Changes coming for
the Suwannee River Fair

Published Jan. 28, 2015 @ 8:47 p.m.

     FANNING SPRINGS -- There will be some changes at the 2015 Suwannee River Fair.

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     Livestock are unpredictable and therefore, to assure the safety of spectators, plans are being made to separate the public from the animals. There will be areas that will be designated for tents, chairs, cooking and socializing. These will be separate from the areas designated for grooming and exercising livestock. We are also considering ways to limit access to the areas designated for livestock.
     The SRF is a unique family and community experience and the fair leadership noted it wants to preserve this environment as much as possible. Insurance is the cause for these revisions. The insurance industry is focused on managing risk. And the current setup exposes the SRF to too much risk and liability. More information will be released when revisions are in place.

This Day on an Island
Refuge Ranger Pam Darty and Electives Teacher John Lohde help students from a Levy County middle school learn about the environment at Seahorse Key, in the Gulf of Mexico.

By Pam Darty, Refuge Ranger © Jan. 28, 2015 @ 8:47 a.m.

     SEAHORSE KEY -- It’s difficult to believe we live so close to the Gulf of Mexico, but there are so many of us who haven’t been in a boat, have not been in the Gulf, and have never been out to the Cedar Keys National Wildlife Refuge.
     The Refuge Ranger and Nature Coast Middle School electives teacher John Lohde changed that for 15 young people last week.
     Earlier in the school year, Lohde partnered with the Lower Suwannee and Cedar Keys National Wildlife Refuges to benefit his environmental education class: Wild Things. With Lohde being a Florida Master Naturalist instructor, and the Refuge Ranger providing learning tools along with Sunshine State Standard aligned-lessons, the class was a big success.
     To end the semester with real-world learning, the class went on a field trip in the Refuge vessel to explore Seahorse Key’s island ecology, history and marine science. The climb up the 54-foot dune was a surprise; none of the students expected a small mountain three miles out in the Gulf.
     After taking in the view of the Gulf and the Cedar Keys from the light tower, they were off to the beach to see firsthand what might be sitting along the shoreline. Lohde and Ranger Darty engaged each student as they walked the shoreline; afterward each student filled-out their worksheets.
     Jellyfish, bits of coal, pot shards, rusted iron, sand dollars, sea squirts and more things strewn on the beach opened the door for so many learning experiences. After leaving the beach, they were treated to touch tanks filled with marine critters looking both bizarre and prehistoric.
     By regulation, nothing can be taken off the Refuge islands, so the students will hold those creatures, the spectacular view from the lighthouse and the thrill of the island in their memories for years to come – just as Lohde had hoped.
     Refuges partner with learning institutions, civic groups, individuals, and other agencies to achieve goals that benefit native wildlife and vital habitat. Students in the Nature Coast Middle School’s Wild Things class will be among the next generation of conservationists; hopefully, this day on an island will prepare them to make better decisions about Florida’s environmental future.

Golf tournament scheduled
to help fight breast cancer

By Sue Ice ©  Jan. 27, 2015 @ 9:37 p.m.
     CHIEFLAND -- On Wednesday, Feb. 18, the Chiefland Women's Golf Association has scheduled a Rally for the Cure Golf Tournament.
     Rally for the Cure is a program that involves people who are committed to making an impact in the fight against breast cancer. Rally is an awareness program that provides a simple platform for people to educate their friends, family and community about the early detection of breast cancer.
     Their volunteer-organized golf, tennis and social events have communicated the important message that early detection saves lives. This message has reached in excess of two million people and has generated more than $70 million for the Susan G. Komen efforts to help fight breast cancer since 1996.
     The tournament is a three-person scramble; teams should include men and women if possible. The cost is $36 for members of the Chiefland Golf and Country Club, or $47 for non-members. This fee includes playing in the tournament, lunch, door prizes, and fun.
     There will be a shotgun start at 9 a.m. Participants should check-in at 8:30 a.m. Chiefland Golf and Country Club is located at 9650 N.W. 115th St. (Levy County Road 320 West), Chiefland. This is on the road going toward Manatee Springs State Park, which is to the west of the golf course.

By Myrtice Scabarozi © Jan. 26, 2015 @ 9:57 p.m.
     LEVY COUNTY -- The Log Cabin Quilters met Thursday (Jan. 22) at the Levy County Quilt Museum -- 11050 N.W. 10th Ave. (near Levyville, kind of on the way to Judson from U.S. Alt. 27).
     Three ladies from Morriston came up to visit and have lunch with us. One of the ladies was pleased to see Evelyn Etheridge who was her Home Economics teacher back in the early 1950s. Dot, also from Morriston, gave us another example of just how small the world really is. One of Dot’s brother-in-law’s was a minister who spent some time in West Virginia. He “sold” Ann and Janet on teaching in Levy County where his brother, Alvin Mikell, was the superintendent of Levy County schools. Their parents and sisters also moved to Florida. All the girls married Levy County men. He’s also responsible for the Millers moving to Dunnellon.
     Debi brought in her completed patchwork/chenille lap quilt. She made it with scrap pieces of flannel that she had collected. One of the types of block is a simple quilt as you go block with top, batting and bottom and quilted with large X stitched across the block.
     The other type of lap quilt has a chenille finish in which an additional piece is added to the top and multiple diagonal lines are machined stitched. After the quilt is assembled, you cut between the stitched lines. This creates a fringed look. We do have an example of this at the Museum.

Donna is finishing pinning her quilt together.

Senior Center Action
Chiefland Senior Center, located at 305 S.W. First St., was really moving this week. In addition to the usual line dancers on Friday (Jan. 23) at 10 a.m., there was an unexpected added entertainment by Michael and Marlene Toro of Chiefland. Michael played the accordion. Marlene played the maracas and she danced for the seniors. The people at the Chiefland Senior Center enjoyed the entertainment.
Photo by Bernadette Preble, Older Americans Act Coordinator, Levy County

Justice says 'No' to death penalty

(from left) Professor Charles Collier, (Ret.) U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice John Paul Stevens, Professor Darren Hutchinson, and Professor Lyrissa Barnett Lidsky have a conversation.
Photos Provided by the University of Florida
Fredric G. Levin College of Law as a Professional Courtesy

By Jeff M. Hardison © Jan. 21, 2015 @ 10:07 p.m.
(UF BSJ 1984)
– The ending of the program on Tuesday afternoon (Jan. 20) was almost anticlimactic as a retired United States Supreme Court associate justice told why he believes the death penalty is not an option for civilized people.
     Retired U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice John Paul Stevens told hundreds of listeners that he believes the reason to abolish the death penalty in the United States is because killing a person for a crime that they did not commit should be unacceptable to people who live in a civilized society.
     Titled as "A Conversation with Justice John Paul Stevens," the one-hour program at the Curtis M. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts was part of the Marshall M. Criser Distinguished Lecture Series.
     This series was created in early 2007 by Lewis Schott (B.A. 1943, LL.B. 1946) of Palm Beach, as a tribute to his fellow University of Florida College of Law alumnus, former U.F. President Marshall Criser (JD 1951).
     The program opened with a bit of a surprise to some listeners, especially journalists who thought they could take photos, videos and tape-recording. All photographic and audio recorders were banned for use, except those from U.F.

Retired U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice John Paul Stevens

     The discussion was performed as an informal conversation with University of Florida Fredric G. Levin College of Law professors Charles Collier, Darren Hutchinson and Lyrissa Lidsky. This was Stevens’ third visit to U.F. since 2008, when he participated in the inaugural Criser Lecture.
     Some of the conversation linked with Stevens' 2014 book, Six Amendments: How and Why We Should Change the Constitution. In that book, proposes six constitutional amendments that would overturn cases in which he disagreed with the majority position during his 35 years on the court.
     Associate Justice Stevens was welcomed by a standing ovation when he entered the center for performing arts. The acoustics in the building on that afternoon seemed to be more for performances than oratory, but the sound system was adequate.
     Stevens served as an associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States from Dec. 19, 1975, until his retirement on June 29, 2010.
     Stevens said the thing he misses the least since retiring from the U.S. Supreme Court is the trips back and forth between Florida and Washington, D.C. He misses the work the most, he said.
     The most valuable trait the 94-year-old former associate justice said he saw in any attorney was the honesty and trustworthiness of the person. Honesty and trust are the most important assets of any attorney, he said. The credibility and trustworthiness of an attorney are vital to the success of that person in the profession of law, Stevens said.
     Before wrapping up his presentation with his opinion about abolishing the death penalty as an option for punishment, Stevens spoke with the professors about gerrymandering; limiting campaign finance amounts; sovereign immunity; and The Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
     Stevens would like to see congressional district boundaries that more accurately reflect diversity.
      The word he used, "gerrymander," comes from merging the name Elbridge Gerry and the word salamander. The first known use of the word was in 1812, according to the Merrian-Webster online dictionary. The salamander part of the word is derived from the shape of an election district formed during Gerry's governorship of Massachusetts. To gerrymander is to divide (an area) into political units to give special advantages to one group.
     One professor asked if the proposed amendment is not just method to reach an end not possible by being in the minority on Supreme Court rulings. Stevens said the high court itself could solve the problems caused by districts that are gerrymandered. However, he sees this as being an action better suited to the electorate through the amendment process.
     In regard to the logic and justice of limiting campaign finance, Stevens endorses placing spending limits on election campaign funding.
     He likened it to money equaling time used in speech. Rather than allowing one debater to have an infinite length of time to present an argument in favor of a position, while the other speaker is limited to just a few minutes, a reasonable amount of equal time should be granted to both sides, he said.
     Buckley versus Valeo is seen by some as a a landmark case in American campaign finance law. In this 1976 case, the Supreme Court of the United States struck down on First Amendment grounds several provisions in the 1974 Amendments to the Federal Election Campaign Act. Some portions of the case struck down limits on spending in campaigns, but upheld the provision limiting the size of individual contributions to campaigns.
     Stevens said in the interest of the public, he endorses limiting campaign funding to a reasonable amount of money.
     Stevens conceded to the concept of money as being an essential part of an argument. Limiting these campaign war chests is in the interest of equality, he said, and to reduce needless repetition in advertising.
     Stevens said another unfortunate side effect of big budget campaigns is the loss of faith in the electoral system by the public. While one hope would be that a voter seeing one side with a heavy advantage with a budget as being a reason to vote for the underdog, Stevens said the detrimental effect of people not voting because they see big budgets being a sole determinant in which candidate wins a race may be what happens instead.   
     “A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.”
     The whole amendment is one sentence. Stevens said the first part of this amendment to the U.S. Constitution is an important aspect of the right to bear arms. He believes the militia rather than every individual is what is seen as not being infringed against for keeping and bearing arms.
     Nevertheless, he said at the program that the electorate – the voters of the states – are the people who should decide laws related to this right. It is up to the individual states’ legislatures to create the laws, he said.
     The conversation and opinions expressed about sovereign immunity were interesting too.
     Florida is among the states that still uses the death penalty.
     In his book, Stevens proposes changing the Eighth Amendment's prohibition against "cruel and unusual punishments" by specifically including the death penalty.
     James S. Liebman wrote the book The Wrong Carlos: Anatomy of a Wrongful Execution. It is a thorough examination of what appears to be a wrongful execution.
     As noted in a description of the book on, "In 1989, Texas executed Carlos DeLuna, a poor Hispanic man with childlike intelligence, for the murder of Wanda Lopez, a convenience store clerk. His execution passed unnoticed for years until a team of Columbia Law School faculty and students almost accidentally chose to investigate his case and found that DeLuna almost certainly was innocent."
     Justice Stevens ended his conversation with the U.F. law professors by saying it is a sufficient argument that society should not take the risk of executing an innocent person. A civilized society, he said, would allow this as being an adequate reason to prevail in the argument against the death penalty.
     The faculty appeared to have no more questions when he gave that answer. There was some silence. The Stevens noted his appreciation for the audience's well-mannered demeanor, and the program ended.     
     The goal of the speaker series is to host prestigious national and international speakers every year on important legal topics. Past speakers have included Justice Clarence Thomas and former American Bar Association President Stephen Zack (JD 1971).

Church Group
Some of the church leaders who participate in a bi-monthly yard sale are seen here near the table of items being sold to help the church on Saturday (Jan. 17). This big yard sale happens every first and third Saturday from 8 a.m. until 1 p.m. regardless of the weather, except in July and August. Many other people come to this event as vendors selling their items at Holy Family Catholic Church on U.S. Alt. 27 northwest of Williston. The address is 17353 N.E. U.S. Alt. 27, Williston. There are always hot dogs available, and when it is cold there is chili for sale too. This is a fundraiser for the church as well as a fun yard sale to visit. Seen here are (from left) Nellie Collis, Victor Colon, Sthefany Albert, Jim Corona, Kathy Corona, Robert Armbrister and Porfiria Rivera.
Photo by Jeff M. Hardison

FWC to score antlers in Archer
By Karen Parker of the FWC
Published Jan. 14, 2015  @ 4:17 p.m.
     ARCHER -- The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is scoring deer antlers on Saturday (Jan. 24) in Archer.
     People can bring their bucks to the Midwest Feed and Farm, 13046 S.W. State Road 45 in Archer. Scoring begins at noon.
     There will be refreshments, as well as biologists and law enforcement officers to answer wildlife and hunting questions.
     The deer being scored must have been taken in Florida by fair-chase methods. Qualifying antlers will be recorded in the Florida Buck Registry. Owners will receive a certificate suitable for framing and a patch.
     The FWC established the Florida Buck Registry in 1982 to provide hunters with a record of the number and quality of white-tailed deer taken in Florida and to give recognition to Florida hunters. The minimum qualifying antler score is 100 Boone and Crockett inches for typical antlers and 125 for nontypical antlers.
     For more information, call Midwest Feed and Farm at 352-495-9090. To learn more about the Florida Buck Registry, go to


WED.  JAN. 28   8:47 p.m.
Levy, Dixie, Gilchrist counties

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