Trisha Blanton wins tickets to
A Charlie Brown Christmas;

Holiday events
continue in Tri-County Area

Winner in contest for tickets
Trisha Blanton holds Rylee Wasson in her arms as she also holds the certificate as the winner of the two tickets from the Suwannee Valley Players and Standing next to Blanton is Newcombe Wasson, who is scheduled to marry her in the near future.

Story and Photo
By Jeff M. Hardison © Dec.8, 2018 at 2:48 p.m.
Trisha Blanton won two tickets to see the play A Charlie Brown Christmas - Live, which has performances by the Suwannee Valley Players scheduled for two weekends, and which started on Friday (Dec. 7) at The Chief Theater.


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CareerSource Citrus Levy Marion


In this video, Inky the cat Hardison quickly selects the winner of two tickets to see A Charlie Brown Christmas.

Video By Sharon Hardison

     Inky the cat Hardison, junior mascot of and Goldy the cat Hardison, senior mascot of, were both ready to pounce Friday night to select the winner who was contacted Saturday morning (Dec. 8).
     Inky was the first to go toward the slips of paper, not needing a laser light to chase as inspiration, but instead just jumping right onto the small, folded pieces of papers and quickly selecting the winner by chomping on that particular slip of paper.
    For all of the information about Your Holiday Events, including A Charlie Brown Christmas, click HERE.  
     There are other events happening and listed on the CALENDAR PAGE, which can be reached by clicking HERE.
     For instance, there is a free dinner and festive foster care informational event at Camp Anderson on Dec. 13. There is a need for foster families, especially in Dixie County.
     For any person who wants to list a holiday event or any other happening for the general public to know about, please send the information in a Word document (photos sent as a JPG may be included) to
     "I want to note my appreciation to all of the people who entered this contest to win tickets to see the play being directed by Diana Child,” Jeff M. Hardison, publisher and editor of the daily news website said. “The Suwannee Valley Players cast and crew has included and continues to include many, many wonderful people. I want to especially note my gratitude to Dr. Becky Gill, a true patron of the performing arts.”
     This ticket giveaway was part of “Keeping It Great At Eight” - which notes's continuation in its eighth year of existence.
     Year Nine for the daily news website starts on Feb. 1, 2019. The owner and publisher mentioned there is a potential for more contests in Year Nine, as well as potential expansion of the daily news website in 2019.

Rep. Neal Dunn commends
Air Force secretary on
F-35 squadrons
coming to Tyndall AFB

By Shelby Hodgkins of Rep. Dunn's Office
Published Dec.7, 2018 at 2:48 p.m.
     WASHINGTON, D.C. --
United States Rep. Neal Dunn (R-Fla. Dist. 2) commended United States Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson today (Friday Dec. 7) for announcing Tyndall Air Force Base as the future home to three squadrons of F-35s.
     The Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II is a family of single-seat, single-engine, all-weather stealth multirole fighters. The fifth-generation combat aircraft is designed to perform ground-attack and air-superiority missions.
     The announcement comes as Tyndall is working to rebuild after Hurricane Michael devastated the base in October.
     “These squadrons of F-35s are the future of the Air Force and will strengthen our national security, while reinforcing the role of our airmen at Tyndall Air Force Base. It’s clear the Air Force recognizes the importance of investing in Tyndall as a part of our defense strategy and we are working to get the base back to mission ready capability as soon as possible,” Rep. Dunn said. “Bringing these next generation warplanes to Tyndall is in line with our efforts to rebuild a modern and state-of-the-art Air Force base post-Hurricane Michael. I look forward to working with the defense community to bring these squadrons in for a landing in our community.”
     Tyndall will become a purpose-built base for the 5th generation fighter with the addition of the F-35 squadrons. These squadrons will bring as many as 72 F-35s to Tyndall by 2023.
     Rep. Dunn has worked tirelessly to ensure Tyndall Air Force Base is rebuilt in the wake of Hurricane Michael. He has secured commitments from leaders at all levels of government that the base will be rebuilt, including President Donald J. Trump, Vice President M.R. "Mike" Pence, Air Force Secretary Wilson, and other national leaders.

Public hearing set
for garbage haulers on Dec. 18

By Jeff M. Hardison © Nov. 7, 2018 at 1:48 p.m.
Updated Nov. 12, 2018 at 12:18 p.m.
     BRONSON –
A public hearing has been scheduled for Dec. 18 at 9 a.m. (or as soon thereafter as the matter may be heard during the regular meeting of the Levy County Board of County Commissioners that day) in the County Commission Meeting Room - in the Levy County Courthouse in Bronson - to consider the adoption of a resolution electing to seek one or more exclusive franchises for hauling garbage in Levy County.
     On Wednesday afternoon (Nov. 7) Levy County Director of Solid Waste Rod Hastings explained two concepts related to garbage service in Levy County.
     The first idea is flow control. Hastings said the county does not want operators to haul solid waste (garbage) to a landfill or other site outside of Levy County. The solid waste transfer site located between Bronson and Williston is the proper place for disposal of garbage generated in Levy County.
      The people of Levy County have an interest here, he explained, because the county has invested in capital expenses at the transfer station, and the state government expects the county to continue to see a flow of garbage to keep this operation viable.
     The next question relates to the county licensing franchises to collect garbage in Levy County.
     Director Hastings said this will help with litter control outside the gates of the transfer station. As haulers go from the points of collection and then travel on the highways and byways of the county, they may not have trailers properly tarped, or they may be leaking smelly run-off on the roads.
     By the Levy County allowing only licensed franchisers, this will help the county reduce the odds of these issues happening – which is a source for the litter seen on the sides of some roads.
     As for the county mandating garbage pickup service, Hasting said that not being considered. People can pay a hauler or they can bring their own garbage to the transfer station.
     The previous per-bag fee is gone. The $116-a-year fee on improved properties in Levy County covers that cost.
     Professional haulers delivering Levy County garbage to the Levy County Solid Waste Transfer Site no longer have to pay tipping fees either.
     The plan for future satellite drop-off places for solid waste transfer, however, continues being discussed by County Commissioner Matt Brooks and Hastings.
     By creating satellite drop-off locations, Hastings said he believes this will help people who live far away from the dump. Part of this plan may include a licensed franchiser with the county to provide the transport service from these county-owned, county-maintained satellite garbage drop-off locations to the main transfer station located between Bronson and Williston.

9,225-acre conservation
easement added to
Lower Suwannee
National Wildlife Refuge
in Dixie County

By The DEP Press Office
Published Dec. 4, 2018 at 7:38 p.m.
Today (Tuesday, Dec. 4), Gov. Rick Scott and The Florida Cabinet approved the purchase of a conservation easement over approximately 19,225 acres in Dixie County within the Lower Suwannee River and Gulf Watershed Florida Forever project.
     Purchase of this easement will result in the protection of the natural resources located around the Suwannee River and the Gulf of Mexico -- providing habitat and corridors for rare plants and animals to be protected over a wide span of undeveloped public lands. This conservation easement will permanently protect from development while allowing the landowner, The Lyme Timber Co. LP, to sustainably harvest timber — ensuring important forestry jobs stay in the community.
     “This conservation easement will offer important benefits to protecting Florida’s water quality, vast wetland and coastal communities and rare wildlife habitats, as well as supporting the local economy,” DEP Secretary Noah Valenstein said. “I want to thank our many partners who supported this project for helping to make it possible. The department looks forward to continuing to focus on acquisitions and projects that will benefit our water and natural resources and communities.”
     “Years of work and cooperation with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and The Conservation Fund resulted in this outcome for the benefit of Dixie County's people, economy and environment,” Tom Morrow, managing director of The Lyme Timber Co., said. “We are very pleased that under the conservation easement, we will continue to contribute to the local economy through sustainable forest production while supporting loggers, foresters, and mills. In addition, thousands of acres of hardwood bottomland will protect water quality and continue to provide plentiful wildlife habitat in perpetuity.”
     “The Florida Chapter of the Nature Conservancy is excited that a conservation easement will protect this important tract of land that provides significant water quality benefits to the Suwannee River and the Gulf of Mexico," Lindsay Stevens, Land Protection Program Manager of the Florida Chapter of the Nature Conservancy, said. "Acquisition of this easement will build upon prior work within the Lower Suwannee River and Gulf Watershed Florida Forever Project, and is a great example of how multiple agencies can build strong partnerships to reach conservation goals while preserving local economic development opportunities.”
     Forestry, fishing, hunting and agricultural support industries are the backbone of Dixie County and serve as the economic basis of the region. Ecotourism will also flourish by conserving the waters in which people swim, fish, scallop and boat. The conservation linkage garners support from a multitude of conservation advocates.
     “This project is critical to the health of the Lower Suwannee River and the Gulf of Mexico and will help increase coastal resiliency during major storm events. We are honored to partner with the Lyme Timber Company and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection on this truly unique landscape-level effort, that helps provide clean air and water, wildlife habitat, jobs and economic benefits to communities in Florida’s Big Bend,” said Lauren Day, Field Representative of the nonprofit Conservation Fund.
     “The health of our coastal waters and their habitats depend upon the choices we make inland. This project is a savvy investment in the future of the Big Bend’s forests and coastal areas, making them more resilient in the face of a changing climate,” said Julie Wraithmell, Executive Director of Audubon Florida.
     "This acquisition is an example of working lands being protected to benefit people and wildlife alike,” said Traci Deen, Executive Director of Conservation Florida. “Conservation Florida commends the collaborative efforts to preserve this Dixie County property. There is power in partnership.”
     Florida Forever is the state's conservation and recreation lands acquisition program, a blueprint for conserving our natural resources and renewing our commitment to conserve our natural and cultural heritage. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection's Division of State Lands is Florida’s lead agency for environmental management and stewardship.

Edward Jones
Is your “Digital Estate” in order?
Published Dec. 4, 2018 at 11:08 a.m.
     NEWBERRY --
If you spend a lot of time on the Internet, you’re not just shopping or being entertained, or following the news or participating in an online community.
     You’re probably also dealing with accounts and information that eventually can become part of your digital “estate.” And if this estate isn’t properly looked after, it can lead to confusion and conflict among your survivors, as well as an opportunity for hackers to try to get at whatever resources they can touch.
     If you haven’t stopped to think about it, you might be surprised at the number of assets that could become part of your digital estate. You may have financial accounts (banking, brokerage and bill-paying); virtual property accounts (air miles, “points” for hotel bookings); business accounts (eBay, Amazon, Etsy); e-mail accounts (Gmail, Outlook, Yahoo); social networking accounts (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram); online storage accounts (Google Drive, iCloud, Drobox); and application accounts (Netflix, Kindle, Apple).
     Given all these areas, how can you protect and preserve your digital estate? Here are a few suggestions:
     • Create a detailed inventory of digital assets. Following the categories listed above, draw up a list of all your digital assets.
     • Document your wishes for how you want your digital assets managed. If you don’t specify how you want your digital assets managed upon your death or incapacitation, you might be opening the door to lengthy legal battles over access to these assets. In a worst-case scenario, your heirs and beneficiaries might never get the assets you had intended for them.
     • Name a digital executor in your last will and testament. A digital executor can accomplish a variety of tasks related to your digital estate, such as transferring online assets to your heirs; closing accounts you don’t want transferred; managing personal materials by archiving or deleting files, photographs, videos and other content you have created; and, finally, informing online communities of your passing. When choosing a digital executor, you’ll want someone you can trust, of course, but you’ll also want to make sure that person is skilled enough in technology to search your computer properly and navigate the internet and multiple websites. Not all states recognize a digital executor, so you may want to consult with a legal professional to learn about the laws governing digital estate planning in your state. Also, even if you have a digital executor, online platforms enforce their own rules about who can or can’t access a deceased person’s accounts. If you are concerned about this, you may want to contact the customer service areas from these types of providers – Google, PayPal, Facebook, etc. – to learn their policies.
     • Review your plans. Review your digital estate plans on a regular basis, just as you do with your physical/tangible estate plans. The digital world is a fast-moving one, so you’ll need to stay current with changes.
     In some ways, managing a digital estate can be more challenging than dealing with a physical estate. But by following the above suggestions, you can help reduce any “cyber-angst” your loved ones may feel when it’s time to deal with the digital presence you’ve left behind.
    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.

Free help with civil legal matters
is available in Tri-County Area

Published Nov. 28, 2018 at 4:08 p.m.
Three Rivers Legal Services Inc. has launched a new rural pro bono outreach program to bring legal advice to the Tri-County Area.
     Staff members of Three Rivers Legal Services are traveling to Levy County (the Tri-County Community Resource Center in Chiefland) once a month (twice a month if the need arises) to offer video conference services with attorneys.
     Clients who need advice in family law, probate and wills, and other civil legal matters are invited to seek help from Three Rivers Legal Services.
     Don't worry about an ability to use video-conferencing; staff members will be there to facilitate.
     Anyone who needs free, civil legal advice is asked to call the toll-free Legal Helpline 1-866-56-8091. Eligible clients will be scheduled with an appointment to speak with advocates.
     Three Rivers Legal Services provides free civil legal assistance to eligible
clients in Alachua, Baker, Bradford, Gilchrist, Levy and Union counties. Dixie County residents may be seen at Levy County locations.

UF grad student
to explore Antarctic lake

UF/IFAS Antarctic Lake
As part of Christina Davis’ research, she works in the lab of Brent Christner, a UF/IFAS microbiology and cell science faculty member. The lab is kept at -20 degrees Celsius for Davis and Brent Christner to continue working with the ice samples from previous research trips.

Photo by Tyler Jones of UF/IFAS Communications

By Dana Edwards, Strategic Communications Manager,
College of Agricultural and Life Sciences at the University of Florida
Published Nov. 27, 2018 at 2:18 p.m.
This December, a University of Florida College of Agricultural and Life Sciences graduate student will head far south to the cold of Antarctica.
     On Dec. 2, Christina Davis, a microbiology and cell science doctoral candidate, will join a team of 37 scientists and staff funded by the National Science Foundation. This team will explore Mercer Subglacial Lake in Antarctica for the first time.
     The project, known as Subglacial Antarctic Lakes Scientific Access (SALSA), seeks to discover what lies beneath the Antarctic Ice Sheet.
     The SALSA project has implications for understanding past and present life under the ice, the movement of water beneath the ice, and how ice sheet dynamics affect global sea level rise. Davis will conduct research for her dissertation while working with her mentor Brent Christner, a UF Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences microbiology and cell science associate professor.
     Christner specializes in the study of microorganisms inhabiting environments on Earth that are typically below the freezing point of water.
     “I’m looking forward to this life-changing experience,” Davis said. “I know that I will have access to so many scientists who are experts in their fields, and I’m looking forward to collaborating with them in Antarctica.”
     The SALSA scientific team will fly by ski-equipped airplane to a field camp in West Antarctica, approximately 600 miles from McMurdo Station, the large, permanent facility near the Antarctic coast where the team will initially arrive.
     Davis and Christner will reach Antarctica during the Southern Hemisphere’s summer, when temperatures will generally range between 10-20 degrees Fahrenheit and sunlight lasts 24 hours a day. The two scientists are scheduled to stay for two months.
     The field camp lies directly above Lake Mercer, a large freshwater subglacial lake twice the size of Manhattan Island and covered by 4,000 feet of ice. This water body receives no sunlight and therefore cannot support the forms of plant and animal life associated with lakes on the surface, which rely on sunlight to sustain the microscopic, single-celled plants that form the first link in aquatic food chains.
     In the SALSA project, researchers will use a high-pressure stream of hot water to bore a two-foot-wide hole from the surface down to the subglacial lake. Team members will then work around the clock for eight days, collecting water and sediment samples that contain microbes, and potentially even harbor multi-celled organisms.
     Davis is primarily interested in examining bacteria that derive life-sustaining carbon from methane, a greenhouse gas that is produced in lake-bottom and wetland sediments globally. Although Mercer Subglacial Lake has never been sampled, Davis said it’s likely methane-consuming bacteria exist there because Christner found these organisms in another subglacial lake on a previous Antarctic expedition.
     Davis will analyze some samples on-site and will ship others back to the UF main campus in Gainesville for further assessment. Ultimately, Davis hopes to find not only methane-consuming bacteria, but also genetic evidence that helps explain how these bacteria evolved to survive in this unique environment.
     “I think this project picked me,” Davis said. “I like astrobiology, or life on other planets, and understanding how life can occur in extreme environments. I enjoy exploring how organisms can survive in these climates and what their metabolisms are.”

Association of Florida Colleges
honors CF with several awards

By CF Marketing and Public Relations Director Lois Brauckmuller
Published Nov. 26, 2018 at 3:08 p.m.
     OCALA —
The College of Central Florida was honored with several awards at the Association of Florida Colleges’ annual conference in Orlando from Nov. 7 through Nov. 9.
     The College of Central Florida’s Association of Florida Colleges Chapter won Platinum Chapter status and was awarded the Membership Growth Award.
     CF Marketing and Public Relations earned 12 Awards of Excellence from the Communications and Marketing Commission: first place and third place for Magazine, first place for Display/Presentation Board, second place for College Annual Report, second place for Social Media (Unpaid), second place for Brochure for the Arts, second place for Single Sheet Flyer, second and third place for Print Advertising, third place for Social Media (Paid), third place for Foundation/Fundraising Piece, and third place for Best Bang for the Buck.
     Three CF team members accepted 2019 leadership positions: Marjorie McGee will serve as president of the state organization, Kim Sellers as Region III director, and Mikel James as chair of the Student Development Commission. Debbie Bowe was recognized with the Unsung Hero Award.
     To learn more about CF, visit


Fire chief gives
commission quarterly report

Fire Chief gives quarterly report
Chief Mitch Harrell looks at a computer screen as he reports to the Levy County Board of County Commissioners on Nov. 20.
Story and Photo
By Jeff M. Hardison © Nov. 23, 2018 at 9:08 a.m.
     BRONSON --
Levy County Department of Public Safety (LCDPS) Department Director and Chief Mitch Harrell on Tuesday (Nov. 20) gave the four members of the Levy County Board of County Commissioners present that day a quarterly report.
     The LCDPS continues to serve the emergency fire and medical needs of the people who reside or visit Levy County, in conjunction with the municipal fire departments.
     During part of his presentation, Chief Harrell addressed the issue of the county "writing off" certain unpaid bills by people who used the ambulance service provided by the county.
     Thanks to the men and women who work as part of the LCDPS, Harrell said, the services rendered are well-documented. With the assistance of the bill-collection service that does become required on occasion, Harrell said, the overall average is 65 percent collected.
     As an industry standard, the department director said, anything above 50 percent collected from people using EMS is seen as successful. Harrell said his staff does an excellent job, and the billing company does a good job.
     The County Commission has noted its appreciation for Chief Harrell's success in serving the people with the LCDPS since he took over as the department director.
     Present for the meeting on Nov. 20 were County Commission Chairman John Meeks, Vice Chairman Mike Joyner and county commissioners Lilly Rooks and Rock Meeks. Rock Meeks and Rooks also took their oath of office that day as a result of being reelected.


Feast of economic good news
to gobble
in time for Thanksgiving

By Laura Byrnes, APR, CPRC
Communications Manager
CareerSource Citrus Levy Marion
Published Nov. 16, 2018 at 4:08 p.m.
     OCALA –
Just in time for Thanksgiving, today’s (Friday, Nov. 16) release of the region’s employment numbers offers plenty of economic good news to feast on.
     While the October unemployment rate in the CareerSource Citrus Levy Marion region was unchanged over the month at 3.7, it was down nearly a full percentage point compared to the same time last year.
     The labor force was 202,179, representing a slight expansion of 316 over the month, the number of those working increased by 309 to 194,611 while the number of unemployed remained virtually unchanged at 7,568, an increase of just 7.
     But it is the comparison to October 2017 that shows the strength of the region’s economic recovery, according to Kathleen Woodring, CareerSource CLM’s executive vice president.
     Over the year, the region’s labor force expanded by 4,204, the number of workers increased by 5,759 and the number of jobless dropped by 1,555.
     According to today’s release of the October employment summary by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, Levy County continues to hold the lowest jobless rate in the region at 3.3 percent, Marion County’s rate is unchanged at 3.6 percent, and Citrus County’s rate is also unchanged from the previous month at 4.3 percent. Florida’s not seasonally adjusted jobless rate – a measure that matches the way local rates are calculated – remains at 3.0 percent, a decrease of 0.9 percentage point over the year.
     Citrus County’s labor force grew by 228 to 48,591, the number of employed rose by 224 to 46,486 and the number of unemployed remained virtually unchanged, increasing by 4 to 2,105. Compared to October 2017, when the jobless rate was 5.2 percent, that’s an increase of 1,268 in the number of those with jobs and a decrease of 387 unemployed. 
     Levy County’s labor force expanded by 88 to 17,265, the number of those with jobs increased by 482 to 16,702, and the number of unemployed edged up by 6 to 563. That’s an over-the-year increase of 240 employed and drop of 101 unemployed when the rate was 3.9 percent.
     Marion County’s labor force experienced no change over the month, remaining at 136,323; the number of those with jobs rose by 3 to 131,423 and the number of unemployed fell by 3 to 4,900. Compared to October 2017, when the jobless rate was 4.5 percent, there were 4,251 more employed and 1,067 fewer unemployed.
     Nonfarm employment in the Ocala metropolitan statistical area was 105,600, an increase of 800 jobs over the month and 4,000 more than a year ago, for a 3.9 percent annual job growth gain. Nonagricultural employment in the Homosassa Springs MSA, which covers all of Citrus County, was 34,000, an increase of 300 jobs compared to September and 1,000 more over the year, for a 3 percent growth rate.
     Woodring said the report highlights several positives for the region:
     ● The Homosassa Springs MSA had the fastest annual job growth rate compared to all metro areas in the state in state government at 6.7 percent, adding 300 new jobs.
     ● The Ocala MSA continued to hold the second fastest annual job growth rate compared to all metro areas in the state in education and health services, at 5.9 percent, adding 1,100 jobs.
     ● The Ocala MSA tied for second fastest annual job growth rate in trade, transportation and utilities at 3.9 percent. An increase of 900 new jobs.
     ● The Ocala MSA had the state’s third fastest annual job growth rate in leisure and hospitality at 8.1 percent, a gain of 1,000 new jobs.
     All grew faster in the Ocala metro area than statewide over the year, as did manufacturing at 6% (+500 jobs) and professional and business services at 4.4 % (+400 jobs). Mining, logging and construction, at 4.3 percent (+300 jobs) also gained over the year.
     Financial activities and other services each lost 100 jobs compared to October 2017, while information and government industries were unchanged.
     According to the employment data for October, unemployment rates remained unchanged in 35 counties, rose in 17 and fell in 15.
     The county with the highest unemployment rate in the state was Hendry County at 5.4 percent. Citrus County again tied with Sumter County for the third highest rate, Marion County again tied with Miami-Dade County, but nudged up two spots to claim the 10th highest rate and Levy County tied with four other counties with the 20th highest rate.
     Among the metro areas, Homosassa Springs/Citrus County MSA again tied with The Villages for the highest rate and the Ocala MSA tied with Miami-Miami Beach-Kendall for the fifth highest rate.
     The region’s employment summary for November is scheduled to be released on Friday, Dec. 21

Putnam testifies before USITC:
impacts of trade agreements
are adverse on Florida agriculture

Published Nov. 16, 2018 at 7:08 a.m.
     WASHINGTON, D.C. --
Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam (Rep.) on Thursday (Sept. 15) testified before the United States International Trade Commission in Washington, D.C., to voice concerns about the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement’s (USMCA) potential negative economic impact on Florida’s produce industry.
     Commissioner Putnam is the elected leader of the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. The next Florida commissioner of agriculture will be either
Nikki Fried (Dem.) or Matt Caldwell (Rep.). The political race is one of three that are currently too close for the Florida Secretary of State, Division of Elections, to officially call after the Nov. 6 general election.
     Excerpts from Commissioner Putnam’s remarks, provided by the Florida DACS, on Thursday are below:
     “I’d like to address how the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement could further impact vital US farm sectors in the absence of measures that can provide effective, near-term relief against unfairly traded Mexican fruits and vegetables.
     “As Florida’s Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services, I represent the Florida agriculture industry, which generates more than $120 billion in total economic impact, supports more than 1.5 million jobs in Florida, and produces more than 300 agricultural commodities.
     “As an industry that depends on fair trade agreements, the proposed United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement will directly affect the livelihood of Florida’s farmers and ranchers.
     “Florida and Mexico produce many of the same agricultural products during the winter months of the year and have overlapping harvests of other commodities in other seasons.
     “Imports of agricultural products from Mexico have a disproportionately negative impact on Florida’s producers. Since the turn of the millennium, imports of many agricultural products from Mexico have increased dramatically, proving particularly injurious to Florida Agriculture’s specialty crop sector.
     “I believe that many of these commodities are unfairly subsidized and are pouring into the U.S. market in high volumes at prices significantly below the cost of production, resulting in negative repercussions on U.S. producers and causing disproportionate economic injury to Florida’s specialty crop industry.
     “Unfortunately, the trade environment created under NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement), and the trade environment that will be created under USMCA is anything but a fair and level playing field for Florida’s producers.
      “For this reason, I am disappointed that this new agreement has no new protections for Florida fruit and vegetable producers, who for too long have suffered from Mexico’s unfair trade practices – despite our best efforts.
     “Our department, Florida’s Congressional Delegation and industry groups have fought hard to protect our specialty crop industry since the inception of NAFTA, and we will continue to do so as this new agreement moves forward.
     “We’re seeking commitment to work with the Administration toward a viable, effective tool to address unfair trading practices and ensure the future sustainability of fruit and vegetable production in the United States.”


Sunday alcoholic beverage sales
moves one step closer
after 3-1 vote by
the Chiefland City Commission

Chiefland City Commissioner Tim West
City Commissioner Tim West has been at the forefront of Chiefland becoming more inviting to economic growth, including the revision of the current law that prohibits alcoholic beverage sales on Sunday in the city. Normally sitting next to West is City Commissioner Rollin Hudson. He was absent Monday night.

Story and Photos
By Jeff M. Hardison © Nov. 14, 2018 at 3:18 p.m.
Four members of the Chiefland City Commission voted 3-1 Monday night (Nov. 12) in favor of allowing alcoholic beverages to be sold on Sundays in the city limits of Chiefland.

(from left) City Commissioner Donald Lawrence sits next to Vice Mayor Chris Jones – who are diametrically opposed on the question of alcoholic beverage sales in Chiefland on Sundays. Next to Vice Mayor Jones, going to the right, is Deputy City Clerk Laura Cain.

City Manager Mary Ellzey is seen at the elevated dais and Mayor Betty Walker is seen on the ground floor. Mayor Walker has consistently worked to help the city grow its economy for the 20 years she has served on the Chiefland City Commission so far.


     At the last regular City Commission meeting in October, the City Commission had instructed City Attorney Norm D. Fugate to draft an amendment to the municipal ordinances to allow alcoholic beverage sales in Chiefland on Sundays.
     The City Commission instructed him to use the City of Williston ordinance as a template.
     Due to the Williston ordinance ending sales at midnight and the current code in Chiefland allowing sales of alcohol up until 2 a.m. on the following day after Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights, the first reading showed that revision away from the Williston version after some discussion.
     The amendment approved by the Chiefland City Commission by a 3-1 vote on Nov. 12 came from a motion by City Commissioner Tim West, seconded by Vice Mayor Chris Jones.
     Voting in favor of the ordinance were West, Jones and Mayor Betty Walker. City Commissioner Donald Lawrence voted against the amendment.
     City Commission Rollin Hudson was absent from the Nov. 12 meeting.
     The second and final reading of the ordinance amendment is scheduled for Nov. 26.
     If approved in its current state, alcohol sales in Chiefland would start at 7 a.m. for off-premises consumption on every day except Sunday.
     Sunday alcohol sales would be legal after 1 p.m.
     Sales would end at midnight on Sunday, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, but would go until 2 a.m. of the following day for Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
     If approved on Nov. 26, the amendment takes effect immediately. Therefore, the first Sunday alcohol sales in Chiefland after that amendment would be after 1 p.m. on Dec. 2 and would last until midnight on that Sunday.
     If the amendment is not approved at the second reading, then the sales of alcoholic beverages would continue to be prohibited on Sundays in Chiefland.


Winner accepts certificate

Debra Appling smiles as she holds the certificate next to the front door of BubbaQue's in Chiefland on Sunday (Nov. 11, Veterans Day). That restaurant opened for its day of service at 11 a.m. and this photo was taken before that time.

Photo, Story and Video
By Jeff M. Hardison © Nov. 11, 2018 at 11:08 a.m.
Debra Appling accepted her certificate for a a pit ham or a smoked turkey from BubbaQue's on Sunday morning (Nov. 11).

In this video, both Goldy and Inky are being called. Goldy responded more quickly and she made the pick.

     She was the winner from the many people who provided several entries in the contest. Appling accepted the certificate Sunday morning (Nov. 11 - Veterans Day) in front of the entrance to the BubbaQue's in Chiefland.
     The winner was extremely happy to learn that she won. Due to a family healthcare emergency, she was unable to answer the call for her win until today (Sunday, Nov. 11). This certificate award served as a bright spot for her day.
     In this video, both Goldy the cat Hardison and Inky the cat Hardison are being called to choose a winner. Goldy responded more quickly and she made the pick.
     It was thanks to that magnificent effort by Goldy the cat Hardison, senior mascot of, that a winner has been selected for the most recent contest. (As seen in the video).
     After Goldy completed her mission, Inky the cat said “Murp” which is a mix of a meow while she is purring. Inky the cat Hardison also left her claw marks on the certificate, but not to the point that a new one had to be printed.
     As promised the winner was announced yesterday (Saturday, Dec. 10) on
     This contest resulted thanks to BubbaQue's and
     The next contest starts Dec. 1 and will result in the awarding of two tickets to see the play A Charlie Brown Christmas to be performed by the Suwannee Valley Players. experiences
1.5 million hits
in one month again

By Jeff M. Hardison © Nov. 3, 2018 at 4:08 p.m.
     THE WORLD –
One and a half million hits is a significant number of hits, and 12,000 unique visitors is worth mentioning as well.
     The number of unique visitors looking at stories, photos and videos on reflects another wonderful month's results as the daily news website continues its growth in its eighth year of existence – as reflected by success in October.
     Year 8 of started Thursday, Feb. 1, 2018 with great gains as usual.
     The monthly report for October shows traffic to is strong, according to two independent, automated, third-party traffic-registering programs -- Google Analytics and cPanel.
    There were 12,135 unique visitors in October to, according to these trusted third-party automated measuring devices.
     The 2018 average monthly number of unique visitors to this daily news website is 14,822.
     Jeff Hardison, publisher and owner of, said he is thankful to God for all things.
     Beyond that, he added, he is thankful for the continued growth, which shows a strong base of loyal readers, viewers and listeners as the daily news website moves forward through its eighth year of existence, which just started
     “The April and May numbers were down a tad,” Hardison said. “We lost three days of any traffic being counted in May because we had to add an ‘s’ to the ‘http’ for security and to register with Google. I presume the hyper-text transfer protocol is even better with an ‘s’ on it.”
     Not only is the best source for daily news, he said, but this is also the best platform for advertising because of the traffic to the site.
     “Private and public interests recognize advertising in is the best return on investment for money spent on advertising. This is nice for me to see as well,” Hardison said. “I anticipate making offers to companies and individuals to help their businesses enjoy the benefits of advertising in my daily news website this month (November).”
     The numbers for October 2018 are shown in the graphic below, as they are in the same graphic on top:


Statistics Show is very strong

     Hardison, a multiple award-winning daily and weekly newspaper writer and editor, and now publisher and daily news website sole proprietor, said he is pleased to see the tally of individuals who visit the site.
     The national advertisements will remain on the bottom of the pages, he said, because local advertisers are better served by being on the right side of the pages and in the body of the pages. The ads for five local Chambers of Commerce currently are at the bottom of the Community Page.
     Following are the figures from two independent robotic programs for October of 2018.

     The first gauge reflects Unique Visitors. defines unique visitor as "a person who visits a Web site 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.

October 2018 – 12,135
Monthly Average 2018 - 14,822

     The number of visits is as it says. This is the number of times that these visitors came to pages.

October 2018 – 29,490
Monthly Average 2018 - 31,671

     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.

October 2018 – 113,270
Monthly Average 2018 -110,809

     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.
October 2018 – 1,490,866 (almost 1.5 million hits)
Monthly Average 2018 - 1,333,186 (about 1.3 million hits)

     “These figures mean there are more people each day who use as a source for information than any other source in North Central Florida,” 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 other product or service provider of first choice in any market.” continues to grow in readers, viewers and listeners (yes, most of the videos have sound). More and more business owners and other individuals are seeing that this is the best site for Levy, Dixie and Gilchrist counties’ daily news.
     And people see it is the best daily news website for accurate reporting.
     As for the business side of the daily news website, the owner said this website is the best medium in this market to advertise, which is proved by annual increased revenue -- even though the price of ads remains stable since the site’s inception. 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.

     "I can't say enough about my wife Sharon Hardison," Jeff Hardison said. "She does so much for me it is incredible. One thing I need to bring people's attention to is our relatively new archive page. Go to any of the seven pages and find the ad for the archive page 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. Just go to the area on the page that says CHECK
     Videos can be viewed and click on it. 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 space station – can view it. This site is subscription-free entirely because of our sponsors. Not only do advertisers help the people in the world (and astronauts) see Levy, Dixie and Gilchrist counties, but those business interests enjoy the most exposure for the least dollars.
     "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" is the best daily news site that covers Levy, Dixie and Gilchrist counties.
     Advertisements run in various sizes and can be on one page or all seven pages. Ad contracts run for one year. Ads can be changed monthly. Ads can be hyperlinked to other webpages so that when a person clicks on the ad it opens in another window.
     The annual prices for ads are $500, $750, $1,000, $1,500 and there is one $2,000-a-year ad space available currently on the Home Page.
     Call 352-493-9950 or send an email to to learn more about advertising on the MOST VIEWED daily news website in the world for any form of print, broadcast or Internet-based media covering the Tri-County Area of Levy, Dixie and Gilchrist counties (and beyond).

TUESDAY  DEC. 10  8:28 a.m.
Levy, Dixie and Gilchrist counties

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