Florida launches
Online Voter Registration

Published Oct. 17, 2017 at 10:37 a.m.
     TALLAHASSEE --
On Oct. 1, Florida joined 35 other states and the District of Columbia in offering online voter registration to its citizens.

 


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     Eligible residents who possess a current Florida Driver's License or Florida Identifcation Card can submit a voter registration application online.
     New applicants and current voters can visit registertovoteflorida.gov to submit a new application or update their existing voter record electronically. The website interacts with the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles system and will require a Florida Driver's License or Florida ID along with the last four digits of the social security number. Users will still have the option to input their information, print and sign the application, and deliver to the Supervisor of Elections office.
     Security measures to protect applicants personal information, and to verify the identity of the applicant, have been put in place. Supervisors of Elections will continue to review every application, whether submitted electronically or on paper.
     The implementation of the Florida Online Voter Registration system is in response to Senate Bill 228 which Gov. Rick Scott signed into law on May 15, 2015.
     For more information, please contact the Levy County Supervisor of Elections Office at 352-486-5163, or contact any other Florida supervisor of elections' office.


Tractor Convoy

This video shows a convoy of vehicles used for peanut-harvesting as they wind down Levy County Road between U.S. Highway 19 and U.S. Alt. 27 on Friday (Oct. 13). Much of the peanut-harvesting process is complete in the Tri-County Area of Levy, Dixie and Gilchrist counties this year. Some parts of this set of equipment can be seen on the video with the archive page visited by clicking HERE. Murray Tillis, his son Harold Tillis and others are part of this set of farmers and vehicle drivers. They are being escorted by the Levy County Sheriff's Office for safety.

Video by Sharon Hardison © Oct. 16, 2017 at 2:37 p.m.


Rotary Club of Williston
says 'Thank You'
to Purple Pinky runners
and others


Published Oct. 13, 2017 at 4:07 p.m.
     WILLISTON --
The Rotary Club of Williston thanks all of the participants, volunteers and sponsors of the 5th Annual Purple Pinkie Peanut Run that was held Saturday, Oct. 7.

     The event included a 5K Fun Run and 1-Mile Walk open to all ages. Proceeds from the run go toward the Rotary Club of Williston’s service projects, Levy County Youth programs and the Rotary International Purple Pinkie project.
     The Rotarians also congratulate the winning runners
     In the Youth Division, it was Matthew Cutino, Kryspian Kucera and Faith Hardy placing first through third respectively.
     In the Women Division, it was Becky Gomez, Carrie Tomlinson and Suzanne Hardy placing first through third respectively.
     In the Men Division, it was Simion Hernandez, Jeff Bryan and Antwan Edwards placing first through third respectively.
     Williston Rotary’s local youth projects include The RACK - Rotarians Actively Caring for Kids - that provides shoes, socks and shoelaces to those in need in Joyce Bullock Elementary School, Williston Elementary School and Bronson Elementary School throughout the school year, the Back Pack 4 Kids Program that sends home non-perishable food items with children in need and Rotary Scholarships to a graduating student from Williston and Bronson High to name a few. 
     To date, Rotary International and partners have reduced polio cases by 99.9 percent worldwide through the mass immunization of children. After an international investment of more than $9 billion, and the successful engagement of in excess of 200 countries and 20 million volunteers, polio could be the first human disease of the 21st century to be eradicated.
     The Rotary Club of Williston District #6940 Club #73382 meets every Tuesday at 11:45 at the First Presbyterian Church, 247 N.E. First St., in Williston.


Levy County Tourist
Development director to retire


Levy County Tourist Development Director Carol McQueen

Photo Provided

Published Oct. 12, 2017 at 3:07 p.m.
     BRONSON --
Levy County Tourist Development Director Carol McQueen has announced her retirement is scheduled to begin in January of 2018.

     McQueen has been overseeing Levy County’s tourism and marketing operations for the past 12 years.
     “I have worked in marketing all of my adult life and Carol has been on point for our tourism strategies and marketing campaigns," Vice Chair of the Levy County Tourist Development Council Helen Ciallella said. "Fortunately, Visit Florida and other groups recognized her expertise and put her in positions to make positive contributions to state tourism. I have the upmost respect for her. She has worked with no hidden agenda and as a skilled professional for us. She is leaving huge shoes to fill and will be greatly missed.”
     McQueen’s accomplishments include increasing tourism revenues by 24 percent for Levy County. She has served as a member of the Florida Association of Destination Marketing Organizations, board of director’s member and as the chair for 2011-2012.
     Florida Gov. Charlie Crist appointed her to the Governor’s Commission on Tourism in 2009-2010, and then again in 2013 McQueen was appointed as a member of Visit Florida’s Board of Directors, serving on Visit Florida’s Marketing Steering Committee, and as vice chair for Visit Florida’s Promotional Committee.
     McQueen represented Levy County on numerous regional tourism boards throughout her tenure.
     “Working to make Levy County a vacation destination and increasing the accommodation industry’s overnight stays has been one of my greatest rewards” McQueen said. “I have enjoyed working with the Tourist Development Council, government leaders, the people of Levy County and all the many marketing professionals throughout the years. I look forward to retirement, but will miss the interaction with so many wonderful people I’ve had the pleasure of working with.”


Gator Works Computer succeeds
where The Geek Squad failed






Two American Bald Eagles are seen enjoying a lunch of armadillo on the road. Wildlife is abundant in the Tri-County Area of Levy, Dixie and Gilchrist counties. These pictures of eagles were held until the computer was repaired, because the backup system reduced the options for the publisher.

Story, Photos and Videos
By Jeff M. Hardison © Oct. 11, 2017 at 11:17 p.m.
All Rights Reserved

    CHIEFLAND – Members of The Geek Squad at Best Buy in Gainesville took five days to determine they had to ship a computer owned by HardisonInk.com publisher Jeff M. Hardison to begin to overcome a Windows 10 conundrum.

     “Things fall apart. The center will not hold,” Hardison said. “My computer wanted to update itself with the latest and greatest from Windows 10. Unfortunately, it used several gigabytes of space to download in two attempts across two months of time and cost me hundreds of extra dollars, because I buy my bytes from Verizon via my MiFi Jetpack.”


In this first video that has been held until the big computer was repaired, two American Bald Eagles are seen enjoying armadillo meat on the road. As the filming continues, one eagle goes to a tree to perch and the other eagle carries most of the armadillo with him down the road. Wildlife is abundant in the Tri-County Area of Levy, Dixie and Gilchrist counties.



In this second video that has been held until the big computer was repaired, the Dixie County High School Band plays the National Anthem in the unfinished gymnasium of the future Dixie Middle High School. That story is currently on the Home Page.


     Hardison said he went to Best Buy on Monday, Oct. 2.
     “I was unfamiliar with the new procedures at The Geek Squad,” Hardison said. “So I drove for an hour from Jemlands to Gainesville to learn that I should have mead an appointment. While I was there that morning, I made an appointment for 5 p.m.”
     A week later, Hardison had to make an appointment to pick up his computer.
     “I had a call from them on Friday, Oct. 6, and they said they would have to ship my computer back to the factory,” Hardison said. “I told them that I would collect my machine on Monday (Oct. 9).”
     Hardison said he took it to Gator Works Computing in Chiefland, located in the same plaza as Nature Coast Driver Improvement.
     “Justin and Cody Maynard fixed my computer in 48 hours,” Hardison said. “They did in two days what it took the corporate people five days to determine they couldn’t even do. I picked up my machine in Chiefland on Wednesday (Oct. 11).”
     Hardison said he has been working on his smaller computer for the past 10 days.
     “I am running two videos that I had to hold,” Hardison said, “because my editing program is on this big machine. I almost bought yet another big machine, but I think I have enough hardware for now – even in the event of a catastrophe.”
     Hardison said Hurricane Irma helped him practice with his backup machinery, but to have to go through another week while using the secondary string of tools has been daunting.


Farmers and ranchers:
Deadline for conservation
assistance is Nov. 17;

Assistance helps conserve
natural resources

Published Oct. 5, 2017 at 2:47 p.m.
     GAINESVILLE —
Florida farmers, ranchers and forest owners can apply until Nov. 17 for financial and technical assistance from USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) for fiscal year 2018 funding.

     Although applications are accepted on a continuous basis for all programs, funding selections are typically made once a year.
     Through EQIP, agricultural landowners may receive financial and technical assistance to improve soil, water, air, plants, animals and related resources. Eligible land includes cropland, rangeland, pastureland, private non-industrial forestland and other farm or ranch lands.
     If your property is located in Levy County, Dixie County or Gilchrist County, please contact Kesha Harvey, District Conservationist at 352-486-2125.
     Begin by visiting your local NRCS field office and requesting help developing a conservation plan. To learn about technical and financial assistance available from NRCS, go to Get Started with NRCS. You can reach that website by clicking HERE.



How Can You Leave
the Legacy You Desire?

Published Oct. 3, 2017 at 7:07 p.m.
Updated Oct. 4, 2017 at 5:07 p.m.

    It’s always a good time to think about the type of legacy you’d like to leave.
    Of course, “legacy” can mean many things. In the broadest sense, your legacy is how you will be remembered by your loved ones, friends and the communities to which you belong. On a practical level, establishing your legacy means providing your family and the charitable organizations you support with the resources you’d like them to have.

     And that means you may need to take the following actions: create your plans, communicate your wishes and review and update your documents. 
     Let’s take a quick look at all these steps:
     • Create your plans. You will want to work with your legal professional, and possibly your tax and financial professionals, too, to draft the plans needed to fulfill your legacy wishes. These plans may include drafting a will, living trust, health care directive, power of attorney and other documents. Ideally, you want these plans to do more than just convey where you want your money to go – you want to impart, to the next generation, a sense of the effort that went into building the wealth they receive. Without such an appreciation, your heirs may be less than rigorous in retaining the tangible legacies you’ve left them. 
     • Communicate your wishes.  It’s important to communicate your legacy-related wishes to your family members as early as possible. By doing so, you can hopefully avoid unpleasant surprises and hurt feelings when it’s time for your estate to be settled – and you’ll also let people know what tasks, if any, they need to perform. For example, if you’re choosing a family member to be the executor of your estate, or if you’re giving someone power of attorney over your financial or health-related matters, they should be prepared.
     • Update your documents. During your life, you may well experience any number of changes – new marriage, new children, opening a family business, and so on. You need to make sure your legal documents and financial accounts reflect these changes. For example, if you’ve remarried, you may want to change the beneficiary designations on your IRA, 401(k) and other retirement accounts – if left untouched, these designations may even supersede the instructions left in your will. And the directions in life chosen by your grown children may also dictate changes in your will or living trust. In any case, it’s a good idea to review all your legacy-related documents periodically, and update them as needed.
     In addition to taking the above steps, you also need to protect the financial resources that go into your legacy. So, when you retire and begin taking funds from your IRA, 401(k) and other retirement accounts, make sure your withdrawal rate is sufficient for your living expenses, but not so high that it eventually jeopardizes the amounts you planned to leave to your family or to your preferred charities. A financial professional can help you determine the withdrawal rate  appropriate for your situation.
     With careful planning, and by making the right moves, you can create the type of legacy you desire – one that can benefit your loved ones far into the future.   
     PUBLISHER’S NOTE: This article was written by Edward Jones for use by a local Edward Jones Financial Advisor – Sheila K. Smith, 220 N. Main St., Suite 2, Chiefland. Phone 352-493-4948.

Phoenix Rising YouthBuild rises again, receives $806K federal grant;
Recruiting now under way for deserving young adults
By Laura Byrnes, APR, CPRC
Communications Manager
CareerSource Citrus Levy Marion
Published Oct. 3, 2017 at 2:07 p.m.
     OCALA –
After a three-year hiatus, the nationally-acclaimed Phoenix Rising YouthBuild program is once again recruiting deserving young adults for its next project in Marion County.

     Phoenix Rising YouthBuild is an alternative education, community-based program that helps revitalize economically challenged neighborhoods while making a positive difference in the lives of at-risk 18- to 24-year olds.
     Enrollment is now open for the YouthBuild slated to begin in January. Those interested in applying or learning more should call 352-732-1700, ext. 2293 or 800-434-JOBS, ext. 2293.
     Through Phoenix Rising, participants receive 16 weeks of hands-on classroom training designed to develop workforce skills that lead to employment. They also receive weekly participation payments, support services and career counseling along with the opportunity to earn industry-recognized certificaitons in construction and other occupations.
     A key feature of Phoenix Rising involves construction of homes for deserving families in partnership with Habitat for Humanity of Marion County.
     Major funding for the program, which got its start in 2010 in Ocala, comes from a federal pre-apprenticeship grant obtained by CareerSource Citrus Levy Marion. Phoenix Rising, which received $806,000, is one of 77 nonprofit programs across 33 states – and one of just six in Florida -- to receive $80.3 million in alternative education funding from the U.S. Department of Labor. The grants range from approximately $700,000 to $1.1 million.
     To date, 74 participants have taken part in Phoenix Rising YouthBuilds through a previous $1.1 million grant which also resulted in completion of six homes in Marion and Citrus counties. Additionally, 75 percent of Phoenix Rising YouthBuild graduates obtained employment or enrolled in postsecondary programs. The new grant will fund 48 more program participants and construction of four homes in Marion County over the next two years.
     Phoenix Rising was the brainchild of then Ocala Police Chief Sam Williams. Pilot partners included the Ocala Police Department; Habitat for Humanity of Marion County; and CareerSource CLM and its young adult services provider, Eckerd Workforce Development.
     In addition to Habitat for Humanity, CareerSource CLM and Eckerd Workforce Development, partners in the upcoming project include the City of Ocala, Marion County Board of County Commissioners, Marion County Sheriff’s Office and the Neighborhood Housing and Development Corporation.
Phoenix Rising YouthBuild has become a national model of what communities can build when working together. It has earned recognition from the Florida League of Cities, National League of Cities, Harvard’s School of Business, and has received Habitat for Humanity International’s highest honor, the Clarence E. Jordan Award for creativity and innovation in building homes and communities.


Dr. Lindo returns to RGH

Dr. Hersell Lindo (left) is welcomed by RGH Cheif Operating Officer Tillman Mears. The announcement was made Thursday afternoon (Sept. 28) although it had been intended to have been made Thursday morning. Dr. Lindo needed to delay the photo opportunity because he was delivering a baby Thursday morning at a hospital in Ocala.

Story and Photo
By Jeff M. Hardison © Oct. 3, 2017 at 10:17 a.m.
     WILLISTON --
Dr. Hersell Lindo, M.D., has returned to serve patients at the rural health clinic located on the campus of Regional General Hospital in Williston.

     Dr. Lindo is available each Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and each Saturday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. in Williston at RGH. He is a specialist in obstetrics and gynecology.
     He is resuming his practice in Williston in addition to his Ocala office hours, effective this Friday (Oct. 6). Call 352-330-6110.

     Dr. Lindo provides a wide range of services, including as a practitioner of general medicine. In regard to the rural health medical clinic services for women at the Williston facility, there are a wide range of comprehensive screenings, including cancer screening of the breast, cervical area, colon/prostate and for uterine cancer.
     Not only is Dr. Lindo screening for cancer, but he is providing treatment that includes surgery and chemo-therapy.
     In regard to other medical issues facing women that Dr. Lindo can help them with are: menopause management; annual wellness examinations; and family planning services.
     As for family planning, this can include the surgical action needed for an inter-uterine device, and there are laparoscopic surgeries that can be performed through a day visit rather than having to stay overnight at a hospital.
     Dr. Lindo also can provide diabetes screening and blood pressure screening as well as treatments for those medical issues. There are vaccination services available at the rural health clinic as well.
     Dr. Lindo graduated from the University of the West Indies in 1975. He continued his post graduate work at Columbia University and affiliated hospitals.
     He is board certified and is a fellow with the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, as well as being a board-certified doctor and fellow of the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (British spelling) of Canada.

--UPDATED--
WEDNESDAY  Oct. 18  9:47 a.m.
Levy, Dixie and Gilchrist counties



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