Martin Luther King Jr.
is remembered
as a civil rights activist
who opened many doors

Larry and Katrina Strong, Katherine Manuel and  Bronson Vice Mayor Beatrice Roberts lead the Martin Luther King, Jr. parade in Bronson Saturday singing ‘This Little Light of Mine, I'm gonna’ let it shine.’ The theme of their T-shirts was ‘Never Lose Hope.’

Story and Photos
By Terry Witt Senior Staff Writer © Jan. 15, 2018 at 7:47 p.m.
     BRONSON --
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was remembered Monday (Jan. 15) in Bronson as a towering spiritual and civil rights activist who opened the door for African Americans to participate as equals in American society.



Participants in the Martin Luther King, Jr. parade gather for a word of prayer in the Bronson Post Office parking lot before the start of the event.

The Williston Jr. ROTC Unit marches in the Bronson parade toward their destination at a linear park near the Levy County Health Department. Temperatures were just above the freezing mark Monday morning.

     King, assassinated on April 4, 1968 as he stood on the balcony of a motel in Memphis, Tenn., was the face of a civil rights movement that brought down the Jim Crow laws mandating racial segregation in the South.
     Segregation was practiced throughout the United States in that era.
     King, a Baptist minister, worked with a group of like-minded ministers to organize non-violent protests that raised awareness of the unfairness of segregating public facilities.
      “People don’t realize what he sacrificed to get us where we’re at,” said Bronson Vice Mayor Beatrice Roberts. She was in the fourth or fifth grade when public schools in Bronson became integrated for the first time in 1965.
     She had previously attended the all-black Bronson Elementary School. The three portable classrooms at the former BES, each housing two grades, were moved to the all-white public school in Bronson.
      “It was scary. You didn’t know what to do. The teachers were nice, pretty nice,” she said.
     King was honored on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Local government offices on all levels, including the Levy County Courthouse and Levy County School Board along local city and town halls were closed for the national holiday.
     Among those attending the Bronson celebration was Jerry Mongo, one of 13 black students selected to attend Bronson High School in 1964 in preparation for the official desegregation of all Florida public schools in 1965.
     Mongo, Robert Patterson and former Bronson Town Councilman Aaron Edmondson were among the 13 who attended Bronson High School a year before the school was officially desegregated.
     Bronson, like most southern cities, was segregated in the Jim Crow era. Public bathrooms and business bathrooms were segregated. Water fountains were segregated. Many restaurants were segregated.
     The restaurant that operated where Julie’s Café current stands employed black cooks, but black residents were not permitted to enter through the front door of the restaurant.
     They could buy their food as take-outs at a side window, according to Roberts and Elijah Williams.
     It was in this segregated atmosphere where and when Mongo entered the all-white Bronson High School as one of first 13 black students.
      “Huh!” he chuckled when asked what it was like. “It was different. It was kind of strange. You felt a little bit of the tension, you know, the animosity. There were only 13 of us. That gave them an opportunity to, I guess, acclimate themselves to us to and us to them. The next year when total segregation came around they were used to us being there.”
     Mongo said government officials came to his home and the homes of the other 12 black students who attended Bronson High School a year in advance of total segregation, to ask parents if they wanted to participate by having their children attend the school a year early.
     The day King was assassinated there was chaos in Chiefland and Williston high schools, Mongo said, though not as much in Bronson. He said a lot of the white kids were going around saying it was a good thing that King was murdered, “and it wasn’t a good thing for us.”
     Like others attending Monday’s celebration, Mongo said King opened a lot of doors, but he said his grandchildren find it hard to believe what it was like when he was growing up as a child.
      “I tell my grandkids about that now and they think it’s kind of a fairy tale. They ask me was that for real granddaddy? So they don’t believe it’s really true,” Mongo said.
     Mongo said there were other civil rights activities taking place in the United States when King started his ministry of non-violent social change, but he said King focused on the poor and ending social, economic and racial inequality.
     When King began presenting a broader message about the plight of the poor, and the economic and social inequalities around the world, Mongo said, that is when King was assassinated.
     King is the civil rights leader that most people talk about, Mongo said. He was the most prominent.
      “It came out of our history, and that history is his story,” Mongo added.
     Pastor Johnnie Jones of Fountain of Life Church in Williston, the only pastor to attend Monday’s event in Bronson, said a week ago he was wearing a gold T-shirt that carried the theme of this year’s MLK celebration, "Never Lose Hope,” when his 2-year-old granddaughter Jaden asked about the image of King on the shirt.
      “I was able to talk to her and say, in as elementary way as I could put it, that it was because of him that we are able to do the things were doing, and live where we live and work where we work and eat and shop where we eat and shop,” Jones said. “That young generation is curious about that image.”
     But Jones said King must be remembered as more than a historic figure.
      “If we don’t continue to talk about him and his contributions, he will become an image and not a real figure,” Jones said.
     Jones was born in 1970, two years after King was assassinated. He didn’t live through the civil rights era but has read extensively about King and his non-violent movement. He has read King’s inspirational speeches. He believes King was divinely appointed for that era and time in the nation’s history. Jones wonders what the nation might look like today if not for the change brought about mainly through King’s leadership. He wonders if the United States might look more like South Africa in the days of apartheid.
     In King’s life, Jones said there many civil rights activists who believed as he did in non-violent social change and fought for the same things, and some who were involved in the civil rights movement before King, but said King was the voice of his generation.
      “He was able to articulate a clear vision for non-violent social change for the civil rights movement and that’s the difference,” Jones said.
     Roberts said there has been change in the era since King mounted his non-violent civil rights movement, but the reality for most African Americans is that society is much like it was before King. Black people can enter through the front door of restaurants and use the same bathrooms as whites in the modern era, but they are still viewed as being different than whites and discrimination continues to be a problem.
     She remains suspicious about an incident in 1948 in which her late uncle Charles Greenlee, 16 years old at the time, and three other young black men slightly older than him were accused of raping a white woman in the town of Groveland.
     Roberts’ uncle spent 11 years in state prison for the crime before attorney Thurgood Marshall, a future U.S. Supreme Court Justice, stepped in and managed to free him. Roberts said they were never told the reason why her uncle was freed, but she said the family did receive apologies from state lawmakers in Tallahassee for the injustice committed against him.
     Roberts said the apologies fell well short of exoneration but her uncle was able to move to Nashville and establish a successful air-conditioning business. He returned to Bronson only to visit family.
      “When I think about Martin Luther King, I wonder what would have happened to my uncle if he (King) hadn’t marched in that March,” Roberts said.
     She added that one of the three men arrested with her uncle in 1948 was gunned down on a trip between the jail and Lake Butler, allegedly for trying to escape. She said the man’s body was found riddled with 400 bullet holes.

Woman's club president
notes successful year

By Yankeetown/Inglis Woman's Club President Helen Ciallella
Published Jan. 13, 2018 at 8:37 a.m.
This past year the Yankeetown/Inglis Woman's Club achieved many milestones with great results from its Healthy Community Initiative by improving communication and the coordination of events with our towns and service organizations.

     For instance, the local service groups coordinated the Christmas Adopt-A-Family and the Yankeetown School, AmVets, Masons, Lion's Club, Yankeetown/Inglis Woman's Club and our neighbors who adopted families made a difference for many children in the community.
     It was an amazing effort!
     The Yankeetown/Inglis Woman's Club Kidz Eatz Weekend Food Program managed by Chris Fineout, feeds approximately 20 percent of the Yankeetown School student population weekly with seven meals to carry them from Friday to Monday.
     In addition, Yankeetown/Inglis Woman's Club Bingo players bring food items weekly for the school’s pantry. Players also donate toiletries, underwear and socks for the school clinic to assist families in need.
     Just like the club’s other service programs, Kidz Eatz is supported by financial and food donations from many local businesses, churches, service organizations and neighbors who are simply good stewards of the community and who allow the club to be the funnel to provide services.
     The A.F. Knotts Public Library continues as one of the The Yankeetown/Inglis Woman's Club’s proudest accomplishments.
     The Yankeetown/Inglis Woman's Club is the only Woman's Club to still own and maintain a public library. And the club does it for the general public, in conjunction with the Levy County Public Library System.
     With the help of the Friends of the A.F. Knotts Public Library and the Levy County Board of County Commissioners’ providing the resources of the Levy County Public Library System, the Yankeetown/Inglis Woman's Club is able to provide, books, newspapers, magazines and CDs to people – as well as providing public access to the Internet available for job research, public assistance, Social Security information and more.
     This year, the Yankeetown/Inglis Woman's Club expects to break the $100,000 mark with its Annual Scholarships total.
     Since the YIWC Scholarships began in 1971, we have had graduates from colleges, universities, and tech schools around the country.
   All scholarship money comes from the YIWC Thursday Night Bingo games.
    Each year, the club members work with area high schools to distribute the scholarship information as well to give adults in the community the opportunity to improve their skills and education level for better employment opportunities. 
     In 2017, the YIWC also acquired a parcel of property in Inglis to start a Community Garden which will be available to neighbors, businesses, churches and service organizations.
     The Allen Community Garden meetings are the second Wednesday of the month at 5:30 p.m. at the YIWC clubhouse.
     The club can use help from everyone in the community to get this garden growing.
     There will be raised beds available and opportunities for area residents to enjoy the bounty of their "green thumb" with their friends and family.
     In addition, the Yankeetown/Inglis Woman's Club would like to supplement the diets of the area’s senior citizens, veterans and low-income families with healthy fruits and vegetables. The club invites people to join the fun in the dirt while providing fresh grown food for people.
     The Yankeetown/Inglis Woman's Club goal for 2018 is to expand the club house (community center) to accommodate the Kidz Eatz food bank, increase Yankeetown/Inglis Woman's Club Bingo attendance, and see event more people at the club’s events (such as the Chili Cook Off, Soup-A-Thon, Spaghetti Dinner, Salad Luncheon, Woman's Wellness Weekend) and the Thrift Shop.
     The Yankeetown/Inglis Woman's Club has blueprints and it is working on the "building fund" to complete this much-needed building expansion.
     As a 501C3 non-profit organization, charitable donations to the YIWC are tax deductible to the extent allowed by law.
     This can include a memorial donation in a loved one's name, legacy donation made monthly, a bequest in your will, a cash gift, real estate, an estate gift and vehicle gifts.
     Since every club member is a volunteer, all donations go directly back into the community to continue the various community programs.
     As readers can see here, 2017 was another great year for the community.
     For more than 50 years, the Yankeetown/Inglis Woman's Club has focused on providing the community with a multitude of services and support.
     It is because of the people who support the club with their generosity that the club’s members are able to continue this tradition.
     The Yankeetown/Inglis Woman's Club can only complete its missions to MAKE IT BETTER with the continued support, and for that all of the club’s members note are grateful.
     From the Yankeetown/Inglis Woman's Club, we wish everyone a happy and healthy 2018!

Levy County spay-neuter
community cat program
starts on January 25

Needles, the community cat of the unrecorded subdivision known as Jemlands, rests in an outdoor recliner on a porch next to The Ink Pad. He was named Needles because he blends in with pine needles in the area. Needles the community cat is the poster cat for this program, having been trapped, neutered, vaccinated and returned to the wild. The cat remains feral to the point of being a community cat versus a domestic indoor cat. Notice his left ear is missing its the top. All feral cats in this program will have their ears tipped after they are spayed or neutered.

Story and Photos
By Jeff M. Hardison © Jan. 10, 2018 at 9:37 p.m.
Levy County Animal Services (LCAS) is scheduled to begin its once-a-month spay/neuter program for feral cats on Jan. 25.

     LCAS Administrative Assistant Bridgett Domenico said this program is being offered to Levy County residents only.
    The first month there will be 10 cats fixed, she said. This is going to be by appointment. The first 10 community cats scheduled and delivered are the limit for the first round.
     Cats that are scheduled for surgery must be brought to the LCAS facility in a cat trap the day before the appointment is scheduled.
     Cat traps will be distributed at the LCAS location, next to the Solid Waste Transfer Station between Bronson and Williston. There is a $25 deposit for each trap. A person can pick up as many as four traps at a time.
     There are limits to the number of cats per family allowed in this program however other community members within a subdivision may participate in the catch-spay-release program too.
     The day after surgery, the cats will be picked up by the persons who brought them in. The person will take the cat back to the place where the cat was trapped, and that is where the cat is to be released.
     All cats in this program will have one ear clipped to make it easy for people to see that cat is not in the business of making kittens anymore. This program is seen as a method to reduce the cat population that is leading to animals having to be euthanized.
     This program is for feral cats that have reached the point of being community cats, where someone is feeding them.
     This program is NOT for domestic cats that are family pets.
     All cats spayed or neutered in this program will receive a one-year rabies vaccination as well.
     For more information about this program for community cats, or to schedule an appointment, please call Levy County Animal Services at 352-486-5138.

     The Critter Crusaders of North Central Florida have partnered with Pay To Spay Inc. to offer a certain number of spay-neuter procedures for cats in February.
     This program is different than the one by the county, which is for community cats. This program is for pet cats.
     The $28 fee includes spaying or neutering and a rabies vaccination.
     To see about the Critter Crusaders’ program, look at one of that group’s ads on If you click on that ad, it will open a window on the Critter Crusaders’ website.

Goldy the cat Hardison, the senior mascot for shows that she has both tips of her ears.

This indoor cat was spayed years ago, thanks to the Levy County Human Society having a raffle and Goldy’s owners Jeff and Sharon Hardison, buying the winning ticket.

Inky the cat Hardison, the junior mascot for and another indoor pet cat, is a gift from Dr. Ronald Spink – The Family Pet Vet of Chiefland. Sharon Hardison expressed her opinion after a number of years when Goldy was the only cat in the house that she needed a cat to pal around with while her two human pets were out making money and the like. Inky was among the cats Dr. Spink had available for free and Jeff Hardison accepted Inky into the family. Inky was spayed when she was adopted. Both Inky and Goldy are wonderful mascots for the daily news website.

Inky’s eyes are seen (above and to the left of the keyboard) as she looks out from beneath a metal shell that holds up a computer monitor and provides a place to slide in a keyboard. Inky is very good at finding places to hide. Another trick where Inky shows off is by removing her collar and placing it in the middle of a room so that anyone who did not notice she had removed her collar will see that, and refasten it around her neck.


Gilchrist Chamber leader speaks

Rotarian Karen Jones, Rotarian Stephanie Douglas and Gilchrist County Rotary Club President Bob Clemons are seen here.

Story and Photo
By Rotarian Holly Creel
Published Jan. 9, 2018 at 4:27 p.m.
     TRENTON --
Rotarian Stephanie Douglas spoke to the Gilchrist Rotary Club at the regular weekly meeting on Jan. 8.

     She told her fellow Rotarians about her involvement with the Gilchrist Chamber of Commerce and the Gilchrist County community in general. Stephanie was introduced by Rotarian Karen Jones, who noted that Stephanie started as the Executive Director of the Gilchrist Chamber of Commerce a little over a year ago.
     A 2000 graduate of Bell High School, Stephanie has three children and is the BHS FFA Alumni President and 4-H Leader of the club Southern Style. All three of her children are active in sports and Stephanie does her best to attend all of the games and support their school efforts.
     Stephanie told the Gilchrist Rotary Club how much she enjoys her position with the Chamber. She coordinates the main events which are Christmas on Main Street, the Annual Banquet and helping with the Trenton Quilt Festival in March.
     Not only is she active in commerce and as a Rotarian, Stephanie serves on the Suwannee River Fair Youth Livestock Show and Sale Board. We all know how important the SRF is for children in the Tri-County Area of Gilchrist, Dixie and Levy counties.
     An outgoing person who loves working with others, Stephanie is perfect as both a Rotarian and a leader in the Chamber. She and Rotary President Bob Clemons have partnered -- so the two groups work together in leading community events and promoting goodwill.
     As evidence of the growth in Gilchrist County, the Gilchrist County Chamber of Commerce has welcomed four new businesses with ribbon-cutting ceremonies in the last year.
     Stephanie told the Rotary Club that this year's banquet will be called The Great Outdoors of Gilchrist County - to highlight hunting, fishing, our springs and agricultural activities in Gilchrist County.
      Please submit nominations for Citizen of the Year, Business of the Year, Non-Profit Organization of the Year and the Jo Min Ayers Lifetime Achievement Award to the Chamber.
     The Chamber banquet is scheduled to be held on Feb. 6.
     We were inspired by Stephanie's enthusiasm for helping the Chamber to grow to 115 members and supporting the businesses and people in the community.
     Rotarian Andrew Nguyen played piano for our enjoyment. Club members dined on beef stroganoff, green beans with garlic sauce, caesar salad and individual handmade pecan pies catered by Chef's Table Bistro.
     The Gilchrist Rotary Club WILL NOT MEET on Monday, Jan. 15 in observance of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. holiday. The club's Monday meetings are passed by when there is a holiday.

CKWC Raptor Rapture

Janie Veltkamp and Beauty the eagle

Photo by Glen Hush

By Teri Brennan
Published Jan. 5, 2018 at 1:37 p.m.
     CEDAR KEY --
Did you know that, of all the lower 48 states, Florida has the greatest number of nesting bald eagles -- our national symbol?

     Please meet Jane Veltkamp; a raptor biologist and rehabilitator, wildlife educator, master falconer and recent Cedar Key Woman’s Club member. I mention the two here together because Janie is the lifetime guardian of Beauty, a bald eagle, who survived a gunshot to the beak, and then was left to die.
     Thanks to Janie, her expertise, and an innovative-healing team, Beauty was fitted with a prosthetic beak and now lives out a nearly natural life in Idaho at Birds of Prey Northwest under Janie’s care.
     When not rehabilitating raptors, Janie has spent 10 years of her career reintroducing ospreys and peregrine falcons to regions where they had disappeared from their habitat.
     Oh, and did I mention that she is the eagle expert for the Coeur d’Alene Tribe’s Native American Aviaries? To add another feather to her cap, Janie has co-written a book titled Beauty and the Beak, recounting the pioneering journey of Beauty. Janie tells the story of how science, technology and a 3-D printed beak rescued a bald eagle.
     Currently, the Cedar Key School third through sixth grade students are reading Beauty and the Beak while following the available instruction guide, a Green STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics) Resource. Get this! Also available is a life-size prosthetic beak, the same as the one fitted for Beauty.
     If I sound like I am crowing about Jane Veltkamp and her membership in the Cedar Key Woman’s Club, I am! Raptor rescue and rehabilitation is not for the faint of heart. A rare bird Janie is -- a consummate volunteer as strong and brave as the birds she serves.
     For more information about Janie and her work, please visit her website

Here is the video created about the American Bald Eagle named Beauty.


Visitors set all-time record
at daily news website

By Jeff M. Hardison © Jan. 1, 2018 at 11:07 a.m.
     THE WORLD --
The number of unique visitors looking at stories, photos and videos on reached a new record in December as the 7-year-old website continues its growth going into its eighth year of existence, according to two independent automated traffic-registering programs -- Google Analytics and cPanel.

     There were 18,196 unique visitors in December to, according to these trusted third-party automated measuring devices.
     Jeff Hardison, publisher and owner of, said that first he is thankful to God for all things.
     Beyond that, he added, he is thankful for the continued growth, which shows a strong base of loyal readers, viewers and listeners as the daily news website moves forward along toward its eighth year of existence, which starts on Feb. 1, 2018.
     Not only is this the best source for daily news, he said, this is also the best platform for advertising because of the traffic to the site.
     “Private and public interests recognize advertising in is the best return on investment for money spent on advertising. This is nice for me to see as well,” Hardison said. “I anticipate making offers to companies and individuals to help their businesses enjoy the benefits of advertising in my daily news website.”
     The numbers for December 2017 are shown in the graphic below:

     Hardison, a multiple award-winning daily and weekly newspaper writer and editor, and now publisher and daily news outlet owner, said he is pleased to see more individuals visiting the site every time the monthly reports show that fact.
     The national advertisements will remain on the bottom of the pages, he said, because local advertisers are better served by being on the right side of the pages and in the body of the pages. The ads for four local Chambers of Commerce currently are at the bottom of the Community Page.
     Following are the figures from two independent robotic programs for December of 2017.
     The first gauge reflects Unique Visitors. defines unique visitor as "a person who visits a Web site more than once within a specified period of time." Software used for this report can distinguish between visitors who only visit the site once and unique visitors -- who return to the site.
     The unique visitor is different from a site's hits or page views -- which are measured by the number of files that are requested from a site. Unique visitors are measured according to their unique Internet Protocol addresses, which are like online fingerprints, and unique visitors are counted only once no matter how many times they visit the site after they have visited it twice.
December 2017 – 18,196 (New All-Time Monthly Record, after seven years of continual growth)
     The number of visits is as it says. This is the number of times that these visitors came to pages.
December 2017 – 35,831
     Pages Viewed shows how many different pages the visitors looked at. This website has the Home Page, Police Page, Calendar Page, Business Page, Community Page, Life Page and the Leisure Page.
December 2017 – 120,215
     What is a “hit?” When a viewer looks at a page, there are elements on the page that register a “hit.” For instance, if there are four pictures on a page, then that may equal four “hits.” Like all of the gauges, this is a measure of traffic.
December 2017 – 1,308,951 (a million-plus hits)
     “These figures mean there are more people each day who use as a source for information,” Hardison said. “And they return daily. If your product or service is better than the competitors’ products and services, then you will have better odds of being the manufacturer, farmer or service provider of first choice in any market.” continues to grow in readers, viewers and listeners (yes, the videos have sound). More and more business owners and other individuals are seeing that this is the best site for Levy, Dixie and Gilchrist counties’ daily news.
     This website is the best medium in this market to advertise, which is proved by annual increased revenue even though the price of ads remains stable since the site’s inception. has the Weather Bug on the Home Page for all current weather and forecasting needs, including radar and Weather Alerts. It has columns for quilt reports, Christian devotionals and more. provides state news on the BUSINESS PAGE and other pages on occasion when it is merited.
     The monthly averages for the 12 months of 2017 in the four categories are shown below:
Unique Visitors   15,552
Number of Visits   36,179
Pages   120,336
Hits   1.2 million

     "I can't say enough about my wife Sharon Hardison," Jeff Hardison said. "She does so much for me it is incredible. One thing I need to bring people's attention to is our relatively new archive page. Go to any of the seven pages and find the ad for the archive page and click on it.
     "A new window will open." he continued. "Just go to the month you want and scroll down. If you see a link that looks interesting, click on it. The newest addition is a direct link to all of the videos that have been published. Just go to the area on the page that says CHECK OUT THE VIDEOS.
     Videos can be viewed ( and click on it. If you see any video you want to watch, click on it.
ADVERTISEMENT KEEPS IT GOING is visible for free to anyone who can see pages on the Internet. Therefore, people all over the world – and in the space station – can view it. This site is subscription-free entirely because of our sponsors. Not only do advertisers help the people in the world (and astronauts) see Levy, Dixie and Gilchrist counties, but those business interests enjoy the most exposure for the least dollars.
     "We don't put up winky-blinky ads or pop-ups in our local ads," Hardison said. "Our local ads don't move around by the minute. And I promote our local advertisers in other places in addition to" is the best daily news site that covers Levy, Dixie and Gilchrist counties.
     Advertisements run in various sizes and can be on one page or all seven pages. Ad contracts run for one year. Ads can be changed monthly. Ads can be hyperlinked to other webpages so that when a person clicks on the ad it opens in another window.
     The annual prices for ads are $500, $750, $1,000, $1,500 and there is one $2,000-a-year ad space available on the Community Page.
     Call 352-493-9950 or send an email to to learn more about advertising on the MOST VIEWED daily news website in the world for any form of print, broadcast or Internet-based media covering the Tri-County Area of Levy, Dixie and Gilchrist counties (and beyond).

Publisher reviews 2017
Caladium Fields

In this narrated video, Caladium fields are viewed in Highlands County. These are fields of Bates Sons & Daughters Caladiums. This is one of the July archived stories with a link in the year-end review below.

Stories, Photos and Videos
By Jeff M. Hardison © Dec 31, 2017 at 11:47 a.m.
In thinking about writing a year-in-review story, it dawns upon me that the daily news website has an archive area where people can review this year.
     Interestingly, not even every heinous crime is saved there.

     I am going to open with some of the stories, photos and videos in the archive by first looking at a hurricane, and some out-of-area visits for space launch coverage.
     Then, there is the rest of the year – including the opening of the College of Central Florida’s campus of the Jack Wilkinson Levy Center north of Chiefland on Aug. 11.
     A hurricane that uprooted and forced operations to be placed in a Chiefland motel for seven days was a good test for 100 percent evacuation and then satellite transmissions.
     Hurricane Irma proved to be a significant test for the daily news website in 2017. has gone seven years without missing a day – even through this second mandatory evacuation.
     Despite Hurricane Irma displacing Jeff Hardison, Sharon Hardison and the cats Goldy and Inky Hardison, the daily news website provided the best, most updated local and state information about Hurricane Irma of any media outlet serving the area.
     Click HERE to see is one sample of the archived stories from the event.
     This story in the archive shows Bronson United Methodist Church feeding first responders on Sept. 16. And there are other stories, photos and videos from Hurricane Irma – from before the evacuation, through the evacuation and after the storm passed, by clicking HERE.
     This Sept. 7 video shows evacuation through Chiefland. It shows the ground view and then an aerial view from a drone of the evacuation. It can be watched by clicking HERE.

Space Coverage 2017
     I had a few stories in 2017, some number of photos and videos in showing the publication reaching across the state to Brevard County, and especially to the National Aeronautic Space Administration at Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral.
     I was truly honored to go on a Launch Director Tour conducted by retired NASA Space Shuttle Launch Director Michael “Mike” Leinbach. Meeting William M. "Bill" Foster, who is the Ground Controller (GC) supporting the International Space Station, and the lead GC for the Mission Operations team for Boeing's CST-100 Starliner from the Houston, Texas, NASA complex, was a completely unexpected privilege for me too.  
     That whole story is in the archive.

Launch Director Tour – click HERE.
     Another amazing news coverage trip I enjoyed this year was in April to watch an Atlas V rocket launch. This was by United Launch Alliance, and I was able to watch it thanks to NASA granting me the press credentials required for that event.

Atlas V rocket launches the S.S. John Glenn – click HERE.
     The second story from the April trip to the East Coast was a look at the chance for this Tri-County Area journalist to cover the launch.

Tri-County Area journalist covers ULA launch thanks to NASA – click HERE.
     Overall, 2017 was another great year for the daily news website. Senior Reporter Terry Witt was able to be sent to cover more stories and photos as my independent contractor, thanks to ad revenue growth helping to fund that expansion.
     A few student journalists assisted with the coverage of news and sports in 2017, and I provided some feedback to them. It is also thanks to columnists and other volunteers who made the year successful. Thank-you people!
     Now let’s look at a bit of month-by-month review of 2017.
     Please remember that the archive is available by clicking on the logo at the bottom right column, below the local ads there. Also know that I am writing this on the fly, so to speak, as I weave it into part of one day.
     The following are not necessarily the most important or earth-shaking stories, but instead may be viewed as a glimpse to tempt people to scroll through the archives – or even hunt for previously published articles, photos or videos.
     The donation of the Jaws of Life to the Cedar Key Volunteer Fire Department by Firehouse Subs was a happy story.
     The story and photos are available by clicking HERE.
     The first story where I bid on the opportunity to publish delinquent ad valorem property tax certificates was in January. That story can be seen by clicking HERE.
     Eventually in 2017, Levy County Tax Collector Linda Fugate and the Levy County Board of County Commissioners bought a relatively small ad, and I helped bring revenue to the county via people buying those tax certificates. That helped those investors, too, because this is a relatively conservative and safe investment.
     Readers set an all-time record by using the daily news website in this month. Actually, throughout the year a lot of records were set – as has been the case since day one -- Feb. 1, 2011.
     That story and graph can be seen by clicking HERE.
     There are many great stories every day, and of course, every week and month. The archive shows some of them.
     Renowned world-famous banjo player Mark Johnson lives and works in this part of Florida. The former director of Levy County Emergency Management is now working for the Florida Department of Health, under the leadership of Levy-Dixie-Gilchrist Counties Health Department Units Director Barbara Locke.
     This Feb. 22, 2017 story – able to be seen by clicking HERE shows a little bit about his planned trip to perform at a famous Nashville venue.
     Most years, I go to the LifeSouth Community Blood Services event where they thank media members for helping people know about donating blood.
     In this story, I show me accepting an award and I show some of the local organizations and schools who earned recognition as well. Click HERE to see that story and photos.
     Donna Cicale, a deputy clerk with Levy County Clerk of Courts Danny Shipp retired.
     This was another retirement where I was invited and was able to attend. Cicale is among the many, many great people who have worked for the county governments in Levy, Dixie and Gilchrist counties.
     To see the coverage of her retirement, click HERE.
     Once again, the Suwannee River Fair and Youth Livestock Show and Sale generated several pieces.
     Among those in the archive is this set, which can be seen by clicking HERE, and which includes some of the winners in some of the competition. Please remember to look for other SRF stories, photos and videos in the archive if that is of interest to you.
     Another batch of March coverage is the Levy County Fair. In this story with photos, there is one part of that relatively extensive coverage that was archived. It can be seen by clicking HERE.
     An April story about the return from Nashville of the talented and famous banjo player Mark Johnson can be viewed by clicking HERE
     We had relatively good softball coverage in 2017. One of those many stories can be seen by clicking HERE.
     Looking at archived stories, people will see there is far too much to even note in this year-end review.
     In May, though, there is another story where Chiefland High School softball players were recognized as they accepted scholarships.
     Head CHS Varsity Softball Coach Wayne Weatherford wrapped up more than a quarter of a century of dedicated coaching in this month, and remains as the CHS coach who has brought teams to earn the most state championship titles of any school in Levy County.
     Here is one of those sports scholarship stories, with some relatively good photos. It can be seen by clicking HERE.
     For almost every year, covered every high school graduation in the Tri-County Area of Levy, Dixie and Gilchrist counties.
     In 2017, we got most of them covered.
     I had the wonderful occasion to visit with Jim Mixson of Williston for a little bit one afternoon, and he gave me a chance to reflect with him a tiny bit about his mother – a graduate of the Williston High School Class of 1927.
     That story and photos can be seen by clicking HERE
     Kenneth Bell gave me a chance to participate in the Fourth Annual Bell Blast.
     While my old drone (unmanned aerial system) was not up to snuff enough to let me feel comfortable on the field with the more-advanced flyers, I did have fun and shot some photos and video.
     That can be viewed by clicking HERE
     Shortly after this event, I upped my hobbyist participation with a better drone – which I am calling The Dragonfly.
     One amazing and great story was from the ANNUAL CALADIUM FESTIVAL in Lake Placid. This was one of my first uses of The Dragonfly.
     That can be viewed by clicking HERE.
     While I did not archive every story of success for major law enforcement operations in this part of Florida in 2017, there is this historic heroin bust from Gilchrist County, which can be seen by clicking HERE.
     People from Dixie, Levy and Gilchrist counties joined in a Lunch And Learn program thanks to the Levy County Prevention Coalition, the Dixie County Anti-Drug Coalition, Florida Lutheran Services, and the sheriffs of Dixie, Gilchrist and Levy counties.
     This great event held at the ForVets Lodge in the Otter Springs Park and Campground can be seen by clicking HERE.
     The UF/IFAS Nature Coast Biological Station opening in Cedar Key was very significant in September.
     It can be viewed by clicking HERE.
     A very big car show in Gilchrist County in October includes a story, photos and video in the archive.
     It can be viewed by clicking HERE.
     Just as a reminder, the archive includes many stories – for instance just in October of 2017, the short list shows Bronson Trunk or Treat; Elvis seen in Inglis; Fox Squirrel Collects; U Pick Lane From The Air; Ride To Provide keeps evolving; American Sign Language; 2017 Seafood Festival Parade provides fun for all; Levy County Food Service employees exhibit; Professionals Endorse Creating Wills; WMHS hosts JROTC sports event; Trenton Tigers beat; Cedar Key Annual Seafood; Big Bend Shellfish Trail dedicated; Levy County couple earns top annual state honors; Cross City Train Depot; Sheriffs Thank Senator; Students share insight from trips at CFEC Annual Meeting; People enjoy Peanut Festival in Williston; Legislators are shown appreciation; State lawmakers visit Cross City and Trenton; Bell Middle School; Dr. Lindo returns to RGH; and other stories.
     The annual chili event in southern Levy County was covered. Click HERE to see that.
     Throughout the school year, the JROTC units in the three counties are all helping students.
     The Bell High School JROTC unit has been the best about sharing its news.
     Click HERE to see just one of those stories.
     All of the Eighth Judicial Circuit Court judges continued to perform their very heavy duties with honor, as did all of the County Court judges in this circuit and even all 67 counties and 20 circuits of Florida.
     Here is one story, photos and video from two people being sentenced by Eighth Judicial Circuit Court Judge Mark W. Moseley on Wednesday afternoon (Dec. 13).
     Click HERE to see two men sentenced, and the judge explaining why they are going to prison for a period of time.
     There are procedures for journalists to be able to cover court proceedings, and it is truly with great appreciation that enjoyed the ability to cover this aspect of these cases.
     In this next story, the woman who became the provost of the CF Levy Campus – Holly McGlashan – opens the first-ever GED graduation conducted at the new campus, when she still had her previous title.
     Click HERE to see that story.
     There were many, many other stories, photos and videos from 2017.
     Please visit the archive, which goes back to October of 2015.
     When my friend and web designer Bill Kilborn died in October of 2015, there was no loss of daily news coverage thanks to him helping me in his final days so that there could be a relatively smooth transition to the support, which then would be by my new friends at Nature Coast Web Design & Marketing Inc.
     However, we did lose the place where a lot of material was archived from the first years of, and there were some operational revisions that led to me asking the lovely and talented Sharon Hardison to take over the archival duties.
     In any event, this website is going into 2018 with a positive outlook toward the future. And when our ad salesman – Jeff M. Hardison – explains how your business or other interest can benefit from advertising on, please buy an ad.
     In fact, you may want to take the initiative and call him at 352-493-9950 or send an email to to say which ad you want to buy for the year. They cost $500, $750, $1,000; $1,500 or $2,000 for the year – including the big banner ad or ads on all seven pages.


Candidate University
is scheduled for Jan. 18

Published Nov. 30, 2017 at 3:37 p.m.
The Office of the Levy County Supervisor of Elections is scheduled to hold Candidate University on Jan. 18.

     The class is for anyone interested in running for public office, or anyone who just wants to learn about the candidate process.
     The class is scheduled to be in the Supervisor of Elections Office 421 S. Court St. in Bronson. That is the building next to the Levy County Courthouse. It has a sign in front of the building.
     The class is on Jan. 18, which is a Thursday. It is from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. 
     Candidate University consists of a three-hour curriculum focused on the fundamentals of becoming and being a candidate.
     Participants will be introduced to each step involved in the process -- including pre-filling, collecting petitions and qualifying. There is no requirement to pre-register for the class and there is no cost to attend.
     Campaign pitfalls will be discussed as well as audits, recounts and contesting of elections.
     All participants will receive a certificate upon completion of the program.
     For more information, please contact Jordan Lindsey at 352-486-5163, ext. 7 or send her an email at


Yankeetown election
scheduled for Feb. 27;

By Jeff M. Hardison © Nov. 20, 2017 at 3:17 p.m.
Updated Dec. 21, 2017 at 11:07 p.m.
The municipality that is the most southwestern in Levy County is scheduled to conduct an election on Feb. 27.

     This election is for two leaders in a five-person set of elected leaders for the Town of Yankeetown. There is also the potential for a referendum that would amend the current town charter.
     The open seats are for mayor and for the Town Council seat currently occupied by Jean Holbrook. The current acting mayor is Jack Schofield.
     These positions are two-year terms.
     Qualifying to run for these two open positions of Yankeetown government is scheduled to happen from 8 a.m. to noon on Dec. 11, 12, 13, 14 and 15 at Yankeetown Town Hall, 6241 Harmony Lane, in Yankeetown.
     The election itself is scheduled to be Feb. 27 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., and the place to cast ballots in that election is the Inglis-Yankeetown Lions Club building that is located at 22 59th St., in Yankeetown.
     There is a potential ballot question regarding the current town charter that has a potential of being voted upon by the qualified voters of Yankeetown.
     At the Dec. 5 meeting of the Yankeetown Town Council, the current five leaders -- Acting Mayor Jack Schofield and four Town Council members -- Jean Holbrook, Jeff St. John, Jennifer Molzen and Sherri MacDonald will have an opportunity to adopt an ordinance in regard to changing the town charter.
     This will be the second reading for the possible adoption of this ordinance, Yankeetown Deputy Clerk Sharon Mudge said.
    The Ballot Question is tentatively to be named APPOINTED MAYOR.
     The text for the proposed referendum questions to be placed on Feb. 27 election ballot, shows that the voters could amend the charter to provide that there will be five Council members who will annually appoint a mayor from among the five elected Council members.
     Currently there are four Town Council members and one mayor and the mayor is currently elected.
     To place the question on the Feb. 27 ballot, the Town Council on Dec. 5 is conducting its second public hearing on the proposed referendum ballot questions.
     If the question is put on the ballot, and if the voters choose to adopt the amendment, then the Yankeetown charter amendment would provide that there will be five Council members who will annually elect a mayor from among the five Council members. 
      Authority shall be vested in five Council members. A mayor shall be appointed annually from among the council members by majority vote of the Council.
     The mayor shall be president and presiding officer of the Town Council, and shall vote as a member of the Town Council. 
     If this goes on the ballot, the voters can choose either “Yes” or “No.”
      Another amendment to the Town Charter calls for numbering the seats of the Council members for clarity of reference.
     On this “Yes” or “No” vote, the electors can choose to amend the Yankeetown charter amendment so that would provide numbered council seats for ease and clarity of reference, or the voters could leave the Town Council seats as they are now – not numbered.
     The Yankeetown charter amendment would provide that for clarity of reference and for no other reason, those Council seats to be contested in even numbered years shall be referred to as Seat #2 and Seat #4, and those to be contested in odd numbered years shall be referred to as Seat #1, Seat #3, and Seat #5.
     The person who is the town clerk, town treasurer and town administrator is Eric Kuykendall.
     As in all other city or town elections in Levy County, the clerk is the supervisor of elections. This election will not be utilizing the equipment from the Office of Supervisor of Elections Tammy Jones; however, Jones will provide supplies the town will need for the election and she is available to Kuykendall for assistance, according to Information Specialist Jordan Lindsey, in the Office of the Levy County Supervisor of Elections.



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TUESDAY   Jan. 16   8:37 a.m.
Levy, Dixie and Gilchrist counties

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