Levy County 4-H day camp
wraps up Livestock Week;
One week of day camps remains

Levy County 4-H day campers enjoy learning about beef, from farm to fork, as they visit local cattle ranches during the week before Camp Cherry Lake. In this combination of photos, the children and others are seen at the Quincey Cattle Co. (top photo), Hardee Farms (bottom left photo - Chris Hardee) and Whitehurst Cattle Co. (where they all climbed in and were weighed). Levy County Extension Director Ed Jennings said he is pleased to see how local caring adults involved with agricultural interests have been very helpful as they assist Levy County 4-H to use a learn-by-doing approach to help summer camp participants to gain the knowledge and life skills they need to be productive, responsible members of their communities.

Photo courtesy of UF/IFAS Levy County Extension Office

By Jeff M. Hardison © July 19, 2017 at 11:17 p.m.
     BRONSON --
The series of Levy County 4-H day camps continued this week with Livestock Week wrapping up on Thursday, July 20.
     During the session Wednesday (July 19), the campers started their day with breakfast at 8:30 a.m., and they enjoyed lunch as they have every day of the various day camps this summer.



Levy County 4-H campers wear lab coats and hardhats while on a visit to the UF/IFAS Meat Processing Center in Gainesville during a field trip. The children look like an adorable set of student agricultural scientists, escorted by adult counselors and agricultural educators.
Photo courtesy of UF/IFAS Levy County Extension Office

A camper points to beef hanging at the UF/IFAS Meat Processing Center in Gainesville during a field trip that was part of one of the Levy County 4-H day camps. The children learned about beef from being raised on a ranch through the point of being sold at stores like Winn-Dixie, Save-A-Lot, Publix and Walmart where families buy food to cook at home.
Photo courtesy of UF/IFAS Levy County Extension Office

     Each day camp has gone from Monday through Thursday. Programs conclude each day at 4 p.m.
     All of the camps for the rest of this summer are booked. The fee this year was $35 a week. That covered two meals a day, and a level of fun and educational experiences that goes off the chart in value.
     Parents may want to plan for next summer’s 4-H day camps.
     The previous week to this week’s day camp, was Camp Cherry Lake for Levy County 4-H. This is a sleep-over or residential type of camp.
     “Camp Cherry Lake was super fun,” Levy County 4-H Agent Genevieve Mendoza said.
     Participants who went to Camp Cherry Lake have expressed their agreement with the 4-H agent’s assessment of that week.    
     Next week, there are two sets of Levy County 4-H day camps. One set of campers will learn about peanut farming. In the peanut farming day camp, campers will learn about peanuts from the point where the peanuts are at the farm up until they reach the point where people eat them (farm-to-fork).
     From next Monday through Thursday, the other day camp will be for marine science.
     The marine science group potentially could go to Shired Island in Dixie County, or they may have an opportunity to visit Seahorse Key in the Gulf of Mexico off of the coast of Cedar Key, Levy County 4-H Agent Mendoza said.
     The campers who are going to be young student marine scientists definitely will be visiting Cedar Key to learn about clams, oysters and more.
     Meanwhile back at the UF/IFAS Levy County Extension campus in Bronson on Wednesday, the lessons of the day were dairy calf oriented.
     Twenty-eight campers participated Wednesday with five counselors and a number of other support staff and volunteers.

Campers take turns walking a calf to demonstrate they have learned the method to show a dairy animal.
Photo by Jeff M. Hardison © July 19, 2017 at 11:17 p.m., All Rights Reserved

Reagan Hancock, a Levy County 4-H day camp participant, leads a calf as she practices the method to show the animal.

Assisting the young Miss Hancock at the rear of the calf is Archer Trailblazers 4-H Club President Ava Standridge, 17. Kim Massagee the organizational leader of Archer Trailblazers 4-H Club donated calves for use by Levy County 4-H for this dairy calf aspect of lessons during Livestock Week. This camper appears to have mastered calf showing.

Photos by Jeff M. Hardison © July 19, 2017 at 11:17 p.m., All Rights Reserved

Archer Trailblazers 4-H Club President Ava Standridge demonstrates the proper method to brush a calf in preparation for showing it. Standridge volunteered to help teach campers at the Levy County 4-H day camp program. This part of the program on Wednesday is in an area also used for 4-H rifle and shotgun exercises, although the area is clear of any weapons or ammunition during this week of camp.

Photo by Jeff M. Hardison © July 19, 2017 at 11:17 p.m., All Rights Reserved

     Four of the lessons Wednesday were hands-on lessons to learn how to show a dairy calf. Another experience for the campers involved methods to prepare a calf for show.
     In the afternoon, they were indoors and learned how to make homemade butter from cream. Then they learned how to make homemade ice cream.
     Campers who made their own butter and their own ice cream on Wednesday appeared to enjoy the activity very much. And they enjoyed dining on the products they made with their own hands.
     This week started with Monday's theme being about poultry. Levy County 4-H Agent Mendoza said campers on Monday (July 17) enjoyed learning about the many different breeds of chickens, both for show and for commercial uses.
     Levy County Extension Director Jennings said there were some animals of a poultry persuasion on the premises on Wednesday too.
     Both Jennings and Mendoza expressed their happiness at seeing campers having a lot of fun and learning at all of the 4-H day camps this summer.
     On Tuesday, the 4-H campers sojourned over to the UF/IFAS Swine Unit in Gainesville.
     They learned about swine production versus show pigs. They visited the farrowing barn, which is a space designed for sows and piglets during farrowing. Farrowing is the production of a litter of pigs.
     They saw older pigs as well at the university’s facility in Gainesville.
     Some of the campers had not seen or been close enough to touch chickens, pigs and calves before their experiences at this most recent Livestock Week series of events.
     “The agricultural community has been very supportive of our 4-H day camp program,” Extension Director Jennings said. “Next week, the children will be visiting peanut farms. They have visited watermelon farms.”
     Cattle ranchers at the Quincey Cattle Co., and the Hardee (Chris Hardee) and Whitehurst ranches helped the children to learn about raising beef at those sites a couple of weeks ago, Jennings said.
     On Thursday (July 20), the Levy County 4-H campers are scheduled to see beef cattle and to learn from Baylee Etheridge and Colby Etheridge as those young people bring their show animals.
     Levy County 4-H Agent Mendoza said so far this summer she is seeing the positive results she had hoped and anticipated would come to fruition when she accepted the position to lead Levy County 4-H.
     In the Levy County 4-H day camp this summer, she said, it has been educational for the campers. They have enjoyed days that were filled with interactive learning opportunities.
     Mendoza said she is especially pleased where the hands-on learning experiences highlighted the agricultural industry in Levy County.
     One hope Mendoza has for all of the participants this summer is that when they get older, they can look back with fond memories of the experiences they had at the various summer day camps where they participated with others at Levy County 4-H.
     Mendoza, as well as the many counselors and other support staff, are bound to have pleasant memories from this summer too.
     Children in all age groups in these summer camps have learned about food and nutrition as well.
     The 4-H Cloverbuds of Levy County, though, are separate because they are the youngest. The Florida 4-H programs offered to children ages 5 to 7 years old are a component of the Florida 4-H Youth Development Program. Their camp was at a different time from the older campers.
     The 4-H Cloverbud program has a goal of offering age appropriate, fun and exploratory learning experiences for children in the 5 to 7 age group. This summer, the Cloverbuds had a week of their own day camp.
     Among the many things the Cloverbuds learned about during their week of fun adventures was the difference in the taste between fresh green beans that are uncooked, in comparison with those that had been cooked, Mendoza said.
     During another part of the gardening and nutrition program for Cloverbuds this summer, Mendoza said she enjoyed hearing one child say “I never knew that I liked broccoli.”
      Counting Camp Cherry Lake, there will have been 10 different Levy County 4-H camps by the conclusion of the seven weeks of summer.
     The program wraps up after next week’s set of two day camp offerings.
     Here is a brief listing of the camp names in chronological order:
Week 1
Fishing FUNdamentals
4-H Grows Here
Week 2
Call of the Wild: Exploring the Outdoors
Week 3
Marine Science Explorations
Farm to Fork – Beef
Week 4
4-H Cloverbud Camp (5-7 year olds)
Week 5
Camp Cherry Lake – Overnight Camp
Week 6
Livestock Week
Week 7 (July 24-27)
(As noted above, there are no more openings for campers. This camp is filled.)
Farm to Fork – Peanuts
Marine Science Explorations

CF Jack Wilkinson Levy Campus

This new photo and video of the College of Central Florida Jack Wilkinson Levy Campus was taken Tuesday afternoon (July 18). Classes begin there on Aug. 21. Students who want to register or who want more information about enrolling are asked to please contact CF Levy Center Manager Holly McGlashan at 352-493-9533, ext. 2118 or at There are other pictures and a story on the LIFE PAGE.
Video and Photo By Jeff M. Hardison © July 18, 2017 at 8:17 p.m., All Rights Reserved



Trenton Rotary Club Meets

The Rotary Club of Trenton conducted its regular weekly meeting on Monday (July 17) at the Woman's Club of Trenton, 819 S.W. Gilchrist County Road 339. Monnye Brown provided piano music. This club meets every Monday except on holidays. The photo above, provided by Trenton Rotarian Holly Creel, shows many of the leaders who posed for a photo the previous week. They are (from left) Club Administrator Jo Buckles; Secretary John Frazier; Doug Beach (a Rotarian who received an award for 46 years of service in Rotary); Past President Aaron Haynes; President Bob Clemons; Club Membership Todd Gray; Public Relations and Program Support Holly Creel; Treasurer Charlie Smith and Sergeant At Arms Damon Leggett. Other members of this club's Board of Directors who were not pictured included Pat Yates, Rotary Foundation; and Michael Faught, Club Service. The program on Monday was provided by Rotarian Reese Rowland who introduced a speaker that addressed financial planning. For the July 24 meeting, this set of Rotarians anticipates Rotarian Theresa Sapp introducing Florida Cattlemen's Association President Ken Griver as the guest speaker.
Published July 18, 2017 at 1:27 p.m.

Photo by Holly Creel



Chiefland considers
fire protection fee
for city property owners

By Jeff M. Hardison © July 13, 2017 at 5:57 a.m.
After a lengthy discussion about imposing a city fire protection fee on Monday night (July 10), the Chiefland City Commission delayed more discussion until October.

     This is not the first time the city leaders have talked about making city property owners pay a special fee for fire protection. It came up about four year ago too.
     Back then, a rough estimate of how much it would cost to research to impose and collect the fee was between $50,000 and $75,000. Therefore, the city must spend money to impose an added fee on the people who would be funding that research.
     With the potential of Florida voters creating an added exemption from ad valorem property taxes to tack on another $25,000 – giving the average Florida residential property owner a $50,000 homestead exemption from appraised taxable values, taxpayers in cities and counties across the state are seeing taxing authorities scrambling to find new methods for revenue generation.
     The Chiefland City Commission is a taxing authority. It levies taxes at a certain millage rate for the appraised taxable value of real property within the city limits.
     In Levy County, taxes that are imposed by taxing authorities are collected by the Office of Levy County Tax Collector Linda Fugate. Below is a list of the millage rates for 2015, as noted on the website for the Levy County Tax Collector.

     That chart shows 6 mills is the rate in the 2015 taxes from the city of Chiefland. Therefore, a house that has a taxable appraised value – as determined by the Office of Levy County Property Appraiser Osborne “Oz” Barker – to be $100,000 would pay $6 for each $1,000 of value. Therefore that tax bill would be $600 for that year when the appraised taxable value is $100,000.
     If the person with that $100,000 house and property is qualified for the current $25,000 homestead exemption, then that taxpayer’s annual payment would be $450 rather than $600.
     If the added $25,000 homestead exemption occurs and people only pay for the value of the taxable property after the first $50,000, then the property owner in Chiefland with property valued at $100,000 would pay $300 to the city of Chiefland for taxes, rather than $600 (total without homestead exemption) or $450 (at the current $25,000 homestead exemption) for that year.
     If a person owned property with an appraised taxable value of $50,000 in Chiefland, at the 6 mills rate they would pay $150 a year if they have the current $25,000 homestead exemption and they would pay zero dollars of city property tax if that exemption is bumped up to $50,000.
     Levy County imposes a fee, in addition to the ad valorem tax millage it imposes, for fire protection service. The people of Chiefland do not pay that fee, because they are in the city limits. Their fire protection is included in the city ad valorem property taxes.
     The Levy County Board of County Commissioners also levies an EMS fee for all county and city residents.
     Since the City of Chiefland, like other municipal taxing authorities in Florida, would lose the ad valorem property taxes generated from the first $50,000 rather than the first $25,000 of value of taxable property in the city limits if the voters approve that new added homestead exemption, the Chiefland City Commission is going to talk more about imposing an across-the-board fee for fire protection service provided by Chiefland Fire Rescue Department within its city limits.
     At the earliest, that per-property fee would collected in 2020, if the city goes forward with the idea. One amount mentioned for each residence -- tentatively and in no firm manner -- is $40 per house. Other fees for unimproved lots and for commercial structures are not firm yet either, and there would be exemptions of church and government properties.
     If it was put into effect, however, the property owner who pays $600 in property tax would pay that $600 plus the $40 fee for instance in the city limits of Chiefland. The person who pays $0 ad valorem property tax would pay the $40 fee for instance in the city limits of Chiefland.
     After a relatively long discussion that started going into finer and detailed points of facts and law, the Chiefland City Commission chose to put more discussion off until after October, when it will know the funding amount the county plans to pay to the city for the city to use the equipment and personnel of the Chiefland Fire Rescue Department to serve people in Levy County outside of the city limits of Chiefland.
     The Levy County government pays municipal volunteer fire departments and mixed volunteer-staffed municipal fire departments to augment the Levy County Department of Public Safety’s firefighting service. A few years ago the, the Levy County Department of Public Safety was named Levy County Fire Rescue.
     That money paid to city fire departments comes from ad valorem property taxpayers in Levy County who pay the added fee in addition to the millage they pay.
     Hence the city leaders see the potential of the added fire protection fee option as something to help pay for fire services in the city limits, just as it occurs outside the city in the unincorporated parts of Levy County.
     Residential, business and unimproved property owners in the city limits of Chiefland may see a fee added for fire service in the future, depending on what the Chiefland City Commission rules after discussing the matter more after October.

Williston City Council
member resigns

By Jeff M. Hardison © July 8, 2017 at 3:37 p.m.
During the past decade, the Williston City Council has experienced some resignations by a few of its members.

     A June 28 letter from Williston City Councilman Timothy C. "Tim" Hass to Williston City Council President Charles Goodman shows that Hass, who is the councilman for Group C, is leaving office effective on July 14.
     This Tuesday evening (July 11), is scheduled to be Councilman Hass' last meeting as an elected Williston City Council member.
     Hass noted that he and his family are moving to another city in the next few weeks.
     "It has been an honor to serve the great people of Williston as a city councilman," Hass noted. "In retrospect, if I had known, years ago, that serving our community on the City Council was this rewarding I would have considered serving a long time ago."
     The outgoing councilman said he is thankful for the kindness and generosity that President Goodman has shown to him, including the "... kind words of affirmation over the past several months."
     As a result of this resignation, the City Council is anticipated to take action leading to a tentative set of events -- culminating in the special election of a new leader to fill the Group C seat on Williston City Council.
     The qualifying period for candidates in the probably upcoming special election is from noon on July 31 until noon on Aug. 4.
     The special election is scheduled for Tuesday, Sept. 19, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
     Sept. 19 is the date when qualified Williston municipal voters can cast ballots to choose their leader in Group C.
     The first action required leading to that is the City Council taking the anticipated action on Tuesday night (July 11).
     Of course, after that it will take at least one candidate seeking office for the end result to be a replacement for Councilman Hass. If there is more than one candidate, then the voters will choose during the special election.
     City Clerk Frances Taylor is the supervisor of elections for city elections in Williston.
     People who are interested in running for this open seat during this probable upcoming special election may want to conduct research to find when they should open a campaign account, and other actions that will be required on and before the qualifying period starts.
     Possible candidates may want to conduct some quick research, too, to learn about the duties and responsibilities of a Williston City Council member.
     The telephone number for Williston City Hall is 352-528-3060.


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