Season of Giving
Hand It To A Hero
Levy County Sheriff's Office Sgt. Max Long is seen with Avid Studstill, 5, (left) and Kadence Studstill, 7, in front of Walmart on Sunday afternoon (Dec. 2). The girls went shopping to find new toys to donate to other children via the Toys For Tots program. The two girls’ mother Kerry Studstill said they do this each year. Sgt. Long said he thinks it is neat that the parents teach their children the importance of giving to others. This was part of a Marine Corps Reserve Tri-County Area Toys For Tots toy drive at the Walmart in Chiefland. This drive continues from 4 to 7 p.m. tomorrow (Monday, Dec. 3) in front of Walmart. THE Saturday (Dec. 1) drive was cancelled due to rain. Hence the program on Monday evening. This drive is called 'Hand it to a Hero.'


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Hand It To A Hero
Chiefland Firefighter Andrew Casto unpacks the banner for the event Sunday afternoon.

Hand It To A Hero
CPD Sgt. Max Long and CFR Capt. Cal Morgan (right) helps Avid and Kadence Studstill put toys into one of the boxes for the Marine Corps Reserves Toys For Tots program that helps children in the Tri-County Area of Levy, Dixie and Gilchrist counties.

Hand It To A Hero
Beverly Goodman, manager of Tri-County Community Resource Center, poses with Levy County Sheriff's Office Deputy Tim O'Shaughnessy. Goodman is the assistant coordinator for the Marine Corps Reserve Toys For Tots program with Coordinator Bryan Chrisp.

Hand It To A Hero
John Jasieck of Old Town donates cash to the Toys For Tots program. LCSO Sgt. Max Long said the cash donations help the program, especially because many people provide gifts for very young children. The cash lets organizers buy gifts for the teens who receive presents at Christmas through the program. Levy County Sheriff's Office Deputy Tim O'Shaughnessy. is seen with crime tape in his hands. That tape helped tie the banner to something stable, just as the fire houses from Chiefland Fire Rescue helped weigh down the money donation bucket. There was a strong wind whipping through the area early Saturday afternoon, and the temporary collection area needed to be secured.

The 'Hand It To A Hero' aspect of Toys For Tots of the Tri-County Area is sponsored by the Tri-County Community Resource Center, the Levy County Sheriff's Office, the Marine Corps Reserve Toys For Tots Foundation, the Chiefland Fire Rescue Department, Levy County Emergency Management and the Levy County Department of Public Safety. In this drive, people are asked to purchase a toy and Hand it to a Hero. In addition to Capt. Morgan and Firefighter Casto from CFR, and Sgt. Long and Deputy O'Shaughnessy from the LCSO, and Beverly Goodman from the Tri-County Community Resource Center, CFR Assistant Chief A.D. Goodman was actively helping not only Chiefland Fire Rescue for its part, but also the Tri-County Community Resource Center for its part. Beverly Goodman said people will be able to ‘Hand It To A Hero’ from the Gilchrist County Sheriff’s Office on Friday, Dec. 7, at Fort Fanning Park during the Christmas Boat Parade that is currently planned for that evening. Fort Fanning Park is located at the southwest corner of the intersection of U.S. Highway 19 and the Suwannee River.

Story and Photos By Jeff M. Hardison © Dec. 2, 2018 at 5:38 p.m.
All Rights Reserved


Learners treated to Publix subs
Dixie County Anti Drug
Dixie County Anti-Drug Coalition Executive Director Katrina VanAernam (left) welcomes people as she introduces Angie Land, who introduced Dr. Ryan Hall on Thursday at the Dixie County Public Library in Cross City, prepares to speak about the keynote speaker.

Story and Photos
By Jeff M. Hardison © Nov. 29, 2018 at 4:18 p.m.
     CROSS CITY --
A Lunch and Learn event hosted by the Dixie County Anti-Drug Coalition attracted at least 50 people to Cross City from Dixie, Levy, Gilchrist, Alachua, Columbia and Baker counties Thursday (Nov. 29).

Dr. Ryan C.W. Hall (at right) tells listeners that he has a child who will be school-aged, and he has been robbed at gunpoint, as he shows his awareness – beyond just being academic – to some aspects of the topics he addressed. Hall is a lifelong member of the National Rifle Association since he was a teen, when his mother bought him a lifetime membership to the NRA.

     Dr. Ryan C.W. Hall, a psychiatrist who works primarily in Orlando, served as the keynote speaker as he presented his topic titled “Guns, Schools, and Mental Health.”
     The event was promoted under the title “How do we keep our schools safe?”
     The two-hour program was not a nuts-and-bolts recipe for methods of school safety. It was a review of research showing both sides of several social and mental health issues.
     If a researcher was watching the presentation, he or she might say, “More research is needed” before reaching some conclusion on how to keep schools safe (from people who kill students).
     Diagnosing mental illness in children and teens, Hall said, is difficult, in no small part because children have not completely formed intellectually or emotionally.
     Alcohol and other drugs, Hall said, can be contributors to developing or exacerbating mental illness.
     During his program, the psychiatrist spoke about some infamous cases of mass killing, one case of stalking and the case involving the assassination of Ringo Starr by a man with mental illness.
      “How do we keep our schools safe?”
     The single answer Dr. Hall expressed was that gun control is not an answer. During part of his presentation, he explained that murderers in China killed many school children using butcher knives, and he alleged those murders led to permits being required in China to buy butcher knives.
     As for the value of psychiatrists predicting things, Hall repeatedly conceded that he does not have a functional “crystal ball.”
     He concurs with other scientists who believe clinical predictions by psychiatrists produce a fundamentally very low level of reliability in regard to determining the potential for a particular human being to become dangerously violent.
     Clinicians can use indicators by testing subjects, but there are no guarantees either way that a psychiatrist will have a high degree of reliability in stating who will be “normal” or “abnormal” psychologically, in reference to their future actions.
     For instance, one woman who had succeeded in being part of the team of astronauts for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration became a stalker that used extreme measures to ply her misdeeds – which eventually resulted in a plea-negotiated agreement with prosecutors where she pled guilty to felony burglary and misdemeanor battery in Orlando, on Nov. 10, 2009.
     She had been well-vetted by psychoanalysts, but no one could see that she would become a stalker of her lover’s other lover.
     One important message from this concept of the fallibility of psychiatrists is that after 30 years of development, mental health professionals cannot with any level of comfortable certainty predict future acts of violence, sexual or criminal risks in most cases.
     Sometimes, though, the flag that was seen as a yellow flag before an event, looks very much like a red flag after the bad event. Hindsight is 20-20.
     Therefore, school administrators should not have unrealistic expectations of risk predications being accurate from clinicians who look at students. During his presentation, Hall showed how there could be problems from too much attention to strange behavior, just as their can be future problems when deviant behavior is not immediately investigated and dealt with.
     In addition to diagnosis of mental illness, there is the other facet -- follow-up. If a psychiatrist determines a person has mental illness and nothing happens after the diagnosis, then there is not a likelihood of a positive outcome.
     And then, even if a patient is found to need help and treatment is prescribed, another gamble is whether the patient will accept that he or she must take the medicine and attend the therapy sessions to maintain a normal lifestyle.
     Even beyond the population of clinically mentally ill persons who may pose a threat to students or others, there is the clinically mentally sound person who overreacts to some emotional stimuli, and then becomes violent.
     “How do we keep our schools safe?”
     Hall questioned whether high fences with razor wire, single entry through a metal detector is something parents want, anymore than a completely open campus.
     This Lunch and Learn event provided some tangible results, even if there was mostly psychological smoke and mirrors, and questions rather than answers, without any firm guidelines for making schools safer.
     The participants enjoyed submarine sandwiches brought into Dixie County from some county where they have Publix – like Alachua County. Among the subs enjoyed by attendees was Boar’s Head turkey. There were condiments, as well as lettuce, tomato and onion. And there were name-brand chips like Fritos. And there were drinks too, like Coca-Cola.
     As for this Dixie County Anti-Drug Coalition event, the “lunch” part was covered. The “learn” part of the event left more questions than answers. It was “fair and balanced” by not showing any inclination toward gun control, which according to some people in is a non-starter answer in Dixie County.
     Having questions, though, can lead to more learning – via more research.

BHS Wins: Girls Inspire
Bell High School Varsity Volleyball
The five young ladies who inspired Gilchrist County Rotarians on Monday are (from left) Juliana Whiting, Jillian Cassube, Jenna Holley, Jillian Morgan and Kylee Barry.

Story and Photos
By Jeff M. Hardison © Nov. 26, 2018 at 8:18 p.m.
     TRENTON --
Rotarians all over the world can smile a little more because the Rotary Club of Gilchrist County was inspired Monday afternoon (Nov. 26), thanks to a visit by Bell High School Lady Bulldogs Head Varsity Volleyball Coach Lisa Barry and the five Lady Bulldogs Varsity Volleyball Team members she brought with her to the meeting at the Trenton Woman's Club.

Bell High School Varsity Volleyball
Gilchrist County Rotary Club Public Relations and Program Support Chair Holly Creel (left) stands with Dana Nicholson before the meeting begins. Creel has proposed that Nicholson be a member of this club. There was a Board meeting after the regular meeting to discuss the potential new members being proposed.

Bell High School Varsity Volleyball
After the meeting, a group shot was available. Seen here are (from left) Bell High School Lady Bulldogs Varsity Volleyball Head Coach Lisa Barry, Kylee Barry Jillian Cassube, Juliana Whiting, Jillian Morgan, Jenna Holley, Drue Barry (Lisa’s husband and Kylee’s Dad) and Gilchrist County Rotary Club President Aaron Haynes.

Bell High School Varsity Volleyball
The Cake!


     As Rotary District 6940 Governor John Medina told these Rotarians earlier in the year, Rotary International President Barry Rassin chose “Be The Inspiration” as the theme for the 2018-2019 Rotary Year.
     Medina said this is a great way to encourage Rotarians to “focus on humanitarian service, support and strengthening of clubs, and to inspire families to be great servant leaders.”
     Watching and listening to Coach Barry, and seeing and hearing the young ladies share their insight is bound to have inspired the Gilchrist County Rotary Club members and all of their guests.
     In fact, the whole meeting on Monday heralded another banner day for this club. The room was full of people.
     Gilchrist County Rotary Club Sergeant-At-Arms Damon Leggett exercised the most efficient method for fine assessment ever witnessed by those who watch Rotarians in the Tri-County Area of Levy, Dixie and Gilchrist counties.
     “If you were late or missed a meeting,” Leggett said, “come on up and bring a dollar.”
     A number of members sauntered to the front of the room, dollars in hand.
     Leggett brought in more cash money from all of the Gator fans, because the Gators beat the Seminoles. Leggett called for the payment of happy dollars. Another inventive method this sergeant-at-arms found to tap his fellow Rotarians was to call for a dollar if there was a Christmas tree already up at their homes.
     Even before the start of the meeting, it seemed to be foretold that it would be another winner of an afternoon. Dr. Andrew Nguyen played a few Christmas tunes on the piano, making the spirit bright in the meeting room before the first bell was sounded by Gilchrist Rotary President Aaron Haynes.
     Chef Jason Fuchs of Springwater Events prepared his high quality of food as he provided members and guests with buffet-style fried chicken sandwiches with assorted condiments and sauces, French fries, three-bean salad, chocolate and vanilla cake, and sweet and unsweetened tea.
     Fuchs is well-known for consistently providing a very tasty meal, although sometimes it seems he even outdoes himself.
     And while the cake of the day was decorated in honor of the BHS Volleyball Team, the actual dessert of the meeting was the presentation from Coach Barry and some of her players.
     Gilchrist County Rotary Club Public Relations and Program Support Chair Holly Creel introduced Coach Barry.
     Barry is in her sixth year as the head coach of volleyball at BHS, Creel said. The coach is herself a graduate of Bell High School, Creel said, and she has worked in the Gilchrist County School District for almost 20 years so far.
     The BHS Lady Bulldogs Varsity Volleyball Team lost the Nov. 16 playoff match against Sneads by a score of 3-0.
     Before falling to the Sneads High School Lady Pirates in the Championship game, the BHS Lady Bulldogs beat the Trenton Lady Tigers 3-2 in the FHSAA Semi-Finals.
     This game between the Lady Pirates of Sneads (Franklin County) and the Lady Bulldogs of Bell (Gilchrist County) was final game of the 2018 Florida High School Athletic Association Girls Volleyball State Championships - Class 1A Tournament. The Pirates are the state champs this year for FHSAA Class 1A Volleyball.
     The 14 members of the BHS Lady Bulldogs Varsity Volleyball Team are Taria Liles (#2), a sophomore; Hailey Pope (#4), a junior; Aubrey Brown (#5), a junior; Jillian Cassube (#6), a junior; Melonie Piechocki (#7), a sophomore; Michelle Hellig (#9), a freshman; Jillian Morgan (#10),  a senior; Kylee Barry (#11), a senior; Jenna Holley (#13), a senior; Emma Hutto (#14), a freshman; Maddy Sapp (#19), a sophomore; Shelby Waddle (#22), a sophomore; Juliana Whiting (#24), a senior; and Taylor Tompkins (#44), a freshman.
     As the coach began her presentation to the Rotary Club of Gilchrist County, she said believes it is important to recognize all school athletes – and especially the female athletes.
     Coach Barry feels that women should learn to rely on each other and to feel strong together, and to support each other, she said. Coach Barry tries to instill this in the team members.
     And while she teaches them the value of good sportsmanship and competition, Coach Barry simultaneously imparts in them that they do not need to compete all of the time.
      She wants to teach them that they are great competitors, but as they become older, they do not need to compete with each other.
     “Women can learn to support and respect one another,” Coach Barry said.
     The team earned a 26-4 win-loss record this season, she said. This is the best record for a team in BHS history, the coach said as far as she is aware.
     This season’s team, she said, is an amazing group of kids. The support they have seen from the community, the coach said, was far above the level they had anticipated. A couple of the players mentioned they were moved by the turnout by the people of Bell to show support, especially in the game against Trenton.
     Coach Barry told the Rotarians that BHS is 90 years old this year, and while the BHS Varsity Volleyball Team has gone to the finals each of the six years she has coached it, this was the first year the team went to play for the State Class 1A Championship.
     There have been many great athletes who walked the halls of Bell High School, she said, even some who were better than the five players she brought on Monday afternoon.
    This historic team, though, reached a point never before attained, she added.
     “I think this is a testament to their real power,” Coach Barry said. “They complement each other really well.”
     The stats from BHS over 90 years shows that this team had everything especially required to make the group complete.
     Bell High School has made it to The Final Four several years, she said, but this was the first time a team made it to the Championship Game.
     The coach said she feels blessed to have the team that made it to that point, and Coach Barry feels blessed that her daughter (Kylee Barry) made it to the Championship Game in her senior year.
     The coach said she intends to have a sustainable continuing strong volleyball program at BHS. There are about 40 to 45 girls in grades six through 12 that participate. The BHS Junior Varsity Volleyball Team has only lost one game in the past two years, the coach said.
     “I think it’s important to win,” she said. “If you do anything, if you play any sport, someone is going to have to win. It may as well be you.”
      The coach said she knows no player wins every time, but it should be a goal.
     The coach spoke about the outstanding records her five players made during the past year.
     Jillian Cassube had the highest record kills in the 2018 FHSAA Class 1A – 436 kills. A kill is a spike that cannot be returned, giving the attacking team a point or a sideout.
     Cassube transferred to BHS this year.
     When she spoke, she said the single most important thing she learned from the past season was that she could be on a team where everyone loves each other, rather than fighting among each other like cats and dogs.
     Cassube was the lone junior who joined the four seniors to be recognized at the Rotary Club meeting.
     Jenna Holley, Coach Barry said, has played on the volleyball team since sixth grade. She was second in the FHSAA Class 1A with 464 digs. The dig in volleyball is a forearm pass to control the ball in preparation for return. It is usually the team's first touch of the ball after the opposition has put it over the net.
     Jillian Morgan, the coach said, was noticed by the coach when Morgan was in the ninth grade and was a cheerleader. The coach saw the athleticism in this student, and she felt she would excel more as a volleyball player than as a cheerleader.
     The coach drafted Morgan to the volleyball team from the cheerleading in her sophomore year. This year, Morgan had 304 kills, and 149 digs. The coach added that Morgan was among the most well-rounded players she has ever coached.
     Juliana “Jewels” Whiting had almost 200 kills this year, Coach Barry said. In her career, Whiting had almost 150 blocks, the coach added. A block in volleyball is when one team makes a move trying to get the ball over the net and the other team reaches up and blocks the ball from coming onto their side.
     Kylee Barry, Coach Barry said, is difficult to talk about, because she is her daughter. She is among the players on the team who is a setter, the coach said.
     Kylee is 5-foot, three-inches tall. While this may seem short for a volleyball player, “She plays a lot bigger than she is,” the coach said.
     Kylee Barry led the 2018 FHSAA Volleyball Class 1A in sets. In the game of volleyball, the set is a maneuver in which a player quickly makes contact with the ball in order to set up a spike for another player.
     The coach’s daughter also led the 2018 FHSAA Volleyball Class 1A in aces. An ace in volleyball occurs when a person serves the ball, and it either lands in bounds on the opponent's side of the court or is not legally returned over the net. The serving team is awarded a point for an ace.
     In her career, Kylee has had 345 kills, the coach said.
     Not only are these five volleyball players great at their sport, but the coach said cumulative grade point average of the five is about 3.8 – where 4.0 is an “A” and 3.0 is a “B.”
     The coach said she does not believe any of them earned a “C” on their report card, but if they did, they would remember it because it would be “that one ‘C’” that cannot be forgotten.
     Two of these players work full-time jobs as well as excelling in academics and sports, the coach said. These students are active in the Student Government Association and other activities at BHS, she said.
     A couple of the students shared that they enjoyed being introduced to yoga, as well as to meditation by their coach this season. And while two of these players apparently liked singing before home games, and their teammates tolerated it, that may be one of those things that athletes hang onto – because they won.
     Coach Barry shared with listeners that without her prompting them, each one of these young athletes always put others before themselves.
     This selfless spirit, to give without measure -- to care for the welfare of others -- is noticed in the best scholars and the truly greatest athletes.
     Altruism rather than selfishness is an admirable virtue, regardless of what some money-worshipping people may say.
     Rotarians know the concept of “service before self” is an idea to remember to practice daily.
     “They are good ambassadors for their school,” the coach said of the girls on her volleyball teams.
     And so, these five ambassadors from BHS were inspirational for the members and guests who attended the Monday afternoon meeting of the Rotary Club of Gilchrist County.

Levy County Supervisor
of Elections Tammy Jones
scores standing ovation

Levy County Supervisor of Elections Tammy Jones Honored
Levy County Supervisor of Elections Tammy Jones stands at the front of the County Commission meeting room on Tuesday (Nov. 20). County Commission Chairman John Meeks is seen in this photo as well. They are two of the three members of the Levy County Election Canvassing Board. The other member is Levy County Judge J.T. ‘Tim’ Browning. County Commission Vice Chairman Mike Joyner invited Jones to the front of the meeting room Tuesday to recognize the supervisor of elections for her service to the people of Levy County, the people of Florida and the people of the United States of America in regard to the right to vote.

Story and Photo
By Jeff M. Hardison © Nov. 23, 2018 at 11:28 a.m.
     BRONSON –
Everyone present for the regular twice-monthly meeting of the Levy County Board of County Commissioners on Tuesday (Nov. 20) gave Levy County Supervisor of Elections Tammy Jones a standing ovation.
     County Commission Vice Chairman Mike Joyner brought Jones to the front of the County Commission Meeting Room in the Levy County Courthouse for recognition of her service.
     The vice chairman mentioned that Commission Chairman John Meeks sat on the Levy County Canvassing Board with Supervisor of Elections Jones and County Judge J.T. “Tim” Browning for the elections in 2018. Joyner gave Meeks a break on one of those days, he said, but Supervisor of Election Jones is responsible for everything to do with election in this county every day.
      Jones and her staff put in 12 to 15 hours on many days, Joyner said.
     “The public needs to know,” Vice Chairman Joyner said, “how good we have it in Levy County and how proud we should be of our elected officials such as Tammy. And I want to thank you (Supervisor of Elections Jones) very much.”
     Joyner said he appreciates the time Chairman Meeks provided for his service to the people of Levy County as being part of the Canvassing Board.
     Joyner called for the people to give her a standing ovation, and the people did.
     Supervisor of Elections Jones said it is not her alone who makes the process successful and trustworthy. It is from a team effort, she said.
     The Levy County Canvassing Board works tirelessly to make sure that every eligible vote counts, Jones said.  The staff members of the Office of the Levy County Supervisor of Elections, Jones said, “are the best of the best.”
     She went on to note her appreciation for the poll workers who serve at all 13 precinct polling places. They take their jobs seriously, Jones said.
     With two statewide election recounts during this midterm election, Jones said she thinks every worker now understands why she demands such a high level of focus on the mission, and the necessity for great care.
     Every single little detail is critical, she said, and the ballots remained under lock and key and remained secure through the whole process including the machine and manual recounts.
     Local elections are just as important as state or federal elections, Jones said, as she reminded listeners that the first Levy County Commission race Lilly Rooks ran with Ryan Bell was decided by only three votes. That race required a recount, she said.
     Jones said she is grateful to the Levy County Board of County Commissioners agreeing with her request in 2014 to obtain the voting machines that were again used in this 2018 midterm election.
     “We are well ahead of the curve,” Jones said. “Some counties are just now getting the machines we have had for four years. It helps to be knowledgeable on the equipment we have.
     “It streamlined the process for us,” she said, “to have the 100 percent accurate voting count. The Board is responsible for purchasing our equipment, and they did well by me in 2014, by listening to my needs and providing for them for me.”
     Jones said she is thankful for the voters. She hopes even more people participate in using their right to vote.
     “Hopefully,” Jones said, “everyone in Levy County will get registered and vote.”




Your Holiday Events

A Charlie Brown Christmas
set for Dec. 7, 8, 9, 14, 15 and 16

A Charlie Brown Christmas

Information Provided By Will Rucker of the SVP
Published Nov. 12, 2018 at 9:48 a.m.
The Chief Theater, 25 E. Park Ave., in Chiefland, the home of the Suwannee Valley Players (SVP) is where A Charlie Brown Christmas is scheduled to be performed by the SVP.
     This live, onstage performance is being directed by Diana Child.
     The Chief Theater, located across the street from the Chiefland Police Department in downtown Chiefland, is the place to go to see this performance. Showtimes are 7:30 p.m. on those two Fridays and Saturdays and 2 p.m. on those two Sundays.
     The original Charlie Brown Christmas premiered in 1965 and was created by Charles M. Schulz.
     The special was finished 10 days shy of its broadcast premiere.
     One of the animators, Ed Levitt, said it was the best special he’ll ever make and that the show is going to run for 100 years.
     Richard Burgheim of Time Magazine praised the show saying it was unpretentious and that “A Charlie Brown Christmas is one children’s special this season that bears repeating.”
     Now, in 2018, this production is at the 53rd year of Levitt’s prediction of the show running 100 years. In fact, on Sunday, Dec. 9, the show heralds the exact 53rd anniversary of A Charlie Brown Christmas.
     A Charlie Brown Christmas (Live) is set for Dec. 7, 8, 9, 14, 15 and 16.
     Tickets cost $10.
     Now is the time to call Becky Gill at 352-443-9096 to reserve a seat. For all other information regarding the play, call The Chief Theater Box Office at 352-493-2787.


Chiefland Chamber
plans event on Dec. 8

By Jeff M. Hardison © Nov. 14, 2018 at 8:08 a.m.
The Chiefland Chamber of Commerce plans to have events in the city from 8 a.m. into the night on Dec. 8.
     The first event is called Rudolph Run. Registration for that run starts at 8 a.m. at the park next to the Train Depot on Second Avenue Southeast and Main Street (U.S. Highway 19). The run begins at 9 a.m.
     At 10 a.m., the festival begins in that same park with food, crafts, pony rides, inflatable toys - like bounce houses, a "rock wall" for climbing, bungee jumping and entertainment.
     The Christmas Parade starts at 6 p.m. at Chiefland High School, which is near the intersection of U.S. Highway 129 and U.S. 19. The parade will go southbound to the park.
     After the parade, the action continues in the park with a tree-lighting ceremony and other activities.
     At the Monday night (Nov. 12) meeting of the Chiefland City Commission, commissioners voted 4-0 to approve a bonfire being lit at the park. The commissioners added the caveats that the fire should be away from the stage, away from trees and completely extinguished by Chiefland Fire Rescue at the conclusion. Fire Chief James Harris said the Fire Department will be able to extinguish the bonfire at the end of its use.
     The City Commission, with Commissioner Rollin Hudson absent, also approved the closure of all roads the Chamber of Commerce requested for the event and for the parade.
     For more information, call the Chiefland Chamber of Commerce at 352-493-1849.


Walk To Bethlehem is Dec. 9-23
Published Nov. 28, 2018 at 9:48 p.m.
Walk To Bethlehem is a narrated interactive journey, presumed to have been taken by Mary and Joseph leading up to the birth of Jesus. This event is located at 4551 S.E. State Road 121, in Morriston, between Levy County Road 326 and CR 464. It is a FREE event, open every evening, Dec. 9-23 from 7 to 9 p.m. Everyone is welcome to come out and stroll through the Christmas fantasyland, check out the many new displays, see Santa and enjoy refreshments, in addition to joining a caravan on the journey to Bethlehem. This annual event is sponsored by Living Water Life Center, Morriston. For more information, call Callie Fields at 352-438-4545.


Reserve for fun with Santa Claus
on Dec, 13, 14,15 or 16

Published Dec. 4, 2018 at 7:38p.m.
Santa Claus has scheduled workshops at most of the public libraries in Levy County.
     The first 15 families to reserve a space will be able to have children’s photos with Santa for free. And there is more.
     This year, families are invited to explore Santa's workshop at the public libraries. The children will have the opportunity to visit with Santa and have pictures taken for free. During the event, the kids will be able to create a present for their family, wrap it, and take it home.
    Advanced reservations are required to ensure every child is comfortable and enjoys their time at the workshop. The reservations will allow 15 families at each of the 30-minute sessions the library branches have to offer.
     Please note that you will not be able to attend without reservations and you can only attend at your reserved time.
     The dates, times and places follow: Dec. 13, 5:30 p.m., A.F. Knotts Public Library (Yankeetown); Dec. 14, 5:30 p.m., Luther Callaway Public Library (Chiefland); Dec. 15, 2:30 p.m., Williston Public Library; Dec. 16, 1 p.m. Bronson Public Library.
     Cedar Key Public Library is not participating.
     Please reserve your reservation time at the local library branches. If you have any questions, please contact your local library or Jenny Rodgers, Youth Services Manager, at 352-486-5552 or by email
     This project was funded under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act from the Institute of Museum and Library Services. Florida’s LSTA program is administered by the Department of State’s Division of Library and Information Services.


South Levy County
Christmas Parade set for Dec. 15

Published Oct. 25, 2018 at 9:08 a.m.
Updated Dec. 3, 2018 at 6:08 a.m.
As a result of a meeting on Wednesday night (Oct. 24) by representatives from the Inglis-Yankeetown Lions Club, the Inglis Recreation Committee, The Yankeetown-Inglis Woman's Club, the towns of Inglis and Yankeetown, the Friends of the Withlacoochee Gulf Preserve, the No. 324 F&AM Masonic Lodge of Inglis, and the Blackwater Grill and Bar, the people agreed on the details for the 2018 Christmas Parade and Light Up Inglis and Yankeetown event.
     The Christmas Parade is now scheduled to be on Dec. 15.
     The line-up will begin at 3:30 p.m. in the field next to the Withlacoochee Gulf Area Chamber of Commerce office (which is right next door to the Central Florida Electric Cooperative Office) on Follow That Dream Parkway (Levy County Road 40 West) in Inglis.
     The parade is scheduled to start at 4:30 p.m. there, and then to go westbound on CR 40 to the eastern entrance of Riverside Drive -- going from Inglis to Yankeetown, and the parade will continue down Riverside Drive to the pavilion at the Yankeetown Town Hall and the Blackwater Grill and Bar.
     Everyone is invited to be in the parade -- businesses, school organizations, veterans' groups, civic organizations, churches, etc.
     Bicycles, motorcycles, tricycles, unicycles, golf carts, floats, walkers, dogs, horses, and anything else that can be mobilized is welcome to be part of the parade. 
     The theme for the 2018 Christmas Parade is "Christmas."
     There is judging scheduled for "Most Original" and "Best Costume" categories.
     Applications to be part of the parade are scheduled to be available for participants at the Inglis and Yankeetown Town Halls.
     December 12 is the cutoff date for application submission to be in this parade that is set for Dec. 15. 
     The organizers of the event encourage everyone to get luminaries out for the parade and light up Inglis and Yankeetown for the holiday.
     For those individuals who have some concern about mobilized animals such as dogs and horses, there is a plan to include a team of "Pooper Scoopers" who will handle any and all critter loads. 
     The next organizational meetings for the 2018 Christmas Parade and Light Up Inglis and Yankeetown event is Dec. 12 at the Yankeetown-Inglis Woman's Club. Both of those meetings are set to start at 6:30 p.m. and everyone is welcome to be at the meetings.
     Christmas parade viewers are encouraged to come on out and enjoy the parade. Bring your lawn chairs, neighbors and kids and join in the fun.


Wheelchair, Electric Scooters,
Walkers, and Canes
Holiday Parade on Dec. 15

     On Dec. 15 at noon the Chiefland Farmers Flea Market, 1206 N. Young Blvd. (U.S. 19) in Chiefland, proudly presents  The Wheelchair, Electric Scooters Walkers, & Canes Holiday Parade. All riders MUST decorate their ride (Wheelchairs, Electric Scooters Walker, Cane) and themselves in the Holiday Spirit. Riders NO later than 10:30 a.m. Parade starts at noon. Cash prizes.
Riders should register by Dec.8  at Booth 38 in the Chiefland Farmers Flea Market. Can’t come in? Call 352-356-4156 if there is no person answering the phone, please leave a message.

First UMC Chiefland holds
The Longest Night service
of healing and hope on Dec. 21


Published Dec. 5, 2018 at 7:38 p.m.
First United Methodist Church of Chiefland invites everyone to a candlelight service of healing and hope on Friday, Dec.21, at 6 p.m.
     The service is named The Longest Night. The church is located at 707 N. Main St. (U.S. Highway 19), Chiefland
     This is the longest night of the year.
     This will be a service of healing, hope and ministry for those who are hurting during this season.
     The winter solstice (Dec. 21, 2018), also known as midwinter, is an astronomical phenomenon marking the day with the shortest period of daylight and the longest night of the year.
     It occurs when one of the Earth's poles has its maximum tilt away from the Sun. It happens twice yearly, once in each hemisphere. In the Northern Hemisphere this is the December solstice and in the Southern Hemisphere this is the June solstice.


Historic march set for Chiefland;
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. March
scheduled for Chiefland on Jan. 21, 2019

MLK Parade Effort For Chiefland
Pastor Alex Christian of First United Methodist Church of Chiefland stands at the podium as Alex Christian of First United Methodist Church of Chiefland, Pastor Lance Hayes of Potter House Exalting of Chiefland stands near to him Tuesday evening (Nov. 12) when the men succeeded in starting the effort required for a march to honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on Jan. 21 in Chiefland.

Photos and Story
By Jeff M, Hardison © Nov. 13, 2018 at 10:18 a.m.
A few good men approached the Chiefland City Commission Tuesday (Nov. 13) and succeeded in setting the wheels in motion for a march that is historic for that municipality.

MLK Parade Effort For Chiefland
Chiefland Police Chief Scott Anderson tells the City Commission about a successful raid of eight Internet cafés formerly operating in Chiefland. The chief also mentioned the costs to the CPD, and the city, for law enforcement required during parades down U.S. Highway 19 in Chiefland.

MLK Parade Effort For Chiefland
After the meeting Tuesday, some of the leaders seeking to make the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. March become a reality in Chiefland are seen here. They are (from left) Pastor Alex Christian of First United Methodist Church of Chiefland, Pastor Lance Hayes of Potter House Exalting of Chiefland, Minnie Hayes of Potter House Exalting of Chiefland and Robert Wells, one of the founders of the Levy County Prevention Coalition.

     Pastor Alex Christian of First United Methodist Church of Chiefland, Pastor Lance Hayes of Potter House Exalting of Chiefland and Robert Wells, one of the founders of the Levy County Prevention Coalition as well as a counselor with Meridian Behavioral Health Inc., all spoke in favor of conducting the first-ever Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day Parade in Chiefland on Jan. 21, 2019 – Martin Luther King Day.
     Earlier Tuesday evening, Pastor Hayes had succeeded in securing the Tommy Usher Community Center for Jan. 10 from 5 to 7 p.m. for a countywide domestic abuse awareness program. Hayes said he anticipates between 15 and 18 vendors to be there that evening for a free event that is open to the public, where people can obtain information and other resources in the effort to reduce the many forms of abuse.
     City Commissioner Donald Lawrence, a retired teacher and coach, made a motion, seconded by City Commissioner Tim West, an RV park developer, to approve the request to wave the $75 Tommy Usher Center booking fee as well as the $20-per-hour fee and the deposit normally required to use that facility.
      Voting in favor of that motion were Lawrence, West, Mayor Betty Walker and Vice Mayor Chris Jones.
     Chiefland City Commissioner Rollin Hudson was absent Tuesday night.
     Then Pastor Christian of First United Methodist Church of Chiefland requested and received, again by a 4-0 Lawrence-West motion, approval to have a march starting at 11 a.m. on Jan. 21 at First United Methodist Church of Chiefland. This Martin Luther King March will go southbound from the church on Main Street (U.S. Highway 19) and Northeast Seventh Avenue to the Chiefland City Park next to the Historic Chiefland Train Depot on Southeast Second Avenue.
     Pastor Christian said after the march there is a relatively short program scheduled at the park to honor the memory and accomplishments of Dr. King, and the reverend anticipates it concluding at 1 p.m.
     Chiefland Police Chief Scott Anderson brought the City Commission into awareness that it will cost the Chiefland Police Department $1,300 that he had not budgeted for this march to happen on Jan. 21.
     Chief Anderson said the CPD spent $1,300 to accommodate the Walk For Jesus last year and there were only 12 people participating. The chief said he has no qualms about the Walk For Jesus or the MLK March, he just wants the city leaders to be aware he had not budgeted for it.
     While no person argued for or against the merits of Christianity or of the recognition of a Christian preacher who was assassinated during the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s, Chief Anderson just wanted the city to know it was not in his department’s budget.
     The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. {Jan. 15, 1929-April 4, 1968} was an American Baptist minister and activist who became one of the most visible spokesmen and leaders in the American Civil Rights Movement from 1954 until he was assassinated in 1968.
     Vice Mayor Jones said he believes some Chiefland business interests may donate some money to the city to help pay for this first-ever MLK March in Chiefland. Wells said the LCPC may be able to donate some funds to the city for this purpose.
     While Jones and Wells spoke about possible donors to cover the CPD costs from the march, Anderson said on Tuesday that he had heard the Walk For Jesus promoters were allegedly going to help cover the CPD’s expense for that event, but it never happened.
     Chief Anderson said he just wants the City Commission to remember that every time the city conducts a parade or a march, the CPD has to bring every CPD officer into action as well as to seek help from the Levy County Sheriff’s Office and its Citizens On Patrol.
     The Chiefland High School Homecoming Parade and the Watermelon Festival Parade are a couple of events the chief budgets for each year, he said. When he saw a mere dozen people in the Walk For Jesus event, Chief Anderson noticed a potential problem with future requests of a similar nature.
     Essentially, the police chief is expressing to the City Commission that he is not in favor of unfunded mandates by elected officials on department heads who must bring about the required resources for safety.
     Chief Anderson stays within his budget and when he sees an issue that can take that bottom line into the debt zone, he alerts the City Commission.
     Even the recent raid of suspected illegal Internet cafés, Chief Anderson said on Tuesday morning (Nov. 13) in a telephone interview, required him to wait until after the start of the fiscal year (Oct. 1) so that the big operation could be funded.
     Chief Anderson said there is a reality of the bottom-line for law enforcement. Anderson did not even ask Williston Police Chief Dennis Strow or Cedar Key Police Chief Virgil Sandlin for help from their cities’ departments in the raid on Internet cafés in Chiefland, he said, because he knows their budgets have little to zero leeway for unanticipated costs.
     Chief Strow has asked the CPD for help with its July 5 parades in the past, Chief Anderson said, and Chiefland has routinely said it regretfully cannot help.
     In regard to the raid of the suspected illegal gambling houses, Chief Anderson asked the City Commission on Tuesday night to have a barbecue event in January to say “Thank you” to the law enforcement officers from the Levy County Sheriff’s Office, the Ocala Police Department, the Marion County Sheriff’s Office and the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office for their help.
     The City Commission agreed, but there was no mention of funding for it. The chief on Tuesday morning said the officers of the CPD may end up donating to make this barbecue happen for those officers who came from other departments to assist the CPD.
     As for the Friends of the CPD and the Halloween Haunted House this year, Chief Anderson said funds raised from that event – where every CPD officer volunteered on their own time – will go to buying Christmas gifts for needy children.
     Meanwhile in regard to a march to honor Dr. King n MLK Day 2019, Mayor Walker said she has wanted this to happen in Chiefland for several years.
     As a result of the 4-0 vote Tuesday night, the event is on track to occur. While Wells mentioned that there is a movement for a countywide MLK event, with people from Bronson and Williston being interested, the past couple of years has shown no unity from the municipalities for one event in any particular city.
     Pastor Christian and Pastor Hayes alluded to a unified church effort from the community’s houses of worship for the abuse-awareness program set for the early evening of Jan. 10 at the Tommy Usher Center.
     As shown in the story, photos and three minutes of video clips that can be seen by clicking HERE, there was a very successful 13th Annual MLK Parade and Ceremony in Cross City (Dixie County) in January of this year.

Outdoor living nativity planned
Cedar Key UMS
Cedar Key United Methodist Church

Published Dec. 4, 2018 at 8:48 a.m.
     CEDAR KEY --
The Cedar Key United Methodist Church, 6050 D St., is where people can drive by or walk by on Dec. 21 and 22 between 6 and 8 p.m. to see an outdoor living nativity scene.
     There is no fee for this. The congregation just felt moved to provide it for all people to see. The people of the United Methodist Church are known to have open hearts, open minds and open doors.




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