MONDAY  JAN. 24  5:11 p.m.  Levy, Dixie and Gilchrist counties

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Website earns honors again
in Florida Press Club contest

FPC Awards
A screen shot welcomes people to the Zoom meeting. Florida Press Club President Anne Geggis welcomed everyone as she served as emcee for the night.

Story and Photos
By Jeff M. Hardison © Jan. 23, 2022 at 3:11 p.m.
For the second consecutive year, the 11-year-old daily news website named HardisonInk.com earned an award in the Florida Press Club’s Annual Excellence in Journalism Contest.


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FPC Awards
This screen shot shows some of the participants in the Zoom meeting. This is a picture of the laptop used by Jeff M. Hardison as he sat in a rented room at the Chiefland Days Inn, located near Walmart in Chiefland. The publisher went there for better Internet service than happens occasionally at The Ink Pad, which is located in the unrecorded subdivision known as Jemlands, in unincorporated Levy County, in the woods about three miles west of Carter’s Crossroads (SR 345 and CR 347), on the way to Fowler’s Bluff.

FPC Awards
There it is again – HardisonInk.com in lights as an honoree. (Parkland Talk took first place this year in that category.)

     At the event held via Zoom on Saturday (Jan. 22), HardisonInk.com was named as the winner of third place from among all entrants in the category titled Online – Independent News Site, Class A-C.
     For the 2020 contest, the daily news website earned second place statewide in the category Online – Independent News Site, Class A-C. There are only three classes, A, B and C. Classes are sizes of circulation. Hence, from all circulation sizes in that category, the daily news website earned third place for 2021 and second place for 2020.
     Just like the awards program held in 2021, the awards program conducted in 2022 was via Zoom due to the global COVID-19 pandemic.
     FPC President Anne Geggis apologized to everyone for switching from the planned event in Daytona Beach, as she noted it was necessary to reduce odds of journalists becoming sick from COVID-19, or one of its mutations.
     Jeff M. Hardison is the sole proprietor who is doing business as HardisonInk.com. The other top two winners in that category are limited liability corporations rather than being sole proprietors.
     The Florida Times-Union won top honors in the 2021 Florida Press Club's annual Excellence in Journalism Competition Saturday for its story about the secret deal and the public collapse of an effort to privatize the country's eighth-largest community-owned utility, JEA, Geggis noted in a Jan. 23 email.
     The year-long investigation won the Frances DeVore Award for Public Service, an award named for the club's founder, and the Lucy Morgan Award for In-Depth Reporting. The series included dozens of interviews with people across city government and the private sector who were involved in the ultimately canceled JEA sale, Geggis said.
     For nearly 70 years, the Florida Press Club has been honoring the best in Florida journalism from layout to photography to writing.  It was originally called the Florida Women’s Press Club, as no other clubs allowed women to compete when it was started, FPC President Geggis said. 
     As for Hardison’s most recent honors from a professional organization connected with journalism, he mentioned that he first started writing for publication in 1972 at Northeast High School in St. Petersburg, where he wrote articles, and editorials, and became the editorial editor as well as poetry editor of that newspaper’s literary edition.
     The Florida Press Association (FPA) at the time had a scholastic version of awards and the Nor’easter earned an award while he was on the staff.
     Beyond the high school academic award in the 1970s, and in addition to the two FPC awards Hardison earned with his website in 2020 and 2021, the FPC gave him an award in 1989 in the category of Best Public Service in its annual contest for excellence in journalism.
     Hardison has accepted annual awards from the Florida Press Association (FPA) twice from work in the categories of Investigative Reporting (1983 and 2007), and once each from the FPA’s annual excellence in journalism contests in the categories of Environmental or Conservation (1990); Community Service (1989); Front Page Layout (1989); and Best Full Use of Color (1984).
     “Every year I entered an annual contest for excellence in journalism, I went home with an award,” Hardison said. “I have earned awards as a reporter, as an editor and now for the past two years as a publisher.”
     The Florida-born journalist said he was pleased to see others in this profession earning recognition on Saturday.
     “It’s not like there are enough reporters, editors and publishers in Levy County, Dixie County and Gilchrist County combined for us to have a steak banquet or something,” he said Sunday afternoon (Jan. 23). “I think it may have been pleasant to schmooze in Daytona Beach with my colleagues in the Fourth Estate from Florida. Maybe next year there will be a place where we can go without fear of contamination by a virus.”
     The work honored by the FPC on Saturday (Jan. 22) was published between June 1, 2020, and May 31, 2021.
     To see the entire list of winners in every category from the most recent Florida Press Club’s Annual Excellence in Journalism Contest click HERE.


Exploring Finances

Consider These Types
Of Tax-Smart Contributions

Published Jan. 24, 2022 at 12:11 p.m.
     NEWBERRY --
This year’s tax-filing deadline of April 18 is not that far off, but you still have time to make some moves that could favorably affect your tax returns. So, you may want to consider making some tax-smart contributions.
     You have until the April 18 filing deadline to contribute to an IRA, or to open one for the 2021 tax year. When you invest in a traditional IRA, your earnings can grow on a tax-deferred basis and your contributions may be tax deductible, depending on your income level. And as  a result of recent legislation, you can now fund a traditional IRA past age 70½, as long as you have earned income. 
     If you invest in a Roth IRA, your contributions aren’t tax deductible, but your earnings can grow tax free if you don’t take withdrawals until you’re at least 59½ and you’ve had your account for five years. For the 2021 tax year, you can put up to $6,000 in an IRA, or $7,000 if you’re 50 or older. (If you’re a high earner, the amount you can contribute to a Roth IRA may be reduced or eliminated, while contributions to a traditional IRA may not be tax deductible.) 
     If you were eligible to contribute to a health savings account (HSA) last year, you can also contribute to that for the 2021 tax year, up to the April 18 deadline. An HSA has triple tax advantages: Your contributions are made with pre-tax dollars, so they can reduce your taxable income for the year; your earnings grow tax-free; and your withdrawals are tax-free, provided the money is used for qualified medical expenses. For the 2021 tax year, you can contribute up to $3,600 to an HSA as an individual, or $7,200 for a family. And if you are 55 or older, you can contribute an extra $1,000 to your HSA. The contribution limits do include the amount your employer puts in, so, for example, if your employer has already kicked in $1,000, you can only contribute $2,600 to your individual HSA or $6,200 for your family. (Again, you can add $1,000 more if you are 55 or older.)
     And, as you know, one of the big advantages of an HSA is that it is not subject to “use it or lose it” rules – you can roll over your savings from year to year. As such, an HSA can be a valuable account for helping you build resources for retirement, when your health care costs will undoubtedly go up. 
     In looking beyond the 2021 tax year, you may want to consider other ways to make tax-smart contributions. For example, in addition to contributing to your IRA and HSA, you may have access to a 401(k) or similar employer-sponsored plan. In 2022, you can put in up to $20,500 to your 401(k), or $27,000 if you’re 50 or older. And, if your employer allows it, you can exceed these limits by making after-tax contributions. Also, if you need to save for education, you might want to consider a 529 educations savings plan, which offers some tax advantages. 
     To learn more about how your contributions, in various forms, can affect your taxes, consult with your tax advisor. The more you know, the better your decisions.

    Publisher’s Note: This article was written by Edward Jones for use by Edward Jones Financial Advisor - Sheila K. Smith, 25349 W. Newberry Road, in Newberry. Phone 352-472-2776.


December jobs report shows Levy County
continues to hold
the lowest jobless rate in CLM region

By Laura Byrnes, APR, CPRC
Communications Manager
CareerSource Citrus Levy Marion
Published Jan. 24, 2022 at 9:11 a.m.
     OCALA –
The unemployment rate in the CareerSource Citrus Levy Marion region was 4.1 percent in December 2021, 0.2 percentage point lower than the previous month, and 0.2 percentage point higher than the region’s year ago rate of 3.9 percent.
     Across the three-county region, the labor force was 212,657, up 11,284 over the year for an annual growth rate of 5.6 percent. The number of those with jobs rebounded to 203,849, an increase of 1,140 over the month and 10,410 more than December 2020. The number of unemployed dropped by 375 over the month to 8,808.
     According to today’s release of preliminary employment numbers by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, Levy County continues to hold the lowest jobless rate in the region at 3.8 percent, down 0.1 percentage point over the month; Marion County followed with a rate of 4.0 percent, a decrease of 0.2 percentage point; and Citrus County’s rate was 4.7 percent, down 0.2 percentage point.
     Florida’s not seasonally adjusted jobless rate – a measure that matches the way local rates are calculated – was 3.2 percent, a decrease of 0.4 percentage point over the month and 1.0 percent lower than December 2020.
     The nonagricultural employment in the Ocala metropolitan statistical area, which covers all of Marion County, was 111,800 in December, an increase of 3,000 jobs over the year for a 2.8 percent annual growth rate.
     Compared to all the regions across the state, the Ocala MSA had the third fastest annual job growth rate in manufacturing at 7.1 percent.
     In the Homosassa Springs MSA, which includes all Citrus County, there were 33,600 nonfarm jobs, an increase of 1,000 jobs over the year for an annual growth rate of 3.1 percent.
     Rusty Skinner, CEO of CareerSource CLM, said the expansion of the labor force, coupled with increase in jobs, “indicates our area’s move out of the COVID slump.”
     Skinner added that more job seekers are returning to the career centers, as well.
      “This long-term growth in employment and labor force participation shows a positive response to the job opportunities of our area businesses,” he said adding that, while the return to the labor force and employment has not yet matched demand in opportunities, “it represents the steady recovery of our three counties.”
     Here is a breakdown of December’s job numbers for each county:
     ● Citrus County’s labor force expanded by 169 to 48,696, the number of employed grew by 225 to 46,383, and the number of unemployed nudged downward by 56 to 2,313. Compared to December 2020 when the unemployment rate was 4.5 percent, the labor force has grown by 2,714 with 2,468 more employed.
     ● Levy County’s labor force shrank by 32 over the month to 17,677; the number of those with jobs remained virtually unchanged, falling by 7 to 17,013; and the number of jobless decreased by 25 to 664. Over the year, when the jobless rate was 3.5 percent, those numbers represent 1,007 more in the labor force and an increase of 919 with jobs.
     ● Marion County’s labor force grew by 628 to 146,284 over November, the number of those with jobs increased by 922 to 140,453, and the number of unemployed dropped by 294 to 5,831. Compared to the same time last year, when the jobless rate was 3.8 percent, the labor force grew by 7,563 and the number of employed increased by 7,023.
     In addition to manufacturing, industries that grew faster in the Ocala metro area than statewide were other services (+11.1 percent); and mining, logging, and construction (+5.7 percent).
     Manufacturing added 700 new jobs for a total of 10,500 employed in the industry; other services added 300 jobs for a total of 3,000; and mining, logging, and construction added 500 jobs for a total of 9,200.
     Other industries gaining jobs over the year were trade, transportation, and utilities (+900 jobs for a total of 28,800); leisure and hospitality (+700 jobs for 12,500); education and health services (+500 jobs totaling 18,700); and professional and business services (+100 jobs for 10,400).
     Industries losing jobs over the year were government (-600 jobs for a total of 14,500) and financial activities (-100 totaling 3,700).
     The information industry, with 500 jobs, was unchanged over the year.
     Unemployment rates dropped in 64 of Florida’s 67 counties, two counties’ rates were unchanged, and the rate increased in one county.
     Citrus County tied with Highlands and Sumter counties with the third highest rates, Marion was 13th highest, and Levy County tied with Flagler, Lake, Orange, St. Lucie, and Volusia counties with the 16th highest.
     Among the state’s 24 metro areas, the Homosassa Springs MSA tied with Sebring and The Villages with the highest jobless rate; Ocala was fifth highest.
     Due to annual benchmarking in February, the region’s preliminary employment summary for January is scheduled to be released on March 14.


WWE Global Ambassador appointed
to Florida State Fair Authority Board

By FDACS Communications
Published Jan. 18, 2021 at 12:11 p.m.
Today (Tuesday, Jan. 18), Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried and the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) announced the appointment of Thaddeus Bullard, also known as WWE Global Ambassador Titus O’Neil, to the Board of Directors of the Florida State Fair Authority.

     Bullard’s term began Jan. 6 and ends May 29, 2025.
     Bullard is a philanthropist, author, athlete, and global entertainer. He graduated from the University of Florida and has since made it his mission to create change for those in need. Through his Bullard Family Foundation, in partnership with Hillsborough County Public Schools, he continues to transform Thaddeus M. Bullard Academy at Sligh Middle Magnet School and the surrounding area into an innovative education and community hub to create lasting generational change. He was named a finalist for the ESPN Muhammad Ali Sports Humanitarian Award in 2020 and 2021.
     “As a Florida native, it is a tremendous honor for me to be able to help shape, cultivate, and educate, those throughout the state in both affluent and underserved communities on the importance of agriculture,” said Bullard. “I’m honored to be serving alongside an esteemed group of advocates for Florida to continue making our great state one of the best places to live, work, and play in the world.”
     “I extend my congratulations to the new board officers of the Florida State Fair Authority and I’m grateful for Mr. Bullard’s service,” Commissioner Fried said. “His commitment will help us ensure that the Florida State Fair remains one of the nation’s best, with over half a million people enjoying the attractions and learning about Florida’s rich agricultural heritage.”

The 2022 Florida State Fair is scheduled to take place Feb. 10 through Feb. 21.

     The Florida State Fair, first held in Tampa in 1904, has become one of the largest events in the state, attracting more than 500,000 people each year during its 12-day run. The Florida State Fair boasts the largest Midway in the USA, a robust agricultural program, a circus, interactive animal exhibits and new attractions each year. As the first State Fair of the year, the Florida State Fair is the first to debut new and all of the unique fair foods visitors have come to know and love. It’s affordable family fun at its best. 
     The mission of the Florida State Fair Authority and its Board of Directors is to create positive entertainment experiences through the annual Florida State Fair; a variety of year-round events; quality competitive programs; a commitment to agriculture, education and community service, and a focus on new opportunities.
     A full list of Florida State Fair Authority board members includes: the Honorable Nicole "Nikki" Fried, Commissioner of Agriculture; Susanne Clemons, Chairman of the Board; John Dicks Jr., Vice-Chair; Linda Syfrett, Treasurer; Eve Council Gloede, Secretary; Richard E. Bowman; Derrick Brooks; Charles "Chuck" Bruno; Bob Buckhorn; Doyle E. Carlton III; Ryan W. Doyle; Julia Heijkoop; Marcia Lightsey; Mallory Lykes Dimmitt; A.D. "Sandy" MacKinnon; Honorable Gwen Myers; Holly Randall Miller; John "Jack" T. Vogel; Justin Day; and Amanda Taylor.
     The Florida State Fair Authority does not receive state, county or city tax dollars. Operations are funded by revenue generated by the annual Florida State Fair and the rental of Fairgrounds facilities to outside entities throughout the year. For more information about the Florida State Fair go to https://floridastatefair.com/.


NCBDC meeting offers insight
about Levy County business scene

NCBDC Executive Director Scott Osteen starts the meeting Thursday (Jan. 13).

Story and Photo
By Jeff M. Hardison © Jan. 15, 2022 at 8:11 p.m.
Eight nature Coast Business Development Council directors met in person or via teleconference with NCBDC Executive Director Scott Osteen late Thursday afternoon (Jan. 13) at the College of Central Florida Jack Wilkinson (Levy County) Campus, just south of the City of Fanning Springs.

     A wide range of business topics were broached as the new executive director enjoyed covering a very full agenda.
     Near the outset of the meeting, directors were reminded that the charter calls for the executive director to be the chairman of the board.
     Present for the meeting were Vice Chairman George Buckner III, Greg Galpin, Phil Geist, Denny George, Dorothy Pernu, Dr. Richard Streeter, Daniel Vaudreuil and Joyce Wilson.
     In his first director’s report to the NCBDC Board, Osteen said he and Buckner attended a rural economic summit in St. Augustine. During that meeting, he heard that high speed Internet service is strongly needed and desired in rural Florida, including Levy County, which is served by the NCBDC.
     Improving the availability of reliable, relatively inexpensive, high-speed Internet in Levy County is among the goals Osteen sees.
     Later in the meeting, speaking on behalf of Central Florida Electric Cooperative, George, who is the general manager of CFEC, and Pernu, who is the vice president regional government and community relations manager with Duke Energy Florida, both spoke about those utilities’ potential expansion into that aspect of service to either members or customers.
     Meanwhile, in actual results on the table, Osteen said he was able to complete the process to obtain a $10,000 Economic Development Council grant that had been “in the works for about two years” to be awarded to Tri-County Saw Shop.
     This was completed in December and Osteen forecast the check would be cut for that local business within the next couple of weeks.
     Osteen said he is working on establishing connections and a process for other small business in Levy County to qualify for EDC grants.
     Among the many other topics were confirmation of goals to be reached by Osteen. Another question was the establishment of an office for the new NCBDC executive director.
     The previous office in Inglis Town Hall was good for the previous director, who lived in Citrus County. When there was mention of having an office at the College of Central Florida Jack Wilkinson (Levy County) campus, it was mentioned that this location is at the northern end of the county just as the one in Inglis was at the far southern end of the county.
     Apparently, Bronson, which is the county seat and is in the center of Levy County, has no suitable office space. As for CF, just south of Fanning Springs, the high rent was seen as being cost prohibitive for office space.
     Osteen said he can work out of his home in the meantime.
     He mentioned that it is better for him to visit prospective business interests that are out of the county at their locations, because it is easier for them – in contrast with them visiting some office in Levy County.
     As for new business coming to the county, there was discussion about a method to create an inventory of properties that are ready for occupancy by manufacturing interests or other business.
     Two topics are seen as recurring at future meetings. One is finding progress in improvement of the Internet Wasteland or Internet Desert where Levy County and other rural counties in Florida now exist. The second topic was a big highway being potentially built through Levy County.
     Osteen and the NCBDC Board of Directors, unlike the Levy County Board of County Commissioners, are taking no stance on whether to endorse or oppose the Turnpike Extension proposed from Wildwood going north to the Georgia State line.
     The Levy County Commission voted 4-0 on a resolution to oppose the Turnpike Extension.


Baker County judge retires
Applicants sought for bench

Applications due by noon on Jan. 31
By Jeff M. Hardison © Jan. 15, 2022 at 8:11 a.m.
The retirement of Baker County Court Judge Joseph M. Williams has led the Eighth Judicial Circuit Court Nominating Commission (JNC) to seek applications from people who believe they qualify and who want the job, according to JNC Chairman Norm D. Fugate and Vice Chair Brian Kramer.

     Attorney Fugate is a private attorney who is board-certified as a real estate attorney, as well as board-certified as a city, county and local government attorney.
     Eighth Judicial Circuit State Attorney Kramer is the elected chief executive officer as well as the top prosecutor in the office of Eighth Judicial Circuit State Attorney.
     The governor will make the appointment of the person to that judgeship.
     The Eighth Judicial Circuit includes (Alachua, Baker, Bradford, Gilchrist, Levy, and Union counties.
      The Eighth Judicial Circuit JNC is comprised of, in addition to Fugate, who is the only Levy County member, and State Attorney Kramer, who like every other member is from Alachua County, includes Candice Brower, Ronald Bendekovic, Robert Woody, Rebecca Shinholser, Lindsey Turner, Christopher Elsey and Brent G. Siegel, according to records.
     Judicial Nominating Commissions (JNCs) select nominees to fill judicial vacancies within the Florida court system. There are 27 separate JNCs: one for the Florida Supreme Court; five for each of the district courts of appeal or “appellate districts”; 20 for each circuit court and the county courts contained in that circuit; and one Statewide Commission for Judges of Compensation Claims, according to records.

The Judicial Nominating Process
     A judicial vacancy may occur because of resignation, retirement, death, elevation of a sitting judge, or by newly created judgeship. Upon notification of a vacancy, the governor requests the chair of the JNC to convene the JNC for the purpose of selecting and submitting names of qualified individuals to the governor for appointment to the bench.
     The JNC investigates each applicant to confirm eligibility. Eligible applicants interview with the JNC, which then determines by majority vote which applicants to recommend to the governor for his consideration.
     The JNC has no more than 60 days from the time it is requested to convene to nominate no fewer than three and no more than six applicants to the governor.
     The governor has 60 days to appoint a judge from among the nominees.

Apply To Be The Judge
     As for the people seeking to be the next Baker County Court judge, applicants must meet the qualifications for a county court judge as set forth in the Florida Constitution and Florida statutes. All persons interested in applying must submit two copies of a complete application in .pdf format via email to norm@normdfugatepa.com.
     One of the .pdf copies should be submitted in redacted format and one in non-redacted format.
     Redacted format means that the document is submitted with redactions of all information which is confidential and/or exempt from the public right of access under Article I, Section 24(a) of the Florida Constitution, (for more information, refer to the 2021 Sunshine Manual, http://www.myfloridalegal.com/sun.nsf/sunmanual).
     The deadline for submitting the applications is Jan. 31, by 12 noon. Applications received after the deadline will not be considered. Incomplete applications will not be considered.
     Applications may be downloaded from The Florida governor’s JNC Information webpage: https://www.flgov.com/judicial-and-judicial-nominating-commission-information/ .
     The inclusion of a photograph is encouraged. Applicants should be aware that, if selected for an interview, the Commission has set a tentative date of Feb. 10, for interviews.
     Direct contact with a JNC commissioner, initiated by an applicant regarding his or her application, is discouraged. Candidate questions regarding the JNC process should be submitted in writing to the JNC chair.


NASA administrator and
top climate scientist
speak with journalists

Dr. Kate Calvin of NASA




Dr. Kate Calvin is seen (Monday, Jan. 10) at NASA Headquarters - the Mary W. Jackson building in Washington, D.C.
Photo Courtesy Of NASA/Bill Ingalls




By Jeff M. Hardison © Jan. 11, 2022 at 9:11 p.m.
– The chief scientist and senior climate advisor to National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Administrator Bill Nelson spoke with journalists from across the globe, including Russia, on Tuesday morning (Jan. 11).

     Dr. Katherine “Kate” Calvin had been appointed as NASA’s chief scientist and senior climate advisor to NASA Administrator Nelson just the day before on Jan. 10.
     Nelson, a former astronaut and a former congressman in the United States House of Representatives as well as being a former United States senator, fielded questions while serving as the emcee for the telephonic conference event.
     Dr. Calvin will advise NASA leadership on the agency's science programs and science-related strategic planning and investments. As senior climate advisor, she will provide insight and recommendations for the agency’s climate-related science, technology, and infrastructure programs.
     In February of 2021, NASA joined the National Climate Task Force established by President Joe Biden. This task force encourages a governmentwide approach to address climate change. With more than two dozen satellites and instruments observing key climate indicators, NASA is the premier agency in observing and understanding changes to Earth.
     Since 2008, Calvin has been an Earth scientist at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory's Joint Global Change Research Institute (JGCRI) in College Park, Maryland. She worked in JGCRI's Global Change Analysis Model, a system for exploring and analyzing the relationships between human and Earth systems in the context of global climate change.
     Also, Dr. Calvin worked on the United States Department of Energy’s Energy Exascale Earth System Model, a system for analyzing the past, present, and future state of the Earth system. Her research simulates the interaction between global resources, focusing on the impact of land, water, and energy use through an environmental and socioeconomic lens. 
     Calvin received her doctorate in Management, Science, and Engineering from Stanford University and a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science and Mathematics from the University of Maryland.
     During the teleconference, Nelson said Calvin, as senior science advisor to NASA, will serve as the principal advisor on science programs, strategic planning and science policy.
     Dr. Calvin will represent NASA’s objectives to the national and international science communities, Nelson said. The chief scientist’s role has been to integrate science across the agency, Nelson said.
     “Her experience in the past,” Nelson said, “make her especially qualified for this position.”
      Modeling an integrated human-Earth system, Nelson said, is among her former activities. 
     NASA is involved with the science of climate change, Nelson said, and that accounts for NASA being invited to participate with the Federal Emergency Management Agency on the first day of hurricane season (June 1). 
     The National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration NOAA), the National Weather Service (NWS), the United States Department of Homeland Security use instruments that are designed, built and launched by NASA, Nelson said. 
     Some of those tools are turned over to agencies like the Geospatial Agency, NOAA and the NWS, he continued.
     However, he added, some resources for scientific research are maintained by NASA alone. Among those, Nelson said, are the five Earth observatories dedicated to the determination of exactly what is happening to the planet’s climate.
     NASA will measure what is happening in regard to changing aspect of the planet’s water, land, atmosphere and ice, Nelson said.
     He noted that this includes not only the change in oceans, but the rise of river levels as well.
     Measuring the impact on humans by climate change on Earth, Nelson said, helps the agency work on methods to mitigate that impact on people.
     Likewise, NASA will continue its lead in aeronautics and space research. To continue in its missions, the agency needs consistency and funding, Nelson said. He is certain that the United States Congress will reach bipartisan agreement on Fiscal Year 2022 funding for NASA.
     To achieve the goals that are set in climate science, Nelson said NASA needs the additional funding it seeks.
     As Calvin spoke about her past, she noted her research in the interrelationship between human actions and climate change. Climate change’s impacts on humans and mitigation are among her research areas.
     She has collaborated with scientists in multidisciplinary fields of study that included physics, ecology, hydrology and economics. 
     As Calvin answered questions, she noted NASA’s plan to create a three-dimensional holistic view of Earth. Collaborating with the Indian scientific community, the agency strives to better understand ice sheet collapse, Calvin said.
     Beyond her studies of climate, other areas of science at NASA include mathematics and engineering. She mentioned the studies on the International Space Station that can be applied to providing drinking water on Earth.
     In regard to aeronautics, NASA is developing green fuels for energy. The agency is close to flying a completely electric-powered airplane. Nelson and others saw the airplane at the NASA Armstrong Center.
     This electric-powered airplane is getting ready to fly, Nelson said.
     The NASA Neil A. Armstrong Flight Research Center is an aeronautical research center operated by NASA. Its primary campus is located inside Edwards Air Force Base in California and is considered NASA's premier site for aeronautical research.
     Nelson went through each of the scientific mission directives of NASA to show how climate research relates to them. For instance, in the realm of human space exploration, he mentioned the plan to dig on the south pole of the Moon to find if there are substantial water resources.
     This will be in a commercial mission with the acronym CLIPS. NASA is working with several American companies to deliver science and technology to the lunar surface through the Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) initiative.
     If there is water on the Moon, Nelson added, the NASA will have a source for fuel that is not carbon-based.
      In answering a question from a Russian journalist, Nelson said NASA is in constant contact with Russia, in no small part as a result of the combined work performed on the International Space Station. Beyond that, astronauts and cosmonauts have launched from Russian-based sites.
     In regard to Nelson’s potential future visit with Dmitry Olegovich Rogozin, the NASA administrator said travel plans are limited from the global COVID-19 pandemic. Meanwhile, though, they can confer virtually through electronic means.
     Rogozin is a Russian politician who is currently serving as Director General of Roscosmos. Roscosmos emerged following the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991. It initially began as the Russian Space Agency.
     “I’m looking forward to meeting personally with Dmitry,” Nelson said. “and in the meantime, we can talk as frequently as need be (on the telephone).”
     Nelson reminded listeners that NASA has people in Russia who help the agency remain in constant contact with their counterparts in space science, especially with both countries having people on the International Space Station since it started.
     As the teleconference concluded Tuesday (Jan. 11), Nelson reminded everyone that every federal agency has an interest in what NASA does.
     “This is why, then, as we look to the outside world, that NASA represents such ‘soft power’ as we project our values, and our interests of our people,” Nelson said, “across the world. And you will continue to see that displayed as we are more and more involved in trying to bring about the precision of understanding what is happening to our climate – with these instruments and processes we talked about today.”


GrowFL appoints
new president and chief executive officer





Jennifer Taylor






 Story and Photo provided 
By Hannah Metevia
GrowFL Corporate Community Engagement Manager
Published Jan. 4, 2021 at 3:11 p.m.
GrowFL, Florida’s only organization dedicated exclusively to supporting second-stage businesses, today (Tuesday, Jan. 4) announced that its Board of Directors has named Jennifer Taylor as President and Chief Executive Officer.

     As a seasoned economic development professional, Taylor managed lead generation and business recruitment efforts for the Central Florida Development Council and the EDC of Sarasota County.
     Prior to this, she spent more than 15 years as vice president of Business Development for the Tampa Bay Partnership – an eight-county, regional economic development organization.
     Throughout her career, she has worked with corporate and industrial expansions and relocations such as McDonnell Douglas, Bristol Myers Squibb, Publix Super Markets, McKinsey Consulting, Depository Trust & Clearing, Nucor Steel Florida, Valmont Newmark, Amazon Air, and others that resulted in more than $1.8 billion in new capital investment and the creation of 8,500 new full-time jobs in Florida.
     "I am honored and humbled at the opportunity to serve GrowFL in this capacity. This is an economic developer's dream actually - providing tools, resources, and CEO connections to Florida's second-stage companies to help them grow to the next level,” Taylor said. “These companies are Florida's future and being a part of their success is extremely rewarding."
      “Jennifer is a great addition to the team. She truly gets what we are doing and brings energy, great skills, and relevant experience with her. I’m looking forward to working with her as we usher in a new year and a new chapter to GrowFL and the second stage companies we proudly serve,” said Dr. Tom O’Neal, GrowFL Founder.
     Taylor’s appointment comes as the organization’s former President and CEO, Tammie Sweet, is pursuing a new career with Florida-based technology company, Coastal Cloud. 


Daily news website
makes strong showing in 2021

HardisonInk.com continues thriving in 2021

Story and Graphic
By Jeff M. Hardison © Jan. 3, 2022 at 8:11 a.m.
The daily news website with its home office based in the unrecorded subdivision known as Jemlands maintained high traffic by visitors throughout 2021.

     The daily news website named HardisonInk.com thrived in 2021 -- thanks to people using it for information, education and entertainment, according to two independent third-party robotic measuring devices -- Google Analytics and cPanel – providing records for October traffic.
    Jeff M. Hardison, publisher and sole proprietor doing business as HardisonInk.com, shared his perspective on some news regarding the website’s 11th year in business.
     Throughout 2021, the daily news website averaged 10,000 unique visitors and one million hits a month. The December figures showed a slight uptick from the November numbers.
     HardisonInk.com began its 11th year on Feb. 1, 2021. The award-winning website starts Year 12 on Feb. 1, 2022.
     The 2021 monthly averages for 2021 are shown below:
Unique Visitors
10,146 Monthly Average In 2021

Number of Visits
23,053 Monthly Average In 2021

53,581 Monthly Average In 2021

990,253 Monthly Average In 2021

     Hardison said he is thankful to God for all things. The sole proprietor of this small business said he is grateful to the individuals who continue reading and viewing stories, photos and videos.
     These numbers through 2021 reflect the excellent work completed this immediately past year as the daily news website carries on.
     The business owner said he extremely appreciates other local small business owners and interests who continue to buy ads to sponsor HardisonInk.com.
     The first gauge reflects Unique Visitors.
     Webopedia.com defines unique visitor as "a person who visits a website more than once within a specified period of time."
     Software used for this report can distinguish between visitors who only visit the site once and unique visitors -- who return to the site.
     The unique visitor is different from a site's hits or page views -- which are measured by the number of files that are requested from a site. Unique visitors are measured according to their unique Internet Protocol addresses, which are like online fingerprints, and unique visitors are counted only once no matter how many times they visit the site after they have visited it twice.
     There has been zero increased cost for advertisers who sponsor the daily news website – other than the short-term advertisers since the start of the daily news website in 2011, he continued. Also, the ads on the side grew from being 260-pixels wide to being 300-pixels wide now.
     The Hits for December were listed at 1,096,653. The 11-month average is about one million – 990,000-plus.
     What is a “hit?” When a viewer looks at a page, there are elements on the page that register a “hit.” For instance, if there are four pictures on a page, then that equals four “hits.” Like all the gauges, this is a measure of traffic.
     All measurements combined show that the daily news website is continuing its trend of progress each year – despite a loss of readers who died from COVID-19 and other causes.
     Again listed as a winner of first, second or third place statewide in the 2021 Florida Press Club’s Annual Excellence In Journalism Contest in the Online Independent News Site, HardisonInk.com awaits the final announcement on placement there – which will be in late January.
     HardisonInk.com continues to provide readers, viewers and listeners with news and human interest stories, photos and videos. Business owners and others see this is the best site for Levy, Dixie and Gilchrist counties’ daily news every day -- as well as picking up statewide news, national news and international news.
     People know there are no bounds to stop HardisonInk.com from coverage as its intrepid, illustrious and prolific owner goes where it is needed to inform, educate and entertain people.
     This daily news website is the best medium in this market to advertise, which is proved by the traffic numbers as well as the results seen by sponsors.
     This daily news website has the Weather Bug on the Home Page for all current weather and forecasting needs, including radar and Weather Alerts. It has columns for quilt reports, Christian devotionals, Exploring Finances and more.
     HardisonInk.com provides state news on occasion when it is merited. And there have been national and international stories on the seven pages.

     The St. Petersburg, Florida native said his wife is a vital part of the reason for such a high success rate for the website.
     "I thank God for bringing Sharon Hardison into my life more than 35 years ago now," Jeff Hardison said. "She does so much for me, that it continues to fill me with awe daily. Sharon is the multiple award-winning graphic artist who creates most of the ads. She is my bookkeeper who provides information to my accountant, too. The archive page is from her work. Go to any of the seven pages and find the ad for the archive page on the bottom right column and click on it.
     "A new window will open," he continued. "Just go to the month you want and scroll down. If you see a link that looks interesting, click on it. CHECK OUT OUR VIDEOS on YouTube.com.”

     HardisonInk.com is visible for free to anyone who can see pages on the Internet. Therefore, people all over the world – and in the International Space Station – can view it.
     This site is subscription-free entirely because of its sponsors. Not only do advertisers help the people in the world (and astronauts in space) see Levy, Dixie and Gilchrist counties, but those business interests enjoy the most exposure for the least ad dollars spent.
     "We don't use pop-up ads," Hardison said. "Our ads don't move around by the minute. And I promote our advertisers in other places in addition to HardisonInk.com. I have removed the national ads. Those used to be placed by a broker who would pay me to have them on my site. Some of them had automatic videos, which I found unwanted."
     HardisonInk.com is the best daily news website that covers Levy, Dixie and Gilchrist counties (and beyond).
     This daily news website provides the best return on investment of dollars spent on advertising in the world, because people all over the world see it. As for interests in the Tri-County Area of Levy, Dixie and Gilchrist counties, the same is true because the Tri-County Area is the primary focal point of news coverage. This is Year 11.
     Year 12 starts on Feb. 1, 2022.


Publisher gets a boost
By Jeff M. Hardison © Dec. 29, 2021 at 8:11 a.m.
     TRENTON –
Tuesday afternoon (Dec. 28) heralded another happy day for HardisonInk.com owner and publisher Jeff M. Hardison.

Get A Vaccine and then Get A Booster

Get A Vaccine and then Get A Booster

Get A Vaccine and then Get A Booster
In the three pictures above, Malina Ruvio, R.N., with the Florida Department of Health, puts the needle into the patient's arm, administers the vaccine and then bandages the spot. The black strap around Jeff Hardison’s shoulder is attached to a camera bag.
© Dec. 29, 2021 at 8:11 a.m.

Photos By Amada Haley as a volunteer for HardisonInk.com.

     The 65-year-old multiple award-winning journalist received his booster shot of Moderna to ward off COVID-19, and to help reduce the odds of spreading the disease to other humans. 
     The publisher received his first shot Jan. 18 and his second inoculation against the virus was provided by the FDOH on Feb. 24.
     The intrepid, prolific and illustrious writer, editor, photographer, videographer and ad salesman traveled to the Trenton office of the Florida Department of Health for his booster. That office is near to the UF/IFAS Extension Office and it is west of the MacDonald’s on Wade Avenue (State Road 26) on the north side of the road.
     Malina Ruvio, R.N., with the Florida Department of Health, administered the booster via injection in the FDOH office in Trenton. Amanda Haley, a front desk staff member at that office, took the pictures when asked to do so after the patient-journalist and nurse concurred it was A-OK.
     “This was another great day of interacting with the wonderful people in the Tri-County Unit of the Florida Department of Health,” Hardison said. “Everyone in the office was friendly and professional. Another boost I got for my day – beyond the booster and beyond having friendly professionals help me – was to see a friend who retired from her workaday life some years ago.”
     The reporter-photographer said all three of his vaccination-booster events have been published to help encourage others to join in the effort to stop the spread. 
     “I used the Florida Department of Health,” Hardison said, “but these vaccines are available at your medical care providers, as well as at pharmacies. Just ask and you will be answered. Seek and you will find. Request and you will be vaccinated (and even photographed on occasions where it can happen, too).
     The journalist said he feels more comfortable now as he prepares to attend the Florida Press Club’s Annual Awards Banquet next month. That is where Hardison is to accept either a first, second or third place award in the category of Online Independent News Site from all of the competitors statewide throughout Florida for his daily news website’s work in 2021.
     “That is next month. Also, in 10 days,” Hardison added, “I plan to be at a different banquet where some great men and women will be honored in their professions as law enforcement officers, firefighters and emergency medical service providers. I can’t eat with a facemask on; so, I will have that away from my face for that part of that evening. Having the booster now, I am even more confident that the virus won’t be bugging me.”
     The sole proprietor of the daily news website said on Wednesday morning (Dec. 29) that he is still thinking about how he feels this morning. 
     “I may have some extra aches, but I am not certain, “Hardison said. “If I do, it is not enough to bother me. Some people said it takes a couple of days for the booster to cause them discomfort and the like.”
     The journalist said he endorses every person who is eligible and can accept a vaccination against COVID-19 to get the vaccination, and to then get the booster. He noted his great appreciation for all of the people in the medical profession who help save lives and better the quality of life for other people.
     “I endorse this,” Hardison added, “just as I have tried to help the public understand that virologists are smarter about preventing problems from viruses than people who do not watch mutations occur through a microscope. I have seen and experienced a lot in my life. Based on all that I know, and all that I have seen, et cetera, I say ‘Get vaccinated.’”



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