CMHS Homecoming Court
Chiefland Middle High School Homecoming Court is comprised of (front row) queen candidates (from left) Kellie Jones, Cori Allen, Becca Thomas, Briana Cannon, Kasidy Schultz, Tarryn Givorns, Myriah Kranz and Jianellie Manalastas; and king candidates (standing, from left) Matthew Morgan, Gavan Smith, Wyatt Plemmons, Tristan Allen, Ryan Martin, David Hallman, Alphonso Timmons and Jacob Lloyd. The attendants for the homecoming at CMHS are Sixth Grade: Madison Cannon and Clayton Cannon; Seventh Grade: Justice Johnson and Garrett Miller; Eighth Grade: Ashtyn Brown and Keegan McLelland; Ninth Grade: Chelsea Parker and Lane Studstill; Tenth Grade: Jaylyn Harvey and Robert (Stacey) Webster; and Eleventh Grade: Hannah Gore and Vanden Fehmerling. (Published Sept. 21)
Photo By Jeff M. Hardison

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Dixie County Bears
beat Williston Red Devils 37-7

Story, Photos and Video
Smokey Bear of the Florida Forest Service flips the coin at the start of the game as captains from the Williston Red Devils (from left) Brody Pierce (#77),  Malik Hall (#2), Derek Dykstra (#44) and Paul Battles (#3) face their counterparts Dixie Bear captains (from left) James Horsley (#16), Ty Johnson (#64), Tyler Corbin (#66), and Leondray Rutledge (#6).

By Jeff M. Hardison © Sept. 20, 2014

     CROSS CITY -- The Dixie County Bears were triumphant on the home field at Dixie County High School on Friday night (Sept. 19) when they beat the Williston High School Red Devils 37-7.
     Smokey Bear of the Florida Forest Service flipped the coin before the start of the game to decide who began the game on offense and who started as defense. The bear was escorted by Wildfire Firefighters D. Cannon and G. Morrow.

The Dixie County Bears entered the field. The team's bear mascot is at the right in this photo.

     The Red Devils started on offense after Abdiel Rivera (#67) caught the kickoff. Within three plays from that moment, with Britton Hall (#17) as quarterback, and with Malik Hall (#2) and Keith Hardee (#22) covering a lot of ground, it was Hardee crossing the goal line with 10:18 remaining in the first quarter.

In this video, Keith Hardee (#22) of the Williston Red Devils makes the only touchdown for that team on Friday night.

   Williston's Shawn Landon (#84) kicked the Point After Touchdown kick successfully and WHS was the first on the scoreboard with seven points.

Foot091914L     After that start, it was Dixie County dominating the field until the end of the game as Bear fans watched from Bruce Boyette Stadium. Bears Head Football Coach Brent Wilkerson said the Bears were not prepared for that offense at first, but they adjusted.

Dixie County School Board member Paul Gainey holds Paislee Gainey as the 4-month-old baby watches the Dixie County Bears. Gainey and his wife Candice adopted the baby and took her from the hospital when she was four days old.

     The next game for the Bears is when they face Union County on Oct. 3 in the town of Lake Butler. That away game for Dixie County happens after a "bye week.” Coach Wilkerson, whose team has a 4-0 win-loss record so far this season, said the players are taking the season one game at a time. He sees the Union County Tigers as another fierce opponent.

Bears score

     Union County beat Interlachen on Friday night (Sept. 19) 59-0. Union County has a 4-0 record so far this season too.
     The assistant coaches for Dixie County are Erick Richeson, Andy Chesser, P.J. Hope, Tracy Collins, Nick Hatcher, Jeff Koschatzky, Casey Chesser, Ralph Jones, Kurt Skelly, Joseph Henderson, Barry Buchanan and L.B. Cravey. The DCHS principal is Jerry Evans.

Dixie County Bears James Bowers (#22) scores six points for the home team.

     On Friday night in Cross City, Williston’s new Head Football Coach and Athletic Director Scott Hall, who just took over on Sunday (Sept. 14), put up a valiant effort
     The assistant coaches for Williston are Greg Brochetti, Cecil Benton, Keith Hardee, Dan VanBlaricum and Marland Brown. The WHS principal is Eulin Gibbs.
     After the Red Devils scored, the Bears offense never gave up their first possession until they scored with 3:10 remaining in the first quarter. DCHS quarterback Aaron Thomas (#10) found James Bowers (#22), Julian Robinson (#7) and Jamal Chapman (#4) helping him cover ground quickly and efficiently – despite a lot of Red Devils’ defensive effort from Derek Dykstra (#44) and other members of the visiting team.

Bears James Horsley (#16) makes some yards before being taken down by a Red Devil as still other Williston players rush toward him.

     It was the Bears’ Bowers, a senior, who scored first for the home team. A conversion attempt failed and it was a 6-7 score, with Williston leading. There was a lot of action but the first quarter ended with those numbers lighting the board.
     As the Bears continued their possession into the second quarter, it was Robinson and James Horsley (#16) who covered ground with the pigskin, until Bowers ran across the goal line with 9:14 remaining in the half. Judson Dey (#51) made two more points with a successful conversion run and it was 14-7, Bears.
     On the next Bears’ offensive drive, Bowers racked up 22 yards in one run. On a pass from Thomas to Horsley, another 29 yards went in favor of the Bears’ tally. Justin Hodge (#35) received a pass from Thomas to score a touchdown with 2:08 remaining in the first half. With another conversion run, that made the score 22-7, Bears.

Dixie County Varsity Cheerleaders

     With 16 seconds remaining in the first half, after another short WHS possession, the Bears were just 10 yards out from the goal when Thomas kept the pigskin and scored on a run. Another two-point conversion brought the score to 30-7, Bears, at the end of the half.
     The bears scored a touchdown and a PAT in the third quarter and the game ended 37-7 in favor of the Bears.

Steinhatchee River designated
as Florida's 50th state paddling trail

A kayak paddler enjoys the Steinhatchee River.
Photo by Steve Cournoyer

Published Sept. 18, 2014

     PERRY – With the addition of the Steinhatchee River, Florida now has 50 state paddling trails. The river flows between Dixie County and Taylor County.
     The Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s Office of Greenways & Trails designated the Steinhatchee River during the Taylor County Commission meeting on Sept. 16. The Florida Paddling Trails Association also presented signs designating the communities of Keaton Beach and Steinhatchee as “Blueway Communities.”
     “We are proud to add the Steinhatchee River as our 50th designated state paddling trail,” said Florida State Park Director Donald Forgione. “Designation of the river creates well-deserved recognition of this excellent destination for paddling, fishing and wildlife viewing and will promote sustainable tourism and boost the economy for the local communities.”
     The scenic Steinhatchee River is the latest of Florida’s outstanding waterways to be designated a state paddling trail. The river’s spring-fed, tea-colored water meanders through a shady corridor of moss-draped trees flanking the river. It widens gradually as it flows through the colorful fishing villages of Steinhatchee and Jena before joining the Gulf of Mexico. The roughly eight-mile designated portion begins just below the historic Steinhatchee Falls, which has been an accessible river crossing for countless travelers through the ages.
     Wagon ruts can still be seen today where Native Americans, Spanish explorers and early settlers crossed the shallow limestone shelf that creates the low, cascading waterfall. Steinhatchee Falls offers a pleasant picnic area and hand-launch access for small fishing boats, canoes and kayaks. There is also a three-mile, multi-use trail that can be enjoyed by hikers, off-road cyclists and those seeking vibrant seasonal wildflowers and wildlife.  
     Fishing from a boat or kayak is an interesting prospect for anglers, as both freshwater and saltwater species may be encountered depending upon the stretch of river. Delicious pan fish abound in the upper stretches of the Steinhatchee, while saltwater species appear as the river mingles with the Gulf waters. Improved boat ramps on both sides of the river in the towns of Steinhatchee and Jena mark the lower end of the paddling trail and provide good access for all types of boaters.
     Visitors are urged to bring binoculars and a camera to capture photos of the wildlife frequently seen along the river corridor and the Gulf coastline. In the fall, colorful monarchs and other butterflies feed upon wildflowers as they migrate southward. Spectacular flocks of white pelicans and other migrating birds are supported by vast tracts of public conservation land that bracket the Steinhatchee River, providing critical habitat for an array of wildlife species inland and along the coastline.
     For maps and information about the new paddling trail click HERE.


Fresh figs for free

HobsonMugBy Randy Hobson © Sept. 18, 2014
     FLORIDA -- Several summers ago, I was hosting a real estate open house at one of my brokers unoccupied listings in Beverly Hills. Before the showing, I walked around the house to familiarize myself with the structure and to assess the curb appeal. To my delight, on the backside of the house, I came across a fig tree full of ripe fresh figs. Throughout the afternoon, I enjoyed the delicious figs as I felt it was my duty to better understand the selling points of the home! Several weeks later, at the same location for another open house, I received permission to harvest cuttings from this hardy and heavy bearing specimen.
ig091814     The edible fig (Ficus carica L) can reach 50 feet in height and is native to Western Asia and the Mediterranean region.

A potted fig plant
Photo by Veggie Gardening Tips

     Figs seldom reach full size in the Southeastern United States due to cold weather damage. Figs produce large, deeply lobed, alternate leaves with a fuzzy top surface. If broken, the stems exude a milky sap that can be a skin irritant to some people.

     Edible figs planted in full sun locations produce beautiful, luxuriant landscape specimens. Susceptible to nematodes, figs benefit from the addition of organic material to the soil. I've had good success raising figs in containers. It is best to use fertilizers sparingly regardless of the method of planting or foliage growth will trump fruit production.
     Introduced to Florida in the 1500s by the Spanish, edible figs were also introduced into California by the Spanish in the 1700s. Florida's summer and winter conditions, though, pose challenges to a plant that evolved in a mild, dry Mediterranean climate.
     Figs, including the large exotic species, are unique having evolved a hollow fruit structure with a tiny opening or "eye" that allows species specific wasps to enter and perform pollination. This open structure can cause problems for fruit production in Florida with moisture and harmful insects entering and causing damage.
     The University of Florida has identified five characteristics to consider in choosing edible fig varieties: cold hardiness, ability to set fruit without pollination, fruit having a closed "eye," long stem to allow fruit to droop and shed moisture, and green skin to provide camouflage from birds.
     Using these criteria, three fig cultivars are commonly recommended for our area: Brown Turkey, Celeste, and Green Ischia. I believe the variety I first harvested at the open house and subsequently propagated is a Brown Turkey. An excellent description of these varieties can be found on the University of Florida's IFAS website.
     With careful selection of varieties, figs can be harvested from June through October. Fresh figs are a taste sensation. In addition, they are high in the following nutrients: fiber, magnesium, potassium, and a good source of vitamins A, B, and C. A single fig contains only fifty calories.
     While I enjoy eating my figs fresh, many recipes are available to help accommodate an abundance of fruit. A search I did revealed tantalizing recipes for fig jam, fig fruit salad, and fig sauce. Why not consider adding fig trees to your edible landscape? When you do you'll have your own figs for free. Happy landscaping and happy eating!
     PUBLISHER'S NOTE:  Randy Hobson lives in Citrus County and is a nurseryman and landscaper.  He can be contacted at


is Oct. 3
against Bell High School of Gilchrist County.

The crowning of the Homecoming Queen and King will be at that game.

SUN.  SEPT. 21   5:57 p.m.
Levy, Dixie, Gilchrist counties


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