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Be Creative When Withdrawing
From Retirement Accounts

Published Oct. 14, 2019 at 2:09 p.m.
     NEWBERRY --
Like many people, you may spend decades putting money into your IRA and your 401(k) or similar employer-sponsored retirement plan.

 

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CareerSource Levy and Gichrist County Career Fair HardisonInk.com


     But eventually you will want to take this money out – if you must start withdrawing some of it. How can you make the best use of these funds?
     To begin with, here’s some background: When you turn 70 ½, you need to start withdrawals – called required minimum distributions, or RMDs – from your traditional IRA and your 401(k) or similar employer-sponsored retirement plan, such as a 457(b) or 403(b). (A Roth IRA is not subject to these rules; you can essentially keep your account intact for as long as you like.)
     You can take more than the RMD, but if you don’t take at least the minimum (which is based on your account balance and your life expectancy), you’ll generally be taxed at 50% of the amount you should have taken – so don’t forget these withdrawals.
     Here, then, is the question: What should you do with the RMDs? If you need the entire amount to help support your lifestyle, there’s no issue – you take the money and use it. But what if you don’t need it all? Keeping in mind that the withdrawals are generally fully taxable at your personal income tax rate, are there some particularly smart ways in which you can use the money to help your family or, possibly, a charitable organization?
     Here are a few suggestions:
     • Help your grown children with their retirement accounts. Your grown children may not always be able to afford to “max out” on their IRAs. You might want to help them with any excess funds from your own retirement accounts. You can give $15,000 per year, per recipient, without incurring any gift taxes – an amount far higher than the current annual IRA contribution limit of $6,000 (or $7,000 for individuals 50 or older).
     • Help your grandchildren pay for college. You might want to contribute to an investment specifically designed to build assets for college. A financial professional can help you choose which investments might be most appropriate. Of course, if your grandchildren are already in college, you are free to simply write a check to the school to help cover tuition and other expenses.
     • Help support a charitable organization. Due to recent changes in tax laws, many individuals now claim a standard deduction, rather than itemizing. As a result, there’s less of an incentive, from a tax standpoint, for people to contribute to charitable organizations.
     But if you’d still like to support a charitable group and gain potential tax benefits, you might want to consider moving some, or all, of your required distributions from your IRA to a charity. You can transfer up to $100,000 from your IRA in this type of qualified charitable distribution, thus meeting your RMD requirements without adding to your taxable income.
     Furthermore, this move might keep you in a lower tax bracket. (Before making this transfer, though, you will need to consult with your tax advisor.)
     Your RMDs can contribute greatly to your retirement income, but, as we’ve seen, they can do even more than that – so use them wisely.
    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.

 


CareerSource regions team up
on fall career fair on Oct. 17

By Laura Byrnes, APR, CPRC
Communications Manager
CareerSource Citrus Levy Marion
Published Sept. 25, 2019 at 11:09 p.m.
     CHIEFLAND –
CareerSource Citrus Levy Marion and CareerSource Florida Crown have teamed up to hold a fall career fair on Thursday, Oct. 17 for those looking for work in Levy and Gilchrist counties.
     The career fair takes place from 3:30-6 p.m. at the College of Central Florida’s Levy Campus, 15390 NW Hwy 19, between Chiefland and Fanning Springs. It is free and open to all general job seekers, including students and recent graduates.
     Prior to attending, job seekers should complete a full registration, or update an existing registration, by clicking HERE.
     Participants are encouraged to dress professionally, bring printed copies of a current resume and be prepared to discuss skills and qualifications with hiring managers.
     Cindy LeCouris, manager of CareerSource CLM’s Levy County career center, said the career fair provides “fast, efficient and effective” recruiting options for businesses with jobs to fill and for candidates who want to fill them.
     “Teaming up with our counterparts in the Florida Crown workforce region offers lots of opportunities for the broadest array of area candidates and businesses,” she said. “It provides businesses in both counties the ability to recruit candidates who don’t mind crossing the county line, and lets candidates know what might be available to them within an easy commute.”
     LeCouris said that, to date, participating businesses include ANCORP, Ayers Health and Rehabilitation Center, Dollar General, Paradox Intellectual Properties, and Suwannee Valley Feeds and Alliance Dairy Group.
      Representatives from CareerSource CLM its young adult services provider, Eckerd Connects Workforce Development, also will be on hand.
     Free career fair preparation assistance is available at all CareerSource CLM career centers, including the Levy County center at 2175 NW 11th Dr., in Chiefland.
     For more information, call 800-434-JOBS, ext. 1114 or visit the calendar at https://careersourceclm.com/.

 


Virus in Mexican tomatoes
causing concern,
USDA action needed;

Tomatoes in Naples and Gainesville
By the Communications Office of Commissioner Nikki Fried
Published Oct. 9, 2019 at 5:09 p.m.
     TALLAHASSEE --
The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) is issuing an alert regarding a virus found in Mexican tomatoes imported into Florida and potentially other states.
     ToBRFV, the tomato brown rugose fruit virus, is a highly virulent virus that can cause severe fruit loss in tomatoes and peppers. Imported tomatoes potentially carrying ToBRFV pose a risk to the state’s fresh-market tomato supply.
     The ToBRFV tobamovirus was recently intercepted by FDACS inspectors in packaged Mexican tomatoes in Naples, Florida and Gainesville, Florida. These tomatoes have been destroyed.
     Symptoms: Tomatoes and peppers are the two major hosts for this virus, which causes yellowing of leaf veins, and yellow spots, brown rugose (wrinkled) patches, and necrotic (dead) lesions on tomato fruit. Symptoms in fruit develop within 12 to 18 days of infection.
     Transmission: The ToBRFV virus can be easily transmitted by contaminated tools, hands, clothing, soil, and directly plant-to-plant, as the virus as highly stable. The virus may also be spread by pollinators like honeybees and bumblebees, which commonly pollinate tomatoes. The genetic resistance in tomatoes that protects against many tobamoviruses is not effective against ToBRFV.
     Impacts: There are no known human health impacts from ToBRFV. However, the virus can cause a 30 to 70 percent loss of tomato yield on plants, which may severely disrupt the domestic tomato industry. The virus may also make infected fruit less desirable to consumers, a concern for grocery retailers.
     Prevention: Once the ToBRFV virus is introduced in an area, control measures are very limited. Prevention mainly relies on destroying infected plants and following strict decontamination measures for workers, such as sanitizing tools, frequent handwashing, and cleaning boots before entering greenhouses.
     For Consumers: Tomatoes showing symptoms of ToBRFV infection are still safe for human consumption, but may appear less attractive than other tomatoes. The virus does not impact human health. Consumers are encouraged to select foods bearing the “Fresh From Florida” logo, which have been grown in Florida, not imported.
     For Retailers: Grocers and retailers who suspect tomatoes in their inventories with ToBRFV infection should report the products to the Division of Plant Industry Helpline at 1-888-397-1517 or DPIHelpline@FDACS.gov.
     “For the past six months, our inspectors have been watching vigilantly for the ToBRFV virus, and are moving swiftly to prevent its introduction in our state,” said Agriculture Commissioner Nicole “Nikki” Fried. “Mexican-grown tomatoes carrying the ToBRFV virus are a serious threat to Florida, the nation’s leading producer of tomatoes and a $262 million industry in our state. We need the USDA to step up, initiate tracebacks to Mexican producers, and fulfill its responsibility to protect American growers and consumers.”
     “These inspections were initiated after Division of Plant Industry virologists and plant pathologists conducted a risk analysis of ToBRFV. This was in response to concerns from Florida’s tomato industry, and is an example of our scientists and inspectors working together with growers to track significant agricultural diseases from around the world, and prevent their introduction to Florida,” said Dr. Trevor Smith, Director of the Division of Plant Industry.
     “Florida is at high risk for the introduction of harmful invasive plant pests and diseases such as the brown rugose fruit virus found on tomatoes imported from Mexico. The spread of this virus would cause serious economic losses for Florida’s tomato producers, so we appreciate the vigilance of the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services in detecting it,” said Mike Joyner, President of the Florida Fruit & Vegetable Association. “We also encourage consumers to support Florida farmers by buying produce labeled with the Fresh From Florida logo.”

 


Annual meeting shows safe,
reliable and affordable power;

CFEC rates to stay the same
Central Florida Electric Cooperative HardisonInk.com
Seminole Electric Cooperative Chief Executive Officer and General Manager Lisa Johnson shared shares information about two significant new power-generating projects – one natural gas and one solar, which will help provide electricity to CFEC and other rural electric cooperatives in Florida.

Story and Photos
By Jeff M. Hardison © Oct. 8, 2019 at 8:39 a.m.
     CHIEFLAND –
The annual membership meeting of Central Florida Electric Cooperative on Saturday (Oct. 5) showed the co-op progressing well with its plans for continued safe, reliable and affordable electric power service for its members
     This year’s meeting provided much of the traditional reports and fun, however there was a new element – a call for people to become aware of a possible referendum on the ballot regarding power pricing.

THE QUORUM AND PRIZES
     The Rev. Jimmy Fletcher, pastor of Mt. Nebo Baptist Church of Bell, gave the invocation.

Bell AJROTC HardisonInk.com
Seen outside before the presentation of the colors are (from left) BHS AJROTC Cadet Angelina Martinez as lead rifle; BHS Army JROTC Cadet Breanna Milan with the American flag; and cadets Keelin Gardner with the Florida flag and Jacqueline Edwards as rear rifle; and Ret. Army First Sgt. Jon Meinholz, one of their instructors at Bell High School.

Bell High School Army RJOTC HardisonInk.com
The Bell High School unit of the Army Jr. Reserve Officers Training Corps Color Guard present the colors.


     Members of the Bell High School unit of the Army Jr. Reserve Officers Training Corps Color Guard presented the colors.
     Led by Ret. Army First Sgt. Jon Meinholz, the cadets in the BHS Army JROTC are Breanna Milan with the American flag and Angelina Martinez as lead rifle; and Keelin Gardner with the Florida flag and Jacqueline Edwards as rear rifle.
     CFEC Board of Trustees President Barbara Townsend led the Pledge of Allegiance and she led the meeting.
     The CFEC Board of Trustees on the stage Saturday were President Barbara Townsend, District 9; James McCain, District 1; Carl Roof, District 2; Tony Weeks, District 3; Kyle Quincey, District 4; Donald Lane, District 5; Alan Mikell, District 6; Kenneth Osteen, District 7; and Randy Mikell, District 8. at the conclusion of the business meeting, Houston Markham became the District 8 representative on the CFEC Board of Trustees, as a result of the election.

Attorney Norm D. Fugate Attorney Blake Fugate HardisonInk.com
Attorneys W. Blake Fugate (left) and Norm D. Fugate stand to be recognized as they are introduced to the CFEC members. The previous CFEC attorney was Greg Beauchamp.

     President Townsend introduced General Manager Denny George, and the new attorneys for the co-op Norm D. Fugate and W. Blake Fugate.
     CFEC Secretary Alan Mikell announced that there are 262 CFEC members who must be present for a quorum. There were 411 members registered that Saturday morning, meaning a quorum existed.
     There were 200 prizes awarded after the business meeting. With 411 registered members, there were odds of about 50-50 that a person would leave with a prize. Every member was given a 5-gallon bucket, which included a light bulb, a night light, and a wealth of information – including the booklet that contains the current bylaws of the cooperative.
     Prizes included cash or gift cards in the amounts of $25, $50, $100 and the grand prize of $500 cash. Other prizes included a Mr. Coffee, a big kettle multi-cooker, booster cables, a family-size skillet, a blender, a hand mixer, a cordless drill, a tool set, a waffle maker, an electric skillet, and an oil-free fryer.
     (HardisonInk.com publisher Jeff M. Hardison, who is a co-op member, was given two tickets by people who left with their buckets, choosing not to stay for the calling of ticket numbers for door prizes. Hardison won with his ticket, and both of the tickets given to him. He won two $50 cash prizes and one $25 cash prize for a total of $125 in cash.)


SPECIAL GUEST
Dixie County High School Electric Coop Rep HardisonInk.com
Special guest Jessie Lee speaks to the members of the co-op on Saturday.

CFEC 2019 Annual Meeting HardisonInk.com
CFEC Communications Specialist Alison DeLoach stands with Jessie Lee of Dixie County High School, just after Lee gave her short speech, in which she thanked the cooperative for sending her to Washington, D.C.


     CFEC General Manager Denny George introduced Alison DeLoach, a CFEC communications specialist, who introduced special guest Jessie Lee.
     Lee was one of three students who were sent to Washington, D.C., in June as part of the 2019 Cooperative Youth Tour.
     They had a great time visiting monuments and memorials, learning more about the cooperative business and making long-lasting friendships. The two other students were not present Saturday.
     Lee said the other two winners were both grateful to have been selected, and they regretted not being able to attend the annual meeting on Saturday.
     She said her favorite part of the trip to Washington was to visit National Cemetery in Arlington, in Arlington County, Virginia, across the Potomac River from Washington.


GENERAL MANAGER’S MESSAGE
CFEC General Manager Denny George HardisonInk.com
CFEC General Manager Denny George speaks to the members. Seen sitting behind him (from left) are CFEC Attorney Norm Fugate; James McCain, District 1; Carl Roof, District 2; Tony Weeks, District 3; and Kyle Quincey, District 4. Also on stage are the other CFEC attorney, the other members of the CFEC Board of Trustees, a representative of the CFEC's choice for a CPA firm, a representative of Seminole Electric Cooperative, a representative of Florida Electric Cooperatives Association and the pastor who gave the invocation. 

     CFEC General Manager Denny George spoke to the members during the annual General Manager’s Message.
     He noted that CFEC’s job is to make sure members have electric power service at their homes, in their places of work and wherever else in their lives that they need electricity.
     The co-op seeks to provide safe, reliable and affordable electricity, George said.

Tony Weeks and Denny George
CFEC General Manager Denny George (right) stands with Board of Trustees Member Tony Weeks when they paused for a photo opportunity. By the way, Saturday was CFEC General Manager George’s birthday and the members sang Happy Birthday to You to him.

     Whenever a member experiences a problem, he continued, the CFEC goal is to provide helpful and courteous assistance from the staff in CFEC Member Services.
     The right-of-way maintenance programs clears tree limbs from rights-of-way, George said, which is among the main causes for power outages. Another method for outage reduction, he said, is updating equipment in trouble spots.
     Whenever an outage occurs – nights, days, weekends and holidays – CFEC sends employees and equipment to restore power, whether it is for one member or a whole area, George said.
     George said every single job, from reading meters, through conducting home energy audits and replacing wires or transformers, safety of members and employees is uppermost in importance.
     Everyone participates in creating “a safety culture” at CFEC, he said.
     General Manager George said CFEC was prepared for Hurricane Dorian this season. The co-op positioned resources to deal with the aftermath, George said, and he is thankful there was no need to recover from hurricane damage in the CFEC service area this season.
     Hurricane Michael, which devastated the Panhandle of Florida last year, George said, helped electric service providers learn some more recovery from this type of disaster. From helping Gulf Coast Electric Cooperative, CFEC has revised its storm readiness and recovery plans, he said.
     Trees have been cleared now, to the southside of the CFEC complex in Chiefland, to create space if needed in the future. This space would be to restore power from a significant hurricane, he said, and it would provide for the ability to have 600 to 800 additional personnel on the CFEC complex.
     Electric rates are going to remain “flat for the foreseeable future,” George said, and cooperative has a strong financial finish anticipated for 2019.
     George said he considers it an honor to serve the members of Central Florida Electric Cooperative as the general manager.
     CFEC strives to be the finest example of an electric cooperative where electric service is safe, reliable and is priced with competitive rates. The consumers, the community and the environment guide every action of CFEC, he said.


SEMINOLE ELECTRIC NEWS
     Seminole Electric Cooperative Chief Executive Officer and General Manager Lisa Johnson shared insight about this power-generating cooperative.
     CFEC and seven other Florida cooperatives are transmission and distribution co-ops, which use wholesale electricity provided by Seminole. Seminole creates the electricity to be distributed. Its corporate offices are in Tampa.
     The electric generation power plants for Seminole Electric Cooperative consist of two 650-megawatt coal-fired generating units, located on 2,000 acres in Putnam County, just north of Palatka.
     The Midulla Generating Station (MGS), located on the Hardee County-Polk County line, is an 835-megawatt facility that uses natural gas as its primary fuel. In December 2006, Seminole added an additional 310 megawatts of peaking capacity at MGS through five aeroderivative combustion turbine units. These peaking units can be operational in as few as eight minutes to meet state operating reserve requirements.
     There are a couple of Seminole projects, CEO Johnson spoke about that are important to the future.
     In two and one-half months, Seminole will begin construction on a new state-of-the-art natural gas-fired combined cycle power plant, she said. This power plant will be on the property in Putnam County and is anticipated to take three years to complete.
     By the end of 2022, it is expected to be in full operation, Johnson said. That is when one of the two coal-fired units will be taken out of service, she added.
     The net result will be the production of even more highly efficient electricity at that station, while reducing the impact on the environment by emissions into the air, she said.
     The second major energy project is to increase the amount of solar resources used by Seminole for electricity production. Currently, Seminole has a 2.2-megawatt facility from solar-power. That was brought online about two years ago, and it is in Hardee County, Johnson said.
     The plan now is to add another 300 megawatts from solar-powered generating facilities, she said, by the end of 2023.
     These are two of the many projects that are happening now to assure Seminole can provide its cooperatives’ members with safe, reliable and affordable electricity, Johnson said, now and well into the future.


LEGISLATIVE MATTERS
Chiefland Florida HardisonInk.com
Mike Bjorklund speaks to the members.

     Executive Vice President and General Manager of Florida Electric Cooperatives Association Mike Bjorklund spoke to CFEC members Saturday morning (Oct. 5). The Florida Electric Cooperatives Association (FECA) represents 15 distribution cooperatives – like CFEC, he said, and two generation and transmission cooperatives – like Seminole Electric Cooperative.
     Bjorklund works in the Tallahassee office of FECA and addresses legislative matters on the state and federal levels.
     The FECA has a job of preventing the government from hampering cooperatives from serving its members – electric service consumers.
     He spoke about a possible ballot initiative that voters may be deciding in the 2020 election, that he is saying will create more bureaucracy and red tape. Changing energy policy, he said, creates an added cost – which consumers must absorb.
     Bjorklund grew up in rural Florida and his parents owned a grocery store. His family always was happy when local farmers brought their crops to be sold at that grocery store. He shared this story, because he wanted to demonstrate that each time an interest touches some product or service, there is a fee added.
     This proposed amendment to the Florida Constitution, Bjorklund said, would re-regulate the electric industry so that each time a transaction occurs, another interest is introduced that would get money from it.
     A change in Florida regulations regarding electric prices, he said, may be proposed on the ballots in 2020. FECA and CFEC intend to help voters know the facts about this proposed amendment.
     He believes people who look at this will see “It isn’t going to be good for you, the co-ops or for Florida.”


PRESIDENT’S REPORT
Chiefland Florida HardisonInk.com
The eight other members of the CFEC Board of Trustees listen as President Barbara Townsend speaks at the podium.

Chiefland Florida HardisonInk.com
CFEC President Barbara Townsend speaks to the members of the rural electric cooperative.


     President Townsend thanked all of the members for coming to the meeting in support of Central Florida Electric Cooperative.
     She expressed the gratitude of the Board of Trustees for the progressive efforts by Seminole Electric Cooperative, and the work by the FECA to keep government from interfering with the cooperative providing safe, reliable and affordable electricity.
     CFEC is in good financial standing, President Townsend reported. She reminded members that if ever there is a question about energy or power-related topics, they can contact customer service and a staff member will help them find the answers.

ELECTION RESULTS
     Robert Beauchamp of Beauchamp and Edwards (Certified Public Accountants), Chiefland, reported on the past set of elections of members of the CFEC Board of Trustees.
     Districts 4, 6 and 8 were open for election in October of 2018.
     Beauchamp and another member of his firm, and Dixie County Supervisor of Elections Starlet Cannon, Gilchrist County Supervisor of Elections Connie Sanchez and Levy County Supervisor of Elections Tammy Jones were the Elections Committee.
     Kyle Quincey, District 4, was returned to the Board unopposed, Beauchamp said.
     Alan Mikell received 366 votes Jeff Reed 229 votes om the District 6 contest meant that Mikell was reelected to the District 6 seat for an additional three-year term, Beauchamp said.
     Randy Mikell received 267 votes and Houston Markham received 334 votes for District 8, which means Markham will serve during that three-year term, Beauchamp said.

 


County sends collection agency
to collect from accident victim
before ever asking
patient for payment

By Jeff M. Hardison © Sept. 30, 2019 at 5:09 p.m.
     LEVY COUNTY --
Nine months after a journalist fell and broke his arm and wrist while covering a Christmas Parade, a collection agency sent him a bill for $741.87, because according to the collection agency "THIS ACCOUNT HAS BEEN LISTED WITH OUR OFFICE."
     "I am calling it like I see it," Jeff M. Hardison said. "God wants me to suffer fools gladly, and I have been able to do that to some degree; but this letter is insulting and it wins the prize for worst bill management by any county in Florida for 63 years that I know of."
     On Dec. 8, 2018, Hardison was running backwards in the middle of U.S. Highway 19 (Main Street) in downtown Chiefland to take a picture of a float in the Annual Christmas Parade. He fell backwards, and with his heavy weight (in excess of 200 pounds) and the camera and other equipment weight all going to one point as he automatically responded to the fall, his left wrist and ulna were fractured near the edge of the radius.
     Some of the bone broke the skin and blood was coming out where the bone had become exposed to the road and air.
     A Levy County Public Safety ambulance transported him to the western emergency room of North Florida Regional Medical Center, where he was stabilized prior to transport to NFRMC on University Avenue in Gainesville for emergency surgery. One metal plate and four screws were added to hold ulna bone parts together; and seven small metal pins were added to hold wrist bone fragments together.
     “So, I’m standing there, holding my left arm that’s going about 90 degrees in an unnatural way, and the bone is sticking out at the wrist and it is dripping blood,” Hardison said. “Chiefland Police Officer Kyle Schultz has called on the radio for an ambulance to transport me to the hospital, and he is letting me sit in the cruiser to await the arrival of the ambulance.
     “The LCDPS ambulance staff member asks me if I want a ride to the hospital,” Hardison said. “Well, as best as I can figure then, he is checking to see how lucid I am. So, I respond that is correct. Maybe it was too dark for him to see the bone sticking through the skin, and the strange direction that part of my arm was pointing.”
     Dr. Jason Shinn of the Orthopaedic Institute conducted emergency surgery for several hours, adding the metal hardware to hold bone parts together until they mended. Hardison is required to spend the next two nights at NFRMC because of the need for intravenous antibiotics to be administered as a result of the bones’ exposure to potential contaminants.
     “I was released from the hospital and it takes months for the bones to fuse together around the metal parts,” Hardison said. “Things are going relatively smoothly. We pay all of the medical bills, with Blue Cross Florida covering parts of those bills that it must, because I pay premiums for my health insurance.”
     “By the way, today (Sept. 30) I did the math and my total bill for medical care from those broken bones was $138,434.60,” Hardison said. “That is correct. It cost about $140,000.”
     Meanwhile, the clock ticks by. The journalist finally learns he can remove a splint, and no longer have to apply a bone-growth enhancement device.
     Then, on Saturday (Sept. 28), Hardison receives a statement in the mail written in all capital letters from MJ ALTMAN COMPANIES, INC. – A DEBT COLLECTION COMPANY. The letter states that Hardison has not paid his $741.87 ambulance bill. The letter was dated Sept. 20, more than a week before it arrived, and although this is allegedly from an Ocala-based company, the statement is from Concord, California.
     Here is what the journalist learned Monday (Sept. 30).
     Levy County Department of Public Safety, which was once the Levy County Fire Department and Levy County EMS but was merged, does not send bills for ambulance service.
     The Levy County Board of County Commissioners subcontracted the billing duty to be through EMS Management Consultants (www.emsbilling.com).
     According to a woman who answered the phone at the billing service, EMS Management Consultants allegedly sent one bill to the physical address where Hardison lives, although there is no mailbox there. Every other service provider knew how to send correspondence or bills to the mailing address for the patient. And, in fact, so did from MJ ALTMAN COMPANIES, INC., the collection agency, which never provided any medical care for Hardison.
     “Essentially, here’s the net loss for Levy County taxpayers,” Hardison said. “We just gave away some percentage of the money I would have paid the instant I got the bill. So, the county lost the use of that money for nine months, and the county lost the fee that it paid to a collection company that would not have been needed if the billing contractor for the county did a job that every other provider, including a collection agency, was able to do – send a bill to the correct mailing address.”
     By the way, Hardison paid the bill on Monday (Sept. 30) via a credit card, during the call with the collection company.
     Are there any other losses?
     “The collection agent ‘Ms. (no first name) White’ said this will not affect my credit score,” Hardison said. “However, for me, it stains the Levy County Commission’s credibility score with me. I can’t trust the county coordinator or the county commissioners as much as before I received that insulting letter, because they subcontracted with a billing company that does not do anything other than apply the most minimal effort to send a bill. Then, when a letter is returned, those workers give up and do nothing for nine months, until some automated program refers that bill to a collection company.
     “My telephone number is listed,” Hardison said. “I am not that difficult to find and communicate with. This is, again, obvious because the subcontractor collection agency found my mailing address.”
     Hardison said there are a number of good outcomes from the county having a hired gun send an insulting letter to him.
     “One of the best end results,” Hardison said, “is that Florida Blue will now send me a paper record of information instead of sending email, which must be going to my spam folder. I delete about 200 spam emails a day. Sometimes, I lose an actual worthwhile email that is not inviting me to communicate with ‘Nigerian princes’ who want to give me money, or ‘Russian beauties’ who want to do things with me that are not proper, given that I am happily married.”
     Hardison said the county government can schlep off the insulting letter to have come into existence from an independent contractor collection agency, however those five elected people chose the billing company that failed to send the bill to the correct mailing address, and then failed to apply any effort to find the right mailing address, which led to that letter being sent by bill collectors.

 

 
Investiture planned for Eighth Judicial Circuit Court Judge Craig C. Dethomasis on Nov. 8
Levy County Florida HardisonInk.com

 

Craig C. DeThomasis

 

By Christy Cain
Communications Coordinator
Eighth Judicial Circuit, Court Administration
Published Aug. 31, 2019 at 8:09 p.m.

     GAINESVILLE --
The Honorable Craig C. DeThomasis was appointed by Gov. Ron DeSantis to the Eighth Judicial Circuit Bench for a term commencing on Aug. 29.
     He is scheduled to begin his service on Tuesday (Sept. 3). His investiture is scheduled for Friday, Nov. 8, at 3 p.m. at the Alachua County Criminal Justice Center. 
     Judge DeThomasis received his Bachelor of Science degree in Finance from the University of Florida, and earned his Juris Doctorate from the University of Florida Levin College of Law.
     Judge DeThomasis began his career at the Eighth Judicial Circuit Public Defender’s Office and was engaged in private practice until his appointment to the bench. In addition to the practice of law, Judge DeThomasis served as an Adjunct Professor of Law at the University of Florida Levin College of Law for 29 years.
     Throughout his career, Judge DeThomasis has held leadership positions in several legal organizations including: President of the J.C. Adkins American Inn of Court, President of the Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers Eighth Judicial Circuit, and Chairman of the Eighth Judicial Circuit Grievance Committee.
     He is a graduate of Leadership Gainesville and served on the Board of Directors for Mid-Florida Division of Children’s Home Society and Bikers on Parade for the USA. He is a two-time recipient of the Florida Bar Meritorious Public Service Award.
     Judge DeThomasis is currently assigned to Family, Domestic Violence, Risk Protection, and Mental Health Divisions in Alachua County. His Judicial Assistant is K. Shea Hagan.

--UPDATED--
TUESDAY  OCT. 15  11:49 a.m.
Levy, Dixie and Gilchrist counties




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