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Biden And Trump
Supporters Hold Signs

Biden Supporters In Chiefland Florida  HardisonInk.com
With the voters in the United States of America choosing essentially between two candidates for President – Joe Biden or Donald Trump – Democrats and Republicans are showing their support for one or the other. On Saturday (Sept. 26) from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m., some Levy County Democrats gathered in a grassy area next to U.S. Highway 19 and U.S. Highway 129 in Chiefland to hold Biden-Harris 2020 signs.

Biden Supporters In Chiefland Florida  HardisonInk.com

A couple of Trump supporters held signs up for a brief part of that time span on the sidewalk next to the Save-A-Lot parking lot. Within the 15 minutes of covering the two-hour event organized by local Democrats, one black pickup truck that had a license tag holder indicating the vehicle is from The Villages (of Sumter County), had a male driver step out of the pickup truck and yell a vulgar statement about Presidential Candidate Joe Biden.

Biden Supporters In Chiefland Florida  HardisonInk.com

Biden Supporters In Chiefland Florida  HardisonInk.com
Democrats responded with ‘Have a nice day’ and the light turned green, and the ne'er-do-well passerby went his merry way. Several people shouted words of encouragement for the supporters of the Joe Biden-Kamala Harris campaign, as well as beeping horns as a sign of support.

Trump Supporter In Chiefland Florida  HardisonInk.com
Meanwhile, a couple of Trump supporters held up banners showing their support for that candidate as they stood on the sidewalk near Save-A-Lot, essentially as a kneejerk reaction to the group of Democrats.

Photos By Jeff M. Hardison © Sept. 26, 2020 at 4:10 p.m.

 

 

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Levy County Prevention Coalition Ad HardisonInk.com

 

 


Inglis and Yankeetown residents
seek to stop thieves;

Plan for litter retrieval
program moves forward

Published Sept. 25, 2020 at 5:10 p.m.
     LEVY COUNTY –
The people of Inglis and Yankeetown have been alerted via an email chain to be on the lookout for a certain type of thieves, and the two towns’ effort for litter removal is gaining momentum too.
     In an email on Thursday (Sept. 24), “The Stuffers” noted “Thieves are on the (Withlacoochee) river stealing gas, etc., from boats and docks. The last hit was 30 gallons of gas from a boat in a lift. Usually, they have a trolling motor and once they get gas, gas tanks, kicker motors, batteries, tackle they leave and then start the gas motor to getaway.”
     The Stuffers noted that in the past, these thieves have been coming from the east (Inglis).
     The Stuffers recommend that riverside residents create a phone chain with neighbors on the river to alert them and to track the thieves to determine where they end up.
     To achieve this goal, The Stuffers note their advice is to obtain the phone numbers of the four neighbors on either side of the participants.
     “If everyone does this we can track them and give the police a way to catch them,” The Stuffers noted, as they added this advice -- Call the the Levy County Sheriff’s Office at 352-486-5111 and report any suspicious activity on the water and on the roads. 

inglis fights litter as does Yankeetown
     In another bit of community insight, The Stuffers noted residents of Inglis and Yankeetown now have a sign on Levy County Road 40 (Follow That Dream Parkway), just off of U.S. Highway 19. The Trash Pick Up Dates for participating volunteers are Sept. 26, Oct. 17 and Nov. 14.
     Inglis and Yankeetown volunteers who are willing to pick up litter are invited this Saturday (Sept. 26) at 8 a.m., to meet at Inglis Town Hall. Please bring water, bug spray, and gloves, The Stuffers noted.


Gilchrist County Rotary Club
becomes a 100 percent
Paul Harris Fellow Club

Gilrchrist County Rotary is 100 percent Paul Harris Fellows  HardisonInk.com
Present Monday afternoon (Sept. 21) for this event are (first row, from left) Dana Nicholson, Karen Jones, Joanne Halter, Heather Snellgrove, Sheree Lancaster, Rosemary McDaniel, Jennifer Beyer for Dan Beyer, Stephanie Douglas, Holly Creel, Maxine Cummings, Amy Owens, Sheila Frazier, Xina Leggett, Natasha Allen and Jennifer Wilkerson; and (back row, from left) Todd Gray for Cindy Gray, Aaron Haynes, Chris Weatherhilt, Rick Washburn, Gilchrist County Rotary Club President Lowell Chesborough, Steve Buckles and Michael McElroy.

Story and Photo Provided
By Holly Creel, Rotarian
Published Sept. 22, 2020 at 2:10 p.m.
     TRENTON --
The Rotary Club of Gilchrist County achieved the 100 percent Paul Harris Fellow Recognition on Monday (Sept. 21) at the Woman's Club in Trenton.
     This is a one-time honor that is bestowed upon a Rotary Club when every member makes a contribution to Rotary International to become a Paul Harris Fellow. In the world of Rotarians, this is a very fine honor!
     Rotarians celebrated this event with a delightful luncheon catered by Springwater Events and Chef Jason Fuchs. The delicious meal consisted of ribeye steaks cooked to order on site, sauteed onions and mushrooms, horseradish sauce, au jus and gorgonzola sauce, rosemary scalloped potatoes, green beans, salad, assorted breads and desserts.

 


Mayor accepts resignation;
Councilman chooses to stay
By Jeff M. Hardison © Sept. 18, 2020 at 4:10 p.m.
     BRONSON –
At the same time when the Levy County Board of County Commissioners were meeting, and the Williston City Council was meeting (and the council president said he would not be president anymore while Jerry Robinson was mayor), and the Town of Cross City was concluding its municipal elections (which resulted in two runoff elections), the Town Council of Bronson met on Tuesday evening (Sept. 15).
     There was a budget workshop, which is always exciting. There also was an Emergency Town Council Meeting called to determine a method for finding a new town clerk.
     Unfortunately, the normally functional video camera that records such meetings appears to have broken, according to outgoing Acting Town Clerk Melisa Thompson Cook. There is audio available but it cannot be downloaded to a disk or flash drive. It can be listened to at Town Hall.
     Hence, the previously planned proper method to cover the meeting fell away for one journalist who did not brave the confines of the very small meeting room at the Dogan Cobb Municipal Building. Due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, and the appearance of new cases in the Tri-County Area of Levy, Dixie and Gilchrist counties, one senior publisher is limiting probable exposure points as much as possible.
     Nevertheless, public records and telephonic interviews revealed enough to share with the world the turmoil in the tumultuous Town of Bronson.
     Town Councilman Berlon Weeks, who is inclined to show his emotion and who loves Bronson, became so frustrated that he told the other four Council members – Mayor Beatrice Roberts, Vice Mayor Jason Hunt, and councilmen Aaron Edmondson and Robert Partin that he would deliver the next day his letter of resignation to Town Hall – the big house on the hill behind the fire station.
     Between his making that statement and the next morning, Weeks gathered his thoughts and decided against resigning.
     Mayor Roberts, though, asked Town Attorney Steven Warm to draft a letter to let Weeks know Weeks’ resignation was accepted.
     Warm wrote the following letter dated Sept. 16:
Dear Berlon:
     The Mayor has directed me specifically to advise you that your unconditional resignation tendered verbally at the Special Meeting of September 15, 2020 is accepted and that your seat on the Bronson Town Council is as a consequence and as of this day deemed to be vacant; and all authority heretofore vested in you as a member of Town Council is terminated, cancelled and withdrawn effective immediately.
Respectfully,
Steven Warm, Esquire
     In a telephone conversation on Friday morning (Sept. 18), Weeks said he did not intend to deliver the letter of resignation on Sept. 16 even though the night before he was so bothered that he said he would do that.
     Following is the email that Weeks sent as a reply to Town Attorney Warm, Mayor Roberts and the town clerk on Sept. 16, at 1:25 p.m.
~
Mr. Warm,
     I don’t believe the Mayor has the right to declare a verbal declaration which was “ I will turn in my resignation.” That implies that if I choose to document my resignation on paper and give it to the Town Council that I have resigned. This is another poor attempt to remove a political rival by the Mayor. I have not resigned nor do I accept the Mayor's declaration of my intent when she doesn’t know my intent. 
Best wishes,
Councilman
Berlon Weeks
Seat 5
~
     Meanwhile, the Town Council is accepting applications from people who want to be hired as the Town Clerk, according to what Vice Mayor Hunt said. Bronson wants to hire a new clerk as soon as possible, Vice Mayor Hunt said.

 


Two races show winners
and two races require runoffs

By Jeff M. Hardison © Sept. 17, 2020 at 8:10 p.m.
     CROSS CITY --
In the Cross City Municipal Election of Sept. 15, there were winners declared in two of the races for four seats, and two other races show a runoff election to decide them.
     Kenneth "Tank" Lee won the Seat 5 election with a landslide of 344 votes (59.52 percent) over the two other contenders for that seat -- Amanda Bell - 94 votes (16.26 percent) and Antonio Williams 140 votes (24.22 percent), according to records.
     J.Ryan Fulford won the Seat 3 election with 344 votes (59.31 percent) over Heddie Johnson's 236 votes (40.69 percent), according to records
     The runoff election on Sept. 25 -- from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. is between two of the three candidates seeking Seat 1, and two of the three candidates seeking Seat 2.
     The runoff in the Seat 1 contest is between Kirk Marhefka and Judy McLeod Sumrall, who were so close there is a need for a runoff.
     That runoff results after the tally in the Sept. 15 race showed the following results:
     Charlie Heidelburg - 185 votes (32.17 percent)
     Kirk Marhefka - 199 votes (34.61 percent)
     Judy McLeod Sumrall - 191 votes (33.22 percent)
     The runoff in the Seat 2 race is between Angela Carter and Melody Padilla Rollison.
     That runoff results after the tally in the Sept. 15 race showed the following results:
     Angela Carter - 280 votes (48.19 percent)
     Melody Padilla Rollison - 194 votes (33.39 percent)
     Matt Wallace - 107 votes (18.42 percent)


Publisher shows
six candidates’ 
responses to questions

By Jeff M. Hardison © Sept. 16, 2020 at 9:10 a.m.
     TRI-COUNTY AREA –
Readers will see below the responses, or non-responses, of six candidates who are seeking seats in the Florida House of Representatives for District 21 and 22, and in the Florida Senate for District 5.
     Two candidates chose against responding. Their names are listed and the notation for them is “Candidate was non-responsive.”
     All six candidates received the very same notices and were given the same deadlines to respond. There was be no word limit. There was a deadline when answers were due. All answers are published at the same time.
     Some voters made their decisions upon whom to elect before reading these responses. These questions and answers are simply one possible option for voters to consider when making their choices. The answers are the candidates’ written responses.
     Alphabetically, the person with the last name closer to "A" has his or her name and information published on top with the second candidate below that. Each set of two candidates will be together in the three races.
     Candidates in the race for House District 21 will be on top of those for House District 22.
     The candidates seeking the Senate District 5 seat are below those other two sets of candidates.

HOUSE DISTRICT 21
Charles Wesley "Chuck" Clemons Sr. (R-Newberry)
Chuck Clemons HardisonInk.com

1.) Why do you want to serve in the Florida House of Representatives?
     It has been my honor to serve District 21 for the past four years. I am proud of my record supporting rural counties, protecting free speech, building new public schools in Dixie and Gilchrist counties. I have been a successful advocate for the salary increases of teachers, state workers and correctional officers.
 2.) What can you do in the Florida House to help people with the cost of medical care in Florida?
     Currently, over $30 billion dollars of Florida’s budget goes directly to health and human services. That represents one-third of the total budget. I have assisted with the opening of a medical clinic in Gilchrist County. Florida was the first state to allow for the purchase of FDA-approved drugs from Canada. I also obtained an appropriation for the expansion of dental services to low income residents of North Florida. I have supported legislation that removed the certificate of need that will enable competition in healthcare and provides for price transparency. I have supported telemedicine expansion and broadening the scope of pharmacist and other medical professionals. This is what I have done to help reduce the cost of medical care.
 3.) What can you do in the Florida House to help people with issues of access to Internet service, improvement in quality of education (versus more testing) and protection from danger to students in public education, including in the State University System?
     High speed Internet is no longer a luxury, but a necessity. I have been a strong supporter for the expansion of Internet services to the rural areas of Florida. This year, the Legislature passed a bill that creates and funds a lead agency on high-speed Internet installation. Education was a big winner in 2020 with $500 million for the teacher raises and the increase in the per-pupil funding formula by $184 for a total of $7,839.
 4.) Have you seen the impact of climate change and corporate interests on Florida’s environment? What can you do in the Florida House to help preserve natural resources and to protect the environment in this state?
     The pressure of 900 new residents moving to Florida each day is putting tremendous pressure on our natural resources. As Chairman of the Agriculture and Natural Resources Subcommittee, I have successfully advocated for $200 million dollars for Springs Protection and Restoration; passed legislation that will help to remove plastics from our landfills; held polluters financially accountable to sewage spills in our waterways; we have also allocated more than $650 million for the everglades restoration effort.
 5.) How do you feel about making marijuana sales available for recreational use with a tax on it like alcoholic beverages?
     No doubt that views on marijuana are changing in this country. Our court system is clogged with low-level marijuana offences. Several states have taken steps to decriminalize and implement a tax on the sales. At this time, while there may be advantages for this movement, I am not in favor.
 6.) How do you feel about ending the ability for people to be sentenced to death by execution for certain crimes in Florida?
     I support capital punishment. Criminals who commit heinous crimes like murder, that take the lives of innocent men, women, children and the elderly deserve to be put to death.
 7.) What is your single most important legislation you hope to see passed once you are elected?
     As the incumbent, I have successfully passed many bills while in the Legislature including; protecting people from insurance fraud; supporting firefighters who have contracted cancer as a result of their job; protection of our springs and waterways; funding economic development in rural counties; the construction of public schools in Dixie and Gilchrist counties.
 8.) Other than these specific questions, what can you tell voters as an actual reason to choose you rather than the other candidate seeking this same seat in the Florida Legislature?
     Over the past four years, I have provided a strong voice in the legislature for North Florida. My solid record of listening to and being an advocate for the tri-county region is evident by the results. My understanding of the needs of the district have enabled me to be an effective legislator for our community. I have successfully passed legislation that benefits our community and the state of Florida. Some projects in District 21 require coordination with multi agencies in the state of Florida. I have worked closely with Congressman Neal Dunn over the past few years to coordinate the restoration of the McGriff pass in Suwannee and pleased to announce this project will begin in October, 2020.
     I am honored to be endorsed by the Florida Medical Association PAC, the Police Benevolent Association, the Fraternal Order of Police, the International Association of Firefighters Local 2157, the Florida Professional Firefighters, the Gator Fire Council, the Florida Chamber of Commerce, the Florida Realtors Association, the Florida Retail Association, and the Florida Nursery Growers and Landscape Association.
The Florida Farm Bureau has named me a Champion for Agriculture for the past four years.
     It has been an honor to represent District 21 and I ask for your vote on or before Nov. 3.
     For more information go to https://chuckclemons.com/.


Kayser Enneking, M.D. (D-Gainesville)
Kayser Enneking  HardisonInk.com

1.) Why do you want to serve in the Florida House of Representatives?
     Throughout my 30 years as a doctor at UF Shands, I have seen first-hand how lack of access to affordable, quality healthcare can destroy lives. I’ve seen people skip doctor’s appointments because they can’t afford the visit, only to come into the ER when it’s too late. In a country as prosperous as ours, this is not right. I am running for office to address the failures of our healthcare systems and make healthcare better for every Floridian.
     The Florida legislature has had the opportunity to expand Medicaid in every session for the past 7 years. Today this would provide access to healthcare to over 1.4 million uninsured Floridians, many who have recently lost their job due to the economic shutdown. Every year politicians have allowed party politics to override the economic and health benefits of this program. Today, with the economic destruction of the COVID-19 pandemic, we cannot afford to play party politics any longer.
     We need to elect representatives to the legislature who will advocate for patients. There are lobbyists in Tallahassee for the hospitals, the doctors, the nurses, and the drug companies. There are none for the patients. We need people who understand the system and the importance of healthcare access. This cannot be a Democrat or Republican issue. This is solely about making sure every person has access to quality, affordable healthcare. Illness knows no party lines, and neither should our healthcare legislation.
2.) What can you do in the Florida House to help people with the cost of medical care in Florida?
     My number one priority is Medicaid expansion. Medicaid expansion would increase healthcare access to over 1.4 million uninsured Floridians, over 75 percent of whom are in working families. This pandemic has shown us that having healthcare insurance tied to employment can leave folks without access to a doctor in times of crisis. Expanding Medicaid is one of the most immediate and cost-effective steps our legislature can take, and I would devote every resource I had to getting it done if I were elected.
     But ensuring every Floridian can afford medical costs is about much more than just insurance. It is about lowering prescription drug costs, expanding access to telehealth clinics in our rural communities, and combating the opioid epidemic that is sweeping the nation. Floridians shouldn’t have to choose between putting food on the table and the cost of the tank of gas needed to get to their doctor, since no healthcare clinic is in their community. Or between paying their electricity bills and buying life-saving insulin.
     During COVID-19, our system quickly innovated to expand telehealth opportunities. We must continue to build on this. We must hold big pharma accountable for the disturbing pattern of rapidly increasing drug costs, even as the costs of making drugs do not change, as well as their intentional stoking of opioid addiction in our communities. Only once we take these steps can we begin to manage the rising costs of healthcare in this state.
3.) What can you do in the Florida House to help people with issues of access to Internet service, improvement in quality of education (versus more testing) and protection from danger to students in public education, including in the State University System?
     COVID-19 has shown us that universal broadband coverage is an essential utility in the state of Florida. We must commit to ensuring we have 100% coverage of affordable broadband as a public utility, especially in our rural areas where gaps in investment have left too many without access. Broadband is not only essential to ensure no child is left behind in their education, but also to ensure that our workers can compete in an increasingly digital economy. Furthermore, many of our schools have not been updated or renovated in decades. Providing our schools with the funding they need to afford textbooks, computers, quality teachers, and more is of the utmost importance to ensure a good quality of life for our children.
     Standardized testing has been a failure in our state. It has handicapped teachers and has failed to lead to better educational outcomes. We need to support our teachers by encouraging creativity and innovation in the classroom. Our school staff and teachers deserve to be paid a living wage, and we must increase teacher pay across the board, rather than pitting teacher against teacher through bonus schemes and unequal pay raises.
     As we reopen schools and universities this fall, the safety of our children, teachers, and school staff should be first and foremost. We must ensure that our school boards and health departments are working together to keep our communities safe, and that there are funds from the state available to ensure that investments in school safety are made.
4.) Have you seen the impact of climate change and corporate interests on Florida’s environment? What can you do in the Florida House to help preserve natural resources and to protect the environment in this state?
     Fighting climate change and protecting the environment are not abstract battles for our communities. We must protect Florida’s fresh water to not only ensure our springs are protected for future generations, but also ensure that our farmers continue to have access to clean water and that our coastlines are protected so our aquaculture industries can thrive. It is shameful we have not banned fracking in the state of Florida; these techniques that pump dangerous toxins into our groundwater have no place in our state. UF IFAS through its research has continued to innovate and come up with more efficient and environmentally sustainable techniques for our vital industries. We must continue to support this research and ensure that new techniques can be implemented in the industries throughout this district. Through the Florida Department of Agriculture’s cost-sharing programs, we can help support our farmers as we work towards more sustainable agriculture that will protect the industry and environment for generations to come. We must take the threats to our springs and fresh water seriously, but we cannot ask our agriculture community to shoulder the burden of environmental protection alone.
5.) How do you feel about making marijuana sales available for recreational use with a tax on it like alcoholic beverages?
     I support the legalization, regulation, and taxation of marijuana for recreational use. The war on drugs has been a failure in our nation. Arrests for marijuana use has resulted in the mass incarceration of nonviolent users and large disparities in incarceration rates for people of color. As we look to rebuild our state post-coronavirus, we need to be looking for opportunities to not only cut costs in the state budget, but also create new revenue streams for the state.
     Currently, the state is spending millions of dollars locking up nonviolent offenders on marijuana charges. Rather than spending all that money on nonviolent offenders, the state could be generating millions of dollars that can then be used to fund education, infrastructure, drug prevention programs, or any number of other programs our communities so desperately need.
6.) How do you feel about ending the ability for people to be sentenced to death by execution for certain crimes in Florida?
     As a physician I took an oath to do no harm. I believe that the death penalty should be abolished in Florida. Our criminal justice system has a long history of wrongful convictions. We also must consider the fact that the endless litigation associated with death penalty cases has slowed the wheels of justice for everyone and has prevented closure for victims’ families.
7.) What is your single most important legislation you hope to see passed once you are elected?
     My inspiration for running for office was my frustration with the way partisan politics has prevented Medicaid expansion in Florida. Passing Medicaid expansion and increasing access to quality, affordable healthcare will be my number one priority as your next state representative. 
8.) Other than these specific questions, what can you tell voters as an actual reason to choose you rather than the other candidate seeking this same seat in the Florida Legislature?
     COVID-19 has shone a light on the gaping holes in our public health system in Florida, but the barriers that prevented us from controlling COVID-19 have been there for decades. Since 2016 alone, the state Legislature cut over $9 million and 3,000 jobs from public health funding in Florida. This left us ill prepared to fight the opioid epidemic, to work on safer outcomes for all pregnancies, and clearly to attack the COVID-19 pandemic. It also left us with fewer healthcare providers in Gilchrist and Dixie counties. Currently we have 77 lawyers and one doctor in the state Legislature. We need legislators who bring relevant, real world expertise to address the most pressing issue of our time: healthcare. I would be honored to bring my lifetime of experience taking care of patients to the Legislature.
     For more information, visit https://ennekingforflorida.com/.


HOUSE DISTRICT 22
Barbara Byram   HardisonInk.com
Barbara Byram (D-Morriston)
1.) Why do you want to serve in the Florida House of Representatives?
     As a lifelong activist on issues focusing on the needs of the people over the elite, I believe in the principles of good governance. It is clear that our Legislature not only ignores the needs of the people in favor of corporations, industry, and the wealthy elite but prevents people from voicing opinions on proposed legislation. I want to transform the Legislature into one that is transparently accountable to the people. When legislation gets placed on the calendar for vote, the people have only 24 to 48 hours to respond. Moreover, people trying to keep up with legislation are frustrated by the incomprehensible search feature on the state's website. We deserve to know what legislators claim to be doing on our behalf, and we deserve the time needed to contact them about proposed legislation.
2.) What can you do in the Florida House to help people with the cost of medical care in Florida?
     I have long been a proponent of Single-Payer Universal Healthcare. I have spoken with many Levy County residents on this topic for the past 11 years and have found overwhelming support for it. This, however, is really a national solution to our healthcare problems, not something that can easily be achieved at the state level. Here in Florida, we need to accept that tying healthcare coverage to employment - especially in light of the current global pandemic and subsequent high numbers of people losing insurance along with their jobs - is not working. I will work for Medicaid expansion in order to cover more people, resulting in more preventive care, less emergency care, and lowered costs all around.
3.) What can you do in the Florida House to help people with issues of access to Internet service, improvement in quality of education (versus more testing) and protection from danger to students in public education, including in the State University System?
     In terms of Internet connection, we need national legislation that updates the Rural Electrification Act beyond the broadband pilot program of 2014. We pay too much for broadband service in rural areas of Florida, and it seems that the only solution is going to be a public/private partnership to extend high quality, reliable connectivity to every area of the state.
     As for improving the quality of education, we need to fully fund public education across the state. Even though it appears that we're spending more money now than ever before on education, the cost per student, adjusted for inflation, has gone down. Full funding should include money for all classroom materials needed for teachers to fully engage students in the learning process; money for programs that are essential to child development, such as art and physical education; and money for extracurricular programs and activities that enhance development and learning.
     Addressing protection from danger, I believe in gun sense laws. Weapons were not allowed on any campus I attended as a student, and I believe that they should not be allowed on any campus now. If we must have a law enforcement presence on all school campuses, that presence should be in the form of community liaison officers.
4.) Have you seen the impact of climate change and corporate interests on Florida’s environment? What can you do in the Florida House to help preserve natural resources and to protect the environment in this state?
     While I could address many instances of climate change effects across the state, I will focus on our area. I live on five acres, and I grow my own food. The weather pattern in our area has changed quite a bit over the past seven years in terms of wintertime chill hours and average daily highs. I have seen a shortened season for growing winter crops, a lengthened summer season where fewer crops can be grown, and a reduction in the number and diversity of insects year-round, which affects pollination.
     As for our natural resources, corporations continue to push the envelope, not once but repeatedly, when it comes to taking our resources for corporate profit. These resources cannot be replaced once depleted or reduced to the extent that it alters ecosystems and biodiversity. Maintaining biodiversity is not merely a matter of "saving a few cute and cuddly animals" but of saving as many species as possible, because without them, humans will cease to exist. We must be vigilant in pushing back against industries and corporate interests that look to enhance their profits at our expense, such as M-CORES toll roads. Enacting legislation that rewards the use of renewable technologies and the innovation in their development is an absolute necessity for the future of our state, especially given the projections of continued population growth.
5.) How do you feel about making marijuana sales available for recreational use with a tax on it like alcoholic beverages?
     It would certainly save a great deal of money in terms of the war on drugs, reduce taxpayer expense on incarceration, and fund much needed programs in the state addressing addiction and recovery.
6.) How do you feel about ending the ability for people to be sentenced to death by execution for certain crimes in Florida?
     I am opposed to the death penalty.
7.) What is your single most important legislation you hope to see passed once you are elected?
     While there are many equally important pieces of legislation that need to be passed, the most important in terms of time sensitivity would be a repeal of SB 7068, M-CORES. That bill is a prime example of the habitual way in which our legislature operates without transparency and accountability to the people.
8.) Other than these specific questions, what can you tell voters as an actual reason to choose you rather than the other candidate seeking this same seat in the Florida Legislature?
     If you want a state Legislature that responds to the needs of the people, not corporations and the wealthy, vote for me. If you want more M-CORES and less home rule, vote for the man who is endorsed by the very legislator who voted for those - and many similar things.


Joe Harding (R-Williston)
     Candidate was non-responsive
.

SENATE DISTRICT 5
Jennifer Bradley (R-Fleming Island)
Jennifer Bradley  HardisonInk.com

1.) Why do you want to serve in the Florida Senate?
     I’m running for the Florida Senate because I love north Florida. I want future generations to raise their families here and enjoy the same safe communities, the same beautiful natural resources and the same conservative values that are so important to my family. I want to see our businesses thrive and our children receive the best education possible.
2.) What can you do in the Florida Senate to help people with improving economic growth in private business in Florida?
     When 2020 began, our economy had record low unemployment and businesses were thriving. Since then, the coronavirus has presented us with many unprecedented challenges. Relaunching the economy quickly and safely will be my key objective. I trust the innovation of the private sector and our small businesses to lead the way, not the government. I will fight to keep taxes low and work to repeal regulations on our important job creators. `
3.) What can you do in the Florida Senate to help people with issues of access to Internet service, improvement in quality of education (versus more testing) and protection from danger to students in public education, including in the State University System?
     Working to address the rural broadband issue is a top priority for me. With more people working from home and students learning from home, this is an issue that cannot wait. All solutions to close the digital divide need to be on the table including public-private partnerships and fixed wireless technologies to reach the end user.
     A quality education system is the foundation of our great state. That is why I was so happy to see the legislature prioritize our teachers this last session. An average minimum pay of $47,500 for Florida teachers puts Florida near the top nationally for minimum teacher salary and recognizes the incredible work they do. The focus should always remain on attracting and retaining the very best teachers and providing our children with an innovative, quality education.
4.) Have you seen the impact of climate change and corporate interests on Florida’s environment? What can you do in the Florida Senate to help preserve natural resources and to protect the environment?
     I’m proud of the environmental record of Gov. Ron DeSantis, who has focused on protecting and preserving the precious resources of our state. He has accomplished this by prioritizing science and research to address troubling issues like algae blooms and red tide; adding a chief science officer to monitor rising seas; and investing record dollars to protect our springs and our coastlines. These issues have an important impact on the quality of life for Floridians and are important to me.
5.) How do you feel about making marijuana sales available for recreational use with a tax on it like alcoholic beverages?
     I do not support making marijuana available for recreational sale.
6.) How do you feel about ending the ability for people to be sentenced to death by execution for certain crimes in Florida?
     I do not support abolishing the death penalty.
7.) How quickly do you anticipate answering questions or requests for information posed by members of the press?
     While I do not believe that much our media today is fair and impartial, that does not affect my deep respect for The First Amendment and the role of a free press in our system of government. The press has a vital role in informing citizens about public affairs and monitoring the action of government. I look forward to an open and timely dialogue and communication with the press so that constituents in Senate District 5 have accurate information about their state government.
8.) What can you do as a Florida state senator to reduce the hate of one group for another? For instance, when peaceful protestors are marching and an anti-protestor injures or kills a person at that protest, are you in favor of an increased level of punishment?
     Every Floridian, regardless of race, has the absolute right to pursue their dreams and go as far as their drive and ambition will take them. I condemn violence of any kind in the strongest terms.
9.) Other than these specific questions, what can you tell voters as an actual reason to choose you rather than the other candidate seeking this same seat in the Florida Legislature?
     I’m a wife and mother, attorney and lifelong Republican who will fight for north Florida values in Tallahassee, including the Second Amendment and the rights of the unborn. I’m honored to be endorsed by Gov. Ron DeSantis, sheriffs across District 5 and the National Rifle Association. I’ve spent my adult life as a busy, working mother. Between shuttling kids to sports practices and working at our businesses, I’ve never had the patience or time for excuses or not following through on your promises. You can count on me to stand firm for what is important to our community to always be open, honest and accessible. I look forward to earning your support and taking your voice to the Florida Senate.


Melina Rayna Svanhild Farley-Barratt (D-Trenton)
     Candidate was non-responsive.

 


Jay Bushnell seeks election
to District #4 of Levy County
Soil and Water
Conservation Commission;

On the Nov. 3 ballot

Published Sept. 11, 2020 at 12:10 a.m.
     Publisher’s Note: This is an announcement by a candidate for elected office. Any candidate seeking any elected office in the Tri-County Area of Levy, Dixie and Gilchrist counties is invited to send one announcement. 

By Jay Bushnell
     LEVY COUNTY --
I would like to briefly describe why I am seeking the opportunity to serve on the Levy County Soil and Water Commission (SWC). My research indicates that SWC
offers a great deal of potential to enhance the interests of farmers, ranchers, and foresters.

Jay Bushnell For Soil And Water Conversation  HardisonInk.com

 

 

 

Jay Bushnell
Photo Provided

 


     Clearly, as stewards of the land, they are vital to our way of life.
Those who work off the land face increased environmental challenges from climate change. They also face market challenges from globalization. As a former commercial beekeeper, I encountered and understand those pressures.
     As a retired college educator, I also understand the importance of educating and preparing our youth for when they take over the reins.
     I believe volunteering is one of the most important contributions one can make to the community (in case you are wondering, this is a volunteer job). I have been a president to PTAs, environmental groups like the Friends of the Lower Suwannee & Cedar Key National Wildlife Refuges, the Cedar Keys Audubon, and Volusia Anthropological Society.
     Presently, I am also a Director on the Florida Wildlife Federation Board.
     I have experience with strategic planning and grant writing. I have helped make things happen. For example, in Volusia County, I co-chaired a two-year project promoting ECHO, which stands for the Environment, Cultural, Heritage, Outdoor recreation. At the end of the two years, over 70 percent of the public voted to tax themselves for ECHO projects. They also created a Volusia Forever fund to tap into Florida Forever.
     If you visit Volusia County today, you may discover many projects that have successfully been completed with ECHO funds.
     I moved to Florida in 1947 and have witnessed major changes. We have owned property in Levy County since 1986 and we moved here full-time in 2004. I want to help Levy County thrive as a safe and prosperous rural part of Florida. If elected, I would
dedicate my efforts to help make this happen.
     It would be an honor to serve as a volunteer on the Levy County Soil and Water Conservation Commission, District #4. I would appreciate your vote on Nov. 3.
Thank you,
Dr. Jay Bushnell

 


Hey American Hay
American Hay HardisonInk.com
There are a number of hay farmers in the Tri-County Area of Levy, Dixie and Gilchrist counties.

American Hay HardisonInk.com

American Hay HardisonInk.com

Farmers have different methods for packaging their product. A recently noticed decorative method shows American patriotism with a blue field and red stripe wrapping around the very big cylindrical bales.

Photos by Jeff M. Hardison © Sept. 7, 2020 at 4:10 p.m.

 


Cedar Key Woman’s Club
gives quilts to Haven Hospice;

Veterans will be presented with lap quilts
Quilts For Veterans Haven Cedar key Woman's Club HardisonInk.com
Donna Bushnell (left) and Vondla Sullivan hold a couple of the many quilts recently donated by the Cedar Key Woman’s Club as they stand near the Haven sign at the Tri-Counties Hospice Care Center in Chiefland. Each quilt will be given to a veteran during the Veteran Recognition Ceremonies that Haven provides for each patient who is a veteran of the Armed Services in the Tri-County Area of Levy, Dixie and Gilchrist counties.

Story and Photos Provided
By Kathleen Salkaln if the CKWC
Published Sept. 3, 2020 at 2:10 p.m.
Updated Sept. 6, 2020 at 8:10 a.m.
     CEDAR KEY --
Donna Bushnell of the Cedar Key Woman’s Club delivered several red, white and blue lap quilts to the Chiefland Haven Hospice Volunteer Coordinator Vondla Sullivan recently.



Quilts For Veterans Haven Cedar key Woman's Club HardisonInk.com

     The quilts are to be given to veterans during Veteran Recognition Ceremonies that Haven provides for each patient who is a veteran of the Armed Services in the Tri-County Area of Levy, Dixie and Gilchrist counties.
     The quilts are being made by several Cedar Key Woman’s Club members, some who are sewing from as far away as Maine and Ohio.
     Christine Black, Donna Bushnell, Vicki Crumpley, Rosemary Danesi, Janet Ramsey, Kathy Salkaln, Eileen Senecal, Pat Stephens and Judy Treharne are the seamstresses.
     All of the seamstresses, as well as Jan Hendrix and Bunny Hand, donated fabric and materials to complete the quilts.
     Bunny Hand of Cedar Key has quilted each quilt in lovely star, wave or other appropriate patterns and finished them.
     The laptop quilts delivered this week are the first installment of completed quilts with more to be delivered in the coming weeks.

 


TCCRC still offers services;
Family Dinners To-Go on Sept. 24
By Jeff M. Hardison © Sept. 2, 2020 at 12:10 p.m.
     CHIEFLAND --
The Tri-County Community Resource Center remains open to the public (with minimal limitations in place), and there are updates to the TCCRC schedule that can be found at http://www.pfsf.org/covid19, according to information TCCRC Manager Beverly Goodman sent in an email on Tuesday, Sept. 2.
     The TCCRC helps people in Levy, Dixie and Gilchrist counties. Its primary organization is through the Partnership for Strong Families, which provides child welfare services designed to protect local children from abuse, neglect and abandonment and assists in establishing safe and permanent homes with their own families, partner families or adoptive parents.
     Beyond that cornerstone, the TCCRC has partners throughout the Tri-County Area.
     The TCCRC is located at 15 N. Main St. (U.S. Highway 19, just north of Park Avenue East), in Chiefland.
     The Resource Center’s telephone number is 352-507-4000.
     It is open Mondays through Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Fridays from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. (Please call the Resource Center before visiting, because hours may change due to staffing.)
     Some of the many ongoing opportunities for help are listed below, having been sent by Goodman on Sept. 1.
     Paper Unemployment Applications: Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., and 1 to 3 p.m. on a grab-and-go basis. For individuals experiencing difficulty, there are pre-addressed, postage-paid envelopes available. Resources for both Employers and Job Seekers can be found online by visiting: https://covid19.floridajobs.org/
     Notary Services:  Mondays, 9 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. and 1 to 3 p.m. Patrons must present a Photo ID. Additional appointment times-days may be available; to request an alternative appointment, call 352-507-4000.
     “Family Dinners To-Go”: Thursday, Sept. 24, 4 to 5:00 p.m.; Tri-County Community Resource Center will serve 30 “To-Go” style dinners. Call to sign up 352-507-4000. (Do not attempt to leave a message. A person must speak to a live person at the TCCRC in order to schedule).
     FOR SERVICE PROVIDERS -- TCCRC Resource Sharing Meeting: (Virtual) Wednesday, Sept. 30, 10 to 11:30 a.m.; Your collaboration is requested. Please join to share resources, information, and events to improve the health and well-being of Tri-County Area residents. Guest Spotlight: Another Way.

 


Strickland Park designated
for COVID-19 test site;

Trailhead Park designated
for Christian revival;

Chiefland Police Dept. to get
12 body cameras for $10,400

Chiefland City Hall HardisonInk.com
This file photo of the Chiefland City Hall, also known as the Hardy Dean St. Municipal Building, shows a monument out front with one version of The Ten Commandments etched in stone. This building years ago was a bank. The drive-through part of the facility is still able to be used by people paying utility bills or delivering things or picking up things from Chiefland City Hall. Chiefland City Hall is located at 214 E. Park Ave., in Chiefland. The telephone number is 352-493-6711.

Story and Photo
By Jeff M. Hardison © Aug. 25, 2020 at 11:10 a.m.
     CHIEFLAND –
During its regular meeting on Monday (Aug. 24), the Chiefland City Commission approved the use of the parking lot of Charles Strickland Recreational Park, 1500 N.W. 23 Ave., next to Old Fannin Road in Chiefland, as a testing site for COVID-19.
     The Florida Department of Health’s Levy County Unit requested the use of the parking lot at Charles Strickland Recreational Park on Sept. 1, 2 and 3.
     This will be a free drive-through service provided by the Florida Department of Health, and all of the normal established procedures by the state will apply there.
     Among the other actions by the Chiefland City Commission during its twice-monthly regular meeting on Monday night (Aug. 24), the municipal leaders granted a request from Tri-County Community Resource Center (TCCRC) Manager Beverly Goodman.
     The TCCRC and its partners plan to use the parking lot of Charles Strickland Recreational Park, 1500 N.W. 23 Ave., for a food distribution location. This free food giveaway is planned to be on the Saturday before Thanksgiving – which is Nov. 21, from 9 a.m. until the food is completely distributed.
     This is a Farm Share event. Previously the TCCRC, which is among the centers under the umbrella of Partnership For Strong Families (https://www.pfsf.org/), has successfully distributed in Chiefland tons of food to people from the Tri-County Area of Levy, Dixie and Gilchrist counties.
     Last year, more than 40,000 pounds of food was given to about 1,200 people, Goodman told the City Commission. The goal this year is to give 60,000 pounds of food to 1,300 people. Last year, Goodman said, there were about 50 volunteers who helped in this project.
     In another matter, where a park was requested, a Christian revival group asked for five evenings at Trailhead Park. Trailhead Park is where one Chiefland City Commission thinks the city should sell public land to some unknown private developer. That idea by Norman Weaver, though, has died after his singular mentioning of it at a previous meeting.
     During the discussion about holding a revival in Trailhead Park on Main Street (U.S. Highway 19) on the western side of the highway a couple of blocks north of State Road 345, Chiefland Police Chief Scott Anderson said this is during the Monday of Veteran’s Day (Nov. 11), and he is unsure whether Chiefland will host a Veteran’s Day Parade or not,.
     Chief Anderson added however that the parade is during the day and there is no gathering in the park with tents and the like afterward.
   “Well it’s after the election, so I guess covid (COVID-19 pandemic) will be done,” Vice Mayor Tim West said.
    Some people laughed at West’s joke. This was West’s last meeting as an elected representative of the people of Chiefland. Lance Hayes won in the Chiefland City Commission election against West by a landslide 132-70 votes.
     As of the very Monday night when West joked about a global pandemic being somehow ruled by an election, the Levy County death toll was five and 57 people from Levy County had to go to the hospitals in Gainesville or Ocala due to them suffering symptoms that were so severe that had to do so. Many people who leave the hospital must contend with symptoms from now for the rest of their lives.
     As of Monday night (Aug. 24), the death toll in the United States from COVID-19 was more than 176,000 people – within four months. On a per-capita basis, the United States leads the world in having the highest death toll from COVID-19.
     To put this in perspective, 176,000 dead American is almost three times as the approximately 60,o00 Americans who died in 20 years from 1955 to 1975 in the Vietnam war.
     The Christian organization potentially holding the revival under a tent is unsure currently whether five nights in November or five nights in February will be better.
     Despite West’s attempt to make fun of the death and illness caused by the COVID-19 global pandemic, Chiefland City Attorney W. Blake Fugate advised the City Commission to grant authority to this organization to hold its event, conditioned on the organization working within the bounds set by the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Florida Department of Health, with whatever health regulations exist on the dates for the five nights of the Christian revival.
     On a matter where the City Commission increased its budget for the Chiefland Police Department, it voted to approve $10,400 a year for the next five years to pay for 12 body cameras for CPD officers.
      Chief Anderson originally request 15 cameras for about $13,000.
     Chief Anderson said the CPD has not had body cameras for the past two years. These cameras are beneficial to the CPD for the security of officers as well as helping members of the public prove any allegations against an officer or officers.
     The City Commission approved the added $10,400 expense that was previously non-budgeted for the CPD. This money will come from the General Fund. The municipal leaders are working on the budget for the next fiscal year now. This fiscal year runs from Oct. 1, 2020 through Sept. 30, 2021.

 


Mayor’s input
directs City Council action

Williston City Council
In this still shot taken from the video created by Williston IT Consultant Aaron Mills, Albert Fuller Sr. is seen as he speaks from the podium to the Williston City Council and mayor. Seen here (seated from left) are City Councilman Elihu Ross, City Council Vice President Justin Head and Mayor Jerry Robinson.

By Jeff M. Hardison © Aug. 23, 2020 at 12:10 p.m.
     WILLISTON –
Williston Mayor Jerry Robinson has no vote on City Council, however he verbalized a final motion that became accepted in a way and seconded Tuesday night (Aug. 18).


Williston Florida  HardisonInk.com
In this still shot taken from the video created by Williston IT Consultant Aaron Mills, seen here (seated from left) are City Council President Charles Goodman, City Councilwoman Debra Jones and City Councilwoman Marguerite Robinson.

Williston Florida  HardisonInk.com
In this still shot taken from the video created by Williston IT Consultant Aaron Mills, seen here (seated from left) are Interim City Manager (Police Chief, normally) Dennis Strow, City Attorney Frederick L. Koberlein Jr. and City Clerk Latricia Wright. Some people in the three photos above are wearing face masks. For months now, the Florida Department of Health has well publicized its Public Health Advisory: ‘Residents are advised to wear masks in public and to socially distance. Avoid crowds, closed spaces and close contact.’ Although more than 10,000 Floridians have died so far from COVID-19, and although more than 36,000 Floridians have been hospitalized so far due to the severity of symptoms from COVID-19, some people are ignoring the advice of medical professionals who specialize in public health.


In this first of two video clips from a video created by Williston IT Consultant Aaron Mills, which was edited for time and space, City Council President Charles Goodman asks how the City Council would like to consider the latest offer of a three-year extension of service from Waste Pro. Mayor Jerry Robinson weighs in first, although he has no vote on motions. Councilwoman Debra Jones quickly counters the mayor’s choice. City Councilwoman Marguerite Robinson then expresses an opinion that matches what Mayor Robinson said. Vice President Justin Head said he agrees with Jones. City Councilman Elihu Ross said he agrees with Jones and Head. President Goodman said he agrees with Robinson. Then, with no motion or second, and with no actual vote, President Goodman determines the Council agrees to accept the terms of the Waste Pro offer and to work on the verbiage in the contract by a 3-2 expression of opinions. This is just one part of the convoluted process, however. This is about a three-minute video.



This second video clip, from a video created by Williston IT Consultant Aaron Mills, which was edited for time and space, which is after more discussion, lasts for more than 15 minutes. On a motion by City Councilwoman Debra Jones, seconded by Vice President Justin Head, to do just as they had mentioned – to accept the Waste Pro offer contingent on ironing out and approving a finalized contract, Mayor Jerry Robinson clearly states why he would vote against it, if he had a vote. Then Councilman Elihu Ross votes with Robinson and Goodman, making a 3-2 vote that kills the motion. This vote is the actual vote after Councilman Ross had earlier indicated a ‘vote’ that President Goodman understood as Ross being in favor of the Jones-Head motion. There are more motions and votes until finally Mayor Robinson tells the City Council the verbiage he wants the City Council to use as some City Council member makes a motion. The ‘mayor’s motion’ is exactly the same as Jones’ first motion. It is best to watch and listen to this dialogue, which shows Jones simply conceding to the mayor’s version of her very motion. Vice President Justin Head correctly states that this motion by Jones is the same motion that he seconded the first time, and that the mayor’s version is just a restatement of Jones’ motion. Mayor Robinson sticks with his opinion that his words are better, and then there is a 5-0 vote of approval of the Jones’ (Mayor Robinson’s)-Head motion.


     Watching the video provided Friday (Aug. 21) of the Aug. 18 meeting, which was graciously provided by City Clerk Latricia Wright after a public records request was granted, showed that Williston City Council President Charles Goodman and Mayor Jerry Robinson did not like some previous action by former City Manager Scott Lippmann and former Williston City Council President Nancy Wininger.
     In fact, the two men led other city leaders through a relatively long discussion to reach an agreement that seemed to have been concluded long before the arduous process that can be seen in the two parts clips above or, completely on YouTube.com by clicking HERE, as well as in the shorter clips noted above.
     Part one of the Aug. 18 Williston meeting ends with the city attorney calling for recess so that he may privately confer with the service provider – Waste Pro.
     The first part of the whole meeting is on YouTube.com and can be seen by clicking HERE.
     Eventually in this meeting, Mayor Robinson argued with City Councilwoman Debra Jones as he tried to parse Jones’ first motion that had been seconded by City Council Vice President Justin Head.
     Watching Williston City Council meetings can be entertaining and informative, however it is often very time consuming.
     Here is how the activity unfolded at the meeting Tuesday night regarding what could have been a relatively simple three-year extension on a contract for Waste Pro to continue as the service provider for the City of Williston.
     Dayna Miller, a marketer for Waste Pro, brought Waste Pro Division Manager Howell E. “Trip” Lancaster III on her trip to the City Council chambers on Tuesday night, per the previous request of City Council. Lancaster, by the way, is the mayor of the City of Fanning Springs, which is partly in Levy County and partly in Gilchrist County.
     Lancaster’s whole duties in Williston on Tuesday night, though, were only as a manager with Waste Pro.
     At a previous meeting, the Williston City Council and Waste Pro had agreed to an extension of the current contract with Waste Pro, which had expired on July 31. The approved and existing extension continues that contract until Oct. 31, according to what was said at the Aug. 18 meeting.
     And even if the new deal was not finalized Tuesday night, the extension that already has been approved provides for a month-by-month extension – as needed – until the service agreement is finalized, or until the city rejects Waste Pro’s offer and sends requests for proposals for a new service provider.
     Miller previously had presented an offer from Waste Pro to seek a three-year extension of the 2017 contract, which is what just expired in July, with the only new terms to be a 3 percent increase in fees (which equals 39 cents per month per household) in the first year, and an automatic increase in fees based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for the next two years.
     Those terms were not accepted. Hence, she returned Aug. 18 with the new offer.
     Miller’s new offer from Waste Pro on Tuesday night (Aug. 18) for the three-year contract extension was for a 2 percent increase (26 cents more per month per household) in the first year, and a chance for Waste Pro to approach the City Council with a CPI increase the next two years – rather than an automatic CPI increase.
     In the first eight minutes of the discussion about that matter, City Council President Goodman complained about something Mayor Robinson had shown him. Apparently, from what those two men said that night, there were changes from the 2012 contract with Waste Pro and the 2017 contract.
     Goodman said his issue with changes in the 2012 contract and the 2017 contract are in no way reflexive of a problem with Waste Pro. Even though he voted in favor of approving budgets during the years in question, there were some actions that former City Council President Wininger and former City Manager Lippmann took that, for whatever reason, allegedly were not brought to the attention of the rest of the then sitting City Council members, Goodman intimated.
     After the first several minutes of discussion about this matter, City Attorney Frederick L. Koberlein Jr. asked for a 12-minute break so that he could speak in confidence with the service provider. Attorney Koberlein, too, had to bring President Goodman into awareness that the first “vote” was not a vote.
     During the lengthy discussion in public view, Councilwoman Jones said she had not seen the two contracts. Goodman said he just saw them that same Tuesday as the evening Council meeting when he was in a meeting with Mayor Robinson. Mayor Robinson had found copies of both contracts and highlighted the differences in them for Goodman.
     One of those changes, Mayor Robinson told Miller, was glass being collected by Waste Pro as a recyclable, which was noted in the 2012 contract but excluded from the 2017 contract. Mayor Robinson conceded, however, as he spoke to Miller, that he and the City Council had learned the Levy County Solid Waste Transfer Station (LCSWTS) no longer recycled glass, because it costs more to recycle glass than the revenue produced by that recycling.
     COVID-19 has caused manpower shortages at the Levy County Solid Waste Transfer Station, as far as the labor provided by the Florida Department of Corrections inmates.
     As a result of prisoners (inmates) no longer working at the LCSWTS to sort recyclables, Levy County no longer separates the two forms of debris – trash and things that can be recycled. This truth has shown up at the three satellite Levy County waste transfer stations and elsewhere in Levy County, where the recycle trailers have been removed.
     Goodman said that since there is no separation of recycled material from the other garbage, why not just put it all into one can.
     Goodman complained that just because there is global pandemic and the Florida Department of Corrections wants to be proper custodians of prisoners and not expose them to COVID-19 dangers which exist in such a confined area as a DOC prison, then the people of Williston and elsewhere are causing more environmental hardship than when recycling existed for Levy County.
     Councilwoman Jones explained to Goodman that the county does not have the manpower to substitute for loss of labor provided by prisoners, who would work at the LCSWTS sorting through recycled material. Goodman acknowledged that he knew that.
     Mayor Robinson asked Waste Pro Manager Lancaster which method was better – for the people of Williston to continue separating recycled materials or to put all of the household waste into one can. Lancaster said that whatever the city wants is what Waste Pro will do, until the county restarts its recycle program.
     Miller said Waste Pro is willing to work with any of its clients. The city may choose to put all waste in one garbage can, rather than recycling, she said. Miller fears, however, that if this begins, then when the LCSWTS has prisoners sorting recycle material again, the people of Williston will be out of that habit.
     Miller said she believes the easiest long-term solution, even with inmates being kept in prison – rather than working outside the prison walls -- because of COVID-19, is to continue sorting the garbage as before. Lancaster said he concurs with Miller, and that to train the residents to no longer recycle would prove counterproductive in the long-run.
     With no resolution to the question of whether Williston residents should just put all of their garbage into one receptacle, or to continue to “recycle,” Goodman asked the City Council about approving the 2 percent increase in the first year, and approving the three-year extension of the contract.
     Waste Pro, by the way, has experienced some manpower shortage as a result of COVID-19 taking some workers out of the active workforce until they recover.
     When Goodman asked if the City Council would like to approve the terms of the three-year extension and work out the contract issues later, or do both things at once, Mayor Robinson immediately said he thinks they should do it all at once.
     Councilwoman Jones said the city should approve the terms and then work out the contract issues.
     After a series of motions and votes, Mayor Robinson restated what Jones stated as her first motion – to accept the most recent offer for an extension of the service agreement from Waste Pro, and to iron out specifics in the contract later, with the acceptance being contingent on both parties reaching agreement on the final contract to be approved later.
     That met with a 5-0 vote of approval on the second try, where first it met with a 3-2 negative vote, with only Jones and Head voting to approve it.
     Among the many other actions and activity at the meeting, Albert Fuller Sr. and another leader of the Williston Area Community Resource Organization thanked City Councilwoman Jones and Utilities Director C.J. Zimoski for their help in providing a water source for the community garden.
     Fuller said he would like more children to become involved with the garden. Rather than mentioning this to the City Council, however, one would think the Levy County School Board may be able to share contact information and the like with Williston area parents of public school students who may want to become involved in volunteering at the community garden.
     In another ongoing matter, the Williston Community Redevelopment Agency appears to be making some progress on determining the cost to power-wash the front of some buildings in the Block 12 area, which is known for looking decrepit.
     As for the city acting against longtime code violators, the properties that already are listed in the foreclosure process in the courts, at a cost of about $5,000 per foreclosure, will continue in that process. City Planner Jackie Gorman and city staff may be able to provide City Council with some possible options to revise the method currently in place, which apparently is not effective in achieving goals and objectives regarding municipal code compliance.
     Council Vice President Head brought up the matter of slow-moving foreclosures, lien collections and code compliance, again. Head mentioned that he would like a workshop to start revising the city’s bureaucracy so that properties valued at $18,000 will no longer end up with liens of $43,000, and the like.
     This city leader said he is not seeking to fund the city with liens or for the city to own more property with foreclosures. Instead, he wants people to take care of their property as they should in the city. By revising the current structure of code enforcement, fines and collections of fines, then this may cause a trend of property being maintained or improved to meet city codes.
     President Goodman and other City Council members resisted Head’s call for a workshop because the City Council is still working on its budget, and it has some interviews of candidates to fill a vacant city manager slot.
     The blight and slum of some parts of Williston are what led to the creation of the Community Redevelopment Agency years ago. The CRA has seen some progress in overcoming some issues, including the significant improvements at Heritage Park, or Linear Park.

 


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