enforcement Memorial. The visiting sheriff gave a memorable speech about the Thin Blue Line, about the fraternity and fellowship of law enforcement officers, about remembering two specific men who gave their lives in the line of duty, and about thousands more who paid the ultimate price as they protected life, property and freedom.

* In this video, Marion County Sheriff Billy Woods talks about the media scrutinizing law enforcement officers. He said officers are ‘targets for just wearing the uniform.’

WPD Chief Dennis Strow introduces his friend Marion County Sheriff Billy Woods.

     WPD Chief Dennis Strow introduced his friend Sheriff Woods after WPD Chief Deputy Clay Connolly spoke about the late WPD Cpl. David W. Moss and LCSO Undersheriff W.I. “Brett” Beauchamp III spoke about the late LCSO Deputy A. Hagood Ellzey.
     There were members of the Moss and Ellzey families at the memorial, and there were officers from various agencies in the audience as well as members of the general public.
     Carolyn McLain, 15, of Dunnellon played Amazing Grace on the bagpipes after Glenn Robinson played Taps on a bugle to end the program.
     The young Miss McLain was brought to the event by her mother Michele McLain, who said she is the chauffeur for her daughter on these occasions. The young piper is a member of the MCSO Pipes and Drums.
     In 2002, Ed Dean, then the high sheriff of Marion County, ordered that the Sheriff’s Pipes and Drums be formed. The Marion County Sheriff's Pipes and Drums is the only Pipe Band in the State of Florida to be an actual part of a law enforcement agency.
     Before the traditional music ended the program, there were words shared to help people honor some of the fallen.
     Sheriff Woods, who has served in the MCSO for 26 years and was elected sheriff last year, spoke about the noble calling and duties of law enforcement officers. And he addressed the loyalty to one another of members of this profession, and their loyalty to the laws that govern everyone.
     Law enforcement officers who come face to face with death hold steadfast faith against the overwhelming fear from danger, he said, at all times showing compassion for those they serve.
     President John F. Kennedy issued the following proclamation on May 4, 1963:

By the President of the United States of America
A Proclamation

     Whereas, from the beginning of this Nation, law enforcement officers have played an important role in safeguarding the rights and freedoms which are guaranteed by the Constitution and in protecting the lives and property of our citizens; and
     Whereas, through constant application of new procedures and techniques, such officers are becoming more efficient in their enforcement of our laws; and
     Whereas it is important that our people know and understand the problems, duties, and responsibilities of their police departments and the necessity for cooperating with them in maintaining law and order; and
     Whereas it is fitting and proper that we express our gratitude for the dedicated service and courageous deeds of law enforcement officers and for the contributions they have made to the security and well-being of all our people; and
     Whereas, by a joint resolution approved October 1, 1962 (76 Stat. 676), the Congress has requested the President to designate May 15 of each year as Peace Officers Memorial Day and the calendar week during which such May 15 occurs as Police Week:
     Now, Therefore, I, John F. Kennedy, President of the United States of America, do hereby designate May 15, 1963, and May 15 of each succeeding year, as Peace Officers Memorial Day, in honor of those peace officers who, through their courageous deeds, have lost their lives or have become disabled in the performance of duty.
     I also designate the week of May 12 through May 18, 1963, and the calendar week during which May 15 occurs of each succeeding year, as Police Week, in recognition of the service given by the men and women who, night and day, protect us through enforcement of our laws.
     I invite State and local governments, patriotic, civic, and educational organizations, and the people of the United States generally, to observe Peace Officers Memorial Day and Police Week in this year and each succeeding year with appropriate ceremonies in which all our people may join in commemorating law enforcement officers, past and present, who by their faithful and loyal devotion to their responsibilities have rendered a dedicated service to their communities, and, in so doing, have established for themselves an enviable and enduring reputation for preserving the rights and security of all citizens.
     In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the United States of America to be affixed.
     DONE at the City of Washington this fourth day of May in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the United States of America the one hundred and eighty-seventh.

     Sheriff Wood said the symbol known as the thin blue line represents law enforcement officers seeking to uphold the law to protect people’s lives, property and freedom.
     Each year an average of 60,000 officers are assaulted, he said.
     During the past decade, an average of more than 140 officers have been killed each year in the line of duty in the United States.
     Throughout the history of the United States, in excess of 20,000 officers have made the ultimate sacrifice, Sheriff Woods said.
     The sheriff said men and women in law enforcement answer a noble calling.
     He addressed the next part of his speech to law enforcement officers.
     He said they are soldiers of the law, who are entrusted with an honor.
     “We must serve honestly, faithfully, and if need be, lay down our lives as other have before us,” Sheriff Woods said, “rather than swerve from the path of duty.
     “It is our duty to obey the law,” Wood continued, “and enforce it without consideration of class, color, creed, or condition. It is our duty to be of service to anyone who may be in danger or distress.
     “And at all times,” he continued, “conduct ourselves so that the honor of the badge or star may be upheld.”
     In the next part of his speech, he addressed other guests at the event.
     He mentioned that famous radio commentator Paul Harvey Aurandt (Sept 4, 1918 – Feb. 28, 2009), better known as “Paul Harvey,” was a famous radio broadcaster.
     However, many people do not know that he was the son of a police officer who was killed in the line of duty, when the future broadcaster was only 3 years old.
     One of Harvey’s famous sayings was “And now, for the rest of the story…”
     In 1970, Harvey broadcast the following:

“What are policemen made of?”
By Paul Harvey

     “A Policeman is a composite of what all men are, mingling of a saint and sinner, dust and deity.
     Gulled statistics wave the fan over the stinkers, underscore instances of dishonesty and brutality because they are "new.”
     What they really mean is that they are exceptional, unusual, not commonplace.
     Buried under the frost is the fact: Less than one-half of 1 percent of policemen misfit the uniform. That's a better average than you'd find among clergy!
     What is a policeman made of? He, of all men, is once the most needed and the most unwanted. He's a strangely nameless creature who is "sir" to his face and "fuzz" to his back.
     He must be such a diplomat that he can settle differences between individuals so that each will think he won.
     But...If the policeman is neat, he's conceited; if he's careless, he's a bum. If he's pleasant, he's flirting; if not, he's a grouch.
     He must make an instant decision which would require months for a lawyer to make.
     But...If he hurries, he's careless; if he's deliberate, he's lazy. He must be first to an accident and infallible with his diagnosis. He must be able to start breathing, stop bleeding, tie splints and, above all, be sure the victim goes home without a limp. Or expect to be sued.
     The police officer must know every gun, draw on the run, and hit where it doesn't hurt.He must be able to whip two men twice his size and half his age without damaging his uniform and without being "brutal." If you hit him, he's a coward. If he hits you, he's a bully.
     A policeman must know everything-and not tell. He must know where all the sin is and not partake.
     A policeman must, from a single strand of hair, be able to describe the crime, the weapon and the criminal- and tell you where the criminal is hiding.
     But...If he catches the criminal, he's lucky; if he doesn't, he's a dunce. If he gets promoted, he has political pull; if he doesn't, he's a dullard. The policeman must chase a bum lead to a dead-end, stake out 10 nights to tag one witness who saw it happen-but refused to remember.
     The policeman must be a minister, a social worker, a diplomat, a tough guy and a gentleman.
     And, of course, he'd have to be genius... For he will have to feed a family on a policeman's salary.
     After reading a version of this piece by Paul Harvey, Sheriff Woods said a person who believes Harvey’s words can truly understand the noble calling that men and women answer when they accept the duties of being a law enforcement officer.
     The sheriff then addressed the family members of the officers being honored and memorialized that day.
     Sheriff Woods said none of his words can bring comfort to them for their loss. He said time may heal them from this loss.
     The sheriff said over time all officers will be gone and forgotten. However the officers who gave their lives serve as a beacon for the nobility of the badge or the star.
     And these individuals are not just beacons for this generation, he continued “but for generations who are to come long after we have left this Earth.”
     As for the Thin Blue Line, the sheriff said the Thin Blue Line represents officers protecting society from evil and chaos, so that society remains good and orderly.
     The sheriff went on to say the Thin Blue Line also represents a strong bond between all law enforcement officers everywhere.
     This line demonstrates support by everyone in the profession for the tough job they must perform. It's an encouragement to stand on that line together in service of others.
     Sheriff Woods said that one sad duty he sees as sheriff is to attend funerals of fallen officers. He may not know the person who died in the line of duty, Sheriff Woods said, “…. And yet, when I stand at the funeral, a lump comes in my throat, and a tear will roll down my cheek.”
     This reflects the love between all officers that cannot be explained, he said. And this is part of that Thin Blue Line.

WPD Deputy Chief Clay Connolly speaks about the life of the late WPD Cpl. David W. Moss.

     Deputy Chief Connolly read the following:
     “Corporal David W. Moss was shot and killed while attemting to assist what he thought to be a disabled vehicle.
     “As 2:09 a.m. on July 30 (1988), Corporal Moss arrived at the scene of what appeared to be a disabled vehicle near the corner of Southwest Sixth Street and First Avenue in Williston. Eight minute later, Corporal Moss stopped responding to calls from dispatch. When his partner arrived on scene, he found both David and his assailant dead.
     “The forensic investigation showed Corporal Miss was shot and killed in a gunfight. Before Corporal Miss died he fired six rounds hitting his assailant with five of them.”
     Deputy Chief Connolly said this official statement talks about how Moss died. He gave listeners a little insight into the man’s life.
     Moss was 31 years old when he died, leaving behind a wife, a mortgage, a passel of animals and a vintage 1965 Chevy, Connolly said.
     Moss had joined the WPD in 1984, Connolly said, after serving in the United States Air Force and after being the dogcatcher in Williston. He love children and professional wrestling.
     On that fateful night, he was confronted by a dysfunctional ne’er-do-well who had a stolen pistol that was taken from a house where he had been “squatting illegally,” Connolly said.
     The disabled car that Cpl. Moss was investigating had been stolen by that man just minutes earlier, Connolly said.
     He was ambushed by the thief, “and yet he had the presence of mind to stop the threat before others could become victimized,” Connolly said.

     Undersheriff Beauchamp said that Sheriff Bobby McCallum was unable to be present for the memorial, and Beauchamp was serving to represent the LCSO.
     The late Deputy Ellzey is the only deputy with the Levy County Sheriff’s Office to have died in the line of duty, he said.
     Deputy Ellzey died Jan. 28, 1945 while on patrol in the city limits of Otter Creek by two men who luted him into a wooded area and shot him with a shotgun.
     Before dying, he was able to identify both men, and they were convicted and sentenced to spend the rest of their lives in prison.
     On May 3 of this year, Florida Senate Bill 368 was passed and this will allow for a section of road in the town of Otter Creek to be named in honor of Deputy Ellzey.
     Undersheriff Beauchamp specifically mentioned his appreciation for the efforts of State Rep. Charlie Stone (R-Ocala, Dist. 22) for Rep. Stone’s efforts leading to this bill reaching fruition.
     Several of the Ellzey family members continue to help people by their work in public service, Beauchamp said.

Suspected thief,
suspected unlicensed driver
& suspected escapee is captured

William Justin Ford

Mugshot by LCSO

By Jeff M. Hardison © May 18, 2017 at 10:47 p.m.
     BRONSON --
The Levy County Sheriff's Office has recaptured a man who escaped with a pair of handcuffs that are the property of the LCSO, according to information in a press release from LCSO spokesman Lt. Scott Tummond.

     The suspected criminal is in jail in lieu of $375,000 worth of bonds as the result of charges that include escape and sales of methamphetamine, according to records.
     William Justin Ford, 26, of Bronson is currently in the Levy County Jail charged with escape - $200,000 bond; sale of methamphetamine - $50,000 bond; misdemeanor possession of marijuana - $25,000 bond; possession of drug paraphernalia - $25,000 bond; giving false identification to a law enforcement officer - $25,000 bond; petit theft - $25,000 bond; driving while license suspended or revoked - $25,000 bond.
     Ford escaped at approximately 7:45 p.m. on March 27 after being captured, Tummond said. This escapee left with a pair of handcuffs. Ford has a history of drug possession and resisting arrest.
     LCSO Cpl. Brandin Sullivan had conducted a traffic stop at the intersection of Pine and Hurst Street in Bronson, Tummond said.
     Sullivan spoke to the driver who identified himself as "Mike Davis," Tummond said.
     This driver told Sullivan that he did not have a driver’s license, and the man was arrested by the corporal.
     Cpl. Sullivan handcuffed "Davis" and discovered that the man had narcotics in his possession when he searched "Davis" who is actually Ford. Ford was then placed into the back seat of Sullivan’s patrol vehicle.
     Cpl. Sullivan requested back-up and conducted a more thorough search of the vehicle "Davis" was driving, Tummond said.
     During this search, more narcotics and drug paraphernalia were found.
     Cpl. Sullivan discovered the driver "Davis" had given a fictitious name. The driver was identified as William Justin Ford who has a Bronson address.
     As the corporal was completing his search, he heard a commotion in his patrol vehicle, Lt. Tummond said, and saw that Ford has slipped his handcuffs to the front of his body.
     The suspected criminal was able to escape on foot, Tummond said. Sullivan and back-up deputies gave chase, Tummond said. Additional LCSO units, K-9 deputies and the Marion County Sheriff’s Office's airborne unit searched the area, Tummond said.
     However, Ford was able to escape.
     Ford’s freedom was short-lived, Tummond said, as he was captured late Thursday afternoon (May 18) at a residence off of Levy County Road 337.
      Investigators were tipped to Ford's location and surrounded the home, Tummond said.
     "Ford did the only thing he knew to do," Tummond said, "and tried to run again; however deputies had all of his escape routes blocked. Ford was taken into custody."
     Investigators are continuing their investigation, Tummond said, and they expect additional charges will be filed on the individual(s) who assisted Ford as he evaded capture for the last 51 days.

Health officials
issue rabies alert

Published May 18 at 3:37 p.m.
on the Home Page of HardisonInk.com
The Florida Department of Health in Dixie County (DOH-Dixie) issued a rabies alert for the Western portion of 389th Street (Spillers Highway), District 1 (zone-2) on Thursday (May 18) at 2:18 p.m. via an email forward by Levy County Sheriff's Office spokesman Maj. Scott Harden.

     This is in response to a raccoon that tested positive on May 17.
     This occurred after an Old Town man was working in his yard when a raccoon came out of the bushes and bit the resident.
     After being bitten, the resident called the Dixie County Sheriff's Office who then sent an Animal Control Officer to secure the raccoon so that it could be turned over to the Florida Department of Health to be tested.
     After the raccoon tested positive for rabies, the Department of Health published the following notice.
     All residents and visitors in Dixie County should be aware that rabies is present in the wild animal population and domestic animals are at risk if they are not vaccinated. The public is asked to maintain a heightened awareness that rabies is active in Dixie County.
     Alerts are designed to increase awareness to the public. Please be aware that rabies activities can also occur outside the alert area.
     This rabies alert is for 30 days.  The center of the rabies alert is at the junction of 539th Street (Beverly Street) and 389th Avenue (Spillers), and includes the following boundaries in Dixie County:
     ● The eastern side of Highway 351 from Northeast 452nd Street, north to Northeast 512th Avenue, and east to 630th Street.
     An animal with rabies could infect domestic animals that have not been vaccinated against rabies. All domestic animals should be vaccinated against rabies and all wildlife contact should be avoided, particularly raccoons, bats, foxes, skunks, otters, bobcats, and coyotes. Rabies is a disease of the nervous system and is fatal to warm-blooded animals -- including humans.
     The only treatment for humans who suffer exposure to rabies is rabies specific immune globulin and rabies immunization.
     Appropriate treatment started soon after the exposure will protect an exposed person from the disease.
     Residents and visitors are advised to take the following precautions:
     ● Keep rabies vaccinations up to date for all pets and at-risk livestock.
     ● Do not allow your pets to run free. Follow leash laws by keeping pets and livestock secured on your property.  If your pet or livestock are bitten by a wild animal, seek veterinary assistance for the animal immediately and contact Dixie County Animal Services at 352-498-1245.
     ● Support animal control in efforts to reduce feral and stray animal populations.
     ● Spay or neuter your pets to help reduce the number of unwanted pets that may not be properly cared for or regularly vaccinated.
     ● Do not handle, feed, or unintentionally attract wild animals with outdoor food sources such as uncovered trash or litter.
     ● Never adopt wild animals or bring them into your home.
     ● Teach children never to handle unfamiliar animals, wild or domestic, even if they appear friendly.
     ● Prevent bats from entering living quarters or occupied spaces in homes, churches, schools, and other similar areas, where they might come in contact with people and pets.
     ● Persons who have been bitten or scratched by wild or domestic animals should seek medical attention and report the injury to the DOH- Dixie County at 352-498-1360.
     For further information on rabies, go to http://www.floridahealth.gov/diseases-and-conditions/rabies/index.html, or contact DOH-Dixie County at 352-498-1360.
     The Florida Department of Health works to protect, promote and improve the health of all people in Florida through integrated state, county and community efforts.C

Chiefland wins semi-final 2-1;
* Union County then takes state title

The Lady Indians Varsity Softball Team is in Historic Dodgertown, where they won the semi-final round and are now slated to play for what can be their fourth consecutive FHSAA Class 1A State Championship.
Photos courtesy of LCSO Sgt. Max Long of the Community Relations Division

Story By HardisonInk.com staff
Published May 18, 2017 at 8:07 a.m.
* Updated May 19, 2017 at 8:37 a.m.
     VERO BEACH --
The Chiefland (Levy County) High School Lady Indians Varsity Softball Team moves on now to the final game to potentially win its fourth consecutive FHSAA Class 1A State Championship today (Thursday, May 18).
     A rain delay yesterday against the Wewahitchka (Gulf County) High School Lady Gators slowed the start of that semi-final match at Historic Dodgertown. The Lady Indians were down 1-0 until their very last at bat, when they rallied with a 2-1 win.
     Meanwhile the Union County High School Lady Fightin' Tigers beat the Chipley High School Lady Tigers in the other Florida High School Athletic Association Class 1A semi-final game, and now the Fightin' Tigers will face the Lady Indians.
    * The Lady Indians-Lady Fightin' Tigers game in Vero Beach at Historic Dodgertown happened on Thursday.
    * The Union County High School Lady Fightin' Tigers beat the Lady Indians in the Florida High School Athletic Association Class 1A final game, and now the Fightin' Tigers are the 2017 state champions.

The team of coaches for the Lady Indians Softball Team are (from left) Head Coach Wayne Weatherford, Assistant Coach Jimmy Anderson and Assistant Coach Harland Stalvey.

Keeping the statistics for the Lady Indians is Lena Weatherford.

Some rain in the area of the City of Vero Beach and falling on Historic Dodgertown at a relatively inconvenient time caused a delay in the semi-final game.
Photos courtesy of LCSO Sgt. Max Long of the Community Relations Division


AARP offers fun, food and more to members and guests

(from left) Gilchrist County AARP Chapter #2133 Treasurer Katherine LaBarca, Secretary Loretta Lyell, Vice President Debbie Destin and President Jimmie Sheffield tell guests and members about club matters.

Story, Photos and Video
By Jeff M. Hardison © May 18, 2017 at
Forty-four people found the perfect mix of fun, food and fellowship at Otter Springs Park and Campground on Tuesday (May 17) when Gilchrist County AARP Chapter #2133 conducted its monthly luncheon meeting.

     While it was the best of times, there were a few times, too, when leaders and members mentioned the death of Meveree Carlisle Pope, 92, of Trenton. She lost her life in a traffic accident in Chiefland on May 10.
     Pope was said to be “the backbone” of this chapter of the American Association of Retired Persons.

Marion Poitevint a member of this AARP Board of Directors, as well as being a member of the Gilchrist County Board of County Commissioners and a member of the Gilchrist County Chamber of Commerce, gives out slips as an AARP board member. These papers are to record volunteer service hours.

     As of Tuesday, there were 71 paid members, one “gift” member, and six honorary members. There were seven honorary members before that fateful accident a week ago yesterday. Pope was an honorary member.
     While some sorrow and mourning were part of that day with the passing of this great lady, the speaker of the month was a real day-brightener.
     Luther Beauchamp, attorney, author and professional speaker shared some funny stories.
     And as Public Relations Chairman Joseph Blitch had promised, this meeting was well-worth attending – just as the 44 members and guests discovered.
     Attendees received valuable information as to what is happening in the local area. They were invited to continue efforts as volunteers. Everyone enjoyed a great lunch, good fellowship, and several people won door prizes. And there was more.

Luther Beauchamp tells one of his many jokes.


     Luther Beauchamp is mostly retired as an attorney. When he was more active in practicing law, his focus was more on civil and family matters rather than criminal proceedings.
     He may enjoy his time more now as a speaker.
     Beauchamp has been spoken in more than 30 states, from Miami, Florida to Moses Lake, Washington, and from Santa Barbara, California, to Basin Harbor, Vermont.
     In regard to his speaking engagement Tuesday, he founded it on the question “Can you take a joke?”
     He shared with the audience that he knows he is relatively short in stature. Listeners learned, though, that he has a tall sense of humor. All of the jokes he shared did not reflect well on him, but he was able to laugh with everyone from the humorous points in those jokes.

In this video, Luther Beauchamp tells a joke about something leading to him taking a speech-improvement course in college at Florida State University, and one of the conversations he had with an instructor. To set the stage before this point, he told listeners about his many accomplishments in public speaking in high school, and now in orientation at college, he had read a paragraph as had some other freshmen. Three were called aside...

     The speaker told the people that he always enjoys coming to the AARP chapter in Gilchrist County, and he feels like he has a lot of friends there.
      His first funny story set the tone for the other stories. Beauchamp said he wanted people to think back to the early 1940s. His parents had two girls and a son at that time.
     The girls were 7 and 4 years old. And the little boy was 3 years old at the time, he said. His parents had ordered an ice-cream churn through the Montgomery Ward catalog, and they were awaiting its delivery.
     His sister was at a friend’s house one day. His sister’s friend’s mother said, “Guess what’s new at your house; at your momma and daddy’s house.
     “She (his sister) said, ‘An ice cream churn!’”
     She started dancing all around and got excited, Beauchamp said.
     “No,” the friend’s mother said. “It’s a baby brother.”
     He continued his joke.
     “That’s the day I was born,” he said. “I started out as a disappointment. My sister Frances is the quietest one of the five children. And we think she just never got over that trauma.”
     His next joke was set up by telling the group that he attended Sunday school and church as a child, and he still attends.
     He spoke about a hymn for children that has as part of its lyrics “I've got the peace that passes understanding
Way down in the depths of my heart!”
     “I thought they were saying ‘I’ve got a piece of plastic understanding down in my heart’” he said.
     The speaker went on to tell the people about his memorization of Bible verses.
     Back when, there was a camp down in Gulf Hammock, he said. There was a young pastor there and he was meeting in a boys’ group.
     The pastor had spoken about Simon Peter who said “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the Living God,” Beauchamp said as he spoke about the young pastor.
     “And upon this rock, I will build my church,” the pastor said, “and… And what?”
     Beauchamp said he raised his hand because he knew the answer.
     “… and the gates of hell shall prevail against it,” Beauchamp said.
     “He (the pastor) said ‘That’s almost right,” Beauchamp continued. “I left out the word ‘not’; ‘and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.’”
     As a child, Beauchamp said he had no idea what the word “prevail” meant. However, he has not forgotten that verse since then.
     Among the many jokes he shared, Beauchamp told one from when his parents owned Beauchamp Hardware, near the corner of Park Avenue and U.S. Highway 19 in Chiefland.
     A man came in looking for a refrigerator light bulb.
     On that day, Beauchamp was minding the front of the store, and he had his school friend Pat Hogan with him.
     He said he was uncertain whether refrigerators had a special bulb other than a normal light bulb. He said the store had GE refrigerators.
     “Is yours a GE?” Beauchamp asked the man.
     “’Yes sir, the man said. That’s right. General Motors,’” Beauchamp said. “My friend was standing behind me. When the man said ‘General Motors,’ I bit down on my lip, and my friend said ‘Fella’ what you need is a headlight.’”
     One story captured the concept of understanding rather than just hearing.
     Beauchamp was in church one day and his wife was playing clarinet in the choir. He had taken out a root beer barrel type of hard candy as the pastor spoke.
     His nephew W.O. “Brett” Beauchamp III, who was one of the church ushers, approached Luther as he sat in the pew right next to the aisle. Brett said to Luther “They need one of them in the nursery.”
     Luther Beauchamp went through a long description of how hard candy is not good for children as he spoke to his nephew.
     “What?” Brett said. “They need one of them in the nursery.”
      Luther went on to say how they already had bibles and hymnals in the nursery as he looked around to see what they needed.
     “I said, ‘They need what?’ He said, ‘They need one of them – Tom or his wife,’” Luther Beauchamp said.
     He explained that the one of the two parents of a child in the nursery was needed “… and I’m sitting there trying to protect my root beer barrel.”
     He mentioned that communication is more than hearing.
     “I heard pretty well that day,” he said. “A lot of times I don’t. In fact, I thought about writing a book about things I thought I heard. And with the need for cataract surgery now, I could probably write a sequel about all the things I thought I saw.”
      Beauchamp shared several other funny stories with the members and guests at the AARP meeting.
     He provided everyone with a very lighthearted morning on Tuesday.

Mary Madsen provides the club with a legislative update concerning matters that people may find of interest in regard to state legislation this year.

AARP Club Chaplain Joseph Blitch prepares to enjoy his lunch. Although he is among the various chairs of committees, Blitch waited until almost the end of the line to pick up his lunch buffet style. The keynote speaker Luther Beauchamp and a visiting guest journalist were allowed to collect their lunches first.


     Gilchrist County AARP Chapter #2133 President Jimmie Sheffield, Vice President Debbie Destin, Treasurer Katherine LaBarca and Secretary Loretta Lyell led the club.
     Directors of the club are Annette Derks. Juanita Langston and Marion Poitevint. Poitevint held the American flag as the people said the Pledge of Allegiance and sang God Bless America.
     Kathryn Lancaster gave a report related to Alzheimer’s Disease and dementia. She mentioned that every second Thursday of the month there is a meeting at 1:30 p.m. of a support group for caretakers of people with dementia.
     That meeting is at the Edward Jones office in Chiefland. It is in the same shopping center area as The Print Shop of Chiefland, on the west side of U.S. Highway 19, a couple of blocks north of Park Avenue
     Committee chairs of the following committees gave reports: Hospitality Chair Faye Sheffield; Program Chair Janice Rogers; Membership Chair Katherine LaBarca and Public Relations Chair Joseph Blitch.
     Chairman Blitch reminded listeners to “come can in hand” next month to help the Food Bank.
     President Jimmie Sheffield mentioned that AARP Chapter #2133 members put in 1,199 hours of community service as volunteers in April.

This plant was among the many door prizes. As people’s names were randomly drawn as winners, the winners would select from the various door prizes. This plant was accepted by a visiting journalist whose name was called as a winner. ‘People who know me might understand why I chose this prize,’ Publisher Jeff Hardison said. ‘First it is among the living things that God has put on the planet. But, too, it is shiny with that aluminum. So, naturally, whatever else I was doing or thinking, it became ‘Oh look. A shiny object!’


     There was an amazingly delicious lunch of fried chicken, and members brought a long list of salads, side dishes and desserts that is too long to note.
     Overall, it is safe to say a good time was had by all, again, at the monthly meeting of Gilchrist County AARP Chapter #2133.

Bronson Town Council
unanimously rejects requests
from town's building official

By Jeff M. Hardison © May 16, 2017 at 3:07 p.m.
     BRONSON --
Four weeks after it was first put on the agenda, the Bronson Town Council unanimously declined to accept requests for a pay increase and a request for a part-time staff member to help the town's building official.

     During the Monday night (May 15) meeting, Town Clerk Pamela Whitehead read aloud the letter from Town of Bronson Building Official Robert D. "Bob" Niffenegger.
     He had sent the letter April 7 to the Town Council seeking an increase in pay from $25 an hour to $70.
     The matter was on the agenda for the Bronson Town Council to consider the request at its meeting on Monday (May 1), but Niffenegger was in the hospital at the time. He was absent from the May 15 meeting as well, reportedly in a health rehabilitation facility.
     This was the second time he has requested an increase, according to his letter.
     Niffenegger has more than 14 years of service in this capacity, after first being hired when Jamie Griffin was mayor of Bronson in 2002, he noted in his letter. The contract for Niffenegger was signed in December of 2002.
     Shortly after that time, he was given the tasks of being a planning and development director for the town as well, he noted.
     In his April 7 letter to the Bronson Town Council, Niffenegger notes that the City of Cedar Key is paying $70 an hour for its building official, and the same hourly rate for a building inspector and for a person who makes planning and zoning decisions.
     He notes that Williston has a full-time planner as a member of its staff of employees.
     Chiefland Deputy Clerk Laura Cain on Thursday (April 27) said that city pays the firm of Michael T. Causley Inc. a fee that is a straight percentage for all of its services. That fee to Causley is 80 percent of the permit fee. The other 20 percent goes to the City of Chiefland, she said.
     Levy County Building Official Bill Hammond formerly headed the Chiefland Building Department, but he went to join the county's ranks. After that, Chiefland hired Walter Brown of Florida Municipal Services Inc. and the Causley group as independent contractors.
     As a benefit to the whole Tri-County Area of Levy, Dixie and Gilchrist counties, the City of Chiefland then allowed the Tri-County Community Resources Center to use the former Chiefland Building Department building to be the center's home.
     Niffenegger’s April 7 letter provides the Bronson Town Council with a reminder about a past event.
     He noted that in September of 2013, he had tendered a letter of resignation because he had felt former Town Councilman Berlon Weeks had been overly critical of his work as the building official, in regard to a structure that Weeks’ owns.
     “I decided I had enough abuse and was submitting my resignation,” Niffenegger wrote.
     In that letter, he noted for the Town Council that he would consider not resigning if the town would increase his pay to the prevailing rate in this part of Florida.
     “I did not receive any answer from any of the Board (Town Council) members,” Niffenegger said in his April 7 letter, “other than the vote was 4-0 to not accept my resignation. That vote indicated to me that they were intending to give me a raise in salary.”
     He went on to note the raise never happened.
     Niffenegger also noted that he never received “… the courtesy of a timely response” either in a verbal written form from any of the Town Council members after his request for an increase in pay from 2013.
     In addition to an increase from $25 to $70 an hour, retroactive to Jan. 1, 2017, he notes that he needs a part-time inspector to be added to the town’s staff.
     If the Town Council agrees to his request, Niffenegger noted that he can create a resolution to increase the building permit fees to “a more realistic amount to cover the cost.”
     During the meeting Monday night, Bronson Mayor Bruce Greenlee told the town leaders that other Levy County municipalities are contracting their inspections, and building plans to an independent contractor that accepts a percentage of the fees paid to the municipalities for the service.
     Deputy Town Clerk Susie Robinson said Niffenegger suffered a stroke on the Thursday before the Monday meeting four weeks ago.
     Town Councilman Aaron Edmondson asked Monday night (May 15) if Niffenegger still wanted as big of an increase as he had asked for previously. That was confirmed for Edmondson.
     Mayor Greenlee said no one can control health issues that occur, however the town does need to provide certain services such as building permit approvals and building inspections.
     Edmondson said that if the town gives the requested raise and Niffenegger remains unable to perform the job due to health issues, then that is still not going to resolve the issues of building requests backing up.
     Mayor Greenlee said the even before the most recent health issue, there was a backlog of building matters starting to occur.
     “I don’t want to sound to anybody like I am some sort of a tyrant that is willing to throw somebody out on their head,” Greenlee said. “I’m not that. But we do have to make decisions for the city, and of the taxpayers of the city that not only make sense, but are going to be easy.”
     This is when he brought up the method being used by other municipalities to hire independent contractors rather than having building department staff. He said, using arbitrary figures, that if the town collects $10,000 in fees and pays $18,000 in salary, then it is a losing proposition in regard to having a building official or staff.
     After more discussion, there was a motion by Town Councilwoman Katie Parks, seconded by Town Councilman Jason Hunt, to decline Niffenegger’s request for a pay increase and to add a part-time staff member.
     Mayor Greenlee said this does not terminate his employment. It is only a choice to decline from accepting the pay increase and added staff that he wanted.
     Mayor Greenlee said this was all that could be decided Monday night. The mayor reminded the Town Council that it must wait to advertise if there is a plan to seek an independent contractor, so that the public will know this is a plan the Town Council is going to seek.
     Something of this level of significance, Greenlee said, must be noted on the agenda beforehand so that interested parties can watch and listen to the Town Council, and to provide input if the people want to share input about the matter with the Town Council.
     Mayor Greenlee said the Levy County Planning and Building Department is assisting the Town of Bronson for a fee in regard to plan reviews and building inspections. This is a professional courtesy the county is providing, Greenlee said, but it is not something that can continue.
     The county “got out of” the business of planning and building department services for municipalities some time ago, Greenlee said.

Log Truck Overturns
I-75 Northbound reopens In Pasco County

* Both directions of I-75 have been reopened as of 12:40 PM.

Florida Highway Patrol Sgt. Steve Gaskins noted at 10:23 a.m. on Monday that a semi tractor-trailer carrying logs had crashed on northbound I-75 near the 285 MM, south of SR 52, and lost its load. The tractor-trailer was traveling northbound on Interstate 75 in the outside lane just south of State Road 52 hauling a load of logs. The load shifted and the driver lost control of the vehicle which overturned onto its left side before colliding with the concrete barrier wall dividing northbound and southbound traffic. The tractor trailer came to final rest facing west in the inside lane and shoulder of northbound Interstate-75.

The NORTHBOUND lanes are CLOSED at this time. All northbound lanes will likely remain closed during clean up. Motorists should expect northbound delays and/or seek alternate routes for the next several hours.

Published May 15, 2017 at 11:07 a.m.
Updated May 15, 2017 2:27 p.m.
on the Home Page of

Information and Photos Provided By FHP

Chiefland city elections
are coming on Aug. 1

By Jeff M. Hardison © May 12, 2017 at 11:37 p.m.
Registered voters in the city limits of Chiefland who pay a $448 election qualifying fee can run for office to be a member of the Chiefland City Commission.

     This year, as a result of the death of former mayor Matthew Teal Pomeroy, there are four seats up for election.
     The names of those groups and the incumbents who are in those seats follow: Group 1 - Chris Jones; Group 2 - Donald Lawrence; Group 3 - Rollin Hudson; and Group 5 - Betty Walker.
     The period when candidates can qualify for this municipal race is from Monday, June 5, through Thursday, June 8 from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. on any of those days.
      The place to qualify for election is in the Hardy Dean Sr. Municipal Building, which is also known as Chiefland City Hall, located at 214 E. Park Ave., in Chiefland.
     Qualified City of Chiefland voters will be able to cast their ballots on Aug. 1, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. in the Hardy Dean Sr. Municipal Building, which is also known as Chiefland City Hall, located at 214 E. Park Ave., in Chiefland.
     The Supervisor of Elections for this election is City Manager Mary Ellzey, who is also the ex officio city clerk. Possible candidates may want to confer with Ellzey or Levy County Supervisor of Elections Tammy Jones to learn about establishing a bank account before qualifying for their candidacy.
     HardisonInk.com will sell advertising space to candidates in this race for $300. There is one size of ad and one price. The ads will run as soon as the person qualifies as a candidate, signs a contract and pays the fee.
     These ads will run on all seven pages. The ads will be stacked with the first candidate who pays being on top and subsequent candidates’ ads chronologically for payment below that ad.
     Thank you ads cost $100 for non-advertising candidates and will run for two weeks after the race is over. Thank you ads are free for advertising candidates and will run for two weeks after the race is over.

Tri-County burn ban
is active and continues

By Jeff M. Hardison © May 11, 2017 at 9:27 a.m.
Updated April 18, 2017 at 8:07 a.m.
Gilchrist County became the third of three counties in the Tri-County Area of Levy, Dixie and Gilchrist counties to initiate a fire ban, when that took effect at noon on May 10, according to information in May 10 and May 17 press releases from Gilchrist County Fire Chief James Campbell.
     All three counties -- Levy, Dixie and Gilchrist counties are continuing the ban until the fire danger level reduces.

    Click HERE to see the most recent post from the Florida Forest Service in regard to County Burn Bans. 
     The first of the three counties was Levy County when it initiated action on April 4, and readopted the required verbiage at the April 18 and May 1 meetings, Levy County Commission Chairman John Meeks said during a telephone interview on May 11.
     Meeks explained that the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Florida Forest Service has requirements of language to make the emergency county action able to enforce via Florida Statutes. There is a measure of dryness that reflects the level of wildfire danger, Levy County Commission Chairman Meeks said.
     Levy County Emergency Management Director John MacDonald explained to the County Commission on April 4 that the county had reached the point to exceed the minimal threshold for danger and that it was time to impose the ban.
     Although the Florida Forest Service map as of May 10 did not show Dixie County as participating, Dixie County Emergency Services Deputy Chief Darian Brown has stated in no uncertain terms that county has a burn ban that went into effect on May 4.
     In all three counties, the burn ban is effective for one week at a time, however since the Levy County Commission meets twice monthly rather than weekly, Chairman Meeks explained that the County Commission can ratify the “off week” and it can pay County Clerk Danny Shipp the $10 fee for recording the document.
     There is a permanent open burn ban in Pinellas and Duval counties.
     As for Gilchrist County, just as with the leaders for fire protection in Levy and Dixie counties, Chief Campbell was very clear in the press release he sent yesterday (May 10). His notes are applicable in the other two counties as well.
     “After reviewing Gilchrist County’s current wildland fire conditions and the area weather forecast,” Gilchrist County Fire Chief James Campbell noted, “a mandatory countywide burn ban has been implemented, effective 12 p.m. today, May 10, 2017. The ban will remain in effect until May 17, 2017.”
     The chief noted for municipal interests that the mandatory burn ban includes all of Gilchrist County, including all rural and municipal areas.
     The countywide mandatory burn ban prohibits all of the following:
     • All outdoor burning that has not been specifically authorized by the Florida Division of Forestry.
     • The use of any fireworks, sparklers, flares, or other pyrotechnic devices except as provided by law for public displays requiring a permit.

     Chief Campbell is cognizant of agricultural needs.
     “Please note that the ban does not affect agricultural burning authorized by the Florida Division of Forestry for land clearing or prescribed burning purposes,” Campbell wrote.
     The fire chief helped add detail to some other points.
     “Although the use of LPG/LNG (propane) grills and charcoal grills is permitted,” Campbell said, “the public in encouraged to keep a constant watch for any stray sparks or embers while cooking outdoors. Additionally, due to the potential for accidental ignitions, the use of motorized equipment such as ATVs and dirt bikes is discouraged during times of high wildfire risk. Please bear in mind that lawnmowers, both push and riding, also pose accidental ignition risks.”
     The fire chief asked all individuals to exercise caution during the burn ban.
     Any burning within the Tri-County Area during the imposed burn bans is a violation of various Levy County, Dixie County and Gilchrist County ordinances.
     All three counties’ local laws relate directly to Chapter 252 of Florida Statutes.
     Violation of the burn bans will be considered a second-degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to a maximum 60-day imprisonment in the county jail and up to a $500 fine.
     All county and municipal law enforcement agencies are authorized to enforce these ordinances. State law enforcement agencies are able to use state law to arrest the same suspected criminals.
     For more information about Gilchrist County’s burn ban, please contact Gilchrist County Fire Rescue at 386-935-5400, Campbell noted.

89th Set Of Jingle Performers

Seen here are (from left) J.D. Shouse, who plays the part of Dr. Edward George Armstrong; Lynette Six, who plays the part of Emily Brent; Brad Six, who plays the part of Sir Lawrence Wargrave (a judge); Valdean Fletcher, who plays the part of Thomas Rogers; Michael Zubler, who plays the part of Gen. John Gordon Macarthur; Will Rucker, who plays the part of Capt. Philip Lombard; Jennifer DeLong, who plays the part of Vera Claythorne; and Wyatt Bowden, who plays the part of William Henry Blore sing the jingle. Each performer or set of performers brings his or her, or their (when it is two or more performers) own special something to the jingle. If you see Jeff Hardison and you want to sing the jingle, just let him know or send an email to hardisonink@gmail.com. He asks people to sing it, too, and some of them agree to sing it. (Thanks people!)

Published April 29, 2017 at 4:07 p.m. © Video by Jeff M. Hardison, All Rights Reserved

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