Cedar Key School students
earn aquaculture certification;

Awards program set for May 22
Seen here, Dillan Allen, Sam Parks, Zander Stanley Trey Stanfield and Joey Stewart are the five first CKS students to successfully complete the strenuous shellfish aquaculture program.

Information and Photo
Provided By CKS
Published May 16, 2019 at 4:29 p.m.
     CEDAR KEY --
In Cedar Key, where shellfish aquaculture provides over 500 jobs and 90 percent of Florida’s farm-raised clams are produced, an aquaculture occupational program was introduced last year at Cedar Key School.
     Cedar Key juniors – Dillan Allen, Sam Parks, Zander Stanley and Trey Stanfield – and senior Joey Stewart passed the aquaculture certification exam this month.
     These five young men were the first students to meet the certification requirements by working in excess of 300 hours at clam grow-out operations and processing plants, gaining hands-on experience and knowledge of shellfish aquaculture.
     The entry level certification program sponsored by the Florida Aquaculture Association (FAA) was developed to prepare young people an opportunity to work in aquaculture-related fields. To better prepare these students for careers in shellfish aquaculture, the Cedar Key Aquaculture Association developed the S.A.L.T. (Shark Aquaculture Life Training) program, which provided additional training and certifications in relevant vocational activities, such as forklift operation, maritime knots, occupational health and safety, boater safety, CPR and first aid.
     The CKS sports teams are the Sharks.
     Since an aquaculture curriculum for high schools is in the process of being developed, the University of Florida/Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences' Shellfish Aquaculture Extension Program, which is located in Cedar Key, assisted teachers by providing interactive lessons, virtual tours of aquaculture farms throughout the state, and one-on-one discussions with FAA board members.
     SALT students were introduced to a variety of aquaculture topics, including recirculating systems, aquatic plants, food fish, ornamental fish, and alligators. In addition, an aquatic veterinarian with the UF College of Veterinary Medicine offered a crash course on aquatic animal health. A highlight was a visit to one of the largest tropical fish distribution centers and tour of the UF Tropical Aquaculture Lab, both located in Ruskin.
     A celebration is planned to honor of these students on Wednesday, May 22, starting at 10:30 a.m. at the Cedar Key School's auditorium. Certificates will be awarded, and supplies distributed to assist these new farmers with their first crop of clams.


Man helps protect police dogs
CPD Police Dogs Bulletproof vests Ray Tremblay Tom Bennett
Tom Bennett and Capt. Ray Tremblay provide a photo opportunity immediately after the presentation. Chiefland
Deputy City Clerk Laura Cain is seen in the background.

Story and photo
By Jeff M Hardison
 © May 15, 2019 at 11:49 a.m.
     Chiefland –
Chiefland Police Department Capt. Ray Tremblay presented a plaque during Monday night’s (May 13) regular City Commission meeting in honor of a man who helped the CPD K9 operations be a bit safer.
     Tom Bennett purchased K-9 ballistic vests to help protect Chiefland Police Department's K-9 Blitz (with K-9 Officer Kyle Schultz as the handler) and K-9 Riddle (with K-9 Sgt. Pete Barnes as the handler) in the line of duty.
     Capt. Tremblay said Bennett has known him since he was a child and it “is with great pride” that he extends this token of appreciation from the CPD to the donor, whom he affectionately calls “Uncle Tom.”
     After WPD Chief Scott Anderson and Capt. Tremblay returned from New York in June of 2018 with Riddle, Tremblay said, Bennett asked him if the dog had a bulletproof vest. Tremblay said that while there is a need, the CPD does not have money budgeted for that expense.
     Bennett took it upon himself to purchase these protective vests for both dogs, the captain said.
     People like Bennett, Tremblay said, remind him of how there are good people in the world and in the community of Chiefland.
     Bennett lives in Atlanta, Tremblay said, however he has been a close family friend since as long as he can remember.
     Baden K9 out of Ontario, Canada, donated the (then) 2-year-old Belgian Malinois named Riddle in 2018. Riddle has been trained for patrol.
     Officer Schultz’s K-9 Blitz is about 5 years old, and he also is a Belgian Malinois trained for patrol.

Williston Mayor Proclaims Police Week
Police Week In Williston
Williston Police Dog Shadow enters the City Council meeting room escorted by his handler WPD K9 Officer Rich Peters before the event.

Police Week In Williston
Mayor Jerry Robinson proclaimed May 12-18 as National Police Week in Williston during the Tuesday night (May 7) regular meeting of the Williston City Council. Seen here (from left) are WPD Chief Dennis Strow, Administrative Assistant Brooke Ellzey Willis, Mayor Jerry Robinson, Deputy Chief of Police Clay Connolly, Auxiliary Police Officer Jimmy Willis Sr., Canine Officer Rich Peters, canine Shadow, WPD Sgt. Bryan Landis and WPD Officer Marquis Wright. Peace Officers Memorial Day marks the start of Police Week and has been observed since 1962 after a Joint Resolution was passed by the United States Congress and signed by President John F. Kennedy. According to the 1962 Joint Resolution, Police Week was designated ‘In recognition of the service given by the men and women who, night and day, stand guard in our midst to protect.’
Photos by Jeff M. Hardison © May 10, 2019 at 2:09 a.m.


Vendors and visitors
enjoy first Spring Fling in Jena

Spring Fling In Jena Dixie County
This train for children with each part being a different aircraft was provided by the Experimental Aircraft Association Chapter 797 of Live Oak.

Story and Photos
By Jeff M. Hardison © May 7, 2019 at 10:09 a.m.
All Copyrights Protected - Do Not Cut and Paste Elsewhere
     JENA –
The first successful Spring Fling Art Festival provided opportunities for artists, dancers and others to have fun, learn things and enjoy the day at Jena Library Tech Center on Saturday (May 4).
     This library is part of Dixie County Public Library and it is located at D-TRAC Park, 4562 Highway 358 in the Jena community.

Spring Fling In Jena Dixie County
(from left) Jena Library Tech Center Manager Alexis D’Orsi, Jena Library Tech Center Manager Jane Connors and Patricia Hurd provide a photo op. They were among the people helping folks find their way around the site of the fling. ‘We work so that you can play,’ the ladies said. This library has wi-fi, books, movies and more. It is open to the public and free to use thanks to the Dixie County Board of County Commissioners and the Three Rivers Regional Library System, which serves Dixie, Gilchrist, Lafayette and Taylor counties.

Jena Spring Fling
Larry Taylor of the Family Karate Center, 386 N.E. 210th Ave. in Cross City, shows a karate stance. He was manning a table at the fling to show families how they could learn this martial art. He has been teaching in this area for 25 years. He said to call him at 352-356-3357 to schedule sessions.

Jena Spring Fling
Cowboys For Kids had representatives at this event. They are (from left) Beatrice ‘Kil R Bea’ Peterson, Karl ‘Korupt Karl’ Peterson and Carolyn ‘Tennessee Tall’ Wiley. The Petersons are from Fort Myers and Wiley is from Steinhatchee. To learn more about Cowboys for Kids, click HERE.

Jena Spring Fling
Suz Nellis holds a Serama Chicken. The Serama (Malay Ayam Serama), also called the Malaysian Serama is a bantam breed of chicken originating in Malaysia within the last 50 years. These tiny chickens have huge personalities. Nellis was manning a table tagged Prima Donna Serama Rescue. She said the chicken she is holding named ‘Puppet’ did not meet the standards for competitive beauty contests of this breed. Her rescue group helps chickens like this one. Other interesting groups, and there were plenty, at the event included Another Way (a domestic abuse shelter group), U.F. Aquatic Animal Health, and the Big Bend Chapter of the Florida Native Plant Society.

Jena Spring Fling
Marti Godfrey (left) and Dotti Leichner were at the fling. Godfrey is Leichner’s sister and they’re seen here hugging. Dotti Leichner brought her photography on canvas art to the event. There were several artists, crafts-persons and others. Another couple of artists were Mary Beroit of Horseshoe Beach, and R.J. Morgan and V. Morgan (Baubles, Bangles and Beads). This was a very family-oriented event for vendors as well as for the visitors. For instance, Stevie Williams and her mom Wendy Hunt, both of Steinhatchee, were selling jeans, jewelry, crochet and baked goods. As for food, there was also Ken’s Kettle Corn – Sweet and Salty – at the fling. Another interest that sent a representative to the event is the Good Times Marina, and the Something Salty Gifts & Boutiques Shop – which is at the marina located in Steinhatchee.

     Jena Library Tech Center Manager Alexis D’Orsi, Jena Library Tech Center Manager Jane Connors and Patricia Hurd, a member of the volunteer corps of the library, were among the helpful people at the fling who assured that all of the vendors and visitors made the most of their sojourn through the Jena area that day.
     While some anticipated aspects did not come to fruition, it was a fine event.
     A “train” of ground-based aircraft showed up, and that was not planned. The Experimental Aircraft Association Chapter 797 of Live Oak brought its ride and children enjoyed that.

Jena Spring Fling
This big water slide was available for children to enjoy for free. An equally huge bounce house was enjoyed by children as well, and a sign reminded visitors that an adult was needed for a child to use those fun, enormous, inflatable toys.

Jena Spring Fling
Dixie County Anti-Drug Coalition Event Coordinator Rebecca Fusco mans the table for this group. She is seen here with her daughter Danielle Fusco, 10, and Anthony Fusco, 7.

Jena Spring Fling
Square Dance Caller Charlie Pergrossi (right in background) directs the dancers at the fling. Among the people from the Salty Bobbers Square Dance Group who were at the fling are Don Stipp, Jessica Moore, Sylvia Moore, Doug Moore, Allen Rice, Bobbi Rice, Jeanette Geer, Carol Munt, Rick Lord and Joyce Chezem. Included in this dance shot are a couple of members of the Coboys for Kids. The Salty Bobbers meet each Tuesday evening from 7 to 9 at the Jena Community Center (and voting precinct). Everyone is welcome to join in the fun of square dancing.

    Library Manager D’Orsi on Monday afternoon (May 6) seemed pleased with the overall fling.
     “For our first year, we did good,” D’Orsi said. “I love that all the children came out and enjoyed the water slide.”
     She noted her appreciation for help from the Dixie Chamber of Commerce.
     Another local Chamber earned kudos from D’Orsi as well. The
Steinhatchee River Chamber of Commerce sponsored the big inflatable water slide as well as the equally large and impressive bounce house, D’Orsi said.
     The art-oriented, family-friendly event provided plenty of chances for fun at the library (and surrounding property) in Jena that day.

Nature Coast Master Gardener
Volunteers plan landscape
beautification project at GCSO

By Jeff M. Hardison © May 5, 2019 at 5:19 p.m.
Christine Hentschel, a Nature Coast Master Gardener Volunteer, has proposed a project to improve the landscape around the Gilchrist County Sheriff’s Office in Trenton.
     The Master Gardeners have a well-established landscape beautification project in place at the Dixie County Courthouse in Cross City.
     Hentschel shared a flyer that shows details of the proposition. She mentioned that this project does not have donors who are willing to fund it yet, however she believes sponsors will come forward.
     As noted, the objective is to beautify the landscape at the Gilchrist County Sheriff’s Office.
     This shows Master Gardeners’ appreciation for local law enforcement, she noted, as well as promoting a Florida Friendly Landscape, and giving back to the community.
     The plan is to prepare soil, install plants, mulch and fertilizer for the landscaping.
     Master Gardener volunteers will maintain and improve the garden by weeding, pruning and monitoring the condition of the landscape.
     The gardeners are accept donations from individuals and community participants for building and sustaining the landscape.
     They are gratefully accepting donation for the project, including:
     ● Gardening, potting soil
     ● Manure, compost
     ● Pine Bark Mulch
     ● 100-foot Expandable Hose w/Metal Coupling
     ● Hose Nozzle
     ● Native plants, and flowering annuals
     ● Fertilizer (granular)
     ● 2 Large standing planter pots
     ● 1 Specialty Planter
     ● 8 Medium standing planter pots
     People who want to help in any way are invited to contact Christine Hentschel, Master Gardener, at352-210-6144.

Prevention Coalition Feeds Officers
Prevention Coalition Feeds Officers
These photos capture some of the behind-the-scenes work by more than 150 law enforcement officers from municipal, county, state and federal agencies during the 2019 Crab Fest held this past weekend outside of Williston.

Prevention Coalition Feeds Officers
The Levy County Prevention Coalition once again fed the officer lunch on Saturday (April 27).

Prevention Coalition Feeds Officers
In this photo are Levy County Undersheriff Brett Beauchamp (left) and County Commissioner Mike Joyner.

Prevention Coalition Feeds Officers
Officers learned about the plan for helping protect life and property during the event.

Published April 30, 2019 at 3:09 p.m.

Photos By Prevention Specialist Robert Wells, Meridian Behavioral Healthcare Inc., a founder of the LCPC


Chiefland leader
takes oath of office;

Golfing buddy jokes
about cart conferences

Norman Weaver of Chiefland Judge Tim Browning of Levy County
Levy County Court Judge Tim Browning (right) administers the oath of office to Chiefland City Commissioner Norman Weaver.

Story, Photos and Video
By Jeff M. Hardison © April 23, 2019 at 11:09 a.m.
The newest member of the Chiefland City Commission took the oath of office Monday night (April 22) in the Hardy Dean Sr. Municipal Building (Chiefland City Hall).


In this video, Levy County Court Judge Tim Browning (right) administers the oath of office to Chiefland City Commissioner Norman Weaver.

Five Men On Chiefland City Commission
Members of The Chiefland City Commission look at documents Monday night during the regular twice-a-month regular meeting. Seen here (from left) are Vice Mayor Tim West, City Commissioner Rollin Hudson, Mayor Chris Jones, City Commissioner Donald Lawrence and City Commissioner Norman Weaver.

     Robert Norman Weaver Jr. was administered the oath of office by Levy County Court Judge J.T. “Tim” Browning.
     Weaver, who goes by “Norman,” was recently appointed after the Feb. 25 death of Chiefland Mayor Betty Walker, 72.
     Before the start of the meeting Monday night, Chiefland City Commissioner Donald Lawrence joked about playing golf with Weaver and those two men conferring about city matters upon which they would vote.
      Both gentlemen know, however, to never speak about matters upon which they may vote, when they are out of the view of the public, including while participating in the sport at the Chiefland Golf & Country Club.
     In Florida, the Sunshine Laws were created so that members of the general public always have opportunities to see and hear their leaders discuss matters -- before those leaders vote on those matters, as well as to have open access to view or make copies of public records.
     The public’s right to be able to see the process by which leaders determine how they will vote on matters is seen by almost every Floridian as sacrosanct.
     The Chiefland City Commission is among those groups of municipal legislators who must conduct public business in the view of the public. A minute few elected people complain about what they consider to be an inconvenience to them in regard to them having to exercise self-control over what they say to other members of boards upon which they sit, and vote.
     Both of these gentlemen have easy access to a book to help them understand this law. It is known as the known as the Government-in-the-Sunshine manual.
     Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody notes the following on her office’s website:
     To assist the public and governmental agencies in understanding the requirements and exemptions to Florida's open government laws, the Attorney General's Office compiles a comprehensive guide known as the Government-in-the-Sunshine manual. The manual is published each year at no taxpayer expense by the First Amendment Foundation in Tallahassee.
     Florida began its tradition of openness back in 1909 with the passage of Chapter 119 of the Florida Statutes or the “Public Records Law.” This law provides that any records made or received by any public agency in the course of its official business are available for inspection, unless specifically exempted by the Florida Legislature. Over the years, the definition of what constitutes “public records” has come to include not just traditional written documents such as papers, maps and books, but also tapes, photographs, film, sound recordings and records stored in computers.
     Florida's Government-in-the-Sunshine Law was enacted in 1967. Today, the Sunshine Law regarding open government can be found in Chapter 286 of the Florida Statutes. These statutes establish a basic right of access to most meetings of boards, commissions and other governing bodies of state and local governmental agencies or authorities.
     Throughout the history of Florida's open government, its courts have consistently supported the public's right of access to governmental meetings and records. As such, they also have been defining and redefining what a public record is and who is covered under the open meetings law. One area of public concern was whether or not the Legislature was covered under the open meetings requirements. To address that concern, a Constitutional amendment was passed overwhelmingly by the voters in 1990 providing for open meetings in the legislative branch of government.
     The Attorney General's Office has consistently sought to safeguard Florida's pioneering Government-in-the-Sunshine laws. Our attorneys have worked, both in the courtroom and out, to halt public records violations. In 1991, a decision by the Florida Supreme Court raised questions which made it clear that the best way to ensure the public's right of access to all three branches of government was to secure that right through the Florida Constitution.
     The Attorney General's Office then drafted a definitive constitutional amendment, which guaranteed continued openness in the state's government and reaffirmed the application of open government to the legislative branch and expanded it to the judiciary. This amendment passed in 1992.


Church group
offers scholarships

Published April 10, 2019 at 11:59 a.m.
Updated April 11, 2019 at 1:59 p.m.
Two scholarships are available to seniors graduating this year who plan to attend college or university in the fall of 2019.
     The Gladys Days and Charles Williams, Jr. Memorial Scholarships are offered by Ministerial Faith Alliance to students living in the Chiefland, Bronson and Williston areas. Eligibility requirements are a 2019 high school graduate with a grade point average of 2.0 or better and membership in a local church.
     Applications require one letter of acceptance from a college or university; one letter of recommendation; and a 500-word essay describing how your faith and beliefs have prepared you for the future.
     Full instructions are included in the scholarship’s application package.
     The package is available by phoning 352-538-4474 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., Monday through Thursday, or by email at
     Applications will be accepted only by mail and must be postmarked by May 31, 2019.



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