Florida tourism and economics
panel discussions set to be
at CF Ocala on April 11

Published March 25, 2017 at 4:07 p.m.
on the Business Page of HardisonInk.com
     OCALA --
The College of Central Florida will host two panel discussions on “Making Florida a Competitive Destination” Tuesday, April 11, in the Webber Center at its Ocala Campus, 3001 S.W. College Road.

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     The first panel, 12:30 to 2 p.m., will feature Sarah Arteaga, director of the Regional Economic Information Network of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, Jacksonville Branch; Dr. Jerry Parrish, chief economist and director of research of the Florida Chamber Foundation, Tallahassee; and Russell Marcus, chief of business and economic incentives, Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, Tallahassee.
     The second panel, 5:30-7 p.m., will feature local speakers Rob Adamiak, director of the Mid Florida Regional Manufacturers Association; Chad Christianson, CEO of Ocala Health; Lonny Powell, CEO of the Florida Thoroughbred Breeders and Owners Association; Kevin Sheilley, President of the Ocala/Marion County Chamber and Economic Partnership; and Bill Paul, director, Lockheed Martin.
     “The competition to attract jobs on the state and local levels has always been intense,” said Dr. Rob Wolf, CF dean of Business, Technology and Career and Technical Education. “Both Florida and the Ocala area have aggressive strategies to promote economic development. This two-part panel discussion will bring to the forefront these important issues on the state and local levels.”
     Both panels are free and open to the public. For information, call CF at 352-873-5836.
     To learn about other events at CF, visit www.CF.edu.

Region’s jobless rate drops
Citrus, Levy and Marion three counties
post job growth over the month and year

By Laura Byrnes, APR, CPRC © March 25, 2017 at 3:27 p.m.
Communications Manager
CareerSource Citrus Levy Marion
     OCALA –
Consistent with employment trends going back at least five years, the February jobless rate dropped over the month in Citrus, Levy and Marion counties.

     According to the Friday (March 14) employment summary by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO), the unemployment rate for the CareerSource CLM region was 5.9 percent, down 0.7 percentage point since January and the same rate as one year ago.
     Out of an expanded labor force of 200,814, there were 11,802 unemployed residents in the region, a drop of 1,396 over the month. While that’s 247 more than in February 2016, there were 189,012 people with jobs throughout the three counties, an increase of 2,676 since January and 6,045 more than a year ago.
     Additionally, the DEO reports that the Ocala metropolitan statistical area (MSA) continued to hold the fastest annual job growth rate compared to all metros in Florida in professional and business services, at 11.1 percent. The Ocala MSA had the second fastest job growth rate in trade, transportation and utilities at 5.8 percent.
     Rusty Skinner, CareerSource CLM’s CEO said that the region hit the trifecta when it comes to economic indicators, posting an expanded labor force fueled by strong job gains and an across-the-board drop in the number of unemployed.
     Levy County continued to post the lowest jobless rate in the region, at 5.0 percent, which down 0.7 percent; followed by Marion County at 5.7 percent, down from 6.4 percent; and Citrus County at 6.7 percent, down from 7.6 percent. Florida’s not seasonally adjusted rate was 4.7 percent, down over the month from 5.2 percent; and the nation’s rate was 4.9 percent, down from 5.1 percent
Skinner said the February report is a good gauge of whether the optimism of job seekers resulted in their absorption into the ranks of the employed.
     “That more than appears to be the case,” Skinner said, adding that in addition to job-seeker confidence, the previous month’s increase in unemployment was likely also fueled by post-holiday season staff adjustments. “The true test as to whether the economy is improving is whether those who have entered the labor force looking for work have been able to find it.”
     Skinner noted that since at least 2012, February unemployment rates have dropped in all three counties.
      The following is a breakdown of preliminary employment numbers for each county:
     Citrus County's labor force increased by 692 to 48,101, the number of employed rose by 1,017 to 44,874, and the number of those without jobs fell by 387 to 3,227 month. The number of unemployed was virtually unchanged from February 2016 when the rate was 7.2 percent, while the number of employed increased over the year by 367.
     Levy County's labor force expanded by 87 to 16,890, the number of employed increased by 208 to 16,048 and the number of unemployed dropped by 121 to 842. That’s 325 more employed and only 8 more unemployed compared to a year ago when the jobless rate was 5.1 percent.
     Marion County’s labor force grew by 501 to 135,823, the number of employed increased by 1,389 to 128,090 and the number of jobless decreased by 888 to 7,733. While that is 245 more unemployed since February 2016 when the jobless rate was 5.8 percent, the number of those with jobs has increase by 5,353 over the year.
     Among the counties, Citrus County continued to hold the third highest rate behind Sumter County at 7.0 percent and Hendry County at 7.2 percent; Marion County remained at 10th highest; and Levy County dropped two spots to 28th.
     The Villages MSA continued to post the highest rate among the states metros, Homosassa Springs (Citrus County) was second and Ocala fell from third to fourth. 
     Much of the region’s strong job gains were fueled by the Ocala metro area which posted 103,100 nonfarm jobs in February, adding 4,000 new jobs over the year for a job growth rate of 4.0 percent. That outpaced the statewide growth rate of 2.9 percent and was the fifth fastest job growth rate among all of the state’s metro areas.
     In all, seven nonfarm industry sectors rate in the Ocala metro added jobs over the year, and five those grew at a faster rate than statewide. For the second consecutive month, no industries lost jobs over the year. 
     Industries gaining jobs over the year were trade, transportation and utilities (+1,300 jobs); professional and business services (+1,000); education and health services (+700); mining, logging and construction (+600); manufacturing (+200); leisure and hospitality (+100); and other services (+100).
     Professional and business services (+11.1 percent); mining, logging and construction (+9.0 percent); trade, transportation and utilities (+65.8 percent); and education and health services (+3.9 percent) grew faster in the metro area than statewide over the year.
     Information, financial activities, and government industries were unchanged.
     The Homosassa Springs MSA had 33,400 nonfarm jobs, adding 100 new jobs over the year for a 0.3 percent job growth rate, the lowest among Florida’s metro areas. 
     The March employment report will be released on Friday, April 21.

Steer and swine sell At SRF

Thomas Ruth is seen with his hog. This young man is giving the profit from his sale to The Children's Table, a food pantry that helps poor people have food.

Story, Photos and Video
By Jeff M. Hardison © March 23, 2017 at 11:27 a.m.
There were 357 animals auctioned at the 62nd Annual Suwannee River Fair (SRF) Livestock Show and Sale on Wednesday (March 22) as the biggest and oldest fair serving the Tri-County Area of Levy, Dixie and Gilchrist counties concluded.

Auctioneer Caroll T. Cannon is seen moments before starting to auction the animals.

     Auctioneer Caroll T. Cannon of Ty Ty, Ga., heralded his seventh consecutive year of calling prices as he completed a very, very long day of auctioning animals on Wednesday.

In this video, Auctioneer Caroll T. Cannon of Ty Ty, Ga., sells the first animal – the Grand Champion Swine raised by Kyndal Bussard. Then the next clip is the auctioneer selling the hog raised by Madison Baynard. The auctioneer performed this action for 357 animals.

     First thing Wednesday morning, there was an overcast sky but the sun came out after a little while as people inside the arena enjoyed the climate controlled environment.

SRF President Loran Brookins prepares for the auction.

     SRF President Loran Brookins said just before the show and sale started on Wednesday that the entire two-week event has been as smooth as silk, with everything running perfectly.
     It was a relatively similar event as in the past six-plus decades, with children selling the livestock they made via an auction process.

Leon Clyatt, a cattle rancher from Levy County, holds the list of names of children selling animals. Clyatt is among the many people who are behind the scenes helping the community in many ways. Among his many activities is as the senior usher at First United Methodist Church of Chiefland. The Tri-County Area of Levy, Dixie and Gilchrist counties has several extraordinarily kindhearted people like Leon Clyatt.

     Joe H. Anderson III of Dixie County was among the buyers of the animals sold in the new arena. His family gave the new facility to the SRF when the old building had reached the point when it was used as much as it could be used.
     The old building was very rusty and worn out.
     The late Joe H. Anderson Jr., who died Nov. 29, 2016, was a strong contributor to charitable causes in the Tri-County Area of Levy, Dixie and Gilchrist counties, and beyond.
     SRF President Brookins mentioned to the crowd on Wednesday, that everyone should be thankful for the generous contribution of the Anderson family to the SRF so that the children and families of the area could enjoy the facility that exists now.
     Those family members are noted on a banner -- Joe and Cindy, Timbo and Cindy, Joey and Sonya, Doug and Lisa, and Rolfe and Harriet.

Swine Show Grand Champion Kendal Bussard with some of the buyers

Fat Steer Grand Champion Will Childers of 4-H Riverside Wranglers

Will Childers and some of the buyers

Rieley Beauchamp and the Grand Champion Feeder Steer

Rieley Beauchamp and some of the buyers

Jaslyn Ojeda and the Grand Champion Homegrown Fat Steer

Jasylyn Ojeda and some of the buyers

Caleigh Robinson and the Reserve Grand Champion Feeder Steer

Caleigh Robinson and some of the buyers

Anna Ellison of 4-H Dixie Wranglers and the Reserve Grand Champion Swine

Anna Ellison and some of the buyers

Sarah Conquest of 4-H Riverside Wranglers and the Reserve Grand Champion Fat Steer

Sara Conquest and some of the buyers

Elijah Mitchell and the Reserve Grand Champion Fat Steer and one of the buyers

     Over the past years, there has been agony from defeat and ecstasy of victory for individual children selling pork and beef on the hoof, just as there has been sorrow and joy for the group of 4-H and FFA members as a whole.
     For instance, one year a crook stole most of the cattle that had been auctioned. He just pulled up with trucks and loaded them and made off with them.
     Then, there have been children who donated proceeds from their auctions to other children who had cancer.
     One such highlight this year is Thomas Ruth, who is donating profits from his pig sale to The Children’s Table – a food pantry that helps feed poor people.
     His mother Carol Ruth noted her appreciation to buyers of his hog -- Sanchez Farms, Tillis Farms, 83 Farms, Smith Farms of Bell, Farm Bureau Insurance and Baynard Law for contributions toward the purchase of Thomas Ruth's hog.

Levy County Sheriff's Office Deputy Rex Shevitski (left) and Eighth Judicial Circuit Court Judge James M. Colaw are seen at the auction. Levy County Judge J.T. 'Tim' Browning was among the other many members of jurisprudence at the event.

Eighth Judicial Circuit Judge Stanley H. Griffis III and attorney Shannon Smith pause for a photo opportunity when requested. Shannon and his Dad, attorney Snuffy Smith, work with other people to help the children sell their animals. The list of buyers is relatively extraordinary. Snuffy Smith mentioned how some people in this part of Florida might not recognize the value of this event, however he strongly supports it continuing to help children understand and enjoy agricultural sciences.

Levy County Sheriff Robert 'Bobby' McCallum Jr. is seen at the event. The other two sheriffs from the Tri-County Area are Dixie County Sheriff Dewey Hatcher Sr. and Gilchrist County Sheriff Robert 'Bobby' Schultz III.

Levy County Superintendent of Schools Jeff Edison attends his first SRF as the superintendent, although it was his umpteenth SRF to be at and to participate in. This year, Superintendent of Schools Edison gave the opening prayer after SRF President Loran Brookins led the people in the Pledge of Allegiance.

     And there is a long list of buyers and sellers – hundreds.
     The top grand champion winners and the per-pound bid on their animals follows.
     Each sale includes fees necessary to continue this time-honored tradition in the Tri-County Area of Levy, Dixie and Gilchrist counties. So not every child walks away with every penny by doing the math of pounds multiplied by dollars and cents.
     Nevertheless, following are the names of the top championship ag students and the gross amounts from the sales.
     ● Kyndal Bussard (Old Town) of Dixie Middle FFA, Grand Champion Swine, 280 pounds, market value-$112; bid at $28 per pound gross=$7,840.
     ● Will Childers (Old Town) of 4-H Riverside Wranglers, Grand Champion Fat Steer, 1,339 pounds, market value $1,405.53; bid at $17 per pound gross=$22,763.
     ● Rieley Beauchamp (Trenton) of Chiefland Jr. FFA, Grand Champion Feeder Steer,  611 pounds, market value $757.76; bid at $10 per pound gross=$6,110.
     ● Jaslyn Ojeda (Morriston) of Williston Sr. FFA, Grand Champion Homegrown Fat Steer, 1,154 pounds, market value $1,212; bid at $9 per pound gross=$10,386.

Vision Christian Academy FBLA
has successful first year

Representing the Vision Christian Academy FBLA Chapter are (from left) Grace Kennedy, Kaleen Edwards Cricket Woodle and A.J. Kennedy.

Photo and Information
By Teresia Dulaney
Published March 22, 2017 at 1:37 p.m.
on the Business Page of HardisonInk.com
While Vision Christian Academy is in its ninth year of existence, 2016-17 was the school’s first time participating in the middle-high school chapters of FBLA (Future Business Leaders of America).

     The FBLA organization has been around for 75 years, teaching students about careers in the business field. Students can continue to participate in this organization at the college level in PBL (Phi-Beta Lambda).
     While small in numbers VCA students hit the ground running, learning about the organization and all that it has to offer.
    “I was always involved in FBLA when I was in high school” Teresia Dulaney, VCA’s FBLA chapter advisor, said. “It was one of the many organizations that gave me a love for leadership and the free business enterprise system. I just want our students to learn that they have the power to do anything they want in life if they work hard enough for it. Plus, I want them to have the confidence and courage to make it happen.”
     To start the year off, the students attended the National Fall Leadership conference in Daytona Beach. It was a big undertaking for such a small group because of the expense. However, we raised the money through our business ventures that we had been learning about. The students could see how big the organization really was and see the opportunities that were available to them in leadership through this organization. The students also attended workshops that taught them how to dress for success, how important it was to not let social media ruin their future opportunities and how to step up into leadership roles.
     In January, students from all over the District 7 area competed in business related events for a chance to place and advance to compete at the state level. From there, students would be able to advance to the National level in June.
     “My goal for our students this year was for them get the experience of competition and to explore the different areas of business that they might be interested in,” Dulaney said. “To have three students place in the top three of their events was very exciting for them and myself!”
     Cricket Woodle earned Second Place in Middle Level Public Speaking, a performance category competition. However, only the First Place winner was given the opportunity to advance to state in that category.
     “In spite of having to fight back her nerves, Cricket performed very well, receiving positive comments from the judges,” Dulaney said.
     A.J. Kennedy earned Third Place in the Middle Level Business Math event, which qualified him to compete at the state leadership conference scheduled to be held March 23.
     Kennedy’s first choice was to compete in the Agribusiness event, but it is not available for middle school students.
     Kaleen Edwards competed in Introduction to Business Communications and earned Third Place, which allowed her to advance to state competition.
     Edwards has had no business experience. However, this event tests a range of skills like grammar, capitalization, parts of speech, editing, word usage and definitions in which she did very well.
     The students were recognized for their achievements at the District 7 Awards Banquet on March 10, held at the Marion Technical College in Ocala.
     “Our students that qualified for state competition have opted not to compete this year,” Dulaney said. “This is primarily due to the cost and the fact that it was our spring break and students had already made plans.
     “The time period between the district events and the state events did not allow us enough time to raise the money and change any plans,” she continued. “We look forward to planning ahead for next year.”
     The FBLA students are working on one last project that involves an educational learning experience and fun with the Walt Disney Co.
     “We are fundraising to participate in two of the behind the scenes workshops offered by Disney’s leadership programs,” Dulaney said. “We hope to be able to make that happen by the first week of May. Overall, we have counted our first year in the FBLA organization a huge success and look forward to next year.”

Late freeze damages
watermelon crops in Levy County

Notes on early peanut planting
Published March 21, 2017 at 2:27 p.m.
on the Business Page of HardisonInk.com
D. Anthony Drew, the row crop specialist and county agent with the UF/IFAS Levy County Extension Service, noted on Tuesday (March 21) that the watermelon crops were severely damaged as a result of the most recent freeze.

     County Agent Drew said the recent cold snap inflicted some of, if not THE worst damage on melons that he has seen in his career since farmers started growing on plastic mulch.
     "I spent this past Friday (March 17) looking at fields and trying to quantify the damage," Drew wrote in his field notes on Tuesday. "We saw fields with near 100 percent loss and down the road a bit we saw fields with less than 5 percent damage. I’m too old to be stupid enough to ascribe 'rhyme or reason to the 'why' in every case."
     Nevertheless, Drew noted a couple of his general observations. They follow.
     ● Plants experienced temperatures in the 80s since planting just prior to the cold. They were not “hardened” off. We saw this in the freeze of the early 1980s that killed citrus down to I-4.
     ● There were definitely geographical areas that got more uniform damage across fields and growers. I can only assume they were “cold spots” on the map. Northeast Levy County is a case in point.
     “Regardless of all the above,” Drew noted, “we are now faced with the rest of the season. I asked Dr. Matthews Paret to weigh in on the issue of whether or not we should be aware of and do anything different in the fields as related to the cold damage on our plants.”
     Here is Dr. Paret’s response in that regard:
     This is a unique situation and if you remember from 2013, the cold damage led to quite a lot of replanting and using plants that were not of the topmost quality. The presence of the pathogen
Pseudomonas syringae (the bacterial “angular leaf spot”) in the poor transplants and the subsequent cool wet weather really get it going. I would say that I am more worried about bad quality transplants coming in for replanting more than anything else.
     Secondly, damage can help many pathogens and saprophytic pathogens also to proliferate. They all should be looking at damage including heavy water-soaking on leaves. If there is heavy damage and Pseudomonas (the bacterial “angular leaf spot) or other pathogens present it could be a problem.
     They all need to watch for this for some days to a few weeks and if risk is noted, then maybe a single spray of copper mancozeb or actigard can slow things. You certainly know the rules on copper use low rates to minimize injury.
Early peanut planting
     We finally got some moisture to plant our dryland peanuts and many of you are starting or will shortly start to plant. A few facts about soil temperatures and seed vigor follow.
     1.) “Ideal” soil temperatures for most of our varieties are in the 65 to 68 degree (daily average) point at seeding depth. Yesterday I measured 64 degrees as an average in a sandhill field. We are expecting increasing temperatures over the next few days.
     2.) It is important to note that this time of year, peanut germination and vigor can be adversely affected by sudden drops in soil temperature. The bottom line is this: monitor the weather forecast and if you are planting early (mid-March through early April) peanuts, try not to have germinating peanuts in the ground when the temperature is forecast to drop even if the soil temperature is OK at planting.
     3.) Peanut seed vigor is influenced not only from lot to lot but between varieties as well.

Levy County approves

website owner's offer for ad
Story and Photos
By Jeff M. Hardison © March 21, 2017 at 8:27 a.m.
The Levy County Commission recently chose to accept an offer from HardisonInk.com publisher and owner Jeff M. Hardison.

     HardisonInk.com offered Levy County the chance to start a trend to help investors and Florida taxpayers.
     Levy County accepted the opportunity to better market the upcoming list of delinquent tax certificates for sale from the office of Levy County Tax Collector Linda Fugate.
     While the Chiefland Citizen is anticipated to collect thousands of dollars to publish the list in three weekly editions (May 11, 18 and 25) of that tabloid-sized weekly newspaper with a circulation of fewer than 2,000 paid subscribers, Hardison is scheduled to publish a link to the part of Levy County Tax Collector Linda Fugate's website where people can check on delinquent property taxes for $150.
     HardisonInk.com has an average of 15,000 unique visitors a month -- in January and February. HardisonInk.com has an average of a million hits a month.
     For $150, the ad and link will run on all seven pages 24-hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week during the weeks of May 11, 18 and 25.
     Initially, Hardison offered to run the delinquent tax notices republished on a different webpage for one year for $5,000.
     After conducting more research, the website owner found the most efficient and least expensive method to bring in the most added revenue to the county coffers through the revised method.
     The owner of the 7-year-old daily news website named HardisonInk.com notes that the site primarily covers news in Levy, Dixie and Gilchrist counties. However, there are occasions where statewide news, national news and even global news – such as NASA (or ULA or Space-X) events – are covered.
     The high quality of writing, photography and videos accounts for the continual growth. With so many people visiting the website, and many of those beyond the Tri-County Area, the advertisements draw from local and well as distant potential buyers.
     “I am pleased to announce that the Levy County Commission accepted my offer to increase the odds of selling delinquent property tax certificates from this county by reaching a much larger audience than it reaches through just the Chiefland Citizen,” Hardison said.
     This action increases the marketing of sales of delinquent tax certificates to possible buyers. It will be visible to all people via the internet for the three weeks when those sales are most promoted.
     There is no subscription purchase required to view HardisonInk.com.
     This ad will be promoted on HardisonInk.com as well as just existing there, as are all advertisements on the site.
     Levy County is the first Florida county to use this independent daily news website.
     The tax collectors in Dixie and Gilchrist counties chose not to accept the offer, Hardison said.
     A weekly newspaper’s representative noted that it is required to place legal ads on a website. This placement of a link on HardisonInk.com is better than that.
     Those ads are not easily found, and this ad will be much better promoted. This ad for a link is going to be on HardisonInk.com itself – not some separate place.
     “Another reason to accept my offer to go beyond the mandatory minimum required by law is because I am a local vendor,” Hardison said. “The weekly newspaper is owned by a Florida corporation, which is owned solely by a Kentucky corporation. I am a resident of Levy County, and my daily news website is owned by me.”
     Hardison said he appreciates the Chiefland Citizen putting in a correction adfter one of its former editors noted HardisonInk.com was a “blog.”
     “For the past 45 years, since 1971 in high school and through college and graduate school,” Hardison said, “I have covered the news all over Florida. I have earned seven awards in competition with other Florida journalists.”
     With the reach of this website beyond the county lines, the odds of having more buyers of these tax deeds is increases enough to buy this ad space.
     It was Levy County Commissioner Rock Meeks who first asked about reducing the price.
     Hardison said he after speaking with Tax Collector Fugate and considering the best management practice for this new enterprise, this is the best price for the highest return on investment for Levy County.
     County Commissioner Mike Joyner has said he has used HardisonInk.com for his political ads, and he believes Hardison does “a wonderful job.”
     County Commission Chairman John Meeks and County Commissioner Matt Brooks have used the website to advertise, and Brooks continues advertising a business interest that he co-owns -- B4 Signs & Advertising, BUSINESS PAGE.
     During one meeting, Joyner asked County Attorney Anne Brown whether the weekly newspaper had exclusive rights to this ad space.
     Attorney Brown said that she needed to review and make sure the county has not given exclusive rights to the weekly newspaper to publish the delinquent tax notices.
     It was after her review that Levy County Coordinator Wilbur Dean contacted Hardison to say the county wanted to accept his offer.
     Levy County Tax Collector Fugate said historically, there have been 5,000 to 8,000 parcels listed for delinquent taxes. From that approximately 2,500 remain unsold each year, she said.
     This additional ad would increase the marketing of those tax certificates.
     A couple of people have complained to the County Commission that there is not the enough Internet access in Levy County to make them content.
     However, the people buying the certificates noted via HardisonInk.com would be those people who do have Internet access and money to invest, and there is no requirement for those buyers to live in Levy County.
     The idea of buying the ad in HardisonInk.com is to expand the reach of the marketing of this investment item beyond the four corners of Levy County, and so while a few people might complain about their lack of Internet service in some parts of the county, that is not very relevant.
     In fact, too, every single Levy County resident has access to one of the five county libraries, where Internet service is provided for free.
     Dale Bowen, an employee of the Florida corporation that owns the Chiefland Citizen and is wholly owned by a Kentucky corporation has done what he could previously to influence the County Commission to not accept the offer from HardisonInk.com.
     Although that Kentucky-based group already captured the mandatory ad sale, since it has a monopoly as the only qualified bidder – which Bowen himself noted in his bid proposal, Bowen still felt compelled to attempt to crush Hardison’s (an independent business owner) offer to help the county.
     Bowen said people who want to search for public notices can go to http://www.floridapublicnotices.com/search/. This site is every legal notice from every newspaper in Florida.
     Linda Cooper, the former office manager of the Levy County Journal, has said she prefers HardisonInk.com because it is a free publication and it is of a better quality for news and human interest content than the Chiefland Citizen.    
     “The county is not paying HardisonInk.com $150,” Hardison said. “The tax certificate buyers are paying for the ads. If there are 5,000 certificates sold, then that is less than one penny per certificate buyer for this added advertisement.
     “I have to laugh at the weekly newspaper,” Hardison continued. “One of its former editors noted HardisonInk.com is a blog.”
     Hardison said he and his attorney – Sunshine Baynard of Baynard Law, P.A., (another advertiser) has noted in writing and verbally that this offer is not a bid to advertise the delinquent tax notices in competition with the weekly tabloid. This is an offer beyond that. And the law that precludes other newspapers does not exclude the county from accepting the offer.
     “By the way,” Hardison said, “for people who do not know what a blog is, it is a regularly updated website or web page, typically one run by an individual or small group that is written in an informal or conversational style. It’s an online journal.
     “HardisonInk.com is a daily news website,” Hardison said. “News websites are recognized by professional journalism societies all over the world. Back when I worked for newspapers that were in print, I earned two awards for investigative reporting (1983-The Jasper News and 2007-a newspaper in Levy County). I earned one for environmental reporting (1990-a New York Times Regional Newspaper Group-owned newspaper). I earned one for community service (1989-Glades County Democrat). I earned one for best public service (1989-Glades County Democrat). I earned one for front page layout (1989-Glades County Democrat). And I earned one for best use of full color (1984-Naples Star).”

Rep. Neal Dunn announces 2017

Congressional Art Competition;
High school students
are encouraged to submit artwork

Published March 8, 2017 at 9:07 a.m.
on the Business Page of HardisonInk.com
U.S. Rep. Neal Dunn (R-District 2 Florida) recently announced the 2017 High School Congressional Art Competition.

     District 2 of Florida for the United States House of Representatives includes Levy, Dixie and Gilchrist and other counties.
     The United States House of Representatives sponsors this competition each spring to recognize and honor talented young artists from each congressional district across the country.
     High school students residing in Florida’s Second District are encouraged to submit their work. The winning piece will be hung in the United States Capitol building along with artwork from across the country. The Congressional Art Competition began in 1982 and since then more 650,000 young artists have been involved.
     “The Congressional Art Competition is rich in tradition and brings together students from around the country,” Dunn said. “I know we have a vast amount of talented young artists in Florida’s Second District and I look forward to displaying the winning piece in the Capitol for all to see.”
     Submissions can include paintings, drawings, collages, and photography, among other mediums. Artwork entered in the contest may be up to 26 inches by 26 inches, may be up to 4 inches in depth, and not weigh more than 15 pounds. The deadline for submission is April 20. For full competition guidelines visit Dr. Dunn’s website at https://dunn.house.gov/services/art-competition.

Poll worker orientation slated;
Deadline to reserve is March 27
Published Feb. 15, 2017 at 8:37 a.m.
on the Business Page of HardisonInk.com
The Levy County Supervisor of Elections Office is scheduled to hold Poll Worker Orientation on the dates below:

     This is a mandatory orientation for anyone interested in becoming a Levy County Poll Worker. The purpose of this orientation is to provide details about requirements of being a poll worker.
     Anyone who is interested may attend one of the two following dates:
     ● Tuesday, April 4 from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m.
     ● Thursday, Oct. 12 from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m.

     The orientation is set to be held at the Levy County Supervisor of Elections Office - 421 S. Court St, in Bronson.
     Please use the side entrance of the Elections Office.
     If you plan to attend please email kearston@votelevy.com to RSVP. The deadline to reserve a space is March 27. For more information, please call 352-486-5163.

66th Annual Florida Beef Cattle
Short Course Is May 3 - 5

The 2017 Florida Beef Cattle Short Course Program Committee and the Department of Animal Sciences would like to welcome you to this year’s Short Course. We look forward to this week every year in anticipation of delivering the premier educational event for serious beef cattle producers in the Southeast. The 2017 Florida Beef Cattle Short Course will be held at the Straughn IFAS Extension Professional Development Center at 2142 Shealy Drive in Gainesville. For additional information, registration, costs and updates on the 66th Annual Florida Beef Cattle Short Course click HERE.
For information or questions concerning livestock in Levy County, please contact Levy County Extension Director Ed Jennings  at 352-486-5131.
Published Feb. 13, 2017 at 2:27 p.m. on the Business Page of HardisonInk.com

Photo and Text Provided

Free AARP tax prep help offered
in the Tri-County Area

Published Jan. 30, 2017 at 7:37 a.m.
Updated Jan. 31, 2017 at 5:07 p.m.
on the Business Page of HardisonInk.com
There is free assistance available for tax preparation by volunteer tax preparers with the American Association for Retired People (AARP).

     For assistance at any of the following places on the dates and times shown, people who want help must bring the following: LAST YEAR'S TAX RETURN; and SOCIAL SECURITY CARDS for all persons included on the 2016 Tax Return. The free AARP tax preparation team will be using new IRS software this season. This team of volunteers will not have any prior year's information, just as in the past.
     The free AARP tax preparation team will be at the Gilchrist County Public Library, 105 N.E. 11th Ave., in Trenton from through April 10 on Mondays only. The hours are from 12:30 p.m. until 4 p.m. To schedule an appointment on Mondays in Trenton, please call 352-463-7135.
     The free AARP tax preparation team will be at the Dixie County Public Library, 16328 S.E. U.S. Highway 19, in Cross City from through April 11 on Tuesdays only. The hours are from 12:30 p.m. until 4 p.m. To schedule an appointment on Tuesdays in Cross City, please call 352-498-1219.
     The free AARP tax preparation team will be at the Williston Public Library, 10 S.E. First St., in Williston through April 7 on Thursdays only. The hours on each Thursday in Williston are from 12:30 p.m. until 4 p.m. To schedule an appointment on Thursdays in Williston, please call 352-528-2313.
     The free AARP tax preparation team will be at the Luther Callaway Public Library, 104 N.E. Third St., in Chiefland through April 11 on Fridays only.  The hours are from 11:30 a.m. until 4 p.m. To schedule an appointment on Fridays in Chiefland, please call 352-493-2758.


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