Prevention coalition
shows extensive progress

Levy County Prevention Coalition Chief Operating Officer Jonathan Lewis shares insight from 2017 during the first general meeting of the coalition in 2018.

Story, Photos and Video
By Jeff M. Hardison © Feb. 20, 2018 at 4:28 p.m.
The Levy County Prevention Coalition's first general meeting of 2018 on Friday afternoon (Feb. 16) provided an opportunity for a review of 2017, which showed great progress.
     The future looks bright for the LCPC too.
     Prevention Coalition Chairman Crystal Seley welcomed everyone to the event held in the Williston Elementary School Media Center.



In this video, Levy County Sheriff Bobby McCallum speak about the Feb. 14 murder of 17 people in southeast Florida. He shares some insight about how the Levy County Sheriff’s Office has trained for this type of incident.


 Robert Wells of Meridian Behavioral Healthcare Inc. speaks at the meeting. Wells is among the founders of what has become the Levy County Prevention Coalition. It has been 16 or 17 years since this group first started. Wells and other say that Jonathan Lewis is an excellent chief operating officer who is a master of writing grant proposals to help the organization achieve its goals.

Gwen Love of CDS Family and Behavioral Health Services is among the founders of the Levy County Prevention Coalition.

Denard Williams with Unity Family Community Center

Levy County Superintendent of Schools Jeff Edison listens. He and Sheriff Bobby McCallum had very little sleep on the night before this meeting, because they were discussing how the county school system should conduct its business after the Feb. 14 shooting and killing of 17 people at a Broward County School.

Levy County Sheriff Bobby McCallum reminds members of the community to call the Sheriff's Office if they see something suspicious.

Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation, Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco Special Agent Kevin Cox (left) shakes hands with Kristina Zachry of Quit Doc.

     The lunch of the day was provided by Chick-fil-A. Attendees could choose from chicken nuggets or other forms of chicken, and chips and cookies were on the menu as well as drinks.
     Levy County Prevention Coalition Chief Operating Officer Jonathan Lewis led the meeting.
     The coalition has been implementing its community action plan during the past year, Lewis said, reminding listeners that the plan was formed several years ago.
     This coalition was active in the back to school events in Chiefland and Williston, as it provided school supplies and other items. It also promoted the “No One’s House” campaign, where any parent can sign a pledge to not allow people who are younger than 21 years old to partake of alcoholic beverages in their homes.
     Also, during the past 12 months, the coalition served 12,000 people by assisting in various manners at the Tri-County Community Resource Center’s Baby Shower; the Levy County Schools Foundation’s Beast Feast; the Williston Elementary School’s Fall Festival; The Chiefland Trunk-or-Treat; The Martin Luther King Jr. Day Parade in Williston; The Williston July 3 Parade; and the Trail of Treaters events in Bronson and Williston.
     During this past year’s Crab Fest, the Levy County Prevention Coalition provided 124 law enforcement response officials with meals, water and a safe meeting place.
     There were 25 sites such as convenience stores, where the Levy County Prevention Coalition staff observed placement of signs for alcohol and tobacco sales.
     In 2017, there were five Friday Night Done Right events by the Levy County Prevention Coalition, where there were 656 young people served.
     These events were the Drag Steer Roping at the Cowboy Church; Basketball Skills Training at Williston Middle High School; Kickball Tournament in Chiefland; Fifth Quarter After Football Game Hangout; and the Pahokee Playoff Game.
     Lewis said this year the coalition is working with the athletic directors in the schools to encourage youth to attend all sporting events.
     In cooperation with the Lutheran Services Foundation Health Systems and others in 2017, there were Lunch and Learn events that included Understanding Addiction; Substance Abuse Mental Health; and Adverse Childhood Experiences.
     Through the acquisition of a Florida Department of Juvenile Justice grant, the coalition launched a mentoring program. In this, on Friday nights, mentees met with a high school football player once a week during football season. At the final home game of the season, they ran onto the field with the mentor to be recognized.
     As part of the mentoring program., there was also an afterschool cake party and a Christmas Fun Day.
     Partnering with the City of Williston, the coalition conducted a free summer camp
     In 2017, the coalition also had 312 students participate in the Know The Law program; reached in excess of 12,000 people with the No One’s House program; and collected 175 pounds of prescriptions as part of the United States Drug Enforcement Agency, Levy County Sheriff’s Office, Williston Police Department and Chiefland Police Department project in 2017.
     As for the Know The Law program in 2018, Lewis sees a potential to double the number of students from 2017.
     The coalition partners with the Levy County Sheriff’s Office to offer this program. The coalition plans in 2018 to offer it to every fifth grader in Williston, every sixth grader in Bronson, Cedar Key Chiefland and Yankeetown and every third grader in
     In 2017, the coalition conducted Responsible Vendor Training in Bronson, Cedar Key, Chiefland and Williston, to help clerks, bartenders and others learn more about alcohol and tobacco sales. Vendors received a certificate of completion, which in some cases reduced liability insurance premiums.
     Question, Persuade and Refer are the QPR of the recent program the coalition sponsored for Levy County School District counselors, Lewis said.
     This QPR program is to help children who feel suicidal. The “refer” part of the program, he conceded, is lacking in rural Florida.
     Mental health providers often want the person to go to them, Lewis said. This year, the coalition is going to try to work with the providers to have bring services to the youth – perhaps even to the child’s house.
     During the last half of the meeting, representatives of partners spoke.
     Kristina Zachry, the community health advocate who is with the Tobacco Free Partnership of Levy County, gave an update about the progress of that group. She mentioned that the Levy County Fair is going to be tobacco free for the first time ever, when it happens in the spring.
     Gwen Love of CDS Family and Behavioral Health Services said that with its Too Good for Drugs and Too Good for Violence programs, it is serving roughly 2,000 students in Williston Elementary School, Bronson Elementary School and Chiefland Elementary School.
     She said this is a model program.
     Denard Williams, a data entry specialist with Unity Family Community Center, spoke about the Students Winning and Achieving Goals program. In SWAG, he said, students in the after-school program are kept safe between the hours of 3 and 5 to 6 p.m. on schooldays.
     This is seen as a time when some students may be inclined to perform some risky behavior, he said.
      Another program provided by Unity Family Community Center helps schools provide students with information about the benefits of abstinence from sex before marriage.
     Levy County Superintendent of Schools Jeff Edison spoke about the school system’s efforts to improve mental health training for school counselors.
     Extracurricular activities are the “heart and soul” of a school, Edison said. Sports, band, Hi-Q and other activities help students become more goal-oriented in a positive manner.
     Edison said he anticipates broaching this aspect of schools from a system-wide methodology and to determine expectations for building better community pride and school pride.
     Levy County Sheriff Bobby McCallum said Levy County deputies are being trained in the use of Narcan for the emergency treatment of known or suspected opioid overdose, as manifested by respiratory and/or central nervous system depression.
     Beyond the methods of dealing with the opioid crisis in the nation, McCallum addressed the recent mass killing at a school in Broward County.
     He said mental illness in schools is a problem. Drug abuse, including the addiction to opiates, is a driving factor that fuels into the engine of crime in the county, state and nation.
     The sheriff said society is seeing today the sadness that comes from children being born to drug-addicted parents.
     Sheriff McCallum, Superintendent Edison and Undersheriff Brett Beauchamp were on the phone for three hours the night before this coalition meeting, and that went into the early hours of the morning.
     The LCSO and the school leaders are doing everything possible for student safety, McCallum said. This process did not just start on Feb. 14. There have been progressive plans and strategies in place for years now.
     There is a Tactical Response Unit that trains in each school during the off-hours of the various facilities, he said. Every Levy County deputy has maps and layouts of all of the campuses available in their onboard computers in their cruisers, McCallum said.
     The sheriff asks everyone to contact the LCSO if they see suspicious activity.
     “If you see something,” he said, “say something.”
     Even what might prove to be idle threats made on social media deserve attention, he said.
     The Levy County Coalition leaders and staff include Chairman Crystal Seley, Co-Chairman Chris Cowart, Secretary Brett Beauchamp, Treasurer Robert Wells, Chief Operating Officer Jonathan Lewis, Parliamentarian Edith Brown, Community Projects Coordinator Rose Wilder, Youth Development Coordinator Cheryl Davis, Student Intern (a sophomore at the University of Florida) Lauren Bautista, and honorary board members Sheriff Bobby McCallum, Williston Police Chief Dennis Strow, Superintendent of Schools Jeff Edison and Annie Battles.
      The next meeting of the Levy County Prevention Coalition is scheduled for April 19 at noon.

Helpful Readers

Some days the big Sharks at Cedar Key School get to spend time with the little Sharks. Students at CKS experienced one of those days recently. The middle and high school speech students read to the kindergarteners, showing those 5- and 6-year-old students how interesting books can be.
Published Feb. 20, 2018 at 12:38 p.m.

Photo by Kayla Beckham, CKS Student Journalist in Karen Voyles' class


Chiefland fire chief is evaluated
Chief James Harris stands next to a wall of the Chiefland City Commission meeting room in the Hardy Dean Sr. Municipal Building after the regular City Commission meeting on Monday night (Feb. 12). That is a portrait of former City Manager Dean, after whom Chiefland City Hall was named in the upper left corner of this picture.

Story and Photo
By Jeff M. Hardison © Feb. 14, 2018 at 12:38 p.m.
Chiefland Fire Chief James Harris on Monday night (Feb. 12) listened to the City Commission say why it believed he should serve another year as chief.
     Each City Commission member completed a written evaluation of the chief.
     Mayor Betty Walker gave the chief an overall rating of 207. She noted her opinion that the chief is doing a good job.
     Vice Mayor Chris Jones gave the chief an overall rating of 172. He thanked the chief for leading the fire-rescue department in serving the city and surrounding area in an exemplary manner.
     City Commissioner Teresa Barron gave the chief an overall rating of 220.7, because she actually subdivided between the one- to five-point scale on the many categories where he could be ranked.
     City Commissioner Rollin Hudson gave the chief an overall rating of 175.
     City Commissioner Donald Lawrence gave the chief an overall rating of 195. Commissioner Lawrence noted he was pleased with the professionalism of the Chiefland Fire Rescue Department under the leadership of Chief Harris.
     The most points for each of the various categories are listed, and the highest possible score is noted as well.

     Relating With Governing Body 55; Organizational Relations 20; Personnel Management 30; Managing The Organization 45; Relations With The Public 15; Relations With Other Governments 10; Managerial And Administrative Performance 30; and Personal Qualities 60 – Total Highest Possible 265.

Neonatal blanket campaign
brightens one Alachua County
hospital and targets
a Marion County hospital next

Photos Provided by Cherri Prevatt
By Jeff M. Hardison © Feb. 11, 2018 at 7:08 p.m.
The grandmother of a baby who was born a couple of months prematurely shared information about a campaign to change an aspect of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) of hospitals to make them appear to be more warm and friendly.

Beau Lewis Prevatt

The incubator with its relatively plain sheet.

A few of the blankets that have been donated

Photos Provided by Cherri Prevatt

     Cherri Prevatt is the paternal grandmother of Beau Lewis Prevatt. Beau is the baby who is the son of Cherri’s son and daughter-in-law Doug and Katie Prevatt.
     On Dec. 30, Beau – Cherri’s seventh grandchild – was born.
     He wasn't due until Feb. 8, she said.
     On Dec. 29, she noted in an email a couple of weeks ago, Doug and Katie Prevatt, were on their way to Georgia for a fun holiday weekend.
     They had stopped by their doctor’s office for a quick appointment on the way, Cherri said, and instead of the weekend plan, Katie was rushed to the hospital, where labor was induced.
     The baby had to be immediately delivered although she was only seven months pregnant, Cherri said.
     “As it is for all couples who have babies two months before those babies are due, it was a very traumatic time,” she added. “They were not ready for the baby, and their world was turned upside down.
     “Beau was born Dec 30,” she continued, “and he weighed only four pounds. He was put in an incubator, was given oxygen and a feeding tube. We were told he would be there for about two months. It was a very, very scary time.”
     Cherri had made Beau’s baby blankets beforehand, she said, and she asked the NICU nurses if he could have some of the blankets in his incubator.
     “The nurses were thrilled,” Cherri said, “and wanted me to bring him blankets and whatever would make him and the family feel at home.”
     This was to help give them hope and encouragement.
     When a baby is in intensive care for so long the nurses want to put clothes on them too, she added.
     “We asked the nurses in NICU why the other babies didn't have blankets,” she said, adding that they only had the little sterile-looking white hospital garb.
     “The nurses told us,” Cherri said, “that when a baby is delivered as early as Beau, no one is ready. The parents like us (as grandparents) weren't expecting the baby so early, she noted.
     The hospital where this grandson was born -- North Florida Regional Hospital, doesn't get many donations, she said.
     “People don't know to donate to NFR for babies, even though many babies are born there,” she said. “They showed me what they had, and they were just a few old-looking, store-bought blankets, a few isolated sheets, and a few clothes.
     “Doug and Katie wanted to change that,” Doug’s Mom said. “Even with a sick baby, they decided that all of these babies should have homemade colorful blankets. All of these NICU babies deserved bright, warm, blankets, colorful sheets, and newborn clothes like the blankets that I had made for Beau.”
     That is when the family started BEAU'S BLANKETS to raise awareness, and to start a blanket drive for the premature babies born.
     They created a Facebook page. Many people helped the campaign by sewing homemade baby blankets, sending clothes, crocheting hats, sending money for fabric and in other ways.
     The first delivery to North Florida Hospital was Sunday, Feb. 4.
     They delivered in excess of 200 handmade baby blankets, 160 crocheted hats, 100 onesies, 100 isolate sheets, socks, toys and more in honor of Beau’s Blankets.
     Many people from the Tri-County Area of Levy, Dixie and Gilchrist counties have donated time and money to help these babies and their families feel at home, and give them hope and encouragement at a very dark time, Cherri said.
     The next NICU hospital the group hopes to brighten with their donations is Munroe Regional Medical Center in Ocala.

Mandatory poll worker
orientation scheduled;

Deadline to RSVP is March 1
Published Jan. 19, 2018 at 2:17 a.m.
     BRONSON --
The Levy County Supervisor of Elections Office is scheduled to conduct Poll Worker Orientation on the March 15 and June 7.

     This is a mandatory orientation for anyone interested in becoming a Levy County Poll Worker. The deadline to reserve a space at the event is March 1.
     The purpose of this orientation is to provide details about requirements of being a Poll Worker. If interested, individuals may attend one of the following dates:
     ● Thursday, March 15, 2018 from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m.; and
     ● Thursday, June 7, 2018 from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m.
     The orientation is scheduled to be held at the Levy County Supervisor of Elections Office, 421 S. Court St., in Bronson.
     Participants are asked to please use the side entrance of the Elections Office. That entrance is located from the parking lot on the right side of the building.
     Anyone who plans to attend is asked to please send an email to reserve a seat.
     The deadline to RSVP is March 1. For more information, please call 352-486-5163.

Williston City Council learns
more about MFA proposal
to develop WMS property

Pastor Johnnie Jones III shares his perspective with the Williston City Council.

Story and Photos
By Jeff M. Hardison © Feb. 9, 2018 at 12:08 p.m.
The first meeting in the temporary (interim) Williston City Hall on Tuesday night (Feb. 6) resulted in progress toward a potential joining of forces by the city with the Ministerial Faith Alliance (MFA).

     The MFA would like to take over the abandoned Williston Middle School campus, with all of its empty buildings – regardless of their level of dilapidation. Some building would be demolished of course.
     Three of the four City Council members were present Tuesday night.
     President Charles Goodman, Vice President Nancy Wininger and City Councilwoman Marguerite Robinson were in attendance.
     Williston Mayor R. Gerald Hethcoat was present as well, but the mayor in Williston has no power to vote – even to break a tie.
     For instance, if Williston City Councilman Elihu Ross had been present Tuesday night, and if there had been a 2-2 vote on a matter, then motion and second leading to that vote would die as a result of that tie, because the mayor cannot vote to break a tie despite a previous belief that the city charter allows the mayor to vote to break a tie.

Councilwoman Marguerite Robinson listens to her colleagues.

Mayor R. Gerald Hethcoat thinks about comments being made

Williston City Council President Charles Goodman looks at a computer screen. Goodman has said he is not as adept at computers as some other people might be. He has also expressed what some people may think of as a disdain for the laws that require decisions made by government leaders, including the process leading to a recommendation of a vote, as being required to be open for all people in Florida. Despite his expressed opinion of feeling hamstrung by not being able to discuss matters upon which he may vote with other members of the City Council outside the public view, Goodman chooses to remain within the bounds of the law that govern his actions in that regard. 

Williston Vice President Nancy Wininger sits next to the empty chair where Councilman Elihu Ross would occupy if he attended the most recent Williston City Council meeting.

Williston City Manager Scott Lippmann attends the first City Council meeting in the interim City Hall. The city is using the former multi-purpose building on the campus of the former Williston High School, located on Noble Avenue (U.S. Alt. 27), during the time until the new Williston City Hall is ready for use. The estimated time is nine months to a year before the construction on the future City Hall is completed.

Williston City Attorney Fred Koberlein is seen during the meeting.

City Clerk Frances Taylor performs her duties during the meeting.

Mayor-elect Jerry Robinson asks about road resurfacing plans. Robinson learned the city has adopted a method to reduce the odds of paving or repaving a road, only to have to dig it up and pave again after installing or replacing underground pipes.

     Joining Councilman Ross on the list of absentees that night were two students from the Levy County Public School System whose names had been put forward for recognition as Student of the Month.
     It may be best that Councilman Ross and the two children did not show up at the old WHS Band Room, because that parking lot was so dark that night that a person who was not equipped with a flashlight could have easily tripped and fallen after the meeting was over.
     As for the potential of a partnership of the city and the MFA to secure the vacated WMS property in the unincorporated part of Levy County east of Williston, there probably is going to be more discussion at the Feb. 20 meeting.
     As of that Feb. 6, though, any deal between the MFA and the School Board was as dim as the parking lot outside the temporary Williston City Hall that night.
     The audience at the City Council meeting on Feb. 6 heard about unsuccessful attempts by Pastor Johnnie Jones III in reaching a closing deal with the Levy County School Board on that property.
     Jones said the School Board was seeking between $1.5 million and $2 million from the MFA, even though the School Board may have seemed at one point like it would give the WMS property to the City of Williston for free. The essential difference here, however, appears to be that the city is a government entity and the MFA is a non-profit corporation.
     The abandoned, vacant structures and land formerly known as Williston Middle School may be destined to join the ranks of some other acres marked in Williston as being stricken with blight and slum, despite the intent of the MFA.
     Just so there is no confusion by zealots who are against religion, the MFA is a 501c3 organization that is a designated public charity – not a religious group.
     The MFA helps non-religious groups as well as religious groups or anyone else. The MFA shows no favoritism to Christians or members of any other religion, or non-religion. The MFA helps all people without regard to race, religion, gender, sexual preference, handicap, age or anything else.
     “We are an organization of religious people who practice under a non-religious IRS designation,” Pastor Jones said the day after the meeting when being interviewed by for clarification on how a group named Ministerial Faith Alliance could be non-religious. “We are in the world but not of the world. When it comes to our work, we will not deny anyone.”
     Jones made it clear that the MFA has created a relatively significant plan for using the abandoned property as a center to help people of all ages and walks of life, from cradle to grave and from rich to poor. It may even be used as an offsite learning area for College of Central Florida students for some classes, if that part of the MFA plan reaches fruition. Jones has said there are many possible partners that can work together at that location.
    The MFA, however, has seen obstacles and hurdles from Levy County Superintendent of Schools Jeff Edison, according to what Jones told the City Council as he approached those three people on Tuesday night.
     City Manager Scott Lippmann said that if the city accepted or bought the property, an initial rough estimate of costs to demolish buildings the city sees as useless would be $150,000 plus an undetermined amount of money for disposal (abatement and mitigation) of hazardous material such as asbestos insulation and lead pipes. The issue of liability by being the owner of the property is another consideration for the city leaders.
     President Goodman does not want the city to pay for the property. The city is looking at a $2.5 million cost for the construction of the new City Hall. Even as recent as that meeting, there was no firm plan for financing the new City Hall construction, even though the city knows it can fund that project.
     Councilwoman Robinson said she and her husband Jerry Robinson, who is scheduled to take the oath of office as mayor in April, toured the property.
     Councilwoman Robinson said she saw several computers, keyboards (some new and still in boxes) and monitors left inside the abandoned building. She questioned the School Board’s wisdom in regard to leaving behind valuable equipment.
     Council President Goodman added to Robinson’s theme of wasteful use of resources by government groups by commenting “You should see what the federal government leaves behind.”
     Vice President Wininger said she noticed the same thing.
     “I thought when they moved, they moved,” Wininger said. “I did not know how much was left behind.”
     Pastor Jones, who is president of the MFA, shared his perspective with the City Council.
     The MFA plan for the property includes several possible partners and will require memorandums of understanding with various entities, he said.
     The MFA has worked for 18 months to secure the property.
     The $2 million price tag has been the primary obstacle to the MFA taking over with refurbishing the property to be a center for community services, Jones said.
     As voters and taxpayers, Jones said, he believes all people in Levy County should wonder about the School Board building a new Williston Middle High School and then not have a plan for what the School Board would do with either the facilities on the Williston Middle School campus or the facilities on the Williston High School campus.
     “Government does not need to be involved in a single other thing,” Jones said, “except to be supportive of what its citizens are asking for – and need. And I think it’s really our turn.”
     The plan by the MFA, Jones said, has never gone away but the School Board in approaching the city again to takeover the WMS campus intimated that the MFA was no longer interested. The $2 million price tag is the single block the School Board has put up to halt the MFA from fulfilling its plan.
     It is a waste of the city’s resources to “reinvent the wheel,” Jones said, when the MFA has spent 18 months creating an excellent plan to utilize the WMS campus for the good of the residents and visitors of Williston.
     The School Board sees the property as a nuisance that it wants to divest itself from, Jones said.
     Jones said he asked if MFA could lease the former WMS property, he told the City Council.
     “I was turned down,” Jones said, “although there are other lease agreements at work with the School Board right now in the county.
     “I was also informed,” Jones continued, “that there was no lease agreement that could last longer than three months. That does not apply, because there are lease agreements in place and have been in place longer than three months.”
     Rather than the School Board seeking one or two million dollars from the MFA, Jones said the best use of money would be for the demolition of some parts and rehabilitation of other parts of the WMS so that the MFA could work with other agencies and groups to provide many programs and services to the people of Williston and the unincorporated area of Levy County in that vicinity.
     After more discussion Tuesday night, City Manager Lippmann and City Attorney Frederick L. Koberlein Jr. agreed to meet with Pastor Jones to discuss more details about what sort of partnership may be formed to help persuade the Levy County School Board to work toward ridding itself of the property, and the MFA being able to continue with its plan to improve the property for the betterment of society.
     Lippmann, Koberlein and Jones were planning as of Tuesday night to meet before the end of the day on Friday (Feb. 9).
     Details from that meeting may be among the discussion and perhaps action matters set for the Feb. 20 meeting in the old WHS Band Room – on the campus of the former Williston High School – which property continues on the open market for a buyer.
     The Williston City Council does not want to buy the WMS property, or to accept the property as free because then it would be the owner that has liability for that property.
     Audience members who plan to attend the Feb. 20 City Council meeting at the old WHS Band Room will want to bring their own drinking water. The water fountain in the hallway of that building dispensed bad-tasting water on Feb. 6.

All enjoy Daddy Daughter
Camo Hop at Camp Anderson

 2018 Princess and Prince and the 2018 Queen and King. From the younger set of girls, ages 7 and under, Preslee Norton’s lucky ticket selected and she will reign with her dad, Tracy Norton, as the 2018 Camo Princess and Prince. The ticket drawn for the girls ages 8 and up resulted in the night’s choice for the 2018 Camo Queen. The 2018 Camo Queen is Mallory Von Stein who will reign with her dad, Nathan Von Stein as Camo King

Story and Photos
By Rotarian Anne Hodges
Published Feb. 6, 2018 at 11:08 p.m.
More than 75 young girls from Dixie County shared an evening of dinner, dancing and fellowship with their dads at the 7th Annual Daddy Daughter Camo Hop on Saturday (Jan. 27) at Camp Anderson in Old Town.

     The event, presented in partnership by the Dixie County Rotary Club, the Dixie County Historical Society, Camp Anderson, and the Dixie County Anti-Drug Coalition, welcomed all to the Fantasy Forest at the pavilion at Camp Anderson.
     Dads came attired in comfy camo, while daughters expressed their individuality in camo adorned gowns. Each daughter received a tiara upon entry, making each of them part of the royal court for the 2018 Camo Queen and Princess to be chosen later in the evening.
     All enjoyed a dinner of pulled pork, hotdogs, green beans, baked beans, and French Fries, the specialty of Mike Thomas, School Superintendent.
     The Dixie County Historical Society provided the beverages. Six lovely cupcake princess cakes, the creation of Dixie County Extension Director and Rotarian Holly Houghton, delighted all for dessert. Our thanks to Vernon Long of the Dixie County Historical Society for arranging for Dwayne Kight to be our pit master this year.
     Rotary President Heather Smith with help from Rotarian Katrina Van Aernam, emceed the event and invited the dads and their daughters to the dance floor to share the first dance.
     Throughout the evening, the dancing continued, sometimes, daddies and daughters, sometimes line dancing, but always fun with music provided by “DJ” Shelly Cannon.
     Local celebrity, Shelbi McCall, Miss U.S. National Forestry Queen, talked to the girls about the importance of being genuine and giving as they grow toward maturity. Teenagers from the local 4H Dog Club assisted in getting the girls onto the dance floor to enjoy line dancing.
     Throughout the evening, a video display provided reminders of all the sponsors and contributors who help make the annual daddy daughter camo hop a success. Local business, elected officials and individuals sponsor this grand initiative. The continual support year after year by local businesses is an indication of how many in our community subscribe to the primary reason for the Camo Hop- to remind us all of how important it is that dads spend time investing in their daughters.
     Support from these many contributors is used exclusively for the Camo Hop and to fund local philanthropic projects of the Dixie County Rotary Club. The inspiration for the daddy daughter camo hop for our community was the idea of a former Rotary President and provides cherished memories of time with her father that is still with her today as adult.
     Door prizes, geared to either Dad or daughter, kept excitement going throughout the evening. But the main event everyone was waiting for was the crowning of the 2018 Princess and Prince and the 2018 Queen and King. From the younger set of girls, ages 7 and under, Preslee Norton’s lucky ticket selected and she will reign with her dad, Tracy Norton, as the 2018 Camo Princess and Prince. The ticket drawn for the girls ages 8 and up resulted in the night’s choice for the 2018 Camo Queen. The 2018 Camo Queen is Mallory Von Stein who will reign with her dad, Nathan Von Stein as Camo King. Look for Camo Princess and Camo Queen at the 2018 DCHS Homecoming Parade!
     It was a great night. As the girls picked up their goody bags and exited the pavilion with their dads, “See you next year,” was a common comment.

Friends Sell Books
Luther Callaway Public Library Friends
Friends of the Luther Callaway Public Library conducted another successful book sale Saturday (Feb. 3) at the octogen-shaped building adjacent to the Chiefland Fire Rescue Station in beautiful downtown Chiefland. Friends President Ann Brown was absent due to a health issue, however (from left) Treasurer Grace Andersen, Librarian SueAnn Burkhardt, Vice President Tammy Ippolito and Secretary Amanda Atkins are the core of leaders and workers at the scene helping library patrons Saturday. Hardback books were selling for 50-cents and paperbacks were going for 10-cents. The Friends of the Luther Callaway Public Library invite any interested person to join the group. There are no annual fees. The group meets the second Thursday every month at 11 a.m. in the library located at 104 N.E. Third Street, in Chiefland. The Friends support the Luther Callaway Public Library by promoting the library's programs through fundraising projects to augment the library's budget for the purchase of reading materials, books on tape, videos, operating supplies and minor equipment. Prospective members and guests are welcome at the meeting. Membership is free. The next meeting is this Thursday (Feb. 8) at 11 a.m. By the way, there are books for sale at the library during its regular hours of operation
Photo by Jeff M. Hardison © Feb. 4, 2018 10:38 p.m.


Toys For Tots Helpers Honored
Certificates and plaques of appreciation were presented by Tri-County Toys for Tots Coordinator Bryan Chrisp on Wednesday (Jan. 31) in a ceremony at the Tri-County Community Resource Center in Chiefland. Chrisp noted his appreciation for the help of everyone in Tri-County Area of Levy, Dixie and Gilchrist counties. On Wednesday, he made presentations to some strong supporters of the program in 2017.

Seen above are (from left) Central Florida Electric Cooperative Customer Services Manager A.D. Goodman, Tri-County Toys for Tots Coordinator Bryan Chrisp as he presents CFEC Chief Financial Officer Eddie Thomas with a plaque.

Seen above are (from left) Levy County Sheriff Bobby McCallum, Tri-County Community Resource Center Manager Beverly Goodman, Levy County Sheriff’s Office Community Relations Division Sgt. Max Long and Tri-County Toys for Tots Coordinator Bryan Chrisp. All of these people were significant contributors to providing hope and joy to children at Christmas through the Marine Corps Reserve’s Toys for Tots Program.
Published Feb. 3, 2018 at 3:28 p.m.

Photos Provided


Making Williston Musical Memories

Williston City Clerk Fran Taylor holds the tag that once adorned the door to the WHS Band Room. Since WHS joined with Williston Middle School at the new campus of Williston Middle High School, the old building has been empty.
Now that construction has started to build a new Williston City Hall, those office workers, including City Clerk Taylor and City Manager Scott Lippmann have moved all City Hall operations to what has become known as the WHS Multi-Purpose Building. When it was opened in 1968, that building was called the Special Purpose Building. With this move to the temporary site for the next nine to 12 months, the Williston City Council will be meeting there too.

The City Council meetings are to be conducted in the former WHS Band Room (as seen in the photo above). The entire City Council, clerk city manager and city attorney are seen in this new open layout. Meanwhile, as for the day-to-day work at the temporary facility, Clerk Taylor and City Manager Lippman are in a room that was formerly used as a science class laboratory. As for the musical element, however, Taylor said that she did not foresee returning to the WHS Band Room, which is where she will be taking minutes for the short-term while the City Council meets there. Taylor still performs with other WHS alumni, where she plays flute and trumpet. Back in her high school days, Taylor also played saxophone and marching trombone. Her three daughters are musically talented as well. Mary Beth Weatherly, a WHS alumnus, still plays flute, according to her Mom (Fran Taylor) and she joins with the other alumni of the band to play together on occasion. Fran Taylor's next oldest daughter Katie Taylor is in her senior year at WMHS in the band, and she is a drum major. In addition to those leadership duties, Katie Taylor plays the trumpet, as does her younger sister Lauren Taylor who is in the WMHS Band.

This plaque for the old Williston High School Special Purpose Building shows the following information from when it was opened in 1968 --
The Board of Public Instruction
Wayne E. Beauchamp Dist. 1 Bronson
Burton J. Walrath, Chairman Dist. 2 Cedar Key
R.H. Ross Dist. 3 Williston
Lorain H. Arrington Dist. 4 Chiefland
R.A. Lynch, Vice Chairman Dist. 5 Yankeetown
Alvin E. Mikell Superintendent of Public Instruction
‘Education Is The Cheap Defense Of Nations’ - It notes.

This plaque on one of the columns on what is going to become the old Williston City Hall may be placed somewhere on the new structure. That answer is expected to be certain within a year.

This weather-beaten aerial photograph from olden days shows a relatively unbuilt city. Williston appears to be striving to increase its residential and business structures nowadays, and has seen significant success – including the phenomenal improvements at Regional General Hospital, the initiation of adding fiber optic cable via Likwid Communication and the positive efforts at Municipal Williston Airport.

This is an artist’s rendering of what the front of Williston City Hall will look like when it is finished.

Art Provided by Grabbing It From Facebook
All other photographs by Jeff M. Hardison
© Feb. 2, 2018 at 2:08 p.m.


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