(Scroll Down For 4H Summer Camps)

‘A Taste of Cross City’
library tradition initiates;

Pumpkin Swamp au Gratin wins
Judging the food are (from left) Shelia Daniels, Dixie County Judge Jennifer Ellison,  and Dixie County Extension Director Holly Houghton's 'Taster By Proxy' Dee Dee Smith.

Story and Photos

By Jeff M. Hardison © July 3, 2015
     DIXIE COUNTY -- In its first year as an event, the "A Taste of Cross City" food competition may be recorded in history as a resounding success.

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     Held late Thursday afternoon in the conference meeting room of the Dixie County Library in Cross City, this festive happening attracted five competitors and a number of onlookers. Sponsored by Three Rivers Regional Library System, which provides library services in Dixie, Gilchrist, Lafayette and Taylor counties, the taste-testing trials of the five brave entrants’ works resulted in four winners.
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Pumpkin Swamp au Gratin (left) and Old-Fashioned Buttermilk Pound Cake

     It started as a thought by Three Rivers Regional Library System Adult Program Coordinator Rebecca Norris. She was unable to personally watch her idea come to fruition due to another commitment at that time; however her colleagues Three Rivers Regional Library System Operations Manager Cheryl Pulliam and Dixie County Public Library Director Cindy Bellot managed and directed the event as if they had done this before.
     Judges for the inaugural "A Taste of Cross City" food competition included Dixie County Judge Jennifer Ellison, Shelia Daniels and Dixie County Extension Director Holly Houghton.
     There are some finer points related to this particular set of judges and how that chapter in the story unfolded. The dénouement (the final resolution of the plot in a literary work), provides an early climax in this thriller of a food competition. And there is a tasty sub-plot of this particular narrative of this episode – which also promises to happen in Gilchrist County on July 14 as the Gilchrist County Public Library in Trenton is having “A Taste of Trenton” contest (Please see the COMMUNITY CALENDAR).

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Banana Cake (left) and Corn Casserole

     Meanwhile, back to the judges. At a very early point just before the launch of this contest, Pulliam had been enlisted as a judge. The stronger potential for an impossible tie-breaking situation exists with an even number of judges; hence she volunteered to just be a manager rather than a judge.
     While the Pumpkin Swamp Gratin earned the blue ribbon, the story resounding through Dixie County that night may have been that Pulliam's "Fantasic Coconut Cake" was the pièce de résistance of that late afternoon flavorful food challenge.
     Pulliam brought the cake for fun and pleasure – not to compete. She mentioned that if some number of library patrons appeared, they may want to have something to eat so that they could participate as well as to observe.
     Recipes were available for all of the dishes, too.
     Possible Judge Houghton, however, faced a dire scenario. Due to her allergy to pecans and other tree-borne nuts, she brought none other than Dee Dee Smith as her “Taster By Proxy.”
     With the judges in place, a quick orientation to the grading scale was provided. Each dish was evaluated on a scale of 1 to 10 for Appearance, Texture and Taste. There was space on the judges’ forms to write “Improvements” and “Notes” if they felt inclined to do so.
     Each judge was provided with a small, separate Styrofoam plate and plastic fork for each entrée. Each judge was also given small plastic “glasses” of water, with which to rinse their palates if they so desired.
     This particular food challenge had no barriers. It could be appetizers, salads, soups, main courses, desserts, etc. It’s not like a dog race with Greyhounds and Chihuahuas, though, because each judge used her own taste buds and minds to make a ruling based on the facts and evidence presented in the contest.
     And in the end, the judgment of the three tasters still resulted in one tie.
Here are the winners and their prizes:
     First Place – Pumpkin Swamp au Gratin (with shrimp and crab) – Roz Crowther-Lynar. She won the top prize of a Southern Living Cookbook. This book may be the book that is titled, "Southern Living Annual Recipes 2014: Over 750 Recipes from 2014!". The hardcover version of this book lists for $24.98. Crowther-Lynar also won a $20 gift card to buy the book of her choice from Amazon.com.
     Second Place – Old-Fashioned Buttermilk Pound Cake – Thurlene Bradley. She won a $20 gift card to buy the book of her choice from Amazon.com.
     Third Place – A tie for third place went to Josey Storey for her Banana Cake (which had fruits in it like a fruitcake), and to Cindy Wood for her Corn Casserole. Storey and Wood each won a $20 gift card to buy the book of their choice from Amazon.com.
     When asked if this unanticipated tie for third place would cause a budget dilemma for Three Rivers Regional Library System, Operations Manager Pulliam said the prize is covered.
     She added there is a potential for “A Taste of Mayo” (the county seat of Lafayette County) and “A Taste of Perry” (the county seat of Taylor County) contests happening as well.
     Placing fourth with no gift card was Howell Hodge. That dish was Locavore (local food) Souse (head cheese). Head cheese or brawn is a cold cut that originated in Europe. While this dish placed fourth in this contest, one local gourmand said he enjoys a good souse. “It is an acquired taste,” he added.
     As for “A Taste of Cross City,” a good time was had by all.
(All written original HardisonInk.com material and photographs are intellectual property which is copyright protected. Do not copy and paste to any other website, including Facebook, or to TV 20, etc.)
In this photo, the legendary ‘Fantastic Coconut Cake’ is in the foreground. From there, going back are the pound cake, banana cake, swamp au gratin and Locavore Souse.

Aquatic weed control slated
for Lake Rousseau

Published July 2, 2015 @ 10:27 p.m.
     LEVY COUNTY -- The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) will be conducting aquatic weed control operations in Lake Rousseau from July 6-17, using EPA-approved herbicides.
     During this period, tussocks blocking or threatening any boat navigation access will be treated. Water lettuce and water hyacinth found on the lake will also be treated. In addition, hydrilla that’s blocking navigation channels or blocking access corridors to those channels will be sprayed.
     “There will be no restrictions on recreational activities, such as fishing or swimming, during the treatment period,” John Kunzer said. “Any edible fish caught that are legal to keep may be consumed. There is a five-day restriction from using treated water for irrigation of both food crops and ornamentals grown in greenhouses or nurseries.”
     Kunzer is an invasive plant management biologist.
     Biologists anticipate treating approximately 10 acres of tussocks and 15 acres of floating plants. Only the hydrilla blocking navigation access will be treated. Approximately 130 surface acres of hydrilla will be treated.
     Scheduled treatments may be delayed due to adverse environmental conditions.
     “If these invasive plants are not controlled, recreational activities, navigation, flood control and fish and wildlife populations may be negatively impacted,” Kunzer explained.

Manatee Springs State Park
campground opens

Campground offers excellent
recreational opportunities

Published July 2, 2015 @ 2:37 p.m.
     LEVY COUNTY – On Wednesday (July 1), the Florida Department of Environmental Protection's Florida Park Service opened the newly renovated Magnolia Campground at Manatee Springs State Park in Chiefland.
     The state’s fiscal years runs from July 1 through June 30.
     The Magnolia Campground renovations, which total $1.3 million, include: six additional campsites, upgrades to the existing campsites, a 2,090-square-foot bathroom and shower facility, and new sidewalks, fire pits, grills, picnic tables and sanitary sewer system.
     “We are excited to expand the camping opportunities for visitors at Manatee Springs State Park,” Donald Forgione said. “This renovation offers better facilities just in time for summer and will generate economic development in the region.”
     Forgione is the director of the Florida Park Service.
     Overall, the camping opportunities at Manatee Springs State Park span three camping loops and 85 campsites, all with fire pits, grills and picnic tables.
     The park’s busiest camping season is during the summer when visitors come to enjoy the Manatee Spring, a first-magnitude spring that produces daily an average of 100 million gallons of clear, cool 72-degrees Fahrenheit water. Visitors enjoy swimming, snorkeling and scuba diving in the spring head.
     Last year, 154,701 people visited the park, generating $11,925,946 in direct economic impact.
     For more information about the park, click HERE. https://www.floridastateparks.org/park/Manatee-Springs
To make a camping reservation, click HERE. http://floridastateparks.reserveamerica.com/camping/manatee-springs-sp/r/campgroundDetails.do?contractCode=FL&parkId=281053

Sky Watchers
The two brightest planets visible from the northern hemisphere in June are Venus and Jupiter.

This month they appear as if they have been slowly approaching each other for people who are looking at them from Earth.

The two planets, a bit after dusk on Tuesday (June 30), appeared to be the closest next to each other in the sky for a while.

They are not stars, which form constellations and are relatively stable. Planets are also known as ‘Wandering Stars,’ because they are seen at different points in the sky over time. These two planets will seem to be drifting apart as July continues. Some people call this conjunction of planets "The Bethlehem Star," but actually the vision seen by the wise men who were led to Jesus as a newborn infant must have been something far more remarkable, because not only did that star wander, but it shone down beams on a particular place.

As for this less metaphysical event between the two planets, it has a name. Such a celestial event, when two celestial bodies have either the same right ascension or the same ecliptic longitude, while observed from Earth, is called a conjunction. Here are some photographs of the planets, and of the moon.

In this video, the planets are seen, and crickets and frogs are heard. There is also a jet passing by that may be heard in the distance.

The moon will be full tonight (Wednesday, July 1), and again on July 31 (a Friday). In the photo above, it is about 24 hours shy of being full. When there are two full moons in one month, some people call the second full moon a 'Blue Moon.' It does not happen often. It happens "once in a blue moon." There is now a view of the full moon on the CALENDAR PAGE.
Published July 1, 2015
Updated July 2, 2015 @ 8:07 a.m.
Photos and Video by Jeff M. Hardison © July 1, 2015 @ 11:07 a.m.

Fishing Practice
Children participating in Levy County 4H Day Camp this week visited the Levy County Public Safety Compound, formerly a women's prison. Children develop life skills through experiential education. The day camp this week included fishing. There is a large pond on the property. Almost 100 children practiced their fishing skills at the compound on Monday (June 29) as they caught several fish. This property is also used by 4H for ATV Safety Camp. To see more about the 4H Day Camps, please scroll down.
Published June 30, 2015 @ 1:37 p.m.
Photo Provided

Karate belt promotions awarded
Belt promotions recipients and their instructor are seen here and they are (front row) Marcus Hord and Daniel Porras, and (back row) Angela Porras, Alana Hord, John Lohde, Krista Sharpe and Savannah Hudson.

Story and Photos

By Pam Darty © June 30, 2015 @ 8:07 a.m.
Karate0979063015     CHIEFLAND -- School’s out for summer, but testing continues at True Path Karate in Chiefland.
     Several promotions in rating have happened during the past two weeks, and this has many parents proud and karate students holding their heads high.

John Lohde's grittiest student, Savannah Hudson, accepts her belt promotion.

     Instructor John Lohde, who is scheduled to leave soon for training with the Grand Master in Okinawa again, wanted to promote his senior students before his departure.
     After learning advanced weapons forms in addition to their doing well at tournaments, the intermediate students (green belts) moved up to brown belt level. Savannah Hudson and Krista Sharpe of Chiefland were among those promoted in that group.
     Marcus Hord was promoted to green belt, while Landon Smith and Daniel Porras were awarded a green stripe for their belts. Both young men show great progress each month. They will soon be green belts, according to Lohde. Angela Porras and Alana Hord trained with Lohde in his Nature Coast Middle School karate class. Both were promoted to green belts last week after sparring with Lohde, who can be an intimidating opponent.
     “I don’t give away belt promotions," Lohde said. "These kids had to work hard to gain rank by sparring, entering local tournaments and attending class regularly.”

Column and Photos

By Myrtice Scabarozi © June 28, 2015 @ 11:57 p.m.
     LEVY COUNTY -- The Log Cabin Quilters met Thursday (June 25) 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).
     As expected, Evelyn has finished two of the three quilts. So by next week, she should have the last one completed. We spent the morning getting three more ready for her. We’ll have her pictures next week.
     Wanda Davis from Cedar Key brought in her latest scrappy quilt. She made this quilt from scraps that her friends had given her.
     Saturday, Ruby Gill’s daughters donated her Friendship quilt that Ruby and friends made in 1986. Many of the names are familiar and includes several snowbird friends. They also brought in Ruby’s scrapbook that she had made in the late 1980s. Thanks ladies for sharing with us.
     Cathy managed to get the bowtie tied. You’ll have to come out and how it’s done. You’re invited to try it yourself.
Wanda's known as the Scrap Lady in Cedar Key. The quilt top was made with scraps that had been given to her. Drop by to see it.
Cathy's bowtie.
Jessica Hoffenberg with her great grandmother Ruby Gill's Friendship Quilt. This is a great keepsake and will be treasured at the Museum.

Day camp registration is open
Published May 14, 2015 @ 12:07 p.m.
Updated June 30, 2015 @ 7:47 a.m.

     BRONSON -- The Levy County 4-H Day Camp opportunities and the Camp Cherry Lake Residential Camp opportunities are ready for parents and guardians.
     Registration is open for the day camps, which run from June 8 through Aug. 13, and for the residential camp which runs July 6-10.
     In regard to all of the 4-H Day Camps listed below, the participant does not need to be a Levy County resident or a 4-H member.
     The child must be 8 years old by date camp starts.  All 8-9 year olds must have proof of age. Camps are Monday through Thursday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 12 Noon.
     The cost is $25 per camp unless specified. This must be paid seven days in advance or there is a late fee of $5.    
     Every camp includes breakfast, lunch, snacks, field trips and swimming.
     Forms can be picked up at the UF/IFAS Levy County Extension office from 8 a.m. until 4:30 pm, Monday through Friday. The office is located at 625 N. Hathaway Ave. (U.S. Alt. 27), in Bronson.

Marine Science (July 13-17)
     In this day camp, participants will learn more about the Marine environment. It will include boat trips, seining, cast-netting, crabbing, and specimen identification.
Remote Control,
Science of Flight & LEGO Robotics (July 20-24)
     Participants are welcome to bring their remote control toys and try new ones. Also, participants will be making and programming LEGO robots.
International Food, Fun & Fitness (July 27-31)
     Join us for a fun-filled week while we enjoy food and stay healthy. Several guest speakers from different countries will share some of their customs, including food.
Outdoor Adventures (Aug. 3-7)
     Come ready for anything! In this day camp we will be combining entomology & insect collecting with canoeing, hiking, exploring our natural resources, and many other activities.
Games (Aug. 10-13 – No Friday)
     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!
Beginner ATV (2 Day) (Aug. 10-13)
     Designed for all kids ages 12 and up who are interested in earning a Rider Certificate. Youth will be taught safe operation, riding practices and general maintenance. The camp will also include a trail ride. This camp does not include the e-course. Participants should plan to take the e-course prior to attending this camp. Contact our office for sample instructions on completing the e-course. This day camp will be taught by local American Safety Institute (ASI) instructors for the purpose of completing the ASI-ATV Safety Certification. The ATV camp is open to all youth ages 12 and up. Participants will be taking trips or trail rides with ATV’s each day. Cost of this camp is $50. Participants must have a rider certificate prior to taking this day camp. This can be done in the beginner ATV Day Camp if they don’t already have one.
     All of these camps, registration forms and more information can be found on the website at http://levy.ifas.ufl.edu.
     If you have any questions about the 4H camps, please call 352-486-5131 and ask for Lacy Harris.

-- UPDATED -- 

SAT.  JULY  4,  7:47 a.m.




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