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Census Leader Thanks Publisher
Census 2020 Thanks HardisonInk.com
Dr. Steven D. Dillingham, director of the United States Census Bureau, sent a ‘Thank You’ certificate to HardisonInk.com for being ‘an invaluable member of the 2020 Community Partnership and Engagement Program.’ Dr. Dillingham, in the email sent earlier this week, indicated that the 2020 Census was successful. Jeff M. Hardison, owner of the daily news website, said he is happy to have helped the United States Census Bureau and that he is grateful for the ‘Thank You’ certificate – especially right at Thanksgiving time.

Photo by Sharon Hardison © Nov. 25, 2020 at 1:10 p.m.


 

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A&M Manufacturing honored
as a top 50 Florida company

A&M Manufacturing in Chiefland Florida Photo by Jeff M. Hardison
Here is a picture of the partners of A&M Manufacturing (from left) Marketing Sales Manager Tory Brodahl, Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operating Officer Amy Brodahl, and Chief Executive Officer John Hemken.
File Photo From HardisonInk.com

Photo by Jeff M. Hardison (all rights reserved)

Story By GrowFL Communications
Written Nov. 10, 2020 - Sent Nov. 23, 2020
Published Nov. 24, 2020 at 12:10 p.m.
     CHIEFLAND —
A&M Manufacturing is pleased to be among the top 50 second-stage companies in Florida selected as a 2020 GrowFL Florida Companies to Watch Honoree.
     The top 50 honorees were selected from hundreds of applicants and nominees in this statewide competition that identifies companies expected to see significant growth over the next several years. The 2020 GrowFL Florida Companies to Watch awards celebration is brought to view by Nperspective CFO & Strategic Services, in association with the Edward Lowe Foundation.
     Companies to Watch was developed by the Edward Lowe Foundation as a unique way to recognize and honor second-stage companies that demonstrate high performance in the marketplace with innovative strategies and processes, making them “worth watching.”
      “These stand-out companies are all led by entrepreneurs, and have demonstrated not only their willingness to grow, but their capacity to do it successfully,” said Dr. Tom O’Neal, GrowFL Founder.  “They are all positioned to make a significant impact on Florida’s economy with their products, services, critical intellectual property or a niche position that gives them a competitive edge in their markets. These business owners demonstrate strong leadership, philanthropic involvement, perseverance and all it means to be an entrepreneur.”
      “We are very blessed to be recognized for this honor, said John Hemken, A&M’s CEO. “It is a tribute to our team that we have been able to turn around the business and thrive despite the many obstacles along the way.
     “A&M is well on its way to disrupting the metal pontoon market with our superior range of fiberglass pontoon products!” Hemken added.
     “This list recognizes second-stage Florida companies with passionate leaders who are making a difference in growing and diversifying our economy,” said Jennifer Barrows, GrowFL Chairman of the GrowFL Advisory Board and Business Development Executive with Withum.
     “Second-stage companies are defined as those with 6 to 150 full-time employees and between $750,000 and $100 million in annual revenue.” Barrows continued, “Among the many programs to assist businesses in Florida, GrowFL is the only Florida program that focuses exclusively on second-stage companies.”
     From 2016 through 2019, these companies generated $813 million in revenue and added 668 employees, reflecting a 103 percent increase in revenue and a 113 percent increase in jobs for the four-year period. That translates into a 27 percent average annual revenue growth and 20 percent average annual growth in employees.
     Even through the global COVID-19 pandemic, these companies projected continued growth in 2020, with a 15 percent revenue increase and 17 percent growth in employees compared to 2019. If their projections hold, these companies will have generated $1.14 billion in revenue and added 887 employees over the last five years — a 133 percent increase in revenue and 150 percent increase in jobs since 2016.
     Companies named to the list will be officially recognized at the 10th Annual GrowFL Florida Companies to Watch Celebration on Feb. 18, 2021 at Hammock Beach Resort & Spa, as well as broadcast online.  Tickets are on sale now for the awards ceremony.
     For more information or to purchase tickets, visit https://www.growfl.com/flctw20/about-flctw/.
     A&M Manufacturing Inc. is the premier choice for fiberglass pontoon rental boats, commercial boats, DIY kit boats and floating structures. A&M is well on its way to disrupting the metal pontoon market with its superior line of fiberglass pontoon products that are more cost effective than its metal competitors.
     To read the HardisonInk.com story and see the pictures from that November 2019 event, click HERE.

 


Exploring Finances
Financial Moves
For The Recently Divorced

Published Nov. 23, 2020 at 3:10 p.m.
     NEWBERRY --
Divorce is common in our society, but that doesn’t make it any easier to navigate.
     If you’ve recently finalized a divorce, you’ve likely been coping with uncertainty and tension, but you can still avoid turning an already difficult situation into one that’s even more challenging.
     How? By making the right financial and investment moves, including the following:
     • Establish your separate financial presence. Even when you were married, you and your spouse might have maintained some separate accounts. But if you only had joint accounts, now is the time to open your own checking, savings and credit accounts.
     • Update your budget. It’s likely your budget needs updating. Your household income may be lower or may need to be adjusted for alimony or child support (paid or received). Additionally, your living expenses may have shifted, either higher because you’re no longer splitting expenses such as housing or utilities, or possibly lower because you're no longer supporting your ex’s spending habits. Understanding your new budget will help you feel better informed about your financials options and more in control of your new situation.
      • Prioritize emergency savings. Divorce is expensive and may have depleted your savings. To get back on your feet, you may want to build an easily accessible source of funds for unexpected drops in income and/or spikes in expenses. If you’re not retired, you may want to keep three to six months’ worth of expenses in emergency savings, although even much smaller amounts can boost your feelings of financial security.
     • Evaluate your retirement plan contributions. When you were married, you may have been counting on sharing resources and expenses with your spouse in retirement. But now, you may be solely responsible for your retirement, so if you can afford it, you may want to ramp up your retirement plan contributions. You may want to consult a financial professional about setting and achieving new goals. 
     • Think about Social Security. Your divorce could play a role in the benefits you can receive. Once you are eligible for benefits, if you were married at least 10 years and you haven’t remarried, you might be able to receive up to 50% of your ex-spouse’s benefits, offset by your own benefit. If your ex passes away and you haven’t remarried (or you remarry only after age 60), you could receive 100 percent of their benefit in place of your own. This could be beneficial if your ex-spouse had a higher income or spent longer in the labor force. Since rules can be complicated, contact your local Social Security office to better understand your situation, and keep a record of your ex’s Social Security number.
     • Review your beneficiary designations and legal documents. You’ll likely need to revise the beneficiary designations on your retirement accounts and life insurance policies. These designations carry a lot of weight and can even supersede the instructions in your will. And, speaking of your will, you’ll likely need to revise it too, along with other legal documents, such as a living trust. Consult with your legal professional to make these revisions. 
     It can feel like a long road to stability after a divorce – but by following the above suggestions, you may be able to make the trip a little less bumpy – and hopefully shorter – as well.
     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.

 


Putnam Lodge Hosts
Dixie Chamber Meeting

Ed and Bev Pivacek at the Putnam Lodge in Dixie County
Ed and Bev Pivacek, owners of the Putnam Lodge, graciously hosted the November meeting of the Dixie County Chamber of Commerce members. A delicious lunch and fabulous venue were treats for the guests. The Putnam Lodge, built in 1927-28 by the Putnam Lumber Co., is on U.S. Highway 19, just north of the last traffic light on northbound U.S. 19 leaving Cross City. The lobby and the dining room of the 36-room lodge were decorated exclusively with the still-preserved, artfully stenciled pecky cypress. The Dixie County Chamber of Commerce notes its appreciation to the Putnam Lodge for always promoting Dixie County to visitors from all over the world. The couple is seen here at the lodge’s outdoor, covered dining and entertainment area.
Published Nov. 22, 2020 at 9:10 a.m.

Photo Provided By The Dixie County Chamber of Commerce

 


October jobless report
has fluctuations indicative of
a rebounding economy

By Laura Byrnes, APR, CPRC
Communications Manager
CareerSource Citrus Levy Marion
Published Nov. 20, 2020 at 3:10 p.m.
     OCALA –
The unemployment rate in the CareerSource Citrus Levy Marion region was 5.7 percent in October, 0.3 percentage point higher than September’s adjusted rate and 2.1 percentage point higher than the region’s rate a year ago.
     There were 11,713 unemployed in the region, 620 more than the previous month and 4,332 more than October 2019.
     The region’s labor force of 204,401, up 682 since September and an expansion of 752 over the year. There were 1912,688 employed regionwide, an increase of 62 over the month but a drop of 3,580 from the previous October.
     Rusty Skinner said there’s no cause for concern in the slight reductions in labor force and employment.
      “This is not uncommon for October, which is somewhat of a transitional month for employment,” Skinner said. “The jumps in unemployment are reflective of the expansion of the labor force – more looking for work than the economy is absorbing with employment. This is not necessarily a negative in a rebounding economy.”
     According to the preliminary jobs data for October, released today by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, Levy County continues to hold the lowest jobless rate in the region at 4.9 percent, up 0.4 percentage point over the month; followed by Marion County at 5.6 percent, an increase of 0.3 percentage point; and Citrus County’s rate was 6.5 percent, 0.2 percentage point higher than the September rate.
     Florida’s not seasonally adjusted jobless rate – a measure that matches the way local rates are calculated – was 6.4 percent, 0.8 percentage point lower than the previous month and an increase of 3.6 percent over the year.
     Citrus County’s labor force barely budged over the month, shrinking by just 8 to 45,592, the number of employed decreased by 112 to 42,614 and the number of unemployed rose by 104 to 2,978. Compared to October 2019 when the jobless rate was 4.3 percent, the labor force contracted by 1,968, employment dropped by 2,916 and the number of unemployed increased 1,008.
     Levy County’s labor force fell by 238 to 15,859, the number of those with jobs rose by 162 to 15,669 and the number of jobless increased by 76 to 813. That’s 300 fewer in the labor force, a drop of 559 in the number of employed and an increase of 259 unemployed over the year when the unemployment rate was 3.3 percent.
     Marion County’s labor force expanded by 452 to 142,137, the number of those with jobs increased by 12 to 134,215 and the number of unemployed increased by 440 to 7,922. The labor force grew by 3,020, number of employed fell by 105 and number of unemployed increased by 3,125 over the year when the jobless rate was 3.4 percent.
      “We see the beginnings of holiday season hiring appearing in Marion and Levy counties,” Skinner noted. “Also, over the year, Marion’s labor force and employment growth reflect the efforts of the CEP in bringing new businesses to Marion County.”
     Nonfarm employment in the Ocala metropolitan statistical area was 108,800, an increase of 1,200 jobs (+1.1 percent) over the year.
     The Ocala Metro Service Area (MSA), which covers all of Marion County, had the fastest annual job growth rate, compared to all metro areas in Florida, in government at 11.6 percent as well as the highest annual job growth in government, adding 1,800 jobs over the year.
     The Ocala MSA had the highest annual job growth in the state in trade, transportation, and utilities, adding 700 new jobs, which also held the second fastest annual job growth at 2.8 percent.
     Both industry sectors grew faster in the metro area than statewide over the year, along with mining, logging, and construction which grew by grew by 3.4 percent (+300 jobs).
     Industries losing jobs over the year were professional and business services (-600 jobs); financial activities (-300); manufacturing (-200); education and health services        (-200); information (-100); leisure and hospitality (-100); and other services (-100).
     In October, nonfarm employment in the Homosassa Springs MSA, which includes all of Citrus County, was 31,500, a decrease of 1,800 jobs (-5.4 percent) over the year.
     Statewide, 31 counties in addition to Citrus, Levy and Marion counties experienced increases in unemployment rates, 31 decreased and three stayed the same.
     Citrus County maintained the 9th highest rate tying with Lake County, Marion County tied with Duval County with the 24th highest rate and Levy County tied with Jackson, Sarasota and Suwannee counties with the 38th highest.
     Among the state’s metro areas, the Homosassa Springs MSA held the 5th highest unemployment rate among the state’s metro areas and the Ocala MSA tied with Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater with the11th highest. The Villages, which includes a portion of Marion County, had the 9th highest rate at 5.8 percent.
     The region’s preliminary employment summary for November is scheduled to be released on Friday, Dec. 18.

 


Dixie County Tax Collector
earns Legacy Award for
Continued Excellence
in Financial Operations 6th time

Dixie County Tax Collector's Office Earns High Honors again
Dixie County Tax Collector Michelle F. Cannon (center and holding award) stands with members of her staff in the Cross City office.

Story Provided By
Florida Tax Collector Association
Photo Provided
By Dixie County Tax Collector Michelle F. Cannon
Published Nov. 16, 2020 at 9:10 p.m.
     CROSS CITY --
Dixie County Tax Collector Michelle F. Cannon has earned the Legacy Award for Continued Excellence in Financial Operations.
     The Legacy Award, presented by the Florida Tax Collector Association, is one of the highest honors a Florida Tax Collector can receive.
     Consideration for the Legacy Award requires a thorough and comprehensive review of the financial operations of the Tax Collector Office.
     “An office must demonstrate financial excellence by earning a perfect annual audit clear of any findings, and adding an enhancement to a crucial area of financial competency,” said the Honorable John Power of Alachua County, current President of the Florida Tax Collector Association. “The areas of competency include Innovation & Automation, Customer Focus and Budgeting."
     “After a review by a judging panel comprised of government financial executives throughout Florida, the Honorable Michelle F. Cannon earned this esteemed designation for her sixth time,” Powers continued.
     “Receiving the Legacy Award is truly an honor and a testament to the dedication my team,” Dixie County Tax Collector Cannon said. “I work closely with my staff to continually identify and implement new ways to automate processes leading to increased efficiencies, all while saving taxpayer dollars and ensuring timely and accurate disbursements. I am extremely proud of them. They are deserving of this great honor and accomplishment.”
     The Dixie County Tax Collector’s Office processes over 51,000 transactions annually. Services include property and business tax collection, driver license issuance, motor vehicle services, hunting and fishing licenses and concealed weapon licensing.
     For more information concerning any of the services offered by the Tax Collector’s Office, please call 352-498-1213.

 


CareerSource: don’t wait
to get help as
Reemployment Assistance
waivers end soon

By Laura Byrnes, APR, CPRC
Communications Manager
CareerSource Citrus Levy Marion
Published Nov. 16, 2020 at 11:10 p.m.
     OCALA –
Waivers that have made it easier for those filing claims for Reemployment Assistance (RA) during the COVID-19 pandemic are scheduled to end Dec. 5.
     Formerly known as unemployment compensation, Reemployment Assistance provides temporary wage replacement benefits to qualified individuals who are out of work through no fault of their own. The program is administered by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO).
     According to the DEO, there have been 44,138 COVID-19 related RA claims as of Nov. 7 in the CareerSource Citrus Levy Marion region.
     Individuals filing RA applications and claiming benefit weeks prior to March 15, when the waivers took effect, and after Dec. 5 will need to comply with regular work registration and job search requirements.
      “The goal, of course, is to help those who are out of work find good, gainful employment; RA benefits are temporary and can never fully replace a paycheck,” said Rusty Skinner, CareerSource Citrus Levy Marion’s CEO. “While we do not run the RA program, we’re definitely here to help. Don’t wait until the last minute; we urge those who need help to avoid the rush and work with us as soon as possible.”
     Skinner pointed to three ways that CareerSource CLM not only can help individuals fulfill RA requirements but, more importantly, work toward reemployment:
     Start the work registration process by registering with Employ Florida
     Offer guidance in providing five work search contacts per week
Help sharpen employability skills and obtain job referrals through staff-assisted career services
     All Career Centers are open weekdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. for fee-free staff-assisted services as well as use of Resource Room computers and other resources to facilitate filing claims and conduct job searches.
     Appointments are no longer required, but are recommended, for those planning to visit one of the centers located in Ocala, Lecanto and Chiefland. Health safety precautions, including use of face masks by staff and customers, as well as other measures remain in place.
     Virtual services also continue to be offered Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. via phone, email, Live Chat and online.
     To learn more or schedule an appointment, call 800-434-JOBS (5627) or visit https://careersourceclm.com/ to contact CareerSource CLM by email or Live Chat.

 


Commissioner Nikki Fried,
Task Force appointees critique
M-CORES toll road project

By The FDACS Office of Communications
Published Nov. 13, 2020 at 7:10 p.m.
     TALLAHASSEE --
This week, three M-CORES Task Forces submitted their final reports to Gov. Ron DeSantis on the development of a new 330-mile toll road system in Florida.
     The task forces did not conclude “that there is a specific need” for these new potential corridors, and the project been called “flawed,” “a callous preference for special interests,” which “falls short of the mandate … to protect the environment and revitalize rural communities” and faces “overwhelming opposition” from Florida residents.
     Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, an independently-elected member of the Florida Cabinet, and her three appointees to the M-CORES Task Forces, offered the following comments on the project.
     Commissioner Nikki Fried: “While I recognize the importance of long-range planning for future population growth and the need for economic development, I am troubled by M-CORES’ overwhelming lack of support, lack of demonstrated need, and the millions in general revenue diverted from a state budget facing economic shortfalls reminiscent of the Great Recession. As Florida deals with billions in projected revenue losses due to COVID-19, this project would put an unnecessary strain on the state's ability to fund urgent priorities.
     Just as compelling are the effects these unnecessary toll roads will have on Florida's environment and agricultural lands, with the potential to destroy millions of acres of farmland, state forests, and wetlands in their paths. This project threatens the unique character of our state’s rural lands and last undeveloped landscapes. I urge Secretary Thibault and the Governor to listen to over 10,000 Florida residents who have voiced their opposition to M-CORES and utilize the 'no build' option. We cannot afford to divert money into more toll roads while millions of Floridians continue to suffer.”
     Mayor Matt Surrency, City of Hawthorne (Turnpike Task Force): “While the mission of the M-CORES task forces was to determine if a need exists based on hurricane evacuation, economic opportunity, environmental revitalization, and using the right of way to connect communities with infrastructure, I believe very few of these issues would be addressed to the scale that would make a significant difference for the study area. The infrastructure promises in this project are not guarantees for the communities within the corridor, with FDOT only committing to provide right of way access for connectivity.
     Funding would be better spent building and upgrading schools that can be utilized as hurricane shelters, creating additional economic development in rural communities, small businesses, and the rural workforce, and improving access to rural broadband, which provides for economic opportunity and upward mobility. While some areas could see environmental restoration, none were specifically identified. Florida should seek to maximize our current corridors and redesign them with innovative, environmentally responsible approaches.”
     Former Mayor Pegeen Hanrahan, City of Gainesville (Suncoast Task Force): “Ultimately, I don't think the case has been made that M-CORES and this new section of Turnpike is needed, and it has many negative potential impacts to a part of our state that is truly special. While these communities do need access to broadband, economic development, water and wastewater infrastructure, springs protection, trails, and many of the other promised benefits, a toll road is not a direct route to achieving these goals. While some existing roads along the proposed route may need improvement, based on my 12 years on our local Transportation Planning Organization, I believe the M-CORES toll road proposal has bypassed the tried-and-true process of roadway conception, in which the need is justified on the basis of traffic demand. This project may have been a priority of the Senate President and the House Speaker, but to the Legislature’s credit, they had the public policy interest to impanel three diverse task forces to study these 330 miles of new proposed toll roads.
     I hope those in this process will have the willingness to listen to the articulated concerns, aspirations and values that were expressed. I do applaud the professionalism and dedication of the FDOT personnel on this project, and I thank Commissioner Fried for appointing me to this task force.”
     Former Commissioner Janet Taylor, Hendry County Commission (Southwest-Central Task Force): “From where I sit in rural Hendry County, I cannot see any appreciable benefit to our community from the M-CORES project. Our region is home to hundreds of thousands of acres of environmentally-sensitive agricultural lands which could be threatened by the development of new toll roads. The people of our communities, particularly people of color, are in need of investment and economic development that I believe the proposed corridors simply won’t deliver. At a time in which Floridians, especially those in rural communities like ours, are facing long-term economic and health hardships from a raging pandemic, I don’t believe that spending millions of dollars on pay-to-play roads to nowhere is the right priority at all. That was my message on the task force, and that’s my message to the Department of Transportation and the Governor.”

 


Publisher succeeds
with Medicare application
‘Retirement’ scheduled
for June of 2022

-- Second In A Series
By Jeff M. Hardison © Nov. 12, 2020 at 9:10 a.m.
     JEMLANDS –
The United States Social Security Administration (SSA) on Monday afternoon (Nov. 9) kept a scheduled telephone conference with a man slated to become 65 years old soon.
     The SSA allegedly enrolled him in Medicare.
     “I really was put off by the Social Security Administration’s website and a couple of its spokespersons before yesterday,” Hardison said on Tuesday afternoon (Nov. 10). “After speaking with a competent, rational person from the Gainesville office yesterday, I feel comfortable moving forward with my plan to switch my health insurance options on Jan. 1. And, as a bonus, I learned that I will be able to retire in 2022 and then earn as much money as I want without penalty to accepting the Social Security payments, or my Medicare benefits, et cetera.”
     The professional, multiple award-winning journalist said he now intends to continue the series of stories about this Medicare process so that people turning 65 years old can see what to expect.
     “Nothing is so constant as change,” Hardison said. “Although I think it is fun to say that change is constant, in the same breath I am inclined to not that there are no absolutes, and then say there may some absolutes. For instance, there is truth and then there is the other side of reality.”
     The journalist continued as he prepares to begin his sojourn into the pre-Medicare world.
     “I received a call from ‘Medicare Mike’ last night,” Hardison said Thursday morning (Nov. 12). “Michael Crotts owns the Best Plan Choice Insurance Agency. He is my choice for helping guide me through this. I am hoping also to see some level of assistance from SHINE. SHINE is an acronym for Serving Health Insurance Needs of Elders, which is a free program offered by the Florida Department of Elder Affairs.”
     Hardison said his person helping him choose a Medicare plan to fit his needs called to ask if the man had completed the process for Medicare enrollment.
     “I told Mike that just finished the process Monday afternoon with a Social Security Administration worker who is based in the Gainesville office, but who is working from her home due to COVID-19 forcing the closure of almost all, if not all Social Security offices.”
     Hardison reminded his advisor that while both of those men are working on Veterans Day (Nov. 11), the federal government is observing the holiday by letting employees enjoy a paid day off.
     “So, here’s what will happen,” Hardison said. “This is the second story in a series about one man’s journey into the health insurance plan known as Medicare. My plan is to keep the series going to help all people understand the current scenario regarding this benefit for workers in America.”
     Hardison said that as it stands, the next story should be completed before Nov. 30.
     “There are three positive takeaways from that kind Social Security worker calling to help me enroll in Medicare this week,” Hardison said on Thursday morning (Nov. 12). “First, the odds are good that this enrollment will succeed as she promised. Second, according to her, 60 percent of the people who try to create an online mysocialsecurity account are not successful; so, I should not think that failure by me is so rare. Third, I learned that a bit before June of 2022, I can keep selling ads while still retiring with full benefits from my Social Security, including staying with Medicare as my primary health insurance.”

 


Rocket Launches From
Cape Canaveral Air Force Base

Rocket Launch of Nov. 5, 2020
This is the view – looking from a hay field in Levy County into the sky to the east, where a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launches the Space Force's newest Global Positioning System satellite from Cape Canaveral Air Force Base on Thursday evening (Nov. 5). Click HERE or on either still photo to see the video.

Rocket Launch of Nov. 5, 2020
The expansion of the space-exploration business is among the economic engines for the East Coast of Florida. The Falcon 9 is a partially reusable two-stage-to-orbit medium-lift launch vehicle designed and manufactured by SpaceX in the United States. It is powered by SpaceX Merlin engines, burning liquid oxygen and rocket-grade kerosene as propellants.

Photos and Video By Jeff M. Hardison © Nov. 7, 2020 at 9:10 a.m.
All Copyrights Reserved

 


Tri-County Area offers help to
reduce evictions & foreclosures

By Jeff M. Hardison © Nov. 5, 2020 at 8:10 p.m.
Updated Nov. 6, 2020 at 10:10 a.m.
     BRONSON –
Among the many things completed by the Levy County Board of County Commissioners at its Tuesday (Nov. 3) regular meeting was the establishment of a method to help financially strapped residents to keep a roof over their families’ heads.
     The County Commission approved the Levy County CARES Act housing program on Nov. 3, as noted in a Nov. 3 press release from Levy County Procurement Coordinator/ADA Coordinator
Alicia Tretheway.
     The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act was passed by the United States Congress with overwhelming, bipartisan support and it was signed into law on March 27, according to information on the United States Treasury’s website.
     Part of this CARES Act program is for helping people in to prevent foreclosure and eviction prevention for those who are paying mortgages, as well as to provide rental assistance, according to records.
     The application and agreement for relief from foreclosure or eviction, and for rent assistance for Levy County residents, can be picked up at the Levy County Commission office, located at 310 School St. in Bronson. The structure that was once the main building for the former Bronson High School has become known as the Levy County Annex.
     Not only is the County Commission’s office there now, but it is the home of the Levy County Tax Collector as well.
     This form is allegedly going to be able to be printed from the Levy County Commission website at https://www.levycounty.org/cares_act/index.php, starting Nov. 9, at 8 a.m.
     In Levy County, Dixie County and Gilchrist County, the Florida Housing Finance Corp. provided money in this program.
     Levy County was awarded $240,000, and the other two counties received similar amounts based on population.
     Government Services Group of Tallahassee is handling the awarding of funds for people who complete the application in Levy County, Tretheway said.
     In Levy County, these funds will be awarded based on a first-come first-served basis, Tretheway said.
     If you have any questions, please call the Levy County Commission office, at 352-486-5218.
     Florida Housing Finance Corp. was created by the Florida Legislature more than 35 years ago to assist in providing a range of affordable housing opportunities for residents. The vision of this group, according to its various social media presence, is to be “… recognized as an outstanding provider of innovative, measurable, data-driven and fiscally sustainable solutions that respond to the affordable housing challenges of our state.”
     Dixie County already started the process to help people through the CARES Act funding for foreclosure-eviction prevention and for rental assistance.
     In Dixie County the Suwannee River Economic Council (SREC) is processing applications for rental assistance and foreclosure-eviction prevention,
Assistant to the County Manager and Grant Coordinator Cheyenne Hutchinson of the office of Dixie County Manager Duane Cannon said on Thursday (Nov. 5).
     Dixie County was awarded funding similar to Levy and Gilchrist counties for this purpose, Hutchinson said, and like Gilchrist County that amount is $175,000.
     In Gilchrist County, County Administrative Assistant Donna Creamer in the office of the Gilchrist County Manager Bobby Crosby said Gilchrist County received $175,000.
     Like Dixie County, Creamer said, the SREC handles applications. People have submitted forms and received money already in Gilchrist County, Creamer said.
     In Gilchrist County the SREC pays the recipients and then provides the Gilchrist County Board of County Commissioners with documentation, which the county then reimburses the SREC.
     Creamer mentioned that the Gilchrist County Commission placed a $5,000 cap on per-household limit to better assure more people would be helped.
     All three counties are using the United States Housing and Urban Development income limits as a gauge for assisting families to stay in a structure, rather than becoming homeless on the streets.
     The single best place for people in Dixie County, Gilchrist County and Levy County who are in need of housing, food, a job, and help with family matters such as abuse is the Tri-County Community Resource Center (TCCRC).
     The TCCRC can provide information about where to best find help with agencies to help individuals or families who are in need.
     The TCCRC is part of the Partnership for Strong Families. The TCCRC, in response to COVID-19, has hours and programs that are changing week-to-week.
     For the most up-to-date schedule, call the Resource Center at 352-507-4000.
     The TCCRC is located at 15 N. Main St. (just north of Park Avenue on U.S. Highway 19), in downtown Chiefland.

 


Time To Smile
Medicare seniors -
no need to hide behind a mask

Information Provided
By Michael “Medicaid Mike” Crotts
Owner of Best Plan Choice Insurance Agency
Published Nov. 2, 2020 at 2:10 p.m.
     FLORIDA --
This year we have all somehow gotten comfortable with wearing a face mask while out in the public.
     At first it was mandated but as restrictions have loosened. So has the need to always wear a mask. If your mask was hiding some dental issues, then now is the time to get smart with your Medicare health plan selection.
     While original Medicare has very limited coverage of dental procedures, the regulations have changed for Medicare Advantage plans starting in 2021. Now is the time to call Medicare Mike to learn about the plans offering dental cleanings, extractions and even dentures.
     Right now it is the middle of the Annual Enrollment Period when all Medicare beneficiaries have an option to select a new health plan, or stay with their current plan, for the upcoming year. If you are happy with your plan and don’t want to compare plans you may be missing out on more than new dental or medical benefits. Each year most plans change their benefits. This means the plan you have may have decreased its coverage and the plans you didn’t previously select may have increased their coverage. So, if your plan terminated your doctor from the network, increased the cost of its copayments, or reduced coverage for expensive hospitalizations don’t just grin and bear it because you can use this opportunity to have a free look at the other plan options available.
     Medicare health insurance can seem to be very complex. In part because once you earn your Medicare eligibility you have a choice to purchase a supplement to assist with your 20% responsibility or you can place your Medicare with a Medicare Advantage plan which provides all of your Part A, B and D services. These plans are required to cover everything Medicare covers and because they are competing for your business they often provide additional benefits ranging from vision, dental and hearing aids to special benefits such as gym memberships, over-the-counter items, and transportation.
     When you sit down with a licensed and certified independent agent like Michael Crotts, or one of his team members, you will have a private opportunity to discuss what it important to you in health plan coverage. For some people, it is the financial protection of having a plan with a low annual maximum out of pocket amount. For others, it’s the amount of the Part B rebates used to increase their monthly social security check. By contacting the office today at 352-815-5297 you can reserve your personal appointment. But hurry because if you don’t decide by Dec. 7 you may be left without great benefits.
     Best Plan Choice is a licensed insurance agency with an office dedicated to serving the Medicare community. Our agents, including Medicare Mike, are available to host customers in the office, in their home, on the telephone or even by video chat. Don’t let your mask get in the way of making a great health plan decision this year. We look forward to putting a smile on your face, even if its under a mask.
     Call before Dec. 7 and we will also provide a free no obligation quote for life insurance with no medical exam required.

 


Boat traffic will be affected
due to demolition of old
C Street Bridge in Cedar Key

By Troy Roberts of FDOT
Published Oct. 24, 2020 at 6:10 p.m.
     CEDAR KEY –
Demolition is scheduled to begin next week on the old C Street Bridge in Cedar Key, weather and unforeseen circumstances permitting.
     Work is expected to begin on Tuesday, Oct. 27. The demolition of the old bridge is not expected to cause significant impact to vehicular traffic because motorists are using a temporary bridge to access Dock Street.
     Marine traffic under the bridge, however, will be affected. It is expected it will take approximately two weeks to demolish the bridge.
     Once demolition is completed, construction will begin on the new, permanent bridge.
     Replacement of the C Street Bridge began in November of 2019. The $6.7 million project is expected to be completed next year.

--UPDATED--
SATURDAY  NOV. 28  9:10 a.m.
Levy, Dixie and Gilchrist counties

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