Technological Petting Zoo
succeeds in Bronson;
Final version set for
tomorrow (March 17) in Williston
Inventor Convention March 12-April 14
Levy County Library System Youth Services-IT Manager Jenny Rodgers shows how the Surface Pro Tablet is a laptop computer and then it easily disconnects to be a tablet.
Story, Photos and Videos
By Jeff M. Hardison © March 16, 2018 @ at 2:08 a.m.
BRONSON -- Levy County Library System Youth Services-IT Manager Jenny Rodgers and Youth Services Assistant Jennifer Becker completed the fourth of five sets of computer classes and "Technological Petting Zoos" at the Bronson Public Library on Thursday evening (March 14).
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In this photo, a small robot model made by a 3-D printer is at the left. Next to it are a partially-completed Rhinoceros and a completed rhino.
This photo shows the size of the small robot model when placed next to a normal electric outlet.
The final chance for this set of fun and learning is tomorrow (Saturday, March 17) at Williston Public Library, 10 S.E. First St., Williston. The Computer Class is at 2 p.m. and the Technology Petting Zoo is at 3 p.m.
The first part of the event on each day is an introduction to computers, and that is followed by "Technology Petting Zoos."
The sessions for computer classes are great for people of any age, Rodgers said. Participants will learn basic computer terms, and methods for basic computer safety.
In the Technology Petting Zoo part of the program, people can become familiar with a very wide range of technology that is currently available to improve the quality of life of people, as well as to have fun.
The 2018 Invention Convention has been announced during the programs. Read about the 2018 Invention Convention at the bottom of this story. That started March 12 and ends April 14 with prizes for all entrants, including a 3-D Printer as the top prize.
After the computer class portion of the evening Thursday in Bronson, participants learned about the Alexa and Google Home programs; the Ultimaker 2 Go 3-D Printer; the Microsoft Surface Pro; GPS Locator Tiles; solar-powered battery chargers; the GoPro camera system; and the Dash and Dot robots for learning how to write Code.
Following are some brief descriptions of what was seen or used. Where there are prices mentioned, those are from quick research on the Internet. People will find prices to be higher and lower depending on finer points on what they might want to purchase.
The 3-D printer is shown about 17-minutes before finishing the creation of a fidget spinner.
The 3-D printer is shown about after just finishing the creation of a fidget spinner, which took one hour. Notice this is all in one piece of plastic. Also notice that the assembly platform has lowered to the bottom of the machine. As the hot, molten plastic is shot out of a tube, directed by a computer program, if creates things layer by layer. That is removed from the printer and the spare bits of plastic are removed from the edges. This is a two-piece spinner that snaps together and then can be spun.
The fidget spinner – completely printed, trimmed and assembled.
Ultimaker 2 Go 3-D Printer
The Ultimaker 2 Go is small in size, but big in print quality, its manufacturer notes on its webpage.
The Ultimaker 2 Go is the most powerful little 3D printer around at a price of $1,200 or so. With durable packaging for safe travels, it’s great for makers on the go.
During a one-hour session in the Bronson Public Library, this machine accepted a sting of plastic, heated it and put together a fidget spinner in one hour. 3D printers can make all sorts of things.
Microsoft Surface Pro
The Microsoft Surface Pro tablet is among the items that was on display.
The price range for these varies from several hundreds of dollars to a couple of thousand.
This is said to be the ultimate laptop with versatility of a studio and tablet. Rodgers showed how the model she uses can be taken apart to be a single-piece tablet, or it can be put together to use as a laptop computer that can be placed on a table too.
GPS Locator Tiles
GPS Locator Tiles are a small, relatively inexpensive thing that is small and can be put on a keychain.
With the Tile app, it connects the user with the world’s largest lost-and-found community, where friends and strangers work together to find everything that matters.
If a Tile is connected to a person’s keychain, then the ap lets the person find it. The tile makes a noise as well as showing a map on the phone so the person can find their keys.
One person at the event that night mentioned that she uses the Tile to place on a senior citizen who can become lost. She can find that person and the Tile makes a noise as she looks for him or her.
While that is an unconventional use of the hardware and software, it is something to consider for other applications to use this locator device.
Solar-Powered Battery Chargers
Another piece of technology is the solar-powered battery chargers.
For people who use cell phones, computers and other battery-powered devices, this hardware uses sunlight to create power and then it can transfer that as electricity to the device to recharge the device.
The GoPro Camera System
The GoPro Hero 5 Series is about $200.
This little camera is portable, waterproof and easy to use. People can buy all sorts of attachments to carry it everywhere.
This photo shows the box that contains Bloxels. With this device, a person can cerate their own video games.
In this video, one of the two robots is seen in action on Thursday night at the Bronson Public Library for about one minute, and then there is about one minute of the 3-D printer making a fidget spinner.
Dot and Dash Robots
Teachers of students of every age, from kindergarten through high school can use a couple of robots for a method to learn about writing computer code.
Hyper-Text Transfer Protocol (HTTP) and Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) are learned during programs at the Bronson Public Library.
The weekly classes for children are held during daylight hours and the children in the class now are home-schooled.
People who say they program in HTML are generally mistaken about programming. HTML is a markup language and CSS is a style sheet language.
However, the proverbial bottom line is that these children have learned to take apart and put together the computer hardware, and they have mastered the codes needed to create Web pages.
The robots Rodgers showed at the Tech Petting Zoo in Bronson on Thursday night are educational tools for that purpose.
There were several other items available for hands-on use, and to let the public learn about technology at their public library.
One of those was the 3-D Virtual Reality Glasses. By putting a smart phone in them and downloading a video, the person wearing the glasses can experience a virtual reality view.
Among the “rides” enjoyed by one viewer on Thursday evening were a trip into space, a rollercoaster ride and a parasail trip that had some very exciting elements – including floating over high-tension electrical power lines.
The Technological Petting Zoo was a success in Bronson, as it has been at the other libraries and is planned to succeed in Williston tomorrow (Saturday, March 17).
In this video from a Tech Petting Zoo from a couple of years ago, the 3-D printer is seen in action.
Click HERE to read a January of 2016 story about Levy County 4-H members learning about technology at the library.
The 2018 Make Life Easier
The 2018 Maje Life Easier Invention Convention is a Putnam-Alachua-Levy Libraries Cooperative venture, however only Levy and Putnam counties’ libraries are participating this year.
The contest started March 12 and ends April 14. Some participants have started; however, it is not too late to start now.
Levy County Library System Youth Services-IT Manager Jenny Rodgers said every single Levy County participant is going to win a prize, even if the prize is a candy bar.
There are top prizes, though, far beyond edible candy.
Prizes will be awarded at each of Levy County’s five public libraries -- A.F. Knotts Public Library (Yankeetown), Bronson Public Library, Cedar Key Public Library, Luther Callaway Public Library (Chiefland) and Williston Public Library.
At each library there will be winners in two age categories. The age divisions are 6 to 10 years old, and 11 to 18 years old.
The five first place winners in the 6- to 10-year range at the county level wins a 3-D Doodler Pen. The five first place winners in the 11- to 18-year range at the county level wins a Kindle Fire Tablet.
The first-place winner in the two-county contest wins a 3-D printer.
The Make Life Easier Invention Convention competition is at the local libraries. There are two ways to compete. The participant can tell about their creative and innovative idea or invention to make life easier; or they can tell about their favorite inventor (living or historical) or their favorite invention.
This will involve more than just dropping in to say to a librarian or library manager something verbally.
There is a four-page booklet available for participants to use. The pamphlet is easy to read. It gives tips for making a quality invention display; ways to think about inventing and creating; a message to inventors; questions for inventors to answer in the journal they create as part of the project; and an introduction to the process of inventing something to solve a problem – to make life easier.
There is also a form to be completed by the applicant and parent or guardian.
These items that are required to compete are available at each of the five public libraries in Levy County.
Levy County Mosquito Control
issues a reminder
Published March 12, 2018 at 4:28 p.m.
BRONSON -- The Levy County Mosquito Control Department issued a reminder Monday (March 12) to help reduce the odds of being bitten by mosquitos.
Dusk and Dawn are the times of day when mosquitos are most active. When possible, should avoid being outside at those times. When outdoors, remember the 3 Ds -- Drain, Dress and Defend.
Many mosquito problems in a neighborhood are likely to come from water-filled containers that the resident, can help to eliminate. All mosquitos require water in which to breed. Drain any standing water around the house.
● Dispose any tires. Tires can breed thousands of mosquitoes.
● Drill holes in the bottom of recycling containers.
● Clear roof gutters of debris.
● Clean pet water dishes regularly.
● Check and empty children’s toys.
● Repair leaky outdoor faucets.
● Change the water in bird baths at least once a week.
● Canoes and other boats should be turned over.
● Avoid water collecting on pool covers and tarps.
● Plug tree holes.
● Even the smallest container can collect and breed hundreds to thousands of mosquitoes.
Wear light colored, loose fitting clothing. When practical, wear long sleeves and pants. Studies have shown that some of the 174 mosquito species in the United States are more attracted to dark clothing.
Choose a mosquito repellent that has been registered by the Environmental Protection Agency. Registered products have been reviewed, approved and pose minimal risk for human safety when used according to label directions. Three repellents that are approved and recommended are:
● DEET (N, N-diethyl-m-toluamide)
● Picaridin (KBR 3023)
● Oil of lemon eucalyptus (p-methane 3,8-diol, or PMD)
Rules to remember when using repellents:
● Read the directions on the label carefully before applying.
● Apply repellent sparingly, only to exposed skin (not on clothing).
● Keep repellents away from eyes, nostrils and lips: do not inhale or ingest repellents or get them into the eyes.
● The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) suggests that DEET-based repellents can be used on children as young as two months of age. Generally, The AAP recommends concentrations of 10% of less, unless disease risk is imminent, then concentration can be increased to 30% or less.
● Avoid applying repellents to portions of children’s hands that are likely to have contact with eyes or mouth.
● Pregnant and nursing women should minimize use of repellents.
● Never use repellents on wounds or irritated skin.
● Use repellent sparingly and reapply as needed. Saturation does not increase efficacy.
● Wash repellent-treated skin after coming indoors.
● If a suspected reaction to insect repellents occurs, wash treated skin, and call a physician. Take the repellent container to the physician.
For more information call Levy County Mosquito Control at 352-486-5127 or go to the website by clicking HERE.
Memorial unveiling announced;
P&Z Board members needed
Dr. Kenneth Schwiebert tells the Williston City Council about the date for the dedication of a memorial to veterans in Heritage Park. City Councilman Justin Head is seen at the right in this photo.
Story and Photo
By Jeff M. Hardison © March 9, 2018 at 3:38 p.m.
WILLISTON – Dr. Kenneth Schwiebert, a dentist who is chairman of the Williston Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA), announced the date for the dedication of a memorial to veterans.
That event is scheduled to be on May 19, which is Armed Forces Day.
CRA Chairman Schwiebert said the group is working to make the event happen on that Saturday.
The group plans to invite local and statewide dignitaries for the event, he said.
City Council President Charles Goodman, himself a combat veteran, said he is truly and deeply appreciative of all the hard work that Dr. Schwiebert has dedicated toward this project.
BOARD MEMBERS NEEDED
The City of Williston is accepting letters of interest from qualified individuals who wish to serve on the Planning and Zoning Commission (four vacancies).
With so many vacancies now, there are not enough members to make a quorum.
This Commission makes recommendations to the Williston City Council concerning amendments to the city’s Comprehensive Plan and the Land Development Regulations. The P & Z Commission reviews all applications for rezoning, special exceptions, and site plans for commercial and industrial development.
This is a volunteer position that requires attendance at monthly meetings. Appointees must be residents of the City of Williston.
Applications are available at the current temporary Williston City Hall.
Williston City Hall, for now, is located on the campus of the former Williston High School. It is in the Multi-Purpose Building and is relatively well marked.
The address is 427 W. Noble Ave. (U.S. Alt. 27).
Interested individuals should submit a completed application and statement of qualifications to the Office of City Clerk Fran Taylor, which is located in the temporary City Hall.
For more information please call City Hall at 352-528-3060.
Levy County starts action
Attorney General’s Office;
Drug addict rehab group
may have put cart before horse
In this photo-array, members of the Levy County Board of County Commissioners are seen at the Tuesday (March 6) meeting. They are (top row, from left) County Commission Chairman John Meeks, County Commissioner Matt Brooks, County Commissioner Lilly Rooks, (bottom row, from left), County Commissioner Rock Meeks and County Commission Vice Chairman Mike Joyner.
Story and Photos
By Jeff M. Hardison © March 9, 2018 at 11:08 a.m.
BRONSON – The Levy County Board of County Commissioners Tuesday gave County Attorney Anne Bast Brown authority to research to make a recommendation on a potential law firm so that the county can sue pharmaceutical companies.
County Commissioners Tuesday heard that Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi is working on a suit on behalf of the state of Florida, where the state will sue pharmaceutical companies for failing to warn patients enough about hazards caused from using certain medicines for pain relief.
The proverbial bottom line is the government seeking compensation for what it sees as a loss to the people resultant from alleged negligence.
The proverbial bottom line is the government seeking compensation for what it sees as a loss to the people resultant from alleged negligence.
As for Levy County, the County Commission appears to be choosing to go the route of some other counties, because should Bondi’s Office win on behalf of the state of Florida, the money netted from the respondents would be divided as the state sees fit among the counties.
By separating itself from that group in the class action suit, Levy County, Pinellas County and some other counties are perceiving a higher return on investment in legal fees, in contrast with simply letting the Attorney General’s Office take care of this business.
County Commission Chairman John Meeks said people are suffering from liver failure and kidney failure for extended use of pain-relieving medicine.
Meeks went on to say people become addicted to painkillers. Then insurance cuts off the prescriptions and they turn to heroin and other opioids. That leads to public funds being needed to arrest them after they become thieves, as well as violating drug laws.
This now-popular cry about the opioid crisis is a carryover from veterans, even farther back than the Vietnam war, coming home with injuries that required pain management. Over time, labs created the medicines of today.
Given the alleged failure by some drug manufacturers to warn users enough, the state government sees a reason to file civil suit. Meanwhile, some counties’ elected officials are jumping first to court to avoid having to wait on and depend on the state providing a fair share from what is seen as a potential win in court.
Attorney Brown said she has conducted some preliminary research to find a law firm that will cost nothing for Levy County, prior to the conclusion of the suit. That is when the county would pay the firm. If the county was to lose its suit against the pharmaceutical company (or companies), then the law firm would accept the cost from brining the suit (such as record review, forensic research and depositions).
On a motion by County Commission Lilly Rooks, seconded by County Commissioner Rock Meeks, the commission voted 5-0 for Attorney Brown to return with a recommendation of a law firm to choose on this matter.
In a separate action, the County Commission chose against granting a rehabilitation group’s request for services.
Mending Fences and Ocala Consulting and Prevention currently serve as the rehab service provider for the Marion County Drug Court.
Marion County is in the Fifth Judicial Circuit -- Citrus, Hernando, Lake, Marion and Sumter counties. Levy County Sheriff Bobby McCallum suggested to the rehab service providers that they approach the chief circuit court judge for the Eighth Judicial Circuit -- Alachua, Baker, Bradford, Gilchrist, Levy, and Union counties – to establish a drug court in Levy County before asking the County Commission to give that provider the contract for service.
There is some activity in the Third Judicial Circuit - Columbia, Dixie, Hamilton, Lafayette, Madison, Suwannee and Taylor counties – to potentially start a drug court in Dixie County.
Levy County Commission Vice Chairman Mike Joyner, a retired law enforcement officer – said he endorses methods to help people quit using illegal drugs.
From what he has seen, though, there is only a 3 percent success rate for drug addicts to show continued freedom from being driven by urges to the point that they cannot stay within the bounds of the law.
Click HERE to see a May 2017 story that HardisonInk.com ran on Mending Fences.
Pastor shows School Board
plan for property use
This aerial view of the property is in the proposal that Pastor Johnnie Jones III, the president of the Ministerial Faith Alliance Inc. (MFA) has given to the Levy County School Board and Superintendent of Schools Jeff Edison.
By Jeff M. Hardison © March 7, 2018 at 2:08 p.m.
WILLISTON -- Pastor Johnnie Jones III, the president of the Ministerial Faith Alliance Inc. (MFA) has given the Levy County School Board and Superintendent of Schools Jeff Edison a 30-page detailed proposal showing how the MFA and other groups would serve the area at the former site of Williston Middle School, in the unincorporated area of Levy County east of Williston.
The MFA has named the future site The Legacy Center Community Life Multiplex. In short, it is known now as The Legacy Center (or TLC). This plan includes a significant amount of different services for the people of the area.
This proposal does not have a dollar amount, because if the School Board wants sealed bids, then Jones would have given competitors an edge. It does show, though, how other counties with shuttered schools used innovation to keep those abandoned properties from becoming part of the blight and slum of any area.
This plan shows how in almost one fell swoop, The Legacy Center could become the mecca for many services that are seen by some as lacking there now.
Some challenges Jones notes as specific to Williston are:
• No indoor public recreational space
• No full-service senior center
• No adult career and technical training center
• No public gymnasium
• No free health clinic
• No public auditorium
• No business incubator or start-up commerce space
“The Legacy Center Advisory Group has plans to address these deficiencies and meet the identified needs within the first 12 months of operation,” he wrote. “This will make a major lifestyle and economic impact in Williston and Levy County almost immediately.”
In a note to supporters, Pastor Jones said the Levy County School Board could put this on its agenda for discussion and decision as early as Tuesday, March 13.
The document he provided includes, facts, figures, pictures, maps and drawings.
It also includes letters of support for the extensive plan.
Those letters of support are from Drollene P. Brown, Citizen/Member of Citizens for an Engaged Electorate/AARP;
Boys and Girls Club of Alachua County Executive Director Shane Johnson; Elder Options Executive Director Kristen Griffis;
Central Florida Community Action Agency CEO Charles Harris; Unity Temple International Fellowship Bishop Willie A. Battles; Unity Family Community Center Executive Director Joyce Wilson; Partnership for Strong Families President/CEO
Stephen Pennypacker; Fountain of Life Church Senior Pastor Johnnie Jones III (who is also the MFA president); CDS Family and Behavioral Services Inc. CEO Jim Pearce, CEO; and WE SOAR Inc. President Mimi Johnson.
Jones said it is a foundation on which the interested parties can build.
The preacher noted when he sent his email on Tuesday (March 7) that “I write this with a heavy heart after the passing of our Board Secretary, community pastor, leader and friend Pastor Charles Williams Jr. yesterday.”
All of the following is essentially copied and pasted, with little editing, from Jones’ plan that he gave the School Board and Superintendent Edison.
The plan for the property shows seven centers of activities.
COMMUNITY RESOURCE CENTER
A Community Resource Center will serve to meet the day-to-day needs of all strata of the public through volunteer coordination, program planning and providing the important resource of a public gathering place where any citizen or group of citizens can offer benefit to the community at large. The Community Resource Center would be one of the first service centers to launch at the Legacy Center.
There is an identified shortage of small business start-up and incubation space in and around Williston. Among the many ways that this project will have economic impact is by providing needed space at an affordable cost to entrepreneurs and by supporting existing businesses with partnership and training opportunities.
Currently there is no free and charitable clinic within Levy County. There are only two such clinics in Marion County and none in Dixie or Gilchrist counties. An MFA partner sees benefit in bringing such a clinic to The Legacy Center to help address some of the health needs of Williston and Levy County. A free and charitable clinic would offer preventive medicine, health education, early diagnosis and opportunities for those interested in pursuing careers in healthcare.
From the days of Williston Vocational School this site has been associated with meeting the educational needs of the area. MFA has been discussing with the College of Central Florida the possibility of providing general education, dual enrollment and career and technical educational programs at this site. CF is interested in partnering with The Legacy Center to meet some of these needs on this side of the county. Other groups would offer homework assistance, college and career preparation and adult educational programming. The facility is also suitable for a library and computer lab.
There are nearly 8,000 persons aged 65 years and older in Levy County and only one Senior Center to serve them. The Senior Center component of The Legacy Center would be open to serve this population from its first day of operations.
In addition to The Ministerial Faith Alliance Inc., the IRS lists 54 other 501(c)3 organizations registered in Williston. There is no shortage of organizations each making an impact and working toward change in their specific areas. The goal of The Legacy Center is to provide a single place where these and other non-profit organizations can collaborate and leverage efforts to address the needs of overlapping service groups. A Non-Profit Incubator is planned to provide administrative and program space and encourage collaboration.
Youth recreation continues to be one of the most requested services for the Williston area. Providing positive athletic and non-athletic recreational outlets for children improves behavioral and health outcomes. It supports the wellbeing of the entire community. Providing children with a safe, stimulating, healthy environment after school hours helps working parents and reduces the burden on law enforcement and other community resources. MFA been in discussion with both the YMCA and Boys and Girls Clubs of America. The Boys and Girls Club has offered to provide staff and programming on site at The Legacy Center and the YMCA has offered the same plus transportation from The Legacy Center to the main facility for aquatic programs. The indoor gym would be available to the Williston Youth Athletic Association and the City of Williston’s Summer Recreational Programs.
Jones said in an interview Wednesday afternoon (March 7) that he has four or five paths to completion.
Joining President Jones as members of the MFA Executive Board are Vice President Willie A. Battles, Treasurer Carl Carnegie, and Chaplain Reginald L. Williams. As Jones noted Secretary Charles Williams Jr. just passed away this week.
What President Jones seeks from the School Board are steps that the School Board would like to him to next take to move forward on this plan.
For anyone who wants to contact The Legacy Center, the mailing address is:
THE LEGACY CENTER
P.O. Box 382
Williston, FL 32696.
The email is TLCWilliston@gmail.com.
For updates and to download an electronic version of the proposal, the website is https://thelegacycenter.org/.
To speak to an office assistant, via telephone, please call 352-538-4474.
Dayna Miller of Waste Pro
honored by Cedar Key Lions Club
Cedar Key Lions Club President Dale Register (left) stands with Dayna Miller of Waste Pro USA as they hold her certificate of appreciation.
Story and Photo
Provided by Cedar Key Lions Club
Published March 5, 2018 at 2:08 p.m.
CEDARKEY -- Dayna Miller, Waste Pro USA's Municipal Marketing Manager for North Central Florida, received a Certificate of Appreciation for her generous support of the Cedar Key Lions Club's community service projects.
Waste Pro USA partnered with the Lions Club to establish a scholarship at Cedar Key School.
Now entering its third year, the Sustainability Scholarship recognizes local youth who promote environmentally-responsible practices within their communities while maintaining excellent academic performance. This year’s award is earmarked for members of Cedar Key School’s Fifth Grade Safety Patrol.
Waste Pro USA’s scholarship, along with funds from the Lions Club will help send the students on a field trip to Washington, D.C.
"One of the most rewarding things I can do on behalf of Waste Pro is partner with the Cedar Key Lions Club to make sure that Fifth Grade Safety Patrol students are able to travel to Washington D.C. as our future leaders," Miller said.
Miller, who resides in nearby Alachua with her husband and two “furry” family members, is Second Vice President of the Alachua Lions Club.
Waste Pro's "Caring for Our Communities" is a banner she proudly carries. Miller observed that Waste Pro’s philosophy matches the Lions Protecting the Environment initiative.
Working with Waste Pro USA’s Fanning Springs facility, she coordinates both trash and recycling efforts for Cedar Key's annual Seafood Festival and Celebration of the Arts Festival. Recycling clam shells, aluminum cans and plastic from City Park and the Festival venue reduces landfill impact and contributes to the city’s sustainability commitment.
Lions Club President Dale Register was quick to point out that Waste Pro USA is among a dozen community partners being recognized by the Cedar Key Lions Club this year.
Also receiving Lions Club Certificates of Appreciation are Cedar Key Mayor Heath Davis, City Council and Staff; Norm and Janice Fugate; Jeff and Lori Schleede of Cedar Key Seafood Distributors; Wilson Gas; Mike Smith of Cedar Key Aquafarms; Drummond Community Bank; Jordan Keeton and Shannon Sykes of 83 West; Leslie Sturmer of Cedar Key Aquaculture Association; Shawn and Caryn Stephenson, and John Gill of Southern Cross Sea Farms.
City cooperates with
Tri-County Resource Center;
Police chief speaks about student safety
Tri-County Community Resource Center Director Beverly Goodman tells the City Commission about the celebration set for April 21.
Story and Photos
By Jeff M. Hardison © March 1, 2018 at 9:48 a.m.
CHIEFLAND -- The Chiefland City Commission on Monday night (Feb. 26) granted requests from the Tri-County Community Resource Center, and the five-member group of municipal leaders heard from the city's police chief as well.
(from left) Chiefland City Commissioner Teresa Barron, City Commissioner Rollin Hudson and Mayor Betty Walker tend to city business on Monday night (Feb. 26).
City Commissioner Donald Lawrence (left) and Chiefland Vice Mayor Chris Jones are seen at their duty stations for the night.
In a 4-0 vote, on a motion by Commissioner Teresa Barron, seconded by Commissioner Donald Lawrence, the city waived its fee for use of the Tommy Usher Community Center on March 27. That is where and when chef Laura Fowler Goss is providing a free cooking class. Mayor Betty Walker and Vice Mayor Chris Jones voted in favor of the Barron-Lawrence motion.
City Commissioner Rollin Hudson arrived a few minutes after the start of the meeting on Monday night, and was able to vote on other requests from Tri-County Community Resource Center Director Beverly Goodman.
By a 5-0 vote, the City Commission approved the request from Goodman to close Northeast First Avenue from Main Street (U.S. Highway 19) eastbound to First Street. This closure is to be during the Third Annual Celebration of the start of the Tri-County Community Resource Center. That big event is set for April 21 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., and includes free bicycle raffles, bounce houses, information booths and much more -- like the past two years.
The city is having its Easter egg hunt for children again this year at the Delma Locke Park, behind and across the street from Chiefland Middle School (Northwest Fourth Drive) on March 31, the Saturday before Easter, starting at 9 a.m.
The Forward Church of Chiefland usually has its massive Easter egg hunt at Strickland Park a week before, which would be on March 24.
In other news from the City Council meeting, Chiefland's elected leaders voted 5-0 to pay $46,865 for the city's part in a United States Department of Agriculture Facility Grant that will result in the federal government funding $140,595 so that the Chiefland Police Department will have four 2018 Chevrolet Tahoes as new cruisers in its fleet.
Police Chief Scott Anderson also found a unanimous vote of approval for the CPD to replace four body cameras for officers, and for eight printers to go into cruisers. The previous body cameras wore out and the printers provide the officers with better methods to help the public with required documents.
The CPD is one of three municipal police forces in Levy County, with the other two being the Williston Police Department and the Cedar Key Police Department.
The murder of 17 people in a Broward County school recently had a nationwide impact.
From the opening prayer of the Monday night meeting, given by Commissioner Lawrence, a former teacher and coach, through the time when Police Chief Anderson was at the podium, this was a matter of discussion by the City Commission.
Chief Anderson said Gov. Rick Scott wants the Florida Legislature to approve $500 million to improve school security in the state’s 67 counties.
The Levy County School Board is applying to increase its School Resource Officer (SRO) staff by nine more Levy County Sheriff’s Office deputies, the police chief said.
That would add to the current six -- for a total of 15 LCSO SROs.
Commissioner Barron asked Chief Anderson if he favored school teachers who pass tests to carry concealed firearms to be allowed to bring those guns with them to school.
Chief Anderson said he would be in favor of that.
The chief said the four officers on duty during the school day would take two minutes to reach the school from the Police Department. That set of officers adds to the one SRO Sheriff Bobby McCallum has for the four schools in the city limits of Chiefland, Anderson said.
Those are the current limits.
“There’s not a lot you can do about it,” Anderson said, “unless you have an SRO at every school.”
“But that one didn’t go in,” Commissioner Barron said about the SRO in Broward County at the school.
“They stood out there,” Mayor Walker said in reference to the three other deputies at that scene.
The chief mentioned that when the local police department arrived on the scene, those officers entered the school.
“Nobody knows what they are going to do in the face of a life and death situation,” Anderson said.
The chief said there is no method of security or arming of teachers or other methods to solve the problem.
“This is a mental illness problem,” Anderson said. “This is a free country and we treat mental illness with a prescription.”
He said patients can choose not to take their medicine.
The chief said he would endorse having CPD officers as SROs.
As for the $500 million the governor seeks, Anderson mentioned, for instance, that Pasco County sought 54 more SROs.
Right now, in Levy County, the School Board funds two LCSO SROs and the sheriff funds four LCSO SROs, Anderson said.
Barron and Anderson expressed their opinions that one method to add to security in schools to defend against an armed attack by a killer is to put guns in the hands of teachers who are willing to become qualified and certified to use lethal force to end an attack.
Litter fighters win again
Marti Godfrey (left) and Dotti Leichner stand next to a sign designating the business that strives to keep this section of highway from litter.
Photo by Bob Leichner
Published Feb. 28, 2018 at 8:48 a.m.
DIXIE COUNTY -- The two-mile stretch of riverside highway entering Dixie County from the south looks tidier this week thanks to an Adopt-A-Highway program participant. 2018 marks the 11th consecutive year that Old Town business Dixie Music Center has participated in this program.
Volunteers picking up litter for this particular collection session included Marti Godfrey, Dotti Leichner and Bob Leichner. They collected 13 bags of trash weighing an estimated 250 pounds.
Reports have it that the 12-mile stretch of U.S. Highway 19 (also known as U.S. Highway 98) from the Suwannee River to the Town of Cross City, is the longest continuously adopted section of highway in the Tri-County Area.
That whole section of highway includes other participating groups. This set of litter fighters includes the Dixie County Historical Society, American Legion Auxiliary Post 383, Dixie County Republican Party, Dixie County Little League, and Robert and Gail Carter.
Participating groups commit to a two-year agreement of four pickups annually, but most continue past that. The American Legion Post is now in its 10th year of participation. Any organization, business, family, church or club can apply to participate in this wonderful community service endeavor.
The Adopt-A-Highway program is sponsored and supported by the Florida Department of Transportation, who furnishes safety equipment, pickup implements, and the trash bags. They also retrieve the collected trash. For further information and for an application, please contact acting Dixie County AAH coordinator Bob Leichner at 352-542-3001.