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Paula Lessard seeks election
to District #2 of Levy County
Soil and Water
Conservation Commission;

On the Nov. 3 ballot

Published Oct. 19, 2020 at 4:10 p.m.
     Publisher’s Note:
This is an announcement by a candidate for elected office. Any candidate seeking any elected office in the Tri-County Area of Levy, Dixie and Gilchrist counties is invited to send one announcement.
By Paula Lessard
-- As a candidate for Levy SWCD, I bring a wealth of knowledge and skills to protect our county's natural resources.
     I grew up on a working farm, discovering the benefits of using science and technology to raise crops and livestock. After achieving a Bachelor of Science degree from a top agricultural university, I spent years working as a lab technician studying ways of producing even greater crop yields using natural methods.
     From there, I worked for the Department of Transportation, producing environmental impact reports, and as a Certified Pesticide Advisor, I guided farmers, businesses and homeowners on the use of pesticides. My husband and I, as members of the Sierra Club, hope everyone joins us in maintaining our wonderful Levy County environment.
     For our springs and waterways, farms and forests, wildlife and air, we need to act now to withstand assaults on our simple, beautiful, peaceful way of life.



More Below This Ad

Levy County Prevention Coalition Ad HardisonInk.com


Chiefland restarts
student recognition program;

Dance Recital Planned For Dec. 11
By Jeff M. Hardison © Oct. 15, 2020 at 3:10 p.m.
After the prayer and the pledge, Chiefland Mayor Chris Jones opened the Tuesday night (Oct. 13) regular twice-monthly meeting of that city’s leaders with recognition of the Students of the Month.
     Chiefland city leaders recognized three children -- one each from Chiefland Elementary School, Chiefland Middle School and Chiefland High School.
     The Williston City Council at its recent meeting chose against restarting the program in that city to help prevent the likelihood of spreading COVID-19. Some government leaders are choosing to follow the advice of the Florida Department of Health (FDOH). Some leaders are choosing to gamble more with the health of the general public rather than to follow the advice of scientists and doctors who serve the residents and visitor of Florida – in regard to public health.
     The day after this evening meeting om Chiefland, the Levy County portion of the Eighth Judicial Circuit in Bronson did not allow anyone in the courtroom without a mask and without prior cursory screening. All people were required to remain at least six feet apart.
     Practitioners of law, participants and observers in this circuit, which includes Alachua, Baker, Bradford, Gilchrist, Levy and Union counties, are following the FDOH advice to wear masks
in public and to keep at least six-feet of distance between people, as well as to avoid crowds, closed spaces and close contact.
     Meanwhile, though, Chiefland’s leaders invited children and families into their closed space and did not requiring people to wear face masks.
     Mayor Jones read narratives that had been submitted about each student. He presented certificates to each of the students with $20 gift certificates provided by Chiefland Rotary Club to shop at Walmart.
     Also at the meeting, Debbie Dean of D&D Dance Studio, told the City Commission about a Christmas dance recital planned to be conducted in the studio’s parking lot -- with an outdoor stage and lighting. Admission to the recital will be a toy or canned good, Dean said, which will be given to a charitable organization to distribute to needy families.
     Dean asked the municipal leaders to close the street near
105 N.W. Third Ave. on Dec. 11 to keep traffic away from the recital there. The D&D Dance Studio’s Christmas Dance Recital is slated to be from 6:30 to about 8:30 p.m., she said,
     The City Commission approved closure of the Northwest Third Avenue, from U.S. Highway 19 (Main Street) going west to the end of the street on the evening of Dec. 11, a Friday.
     City Manager Mary Ellzey told Dean that the city will provide the wooden sawhorse barricades on Thursday, Dec. 10, for the dance studio to use on the evening of Friday, Dec. 11, to close the street to traffic. Dean said people who want to go to the recital can park in the shopping center parking lot – near The Print Shop of Chiefland and the Levy County Tax Collector’s Office, and then they can walk with lawn chairs to the parking lot near the dance studio and dry cleaning shop on Northwest Third.
     In other business by the city leaders, they approved Chiefland Fire Chief James Harris seeking and accepting various grants for equipment.

FDOH offers drive-thru flu vaccines for students and adults
Information Provided By
FDOH Dixie-Gilchrist Levy
Published Oct. 9, 2020 at 3:10 p.m.
The Florida Department of Health is offering the Flu Mist or the Flu Shot for students and Flu Shots for adults.
     The FDOH units in Dixie County, Gilchrist County and Levy County are bringing the Flu vaccine to students this year in a drive-thru setting. Doing a drive-thru minimizes the risk of spreading the COVID-19 virus in the school setting.
     It provides a way for virtual students to get the vaccine.
     The FDOH is offering the Flu vaccine to adults while supplies last.
Required (see below):
     1. Students under the age of 18 MUST have a parent, adult relative or legal guardian with them for consent to administer the FLU vaccine.
     2. We ask that you bring your completed consent forms. Consent forms are available at the schools, school board districts websites, school Facebook pages, your local health department or can be emailed upon request. Call your school or local health department for more information.
     3. The Flu vaccine is free for all students under the age of 19. For students that are 19 and over or adults WITHOUT insurance the fee will be $20. We accept CASH only.
     4. Adult Flu vaccines will be available as supplies last.
     5. Please bring insurance cards for students and adults. Includes: Medicaid, Medicare, and other health insurances. The Health Department will bill the insurance carriers.
Following are the dates, times and places for the drive-thru flu vaccines.
     Thursday Oct. 15, 2-6 p.m. -- Trenton: Southside City Park: 214 S.E. Third Avenue
     Friday Oct. 16, 2-6 p.m. -- Bell: Bell High School (by the football field): 930 S. Main St.
     Friday Oct. 16, 2-6 p.m. -- Bronson: Levy County Health Department: 66 W. Main St.
     Monday Oct. 19, 2-6 p.m. -- Chiefland: Strickland Park: 2340 Old Fannin Road
     Tuesday Oct. 20,2:30-6:30 p.m. -- Williston: Williston Elementary School: 801 S. Main St. (Bus loop behind school)
     Wednesday Oct. 21, 2-6 p.m. -- Old Town: Dixie County Adult Education Center: 823 S.E. 349 Highway
     Thursday Oct. 22, 2-6 p.m. -- Cross City: Dixie County Health Department: 149 N.E. 241st St.
     Tuesday Oct. 27, 2-6 p.m. -- Inglis: Food Ranch parking lot, 40 U.S. Highway 19 N.
     Wednesday Oct. 28, 2-6 p.m. -- Cedar Key: Cedar Key Community Center, 809 Sixth St.


BHS Criminal Justice students
teach Gilchrist County Rotarians

Bell High School Criminal Justice Students Gilchrist County Rotary Club
Seen here are (from left) Bell High School Criminal Justice Officers - Lt. Laya Clecker, Lt. Cameron Cannon, Capt. Vanessa Welch, Rotary President Lowell Chesborough, Criminal Justice/911 Instructor Michelle Jones, Rotarian Doug Beach, Chief Deputy Ben Griffith and Chief Jacob Sheffield.

Photo By Holly Creel, Rotarian

By Rosemary McDaniel, Rotarian
Published Oct. 5, 2020 at 4:10 p.m.
     TRENTON --
At the Gilchrist County Rotary Club meeting today (Monday, Oct. 5), Rotarian Doug Beach introduced his granddaughter Michelle Jones who is the Criminal Justice teacher at Bell High School.     Doug spent many years in law enforcement, as did Michelle until she left that profession to take over the BHS Criminal Justice Program in the education profession.
     Michelle brought five of her Criminal Justice officers with her to speak about their activities and responsibilities within the program, which presently has 75 students enrolled.
     First to speak was Capt. Jacob Sheffield who introduced the other officers. Chief Deputy Ben Griffith spoke about their first-year participation at the state level in Orlando and winning a first and second place competing with 19 other schools and more than 300 students.
     Michelle obviously did a wonderful job of preparing her students in all aspects of law enforcement to win their first time out.
     Captain Vanessa Welch, a third-year member of the program, spoke about what it is like to be exposed to all aspects of the law enforcement field and what it means to be a law enforcement officer. Lieutenant Cammy Cannon, who has been in the program for only a half year, was enthusiastic about her participation and felt it would prepare her for college exploration and a future career.
     Layla Clecker was the last student to speak. She stated that fundraising was underway to purchase uniforms and participate in the state competition. Area businesses and individuals will be asked to help  because the cost to send each student to the Orlando competition is $500. This year, 25 students have expressed an interest in attending and bringing home more trophies.
     Michelle informed the members and guests at the weekly meeting of the Rotary Club of Gilchrist County that seven students who were enrolled in the program and had graduated from Bell High School had passed the state test to work as a law enforcement dispatcher and two were presently working at the Gilchrist County Sheriff’s Office.
     We are proud of these young people and Michelle’s preparation for them to succeed in their chosen law enforcement careers.
     Chef Jason of Spring Water Events provided Rotary members and our guests with a delicious lunch of smoked pulled pork, coleslaw, baked beans, desserts, buns, and sweet and unsweet tea.


Political party
renews in Levy County

By Larry Arbeiter
Published Oct. 3, 2020 at 12:10 p.m.
Levy county motorists from Bronson to Williston to Chiefland have been noticing something recently that they haven’t seen in recent memory - groups of enthusiastic, cheering neighbors standing alongside busy roadways and waving signs to support political candidates who are…Democrats!
     Florida is famously divided quite evenly between the two parties, with many statewide and national elections balancing on a knife edge - or a hanging chad. But with Democrats concentrated in the southern part of the state, and Republicans more common in the northern part of Florida, a sign or bumper sticker supporting a Democrat in Levy County can seem as rare as a snowflake. Things were so dire that by 2012 there was no longer an organized Democratic Party in the county. That has begun to change in Levy County, according to Gussie Boatwright, the group’s chair.
    “The rebirth of the Democratic Party grew up pretty organically,” Boatwright said. “Voters in Levy County began to feel over the last three years that some American values were no longer being honored by some of the people we elected. The volunteers I talk to say that a return to honesty, integrity, the rule of law, and looking out for our fellow citizens mean even more to them than policy differences.
     “Though to be honest,” she added, “they also care an awful lot about affordable healthcare, protecting Social Security, equal protection under the law and protecting the environment!”
     In short, Boatwright said that the goal of the newly active Democrats is to elect representatives who “support our values. We see how they have been eroded in the past several years, and we need to return to them.”
     The Levy County Democratic Party was officially rechartered early in 2019. But if there was one event that signaled its rebirth, it was a gala held last November at the Cedar Key Community Center.
     “We had over 200 Democrats, Independents and Republicans there,” said Stacey Peters, leader of the newly established Voter Protection Team. “It was the first time in ages that so many like-minded people had been together in one place, and it was so energizing. It was more than we’d even hoped for.”
     “We were exhausted when it was over,” Boatwright added. “But we were so gratified.”
     That event launched the first stage of work by the rejuvenated Levy County Democratic Party, which was gathering a group of enthusiastic volunteers, and beginning outreach to encourage voter registration and voting.
     In March, of course, the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) put a damper on door-to-door canvassing; so, the emphasis has shifted to remote outreach through telephone and other “virtual” means.
     Peters said that a key emphasis, especially as some are attacking the voting process, is to make sure that “all votes need to count.”
     “I hope all Americans believe that every citizen’s vote should count,” Peters said. And false claims that make people less likely to vote undermine our elections. That’s why we are working to make sure that voters are not confused, or led astray, or intimidated into not exercising their right to vote. We encourage all voters to have a plan, and we can help you create one on the home page of our website, at https://levydemocrats.org.”
     “Many voters don’t know that they can vote early, not just on Tuesday, Nov. 3,” Boatwright added. “You can vote early from Oct. 19 to Nov. 1, seven days a week, at the Supervisor of Elections Office in Bronson, 421 S. Court Street. You also can request a vote by mail ballot and return it to a drop box there or mail it at least a week before election day.”
     Kristine Switt is one of the newly active Democratic volunteers. She added “The only way to see a return to honesty and integrity, and our nation being respected again as the world’s leading democracy, is to vote. Barack Obama’s favorite one-word response to people complaining about the state of the country is ‘Vote!’ and if that’s good enough for him it’s good enough for me!”
     Switt and other volunteers have been educating voters about the environmental and social costs of plans to build new toll roads through Levy County.
     “We have been blessed with beautiful land and rivers and coastline here in Levy County,” Switt said. “We need to protect and develop them responsibly, so that they will still be here for our children and their children to enjoy.”
     Peters explained why Republicans as well as Democrats may welcome a newly-involved Democratic party in the county.
     “In business, a monopoly is never good for the consumer, because competition forces us to do our best,” Peters said. “The same is true in politics. However any particular race turns out, it is healthy for the community to have choices; so that no one gets complacent and thinks they can just inherit a position in government because no one else is engaged. Now we are engaged, and I think that is going to give Levy County residents more choice, and a stronger voice.”
     Asked what one message she would like to leave with readers, Boatwright said “Our tent is big and welcoming, because we believe that diversity makes us rich, and unity makes us strong. We are neighbors and citizens before we are members of a political party, and we are better when we work together, and help each other when someone is in need. I like to say that when we all have a seat at the table, we can all work together, and we will all rise together. I guess that’s more than one thing,” she said, “but as you can see, we have a lot of enthusiasm!”


CKWC Makes Fruit Skewers
Cedar Key Woman's Club  HardisonInk.com
Susan Rosenthal and Paula Wescott serve fruit skewers during the recent Coastal Cleanup event in Cedar Key. These members of the Cedar Key Woman’s Club as well as other CKWC members, like Eileen Senecal and Judy Treharne who assembled the skewers in the Cedar Key Woman's Club House, did their part during the Coastal Cleanup.

Fruit Skewers by Cedar Key Woman's Club
Here are some of those yummy fruit skewers.
Published Oct. 2, 2020 at 9:10 p.m.

Information and Photos By Kathleen Salkaln


First jury selection completed
in Levy County
since the COVID-19 pandemic

Jury Selection In Levy County Sept 29 2020 HardisonInk.com
This screen shot from the Zoom method of coverage shows Eighth Judicial Circuit Court Judge William E. Davis at the top of the screen and other people in the courtroom at the bottom of the screen.

By Jeff M. Hardison © Sept. 29, 2020 at 5:10 p.m.
     BRONSON –
Tuesday morning (Sept. 29) marked a moment in Levy County history as Eighth Judicial Circuit Court Judge William E. Davis ruled over the first jury selection since the global COVID-19 pandemic shut down Florida courts since March.

Jury Selection In Levy County Sept 29 2020 HardisonInk.com
Eighth Judicial Circuit Court Judge William E. Davis is seen during the moment when he showed prospective jurors his face to determine if they may recognize him.

Photo From Screen Shot Of Zoom

Jury Selection In Levy County Sept 29 2020 HardisonInk.com
This is Eighth Judicial Circuit Court Judge William E. Davis wearing the face mask properly – over both his nose and mouth – to help reduce the odds of him catching COVID-19 or spreading the virus if he happens to have it.

Photo From Screen Shot Of Zoom

     Criminal and civil court action has continued throughout Florida since the closure of courts in March due to the pandemic. Judges have administered justice through various means that brought remedies to civil issues, as well as helping defendants either maintain their presumption of innocence or to be proved beyond reasonable doubt to be guilty of the suspected criminal activities of which they stood accused.
     Jury trials in Levy County, though, have not existed for several months now due to the logistical issues that had to be overcome for health and safety of all concerned.
     At the outset of the process Tuesday, Eighth Judicial Circuit Court Chief Judge James P. Nilon spoke to prospective jurors and other parties in Courtroom A of the Levy County Courthouse, and to those few others who were listening through the Internet service known as YouTube via the Zoom program.
     The Honorable Judge Nilon welcomed and thanked everyone to the courtroom, as he noted the significance of this procedure.
     Resuming jury trials in Levy County, Nilon said, require jurors so that the matters can be resolved. He thanked the prospective jurors who answered the call to this civic duty as they play a crucial role in justice being served.
      Chief Circuit Court Judge Nilon shared the essential truth about specific parts of the United States Constitution and the Florida Constitution that guarantee a trial by jury to decide certain matters in jurisprudence.
     Trial by jury is a fundamental right in American society and the legal system, he said, that is protected and imbedded in The Sixth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and in Article 1, Section 22, of the Florida Constitution.
     Within the 20 judicial circuits that include the 67 counties of Florida, Judge Nilon said, judges must decide the level of COVID-19 danger before restarting jury trials in any community. In Levy County right now, he said, with the precautions put in place by Levy County Clerk Danny Shipp and Sheriff Bobby McCallum, there can be jury trials restarted now.
     This trial set for tomorrow (Wednesday, Sept. 30) is the first jury trial in Levy County since the Florida Supreme Court stopped jury trials in the state due to COVID-19 in March. One of the differences will be a very closely monitored limit on who can be in the courtroom.
     Chief Judge Nilon noted on Tuesday morning that the jury trial ability restarting in Levy County results thanks to the work not only of Clerk Shipp and Sheriff McCallum, and their employees, including for court security, but also thanks to Judge Davis, the participating attorneys and all of their staff.
     The chief judge of this circuit said participating members of the local justice system had a “walk-through” to see how this modified version of jury selection and jury trials could work.
     “Obviously, safety is the number one factor here,” Judge Nilon said.
     Safety is planned as part of the process from start to finish, he said, adding that it is the current level of active COVID-19 numbers that are in Levy County that allow a jury trial to occur here now.
     After Judge Nilon gave his introductory presentation, Judge Davis expressed his appreciation for jurors willing to serve under the circumstances that exist.
     “It shows in my mind,” Judge Davis said to the jury pool, “your sense of civic duty and your love of the Constitution. And I think everybody agrees we have the best Constitutions in the world.”
     Judge Davis began the process, which includes allowing for the exclusion of certain individuals from jury service, as is noted in Florida law. That includes the governor, lieutenant governor, members of The Florida Cabinet, judges and certain other people.
     Jurors must decide the outcome of the case, Judge Davis said as he began initial jury instructions, based only on the facts and evidence presented in the courtroom.
     “You must not communicate with anyone, including friends and family members about this case,” Judge Davis said, adding this includes through any cell phone, tablets, on any social media platform or through any other means.
     He told jurors not to send or accept any messages from anyone about this case. They must not watch TV, use the Internet or read any newspaper articles or anything else about the case. Jurors are not to conduct any research in any manner to find out more about this case. Only what is presented in the courtroom during the trial can be considered.
     In order for the jury’s verdict to be a lawful verdict, Judge Davis said, must be based on two things – what evidence comes from the witness stand, where the witness will be subject to examination and cross examination; and the evidence, such as physical evidence that will come through the Clerk’s Office.
     Failure by any juror to abide by the rules can result in a mistrial, which means a significant cost to the community as the entire trial must restart.
    Jury service can be very inconvenient, Judge Davis said, because everyone has a busy life. These lives are busy, however, thanks to the rights and privileges that everyone enjoys as citizens of the United States of America.
     Except for the service in the military during wartime, Judge Davis sees no other service as being more important by a citizen to perform for their country and community than to serve on a jury.
     Among the information that Judge Davis shared was that this is set to be a one-day trial.
     Judge Davis and both the prosecuting attorney and the defense attorney asked everyone to speak clearly for the court reporter to be able to be understood through the face mask.
     “Voir dire” is the term for the process of choosing the jury, Judge Davis explained, and it means “to speak the truth.” Hence, everyone was reminded there are no wrong or right answers to questions posed by attorneys. Simply speak the truth.
     Prospective jurors were given a plethora of information including the definitions of certain words, and how and why certain rules exist.
     The defendant and other parties were introduced to the prospective jurors.

Scott Mead suspected criminal as of Sept. 29, 2020  HardisonInk.com



Scott Arlington Mead
Mug Shot By LCSO


    Scott Arlington Mead, 47, is accused of the crime of aggravated battery with a deadly weapon, and with leaving the scene of an accident that did not include serious bodily harm, the judge said.
     Being accused of a crime does not mean the defendant committed the crime, Judge Davis said. Every person charged with a crime is presumed innocent until the state proves to the exclusion of reasonable doubt that the person is guilty.
     As for Mead, he has remained in the Levy County Jail since he was arrested on Feb. 25, in lieu of bond set at $150,000, according to records.
     Williston Police Officer Marquis Wright made the arrest in February, according to records. Wright is now a deputy with the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office, but he was a WPD officer when he made this arrest in February.
     The charging documents show that on Feb. 24, 2020, Mead touched or struck a female victim, and he used a car to strike her. Hence, the crime of aggravated battery with a deadly weapon is the charge. The defendant is believed to have then failed to stop the car to remain at the scene of the crash, as required by law, and that is another crime.
     Prosecuting Mead will be Eighth Judicial Circuit Assistant State Attorney Frank Slavichak as the lead prosecutor, according to what was said Tuesday. Eighth Judicial Circuit State Attorney’s Office Division Chief for Levy County -- Assistant State Attorney Glenn Bryan is set to assist Slavichak.
     Attorney Logan Doll is the defense attorney in this case, according to records.
     Everyone wore face masks, as is advised by the Florida Department of Health during this pandemic. Both Assistant State Attorney Slavichak and Judge Davis took their masks off for a couple of minutes to let jurors see their faces to see if anyone recognized them. Judge Davis mentioned that he tried a case in Alachua County one time and one of his neighbors was a prospective juror.
     Both attorneys went through hours of asking prospective jurors questions via the voir dire process to determine the six jurors who they believed could be fair and impartial. Even though it is planned to be a one-day trial, the process included a person who will sit through the trial, but who will be a substitute juror in the event of something happening to a juror that would prevent them from deliberating.
     All parties in the courtroom passed by a device that checks temperatures as they entered. A fever is an indicator or having COVID-19. It is important to remember that a person may have COVID-19 and be contagious, but not show symptoms such as having a fever.
     All persons in the courtroom wore masks and remained at least six feet apart unless it was necessary to be closer to one another during the voir dire.
     With the jury selected and both the prosecution and defense prepared for trial, it is set to being tomorrow (Wednesday, Sept. 30).


host Chamber meeting

Chiefland Chamber of Commerce  HardisonInk.com
CF Provost Holly McGlashan and CFEC General Manager Denny George stand near the podium at the Chiefland Chamber Meeting on Friday (Sept. 25).

Story and Photos
By Alison DeLoach
Central Florida Electric Cooperative
Communications Specialist
Published Sept. 28, 2020 at 7:10 p.m.
On Friday (Sept. 25), Central Florida Electric Cooperative Inc. (CFEC) and the College of Central Florida (CF) sponsored a lunch meeting of the Chiefland Chamber of Commerce at the Gathering Table in Chiefland.

Chiefland Chamber of Commerce  HardisonInk.com
CF Provost Holly McGlashan speaks about the College of Central Florida’s campus in Levy County.

     The meeting featured guest speaker Holly McGlashan, provost at the CF Jack Wilkinson Levy campus. McGlashan touched on the many different certificates and technical degrees the Levy campus offers to local community members.
     One of the most successful programs at CF Levy is the curriculum students take to earn a Welding Technology Certificate. McGlashan discussed the recent upgrades made to the welding facility, allowing room for more students to enter the program.
     In addition to these updates, CF is offering a new online platform called “SkillUp.” This program evaluates students’ skills and determines what career field best matches the student. Currently, CF classes are fully online due to COVID-19, however the college is planning to offer some classes on campus next semester, in large spaces that allow space for social distancing.
     Wrapping up the meeting, CFEC General Manager Denny George announced new scholarships the Co-op plans to offer its members. Information on these scholarships will be released by CFEC, soon.


Chiefland Farmer’s Flea Market
hosts Fix Them All
and Dr. Natalie Isaza

Chiefland Farmers Flea Market  HardisonInk.com
Among the many members of Fix Them All and other pet owners, these four agreed to a photo opportunity early Sunday morning (Sept. 27) at the Chiefland Farmer’s Flea Market. They are (from left) Lucille Rese, Grace Bobb, Maggie Biggerstaff and June Kennedy.

Story and Photos
By Jeff M. Hardison © Sept. 27, 2020 at 10:10 a.m.
Sonny and Lydia Griffeth, owners of the Chiefland Farmers Flea Market, have been hosting various animal groups as well as providing a multitude of services to area residents and visitors for many years.

Chiefland Farmers Flea Market  HardisonInk.com
Dr. Ramiro Isaza, in the shadow nearest to the Winnebago, sets the awning over the mobile lab. Dr. Ramiro Isaza, a University of Florida professor in Zoological Medicine, is the husband of Dr. Natalie Isaza, who is helping the Fix Them All group with low-cost spay and neuter services. Dr. Ramiro Isaza is a veterinarian that specializes in medical matters involving exotic animals like lions, tigers and bears. He said his main title on Sunday in Chiefland was as ‘Awning Handler.’ Essentially, he was at the site to help his wife Dr. Natalie Isaza, who was the chief veterinarian for all intents and purposes then and there.

Chiefland Farmers Flea Market  HardisonInk.com
The Sun peaks shines through one of the large oak trees on the Chiefland Farmer’s Flea Market property early Sunday morning. The Flea Market is open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. This photo was taken a bit before opening.

Chiefland Farmers Flea Market  HardisonInk.com
Sonny Griffeth stands near some fall-oriented decorations at the Chiefland Farmer’s Flea Market early Sunday morning. His wife Lydia Griffeth was in the Flea Market office taking care of some business at this moment. The Flea Market is a fun place to visit and shop.

Chiefland Farmers Flea Market  HardisonInk.com
Veterinarian Technician Karen Lancaster (left) and Dr. Natalie Isaza pause for a photo opportunity before starting their Sunday morning (Sept. 27) conferring with pet owners about medical matters relevant to dogs and cats.

     This community-oriented spirit at the Flea Market was reflected again today.
     On Sunday morning (Sept. 27), some members of the Fix Them All group met Dr. Natalie Isaza, DVM, DACDVM. Other pet owners had the opportunity to meet the veterinarian who brought her mobile surgery unit.
     Fix Them All members arrived by 7:30 and were no later than 8 a.m. that cloudy Sunday morning to begin interacting with Dr. Isaza.
     The mobile unit was parked near the Chiefland Farmer’s Flea Market’s Office, which is on the southwest corner of the property. The big flea market is a place to visit to find a vast array of products and services including fruits, vegetables, tools and an exceptionally long list of other items.
     On this particular Sunday, though, the mobile clinic was a new featured attraction.
     Dr. Isaza introduced herself and explained medical facts and procedures to the pet owners who want spay or neuter surgery on their pets. She believes in establishing a doctor-patient relationship with the pet owners, so that they are more comfortable about the process.
     This veterinarian currently plans to bring her mobile unit to the Flea Market monthly.
     Dr. Isaza has been a veterinarian since graduating from the University of Florida’s College of Veterinary Medicine 26 years ago -- in 1994.  She started the clinical program in Shelter Medicine and Surgery at UF in 2003, incorporating shelter medicine and surgery, community veterinary medicine (which is also known as a Community Outreach Program), and the HAARTS (Helping Alachua’s Animals Requiring Treatment & Surgery) program, which provides veterinary care to sick or injured shelter animals to prevent their being euthanized.
     In 2007, she co-founded the St. Francis Pet Care Clinic in Gainesville. That clinic provides free veterinary care to the pets of low income and homeless community residents of Alachua County.
     In 2016, she was named the American Humane Association's "Hero Veterinarian" for her life's work. She started her newest business, Access Veterinary Services in October of 2019 and visits county shelters and non-profit rescue groups to perform spay or neuter procedures and other veterinary care.
     The Sunday morning sojourn into the Chiefland Farmer’s Flea Market with her mobile unit was her first outing with Fix Them All's clients.
     Dr. Isaza is a member of the Board Of Directors of Fix Them All.
     Fix Them All has been working with another veterinarian for the past year and a half, too.
     Dr. Wendy Biggs' vision to create a pet care clinic that would provide low cost affordable pet care including reducing the overpopulation of companion animals by low cost spay and neuter is incorporated into the Fix Them All methods in this regard.
     Dr. Biggs will continue holding her services once a month at the Chiefland Farmers Flea Market, but although she is still in the Fix Them All clinic program, she is no longer the mobile veterinarian for this aspect of that service.
     Meanwhile, the Levy County Animal Services has its program to trap and release feral cats that have become community cats.
     Briefly, the Levy County government’s Trap, Neuter, Release (TNR) Program is for the feral cats is for Levy County residents only.
     A driver's license showing proof of address will be required prior to the use of this program. Levy County will be scheduling 18 cats to be spayed/neutered once a month. The maximum amount of cats one person can bring in is 3-4. Cats are to be dropped off the day before the scheduled surgery and will be scheduled to leave the day after surgery.
     All cats in the Levy County Animal Services’ program must arrive in a cat trap. For more information about the LCAS program please visit its website, or contact LCAS Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at 352-486-5138 or send an email to animalservices@levycounty.org.
     As Bob Barker said on The Price Is Right – “Spay or neuter your pets.” To learn more about the Levy County government program,
     As for Fix Them All (FTA), it is the updated name of Pay To Spay, which incorporated in Florida. It was awarded federal 501(c)(3) status in 2016.
     The FTA mission is to incentivize the spaying and neutering of dogs and cats in order to reduce the number of unwanted animals.  To that end, FTA works in rural counties in North Central Florida that have relatively high euthanasia rates to help people overcome barriers to sterilizing their pets.
     In 2018, for example, one county shelter in this region took in 591 stray cats and euthanized 469 of them. By encouraging pet owners to sterilize their dogs and cats and facilitating this by providing transportation and subsidizing the cost, Pay To Spay goes directly to the source of the problem.
     The low-cost spay/neuter program is made possible through the FTA’s negotiating discounted procedure fees from local veterinarians who wish to participate in the program.
     Qualified pet owners are given certificates for spay/neuter at participating practices for small co-payments ($30 for cats, $50 for dogs). FTA subsidizes the difference with its funds.
     In 2019, FTA initiated a mobile spay/neuter clinic unit to go to communities to help pet owners who may not be able to travel to get their pets sterilized.
     Using first the Neuter Commuter service provided by Dr. Biggs and more recently a Mobile Unit provided by Access Veterinary Services, FTA has held clinics in Chiefland, Old Town and Cross City. In 2020, thanks to the generosity of the Wagmore Foundation, FTA has been able to hold two mobile clinics a month.
     In 2020, Fix Them All joined with the Humane Society of North Central Florida (Alachua) to register Levy County residents on government assistance for free spays and neuters. This venture allowed the Humane Society of North Central Florida to spay and neuter 51 cats and 36 dogs.
     In July of 2020, Fix Them All was proud to have been awarded a grant through the Bissell Pet Foundation to further its mission.
     Since January 2020, FTA facilitated the spaying and neutering of almost 1,000 pets.
     To contact Fix Them All, click HERE.
     As noted, not only does this flea market have everything under the sun regarding products and services, it provides community-oriented events. Click HERE to see an archived story where the Chiefland Farmer’s Flea Market hosted a car show to benefit a worthy cause. Among the many photos here are those that include Chiefland Fire Rescue Capt. Cal Morgan, Tri-County Cruisers President Doug Mitchell, Ray Tremblay (one of the judges for this event) and some of the many vehicles from the event in June of 2017. Of course, things change; but this is from that day.


Biden And Trump
Supporters Hold Signs

Biden Supporters In Chiefland Florida  HardisonInk.com
With the voters in the United States of America choosing essentially between two candidates for President – Joe Biden or Donald Trump – Democrats and Republicans are showing their support for one or the other. On Saturday (Sept. 26) from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m., some Levy County Democrats gathered in a grassy area next to U.S. Highway 19 and U.S. Highway 129 in Chiefland to hold Biden-Harris 2020 signs.

Biden Supporters In Chiefland Florida  HardisonInk.com

A couple of Trump supporters held signs up for a brief part of that time span on the sidewalk next to the Save-A-Lot parking lot. Within the 15 minutes of covering the two-hour event organized by local Democrats, one black pickup truck that had a license tag holder indicating the vehicle is from The Villages (of Sumter County), had a male driver step out of the pickup truck and yell a vulgar statement about Presidential Candidate Joe Biden.

Biden Supporters In Chiefland Florida  HardisonInk.com

Biden Supporters In Chiefland Florida  HardisonInk.com
Democrats responded with ‘Have a nice day’ and the light turned green, and the ne'er-do-well passerby went his merry way. Several people shouted words of encouragement for the supporters of the Joe Biden-Kamala Harris campaign, as well as beeping horns as a sign of support.

Trump Supporter In Chiefland Florida  HardisonInk.com
Meanwhile, a couple of Trump supporters held up banners showing their support for that candidate as they stood on the sidewalk near Save-A-Lot, essentially as a kneejerk reaction to the group of Democrats.

Photos By Jeff M. Hardison © Sept. 26, 2020 at 4:10 p.m.


Inglis and Yankeetown residents
seek to stop thieves;

Plan for litter retrieval
program moves forward

Published Sept. 25, 2020 at 5:10 p.m.
The people of Inglis and Yankeetown have been alerted via an email chain to be on the lookout for a certain type of thieves, and the two towns’ effort for litter removal is gaining momentum too.
     In an email on Thursday (Sept. 24), “The Stuffers” noted “Thieves are on the (Withlacoochee) river stealing gas, etc., from boats and docks. The last hit was 30 gallons of gas from a boat in a lift. Usually, they have a trolling motor and once they get gas, gas tanks, kicker motors, batteries, tackle they leave and then start the gas motor to getaway.”
     The Stuffers noted that in the past, these thieves have been coming from the east (Inglis).
     The Stuffers recommend that riverside residents create a phone chain with neighbors on the river to alert them and to track the thieves to determine where they end up.
     To achieve this goal, The Stuffers note their advice is to obtain the phone numbers of the four neighbors on either side of the participants.
     “If everyone does this we can track them and give the police a way to catch them,” The Stuffers noted, as they added this advice -- Call the the Levy County Sheriff’s Office at 352-486-5111 and report any suspicious activity on the water and on the roads. 
     In another bit of community insight, The Stuffers noted residents of Inglis and Yankeetown now have a sign on Levy County Road 40 (Follow That Dream Parkway), just off of U.S. Highway 19. The Trash Pick Up Dates for participating volunteers are Sept. 26, Oct. 17 and Nov. 14.
     Inglis and Yankeetown volunteers who are willing to pick up litter are invited this Saturday (Sept. 26) at 8 a.m., to meet at Inglis Town Hall. Please bring water, bug spray, and gloves, The Stuffers noted.


Gilchrist County Rotary Club
becomes a 100 percent
Paul Harris Fellow Club

Gilrchrist County Rotary is 100 percent Paul Harris Fellows  HardisonInk.com
Present Monday afternoon (Sept. 21) for this event are (first row, from left) Dana Nicholson, Karen Jones, Joanne Halter, Heather Snellgrove, Sheree Lancaster, Rosemary McDaniel, Jennifer Beyer for Dan Beyer, Stephanie Douglas, Holly Creel, Maxine Cummings, Amy Owens, Sheila Frazier, Xina Leggett, Natasha Allen and Jennifer Wilkerson; and (back row, from left) Todd Gray for Cindy Gray, Aaron Haynes, Chris Weatherhilt, Rick Washburn, Gilchrist County Rotary Club President Lowell Chesborough, Steve Buckles and Michael McElroy.

Story and Photo Provided
By Holly Creel, Rotarian
Published Sept. 22, 2020 at 2:10 p.m.
     TRENTON --
The Rotary Club of Gilchrist County achieved the 100 percent Paul Harris Fellow Recognition on Monday (Sept. 21) at the Woman's Club in Trenton.
     This is a one-time honor that is bestowed upon a Rotary Club when every member makes a contribution to Rotary International to become a Paul Harris Fellow. In the world of Rotarians, this is a very fine honor!
     Rotarians celebrated this event with a delightful luncheon catered by Springwater Events and Chef Jason Fuchs. The delicious meal consisted of ribeye steaks cooked to order on site, sauteed onions and mushrooms, horseradish sauce, au jus and gorgonzola sauce, rosemary scalloped potatoes, green beans, salad, assorted breads and desserts.


Publisher shows
six candidates’ 
responses to questions

By Jeff M. Hardison © Sept. 16, 2020 at 9:10 a.m.
Readers will see below the responses, or non-responses, of six candidates who are seeking seats in the Florida House of Representatives for District 21 and 22, and in the Florida Senate for District 5.
     Two candidates chose against responding. Their names are listed and the notation for them is “Candidate was non-responsive.”
     All six candidates received the very same notices and were given the same deadlines to respond. There was be no word limit. There was a deadline when answers were due. All answers are published at the same time.
     Some voters made their decisions upon whom to elect before reading these responses. These questions and answers are simply one possible option for voters to consider when making their choices. The answers are the candidates’ written responses.
     Alphabetically, the person with the last name closer to "A" has his or her name and information published on top with the second candidate below that. Each set of two candidates will be together in the three races.
     Candidates in the race for House District 21 will be on top of those for House District 22.
     The candidates seeking the Senate District 5 seat are below those other two sets of candidates.

Charles Wesley "Chuck" Clemons Sr. (R-Newberry)
Chuck Clemons HardisonInk.com

1.) Why do you want to serve in the Florida House of Representatives?
     It has been my honor to serve District 21 for the past four years. I am proud of my record supporting rural counties, protecting free speech, building new public schools in Dixie and Gilchrist counties. I have been a successful advocate for the salary increases of teachers, state workers and correctional officers.
 2.) What can you do in the Florida House to help people with the cost of medical care in Florida?
     Currently, over $30 billion dollars of Florida’s budget goes directly to health and human services. That represents one-third of the total budget. I have assisted with the opening of a medical clinic in Gilchrist County. Florida was the first state to allow for the purchase of FDA-approved drugs from Canada. I also obtained an appropriation for the expansion of dental services to low income residents of North Florida. I have supported legislation that removed the certificate of need that will enable competition in healthcare and provides for price transparency. I have supported telemedicine expansion and broadening the scope of pharmacist and other medical professionals. This is what I have done to help reduce the cost of medical care.
 3.) What can you do in the Florida House to help people with issues of access to Internet service, improvement in quality of education (versus more testing) and protection from danger to students in public education, including in the State University System?
     High speed Internet is no longer a luxury, but a necessity. I have been a strong supporter for the expansion of Internet services to the rural areas of Florida. This year, the Legislature passed a bill that creates and funds a lead agency on high-speed Internet installation. Education was a big winner in 2020 with $500 million for the teacher raises and the increase in the per-pupil funding formula by $184 for a total of $7,839.
 4.) Have you seen the impact of climate change and corporate interests on Florida’s environment? What can you do in the Florida House to help preserve natural resources and to protect the environment in this state?
     The pressure of 900 new residents moving to Florida each day is putting tremendous pressure on our natural resources. As Chairman of the Agriculture and Natural Resources Subcommittee, I have successfully advocated for $200 million dollars for Springs Protection and Restoration; passed legislation that will help to remove plastics from our landfills; held polluters financially accountable to sewage spills in our waterways; we have also allocated more than $650 million for the everglades restoration effort.
 5.) How do you feel about making marijuana sales available for recreational use with a tax on it like alcoholic beverages?
     No doubt that views on marijuana are changing in this country. Our court system is clogged with low-level marijuana offences. Several states have taken steps to decriminalize and implement a tax on the sales. At this time, while there may be advantages for this movement, I am not in favor.
 6.) How do you feel about ending the ability for people to be sentenced to death by execution for certain crimes in Florida?
     I support capital punishment. Criminals who commit heinous crimes like murder, that take the lives of innocent men, women, children and the elderly deserve to be put to death.
 7.) What is your single most important legislation you hope to see passed once you are elected?
     As the incumbent, I have successfully passed many bills while in the Legislature including; protecting people from insurance fraud; supporting firefighters who have contracted cancer as a result of their job; protection of our springs and waterways; funding economic development in rural counties; the construction of public schools in Dixie and Gilchrist counties.
 8.) Other than these specific questions, what can you tell voters as an actual reason to choose you rather than the other candidate seeking this same seat in the Florida Legislature?
     Over the past four years, I have provided a strong voice in the legislature for North Florida. My solid record of listening to and being an advocate for the tri-county region is evident by the results. My understanding of the needs of the district have enabled me to be an effective legislator for our community. I have successfully passed legislation that benefits our community and the state of Florida. Some projects in District 21 require coordination with multi agencies in the state of Florida. I have worked closely with Congressman Neal Dunn over the past few years to coordinate the restoration of the McGriff pass in Suwannee and pleased to announce this project will begin in October, 2020.
     I am honored to be endorsed by the Florida Medical Association PAC, the Police Benevolent Association, the Fraternal Order of Police, the International Association of Firefighters Local 2157, the Florida Professional Firefighters, the Gator Fire Council, the Florida Chamber of Commerce, the Florida Realtors Association, the Florida Retail Association, and the Florida Nursery Growers and Landscape Association.
The Florida Farm Bureau has named me a Champion for Agriculture for the past four years.
     It has been an honor to represent District 21 and I ask for your vote on or before Nov. 3.
     For more information go to https://chuckclemons.com/.

Kayser Enneking, M.D. (D-Gainesville)
Kayser Enneking  HardisonInk.com

1.) Why do you want to serve in the Florida House of Representatives?
     Throughout my 30 years as a doctor at UF Shands, I have seen first-hand how lack of access to affordable, quality healthcare can destroy lives. I’ve seen people skip doctor’s appointments because they can’t afford the visit, only to come into the ER when it’s too late. In a country as prosperous as ours, this is not right. I am running for office to address the failures of our healthcare systems and make healthcare better for every Floridian.
     The Florida legislature has had the opportunity to expand Medicaid in every session for the past 7 years. Today this would provide access to healthcare to over 1.4 million uninsured Floridians, many who have recently lost their job due to the economic shutdown. Every year politicians have allowed party politics to override the economic and health benefits of this program. Today, with the economic destruction of the COVID-19 pandemic, we cannot afford to play party politics any longer.
     We need to elect representatives to the legislature who will advocate for patients. There are lobbyists in Tallahassee for the hospitals, the doctors, the nurses, and the drug companies. There are none for the patients. We need people who understand the system and the importance of healthcare access. This cannot be a Democrat or Republican issue. This is solely about making sure every person has access to quality, affordable healthcare. Illness knows no party lines, and neither should our healthcare legislation.
2.) What can you do in the Florida House to help people with the cost of medical care in Florida?
     My number one priority is Medicaid expansion. Medicaid expansion would increase healthcare access to over 1.4 million uninsured Floridians, over 75 percent of whom are in working families. This pandemic has shown us that having healthcare insurance tied to employment can leave folks without access to a doctor in times of crisis. Expanding Medicaid is one of the most immediate and cost-effective steps our legislature can take, and I would devote every resource I had to getting it done if I were elected.
     But ensuring every Floridian can afford medical costs is about much more than just insurance. It is about lowering prescription drug costs, expanding access to telehealth clinics in our rural communities, and combating the opioid epidemic that is sweeping the nation. Floridians shouldn’t have to choose between putting food on the table and the cost of the tank of gas needed to get to their doctor, since no healthcare clinic is in their community. Or between paying their electricity bills and buying life-saving insulin.
     During COVID-19, our system quickly innovated to expand telehealth opportunities. We must continue to build on this. We must hold big pharma accountable for the disturbing pattern of rapidly increasing drug costs, even as the costs of making drugs do not change, as well as their intentional stoking of opioid addiction in our communities. Only once we take these steps can we begin to manage the rising costs of healthcare in this state.
3.) What can you do in the Florida House to help people with issues of access to Internet service, improvement in quality of education (versus more testing) and protection from danger to students in public education, including in the State University System?
     COVID-19 has shown us that universal broadband coverage is an essential utility in the state of Florida. We must commit to ensuring we have 100% coverage of affordable broadband as a public utility, especially in our rural areas where gaps in investment have left too many without access. Broadband is not only essential to ensure no child is left behind in their education, but also to ensure that our workers can compete in an increasingly digital economy. Furthermore, many of our schools have not been updated or renovated in decades. Providing our schools with the funding they need to afford textbooks, computers, quality teachers, and more is of the utmost importance to ensure a good quality of life for our children.
     Standardized testing has been a failure in our state. It has handicapped teachers and has failed to lead to better educational outcomes. We need to support our teachers by encouraging creativity and innovation in the classroom. Our school staff and teachers deserve to be paid a living wage, and we must increase teacher pay across the board, rather than pitting teacher against teacher through bonus schemes and unequal pay raises.
     As we reopen schools and universities this fall, the safety of our children, teachers, and school staff should be first and foremost. We must ensure that our school boards and health departments are working together to keep our communities safe, and that there are funds from the state available to ensure that investments in school safety are made.
4.) Have you seen the impact of climate change and corporate interests on Florida’s environment? What can you do in the Florida House to help preserve natural resources and to protect the environment in this state?
     Fighting climate change and protecting the environment are not abstract battles for our communities. We must protect Florida’s fresh water to not only ensure our springs are protected for future generations, but also ensure that our farmers continue to have access to clean water and that our coastlines are protected so our aquaculture industries can thrive. It is shameful we have not banned fracking in the state of Florida; these techniques that pump dangerous toxins into our groundwater have no place in our state. UF IFAS through its research has continued to innovate and come up with more efficient and environmentally sustainable techniques for our vital industries. We must continue to support this research and ensure that new techniques can be implemented in the industries throughout this district. Through the Florida Department of Agriculture’s cost-sharing programs, we can help support our farmers as we work towards more sustainable agriculture that will protect the industry and environment for generations to come. We must take the threats to our springs and fresh water seriously, but we cannot ask our agriculture community to shoulder the burden of environmental protection alone.
5.) How do you feel about making marijuana sales available for recreational use with a tax on it like alcoholic beverages?
     I support the legalization, regulation, and taxation of marijuana for recreational use. The war on drugs has been a failure in our nation. Arrests for marijuana use has resulted in the mass incarceration of nonviolent users and large disparities in incarceration rates for people of color. As we look to rebuild our state post-coronavirus, we need to be looking for opportunities to not only cut costs in the state budget, but also create new revenue streams for the state.
     Currently, the state is spending millions of dollars locking up nonviolent offenders on marijuana charges. Rather than spending all that money on nonviolent offenders, the state could be generating millions of dollars that can then be used to fund education, infrastructure, drug prevention programs, or any number of other programs our communities so desperately need.
6.) How do you feel about ending the ability for people to be sentenced to death by execution for certain crimes in Florida?
     As a physician I took an oath to do no harm. I believe that the death penalty should be abolished in Florida. Our criminal justice system has a long history of wrongful convictions. We also must consider the fact that the endless litigation associated with death penalty cases has slowed the wheels of justice for everyone and has prevented closure for victims’ families.
7.) What is your single most important legislation you hope to see passed once you are elected?
     My inspiration for running for office was my frustration with the way partisan politics has prevented Medicaid expansion in Florida. Passing Medicaid expansion and increasing access to quality, affordable healthcare will be my number one priority as your next state representative. 
8.) Other than these specific questions, what can you tell voters as an actual reason to choose you rather than the other candidate seeking this same seat in the Florida Legislature?
     COVID-19 has shone a light on the gaping holes in our public health system in Florida, but the barriers that prevented us from controlling COVID-19 have been there for decades. Since 2016 alone, the state Legislature cut over $9 million and 3,000 jobs from public health funding in Florida. This left us ill prepared to fight the opioid epidemic, to work on safer outcomes for all pregnancies, and clearly to attack the COVID-19 pandemic. It also left us with fewer healthcare providers in Gilchrist and Dixie counties. Currently we have 77 lawyers and one doctor in the state Legislature. We need legislators who bring relevant, real world expertise to address the most pressing issue of our time: healthcare. I would be honored to bring my lifetime of experience taking care of patients to the Legislature.
     For more information, visit https://ennekingforflorida.com/.

Barbara Byram   HardisonInk.com
Barbara Byram (D-Morriston)
1.) Why do you want to serve in the Florida House of Representatives?
     As a lifelong activist on issues focusing on the needs of the people over the elite, I believe in the principles of good governance. It is clear that our Legislature not only ignores the needs of the people in favor of corporations, industry, and the wealthy elite but prevents people from voicing opinions on proposed legislation. I want to transform the Legislature into one that is transparently accountable to the people. When legislation gets placed on the calendar for vote, the people have only 24 to 48 hours to respond. Moreover, people trying to keep up with legislation are frustrated by the incomprehensible search feature on the state's website. We deserve to know what legislators claim to be doing on our behalf, and we deserve the time needed to contact them about proposed legislation.
2.) What can you do in the Florida House to help people with the cost of medical care in Florida?
     I have long been a proponent of Single-Payer Universal Healthcare. I have spoken with many Levy County residents on this topic for the past 11 years and have found overwhelming support for it. This, however, is really a national solution to our healthcare problems, not something that can easily be achieved at the state level. Here in Florida, we need to accept that tying healthcare coverage to employment - especially in light of the current global pandemic and subsequent high numbers of people losing insurance along with their jobs - is not working. I will work for Medicaid expansion in order to cover more people, resulting in more preventive care, less emergency care, and lowered costs all around.
3.) What can you do in the Florida House to help people with issues of access to Internet service, improvement in quality of education (versus more testing) and protection from danger to students in public education, including in the State University System?
     In terms of Internet connection, we need national legislation that updates the Rural Electrification Act beyond the broadband pilot program of 2014. We pay too much for broadband service in rural areas of Florida, and it seems that the only solution is going to be a public/private partnership to extend high quality, reliable connectivity to every area of the state.
     As for improving the quality of education, we need to fully fund public education across the state. Even though it appears that we're spending more money now than ever before on education, the cost per student, adjusted for inflation, has gone down. Full funding should include money for all classroom materials needed for teachers to fully engage students in the learning process; money for programs that are essential to child development, such as art and physical education; and money for extracurricular programs and activities that enhance development and learning.
     Addressing protection from danger, I believe in gun sense laws. Weapons were not allowed on any campus I attended as a student, and I believe that they should not be allowed on any campus now. If we must have a law enforcement presence on all school campuses, that presence should be in the form of community liaison officers.
4.) Have you seen the impact of climate change and corporate interests on Florida’s environment? What can you do in the Florida House to help preserve natural resources and to protect the environment in this state?
     While I could address many instances of climate change effects across the state, I will focus on our area. I live on five acres, and I grow my own food. The weather pattern in our area has changed quite a bit over the past seven years in terms of wintertime chill hours and average daily highs. I have seen a shortened season for growing winter crops, a lengthened summer season where fewer crops can be grown, and a reduction in the number and diversity of insects year-round, which affects pollination.
     As for our natural resources, corporations continue to push the envelope, not once but repeatedly, when it comes to taking our resources for corporate profit. These resources cannot be replaced once depleted or reduced to the extent that it alters ecosystems and biodiversity. Maintaining biodiversity is not merely a matter of "saving a few cute and cuddly animals" but of saving as many species as possible, because without them, humans will cease to exist. We must be vigilant in pushing back against industries and corporate interests that look to enhance their profits at our expense, such as M-CORES toll roads. Enacting legislation that rewards the use of renewable technologies and the innovation in their development is an absolute necessity for the future of our state, especially given the projections of continued population growth.
5.) How do you feel about making marijuana sales available for recreational use with a tax on it like alcoholic beverages?
     It would certainly save a great deal of money in terms of the war on drugs, reduce taxpayer expense on incarceration, and fund much needed programs in the state addressing addiction and recovery.
6.) How do you feel about ending the ability for people to be sentenced to death by execution for certain crimes in Florida?
     I am opposed to the death penalty.
7.) What is your single most important legislation you hope to see passed once you are elected?
     While there are many equally important pieces of legislation that need to be passed, the most important in terms of time sensitivity would be a repeal of SB 7068, M-CORES. That bill is a prime example of the habitual way in which our legislature operates without transparency and accountability to the people.
8.) Other than these specific questions, what can you tell voters as an actual reason to choose you rather than the other candidate seeking this same seat in the Florida Legislature?
     If you want a state Legislature that responds to the needs of the people, not corporations and the wealthy, vote for me. If you want more M-CORES and less home rule, vote for the man who is endorsed by the very legislator who voted for those - and many similar things.

Joe Harding (R-Williston)
     Candidate was non-responsive

Jennifer Bradley (R-Fleming Island)
Jennifer Bradley  HardisonInk.com

1.) Why do you want to serve in the Florida Senate?
     I’m running for the Florida Senate because I love north Florida. I want future generations to raise their families here and enjoy the same safe communities, the same beautiful natural resources and the same conservative values that are so important to my family. I want to see our businesses thrive and our children receive the best education possible.
2.) What can you do in the Florida Senate to help people with improving economic growth in private business in Florida?
     When 2020 began, our economy had record low unemployment and businesses were thriving. Since then, the coronavirus has presented us with many unprecedented challenges. Relaunching the economy quickly and safely will be my key objective. I trust the innovation of the private sector and our small businesses to lead the way, not the government. I will fight to keep taxes low and work to repeal regulations on our important job creators. `
3.) What can you do in the Florida Senate to help people with issues of access to Internet service, improvement in quality of education (versus more testing) and protection from danger to students in public education, including in the State University System?
     Working to address the rural broadband issue is a top priority for me. With more people working from home and students learning from home, this is an issue that cannot wait. All solutions to close the digital divide need to be on the table including public-private partnerships and fixed wireless technologies to reach the end user.
     A quality education system is the foundation of our great state. That is why I was so happy to see the legislature prioritize our teachers this last session. An average minimum pay of $47,500 for Florida teachers puts Florida near the top nationally for minimum teacher salary and recognizes the incredible work they do. The focus should always remain on attracting and retaining the very best teachers and providing our children with an innovative, quality education.
4.) Have you seen the impact of climate change and corporate interests on Florida’s environment? What can you do in the Florida Senate to help preserve natural resources and to protect the environment?
     I’m proud of the environmental record of Gov. Ron DeSantis, who has focused on protecting and preserving the precious resources of our state. He has accomplished this by prioritizing science and research to address troubling issues like algae blooms and red tide; adding a chief science officer to monitor rising seas; and investing record dollars to protect our springs and our coastlines. These issues have an important impact on the quality of life for Floridians and are important to me.
5.) How do you feel about making marijuana sales available for recreational use with a tax on it like alcoholic beverages?
     I do not support making marijuana available for recreational sale.
6.) How do you feel about ending the ability for people to be sentenced to death by execution for certain crimes in Florida?
     I do not support abolishing the death penalty.
7.) How quickly do you anticipate answering questions or requests for information posed by members of the press?
     While I do not believe that much our media today is fair and impartial, that does not affect my deep respect for The First Amendment and the role of a free press in our system of government. The press has a vital role in informing citizens about public affairs and monitoring the action of government. I look forward to an open and timely dialogue and communication with the press so that constituents in Senate District 5 have accurate information about their state government.
8.) What can you do as a Florida state senator to reduce the hate of one group for another? For instance, when peaceful protestors are marching and an anti-protestor injures or kills a person at that protest, are you in favor of an increased level of punishment?
     Every Floridian, regardless of race, has the absolute right to pursue their dreams and go as far as their drive and ambition will take them. I condemn violence of any kind in the strongest terms.
9.) Other than these specific questions, what can you tell voters as an actual reason to choose you rather than the other candidate seeking this same seat in the Florida Legislature?
     I’m a wife and mother, attorney and lifelong Republican who will fight for north Florida values in Tallahassee, including the Second Amendment and the rights of the unborn. I’m honored to be endorsed by Gov. Ron DeSantis, sheriffs across District 5 and the National Rifle Association. I’ve spent my adult life as a busy, working mother. Between shuttling kids to sports practices and working at our businesses, I’ve never had the patience or time for excuses or not following through on your promises. You can count on me to stand firm for what is important to our community to always be open, honest and accessible. I look forward to earning your support and taking your voice to the Florida Senate.

Melina Rayna Svanhild Farley-Barratt (D-Trenton)
     Candidate was non-responsive.


Jay Bushnell seeks election
to District #4 of Levy County
Soil and Water
Conservation Commission;

On the Nov. 3 ballot

Published Sept. 11, 2020 at 12:10 a.m.
     Publisher’s Note: This is an announcement by a candidate for elected office. Any candidate seeking any elected office in the Tri-County Area of Levy, Dixie and Gilchrist counties is invited to send one announcement. 

By Jay Bushnell
I would like to briefly describe why I am seeking the opportunity to serve on the Levy County Soil and Water Commission (SWC). My research indicates that SWC
offers a great deal of potential to enhance the interests of farmers, ranchers, and foresters.

Jay Bushnell For Soil And Water Conversation  HardisonInk.com




Jay Bushnell
Photo Provided


     Clearly, as stewards of the land, they are vital to our way of life.
Those who work off the land face increased environmental challenges from climate change. They also face market challenges from globalization. As a former commercial beekeeper, I encountered and understand those pressures.
     As a retired college educator, I also understand the importance of educating and preparing our youth for when they take over the reins.
     I believe volunteering is one of the most important contributions one can make to the community (in case you are wondering, this is a volunteer job). I have been a president to PTAs, environmental groups like the Friends of the Lower Suwannee & Cedar Key National Wildlife Refuges, the Cedar Keys Audubon, and Volusia Anthropological Society.
     Presently, I am also a Director on the Florida Wildlife Federation Board.
     I have experience with strategic planning and grant writing. I have helped make things happen. For example, in Volusia County, I co-chaired a two-year project promoting ECHO, which stands for the Environment, Cultural, Heritage, Outdoor recreation. At the end of the two years, over 70 percent of the public voted to tax themselves for ECHO projects. They also created a Volusia Forever fund to tap into Florida Forever.
     If you visit Volusia County today, you may discover many projects that have successfully been completed with ECHO funds.
     I moved to Florida in 1947 and have witnessed major changes. We have owned property in Levy County since 1986 and we moved here full-time in 2004. I want to help Levy County thrive as a safe and prosperous rural part of Florida. If elected, I would
dedicate my efforts to help make this happen.
     It would be an honor to serve as a volunteer on the Levy County Soil and Water Conservation Commission, District #4. I would appreciate your vote on Nov. 3.
Thank you,
Dr. Jay Bushnell


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