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Rep. Keith Perry and
candidate Jon Uman explain
reasons to vote for them

Story and Photos
By Jeff M. Hardison © Oct. 25, 2014
      CROSS CITY -- State Rep. Keith Perry (R-Gainesville, Dist. 21) and candidate Jon Uman (D-Gainesville) spoke with voters and others Friday night (Oct. 24) at Dixie County High School before the football game between the Dixie County Bears and the Newberry Panthers.


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      The two gentlemen also fielded questions during the game.
KEITH PERRY
      Perry, the incumbent, considers himself to be a strong, effective leader who listens to his constituents.
/Run102414B      He notes that he has a proven record of "protecting our way of life." He supports agriculture by voting for policies such as speeding up approval on permits, increasing agricultural training and protecting water quality and supply.

Rep. Keith Perry and Dixie County High School Principal Jerry Wayne Evans speak with other before the start of the game.

      Speaking of water, Perry said he is among the members of the Florida Legislature who helped secure more than $30 million for local water projects and springs restoration last year.
      The main foundational issue Perry wants to work on next is improving economic development.
      “People have to have jobs,” he said. “We have to have economic opportunities. Without that, nothing else happens.”
      Without more jobs -- education suffers, as does the environment, and even the judicial system deteriorates due to a lack of revenue from taxes that result from a healthy economy, Perry said.
      “We made tremendous strides in the last four years that I have been in Tallahassee,” Perry said.
      The representative said he did not single-handedly do this, but he is among the leaders who helped business owners to improve the state’s economy. As a result of regulatory and tort reform, business was able to grow more, he said.
      Perry said he stands in the minority in one respect of the 160 members of the Florida House of Representatives and the Florida Senate. He is “blue collar” and there are only five or six of this type of state representative or senator, Perry said.
      “So I bring a different perspective to Tallahassee,” Perry said, “than almost anyone else. You’ve got to have that. We can’t have blue collar people pushed to the sideline, and not given the attention they deserve and need.”

Run102414
Jon Uman and his wife Claire at Dixie County High School for the Friday night game against the Newberry High School Panthers.

JON UMAN

      Uman is a third generation Floridian who grew up in Alachua County. He wants to fight for all of the people of Dixie County, Gilchrist County and western Alachua County, he said.
      Once a prosecutor who served under former Eighth Judicial Circuit State Attorney Rod Smith and then Eighth Judicial Circuit State Attorney Bill Cervone, Uman then went into practice for himself. He earned a reputation for taking on insurance companies and big corporations on behalf of regular people who need a hand.
      The people of Dixie, Gilchrist and Alachua counties do not currently have a voice in Tallahassee, Uman said as he explained why he wants to be elected as the next representative from District 21.
      “Currently our public schools are being gutted,” Uman said. “The regular guy has nobody standing up for him. Our legislators are all fighting for special interests in Tallahassee.”
      Jon Uman and his wife Claire have three children in school. Hunter and Summer attend public schools in Alachua County and Sara is a freshman at the University of Florida. He plans to fight to make public schools a priority.
      “I want to see our public schools properly funded,” Uman said. “I want to see our tax dollars going into public schools – not going to private, for-profit corporations.”
      As for testing, Uman said he opposes high stakes standardized testing and linking that to teacher merit raises.
      Uman said he plans to fight against privatization of the Florida Department of Corrections prisons, because that would mean the loss of many jobs for Floridians.
      It would be a disaster for the 30,000 DOC workers, he said.
Another issue he wants to tackle is the retention of pensions for state workers.
      “I think Wall Street and the special interests see a pot of gold when they see our Florida Retirement System and they want to take that and sell it off to Wall Street, and take their commissions. And I want to fight against that.”
      He is ready, willing and able to go now.
      “My opponent (Perry) and the Legislature say ‘Next year, next year, next year,’” Uman said. “I say let’s begin the fight this year.”
      And he knows that winning is an option in a fight.
      “I beat cancer twice,” Uman said. “Beating the special interests in Tallahassee should be no problem.”

COMING SOON:
GCSO Helps Sheriffs Boys Ranch and Provides Inexpensive Fun At First Fall Fun Fest



Grand jury indicts
two murder suspects

By Jeff M. Hardison © Oct. 22, 2014
     DIXIE COUNTY -- Two men suspected of murder will face a jury, or a judge or enter a plea-negotiated agreement as the result of action by the Third Judicial Circuit Grand Jury, according to information provided Oct. 21 by Dixie County Sheriff's Office spokesman Maj. Scott Harden.
     Florida law requires a grand jury to indict a person for murder before that person starts the next part of the judicial process. A grand jury is formed from residents of a judicial circuit. The State's Attorney Office for that circuit presents information to the grand jury to show reason to try the case.
     The grand jury either presents a "true bill," which means the person can be tried, or "no bill," which means the prosecutor failed to show the grand jury enough cause for that group to believe it should be tried.
     In this part of the judicial process, it is not to decide guilt -- it is only to decide whether the case should be tried.
      On Oct. 20, the office of Third Judicial Circuit State’s Attorney Jeff Siegmeister presented two homicide cases to the grand jury at the Dixie County Courthouse, Harden said.
     These alleged murders happened in September. The grand jury returned indictments in both cases, Harden said.
     One case involved the death of Gabriel E. McCabe, who was shot and killed on the night of Sept. 11 near Gornto Springs. In that case, the grand jurors returned an indictment against Michael Barnette to be tried on the charge of first degree murder while being armed, and for possession of a short-barreled shotgun.
     The other case involved the shooting death of Colton Tyler Snellgrove on the morning of Sept. 13, in the town of Suwannee. In this case, the grand jury returned an indictment against Stuart Prescott to be tried for first degree murder while armed.
     Both Barnette and Prescott have been in the custody of the Dixie County Sheriff’s Office since their times of arrest on the days of the shooting. They both remain in custody pending future court proceedings, Harden said.

Commission ignores
lawyer's advice 4-1

CntCom102114
Seated at a large table in a courtroom (from left), County Attorney Anne Brown, Commissioner John Meeks, County Commissioner Danny Stevens, Commission Chairman Ryan Bell, County Commissioner Mike Joyner and County Commissioner Chad Johnson prepare to conduct the business of the day. The County Commission meeting room is being renovated now.

Story and Photos

By Jeff M. Hardison © Oct. 21, 2014
     BRONSON – Proposed changes in the manner in which Levy County Road 40 is being repaved led Levy County Attorney Anne Brown to advise the County Commission on Tuesday (Oct. 21) to recommend either rebidding the project or going forward with it as it was accepted earlier.

     After more than 30 minutes of discussion about the non-agenda item, on a motion by County Commissioner Mike Joyner, seconded by Commissioner John Meeks, the 4-1 vote shows Joyner, Meeks, Commissioner Chad Johnson and Chairman Ryan Bell voting in favor of the change and County Commissioner Danny Stevens voting against it.
     William “Bill” Bachschmidt, a principle in D.A.B. Constructors of Inglis, told the County Commission that he can save the county money and provide a better job of repaving Levy County Road 40 from U.S. Highway 19 going east to where it meets the Marion County line. Before the vote that led to approval of the change, however, there was a 4-1 vote in which Johnson voted against hearing something that was not on the agenda.
CntCom102114D     Johnson has consistently voted against considering items not on the agenda.

Levy County Road Supervisor Bruce Greenlee (left) and William “Bill” Bachschmidt, a principle in D.A.B. Constructors of Inglis, speak to the County Commission. Bachschmidt noted that he lives and works in Levy County, and that he is among the taxpayers of the county.

     Levy County Road Supervising Administrator Bruce Greenlee and Andrew Carswell of Mills Engineering approached the County Commission with a proposal that was not on the agenda for that meeting.
     Basically, Carswell said, Bachschmidt is wanting to mill off an inch and a half of asphalt off the roadway. There is a savings to the county by milling the road, the engineer said.
     Cracks along the centerline and in some other places, Carswell said, are the reason for the change. Other discussion showed that oxidation of asphalt causes the cracking, and by removing the old upper part of oxidized asphalt, the repaving lasts longer before cracking again.
     If the old asphalt is not removed and is simply repaved over, the cracking returns in six or so years, Bachschmidt told the County Commission.
     Carswell said the county has repaved roads using the old method, and he does not see a significant problem with that method.
     “This is not something the other bidders were able to bid on,” County Attorney Brown said.
     There was no option for milling and less asphalt being added, she said, when the bid was let for this project. While the end result of repaving is the same, it is in effect a different job, she said, and the other bidders were not given an opportunity to propose their price by using this method.
     Brown said the county is exposing itself to a possible challenge by some other bidder who participated earlier but did not win the bid. If the county wants to consider this process, she suggested rebidding it with that option being noted for all bidders.
     Greenlee said he would prefer not to rebid the project due to time constraints on the grant. The asphalt management classes he attended have shown Greenlee that milling helps eliminate a lot of the cracking shown on CR 40, he said.
     “Amending the contract would be open to challenge,” Brown reiterated.
     Commissioner Meeks said he sees a $6,000 savings projected for the county by doing the work this way. Beyond that, the county keeps all of the old millings from what comes off the road – for use on the sides of roads, on driveway areas next to roads and potentially on dirt roads to reduce dust, Bachschmidt said.
     Bachschmidt said this much milling is worth $175,000.
     Bachschmidt said he drives on CR 40 every day and he knows about the cracking.
     “The attorney says it can be challenged,” Bachschmidt said. “Everything can be challenged. You can change what you want to change.”
     At the pre-construction conference with Greenlee and Mills Engineering, Bachschmidt said the idea was presented and it seemed like a good idea at the time. There are 9,000 tons of asphalt going down on the job, and so there are 9,000 tons of millings being taken off, he said.
     “I challenge that there’s going to be a challenge,” Bachschmidt said, as he stressed that this is an accepted practice that provides a longer-lasting repaving job at a reduced price.
     By using the milling method, the price is $876,380 which is in comparison to $882,504 to equal just over a $6,000 savings, Meeks said.
     With that, Joyner made the motion to accept the proposed change and Meeks seconded it.
     Commissioner Stevens asked if this would be a “change order’ to the project.
     Carswell said this is a form of change order.
     Stevens said he heard Brown say the county opens itself to a challenge by allowing this revision. He prefers delaying a decision on the question until the county sees approval from the Florida Department of Transportation for a change order.
     Carswell said the DOT must approve the plan before it goes forward.
     Johnson said this issue provides a perfect illustration of his reason for objecting to non-agenda items being brought before the County Commission. This could have been researched before being considered, he said.
     By jumping the process, this does not allow commissioners to prepare themselves with information so that they can make a decision by being informed first.
     Johnson finds it ironic that the commission is looking at an option to build a better road with a longer-lasting method that cost less tax dollars, but they are potentially delayed by rules of the bid process. The other choice would be to go with the existing proposed method, knowing it may not be the best option, he said.
     Joyner said he made the motion because this will save the taxpayers’ money and he knows D.A.B. Constructors will build a fine road.
     Stevens said he just wants to see the DOT agree to the change order or he wants it to go as it was bid. He said that the vote could wait two weeks until he sees the change order.
     Brown said there will need to be an amended agreement, which is not in front of the commission that morning. Bell said he understands that.
     Since the motion and second were made, and the call for the vote was made, it was a 4-1 vote with Stevens being the lone dissenter. The next County Commission meeting day is Nov. 4 – election day.

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-- UPDATED --

SUN.  OCT. 26  12:37 a.m.
Levy, Dixie, Gilchrist counties



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