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Levy County Florida
Column and Photos
By Myrtice Scabarozi
Published Nov. 23, 2020 at 3:10 p.m.
The Log Cabin Quilters met in the Levy County Quilt Museum -- 11050 N.W. 10th Ave. on Thursday (Nov. 19).




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     The quilt in the frame was finished; so, the binding will be done this week. We discussed trips for the holidays and getting to visit with family. Most of us have stayed home and have not been able to see family due to practicing the advice of the Florida Department of Heal in regard to the global COVID-19 pandemic.
     Hope all goes well with everyone. Two of our Williston Crossings RV Resort snowbirds stopped in to hi. They’ll have lunch with us after Thanksgiving. So glad to have you back with us.
     We had visitors from Strawberry Fields Forever RV Park on Saturday. We’re just a very rough bike ride down the dirt road away – most came in cars. We’re so glad they were out and hope the quilters can join us during the week.
     We’ll be open Friday and Saturday after Thanksgiving. Hope you’ll stop by for a visit.


Chiefland Florida
A colorful wall hanging brightens any room.

Chiefland Florida
Even a small wall hanging can bring on a smile.

Chiefland Florida
This small quilt is called a one block wonder. It will make a great wrap for the recliner.


Snook seasonal closure
in Gulf starts Dec. 1

By FWC Communications
Published Nov. 23, 2020 at 9:10 a.m.
The recreational harvest season for snook closes Dec. 1 in Gulf state and federal waters, including Monroe County and Everglades National Park, and will remain closed through Feb. 28, 2021, reopening to harvest March 1, 2021.
     Anglers may continue to catch and release snook during the closed season.
     Snook remains catch-and-release only in state waters from the Hernando/Pasco county line through Gordon Pass in Collier County (includes Tampa Bay and Hillsborough County) through May 31, 2021, in response to the impacts of red tide. Snook also has a regular season closure in the Gulf that runs May 1 through Aug. 31.
     The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is expected to review updated monitoring data and consider future management options for this area in early 2021.
     Regular season closures are designed to help conserve the species during vulnerable times such as cold weather. Atlantic state and federal waters, including Lake Okeechobee and the Kissimmee River, will be closed Dec. 15 through Jan. 31, 2021, reopening to harvest Feb. 1, 2021.
     Visit and click on “Recreational Regulations” and “Snook” for more information on snook.


FGC selects John Hartzog
as esports head coach
John Hartzog at Florida Gateway College




Coach and Academic Advisor John Hartzog


Story and Photo Provided
By Stephen Culotti
Florida Gateway College
Public Information Specialist
Published Nov. 22, 2020 at 9:10 a.m.
     LAKE CITY –
Florida Gateway College has selected John Hartzog to be the head coach of the college’s newly formed Esports program.
     FGC’s esports team will part of the NJCAAE (National Junior College Athletic Association Esports). It will be open to both male and female players and will compete online with more than 60 schools from regions across the United States. Players will compete in a variety of games including “Fortnite,” “Overwatch,” “Hearthstone” and “Super Smash Bros: Ultimate.”
      “We will begin recruitment of eight to 10 esport athletes in the Spring for our first anticipated competitions in Fall of 2021,” said Hartzog. “My goal is to build a holistic program that coordinates and works hand-in-hand with our student-athletes, student clubs, and our students who see themselves as budding designers and content creators.”
     In addition to 25 years of gaming experience and knowledge, Hartzog has eight years of experience managing and coordinating players from varying backgrounds and three years of competitive experience in “Overwatch” and “Hearthstone.” He has a master’s degree in Instructional Design and a bachelor’s in Psychology from Florida State University. Hartzog also serves as an FGC academic advisor.
     By adding esports, Florida Gateway College Athletics continues to provide new ways for FGC students to build school spirit and connect with peers. Esports joins women’s volleyball, men’s basketball, and women’s cross country in FGC’s collegiate sports lineup.

Visual Artists’ Society
‘Best Of The Season’ Exhibition
at CF - showing Nov. 23-Dec. 16

CF Marketing and Public Relations
Published Nov. 20, 2020 at 3:10 p.m.
     OCALA —
The Visual Artists’ Society presents the “Best of the Season” exhibition beginning on Nov. 23 at the College of Central Florida Webber Gallery, 3001 S.W. College Road, Ocala.

      “Best of the Season” is judged by David Reutter, the museum registrar at the Appleton Museum of Art, College of Central Florida. Reutter has a bachelor’s degree in Art from Central College in Pella, Iowa, and did his graduate coursework in Art History at the University of South Florida in Tampa. He is a board member for Fine Arts For Ocala, the Reilly Associate board, and the Ocala Municipal Arts Commission. This is the eighth Florida art show that Reutter has judged. Due to COVID-19 restrictions there will not be an opening reception for this exhibition, and all gallery patrons are required to wear a face mask for entry.
     The “Best of the Season” exhibit has always been a favorite of gallery visitors. The theme of this year’s exhibition is “Your (COVID) Best.” Members of the Visual Artists’ Society were invited to create works relating to the theme.
     The VAS has more than 100 members from all over Marion County and Central Florida including professional and amateur artists, and many of CF’s talented students. VAS exhibits showcase a variety of styles and mediums, including more traditional paintings and photographs, as well as jewelry, sculpture and digital media.
     The exhibit will continue through Wednesday, Dec. 16. Gallery hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Thursday. The gallery is closed Friday through Sunday and college-observed holidays. For additional information, call 352-873-5809.


FGC Cross Country runner
earns All America Award

Winner of All America Award  Merlin Leal of Suwannee County Florida
Merlin Leal of Suwannee County is seen here with the award.

Story and Photos Provided
By Stephen Culotti
Florida Gateway College
Public Information Specialist
Published Nov. 20, 2020 at 2:10 p.m.

     LAKE CITY – Three runners on the Florida Gateway College Women’s Cross Country Team competed this week at the 2020 NJCAA Women’s Half Marathon Championship in Fort Dodge, Iowa.

Merlin Leal and Chelsie Selliken, both of Suwannee County, and Savana Thomas of Gilchrist County
Seen here are (from left) Florida Gateway College Women’s Cross Country Team runners Merlin Leal and Chelsie Selliken, both of Suwannee County, and Savana Thomas of Gilchrist County.

Merlin Leal and Chelsie Selliken, both of Suwannee County, and Savana Thomas of Gilchrist County
Here are (from left) Merlin Leal of Suwannee County, Savana Thomas and Chelsie Selliken as they run.

     FGC freshman Merlin Leal earned the All America Award for finishing in the top 20, placing 19th with a time of 1:49:52.6 in the 13.1-mile race. The distance and weather conditions were an unfamiliar experience for the runners.
     “None on the three ladies had ever run this far in a race before,” said FGC Head Women’s Cross Country Coach April Morse. “At race time, it was 28 degrees (Fahrenheit), something else we had not encountered in our training.”
     Results for the three participating FGC runners are shown below:
     Merlin Leal, 19th place, with a time of 1:49:52.6
     Savana Thomas, 27th place, with a time of 1:59:09.4
     Chelsie Selliken, 34th place, with a time of 2:29:47.2
     FGC finished 7th as a team with 66 points.

     Click HERE to see the full results.


Guitar raffle
drawing set for Dec. 14

Dotti Leichner holds a guitar autographed by Easton Corbin
The lovely and talented Dotti Leichner holds the guitar being used in this noble fundraiser.

Story and Photo
By Bob Leichner
Published Nov. 16, 2020 at 5:10 p.m.
The prize of an acoustic guitar autographed by country music star Easton Corbin is set to be awarded on Dec. 14.
     There is another chance for people to purchase more tickets prior to the drawing in this fundraiser that is set to benefit the Pee Wee Melton Memorial Scholarship.
     With most meetings being held telephonically until very recently, and with most events cancelled, it has been difficult to plan anything. The locations we had chosen for ticket sales (two Cross City banks) had been closed to walk-in traffic -- and one of those still is.
     The guitar drawing will be held at the high noon Dec. 14 during the Dixie County Education Foundation meeting to be held at the Dixie County Public Library in Cross City.
     The new ticket outlet is the Taste of Dixie Diner located at 16840 U.S. Highway 19 in downtown Cross City. Tickets are still available at Drummond Community Bank's Cross City branch, which has resumed normal lobby hours. Tickets are available at Cross City's Ameris Bank location, but still has limited lobby access due to the pandemic.
     Raffle donations are $5 each or $10 for three tickets. All proceeds benefit the Pee Wee Melton Memorial Scholarship fund.
     This annual scholarship is awarded to a graduating Dixie County student. The prize for this drawing is an acoustic guitar autographed by Country music star Easton Corbin.
     Easton Corbin has had four Top-10 singles, including two that went to #1. A native of Gilchrist County, Easton began his musical journey studying guitar with the late Pee Wee Melton at Old Town's Dixie Music Center.
     The winner of this guitar need NOT to be present to win.
     Anyone who has questions is asked to please contact or call 352-356-7439.



Not even Swamp Ape legend
deters hunters from flocking
to Lower Suwannee
National Wildlife Refuge

Greg Lang of Cedar Key National Wildlife Refuge Wild Hog
Greg Lang of Cedar Key is seen with a wild hog he harvested in the refuge.

Photo Courtesy of Greg Lang

Story and Photos Provided
By Dan Chapman, public affairs specialist
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Published Nov. 2, 2020 at 4:10 p.m.
If ever there was a time to get out and into the woods and hunt, this pandemic-riven season is surely it. But beware the Swamp Ape.
     The what?
     Swamp Ape. Skunk Ape. Moth Man. Whatever you call it, some Big Bend hunters swear they’ve seen a large half-man, half-beast creature prowling the Lower Suwannee National Wildlife Refuge.

National Wildlife Refuge Manager Andrew Gude  and a big red snapper
Andrew Gude holds a big red snapper he caught.
Photo Courtesy of Andrew Gude

     Andrew Gude, refuge manager, felt compelled to address the reports – or myths -- in the 2020-21 hunt brochure:
      “There is no taking of Swamp or Skunk Apes,” it reads.
     Gude is skeptical of the beast’s existence, though he remains open to the possibility. And he doubts fears of any hairy, smelly, eight-foot tall creature will keep hunters from heading into the refuge’s swamps and pine forests and a much-needed opportunity to distance themselves from their COVID-19-infused daily lives.
      “There’s a trend, overall, and an uptick in hunters here at the refuge,” Gude said recently. “Hunting allows folks to go out and maintain distance from other people. You don’t want to be around anybody else anyway.”
     The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recently expanded opportunities for hunters and anglers at 147 refuges and hatcheries nationwide. The Service added 1.4 million acres the year before. More than 4 million acres, overall, has been opened to the rod and gun crowd.
     In addition, more than 110 new or expanded hunting and fishing opportunities — new species, acres, and times to hunt and fish — will be offered to more closely align federal and state rules.
More than 2.4 million “hunting visits” took place during the most recent fiscal year -- up 2.3 percent over the previous year -- according to newly released statistics from national wildlife refuges across the country.
     Hunting and fishing generate millions of dollars in revenue for states each year via the sale of licenses, tags and excise taxes on firearms, ammo and sport fishing equipment. The money helps state wildlife agencies manage their public lands and at-risk species.
      “When I first moved down here, I mandated that we get as close to state rules as we can,” said Gude, who arrived at Lower Suwannee nine years ago. “We probably have the most hunting opportunities of any refuge outside of Alaska. We have 200 days of aggregate hunting – the number of waterfowl, deer, hog, turkey and small game days combined. And north Florida has a huge hunt culture. We’ve always been pretty popular here.”
     The refuge covers 53,000 acres of salt and freshwater wetlands, cypress swamps, hardwood forests and old pine plantations – enough varied habitats to satisfy the most discerning of hunters and fishers. Unlike most refuges created to protect wildlife, Lower Suwannee was established in 1979 to ensure the water quality of the famed Suwannee River. The freshwater mixes with the Gulf of Mexico’s salt water to create a fertile estuary that nourishes sturgeon, migratory shorebirds, wading birds, and waterfowl, while attracting commercial and recreational fishermen.
     The refuge straddles 20 miles of the Suwannee River and 30 miles of relatively untrammeled Big Bend coastline. It’s riddled with hiking and paddling trails, old logging roads, boardwalks, and fishing piers. The nine-mile Nature Drive offers easy access to prime hunting and fishing grounds. A week before archery season began, in late September, hunters were doing recon and hauling in deer stands.
     Greg Lang already knew where he wanted to go. He has lived in nearby Cedar Key for 35 years and hunts, fishes, bikes Lower Suwannee maybe 60 times a year. Deer. Turkey. Ducks. Hogs.
      “I stepped on an alligator crossing a creek once,” said Lang, vice president of an environmental engineering firm. “The old-timers tell me I was really lucky I stepped on his head. If I’d stepped on his back, he would’ve grabbed my leg.”
     He continued, “That place is very special. It’s a lot of wet swamp, some of it very thick. It gives me more of a challenge. There’s a couple of spots close to the Suwannee River near some oak hammocks where the acorns are starting to drop. All in all, it’s a challenging place to hunt.”
     Archery season got off to a rousing start this year. Gude’s cell phone, whose number he readily shares, has been blowing up with hunters asking all sorts of permit, season, access and tree-stand questions. Calls from Tampa, Sarasota, Gainesville, Georgia. Seems people are keen to get out of the house and into nature and, temporarily, leave COVID-19 behind.
      “I am absolutely sure that this health emergency makes people appreciate the beauty around them and what they can do to stay healthy,” said Lang, a longtime member of the friends’ group that supports the Lower Suwannee refuge. “Bottom-line, if you spend more time in wilderness you’re healthier.”
     As long as you don’t come across the Swamp Ape. Similarly hairy sightings have been reported in the Everglades and the Okefenokee too. Thirty-five years traipsing across Lower Suwannee and Lang has never seen the legendary creature. He’s not certain it exists.
      “I want to believe in it,” he said, “but this is the Redneck Riviera so most of us who play outdoors look and smell like Swamp Apes anyways.”


Appleton to host Dec. 17
online artist talk via Zoom

Story and Images Provided
By CF Marketing, Public and Community Relations
Published Sept. 12, 2020 12:10 p.m.
Updated Nov. 22, 2020 at 9:10 a.m.
     OCALA –
The Appleton Museum of Art, College of Central Florida, introduced a new series called “Artist’s Outlook,” which wraps up Dec. 17 with a renowned photographer.
     Log in and join Appleton Curator of Exhibitions Patricia Tomlinson as she chats with Mac Stone about his work, processes and inspirations. This online series has taken place every third Thursday from September-December and is free to attend. Participants will have the opportunity to ask the artists questions.
     All talks will be hosted on Zoom and can be accessed using your mobile device or desktop computer. If using your phone or other mobile device, search “Zoom” in the app store. If using your desktop, visit Use the following login information for each artist talk: Meeting ID: 302 190 0088 | Passcode: 352352.

Dec. 17, at 7 p.m. with Mac Stone
Appleton Artists programs on Zoom
Wildlife photographer and conservation enthusiast Mac Stone, who will give an online talk in December

     Wildlife photographer Mac Stone specializes in images from the Everglades, Florida Bay, and America's Swamps. Stone is a National Geographic explorer, a senior fellow with the International League of Conservation Photographers, a Sea Legacy fellow, and is also the executive director of Naturaland Trust, a nonprofit that permanently protects critical lands in the upstate of South Carolina.
     For answers to questions, email
     A campus of the College of Central Florida, the Appleton Museum of Art is located at 4333 E. Silver Springs Blvd., Ocala, east of downtown on SR 40 (exit 352 east off I-75 or exit 268 west off I-95). Parking is free. For more information, call 352-291-4455 or visit


FWC to host Florida
State-Fish Art Contest

FWC Fish Art Contest
Art And Article Provided By FWC
Published Oct. 13, 2020 at 5:10 p.m.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), in partnership with Wildlife Forever, is eager to announce they will host the Florida State-Fish Art Contest.
     Students in kindergarten through twelfth grade can compete in this free contest for a chance to win state and national honours, and prizes. This program inspires creativity while developing the next generation of anglers and conservationists.
     Florida winners will be selected by the FWC in four grade categories, kindergarten through third grade, fourth through sixth grade, seventh through ninth grade and tenth through twelfth grade. State winners will advance to the National Competition to be judged for top prizes such as the Best of Show. The deadline to enter is March 31, 2021; so, start designing today!
     “We are committed to increasing youth participation in freshwater and saltwater fishing through this effort,” said Eric Sutton, Director of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. “The State-Fish Art program is a unique and creative way to connect to youth anglers and the FWC is proud to be sponsoring the initiative for Florida.”
     To enter, students from Florida should submit their entry consisting of the following:
     ● An original horizontal 9”x12” piece of artwork featuring any fish from the Official Fish List.
     ● A piece of creative writing, no longer than one page, about the chosen species (required for grades 4-12).
     ● A Florida State-Fish Art Contest entry form.
     Participants may choose to mail their entry to:
     Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
Attn.: Laura Rambo, Florida Fish Art Contest
620 S. Meridian St.
Tallahassee, FL 32301
     Participants also have the option to submit photos or a scanned copy of their entry to For contest information, entry forms and the Fish On! Lesson Plan, visit


Red Devils beat Indians 35-6
Williston captures Levy County Cup
Chiefland Florida Williston Florida High School Football
Williston Red Devils Varsity Football Team members and Coach Ric Whittington hoist the Levy County Cup after their victory over the Chiefland Indians.

Story and Photos
By Terry Witt Sports Correspondent
© Nov. 7, 2020 at 11:10 a.m.
The Williston Red Devils Varsity Football Team won the coveted Levy County Cup Friday night (Nov. 6) in a 35-6 win over the Chiefland Indians in Chiefland.

Chiefland Florida Williston Florida High School Football
Williston runner Edariyon Wesley blasts around the end of the Chiefland line only to be hauled down from behind by a determined Chiefland defender.

Chiefland Florida Williston Florida High School Football
Kaeden Ashley had a big night for Williston, running straight into the heart of the Chiefland defense.

Chiefland Florida Williston Florida High School Football
First year Chiefland quarterback Austin Berry runs the option as he looks to pitch to his running back.

Chiefland Florida Williston Florida High School Football
Chiefland running back Jamie Strong catches the ball and looks for running space ahead.

     Williston used its high speed option offense to run effectively against Chiefland and took the football away from the Indians on downs three times during the night with big defensive stands.
     The Red Devils, 3-6, will take on Fort Meade in Williston Friday (Nov. 13) in the first round of the Florida High School Athletic Association playoffs while Chiefland 1-7 will face Hawthorne in Hawthorne for its first FHSAA playoff game.
     Williston Head Varsity Football Coach Ric Whittington hoisted the Levy County Cup after the game and congratulated his team for their victory. Afterward, he said the Red Devils are hitting their peak performance as the regular season closes.
      “Offensively we got a lot of stuff coming together at the right time,” Whittington said. “We’re really excited about the direction we’re heading. We still got some guys in quarantine (six players), but we’re playing our best ball at the end of the season heading into the playoffs.”
     Whittington complimented Chiefland on being an extremely well-coached team with players that were tough and played hard.
     Coach John Palmer said his team couldn’t match the Red Devils’ energy on the field.
      “We just didn’t have enough punch tonight, just didn’t have enough to match their intensity and focus. They executed a really good game plan. We just couldn’t match it tonight,” Palmer said.
     Palmer said he had 11 players that missed the game due to quarantine and four others who were out with injuries, most of them starters. He said the Indians have been hit hard by COVID-19 quarantines all year. They missed two games early in the season, when 22 players were quarantined. They were hit by quarantines before they played Trenton and again before they played Williston.
      “What a year. It’s a different starting lineup every week. It’s very difficult,” Palmer said.
     Williston’s first touchdown of the game came on a 10-yard run by Rashaud Nelson that followed a 65-yard drive. The extra point attempt was blocked by Chiefland with 4:40 remaining in the first quarter.
     The Red Devils set up their next score after taking over on downs, which came after stopping Chiefland at their own 26. Williston pushed quickly downfield to score on 15-yard run by Edariyon Wesley. The two-point conversion run failed, leaving the score 12-0 with 8:05 left in the half.
     Chiefland drove from its own 46 on its next series and punched the ball into the endzone on a one-foot run by first year quarterback Austin Berry. The extra point was blocked.
     Williston drove from its own 37 on the next series to score on a 30-yard run by Wesley up the middle. Quarterback Tiger Days ran for the two-point conversion with 2:29 left in the half.
     In the third quarter, the Red Devils drove from their own 37 to score on a 9-yard run by Marland Williams Jr.
     Tiger Days ran for the two-point conversion, leaving the score 28-6 in favor of the Red Devils.
     Williston’s final score of the night came with 9:37 left in the game after the Red Devils drove from their own 15 to score on a 26-yard pass to Williams. The extra point was good.
     The Levy County Cup, which had stayed in Chiefland for the previous two years, now has returned to Williston.


SATURDAY  NOV. 28  9:10 a.m.
Levy, Dixie and Gilchrist counties

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