Fallen Officers Honored
WPD and LCSO Memorial
On Tuesday (May 15), the Williston Police Department and Levy County Sheriff's Office conducted a memorial service to recognize the WPD officer and LCSO deputy who died in the line of duty over the past several decades. In the top photo (from left) are Levy County Sheriff Bobb McCollum, County Commissioner Mike Joyner, WPD Chief Dennis Strow, WPD Administrative Assistant Brooke Willis, County Judge Tim Browning and WPD Chaplain the Rev. Charlz Caulwell.


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WPD Chief Dennis Strow provided the opening remarks. Williston City Council Vice President Marguerite Robinson led the Pledge of Allegiance. WPD Chaplain the Rev. Charlz Caulwell gave the invocation. WPD Administrative Assistant Brooke Willis spoke about WPD Cpl. David W. Moss, who died in the line of duty on July 30, 1988. Levy County Sheriff Bobby McCallum spoke about LCSO Deputy A. Hagood Ellzey. Levy County Judge Tim Browning was the keynote speaker.

Chief Dennis Strow

Brooke Willis

Judge Tim Browning

Closing remarks were by Sheriff McCallum. Taps was performed by Glenn Robinson with Carolyn McLain singing Amazing Grace. Levy County Commissioner Mike Joyner, a retired law enforcement officer, provided the dismissal.
Published May 19, 2018 at 8:08 a.m.

Photos Courtesy of Brooke Willis

Rotarians hear about SRWMD
SRWMD Hugh Thomas, Jo Buckles Gilchrist County Rotary Club
(from left) Hugh Thomas, Rotarian Jo Buckles and Rotary President Bob Clemons

Story and Photo
Submitted May 14, 2018
By Holly Creel, Rotarian
Published May 16, 2018 at 9:08 a.m.
      TRENTON --
Suwannee River Water Management District (SRWMD) Executive Director Hugh Thomas served as the guest speaker during the Monday afternoon (May 14) meeting of the Rotary Club of Gilchrist County at the Woman's Club in Trenton.
     Thomas, a Bell High School graduate, became SRWMD executive director in 2017, after his entire career prepared him for this position, especially his tenure with the Florida Department of Agriculture.
     Thomas loves the outdoors and hunting and fishing!
     Thomas gave the members and guest present that day an overview of the many projects and grants the SRWMD is working on.
     These projects include the acquisition of the Rock Bluff Springs Area and making it accessible by road with camping and a boardwalk so that it is more like a park.
     Some of the other projects are reducing the nitrates and phosphorus in the 15-county SRWMD water supply, the Ichetucknee Springshed Water Quality Improvement Project, the Fanning Springs Water Quality Improvement Project, Agriculture Program Benefits Water Conservation with soil moisture probes (since 2015), and Pump and Treat Technology.
     He showed listeners that the SRWMD is working on many initiatives to make the water the best it can be!
     The Gilchrist County Rotarian in the Spotlight is Jo Buckles! Everyone knows Buckles! Buckles graduated from the University of Florida as a Registered Dietitian specializing in children's nutrition. Interestingly, many of the nutritional and eating issues for children are similar in older adults. Buckles joined Ayers after graduation in 1982, and she loves her job as Administrator for Ayers Health and Rehabilitation in Trenton.
     Chef's Table Bistro provided a hearty lunch of delicious ribs, coleslaw, baked beans, garlic bread and cupcakes. Rotarian Andrew Nguyen played piano for the enjoyment of all.

Civil servants honored
Chiefland Civil Servants Honored
(from left) Mayor Betty Walker, Deputy City Clerk Laura Cain, City Manager Mary Ellzey, CPD Officer Melissa Watkins and Police Chief Scott Anderson pose for a photo after the presentations Tuesday evening (May 14).

Story and Photos
By Jeff M. Hardison © May 15, 2018 at 4:08 p.m.
The Chiefland City Commission on Tuesday night (May 14) honored three city employees as those civil servants heralded milestones in their careers as employees of the city.
     Honored by the presentation of certificates of appreciation and words of praise were City Manager Mary Ellzey, who has worked for the city for 35 years; Deputy City Clerk Laura Cain, who has worked for the city for 15 years; and Chiefland Police Officer Melissa Watkins, who has worked for the city for five years.

Mayor Betty Walker and City Manager Mary Ellzey
Mayor Betty Walker (left) tells everyone that City Manager Mary Ellzey is an extraordinary person.

     Mayor Betty Walker presented Ellzey with her certificate.
     “Mary is an extraordinary person,” Mayor Walker said of City Manager Ellzey. “She always tries to put people first and she solves problems.”
     The mayor added that Ellzey is very frugal with the city’s funds. Mayor Walker said for decades now Ellzey has trained city managers, and finally she was placed in that post.


Deputy City Clerk Laura Cain (left) holds her certificate as City Manager Mary Ellzey tells about how Cain helps her.

     City Manager Ellzey presented Deputy City Clerk Cain with her certificate.
     Ellzey noted that Cain begin her work for the city at "the city barn" in 2003 and then was brought to City Hall (the Hardy Dean Sr. Municipal Building) in 2013 as a staff assistant.
     In 2014, when Ellzey became city manager, she assigned Cain to Ellzey's former post as deputy city clerk. The city manager of Chiefland is the city clerk as well as city manager.
     “She is a hard worker,” Ellzey said. “She is very professional. She is very diligent, and I couldn’t do my job without her.”


Police Chief Scott Anderson (left) congratulates Officer Melissa Watkins on her five years of service in the CPD.

     Police Chief Scott Anderson presented Officer Watkins with her certificate.
     Chief Anderson noted that Officer Watkins participate in field training on her own, unpaid time.
     Officer Watkins has earned four written commendations "for her dedication to the citizens of Chiefland," Chief Anderson said.
     She recently started a non-perishable food donation box at the CPD office to help people in need, the chief said.

     "It is a great honor to recognize Officer Watkins for her five years of dedicated service," Chief Anderson said, "to the citizens of Chiefland."

Gilchrist County Rotarian
puts service above self
in many manners

Rotary President Bob Clemons (left) and Rotary Treasurer and Fishing Committee Chair Charlie Smith

Story and Photo
By Holly Creel, Gilchrist County Rotarian
Published May 8, 2018 at 5:08 p.m.
     TRENTON --
The Gilchrist Rotary Club met on May 7 and Rotarian Charlie Smith stole the show!
     Not only was Smith the keynote speaker for the day, but he was also the Rotarian in the Spotlight as well as the chairman of the Gilchrist County Rotary Club (carrying forward from the Trenton Rotary Club) 10th Annual Fishing Tournament -- which will be held this weekend.
     Smith reported that the Calcutta and Captain's Dinner are scheduled to be held at 6 p.m. on Friday, May 11, at the Salt Creek Restaurant in the Town of Suwannee (Dixie County) and the tournament will be on Saturday May 12 at the Suwannee Marina.
     Everyone is invited to join in this fun fundraiser! Participants can register to fish in the fresh or inshore division at or register on-site at the Friday evening Captain's Dinner.
     As the Gilchrist County Rotarian in the Spotlight, Smith gave a humorous and entertaining story of his life chronology. Smith grew up in St. Petersburg and graduated from Florida State University with a degree in accounting.
     He did attend the University of Florida for one year and so some members of the Gilchrist County Rotary Club think he has a little more Gator in him than he would like to admit!
     Smith and his wife, Ann, moved to Gilchrist County in 1984 as they were attracted to the beautiful rivers. He joined Alliance Dairies in 2005 as that company’s Chief Financial Officer. Smith and Ann have a son and a daughter and if you want to see Smith really light up, ask him about his twin grandsons!
     As the Gilchrist County Rotary Club Treasurer, Smith gave an update on the club's financial standings and provided a balance sheet of its income and expenses. Smith is an integral member of the Gilchrist County Rotary Club. Members of the club appreciate his energy, enthusiasm and hard work.
     Chef's Table Bistro catered the luncheon of chicken, salad, broccoli and potatoes with cheese sauce, garlic bread and chocolate cake. Rotarian Andrew Nguyen played piano for the enjoyment of all in attendance.

Woman's Club Officers Installed

At the May general meeting of Yankeetown Inglis Woman’s Club, new officers and committee chairs were installed. The elected officers for the 2018-2019 Year are President Helen Ciallella, First Vice President Connie Wonsik, Second Vice President Willie Tucker, Recording Secretary Kat Atherley, Corresponding Secretary Pam Zadorzany, and Treasurer Terri Norton. The Yankeetown Inglis Woman’s Club is continuing to 'Make it Better' since 1965. In this photo (from left), are the 2018-2019 Yankeetown Inglis Woman's Club Officers - Treasurer Terri Norton, Corresponding Secretary Pam Zadorzany, Recording Secretary Kat Atherley, Second Vice President Willie Tucker, First Vice President Connie Wonsik and President Helen Ciallella.
Published May 6, 2018 at 11:48 a.m.

Photo and Information By Poco French


Cedar Key Lions
celebrate Golden Anniversary

Among the many honored guests are (from left, standing behind the table) Bobby Wright, Blanche Day, Bob Melnick, Diane Melnick, Neil Spencer and Sue Colson.

Information and Photos
Provided by Cedar Key Lions Club
Published May 2, 2018 at 8:58 a.m.
     CEDAR KEY --
Cedar Key Lions Club President Dale Register beamed as he took the podium to welcome over 65 dignitaries, community leaders, club members and guests to the Cedar Key Lions Club’s 50th Anniversary Celebration.


Burton J. Walrath Jr.

Cedar Key Lions Club President Dale Register
     On Tuesday evening (April 24), the Cedar Key Community Center was comfortably crowded for the festivities. In his opening remarks, Register took special care to recognize those individuals and families that helped form the club in 1968.
     Among those honored were Burton J. Walrath, Jr., Charter Member 1968; Lion Bill Delaino, representing his Father, W. E. Delaino, Charter Member 1968; Ronnie Taylor and his mother Louise Taylor representing his father, Floyd Taylor, Charter Member 1968; and Incoming Cedar Key Lions Club President Lion Mike Hodges and his mother Francis Hodges, representing his father, Gene Hodges, Charter President 1968.
     Numerous dignitaries from Lions Clubs International were on hand to honor Cedar Key’s half century of service to the community.
     Those dignitaries attending included Lion Neil Spencer, Past International Director; Lion Diane Melnick, District Governor; Lion Bob Melnick, Past District Governor; Lion Bobby Wright, Incoming District Governor; Lion Blanche Day, Chairperson for Lions Quest; Lion Tony Stefanowicz, Past District Governor; Lion Ralph Vierling, Turkey Creek Lions; Lion Jerry Skufe, Past District Governor; Lion Bob Barto, Past District Governor; Lion Dick Donaldson, District Treasurer; Lion Mary Spry, Zone Chairperson; and representing the City of Cedar Key, Vice Mayor Sue Colson.
     Also attending her first meeting was the Cedar Key Lions Club’s newest member, Lion Dog Sola Bushnell.  Sola is a comfort dog, that now travels with Cedar Key Lions KidSight program volunteers as they screen children across Levy County. 
     Lion Stephen Rosenthal, a former Cedar Key Lions Club President, offered the Lions traditional toast to commemorate the evening.
     Immediately following Rosenthal’s salute, the crowd settled in for a genuine Cedar Key style meal. Incoming President Mike Hodges offered up his cooking skills with a low country boil, plus steamed Cedar Key clams and shrimp.
     Smoked chicken accompanied by Lion Anna Hodges’ homemade potato salad satisfied the landlubber appetites in the crowd.
     The dessert table featured Lion Susan Rosenthal’s blue and gold Lion logo candies. Lion Joan Selby’s fresh fruit plate was enjoyed by guests, as was a vanilla-chocolate marbled cake decorated with the Lions’ logo and 50th Anniversary message.
     After the dinner, Lions Club Past International Director Neil Spencer joined current Lions Club District Governor Diane Melnick and Cedar Key Vice Mayor Sue Colson in remarking on the accomplishments of the Cedar Key Lions Club over the past 50 years.
     District Governor Diane Melnick reminisced about her first encounters with the Cedar Key Lions Club, recalling her early days as a Zone Chairperson. In her introduction of Past International Director Neil Spencer, Melnick cited his professional career at Kennedy Space Center for Boeing.
     She also mentioned Spencer’s many Lions Club posts including club president, zone chair, vice district governor, district governor, convention chair, lion of the year and more. 
     After sharing greetings from Lions Clubs International Board of Directors, Past International Director Neil Spencer framed his remarks around historical facts from 1968, the year of Cedar Key Club’s founding.
     Spencer then went on to recount Cedar Key Lions 50 years history of service to the community and compliment the Club on its outstanding leadership.
     Mentioning the Seafood Festival, KidSight Vision Screening, and other successful programs by the Cedar Key Lions Club, Spencer praised the Lions Club for providing everyday miracles of service in the community. 
     Incoming Cedar Key Lions Club President Mike Hodges spoke next and revealed that he had not known that his father, Gene Hodges, was Charter President of the Club. Mike went on to reaffirm his sense of pride in following in Gene’s footsteps, by assuming the role of club president 50 years after his father’s term.
     Citing the growth of Cedar Key, Hodges pledged to keep the community’s trust while continuing to expand the Club’s service to the city of Cedar Key.  
     Vice Mayor Colson concluded the evening’s remarks by reminding everyone attending that incoming Club President Hodges is a working waterfront person with saltwater in his shoes.
     Colson prompted Hodges and all those attending to remember the importance of holding onto the island roots while moving forward into the future.

Paddlers and others enjoy
41st Annual Wild Hog
Canoe and Kayak Race

* Updated with race results at the bottom

Keith Maynard, president of the Wild Hog Canoe and Kayak Race, stands with LARC Executive Director Betty Walker, as she transports freshly cooked French fries. The multi-talented Walker is also the mayor of Chiefland.

Story, Photos and Video
By Jeff M. Hardison © April 29, 2018 at 8:48 p.m.
* Updated April 30, 2018 at 3:48 p.m.
With Photos Also Provided by Andy Fischer
The daylong event that drew more than 100 canoeists and kayakers to Levy County again included food, music, games and other fun activities at the finish line on Saturday (April 28).


In this three-part short set of video clips, the first canoeist (Brint Adams) crosses the final log and then the finish line. This event is followed in these clips by a few seconds of bluegrass music by the Orange Blossom Ramblers -- and then the full ride on a mechanical bull by County Commission Vice Chairman Mike Joyner, who lasted far longer than the 8-seconds requirement for a successful bull ride.

Volunteers help patrons get food. Here, a member of the Levy County Sheriff's Office Citizens On Patrol obtains a lunch. The COP officers had a slightly easier time this year than in many past years, because a huge parking area has been provided -- in contrast with years past, when and where people would park in the grassy median of U.S. Highway 19 and on the sides of that busy road.

Keith Maynard, Rodney Wade and Justin Maynard pause for a photo opportunity. Keith Maynard the leader of the Wild Hog Canoe And Kayak Race for several years now, said Wade is a significant contributor to the activity to help LARC. The banner that marks the finish line is among the donations Wade has provided. He is the owner of Wade Custom Homes, which has a home office in Trenton.

The Orange Blossom Ranglers perform.

There were plenty of opportunities for children to enjoy inflatable bounce houses and slides.

Levy County Commission Vice Chairman Mike Joyner rides a mechanical bull after County Judge Tim Browning said he would donate another $20 to LARC if the commissioner rode it.

Among the cooks for 200 hotdogs and 200 hamburgers was Terance J. Reed of Reed Automotive, a potential candidate for the Levy County Board of County Commissioners’ seat currently held by County Commissioner Rock Meeks.

Crossing the log
The final log to cross (above) before the home stretch to the finish line provides many photo opportunities.

Paddling along the stretch between the final log and the finish line is -- the home stretch.

* The three photos below are by Andy Fischer and they show a tribute to two fallen deputies, as well as some of the fun in the water near the finish line of the 15-mile race.
#Gilchrist Strong - We Back The Blue

Here is a picture of the canoe painted by the Maynard family, sponsors of the Wild Hog Canoe And Kayak Race, in honor of the late Gilchrist County Sheriff's Office Sgt. Noel Ramirez and the late GCSO Deputy Taylor Lindsey. Daniel Maynard was in the race this year in this canoe, despite having either a severely sprained or broken ankle.
Photo by Andy Fischer © April 29, 2018 at 11:48 p.m.

     Brint Adams in canoe number 11 was the very person and first vessel involved in the competition to cross the finish line, after the boats had launched about 15 miles upstream a couple of hours earlier.
     The 41st Annual Wild Hog Canoe and Kayak Race this year showed Keith Maynard, president of the Wild Hog Canoe Race of Gulf Hammock, and his wife Debbie Maynard, and their family members, Justin Maynard, Daniel Maynard, Erica Maynard and Leah Maynard, and Patrick Walsh and Bobby Dash, and many, many other volunteers had once again made it all come together in perfect harmony.
     The first racers launched at 9:30 a.m.
     And just as every year there is joy to be found from the fun and positive cause that drives the event, there are differences every year too.
     The water was higher this year than last year. There have been a few years when it seemed to canoeists that they carried their watercraft more than the time they sat in them paddling.
     This year, an unplanned twist provided some twisting, turning, mechanical bucking and eventually a drop to the ground from a mechanical bull.
     Levy County Commission Vice Chairman Mike Joyner accepted a challenge by Levy County Court Judge Tim Browning to ride the mechanical bull if the judge would donate another $20 to the cause of Levy Association for Retarded Citizens -- the single charity for this event.
     Some traditions that have started are continuing. There was a wild hog that was part of the event this year as has happened traditionally in recent years.
     All proceeds from the race go to help the Levy Association for Retarded Citizens. LARC, as it is commonly known, is a facility located in the town of Otter Creek. LARC is a place where people who have certain disabilities are helped with learning life skills, and they are shown they have different abilities through a loving and caring process with staff who respect the people who are put in their hands for a period of time.
     LARC Executive Director Betty Walker was at the finish line again this year, as well as cooking French fries and helping in other ways too.
     County Commissioner Lilly Rooks was on the scene as she has been for many years.
     Once again, children who were at the finishing point of the race had plenty to do. There were a few huge inflatable toys for children to enjoy as they slid on them or bounced in them.
     The menu for food included barbecue dinners, bowls of swamp cabbage (from palm cabbage trees), hotdogs, hamburgers and drinks. Among the cooks for 200 hotdogs and 200 hamburgers was Terance J. Reed of Reed Automotive, a potential candidate for the Levy County Board of County Commissioners’ seat currently held by County Commissioner Rock Meeks. By the afternoon, there were many other notable people at the event as well.
     The music was pleasant this year, and it has been wonderful every year. The Orange Blossom RamblerS of Summerfield performed. This band includes Doris Branham, Roger Branham, Randal Cook, Amos Hatfield, Gary Medders and Jim Daniels.
     Of course, the paddlers were plentiful and as the afternoon went on they came swooping into the area to cross the finish line. And as may have been anticipated, a good time was had by all.
     Andrew Hersh is the official timekeeper and he said he will provide results to in the near future to show who won with which times in the various classifications.


Levy County Mosquito Control
issues a reminder

Published March 12, 2018 at 4:28 p.m.
     BRONSON --
The Levy County Mosquito Control Department issued a reminder Monday (March 12) to help reduce the odds of being bitten by mosquitos.
     Dusk and Dawn are the times of day when mosquitos are most active. When possible, should avoid being outside at those times. When outdoors, remember the 3 Ds -- Drain, Dress and Defend.
     Many mosquito problems in a neighborhood are likely to come from water-filled containers that the resident, can help to eliminate. All mosquitos require water in which to breed. Drain any standing water around the house.
     ● Dispose any tires.  Tires can breed thousands of mosquitoes.
     ● Drill holes in the bottom of recycling containers.
     ● Clear roof gutters of debris.
     ● Clean pet water dishes regularly.
     ● Check and empty children’s toys.
     ● Repair leaky outdoor faucets.
     ● Change the water in bird baths at least once a week.
     ● Canoes and other boats should be turned over.
     ● Avoid water collecting on pool covers and tarps.
     ● Plug tree holes.
     ● Even the smallest container can collect and breed hundreds to thousands of mosquitoes.

     Wear light colored, loose fitting clothing. When practical, wear long sleeves and pants. Studies have shown that some of the 174 mosquito species in the United States are more attracted to dark clothing.
     Choose a mosquito repellent that has been registered by the Environmental Protection Agency. Registered products have been reviewed, approved and pose minimal risk for human safety when used according to label directions. Three repellents that are approved and recommended are:
     ● DEET (N, N-diethyl-m-toluamide) 
     ● Picaridin (KBR 3023)
     ● Oil of lemon eucalyptus (p-methane 3,8-diol, or PMD)
Rules to remember when using repellents:
     ● Read the directions on the label carefully before applying.
     ● Apply repellent sparingly, only to exposed skin (not on clothing).
     ● Keep repellents away from eyes, nostrils and lips: do not inhale or ingest repellents or get them into the eyes.
     ● The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) suggests that DEET-based repellents can be used on children as young as two months of age. Generally, The AAP recommends concentrations of 10% of less, unless disease risk is imminent, then concentration can be increased to 30% or less.
     ● Avoid applying repellents to portions of children’s hands that are likely to have contact with eyes or mouth.
     ● Pregnant and nursing women should minimize use of repellents.
     ● Never use repellents on wounds or irritated skin.
     ● Use repellent sparingly and reapply as needed.  Saturation does not increase efficacy.
     ● Wash repellent-treated skin after coming indoors.
     ● If a suspected reaction to insect repellents occurs, wash treated skin, and call a physician.  Take the repellent container to the physician.
     For more information call Levy County Mosquito Control at 352-486-5127 or go to the website by clicking HERE.



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