Turnip greens, with the turnips still on them, and mustard greens, also right out of the field from the Old Town area are among the many fresh vegetables and fruits at the Chiefland Farmer's Flea Market. These greens arrived Friday morning (Oct. 28) and were delivered by Ruby Osteen -- a local farmer, quilter and more. She is happy with this crop.
More Below This Ad
The mustard greens seen here arrived at about 10 a.m. Friday morning (Oct. 28). These were grown in the same Dixie County field as the turnip greens. Produce is available at the Chiefland Farmer's Flea Market, which is located at 1206 N. Young Blvd. (U.S. Highway 19) in Chiefland.
The Chiefland Farmer's Flea Market is open Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Potatoes, all various kinds of peppers, onions, cucumbers, okra, mangos, plums and bananas are among the seasonal vegetables there at this time of year. Osteen said she plans to harvest greens for this produce stand through February. In March and April, she said, she will have all kinds of peas, okra and other vegetables to sell to the vendor there. Local farmers may want to visit the stand which is at the southeast corner of the big flea market complex and work with the vendor there, to make consumers happy to have this connection that runs all year long, every Friday, Saturday and Sunday for fresh, local, inexpensive produce.
Photos by Jeff M. Hardison © Oct. 28, 2016 @ 12:37 p.m.
Deadline is Nov. 18 for FEMA
Published Oct. 27, 2016 @ 10:17 a.m.
on the Home Page of HardisonInk.com
BRONSON -- The deadline for residents to apply for assistance from FEMA as a result of Hurricane Hermine is Nov. 18.
The Levy County Emergency Management Department notes that people who were affected by that hurricane can register for help by calling 1-800-621-3362 or by going online to http://www.disasterassistance.gov.
Levy County Emergency Management Director John MacDonald, Assistant Director David Peaton and Emergency Management Planner Leatha Keene are doing what they can to assure people who were impacted by this hurricane, are told about the deadline and how to seek help from the United States Federal Emergency Management Agency.
Chiefland preps Trunk And Treat;
Bronson promises costume contest
as well as Trunk And Treat on Saturday
Story and Photo
By Jeff M. Hardison © Oct. 25, 2016 @ 12:07 p.m.
LEVY COUNTY - With two of the two normal community providers of centralized Halloween candy distribution points choosing against doing so this year in Chiefland, the people of Chiefland are using the Haunted House event on Saturday (Oct. 29) as the place and time for Trunk And Treat.
Police Chief Robert Douglas said business interests are bringing vehicles which will be decorated for Halloween, and they will be bringing candy to give to children in Halloween costumes. The chief said there are spaces under the awning near the Haunted House (See photos and captions below).
Police Chief Robert Douglas speaks to the Chiefland City Commission.
"We are asking businesses to do this," Douglas said.
When asked for an option in case even more people show up willing to participate than might have been anticipated, he said there is a whole parking lot of area that could be used if needed.
On Monday night, he told the Chiefland City Commission that he is not recommending that children younger than 8 years old go into the Haunted House. It is that scary. Teenagers go running from the Haunted House, he said, and then there are some that get back in line to buy another ticket and go through again.
As for Trunk And Treat, there is an even bigger plan for children 12 years and younger available at Bronson, in the James H. Cobb Park (also known as Bronson Sports Complex).
The Annual Bronson Trunk And Treat event is from 6:30 to 9 p.m. (maybe a bit later).
The event in Bronson shows there are already 25 committed trunk decorators ready to give out candy to children aged 12 and younger.
Also at the Town of Bronson, there is a free haunted house.
And just as the Chiefland Youth Athletic Association used to have it, the Town of Bronson is having a Costume Contest for Children.
This contest will have a First, Second and Third Place winner in the age ranges of ages 0 to 2 years old; 3 to 6 years old and 7 to 12 years old.
Deputy Town Clerk Susie Robinson is heading the event this year. She asks that all trunk decorators who are participating to please be completely set up by 5:30 p.m., to help make the traffic situation safer for everyone.
And for anyone who wants to help with a worthy cause while they are coming to the event, Robinson said, please bring a canned good to donate for the Backpack 4 Kids program. There will be a place to give those cans to help those Bronson students who are in families that need this help.
One More Weekend
This line of people awaits their chance to enter the huge Halloween Haunted House being produced by the Chiefland Police Department, local Rotarians and the Chiefland Fire Rescue Department.
Chiefland Police Chief Robert Douglas is seen here in front of the Haunted House with his wife Barbara Douglas (left) and Sandy Oglesby (right). The three had just come from the Haven Hospice fundraiser on Saturday night (Oct. 22) that marked the 10th Anniversary of the Fall At The Farm annual series.
Here, a scary person with a roaring chainsaw chases an unsuspecting person who thought they had completed the haunted house trip.
Here the scary person who has noticed a flash turns and prepares to hack up a journalist who dared to venture too closely to the haunted house. Chief Douglas said the height of one of the warewolves inside is just one of many awesome features that people can enjoy.
Chiefland Police Department Officer Scott Anderson is heading the project and he found the members of the Suwannee Valley Rotary Club willing to dedicate resources to make this huge haunted house a booming success. The first few weekends have been a blast. The final weekend is approaching. The giant stage for this project is the vacant former Central Florida Electric Cooperative building on the west side of U.S. Highway 19, just south of the Chiefland Farmer's Flea Market. The remaining nights are Oct. 28 and 29. It is not planned for Halloween itself (Oct. 31 -- a Monday). The price for admission is $3 for children and $5 for adults. All of these proceeds, Chief Douglas and Officer Anderson said, are to be put in CPD fund for needy families at Christmastime. The vacant CFEC building is 10,000 square-feet or so, and Anderson and other volunteers are took off their gloves to create a successful, fun (but scary) haunted house event. The final weekend is next weekend -- Friday and Saturday night, and as noted on the Community Calendar, it is open until midnight on the nights when it is on.
Photos by Jeff M. Hardison © Oct. 22, 2016 @ 10:07 p.m.
NRC to issue Levy County
new nuclear reactor licenses
By Jeff M. Hardison © Oct. 21, 2016 @ 11:07 a.m.
LEVY COUNTY -- A Thursday (Oct. 20) press release from the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) provided by Scott Burnell of the NRC Office of Public Affairs in Washington, D.C., shows hope for significant economic growth in southern Levy County.
However, just as Chiefland has long hoped for a hospital that has not yet appeared, this future of two nuclear power plants in southern Levy County is not firm yet either.
Duke Energy Florida (DEF) just received the news itself about the approval, and so it is very early in the process going forward now. Building nuclear power plants is an extremely expensive gamble by corporations.
Right now, the NRC has provided DEF with the authority to begin construction of the two nuclear power plants. The current construction license permit does not have an expiration date -- given that all of the supporting facts remain the same, Burnell said in a telephone interview on Friday morning (Oct. 21).
These two nuclear power plants that might be finished in as few as 10 to 15 years after construction begins are not under construction yet, and DEF has made no announcement of a firm plan to build them yet.
Rick Rhodes of the Duke Corporate Communications Office shared the company’s perspective on the NRC announcement in a telephone interview on Friday morning (Oct. 21).
Rhodes said Duke is pleased with the outcome of the NRC review and the regulatory commissioners’ choice to license the construction of the two electrical generation plants.
The company will look at all of the factors and make its decisions regarding if or when to build those plants based on what Duke sees as best for the customers, Rhodes said.
The company will look at the projected needs for Florida’s electricity, the projected fuel costs, and the legislation for cost recovery as some of the many aspects to consider before starting construction.
The company spokesman mentioned that DEF is currently building a natural gas plant to generate electricity at its Crystal River location.
The link to read all about that project is available by clicking HERE.
DEF, like other electric-generating interests, considers various forms of fuel to convert into electricity – hydro-electric turbines, wind turbines, solar panels, crude oil, coal, natural gas and nuclear fission.
Using nuclear power as a source to create electricity is an option Duke can consider as it goes forward with new electric generation plants in Florida, Rhodes said.
As for Levy County being the site for two nuclear power generators, the site that is under consideration is north of Inglis and south of Gulf Hammock on the east side of U.S. Highway 19.
As Burnell noted in a press release from yesterday (Oct. 20), though, the NRC has cleared the way for the agency’s Office of New Reactors to issue two Combined Licenses (COLs) for Duke Energy’s Levy County site in Florida.
Based on the mandatory hearing on Duke’s application, the Commission found the staff’s review adequate to make the necessary regulatory safety and environmental findings.
One hearing was on July 28 and the public is able to watch and listen to that hearing on any computer with Flash software by clicking HERE.
If this link does not work, go to http://www.nrc.gov/. Then go to "NRC Library" and click on the slide down tag "Photos and Video." Then find "Webcast Portal/Video Archive" and click on that underlined set of words. Scroll down to "7/28/16" and select the format to view the video and watch it.
Following the Commissioners’ direction, Burnell said, the NRC staff will work to issue the COLs promptly.
The licenses will authorize Duke Energy Florida to build and operate two AP1000 reactors at the site, near Inglis in Levy County. The staff will impose conditions on the license, including:
• Specific actions associated with the agency’s post-Fukushima requirements for mitigation strategies and spent fuel pool instrumentation; and
• A pre-startup schedule for implementing post-Fukushima aspects of the new reactors’ emergency preparedness plans and procedures.
Progress Energy Florida (now Duke Energy Florida) submitted its COL application for Levy County on July 30, 2008, Burnell said.
The NRC’s Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards independently reviewed those aspects of the Levy County application that concern safety, Burnell said.
The committee provided the results of its review to the Commission on Dec. 7, 2011, and provided the results of its review of several exemption requests on April 18, 2016, Burnell said.
The NRC completed its environmental review and issued the final environmental impact statement for the proposed Levy County reactors in April 2012, Burnell said. The NRC certified the amended 1,100-megawatt AP1000 design in 2012, Burnell said.
Levy County stalls again
on honorary title for river;
Town hall meeting being planned
Liz Sparks (right), the paddling trail coordinator, from the Office of Greenway and Trails, Division of Recreation and Parks, Florida Department of Environmental Protection, speaks to the Levy County Board of County Commissioners on Tuesday (Oct. 18). Assistant to the County Coordinator Wilbur Dean is standing behind her and County Clerk Danny Shipp is in the left part of this photo.
Story and Photos
By Jeff M. Hardison © Oct. 20, 2016 @ 10:17 p.m.
LEVY COUNTY -- Although there seems to be no logical or rational or reasonable purpose to deny approval of a resolution to put an honorary title on the Levy County portion of the Suwannee River, and even though every other county that has been approached in Florida and Georgia has done so, the four members of the Levy County Board of County Commissioners again refused.
The lead commissioner fighting against the resolution is County Commissioner Lilly Rooks.
County resident Toni Collins complained about the Save Our Suwannee organization disbanding. Collins complained about people littering in the Suwannee River. She complained about the City of Valdosta, Ga., allegedly dumping so much raw sewage into the Suwannee River that is somehow severely impacts Levy County.
County commissioners Lilly Rooks (left) and Mike Joyner listen to Liz Sparks.
Collins, a self-proclaimed historian, told Liz Sparks, the paddling trail coordinator, from the Office of Greenway and Trails, Division of Recreation and Parks, Florida Department of Environmental Protection, that Collins thinks the DEP should focus more on the history of the St. Johns River because it is more historic than the Suwannee River.
Rooks said she felt a Town Hall meeting was needed to help people understand more about the impact this resolution will have on Levy County's part of the Suwannee River.
Interestingly, since the Dixie County Board of County Commissioners have already adopted the resolution only half of the river between the two counties now sits "unapproved." In fact, Levy County may have the distinction of being the only county along the river in two states to not want to accept an honorary title to the river.
County Commissioner Rock Meeks, who made a motion to adopt the resolution in August, remains silent on Tuesday.
County Commission Chairman follows the lead of Commissioner Lilly Rooks with the idea of a town hall meeting after Toni Collins again complained about the county possibly adopting this resolution.
This is the second stall for Levy County. Three individuals, two who joined Collins, complained on Aug. 17 that they think there is reason to not trust the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and the United States Department of the Interior.
Those three conspiracy theorists at that meeting indicated they believe that the state and federal governments have ulterior motives.
Therefore, after County Commissioner Rock Meeks, who had made a motion to adopt the resolution about two months ago, which was then seconded by County Commissioner Rooks, those two withdrew their motions. Collins was among the contributor to both campaigns.
This simple resolution seeks to proclaim the Levy County part of the Suwannee River as a National Water Trail designation.
Renate Cannon, one of the anti-resolution speakers in August, also complained on Tuesday. She was critical of the DEP for not stopping Georgia from polluting the river that goes downstream to the Gulf of Mexico as it runs by part of the Levy County border.
County Commission Chairman John Meeks explained to Cannon that the Florida Department of Environmental Protection does not have any power to rule in Georgia. He likened the failure of Georgia to do anything about polluting the Suwannee River to Atlanta, Georgia stopping the flow of water in another river, which affects shellfish in Florida.
Sparks said she will hold a town hall meeting. Before conceding to this first-ever request in regard to this particular resolution, Sparks attempted to use clear English verbiage to nullify any fear of the feds seizing the river.
Commissioner Rooks asked if this was part of a grant application.
Sparks said this has no financial obligations or attachments. This resolution is just “asking for an honorary designation,” Sparks said. “There is no financial implications; no statutory changes. All we are asking is the Suwannee to be recognized nationally as pretty much ‘The Heart of Florida.’”
There are only 22 National Wildlife Trails in the whole country, Sparks said. There are none yet in Florida, she added.
There is excellent management of the river by the Florida Park Service, she said.
Sparks said this addition will link what already exists for the Suwannee River Wilderness Trail, and extend the trail up into Georgia, where the river originates in the Okefenokee Swamp (Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge).
“So it is strictly adding a layer of recognition to it,” Sparks said.
There are no new products being developed. There is no new money going into it. This is just adding another method for tourists to become aware of the Suwannee River, Sparks said.
There is no change in access to the river, she added.
When Rooks said the DEP should talk to Georgia about the alleged dumping of human waste in the river, Sparks said this is an honorary title that is not related to enforcement or regulation.
Collins complained that a property owner next to the Suwannee River had to cope with tourists who did not respect that person’s private docks, etc.
Sparks said that if Levy County does not adopt the resolution, then it will be the county without the ability to put the National Water Trail logo on its maps. It will just not be a part of the Suwannee River National Water Trail.
Sparks said the designation will not affect the people who live next to the river. There is no access change resulting from the designation. The same boat ramps will still exist.
“Except for Levy County, every county has sent a resolution or a letter of support,” Sparks said.
She said this designation can potentially help rural business interests next to the river, but she does not know the level of impact it will have.
Counties that see tourism as an economic engine see this as a benefit.
Sparks said the deadline for submission of this application is Nov. 1. Commission Chairman Meeks suggested that if necessary, submit the application without Levy County endorsement and see if it can be added after the fact.
Sparks agreed to work with Wilbur Dean, assistant to County Coordinator Freddie Moody, to determine a date, time and place for a town hall meeting about this possible adoption of a resolution.
What would may be Resolution 2016-069 in Levy County reads:
WHEREAS, the benefits of designation of the Suwannee River in Levy County as a National Water Trail include national recognition as a recreation destination, national promotion on maps and through websites, increased tourism, and increased revenue for local businesses; and
WHEREAS, our region benefits from promoting nature-based recreation opportunities, especially paddling, biking, hiking, equestrian activities, hunting, fishing, and wildlife viewing, to increase health benefits to our local communities and encouraging youth and families to participate in outdoor activities; and
WHEREAS, the region benefits from promoting the rich culture and history contained within the watershed of the Suwannee River, drawing visitors eager to explore the historical legacy
WHEREAS, the Suwannee River National Water Trail offers a unique opportunity for residents and visitors to explore an unspoiled, pristine area of Florida and Georgia; and
WHEREAS, the cultural, historical and natural resources of this area are some of the most unique in the Southeast.
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, the Board of County Commissioners, Levy County, Florida, endorses the Office of Greenways & Trails application for designation of the Suwannee River in Levy County as a National Water Trail by the United States Department of the Interior.
As best as can be determined from every piece of writing and interviews of people, this would have nothing other than a purely positive effect on Levy County’s residents and visitors.
“Designation has NO effect on property rights of landowners along the trail or use of the waterway!” Sparks noted in one email earlier.
Publisher explains changes
Published Oct. 20, 2016 @ 5:17 p.m.
Updated Oct. 20, 2016 @ 10:17 p.m.
on the Home Page of HardisonInk.com
THE WORLD – Jeff M. Hardison, sole proprietor, owner, publisher and chief executive officer of HardisonInk.com on Thursday (Oct. 20) explained why a set of stories, photos and video are somewhat delayed from the daily news website.
“As we started the final quarter of the 2016 calendar year,” Hardison said. “My sharp team of business consultants, advertisement specialists, marketing analysists, macro-economics wizards, and others agreed with me that we need to make the advertisements on the right side of each page equal in size.
During the first six years of the business, the ads on right side of the Home Page became 300 pixels wide by 599 pixels long, or they were 300 pixels by 300 pixels.
“Those ads on the other pages were 260 pixels wide by 519 pixels long or 260 by 260 pixels,” he continued. “The ads had become bigger on the Home Page because of some options we offered previously, and continue to a degree.”
Nature Coast Web Design & Marketing Inc. is the company that provides technical support. They needed a tiny bit of time to change code for all of the pages.
“It took me a few hours, though,” Hardison continued, “to put up the ads that Sharon had revised for me. Sharon remade a lot of ads.
“This revamping of the site took away from my time to write and edit,” Hardison said. “However, relatively soon the entire process was completed today (Thursday, Oct. 20) and advertisers will have slightly bigger ads while not taking away from the content.”
The publisher said he has one night event from 6 to 8 p.m., and then he will return to the Code Orange Office to begin work on the following stories, photos and videos -- Road Plans Shared; Withlacoochee Gulf Area Chamber of Commerce Has Feast During Annual Meeting; and You Pick Lane Activities Attract Visitors (2 Videos).
Levy County Extension
director applicant introduced
Levy County Clerk Danny Shipp (left) watches as Edward 'Ed' Jennings prepares to speak with the Levy County Board of County Commissioners on Tuesday (Oct. 17). Jennings is the top choice to replace former Levy County Extension Director Albert Fuller.
Story and Photo
By Jeff M. Hardison © Oct. 18, 2016 @ 8:37 a.m.
BRONSON – The four Levy County Commission members present for the regular twice-a-month meeting on Tuesday (Oct. 18) met the most recent applicant who seeks to fill the position of director of the UF/IFAS Extension office in Bronson.
County Commissioner Danny Stevens was absent. The four county leaders who were there, however, are Chairman John Meeks and commissioners Rock Meeks, Lilly Rooks and Mike Joyner.
Acting Extension Director Wilbur Dean introduced Edward “Ed” Jennings, noting that if Jennings is hired for this position he will be the director of Levy County Extension as well as being the livestock agent for the county.
Dean, who is also the assistant to Levy County Coordinator Freddie Moody, accepted the assignment to help the county as it continues to be in a transition phase of leadership at the Extension office.
A previous candidate for the vacant was like former Levy County Extension Director Albert Fuller, in that the pervious applicant for the position would have served as the 4-H agent as well. Fuller retired at least eight months ago.
Levy County livestock owners asked the County Commission, literally at the last minute after there had already been a relatively lengthy vetting process, to request of the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences that it send a person with a focus on commercial livestock rather than on 4-H, which is a program for children.
The first applicant who had been vetted never even had a chance to meet the County Commission, although the date, time and place of that introduction had been set and almost happened.
UF/IFAS Northeast District Extension Director Dr. Eric Simonne accepted the request from Levy County to bring a livestock-oriented applicant.
Agricultural Extension Agent Anthony Drew is known as the row crop specialist for Levy County, and he has been utilized by several other counties, states and even internationally as a hands-on as well as classroom setting educator for farmers.
The University of Florida historically has provided every county with agricultural education services and the Extension office today has evolved through a time when it for a period of time was known as the Cooperative Extension Service in each county, always with its foundation at the University of Florida in Gainesville, a land grant college from decades ago.
As a result of the request by Levy County commercial livestock interests, Levy County will get a separate person to be the new Levy County 4-H Agent. So, while some 4-H interests may have initially seen the request as detrimental to the 4-H program, the county is going to have a 4-H agent even before it has whomever as the future director of Levy County Extension hired.
Levy County 4-H Agent Genevieve Mendoza has a tentative starting date of Nov. 15, according to what Dr. Simonne said on Tuesday morning. Levy County 4-H Program Assistant Brenda Heberling will be assisting Mendoza, in the same position as Heberling used to assist Fuller before his retirement.
Jennings, who is currently the heir apparent to Fuller’s former post as Levy County Extension director, has a 32-year background with UF/IFAS Extension, having served in many capacities, including as a 4-H agent.
If Jennings is presented with, and accepts, an offer from Levy County, then Jennings will be serving as the director over the entire operation of the office.
The potential future leader of this aspect of Levy County business and education has a global perspective on his possible future responsibilities in this county.
Jennings was the Sumter County extension director for seven years, he said. He has served in a four-county livestock educational position – serving Citrus, Pasco, Hernando and Sumter counties most recently.
While his key interest is livestock, he will be looking at everything – including 4-H, agriculture, livestock, family consumer science and environmental science, he said.
“I think I’ve been around (the UF/IFAS Cooperative Extension Service) long enough to appreciate the total program,” Jennings said. “I am a livestock agent by training. Most of us like to put the most emphasis on the program you’re interested in most. If you’re a 4-H agent, then you kind of lean toward youth. If you’re a family consumer science agent, you lean toward that.”
Jennings said his decades of experience in this profession let him understand and appreciate the total program that Extension provides to counties in Florida.
“When I put on that County Extension Director hat, which I did before, I change a little bit from what I am right now,” Jennings said. “Right now, I am a livestock guy. I support those livestock producers in my area. And I will do that here as well.
“But I also understand you have to support the total program,” he continued. “Like you said Commissioner (Mike Joyner), the 4H program is very near and dear to my heart. As a livestock agent, I still do a lot of youth work.”
Jennings said he helps young people in FFA as well as 4-H, and he mentioned that in “junior cattlemen’s associations” in the four-county region he serves now. Therefore, given he is the next Extension director in Levy County, then there may be a new program where young people will enjoy an opportunity to learn.