HardisonInk.com

--UPDATED--
MONDAY  MAY 17  8:11 a.m.  Levy, Dixie and Gilchrist counties


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New Assistant Starts
In County Manager's Office

Dixie County Commission Cross City Florida
Martha McCaskill learns how to help people listen to Dixie County Commission meetings via telephone calls as County Manager Duane Cannon shows her the finer points of the process Thursday morning (May 6). McCaskill is now the administrative assistant to the county manager as well as being the grants coordinator for the Dixie County Board of County Commissioners. She is the replacement for Cheyenne Stemple Hutchinson, Cannon’s former assistant.

Dixie County Commission Cross City Florida
Martha McCaskill, the new administrative assistant to the county manager who started in her post on Monday (May 3) stands with Dixie County Commission Chairman Jamie Storey after meeting him on Thursday (May 6).

Dixie County Commission Cross City Florida
(from left) County Manager Duane Cannon, his assistant Martha McCaskill and Dixie County Deputy Clerk Della Rhymes are seen shortly before the start of the County Commission meeting on Thursday (May 6). Rhymes is the deputy clerk assigned to the County Commission by County Clerk Barbie Higginbotham.

Photos By Jeff M. Hardison © May 7, 2021 at 3:11 p.m.

 



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Levy County Prevention Coalition  An Agency That Helps People

 

 


Dixie County sheriff touches base
with Dixie County Commission

Dixie County Sheriff Darby Butler
Dixie County Sheriff Darby Butler speaks with the County Commission.

Story and Photo
By Jeff M. Hardison © May 6, 2021 at 9:11 p.m.
     OLD TOWN –
Dixie County Sheriff Darby Butler on Thursday morning (May 6) touched base with the County Commission on a few issues as the commissioners conducted their twice-monthly regular meeting.
     The first significant point the sheriff made with the five men on the Dixie County Board of County Commissioners regarded security at the Dixie County Courthouse in Cross City.
     Sheriff Butler said he had spoken with Dixie County Court Judge Jennifer J. Johnson. May 15 is the current date when courthouse administration is anticipated to be in full service, Butler said.
     Around July 6 is the currently anticipated opening date for court cases in courtrooms, he said.
     Sheriff Butler obtained a 5-0 vote of approval on a motion by County Commissioner Jody Stephenson, seconded by Commissioner Mark Hatch, to establish a new procedure for courthouse security.
     People will enter at the southeast door, across the street from the Women’s Club. That is not considered the front of the courthouse. There will then be one entrance and one exit for the courthouse.
     People will go through a metal detector and their bags and briefcases will go through a conveyor belt to be X-rayed.
     Commissioner Hatch said his preference would have been to have people continue coming into the courthouse through the front entrance. In the end, the sheriff’s idea prevailed.
     Just like the change in culture at the courthouse for security, Dixie County residents and visitors are likely going to notice some different reactions from people using vehicles that are not meant for roadways or on the sides of roadways.
     Bringing people into awareness about the use of ATVs in Dixie County was one issue the sheriff spoke to commissioners about after Commissioner Stephenson mentioned it. The sheriff said he has spoken with his field lieutenant about this, and deputies are working at educating ATV users about places where they are not to be riding them.
     Sheriff Butler said that by the lack of enforcement of the law over the years, this lackadaisical enforcement of traffic laws regarding ATVs has become the norm in Dixie County.
     People trespassing at the dump will be arrested, the sheriff said.
     Arresting lawbreakers who were caught thanks to better illegal dumping activity was another matter he addressed.
     There have been 11 or 12 contacts that were given trespass warnings, an arrested for methamphetamine possession. The sheriff said people violating laws about trash falls into the same realm as people violating ATV traffic laws in Dixie County.
     In another action requiring a vote, the County Commission voted 5-0 to allow the transfer of a vehicle from the Dixie County Sheriff’s Office to the road department. County Road Superintendent Steve Hutchison said the county will transfer a vehicle to Cross City too.
     Sheriff Butler mentioned, also, that he greatly appreciates the work of Superintendent Hutchison and the road department workers for their help with an event that happened at one of the city parks in Cross City for a few days recently.

 


New Levy County 4-H agent named
Levy County 4-H Agent Jessica Campos
Speaking at the podium is UF/IFAS Levy County Extension 4-H Agent Jessica Emerson Campos and behind her is Levy County Extension Director Ed Jennings.

Story and Photo
By Jeff M. Hardison © May 5, 2021 at 4:11 p.m.
     BRONSON –
During its regular twice-monthly meeting, the Levy County Commission was introduced to the new 4-H agent for Levy County.
     University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Extension Levy County Director Ed Jennings introduced Jessica Emerson Campos after providing information about the selection process by the UF/IFAS, which was augmented by a local set of people who interviewed the qualified candidates – finally leading to Campos being selected.
     Through this process, which narrowed the candidates from 14, to three, to two and then to one, resulted in the previous 4-H assistant – who had served in that capacity for a year – being selected, Jennings said.
     Her first official day as Levy County 4H agent, Jennings said, was Friday (April 30).
     Levy County 4-H Agent Campos said she is originally from the Panhandle of Florida. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in animal science from the University of Florida. Camps said her first job was in a dairy, which is part of the production aspect of agriculture.
     Her passion is for youth and the outreach through programs to help them. When Campos was selected as program assistant for Levy County 4-H a year ago, she was very happy and excited, she said.
     When the previous 4-H agent found another job and left, Campos said she feels she met the challenges well.
     Campos said she is excited now to keep the Levy County 4-H program going.
OTHER ACTION
     Among the other actions at the Levy County Commission meeting on Tuesday, the five members unanimously approved:
     * A request for large scale future land use map amendment and comprehensive plan. Slightly more than 62 acres was rezoned from forestry/rural residential to agriculture/rural residential, five miles north of Inglis on U.S. Highway 19. The property owner wants to divide the land for single-family dwellings. The only comment from the state review was to “be aware of the bears” in the region.
     * A request to subdivide 9.6 acres to be named “Magnolia Ridge.”
     * A request to subdivide two 10-acre lots.
     * A request to grant a hardship variance to allow another structure on 10 acres that is zoned agriculture/rural residential. Normally, in that zoning, it is limited to one residence. This hardship is from a need to care for a person medically. Commissioner Mike Joyner asked about continuation of the variance and Planning and Zoning Director Stacey Hectus said there is an annual review.
     * A request for the Williston Police Department to be this year’s recipient of the 2021 Edward Byrne Memorial JAG Countywide grant of $32,005.
     * A request to reschedule the May 25 County Commission meeting to be on May 18 instead.

 


Government helps tree business
reduce huge wooden eyesore

Gilchrist County Florida
Gilchrist County Manager Bobby Crosby (foreground) and County Attorney David M. Lang Jr. provide input for consideration by the Gilchrist County Board of County Commissioners on Monday (May 3). Photos from the Gilchrist County Commission meeting may appear to be of a lower quality than normal due to a prohibition against the use of flash photography, and with relative dim lighting in the meeting room. County Manager Crosby said camera flashes may trigger epileptic seizures.

Story and Photo
By Jeff M. Hardison © May 4, 2021 at 3:11 p.m.
     TRENTON –
By a 4-0 vote, the Gilchrist County Commission on Monday night (May 3) helped a property owner reduce a small mountain range of wood debris.
     Meanwhile, neighbors on three sides of the property are going to be tolerating more noise than normal on Mondays through Thursdays from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. for four months.
     On approximately 9.6 acres located at 1389 N.E. State Road 47, north of Trenton, a high-powered diesel-fueled grinder is going to be converting chopped trees into wood chips.
      A request by Carla L. Shivers, as owner and applicant, for a Special Use Permit for a "Grinder" under the land development regulations category of "Sawmill or Planing Mill” in an A-2 land use district was granted after a thorough discussion.
     County Commission Chair Sharon A. Langford abstained from voting due to a potential conflict, and she will file papers to explain her reason, as required by Florida law.
     Tommy McDonald of Top Tier Tree Specialist said he is the fiancé of Shivers and he spoke on her behalf during the quasi-judicial hearing regarding this matter. An unanticipated level of success with the tree business, McDonald said, resulted in the very tall pile of tree debris on the property.
     He spoke with the Florida Forest Service about methods to get rid of the wood. An incinerator and curtain are expensive, he said, and it would result in smoke and ash for his neighbors. Instead, by using a grinder, McDonald can create wood chips for Gainesville Regional Utilities and for a mulch-selling company.
    County Attorney David M. Lang Jr. recommend for denial of the request.
     The proposed use is consistent with the Comprehensive Plan and Land Development Code, Lang said. All of the property subject to the application for a Special Use Permit is in Agriculture usage, and is presently used as residential homestead with improvements as shown by the Gilchrist County Property Appraiser’s Office.
     Without additional information provided by the applicant as to the noise or decibel levels of the proposed equipment to be used on site, Lang said, staff cannot determine the impact of noise that will be produced from the requested use.
     Therefore, he continued, the effect on the surrounding neighborhood and other properties in the area is unknown.
     County Commissioner Bill Martin said he has seen a stump grinder in action before and it is noisy, as well as putting out sawdust.
     Given the small size of the parcel at only 9.60 acres, more or less, Lang said, it would seem that from the nature of the requested use, a certain amount of noise will be carried over onto other real property in the area, the extent of which may have an adverse effect on other property owners in the area.
     The property to the west of the subject property is big and not inhabited, according to records. The north, east and south sides of the Shivers’ property have homesteaded land with residents, according to record.
     One neighbor attended the meeting and said they are happy to see a plan to get rid of the giant pile of tree debris, however the noise is a concern.
     County Manager Bobby Crosby suggested the Monday through Thursday half-day workdays as an option, after the County Commission first voted to deny the request. McDonald said he can work within the time limits set.
     McDonald was told in no uncertain terms that he is to bring in no new wood debris, and if he violates the hours set by the County Commission, it may revoke the Special Use Permit (SUP) for the grinder.
     McDonald said there is a new area of land purchased in Gilchrist County that will be bigger and far enough away where no neighbors will be affected by the tree-grinding operation. He said he intends to return to the County Commission to seek a different SUP for that grinder in the future.

 


Town leaders vote to switch attorneys
Inglis Florida Town Commission
(from left) Mayor Andy White, Commissioner Steve Schwing, Commissioner Scott Levesque, Commissioner Joyce Schwing and Commissioner Tom Brennan are seen during the special Inglis Town Commission meeting on Tuesday night (April 27).

Story and Photos
By Ruth Rupport, Correspondent
HardisonInk.com © April 29, 2021 at 10:11 a.m.

     INGLIS – Four members of the Inglis Town Commission met Tuesday night (April 27) to discuss some matters during a special meeting.
     Commissioner Annie Morin was absent due to illness.
     The discussion included action, where there was a 4-0 vote to switch attorneys.
     The 90-minute public meeting had four agenda items: to discuss and review the Request For Proposal (RFP) received for legal services; discuss the Inglis Recreation Committee; use of Town equipment for cleanup of properties; and the Cason Acres flooding problem.
     The Town had advertised for an RFP for legal services. Of the two proposals received, one of the proposals was from the legal firm that currently represents the town (attorney W. Blake Fugate of the Norm D. Fugate Law Firm of Williston), and the other was from Gilligan, Gooding, Batsel, Anderson & Phelan out of Ocala (Marion County).
     Inglis Mayor Andy White, Commissioner Joyce Schwing, Commissioner Steve Schwing and Commissioner Scott Levesque all spoke favorably of the Ocala firm. In addition to getting favorable reports from other attorneys familiar with the firm, and the same from some of the municipalities this firm has represented, it was mentioned during this special Town Council meeting that Gilligan, Gooding, Batsel, Anderson & Phelan would cost the town less money.
     Public discussion centered around why the Town Council would want to change away from the present legal counsel, and if the bottom line was more favorable, would there be any “hidden costs.”
     Ron Zadorzany of Inglis asked if the reason for the RFP was due to the past performance of Fugate. Commissioner Levesque stated that it was a “job performance” issue. William Monteverde of Inglis added that during his time as an Inglis Town Council member, Fugate had several of what he considered “work performance” issues (the CDBG program, a garbage contract, the Mastadon, and the LCSO contract).
     Marian Cain of the Yankeetown/Inglis Women’s Club and Inglis AmVets said she has spent a good portion of her career dealing with attorneys, and mileage and phone calls and consultations with attorneys usually incur additional billing. So, that would need to be clear in the contract, Cain said.
     Commissioner J. Schwing indicated that this was a “team” of attorneys, where two attorneys (Christopher Anderson and Gwendolyn Williams) would be working together, but only one would come to the meetings. Commissioner J. Schwing said that new blood and fresh ideas are a good thing.
     Commissioner Levesque added that there was an ethics issue he was concerned about (when what seemed like identical cases were treated differently in another town), and that he wanted someone that will work for the citizens.
     Inglis Fire Chief John MacDonald said he wanted to know if this firm knew how to conduct a fire assessment or whether they “farmed it out.” The fire assessment to which Chief MacDonald refers is the study that helps town leaders create a fair fee assessment for fire protection.
     The Commission did not know the answer to that question. So, Mayor White said he would check that out.
     Commissioner J. Schwing made a motion to accept the contract from Gilligan, Gooding, Batsel, Anderson & Phelan, and with a second from Commissioner Levesque, the Council voted 4-0 in favor.

Inglis Florida Town Commission

 

 

 

 

 

 


Helen Ciallella speaks from the podium about community cooperation.
 

 

 


     Another matter discussed was the Inglis Recreation Committee (IRC).
     Why has the IRC not done anything for a year? Why has the South Levy Park not been used to its potential?
     In a nutshell, the answer to these questions was -- the global COVID-19 pandemic.
     The IRC did attempt an event in late October (“Trunk or Treat”), but only five cars showed up and hardly any children visited the event.
     IRC Chair RaJean LeFlower briefly explained to the Commission what the IRC “mission” is, and how dependent they are on volunteers. LeFlower then invited the Commission to come to one of its meetings.
     Commissioner Tom Brennan (the liaison for the IRC) stated that the current group of IRC members is “not only good at what they do, they’re fantastic. So, don’t drive your volunteers away.”
     Helen Ciallella of the Healthy Community Initiative, and the Yankeetown/Inglis Women’s Club, and a Yankeetown resident, also spoke highly of the IRC members, and that along with the Lions, Masons, Women’s Club, Scooter Haven Country Club, the AmVets, various businesses and individuals, the IRC is an important part of a collaborative community effort, having the best interests of the Inglis residents and visitors at heart.
     Commissioner Levesque handed Commissioner Brennan a list of people who want to volunteer at the South Levy Ballpark. The next meeting for the IRC will be Monday, May 17, at the Inglis Commission Room at 4:30 p.m.
     No Commissioner knew who put the “use of equipment” on the agenda, but the question was whether town equipment could be used to clean up some Inglis residents’ properties.
     Commissioner Levesque had been volunteering his time and equipment to help out some of the indigent or physically incapable individuals that had code enforcement violations.
     Inglis Supervisor of Public Works Wayne Moore said that town equipment should only be used on town property, rights-of-way and easements. He indicated that it becomes a “public/private” issue, and most likely a misuse of equipment and misappropriation of funds.
     Inglis Code Enforcement Officer Dave Banton said “I work for the town, but I also work for the neighbor.”
     The Code enforcement Board can set the fine, but they also can remove that fine, he said. Banton said things were improving and that helping neighbors is something that is contagious, adding nonetheless that people need to be held accountable.
     The final agenda item, Cason Acres flooding, was tabled from a previous regular meeting and is now scheduled to be discussed at the regular Town of Inglis Commission meeting on Tuesday, May 4 at 6 p.m.

 


Williston preps
to switch garbage service vendor

City of Williston Florida
Skip McCall of Green For Life speaks about the company that bought out WCA. He said the company was founded in Canada but has corporate offices in North Carolina. He mentioned that GFL, having absorbed WCA, serves the Town of Bronson too. There is a former WCA office in Gainesville, which may be a GFL office now.

Story and Photos
By Jeff M. Hardison © April 21, 2021 at 5:11 p.m.
     WILLISTON –
After delaying the decision due to COVID-19 decimating the city workforce in Williston for a while, the Williston City Council on Tuesday night unanimously took action regarding the vendor of garbage collection services in the city.

 


City of Williston Florida
(from left) Council President Debra Jones, Council Vice President Marguerite Robinson, and Councilman Michael Cox are among the five who vote to endorse the recommendation to switch vendors from Waste Pro to Green For Life.

City of Williston Florida
(from left) City Councilman Elihu Ross, who made the motion to switch service provider vendors, sits with City Councilwoman Darfeness Hinds and Mayor Jerry Robinson.

City of Williston Florida
City Manager Jackie Gorman reads information for the City Council and audience to know background related to the choice of the new garbage service vendor.


     City Manager Jackie Gorman assigned a committee to review three companies seeking to be the service provider, and to present their recommendation. Gorman said the scoring sheets were equally applied for each of the three potential vendors.
     In February, the City of Williston advertised a request for proposal bid for residential and commercial solid waste collection services (garbage, yard trash, recycling).
     Proposals were received on March 26 from Florida Express Environmental - John Paglia III; Green For Life (GFL) - Todd Strong; and Waste Pro - Dayna Miller and Trip Lancaster.
     City Manager Gorman reported that all three companies submitted outstanding proposals.
     The committee of city staff, she continued, comprised of Utility Billing Supervisor Verdi Greaner; Renee Nipper; and Deputy City
Manager-Public Works Director C.J. Zimoski, each reviewed the RFPs submitted.
     Gorman said the committee selected Green for Life based on the scoring requirements listed in the RFP.
     Now Gorman and staff are tasked with contract negotiations.
     Upon approval of the contract, GFL has committed to a smooth transition and prepared a step-by-step Transition Plan process with the City and Waste Pro, the outgoing provider, ensuring that "every element of the transition plan is implemented properly."
     GFL will be providing Customer Service 24 hours a day, seven-days-a-week on phones answered by a person, Gorman said.
     This will take the stress off the city staff; however, city employees will be engaged in monitoring the number
of complaints as well as how long it takes to resolve the complaints.
     Gorman anticipates the transition to be complete June 30. Staff will prepare the contract for approval at the May 4 meeting, she said.
     Miller was given five minutes to respond, as was Paglia.
     She spoke about how Waste Pro has been a member of the Williston Community since 2017, contributing to several community projects, such as the FFA, Williston High School Football and contributing each year when the Levy County Fair existed.
     Due to employee hardships from the global COVID-19 pandemic, Waste Pro had to cope with issues, Miller said.
     In her speech, Miller, representing Waste Pro, said only two of the three bidders are registered with Levy County.
     In 2020, the pandemic exacerbated challenges for the solid waste collection industry, she said. The national shortage of commercially-licensed drivers became even worse. The Levy, Dixie and Gilchrist counties’ labor pool already was limited, Miller said, but it became even more shallow.
     There is a shortage of willing and qualified workers in trades, she said, and that shortfall deepens every day. Due to more people staying home, Miller said, the volume of residential garbage increased by 20 to 40 percent in 2020.
     Competition for qualified drivers, from companies like Amazon, created another hurdle. People receiving benefits from not working, too, Miller added, caused some members of the workforce to choose against working.
     Waste Pro infused more than $1 million into this market to improve working conditions and equipment to overcome the obstacles it faced, Miller said. The men and women who work on the back ends of trucks are being encouraged and assisted, at no cost to them, to earn their Commercial Driver License (CDL), Miller said, at Waste Pro. This encourages employee retention and helps with consistent routing because they are familiar with the areas they serve.
     Miller said that she is still awaiting receiving the RFPs submitted. She added that she does not understand the rankings given to Waste Pro by the committee.
     By using math, the difference between GFL and Waste Pro is about $300 on a $45,000-a-month billing.
     GFL just bought WCA three months ago, Miller said. There is no track record in Florida for GFL. Green For Life is a huge publicly-traded company, she said. The closest operational office is in Gainesville.
     Waste Pro is privately owned, Miller continued, with the same owners since 2001. Waste Pro is American-owned and Florida-based, with an office in the City of Fanning Springs.
     “We hire local, which means our employees are your neighbors,” Miller said. “They live local, buy local, pay taxes local and contribute locally.”
     Paglia of Florida Express Environmental made some of the same points Miller made about Green For Life. He added, too, that Florida Express Environmental has more automated garbage pickup than the other two, and is therefore less reliant on as many humans to meet its mission of garbage collection.
     Skip McCall of Green For Life, and formerly of WCA’s Gainesville office, said he appreciates the committee recommending GFL.
     In the end, it was a 5-0 vote to go with the committee’s recommendation to start contract negotiations with GFL.
    


Sojourner critiques tour
of America’s people and churches

Steve Young at the Luther Callaway Public Library in Chiefland Florida
Stephen Patrick Young, 64, is seen outside the Luther Callaway Public Library in Chiefland on Monday afternoon (April 19). Young said he is walking across America to promote a camp that helps children. The library is one of five public libraries in Levy County. Young uses public libraries as he travels from town-to-town. This is his seventh or eighth 'walk' around the nation, as best as can be determined from research.

Story And Photo
By Jeff M. Hardison © April 21, 2021 at 11:11 a.m.
     CHIEFLAND –
A man who said he is 64-years-old and reported that he has walked 10,000 miles across America in the past year-plus passed through Chiefland on Monday (April 19).
     Later, on Tuesday morning (April 20), he could be seen sitting on his backpack and tent next to U.S. Alt. 27 just outside Chiefland heading toward Bronson.
     He said his name is Stephen “Steve” Patrick Young and he owns property in Margate (a city in Broward County) and Patrick Springs, Virginia (a census-designated place in Patrick County, Virginia).
     Young said he started walking across America on March 10, 2020 as he left Virginia. From there, he said, he went to California. The play-by-play, state-by-state, step-by-step journey may have been available as he chatted.
     His single message for the world, though, was to endorse a particular enterprise that helps children.
     HardisonInk.com contacted the interest, which Young said he is moved to bring people into awareness about.
     According to the president and chief executive officer of that group, this is the seventh or eighth such “walks” by Young since 2007, and staff from the organization have spoken with the walker.
     The camp that helps children “is aware of his walks to raise awareness.” Staff had contact with him five or so years ago and asked that he make sure people know he is not affiliated with the camp and should not be accepting donations on the camp’s behalf, the president and CEO said.
     Young said he is a retired auto body mechanic who was moved by the Spirit of God to take this journey across America to bring people into awareness about this particular camp for children. Young is a Christian, he said. To be more specific about the kind of Christian he is, Young said he is against abortion and favors executions.
     When questioned about his belief that humans executing humans was proper and according to what Jesus would want, Young explained that he (Young) is an “eye for an eye” kind of guy.
     Young concedes that he is not a biblical scholar. The “eye for an eye” version Young is considering is more Old Testament than New Testament.
     As for Christianity (New Testament) regarding the “eye for an eye” theme, in Matthew 5:38-48, Jesus does not say to take an eye if an eye is lost in battle. Jesus is not in favor of retribution, according to The Gospel. Instead, He said to tolerate an attack.
     If a person sues you for your shirt, then given them your shirt and coat as well, Jesus said as part of one of His sermons.
     The New International Version of those New Testament verses follows:
Eye For An Eye
     38 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’[a] 39 But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. 40 And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well. 41 If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles. 42 Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.
Love For Enemies
     43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor[b] and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47 And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

     While Young is not well-versed in some aspects of Christianity, he understands that some people give without measure, while others only reward some people who they anticipate can help them.
     Young said he has walked 70 percent of the 10,000 miles he logged so far. He goes about eight to 10 miles a day. While he does not hitchhike per se, if a person offers him a ride, he accepts rides – like the one from Old Town to Chiefland.
     As for a place to stay, food to eat, restrooms with showers, Young indicated that he is catch-as-catch-can. He has spent $7,000 of his own money this past year-plus, he said. Otherwise, he has a tent.
    If people want to donate to this particular camp, he is allegedly on a mission from God to promote, then Young feels he has met his mission. If people want to give him money for room and board, then that is their choice too, Young said.
     Young said that his venture through Cross City (Dixie County) showed him people in that place who are among the top five of the 1,000 or so cities he visited during his walking tour of America. City Manager John Driggers and Cross City Police Chief Stant Bradley put him up in a motel room and treated him to a wonderful breakfast, including coffee, at the Taste of Dixie Restaurant.
     “I had not had French toast in a long time,” Young said. “And they put a lot of food on the plate there (at the Taste of Dixie Diner).”
     As Young walked next to U.S. Highway 19 outside of Old Town, on his way southbound out of Dixie County, a preacher saw him and took him home to spend the night at his home, before giving Young a ride to his next stop – the Chiefland Police Station.
     During the interview Monday (April 19), Young said he has not been vaccinated against COVID-19, but he does wear a facemask to prevent him from catching or spreading the virus.
     In Chiefland, Young spoke with staff at the Chiefland Police Department and at City Hall. He was advised by them, and by the journalist with whom he spoke Monday afternoon, to visit the Tri-County Community Resource Center to learn about potential aids for him since he did not have money for a Greyhound bus ticket, motel rooms or food.
     TCCRC Manager Beverly Goodman said in an interview Tuesday afternoon (April 20) that she had heard about Young, and she had hygiene materials and a motel room lined up and waiting to provide to him to help him for that night, but he did not drop by for the help.
     As for the treatment by people he saw during his yearlong-plus trek across America, Young said that 20 percent of the towns he visited just wanted to push him out of town to the next town.
     “That’s fine,” Young said. “I let the Lord take care of it.”
     As for organized religion, Young said he visited in excess of 50 churches this year. He mentioned that it is an exceedingly small percentage of people from churches who were willing to help him.
     Young is very adept at spinning yarns, telling stories and the like. Given what was seen late Tuesday morning, with him sitting on his backpack and tent next to U.S. Alt. 27 outside of Chiefland, the odds seem strong for him to be visiting Bronson, then Williston and Ocala and beyond, probably with travel more as a passenger than as a walker, due to the miles between cities.
     Young said he anticipates being back in Margate by the end of May. Once there, he will work with his brother on the rental properties he said they own and manage. Virginia is his preferred home, he intimated, and that seems like a more like a resting point in the summer.
     Given information found by interviewing the group that Young is allegedly seeking to bring people into awareness of, this most recent walking tour may not be his last.
     Young mentioned having kept a log of his journey, and he has taken some number of pictures during his adventure as well. Is there a book in the offing? That potential exists, according to what Young said Monday afternoon.

 


Tyler Vorhees takes oath of office
Bronson Town Councilman Tyler Vorhees
Levy County Court Judge J.T. Browning (right) administers the oath of office to Tyler Vorhees, who is filling the seat vacated by Bronson Town Councilman Berlon Weeks, or not vacated by Weeks. There is a motion to dismiss Weeks’s suit regarding whether he resigned from office or not. There is also a jury trial set to decide the matter in the summer of 2022 if it is not dismissed. In September there is an election to decide the next person to occupy this seat. Therefore, the term will expire before the jury trial, if the question of whether Weeks resigned goes to a jury to answer.

Story, Photos and Video
By Jeff M. Hardison © April 20, 2021 at 9:11 p.m.
     BRONSON –
Immediately after a tumultuous public hearing for an increase in water and sewer rates in Bronson on Monday night (April 19), Tyler Vorhees took the office and became the youngest member of the Bronson Town Council.

Bronson Town Councilman Tyler Vorhees takes the oath of office
In this video, Levy County Court Judge J.T. Browning administers the oath of office to Tyler Vorhees. To see the video, click on the photo with a big icon on it, above, to show it is to be clicked on to see a video.

 


People object to water and sewer rates
Complainer
Steven Crowell yells comments from his seat in the audience rather than going to the podium during the public hearing Monday night. Bronson has been relatively lax in having people state their names or to refrain from cussing and yelling during at least the past 15 years of Town Council meetings in the Dogan Cobb Municipal Building. Concluding his statements, Crowell said he is going to install his own water pump rather than use the town’s water, and as for paying a sewer service fee, he does not see that as being possible since he will not be using town water to be measured as a determinant for an amount of sewer service.

Story And Photo
By Jeff M. Hardison © April 20, 2021 at 3:11 p.m.
     BRONSON –
Three customers showed up for the public hearing on rate increases for water and sewer service by the Town of Bronson on Monday night (April 19).
     Luis Sanchez and April Gonzalez, who live at the same residence, and Steven Crowell complained that the fee is too high.
     Sanchez and Gonzalez are not happy about the placement of a utility pole on the property, too, even though it is needed to power the pump station for the wastewater collected from the residence.
     As for Crowell, he had no qualms about cussing at the Town Council members as he said the rates are too high. Concluding his tirade, Crowell said he is going to install a well to have his own water supply, and then the town cannot charge him for sewer service, because the sewer fees are based on water consumption.
    Crowell announced, too, that he does not need a permit to put a well on property he owns in the town limits, as he spoke about it being his “castle.” Another term he used indicating his general view of government is that somehow the Town Council was “treading” on him.
     Home Advisor noted the cost to install a well is between $1,500 and $12,000.
     Councilman Aaron Edmondson and Mayor Beatrice Roberts tried to explain to all three people that everyone who can connect to the wastewater collection system must do so as a matter of local law. Also, Edmondson tried to let Crowell know the concept of central wastewater treatment rather than individual septic tanks in Bronson is to help the environment.
     Beyond helping planet Earth, the improved wastewater collection system in the town is a factor of improving the infrastructure to attract business, to increase the local availability of jobs and to bolster the local economy.
     At one point, Sanchez said he has spoken with an attorney regarding what he sees as the local government’s actions.
     The new water and sewer service rates reflect an 11.5 percent increase above the previous rates.
     The base monthly rate for water service at a residence in Bronson is $11.09. That took effect on March 1.
     The new base rate for sewer service for a one-inch meter in Bronson is $35.68.
     Therefore, the minimum monthly rate for a residence using Bronson water and sewer service then is $46.77.

    


Two Women Honored By CKWC
Cedar Key Woman's Club HardisonInk.com volunteer of the year and LEADS
Rosemary Danesi (left), the Cedar Key Volunteer of the Year, and Kathy Salkaln, nominated as the Cedar Key Woman's Club LEADS candidate for 2021, are seen above. The title of CKWC Volunteer of the Year is presented to the member who demonstrated action to merit such recognition. The General Federation of Women’s Clubs (GFWC) Leadership Education and Development Seminar (LEADS) program is intended to identify GFWC members at the grassroots level who have the potential and the desire to assume leadership positions in GFWC beyond their club. Rosemary Danesi has been a member of the Woman's Club since 2010 and has worked tirelessly on many Cedar Key Woman's Club projects over the years. Kathy Salkaln has been a member since 2018, and has participated in many Woman's Club activities, as well as chairing several committees.
Published April 17, 2021 at 10:11 a.m.

Information and Photo Provided By Kathy Salkaln

 


CF forensics students take home
silver, finish third nationally

CF Forensics winners
Seen here on a computer screen in the top left is Macy Ryan, Edgar Soto and Sayjal Jaimungal, and on the bottom are Eileen Hernandez and Dr. Matthew Maddex. Hernandez has one more competition next week, the Interstate Oral competition, the oldest public speaking competition in the United States. She will be one of two representatives for the state of Florida.

CF Forensics winners
This image captures on the top left Catherine Pullen, Macy Ryan and Sayjal Jaimungal, and on the bottom: Zachary Williams, Edgar Soto (the blank spot 'MM' is for coach Dr. Matthew Maddex).

Story and Photos
By CF Marketing and Public Relations
Published April 15, 2021 at 9:11 a.m.
     OCALA —
College of Central Florida students competed for the first time in three years at the Phi Rho Pi national speech and debate competition from April 5 through April 11, earning seven awards.
     The Phi Rho Pi competition for community college students featured 44 schools from 10 states (three schools from Florida) and 262 students. The competition features public speaking and interpretation individual events, along with three forms of debate. CF had six students compete in 13 events.
     Eileen Hernandez earned three individual awards: a Bronze in Poetry and two Golds in Communication Analysis and Persuasive speaking. This is the first time CF has earned any individual event awards. Additionally, Hernandez earned fourth place for the Bovero-Taber individual sweeps award, meaning she finished in fourth place among 262 other competitors. The CF team took home a Silver award (or third place) in the Hindman Division. This division includes the most teams with 33 schools entered. Finally, Hernandez was awarded the Warren-Dahlin Fellowship Award for Region 8. Dr. Matthew Maddex also was awarded the Collie-Taylor Fellowship Award in Region 8 for being one of the best coaches in Phi Rho Pi forensics. 
      “I could not be prouder of how this team competed at the Phi Rho Pi competition. In-spite of all of struggles we have faced, our team came together and finished with a Silver award being the third best team in the country,” said Maddex, associate professor of Speech and director of Forensics. “I am in awe of what they have accomplished. We are so excited about our results this year and cannot wait to go in person to Phi Rho Pi next year and build upon what we have done.”
     Hernandez has one more competition next week, the Interstate Oral competition, the oldest public speaking competition in the United States. She will be one of two representatives for the state of Florida.
     In intercollegiate forensics, which includes speech and debate, students compete in team and individual events in a variety of areas including interpretation of literature (prose, poetry), public address (informative and persuasive), limited prep events and several platform speeches. The forensics association enables students to not only improve their speaking skills but also develop a stronger understanding of the communication field as a whole.

 

 


 

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