Duke Energy announces
open house for new substation
and transmission line

Duke Energy Open House   HardisonInk.com
Art Provided By Duke Energy

By Ana Gibbs, Duke Energy Florida
Senior Communications Consultant
Corporate Communications
Published July 21, 2018 at 8:18 a.m.
As part of Duke Energy’s commitment to ensure a secure energy grid for Florida, the company has determined there is a need to construct a new substation and a new 230-kilovolt (kV) transmission line in the northeastern part of Levy County.


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Ad for Duke Energy Until July 24   HardisonInk.com

     This project will strengthen system reliability by adding needed capacity to support the growing demand for energy used by homes and businesses in the area.
     The proposed location of the new substation is adjacent to the existing Williston 69-kV Substation located at 4991 N.E. U.S. Highway 41 in the city of Williston, which will be upgraded.
     The new 230-kV transmission line will extend approximately 14 miles west from the new substation to the existing Bronson substation located at 890 N. Hathaway Ave. (U.S. Alt. 27) in the town of Bronson.
     Duke Energy has invited residents to a drop-in event which will allow them to visit information stations and speak with company representatives about various aspects of the project. Media is also invited to attend.
     The Open House is Tuesday (July 24) from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Holy Family Catholic Church, 17353 N.E. U.S. Alt. 27, north of Williston.
     There is no formal presentation planned. People can just drop in between 4 and 7 p.m. on Tuesday.
     Comments can be submitted at the open houses, online, or at the email address below. A 30-day comment period will begin following the open houses. The comments will be used as part of the evaluation of the potential corridors to select a final preferred route, which will be announced this fall.
     If residents have additional questions, please contact Duke Energy at the toll-free number or email below:
Email: FlTransmissionEnhancements@duke-energy.com
Call:  877-840-0101

Duke Energy selects five Florida
locations for Site Readiness;

Five properties in Levy, Marion,
Hamilton, Wakulla and Volusia counties
to participate in the company's
economic development initiative

Published July 20, 2018 at 1:58 p.m.
Duke Energy has selected five Florida properties for participation in this year's Site Readiness Program, which will prepare them for targeted business development and future capital investment.
     Through its Site Readiness Program, Duke Energy identifies high-quality industrial sites and works with the site's owner, county/city officials and local economic development professionals to identify the property's current status and to develop a strategy for providing water, sewer, natural gas and electricity, necessary for the development of the properties.
     "Site readiness supports communities' needs by evaluating properties and providing recommendations and a vision that are used to attract companies and jobs to the area," said Marc Hoenstine, director of economic development, Duke Energy. "This process of identifying competitive sites that are prime for development, coupled with strong workforce programs and available talent, has resulted in several successful projects throughout our six-state service area over the last 13 years."
     The locations include:

Levy County
     The Levy site consists of 5,400 acres located in close proximity to navigable water with transmission-level power nearby and is within five miles of a railway. The site and neighboring area has key attributes to support timber production/processing, food processing and general manufacturing industries.
     "Knowing a location's full potential for development is critical for site selection, ensuring essential infrastructure and features are in place for sought-after industry," said David Pieklik, executive director for Nature Coast Business Development Council of Levy County. "Taking a hard look at a 5,400-acre site north of Inglis – an area poised for growth – Duke Energy's Site Readiness Program will help us ensure we have everything we need for a perfect fit."

Marion County
     Acorn Farms is a 190-acre site located east of Interstate 75 with convenient access to the Florida Northern Railroad. Five key industry targets for this site include logistics and distribution, light manufacturing, advanced manufacturing, food and beverage manufacturing and aviation and aerospace production.
     "The Duke Energy Site Readiness Program will help our community identify and further advance the development of the Acorn Farms property," said Brett Barnes, vice president of job creation for the Greater Ocala Chamber and Economic Partnership. "With extensive feedback from Global Location Strategies (GLS), an internationally recognized site selection firm, and the knowledge gained, we will be in a better position to continue to develop the site for future growth. We greatly appreciate this incredible opportunity Duke Energy presented to us. We look forward to working with them and the entire GLS team."

Hamilton County
     The Carter Property is a 468-acre site that is adjacent to Interstate 75, just south of the Florida/Georgia border. Four potential targeted industries for this site include logistics/distribution, food and beverage, wood/timber products (pellet mills) and general manufacturing.
     "Hamilton County is well-positioned on the Florida/Georgia line to offer businesses a strategic location where they can easily reach the Southeast market," said Susan Ramsey, executive director of the Hamilton County Development Authority. "Duke Energy's selection of the Carter Property for the Site Readiness Program will result in yet another competitive Hamilton County site for businesses to consider."
After each evaluation is completed, materials  highlighting the property's attributes are  used to help strategically market the sites nationwide for companies looking to expand or relocate their operations.

Wakulla County
     Opportunity Park is a 240-acre industrial park located in Crawfordville, 14 miles south of the Tallahassee International Airport and 18 miles from Interstate 10. The park has three-phase electric service, abundant natural gas, water, sewer, business internet and communications available on site. Targeted industries include general manufacturing, offices and green, environmentally responsible businesses.
     "It has been a pleasure for the Wakulla County Economic Development Council to assist in bringing Duke Energy and NG Wade, a Jacksonville-based investment firm and the site's owner, together for the evaluation of Opportunity Park, a project that is vital to Wakulla's economic development," said John Shuff, chairman of the Wakulla County Economic Development Council. "We are grateful to Duke Energy for having the vision to understand the importance of this industrial park for Florida's Capital Region!"

Volusia County
     DeBary Industrial Park is a 255-acre site that is adjacent to a CSX rail line and is five miles west of Interstate 4. The site will be evaluated to support light manufacturing, advanced manufacturing, IT/communications, biomedical/biotechnology and food and beverage manufacturing.
     "We're very excited about the opportunity to work with Duke Energy through its site readiness initiative, highlighting an approximate 250-acre industrial zoned site with CSX access located between Orlando and Daytona," said Roger VanAuker, economic development director for the city of DeBary. "We appreciate Duke Energy's partnership in economic development, taking a proactive role in the economic prosperity of DeBary and regionally."

     Duke Energy is working with two nationally recognized site selection consulting firms to evaluate the properties. O'Neal Consulting, a consulting firm in Greenville, S.C., which recently acquired the assets of McCallum Sweeney, has been instrumental in locating many high-profile headquarters and industrial relocations and expansions throughout Florida and the U.S.
     And most recently, Global Location Strategies, based in Greenville, S.C, is a new partner to Florida's Site Readiness Program working with manufacturing and industrial companies assisting with capital, labor, energy and water intensive project requirements. Heidt Design, a Tampa-based engineering firm will continue to support the program with buildable area studies and conceptual drawings for each site evaluation.
     Duke Energy's Site Readiness Program was recognized by Southern Business and Development magazine as one of the "South's Top 10 Site Programs" and was noted as one of the main reasons Duke Energy was named as one of the nation's "Top 10 Utility Economic Development Programs" by Site Selection magazine for the past several years.
     Duke Energy's economic development efforts have helped attract and grow more than 270 companies in Florida since 2001, resulting in more than 40,600 new jobs and $3.5 billion in capital investment in the communities it serves. The Site Readiness Program has resulted in 34 major project wins on sites across the Duke Energy footprint.
     These projects will create over 6,800 new jobs and invest more than $7 billion in capital.

Summer unemployment
slump hits region;

Ocala metro continues
to lead state in education and
health services job growth

By Laura Byrnes, APR, CPRC
Communications Manager
CareerSource Citrus Levy Marion
Published July 20, 2018 at 1:48 p.m.
     OCALA –
Along with summer heat and humidity, the CareerSource Citrus Levy Marion region saw a seasonal uptick in the unemployment rate in June.
     The unemployment rate for the region is 4.9 percent, up 0.7 percentage point over the month and down nearly half a percent compared to the same time last year. The labor force was 202,500, up 2,574 (+1.3 percent) over the year. There were 9,867 unemployed residents in the region, representing an increase of 1,451 over the month and 631 fewer than June 2017.
     According to today’s (Friday, July 20) release of the June employment summary by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, Levy County had the lowest jobless rate in the region at 4.2 percent, followed by Marion County with 4.7 percent, and Citrus County at 5.6 percent. Florida’s not seasonally adjusted jobless rate – a measure that matches the way local rates are calculated – is 3.9 percent, an increase of half a percent over the month.
     CareerSource CLM’s CEO Rusty Skinner said the report shows the region experiencing month-by-month labor market fluctuations. In some cases, such as labor force expansion in Marion and Citrus counties, it could indicate that “either new entrants or returnees are active in our rebounding economy,” he said, noting that at the same time Levy County saw a decline in the size of its labor force and both Levy and Marion counties experienced shrinkage in the number of those with jobs.
     “These factors increased the number of unemployed and rise in the unemployment rates over the previous month,” he said. “However, when you compare (June) to the same month last year, we see that the long-term trends in labor force and employment shows positive movement.”
     Over the year, the region’s labor force has grown by 2,574, the number of employed is up by 3,205 and the number of unemployed is down by 631.
     “Recently a national economist  talked about the monthly variations in employment factors and emphasized that tracking monthly ups and downs was not a true reflection on the overall movement of the economy and that the long-term comparisons were better measures of the economic health and direction,” Skinner said. “This is not to minimize the struggles of those affected by negative monthly variations, but to focus on the fact that those negatives in one month often swing to positive the following month.”
     Skinner noted that June typically also ushers in the beginning of a summer spike in unemployment driven by seasonal factors, such as release of school support personnel for the summer as well as college students returning to the area looking for temporary work until they head back to school.
     Here’s how the employment numbers break down for each county:
     ● Citrus County’s labor force grew by 685 to 49,085, employment increased by 282 to 46,355 while the number of jobless rose by 403 to 2,730. That’s an increase of 848 employed and 134 fewer unemployed compared to June 2017 when the unemployment rate was 5.9 percent.
     ● Levy County’s labor force shrank by 306 over the month to 16,823, the number of those with jobs fell by 412 to 16,116 and the number of unemployed increased by 106 to 707. Compared to June 2017 when the jobless rate was 4.6 percent, that’s an increase of 160 employed and decrease of 57 unemployed.
     ● Marion County’s labor force expanded by 335 to 136,592, the number of those with jobs decreased by 607 to 130,162, and the number of unemployed rose by 942 to 6,430. Since June 2017, when the unemployment rate was 5.1 percent, the labor force has grown by 1,757, the number of employed has increased by 2,197 and the number of unemployed has dropped by 440.
     Over the month, unemployment rates rose in all 67 counties. Compared to June 2017, rates dropped in 62 counties, were unchanged in three and rose in two counties. 
Citrus County’s continued to hold the third highest unemployment rate among Florida’s counties, Marion County fell a notch to 12th highest and Levy County tied with four other counties for the 23rd highest rate.
     Among the metro areas, the Homosassa Springs/Citrus County MSA had the second highest rate behind The Villages and the Ocala MSA held the fifth highest rate.
Nonfarm employment in the Ocala/Marion County metropolitan statistical area was 103,800, a dip of 700 jobs since May but an increase of 2,000 jobs (+2 percent) over the year.
     For the fourth consecutive month, the Ocala MSA posted the fastest annual job growth rate compared to all metro areas in the state in education and health services at 6.5 percent.      In June there were 19,600 jobs in education and health services, an increase of 100 jobs over the month and 1,200 more than in June 2017.
     In the Ocala MSA, education and health services, manufacturing (500 new jobs for an increase of 6 percent growth), and professional and business services (300 new jobs for an increase of 3.3 percent) grew faster in the metro area than statewide over the year.
     Leisure and hospitality also gained 400 jobs over the year.
     Industries losing jobs over the year were mining, logging and construction (-200); financial activities (-100); and government (-100 jobs)
     Unchanged over the year were trade, transportation and utilities; information; and other services.
     In June, nonfarm payroll employment in the Homosassa Springs MSA was 33,800, up 200 jobs compared to the previous month and an increase over the year of 700 jobs for a growth rate of 2.1 percent.
     The region’s employment summary for July is scheduled to be released on Friday, Aug. 17.


Accounting firm to be replaced
Renate Cannon  HardisonInk.com
Renate Cannon of Levy County asks the County Commission about the annual report and audit of the previous fiscal year.

Story and Photos
By Jeff M. Hardison © July 18, 2018 at 12:48 p.m.
     BRONSON --
The Levy County Board of County Commissioners on Tuesday (July 17) decided to seek another accounting firm to conduct annual audits of the records for fiscal years.
     The fiscal year for Levy County government is Oct. 1 of a year through Sept. 30 of the next year.
     As of July 17, the audit and report to Levy County was not completed for Oct. 1, 2016 through Sept. 30, 2017. In a couple of months, the current fiscal year will be finished.
     County Commission Chairman John Meeks confirmed that the audit had not been compiled and the county therefore was not in compliance with requirements of certain grants it has accepted.
     The Florida Department of Transportation has notified Levy County that if it fails to come into compliance with audit requirements, that endangers the county from applying for certain grants from this state agency, Chairman Meeks said.
      Renate Cannon told Chairman Meeks that she has been coming to County Commission meetings for 20 years, and she has often requested the county to repave County Road 347. Since this late audit report is endangering grant funds from the FDOT, she is not pleased.
     Meeks assured the taxpayer that when the audit is filed, the county will be in the good graces of all government interests. Chairman Meeks said the Carr Riggs & Ingram firm has always done a “fantastic job” during the many years it served Levy County in the past.
     While Cannon was speaking during the first part of the meeting, where there are public comments, it was later in the meeting when the County Commission chose to send a letter of termination of an agreement for Carr Riggs & Ingram LLC to serve as the accountants for the county.
     Also later in the meeting, the County Commission voted to begin the process to make requests for proposals from companies to become the official county auditor -- separate from the county clerk.
     Levy County Procurement Department Coordinator Alicia Tretheway guided the County Commission through the requirements accomplish this goal.

Gary Bennett announces
candidacy for School Board

     Publisher's Note: Any candidate for any office can send their announcement of their intent to run. Political ads cost $400 from now through Aug. 28. From Aug. 28 through Nov. 6 cost $400 more. Candidates can send their announcements to hardisonink@gmail.com. Please call 352-493-9950 to confirm the email arrived, because sometimes email is removed by software as if it was "spam." The following announcement is by Gary Bennett, a candidate for Levy County School Board.

By Gary Bennett
Published July 17, 2018 at 2:38 p.m.
      MORRISTON --
I am Gary Bennett, running for Levy School Board District 5.

Gary Bennett
Photo Provided

     My wife Donna and I live in Morriston, have five grown children and five wonderful grandchildren. We moved to Williston area approximately 20 years ago and built our home on her parent's (Cecil and Jane Benton) farm. I retired in 2009 after a 37-year railroad career.
    I am and have always been family-oriented. Family support and backing is essential in a lot of ways, and can be the "difference maker" for a child when it comes to learning and education.
    Parental involvement, backing and support are a must for a child to be a good student, so that child can excel and achieve. We have a good school district here in Levy County. We do a lot of things right. Are there some things we could do differently, more efficiently and better? Perhaps.
    I am running on a platform of having experience, being knowledgeable, being dedicated, having strong skills in communication and having a good character.   
    ● Experience - I am a product of public school education. I know and understand what a high school education can avail to you. The opportunities and experience it can and does lead to. I went on to get my Bachelor of Science degree in Personnel Management at the University of Florida.  All of our children have college degrees and are in professional fields – including being a doctor, an RN or teacher. Having been through the educational system, as well as having raised children and now having grandchildren in our school system, I've experienced and seen most of it.
    ● Knowledgeable - Being educated beyond High School gives an insight to education and value of it. Education is not "just" book knowledge, it can and is so much more. Knowledgeable comes from being there, done that; knowing where to go to find the answer; knowing whom to "go to " to find out. I have been a substitute teacher for the last five-plus years at Williston schools. I have been around, seen and learned-experienced what we do, need, change, enhance, delete, etc. Donna's having worked in the guidance office at Williston High last 15-plus years only furthers that experience.
    ● Dedicated - Do you believe in what you are doing? Are you dedicated to help create the best, achievable, learning experience for our students in Levy County? Not only am I dedicated to this end, but I also want to offer them the Opportunity to excel, soar and realize their dreams!
     ● Communicate - We have to be able to talk to each other. Not just students to teacher, teacher to administration, administration to superintendent. We have to have teacher to parents, parents to teacher and students/children talking to their parent or guardian.  Communication is a two-way street.  The information, conveyance MUST go both ways. It's a lot of give and take.
     ● Character - What do you stand for?  What are your values?  What decisions do you make when nobody's looking or knows? I believe in doing what's right even if it's not popular. I have a strong abiding faith in our Lord, and I believe in treating all people fairly and with respect.

FDOT set to hold public hearing
on U.S. 41 median modifications
in Newberry on July 24

By Sara Pleasants of FDOT
Published July 16, 2018 at 11:18 p.m.
     NEWBERRY --
A public hearing regarding proposed changes to State Road 45 (U.S. Highway 41) in Newberry is scheduled to be held Tuesday, July 24 at the Newberry Branch of the Alachua County Library, 110 S. Seaboard Drive (Larry Keene Drive), in Newberry.
     It will begin with an open house from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m., followed by a public comment period at 6:30 p.m.
     The Florida Department of Transportation is considering changes to the median, roadway warning devices and pedestrian warning devices near the railroad crossing on State Road 45 (U.S. 41) between Northwest Seventh Avenue and Newberry Lane in Newberry.
     Project documents will be available for review at the public hearing and at http://www.nflroads.com/Pages/Home.aspx by July 24.
     Persons wishing to submit written statements or other exhibits in place of or in addition to oral statements may do so at the hearing or by sending them to Kyle Coffman, 2198 Edison Ave., Jacksonville, FL 32204. All exhibits or statements postmarked on or before Aug. 3, 2018 will become part of the public hearing record.
     Public participation is solicited without regard to race, color, national origin, age, sex, religion, disability or family status. Persons who require special accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) or persons who require translation services (free of charge) should contact Sara Pleasants at least seven days prior to the public hearing at 904-831-3368 or sara.pleasants@dot.state.fl.us.

Working Locomotive
locomotive in Newberry  HardisonInk.com
This EMD GP10 locomotive with its frame originally built in 1951 is a diesel-electric locomotive that is the result of rebuilding a GP7, GP9 or GP18.


Locomotive by Jeff M Hardison HardisonInk.com

train cars   HardisonInk.com
The diesel fuel powers electric generators to power the electric motor that moves the locomotive. It was parked in Newberry on Friday morning (July 13) in Newberry, facing southeast (aimed with its front toward the track that runs through Archer, and onto Williston and parts beyond. In Newberry and Williston (and elsewhere), there are active tracks where trains exist as something other than a historical afterthought. They transport people and materials. In Chiefland, Cross City and Trenton, there are historic train depots next to a former train track that has been turned into a state park -- the Nature Coast Trail, which is used for hiking and bicycling, however no motorized vehicles of any kind (not even golf carts) are allowed on it. There is an inactive locomotive parked as a monument on the west side of U.S. Highway 19 in the Gulf Hammock area.

Photos by Jeff M. Hardison © July 13, 2018 at 11:28 p.m.

Chiefland works on golf carts
being driven on some city streets

Ashley Breeden Clemenzi, a candidate for Levy County School Board, introduces herself Monday night (July 9) to the Chiefland City Commission. Clemenzi spoke during the 'Visitors' portion of the agenda. While the 'Public Comment' portion of the agenda is further along in time of the meeting, the 'Visitors' time is another point where people have been known to make comments on non-agenda items in Chiefland -- such as a candidate for School Board introducing herself to the leaders of Chiefland.

Story and Photos
By Jeff M. Hardison © July 11, 2018 at 1:58 p.m.
– The Chiefland City Commission on Monday night (July 9) told City Manager Mary Ellzey and other staff to move forward with the creation of an ordinance to allow golf carts to be used on some city streets.
     With two RV parks under construction in Northeast Chiefland, the matter is being brought up.
     City commissioners received a cursory review of Florida traffic laws during the discussion about golf carts on city streets. Chiefland City Attorney Norm D. Fugate, who also serves in this capacity for the City of Cedar Key, told the five-member board that there is absolutely no provision to allow All-Terrain Vehicles or Utility Terrain Vehicles on city streets.
     Some people had been riding ATVs and UTVs on Cedar Key streets, but state law prohibits that and the Cedar Key Police Department is enforcing the law.
     As for golf carts in Chiefland, they are not allowed currently on any city streets, according to Florida law, which Chiefland Police Chief Scott Anderson will enforce. The chief said he usually gives a person one warning, before issuing a citation for violating that traffic law.
     There is no way that the city can overcome the state law in some manners related to golf carts on the road, rather than on the golf course.
     Golf carts are not allowed on U.S. highways or state roads. For instance, they are not allowed on U.S. 19, U.S. 129, U.S. Alt. 27, SR 320 or SR 345 in Chiefland.
     They are not even allowed to cross those roads while being under their own power, or by some person or person pushing them while they are in idle.
     Attorney Fugate told the City Commission that while they are thinking golf carts are going to be driven by the 55-plus age group from these RV parks, if they allow the carts there are other people who can use them too.
     Any person aged 14 and older, with or without a driver license, can use them, he said. There is no requirement for insurance on golf carts.
     Even though there are relatively few places the City Commission is considering allowing them, the city staff have been directed to move forward with a proposed ordinance.

CFR Chief James Hrris via HardisonInk.com
Chief James Harris speaks to the city’s elected leaders.

     In other action, Chiefland Fire Chief James Harris brought some potentially happy news to the City Commission.
     The chief has located a fire engine with relatively few miles on it that may be given to the city for free.
     The City Commission approved the chief to move forward with his research to determine if the city can obtain this vehicle with relatively few dollars being spent to make it run.


Levy County agrees to accept
donated dredged material
from Cedar Key Marina Basin;

Frog’s Pad BBQ seeks
to sell alcoholic beverages

Mandy Waters HardisonInk.com
Levy County Deputy Clerk Mandy Waters shows people to raise their right hands as they affirm their intent to state the truth if they give testimony during three public hearings on Monday morning in Bronson.

Story and Photos
By Jeff M. Hardison © July 3, 2018 at 9:18 p.m.
     BRONSON --
By a 5-0 vote Monday morning (July 2), the Levy County Board of County Commissioners agreed to accept about 1,000 cubic yards of material that is to be dredged from the Cedar Key Marina Basin.


Cedar Key Mayor Heath Davis explains that this assistance by the county will help the city reduce the cost for dredging the inner marina basin. Hauling dredged material is expensive, because it is dense and heavy – even after it has been dewatered. The current estimate is about 1,000 cubic yards. The county and the city are potentially going to work together, too, on later similar projects related to the RESTORE Act Grant projects at Cedar Key, in regard to dredge spoils.

HardisonInk.com   Levy County
County Commission Chairman John Meeks

HardisonInk.com   Levy County
County Commission Vice Chairman Mike Joyner

County Commissioner Matt Brooks

County Commissioner Rock Meeks   HardisonInk.com
County Commissioner Rock Meeks

County Commissioner Lilly Rooks

     While this matter was on the west end of Levy County, in another set of actions a relatively famous east-end eating establishment was granted permission to move toward the sale of alcoholic beverages and onsite consumption of those drinks.
     The County Commission normally meets the first Tuesday after the first Monday of the month. The Monday morning meeting results from the Fourth of July being on Wednesday this year.
     Cedar Key Mayor Heath Davis requested that the county allow the city to put the “dewatered” material that is being dredge from the marina area to go next to Levy County Road 347 on county property.
     The material dredged from the bottom of the “inner marina,” the area next to the parking lot where boats can reach the Gulf of Mexico after passing under a bridge, has been checked and will be reviewed for the presence of heavy metals such as arsenic and lead.
     Mayor Davis explained that by putting this spoil next to CR 347 it reduces the cost of this dredging process significantly. Transporting even “de-watered” material is heavy, he explained, because it is not sand. It is organic material from decomposed plants, which is very fine and retains water very well.
     September of 2019, Davis said, is the current projected time construction to start for building a new bridge to replace the one where boats pass under it now.
     The integrity of the current bridge is what has led to its planned replacement. Dredging under the bridge, Davis said, is safe as long as the dredging company stay within the limits they have been given.
     When Vice Chairman Mike Joyner restated what Mayor Davis was requesting, County Commissioner Lilly Rooks said the county has provided this opportunity for the city before.
     The material will be dewatered in the parking area, Mayor Davis said.
     On a motion by Joyner, seconded by Rooks, the County Commission voted 5-0 to allow the Road Department to work with the City of Cedar Key to accommodate the city in this project. Once the material is placed on the county’s right-of-way, that material can be used however the county sees fit. The city will not be seeking a return of the material.

(from left) Levy County Sheriff Bobby McCallum, Terance Reed, a candidate for County Commission, and County Emergency Management Director John MacDonald are seen in the County Commission Meeting Room on Monday morning. Sheriff McCallum said he saw no issue with the BBQ restaurant east of Williston being given a special exception to sell alcoholic beverages, including for onsite consumption.


     In other action Monday, the County Commission unanimously approved, on a motion by Joyner, seconded by County Commissioner Matt Brooks, a request to rezone just over five acres of property from Forestry/Rural Residential to Moderately Intensive Commercial.
     This five-acre parcel includes the Frog’s Pad BBQ Restaurant east of Williston on U.S. Alt. 27.
     In another Joyner-Brooks’ motion that met with unanimous approval, a special exception was granted to allow alcoholic beverage sales and on-premises consumption on that property.
     This bar/package store will be separate from the Frog’s Pad. It will be behind the restaurant with a vegetation buffer and setbacks, as well as a privacy screen fence.
     The property owner said alcohol will be sold, served and consumed between 10 a.m. and midnight, which is a time period that is even more restrictive than the county’s maximum limits on that function.
     The Frog’s Pad BBQ Restaurant is within the Williston Municipal Services District. With that in mind, the county asked every department of the city of Williston for input about the special exception, and the county heard it was met with across-the-board approval from all city departments.
     Long ago, the Frog’s Pad served alcohol. And now, with the construction of a new structure on the rezoned property, that offering will return for the public.

CF Corporate College to offer
industrial robotics summer camp

Published June 1, 2018 at 8:08 a.m.
     OCALA —
The College of Central Florida’s Corporate College will offer an industrial robotics summer camp for high school students July 16-19, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., at its Ocala Campus, 3001 S.W. College Road.
     The four-day camp will provide high school students with hands-on experience building, running and executing programs on FANUC industrial robots. Course fee is $250 and CF instructor is Sam Ajlani.
     For more information or to register for the course, call 352-873-5855 or email CorporateCollege@cf.edu.

Daily news website
experiences 1.5 million hits;

Year 8 keeps going strong

June 2018 results  HardisonInk.com  return on investment for ads

By Jeff M. Hardison © July 2, 2018 at 12:08 a.m.
     THE WORLD –
One and a half million hits is a significant number of hits in a month, and 18,000 unique visitors in a month is worth mentioning as well.
     The number of unique visitors looking at stories, photos and videos on HardisonInk.com reflects a wonderful month's results as the daily news website continues its growth in its eighth year of existence – as reflected by success in June.
     Year 8 of HardisonInk.com started Thursday, Feb. 1, 2018 with hot news during a cold month. It stays the same every day of every year.
     Once again, monthly reports show traffic to HardisonInk.com is strong, according to two independent automated traffic-registering programs -- Google Analytics and cPanel.
    There were 18,090 unique visitors in June to HardisonInk.com, according to these trusted third-party automated measuring devices.
     Jeff Hardison, publisher and owner of HardisonInk.com, said that first 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 along toward 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.’ I presume the hyper-text transfer protocol is even better with an ‘s’ on it.”
     Not only is this the best source for daily news, he said, this is also the best platform for advertising because of the traffic to the site.
     “Private and public interests recognize advertising in HardisonInk.com 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.”
     The numbers for June 2018 are shown in the graphic below, as they are in the same graphic on top:

June 2018 results  HardisonInk.com  return on investment for ads

     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 more individuals visiting the site every time the monthly reports show that fact.
     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 four local Chambers of Commerce currently are at the bottom of the Community Page.
     Following are the figures from two independent robotic programs for June of 2017.

     The first gauge reflects Unique Visitors.
     Webopedia.com 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.

June 2018 – 18,090

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

June 2018 – 37,013

     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.

June 2018 – 116,606

     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.
June 2018 – 1,497,086 (almost 1.5 million hits – A New Record)

     “These figures mean there are more people each day who 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 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.
     This daily news 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.
     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.

     "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 OUT THE VIDEOS
     Videos can be viewed YouTube.com  and click on it. If you see any video you want to watch, click on it.

     HardisonInk.com 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 HardisonInk.com."
      HardisonInk.com 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. All of the $2,000-a-year ad spaces are currently taken.
     Call 352-493-9950 or send an email to hardisonink@gmail.com 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).

Duke Energy awards $10,000
grant to support regional
school career programs

Dorothy Pernu of Duke Energy and CareerSource Citrus Levy Marion Board Chair Kathy Judkins hold a check to represent the grant award.
Photo Provided

By Laura Byrnes, APR, CPRC
CareerSource CLM Communications Manager
Peveeta Persaud, APR
Duke Energy Corporate Communications
Published June 30, 2018 at 6:28 a.m.

     OCALA –
Duke Energy continues to power awareness of public school career programs throughout the Citrus, Levy and Marion counties region.
     Earlier this month, Dorothy Pernu, Duke Energy’s Government and Community Relations manager for a six-county region which includes Citrus, Levy and Marion counties, awarded $10,100 to CareerSource Citrus Levy Marion in continued support of its Career Awareness-     Talent Pipeline video project highlighting public school programs that prepare students for careers in science, technology, engineering and math.
     The award, part of $1.56 million in grants to 46-Florida based programs, is administered through the Duke Energy Foundation which provides philanthropic support to communities served by Duke Energy. Last year, Duke Energy granted CareerSource CLM $21,000 toward the Career Awareness project which, to date, has resulted in 15 videos highlighting career programs in the Marion County Public School district.
     Plans are under way to produce similar videos in the coming school year for Levy and Citrus counties.
     During the presentation on June 13, Pernu said that the videos “exceeded all expectations.”
     The Duke Energy grants focus on “K to Career” educational and workforce development initiatives, the environment and community impact.
     In prepared remarks about the grants, Duke Energy Florida President Catherine Stempien said, “I am proud to say our ‘K to Career’ grant cycle is the largest investment we make in the state each year. It demonstrates our commitment to the future of our communities by preparing students to become leaders and enabling and empowering a skilled workforce to meet the needs in high-demand fields.”
     The educational grants help fund STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) projects and the workforce development initiatives are designed to further bolster and expand the state’s existing workforce.
     “We are more than grateful that Duke Energy understands and appreciates the importance of the incredible public school career programs throughout our region,” said Rusty Skinner, CEO of CareerSource CLM. “In many cases, students may earn certifications that prepare them for the region’s workplace right after graduating from high school or they may apply the certifications toward college credits and degrees that can be earned locally.”
     Skinner said that all-too-often students and their parents, as well as area businesses, are unaware of the programs.
     “We piloted the career awareness video program in 2016 to raise awareness of what area manufacturers and others businesses have to offer in terms of products, work environment and required skills for successful employment,” Skinner said, adding that students view the videos through in-school television and are used to help educate guidance staff about opportunities.
     “We are now working very closely with the Career and Technical Education (CTE) staff in all three school districts to highlight public school career programs.”

SATURDAY  JULY 21  11:48 p.m.
Levy, Dixie and Gilchrist counties

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