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M-CORES Protests Persist
Renate Cannon of Levy County
Renate Cannon of Levy County holds a sign saying ‘Death By Toll’ as one of the two signs she held when she spoke to the Levy County Board of County Commissioners on Tuesday night (Feb. 18). Another sign she held said ‘No Build.’ Cannon and others again have told the County Commission that they object to the plan by Gov. Ron DeSantis and the Florida Department of Transportation to build a toll road through Levy County. That plan is known as M-CORES. To see the government’s version of reality in this regard, as well as to see places to participate in public hearings, visit Among the points Cannon shared was her opinion that M-CORES will have a negative impact on drinking water resources in Florida, especially in this region of the state. Other members of the public continue sharing with elected leaders their objections to M-CORES toll roads through this part of Florida.

Photo By Jeff M. Hardison © Feb. 19, 2020 at 10:10 a.m.

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Conference set for April 23
focuses on retaining
workforce critical to region;

Conference in Marion County
By Laura Byrnes, APR, CPRC
Communications Manager
CareerSource Citrus Levy Marion
Published Feb. 17, 2020 at 7:10 p.m.
     OCALA --
Registration is now open for CareerSource Citrus Levy Marion’s 2020 State of Workforce Conference: Focusing on Your 21st Century Workforce.
     The conference takes place April 23 from 7:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Circle Square Cultural Center, 8395 SW 80th St., in Ocala. Bringing together businesses, community and public partners, education leaders and HR professionals, the conference examines visionary practices for retaining a workforce critical to the region’s economic prosperity and quality of life.
     In addition, the second annual Bridging the Gap award will be presented to an area business that has gone above and beyond to build the regional workforce by closing gaps in skills, training and opportunity.
     Individual tickets, which include breakfast and lunch, are $25 and are available by clicking HERE.
     The registration deadline is April 17.
     Limited sponsorship opportunities, including corporate tables, are also available. For information, call 352-861-1657 or 800-746-9950, ext. 1202.
     Rusty Skinner, CEO of CareerSource CLM, said that while last year’s sold-out conference “focused on helping local businesses overcome tough and complex challenges faced in cultivating their talent pipeline, the vision for 2020 is on workforce retention.”
     Focusing will cover:
     ● Retaining talent by capitalizing on Millennials in the workforce;
     ● Getting the most out of the region’s 2020 Workforce Retention Survey, commissioned by CareerSource CLM; and
     ● Leveraging the region’s labor market and trends
     The conference culminates with the Bridging the Gap awards luncheon. Last year’s recipients were Capris Furniture, Raney’s Truck Center, R+L Global Logistics and the Marion County Board of County Commissioners Fleet Management Department. They were honored for helping drive the success of the region’s locally-based Commercial Driving Program offered by Marion Technical College.
     Presenting sponsors for the conference are Benefit Advisors and the Ocala/Marion County Chamber & Economic Partnership.
     As the region’s recognized workforce leader, CareerSource Citrus Levy Marion collaborates with local economic development, education and community partners to develop world-class education/training and employment services to meet regional workforce needs.


Can You Improve
Your Relationship with Money?

Published Feb. 17, 2020 at 7:10 a.m.
     NEWBERRY --
In your life, you will have all sorts of relationships – with your family, your friends, your co-workers, and even with civic groups and charitable organizations you support.

     But have you ever considered another key relationship – the one you have with money?
     Of course, this type of relationship has several aspects, such as saving, spending and investing. And your fellow Americans clearly face some challenges in these areas. For example, in a recent survey by financial services firm Edward Jones, only 21 percent of respondents reported that they feel happy when thinking about saving money, while 92 percent said they see room for improvement in their financial health. Yet only one in four plan to improve their spending habits. Furthermore, just 26 percent said retirement was a top savings priority.
     If you share some of these concerns, what should you do? Here are a few suggestions:
     • Identify your money-related emotions. Try to recognize the emotions you feel in connection with saving and investing. Do you get nervous about spending? Does putting away money for the future give you satisfaction or not? Do you worry that you don’t know how much you should be investing, or whether you’re investing in the right way? Clearly, these types of questions can cause some anxiety – and, even more importantly, they may lead you to make poor decisions. Emotions are obviously closely tied to money – but they really should not play a big role in your spending, saving and investing choices.
     • Develop a financial strategy. By developing a sound financial strategy, you can reduce money-related stress and help yourself feel empowered as you look to the future. A comprehensive strategy can help you identify your goals – a down payment on a new home, college for your children, a comfortable retirement, and so on – and identify a path toward reaching them. Your financial strategy should incorporate a variety of factors, including your age, risk tolerance, income level, family situation and more. Here’s the key point: By creating a long-term strategy and sticking to it, you’ll be far less likely to overreact to events such as market downturns and less inclined to give in to impulses such as “spur of the moment” costly purchases. And without such a strategy, you will almost certainly have less chance of achieving your important goals.
     • Get an “accountability partner.” Your relationship with money doesn’t have to be monogamous – you can get help from an “accountability partner.” Too many people keep their financial concerns and plans to themselves, not even sharing them with their partners or other family members. But by being open about your finances to your loved ones, you can not only avoid misplaced expectations but also enlist the help of someone who may be able to help keep you on track toward your short- and long-term goals. But you may also benefit from the help of a financial professional – someone with the perspective, experience and skills necessary to help you make the right moves.
     Like all successful relationships, the one you have with money requires work. But you’ll find it’s worth the effort.
     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.

Dixie County Chamber
of Commerce meets

Dixie County Chamber of Commerce
Keynote speaker Dental Assistant Raelynn Brownell, representing Cross City Dental, tells people about the importance of proper dental care, including regular visits to the dentist. Cross City Dental is among the members of the Dixie County Chamber of Commerce.

Story and Photos
By Jeff M. Hardison © Feb. 16, 2020 at 8:10 a.m.
The Dixie County Chamber of Commerce conducted its monthly luncheon meeting Thursday (Feb. 13), and once again it set the bar for Chambers’ monthly meetings.
     Held in the conference room of the Dixie County Public Library (next to the Subway sandwich store in Cross City), the meeting included many members and guests that afternoon.
     Dixie County Chamber of Commerce President Andrew Rains, who works at Nature Coast Insurance in Cross City, presided over the meeting.

Dixie County Chamber of Commerce
Dental Assistant Raelynn Brownell

     The keynote speaker was Dental Assistant Raelynn Brownell, representing Cross City Dental, where Dr. Illya “Elliot” Novikov, DDS, helps patients.
     Brownell shared with listeners information to remind them of the importance of proper dental health and regular visits to their dentist.
     There was a wonderful homemade hot lunch thanks to 2019 Citizen of the Year Ruth Ann Lovelace, who is a hairdresser. Other Chamber members joined Lovelace to help assure that everyone had a chance to enjoy the shepherd’s pie (this version included corn), chilled green peas and onions, and cornbread muffins. Drinks and desserts were provided as well to provide a very enjoyable meal during the one-hour meeting.
     There were some new members of the Chamber present at the February meeting.
     Michael Sousbe, manager of the SunStop Market, 15726 S.E. U.S. Highway 19, in Cross City, introduced himself. The SunStop Market is the former Walmart convenience store that is a bit north of the former Dixie County High School – on the west side of U.S. Highway 19.

Dixie County Chamber of Commerce
Sgt. Ashley Riley, a field recruiter with Cross City Correctional Institution, is present to represent this part of the Florida Department of Corrections. Sgt. Riley said CCCI has openings for correctional officers and is paying a $1,000 signing bonus currently.

     Another new visitor was Sgt. Ashley Riley, a field recruiter with Cross City Correctional Institution. This Florida Department of Corrections facility employs several people, and Sgt. Riley said there are opening for correctional officers. (There is currently a $1,000 signing bonus, too.)
     George Houbac of the Cricket Wireless store that recently opened in the shopping plaza on the east side of U.S. 19 in Old Town, just south of the stop light, enjoyed his second visit, having been at the meeting in January.
     Houbac is president of KAIA Ventures Inc. of Gainesville. He brought KAIA Ventures Vice President Bobby Gagné with him as a guest Thursday afternoon. Both gentlemen were well-received by the Chamber.
     A longtime Chamber member, who recently retired, was among the many people at the monthly meeting on that second Thursday of the month.
     Bob Leichner, who earned the 2019 “Raymond E. Warren Award” from the Dixie County Chamber was at the luncheon. This award is given annually to the member for outstanding support of the Chamber’s mission and activities.
     Bob and his wife Dotti Leichner are the former owners of Dixie Music Center of Old Town. This music store is no longer open, with the couple having retired from that retail venture. Bob continues working with schools, churches and the like in regard to music and public address systems. Dotti has started focusing on the fine art of painting as well as being a performing artist.
     Bob and Dotti are both performing as musicians with various bands in the area, too.
     Steve Smith, a financial advisor from the Lake City office of Edward Jones, was in attendance. He conducts monthly luncheons at the library too.
     A representative of Locklear and Associates of Gainesville, an engineering firm that serves clients in Dixie County, was present to represent the firm at the Chamber meeting.
     Heather Smith of Drummond Community Bank was at the meeting to represent this financial institution.
     Chamber Treasurer Debbie Dembo, manager of Ameris Bank in Cross City, was present to represent that bank.
     Carol West, who said she is a volunteer for the Chamber, was at the meeting. West is a past president, and must be considered among the top cheerleaders for the Chamber and for Dixie County.
     West reported there are currently 42 business owners who have renewed their Chamber memberships for 2020, and there are another 17 individuals who renewed for this year. She sees a need for about 60-plus more businesses to join or renew memberships this year.
     This Chamber promotes existing business interests, invites and welcomes new business ventures, West said as a new member asked about benefits of joining the Chamber. The Dixie County Chamber of Commerce conducts ribbon-cutting ceremonies, holds annual events to draw visitors to the area, meets monthly to help people know about the current local economy and more.
     Jeff Cary, a volunteer who says he takes pictures and videos and posts them to social media sites, was present for the meeting. Cary has been active in promoting the Chamber’s annual airport fly-in and expo event as well.
     Cross City City Council Member Heddie Johnson, who is also a voluntary leader in the Dixie County Anti-Drug Coalition, was in attendance to represent those interests.
     Katrina VanAernam, executive director of the Dixie County Anti-Drug Coalition and representing VanAernam Timber, was present as well. She mentioned the Feb. 25 event slated for the Taste of Dixie Diner in Cross City (which is among the events listed on the Community Calendar of the CALENDAR PAGE).
     A representative of CareerSource Florida Crown, which serves Columbia, Dixie, Gilchrist and Union counties, was at the meeting. The CareerSource office in Old Town offers help with people who want to earn their GED and much more.
     Like the CareerSource Citrus|Levy|Marion, this is a state agency that helps employers and employees connect with one another. All CareerSource sites also provide training and have a vast array of other resources to help the local economy grow.
     A representative from the office of U.S. Rep. (Dr.) Neal Dunn, M.D. (R-District 2 Florida) was at the meeting. She said Will Kendrick of Dr. Dunn’s office had planned to attend, but Kendrick was unable to do so that Thursday.
     Kathryn McInnis, president of the Dixie County Education Foundation, was present. She shared with Chamber members the wonderful success of that group.
     The Dixie County Education helped distribute about $200,000 in scholarships last year, although countywide there was a higher total of dollars donated to further education beyond high school. McInnis said the Foundation is especially interested in helping students learn about vocational and trade schools after high school.
     Other individuals were among the diverse set of business interests at the monthly Dixie County Chamber of Commerce meeting on Feb. 13.
     There are several Chambers of Commerce across the various communities in the Tri-County Area of Levy, Dixie and Gilchrist counties.
     The Dixie County Chamber is helping new enterprisers take hold and assisting established businesses in continuing to grow.


CF nursing professor earns
distinguished faculty award

CF Associate Professor Wins Award
CF Associate Professor Angela Martin

Story and Photo Provided
By CF Marketing, Public and Community Relations
Published Feb. 14, 2020 at 4:10 p.m.
     OCALA -- 
Associate Professor Angela Martin of the College of Central Florida has been honored with the Dale P. Parnell Distinguished Faculty designation.
    This award is named in honor of Parnell, a former American Association of Community Colleges President and CEO.
     Recipients demonstrate passion for students and the classroom, show willingness to support students, inside and outside of the classroom, are recognized for participation in college committees, and go above and beyond what is required to ensure that students are successful in their academic careers.
    Martin teaches in the Associate Degree Nursing program at CF. In 2018, she developed and implemented an innovative priority simulation for third semester nursing students to improve prioritization and critical thinking in nursing students that involves one student caring for three complicated patients.
    This novel approach to simulation has been nationally recognized through presentations at the National League for Nursing/University of Central Florida Simulation Conference and the Organization for Associate Degree Nursing Conference.
    Martin has been recognized as the recipient of the Instructor Award for the 2019 Celebration of Nurses from Ocala Magazine.
To learn more about CF’s Health Sciences programs, visit


SRWMD gives sales pitch
for joining water authority

SRWMD Steve Minnis
SRWMD Deputy Executive Director Steve Minnis tells the Chiefland City Commission about the water management district and about advantages of the city joining the Nature Coast Regional Water Authority.

Photos and Story
By Jeff M. Hardison © Feb. 13, 2020 at 6:10 a.m.
The deputy executive director of the Suwannee River Water Management District gave a sales pitch for the City of Chiefland to join a regional water authority, at a mere cost of $500 per year currently.


Chiefland City Commission
Conducting business as three of the five members of the Chiefland City Commission are (from left) Vice Mayor Tim West, Commissioner Rollin Hudson and Mayor Chris Jones.

Chiefland City Commission
Conducting business as two of the five members of the Chiefland City Commission are commissioners Lewrissa Mainwaring and Norman Weaver.

     SRWMD Deputy Executive Director Steve Minnis first provided insight about this particular water management district, which is one of five for the State of Florida. In 1972, the Florida Legislature divided the state into five districts as it created a new taxing authority, which manages as well as regulates water use.
     The SRWMD is the smallest of the five districts, even though it has the springs with the most output of water. The SRWMD includes all of Columbia, Dixie, Gilchrist Hamilton, Lafayette, Madison, Suwannee, Taylor and Union counties, and part of Alachua Baker, Bradford, Jefferson, Levy and Putnam counties.
     For the past number of years, the people of Levy County have called upon their state legislators to take the part of Levy County that is in the Southwest Florida Water Management District (Swiftmud) and put it in the SRWMD. That legislation has not passed, although it may one day.
     The mission of the SRWMD, Minnis said, is “to protect and manage water resources using science-based solutions to support natural systems and the needs of the public.”
     Minnis asserted a couple of times that the SRWMD is science-based to the point of overcoming politics. Meanwhile, in his presentation, he intimated the odds of cost-saving and water project approval by the SRWMD would be enhanced if the City of Chiefland joined the Nature Coast Regional Water Authority (NCRWA) – which currently includes Dixie County, Gilchrist County, the City of Fanning Springs and the Town of Bell.
     During his presentation, Minnis told the Chiefland City Commission that the lower Santa Fe River, and Ichetucknee River are “in recovery.” The SRWMD has 13 rivers within its jurisdiction.
     The supply of water in contrast with the increased demand for water, Minnis said, “have caused some issues throughout the district.”
     The SRWMD is embarking on establishing what it will use as benchmarks for minimum flows of water, and minimal levels of water from the bottoms of riverbeds to the top of the surface of the water above them.
     These minimum flows and levels are being established for the Upper Suwannee River and the Lower Suwannee River, he said, and he is forecasting completion of that data base by the end of 2020.
     As Minnis made his presentation about different industries or interests consuming water in the district, there was a question about bottle water. Nestle has been criticized by some area residents for taking millions of gallons of water from the SRWMD and putting it into bottles for sale.
     The impact of bottled water on the total resources, Minnis said, is relatively insignificant. It fits in with other uses that account for about 1 percent.
     The SRWMD had designated a western area of the district as it makes its projections for future water use during the next 20 years, he said. The district updates projected water use plans each five years, looking two decades into the future.
     Part of this planning process, he explained, includes projects to assure there is an adequate water supply for all uses. The staff of the City of Chiefland, he continued, will provide input during this process – as will other stakeholders in that designated area – for the SRWMD who are creating plans and projects looking to the future. By the end of 2021, that plan will be in place, Minnis forecast.
     As for the current water users in this water management district, agriculture is the biggest at 54 percent. The next largest is commercial/industrial/institutional and mining/dewatering (bottled water is included in this category) at 28 percent. Domestic self-supply shows 6 percent use (private wells); followed by public supply (cities and counties) at 5 percent; livestock at 4 percent; landscape/recreation/aesthetics at 2 percent; and thermo power electric generation (cooling towers for a power plant in Suwannee County) at 1 percent.
     The Suwannee River Power Plant of Live Oak is owned by Duke Energy Florida. It is primarily fueled by natural gas with distilled petroleum as a secondary fuel source, according to records.
     Minnis clearly endorsed Chiefland joining the Nature Coast Regional Water Authority to be partners with Dixie County, Gilchrist County, the City of Fanning Springs and the Town of Bell.
     He said this organization is a partnership.
     “Everyone sits at the table and has a voice,” Minnis said.
     The service areas of the individual members are maintained by those entities separate from the whole, he said. There is a budget set by the NCRWA itself, he said.
     Minnis encouraged the Chiefland City Commission to attend the next monthly meeting, which is scheduled to be at Fanning Springs City Hall, 17651 N.W. 90th Court, on Feb. 19, starting at 4 p.m.
     The NCRWA meets each third Wednesday, Minnis said.
     Chiefland previously rejected an offer to join the NCRWA, years ago.

Stoney Smith of Fanning Springs
Stoney Smith, a former mayor of the City of Fanning Springs, was present Monday night at the meeting in Chiefland. Here, Smith endorses Chiefland joining the NCRWA, as he speaks to the City Commission from his seat in the audience.

     Chiefland City Manager Mary Ellzey offered to provide the City Commission members with minutes of relevant meetings so that they may understand why the city opted out of that membership years ago.
     Chiefland Mayor Chris Jones, pointing out that he was just one of the five voting members of the City Commission, indicated his interest in learning more about the NCRWA to consider joining it. 
     There is a potential for the Chiefland City Commission to conduct a workshop for the elected municipal leaders to determine if the potential advantages of joining the NCRWA outweighs the potential disadvantages.

Levy County moves forward
with business development

Levy County Florida Tourism
Levy County Commissioner John Meeks accepts a plaque from Levy County Tourist Development Director Tisha Whitehurst on Tuesday morning (Feb. 4). Tourism is a significant economic engine for Levy County. Agriculture and working in government are two of the other significant industries in this county.

Levy County Florida Tourism
Levy County Commissioner John Meeks and Levy County Tourist Development Director Tisha Whitehurst pause for a photo opportunity Tuesday morning. Whitehurst spoke about Meeks' excellent service to the people of Levy County in regard to the Tourist Development Council.

Story and Photos
By Jeff M. Hardison © Feb. 5, 2020 at 10:10 p.m.
     BRONSON –
Action taken, and information released at the Levy County Commission meeting Tuesday (Feb. 4) shows the county moving forward with tourist signage and other business development.

Levy County Florida Commission
Levy County Commission Chairman Matt Brooks (left) and former Chairman John Meeks look at material during the meeting on Tuesday. Brooks and Meeks both have a demonstrated understanding of business. Brooks owns B4 Signs and Advertising and Meeks serves as the manager of the Ace Hardware store in Bronson.

     A sign to designate the place to turn off of U.S. Alt. 27 east of Williston will point the way toward Cedar Lakes Woods And Gardens.
     To see a 2017 story about Cedar Lakes Woods And Gardens, click HERE.
     The unanimous 5-0 vote Tuesday on a motion by County Commissioner John Meeks, seconded by Commissioner Mike Joyner, shows the County Commission requesting approval of the initial application to the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) by the botanical gardens’ owner Dr. Raymond Webber for a tourist-oriented directional sign (TODS).
     This TODS is the first in Levy County. Levy County Road Department Administrative Field Manager Casey Duquette said the staff review of the application completed by Dr. Webber was picture perfect.
     Among the documents presented, the owner showed visitors coming to the attraction from several different states and various countries from around the globe, truly helping it qualify for these directional signs to help visitors.
     These signs, if FDOT approves them, will be only on U.S. Alt. 27 and they will not interfere with existing signage for other attractions in the area, Duquette said.
     Dr. Webber has paid the initial request fee and has completed every form ideally, with exhibits to mirror the requirements to comply. Duquette said this first applicant has set the bar for future applicants for TODS.
     This sign is to be approved by the FDOT, which will issue the permit and identify the specifications of pole placement, sign size, etc. Dr. Webber will purchase the material and he will hire a person to place the sign in the state right-of-way.
     In other business news, Nature Coast Business Development Council Executive Director David Pieklik provided the County Commission with a report of economic progress in the county from November through now.
     Pieklik mentioned there is a company planning to open and provide about 20 jobs with an average annual salary that is anticipated to be higher than the county average of $31,500. This is an out-of-state manufacturer in the plastic extrusion business, he said. This manufacturing plant will be in the Williston area on State Road 121, he said.
     Economic growth in 2020 so far, he said, resembles 2019 and that is relatively good for Levy County, Pieklik said.
     While the Quick Care Meds urgent care center has opened, just south of Walgreen’s in Chiefland, there is also a plan to build a walk-in clinic at the former site of Nature Coast Hospice, which is just north of the medical plaza that houses Palms Medical Group on U.S. Highway 19 in northern downtown Chiefland.
     Pieklik said the doctor who plans to open the walk-in clinic has said he intends to make it a hospital. Chiefland residents know plenty of stories about plans for a hospital to be built in that city for the past 15 years or more.
     As Pieklik gave his presentation, he mentioned that in general aquaculture continues strong in the county. The executive director of the NCBDC mentioned that he is driven to help existing business to continue to thrive, just as he wants to invite new enterprisers to the county.
     One significant business success story is the 2019 relocation and expansion of A&M Manufacturing, seen by clicking HERE.


Website wraps ninth year
with typically high traffic

‘Here’s To 10 Years!’ theme launches

Stats for January of 2020

By Jeff M. Hardison © Feb. 1, 2020 at 8:10 a.m.
     THE WORLD –
The daily news website named concluded its ninth year of existence with figures from Jan. 1 through Jan. 31 at par with the monthly averages for the actual year of 2019
, according to the two independent third-party robotic measuring devices named Google Analytics and cPanel.
     Jeff M. Hardison, owner, publisher and sole proprietor doing business as shared his perspective on some matters with the start of his tenth year as the owner of this business.
     “In the previous nine years,” Hardison said, “my wife Sharon and I have increased our indoor cat herd 100 percent, from owning only Goldy to now having Goldy and Inky as mascots for the daily news website.
     “As for the news website,” he continued, “it grew from 1,700 unique visitors as the average monthly amount during the calendar year of 2011 to an average monthly number of 11,200 unique visitors in 2019. Hits went from a 2011 monthly average of 210,000 to an average of in excess of 1.2 million hits a month in 2019. Nowadays, we see as much traffic in one month as we did for our entire first year.”

Average Monthly numbers
Unique Visitors
2011 - 1,700
2019 - 11,200

2011 - 210,000
2019 - 1.2 (plus) million

     During the past 10 years, the small office moved from a house where the couple had rented from a cattle rancher to their own property that became named The Ink Pad. That residence and main working site is in an unrecorded subdivision known as Jemlands in the unincorporated area of Levy County.
      Except for two days when Hardison was hospitalized after emergency surgery, the website has had daily news posted each day. The publisher suffered a compound fracture to bones in his arm and wrist that required the installation of a metal plate, four screws and seven pins.
     That injury was sustained from him running backwards and tripping on a square reflector in the middle of U.S. Highway 19, just north of Park Avenue in Chiefland when he was covering the Christmas Parade of 2018. He wanted to photograph a float that had passed and was moving southbound.
     “Sharon and I have evacuated The Ink Pad with the two indoor cats as the result of hurricanes,” he said.
     Needles, the outdoor community cat of Jemlands, is too feral to be able to evacuate. He continues eating twice daily on The Ink Pad property, as he also enjoys fresh water placed in a cat bowl for him twice a day.
     As for the numbers reflecting monthly traffic in the final month of the “Keeping It Fine In Year Nine” period (Feb. 1, 2019-Jan. 31, 2020), January reflects the typically high amount of traffic to the daily news website.
     The daily news website continues showing traffic that is attractive to advertisers.

2019 Monthly Averages
Unique Visitors -- 11,204
Number of Visits -- 27,293
Pages Viewed -- 103,257
Hits -- 1,261,331 (about 1.3 million)

    The 2018 (“Keeping It Great In Year Eight”) monthly average of 1.3 million hits ticked up a bit, as did the measures across the various realms, according to the two independent third-party robotic measuring devices named Google Analytics and cPanel.
     Hardison reminds all readers that first he is thankful to God for all things.
     Beyond that, he added, he is thankful for the continued reading and viewing of stories, photos and videos, which shows a strong base of people as the daily news website moves forward along into its tenth year of existence, starting on Feb. 1 of this year.
     Likewise, the business owner said he extremely appreciates the smart business owners and other interests who advertise on

     The numbers for January of 2019 are shown in the graphic at the top of this story.
     The first gauge reflects Unique Visitors. 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.
     “I continue looking forward to every second in 2020,” Hardison said. “As never breaks stride in its coming tenth year of existence, the theme in that 12-month span will be “Here’s To 10 Years.”
    The January total of unique visitors 11,134.
     “I remember one month during the first year,” Hardison said, “when I thought 800 was a lot of unique visitors to be touching the website in a month. With the January monthly amount of computer addresses visiting the daily news website each month, I am confident and proud to sell ads at the same rate that was good when there were only 800 a month. We have not increased the cost for our advertisers who sponsor the daily news website. Well, the short-term advertisers are paying more, but the annual ads are the same. As for the national ads at the bottom of the pages, that varies by traffic and is through my broker for those ads.”
     Another measure of traffic is the number of visits.
     In January, the number was 27,406 visits.
     Pages Viewed shows how many different pages the visitors looked at. This website has the Home Page, Police Page, Calendar Page, Business Page, Community Page, Life Page and the Leisure Page.
     The monthly total pages viewed in January was 100,241. There are ads on each page, and the readers see those ads.
     The January total of hits was almost 1.4 million (1,371,397), which is higher than the monthly average of 1.3 million for 2019.
     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 may equal four “hits.” Like all of the gauges, this is a measure of traffic.
     All of the measurements combined show the daily news website is continuing to progress and grow each year.
     “These figures mean there are a lot of people each day who use as a source for information,” Hardison said. “And they return daily. If your product or service is better than the competitors’ products and services, then you will have better odds of being the manufacturer, farmer or service provider of first choice in any market.” continues to provide readers, viewers and listeners (yes, the videos on have sound) 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 on occasion.
     People know there are no bounds for where coverage will go.
     This 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.
     “There is an intangible result,” Hardison said. “A free press serves a free society. This is a cornerstone of American democracy. The benefits to local communities from this broader truth are not calculable so much on raw dollars as they are in the spirit of America.” 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 and more. provides state news on the BUSINESS PAGE and other pages on occasion when it is merited. And there have been national and international stories on other pages, including the HOME PAGE and POLICE PAGE.
     Hardison, a Florida native, said his wife is a vital part of the reason for such a high success rate for the website.
     "I can't say enough about my wife Sharon Hardison," Jeff Hardison said. "She does so much for me, that it is incredible. Sharon is the graphic artist who does most of the ads. She is my bookkeeper who provides information to my accountant, too. One thing I need to bring people's attention to is our archive page. 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. The newest addition is a direct link to all of the videos that have been published. CHECK OUT OUR VIDEOS on If you see any video you want to watch, click on it.”
     ADVERTISEMENT KEEPS IT GOING 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.
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Dixie County Chamber
Holds 55th Annual Meeting

The Dixie County Chamber of Commerce held its 55th Annual Meeting Monday night (Jan. 27), and some of the recognition to volunteers is reflected in the three photos below.

Dixie County Chamber
Andrew Rains (left) presents the Raymond E. Warren Award to Chamber member award to Bob Leichner, who was named as the outstanding Dixie Chamber member who supports its mission and activities. Standing next to Bob is his wife Dotti Leichner.

Dixie County Chamber
Beverly Pivacek (left) of The Putnam Lodge and Steak House presents the Citizen of the Year Award to Ruth Ann Lovelace, a dedicated woman who has a heart for Dixie County and its people. The members of the Dixie County Chamber of Commerce help make Dixie County a great place to live, work and play.

Dixie County Chamber
Carol West (not pictured) presents a Special Recognition to Cross City Fly-In Event volunteers Stan McClain, Bill Palmer, Dana Sheffield, Jeff Cary, Ben West, Allen Rice, Terry Dembo, Cheyenne Stemple Hutchinson, Roy DeWeese, Bob Leichner, Dixie Aviation Services, LLC, Bret Floren/Civil Air Patrol. The annual fly-in and expo has been well attended in the past few years.
Published Jan. 28, 2020 at 2:09 p.m.

Photos By Melanie Anderson of the Dixie County Chamber of Commerce

THURSDAY  Feb. 20  8:10 a.m.
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