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Little yellow ducks
race to save the WGP
Winners donate
back to the Preserve

Duck Race matrons in Yankeetown Florida on Nov. 22, 2020 Photo by Ellen Klee
Two duck matrons are seen Sunday (Nov. 22) before the race.

Photo by Ellen Klee

Information Provided
By The Friends of the WGP
Published Nov. 23, 2020 at 12:10 p.m.
The mighty Withlacoochee River offered great conditions for the 2020 Annual Friends of the WGP Duck Race this year.



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     Each year on the Sunday of the annual Yankeetown Seafood Festival, which is hosted by the Inglis-Yankeetown Lions Club, the Friends of the Withlacoochee Gulf Preserve conduct a little, yellow, rubber duck race on the river. Sponsors buy numbered yellow ducks that float on the river after being launched.
     The Annual Yankeetown Seafood Festival was cancelled this year due to COVID-19, but the ducks were able to race on Sunday (Nov. 22).
     In the annual duck race, the ducks cross a finish line and there are winning ducks, the first and the last. This race serves as a fundraiser for the Withlacoochee Gulf Preserve because people donate to bet on which duck will cross first. The winning sponsors are given cash when their ducks come in first or last.
     This year, the floaters took advantage of an outgoing tide and light tailwind. The pack of 500 ducks was tight at first, but duck #59 jumped ahead about halfway through the race.
     Once she had established her lead, there was no looking back. The mellow yellow, last place floater this year was #285.
     The 2020 winning sponsors were Heidi Osbourne (First Place) and (Last Duck To Finish) Sara Runnels.
     Both longtime supporters of the WGP -- Osbourne and Runnels -- graciously donated their prize money back to the Preserve. The Friends of the WGP thank all of the sponsors of the ducks competing this year, and in years past. The Friends very much appreciate the support of all donors for the preservation of the Preserve.
     The Withlacoochee Gulf Preserve is a 413-acre parcel of undeveloped wetlands located on Florida’s Nature Coast. It consists of mixed hardwood, pine, and cabbage palm forest, tidal marshes, and several salt ponds.
     The Preserve has a 30-foot tall observation tower, a salt pond boardwalk, Gulf of Mexico-accessible canoe/kayak dock, and a 4,500 square-foot Education Center. Located at 1001 Old Rock Road, just off Levy County Road 40 West, in Yankeetown, the Preserve is open daily from dawn to dusk.
     For more information about the WGP, please visit https://wgpfl.org.


CKWC Gives Calendars
To Police And Fire Departments

Cedar Key Womans Club Member Eileen Senecal and Cedar Key Police Chief Virgil Sandlin
Cedar Key Woman’s Club member Eileen Senecal presents 2021 Cedar Key Woman’s Club calendars to Cedar Key Police Chief Virgil Sandlin here, at the Nov. 17 Cedar Key Commission’s meeting, to share with the Cedar Key Police Department and the Cedar Key Volunteer Fire and Rescue Department in recognition and appreciation of the city’s first responders.
Published Nov. 22, 2020 at 10:10 a.m.

Photo And Information By Kathleen Salkaln


Joel Ward wins
Hectic Holidays Contest

Joel Ward of Cross City wins the Hectic Holidays Contest
Joel Ward is seen here with the envelope holding the $100 gift card to BubbaQue’s that he won, thanks to Inky the cat Hardison selecting his name from among the names of people who found a turkey leg hidden in ads.

Story and Photo
By Jeff M. Hardison © Nov. 16, 2020 at 3:10 p.m.
Joel Ward of Dixie County won the $100 gift card to BubbaQue’s and he was presented the award Monday (Nov. 16) at high noon on the steps of the Dixie County Courthouse in Cross City.

Jeff and Inky select the winner
CLICK ON THE STILL PHOTO ABOVE TO SEE THE VIDEO of Inky the cat Hardison selecting the winning name from those that entered. Goldy the cat Hardison (senior mascot) is in the foreground on the floor.
Video By Sharon Hardison

     Ward is among the winners in the Here’s To 10 Years! theme, which celebrates HardisonInk.com being a successful daily online news website continuing in its 10th year.
     He is among the contestants who found a turkey leg hidden in different ads on each of the seven pages of HardisonInk.com between Nov. 6 and Nov. 13. Having entered several of the daily news website’s contests before, Ward said he was happy to have won this one.
     Congratulations to Joel Ward on winning! Thank you to all of our readers, contest participants and advertisers for keeping HardisonInk.com able to thrive as a business.
     “I’m thinking we will have at least one more contest before we start our 11th year on Feb. 1, 2021,” sole proprietor Jeff M. Hardison said. “I’ll be talking to Sharon Hardison and our cats about this in the near future.”


Tri-County Area residents
participate in
the Walk to End Alzheimer’s

Walk For Alzheimers Levy and Gilchrist Counties Florida
Seen here at Otter Springs Park and Campground near the Walk to End Alzheimer’s display are (from left) Park Manager and caregiver Debbie Destin, Caregiver Support Group Facilitator Kathryn Lancaster, Early Stage participant Margaret Nottingham, Philip Lancaster and a visiting family.

Story and Photos Provided
By Janet Minor
Published Nov. 13, 2020 at 7:10 p.m.
On Saturday, October 17, two groups in the Tri-County area celebrated Walk to End Alzheimer’s.


Walk For Alzheimers Levy and Gilchrist Counties Florida
Seen here at Fanning Springs State Park are Kathryn Lancaster and Caregiver Support Group Co-facilitator Eddie Jean Williams as they enjoy a beautiful walk.

     One of the groups celebrated at Otter Springs Park and Campground in Gilchrist County and the other group celebrated at Fanning Springs State Park in Levy County. Both places are scenic locations near the Suwannee River, which touches Dixie, Gilchrist and Levy counties.
     “This year due to the pandemic we changed the Walk Day format to ensure everyone’s safety,” said Terry Boynton, director of the Gainesville Walk to End Alzheimer’s. “Instead of gathering as a large group in Gainesville, this year’s Walk is ‘everywhere.’ I thought it was a great idea when Kathryn Lancaster, who is employed by our national sponsor Edward Jones, volunteered to offer a way (in which) Walk teams in these counties could safely walk in small groups.”
     Lancaster, who would normally have to drive an hour to get to the nearest Walk in Gainesville, shared how this cause is important to her.
     “I lost my mother to Alzheimer’s and showing support for the Alzheimer’s Association is incredibly important to me,” Lancaster said. “My goal was to bring awareness to the Tri-County Area that the Alzheimer’s Association is here and is looking to help people dealing with any form of dementia.”
     The walk in Otter Springs Park and Campground was open to the general public. Debbie Destin, the manager of the park, and her mother, Margaret Nottingham, attended. Nottingham is 95 years old and has dementia.
     Lancaster’s husband, Philip, volunteered at the Otter Springs location by marking a designated area to walk with decorated start and finish line areas. The walk was not intended to be long, but was scenic and relaxing. CDC
     Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations related to the health and safety of participants, due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, were adhered to.
     The walk at Fanning Springs State Park was smaller. Due to state rules, there was a limit of 10 people, and most of the participants were caregivers and people with dementia from a local support group.
     Lancaster, who is also the co-facilitator of an Alzheimer’s support group, shared, “The majority of Alzheimer’s and dementia caretakers either become disabled or die before their patient. This disease is so different from others because it affects relationships. It is so important that caretakers and patients get the help they need. If you are interested in joining the support group, it meets virtually the second Thursday of every month at 1:30 p.m.”
     Participants noted their appreciation to Mebane Cory-Ogden, the state park manager for parks in the region, for getting the participants special permission to walk at Fanning Springs, ForVets Inc. for supporting the walk at Otter Springs Park and Campground. They noted they especially appreciate the Alzheimer’s Association for all it has done.

Berlon Weeks contends
his resignation is not valid
Town Council disagrees
– court action seems likely

W. Blake Fugate at Bronson Town Council on Nov. 9, 2020
In this photo captured from a video provided by the Town of Bronson upon request, attorney W. Blake Fugate walks away from the podium after making a presentation to show reason to believe the Town Council erred in its 3-1 vote to accept an alleged resignation by Berlon Weeks from Town Council. A judge may be approached by attorney Fugate as the counselor may seek to for a judge to enjoin the town and force it to admit Weeks never resigned.

By Jeff M. Hardison © Nov. 10, 2020 at 9:10 p.m.
     BRONSON –
Berlon Weeks, a man who the Bronson Town Council voted 3-1 to accept his alleged resignation from Town Council, brought attorney W. Blake Fugate to the regular Council meeting Monday night (Nov. 9) to contest that situation.
     Attorney Fugate told the Town Council, with Town Attorney Steven Warm “present” via Zoom, that Florida law requires for a resignation such as Weeks’ alleged resignation to be valid and binding, it must be unambiguous, non-contingent, immediate, clear and unmistakable.
     Fugate listened to the tape recording from the meeting where Weeks became upset and walked out of the meeting, and what the attorney heard showed him that his client’s verbiage failed to meet the mandatory standard required for the resignation to be valid.
     Town Attorney Warm, Fugate said, conceded that the statements Weeks made were of a future intent and not a current resignation. Those statements of future intent, Fugate said, do not create a resignation and they do not subsequently create a vacancy in the seat on Bronson Town Council where Weeks sat.
     Attorney Fugate said all that his client sought Monday night (Nov. 9) was recognition by the Town Council that he is a member of the Council and for him to again sit in his seat as a representative of the people of Bronson.
     Weeks never stopped being a Town Council member, Fugate contends. Weeks’ term has another nine or 10 months to go, Fugate added, and his client has said he will not seek reelection.
     Countering Fugate’s presentation, Town Attorney Warm said he was not certain enough about Weeks’ intent to resign, and that is why he wanted the Council members who were there when Weeks made his statements to take a vote on whether Weeks was resigning. As noted, the vote was not unanimous.
     Mayor Beatrice Roberts, and councilmen Aaron Edmondson and Robert Partin previously voted that Weeks did resign. Vice Mayor Hunt previously voted that Weeks did not resign. There was no vote in regard to this matter on Nov. 9.
     Warm said he believes the action of Council was fair and proper when it chose previously to accept the alleged resignation. There is a need now, Warm said, to fill the vacancy by appointment. The Town Council can choose to appoint Weeks to fill the vacancy, Warm added.
     Fugate argued against statements by Warm. Only the governor could have removed Weeks or only Weeks could have created that vacancy by resigning, and Weeks maintains that he never actually resigned.
     Town Council cannot create a vacancy to be filled, Fugate said, as he noted what he felt was incorrect verbiage by Warm. Also, there was not an unambiguous and unmistakable statement by Weeks that he was immediately resigning, Fugate repeatedly stressed to the municipality’s leaders. Weeks did not vacate his position by resignation, Fugate argued.
     Mayor Roberts said there was a 3-1 vote to accept the resignation. Weeks resigned, and the seat is vacant, Mayor Roberts said. The mayor would not entertain any other condition as being true.
     Fugate explained to Vice Mayor Hunt, when Hunt asked, that the next step will be for the plaintiff to seek a judge to enjoin the Town of Bronson to force it to concede that Weeks is still a member of Bronson Town Council.
     The attorney went on to say an additional action is to be sought for the town to pay the attorney’s fees that were required for Weeks to be sitting in the seat, from whence he never resigned, according to the argument of Weeks.
     Fugate said he would prefer not to take these actions, including forcing the town to pay his fees. Instead, Fugate again asked the town leaders to simply resolve this issue now by conceding the Council had erred in declaring the resignation to be valid. Welcome Weeks to be seated at the dais.
     Fugate said Bronson is his second favorite city, and he does not want the town to be forced by a judgment to pay his fees. Williston, his hometown, is presumably his favorite city, although he did not say that during that meeting. Gainesville, where Fugate graduated from the University of Florida Fredric G. Levin College of Law, may be his favorite city. In any event, Bronson is his second favorite town, according to what he said Monday night.
     There was no action by Town Council to honor Weeks’ request as presented by his attorney.


Williston resident earns
Community Service Award

Williston Florida AARP
Drollene Brown (left) presents the AARP Community Service Award to Mignon Craig.

Story and Photos Provided
By Drollene P. Brown
Published Nov. 7, 2020 at 9:10 a.m.
Williston resident Mignon Craig has won a prestigious Community Service Award granted by AARP and its seed organization the National Retired Teachers Association (NRTA).

Williston Florida
Exercising proper pandemic hygiene methods to reduce the spread of COVID-19 by wearing masks while being together to congratulate Mignon Craig on her award are (from left) Dorothy Whiteman, Drollene Brown, Craig, Betty Fender and Sharon Reynolds.

     Drollene Brown, who nominated Craig for the award, presented the announcement letter and commemorative plaque to the honoree on Thursday (Nov. 5) at a local outdoor lunch venue.
     Present for the announcement were fellow members of the Williston Area AARP Chapter 912 -- Dorothy Whiteman, treasurer; Betty Fender, vice president; and Sharon Reynolds, past president. Craig is the current president of the chapter.
     The letter accompanying the plaque noted “AARP is delighted to recognize you with this Community Service Award and commemorative gift for all the good you have done in your community over the past year.
     “Your efforts have enriched the lives of friends and neighbors and made your community a better place to live. I join with your AARP State Office team in honoring you for the tremendous gifts of your time and talent.
     “Every year, AARP joins organizations and communities across the country in recognizing exemplary volunteers such as yourself [sic] and inviting others to follow their example. Dr. Ethel Percy Andrus, AARP’s founder, once said ‘…to our thousands of volunteers, words of appreciation for their enthusiasm, admiration for their fire, interest and energy, pride in the magnanimity that keeps alive the American spirit of neighbor helping  neighbor and together helping their community become a neighborhood.’
     “On behalf of the members and staff of AARP and NRTA, thank you for your exemplary service and congratulations on being selected for this honor. Please accept my best wishes for the future!”
     The letter is signed by JoAnn C. Jenkins, CEO of AARP.
     Although all AARP chapter meetings across the country have been suspended for the duration of 2020, the entire membership of Chapter 912 joins together to congratulate Mignon Craig for this well-deserved award.


Gilchrist County Rotarians
enjoy best
Purple Pinkie fundraiser so far

Gilchrist County Rotary Club Purple Pinkie Day 2020
Story and Photos
By Holly Creel, Rotarian
Provided Nov. 5, 2020 at 6:07 a.m.
Published Nov. 6, 2020 at 4:10 p.m.
     TRENTON --
The Rotary Club of Gilchrist County enjoyed the club's best Purple Pinkie Fundraiser in its history of doing this fun event.


Gilchrist County Rotary Club Purple Pinkie Day 2020

Gilchrist County Rotary Club Purple Pinkie Day 2020


Gilchrist County Rotary Club Purple Pinkie Day 2020
Bell High School Health Academy students demonstrate their desire to serve others by assisting the Gilchrist County Rotarians.

     The total raised was $1,124 from Trenton Elementary School and Bell Elementary School combined. These monies will flow to Rotary International to help vaccinate children in other countries where polio, a dreaded disease, is still prevalent.
     October is Polio Awareness Month and the club held its Purple Pinkie fundraiser on Oct. 22.
     The club wants to note its special thanks to the teachers and staff at both elementary schools as well as to the parents who contributed to the event.
     The children always enjoy getting their "pinkies" painted purple!
     This tradition comes from the process used in other countries. After a child was vaccinated, his or her finger was painted with gentian violet (a simple antiseptic dye colored deep purple) to let the medical staff know that child already had been vaccinated -- thereby avoiding a repeat of the dosing. 
     At Bell Elementary School, the Health Academy students from Bell High School helped with the event. The Rotarians note a special thanks to those students who joined in the fun! Rotarians had a great day and often admit to this being one of our favorite events.
     It is such a joy to see how much fun the children have getting a purple pinkie! Thanks to all who helped to make this day such a huge success.


Dixie County Public Library
Gets New Sign In Cross City

Dixie County Public Library in Cross City Florida
The Dixie County Library, 16328 N. U.S. Highway 19, in Cross City, recently had a new sign installed. This library is part of the Three Rivers Library System.


Dixie County Public Library in Cross City Florida
The current hours of the Dixie County Public Library in Cross City are 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. but the staff is there until 5:30 p.m., Dixie County Public Library Director Cindy Bellot said. That gives them time to wipe down all of the surfaces and get ready for the next day. No face masks are required; however the library staff expects people to use common sense during the global COVID-19 pandemic, and the Florida Department of Health advises wearing face masks, as well as using other methods to reduce the spread of this extremely contagious and potentially fatal virus.

Dixie County Public Library in Cross City Florida

Dixie County Public Library in Cross City Florida
Staff members of this library clean every item returned by patrons and then quarantine the items for three days before returning them to the shelves for other patrons to check out. These books and movies are clean, Bellot said.

Photos by Jeff M. Hardison © Oct. 31, 2020 at 11:10 a.m.


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