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Cedar Key Chamber hosts
biggest WoW so far
Becky LaFountain of Cedar Key stands with her dog Milton, a yellow Labrador retriever. She was one of the many participants in the Bow-WoW Dog Walk-Run.
Story, Photos and Videos
By Jeff M. Hardison © March 16, 2019 at 8:39 p.m.
Updated March 17, 2019 at 7:29 a.m.
All Copyrights Reserved
Do Not Copy Any Photos Or Videos to Facebook, etc.
That is a violation of federal civil law.
CEDAR KEY – The Third Annual Workout on the Waterfront (WoW) in the City of Cedar Key proved to be the biggest ever Saturday (March 16), with the addition of dogs into this healthy fun happening.
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Here are a couple of the many winners from the Bow WoW Run. Makayla Northup and her dog Briggs came in fourth (left). Kasey Northup and her dog Trooper came in seventh. The plaque she is holding says ‘Best of Show’ for the Bow WoW event, although there no contest for Best In Show. These young ladies’ father, Rod Hunt of the Nature Coast Biological Station, made the plaques for the actual awards at this event. He said he made this one for his daughter Kasey so that she would have something to take home from the day.
Savanna Barry holds her dog Dixie, a mini-dachshund. Many people were impressed by Dixie’s ability as a ‘twirler’ – where she would spin in place on command. Barry is a Regional Specialized Extension Agent based in Cedar Key at the UF/IFAS Nature Coast Biological Station. She specializes in coastal marine ecosystems, especially seagrass meadows. Her extension programs focus on sustainable coastal tourism, habitat restoration and enhancement, and coastal literacy and stewardship.
In this video, Dixie the mini-dachshund does the tricks of sitting and circling. Notice her light-up dog collar. Savanna Barry tells her dog Dixie to do the tricks.
These four judges decided the most talented dog entrant in the Bow-WoW walk-run. They are (from left) Camille Ervin, Briley Taylor, Cait Cunningham and Jackie Wells, all visiting Cedar Key from Tallahassee.
With the Bow WoW being added for the first time, another dimension showed the event expanding, although it was led by a different group this year than in previous years.
Cedar Key Vice Mayor Sue Colson said “We love bow-wows,” which is very similar to what she said during another recent canine-oriented event on Cedar Key, when she said, “We love dogs in Cedar Key.”
Hosted by the Cedar Key Chamber of Commerce this year, the community-oriented celebration and fundraiser known as Workout on the Waterfront changed a bit from the first two years when the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences’ Nature Coast Biological Station served as the host.
As the sun rises, it shines relatively softly to herald the onset of the morning’s weather that is – well, it is Chamber of Commerce weather. Perfect temperature, humidity and just a hint of a Gulf breeze carried from start to finish for the participants.
People line up to buy shirts from this event.
As always, one beneficiary this year is the International Coastal Cleanup effort. That cleanup effort began across many nations more than 30 years ago, when communities rallied together with the common goal of collecting and documenting the trash littering their coastline.
International Coastal Cleanup Day is scheduled to be on Saturday, Sept. 20, 2019.
The other three community beneficiaries from the 2019 WoW are the renovation of the multi-purpose (tennis) courts at Cedar Key School, The Children's Table in Levy County and the Cedar Key Chamber of Commerce.
The Children’s Table is one of two food pantry operations, which help people on Cedar Key.
The 2019 WoW included four races. They were a dog-accompanied 1K walk-run, a 5K classic walk-run, a Kayak Challenge and a Recycled Regatta.
Bow WoW dogs and their best human friends enjoyed a walk-run around beautiful downtown Cedar Key. That race started at 8 a.m.
Here is a still shot just before the start of the Bow-WoW walk-run. At least one of the participants did so with a prosthetic leg.
In this video the start of the Bow-WoW run is shown.
Seen here seconds before the start of the 5K race, the people are ready. Notice the buoys hanging over the start-finish line. That is the Park Place Condominiums in the background. The clock shows two minutes and two seconds before 8 a.m., however that would have been the time if Florida had opted out of Daylight Saving Time -- which it did not. Mendy Allen holds the bullhorn at the left in this photo. She started the walk-run for people and dogs as well as the 5K.
In this video, the Coastal Heritage 5K run is shown as it started promptly at 9 a.m.
Mike Allen, Ph.D., is a professor of Fisheries and Aquatic Science in the School of Forest Resources and Conservation at the University of Florida. He is stationed at the Nature Coast Biological Station on Cedar Key. He and his wife Mendy Allen, and the team or researchers at the NCBS initiated the Workout on the Waterfront three years ago. After running this most recent 5K, he crossed the finish line and said 'Wow!'
Both the Bow-WoW and the 5K run started and ended at the corner of A Street and Third Street near the Lil Shark Park, which is also called City Park.
The Atsena-Otie Kayak Challenge Kayak Race started at the beach near the park. Kayakers faced a stiff breeze as they went to Astena-Otie Key, where they collected one piece of trash and then returned to the beach. The Kayak race is for ages 12 and older.
The Repurpose-It-Regatta included three entrants. All vessels entered the race at G Street and Third Street. This regatta is fun and includes vessels built from recycled material.
There were vendors in the park.
(from left) Verna Brown, Bill Brown, Junie Burr and Marcia Pollock are seen behind the table for The Children’s Table.
Bill Brown, his wife Vera Brown, and volunteers Junie Burr, Marcia Pollock and two other volunteers who did not want to be photographed or have their names listed (they and God only know why), were manning the tent for The Children’s Table.
They sold breakfast food and drinks, and lunch food and drinks.
Bill Brown said this was a warm-up drill for the group that plans to be among the vendors at the March 30 and 31 Cedar Key Arts Festival.
The 55th Annual Old Florida Celebration of the Arts in Cedar Key promises to attract artists and art lovers. Visit http://www.cedarkeyartsfestival.com/ for details.
Seen here (from left) are Joshua Chen, Dr. Sarah Szurek and Jodian A. Blake representing the UF Health Cancer Center. They mentioned that March is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month.
Jodian A. Blake and Joshua Chen welcome one of the first visitors of the morning to the tent for UF Health Cancer Center.
Sarah Szurek, Ph.D., a medical anthropologist who is the program director of the UF (University of Florida) Health Cancer Center’s Office of Community Outreach and Engagement was accompanied by Jodian A. Blake, MPH, CTTS, and Joshua Chen, health education and behavior intern.
Blake is a certified tobacco cessation specialist and Chen is among the UF Class of 2019 graduates who will wrap up his studies in May.
They brought lots of information as well as promotional items such as squishy alligator squeeze toys for stress relief and mild physical therapy hand exercises, lip balm, ink pens, sunglasses and small containers of hand sanitizer to give away.
Dr. Szurek said the UF Health Cancer Center is on a mission to serve the residents and visitors of 22 North Central Florida counties. It seeks to assure the research related to cancer is relevant to this part of Florida, as well as elsewhere.
“The UF Health Cancer Center is committed to building equitable community-academic partnerships to improve the health and well-being of residents in North Central Florida,” she has said. “We are engaging with communities to understand not only their challenges, but also their strengths as we take action to reduce the cancer burden in our state. The aim is to facilitate a process of mutual co-learning between community members and researchers by leveraging existing resources and implementing new programs that build local capacity.”
As program director of the Office of Community Outreach and Engagement, Dr. Szurek is responsible for developing and managing community-based programs that identify cancer-relevant needs, target cancer prevention, and improve health outcomes in 22 counties in Florida.
Another vendor from UF in the park was the UF College of Veterinarian Medicine’s Aquatic Animal Health scientists.
Laurie Adler, a biological scientist, stands next to a game that was available for children to play as they learn about sea creatures and conservation.
UF Stranding Coordinator Amber Lee Kincaid and Laurie Adler, a biological scientist, were present to tell people all about the animals in the oceans. They also provided children with an opportunity to play an education game and win prizes, such as a small informational card about dolphins, or candy.
Cedar Key Chamber of Commerce President Caryn Stephenson stands near some of the many tables of items that were donated for silent auctions. These items included a bicycle, bottles of wine, guided fishing tours, works of fine art and much more.
Regional General Hospital
continues serving patients;
ER to return in 30 to 45 days
This is the inside of the operating room where kidney stones can be viewed live by the doctor and patients can be relieved by treatment there. This RGH operation room is active now, and it promises to see more action in the near future as a specialized treatment clinic is on the horizon.
Story and Photos
By Jeff M. Hardison © March 14, 2019 at 1:49 p.m.
WILLISTON -- Regional General Hospital continues serving patients through its clinic, and with other services such as physical therapy and providing doctors with results from laboratory tests, X-rays, CT scans and ultrasound.
This is an outside view of the operating room at RGH. This is Operating Room 1.
There are separate areas in RGH for pre-operation and post-operation patients. This is the post-op area. There are also rooms for patients in the hospital.
A visit to the hospital in Williston on Wednesday afternoon (March 13) and a telephone interview with the hospital's owner George Perez at the same time reflects continued progress on every front.
There had been some difficulty with cash flow to pay utility bills with the City of Williston, however, as of tomorrow (March 15), that obstacle will have been overcome as RGH intends to keep its utility bill current henceforth.
A March 12 email from Williston City Manager Scott Lippmann mirrors the success by RGH in overcoming this issue.
“Our records indicate that your current outstanding utility balance (all accounts) is $3,934.79,” Lippmann noted. “Congratulations on the incredible job you have done to get caught up!”
RGH Vice President of Operations Raj Ravi told HardisonInk.com on Wednesday afternoon, in an exclusive interview, that RGH is giving the city a check for $3,934.79 on Friday (March 15) to make the hospital current with the city’s utility department.
Both Perez and Ravi noted their appreciation for all of the consideration given to the hospital in the past few years as RGH keeps building. There was a point where the City Council had told Lippmann to shut off service to the hospital, but the city manager worked with Perez and the City Council to create a repayment schedule, which has worked.
Meanwhile on Wednesday afternoon, Ravi shared with HardisonInk.com that Dr. John T. Chacko, a urologist, is opening a specialized urology clinic at RGH, where kidney stone removals will be performed.
“The operating room is active now,” Ravi said.
The hospital has all of the equipment for this procedure to happen now.
Beyond that, RGH has state-of-the-art laboratory equipment in its lab, which continues serving practitioners. The full X-ray, CT and ultrasound equipment is available as well.
Ravi said doctors may want to send more patients to RGH rather than Gainesville hospitals for a few reasons. Traffic is less congested in Williston than in Gainesville. Patients do not have to pay for parking. RGH has the equipment and staff to provide results to doctors, just as they would see from Gainesville-based locations.
As for the patients, Perez and Ravi said, they may prefer not to use their time driving back and forth to and from Gainesville, and they will find a shorter waiting time at RGH than elsewhere.
Board-Certified Nurse Practitioner J. Dea Browning pauses for a moment as a visiting journalist is given a photo opportunity during an unannounced visit. Browning was very polite in accommodating the request, given that she was very busy at the moment.
One corner of the clinic area in the hospital shows some equipment and a treatment area. There is also a complete room available for physical therapy, where a certified therapist can help patients.
This is a view of part of the waiting area for the clinic. There are more chairs out of view.
The rural clinic remains open at RGH as well.
Board-Certified Nurse Practitioner J. Dea Browning, NP-BC. DCNP, who is board-certified in internal medicine as well as dermatology, and who is a certified Department of Transportation Medical Examiner, is ready to help new and returning patients.
The DOT medical exams are among the duties where patients will enjoy less travel, etc., to have them completed. The phone line to the clinic is 352-330-6110. The phone line to RGH is 352-528-2801.
In other positive news from RGH, Perez said he anticipates having the RGH Emergency Room activated again in 30 to 45 days.
“We will come back stronger and better,” Perez said.
The hospital owner said he prays every day for the continued growth and success of RGH.
As the suburbs growing from expansion in Gainesville and Ocala continue, Perez said, he sees Williston growing to help those residents. Those residents might ask themselves if they want to go toward the metropolitan area for goods and services, including medical option, or if they want to go toward the rural environment of Williston.
Perez said he is thankful to God for His gifts, and that he is thankful to every person who is helping the hospital to continue being able to serve the medical needs of the residents and visitors of the Greater Williston Area, and beyond.
Walmart gives WPD $7,500
to help with its K-9 program;
Shadow Trailers, K-9s United,
Armstrong Home Builders,
and Dr. Wade Bullock donate as well
Seen here during the $5,000 check presentation on Monday morning (March 11) are (from left) Walmart Store (#1297) Manager Raciel Moreira, Co-Manager Kevin Kingsley, WPD Chief Dennis Strow, Walmart Store Assistant Manager Luke Hill, WPD K-9 Officer Rich Peters, and standing by the officer’s side Shadow the police dog.
Story and Photos
By Jeff M. Hardison © March 12, 2019 at 8:29 a.m.
All Copyrights Reserved
CHIEFLAND – The Walmart in Chiefland presented a $5,000 check early Monday morning (March 11) to the Williston Police Department to help the WPD with its police dog program.
Accepting a plaque to Walmart Store #1297, is Manager Raciel Moreira (left). The plaque has a likeness of Shadow at the top in a circle with the words ‘Williston Police.’ WPD Chief Dennis Strow took the initiative to restart the K-9 program in Williston, and he did it with funding from private interests rather than tax dollars.
Before they went into the Walmart for the check presentation, Officer Rich Peters and K-9 Shadow provided photo opportunities in the Walmart parking lot.
The officer and his partner had just finished a 12-hour tour of duty from 6 p.m. on Sunday night to 6 a.m. on Monday morning (March 10). The early morning fog is seen in the background.
WPD Chief Dennis Strow accepted the check from Walmart Store Manager Raciel Moreira, which was the second of two donations from the store to this cause.
Also participating in the event in Chiefland from Williston were WPD Deputy Chief Clay Connolly, WPD Administrative Assistant-Records Supervisor-Evidence Custodian Brooke Willis, WPD K-9 Officer Rich Peters and Shadow, the police dog.
Also participating in the event from the Chiefland Walmart were Chiefland Walmart Co-Manager Kevin Kingsley and Assistant Manager Luke Hill. Many customer service representatives from the store watched the presentation of the $5,000 check in the break room.
Everyone enjoyed a buffet breakfast afterward in the break room. That breakfast was catered by The Gathering Table of Chiefland.
Chief Strow explained how the WPD police dog program has restarted from long ago. Before the chief accepted the post as the top law enforcement officer in the municipality of Williston, he was a deputy with the Marion County Sheriff’s Office.
When the chief started at the WPD, there was a drug dog that had been used to its fullest potential, and with the added factor of budgetary constraints, it retired.
About 18 months ago, the chief received a call on a Sunday night in regard to a 2-year-old child that went missing.
A while back, Strow said, Officer Peters, who was named as the WPD 2018 Police Officer of the Year at a banquet and awards ceremony on Friday night (March 8), asked the chief why the WPD did not have a dog.
Officer Peters said he wanted to become the K-9 officer, Strow said.
“That was a good idea,” Chief Strow said, “but we had no money.”
Long ago, the chief said, a K-9 would cost about $3,500. The price today is $9,000, he said. After the meeting Monday morning, Chief Strow mentioned to HardisonInk.com that Shadow’s value is now set at $16,000 with his skillset.
As for the cost, the chief mentioned there are other expenses as well such as training, equipment and maintenance. However, he decided to get a K-9 for the WPD.
The chief said he ran the request by Mayor Jerry Robinson, who said he endorsed the idea “But we have no money.”
Except for the extra uniform for Officer Peters, Strow said, this entire K-9 program has been funded by private donations.
The Marion County Sheriff’s Office agreed to help WPD, Chief Strow said.
MCSO K-9 Lead Instructor Jeremie Nix, K-9 Trainer Carlos Ramirez, WPD Lt. Matt Fortney and Officer Peters went to New Smyrna Beach, Chief Strow said, and they tried dogs.
After testing dogs all day, they came home with the dog, who celebrates his second birthday on May 14. This dog is a German Shepherd from Hungary.
The particular dog had been selected, the chief said, but he was still in need of money.
That’s when Shadow Trailers of Williston and Armstrong Home Builders of Ocala each funded half the cost of the dog, the Chief said.
That’s also how the dog became named “Shadow.”
Walmart donated $2,500 for equipment at the outset, the chief said.
K-9s United of Jacksonville stepped up with a $5,000 donation too, Chief Strow said.
Dr Wade Bullock, a veterinarian in Williston, volunteered his service as the person to give medical care for Shadow, Strow said.
“Now Walmart has donated another $5,000 for the program,” Chief Strow said at the store Monday.
Reliable Drywall of Central Florida (Ocala) has purchased a bulletproof vest for Shadow, Chief Strow said. This is more of a lightweight tactical vest, the chief added.
Another vest is coming for the dog where he will have it as a uniform, and his WPD patch will have his picture on it, Strow said.
Shadow is totally certified to track people, conduct searches for articles, he can apprehend and he has completed his narcotics detection training, Chief Strow said.
Shadow and Officer Peters had just completed a shift from 6 p.m. Sunday night to 6 a.m. Monday morning, when they were at the Walmart on Monday for the 8 a.m. check presentation event.
Both the K-9 and his handler have equipment to assure Shadow’s and Peters’ safety.
Shadow has a safe riding area in the back of the cruiser, complete with a water dispenser for the K-9, Chief Strow said. The car has a heat sensor inside it, Strow said, so that if the engine stops and it becomes hot inside the cruiser, then the windows go down, a fan starts and an alarm resounds.
Officer Peters has a device on his belt so that if he is outside the closed cruiser and Shadow is inside, and Peters becomes distressed, the officer can push a button. That will open a rear door and Shadow will run to the officer’s rescue, Strow said.
The chief let everyone know that if the live or visit Williston, “Shadow is a beautiful dog. He is very well trained.
“If they want to run from the law,” Chief Strow continued, “of if they have drugs, then Shadow ain’t their friend.”
During the presentation program Monday, Walmart Manager Moreira said this is part of the community programs where Walmart is involved. Co-Manager Kingsley said this Walmart is the most community-oriented store he has seen.
Co-manager Kingsley said he is consistently impressed by how much Walmart employees give to their community, as well as how they work hard at their jobs in the store.
“This is a store,” Kingsley said, “where we all do this together as a store.”
After the check and plaque presentation, Shadow and Officer Rich Peters provide another photo opportunity for the press. This part of the morning was followed by a breakfast in the Walmart break room for everyone involved. The fog was lifting a little, but it stayed around for a couple of hours past the 8 a.m. check and plaque presentations in Chiefland.
GCSO 2018 Awards Banquet
honors the fallen and more
Part of the event Tuesday night was the presentation of a check for $10,300 to the Gilchrist County Sheriff’s Office from The Grit Foundation. Seen here during the presentation are (from left) Greg Pyle, Jessica Norfleet, Sheriff Bobby Schultz, Grit Foundation Vice President Kat Cammack and Grit Foundation President Matt Harrison. This money will help the GCSO add trauma kits to cruisers and it will help the GCSO make its website compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act. For more about The Grit Foundation, click HERE.
Story Photos and Videos
By Jeff M. Hardison © March 7, 2019 at 3:09 p.m.
All Copyrights Reserved
BELL -- A two- and one-half hour banquet and awards ceremony Tuesday night (March 5) included a high-caliber barbecue dinner and seven of Florida’s 67 counties' high sheriffs speaking about the role of law enforcement in society, and more.
Marion County Sheriff Billy Woods stands with Gilchrist County Sheriff Bobby Schultz as both men’s deputies and dine on Akins barbecue.
(from left) Seminole County Sheriff Dennis Lemma, Gilchrist County Sheriff Bobby Shultz and Levy County Sheriff Bobby McCallum are seen socializing with each other during the banquet part of the evening.
Alachua County Sheriff Sadie Darnell stands with Gilchrist County Sheriff Bobby Shultz at the banquet.
Lafayette County Sheriff Brian Lamb is seen at the banquet.
(from left) Marion County Sheriff Billy Woods, Seminole County Sheriff Dennis Lemma, Levy County Sheriff Bobby McCallum and Alachua County Sheriff Sadie Darnell are seated before the start of the awards ceremony. Lafayette County Sheriff Brian Lamb soon joined them there as Gilchrist County Sheriff Bobby Schultz served as emcee for the night.
Posing for the press are (from left) before the start of the awards ceremony are Seminole County Sheriff Dennis Lemma, Levy County Sheriff Bobby McCallum, Gilchrist County Sheriff Bobby Schultz, Alachua County Sheriff Sadie Darnell, Marion County Sheriff Billy Woods and Lafayette County Sheriff Brian Lamb
In this video, Gilchrist County Sheriff Bobby Schultz talks about the 2018 GCSO One Team, One Mission Award, where everyone works together to make the community a place to safely live, work and raise a family. He also speaks about the 2018 Employee of the Year Award.
Every man and woman with a five-pointed Florida sheriff's badge was honored directly or indirectly at the Annual Gilchrist County Sheriff’s Office Awards Banquet, which did center around the April 19, 2018 murder of two deputies in Trenton.
As it occurs each year, this entire event was organized by the Bell Middle High School Criminal Justice students, who are learning from their teacher Mark Lundy.
The two students in that class who opened the awards part of the evening, by leading in the Pledge of Allegiance and singing The Star-Spangled Banner are planning careers in professions other than law enforcement.
Mackenzie Brantley, a senior and the president of the Criminal Justice Class, led everyone in reciting the Pledge of Allegiance. She intends to be a dentist or a doctor, after college and medical school.
Sarah Manders, a junior, said she intends to major in music and become a professional performer.
Mackenzie Brantley (left) and Sarah Manders are the two Bell Middle High School students who are in the Criminal Justice Class who performed during the awards ceremony. They, their classmates and Instructor Mark Lundy were tasked with making the banquet and awards ceremony a success. Their hosting duties were a bit more strenuous this year in comparison with last.
Mark Lundy (left) and Gilchrist County Sheriff Bobby Schultz confer during the banquet part of the night in the Bell Middle High School Cafeteria.
Mark Lundy welcomes everyone to the awards ceremony as he says he is honored to do so on behalf of many leaders in education in Gilchrist County.
As Criminal Justice Program Instructor Lundy welcomed everyone, he mentioned it was on behalf of the superintendent of schools, the Gilchrist County School Board, the Bell Middle High School principal and other administrators, as he specifically named them and others who are responsible for public education in Gilchrist County.
Also, during the opening, Lundy recognized each school resource officer in the county as he asked them each to stand. Those officers and their schools are Deputy Kris Beasley at Bell Elementary School; Dep. Earl Davidson at Bell High Middle School; Deputy Mike Rome at Trenton High School; and
Deputy Jennifer Williams at Trenton Elementary School.
The Officer of the Year plagues this year went to families of the two men -- Sgt. Noel Ramirez, 29, and Deputy Taylor Lindsey, 25, -- who were killed in the line of duty on April 19, 2018 in Trenton.
Deputy Mike Rome (left) holds the 2018 Officer of the Year Award as he accepts if for the Ramirez family. ‘Nan’ Lindsey holds the other plaque for the 2018 Officer of the Year Award presented to her family for her son who was killed in the line of duty in 2018.
Those plaques were presented to Deputy Lindsey’s mother Nancy “Nan” Lindsey and to Deputy Mike Rome, who accepted for the Ramirez family, who were unable to attend.
Nan Lindsey shared her thoughts about accepting the plaque at the annual banquet. She said that her son had been nominated the previous year, and that he was supportive of the deputy who earned the plaque last year.
She told him that with his strong work ethic, and his dedication, in due time he would receive the GCSO Officer of the Year plaque.
She said she was proud an honored to accept the award.
“If Taylor could be here tonight,” his mother said, “he would be so excited. And he would be bustin’ to call me and say ‘Momma, I got the award tonight.’
“So, for you Tate, I’m so excited,” Nan Taylor continued. “You got the award tonight and I’ll bring it home for ya’.”
She told the sheriff and all of the members of the GCSO that she is thankful for what they do, and for what they have done for her and her family.
While the horror and terror of that day is forever etched in Florida history, the power of faith, love and hope, as well as the grit and determination of a multitude of responders has brought a wave of comfort since that fateful day.
Gilchrist County Sheriff Bobby Schultz, Levy County Sheriff Bobby McCallum, Marion County Sheriff Billy Woods, Alachua County Sheriff Sadie Darnell, Lafayette County Sheriff Brian Lamb and Seminole County Sheriff Dennis M. Lemma each contributed to the whole of the quintessential awards ceremony held in the Bell High School Auditorium, after a delicious buffet-style barbecue dinner from Akins Barbecue of Bell, which was enjoyed in the BMHS Cafeteria.
Gilchrist County Chief Deputy Jeff Manning, Gilchrist County Sheriff’s Office Capt. Sheryl Brown, Lt. Clint Anderson, Lt. Keagon Weatherford, Lt. Alex Gaston, Lt. Todd Holley and Lt. Scotty Douglas all helped present the certificates and plaques of recognition to GCSO team members this year.
The Awards Ceremony
Sheriff Schultz recognized the many, many special guests at the event that night as he began the event.
In addition to the other sheriffs and their deputies, there were also representatives of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, the Florida Highway Patrol, the Eighth Judicial Circuit State Attorney’s Office, the Trenton Public Safety Department, Gilchrist County Fire-Rescue and other agencies as well as many Gilchrist County constitutional officers.
He also mentioned the Grit Foundation, attorney Shannon Smith of the Smith Law Firm, Fanning Springs City Councilman Tommy Darus, who also works for the Florida Department of Probation and Parole, and others.
The sheriff said he greatly appreciates every single person in the room, because each of them were invited.
Sheriff Schultz said it is thanks to many people and agencies that Gilchrist County remained safe in the weeks and months after the attack, and he is extremely grateful for the help of everyone who responded.
The first set of people Sheriff Schultz recognized were Levy County Sheriff’s Office Lt. Scott Tummond, Alachua County Sheriff’s Office Public Information Officer Sgt. Brett Rhodenizer and Seminole County Sheriff’s Office Det. Danny Anderson.
Schultz said he appreciates Sheriff McCallum and Sheriff Darnell sending Lt. Tummond and Sgt. Rhodenizer to be the public information officers for the GCSO during the first few weeks after this tragedy.
(from left) LCSO Lt. Scott Tummond, SCSO Det. Danny Anderson, Gilchrist County Sheriff Bobby Schultz and ACSO Sgt. Brett Rhodenizer stand for a photo opportunity after the sheriff honored these three men.
Det. Anderson, Sgt. Rhodenizer and Lt. Tummond brought stability to the GCSO, Sheriff Schultz said.
One of the officers asked “What more can I do?” Sheriff Schultz said, and he told them that he was not able to complete what needed to be done for the funerals for these heroes. Without hesitation Rhodenizer and Tummond said “Send me,” Schultz said.
Along with Det. Anderson and some others, that team of Rhodenizer and Tummond conducted one of the largest law enforcement funerals in Florid’ history, Schultz said.
Det. Anderson commanded groups of deputies from the Marion County Sheriff’s Office who were taking calls in the weeks that followed, Schultz said. Staff from Seminole, Levy and Alachua counties were taking calls in the 9-1-1 communications center in Trenton, he said.
As a method to say “Thank you,” the sheriff showed a video on a large screen. In the video there were many people saying “Thank you” for helping protect Gilchrist County.
The people in the video included every county elected official, every member of the elected county School Board and the superintendent, representatives from the three banks Drummond, Ameris and Capital City, scores of children, teachers, administrators and advisers from every school in Trenton and Bell.
Another person speaking to the agencies who responded was State Rep. Chuck Clemons, who mentioned he would be at the banquet but he was in Tallahassee at the time.
United States Rep. Ted Yoho said he hopes everyone is having a great time at the banquet.
“And I want to give a big shout out to this crew and share my appreciation for what you do every day to keep us safe,” Rep. Yoho said.
He mentioned that as a nation, American relay on law enforcement officers to keep communities safe. He thanked all of the Gilchrist County deputies who protect and serve the people. And Yoho added that he thanks all of the agencies who stepped up during the time of need in Gilchrist County. He said those actions showed the nation what it is like to live in a place where county lines do not matter, and people can come together for the good of everyone.
“And I want to say ‘Hello’ to Bobby Schultz, ‘America’s Sheriff,’” Rep. Yoho said in conclusion. “God bless you and take care.”
After the video, the sheriff said he especially appreciates that the visiting law enforcement officers treated the people of Gilchrist County as if they were their own.
Life Saving Award
Seen here are (from left) Gilchrist County Sheriff Bobby Schultz, Life Saving Award recipient GCSO Deputy Austin Ritchey and Lt. Alex Gaston. The lieutenant presented the award as he told about the Aug. 17, 2018 call to service where Deputy Ritchey save the life of a person by applying CPR for 10 minutes until EMS arrived. Without that immediate assistance by Deputy Ritchey, Lt. Gaston said, it is unlikely the patient would have survived. The deputy’s quick action, use of training and professionalism resulted in a life being saved, Lt. Gaston said.
The sheriffs each spoke to the audience during the awards ceremony. Following is some of what they had to say.
In this video, Seminole County Sheriff Dennis M. Lemma uses a metaphor to show how leadership is of a NASCAR race, and that Gilchrist County Sheriff Bobby Schultz leads a winning team. And he says here that law enforcement officers responded to this double-murder of deputies because it was the right thing to do, and that those two deputies sacrifice will be forever remembered.
Seminole County Sheriff Dennis M. Lemma
Sheriff Lemma was the first to speak. He is in his first term as the high sheriff, although he has been in the Sheriff’s Office for the past 27 years.
The office of sheriff, he said, goes back more than 1,000 years, when kings would subdivide their kingdoms geographic areas of responsibility called “shires.” Kings designated “reeves,” which means “guardians” or “peacekeepers,” Lemma said.
Over time, that English tradition was brought to America, where “shire” and “reeve” became “sheriff.”
The Florida Constitution gives sheriffs four primary responsibilities, Lemma said. The sheriff is the chief law enforcement officer of the county; the chief administrative and executive officer of the circuit and county courts; the chief correctional officer (in most counties); and the conservator of the peace, he said.
The sheriff reminded every deputy and correctional officer who wears a five-pointed star that they are an extension of the sheriff whom they serve. They each have those responsibilities, he said.
Sheriff Lemma said these are the people who rise to that calling and meet those demands day-in and day-out.
The sheriff said deputies are not in their profession for money, fame or status. They accept this difficult job, he said, and sometimes it is tragic.
They keep coming back to their jobs, Lemma said, because nothing can be substituted for the feeling a deputy gets when he or she finds and returns a child – reuniting them with their family – after the little one has been lost for hours in the woods. And nothing can replace the feeling a deputy feels when he or she responds to a home invasion call and takes the family out of a closet where they were hiding for safety. And catch the bad guy, and go home safe, all in one night.
“Once you have experienced that one time, you come back over and over, and over again,” Seminole County Sheriff Lemma said.
The sheriff said he feels there is great leadership ability in Sheriff Shultz, as was shown by his effort and his team’s effort. Sheriff Lemma went on to say that he found Gilchrist County to be extremely welcoming.
Sheriff Lemma, a United States Marine Corps veteran and a graduate of the FBI Academy, earned a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and a master’s degree in administrative leadership.
Alachua County Sheriff Sadie Darnell
Sheriff Darnell commented on Sheriff Lemma mentioning that he is a “new sheriff.”
When she first took office, another sheriff told her the following after she said she is a new sheriff “Sheriff, you were elected by the citizens in your county. From that day, you are not a new sheriff. You’re a sheriff.”
Sheriff Darnell said every Florida sheriff in the Florida Sheriffs Association always has treated her just as they treat any other sheriff. She is the first female sheriff of Alachua County.
She is a 30-year veteran of the Gainesville Police Department, where she retired at the rank of captain. She was elected Sheriff of Alachua County, in November of 2006; and was reelected 2008, 2012 and 2016.
Sheriff Darnell said all of the 67 sheriffs in Florida have assets they will share with one another selflessly.
When a member of her command staff told Sheriff Darnell that two deputies had been shot and killed in Gilchrist County, they started toward the scene, she said.
Each member of her command staff who went to aid the people of Gilchrist County, Sheriff Darnell said, knew who they represented.
She said the lyrics to the song "Empty Chairs At Empty Tables" from the play Les Misérables capture the thoughts of being unable to express the pain and grief from these deputies being taken.
The first stanza of the song goes:
“There's a grief that can't be spoken
There's a pain goes on and on
Empty chairs at empty tables
Now my friends are dead and gone.”
She said the empty chairs in the auditorium that night can be thought of representing the men and women whose lives are gone as a result of the perils in this profession.
She then spoke about the trust that must be given to law enforcement officers. Sheriff Darnell said there is some degree of hatred and mistrust of law enforcement officers.
“We’ve got to represent this calling, this profession,” Darnell said. “We’ve got to go one to honor Sgt. Ramirez and Deputy Lindsey and all of the others.”
The sheriff expressed her gratitude for the support shown by the people of Gilchrist County to her, her command staff and her deputies.
In this video, Levy County Sheriff Bobby McCallum tells about his and his deputies' response in April of 2018 and afterward. He notes that Gilchrist County Sheriff Bobby Schultz, and all of the neighboring counties' sheriffs work together. Sheriff McCallum also spoke highly of Seminole County Sheriff Dennis M. Lemma.
Levy County Sheriff Bobby McCallum
Sheriff McCallum said he remembers speaking with Sheriff
Schultz soon after his neighbor heard about the shooting.
Even as Sheriff McCallum was speaking with Sheriff Schultz, deputies from Levy County were on the way to Gilchrist County. The GCSO office in Trenton is fewer than two miles from the Levy-Gilchrist County line.
Sheriff McCallum said he was honored to be able to help the fellow officers and the people of Gilchrist County during this time of need.
He said he is thankful to the people of Gilchrist County who supported the LCSO staff who were visiting to help during this time of need. The BMHS Criminal Justice Class and Instructor Lundy were also mentioned as being appreciated by Sheriff McCallum for their great success in having a banquet and awards ceremony.
In this video, Marion County Sheriff Billy Woods lets the Gilchrist County residents and visitors know that there is nothing he is owed for the Marion County Sheriff's Office's help during the aftermath of the murder of two GCSO deputies. The sheriff says much more, including that he loves children -- so, the baby who was crying can continue during his speech if he or she wants to.
Marion County Sheriff Billy Woods
Sheriff Woods said he believes in the family of law enforcement.
When any agency needs help, he will come. When a sheriff calls, Woods’ staff knows they must answer.
“That day,” Sheriff Woods said, “no one had to ask (for help).”
The sheriff said God gave His only Son for every human on the Earth.
“How dare I not respond to the need,” Sheriff Woods said, “of a fellow human being, especially in law enforcement.”
Lafayette County Sheriff Brian Lamb
Sheriff Lamb said he just wants to thank the GCSO.
“Continue to pray for Gilchrist County and Gilchrist Strong,” Sheriff Lamb said.
Chief Deputy Jeff Manning presented the Capt. Tony Cruse Community Service Award.
Each year, this captain’s family sponsors the award to be given to an individual that has provided service to the community, as well as doing an outstanding job in the performance of their duties as they make a difference in the community.
“Captain Tony Cruse was that type of person,” Manning said. “He was a longtime employee of the Gilchrist County Sheriff’s Office.”
Cruse was lost to cancer after a courageous fight, Manning said.
This year, at the Cruse family’s request, Manning said, the award is given to the entire GCSO.
“The epitome of One Team, One Mission,” Manning said, “was demonstrated during the days and months that followed this tragedy.”
Lt. Scotty Douglas presented the One Team, One Mission Award.
Rather than one person or one business, the award this year is dedicated to the people Gilchrist County and the surrounding counties “because the love and support shown to the GCSO in 2018 was beyond belief.”
Lt. Keagon Weatherford presented the Years of Service Award. The 15-year award went to Jeannine Pfannschmidt of the administrative staff. The 10-year service award went to dispatcher Mike Austin. Five-year awards went to Laura Downey, corrections deputy; Gregg Hodge, civil deputy; Chief Deputy Jeff Manning; Brent Owens, the IT guy; Preston Richburg, corrections and transportation deputy; and Deputy Sheriff Mike Simpson.
Captain Sheryl Brown presented the new employee acknowledgement.
Thanks to the help of the Gilchrist County Board of County Commissioners, Capt. Brown said, the GCSO was able to add road deputies, communications officers and correctional deputies. She asked the new GCSO members to stand and be recognized. The audience applauded them.
Lt. Clint Anderson recognized three people who retired from the GCSO in 2018.
Lt. Michelle Jones, who worked for the GCSO for eight years, retired in 2018. She started as a road deputy and earned her rank. She was over the patrol deputies when the two men who were under her command were killed.
Deputy Brent Strickland had worked for the GCSO for seven years when he retired to join his family’s business.
Deputy David Aderholt had worked for the GCSO for 25 in many capacities. He was a school resource officer and then became the supervisor over the program.
As Sheriff Schultz closed the awards ceremony, he said that he appreciates the work of every GCSO support staff member, correctional officer, deputy sheriff and communications specialist.
“Know this,” Sheriff Schultz said, “your job means something. What you do day-to-day means something.”
The sheriff asked the members of the GCSO to ignore the people who breed hate and discontent, and to not let then discourage any of the GCSO team from doing the right thing.
“We are to oppose evil at every turn,” Sheriff Schultz said. “And that’s what we do. You decided to enter this field for a purpose.”
The sheriff challenged the men and women of the GCSO to remember the excitement that that they had on that very first day when they came to work at the Gilchrist County Sheriff’s Office.
He said when they face adversity, that they recall the reasons they made the choice to do what they do.
As he concluded the evening, Sheriff Schultz said that he is honored to be the sheriff of Gilchrist County and to work with some of the best professionals this world has to offer.
Attorney jailed for
indirect civil contempt of court
By Jeff M. Hardison © Feb. 25, 2019 at 8:39 p.m.
BRONSON -- Attorney Gregory Vance "Greg" Beauchamp, 70, surrendered himself at the Levy County Jail Monday (Feb. 25), Levy County Sheriff's Office spokesman Lt. Scott Tummond confirmed late Monday afternoon.
Eighth Judicial Circuit Court Judge Stanley H. "Stan" Griffis III had issued a writ of bodily attachment effective that day for the attorney to be taken into custody and to be placed in the Levy County Jail until such time that Attorney Beauchamp complies with the order the judge put upon him earlier in regard to a civil case.
Attorney Beauchamp is in jail on a civil matter and is not charged with a crime. He is being held for indirect civil contempt of court, according to records.
In the writ ordered today (Monday, Feb. 25), Circuit Court Judge Griffis is abundantly clear in what must take place, and other court documents show the whole string of events from the day when Connie McSwain died on Aug. 1, 2017 at the age of 71, through one of the first actions by a survivor’s then-Attorney Beauchamp, showed he filed a petition on behalf of his then-client Carl W. Gadd on Aug. 11, 2017, in regard to the estate of McSwain, according to records.
The most immediate action, however, shows that Beauchamp may become a free man again only by complying with an order.
"He may be released upon the preparation of a Certificate of Compliance signed by Attorney Beauchamp and Attorney Sunshine Baynard, which will be proof of Attorney Beauchamp’s compliance with the Order Holding Attorney in Indirect Contempt, entered on February 13, 2019,” according to what is written in part of the order.
As of Feb. 23, Beauchamp already had run the meter up to $6,250 in fines by not complying with court orders in this regard, according to records. The incarceration is the most recent and most stringent force levied by the judge to seek compliance by the attorney.
In the Feb. 13 action, the order holding Beauchamp in indirect civil contempt of court showed some of the history leading to this point.
The judge had ordered Attorney Beauchamp to give “… any estate documents, including notes and mortgages to the current attorney for the personal representative (of the McSwain estate), Sunshine D. Baynard, before February 1, 2019 at 5:00 p.m. and required attorney Beauchamp to complete and serve an Inventory and Verified Accounting on Attorney Baynard, and return all monies held in trust for the Estate, before February 6, 2019 at 5:00 p.m.”
At the hearing on Feb. 13, Beauchamp told Judge Griffis that he had not complied with the order requiring the accounting. Beauchamp said he was unable to locate two notes and mortgage, although he is certain they are in his office, according to records.
The attorney also was found to have not returned funds held in trust for the estate, according to the Feb. 13 order holding Beauchamp in indirect civil contempt of court, according to court records.
The judge ordered Beauchamp to comply with the orders before 5 p.m. on Feb. 13.
Failure to comply results in the following, according to the order: Starting on Feb. 14 through Feb. 18, Beauchamp is fined $250 each day of noncompliance.
The fine for noncompliance increased to $1,000 a day from Feb. 19 through Feb. 23. Hence the, fine total reached $6,250 before he became incarcerated, according to records.
That order further noted that given that the attorney fails to comply on the 11th day of this order, then Judge Griffis will issue the writ of bodily attachment, calling upon all 67 sheriffs of Florida to take Attorney Beauchamp into custody and put him in the Levy County Jail.
“Fines will be payable to Florida Crimes Compensation Victim Fund,” Eighth Judicial Circuit Court Judge Griffis noted in his order. “Attorney Beauchamp shall send the payments to the State Attorney. Attorney Beauchamp shall pay the fines from a personal or operating account and shall file proof of payment with Court by filing cancelled checks.”
Court records regarding the McSwain estate show that as of Aug. 17, 2017, Attorney Beauchamp had noted the beneficiaries of this estate and of the decedent's surviving spouse were Carl W. Gadd of Old Town, a friend; Phyllis Lorraine Wise of Tyler, Texas, a daughter; Katherine Denise McSwain of Lakeland, a stepdaughter; Eddie T. McSwain III of Weatherford, Texas, a stepson; and Rick O'Donald of Chiefland, a son.
The order granting substitution of Attorney Baynard for Attorney Beauchamp for the client Carl W. Gadd, was done and ordered on Oct. 1, 2018, according to records.
On Nov. 18, 2018, Eighth Judicial Circuit Court Judge David P. Kreider ordered Beauchamp to file an inventory and final accounting in compliance with Florida Probate Rules, as well as to provide any and all estate documents in his possession to Baynard within 20 days of that order, according to records.
"Failure to file or produce the documents may result in sanctions," Circuit Court Judge Kreider noted in his Nov. 18, 2018 order.
And now, Attorney Beauchamp is in the Levy County Jail for indirect civil contempt of court, according to records, and according to the order, he will remain there until he and Attorney Baynard provide the Court with documentation that he has complied with previous commands from the Court, according to records.
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This is a still shot of Shelley Salter and her son Sam Matez just before they same the jingle on Saturday (March 16). They had just completed running a 5K on Cedar Key.
Photosby Jeff M. Hardison © March 16, 2019 at 2:09 p.m.
109th Set of Jingle Performers
Shelley Salter of Cedar Key and her son Sam Matez of Gainesville sing the HardisonInk.com jingle on March 16, 2019 after running a 5K on Cedar Key in the Workout on the Waterfront event, which was hosted by the Cedar Key Chamber of Commerce. They are the 109th set of performers. The next two singers, who are scheduled to be shown singing the jingle individually, are Derek Styles of D&J Rapid Repairs and Jeffery Emmonds of D&J Rapid Repairs, respectively. Styles and Emmonds sang on Feb. 21, but the Workout on the Waterfront event on March 16 bumped this duet of singers up in time. If you want to sing the jingle, just Jeff M. Hardison know or send an email to email@example.com. He asks people to sing it, too, and some of them agree to sing it. (Thanks people!)
Published Feb. 19, 2019 at 2:09 p.m.
© Video by Jeff M. Hardison, All Rights Reserved