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Chiefland Flea Market closing
at 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday
and then until further notice

By Jeff M. Hardison © March 27, 2020 at 6:10 p.m.
The Chiefland Farmers Flea Market is open only until 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday (March 28 and 29), and then it will be closed until further notice, owner Sonny Griffeth said.


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     Griffeth said he wants his vendors and customers to all remain safe as possible.
     The flea market is an excellent place to buy and sell things, and to socialize with people. However, with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommending that people stay six feet apart from each other, and to not go to places where more than 10 people gather, that really puts the kibosh on the flea market.
     The flea market will be open this Saturday and Sunday from 8 a.m. until 2 p.m.
     After Sunday at 2 p.m., Griffeth said, the Chiefland Farmers Flea Market will be closed until further notice.
     Griffeth said people come from far and near to enjoy everything at the flea market. While they are having fun, though, they may be endangering themselves and others. And so, as a concerned business owner, Griffeth said he sees no option other than to close after Sunday afternoon until it is safer for customers and vendors.


Friends of the Williston Library
host author of
book about autism;

Teresia Dulaney
shares tips on how to raise a ‘Superhero’

Friends of Williston Library - Autism Program
The Brothers Delaney, Tom and Jack, travel with mother Teresia when she shares about the family’s journey learning about ASD, autism spectrum disorder. Tom is autistic, and Jack has Aspergers.

By Lisa Statham Posteraro
Photos By Jack Dulaney
Published March 24, 2020 at 9:10 p.m.
Autism. Aspergers. It’s probably safe to say that the average American has heard or read one of these terms.

Friends of Williston Florida Library book on autism
'Tommy Man' poses in the 'superhero' costume he designed himself. He also gave himself that name. The autistic young man is the son of Teresia and John Dulaney of Bronson.

Friends of Williston Florida Library book on autism
Published in 2019, How to Train a Superhero: A Story of Autism was written by Teresia Dulaney, mother to two grown sons who are on the autism spectrum. On the cover is son Tom, who has autism and is the main star of the book.

Friends of Williston Florida Library book on autism
The small crowd at the Williston Public Library for the recent program about ASD, autism spectrum disorder, was conducive for questions and discussions during the presentation by Teresia Dulaney, author of the book How to Train a Superhero: A Story of Autism.

     Maybe you remember the character “Jerry” on Boston Legal, a bright lawyer who exhibited what some would call unusual behavior; before he could communicate, especially if he became excited, he would slap his thighs several times with his hands… and he would be brutally honest about sharing his feelings and observations.
     It has been theorized by some scholars that Albert Einstein, Isaac Newton and other genius types exhibited behaviors which would, today, fall somewhere on the autism spectrum.
     Last month, the Friends of the Williston Library hosted a program about autism, a serious developmental disorder which impairs one’s ability to communicate and interact. Since no two individuals exhibit the same behaviors, experts have labeled the condition as “autism spectrum disorder,” or ASD.
     Teresia Dean Dulaney from Bronson was the presenter since she and her husband John, a retired education administrator, are quite knowledgeable about ASD; first born son Jack, 32, was diagnosed with Aspergers at age 7, and Tommy, 30, who was diagnosed at 5, is autistic.
     Dulaney’s very personal experiences prompted her to write a book about rearing the boys, primarily Tommy. She titled it How to Train a Superhero: A Story of Autism. She has been led to share her family’s journey to help educate more people about ASD.
     Dulaney’s PowerPoint presentation gave a general overview of what is currently known about the condition.
     ● Common symptoms include difficulty with communication, difficulty with social interactions, obsessive interests, and repetitive behaviors.
     ● Early recognition, as well as behavioral, educational, and family therapies may reduce symptoms and support development and learning.
     Other behaviors which could indicate that someone might be on the autism spectrum; some might include abnormal body posturing or facial expressions, avoidance of or poor eye contact, inappropriate social interaction, lack of empathy or understand social cues, not interacting with peers, repeating words or phrases and unusual reactions in social situations.
     In addition to explaining what ASD is, Dulaney offered advice from her perspective to parents, caregivers and the general public. First, to parents:
     ● Learn how your child processes things.
     ● Expect the same from them as you would anyone else.
     ● Know what their learning style is (visual, auditory, tactile).
     ● Recognize the areas of their development that are delayed; find strategies to strengthen them.
     ● Know that there will be a lot of trial and error; you will make mistakes.
     ● Find what motivates them and use it to achieve the goals you have set for them.
     ● Know that not all discipline is created equal.
     ● Use their obsessions and channel them into productive activity.
     ● Learn from observing their play.
     ● Be aware of their difficulty in following 2- & 3-step directions.
     ● Look for root cause of abnormal or unacceptable behavior.
     ● Be willing to think outside the box.
     ● Understand that “there is more than one way to skin a cat.”
     ● Every child can learn. We just need to find the right path to comprehension.
     ● Plan for strategies in teaching future developmental milestones.
     ● Make sure both parents are on the same page with their parenting strategies.
     ● Understand that many behaviors stem from dysfunctional sensory system issues.
     ● Continually educate yourself and keep up with the latest research and interventions.
     Her final plea was for family and community to heed these suggestions:
     ● Educate yourself so that you can recognize the outward signs of autism.
     ● Don’t be judgmental about them or their parents. Remember they didn’t come with instruction books, and you haven’t walked in their shoes.
     ● Don’t be offended or take things personally too quickly; remember that difficulty with social interaction is a symptom of autism.
     ● They may not respond appropriately if you give them 2- and 3-step directions.
     ● Most will learn by example and visual cues. So, keep that in mind when mentoring them. Model the appropriate behavior.
     ● Try to help them fit in socially but know their limits and move slowly and in moderation.
     Currently, Dulaney and Jack, who completed college, have an online business together. Tommy, who has designed his own “superhero” costume, travels with Dulaney on her speaking visits.
     Both men live at home with their parents.
     For more information about ASD, to purchase the book or to schedule Dulaney to come speak, she may be contacted online via https://oursuperherolife.com/ or at 352-284-3013.


Voters Cast Ballots
Willow Sink Voting in Levy County 2020
Just as seen here, where a voter approaches the Levy County Precinct 5 Willow Sink voting facility at 6731 N.W. 100th St., near Chiefland, on Tuesday (March 17), so too did voters all over Florida and in some other states csat ballots during the Presidential Preference Primary.

Photo By Jeff M. Hardison © March 19, 2020 at 4:10 p.m.


Provisional ballots
may determine Inglis
election winners

By Jeff M. Hardison © March 18, 2020 at 7:10 p.m.
     INGLIS –
According to information provided Wednesday (March 18) by Inglis Town Clerk Darlene Slattery, three people are going to be winners and three people are going to be something other than winners as a result from a vote yesterday (Tuesday, March 17).
     Town Clerk Slattery is the supervisor of elections for that municipality. The election Tuesday was to choose three people to fill two-year terms on the Town Commission. There were six qualified candidates, according to records.
     The unofficial certification election tabulation results show Thomas Brennan (incumbent), Ann Marie Marie Morin (incumbent) and Joyce L. Schwing as preliminary winners, and Steven D. Schwing, Michael “Andy” White and James C. Williams (incumbent) as not winning.
     However, depending on the six possible votes, things may change.
     The election is close enough between some of the candidates to cause the six provisional ballots potentially to make a difference. For instance, if those six provision ballots went to Steven Schwing, then it could cause Brennan to lose rather than to win.
     There will be a review of the provisional ballots tomorrow (Thursday, March 19), Inglis Municipal Supervisor of Elections Slattery said.
     Meanwhile, before those six votes are counted or rejected for any of the six candidates, here are the unofficial results so far: Brennan – 172; Morin – 182; J. Schwing – 175; S. Schwing – 171; White – 152; and Williams – 158.
     The Canvassing Board for this election are Clerk of the Court Danny J. Shipp, County Commissioner John Meeks and County Coordinator Wilbur Dean.

WPD WFR banquet
celebrates those who serve

WPD WFR Annual Banquet
(from left) WPD Chief Dennis Strow, Jimmy Willis Jr. of the WFR, Levy County Sheriff Bobby McCallum and Marion County Sheriff Billy Woods are seen on stage Friday night.

Story and Photos
By Blaine Vitallo
HardisonInk.com Correspondent
© March 15, 2020 at 3:10 p.m.
The Annual Williston Fire and Police Awards Banquet held Friday evening (March 13) was once again a resounding success.

WPD WFR Annual Banquet
Williston Mayor Jerry Robinson and Williston City Council Vice President Marguerite Robinson are among the many city leaders at the event.

Williston Florida Police Williston Florida Fire Rescue Banquet
(from left) Jimmy Willis Jr., WFR Chief Lamar Stegall, Mayor Jerry Robinson and WPD Chief Dennis Strow are seen on the stage at the clubhouse of Williston Crossings RV Resort on Friday (March 13).

Williston Florida Police Williston Florida Fire Rescue Banquet
Some of the firefighters who stood to be recognized are seen here.

     Police and fire officials from Levy and Marion counties gathered at the Williston Crossings RV Resort to enjoy a steak dinner and recognize the achievements by the men and women of the Williston Police Department (WPD) and Williston Fire Rescue Department (WFR) and their partners in the profession of public safety.
     Awards were presented to officials and officers who have demonstrated bravery, commitment and love of their community.
     “Today…we remind ourselves, or should remind ourselves, the risk our police officers take every time they put their badge on and go out into the public, doing their job,” Williston Mayor Jerry Robinson said during his opening address.
     Brooke Ellzey Willis, the top administrative assistant of the WPD and WFR, who planned and set up for the event, said that this event is a time for everyone to come together and for police and firefighters to “get what they deserve.”

Williston Florida Police Williston Florida Fire Rescue Banquet
This display is in honor of the late WPD Cpl. David W. Moss.

Williston Florida Police Williston Florida Fire Rescue Banquet
Lori Moss and Traveler Wendell

     DC Floyd was presented with the annual David W. Moss Humanitarian Award for giving away backpacks full of school supplies and free haircuts to hundreds of children. He also held a Christmas party for local foster children.
     The late WPD Cpl. David W. Moss died in the line of duty on July 30, 1988. He is the only WPD officer to have died in the line of duty.
     Former WPD Chief Dan Davis created this award, which now includes a laser-etched actual fingerprint from the late corporal on the clear acrylic award.
     The award goes to a person who commits to the welfare of the residents and visitors Williston.
     A portrait of Moss was set up in the entryway with a quote from Joshua 1:9: “Be strong and courageous.”
     Floyd was presented with the award by Moss’s widow, Lori.

Williston Florida Police Williston Florida Fire Rescue Banquet
Chance Rosa holds a Certificate of Valor from the Benevolent Protective Order of the Elks. There were many awards presented Friday night.

Williston Florida Police Williston Florida Fire Rescue Banquet
Jimmy Willis Jr., Ryker Gauthier and Lamar Stegall are seen here as Gauthier accepts an award for his helping a patient by applying CPR for 30 minutes unassisted.

     Ryker Gauthier of the WFR was recognized for providing CPR on the scene of a person who suffered cardiac arrest. Gauthier worked alone for 30 minutes, which for a person providing CPR is an extremely long time.
     Kathy Graham earned the Life Saving award by saving an 8-year-old child when she took him by the arm and pulled him out of the path of an oncoming float during the Williston Middle High School homecoming parade.
     Kelby Osteen was presented with what Stegall called a “special-special” award for forgetting to apply the parking brake in a tanker that rolled downhill and destroyed a chain link fence. Osteen was presented a wheel chock, which Chief Stegall held up for everyone to see.
     All of the awards, recognition, and promotions presented throughout the evening highlight the commitment and friendship of the Levy and Marion counties’ public servants who respond to emergency calls for help, as well as perform the sometimes not-so-glamorous duties they are called upon to complete.
     “You are ambassadors of freedom, liberty, and order,” Williston Mayor Robinson said to the officers.
     The Fire Department’s Call of the Year was the Derby Gold Fire on Sept. 15, when WFR members used 71,500 gallons of water to extinguish a fire at Derby Gold (Pine Shavings) in an effort that lasted for in excess of 13 hours.
     Three of the responders described the incident with the word “holy” and another word, Stegall jokingly said.
     Firefighters also extinguished a fire at Monterey Boats with minimal damage to the facility this past year.
     Last year there was a 16 percent reduction in violent crime but an 81 percent increase in calls to the fire department. If the trend continues, the fire department will receive about 2,400 calls this upcoming year, the chief said.
     “Our community is growing, but with people like we have in our police and fire department we will continue to meet the demands of our citizens,” Stegall said.
     Levy County Sheriff Bobby McCallum of and Marion County Sheriff Billy Woods were recognized for their partnership in helping protecting life and property in Williston.
     “We work together,” WPD Chief Dennis Strow said. “We perish together. And we’re not planning to perish anytime soon.”
     There were several VIPs at the event including Williston City Council members Marguerite Robinson and Debra Jones, City Manager Scott Lippmann, City Clerk Latricia Wright, WPD Chaplain Charlz Caulwell, Levy County Coordinator Wilbur Dean, Levy County Commission Chairman Matt Brooks, John Kelly of the Florida Forest Service, Chiefland City Manager Mary Ellzey,  members of the Friends of Williston Police Board of Directors, and many others.
     The event was paid for entirely by the Friends of Williston Police, at no cost to taxpayers. High school students from Williston Central Christian Academy worked as servers, which traditionally in the past was by youth of the First United Methodist Church of Williston.
     Brent Stegall, who is the son of Chief Stegall, was named Officer of the Year, Jared Caswell was named Firefighter of the Year, and the K9 unit of Shadow, Officer Richard Peters, and Sgt. Bryan Landis were named Police Officer of the Year.
     Jimmy Willis Sr. was named volunteer of the year.
     To see the 2019 story and photos from the 2019 banquet, please click HERE.


Chiefland to buy
three pickups for CPD;

Sewer pipe planned between
City of Fanning Springs and
Otter Springs Park and Campground;
City gets M-CORES update;
Students honored

Chiefland City Commission Florida
Four members of the Chiefland City Commission all prepare to start the meeting as Mayor Chris Jones is captured with his single hit of the gavel to start the meeting Monday night. The Commission members are (from left) Vice Mayor Tim West, City Commissioner Rollin Hudson, Mayor Jones and City Commissioner Lewrissa Mainwaring. City Commissioner Norman Weaver was absent.

Story and Photos
By Jeff M. Hardison © March 10, 2020 at 8:10 p.m.
The four members of the Chiefland City Commission present for the meeting Monday night (March 9) accomplished a lot in regard to the city's police fleet, and more.     Chiefland Mayor Chris Jones, Vice Mayor Tim West, City Commissioner Rollin Hudson and City Commissioner Lewrissa Mainwaring heard an update on progress toward a toll road through the area, as well as learning about a long pipeline for wastewater collection in Gilchrist County and the City Commission honored two students, and performing other duties during the regular meeting and the special meeting that followed afterward. City Commissioner Norman Weaver was absent.

     On a motion by Vice Mayor West, seconded by Commissioner Mainwaring, there was a 4-0 vote to approve Chiefland Police Chief Scott Anderson’s recommendation to buy the three 2020 Chevrolet Silverado pickup trucks.
     Two of these will be for investigations and one will be the chief’s vehicle for police business.
     Chief Anderson saved the city $6,818 on each of the three vehicles for total savings of $20,454. That figure is how much less the three vehicles cost in contrast with three 2020 Chevy Tahoes, where all of the vehicles involved are equipped for police usage.
     By purchasing these three pickups through state contract, and by Chief Anderson using a USDA grant to cover 75 percent of the cost, the city’s 25 percent of the $106,452 purchase price for three trucks would have been $26,613.
     However, the chief split that cost in half by paying $13,306.50 from the CPD Law Enforcement Trust Fund. Chief Anderson said this money came from the revenue generated after the CPD raided eight Internet Cafés.
     Last year, the CPD used $60,000 from the Trust Fund to purchase four Chevy Tahoes, Chief Anderson said. Each year in the coming years, he said, the CPD will need to replace two vehicles a year, because the 2016 Ford Explorers are now four years old, and they are getting up in their miles.
     The proverbial bottom line on the most recent purchase of three new pickup trucks for the CPD is city taxpayers getting all three for $13,306.50 rather than $106,452.

Gilchrist County Administrator Bobby Crosby

    Gilchrist County Administrator Bobby Crosby speaks to the Chiefland City Commission.

     Gilchrist County Administrator Bobby Crosby spoke to the Chiefland City Commission about Chiefland potentially joining the Nature Coast Regional Water Authority, which currently includes Gilchrist County, Dixie County, the City of Fanning Springs and the City of Bell.
     The discussion at the special meeting showed Chiefland City Attorney Norm Fugate and City Manager Mary Ellzey reminding the City Commission that the city can contract with anyone just as easily on its own as if it was a member of the NCRWA.
     Steve Minnis of the Suwannee River Water Management District previously had at least intimated, if not outright told, the City Commission that Chiefland would have better odds for grant assistance if it sought those grants as members of the NCRWA in contrast with the city applying on its own.
     City Manager Ellzey said she finds that to be as offensive now as it was more than 10 years ago. She does not like feeling forced to join a group.
     Crosby said he does not want to be seen as pressuring the city into joining. He had just come to answer any questions. He invited the city leaders to attend NCRWA meetings to see if what they witness there might lead them to join the authority.
     Answering a question about an upcoming project, Crosby said it is the hope of the NCRWA to have a sewer line running from Otter Springs Park and Campground to what would be an improved wastewater treatment plant at the City of Fanning Springs.
     In the meantime, before that pipe is laid and everything is operation – within the next two years if all goes as hoped – there would be improvements to the 27 septic tanks at Otter Springs Park and Campground – the Future Home of Camp Valor.
     To read about the previously published story regarding innovative septic tank improvement devices, please click HERE. Crosby said these improvements would help the park, too, in the future when the pipe is installed, for those peak times like on the Fourth of July when septic usage at Otter Springs Park and Campground might exceed limits of the City of Fanning Springs.

     Andrea Garcia, senior project manager with Atkins, a subcontractor of the Florida Department of Transportation, and Lee Beasley, senior transportation planner with Lochner, another FDOT subcontractor, as well as FDOT Project Manager Brandi Bertram of the Lake City FDOT office were present to update the City Commission regarding the Florida Department of Transportation’s Multiuse Corridors of Regional Economic Significance (M-CORES).
     There was a March 6 press release handed out, including the map of the Avoidance and Enhancement Areas that exist as of now. That map can be seen by clicking HERE.
     Bertram explained that until the task force completes its work on Oct. 1, no map for the actual road will exist. For the Suncoast Corridor, the best person to speak with as a representative from Levy County on the Task Force Levy County Commission Chairman Matt Brooks, Bertram said.
     If the city wants to note for FDOT that it wants the toll road to bypass the city, or go through the city, then Brooks is the man to tell, she said.
     Bertram spoke about the public meetings scheduled as the FDOT moves forward.
     The Task Force will create its guidelines for road placement. Then, there will be the regular FDOT process, which ultimately leads to construction.
     The reason for building three new toll roads in Florida is to ease congestion, which results from hundreds of new residents adding to the human population in the state – every day. Meanwhile, water resources and wildlife are being used up and edged out of the habitat where they live now.
     Some people prefer no growth. Some people prefer growth at any cost. Some people prefer properly managed growth. This is not a new story for Florida. The growth management procedure from decades ago, however, has evolved as various governors and Florida legislators have come and gone.
     To see the government’s version of reality regarding M-CORESS, as well as to see places to participate in public hearings, visit https://floridamcores.com/.

Chiefland Students Honored
Seen in the foreground here (from left) are Regan Underwood, City Commissioner Lewrissa Mainwaring and Travis Williams. Underwood, a pre-kindergarten student at Chiefland Elementary School, is the daughter of Megan Hassell and Clifton Underwood. The young girl’s teacher Katie Godwin noted that this 5-year-old student has a mind that never stops thinking and that she has ‘the best sense of humor’ of any 5-year-old Godwin has known. Williams, a ninth grader who was nominated for the honors by the entire Chiefland High School staff of teachers, is the son of Joan Williams. He was noted for having a helpful disposition, where he helps students and teachers. His trustworthiness was most recently demonstrated when he found keys and gbrought them to the office, which saved a teacher from worry. He was noted to be ‘an excellent representative of Chiefland High School.’ The students received the public recognition, the certificate and the Rotary Club of Chiefland gave them each a $20 gift certificate to Walmart. Chiefland Mayor Chris Jones is in the background.


15th Annual Dixie County
Partnership Luncheon
mirrors continued success

Dixie County Education Business Luncheon
Guest speaker Frank Darabi and Dixie County Superintendent of Schools Mike Thomas are among the leaders in business and education who enjoyed the luncheon.

Story and Photos
By C.L. Watson, Correspondent
For HardisonInk.com © March 8, 2020 at 4:10 p.m.
     OLD TOWN –
The Dixie County Education-Business Partnership held the 15th Annual Luncheon on March 6 at the Dixie County School Board Meeting Facility in Old Town.

Dixie County Education Business Luncheon
A- Dixie County Schools Coordinator of Curriculum Tracey Lee shows the floral arrangement she won. Floral arrangements were provided by Galloway’s Flowers. One guest per table won the centerpiece based on a hidden sticker beneath one chair at each table of the luncheon.

Dixie County Education Business Luncheon
Jolene Dixon of Old Town Elementary School received Educational Staff Professional of the Year.

Dixie County Education Business Luncheon
The Dixie County High School Band provided musical entertainment as part of the luncheon.

Dixie County Education Business Luncheon
Dixie County Sheriff Dewey Hatcher Sr. and Jared Beauchamp with Florida Forest Service enjoy the meal.

Dixie County Education Business Luncheon
Logan Marlo a fourth grade student at Anderson Elementary School described Shirley Jean Davis who was recognized as AES Teacher of the Year.

Dixie County Education Business Luncheon
Skip Lynar with Dixie County High School waits patiently for his table to join in line at the annual luncheon.

Dixie County Education Business Luncheon
Dixie County Superintendent of School Mike Thomas with the 2019-2020 Superintendent’s Council

Dixie County Education Business Luncheon
Dixie County High School senior Ryan Gates introduced Travis Osteen, Teacher of the Year.

     This year’s success shown by the partnership between business and the public school system was celebrated.
     Hosts for the event included Dixie County School Board Chairman Tim Alexander, Vice Chairman Paul Gainey, School Board Member Crystal Bush, School Board Member Lacey Corbin, and School Board Member Chuck Farmer School Board Attorney Michael O’Steen.
     Dixie District Schools directors were recognized during the luncheon.
      Those directors are Tonya Howell, Assistant superintendent for finance and business services; Jerry Evans, director of safety, facilities, and special projects; Alexa Mills, director of student services and exceptional student education; and Buddy Schofield, director of elementary and secondary education.
     Old Town Elementary School Principal Karen Tillis, Anderson Elementary School Principal Kristen McCaskill, Ruth Rains Middle School Principal Christie McElroy, and Dixie County High School Principal Paul Bennett were each acknowledged for their contribution to the overall success of the school system.
     Dixie County Superintendent of Schools Mike Thomas introduced the 2019-2020 Dixie County Superintendent’s Council. It consists of 12 students (six juniors and six seniors) who were selected by students, teachers, and high school administrators.
     They meet throughout year and gain knowledge of school system structure. Senior council members are Kalie Grady, Cynthia Hart, Kyndall Teague, Kyle Lamb, Ervin Sapp and Fitzgerald Warren. Junior council members are Jacara Tyson, Chloe Newberry, Breanna Keen, Fred Cruz, Zach Markham and Paul White. The Superintendent’s Council members served food to all the guests during the luncheon.
     Educational Staff Professionals of the Year were recognized during the luncheon for the dynamic role of support to all aspects of the educational system.
     Superintendent Thomas said the system would lack effectiveness without staff support.
     Eddie Chavous was named as the Educational Staff Professional of the Year for Anderson Elementary School spent many years as a school bus driver before joining the staff at AES. Her peers described her as being most dependable and punctual as well as one of the hardest workers.
     Jolene Dixon was named as the Educational Staff Professional of the Year for Old Town Elementary School, where she has been employed for over two years. Her current role is as a special education paraprofessional. Prior to employment with OTES she owned a scuba retail store and taught scuba diving.
     Ruth Rains Middle School selected Glenda Keen was named as the Educational Staff Professional of the Year. Keen’s role as cafeteria manager requires diligent work, making sure that all students are fed. Beyond arriving early and staying late, Keen emphasizes the importance of education to students as well as encouraging kindness.
     Joyce Bond was chosen by Dixie County High School as the Educational Staff Professional of the Year, as a result of her friendly face, which the students see on as the first thing in the morning during breakfast. She has many years employment with DCHS, where she always welcomes students with a smile and encouraging comments.
     The Dixie County School System Transportation Department selected Robyn Wilkerson as the School-Related Employee of the Year. Her career with the school system is nearly 30 years and current role is bookkeeper for transportation department.
     Donna Sheppard was selected District Level Employee of the Year. She has worn multiple hats during her 20-year employment and is currently a member of the finance team. She was described as devoted, hardworking, and meticulous as an accounts payable specialist.
     Teachers of the Year were recognized and described by students. Shirley Jean Davis, Teacher of the Year of Anderson Elementary School was introduced by fourth grader Logan Marlo. Sue Dunnam, Teacher of the Year of Old Town Elementary School, was introduced by kindergartener Ayden Perry. Robyn Norton, Teacher of the Year of Ruth Rains Middle, was introduced by eighth grader Mallory VonStein. Travis Osteen, Teacher of the Year of Dixie County High School, was introduced by twelfth grader Ryan Gates.
     Pastor Joe Brooks from Cross City Church of God provided the Invocation.
     Then guests received lunch, served by members of the Superintendent’s Council. The meal had a southern flair, including mashed potatoes with potato skins, tender green beans, fried chicken, pork loin and a dinner roll. Guests also could indulge themselves with smothering the meal in a brown gravy, and furthermore make the luncheon memorable by finishing up with strawberry shortcake dessert.
     Frank Darabi of Darabi and Associates Inc. was the guest speaker, along with being recognized as 2020 Business Partner of the Year for his support to Dixie District Schools.
     During his presentation, two ideas were introduced to people in the audience. The first display had the word “Family” in the center surround by boxes with the words “community,” “government,” “education,” “work,” “recreation” and “other distractions.”
     The second display had similar wording presented on a circular system, all inner-connected. The message of both was family starts at home and encompasses a support system from all, for continued success.
     As the luncheon came to an end, guests were entertained by members of the Dixie County High School Band.
     To see the 2019 story, photos and video from that year’s luncheon, please click HERE.


Ivan Chubb honored
American Legion 236 Bronson Florida
The American Legion Post 236 Honor Guard presents the colors.

Story and Photos
By Jeff M. Hardison © March 4, 2020 at 9:10 p.m.
American Legion Post 236 (Billy Landrum Memorial Post) of Levy County presented Ivan F. Chubb, 82, a United States Marine Corps veteran, with a special certificate Tuesday evening (March 3), on the grounds of the post located just outside of Bronson.

American Legion 236 Bronson Florida
Ivan Chubb stands (at left) as American Legion Post 236 Commander Dennis Owens reads from the certificate (at the podium) and First Vice Cmdr. Matt Bodmer listens.

American Legion 236 Bronson Florida
After the ceremony, three men agree to a photo opportunity. Seen here (from left) are First Vice Cmdr. Matt Bodmer, Ivan Chubb and American Legion Post 236 Commander Dennis Owens. After the ceremony, everyone adjourned to the canteen for refreshments and fellowship, and to congratulate Chubb on his award.

     Speaking to the people in attendance were Post Commander Dennis Owens and First Vice Cmdr. Matt Bodmer, who is also the canteen manager.
     Serving as the honor guard that evening was Ken Cottrell, bearing the American flag; Sons of American Legion Cmdr. Jerrad Halleran, bearing the post flag; Tommy Dorsey, bearing the United States Navy flag; and American Legion Post 136 Second Vice Cmdr. Gary Wyant and Captain of the Honor Guard James “Duke” Halonski as the two riflemen.
     First Vice Bodmer opened the program by calling attention to the fact that Chubb had served as a volunteer for more than 30 years after completing his military service.
     “A legionnaire does not ask,” Bodmer said. “He does. A legionnaire sees a person in need and helps out. A legionnaire does not have to be called. He’s already there. A legionnaire only knows – We can, not we cannot.
     “The words ‘We cannot’ does not exist in his vocabulary,” Bodmer continued. “A legionnaire always walks around with a smile. He has no time for worry, or fret or frowns. A legionnaire builds unity, not division.”
     With those words to tell a little bit about a legionnaire, Bodmer said Chubb has earned many awards from all branches of the military service since he has known him. Chubb also has earned recognition for his countless hours as a community-oriented volunteer, and as a volunteer to the Veterans Administration, Bodmer said.
     Bodmer said he has seen Chubb snap to attention, smile and say “Yes sir” during USMC presentations, where everyone from a private to a command sergeant major, to the various ranks of officers, be present at an annual event in Cedar Key for Marines.
      First Vice Cmdr. Bodmer said the award presented that night is not political. It is titled “The 2020 Life Member – Order of Merit.”
     Commander Owens then spoke about the certificate presented that night.
     This was presented to Chubb “Who has unequivocally earned this good and high tribute in recognition of their undying commitment, patriotic loyalty and dedication of service to President Donald J. Trump, the Republican Party and the United States of America.”
     It is commissioned on Jan. 10 and it is signed by President Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel.
     Before the ceremony, Chubb, who is a past commander of the post, said he has been a Republican since he was old enough to vote. Like any good legionnaire, he is not one to seek division.
     “I would like for them (other voters) to vote for a Republican,” Chubb said. “But I don’t care who they vote for – just vote.”
     Among the other past American Legion Post 236 commanders at the event was Pat Plemmons. Plemmons is the commander of Suwannee River AmVets Post 422 in the City of Fanning Springs.
     As for American Legion Post 236. It used to be in Williston, and it marks its 70th birthday this year.
     Founded on Nov. 21, 1950, American Legion Post 236 was located across the street from the Williston High School football field. It was a small building on a quarter-acre of land.
     The post is known as the Billy Landrum Memorial Post in honor of the World War II veteran with that name. The relatively new multi-purpose building on the grounds near Bronson today is named in honor of United States Army PFC Jamie Page of Bronson, who was 23 when he was killed in a roadside bombing in Afghanistan in 2010.
     The post is now at 9550 U.S. Alt. 27 – just outside of Bronson on the way to Williston.
     The post has been at its current location for more than 10 years now.
     This is the only American Legion in Levy County, and the members recently voted to name it American Legion of Levy County, although the National American Legion organization always will list it as American Legion of Williston, because that is where it was founded.
     The post would love to have more members. American Legion Post 236, its Auxiliary, and the Sons of the American Legion as well as the American Legion Riders all meet at the post. To contact the post by phone, call 352-486-9128. This is the canteen number and opens at noon daily.


Summer BreakSpot
seeks Levy County sites;

Training is March 19
By Natalie Warren
Food and Nutrition Services Specialist
School Board of Levy County
Published Jan. 30, 2020 at 7:09 p.m.
     BRONSON --
Summer BreakSpot is part of the national Summer Food Service Program, a federally-funded program operated by the United States Department of Agriculture and administered in Florida by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.
     Eligible sites, including nonprofit organizations, schools, churches, libraries, parks, camps, local governments and more, are invited to serve nutritious meals free to all children under the age of 18 during the summer months.
     “During the school year, many children rely on a nutritious breakfast and lunch through the National School Lunch Program, and they are at risk of suffering from hunger during the summer break,” said former Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam. “The Summer BreakSpot program bridges the nutrition gap by serving free meals to children under the age of 18 so they can return to school healthy, happy and ready to learn.”
     For more information about the Florida Summer BreakSpot program, visit https://www.summerbreakspot.org/.
     The School Board of Levy County will be offering FREE breakfast and lunch to eligible sites serving children under the age of 18, Monday through Thursday, starting June 1 and ending July 31.
     Site locations and times may vary depending on participation. To find a site near you, please visit http://summerbreakspot.freshfromflorida.com/.
     If you are interested in hosting a program site, the School Board of Levy County Food & Nutrition Services department will be accepting applications starting March 1. Applications may be obtained by calling 352-486-5244, Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Meals will be available for pick-up from local elementary schools.
     Supervisors from approved eligible program sites are required to attend a two-hour training course offered on Thursday, March 19, from 2 p.m. - 4 p.m., in the District board room located at 480 Marshburn Drive, in Bronson.


Almost 13,000 lives saved
in one year of donations

LifeSouth Community Blood Centers Gainesville Florida
A LifeSouth Community Blood Centers vehicle enters the office area at 1221 N.W. 13th St. in Gainesville as co-founder Reeves Byrd Jr., 76, points out the starting point by the Gainesville Civitan Club in 1974. This scene is just before the start of the annual appreciation luncheon on Friday (Feb. 28). There is a house-like structure on the other side of 13th Street (U.S. Highway 441), where the Gainesville Civitan Regional Blood Center began – thanks to 15 members of Gainesville’s Civitan Club signing for a $50,000 loan.

Story and Photos
(except two photos which are credited properly)
By Jeff M. Hardison © Feb. 28, 2020 at 9:10 p.m.
Thanks to people in North Central Florida donating blood to LifeSouth Community Blood Centers in 2019, there were 12,678 lives saved – and that is just from the 45 business and other groups that showed up to the annual luncheon, according to information from LifeSouth District Community Development Coordinator Laura Bialeck.

LifeSouth Community Blood Centers Gainesville Florida
This picture shows Reeves Byrd Jr. on Friday (Feb. 28) standing next to the timeline of history for LifeSouth Community Blood Centers. It started in 1974.

LifeSouth Community Blood Centers Gainesville Florida
In this vintage photo from 1974, Reeves Byrd Jr. is seen at the right standing up. Standing up at the left is the late Philip Harlan Baker (July 22, 1929 - May 5, 2019). Byrd was the first president of the Blood Center in 1974 and Baker became the second president in 1976.
Photo Provided

LifeSouth Community Blood Centers Gainesville Florida
Florida Department of Corrections Sgt. Ashley MacArthur holds the certificate of appreciation presented to Cross City Correctional Institution. Cross City Correction rated Number Six Overall for all of the blood drives in 2019. Cross City Correctional Institution collected 306 units – and is credited with saving 918 lives as a result.

LifeSouth Community Blood Centers Gainesville Florida
Here are some of the people who enjoyed the appreciation luncheon on Friday.

LifeSouth Community Blood Centers Gainesville Florida
Williston City Clerk Latricia Wright is among the people from that city who were there to accept a certificate and other forms of thanks from LifeSouth for that community’s efforts at saving lives with blood donations.

LifeSouth Community Blood Centers Gainesville Florida
Laurie Woods, an active leader in LifeSouth Community Blood Centers, tells people that the bloodmobile that is all red in color is not part of this group’s fleet. LifeSouth bloodmobiles are red, White and blue. The difference between the two is that LifeSouth provides blood to local hospital, and the other group sends blood somewhere else.

LifeSouth Community Blood Centers Gainesville Florida
LifeSouth District Community Development Coordinator Laura Bialeck prepares to start her part of the program.

LifeSouth Community Blood Centers Gainesville Florida
Reeves Byrd Jr. holds up the certificate of appreciation he accepted Friday.

LifeSouth Community Blood Centers Gainesville Florida
Jeff M. Hardison, owner and publisher of HardisonInk.com (a daily news website), holds up a certificate of appreciation he accepted on Friday.
Photo By Reeves Byrd Jr.

LifeSouth Community Blood Centers Gainesville Florida
ShandsCair Flight ARNP Staccie Allen and Flight Paramedic Alan Schmidt are seen with the certificate of appreciation they accepted on behalf of ShandsCair on Friday.

LifeSouth Community Blood Centers Gainesville Florida
Debbie Labud, a former LifeSouth worker and a two-lung transplant recipient is the keynote speaker during the appreciation luncheon. She urges people to donate blood, and to be an organ donor.

     Some donors and recruiters who helped save lives by their work with blood donations did not attend the luncheon where donor leaders were recognized that afternoon.
     The Annual LifeSouth Chairperson and Media Appreciation Luncheon held Friday (Feb. 28) was where Bialeck and LifeSouth’s North Florida District Director Laurie Woods were among the speakers.
     The keynote speaker was Debbie Labud, a former LifeSouth employee who underwent surgery to replace both of her lungs over several years of time.
     Even before the chocolate-themed luncheon began, though, one of the award recipients of the day gave an interview that afternoon to HardisonInk.com.
     Reeves Byrd Jr., 76, was one of the 15 Civitan Club members who in 1974 borrowed $50,000 to start this blood bank. Byrd served as president of the Gainesville Civitan Regional Blood Center from 1974 to 1976
     Byrd, who moved to Gainesville in 1962, earned his undergraduate degree and his master’s degree from the University of Florida. He became a Certified Financial Planner and earned at least four other professional licenses as well. He still serves as a tutor today.
     Civitan, which is a community-oriented club like Kiwanis or Rotary, was the group that started LifeSouth more than 45 years ago.
     “It was scary,” Byrd said. “All 15 of us had to sign papers for Civitan to receive the $50,000 loan.”
     The Civitan Blood Bank grew to become LifeSouth Community Blood Centers and now it serves hospital in Florida, Georgia and Alabama, which employs 600-plus workers.
     The need for blood is never-ending. Across the three states, the community blood centers need the help of 266,000 blood donors a year. That’s 728 donors a day. The mission of LifeSouth is to provide a safe blood supply that meets or exceeds the needs in each community it serves.
     At the luncheon Friday, District Director Woods opened the program by thanking all of people from business interests, schools and other sources who helped make 2019 a successful year for saving lives with blood donations.
     ShandsCair was recognized for its help with flying Santa Claus in by helicopter to another event near the end of 2019.
     Woods reminded listeners that LifeSouth Community Blood Centers, with its red, white and blue bloodmobiles, is the provider for local hospitals such as Shands, North Florida Regional Medical Center and other hospitals in this part of Florida.
     There is another bloodmobile that is entirely red, she said, and it collects blood to ship out to other places.
     The red bloodmobile does not serve local hospitals, she said. The red, white and blue bloodmobile is from LifeSouth and it does provide blood only to local hospitals.
     The luncheon with its chocolate theme included delicious dishes with chicken, and macaroni and cheese having special chocolate aspects to their recipes.
     There were vegetables, rice, vegetable-chili soup, and other wonderful foods, including chocolatey desserts, at the catered luncheon. Celebrations Catering brought the food, which was served on a buffet line with LifeSouth employees being the servers.
     When District Community Development Coordinator Bialeck spoke, she said it was interesting for her to find a link between chocolate and blood. The chocolate theme seemed great from the get-go.
     “How sweet it is to see so many of you here to celebrate our chocolate-themed appreciation luncheon,” Bialeck said.
     As she pondered the words to link chocolate with saving lives by blood donations, she chose “the most obvious quote,” she said.
     “Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re going to get,” she said as she quoted from the movie Forest Gump.
     She said this statement is proved to be true.
     People don’t wake up in the morning and think “Today’s the day I am going to receive a lifesaving blood transfusion,” Bialeck said.
     Life is unpredictable, she said, which is why every two to three seconds, someone in the United States is going to need a blood transfusion.
     Bialeck stressed to the listeners that LifeSouth is grateful for the faithful donors because the other blood drives “do not provide a single drop of blood to our local community.”
     The keynote speaker is a former employee of LifeSouth.
     Labud said she became ill in her 30s and was misdiagnosed as having bronchitis. A pulmonary specialist, though, found the real cause of her problem and it was a genetic disease, aggravated by smoking cigarettes.
     Labud had one lung replaced by transplantation after a four-year wait. The other lung, though, after many years was pushing on the transplanted lung, and she needed the second lung transplant, so that both lungs were transplants.
     In 2018, she received the second lung transplant.
     When she was in the Intensive Care Unit for two weeks, she used 20 units of whole blood, 12 units of platelets, three units of plasma and four units of another form of blood product.
     “It’s very important that you do donate blood,” she said.
     Labud also asks people to consider listing themselves as an organ donor too.
     During the presentation of certificates of appreciation, Boyd was recognized for his service where he was one of the 15 members of Civitan who started the blood bank.
     On the second floor of the LifeSouth office at 1221 N.W. 13th St. in Gainesville, there is a timeline. Boyd is pictured at the start. Above that timeline is another picture, where some of the founders are seen, including the late Philip Baker.
     In that photo, both Boyd and Baker have dark hair. Baker is on the left side of the picture and Boyd is on the right.
     Among the points on the timeline are 1993, when Tamara “Tammy” Tackett Fey was the CEO, and 1994 when Nancy Eckert was named as CEO and the Birmingham region opened in Alabama.
     In 2014, LifeSouth celebrated its 40 years of saving lives.
     There were many, many recipients of certificates of appreciation for saving lives. Everyone was offered a LifeSouth coffee cup, too, that was filled with all sorts of small chocolate candy.
     One lucky person at each table could take a chocolate rose on a stick home as well.
     There were posters around the room showing the “Top 10” blood drives in 2019 including the following various categories.
     The Top 10 Overall Blood Drives showed the following results: 1. University of Florida – 3,809; 2. Nationwide Insurance – 601; 3. Starke Community Walmart – 435; 4. UF Health – 404; 5. Santa Fe College – 316; 6. Cross City Correctional Institution – 306; 7. Chiefland Community Walmart – 280; 8. Bass Pro Shops – 249; 9. Buccholz High School – 191; and 10. Invivo Diagnostic Imaging – 158.
     The Top 10 Community Blood Drives showed the following results: 1. Starke Community Walmart – 435; 2. Chiefland Community Walmart – 280; 3. Dixie County Rotary Club – 76; 4. City of Gainesville Cultural Affairs – 59; 5. Starke Community Winn-Dixie – 58; 6. Hawthorne Community – 50; 7. Cedar Key Community – 49; 8. Florida Bat Festival – 45; 9. Bronson Community – 38; and 10. Alachua Recreation Center – 38.
     The Top 10 Church Blood Drives showed the following results: 1. Campus View Church – 178; 2. Trinity Baptist Church – 113; 3. Grace United Methodist Church – 71; 4. Queen of Peace Catholic Church – 63; 5. The Pentecostals if Gainesville – 49; 6. Orange Heights Baptist Church – 46; 7. Waldo First Baptist Church – 42;  8. Creekside Community Church – 39; 9. Family Church – 27; and 10. United Church of Gainesville – 33.
     The Top 10 Government Blood Drives showed the following results: 1. Cross City Correctional Institution – 306; 2. Lancaster Correctional Institution – 91; 3. Alachua County Employees – 69; 4. Third Judicial Circuit State Attorney’s Office – 58; 5. Alachua County Sheriff’s Office – 57; 6. United States Geological Survey – 54; 7. Alachua County Public Works – 49; 8. Gainesville Public Works – 46; 9. Lawtey Correctional Institution – 42; and 10. City of Gainesville Fleet Management – 41.
     The Top 10 High School Blood Drives showed the following results: 1. Buccholz High School – 191; 2. Santa Fe High School – 131; 3. Gainesville High School – 127; 4. Williston Middle High School – 112; 5. Bronson Middle High School – 109; 6. Bradford High School – 106; 7. Trenton High School – 101; 8. Eastside High School – 87; 9. Bell High School – 68; and 10. Dixie County High School – 68. 



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