(Please remember to scroll down)
Master Gardener class
returns to Bronson
Debra Weiss (left) and Diane Wilson prune muscadine vine as part of the Master Gardner exercises to learn about this aspect of gardening.
Published Dec. 7, 2018 at 10:08 a.m.
BRONSON – The University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF-IFAS) Extension Master Gardener class returns to Bronson, January of 2019.
More Below This Ad
Here, there is a hands-on deciduous fruit pruning (peach pruning) workshop shown as part of the Master Gardner program.
UF-IFAS Extension agents, regional specialists and cooperating agencies such as Florida Forest Service will provide the training.
However, Anthony Drew, the current Extension agent and row crop specialist who has taught this course for more than a decade, is retiring.
UF/IFAS Extension is a federal, state, and county partnership dedicated to developing knowledge in agriculture, human and natural resources, and the life sciences and to making that knowledge accessible to sustain and enhance the quality of human life.
Master Gardener (MG) instruction prepares civic-minded individuals to assist in community horticulture outreach, research and education in Dixie, Gilchrist and Levy counties as volunteers.
MG training covers a range of Florida-friendly practices. The 2019 program’s topics include titles such as “efficient water use,” “landscaping for food,” “pollinators and wildlife,” “fertilizer,” “container and raised-bed gardening,” “best management practices for disease, weed and insect pests.”
“Of course, to gain knowledge on how to garden more successfully was the main reason I enrolled in the MG class but the fringe benefits have been great,” Diane Wilson, an MG Class of 2017 said. “Meeting wonderful, caring people from my community has been a blessing. Additionally, my new passion of creating herbarium specimens is a result of the program.”
MG training class meets once a week, Wednesdays, beginning Jan. 23 through April 3, from 9:30 a.m. until 3:30 p.m.
Unless otherwise noted, instruction will take place at the UF-IFAS Extension AG Center, 625 N. Hathaway Ave. (U.S. Alt. 27), in Bronson.
The class size is limited to 23 students maximum. Application with a $65 (non-refundable) materials fee is due Jan. 4, 2019.
Payment can be made by cash, check or money order payable to the University of Florida.
Applications are available at Levy and Dixie counties’ libraries, and Extension offices. They are also available through return email that is sent to email@example.com.
A county and/or UF-furnished background check and drug screen are required for MG students.
For more information, contact Barbara L. Edmonds at the Levy County Extension Office, 352-486-5131.
All UF/IFAS Extension programs and services are open to every person without regard to race, color, age, gender, religion, national origin, handicap or any other thing that might differentiate one human being from another human being.
Levy County Libraries Make It
Sabrina and Heather Brice show off a United States Marine Corps-themed tree they created to surprise their grandfather with as he recovers from surgery.
Story and Photos
By Jenny Rodgers
Levy County Library System Youth Services-IT Manager
Published Dec. 3, 2018 at 9:08 p.m.
BRONSON -- The Levy County Public Library System had its first round of MakerSpace programs last week.
Clara Owens (top of these two photos) waiting for her design to finish cutting on the machine, and then she is seen standing with her completed work.
Emma Martin and her dad nail their tree together.
Here is a photo from the Williston Public Library, where group everyone was working
The MakerSpace programs allow families with children of all ages to use technology to create the featured projects. The programs focus on Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math (STEAM) to provide a place where families can learn and create together.
This month, families in all five of the Levy County Library System branches created wooden Christmas trees and Christmas Countdown signs. The families created a design and helped program a vinyl cutting machine, used tools to assemble the trees, and they created memories crafting together.
All of the projects turned out amazing! Don't miss out on future Library MakerSpace programs at your library!
This project was funded under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act from the Institute of Museum and Library Services. Florida’s LSTA program is administered by the Florida Department of State’s Division of Library and Information Services.
Contracted nuisance alligator
trappers sought for Levy County
By Karen Parker of the FWC
Published Nov. 28, 2018 at 10:08 p.m.
LAKE CITY -- The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s (FWC) Statewide Nuisance Alligator Program is accepting applications for contracted nuisance alligator trappers in Levy County.
Applicants must pass a criminal history check, have no fish or wildlife law violations, and possess a valid, working email address.
To learn more about becoming a contracted nuisance alligator trapper and to apply online, myfwc.com/Alligator and click on “Statewide Nuisance Alligator Program.”
Applications must be received by Thursday, Dec. 13. For more information, email FWCGator@MyFWC.com.
The FWC places the highest priority on public safety. Its Statewide Nuisance Alligator Program addresses complaints concerning specific alligators believed to pose a threat to people, pets or property. People with concerns about an alligator should call FWC’s toll-free Nuisance Alligator Hotline at 866-FWC-GATOR (866-392-4286).
When someone concerned about an alligator calls the Nuisance Alligator Hotline, the FWC will dispatch one of its contracted nuisance alligator trappers to resolve the situation. The FWC also works diligently to keep Floridians and visitors informed, including providing advice about Living with Alligators.
WGP Friends saddened
by Yankeetown Town Council;
Town voters urged to protect WGP
Published Nov. 28, 2018 at 4:28 p.m.
YANKEETOWN -- The Friends of the Withlacoochee Gulf Preserve (The Friends) sent a message via email on Wednesday (Nov. 28) alerting interested individuals in a stark reality.
The potential exists for this public treasure to fall into the hands of a private developer.
The Withlacoochee Gulf Preserve (WGP) is a 413-acre parcel of land owned and managed by the Town of Yankeetown.
The property was purchased with funds from the Florida Forever Community Trust. Most of the improvements to the WGP have been made with State Department of Environmental Protection Grants, Felburn Foundation Grants, other small grants, and private donations. General maintenance, utilities, insurance, and other expenses are paid by the Town of Yankeetown with funding from property taxes, and donations from the Friends of the WGP, The Friends noted in the email.
"The Board (of Directors) of the Friends of the Withlacoochee Gulf Preserve wishes to inform our members, volunteers, and the general public of recent developments effecting the Preserve," The email notes. "During the Yankeetown Town (Council) budget hearings in the summer of 2018, there was a discussion about the expense to the Town of maintaining the WGP.
"The Town Council subsequently investigated the possibility of turning the WGP back to the State," the Friends continued," thereby removing the financial responsibility from the Town. The Town of Yankeetown has decided to put an advisory referendum on the 2019 February ballot asking whether the Town should stop funding the WGP. If the Advisory Referendum receives a majority in favor of defunding the WGP, then the Yankeetown Town Council will pursue turning the property over to the State."
If the voters of Yankeetown want to have the town no longer help the WGP, then the state "... would try to find another entity to take over the management of the property – State, County, or a viable non-profit organization. If no entity can be found, it is possible that the Preserve could be sold to a private organization," the Friends noted.
The Friends of the WGP is a non-profit organization that works with Yankeetown to promote and develop the WGP.
"The Friends of the WGP are saddened that the (Yankeetown Town) Council is considering divesting the Town of this community treasure," The Friends' Board of Directors noted. "We believe the property is an asset to the Town, providing unique recreational experiences to our community and visitors. Unfortunately, the Friends do not have the manpower or the financial funding to assume responsibility of the Preserve. However, our mission still stands and we will continue to support the WGP with promotions, programs, and educational events until such time the Preserve’s fate is determined.
"Listen up Yankeetown voters," the Friends noted. "The second reading of the Advisory Referendum will be at 6 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 3 at Yankeetown Town Hall. This is an opportunity for you to be heard before this referendum is official. Also, be prepared in February to vote your choice on the future of the WGP."
The Friends of the WGP note more for people who not residents and able to vote in a Yankeetown election.
"To our WGP visitors who enjoy this preserve as a public entity, please send your comments and concerns to:
Yankeetown Town Hall
6241 Harmony Lane
Friends of wildlife
Published Nov. 28, 2018 at 3:28 p.m.
LEVY COUNTY -- The Friends of the Lower Suwannee and Cedar Keys National Wildlife Refuges (The Friends) are seeking volunteers to man a desk so that the Refuge headquarters can remain open and visitors will be greeted by something other than a locked gate.
Since last spring, when the group initiated the Friends Volunteers for Front Desk Welcome program, many people have volunteered to help staff the front desk at Refuge headquarters.
The Refuge headquarters are located off of Levy County Road 347 between Fowlers Bluff and Cedar Key.
The Friends originally indicated that the program would go until the end of April and then be resumed in November, but there was enough enthusiasm that a small group volunteered all through the summer.
Now, as many “snowbirds” return, The Friends hope to expand the coverage so that every day the Refuge is officially open -- there will be somebody to greet and assist visitors.
As many of people already know, reductions in staff have severely impacted the remaining staff members. Their responsibilities mostly require them to be out in the field, leaving visitors confronted with a locked gate.
This necessary aspect of life is not very welcoming. By having volunteers in the office, the gate can remain open and visitors can come in and obtain the information and materials they need.
The Friends' volunteers' presence means that staff who are working in the building will not have to be interrupted when visitors arrive.
And, that is essentially what being a volunteer entails: providing a warm greeting, answering questions, handing out materials, and, perhaps, even selling a t-shirt or two.
The Friends have established a schedule, which includes two shifts a day: 10 a.m. until 1 p.m., and 1 p.m. until 4 p.m.
Any interested volunteer is invited to select just a morning, just an afternoon – or both.
For any person who is interested in participating, they are asked to contact Friends Board Member Kit Lane.
Please reply by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Include your phone number and email contact information. The Friends will provide training and support. It is a wonderful way to be involved with the mission of the Friends of the Refuge.
Column and Photo
By Myrtice Scabarozi © Nov. 27, 2018 at 1:38 p.m.
LEVY COUNTY – The Log Cabin Quilters did not meet this week so they could spend Thanksgiving (Nov. 22) with their family and friends. We hope all of you enjoyed the holiday.
We spent the week getting ready for our annual Quilt and Craft Show. Our crafters bring in a few more items for the Christmas holidays. Stop in for a while and avoid the crowds.
We had a couple of items dropped off this week. Thanks for thinking of us.
The Backyard Pickers (band) will be at the Levy County Quilt Museum -- 11050 N.W. 10th Ave. (near Levyville, kind of on the way to Judson on Levy County Road 134 from U.S. Alt. 27) on Saturday (Dec. 1). So, just maybe they’ll play a few Christmas songs. Come out and join us.
The Levy County Quilt Museum is a great place to shop for gifts. For more information about the Museum, click HERE.
A Christmas apron is a must for the holidays.
This could be a table decoration by adding a candle or a door decoration.
Potholders could be a great extra gift idea.
Woman’s Club Calendar
Seen here are some of this year’s contributors, including (from left) Wanda Davis, Melinda Allen, representing UF, Vicki Crumpley, Frank Morgan, Larry Woodward, Ed DeHaan, Ann Kamzelski, Bob Wooley, Donna Bushnell, Joan Selby and Teresa Stevens. Vicki Crumpley coordinates the calendar for the Cedar Key Women’s Club. Other photographers who contributed included Rory Brennan, Susan Roquemore, Wayne Mydlinski, Lois Benninghof, Barbara Pittman and Patt Taylor. Also honored at the reception were the 16 local businesses who are carrying the calendar as a contribution to the Woman’s Club.
Story and Photo
By Eileen Senecal
Published Nov. 23, 2018 at 12:08 p.m.
CEDAR KEY -- The Cedar Key Woman’s Club CALENDAR 2019 Reception was held Tuesday (Nov. 20) in the Courtyard of the Cedar Key Island Hotel and Restaurant.
The exceptional 2019 Cedar Key Calendar, now in its sixth year, has become a tradition in Cedar Key.
Visitors love the calendar, but it is Cedar Key residents who buy the calendars as gifts that have become an important part of the calendar’s success. Photo memories of Cedar Key now hang in homes in almost every state as well as in Canada, England, and Germany!
Where else could you find such a beautiful memento and gift for just $10?
Proceeds from the calendar all return to the island city, supporting causes such as the Cedar Key Relief Fund, the Cedar Key School, the Food Pantry, the Cedar Key Public Library, the Fire Department, and the Arts Center program for children.
The 2018 Calendar is available at many outlets in the City, and is selling quickly. You can also order your calendars by emailing to email@example.com.
Make a difference!
Create wildlife habitat
in your own backyard
By Diane Hirth of the FWC
Published Nov. 15, 2018 at 10:08 a.m.
TALLAHASSEE -- Your backyard can be a gathering place for birds, butterflies, frogs, flying squirrels and more.
Attract native species by offering food, water, cover and space for them to raise their young, and your yard will be transformed into a welcoming habitat for wildlife.
Today (Thursday, Nov. 15), the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is introducing Backyards and Beyond, a campaign challenging Floridians to make a difference and have fun by creating a refuge for wildlife in their own backyard.
“Imagine your backyard as a place where butterflies are attracted by flowers, songbirds are gobbling up seeds and berries, and frogs, bats and lizards are eating mosquitoes and other insects,” said Jerrie Lindsey, FWC’s director of Public Access Services. “Your efforts to create wildlife habitat at home will have a positive impact because animals need places to live beyond our wildlife management areas. Backyards and Beyond is also a great opportunity for you and your family to enjoy watching wildlife.”
Five easy ways to become involved in Backyards and Beyond:
1. Turn your yard into a diverse wildlife habitat by adding native plants. A variety of native trees, shrubs and plants will provide natural food and cover for wildlife. A flowering native plant or shrub, for example, can provide nectar and pollen for butterflies and other beneficial insects, which in turn may be a meal for birds, lizards and frogs.
2. Attract native wildlife to your yard by providing the four basics: food, water, cover and enough space for raising young. By doing so, we increase the number and variety of species that visit our yards, improving our chances to observe them more closely.
3. Document wildlife activity in your backyard. Submit photos via iNaturalist to Florida Nature Trackers projects, and even create a species list for your own backyard.
4. Create a butterfly garden, build a nest box for birds or add a brush pile for small animals like earthworms, birds, toads and lizards in your backyard. Planting a Refuge for Wildlife is an easy-to-understand guide to these projects and other ways that your backyard can support native wildlife. This illustrated publication created by the FWC and Fish & Wildlife Foundation of Florida can be ordered online at WildlifeFlorida.org.
5. Go beyond your backyard. Invite family and friends to explore Florida’s outdoors at wildlife management areas, local and state parks, state and national forests, and national wildlife refuges. Use Florida Nature Trackers to document what you see.
People who create a wildlife refuge in their backyards will contribute to conserving Florida’s wildlife and habitats. By documenting animals observed in their backyards, they also generate valuable information. FWC biologists will be able to see the wildlife photos submitted to Florida Nature Trackers and use the data to help direct their efforts to research and manage native species throughout the state.
Remember, wild animals do not need supplemental feeding from people. Naturally-occurring insects and native plants with nectar flowers, edible fruits, nuts and seeds provide nourishment for most butterflies, birds and small animals. Pet food, corn and other supplemental feed can encourage unwanted visitors.
Need help getting started? Explore the Backyards and Beyond website for more information on how you can get involved.
While Backyards and Beyond is a statewide campaign, there is also a local initiative in Leon County and the city of Tallahassee, involving the FWC and partners. You can participate by joining the Backyards of Leon County project.
What if you live in an apartment, townhouse or condominium — and don’t have a backyard? You can still participate. Plant native flowers in containers on your front steps, on a balcony or in a window box. Work with neighbors to add native plant life to shared spaces like playgrounds, parks and other open areas in your development or community. Get children involved by bringing Backyards and Beyond to groups such as the Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts or a school, church or community youth group or homeowners association.
No matter where you live, you can make a difference.
Go to http://floridanaturetrackers.com/Backyard/ for more information.
Look out, slow down for
Florida’s migrating manatees
FWC photo by Tim Donovan.
By Diane Hirth and Carli Segelson of the FWC
Published Nov. 14, 2018 at 9:08 a.m.
TALLAHASSEE -- Look out and slow down for manatees in November to help them as they begin migrating to warmer waters.
November is Manatee Awareness Month. Florida has more than 6,600 manatees swimming in rivers, bays and coastal waters. These large aquatic mammals can weigh over 1,000 pounds.
As the weather cools, manatees are on the move, searching for warmer waters to survive the winter. Remember: Disturbing manatees at warm-water sites may cause them to leave those areas at a time when it is critical for them to remain there.
“Boaters who look out for migrating manatees and follow posted manatee protection zones contribute to the conservation of this threatened species. They are reducing the chance of manatee injuries and disturbance, while enjoying their time on the water,” said Carol Knox, who leads the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s (FWC) Imperiled Species Management Section.
Seasonal manatee protection zones also go into effect in the fall, depending on the county. The zones are marked by waterway signs, and maps of local manatee protection zones are available online at MyFWC.com/Manatee by clicking on “Data and Maps.”
How can you help manatees?
● Wear polarized sunglasses to spot them moving, grazing and resting in the water. Keep a lookout for the circular “footprints” or ripples they leave on the surface of the water.
● Follow posted manatee zones.
● Observe manatees from a distance to limit disturbance. Disturbing manatees at their warm-water sites may cause them to leave these areas during the winter.
● Report injured, entangled, orphaned or dead manatees to the FWC’s Wildlife Alert Hotline: 888-404-FWCC (3922), #FWC or *FWC on your cellphone or text Tip@MyFWC.com.
● Access and share A boater’s guide to living with Florida manatees and Guidelines for successful manatee watching in Florida that focuses on paddlers.
● Purchase the manatee decal and license plate, and tell everyone how the decal and license plate support the FWC’s manatee conservation efforts.
● Contribute to the Fish & Wildlife Foundation of Florida’s Marine Mammal Fund by visiting https://wildlifeflorida.org/ and clicking on “Support Us,” “Funding Priorities” and “Marine Mammal Fund.”
Florida invests over $2 million annually in manatee conservation, with FWC biologists, managers and law enforcement working with partners to research, rescue and manage Florida manatees.
Want to see a manatee? Go to http://myfwc.com/Manatee and click on “Where Can I See Manatees?”
Appleton posts After Hours
concert series schedule
Alpine Express gives an outdoor performance for Oktoberfest.
Southern Express Big Band plays the After Hours stage.
Photos and Story Provided
By CF Marketing
Published Sept. 9, 10:28 p.m.
OCALA — The Appleton Museum of Art, College of Central Florida, announces its 2018-2019 After Hours concert series schedule.
After Hours features local and regional musical talent and invites community members of all ages to enjoy lively performances, tasty bites from local restaurants and special displays of artwork from the Ocala Art Group.
The series kicks off in October with an Oktoberfest band, Alpine Express, who entertains audiences with singing, yodeling, audience-participation and more. The high-energy show consists of traditional Oktoberfest music, along with some unique folk instruments that can include alphorns, cowbells, the Holzanes G'Lächter (member of the xylophone family) and a singing saw.
In December, Marion Civic Chorale returns to present the sounds of the holidays. A new band is welcomed to the stage in February, New Generation Branches Steel Orchestra, and will give a two-piece performance.
Last but not least, another favorite is welcomed back — Southern Express Big Band. This 17-piece band from Ocala has been performing for more than 15 years and is comprised of individuals with a variety of professional and musical backgrounds.
2018-2019 Concert Schedule
Thursdays, 5-8 p.m.
● Dec. 13 - Marion Civic Chorale
● Feb. 7 - New Generation Branches Steel Orchestra
● April 4 - Southern Express Big Band