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Column and Photos
By Myrtice Scabarozi
Published July 6, 2020 at 9:10 a.m.
LEVY COUNTY -- The Log Cabin Quilters met in the Levy County Quilt Museum -- 11050 N.W. 10th Ave. on Thursday (July 2).
We did get some quilting done and a lot of talking. After being housebound for more than two months, we enjoyed just being around people. As we get able to move about more freely, we will be returning to our normal activities at the Museum.
One of the back-to-normal ideas is that we get a sign placed next to U.S. Alt. 27 at Northwest 10th Avenue to identify where to turn to reach the Levy County Quilt Museum.
One of the requirements is that we can prove that most of our visitors are coming from in excess of 30 miles away. It seems that most of our visitors since we reopened fit that requirement. We know that during snowbird season, we can do that. With a little more work, maybe we’ll have a sign or two.
We’ve managed to take control of the building from the climbing roses. In a few months they should be in full bloom without the 10-12 foot runners. A few more bushes to deal with. Then we can deal with the overgrown weeds. We are so spoiled. We hope we’ll be able to have the adult male inmates from Lancaster Correctional Institution be able to leave their confines to return to work on chores at the Levy County Quilt Museum.
Everyone understands the Florida Department of Corrections is following the advice of medical professionals in that regard to reduce the odds of COVID-19 hurting or killing inmates and prison personnel, and their families.
For more information about the Levy County Quilt Museum, please visit our website at https://levycountyquiltmuseum.org/. Our website says we are going to open soon, but that is only because the website has not been updated. The Levy County Quilt Museum is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
This could be a wall-hanging for a favorite teacher or a nice way to keep warm during the winter.
Residents invited to enjoy
a stay-cation in Levy County
By Jeff M. Hardison © June 30, 2020 at 4:10 p.m.
WILLISTON – Levy County residents may want to enjoy a stay-cation here, Levy County Visitors Bureau Executive Director
Tisha Whitehurst noted in an email Monday (June 29).
Serving also as the Levy County Film Commissioner and Tourist Development Council director, Whitehurst often invites out-of-county visitors to spend the night at locations in the county.
Meanwhile, right now, she is reminding residents of the advantages available for safe family fun in Levy County. Rather than a vacation, for Levy County folks this is a stay-cation. By enjoying the fun in Levy County, residents can tell others about what they experienced here.
There is no need to travel to Orlando or other hotspots for tourists, when natural Florida is right here.
Levy County is a great place for social distancing with family, Whitehurst said as she recognizes the need to not spread COVID-19.
“We have more than enough to keep families busy and safe while enjoying the summer break before the return to school in August,” she said. “Check out the Explore link for a list of options in the area.”
Click HERE to see the Explore link for a list of recreational options in Levy County.
“We have a wide range of options to entertain multiple generations,” Whitehurst said.
These include kayaking, fishing, scalloping, swimming, hiking, horseback riding, birding, and state parks to visit.
Here is one of the many stories about things to see in Levy County. This story includes a video of an otter chasing fish in Yankeetown. Click HERE to see it.
She recommends that visitors check with the Levy County parks or state parks for hours and availability before planning to visit. All of the boat ramps are open in Levy County, except the one at the western end of Levy County Road 40 in Yankeetown, because it remains under construction with improvements.
Blue Spring and Henry Beck Parks currently are open at full capacity. Both parks are open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Take some time to check for updates, though, because conditions can change quickly.
Blue Springs is open every day of the week. Henry Beck is open Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays.
Admission is $2 per person at both parks. Kids 5 and younger are free. No passes this year. Social distancing is encouraged.
For more information about all of the county parks, boat ramps and recreation in Levy County, visit https://www.levycounty.org/department/parks_and_recreation/index.php.
As for the three state parks in Levy County, see below.
The link to the Manatee Springs State Park is https://www.floridastateparks.org/parks-and-trails/manatee-springs-state-park.
The link to Fanning Springs State Park is https://www.floridastateparks.org/parks-and-trails/fanning-springs-state-park.
The link to the Nature Coast State Trail is https://www.floridastateparks.org/parks-and-trails/nature-coast-state-trail.
With multiple trails for hiking or riding, families can get outside and enjoy nature together.
“This summer EXPLORE the area you live in, and let the souvenirs be the memories you will make having fun with your family!” Whitehurst exclaimed.
The new office location for the Levy County TDC is 607 S.W. First Ave. in Williston. The office number is 352-528-4030. The email is email@example.com. The website is https://visitnaturecoast.com/.
Regional Bay scallop seasons
open in the area - see the map
Story, Map and Photo
By the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
Published June 9, 2020 at 10:10 a.m.
Updated June 24, 2020 at 4:10 p.m,.
TALLAHASSEE -- The 2020 recreational bay scallop season for the region started opening June 15 and will remain open through Labor Day (Sept. 7, 2020).
This includes all state waters from the Suwannee River to the Fenholloway River and includes the towns of Keaton Beach and Steinhatchee. Please check the map below for specific areas and dates.
The daily bag limit from June 15-30 in this area is 1 gallon of whole bay scallops in shell or 1 cup shucked per person OR 5 gallons whole or 2 pints shucked per vessel.
From July 1 through Labor Day in this area and all season long in other areas when open, regular bag and vessel limits apply. Regular season limits are 2 gallons of whole bay scallops in the shell or 1 pint of bay scallop meat per person, with a maximum of 10 gallons of whole bay scallops in the shell or 1/2 gallon bay scallop meat per vessel (1/2 gallon = 4 pints).
Vessel limits do not allow an individual to exceed their personal bag limit.
Map By FWC
Other 2020 Season Dates
Additional bay scallop season dates are as follows:
● Joseph Bay/Gulf County: Aug. 16 through Sept. 24. This region includes all state waters from the Mexico Beach Canal in Bay County to the westernmost point of St. Vincent Island in Franklin County.
● Franklin County through northwestern Taylor County (including Carrabelle, Lanark and St. Marks): July 1 through Sept. 24. This region includes all state waters from the westernmost point of St. Vincent Island in Franklin County to the mouth of the Fenholloway River in Taylor County.
● Levy, Citrus and Hernando counties (including Cedar Key, Crystal River and Homosassa): July 1 through Sept. 24. This region includes all state waters from the mouth of the Suwannee River in Levy County to the Hernando–Pasco county line.
● Pasco County: Open for 10 days starting the third Friday in July (July 17-26, 2020). This region includes all state waters south of the Hernando–Pasco county line and north of the Anclote Key Lighthouse including all waters of the Anclote River.
● Scallops may be collected by hand or with a landing or dip net.
● There is no commercial harvest allowed for bay scallops in Florida.
● Direct and continuous transit of legally harvested bay scallops is now allowed through closed areas. Boaters may not stop their vessels in waters that are closed to harvest and must proceed directly to the dock or ramp to land scallops in a closed area.
For information on bay scallop regulations, visit MyFWC.com/Marine and click on “Recreational Regulations” and “Bay Scallops” under the “Crabs, Shrimp and Shellfish” tab.
Boater and scalloper safety
Be safe when diving for scallops. Wear a life jacket when underway and do not drink and boat. When scalloping in open water, divers should stay within 300 feet of a properly displayed divers-down flag or device, and within 100 feet of a properly displayed divers-down flag or device if on a river, inlet or navigation channel.
Boat operators traveling within 300 feet of a divers-down flag or device in open water or within 100 feet of one on a river, inlet or navigational channel must slow to idle speed.
Florida Forest Service
By FDACS Office of Communications
Published June 22, 2020 at 4:10 p.m.
TALLAHASSEE – As Independence Day approaches, Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried and the Florida Forest Service announced that additional Florida State Forest recreation areas are reopening as they move to an online, cash-free point-of-sale (POS) system.
“As we reopen additional Florida State Forest recreation areas, we encourage everyone to be cautious during COVID-19 and to take advantage of our state’s natural treasures responsibly,” Commissioner Fried said. “The online, cash-free sale system will help everyone safely enjoy all that our Florida State Forests have to offer, including trailheads, campsites, and off-highway vehicle areas.”
Dates you need to know:
June 24: Annual Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV) passes will be available for purchase. Passes are valid for the 2020-2021 fiscal year, which begins July 1, 2020 and ends June 30, 2021.
July 1: Day-use passes for recreation areas, including trailheads and OHV riding areas, will be available for purchase.
July 10: Group campsites, picnic pavilions and group recreation areas will reopen with a capacity limit of 50 people.
“We look forward to transitioning Florida State Forest recreation sales to a digital platform,” said Erin Albury, State Forester and Director of the Florida Forest Service. “The online system not only streamlines the payment process for Floridians and visitors but reduces the risk of spreading COVID-19.”
To purchase passes or to make a campsite reservation, visit FloridaStateForests.ReserveAmerica.com or call (877) 879-3859. Quick Response (QR) codes will be posted in all Florida State Forest day-use areas as a convenient alternative payment option for visitors with smartphones. Cash will no longer be accepted for Florida State Forest recreation sales. Checks and money orders will be accepted for miscellaneous items that are not available for purchase online. Click here to find a Florida State Forest recreational area near you.
The Florida Forest Service, a division of the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, manages more than 1 million acres of state forests and provides forest management assistance on more than 17 million acres of private and community forests. The Florida Forest Service is also responsible for protecting homes, forestland and natural resources from the devastating effects of wildfire on more than 26 million acres.
FWC: keep beaches dark,
clean for sea turtles
A sea turtle walks across the beach leaving a trail that is easily identified.
Story and Photo
By Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
Published June 18, 2020 at 10:10 a.m.
TALLAHASSEE -- Florida’s beaches are a go-to destination for summer fun and for sea turtles, they’re a go-to destination for laying eggs.
It’s sea turtle nesting season once again and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is reminding beachgoers to take precautions that can help protect these federally threatened and endangered marine reptiles.
Most sea turtles in Florida nest at night and keeping beaches dark will help ensure their nesting success. Bright artificial lighting can misdirect and disturb nesting sea turtles and their hatchlings, leading them away from the ocean and toward potential danger, so beachgoers should avoid using flashlights or cellphones at night.
For beachfront property owners and those visiting beachfront properties, turning out lights or closing curtains after dark will ensure nesting turtles are not disturbed as they come ashore and hatchlings will not become disoriented when they emerge from their nests. If lighting is still visible from the beach, be sure it is long, low and shielded.
It’s also important to make sure that sea turtles have a clear path to and from the ocean. Before you leave the beach, you can help by properly disposing of all trash, filling in holes in the sand, and putting away boats, beach toys and furniture. If these obstacles are left behind, turtles can become trapped.
If your trip to the beach includes fishing, you can help beach wildlife by making sure to properly dispose of your line. Discarded line can be deadly to sea turtles, shorebirds and other animals. To find a monofilament recycling station near you, visit mrrp.myfwc.com.
While most Florida beaches are open, some have restrictions. People accessing open public beaches should follow CDC guidance by limiting their gatherings to no more than 10 people and distancing themselves from other parties by at least 6 feet.
“The actions we take when visiting the beach can make a big difference for sea turtles,” said Dr. Robbin Trindell, who heads the FWC’s sea turtle management program. “By keeping beaches dark and clearing the way at the end of the day, we can help ensure that these amazing animals are here for future generations to enjoy.”
Other ways to help sea turtles include reporting those that are sick, injured, entangled or dead to the FWC’s Wildlife Alert Hotline at 888-404-FWCC (3922).
Purchasing a “Helping Sea Turtles Survive” Florida license plate contributes to sea turtle research, rescue and conservation efforts. People also can donate $5 and receive an FWC sea turtle decal.
Kelly Jerrells retires
after 39 years in the Road Dept.;
County heralds 175 years of existence
Kelly Jerrells (left) listens as Levy County Coordinator Wilbur Dean speaks about him, just before presenting him with a framed certificate of appreciation signed by each member of the County Commission.
Story, Photos and Video
By Jeff M. Hardison © June 17, 2020 at 4:10 p.m.
BRONSON – An icon of the Levy County Road Department is wrapping up his career after decades of helping residents and visitors be able to traverse the highways and byways.
In this video, Levy County Coordinator Wilbur Dean speaks about his pride in being on the County Commissioner back when he made the motion to make Kelly Jerrells the construction superintendent of the Levy County Road Department in 1981.
Some of the audience members on Tuesday are seen here. Levy County Commission meetings are held now in the auditorium of the Annex. This is formerly part of the old Bronson High School. It is located behind the Levy County Courthouse.
After 39 years of public service, Kelly Jerrells is retiring from the Levy County Road Department effective on June 30.
At the Tuesday morning (June 16) meeting of the Levy County Board of County Commissioners, each commissioner and County Coordinator Wilbur Dean all had an opportunity to speak about the legendary figure in Levy County road history.
And at the same meeting, there was a proclamation made declaring the celebration of the county’s 175 year of existence.
County Commission Chairman Matt Brooks said he greatly appreciates the many years of service that Jerrells has given to Levy County. He remembers Jerrells helping him learn about what the Road Department does as Brooks began his first term as a county commissioner.
Dean said that Jerrells had worked in many capacities at the Road Department when the former road superintendent retired. Dean said he and the other County Commissioners in 1981 considered who would be the best person to be the next superintendent.
Dean said then he thought that Jerrells had everything needed to run the department, as well as to help the employees and the general public see their needs met. Dean said he is proud to have been the commissioner to have made that motion back then.
Dean presented him with a framed certificate of appreciation and a bag of keepsakes, as he noted that the county did not have a gold watch to give to the retiring road worker.
Standing after the presentation are (from left) County Commissioner Rock Meeks, County Commissioner Lilly Rooks, County Commissioner John Meeks, Kelly Jerrells, County Commission Vice Chairman Mike Joyner and County Commission Chairman Matt Brooks.
The Jerrells family stands with Kelly Jerrells at the presentation Tuesday.
Kelly Jerrells is joined by Jesse Durrance of the Road Department for a photo opportunity after the presentation.
(from left) Lincoln Cannon, Kelly Jerrells, Jesse Durrance and Casey Duquette, all of the Road Department pause for a photo opportunity after the presentation.
The Levy County Road Department maintains county roads that are dedicated to the public and provides such services as grading, paving, re-surfacing, mowing, and tree trimming-removal on county rights of way.
The Road Department is responsible for road closings, plat reviews, subdivision inspection, and right of way surveying. This department works with the Levy County Development Department to provide driveway permit inspections, and the Road Department works with telephone companies for permitting and the installation of phone lines on County Right of Way
All 9-1-1 address signs, speed limit, county road number, and many other signs for the county are constructed and placed throughout the county, by the Road Department, which also places channel markers in the Waccasassa.
The Levy County Road Department performs general maintenance and sign placing on bridges throughout the county.
In order to have roads resurfaced in a cost-effective manner for the county, the Levy County Road Department has applied for and has been awarded grants from the State of Florida to help in the maintenance of county roads.
As for Jerrells’ decades of service in the Road Department, County Commissioner Lilly Rooks said she would tell him how she thought roadwork should be done, however he would tell her that it can’t be done like that.
“To me,” Rooks said, “my idea sounded really good. Then he would sit me down and say, ‘If we do this, and do this, we can get what you want accomplished.”
Rooks said she let Jerrells do it his way.
“And he was right,” Rooks said. “I hated to admit it, but he has always been right.”
Rooks thanked Jerrells for his work.
Commissioner John Meeks said he is grateful for Jerrells helping him when he first began his duties as a county commissioner. Meeks said his district in the county has the most bad roads.
Meeks said Jerrells was 100 percent helpful every time he called for help. Meeks said he is happy to see Jerrells has instilled in Road Department employees Lincoln Cannon and Jesse Durrance the work ethic that Jerrells always showed.
County Commissioner Mike Joyner said that when he was appointed to his post by the governor, Jerrells helped him through his first four years as he learned more about the Road Department.
Joyner said Jerrells had “a heart of gold” and big shoulders to lean on.
Joyner said Jerrells can hold his head high, because he is the type of man who has earned respect through his actions.
Chairman Brooks wrapped up the commentary by letting Jerrells know Levy County is very grateful for his work here.
As for the historic moment of the day, beyond the retirement of Jerrells, there was a proclamation unanimously adopted.
The proclamation recognizing the 175th anniversary of the establishment of Levy County was read by County Commissioner John Meeks.
The proclamation stated:
WHEREAS, Levy County was established on March 10, 1845 and became the 27th Florida county one week after Florida joined the Union and became the 27th state on March 3, 1845; and
WHEREAS, Levy County was named for David Levy Yulee, a planter elected in 1841 as the state's territorial delegate to the United States Congress and served two terms as one of the first two elected in the U.S. House of Representatives after Florida received statehood; and
WHEREAS, Levy County contributed to the long-term development of Florida by being the western terminus of the first railroad across Florida, the Florida Railroad, linking the deep-water ports of Fernandina on the Atlantic Ocean and Cedar Key on the Gulf of Mexico in 1861; and
WHEREAS, Levy County has a rich history intertwined with the lives of early pioneers who established their homes in the County; and
WHEREAS, Levy County residents strive to protect and promote our unique heritage through lifestyles and livelihoods that come from agriculture, aquaculture, silviculture, hunting, fishing and eco-friendly tourism.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT PROCLAIMED that the Levy County Board of County Commissioners, hereby recognizes the 175th ANNIVERSARY OF LEVY COUNTY, FLORIDA
DULY ADOPTED THIS 16th day of June, 2020.
Museum issues call for entries
in photography contest
Story and Photo Provided
By CF Marketing, Public and Community Relations
Published June 9, 2020 at 5:10 p.m.
OCALA — The Appleton Museum of Art, College of Central Florida, will present the sixth annual “Mobile Photography Contest: Take Comfort. Take Heart. Take Photos.” with a call for entries from June 8 to June 28.
This year, the Appleton is asking for photos that reflect how you found peace or joy in isolation over the past few months. Whether you were alone or with family, whether you preferred to garden, binge-watch “Tiger King” or perfect your culinary skills, each of our daily lives looked very different during this global, shared experience.
All ages are invited to participate; each person may submit up to two photos. Photos must be taken with a mobile phone, fit the theme and be tasteful in content.
Instructions for Participation:
Submitting Your Photos
Now through June 28, email your mobile photos to AppletonMuseum@cf.edu. Photos must be sent via email and will not be accepted through Facebook or other social media. If you send more than two photos, your entries will not be accepted.
What Happens Next?
On July 5, all photos will be uploaded to the Appleton Facebook page where the public will have a chance to vote until July 19 for their favorite.
Photography-related prizes will be awarded to the photo with the most “Likes” on Facebook, and to one photo selected by our guest judge, Dr. Saul Reyes, who is a photographer and vice president for Student Affairs at College of Central Florida. Winning photos will be featured on Appleton social media accounts and in the fall issue of “Artifacts” magazine.
The two winners will be announced on July 20 and will also be contacted via email to arrange pick-up or shipping of their prize.
For more information or if you have questions, email AppletonMuseum@cf.edu.
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 http://appletonmuseum.org/.