LARC holds fundraiser
LARC Executive Director Lisa Daniels greets guests during the Country Pickin’ Charity Event held May 7.

Story and Photos
By Charlene “Watson” Calvillo
HardisonInk.com Correspondent © May 14, 2022 at 4:12 p.m.
Individuals leading the Levy Association for Retarded Citizens (LARC) held a fundraiser titled “Country Pickin’ Charity Event” last Saturday (May 7) at its facility on 351 S.W. State Road 24 in the Town of Otter Creek.


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Beverly Johnson gives the raffle drum a spin at the Country Pickin’ Charity Event. Local businesses and individuals donated gift baskets, merchandise and gift certificates that were raffled throughout the day.


The main structure used by LARC was once the Otter Creek School -- built in 1930. During that time, the Town of Otter Creek was one of the larger communities in Levy County.

     The day started with a yard sale.
     Around noon, musicians began performing. Food trucks were onsite, as was a bounce house provided by Space Walk of Suwannee River.
     Musicians Duane Caruthers, Austin Hunter, John Johnson and Austin Stanley donated their time performing. Tips received were then dated to LARC. Vendors Lenny’s Taste Tour, Blue Line Q and Jessi James Concessions gave 10 percent of their day’s profits back to LARC, too. 
    Local businesses and individuals provided merchandise, gift baskets and gift certificates for a raffle that went on throughout the day. Attendees could purchase tickets for a 50/50 raffle that yielded a price of $50.
     As was the theme of the day, the gracious winner also donated those funds back to LARC. A bake sale and dessert auction were included for the fundraising. In all more than $2,500 was raised during the Country Pickin’ Charity Event. 
     LARC has been serving developmentally disabled citizens of Levy, Gilchrist and Dixie County since 1976. The main structure of the facility was built in 1930. It was once the Otter Creek School. The block and brick building that’s nearly 100 years old is in dire need of repair.
     The Country Pickin’ Charity Event was to help raise funds for repairs or possibly a new facility.
     LARC Board of Directors President Randy Stefanelli, Board Treasurer Charlie Smith, Board Secretary Carol Seamon and Executive Director Lisa Daniels appeared before the Levy County Commissioners on March 22 to discuss the conditions of the facility.
     A scenario for a new facility could be entertained if the nonprofit were able to obtain a site that was more centrally located on land currently owned by the county near Bronson
      Another possibility is refurbishing the historic building, which probably is far more expensive than creating a new structure. If the current site was being repaired, LARC would need a temporary location to operate.
     Meanwhile, LARC is generating revenue from events and donations for a future endeavor. 


Circuit Court judge candidate
AuBroncee Martin introduces himself

Judge candidate
AuBroncee Martin, one of four candidates for Eighth Judicial Circuit Court Judge, spoke to members the Chiefland City Commission Monday (May 9).

Story and Photo
By Jeff M. Hardison © May 10, 2022 at 8:12 p.m.
AuBroncee Martin, one of four candidates for Eighth Judicial Circuit Court Judge, spoke to members the Chiefland City Commission Monday (May 9) to share with them why he should be elected to this position in the primary election on Aug. 23.
     An election for a circuit court judge in Florida, Martin said, is a relatively rare occurrence. As shown by information provided by the Florida Secretary of State. Division of Elections Office, Martin is correct.
     In most of the 20 judicial circuits in Florida, every candidate for this position went unopposed as of the recent qualifying time for those races. In fact, former Williston City Attorney Frederick L. Koberlein Jr. has, for all intents and purposes, won the election to the Third Judicial Circuit Court Judge’s position to which he had sought to be elected.
     The election for circuit court judges is Aug. 23, the same as the date for primary elections of Democrats and Republicans seeking various offices. The races for circuit court judges are non-partisan.
     The other three candidates in this race for Eight Judicial Circuit Court Judge, Seat 12, where all of the candidates are noted as having no political party affiliation, because this is a non-partisan race are Sean Brewer, Nathan A. Skop and Dan Weisman.
     Brewer has spoken with the Gilchrist County Commission and the Levy County Commission about his candidacy as can be seen by clicking HERE to see that previously-published story.
     As for candidate Martin, he has 24 years of service as the felony division 1 chief of the Alachua County branch of the Eighth Judicial Circuit Public Defender’s Office.
     He earned his Juris Doctor degree in 1997 from the University of Florida Fredric G. Levin College of Law after earning his Bachelor of Arts degree in History in 1994 from Florida A & M University.
     On Monday night, he told the people about himself.
     Martin is from Gainesville. The Eighth Judicial Circuit includes Alachua, Baker, Bradford, Gilchrist, Levy, and Union counties.
     The candidate said that as man seeking to be judge, he cannot tell people what he will or won’t do. He did say he will be fair.
     Just as he has been an assistant public defender for 24 years, he has been married for 24 years. He has three children one is at the University of North Florida; one is at Santa Fe College; and one is Fort Clark Middle School.
     “I think in life,” Martin said, “when you strongly believe you have a call for service, when you have the ability to serve, you have that obligation to do so. And I feel very strongly that I can do it (serve as a circuit court judge) here.”
     He asked people to vote for him on Aug. 23.


CFEC members reject
bylaws amendment
Annual meeting provides
reduced bills for many

CFEC Annual Meeting
The flag and banner welcome members to the annual meeting.

Story and Photos 
By Jeff M. Hardison © May 8, 2022 at 9:12 p.m.
The 2022 Annual Meeting of Central Florida Electric Cooperative (CFEC) members on Saturday morning (May 7) included many of the traditions, however there were enough new twists to mark this one as exceptional.
Annual CFEC Meeting 2022
(from left) CFEC Member Services Representative Deavin Pate, Member Services Representative Pat Hunt, Member Services Representative John Cherry and Justin Schmitz of CFEC Internet Technology welcome members and register them.

Annual CFEC Meeting 2022
Seminole Electric Cooperative Senior Communications Representative Leigh Holmes provides information as well as light bulbs, cloth bags for carrying things, ink pens and more.

Annual CFEC Meeting 2022
Eddy Scott, a CFEC member and a candidate for Gilchrist County Commission, stands next to CFEC General Manager Denny George.

Annual CFEC Meeting 2022
Shelby Allen of CFEC accounting, sits next to CFEC Board of Trustees Member Kyle Quincey. Trustee Quincey had just brought her a note concerning cooperative business.

Annual CFEC Meeting 2022
CFEC Attorney Norm D. Fugate helps a member understand about the proposed amendment to the co-op’s bylaws. Levy County Sheriff's Office deputies are seen in the background.

Annual CFEC Meeting 2022
CFEC members James W. ‘Jim’ Beauchamp (left) and Leon Clyatt are among the hundreds of members at the meeting. The small American flags were given to each registered member to allow them to show how they vote on a proposed amendment to the bylaws. There was a resounding rejection of the amendment.

Annual CFEC Meeting 2022
CFEC Lineman Matt Miller prepares the safety demonstration. Even though this is a model, there are 10,000 volts of electricity going through the line. This safety demonstration is taken to schools and elsewhere to help people understand how they can be killed or severely injured by not respecting a live wire. In the background CFEC Safety Coordinator Jonathan Polk is speaking with a co-op member.

Annual CFEC Meeting 2022
Sparks shoot out of the feet of this model man, showing how the electricity would travel through his body to the ground – and kill him by electrocution. Notice how the man is being put in place by a plastic pole and that Lineman Matt Miller is wearing protective gloves built to withstand high voltage. CFEC had more than 1,200 days of continuous service without lost-time due to accident or injury as of Saturday (May 8).

2022 CFEC Annual Meeting
CFEC Substation Metering Protection Manager Steven Studstill and Purchasing Manager A.D. Goodman are among the many co-op workers at the meeting who were available to help people.

2022 CFEC Annual Meeting
Reign Down singers (from left) Steven Amburgey, tenor, Tim Ten Broeck, lead vocalist, Steve Oxner, baritone, and Andy Haynes, bass, sing at the meeting.

2022 CFEC Annual Meeting
Some of the hundreds of CFEC members find seats in the big warehouse where the meeting is held annually.

2022 CFEC Annual Meeting
The two attorneys representing CFEC are W. Blake Fugate (left) and Norm D. Fugate. Among other things, they answered questions about trustee elections and a proposed bylaw amendment.

2022 CFEC Annual Meeting
Preparing to perform the Star-Spangled Banner at the annual meeting are (from left) Cole Johnson, Daelin Joslin, Seth Miner, Band Teacher and Director William Malloy, Thomas Allen and Brandon Bird of the Dixie County High School Band.

2022 CFEC Annual Meeting
Alison DeLoach (left) Madison Redd are members of the CFEC Communications Team.

2022 CFEC Annual Meeting
Seminole Electric Cooperative Director of Communications and Energy Policy Ryan Hart stands near one of the dividers in the warehouse. The CFEC workers cleared equipment and put in chairs, a stage and more to prepare the warehouse for the annual meeting.

2022 CFEC Annual Meeting
CFEC President Alan Mikell (District 6) starts the business meeting.

2022 CFEC Annual Meeting
Vice President James McCain (District 1) stands and is recognized at the meeting.

Secretary/Treasurer Carl Roof (District 2) stands and is recognized at the meeting.

annual meeting
Tony Weeks (District 3) stands and is recognized at the meeting. He was elected as the president of Seminole Electric Cooperative, as is noted with more details in this story.

2022 CFEC Annual Meeting
Kyle Quincey (District 4) stands and is recognized at the meeting. Some of the members of the CFEC Board of Trustees waved to the audience. Many people applauded for each trustee as he or she stood.

2022 CFEC Annual Meeting
Donald Lane (District 5) stands and is recognized at the meeting.

2022 CFEC Annual Meeting
Kenneth O'Steen (District 7) stands and is recognized at the meeting. 

2022 CFEC Annual Meeting
Bo Markham (District 8) stands and is recognized at the meeting.

2022 CFEC Annual Meeting
Barbara Townsend (District 9) stands and is recognized at the meeting, as she waves to the crowd.

2022 CFEC Annual Meeting
CFEC General Manager Denny George tells the members that he and all of the trustees welcome their input or questions.

2022 CFEC Annual Meeting
CFEC General Manager Denny George speaks to members and guests as the entire CFEC Board of Trustees and two attorneys representing the co-op sit behind him.

2022 CFEC Annual Meeting
Attorney Brandon Peters, a Williston area member of the co-op, tells why he endorses voting ‘No’ in regard to the question of whether to add a proposed amendment to the current CFEC bylaws. His speech was the proverbial final nail in the coffin for that amendment, which was extremely soundly defeated with the vote to Not adopt it. Peters is seeking election to the Florida House of Representatives District 22 (Levy, Gilchrist, and portions of Alachua County). Before Peters' speech, CFEC Attorney Norm D. Fugate mentioned that all nine members of the CFEC Board of Trustees opposed the amendment.

     After a couple of years’ hiatus from the global COVID-19 pandemic, the annual meeting was held in a different month; included a proposed amendment to the bylaws; included a $25 refund on one month’s electric bills for registrants; and still had other benefits members have come to expect and love.
     Rather than the start of October, this year’s CFEC meeting started the new tradition of happening in May.
     While this change helps people attend the Annual Williston Peanut Festival and other events that have been on the same day as the Annual CFEC Meeting in October, this year’s revision did happen on the day before Mother’s Day.

Pre-Meeting Activities
     Before the business meeting that started at 10 a.m., CFEC members registered with assistance from CFEC staff. Each account was presented with one small American flag, which could be held up during the business meeting to cast a vote either for or against the proposed amendment.
     Each singular account, too, was credited with a $25 deduction from the next monthly electric bill. Rather than have a long, long random door-prize session after the business meeting, this year each member’s account where the member registered at the meeting was given the $25 reduction in their bill.
     There were still 10 door prizes this year. So, by the member placing half a ticket in the basket and keeping the stub that showed the same number, he or she could win the door prize. Those door prizes were eight $100 cash prizes; one $250 cash prize; and one $500 cash prize.
     Any registered member who wanted a five-gallon bucket could take one. 
     As usual, there was a lot of information available in pamphlets to help people know about methods to reduce electric consumption. This year, too, there were staff members available to answer questions. And the CFEC attorney, Norm D. Fugate and his son attorney W. Blake Fugate, were available to help people find answers to any questions about the proposed amendment to the bylaws.
     Entertainment started at 8:15 a.m. Music was performed by the Gospel male quartet – Reign Down. The four gentlemen providing that Christian music are Tim Ten Broeck, lead vocalist; Steven Amburgey, tenor; Steve Oxner, baritone; and Andy Haynes, bass.
     The Dixie County High School Redcoat Regiment Marching Band of Cross City sent Music Teacher and Band Director William Malloy and five student musicians – Cole Johnson, Daelin Joslin, Seth Miner, Thomas Allen and Brandon Bird – to perform the Star-Spangled Banner.

Business Meeting
     After the playing of the National Anthem, and the Pledge of Allegiance, and the opening prayer, which was made to God in the name of Jesus, by CFEC General Manager Denny George, CFEC President Alan Mikell (District 6) started the business meeting by introducing the other members of the CFEC Board of Trustees.
     They are Vice President James McCain, District 1; Secretary/Treasurer Carl Roof, District 2; Secretary/Treasurer Carl Roof, District 2; Tony Weeks, District 3; Kyle Quincey, District 4; Donald Lane, District 5; Kenneth O'Steen, District 7; Houston Bo Markham, District 8; and Barbara Townsend, District 9.
     As he introduced them, President Mikell described the districts as the following:
     District 1 – Cedar Key, Fowler’s Bluff, Otter Creek and Southwest Levy County
     District 2 – Inglis, Yankeetown and southern Levy County
     District 3 – Bronson and Raleigh
     District 4 – Chiefland area
     District 5 – East of Chiefland and Alachua County
     District 6 – Northern part of Levy County and southern part of Gilchrist County
     District 7 – Old Town and southern Dixie County
     District 8 – Cross City and northern Dixie County
     District 9 – Northern part of Gilchrist County

     He also introduced General Manager George and the two attorneys for CFEC Norm D. Fugate and W. Blake Fugate. A motion and second to dispense with the reading of the minutes from the most recent previous annual meeting was approved unanimously by the hundreds of members present.
     Secretary/Treasurer Roof confirmed there were more than the 276 people registered as being present to form a quorum of the members to conduct the annual meeting on Saturday.

General Manager Denny George Reports
     CFEC General Manager George welcomed everyone, as he said that he and the Board of Trustees are all happy to see people coming to the meeting to learn about the business of their rural electric cooperative.
     He thanked the team of CFEC staff members who arranged everything in the warehouse, which is normally used as a storage and staging area for jobs that must be completed on the transmission lines and other parts of the electric system. There were cold soft drinks and water available for the members and guests.
     George mentioned visitors from Seminole Electric Cooperative, the power-generating cooperative that provides electricity for CFEC members, were among the people in the audience.
     Seminole Electric Cooperative Chief Executive Officer and General Manager Lisa D. Johnson was at the CFEC meeting Saturday. Other Seminole Electric Cooperative leaders, whom CFEC General Manager George mentioned as being present in the huge warehouse in Chiefland that day were Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Joe Fuller; Director of Transmission and Project Services Angela Battle; Director of Communications and Energy Policy Ryan Hart; Director of Engineering and Maintenance Yves Nembo; and Senior Communications Representative Leigh Holmes. 
     Seminole Electric Cooperative, George said, has done all of the right things to assure that emissions of pollutants are lower, and costs are placed under control. 
     As George continued his report, he shared with listeners that while the CFEC members know about what it means to live far from a hospital or an urban shopping center or mall, there are elected leaders at state and federal levels who do not recognize the hardships that come with living in the pleasant surroundings of farms, ranches, open fields and forests.
     Needing to travel farther from a rural area for hospital care or for certain shopping, means higher costs for food, fuel and medical care create even more of an impact on rural area residents. George said inflation and gas price increases especially impact senior citizens and certain others on fixed incomes in rural Florida.
     Cost increases in trucks, powerlines, brackets, transformers and a lengthy list of hardware supplies used by CFEC have impacted the cooperative, too, George said. Beyond that, the actual inability to buy certain parts for any price creates challenges for linemen, engineers and everyone involved in the process of bringing safe, reliable and affordable electric service to cooperative members, he added.
     “We are being told that some of the hardware we need,” George said, “will take months to get – not days or weeks – but months.”
     Natural gas prices are shocking.
     From May of 2021 to May of 2022, George said, natural gas prices increased 155 percent. Natural gas is among the fuels used to create electricity.
     “Natural gas accounts for about one-fourth of the total U.S. energy consumption,” George said.
     In other news, George shared that the Board of Trustees of Seminole Electric Cooperative unanimously elected Tony Weeks from Central Florida Electric Cooperative’s Board of Trustees to be its next President.
     Just as CFEC is governed by a nine-member board of trustees, Seminole Electric Cooperative is governed by a 27-member board of trustees. The Seminole Electric Cooperative Board of Trustees is composed of three representatives from each of Seminole’s nine member cooperatives.
     Seminole Electric Cooperative is constructing a solar-powered electric generation facility in Gilchrist County off of State Road 26, near Newberry, he said, as well as three other solar-powered plants.
     With other combined facilities planned by Seminole Electric Cooperative, George said, while adding these solar-powered electric generation facilities, to Seminole Electric Cooperative's holdings, carbon dioxide emissions from that cooperative are expected to reduce by 36 percent somewhere around the year 2024.
     George said this much carbon dioxide reduction by this set of electric-generating facilities is equivalent to taking 650,000 gasoline-powered cars from the highways for one year.

     Duke Energy Florida, an investor-owned utility, is building solar farms on either side of U.S. Highway 129 in Levy County, George said, but that is not a project of CFEC or Seminole Electric Cooperative.
     George said CFEC may need to increase prices on rates this year.
     “As an electric cooperative and a not-for-profit entity,” George said, “we are required to carry a certain margin. If we left rates as they are now, it would lead to going below the necessary margin, or even actually going negative (for net revenue).
     “That would require us to significantly raise rates in the future to meet those rising costs and prices to at least reach neutral or a slightly positive margin (of profit in net revenue),” he continued.
     “Over-recovery,” he added is always owned and returned to members. For instance, in a very recent monthly newsletter from CFEC, it showed people who are owed money due to over-recovery from years ago.
     On another matter, George said two Florida electric cooperatives were hacked and held for ransom. The leaders of the co-ops chose against paying the ransom, and instead restored data and computer operations from their practice of backing-up information. That presented a cost to those co-op members, he said.
     The hackers entered the cooperatives system by sending an email with an attachment that seemed benign. Later that trojan horse was activated, giving those criminals access to the system.
     CFEC is ever vigilant against this type of activity.
     On a brighter note, George said the entire CFEC team has gone longer than 1,200 days without any type of a lost-time accident or injury.

President Alan Mikell Reports
     President Mikell said he was pleased to be able to hold the first annual meeting in person since the 2019 annual meeting.
     He spoke about the trustees remaining mindful of expenses and keeping electric bills as low as possible. Mikell said, as George had mentioned, there is a challenge to keep electric rates low when some parts are not even available at any price.
     Rural electric cooperatives, he said, cooperate with one another. 
     “So, we are working together to source this critical equipment that we will all need to provide our members with power,” CFEC President Mikell said.
     Another topic he touched up was fraud.
     Scammers impersonate CFEC staff, law enforcement officers, business owners, and even pretend to be members of a family when they are not, he said, as they trick people out of money or personal information.
     They use fear and intimidation as they attempt to make a person their victim, he said.
     Mikell reminded members that CFEC will never have a problem if a person calls the cooperative to confirm anything someone says as they attempt to function as if they represent CFEC.
     CFEC will never call a member and ask them to pay their bill over the phone, or to ask for a prepaid card number over the phone. The national rural electric cooperative recently conducted a survey of CFEC members to see how the cooperative is meeting the needs of its members, he said. This is a tool to help the co-op.
     Survey takers were very open about anyone who wanted to check on the legitimacy of the survey to be able to call CFEC to confirm it, he said.

Internet Access
     President Mikell touched on the topic of CFEC working to help the people have safe, reliable and affordable Internet service for its members.
     The federal government, he said, is striving to improve Internet service in rural America. This is similar to the Rural Electrification Administration of decades ago that began to bring electric service to rural households and business interests.
     Across the nation, he said, rural electric cooperatives are looking at methods to provide Internet service, or improved Internet service, to their members. 
     CFEC staff are conferring with parties as the co-op determines its role in bringing this service to its members, he said. 

Bylaw Or By-Law
     The word is spelled “By-law” on CFEC documents.
     “Bylaw” is spelled both with and without a hyphen. For example, Black's Law Dictionary gives a definition for "bylaw" but notes that it's sometimes spelled "by-law."
     "By-Laws" is the spelling under the "Glossary" of Thompson Reuters Practical Law.
     "Bylaw" is the single listing for the proper spelling in The Associated Press Stylebook and Libel Manual (1988).
     For spelling, style and usage questions not covered in The Associated Press Stylebook and Libel Manual (1988), journalists are advised to consult Webster's New World Dictionary, Third College Edition.
     For a journalist lacking a copy of The Associated Press Stylebook and Libel Manual (1988), he or she would find only one way to spell the word "bylaw" in Webster's New World Dictionary, Third College Edition (1988).
     After all that, to be concise, the spelling is "bylaw."
     The proposed bylaw would change the existing method to vote for members of the CFEC Board of Trustees.
     Right now, members select by voting only the person in the district where they are provided electricity within one of the nine districts of CFEC, in parts of Levy, Dixie, Gilchrist and Alachua counties. The proposed amendment would change that so that every member in every district could vote each time for a member of the Board of Trustees.
     This year, Kyle Quincey of District 4, CFEC President Alan Mikell of District 6, and Bo Markham of District 8 were reelected unopposed.
     During the business meeting Saturday, there was almost a unanimous vote by everyone present to keep the bylaws as they are and not to accept the amendment.
     Attorney Brandon Peters, a CFEC member who lives in the Williston area and who is running for a seat in the Florida House of Representatives, asked to speak on the matter. He said that he trusts the people in each of the nine districts know who they want to represent them. He endorsed leaving the bylaws as they are for that reason.
     Beyond that, Peters said, the total cost for each Trustee election is now at $7,630. If this amendment were added to the bylaws, that cost would go to $80,710 – more than 10 times the current cost.
     No other cooperative member asked to speak on the topic and the vote was called. Attorney Norm Fugate, who was moderating the election, said the number of people in favor of leaving the bylaws as they stand did not require a one-by-one tally because the majority was so overwhelming by the number of people holding up America flags (as the method to vote) showed very clearly what the members wanted. 

Golfcart Transport
     This year, as in years past, a set of golfcarts were used to transport members to and from their parked vehicles. Some people walked back and forth. However, this service was and is greatly appreciated by folks who are not much for walking for assorted reasons, including being handicapped, or not wanting to get worn out walking back and forth to a meeting.


Commissioner fixes a driveway a month
By Jeff M. Hardison © March 8, 2022 at 8:12 p.m.
Updated May 15, 2022 at 9:12 a.m.

     DIXIE COUNTY – Dixie County Commissioner Jody Stephenson repaired a dirt driveway in February, and he has one selected for March.     He is doing this on his own with no government funding.
     The commissioner announced at the most recent regular County Commission meeting his intent to repair one driveway a month. These are driveways that the county cannot repair because they are on private property.
     Stephenson said he will choose the driveways to repair from people who ask for the help. Many driveways were washed out in the recent flooding. The driveways he is repairing are in his district of the county.
     Stephenson is using his own equipment, material and labor to get these jobs done. He is helping the elderly, the handicapped and the poor. 
     He is starting with requests in his district, but he said he will do one a month in other districts of the county after that as long as he can, Stephenson said.
     People who lack the wherewithal to repair their driveways that are in need of repair, and who live in Stephenson’s district of the county, can call Stephenson’s Septic Tank Services to let him know. That telephone number is 352-542-8659.


Weeks versus Town of Bronson continues
By Jeff M. Hardison © May 6, 2022 at 6:12 a.m.
     BRONSON –
Circuit civil court action continues in the case of a Bronson man who was ruled by the Bronson Town Council as having resigned from Town Council, although he still contends that he did not.
     In the ongoing saga of plaintiff Tony Berlon Weeks versus defendants Beatrice Roberts and others, according to documents in the Eighth Judicial Circuit, the case includes recent action in an order dated April 20, according to records.
     The first order last month by the honorable Judge Eighth Judicial Circuit Court Judge Craig C. DeThomasis is the dismissal of the case against Roberts and all of the other individual defendants.
     Instead, if there is another amended complaint, the single defendant in the case will be the Town of Bronson, according to the first order in the most recent ruling by Circuit Court Judge DeThomasis.
     Weeks is represented by attorney W. Blake Fugate. The Town of Bronson is represented by attorney Susan S. Erdelyi of Jacksonville, according to records.
     If this civil circuit case continues without complete dismissal by Judge DeThomasis, then a judge or a jury will decide how the facts and evidence match with the law to decide the answer as to whether Weeks or the defendant are correct.
     Where there were defendants in the plural sense, the latest order by the presiding judge in this case requires the verbiage to be “defendant” in the singular, according to the April 20 ruling.
     This civil judicial action started in the Eighth Judicial Circuit, was then sent to the federal court, which remanded it back to the state court.
     The latest rulings by Circuit Court Judge DeThomasis shows the judge ruled the defense’s seeking of a dismissal of the entire case to be denied, according to records. Yet he has modified it enough to help bring the case to a conclusion.
     After the start of this civil action in state court, and then in federal court, and then with it being remanded back to civil circuit court again, the Bronson Town Council appointed a replacement for Weeks. The clock ticked on, and then there was an election where that candidate who was appointed to fill Weeks then-unexpired term -- Tyler Vorhees -- was elected unopposed. Hence, it is impossible now for Weeks to return to his previous seat on the Bronson Town Council, unless or until he runs for office again and is elected to that position again.
     The judge gave Weeks 10 days after the April 20 rulings on this most recent amended complaint to file a new amended complaint. 
     If and after Weeks files the Fourth Amended Complaint, then the defendant (the Town of Bronson) will have 20 days to respond to that complaint, according to Judge DeThomasis rulings of April 20.
     This court case came to be after Weeks walked out of a Bronson Town Council meeting on Sept. 15, 2020, and verbally said he planned to bring a letter of resignation the next day to the town clerk. On Sept. 16, 2020, Weeks said he had spoken in the heat of the moment the night before and he did not resign.
     The argument by Weeks is that he did not resign, but the Town Council and the town’s employees all took action as if he did resign. Weeks had a parade of defendants in his previous filings, but the judge’s most recent ruling has brought that to a point. Now it is the Town of Bronson as a defendant.
     Another issue the judge made clear is that in attorney Fugate’s filings, he is not to list Weeks as “Councilman Weeks” although he may list him as “former Councilman Weeks.”
     This requirement in language may be an indicator of how the judge sees the argument, as existing at the point of Vorhees having been elected during the regular time for that particular seat on that Town Council having now made any argument for reseating Weeks via command of a circuit court as being impossible. 
     At some point, there will be an end to this circuit civil action. The wheels of justice sometimes move slowly from the perspective of litigants, and even from the view of the public. For instance, there was a 2018 Eighth Judicial Circuit Court civil case that just finished in 2022.
     The singular most important fact of this case, and all civil and criminal cases at all levels, as far as jurisprudence in the United States of America, the state of Florida, the Eighth Judicial Circuit of Florida, as well as in Levy County and Bronson, one of the eight municipalities of this county, is that it is understood this is happening in a nation where people live with laws.
     No person or group is above the law, and all people are equal under the law.
     To see the Sept. 18, 2020, story from the archives, click HERE.



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Taste of Dixie Diner New ad in HardisonInk.com on June 15, 2021


2nd Street Cafe in Cedar Key


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Robert Echols showing reverence for life


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