Williston cancels special election;
Marguerite Robinson wins
By Jeff M. Hardison © Aug. 11, 2017 at 5:07 p.m.
The City of Williston will not be required to conduct a special election to replace the recently-resigned former City Councilman Tim Hass, according to information from Williston City Clerk Fran Taylor.
     The qualifying period for the 2017 Special Election ended at noon today (Friday. Aug. 11), Taylor said.
     One individual has filed as a candidate for Group C and she is unopposed.
     Marguerite Robinson is deemed "elected" as a result of an uncontested race, Taylor said.
    Robinson is tentatively scheduled to take the oath of office on Aug. 24 at the regular City Council meeting.




Methodist preacher and wife
welcome everyone to church

Pastor Alex Christian and his wife Velma Christian say First United Methodist Church of Chiefland has open doors and no boundaries. Everyone is welcome in the church.

Story and Photo
By Jeff M. Hardison © Aug. 9, 2017 at 9:07 p.m.
Updated Aug. 10, 2017 at 11:57 a.m.
The new pastor at First United Methodist Church of Chiefland welcomes everyone to worship God at the church located at 707 N. Main St. (U.S. Highway 19) in Chiefland.

     Pastor Alex Christian and his wife Velma Christian spent some time Tuesday (Aug. 8) introducing themselves to those who do not know them yet.
     Pastor Christian began at the church on July 2. Worship services are each Sunday at 10:15 a.m. in the sanctuary. Sunday school is each Sunday at 9 a.m. in various meeting rooms on the ground.
     The United Methodist Church is known for its slogan "Open Hearts, Open Minds, Open Doors."
     Alex and Velma were married in February of 2002 in Las Vegas.
     Pastor Christian was born in Montreal, Canada. He was raised for his first six years of life in orphanages. He was adopted and resided in New Jersey after that.
     "I went through a turbulent youth and childhood," he said, "and lots of different experiences. And God helped me through all of those things.
     Before coming to Chiefland, he was an assistant pastor at First United Methodist Church of Kissimmee for two and a half years, before serving for two years in two different Methodist churches in Palm Bay.
     Pastor Christian and Ms. Christian are excited and thrilled to be in Chiefland, he said.
     His vision of the church is “a church without walls,” which is part of the “Open Doors” of the United Methodist Church. Pastor Christian wants everyone to know that all people are welcome to First United Methodist Church of Chiefland.
     There are no barriers stopping any person from coming to First United Methodist Church of Chiefland, he said.
     Everyone is welcome – no matter whom they are, no matter what they have done. It does not matter what they wear or what they look like, he said. The pastor said this is how God welcomes all people.
     “Our mission is not just to love all people inside the walls of the church or during the church service,” he continued. “We are to do that outside – seven-days-a-week.”
     Pastor Christian said this can be shows through the several ministries of the church, and in its community-oriented events such as the recent Epic End of Summer Bash.
     This is his question, “How can we reach people with God’s love?”
     There are many broken people, even within the walls of the church, he said.
     “God is working on us with His grace and love,” Pastor Christian said. “So we want all people to understand that and connect with that. Sometimes people are not aware, where God is working already in their lives.”
     He reaches out to people, the pastor said.
     He wants this church to help meet the physical needs and the spiritual needs of people.
     Pastor Christian wants Christians to show their belief.
     “Velma and I will identify ourselves as followers of Jesus,” he said, “because sometimes Christianity has a connotation other than to follow Jesus. Do what He did in His life, being like Jesus; growing into that.
     “Help other people to know what Jesus is by the way we live our life,” he continued. “You know God called from the early days of the Old Testament for God’s people to be there in a relationship with God, but also to be in a relationship with each other – looking out for the widows, the orphans, those who are broken and hurting.”
     Building authentic relationships on a face-to-face level with each other is important in today’s world, he said, where often those relationships are superficial.
     Be an example to all people, he said, by showing the love, faith and hope that can be shown each day in actions with each other.
     No person does this perfectly, he added. Each person, himself included, is a work in progress.
     “I am amazed and reminded on a daily basis of my weakness,” he said. “How God can use someone like me, with all of my wrinkles and warts, and imperfections. But that is how God is glorified.”
     He wants everyone to know, regardless of where they are in their relationship with God (even if they don’t have one yet), to rest assured they welcome to come and ask questions of the pastor.
     The pastor said that he and his wife “really have a heart broken people. These are people who have been or are going through very difficult times in their lives. Another part of the couple’s calling, he said, is to accept diversity.
     “We believe that God welcomes all people,” he said. “We want to be a church that is known for that – accepting all people just as we are, because we are all growing in our relationship with God. None of us have arrived. And we won’t, until that final day when Jesus returns and finishes that work in us.”
     In the meantime, he added, everyone is in a process of growth. Different people are at different points, he said, but that does not make any person better than any other person.
     Velma Christian provided more.
     She is a registered medical assistant.
     God called on her, she said, to look at people with His eye; to hear others with His ears; to touch others’ hearts with His hands.
     Sometimes, she continued, people have so much going on – work, sports, school, children – so that they fail to see the sadness in the hearts and on the faces of others.
     God has put it on her heart, she said, to give that person a smile. Say “Hello” to person and listen to the story they may need to get out.
     Give a person a hug, because that may be what they need today, she said.
     She said people are not to be so caught up with the things of the world that they forget to show the love of God to each other.
     “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.”
-- 1 John 2:15 (KJV)
     She endorses the practice of asking neighbors if there is some way to help them.
     “Say ‘Hello’ to your neighbor,” she said. “Don’t just wave. Go over and start a conversation.”
     And if there is a stranger who looks like they need a greeting or a smile, do that too, she said. Velma Christian said she strives to lift the hearts of people in Chiefland.

District governor visits
Trenton Rotary Club

Trenton Rotarian Dr. Andrew Nguyen plays the piano on Monday afternoon (Aug. 7) as he substitutes for Monnye Brown, the usual piano player at the Rotary Club meetings in Trenton.

Story and Photos
By Jeff M. Hardison © Aug. 8, 2017 at 11:27 p.m.
     TRENTON --
The Rotary Club of Trenton hosted Florida Rotary District Governor Lisa Weeks of Santa Rosa County (Pace Rotary, where she has been since 2003).

Trenton Rotary Club President Bob Clemons opens the meeting.

Assistant District Governor Chris Cowart speaks about the district governor.

     The Trenton Rotary Club is in District 6940, which includes 49 other clubs and covers many counties.
     Assistant District 6940 Governor Chris Cowart visited the Trenton group as well. There are 10 assistant governors in District 6940.
     Cowart is responsible for the clubs in Chiefland (Levy County), Dixie County (Cross City), Suwannee Valley (Levy County), Trenton (Gilchrist County) and Williston (Levy County). Cowart's home club is in Williston.
     Before District Governor Weeks spoke about the district and some of her goals, and some of the goals of 2017-18 Rotary International President Ian H.S. Riseley, she presented an award to Trenton Rotarian Shannon Smith.
     Shannon Smith brought his wife Christine Smith as a guest.
     Trenton Rotary President Bob Clemons welcomed everyone and thanked the members and guests for spending time with them.
     Assistant District Governor Cowart introduced Weeks. The district governor was born in Fairbanks, Alaska; is a graduate of the University of West Florida; and is a real estate broker with her husband of 30-plus years David.
     She has an extensive background in Rotary.

Trenton Rotary Club President Bob Clemons (left) watches as District Governor Lisa Weeks (second from left) tells Rotarian Shannon Smith that Smith's work to help people all over the world through his participation in the Foundation. Assistant District Governor Chris Cowart is seen at the right.

Christine Smith pins her husband Shannon Smith with the Paul Harris Fellow pin.

     District Governor Weeks presented the Rotary Foundations Paul Harris Fellowship Award to Shannon Smith.
     The Paul Harris Fellow recognition acknowledges individuals who contribute, or who have contributions made in their name, of $1,000 to The Rotary Foundation of Rotary International.
     It was established in 1957 to show appreciation for and encourage substantial contributions to what was then the Foundation’s only program, Rotary Foundation Fellowships for Advanced Study, the precursor to Ambassadorial Scholarships.
     Paul Harris started Rotary International in 1905.
     In addition to the certificate, which was presented to Smith by President Clemons, there was a pin presented. Christine Smith pinned Shannon Smith with that award.
     Thanks to his gift to the Rotary Foundation, Weeks told Smith, it is able to benefit people all over the world by improving living conditions; increasing food production; providing better education; increasing the areas where people who are disabled can be treated; opening new channels for the flow of international understanding; and offering a brighter hope for peace throughout the world.
     The ideals of the Foundation are goodwill, peace and understanding around the world, Weeks said.
     District Governor Weeks shared with the audience that President Riseley would like each club around the globe to plant a tree.
     She urged the Trenton Rotarians to accomplish this before April.

District Governor Lisa Weeks shares with the Trenton Rotarians some of her goals.
    District Governor Weeks presented each of the Women of Rotary with a lapel pin on Monday.
    As the district governor and being a woman, Weeks said she felt that this year 2017 deserves to be memorialized as the 30th year since the United States Supreme Court ruled that organizations like Rotary and Kiwanis could no longer exclude women from being members.

The women of Rotary at the meeting on Monday are pinned and they stand to be recognized. This year marks the 30th anniversary of women being allowed to join Rotary, Kiwanis and other clubs that had excluded them based on gender before.

The district presents the Trenton club with a check.

The Trenton club presents a check to the district.

     The motto of Rotary Club International is “Making A Difference.”
     With that in mind, District Governor Weeks is asking all of the clubs in District 6940 to have members from the different clubs to visit with each other, and to work together on projects.
     Weeks said she also would like the members to socialize with each other, rather than to just see each other in passing at a meeting.
     She mentioned to the Trenton club that they may want to sponsor an Interact Club at a high school as well as a Rotaract Club at a college.
     Her presentation included a call to attend the April 5-9 District 6940 meeting at the San Destin Golf and Beach Resort. She would like to see Rotarians attend the June 23-27, 2018 Rotary International Conference in Toronto, Canada as well.
     The Rotary Club of Trenton meets each Monday (except holidays) at noon, in the Woman’s Club of Trenton, 819 S.W. Gilchrist County Road 339 in Trenton.

Footers pass inspection
at house that has moved

This is a bird's eye view of the home as it was seen on Friday (Aug. 4)

Story and Photos
By Jeff M. Hardison © Aug. 4, 2017 at 2:27 p.m., All Rights Reserved
A house that was rolling down U.S. Alt. 27 from Bronson to the Levyville area on Tuesday (Aug. 1) has landed, and footers were being dug Friday morning (Aug. 4) as the process to have it placed in its new location continued.

     Danny and Donna Shipp own the home, which has a history that now makes this the third move since Donna Shipps' uncle Linus Sache built it in the Chiefland area in 1958, she said.

Below are photos of the house that is now in what promises to be its final location.

     Danny Shipp is the Levy County Clerk.
     Donna Shipp said a friend of hers told her that her house had become famous by going down the highway and being shown on
     This house is completely original, although there are some improvements and changes have benn made during the past 50 years, she said.
     It was first in Chiefland where her uncle lived in it. After he built a brick house, Linus Sache gave this house to his sister Muzeta (Sache) Wilkerson, who moved it from her brother's property over to her own property.
     After the death of her mother, Donna Shipp became the owner of the house. She and Danny Shipp chose to move it to Bronson in March of 1990, she said.
     The road that it used to be on in Bronson, she said, was relatively busy. Both she and Danny prefer living a more rural area. When they found property in the Levyville part of Levy County, they decided to move the house.
    "I love my old house," Donna Shipp said.
     When they moved it in 1990, the structure was brought up to current building codes. Back before then, it used to have a fuse box with screw in fuses. The wiring was not as good as it is now either. Older houses like this one, she said, also had more small rooms.
     They took out some walls to make bigger rooms. The pine fllor is tongue-and-groove. In this next phase of remodeling, however, she said she is planning to cover those board with vinyl that looks like wood.
     The new location, she said, is perfect. She is seeing a dream come true - to have this house in the country, and to continue living in it and remodeling it.
     Ronnie Hunt of Cross City is the man in charge of the moving company that transported the house and is making it sound at its new location. Hunt is the son of the late P.K. Hunt, who was a house mover too. Back when the house was moved from Chiefland to Bronson in 1990, Ronnie Hunt was part of the working crew to complete that job.
     On Friday, the building inspector said the footers passed the inspection. And so progress continues on the house becoming settled into its new location.

House Rolls On U.S. Alt. 27

A house that was so wide that it took up both lanes of U.S. Alt. 27 near the Melba Tillis Farm as it moved down the road on Tuesday morning (Aug. 1) is seen with an escort of Levy County Sheriff's Office vehicles in front and behind it.

This still photo is from a video by Jeff M. Hardison © Aug. 2, 2017 at 10:57 p.m.



Trenton Senior Center Turns 7

Friday (July 28) heralded the seventh anniversary of the Trenton Senior Center. There was a huge party with 80 senior citizens who enjoyed the festivities. The party kicked off at 10 a.m. with a concert of Gospel music featuring Written in Red. At 11 a.m., the partying group took a break to conduct a free raffle followed by the introduction of our special guests, the seniors from the Mayo Senior Center.  The band resumed playing, however it stopped when our keynote speaker, State Rep. Charles Wesley "Chuck" Clemons Sr. (R-Jonesville, Dist. 21 – which is all of Dixie, Gilchrist and part of Alachua counties) took the floor and spoke about his life up to being elected.

Clemons touched on some of the things that are happening in Tallahassee and that affect seniors. Many seniors had questions that he answered. Clemons said his office can be reached at 352-313-6542. We enjoyed a delicious lunch prepared and served by Ayers Health and Rehabilitation followed by a beautiful cake furnished by Leanne Seay of Caretenders. We note a special ‘Thank You’ to all who pitched in with setup, serving, and putting away all the extra tables and chairs.  None of this would be possible without all the help I receive from the willing and able seniors who call the Center their ‘Home Away from Home.’
Published July 30, 2017 at 8:27 a.m.

Information and Photos Provided By President Norm Conti, Suwannee River Economic Council Senior Advisory Group

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