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'Coward' kills
two deputies

* Shooter identified

Alachua County Sheriff's Sgt. Brett Rhodenizer (blue shirt) explains to Gilchrist County Sheriff Bobby Schultz the plan for addressing so many TV and other journalists as the sheriff arrives at about 7:40 p.m. on Thursday.

Story, Photos and Video
By Jeff M. Hardison © April 20, 2018 at 12:28 a.m.
* Updated April 20, 2018 at 7:58 a.m. - Shooter Identified
** Updated April 20, 2018 at 2:08 p.m. - Longer Video
     GILCHRIST COUNTY --
Gilchrist County Sheriff Bobby Schultz in an interview Thursday evening (April 19) said the man who shot and killed two deputies was a coward.
~

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** In this video, Sheriff Bobby Schultz conducts the press conference. This is the whole video. A shorter version was put up earlier.
Video By Jeff M. Hardison, All Rights Reserved


In the background, Marion County Sheriff Billy Woods and Eighth Judicial Circuit State Attorney William Cervone listen as Levy County Sheriff Bobby McCallum (red shirt) stand next to his friend, colleague and fellow Christian Gilchrist County Sheriff Bobby Schultz.

     Gilchrist County Sheriff's Sgt. Noel Ramirez, 30, a seven-year veteran of law enforcement and GCSO Deputy Taylor Lindsey, 25, were killed at approximately 3 p.m. on Thursday afternoon, Sheriff Schultz said in the 7:45 p.m. press conference.
      The conference was held in a grassy field across the street from where the two GCSO deputy sheriffs were shot and killed. The two men died at the Ace China restaurant, which is located on the southwest corner of East Wade Street (State Road 26) and Southeast 11th Street in Trenton.
*      John Hubert Highnote, 59, of Bell walked up to the business and shot both deputies through the window, according to a press release by Alachua County Sheriff's Office Sgt. Brett Rhodenizer, who is a public information officer for the ACSO.
     As fellow deputies responded to the scene, they found the shooter deceased outside the business, and both deputy sheriffs had died of their wounds there, Rhodenizer said.
     This case remains an active criminal investigation with no apparent motive or indications as to why this tragedy occurred, Rhodenizer said.
     Sheriff Schultz held the press conference only after he personally spoke with the next of kin of the two fallen deputies.
     Before Sheriff Schultz arrived, Sgt. Rhodenizer and Levy County Sheriff's Office Lt. Scott Tummond, who is also a public information officer, fielded questions and stationed the many journalists in the grassy field. Sgt. Rhodenizer and Lt. Tummond were some of the dozens of officers and other supporters who came to Trenton instantly after learning of the horrific act late that afternoon.
     Darry D. Lloyd, the deputy chief investigator in the office of Eighth Judicial Circuit State Attorney William Cervone also assisted in guiding the media.


Emergency vehicles from Gilchrist, Dixie and Levy counties are seen at the city park in Trenton. This was an initial command center for the grieving brethren of the officers who were killed.


A couple of Chiefland Police Department cruisers are seen at the park in Trenton.


Alachua County and Trenton Police cruisers are seen at the park.


This is a view of the back of the Chinese restaurant.


Some of the multitude of media personalities prepare.


The Ace China restaurant is in the background as an investigator with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement walks toward the location of the double murder.


One of at least three news helicopters buzzes the area.



Putnam County Sheriff Gator Deloach (left) and Levy County Sheriff Bobby McCallum await the arrival of Gilchrist County Sheriff Bobby Schultz


(from left) Alachua County Sheriff Sadie Darnell, Marion County Sheriff Billy Woods and State Rep. Chuck Clemons are among the people who came to support Sheriff Schultz.


Darry D. Lloyd (left) of the Eighth Judicial Circuit State Attorney's Office welcomes Marion County Sheriff's Office Chief Deputy Robert Douglas. LCSO Lt. Scott Tummond (background, left) looks on.


Florida Highway Patrol Troop B Commander Maj. Eileen Powell (center of picture) is among the many FHP leaders and troopers helping in every way at Trenton. FHP Lt. Patrick V. Riordan, a renowned public information officer, was also in the crowd.

 


Some of the many high sheriffs of Florida counties and other leaders of the law enforcement community are seen moments before Sheriff Bobby Schultz speaks.




(from left) Levy County Sheriff Bobby McCallum, State Rep. Chuck Clemons, Alachua County Sheriff Sadie Darnell and FHP Maj. Eileen Powell await the start of the press conference.



     During the press conference, Sheriff Schultz helped all people listening to him understand his perspective.
     “You can never be prepared for something like this,” Sheriff Schultz said as he told about his visit with the surviving family members with whom he had spoken. “They understood that when their loved ones pinned on a badge and they strapped on a gun, that this was a possibility."
     The sheriff went on to say it was his opinion that these two fallen heroes were “… the best of the best. They were men of integrity. They were men of loyalty; God-fearing and they loved what they did. I am very proud of them.”
     The sheriff said he is honored to work with all of the men and women in the Gilchrist County Sheriff’s Office – who just like those two. The sheriff said he is honored to serve the residents and visitors of Gilchrist County.
     “They gave their lives so that we all can be safe,” Sheriff Schultz said.
     The sheriff has been involved in law enforcement for 26 years. Nevertheless, he said, nothing can prepare a person for senseless deaths.
     Not only were these two gentlemen the quintessential deputy sheriffs of the highest degree, Schultz said, but they were also wonderful children, husbands, boyfriends, brothers and law enforcement brethren.
     The sheriff said he knew both men personally, and he has no qualms in telling listeners that he loved them.
     “And they were loved,” Sheriff Schultz said. “And when I spoke with those families this afternoon, I told them that they could be proud of those men. They could be proud. I am proud to have been their sheriff.”
     He is thankful to God for the opportunity to have worked alongside them.
     The sheriff said this investigation is in the hands of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. More information about the killer, if there was a motive that can be determined and other points may be released by the FDLE when that agency feels it is time to provide that insight, the sheriff said. For now, it is an active investigation.
     These two deputy sheriffs, Schultz said, should not be remembered for their untimely deaths; but instead, they should be remembered as the good individuals that they were during their lives.
     Standing beside Sheriff Shultz were Levy County Sheriff Bobby McCallum and Alachua County Sheriff Sadie Darnell. Standing behind the Sheriff Schultz during the news conference were Baker County Sheriff Scotty Rhoden, Columbia County Sheriff Mark A. Hunter, Marion County Sheriff Billy Woods, Putnam County Sheriff Gator Deloach and others. Also standing with him were representatives from the Florida Highway Patrol, Eighth Judicial Circuit State Attorney William Cervone, State Rep. Charles Wesley "Chuck" Clemons Sr. (R-Newberry, Dist. 21) and others.
     At the Trenton City Park before the press conference, law enforcement officers, firefighters and other first responders from Alachua County, Gilchrist County, Dixie County, Levy County, Trenton, Chiefland, Williston and other counties and cities were consoling each other. There was a strong showing of law enforcement officers from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, as well as other state, county and local agencies.
     Officials from the Levy County Sheriff’s Office, the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, and the State Attorney’s Office all responded to the area to assist, as did too many other agencies and people from areas too many to list.
     Sheriff Schultz said the outpouring of support from so many people in these professions results because they know there are heroes on the streets.
     “They know what it takes to be a law enforcement officer,” Schultz said.
     The sheriff said the GCSO is not going to make this a political issue, he did make a strong statement nonetheless.
     “What do you expect when you demonize law enforcement to the extent that it has been demonized?” he asked. “Every type of hate – every type of putdown that you can think of. The only thing these men were guilty of was wanting to protect you and me. They just wanted to go get something to eat and they just wanted to do their job.”
     The sheriff said all of the members of the GCSO team will honor their brethren by doing their jobs.
     “We will honor them by doing what we are supposed to do,” he said, “because that is what our heavenly Father wants us to do, because to be a law enforcement officer is a calling – without question, without reservation.”
     The sheriff said the service to the residents and visitors of Gilchrist County will not be interrupted. The GCSO accepts assistance from neighboring agencies, he said.
     Gilchrist County is resilient, he said, and it is a family.
     “We’re going to grieve,” he said. “We’re going to get upset. We’re probably going to cuss a little bit.”
     He said the people will remember those two men, however, for what they were – and that is heroes.
     As for the media coverage, every TV station from coast to coast sent camera crews, and at one point three news helicopters were in a relatively close airspace – hovering over one media checkpoint.
     The sheriff asked the press to please spare the families of the fallen officers and to give them time to mourn their loved ones before asking them for interviews.


Bob Rackleff qualifies
to run for Congress

 

Bob Rackleff
Photo Provided



Published April 19, 2018 at 7:48 a.m.
     TALLAHASSEE --
Bob Rackleff qualified as a candidate for the United States House of Representatives, Second District - Florida, with the Florida Department of State, Division of Elections on April 16.     Rackleff is at least the third Democrat in this race. His name will be on the Aug. 28 Democratic Primary Ballot.
     The United States House of Representatives, Second District - Florida seat currently is held by Republican Neal Dunn of Panama City, who is anticipated to seek reelection.
     Rackleff is a former Leon County Commissioner (1998-2010). This candidate was a speechwriter for President Jimmy Carter and other Democratic officeholders. Rackleff was an enlisted sailor and United States Navy officer for 22 years. He has been a civil rights and environmental activist, and a corporate writer and consultant. He moved to Tallahassee in 1952.
     “I’m running to help win back Congress for the working families of North Florida – to stop the assault on affordable health care, to create good-paying jobs especially in rural communities, and to represent everyone in the district, not just those who support me,” Rackleff said.
     He is a graduate of Florida State University, father of three grown children, and husband of Esther Moring, who has been an emergency medical coordinator with Doctors Without Borders since 1995.


Williston fire chief
gets raise after 4-1 vote

Williston Mayor Jerry Robinson holds a certificate showing that Williston City Council President Nancy Wininger earned for completing the Elected Municipal Officials III: The Leadership Challenge event on March 2 and 3 in Orlando. The Florida League of Cities University awarded the certificate to the city leader. Also at his first meeting as the mayor of Williston, Robinson read a proclamation that April is recognized as General Aviation Month in Williston.

Story and Photo
By Jeff M. Hardison © April 18, 2018 at 5:08 p.m.
     WILLISTON –
By a 4-1 vote Tuesday night (April 17), the Williston City Council agreed with Mayor Jerry Robinson’s recomendation to give Fire Chief Lamar Stegall a raise.
     City Council President Nancy Wininger cast the dissenting vote to the motion that was made by City Councilman Charles Goodman, seconded by City Council Vice President Marguerite Robinson. The other two positive votes to the motion were cast by City Councilman Elihu Ross and City Councilman Justin Head.
     The raise takes Chief Stegall’s hourly rate from $15.33 to $25.
     Council President Wininger said she believes the chief is well worth that amount of hourly money, however she felt this was not the time to be seeking and granting raises. She feels the better time would have been during the budget-making process.
     Mayor Robinson said he had asked City Finance Director Stephen Bloom if the city could afford this pay increase for the chief in its current budget, and he said that a budget amendment will take care of the matter and that the city’s coffers can cover the difference.
     Before making his recommendation for the increase of almost $10 per hour, Mayor Robinson, who was in his first meeting as the mayor, provided the other municipal leaders with some background information about how little Stegall has received for what he has given to the city and the surrounding unincorporated area of Levy County.
    After former Mayor R. Gerald Hethcoat made Stegall the chief in 2001 or so, Robinson said, Stegall’s hourly salary at that point remained the same until 2012, when it was increased to $15.33 an hour – where it has remained. The chief works about 10 hours a week now, except where there are extraordinary circumstances such as hurricanes and big wildfires.
     Depending on the chief’s job at Duke Energy and if he is able to retire, Mayor Robinson said, that may lead to Stegall being able to work 15 to 26 hours a week. The mayor said there will be some weeks during hunting season when Chief Stegall will not be on the clock because he will be hunting.
     City Councilman Ross was the first City Council member to ask about why this is happening at this meeting rather than during the budget-making process.
     Mayor Robinson said he wants to do it now, because the city can do it now. As for questions about raises for other department leaders or administrators, Mayor Robinson said he has not heard requests from other departments yet. Robinson showed the city leaders that the raise was below what other chiefs in the area are being paid.
     Robinson said the chief’s service to the city has been far beyond anything that he has been paid for so far. Robinson and others reminded the City Council that the team of professionals at Williston Fire Rescue have made this volunteer fire department to be seen as the standard to which others hope to attain.
     Chief Stegall’s talent at finding excellent young firefighters and medical professionals who will give 100 percent, and his ability to inspire the WFR staff members as well as to keep the WFR operating at an extraordinary level of service for a very low cost was mentioned by various members of City Council.
     City Councilman Goodman led the effort to follow Mayor Robinson’s request. Goodman said he sees very little likelihood of Williston being able to find a qualified chief who would work part-time on the volunteer department for the meager pay the city gives to Chief Stegall.
     “As far as keeping Chief Stegall,” President Wininger said, “I don’t think there is any better. I do have a problem with the timing. I think he is worth every penny of it. I think there isn’t any question. My concern is the timing, because of what happened with budgets before where we had fire (WFR) came (seeking raises) and we said ‘Yes’ and then the police came in and we said ‘Yes.’”
     Then other workers noted they were being underpaid and the City Council said “No” to those raises, Wininger said. If this matter had come up during the budget process, Wininger said, then she probably would have voted in favor of it.


Earth Cat Magic Win Contest
- fifth ad placed - April 20

Story and Video
By Jeff M. Hardison © April 15, 2018 at 12:08 a.m.
Updated April 20, 2018 at 12:28 a.m.
     TRI-COUNTY AREA --
The Earth Cat Magic Win Contest began on April 15, HardisonInk.com publisher Jeff M. Hardison announced on April 15.




In this video, Needles the Community Cat of the unrecorded subdivision known as Jemlands, shows that he is training to potentially be the cat to select the winner of the Earth Cat Magic Win Contest on April 22.

     This is part of the "Let's Keep It Great At 8" celebration as the daily news website continues in its eighth year.
     Now (Friday, April 20) the fifth cat face has been placed in an ad. Also on April 21, there will be little pictures of the faces of Goldy the senior mascot cat of HardisonInk.com, Inky the junior mascot cat of HardisonInk.com or Needles the Community Cat of the unrecorded subdivision known as Jemlands (home of The Ink Pad, The Code Orange Office, etc.) placed in ads on one of the seven pages of the daily news website on each of those days.
     Earth Day is celebrated on April 22 this year, according to the 2018 calendar published by At-A-Glance, and according to the Earth Day Network (https://www.earthday.org/). This year, the focus is on reducing plastic pollution.
     First celebrated in 1970, Earth Day events in more than 193 countries are now coordinated globally by the Earth Day Network.
     Also in April the Indian Space Research Organization is aiming for the launch of the Chandrayaan-2 satellite. This machine will go to the Moon and start in orbit around the Moon to gather data. October is the next launch month seen by the ISRO for that satellite if the organization is unable to launch in April.
     Meanwhile back on Earth (and in space) during seven days of April, the individual humans who find the cats' pictures (one cat per day on one of the seven pages) will email their name (the human contestant’s name), the telephone number, the name of the ad and the page where it was found to hardisonink@hotmail.com. That is how to qualify for the drawing of the winning name.
     One, two or three cats will help select the winner from the people who correctly follow directions and quality to win by doing so. That selection is planned for April 22.
     The prize for this win is $50 cash. The sponsor for this contest is HardisonInk.com.
     "We had contests in February and March," Hardison said. "Steamer's Clam Bar and Grill donated a $50 gift certificate and The Putnam Lodge donated a $25 gift certificate respectively. At this minute, I am seeing May and June as months with no contests due to a planned six- to eight-week project that will take some resources away from certain luxury functions, such as contest qualifier reviews."
     The publisher then spoke about naming it “Earth Cat Magic Win Contest.”
     Being a high school student in the 1970s, when he began his career as a student journalist, and being a former Boy Scout, Hardison said he always has liked the idea of Earth Day since it began in 1970.
     Celebrating Earth Day is a thought that Sharon Hardison came up with for April’s contest.
     The cat magic part of the title comes from all three cats becoming part of Jeff and Sharon Hardison’s lives from the days when Jeff commuted to Lake City to work for a daily newspaper there, to when Jeff commuted to Ocala to work for a monthly horse magazine, into the eight years now as owner of the daily news website that focuses on Levy, Dixie and Gilchrist counties (and far beyond). Actually, cat magic for this couple even goes back to when he was bureau chief of the Palm Bay Sun and then editor of the Sumter Journal (and held other posts) in 1986-1988.
     The publisher said he put the “win contest” in the title of this event as something that is going to happen for one person.
     The winning name will be selected April 22.

 


Cookies In America

Gerry Jesk, a member of The Sunshine Disciples of the First United Methodist Church of Chiefland, holds a plate of freshly wrapped cookies Saturday (April 14). For more about the cookies and a yard sale that day, please visit the LIFE PAGE.

Photo By Jeff M. Hardison © April 14, 2018 at 2:38 p.m.

 


Gilchrist County starts
adoption program for dogs

By Jeff M. Hardison © April 11, 2018 at 5:08 p.m.
     TRENTON --
Gilchrist County has started a program for the adoption of dogs, according to information provided by Patrick Manderfield, press secretary of the Florida Department of Corrections, and others.







Above are the first four dogs ready for adoption in Gilchrist County as part of the new program. Titan and Little Pep are brother and sister surrendered by their owner.  Suzie Q was surrendered by her owner and Paula swam the Santa Fe River from the Gilchrist County side to Branford and Gilchrist County Animal Services went and picked her up at a RV park.
Photos provided by Gilchrist County Animal Control Officer Erika Hudson

     The event on Tuesday morning April 10 marked the start of the program with the arrival of the dogs that have completed the two-month training program. The implementation of the program is a joint effort between Lancaster Correctional Institution (LCI) and Gilchrist County, with the help of community volunteers, Manderfield said. 
     Anita Barrow of Lancaster Correctional Institution invited the press to attend the grand opening of the Cuffs & Collars Basic Dog Obedience Training Program event on April 10.
     Cuffs & Collars is a partnership program between Gilchrist County and the Florida Department of Corrections at Lancaster Correctional Institution’s Main Unit.  The program is designed to provide 8 to 10 weeks of basic dog obedience training to dogs sheltered by Gilchrist County Animal Services with the goal of improving the dog’s ability to be adopted into a forever-family home.
     The training will be provided by eight inmate handlers at LCI, under the direction of volunteer dog trainers in partnership with Gilchrist County Animal Services.
     Those eight prisoners will work in the program for one year, and then eight other inmates will be given the opportunity. Each two months, more or less, there will be dogs who have graduated the program and are ready for adoption.
     Four dogs have graduated from the program and are ready for adoption now, Gilchrist County Animal Control Officer Erika Hudson said. Three of the first four dogs were owner surrendered and the other dog was a stray, Hudson said.
     Officer Hudson and Gilchrist County Animal Control Officer Brandon Butler are the entire staff of that department for the whole county.
     Rescues are the main method for people to adopt dogs from Gilchrist County, because between the duties of cleaning cages, feeding animals, responding to calls for an average of 130 animals a month, and some number of applications of euthanasia, the prospect of those two workers being able to go through the process for adoptions is untenable as an added job description for the officers.
     A “rescue” is an organization that helps dogs and cats that are abandoned by owners or that are strays, so that those animals find new homes where they will spend the rest of their lives.
     The training program at LCI not only benefits the dogs by improving adoption rates and retention but it also helps the inmate handlers by giving them hands-on training experience and education in the care and handling of dogs, Manderfield said.   
     In this program, any emergency veterinary needs will be addressed with Trenton Animal Hospital locally. For scheduled veterinary services, the dogs will be transported to the University of Florida veterinary program. The UF program also performs the spaying and neutering at the Gilchrist County Animal Shelter via a mobile unit. 
     The program is primarily funded by donations for supplies and training materials, Manderfield said.
     Applications to adopt the canine graduates of the program can be filled out through Gilchrist County Animal Services:
1799 NW 10th Street
Bell, FL 32619Shelter: 352-463-4084
Shelter Fax: 352-463-3102


Levy County residents
are given Tire Amnesty Day


Levy Commissioners start the meeting on Tuesday morning. They are (from left) County Commissioner Rock Meeks, County Commissioner Matt Brooks, Commission Chairman John Meeks and County Commissioner Lilly Rooks. County Commissioner Mike Joyner arrived later in the morning.

Story and Photos
By Jeff M. Hardison © April 4, 2018 at 7:18 p.m.
     BRONSON –
Levy County Commission Chairman John Meeks on Tuesday morning (April 3) found unanimous agreement by the County Commission members present at the outset of the meeting that day to award Levy County residents a fee-free day to drop off old car tires.
     County Commissioner Lilly Rooks made the motion, seconded by County Commissioner Matt Brooks to approve Tire Amnesty Day. Chairman Meeks, Rooks, Brooks and Commissioner Rock Meeks voted in favor of it. County Commissioner Mike Joyner did not arrive until after that vote, although he learned about the approval when he arrived.
     Levy County residents can utilize the Tire Amnesty Day (Saturday, April 21) from 8 a.m., to 5 p.m. at the Levy County Solid Waste Transfer Site, 12051 N.E. 69th Lane (between Bronson and Williston) to bring in car tires.
     Levy County residents who show proof of residency, such as a driver license, can deliver from as few as one tire to as many as 24 tires per trip -- with no limit of trips during that period on that day. There is no fee for this drop-off on this day at this time.
     The 24-tire-per-trip limit is from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, Chairman Meeks explained, because transporting more tires than that in one load requires special permitting. He said any number of trips by Levy County residents dropping off tires that day can be made - even at 24-tires-per-load. Therefore, a person can save as much as $48 per load as well as helping to clean up the environment.
     Of the $22 million collected by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection last year for old tire disposal fees, $8 million is earmarked for the Small Counties’ Solid Waste Grant in the state, Chairman Meeks said, and Levy County is among the counties eligible for that funding.
     During a conference call Meeks was involved with, he asked the DEP and the Florida Department of Health what could be done to help Levy County clean up some of the tires that people have disposed of improperly – causing a mosquito-breeding ground.
    The DEP said it would cover the cost of tire disposal in Levy County on Tire Amnesty Day (April 21), Meeks said.
     Normally in Levy County, it costs $2 per car tire to drop tires at the Solid Waste Transfer Station. Therefore, Levy County residents can save $2-per-tire on that Saturday.
     Beyond saving money, Levy County residents who use this amnesty will be helping reduce the potential for mosquito-breeding places because rainwater in discarded tires is a prime location for breeding those blood-sucking, disease-spreading insects.
     This fee-free day for tire disposal is not open to Levy County business interests that make money from replacing tires, Chairman Meeks noted.
     No truck tires, semi tires, lawnmower tires, wheelbarrow tires and the like are going to see the amnesty from the fee. This is for car tires.    
     Chairman Meeks mentioned that he knows Earth Day is April 22, but that is a Sunday and the Transfer Station is not open on Sundays.
     Meeks reminded all of the listeners that this amnesty is for individual residents of Levy County – not for business interests that buy and sell tires.


In Other News

State Rep. Charlie Stone (R-Ocala, Dist. 22) speaks with the Levy County Commission on Tuesday (April 3).


     In other news from the Tuesday County Commission meeting in Bronson, State Rep. Charlie Stone (R-Ocala, Dist. 22) visited to observe.
     Commission Chairman John Meeks welcomed Rep. Stone and invited him to speak.
     Rep. Stone said he is honored to represent the people of Florida House of Representatives District 22, which includes all of Levy County and the western part of Marion County.
     The state representative expressed his thanks to the members of the Levy County Board of County Commissioners for the help they gave to him as the legislators went through this past session in Tallahassee.
     Two events took the focus of the state leaders from the more common duties this year.
     First there was Hurricane Irma, Stone said, which impacted almost every county in the state.
    The state leaders spent weeks conferring to improve methods for response in the event of another storm event like Hurricane Irma.
     Then there was the mass murder at a high school.
     On Feb. 14, the mass shooting was committed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland. Seventeen people were killed and 17 others were wounded, making it one of the world's deadliest school massacres. The perpetrator, 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz, was identified by witnesses, and he was arrested shortly afterward. He confessed, according to the Broward County Sheriff's Office.
     Rep. Stone said the Florida Legislature spent weeks working on methods to improve school safety, he said.
     He thanked the County Commission members who went to Tallahassee this session.
     “It is important that you do that,” Rep. Stone said. “I encourage you to continue to do that in the future. Let us know what is happening here in your community; what your county needs; how we can help you. I promise that as long as I am in the Florida House I will always have an open door. I am here for you. I would love to have you visit. I love to be able to work for you. Keep up the good work. This is the way county government should work”
     Chairman Meeks said he has consistently found Rep. Stone to be available, and at work for the people of Levy and western Marion counties.


Back Taxes Sought
     Due to a clerical error at some point, the appraised taxable value of Williston Crossings RV Resort was incorrectly recorded for a number of years.
     After staff at Levy County Property Appraiser Oz Barker’s found the oversight, it was determined that the property owner could be billed for Fiscal Year 2015-16, and 2016-17 for the total of just over $9,200 for the two years combined.
     Although the appraised value for taxing may have shown a similar error for a number of years before that, the county determined it could not bill for those taxes farther back in time.
     The property taxes are not the “bed tax.” The fee that Williston Crossings RV Resort pays for tourist development – 2 percent of the fees collected for overnight stays by the transit guests – goes to the Levy County Tourist Development Council (TDC). The TDC collects a 2 percent fee from every short-term guest who buys a hotel room, RV spot, etc., to help the county fund its marketing of Levy County as a destination for tourists.
     RV resorts, hotels, motels, campsites and other business interests also pay ad valorem property taxes on the appraised taxable value of the commercial interests.
     Speaking of the TDC, the County Commission by a 5-0 vote approved the members of the Council who are currently seated. County Commissioner Mike Joyner made the motion to approve the members and his motion was seconded by County Commissioner Rock Meeks, who voted in favor of it as did Chairman John Meeks and commissioners Matt Brooks and Lilly Rooks. The TDC members provide the County Commission with recommendations on how to spend TDC revenue and the Commission either accepts or rejects those recommendations.


Ron Grant is recognized for his service as a past member of the Planning Commission for 14 years. Seen here are (from left) Chairman John Meeks, Commissioner Lilly Rooks, Ron Grant, Commissioner Rock Meeks and Commissioner Matt Brooks. County Commissioner Mike Joyner arrived shortly after the start of the meeting on Tuesday. Grant was wearing a ball cap with his Amateur Radio Operator License number of K14CRK. Before presenting the award, Chairman Meeks mentioned Grant’s active participation in Ham Radio.

  




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101st Jingle Performer


Erick McDonald sings the HardisonInk.com Jingle on March 27, 2018 in front of the car dealership where Jeff M. Hardison bought the most recent newsmobile for the daily news website. 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 March 27, 2018 at 11:38 p.m.

© Video by Jeff M. Hardison, All Rights Reserved

Your weather just got better.

--UPDATED--
FRIDAY  APRIL 20   2:08 p.m.
Levy, Dixie and Gilchrist counties


It Has Begun!




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