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Getting Through the Pandemic:
You’ve Got Resources
 
Published May 25, 2020 at 8:10 a.m.
     NEWBERRY --
As we go through the COVID-19 pandemic, with its constant threat to personal health and its devasting impact on the economy, it can be hard to find a silver lining.

 


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     But if there is one, it’s that government agencies, private businesses and nonprofit organizations have contributed, in one way or another, to helping relieve some of the stresses – financial, physical or emotional –that many of us are feeling. So, it’s important for you to know what types of help are out there.
     Here are some of the key areas in which resources are available:
     ● Unemployment – The CARES Act, a major piece of the recent economic stimulus packages, expanded several aspects of unemployment insurance, including eligibility, amount and duration. To learn more about unemployment insurance flexibility during the COVID-19 outbreak, and to find a link to your own state’s unemployment insurance office, visit: https://www.dol.gov/general/topic/unemployment-insurance. You might be able to collect some benefits even if you’re still working. Specifically, if your hours have been reduced, you could receive part of your unemployment benefits as short-time compensation. Your company’s human resources area can let you know if you’re eligible.
     ● Banking/Credit Cards/Consumer and Student Loans –  Many financial institutions are offering loan modifications, fee waivers or new lending products to help consumers during this time. To see what’s available, contact your own bank or credit union. Credit card issuers and other consumer loan providers are also offering programs to help borrowers; to learn more, visit these creditors’ web sites or call their customer service lines. And, as part of the CARES Act, borrowers can stop making payments on federally held student loans through Sept. 30, 2020.
     ● Healthcare – Losing employment often means losing health insurance. If you’ve recently lost your coverage, you may be eligible to participate in the special enrollment period to sign up for an Affordable Care Act (ACA) health insurance plan. Depending on your income, you may be eligible for subsidized health insurance. To see if you qualify for the special enrollment period, or for Medicaid or CHIP (Children’s Health Insurance Program), go to https://www.healthcare.gov/screener/. If you don’t qualify for Medicaid or CHIP and can’t afford health insurance, you may be able to get free or low-cost services at a community health center. To find one near you, go to https://findahealthcenter.hrsa.gov/.
     ● Mortgage – Another provision of the CARES Act allows you to apply for suspension or reduction of your mortgage payment for a limited time if you have a federally backed mortgage (FHA, VA, USDA, Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac). You’ll need to contact your own mortgage service provider to request this relief.
     ● Utilities – Many gas, electric and water service providers are temporarily suspending disconnections of customers unable to pay their bills due to the effects of the pandemic. Also, some utilities are suspending late fee charges. Contact your local utilities to determine the benefits for which you may be eligible.
     ● Telecommunications/Internet – Numerous broadband and telephone service providers (https://www.fcc.gov/keep-americans-connected#pledges) have agreed to temporarily stop terminations and waive late fees for customers facing financial struggles arising from the pandemic.
     And some providers (https://www.fcc.gov/keep-americans-connected/above-and-beyond) are also offering other benefits, such as free Internet service to students and teachers and increased broadband speeds for customers working remotely.
These are challenging times, to say the least. But by availing yourself of the appropriate resources, you may well be able to make your life easier.
    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.

 


April’s jobless rate
hits 12.9 percent;

Impact of COVID-19
felt throughout region

By Laura Byrnes, APR, CPRC
Communications Manager
CareerSource Citrus Levy Marion
Published May 22, 2020 at 6:10 p.m.
     OCALA –
The unemployment rate in the CareerSource Citrus Levy Marion region was 12.9 percent in April, up 7.4 percent over the month, 9.1 percent higher than the region’s rate a year ago and 0.4 percentage point lower than the state rate of 13.3 percent.
     There were 24,342 unemployed, an increase of 13,049 without jobs since March and 16,723 more than April 2019 when the jobless rate was 3.8 percent.
     The labor force was 189,154, down 14,633 over the month and a loss of 10,451 or 5.2 percent over the year. There were 164,812 employed, which represents a one-month drop of 27,682 and a decrease of 27,174 compared to  April 2019. 
     Nonfarm employment in the Ocala/Marion County metropolitan statistical area was 100,400, a decrease of 6,600 or 6.2 percent over the year. Mining, logging and construction was the only industry in the Ocala MSA that gained jobs over the year. At 2.4 percent, adding 200 jobs, it grew faster in the metro area than statewide.
     According to the preliminary jobs report for April, released today by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, Levy County had the lowest jobless rate in the region at 11 percent, up 6.1 percent point over the month; Marion County followed with a rate of 12.1 percent, an increase of 6.9 percent; and Citrus County’s rate was 15.8 percent, up 9.1 percent. Florida’s not seasonally adjusted jobless rate – a measure that matches the way local rates are calculated – was 13.3 percent, an increase of 9 percent over the month and up from 2.9 percent a year ago. The nation’s jobless rate was 14.4 percent, up from 4.5 percent in March and an increase of 11.1 percent higher than a year ago.
     Rusty Skinner, CEO of CareerSource CLM, said that “as painful as it is to see these kinds of numbers, it was not unexpected.”
      “In the previous March report, we were just beginning to see the impacts of COVID-19 on our economy, but we knew those would show up in April,” Skinner said. “For example, leisure and hospitality, which was ‘unchanged’ in March took a major hit in April, losing 2,400 jobs for a drop over the year of 17.4 percent. The hope is that as businesses continue to reopen, we’ll reverse course. There’s no telling, though, how long it will take to fully recover.”
     Skinner said that CareerSource CLM is doing everything possible to assist businesses and job seekers. He noted that all career centers in the region are open, by appointment only, to focus primarily on the needs of those laid off due to COVID-19. In-person, career center services include job searches, Welfare Transition and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), also known as food stamps. Though CareerSource CLM does not run the state’s Reemployment Assistance (unemployment compensation) program, staff may also be able to help claimants decipher issues with their benefits and reset PINs.
     Additionally, all business and job seeker services continue to be provided virtually by phone, email, Live Chat and online. CareerSource CLM has launched a new Help is Here outreach effort to:
     ● Connect job seekers and businesses to critical resources for local, personalized help
     ● Develop innovative solutions to generate job recovery/retention and business continuity, driving economic recovery
     ● Provide links to state and federal assistance programs
     Skinner added that as of today’s date, there are 128 businesses working with CareerSource CLM to actively fill multiple positions, that’s up from 87 businesses a month ago.
      “I think it surprises people to learn there are robust recruiting efforts going on throughout our region,” he said. Among the myriad businesses now hiring are Amazon.com, ANCORP, AutoZone stores and distribution center, Bayfront Health Seven Rivers, Chewy Dollar Tree Distribution Center, and the cities of Ocala, Inverness and Crystal River.
     In March, the Ocala MSA led all other metro areas for fastest job growth in manufacturing, while in April over-the-year job growth dropped by 600 jobs or 6.5 percent. But Skinner said that a variety of manufacturers have ramped up hiring – including Capri Furniture, Cardinal Glass, Chariot Eagle, Custom Window Systems, E-One and Southwind Manufacturing – which should be reflected in next month’s jobs report.
     Here’s a breakdown of each county’s jobs numbers for April:
     Citrus County’s labor force shrank by 3,334 over the month to 44,560, the number of employed decreased by 7,170 to 37,536 and the number of unemployed rose by 3,836 to 7,024. Compared to April 2019, when the jobless rate was 4.5 percent, the labor force has fallen by 2,406, the number of employed has dropped by 7,315 and the number of unemployed increased by 4,909.
     Levy County’s labor force contracted by 1,761 to 15,172, the number of those with jobs fell by 2,598 to 13,508 and the number of unemployed rose by 837 to 1,664. That’s an over-the-year drop of 1,470 in the labor force, 2,544 fewer working and 1,074 more unemployed compared to when the rate was 3.5 percent.
     Marion County’s labor force fell by 9,538 to 129,422, the number of those with jobs dropped by 17,914 to 113,768 and the number of unemployed increased 8,376 to 15,654. That’s 6,575 fewer than the size of the labor force a year ago, 17315 fewer employed and 10,740 more unemployed compared to April 2019 when the jobless rate was 3.6 percent.
     In April, Citrus County held the fourth highest unemployment rate in the state among all 67 counties; Marion County was 29th highest; and Levy County tied with Putnam County with the 36th highest rate. Osceola County topped the state’s highest rate for counties at 20.3 percent and Lafayette County held the lowest rate at 5.5 percent.
     Among the metro areas, the Homosassa Springs/Citrus County MSA held the second highest rate and the Ocala MSA held the 18th highest rate. The Villages, which includes a portion of Marion County, had the state’s 17th highest rate among metros.
     Other than mining, logging and construction, no industries grew in the Ocala MSA. In addition to leisure and hospitality (-2,400 jobs); other industries that lost jobs over the year were trade, transportation and utilities (-1,300); professional and business services (-800); manufacturing (-600); other services (-600); education and health services (-500); government (-300); financial activities (-200); and information (-100).
     The Homosassa Springs MSA’s nonfarm employment was 30,300, a decrease of 3,300 jobs (-9.8 percent) over the year.
     May’s preliminary employment summary is scheduled to be released on June 19.

 


CareerSource extends hours
By Laura Byrnes, APR, CPRC
Communications Manager
CareerSource Citrus Levy Marion
Published May 19, 2020 at 9:10 p.m.
     OCALA --
CareerSource Citrus Levy Marion is extending hours of operation at its three career centers.

      Starting Tuesday, May 26 these centers will be open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. – still by appointment only.
     Appointments may be made by calling 352-732-1700 or 1-800-434-JOBS (5627) or by Live Chat at careersourceclm.com.
     Virtual services will continue to be provided online, by phone and email.
     The CareerSource CLM centers are located at:
     · 2703 N.E. 14th St., in Ocala
     · 683 S. Adolph Point, in Lecanto
     · 2175 N.W. 11th Drive, in Chiefland

     Appointments will be for those seeking help with Job Searches, Welfare Transition and/or the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), which is commonly known as Food Stamps.
     Appointments are limited to 60 minutes and must be made by calling 352-732-1700 or 1-800-434-JOBS (5627) or by Live Chat at https://careersourceclm.com/.
     All CareerSource CLM staff will wear Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). All incoming customers will be required to wear face coverings such as a medical mask, scarf, bandana or improvised cloth facemask. 
     Staff will thoroughly clean and sanitize work areas before and after centers open and between each appointment.
     Customers arriving for their scheduled appointment more than 10 minutes late will be asked to wait for the next available opening or be rescheduled.

 


NCBDC shows progress
at virtual monthly meeting

By Jeff M. Hardison © May 16, 2020 at 4:10 p.m.
     LEVY COUNTY –
The Nature Coast Business Development Council reflected progress during its most recent monthly meeting held Thursday (May 14), which was again virtual and able to be listened to and interacted with via telephone.
     NCBDC Executive Director David Pieklik provided a recap of some of the high points from the meeting.
     As the council continues, J.D. Jordan from Capital City Bank is now the interim Chairman until September of 2021, when all officer elections are up for reappointment/vote, Pieklik said.
     The most recent NCBDC Board chairman accepted a job in Sumter County, Pieklik said, and had to resign last month, creating that vacancy. Jordan has been the NCBDC Board treasurer and secretary since the fall quarter of 2019.
     Bylaws state in the absence of a chairman and vice chairman, the treasurer-secretary runs the meetings, Pieklik said, and therefore it was a practical move.
     The NCBDC Board revised a pending investment invitation program it plans to launch later in 2020, Pieklik said, which is to bring in more private investment to the NCBDC and not rely solely on funding from the Levy County government coffers.
     During the meeting on Thursday, Pieklik gave a quick recap on the COVID-19 impact on business, including the unemployment rate and claims filed for unemployment, as well as providing updates on forms of assistance for business owners, as well as a forecast of what's to come as a result of the pandemic.
     The NCBDC plans conduct a tech showcase with COVID-19 lessons learned. This is currently slated to be a panel discussion the early part of next year, Pieklik said, giving time to prep and allow some easing of some restrictions that had been imposed to reduce the danger from spreading the virus.
     Pieklik made and will continue to make changes to the NCBDC website https://www.naturecoast.org/.
     Multiple videos have been added to the NCBDC website to reduce the less compelling text about key community assets, as well as to showcase more businesses and provided services in Levy County.
     On another business note, videos of Florida entrepreneurs are available at Florida Virtual Entrepreneur Center, including one at this link -- https://flvec.com/jeff-hardison.

 


Past FSE president
reflects on progress

By Jordan Lindsey, Levy County Assistant Supervisor Of Elections
Published May 13, 2020 at 2:10 p.m.
     BRONSON --
Levy County Supervisor of Elections Tammy Jones recently completed her term as president of the Florida Supervisors of Elections (FSE).
     “As I reflect on this past year as president, a tremendous amount of work was accomplished by our association,” Supervisor Jones said. “Florida joined the Electronic Registration Information Center (ERIC). The information received will help supervisors maintain more accurate voter registration rolls. Maintaining the voter registration rolls is a critical component to ensuring the integrity of our elections in Florida.
     “ERIC will also allow Florida to identify eligible but unregistered voters in hopes of encouraging voter registration,” Jones continued. “The FSE joined the Florida Department of State with a Joint Election Security Initiative (JESI). JESI has made it possible for all Florida counties to be scanned for security vulnerabilities. Florida is constantly engaging with federal and state partners to ensure the security of elections.”
     The recently pat FSE president noted that in October, the FSE held a statewide Canvassing Board Orientation. County commissioners, judges, municipal clerks, and supervisors of elections were in attendance. This was the largest Canvassing Board Orientation held to date.
     The association also partnered with the United States Department of Homeland Security to host a security exercise for Supervisors and staff members.
     Florida Supervisors were faced with a great deal of uncertainty as the 2020 Presidential Preference Primary approached due to
COVID-19. Even during the midst of the beginning of a pandemic, Florida was able to conduct successful elections. Florida supervisors will continue to ask Gov. Ron DeSantis for flexibility in order to provide a safe environment for voters, poll workers, and staff.
     “The FSE will continue to fight for safe, fair, and accurate elections,” Supervisor Jones said. “I appreciate the support of all 67 Florida supervisors as we advocated for the voters of Florida. I would also like to express my appreciation to Secretary of State Laurel Lee for her tireless efforts of both ERIC and JESI. I will look forward to assisting FSE President (Hillsborough County Supervisor of Elections Craig) Latimer in the year to come."

 


Florida NRCS moves
Bronson Field Office to Trenton

By Renee Bodine, NRCS Public Affairs Florida
Published May 12, 2020 at 8:10 a.m.
     GAINESVILLE –
The United States Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is moving the Bronson Field Office to Trenton in Thursday (May 14).
     The Trenton office will continue to serve farmers and ranchers in Dixie, Gilchrist and Levy counties, just as it has served them from the Bronson office.
     The new address is 1727 E. Wade St. (State Road 26), Suite D, in Trenton (32693), and the phone number is 352-658-4060.
     For more information, please contact NRCS District Conservationist Amy Smith at 352-262-0297.

 


Farm Beauty
Tri-County Area Farm  HardisonInk.com
Agriculture is a significant economic engine in the Tri-County Area of Levy, Dixie and Gilchrist counties.

Tri-County Area Farm  HardisonInk.com

Tri-County Area Farm  HardisonInk.com
Cruising along the highways and byways of this part of North Central Florida offers opportunities for seeing the beauty of successful farming. Evenly planted rows of the many types of crops from this region show some of the art combined with the agricultural science applied by hardworking people who provide food by growing crops. Here are a few pictures from an attractive farm setting in the area.

Photos by Jeff M. Hardison © May 10, 2020 at 8:10 p.m.

 


Federal Aviation Administration Logo  HardisonInk.com
Partners for Remote ID
development for drones named

By the FAA Press Office
Published May 10, 2020 at 8:10 a.m.
     WASHINGTON –
The United States Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on May 5 announced the eight companies that will assist the federal government in establishing requirements for future suppliers of Remote Identification (Remote ID).
     Remote ID will enable Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), commonly called drones, to provide identification and location information while operating in the nation’s airspace.
     The FAA selected the following companies to develop technology requirements for future Remote ID UAS Service Suppliers (USS): Airbus, AirMap, Amazon, Intel, One Sky, Skyward, T-Mobile, and Wing.
     These companies were selected through a request for information process in December of 2018.
     “The FAA will be able to advance the safe integration of drones into our nation’s airspace from these technology companies’ knowledge and expertise on remote identification,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao said.
     This initial group will support the FAA in developing technology requirements for other companies to develop applications needed for Remote ID. The applications will provide drone identification and location information to safety and security authorities while in flight.
     The technology is being developed simultaneously with the proposed Remote ID rule. Application requirements will be announced when the final rule is published.
     The FAA will then begin accepting applications for entities to become Remote ID suppliers. The FAA will provide updates when other entities can apply to become qualified Remote ID USS on FAA.gov.
     Drones are a fast-growing segment of the transportation sector with nearly 1.5 million drones and 160,000 remote pilots now registered with the FAA. The agency’s ability to develop Remote ID technology simultaneously with the rule enables the FAA to continue to build on a UAS Traffic Management (UTM) system that has demonstrated global leadership through the small UAS rule and the implementation of the Low Altitude Authorization and Notification Capability (LAANC), which automates the application and approval process for most UAS operators to obtain airspace authorizations.
     On Jan. 22, the FFA announced a “cohort” of eight companies to work out the implementation details of drone operations’ remote identification (RID) rules and procedures and to establish the first set of authorized network of RID service suppliers.
     The cohort is established through no-cost Memorandums of Understandings (MOUs) among the following participants:
A^3 by Airbus LLC
AirMap Inc.
com Services LLC
Intel Corp.
OneSky Systems Inc.
Skyward IO, Inc
T-Mobile USA
Wing Aviation LLC
These MOUs will remain in effect until June 2021.
     The Cohort is not part of the decision-making process for the proposed Remote ID rule final rule. The Cohort will help the FAA develop technology requirements for other companies to develop applications needed for Remote ID. The comment period on the Remote ID Notice of Proposed Rulemaking closed on March 2, and the FAA is reviewing the more than 53,000 comments.
     Drone operators with questions about Remote ID, or any other drone-related question, are asked to please email UAShelp@faa.gov or call 844-FLY-MY-UA.

 


CareerSource North Central
Florida's reorganized
workforce board appointed

By Dhanya Nair, Executive Assistant
CareerSource North Central Florida
Published May 6, 2020 at 7:10 a.m.
     GAINESVILLE –
A new board has been appointed to oversee Alachua and Bradford counties’ workforce system.
     The reorganized board was appointed late last week by the Dual County Workforce Development Council.
     The North Central Florida Workforce Development Board is comprised of business leaders and community partners from private and public sectors in the CareerSource North Central Florida region.
     Members serve two- or three-year terms. As of May 5, there were 20 of the reorganized board’s 22 seats that have been filled.
     The new board, which will meet (virtually) via Zoom on May 11, is tasked with developing and sustaining a qualified and effective regional workforce.
     “We are more than pleased with the caliber and dedication of the business and community leaders on this streamlined board,” said Rusty Skinner, CareerSource NCFL’s interim CEO.
      Members appointed to the re-organized board representing Alachua County are Nancy Halbrook, of Millikin, term expires in 2023; Jeff Tate, of CTD Holdings; Julian Dinius, of Sharpspring; David Pope, of NG Wade Investment/WACO; George Barrow, of Aramark; Don Davis, of Fletcher Family Companies; and Gary Ascani, of Ology Biosciences– all representing the private sector.
     Public sector representatives of Alachua County are James Ingle, of International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW); Jeremiah Tattersall, of Florida AFL-CIO; Charles Harris, of Central Florida Community Action Agency; and Angie White of the Florida Division of Vocational Rehabilitation.
      Seats for a Chamber of Commerce representative and an additional private-sector representative for Alachua County remain to be filled.
     Members appointed to the re-organized board for Bradford County are Patricia Evans, of Capital City Bank; Marty Shaw, of Coldwell Banker-Smith and Smith Realty; and Edythe Robinson, a self-employed writer – all private sector representatives.
     Public sector members of Bradford County are Shawn Graves, of IBEW (Local 1205);  Brad Bishop, of Bradford County School Board; Dr. Paul Broadie II, of Santa Fe College; Chris Coffey, of Bradford County School Board; Vicki Van Buren, of American Legion Post 149; and Dawn Strickland, of Home Sweet Bone Boarding.

 


Truck Drivers
Thanked With Free Meals

Florida Truck Drivers Thanked
 To recognize the commitment and work of professional commercial motor vehicle drivers during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), Florida Trucking Association (FTA) and the Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) partnered today to provide free lunches to these essential workers. Meals were sponsored by the FTA, Chick-fil-A, Publix Super Markets, and Walmart Transportation.
‘FDOT is proud to support Florida’s truck drivers who have continued to work tirelessly during the fight against COVID-19,’ said Florida Department of Transportation Secretary Kevin J. Thibault, P.E. ‘These individuals are on the front lines each day providing vital goods to Floridians during this unprecedented time – keeping shelves stocked, medicine delivered, and supplies directed to those most in need. Their selflessness is inspiring, and the department is committed to continuing to support their needs as they serve others.’

Florida Truck Drivers Thanked

Florida Truck Drivers Thanked

Florida Truck Drivers Thanked

Florida Truck Drivers Thanked

Florida Truck Drivers Thanked
During the event, FDOT, FTA, and FHP distributed 500 meals to truck drivers at the Southbound I-75 Rest Area near Ocala at Mile Marker 346 in Marion County. ‘We are always proud of what our member companies and their drivers do every day of the year,’ said Florida Trucking Association President Ken Armstrong. ‘Their patriotism and pride in the profession shines brightly during this time, as all Floridians become more aware of the vital role these men and women play in our daily lives. We thank FDOT for joining us today to recognize their work.’
‘Our truck drivers are on the front line every day delivering much-needed supplies to our communities, and we greatly appreciate their dedication and professionalism,’ said Colonel Gene Spaulding, Director of the Florida Highway Patrol. ‘We are privileged to partner with the Safety Management Council Executive Committee, the Florida Trucking Association, and the Florida Department of Transportation in support of our truck drivers, and it’s our honor to participate in this special recognition to them for the outstanding job they do every day.’
There are approximately 38,000 trucking companies in the state of Florida and one in 21 jobs in Florida is in the trucking industry.
Published May 8, 2020 at 8:10 a.m.

Photos and Text Provided By Beth Frady of the FDOT

 


10,000-plus Unique Visitors
Go To Daily News Website

‘Here’s To 10 Years!’ theme continues
with Summer Fun Contest in June

HardisonInk.com results
Graph by cPanel

Story and Video
By Jeff M. Hardison © May 3, 2020 at 12:10 p.m.
All Rights Reserved
     THE WORLD –
The daily news website named HardisonInk.com continues in its 10th year of existence with figures from April 1 through April 30 at par with high website traffic established in the past several years, according to the two independent third-party robotic measuring devices named Google Analytics and cPanel.




In this video of Inky the cat Hardison, junior mascot of HardisonInk.com, the feline is shown in a two-second tracking and capturing exercise, that is then put into slow motion for a 16-second video. Inky and senior mascot Goldy the cat Hardison are the most often used cats for selecting a winner in a contest for HardisonInk.com. The community cat -- Needles of Jemlands – also has been utilized to choose a winner from contest participants.

 


     Jeff M. Hardison, owner, publisher and sole proprietor doing business as HardisonInk.com shared his perspective on some matters with his tenth year as the owner of this business.
     “April was a rough month for all people on planet Earth,” Hardison said, “Humans continued facing a virus that makes people sick and kills them. As of May 2, for instance, there were 1,364 people in Florida who died from COVID-19, according to the Florida Department of Health.”
     The daily news website publisher mentioned that is an increase from 85 dead from COVID-19 in Florida as of March 31.
     “As for the news website,” he continued, “there were more than 10,000 unique visitors to it in April and we experienced in excess of one million hits.”
     Hardison said he is thankful to God first, and then 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 through its tenth year of existence, which began on Feb. 1 of 2020.
     Likewise, the business owner said he extremely appreciates the business owners and other interests who buy ads to sponsor HardisonInk.com.
     The numbers for April of 2020 are shown in the graphic at the top of this story.

UNIQUE VISITORS
     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.
     “I continue looking forward to every second in 2020,” Hardison said. “As HardisonInk.com never breaks stride in its tenth year of existence, the theme in this 12-month span is “Here’s To 10 Years.”

UNIQUE VISITORS
    The April total of unique visitors 10,311.
     “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 April 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 – other than the short-term advertisers show 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.”

NUMBER OF VISITS
     Another measure of traffic is the number of visits.
     In March, the number was 28,846 visits.

PAGES VIEWED
     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 March was 87,941. There are ads on each page, and the readers see those ads.

HITS
     The March total of hits was more than one million (1,063,399).
     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 the gauges, this is a measure of traffic.
     All measurements combined show that the daily news website is continuing to progress and grow each year.
     “These figures mirror the fact that many people each day use HardisonInk.com 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.”
     HardisonInk.com continues to provide readers, viewers and listeners (yes, the videos on HardisonInk.com 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 HardisonInk.com coverage will go as it informs, educates and entertains people.
     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.”
     HardisonInk.com 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.
     HardisonInk.com 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.

     CHECK OUT THE ARCHIVES
     The 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," Jeff Hardison said. "She does so much for me, that it is incredible. Sharon is the multiple award-winning graphic artist who does most of the ads. She is my bookkeeper who provides information to my accountant, too. Our 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. The newest addition is a direct link to all of the videos that have been published. CHECK OUT OUR VIDEOS on YouTube.com. If you see any video you want to watch, click on it.”
     There are a couple of different main sites for YouTube.com sites with videos by Jeff M. Hardison. Here are two links – click HERE for that main site and click HERE for the other main site.

     ADVERTISEMENT KEEPS IT GOING
     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 put up winky-blinky ads or pop-ups in our local ads," Hardison said. "Our local ads don't move around by the minute. And I promote our local advertisers in other places in addition to HardisonInk.com."
     HardisonInk.com is the best daily news website that covers Levy, Dixie and Gilchrist counties (and beyond).
     HardisonInk.com 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.
     Here’s To 10 Years!
    “I can already say our big prize for the November contest is going to be a $100 gift card to BubbaQue’s,” Hardison said. “With all of the consideration that we must apply as a result of the COVID-19 Pandemic, Sharon and I are thinking about our next contest and prize. Here’s where that stands. HardisonInk.com is giving away $50 in its Summer Fun Contest.”
     The Summer Fun Contest will be for the people who find a sunshine logo hidden in different ads on the website’s even pages from June 10 through June 17.
     A drawing from those qualifying participants is scheduled for June 18, and the award of $50 is set to reach the winner on June 20, more or less, because that is the first day of summer in 2020.

 

 


Americans urged to complete
2020 Census questionnaire;
Population counts determine
distribution of resources

Matt Brooks and Family for the US 2020 Census
The Brooks family of Levy County are among the participants in the 2020 United States Census. Seen here they are (from left) Brityn Brooks, Matt Brooks, Angie Brooks, Bowen Brooks, Berkley Brooks and Baylin Brooks.
Public Service Announcement Provided


From the U.S. Census Bureau
Published April 22, 2020 at 3:10 p.m.
     ATLANTA --
The 2020 Census is happening now.
     You can complete your questionnaire online, by phone, or by mail.
     The time is now. Help shape your future, and your community's future, by responding to the 2020 Census.
     Once a decade the United States Census Bureau counts everyone living in the United States. It determines:
     ● How many representatives each state gets in Congress, and it is used to distribute billions of dollars in federal funds to local communities.
     One person should respond for each home. That person must be at least 15 years old. They should live in the home or place of residence themselves and know general information about each person living there. (For more information, visit Questions Asked.) 
     Please complete your form online, by phone, or by mail when your invitation to respond arrives. Visit my2020census.gov to begin.
     Please note that if you are responding online, you must complete the census in one sitting, as you don't have the ability to save your progress. You can see the questions the census asks by clicking HERE.
     If you do not receive an invitation to respond from the Census Bureau, you may respond online my2020census.gov, by telephone assistance by calling 1-844-330-2020 (English) or 1-844-468-2020 (Spanish).

 


CFEC lowers power cost
for May to help members

By Madison Redd
CFEC Communications Specialist
Published April 29, 2020 at 4:10 p.m.
     CHIEFLAND --
To help communities affected financially by COVID-19, Central Florida Electric Cooperative is lowering the Wholesale Power Cost Adjustment (WPCA) for Members by 17 percent for the month of May.
     The reduction in WPCA was approved by the CFEC Board of Directors at the regularly scheduled April board meeting Monday night (April 27). Members using the industry household average of 1,000 kWh of power will pay $100, which is down from $121 in April.
     The WPCA is used to “adjust” the amount charged to Members when the price of fuels to generate electricity rise or fall over time.
     The CFEC’s generation cooperative Seminole Electric uses natural gas to generate a large part of the electricity they provide to CFEC and the other distribution co-ops in Florida. The decline in price of natural gas due to a surplus in world supply combined with other effects of COVID-19, afford CFEC the opportunity to pass along these savings to Members for the month of May.
     The lower cost of power will be reflected in the WPCA on bills processed beginning May 1 through May 30. Members will see the WPCA credit on their bill and the credit will vary based on the amount of power used.
     CFEC hopes that these savings will help those Members who may be struggling financially due to the economic effects of COVID-19. We know these times are tough and want to help our Members as much as we can.

 


Florida SBDC Network
encourages small businesses
to prepare for availability
of federal assistance;

Funding expected to go quickly
By Dianne Gross of the SBDC
Published April 25, 2020 at 8:10 a.m.
     PENSACOLA --
The Florida SBDC Network, the state’s principal provider of business assistance, encourages small businesses impacted by the coronavirus to prepare for the availability of federal disaster assistance.
     Following yesterday’s (Friday, April 24) signing of the “Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act,” Congress has appropriated an additional $380 billion to refund and restart small business disaster and relief loan programs, including the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program.
     “We applaud Congress and President Trump for making this much-needed capital available to our state’s small businesses, who are still struggling from the unprecedented impacts of the coronavirus,” said Michael W. Myhre, CEO of the Florida SBDC Network. “We anticipate that the SBA will begin accepting applications again early next week and that funding will go quickly, so we are encouraging our state’s small businesses to prepare to apply.”
     The “Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act,” includes an additional $320 billion for the PPP, which incentivizes businesses to keep their workers on the payroll, and $60 billion (including $50 billion in loans and $10 billion in grants) for the EIDL program.
     Since the passage of the CARES Act, nearly 70,000 small businesses in Florida have received $655.9 million in loans through the EIDL program, including $272.7 million in Emergency Advance Grants, and 88,997 Florida businesses have received $17.9 billion from the PPP.
     “According to a recent study by Thryv and America’s SBDC, 49 percent of U.S. small businesses say they can only survive one to two more months if they are not allowed to reopen in early May,” added Myhre. “These loans are important, however more than half (57 percent) of small businesses indicated they experienced issues when applying. At the Florida SBDC, we are committed to doing all we can to help small business owners access this and other emergency assistance they need to survive.”
     As part of its service offering, Florida SBDC professionally certified consultants and disaster specialists are available to provide confidential, no-cost consulting to help affected businesses understand available disaster assistance and loans, determine eligibility, prepare loan applications, as well as navigate other post-disaster challenges.
     The Florida SBDC Network recently developed a guide to help small businesses understand available federal disaster loans and provide tips for impacted businesses to do right now to stay afloat.
     To access the guide, and for more information on state and federal resources available to small businesses impacted by COVID-19, please visit http://floridasbdc.org/disaster/.
     For loan application assistance, please contact the Florida SBDC office nearest you at http://floridasbdc.org/locations/.

--UPDATED--
TUESDAY  MAY 26  7:10 a.m.
Levy, Dixie and Gilchrist counties


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