Gilchrist Rotarians
hear sage advice

(from left) Rotary President Bob Clemons, Ken Creel, Rotarian Holly Creel and Gainesville Rotarian and guest Joe Lowry Sr. are seen at the meeting on Monday (Dec. 11).

Story and Photo Provided
By Holly Creel, Gilchrist County Rotarian
Published Dec. 12, 2017 at 10:17 a.m.

     TRENTON -- Inspiration.
     President Bob Clemons of the Rotary Club of Gilchrist County has set the challenge for the club to inspire and be inspired.



     The program on Dec. 11, hosted by Rotarians Holly and Ken Creel, was an End of the Year Message on Inspiration. The message wasprovided by Joe Lowry Sr, a member of the Downtown Gainesville Rotary Club and a financial planner and advisor.
     Lowry, an expert on investment strategies, acknowledged that while financial investments are important and necessary, he encouraged members and guest present on Monday to invest in ourselves first and foremost.  He has seen too many people reach retirement age, and while they have sufficient money to live, their health or relationships are holding them back from enjoying life.
     He emphasized that it is equally important to invest in your LIFE by focusing on your attitude and your well-being physically, mentally and spiritually.
     Lowry talked about the importance of being interested in others and asking "What is your story?"
     This is a way to let the other person know you truly care about what is going on in their life, he said.
     He went on to suggest that individuals avoid negative associations, whenever possible, and be willing to say "I am sorry."
     Seek to lift others up, sleep well, and eat well are other ideas he shared for people to invest in themselves.
     Lowry referenced the book The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz  as a guide for living well.
     The agreements include:
     ● Be impeccable with your word.
     ● Don't make assumptions.
     ● Don't take anything personally.
     ● Always do your best.
     These agreements lead to common courtesy and common sense. Lowry suggested being mindful of history, because given time, history repeats itself and we can be better positioned for life's challenges if we are aware of the past.
     Too often, a person may be fearful of a situation and yet, if he or she pays attention to history, then that individual will see this situation has happened before. And it will likely turn out just fine if one can relax with it, even if just a bit!
     Honorary Rotarian Monnye Brown played the piano for the enjoyment of all, and members and guests dined on a delicious luncheon catered by Chef's Table Bistro.

Wreaths to honor veterans;
Sons of AmVets Squadron 88
to hold eighth annual event

By Jeff M. Hardison © Dec. 10, 2017 at 5:27 p.m.
     BRONSON – Leaders, members and guests of AmVets Post 88, Sons of AmVets Squadron 88 and AmVets Post 88 Auxiliary plan to be part of the efforts Saturday (Dec. 16) to place wreaths on veterans' graves starting at noon in Rosemary Hill Cemetery in Bronson on the north side of Thrasher Drive (State Road 24) east of Hathaway Avenuen (U.S. Alt. 27).
     Everyone is invited to this ceremony to honor veterans who have passed away.

     Levy County Commissioner John Meeks, first vice commander of the Sons of AmVets Squadron 88, is the man who initiated this program in Levy County eight years ago. The Sons of AmVets 88 had 80 wreaths back in 2010.
     Since then, there have been years when there were 180 wreaths placed on graves in Levy County and the Sons of AmVets Squadron 88 visited other cemeteries in Levy County to place wreaths on the graves of members of the United States military service.
     This event herald the eighth consecutive year that AmVets Post 88, the Sons of AmVets 88 and Post 88 Auxiliary hosted a Wreaths Across America event in Levy County.
     At previous events, Commissioner Meeks has mentioned that Wreaths Across America started in 1992, when a wreath salesman had 5,000 leftover wreaths due to a slump in sales. That company owner had been to Arlington National Veterans Cemetery in Virginia and he was affected as a boy when he saw how many men and women gave their lives for American freedom.
     Now a grown man, with an overstock of wreaths in 1992, he and others took the wreaths to an older section of the cemetery, which did not have as many visitors as the newer sections, Meeks said. This annual event grew a little, but went relatively unnoticed until 2005, when a picture went on the Internet and people were touched by the beauty and thoughtfulness of the many bright green wreaths with big red bows on the snow-covered graves.
     From that point, the program grew.
     The mission of Wreaths Across America, according to its website, is to remember, to honor and to teach. The group wants to reach out in part by coordinating wreath-laying ceremonies on a specified Saturday in December at Arlington National Cemetery, as well as veterans’ cemeteries and other locations in all 50 states and beyond.
     To see the website for Wreaths Across America, click HERE.
     Another Wreaths Across America ceremony at 12 noon on Dec. 16 is in Ocala.
     Highland Memorial Park is to host the ceremony on National Wreaths Across America Day.
     Highland Memorial Park, 1515 S.E. Third St. in Ocala is an official Wreaths Across America. This is the fourth consecutive year for this event there.
     Local volunteers at this Marion County location are scheduled to place more than 1,600 wreaths on the gravesites of fallen service members from the Ocala area.

Shopping event held
for nursing home residents

AARP member and Morriston resident Joe Gibbons carries an empty suitcase after putting its contents on a table for display by other volunteers for the Clothes for Christmas Shopping Spree held at the Williston Rehabilitation and Care Center on Dec. 1. The event was sponsored by the Williston Area AARP Chapter 912.

Volunteers stand near one of the tables of men’s clothing during the Clothes for Christmas Shopping Spree sponsored by the Williston Area AARP Chapter 912 and held at the Williston Rehabilitation and Care Center on Dec. 1.

Photos by Susan Vogt

Story By Drollene Brown
Published Dec. 10, 2017 at 7:37 p.m.
On Friday, Dec. 1, in the dining hall of the Williston Rehabilitation and Care Center (WRCC), residents enjoyed a shopping spree called “Clothes for Christmas.
     Sponsored by the Williston Area AARP Chapter 912, it was a unique gift - an experience rather than a present to be wrapped in pretty paper and decorated with ribbon.
     WRCC is an important part of the city of Williston. Many of its residents have lived all their lives in the Williston area, and a large number of its employees live in town - some within walking distance of the facility. The members of AARP Chapter 912 consider their annual Christmas gift to the WRCC residents as one of its most significant civic endeavors.
     This year the decision was to do something different. The members hit upon the perfect answer: clothes shopping!
     This activity may not strike joy in the heart of everyone, but to someone whose life is made small by the confines of walls - even in a place such as WRCC where residents can get haircuts and manicures, shop for candy bars and sundries, and have group activities of all kinds - shopping for clothes is a rare pleasure.
     After consultation with personnel at the nursing home, the plan was put into action in late spring. Chapter members purchased new items as well as gathered like-new clothing to create a festive atmosphere. The agreement with the administrator of WRCC was that everything would be of excellent quality, but the emphasis would be on the experience itself.
     When the day arrived, AARP volunteers and WRCC employees joined forces to get the room ready immediately after lunch second seating. Suitcases and bags full of clothes were piled onto a flat provided by WRCC, ready to be displayed as soon as tables could be moved into place.
     Kitchen employees mopped the dining hall and cleaned the tables in record time to allow volunteers to start setting up at 1 p.m.
     By 1:30, residents, some of whom were assisted by employees, began to come in. Four-person tables had been put together to make two long tables for men’s clothing and three long tables for women’s clothing, with plenty of room in between for wheelchairs.
     The floors glistened, Sugar Plum Fairies danced on a thin chain overhead, and a Christmas tree stood at either end of the hall. Sweaters with crystal buttons and jogging pants just the right size caught the eyes of the first customers. AARP volunteers stood throughout the room ready to help with sizes and to assure the customers they had made a perfect choice.
     Smiles shone from AARP volunteers, WRCC employees, and residents. The clothes were secondary. This event would not have been successful without the cooperation and overwhelming support of employees and administration. It was a satisfying end to a long-term project, and it turned out to be a gift to the givers, for ‘tis indeed the season of giving.

Ground is broken for
future animal shelter

Animal groups and Williston city officials gather to break ground for the future Williston Animal Shelter. Seen here with shovels are Mary Flickinger, Police Chief Dennis Strow, Robert M. Echols, president and founder of Our Friends the Animals, Susan Holmes of Williston Animal Group (WAG), Wayne Carson, director of the city animal services department and Bob Levesque, president of Levy Animal Friends.

Story and Photos
By Terry Witt, Senior Staff Writer
© Dec. 8, 2017 at 3:37 p.m.
Graphics of Facility Provided
Ground was broken Thursday (Dec. 7) at the Williston Municipal Airport for a $280,000 air-conditioned and heated animal shelter to be funded and operated through a public-private partnership with the city.
     When construction of the 2,000 square-foot Williston Animal Shelter is completed, the volunteer groups known as Levy Animal Friends, Our Friends the Animals and Williston Animal Group (WAG) will give the facility to the City of Williston for operation of its animal services department.

A group of residents gathers for ceremony breaking ground for the new Williston Animal Shelter. Bob Levesque, president Levy Animal Friends, speaks about the future of the new facility.

This drawing shows the interior features of the future Williston Animal Shelter.

The drawing shows the exterior and interior views of the future Williston Animal Shelter

     Bob Levesque, president of Levy Animal Friends, said the Williston City Council will be asked to approve a resolution calling for the establishment of a citizen advisory group and the use of volunteers to work in the shelter caring for the animals.
     The facility will be constructed on a seven-acre site at the Williston Municipal Airport a short distance down the road from the Pyper Cub Café and Restaurant, and the Williston Municipal Airport terminal.
     Levesque said his group and others working on the project hope to raise $100,000 in donations next year for the project. One-third of the money has been secured through a private foundation and the city is being asked to apply for a $75,000 USDA grant and provide any other in-kind services or materials it can afford, he said.
     Levy County Commissioner Matt Brooks of Williston was on hand for the groundbreaking ceremony. Brooks said he was impressed that the city and volunteer groups have formed a public-private relationship to get the project done.
      “I’m very excited about it,” he said.
     Levesque said the long-range plan is also to build a better shelter for Levy County Animal Services through a private-public partnership similar to one being employed for the Williston project.
     Brooks said it was an interesting concept but he hasn’t heard of anyone approaching the county with that concept and he is absolutely certain no one has appeared before the Levy County Commission with the proposal.
     But he added that maybe everyone can learn from the public-private partnership being used in Williston to build and operate the future Williston Animal Shelter.
     Robert M. Echols, founder and president of Our Friends the Animals, who is actively involved in the project, said the shelter will be a place where dogs and cats that are suffering can be housed in a safe and caring environment.
     Williston Animal Control Officer Wayne Carson has built an educational program for younger children through mural painting, building cat climbing obstacles, poster-making, paw print art, creating videos teaching pet care, tours of the facility, drawing and photographs, coloring contests and designing and building many items.
     Carson told the assembled group of animal lovers that by giving children tours of the new facility and educating them about animal care he believes more adoptable animals will be brought to the shelter and placed with loving families.
     Levesque said the community of volunteers in Levy County is frustrated with the Levy Animal Services department and its director David Weatherford for his refusal to bring volunteers into the county shelter. The county shelter is located at the landfill. One volunteer reportedly works at the shelter.
     Brooks said he raised the issue of volunteers with County Attorney Anne Bast Brown and her response was always “liability.” She is concerned with the possibility that volunteers could be injured at the county facility and the county commission could be held liable.
     Levesque said the City of Williston is more “volunteer-friendly” than the county. He said the advisory group will be available to offer input to the city to ensure the new Williston Animal Shelter is operated with the appropriate level of care for the animals housed in the facility.

Dunnellon Police chief
says 'Thank You' to WPD

Dunnellon Police Chief Mike McQuaig says 'Thank you' as he looks back toward Williston Police Chief Dennis Strow during the City Council meeting Tuesday night (Dec. 5).
Story and Photo
By Jeff M. Hardison © Dec. 7, 2017 at 3:07 p.m.
It was among the items on the consent agenda Tuesday night (Dec. 5) at the Williston City Council meeting, but the presentation of a gift to another city provided a photo opportunity, as well as a moment for the leader of the accepting agency to say "Thank you."

     The consent agenda received a 4-0 vote, with Williston City Council Vice President Nancy Wininger being absent.
     The Williston Police Department sought and received the 4-0 approval of a resolution of the City of Williston to donate WPD Patrol Vehicle 082 to the Dunnellon Police Department.
     Dunnellon Police Chief Mike McQuaig told the City Council that he is very appreciative of the donation, because the Dunnellon Police Department is "in dire need" of police vehicles.
     This particular 2008 Chevrolet Impala is no longer needed for agency use by the WPD, according to public documents, due to the WPD purchasing a new patrol vehicle.
     Williston Police Chief Dennis Strow noted he wished to donate this car to the Dunnellon Police Department patrol fleet in the document that caused the action to reach fruition. WPD Administrative Assistant Brooke Ellzey Willis completed the form for the City Council to take action.
     On Thursday (Dec. 7), WPD Deputy Chief Clay Connolly told that the WPD had accepted that car from another agency some time ago, and the city did not invest a lot into it.
     On Tuesday night WPD Auxiliary Officer Jimmy Willis asked the chief to "take care of that car." Deputy Chief Connolly said that both Auxiliary Officer Willis and WPD Chaplain Charlz Caulwell shared that cruiser while it was in the hands of the WPD.
     DPD Chief McQuaig said "This is what law enforcement is about. And this is what small towns are about -- helping each other."
     Chief McQuaig said he is thankful that he had the opportunity to watch Mayor R. Gerald Hethcoat recognize the children earlier in the meeting for their success in elementary schools in Williston, because those children are the adults of the future.

(from left) Williston Mayor R. Gerald Hethcoat shakes hands with Dunnellon Police Chief Mike McQuaig as Williston Police Chief Dennis Strow holds the title to the car the WPD and the city gave to the DPD and the city of Dunnellon.

Relay For Life Of The Tri-Counties
Prepares For May 4 Event

American Cancer Society Development Manager Jodi Sanders (left) is seen with Jennifer Long, winner of the ugliest sweater.

The Relay for Life of the Tri-Counties held a get together on Monday (Dec.  4) in Chiefland. There was an ugliest Christmas sweater contest, appetizers and Christmas fun.

Team Z-PAC was well represented with 10 of that team's registered 29 members present. (Some of those members are seen above.) They were recognized for having the most members registered prior to the meeting.  Z-PAC member Jennifer Long won the ugliest sweater contest with her creation. Also Clayton Land, cancer survivor, won the prize for the contest of having raised $100. The theme for the 2018 event will be Hollywood Movies. The Relay for Life of the Tri-Counties is scheduled to be held Friday, May 4, 2018, from 6 to midnight at the Trenton High School track. Teams and survivors are encouraged to register for the event at
Published Dec. 6, 2017 at 1:27 p.m.

Information and Photos Provided

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


Stars go from east to west
to perform ballet at
Chiefland Elementary School

All of the dancers performing for the children on Wednesday are (from left) Lynley Potapow, a UF student who is starring as The Peacock (and is a former Cinderella); Madison Duncanson, a high school senior starring as Summer Fairy; Marissa Birmingham, a high school senior who is starring as Spring Fairy; Juliette Clavier, a high school senior who is starring as Cinderella; Kayla Vairo, a high school senior starring as Winter Fairy; and Jeri Lynn Kapczak, a dance teacher who is starring as the dancer for Egypt (and is a former Cinderella).

Story, Photos and Video
By Jeff M. Hardison © Nov. 29, 2017 at 4:17 p.m.
A part of the dance troupe from Gainesville that is scheduled to perform the ballet Cinderella in two shows on Dec. 9 brought joy to hundreds of children at Chiefland Elementary School on Wednesday morning (Nov. 29).

     As astronomy students at the University of Florida (UF) know, the stars viewed from Earth appear to go from the east to the west. On Wednesday, that relative truth became an absolute reality -- even though one dancer had a physics class and another had a different academic commitment precluding their participation in the performance at CES.
     Some of the stars of the ballet Cinderella went from the east (Gainesville) to the west (Chiefland) that morning to help young children experience a taste of this form of that performing art.
     Cinderella is set for two shows on Dec. 9 at the Curtis M. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts, which is located on the western side of the University of Florida campus. (Please see the advertisement on the CALENDAR PAGE.)


In this five-minute video, there are short clips from some of the performances at Chiefland Elementary School. At the start, there is a part of the introduction to the students to the concept of point shoes – a particular type of ballet footwear. After that, there are parts of the dances by The Peacock (Lynley Potapow); the dancer for the Country of Egypt (Jeri Lynn Kapczak); Spring Fairy (Marissa Birmingham); Summer Fairy (Madison Duncanson); Winter Fairy (Kayla Vairo); and Cinderella’s (Juliette Clavier) dance at the ball.


Cinderella (Juliette Clavier) answers a question posed by a student at Chiefland Elementary School. The Danscompany of Gainesville Inc. brought these performing artists to Chiefland and added to the children’s day of learning by briefly exposing them to the performing art of ballet.

The first part of the second large set of students to see the performance on Wednesday morning prepare for the show. In the background on the left is Chiefland Elementary School Assistant Principal Kelly Gore and standing in the doorway is Sgt. Max Long of the Levy County Sheriff’s Office Community Relations Division.

The performers are on stage as Lynley Potapow tells the children the story of Cinderella.

Cinderella (Juliette Clavier) answers a question posed by a student at Chiefland Elementary School. The Danscompany of Gainesville Inc. brought these performing artists to Chiefland and added to the children’s day of learning by briefly exposing them to the performing art of ballet.

     And similar to the manner in which the globe spins on its axis in space, the star dancers spun for the children, teachers, administrators and other guests that morning as they performed ballet. They danced across the stage with grace and style.
     Escorted by Danscompany of Gainesville President Tobi Potapow, the six performers at CES on Wednesday morning were Juliette Clavier, a high school senior who is starring as Cinderella; Lynley Potapow, a UF student who is starring as The Peacock (and is a former Cinderella); Jeri Lynn Kapczak, a dance teacher who is starring as the dancer for Egypt (and is a former Cinderella); Marissa Birmingham, a high school senior who is starring as Spring Fairy; Madison Duncanson, a high school senior starring as Summer Fairy; and Kayla Vairo, a high school senior starring as Winter Fairy.
     The ballet dancers presented a PowerPoint show to explain the story of Cinderella to the elementary students. They told the children about how a ballet is a play that includes music and dance.
     Then, the children were entertained by the dancers performing on stage in the CES Cafetorium.
     While President Potapow escorted the visiting dancers from Gainesville to Chiefland, some of the other leaders for the group are Secretary Debbie Clark; Treasurer Anne Arick; Artistic Director Nina Cameron; Dance Captain Peggy Nolan Lamb; Founding President Becky Farber; Immediate Past President Kelly Kostamo; and Parliamentarian Carl Fisher.
     The Danscompany of Gainesville Inc. was formed in November of 1983 to offer opportunities for performance to Gainesville area dancers, as noted on the website owned by the group. The company consists of ballet, jazz, and modern dance groups featuring adults and children with more than 120 members. Membership is secured through competitive audition. The love of dance and a desire to perform is what motivated the members to spend long hours and to make personal sacrifices for its concerts, the website notes.
     Cinderella is set for two performances on Dec. 9 at the Curtis M. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts, which is located on the western side of the University of Florida campus.
     After that, the current next performance set by this group of dancers is the Spring Concert with The Wiz on March 10, 2018.


Yankeetown election
scheduled for Feb. 27;

Qualifying mornings of Dec. 11-15
By Jeff M. Hardison © Nov. 20, 2017 at 3:17 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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