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Cross City Leaders
Cross City Florida leaders 2021
Leaders of the Town of Cross City took their oath of office on Monday (Jan. 11). Seen here (from left) are Councilwoman Angela Carter, Councilman Ryan Fulford, Mayor Tank Lee, Councilman Kirk Marhefka, Town Clerk Brenda Royal and Vice Mayor Jovante' Teague.
Published Jan. 16, 2021 at 11:10 a.m.

Photo Provided


Commissioners ask
Dixie County Clerk
Barbie Higginbotham for help

Dixie County Clerk Barbie Higginbotham
Dixie County Clerk Barbie Higginbotham and Deputy Clerk Della Rhymes attend the County Commission meeting on Thursday in Old Town. As the county clerk, Higginbotham is the comptroller for the County Commission, as well as being the clerk of the Dixie County Court and the clerk of the court for the Dixie County part of the Third Judicial Circuit. The Third Judicial Circuit includes Columbia, Dixie, Hamilton, Lafayette, Madison, Suwannee and Taylor counties.

Story and Photos
By Jeff M. Hardison © Jan. 8, 2021 at 9:10 a.m.
     OLD TOWN –
The four Dixie County Commission members present physically Thursday morning (Jan. 7) at the regular twice-monthly meeting and the one present via telephone asked Dixie County Clerk Barbie Higginbotham for help.


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Dixie County Manager Duane Cannon
Dixie County Manager Duane Cannon who replaces retired County Manager Tim Alexander found the County Commission meeting running smoothly. He did gently need to move them along in choosing the top five road projects to submit to the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT). Although the county may rank one project higher than another, it is at the discretion of the FDOT when ones are awarded funding subsidies from the state.

Dixie County Commissioner James Valentine
Dixie County Commissioner James Valentine

Dixie County Commissioner Jamie Storey
Dixie County Commission Vice Chairman Jamie Storey speaks into a microphone to communicate with Chairman Mark Hatch who was attending and voting via teleconference, as is allowed during the COVID-19 global pandemic as a result of the Florida Supreme Court's rulings.

W.C. Mills and Jody Stephenson
Dixie County Commissioner W.C. Mills (left) and Dixie County Commissioner Jody Stephenson

Dixie County Florida
Residential Field Inspector and Zoning Supervisor Richard Chavous speaks with attorney Pierce Kelley, who was substituting for County Attorney M. Michael Osteen, in the absence of the county attorney. Chavous and Kelley got through petitions and five subsequent resolutions. The County Commission granted four special exceptions and one variance. Later in the meeting, speaking on behalf of the county, the attorney substituting for Osteen said Osteen had told him there was no other business from the Dixie County Commissioner Attorney’s Office for consideration, discussion or action at that meeting.

     Serving in her recently elected office for just a few days at that point, Clerk Higginbotham promised to help the County Commission get its books in better order. For some period of time in the coming weeks, the level of chaos at the clerk’s office is anticipated by people trying to work with obtaining records and information from that office to continue. As for the vendors who have complained about late payments, that probably will continue for some time as well.
     Since the departure of former Clerk Dana Johnson before her term normally would have ended, there has been a degree of chaos with payments and other matters from the clerk’s office.
     Clerk Higginbotham assured the commissioners that she will bring order back to the clerk’s office.
     On Monday (Jan. 4) Gilchrist County Clerk Todd Newton mentioned that he is looking forward to seeing his former deputy clerk succeed in her new role in Dixie County. On Wednesday, Levy County Clerk Danny Shipp mentioned that he knew a new clerk was starting her duties in Dixie County.
     Meanwhile on Thursday, the County Commission moved relatively quickly and easily through its duties of the day.
     Present at the dais were Commissioner James Valentine, Commissioner Jamie Storey, Commissioner W.C. Mills and Commissioner Jody Stephenson. Commission Chairman Mark Hatch was attending via teleconference.
     Various contractors with the county government as well as many department heads also were present and active to keep Dixie County move forward in 2021.


Levy County Leaders
Take The Oath Of Office

Judge Browning prepares to administer the oath of office
Click on the photo above to see the video. This video is a compilation five videos of the following Levy County constitutional officers taking the oath of office, as administered by Levy County Judge Tim Browning, except for the final oath administered by Levy County Clerk Danny Shipp. In the first video, Levy County Property Appraiser Oz Barker takes the oath, as he holds a bible with his left hand. Some people had others available to hold the bible for them. Then, Levy County Sheriff Bobby McCallum takes the oath with Kandy McCallum holding the bible as 8-year-old Mighty Hinote stand with his guardians. Next Levy County Supervisor Tammy Jones takes the oath as her husband Jimmy Jones Sr. holds the bible. Joining the couple at the event are their children Jimmy Jones Jr. and Cassidy Barber. The fourth person to take the oath administered by County Court Judge Browning is Clerk Shipp. He is holding the bible himself rather than it being held by his lovely and talented wife Donna Shipp, Danny explained, because he told her the incorrect time to start the procedure. She arrived after he had been sworn in. The in final of these five elected officials to be ‘sworn in’ is Levy County Tax Collector Michele Langford. Holding the bible for her is former Levy County Tax Collector Linda Fugate, who retired. The other levy County elected officials who were chosen in the most recent round of elections, some chosen because no one else ran for the offices, are Levy County Superintendent of Schools Chris Cowart, Levy County School Board members Tammy Boyle and Paige Brookins, and Levy County commissioners Matt Brooks, Mike Joyner and John Meeks.

Levy County Oath Of Office
Levy County Court Judge Tom Browning prepares to administer the oath of office to some Levy County elected officials.

Video and Photos By Jeff M. Hardison © Jan. 5, 2021 at 12:10 p.m.
All Copyrights Reserved.
* Upated Jan. 6, 2021 at 9:10 a.m. with photo provided that was requested

Levy County Oath Of Office
Levy County Property Appraiser Oz Barker seeks a bible for his oath ceremony.

Levy County Oath Of Office
Levy County Sheriff Bobby McCallum takes the oath of office with Kandy McCallum holding the bible as 8-year-old Mighty Hinote standing between his guardians.

Levy County Oath Of Office
Levy County Supervisor Tammy Jones takes the oath of office as her husband Jimmy Jones Sr. holds the bible. Joining the couple at the event are their children Jimmy Jones Jr. and Cassidy Barber.

Levy County Oath Of Office
Levy County Clerk Danny Shipp takes the oath of office.

Levy County Oath Of Office
Levy County Clerk Danny Shipp administers the oath of office to Levy County Tax Collector Michele Langford as now-retired Levy County Tax Collector Linda Fugate holds the bible.

Donna Shipp and Danny Shipp, two of the many wonderful people in Levy County
Donna Shipp and Danny Shipp pause for a photo opportunity after the event.

Photo Provided By Clerk's Office Staff After Being Requested By HardisonInk.com


Town Council agrees
to repair sewer service

Susan Beaudet to be offered
job as Bronson town manager

Complainer gets his toilet working
Cameron Asbell (at the podium) asks the four currently active Bronson Town Council members to do something about the sewer service at his commercial property, 151 E. Hathaway Ave. (U.S. Alt. 27). Some people are wearing facemasks indoors in the small, confined meeting room at the Dogan Cobb Municipal Building. Others are choosing against following the advice of the Florida Department of Health to help prevent the illness and death caused by COVID-19 during the global pandemic. At the dais are (from left) Interim Town Clerk
Melisa Thompson, Vice Mayor Jason Hunt, Mayor Beatrice Roberts, and town councilmen Aaron Edmondson and Robert Partin.
Photo taken from video (public records) provided by the Town of Bronson

By Jeff M. Hardison © Dec. 25, 2020 at 8:10 a.m.
     BRONSON –
Cameron Asbell asked the Bronson Town Council to do something about the sewer service at his commercial property, 151 E. Hathaway Ave. (U.S. Alt. 27).
     The Council agreed to fix the problem and to reimburse Asbell for the money he spent to find this issue.
     Asbell said the location never had an issue when it was served by a septic tank. After the town connected the structure to the central sewer service, it has had issues. Asbell was among the people speaking to the Bronson Town Council during its regular meeting on Dec. 21. Asbell said he first asked Vice Mayor Jason Hunt for help in October.
     Asbell said he spoke with Public Works Director Curtis Stacey on Dec. 14, and Asbell was told Stacey was waiting on approval from Town Council to fix the sewer problem at that location. Councilman Aaron Edmondson explained to Asbell that if the problem is on his property, it is his responsibility. If the problem is on the town’s property, the town will cover the expense to repair it.
     Asbell countered by saying the town’s appointed plumber put in the line there. The government mandated Asbell, as it required all interests along the improved collection route for sewer service, to connect with the municipal government’s sewer service.
     The taxpayer said and that mandated collection never worked properly from day one.
     Even though the town improved its infrastructure to better serve businesses coming to Bronson, and the even though the new sewer collection service reduces pollution to Florida’s water supply, Asbell said he did not want the service. He was content with the septic tank that came with the commercial property he bought years before. Nevertheless, he was forced to connect with municipal service, Asbell said more than once.
     The man said he never knew that the construction was inspected to see if it worked.
     Mayor Beatrice Roberts said that since the sewer was installed with grant funds, and since the contractor installed it incorrectly, according to what Asbell presented to the town government, the town should cover the expense, even though it is on Abell’s property.
     Councilman Edmondson made a motion to repair the problem. Edmondson’s motion was seconded by Town Councilman Robert Partin and received a 4-0 vote. The seat formally held by Bronson Town Councilman Berlon Weeks is vacant, as Weeks is suing the town to be allowed to return to that seat.
     On a related matter, Vice Mayor Hunt’s motion to reimburse Asbell for funds he spent to determine and document the plumbing issue also met with a 4-0 vote of approval.
     On another matter with which the four sitting Town Council members are dealing, the Council is moving forward with hiring a town manager.
     Susan Beaudet was selected by a 3-1 vote to fill that newly created job. Mayor Roberts cast the dissenting vote, with the mayor wanting Rodney D. Lucas, a community development director for Bunnell. Beaudet and Lucas were the top two people interviewed for the job.
     Mayor Roberts said Beaudet’s background in insurance gave her pause from selecting Beaudet rather than Lucas, because the town did have a person with an insurance background in a similar capacity before. That did not work out well for the town, the mayor said as she shared her opinion about that history.
     Roberts said Lucas has experience with municipal government management, and that is why she prefers him.
     Although professionals involved with municipal government advised the Town Council to first revise its outdated town charter before switching to having a town manager, the Council moved forward with this choice. In the potential revision to town operations, the town manager will take over many operational duties within the place which is the county seat of government for Levy County.
     Beaudet is to be offered $70,000 annually to start as town manager.


Toys For Tots
brightens children's Christmas
654 Tri-County Area
children are served

Toys For Tots 2020
Jaryd Twombly of the Florida Department of Children and Families is in the trailer with gifts galore as he gives the thumbs-up sign. He is among the many volunteers who helped make the program succeed again this year.

Information and Photos Provided
By Beverly Goodman, Manager
Tri-County Community Resource Center
(and from archived stories of the past 15 years)
Published Dec. 23, 2020 at 2:10 p.m.
Once again, the Toys For Tots program saw success in the Tri-County Area of Dixie, Gilchrist and Levy counties.
     Through the combined efforts of countless volunteers and donors, there were 654 children whose Christmas was brightened a little by the program to present them with Christmas gifts this year -- when those presents were distributed Saturday (Dec. 19).


Toys For Tots 2020

Toys For Tots 2020
Volunteer Jaime Hinote is seen near the sign for Toys For Tots..

Toys For Tots 2020
Beverly Goodman, manager of the Tri-County Community Resource Center stands with Sly Davis, a retired member of the United States Marine Corps. While retired, many people know that a Marine is always a Marine.

     The logistics and personnel have evolved and changed over time, but the spirt of love and joy continues in this program, which falls under the umbrella of the United States Marine Corps Reserve.
     The basic mission of the Marine Toys for Tots program is to collect new unwrapped toys and distribute those toys to less fortunate children at Christmas. The primary goal of Marine Toys for Tots is, through the gift of a new toy, to help bring the joy of Christmas and send a message of hope to America's less fortunate children.
     Bryan Chrisp, who had led the effort for the previous seven years stepped back for the 2020 event.
     Still jumping into the fray, as well as helping even more people as a result of woes from the COVID-19 global pandemic, Beverly Goodman, manager of the Tri-County Community Resource Center, on Saturday (Dec. 19) was in the Walmart of Chiefland parking lot.
     Before Chrisp’s seven years of service as the coordinator for the Toys For Tots program in this part of Florida, the program was coordinated by Vince and Pat Arcadi. Fourteen years ago, one of the distribution points was First Baptist Church of Bronson, and then another one was in a church in Trenton.
     Thanks to Walmart management cooperating with the Tri-County Community Resource Center (and its parent organization of Partnership for Strong Families) and with Toys For Tots, families from all three counties again went to a central location for efficient toy distribution.
     To see the story and photos from the 2019 story about the distribution of toys, click HERE.


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