CF Students Participate
In National Public Lands Day

CF Public Lands Volunteers
Students from Professor Steve Mackenzie's and Professor Richard Kirk’s classes volunteered at Silver Springs State Park as part of National Public Lands Day on Saturday (Sept. 22).

CF Public Lands Volunteers
Thirty-five CF students and staff along with six other community groups performed a variety of duties from pulling invasive exotic weeds, painting picnic tables and projects in the ornamental gardens, and planting native grasses, herbs, shrubs and palms.

CF Public Lands Volunteers

CF Public Lands Volunteers
Published Sept. 24, 2018 at 9:18 p.m.

Information and Photos Provided By CF Marketing and Public Relations Manager Tina Banner


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Nature Coast Biological Station
annual open house
provides learning opportunities

Dr. Mike Allen stands on an area between the Gulf of Mexico and the structures that comprise the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Nature Coast Biological Station on Cedar Key on Saturday (Sept. 22). Dr. Allen was appointed Director of the Nature Coast Biological Station in 2015. The majority of construction was completed last year, and this was the first annual Open House after that initial ribbon-cutting moment then.

Story and Photos
By Jeff M. Hardison © Sept. 23, 2018 at 9:08 a.m.
– The University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences’ crown jewel of freshwater, saltwater and estuarian research conducted its first annual open house event Saturday (Sept. 22), giving the general public an opportunity to tour the facility and learn as much as any person wanted.

United States Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla Commander John P. Caddigan of Flotilla 15-2 of Yankeetown shares information with a visitor about the USCG Auxiliary.

Linda Headley, a master naturalist from Dixie County, holds a horseshoe crab. Headley was one of three master naturalists at the event who were there to help people better understand the nature of some marine creatures and the environment. Other master naturalists there were Linda Redditt of Dixie County and Gale Pierce of Williston. Among the many interesting things about horseshoe crabs that Headley shared is that these creatures have six eyes. The female is huge and must be at least 10 years old before she lays eggs in the sand on the beach, and the male fertilizes them. These animals have 750 muscles. Also, the male can connect to the shell of the female, and she can carry him around.

A male horseshoe crab stands in a tank for people to see during the open house. There is a program for people to help researchers. is a site for reporting horseshoe crabs that are found if they have been tagged. The reflection of light from the surface of the water is what causes the white areas in this photo.

Alicia Rohan of Gainesville holds her daughter Harlow Rohan, 4, as they look into a tank with marine creatures.

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Biologist Johnny Polasik (wearing a dark blue shirt on the right side of the photo) and FWC Biologist Chelsea Conley (light blue shirt) speak to people about different creatures – including snook (seen as a fiberglass version on the wall behind Biologist Conley), a delicious fish that is very regulated to protect it from extinction. These two full-time biologists are also graduate students at the University of Florida, having completed their undergraduate degrees at other colleges.

Dr. Laura Reynolds (wearing sunglasses and a purple shirt on the right of the photo), an assistant professor at the University 0f Florida, and Sawyer Downey (wearing a ball cap and orange shirt on the right side of the photo), a UF undergraduate intern, speak to people about seagrass ecology. They are part of the UF/IFAS Nature Coast Biological Station Seagrass Ecology Research Team. Other members of that set of scientists are Whitney Scheffel, biological scientist; Dr. Charles Martin, assistant professor; Dr. Savannah Barry, sea grant regional agent; Jamila Roth, doctoral student; Cayla Sullivan, master's degree student; Dr. Ashley McDonald, postdoctoral researcher; Audrey Looby, master's degree student; Scott Alford, doctoral student; Theresa Gruninger, master's degree student; Samantha Tiffany, biological scientist; and Christina Mareau, biological scientist.

Nature Coast Biological Station Administrative Assistant Cassandra Key stands next to some of the newest art on the walls of the second story of the NCBS. This photo on the wall is of aquaculture activity on the docks of Cedar Key in 1956. The NCBS is still being built. The third floor is not complete inside yet. Like a living organism, the main building continues to grow as it matures. the single-story structure on the NCBS campus evolved from being part of a motel that used to occupy that part of Cedar Key.

Four of the Seagrass Ecology Research Team were able to take a few seconds away from telling people about their studies, including a comparison of growth rates of a particular specie of crab in comparison at different locations, such as Cedar Key, Steinhatchee, other places off the Florida Gulf Coast and in other coastal states such as Louisiana. Seen here are (from left) Dr. Laura Reynolds, an assistant professor at the University 0f Florida, Sawyer Downey, a UF undergraduate intern, Dr. Charles Martin, assistant professor and Dr. Ashley McDonald, postdoctoral researcher. In front of the researchers are three aquariums with seagrasses and other aspects of their research. Also on the table in front of them are crabs like the kind that are among their research into growth rates of crabs at different locations along some parts of the coast of the Gulf of Mexico.

Cedar Key School Principal Kathy Lawrence and CKS Science Teacher/SALT Teacher/Ag Teacher and FFA Advisor Rachel Wetherington stand near a display that shows information about the CKS Sharks Aquaculture Life Training program.

     The idea of touch tanks was a relatively strong attraction for the children. Meanwhile as grandparents listened to research scientists speak about comparing crab growth rates in different parts of Florida and other Gulf Coast states, one might have noticed a point where interest faded from the person a couple of generations removed from the youngest set of visitors that day.
     Regardless of the level of interest of any visitor, every person was welcomed and made to feel at home – as is the custom in the coastal community of Cedar Key. Scientists were happy to share information with every visitor who showed an interest.
     Not only were higher level research scientists available to impart wisdom and sage advice, but also present was a secondary school science teacher and the top administrator from the island’s public school.
     While every participant was a star in his or her own right, one man shoulders the top responsibility onsite at the Nature Coast Biological Station in Cedar Key.
     Dr. Mike Allen shared insight about one of the most important aspects of current research by scientists who use this site.
     Dr. Allen was appointed Director of the Nature Coast Biological Station in 2015. As he mentioned in a conversation Saturday, the University of Florida has long been conducting marine research out of Cedar Key.
     This is an ideal location for the research facility. Another nearby and connected research station is on Seahorse Key.
     Seahorse Key is a 165-acre island located in Levy County and is part of the Cedar Keys National Wildlife Refuge.
     That island’s rich history includes thousands of years of human habitation and use. The study of shell middens on the island and surrounding region by University of Florida archeologists show that native Americans made ample use of the area’s rich estuary habitats, especially oysters and other seafood.
     In addition to the connection to Seahorse Key, Dr. Allen mentioned the UF/IFAS NCBS works hand-in-hand with researchers from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and the United States Fish and Wildlife Service.
     Just as the human scientists work together in this region of Florida, so too is the connection between freshwater and saltwater here.
     As for some the most important research that Dr. Allen mentioned is the interrelationship of freshwater flowing into saltwater. The impact of freshwater on estuaries is among the many studies being conducted from the Nature Coast Biological Station. Changes in freshwater flow affect salinity levels in estuaries, and this environmental impact is a force to be reckoned with by the different species that make their homes in the delicate estuarian system.
     Among the many other general studies at the UF/IFAS Nature Coast Biological Station at Cedar Key, Dr. Allen said, are those involving seagrasses, shorebirds, seabirds, various forms of crabs, and the aquaculture industry – including the different shellfish species like oysters and clams.

To see the archived story titled “Turtle grass reproduction research continues at Cedar Key,” click HERE.

To see a UF/IFAS story about horseshoe crabs, click HERE.

     Research exists, too, in relation to the land under or connected with the waters. For instance, to see a story about the rebuilding of the Long Cabbage Oyster Reef, it is currently on the bottom of the Leisure Page
     Also present at the open house was United States Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla Commander John P. Caddigan of Flotilla 15-2 of Yankeetown.
     Cmdr. Caddigan shared information about the services of the USCG Auxiliary and he was ready, willing and able as well to share with any interested person how they could become involved in this group.
     Cedar Key School Principal Kathy Lawrence and CKS Science Teacher Rachel Wetherington were present to teach interest persons about the Sharks Aquaculture Life Training curriculum.
     The CKS SALT began last year as an extracurricular program and began this year as a program at the school.
     The class is an elective class.
     Open to all juniors and seniors at CKS, this first year shows eight students enrolled. SALT Teacher Wetherington also teaches middle and high school agriculture, and sixth and seventh grade science at CKS.
     SALT Students learn about the aquaculture industry, Wetherington said. These students also earn various licenses to help them in the working world of harvesting bounty from the sea.
     The first license they earned this year, Wetherington said, is boating safety. These eight students are slated to earn certification in CPR and first aid within the next 30 days, she said.
     Forklift training certification is on the agenda as well, she added.
     Aquaculture Industry Certification from the Florida Aquaculture Association is the final goal in regard to certificate and licenses from this course, the teacher said.
     There were hats and tee-shirts for sale from the UF/IFAS Nature Coast Biological Station. The open house was a wonderful success. Scientists, volunteers and teachers were excited to share with any interested person their insight about marine organisms and the habitat from whence they come.
     Click HERE to see the story and photos from the opening of the facility in 2017.

Williston city employees
to receive raises as of Oct. 1

Stephen Bloom
City Finance Director Stephen Bloom answers questions Tuesday night (Sept. 11).

Story and Photos
By Jeff M. Hardison © Sept. 12, 2018 at 4:38 p.m.
Deciding about possible raises for city employees cause the first part of a budget hearing in Williston on Tuesday night (Sept. 11) to last an hour.

(from left) Williston City Council Vice President Marguerite Robinson, Williston City Councilman Justin Head and Williston Mayor Jerry Robinson perform their duties as municipal leaders Tuesday night.

Nancy Wininger Elihu Ross
Williston City Council President Nancy Wininger and Williston City Councilman Elihu Ross listen to City Manager Scott Lippmann.

Nancy Wininger
Williston City Council President Nancy Wininger shares why she feels some level of discomfort with giving people raises they deserve and need. Her stance to vote ‘No’ for those raises at the start of the meeting changed to a ‘Yes’ vote after about an hour of discussing the matter. Nevertheless, having no way to know what the future holds, and knowing there is a likelihood to need to keep employees at least at this pay rate in the future, the city leader shared some concerns she felt as she thought about the matter.

     The end result was increased pay for Williston city employees who serve in departments other than the police or fire departments.
     An initial budget proposal of a 3 percent across-the-board pay increase for those workers changed -- so that those city employees saw increases of 15 to 20 percent, depending on various factors such as longevity and their current pay scale.
     Some workers will see raises of as much as $2 to $3 per hour.
     The choice to adopt the pay increases came after City Manager Scott Lippmann recommended them.
     They were approved by a 4-0 vote of the Williston City Council, with City Councilman Charles Goodman being absent that night.
     At the outset of the budget hearing, Mayor Jerry Robinson told the four City Council members present why he felt they should vote in favor of the amended wage increases for city workers.
     To keep the good employees the city has now and to be able to add competent workers for current and future projects were a couple of reasons, he gave for those four to vote “Yes.” Mayor Robinson also said the reason to vote in favor of these raises is to assure that the people of Williston will be provided with the level of service they need.
     City Council Vice President Marguerite Robinson said she agreed with the mayor, her husband, in regard to voting in favor of the proposed pay raises.
     City Council President Nancy Wininger gave a narrative of reasons as to both why, and why not, to vote in favor of the raises.
     Concluding that speech, President Wininger said she would have to hear a lot to convince her to change from her plan to vote “No” on the raises.
     Wininger said she was concerned that these raises will need to be covered in the coming years, and she could not determine the funding method.
     Director of City Finance Stephen Bloom said he found revenue to cover this added expense this year. Moving forward, he said there are too many changing factors from year to year to say about future funding.
     “You don’t know where your pension plans are going to go,” Bloom said. “You don’t know where our assets are going to be at. On the other side of that, on a positive, you don’t know where your taxable values are going to grow.”
     To name funding sources for these pay increases for future years presents “one of those crystal ball scenarios moving forward,” Bloom said.
     Williston Public Works Director C.J. Zimoski explained that the city has vacant positions now that no one will apply to fill because the pay is so low for the work that must be done. The city has run many help-wanted ads with zero qualified applicants showing up.
     Zimoski explained that there are jobs the city will have to subcontract for as a result of not having the workers to complete the jobs, and that will cost the city far more than is budgeted, even with these increases in pay.
     Zimoski said the work completed by previous city workers has significantly saved the city money in comparison with the cost that would exist if the city had hired independent contractors to complete those jobs.
     According to information in the agenda packet, the following jobs are vacant in Williston – city planner, roads and street-crew worker, water-sewer-gas supervisor, utility technician-water, and groundman-electric.
     People are leaving employment with the city of Williston, Zimoski said, over a $2-an-hour difference in pay.
     The year before last, the city faced dire straits in its electric department, Zimoski said, when it would have cost the city $1,500-per-day to have two workers to subcontract to run the electric department.
     The city is on the brink of seeing that same problem in its sewer and gas departments right now, Zimoski said.
     “All it takes is one person leaving,” Zimoski said, “and you’ll be contracting that service out within the next year.”
     Mayor Robinson added to what Zimoski said, by saying the wage increases proposed “will seem like peanuts” very quickly after the city is forced to hire subcontractors to perform daily operations.
     Williston Code Enforcement/Animal Control Officer Wayne Carson also provided the City Council with reasons to give employees the raises shown on the amended Compensation Pay Plan, as did a couple of other city workers. One worker spoke about his own family finances affected by the current pay he earns with the city.
     City Clerk Fran Taylor shared insight with the City Council as well to show why the best choice would be to vote “Yes” on the proposed pay increases.
     As a result, the City Council adopted a resolution that helps employees so they may overcome being compensated below the current poverty level.
      The new pay rates become effective with the start of the new fiscal year on Oct. 1.
     To determine the amended raises, City Manager Lippmann put the lowest annual pay at $25,000 a year and he worked from there.
     And while City Councilman Justin Head voted in favor of the resolution awarding pay increases, he however was the lone dissenter in a 3-1 vote to approve a $13,840,483 budget, and Councilman Head cast the “No” vote in a 3-1 vote to approve a millage rate of 6.25 mills.
     That proposed tentative city millage rate reflects a 7.1 percent increase in the ad valorem property tax rate for Williston city property owners in comparison with the previous year.
     After the budget hearing, Councilman Head said he voted "No" because he felt the millage rate did not need to be increased by quite that much.
     After the hearing, City Manager Lippmann said the city has obtained equipment to complete jobs that it formerly would have had to hire subcontractors to complete. Now the city wants to keep the workers who can operate those machines, and continue to save the city money, he said.
     Lippmann’s comment reinforced what Public Works Director Zimoski had mentioned when he explained to the City Council that -- thanks to the equipment the city has now, it brought in $70,000 to the city that would have not have happened before.
     The second and final public hearing to adopt the budget and millage for the city of Williston is scheduled to start at 6:50 p.m. on Sept. 25 in the temporary Williston City Council Room, in the former multi-purpose building and band room of the old Williston High School, 427 W. Noble. Ave. (U.S. Alt. 27).

Smithsonian Institution starts
national program in Cedar Key

Cedar Key
(from left) Ken Young, Mendy Allen and Sue Colson stand near a propane-powered cooker that is steaming clams and there are a few bags of clams behind them on the table to the right. Steamed clams were among a long list of delicious food given away at the premiere opening of an exhibit on display on the second floor of the Cedar Key Public Library. Young worked with Colson when the Florida Humanities Council brought the Smithsonian Institution's Traveling Exhibition Service’s project The Way We Worked, a few years ago. Right now, the Smithsonian Institution's Traveling Exhibition Service’s project "Crossroads: Change In Rural America," is on display at the Cedar Key Public Library. Mendy Allen succeeded in completing a $5,000 grant application for the Cedar Key Chamber of Commerce to bring this exhibit about. The city of Cedar Key promises to attract even more people than normal from now through the 49th Annual Cedar Key Lions Club Seafood Festival on Oct. 20 and 21, as a result of the exhibit and many planned events.

Story and Photos
By Jeff M. Hardison
© Sept. 8, 2018 at 11:18 p.m.
     CEDAR KEY -- Three places in the United States of America are the very first to show "Crossroads: Change In Rural America," which is part of the Smithsonian Institution's Traveling Exhibition Service.


Cedar Key
Frances Hodges (left) stands with her friend Cedar Key Vice Mayor Sue Colson. Hodges is a former city clerk for Cedar Key. As a child, Hodges lived for two years in the building that is now the Cedar Key Public Library. She lived in the structure that is Cedar Key City Hall for a long time, too, she said on Saturday afternoon (Sept. 8). There were many distinguished visitors at the premiere including Roland and Eileen Senecal of Cedar Key, Suwannee River Water Management District Executive Director Hugh Thomas, and Levy County Tourist Development Council Executive Director Tisha Whitehurst and her husband Wade Whitehurst.

Cedar Key
Cedar Key Lion Anna Hodges (left) and Cedar Key Lions Club Secretary Marsha Harrington are the first beverage servers at the table Saturday afternoon. Cedar Key Lions Club President Mike Hodges and Cedar Key Lion Greg Harrington were expected to help their wives as well. Greg Harrington is the official Cedar Key Lions Club Bartender. People in Cedar Key often hold more than one title. For instance, Marsha Harrington is also the Director of the Cedar Key Historical Society Museum, located at the crossroads of State Road 24 and Second Street.

Cedar Key

Gator bite provided by Steamer's Clam Bar and Grill. Dennis Gill, Steamer's owner, was present for the premier and he is very active in the Cedar Key Chamber of Commerce.

Cedar Key

Cedar Key

Cedar Key

Cedar Key

Cedar Key
The five pictures above are from some parts of the exhibit that show information about rural America today.

     The Cedar Key Public Library, the Chester Public Library, in Chester, Ill., and the Union County Carnegie Library, in Union, S.C., are the three places that had the exhibition on display as of Saturday (Sept. 8), according to information provided by the Smithsonian Institution.
     The exhibition will be at the Cedar Key Public Library on Second Street until Oct. 20.
     Cedar Key Vice Mayor Sue Colson, Mendy Allen and Ken Young worked with scores of people to make the monthlong "Crossroads" event come to fruition.
     "Crossroads: Change In Rural America," is part of Museum on Main Street, a collaboration between the Smithsonian Institution and state humanities councils nationwide. Support for Museum on Main Street has been provided by the United States Congress. Of course, in Florida, it is the Florida Humanities Council -- based in St. Petersburg -- that served as the conduit to bring the Smithsonian Institution's program to various cities in this state.
     After Cedar Key, Colson said the next Florida locations for this exhibit will be Callahan, Live Oak, Bartow, Havana and DeFuniak Springs.
     The display on the second floor of the Cedar Key Public Library includes five free-standing exhibition units with photographs, text panels, and objects; a video monitor; one free-standing touchscreen interactive computer; kiosks featuring video and audio content; and there is one outdoor banner.
     This exhibition reflects change in rural towns across the United States.
     The Smithsonian Institution notes that “In 1900, about 40 percent of Americans lived in rural areas, By 2010, less than 18 percent of the U.S. population lived in rural areas. In just over a century, massive economic and social changes moved millions of Americans into urban areas. Yet, only 10 percent of the U.S. landmass is considered urban.”
     “Crossroads: Change in Rural America” offers small towns a chance to look at their own paths to highlight the changes that affected their fortunes over the past century.
     The program came to Cedar Key from the Cedar Key Chamber of Commerce and from Mendy Allen writing a grant application, that awarded the city $5,000 for this program.
     Allen said she saw the Smithsonian Institituion’s interest in how Cedar Key has continued to thrive as a rural city.
     It was by speaking with Vice Mayor Colson, Allen said, that she was able to write the successful grant application.
     “Sue’s the visionary behind how we’re doing it here,” Allen said. “She has the passion for Cedar Key. Sue’s passion for Cedar Key is infectious to everyone around her.”
     Allen said the $5,000 grant includes the people of Cedar Key creating a two-minute film, however the videographer has been so taken by interviews already, that this is going to be a seven-minute video when it is done.
     The Cedar Key Chamber of Commerce hosted a phenomenal premiere and reception Saturday evening at the Chamber of Commerce Welcome Center and in the Cedar Key Public Library on Second Street.
     The free food and beverages, including adult beverages, covered a broad spectrum although it was all Cedar Key.
     Among the many free delectable items were shrimp wraps from The Island Room; gator bites from Steamer’s Clam Bar and Grill; stuffed mushrooms from The Island Hotel and Restaurant; steamed clams from Davis/Cedar Key Seafarms; smoked mullet from Cooke’s Oysters and Clams; a crab dish from Duncan’s on the Gulf; and world-famous award-winning clam chowder from Tony’s Seafood.
     Vice Mayor Colson added her own meatballs, an extraordinary clam dip, and Greek salad on a stick for anyone to enjoy for free.
     Several of the tourists who happened by during the reception and premiere found it almost unfathomable to be able to enjoy all of the delicious food and drink that they wanted, as well as to see the interesting exhibition.
     Drummond Community Bank funded an open bar, where members of the Cedar Key Lions Club served drinks. There was also tea and water available.
     Among the many Cedar Key Lions helping with this event in various ways were President Mike Hodges, First Vice President Susan Rosenthal, Second Vice President Donna Bushnell, Secretary Marsha Harrington, and Lions Anna Hodges, Greg Harrington and others.
     Anna Hodges is also participating in several of the coming events as the new director of the Cedar Key Historical Society, which is at the very crossroads of Second Street and State Road 24 in Cedar Key.
     This whole set of events on Cedar Key for the next month lead up to the pinnacle of fantastic festivals – the Cedar Key Lions Club’s 49th Annual Seafood Festival on Oct. 20 and 21.
     Even before this renowned seafood festival, though, the Smithsonian Institution, the Cedar Key Arts Center, the Bonish Studio, the City of Cedar Key, the Cedar Key Aquaculture Association, the UF/IFAS Nature Coast Biological Station, the Ocala Model Railroads Restoration Society and others will be participating in upcoming events to help visitors enjoy learning about various aspects of the island community.
     To see the scheduled programs on Sept. 15, 16, 22, 18, 29, 30, Oct. 4, 6, 7, 13, 20 and 21, please see the Community Calendar on the CALENDAR PAGE, where other events are listed as well.


Lawn man convinces
coral snake to bite the dust

Coral Snake
The coral snake’s body rests in peace, in two pieces, after crossing the wrong piece of property on Friday (Sept. 7).

Story and Photo
By Jeff M. Hardison © Sept. 7, 2018 at 11:18 a.m.
     THE INK PAD --
A member of the lawn and forest maintenance crew at The Ink Pad had occasion Friday morning (Sept. 7) at about 9:30 a.m. to convince a coral snake that it had entered into the wrong area to survive.
     The Ink Pad is property in Jemlands, an unrecorded geographical subdivision of the unincorporated part of Levy County between Carter’s Crossroads and Fowlers Bluff. It houses the home and office of Jeff and Sharon Hardison, which includes The Code Orange Office, where most of the writing and editing for happens.
     The worker had just completed properly broadcasting Amdro as noted on the label (the new kind of Amdro that kills instantly as well as into the future).
     He was raking needles when the coral snake started slowly slithering by him. The groundskeeper said he looked at the snake and quickly determined it to be among the various venomous species that can cause injury and death to cats, dogs and humans.
     Having determined a threat existed and that the creature was on the property 100 percent owned by Jeff and Sharon Hardison, the man smashed the skull of the snake. He then took great care to assure that it could not strike him in case it happened to magically come back to life, and he cut it in half for good measure.
     Prior to burying the two parts, the worker who was now armed with a post-hole digger and a shovel, separated the head from the first half of the snake as yet another step to prevent possible pain from a bite of the snake.


Rotary Club of Williston
revs up for
Purple Pinkie Peanut Run
Williston Rotary Club member Mary O’Banyoun-Abdullah plays the piano in the Prudence Ross Fellowship Hall of First Presbyterian Church of Williston on Tuesday (Sept. 4). She is a musician and her efforts were part of the pre-meeting social fun at the meeting. The official meeting starts at high noon, however members and guests enjoy the 11:45 a.m. social time before the regular weekly meeting as well.

Story and Photo
By Jeff M. Hardison © Sept. 6, 2018 at 9:48 a.m.
The Rotary Club of Williston conducted its regular weekly meeting Tuesday (Sept. 4) in the Prudence Ross Fellowship Hall of First Presbyterian Church of Williston, 247 N.E. First St.
     Williston Rotary Club President Fran Taylor conducted the meeting, which included plenty of fun. Beyond the fun, there was work as well. The members are preparing to conduct the 6th Annual Purple Pinkie 5K / 1 Mile Run-Walk.
     That is the annual fundraising event that opens the start of a very big day in Williston – the Annual Peanut Festival, which is hosted by the Williston Chamber of Commerce and corporate sponsors. The City of Williston allows the festival to happen in Heritage Park, which is also known as Linear Park.
     This year, the Peanut Festival is Oct. 6. As usual, this is the same day as the Central Florida Electric Cooperative Annual Meeting and some other events in the Tri-County Area of Levy, Dixie and Gilchrist counties. From fall through winter, events on weekends often occur at the same time in different places.
     As for the 6th Annual Purple Pinkie 5K / 1 Mile Run-Walk, early registration is $30 for adults and $15 for students 18 years old and younger. Registration is easy. Just click on the ad for the event to begin the process. That ad is on all seven pages of
     The officers and members of the Williston Rotary who were present Tuesday were President Taylor, Secretary Donna Hatcher and members Chris Cowart, Danny Etheridge, Patsy Fugate, Dedee McLeod, Justin Head, Mary O’Banyoun-Abdullah and Reggie Priest.
     Among the guests for the day were a visiting journalist and Mary Beth Weatherly.
     A delicious meal of fried chicken, salad, green beans, macaroni and cheese, and homemade peach cobbler with vanilla ice cream. Soft drinks were available as the beverage of the day as well.
     A good time was had by all.


Brother honors brother;
Active sheriff recognizes retiring Marine
Marine Sgt Schultz Honored
Providing a photo opportunity when requested are (from left) Gilchrist County Sheriff Bobby Schultz, United States Marine Corps Master Gunnery Sergeant Richard Schultz, Cheri Schultz and Suzie Schultz Douglas. Sgt. Schultz is Sheriff Schultz’s older brother. Cheri Schultz is married to MGySgt. Schultz. Suzie Schultz is the sister of the sheriff and the sergeant.

Story and Photos
By Jeff M. Hardison © Aug. 26, 2018 at 7:38 p.m.
     BELL --
Gilchrist County Sheriff Bobby Schultz hosted a three-hour retirement party for his older brother Richard Schultz on Sunday afternoon (Aug. 26) at Akins BBQ Restaurant in Bell.
     United States Marine Corps Master Gunnery Sergeant (E-9) Richard Schultz is scheduled to officially join the civilian ranks on Sept. 1.
     USMC MGySgt. Schultz was accompanied by his wife Cheri Schultz to the party held in his honor. He plans to be a consultant in Charleston, S.C., after his retirement commences on Sept. 1.
     Schultz joined the USMC on Aug. 2, 1988. When he retires, it will be after serving 30 years and one month – Aug. 31, 2018. The Marine graduated from Bell High School in 1984.

Marine Sgt Schultz Honored
Gigi Ramirez (left) and Vanessa Maysonet volunteered to decorate the whole inside of Akins Barbecue Restaurant. They put out balloons, tablecloths, a punch-pouring fountain, soft drinks, refreshments and decorations to honor the retiring Marine.

Richard Schultz Retires

Richard Schultz Retires
A couple of the serving tables decorated by Gigi Ramirez and Vanessa Maysonet are seen here. The fountain between the two flags had several outlets pouring a continuous flow of punch.

Richard Schultz Retires
Richie Frye (left) and Richard Schultz joined the USMC the same day as enlistment buddies. Both men completed bootcamp and then served at the same duty station -- Quantico, Va.

Bobby Schultz and Bobby McCallum
Gilchrist County Sheriff Bobby Schultz (left) greets his friend Levy County Sheriff Bobby McCallum.

Sheriff Brian Lamb and Sheriff Bobby Schultz & others
Lafayette County Sheriff Brian Lamb (left) shakes hands with his friend Gilchrist County Sheriff Bobby Schultz. Behind the sheriffs is Joy Lamb, the sheriff’s wife. To the right in the picture is Levy County Sheriff Bobby McCallum.
Kyle Schultz of Chiefland escorted his girlfriend Machele Gainey of Dixie County to celebrate Kyle’s uncle’s retirement. Kyle Schultz is a K-9 officer with the Chiefland Police Department. His dog’s name is Blitz. Machele Gainey is the daughter of Dixie County School Board member Paul Gainey.

     Among his friends visiting at the retirement party was Richie Frye, who joined the USMC on the same day as Schultz’s “buddy” in that recruitment effort. Frye completed his four-year tour and returned to civilian life.
     Marines Schutz and Frye served at the same first duty station after bootcamp – Quantico, Va.
     Sgt. Schultz has served in various places, including a seven-year tour in Japan.
     Also joining her brothers for the party was Suzie (Schultz) Douglas of Bell, and accompanying her was her husband Andy.
     The siblings lost one brother Rusty Schultz, who at the age of 19 suffered a fatal accident while on active duty with the USMC in a light armored vehicle, in Goose Creek, S.C.
     U.S. Rep. Theodore Scott “Ted” Yoho (Rep.) sent a flag that was flown over the nation’s capital. Yoho is the United States Representative for Florida's 3rd congressional district. Rep. Yoho also sent a letter congratulating the retiring Marine.
     U.S. Rep. Neal Dunn (Rep.) is the United States Representative for Florida's 2nd congressional district, which includes Gilchrist County.
     At least two other high sheriffs of Florida came to Akins BBQ in Bell to congratulate MGySgt. Schultz and thank him for his service to the people of the United States of America.
     Levy County Sheriff Bobby McCallum and Lafayette County Sheriff Brian Lamb drove to Bell for the event.
     Family, friends, colleagues and other guests all enjoyed drinks and light refreshments as they celebrated with the Schultz family.
     Among the elected leaders of Gilchrist County who came to the event were County Commissioner Kendrick Thomas. Commissioner Thomas served in the USMC from 1971 to 1975.
     Another Gilchrist County Commissioner at the celebration was Sharon Akins Langford.
     Gilchrist County Manager Bobby Crosby was accompanied by his wife Tammy Crosby to the party.
     Gilchrist County School Board Member Michelle Walker-Crawford was among the many people at the event as well.
     A.D. Goodman of Central Florida Electric Cooperative was accompanied by his wife Beverly Goodman, the manager of the Tri-County Community Resource Center in Chiefland.
     The list of guests is extensive. During the time from 1 to 3 p.m. on Sunday, between 50 and 100 people visited the party.
     People from near and far came to congratulate the retiring Marine on his accomplishment, and to thank him for his service. People also mentioned their appreciation to Cheri Schultz for her part in her husband’s being able to continue as an active duty Marine for 30 years and one month.

Woman honored posthumously
Woodrow Smith
Wilbur Dean (right) presents the award to Woodrow Smith, husband of the late Andrea ‘Darlene’ Smith. Dean is a member of the Levy County Soil and Water Conservation District Board as well as being the County Coordinator for the Levy County Board of County Commissioners.

Photo by Kristen Brault

By Jeff M. Hardison © Aug. 25, 2018 at 7:48 a.m.

     OCALA – The Association of Florida Conservation Districts honored the late Andrea “Darlene” Smith of Levy County (and formerly of Gilchrist County) during the 14th Annual Meeting on Thursday evening (Aug. 23).

This is the certificate presented to the family of the late Andrea ‘Darlene’ Smith.

Photo by Kristen Brault

     Accepting the award was Woodrow Smith, her husband.
     The dinner, auction and awards ceremony were held at the Ocala Hilton.
     The Memorial Award presented at the AFCD event was given in recognition of Smith's service to the Soil and Water Conservation District from 2005 to 2014.
     The late Andrea “Darlene” Smith (Dec. 3, 1960-July 28, 2014) taught elementary school at Cedar Key and Trenton for several years before being employed by the Gilchrist-Dixie-Levy Soil and Water Conservation Districts. She retired from there, when she was diagnosed with terminal cancer. She enjoyed working with children and educating the general public about conservation practices.
     The leaders of the AFCD are President Burlin Findley, First Vice President Andy Jackson, Second Vice President Nano Corona, Secretary/Treasurer Linda Minton, Past President Archie Matthews and Executive Director Charlene Meeks.
     The Levy County Soil and Water Conservation District staff is District Administrator Tara Maillard.
     The Levy County Soil and Water Conservation District Board members are Thomas Harper – seat 1; Vice Chairman David Benton – seat 2; Wilbur Dean – seat 3; Scott Berry – seat 4; and Chairman Jacob Sache – seat 5.

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