Lionfish invasion:
FWC moves forward
with management changes

Photo by Dave Eaken, FWRI, FWC

Published April 17, 2014
-- The lionfish is an invasive species that threatens Florida’s native wildlife and habitat.
     With that in mind, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) on Wednesday (April 16) moved forward with steps to combat the spread of invasive lionfish.
     Changes proposed by FWC staff at today’s meeting near Tallahassee will be brought back before the Commission at its June meeting in Fort Myers for final approval. Changes include:
     • Prohibiting the importation of live lionfish;
     • Prohibiting the development of aquaculture of lionfish;
     • Allowing the harvest of lionfish when diving with a rebreather, a device that recycles air and allows divers to remain in the water for longer periods of time; and
     • Increasing opportunities that will allow participants in approved tournaments and other organized events to spear lionfish or other invasive species in areas where spearfishing is not allowed. This will be done through a permitting system.
     Staff has been working with the Florida Legislature on a bill in support of the initiatives to prohibit the importation of live lionfish and the aquaculture of lionfish.
     “By targeting the importation of lionfish to our state, we can limit the number of new lionfish that find their way into Florida waters and, at the same time, encourage further harvest to reduce the existing invasive population,” said Rep. Holly Raschein (R-Key Largo, Dist. 120), sponsor of the House bill. “These fish pose a significant threat to Florida’s ecosystem, and I am proud to stand in support of the proposed ban. Anything we can do to limit new lionfish introductions and further facilitate the development of a commercial market for this invasive species is a step in the right direction.”
     Changes like these will make it easier for divers to remove lionfish from Florida waters and will help prevent additional introductions of lionfish into marine habitats.
     Lionfish control efforts, from outreach and education to regulatory changes, have been a priority for FWC staff. In 2013, they hosted the first ever Lionfish Summit, which brought together various stakeholders from the public as well as management and research fields to discuss the issues and brainstorm solutions. The changes proposed at today’s meeting came from ideas that were discussed at the Lionfish Summit

Tiny Tots Pageant Winners
The Levy County Fair added a set of competitors to its pageants this year -- Tiny Tots, ages 2 and 3 years old. The winners are Tiny Tots King Luke Bryan of Williston, 3, and Tiny Tots Queen Katie Jo Douglas of Williston, 3.
Photo Provided

Cedar Key Winning Artists



The 50th anniversary of the art festival in Cedar Key this past weekend resulted in hundreds of winning visitors, and a number of artists were judged to be victorious in certain mediums too. The three photographs above are from Frank Offerle of the Cedar Key News provided to because Mr. Offerle and the Cedar Key News granted a request. The three winners show here are, from top to bottom: Bob Goodlet - Best of Show; Debra Mixon-Holiday - Best 2D; and Jean Yao - Best 3D.
Photos by Frank Offerle

First Blood Moon of 2014
is seen over Levy County


Story and Photos

By Jeff M. Hardison © April 15, 2014
     LEVY COUNTY -- The first total lunar eclipse of 2014 as seen from Levy County happened in the very wee hours of Tax Day – Tuesday (April 15).
     At 12:30 a.m., a light bit of cloud cover gave it a bit more of a gray look than when the sky is crystal clear. It was absolutely a full and bright moon. The predicted start of the lunar eclipse was at 1:53 a.m. The crossing of Earth's shadow across the moon took about 3.5 hours.
     Lunar eclipses occur when the moon is in the full moon stage and passes through part or all of the Earth's shadow, darkening the moon's typically bright glow. During a total lunar eclipse, like the one very early on Tuesday morning (April 15), the moon is entirely immersed in the Earth's shadow, and can take on a "blood red" color as an effect from sunlight being diffused through the edges of Earth's atmosphere.
     The Farmer's Almanac shows names for each month's full moon. In April, it is called the Full Pink Moon. The Farmer's Almanac notes "This name came from the herb moss pink, or wild ground phlox (the flowers - pronounced "flocks"), which is one of the earliest widespread flowers of the spring. Other names for this month’s celestial body include the Full Sprouting Grass Moon, the Egg Moon, and among coastal tribes the Full Fish Moon, because this was the time that the shad swam upstream to spawn."
      As far as the full lunar eclipse Tuesday morning, this was the first of four consecutive total eclipses of the moon between April 2014 and September 2015 in what scientists call a lunar eclipse "tetrad" series. The next total lunar eclipse will occur on Oct. 8 and is also expected to be visible from much of North America -- weather permitting.
     Most meteorologists predicted little hope of seeing the eclipse due to cloud cover.
     By 1:57 a.m., there was enough of a clear sky to photograph the moon and see the first part of the Earth’s shadow touching the left side of the moon. It was as if that part of the moon no longer existed.
     At 2:27 a.m., cloud cover had increased a bit. It looked like almost half the moon was gone. Another exciting phenomenon happened. At least four fireflies were seen floating along flickering their little lights as if to show the moon that it was not the only thing illuminating the rural part of Levy County.
     By 3:07 a.m., the moon was all but completely covered by the shadow of the Earth and the passing clouds made the blood red moon disappear. By then, the crickets had quit chirping. An owl that was hooting earlier had gone somewhere else. Fireflies continued to blink as they floated through the air, nevertheless as a sign of spring progressing toward summer.

Friendly Monster
Fair041414Steve K. Youghn of Trenton is the monster Mr. Hyde, from the Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde story. Here he is welcoming Shelly Whiting of Morriston (left) and Deanna Potter of Ocala to the Levy County Fair on Sunday (April 13).
Youghn is an entertainer who has added his talent to the fair for many years. He is also a firefighter, and among his tall characters is a firefighter in bunker gear. The man is able to stand perfectly still and many fair visitors do not realize he is active. In some cases, the people walk over to him and stand to have their picture taken with this ‘giant mannequin,’ but then Youghn begins to move. Some children are awestruck by the actor and some are initially terrified. He is a Stilt Scareactor at The Dungeons Haunted Attractions, and performs at various other venues as well.
Photos by Jeff M. Hardison

New WHS athletic director
takes his place in history

By Jeff M. Hardison © April 12, 2014
     WILLISTON – As time marches on and the next high school football season approaches, Williston High School welcomes its new head football coach and athletic department director -- Cliff Lohrey.
WHS041114B     The 36-year-old coach comes most recently from Dublin High School (Georgia) where he coached for a season. Before that, he served as a graduate assistant at the University of Oregon in strengthening and conditioning.

WHS Head Football Coach Cliff Lohrey

    It was at U.O., that Coach Lohrey earned his Master’s Degree in educational leadership. He earned his Bachelor of Science Degree in physical education from the University of South Florida.
     The coach said it was very early in his life that he decided he wanted to be a coach. In fact, it was while he was attending Crystal River High School, from whence he graduated in 1996, that he started aiming toward the goal he reached.
     The coach is married to Heather Lohrey, who graduated from CRHS in 1995. They have no children.
     They currently live in Gainesville, but plan to move to Williston as soon as they find what they are looking for in regard to a place to live. Both of their families are in the Crystal River area.
WHS041114     Coach Lohrey said the “rich tradition of success in football” is what attracted him to the WHS Red Devils. He remembers playing against them when he was at CRHS. At the time, his high school was 4-A and WHS was 2-A.

Heather Lohrey mans a table at the Levy County Fair to help bring people into the Booster Club.

    “We beat Williston,” he said, “but I remember waking up Saturday morning and I knew I had been in a battle.”
     The coach said the whole athletic program at WHS is what attracted him to work here too. Lohrey feels qualified for the post he has been given, he said, because he has had unique leadership roles before. During his time at Central High School in Hernando County, Lohrey was the head football coach and athletic department head for the last four of those seven years when he was there.
     The coach said it would be pure speculation to say much about the football team that is going to come to be at WHS next fall. In this district, he said, he sees that winning the district championship shows a strong potential for taking the state title as well.
     The pre-season fall classic game is going to be Aug. 22, but the first real game will be Aug. 29. This coming season the WHS Red Devils are playing 10 straight Fridays and then the by-week will be the 11th week. This means that if the team takes the district title they will have a week to rest before the post season playoffs leading to the state championship game.
     The coach said he knows the team has some strong athletes. While he also knows that a small student population from which to pull means the team may have most players on both the defense and offense, he is hoping to recruit more talent from the student body so that players can attain more depth in their best defensive or offensive positions.
     In general, he plans to put the most speed and athleticism in defense this season.
     “I’m calling the offense,” Lohrey said, “but we’ll put our best people on defense.”
     Beyond the action on the field, the coach wants his players to improve themselves through the program.
     “I always want success on the field,” he said. “However, I want our players to leave our program as better young adults so that when they go to college, or to work or into the military, our program will have helped make them better.”
     The formula for success comes from several factors, the coach said. He addressed a few of these. The community of Williston has shown a positively overwhelming level of support since he arrived here, Lohrey said.
     In a small town, everyone knows each other. There is a strong alumni factor that wants to see the next generation do well, he added.
     As for all of the WHS coaches, Lohrey said spring football is still fluid. He sees a group of capable committed coaches who are getting the direction they need. He wants everyone on the staff to seek to improve themselves continually, just like the players strive to keep improving.
     And the football players, the kids, they are the most important. The coach sees support from students in other sports, and students who are not athletes. The coach wants to see the sports program continue to thrive at WHS.
     It is his belief that as athletics go well in a school, there are fewer problems with behavior across the board, there is better morale. The sense of pride, which is intangible, assures that all of the students feel good about the team, the school and their classmates, he said.
     Coach Lohrey expects players in each sport to remember that they are, in a sense, a walking billboard for their school and for their sport. As such, he expects all players to show respect, courtesy and care to other people, just as they would want to be treated in that manner.
     The coach is very happy to have been chosen for his position, and he is ready to lead the department and the football team.
    The coach said he has started a new Facebook page for WHS Football it is at

Registration opens for
Levy County 4-H Day Camps

Published April 2, 2014
-- Come June 9 the first day of a series of Levy County 4-H Day Camps begins, and registration is open now to insure a place in all of that fun.
     The $25 camp fee includes breakfast, lunch, snacks, field trips and recreation each day. The ATV Camp is $50.
     Sewing and Cooking Camps will be offered this summer. Please contact Muriel Turner about these excellent day camps at 352-486-5131.
     There is no requirement to be a member of 4-H to participate in any of these camps. Also, the camper need not live in Levy County. Everyone is welcome.
     And while restrictions of 4-H membership or Levy County residency are not imposed, there are some requirements.
     Age Limits: Camper MUST be at least 8 years old by the date of the camp they are attending. All 8-9 year old children must have proof of age - birth certificate or some type of identification.
     The day camp happens at the Levy County Extension Office in Bronson. The time of camp is Monday through Thursday – 8:30 a.m to 4:30 p.m., and Friday 8:30 a.m. to 12 noon.
     The cost is $25 per camp ($50 for ATV camp) – all day camps are non-refundable. For more Information: Call the office at 352-486-5131 or email

* Remote Control & Science of Flight -- June 9 - 13

     Participants are welcome to bring their remote control toys and try new ones. Also, participants will be making and programming LEGO robots.
* Sports Fishing I – June 16 – 20
     Participants will learn to rig and use simple fishing tackle including cane poles and/or rods. This camp will include fishing trips to various sites and a fish fry on Friday!
* Wildlife Adventures June 23 – 27
     Come ready for anything! In this day camp, everyone will have the opportunity to learn about our friends in the wild and explore adventures to build relationships and cooperation.
* International Food, Fun & Fitness July 7 – 11
     This camp is a fun-filled week while participants enjoy food and stay healthy. Several guest speakers from different countries will share some of their customs, including food.
* Shooting Sports I July 14 – 18
     Participants have the opportunity to earn their Hunter Safety Certification during this week and learn to shoot bows, rifles, shotgun, and/or muzzle-loading weapons.
* Shooting & Fishing II July 21 – 25
     This camp is designed to take these two activities to another level. During Shooting Sports II, everyone will hone the skills they learned in Shooting Sports I. During the Sports Fishing days, there is improving on the skills learned in Fishing I. This camp includes an extra fishing excursion to a new destination.
* Marine Science July 28 – Aug. 1
     In this day camp, participants learn more about the Marine environment. It will include boat trips, seining, cast-netting, crabbing, and specimen identification.
* Bugs & Outdoor Adventures Aug. 4 – 8
     In this day camp there is a combination of entomology and insect collecting with canoeing, hiking, exploring our natural resources, and many other activities.
* Games Aug. 11 – 15
     This day camp is designed to enjoy the fun of old school games! Some of the games include, bean bag toss, jacks and much more!
* ATV Safety & Certification (12 and older) Aug. 11 – 15
     Florida law requires ATV riders to have an ATV Safety Certification to ride an ATV on any public lands. We are offering this class to a limited number of youth (16). Riders will be taught safe operation, riding practices, and general maintenance of the ATV. We will be taking trips with our ATV’s. This day camp will be taught by American Safety Institute instructors for the purpose of completing the ASI ATV Safety Certification. This day is only for youth aged 12 years and older. The cost of this camp is $50.

THU. APR. 17  10:27 p.m.

Levy, Dixie, Gilchrist counties




Please click on ads to go to those websites. 



 HOME         POLICE         CALENDAR         BUSINESS         COMMUNITY         LIFE         LEISURE        REVIEW       

All material copyright Jeff M. Hardison • • 352-949-5280
Website by