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Progress continues toward
Otter Springs Park and
Campground switching from
septic tanks to sewer service

Nature Coast Water Authority
Attending the Wednesday late afternoon (Feb. 18) Nature Coast Regional Water Authority monthly meeting in Fanning Springs City Hall are (from left) NCRWA Attorney Mark Logan, NCRWA Chairperson Sheila Watson, city clerk of the City of Fanning Springs, Vice Chairman Bobby Crosby, Gilchrist County administrator, NCRWA Board Member Tim Alexander, county manager of Dixie County, and NCRWA Secretary Cheyenne Stemple. NCRWA Board Member Michael Moore of Bell was absent.

Story and Photos
By Jeff M. Hardison © Feb. 19, 2020 at 8:10 a.m.
Three of the four-member Nature Coast Regional Water Authority (NCRWA) members late Wednesday afternoon (Feb. 19) helped progress move forward on a plan to switch a park from septic tanks to sewer treatment service.


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Nature Coast Water Authority
Seen here are Jeff Littlejohn (standing) and Scott Forrester (sitting in the foreground), both vice presidents of OnSyte Performance Systems of Tallahassee, and Nature Coast Regional Water Authority Attorney Mark Logan at the front of the meeting room. Littlejohn is starting to tell the NCRWA members (who are also at the front of the meeting room, but out of this photo) about the OnSyte Performance machinery for replacing septic tanks with relatively small, remotely monitored wastewater treatment devices.

Nature Coast Water Authority
Among the people present in the audience are Chiefland City Commission members Norman Weaver and Lewrissa Mainwaring. Chiefland has been invited at least a few times to join the NCRWA over the past decade-plus, however its elected leaders have yet to agree that the benefits from that action are worth making it happen.

     One NCRWA Board member was absent.
     NCRWA Chairperson Sheila Watson, city clerk of the City of Fanning Springs was joined by Vice Chairman Bobby Crosby, Gilchrist County administrator and NCRWA Board Member Tim Alexander, county manager of Dixie County.
     NCRWA Board Member Michael Moore of Bell was absent for the second consecutive meeting. There were no meetings in November or December. The NCRWA is comprised of the City of Bell, the City of Fanning Springs, Dixie County and Gilchrist County.
     The NCRWA is in the business of helping to build infrastructure related to water and sewer services. It does not have taxing authority. It does not set water and sewer rates. Those duties are other functions of its municipal and county legislators.
     Two Chiefland City Council members -- Lewrissa Mainwaring and Norman Weaver were present in the audience to watch and learn more about the NCRWA. Suwannee River Water Management Executive Director Steve Minnis recently had invited the City of Chiefland to join this water authority.
     The main item on the agenda for the February monthly meeting of the NCRWA was approving a draft agreement by the Suwannee River Water Management Authority for the Otter Springs Park and Campground’s onsite sewage treatment and disposal system (OSTDS), commonly referred to as a septic system.
     The Florida Department of Environmental Protection awarded a $1.85 million grant to the NCRWA, with Gilchrist County contributing $50,000 worth of in-kind work, for the purpose of helping the park convert from septic tanks to an OSTDS.
     Jeff Littlejohn and Scott Forrester, both vice presidents of OnSyte Performance Systems of Tallahassee, were available to speak about this company’s new method for switching from septic tanks to OSTDS.
     OnSyte Performance offers a revolutionary new method for relatively small sewer system service. OnSyte has created a revision from conventional sewer systems that used pipes to carry sewage over long distances to a wastewater treatment facility.
     Rather than pumping wastewater to a plant in the City of Fanning Springs from the Otter Springs Park and Campground, a satellite treatment system replaces each septic tank. This system uses the existing drainfield, where the outflow has been improved through a high performance nitrogen-removal process before reaching the drainfield.
     These systems are monitored and controlled remotely by certified wastewater technicians who assure that all Florida DEP standards are met or exceeded every hour of every day. These systems transmit readings over the airways to a technician who assures the machinery is performing its job properly.
     The OnSyte Performance High Flow Distributed Wastewater Treatment Unit, the largest unit size, has a capacity of 15,000 gallons per day. That is equivalent to 150 bedrooms.
     The price for one High Flow DWTU is $275,000.
     Another expense of this project is total engineering fees of Mittauer and Associates Inc. The total engineering fees are shown at $408,275 now.
     Gregory D. Lang, vice president of community development with Mittauer and Associates, was present for the meeting late Wednesday afternoon.
     The 10,000 gallon-per-day average flow at Otter Springs Park and Campground, Mittauer Vice President Lang said, can double during surges in population. Gilchrist County Administrator Crosby said the Fourth of July population can exceed that even more, depending on weather and when during the week the Fourth of July falls.
     As for the probable future project at Otter Springs Park and Campground, some number of units would replace septic tanks and provide for a very significant reduction in nitrogen output, which will help spring water quality, and subsequently the water going into the Suwannee River will have a lower nitrogen level.
     As for the NCRWA, former Treasurer Dan Cavanah of ForVets Inc. resigned. No board member accepted the treasurer’s duties, however Cheyenne Stemple, the administrative assistant to Dixie County Manager Alexander, is serving as the clerk or secretary of the NCRWA. She said she can handle the treasurer reports, until the start of the big project at Otter Springs Park and Campground.
     When it comes time for disbursing funds to contractors and the like, that will require another person, Stemple said. Vice President Lang said that accounting of funds for the almost $2 million project is one of the duties Mittauer accepts in its contract for services on this project.
     Debbie Destin, Otter Springs Park and Campground manager and a leader in the ForVets’ Camp Valor project at the park, was in the audience during the meeting. Destin said she is pleased to see this project coming closer to a time of groundbreaking.
     When ForVets completes construction of its Camp Valor facility at Otter Springs Park and Campground, it will be a place for American military veterans to use programs that empower and support returning wounded veterans and their families as the veterans transition back to civilian life.
     The NCRWA meets the third Wednesday of most months, starting at 4 p.m. in Fanning Springs City Hall.
     This project that has now converted to the onsite treatment plan by OnSyte Performance previously had been planned where pipes would be placed in the ground and sewage would flow from the park and campground to the facilities owned by the City of Fanning Springs.
     That plan changed due to projected growth in the City of Fanning Springs, and the city not being able to handle to projected increase in wastewater generated from the park and campground.
     The new plan to do away with septic tanks at Otter Springs Park and Campground will not require pipes leaving the site.
     OnSyte Performance Vice President Littlejohn gave examples of places where the Florida DEP has monitored the company’s new concept for treating sewage, and it has proved to be successful in its first few years of use so far.
     After the meeting, Littlejohn conceded to that the per-gallon cost for sewage treatment by these relatively small systems is higher than a giant sewage plant like in Duval County (Jacksonville), as a result of typical economy of scale business truths.
     These systems are perfect for small, rural communities – such as the one at Otter Springs Park and Campground, Littlejohn added.
     Among the successful projects completed by the NCRWA is the providing of drinking water to the Town of Old Town by the City of Fanning Springs.
     Attorney Mark Logan of Sniffen & Spellman PA of Tallahassee is the NCRWA attorney. He is working with the water management district to finalize documents required to complete necessary aspects before the contracts to start the project are signed.
     The next regular meeting of the NCRWA is set for March 18 starting at 4 p.m. in Fanning Springs City Hall. Chairperson Watson is anticipated to be absent due to planned surgery, however Fanning Springs Mayor Howell E. “Trip” Lancaster III is probably going to serve in place of Watson for that meeting.


Log Cabin Quilters Levy County

Column and Photos
By Myrtice Scabarozi
Published Feb. 17, 2020 at 10:10 a.m.
The Log Cabin Quilters met Thursday (Feb. 13) 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).
     We had 16 visitors who enjoyed lunch and that includes some awesome desserts, which were part of the whole awesome lunch. Next week, is our breakfast for lunch day. It’s something to look forward to.
     The Old Sewing Machine Man was here Tuesday (Feb. 11). He cleaned old sewing machines and conducted some minor repairs on a few machines. One of the easiest repairs was to replace the bobbin. If you have more than one machine, mixing the bobbins is easy to do. A lot of the bobbins look the same. So, unless you look closely at the machine, you’ll have problems with the stitches.
     That was a mistake that we had made. We have a variety of bobbins from many machines and forgot to make sure we used the right bobbin.
     The Backyard Pickers are scheduled to be here in an upcoming Saturday (March 7). Some number of our snowbird friends in the group are planning to be heading home in April.
      We had a few items dropped off during the week. Thank you, we appreciate support provided to us Log Cabin Quilters by so many individuals and groupos.

Levy County Quilt Museum
This is a beautiful bear paw quilt. It is great for keeping warm.

Levy County Quilt Museum
This is a king-sized patriotic quilt, which came in this past week.


Free Kids’ Fishing Clinic
in Crystal River
promises day of learning, fun

Story and Information
Provided By
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
Published Feb. 12, 2020 at 9:10 p.m.
Teaching children a lifelong hobby, instilling appreciation for our marine environment and providing fun, family outings are the objectives for the Kids’ Fishing Clinic in Crystal River on Feb. 29.

     The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) will offer a free Kids’ Fishing Clinic for children between the ages of 5 and 15 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Fort Island Trail Park (12073 W. Fort Island Trail).
     These free clinics enable young people to learn the basics of conservation stewardship, fishing ethics, angling skills and safety. Kids’ Fishing Clinics strive to achieve several goals, but the main objective is to create responsible marine-resource stewards by teaching children about the vulnerability of Florida’s marine ecosystems. In addition, organizers hope to teach fundamental saltwater fishing skills and provide participants a positive fishing experience.
     Fishing equipment and bait are provided for kids to use during the clinic, but organizers encourage children who own fishing tackle to bring it. A limited number of rods and reels will be given away to participants upon completion of the clinic.
     If conditions allow, participants will have the opportunity to practice their new skills and fish from the pier. This event is a photo catch-and-release activity. An adult must accompany all participants. Preregistration is strongly encouraged. To register visit Citrus County Parks and Recreation website. Walk-up registration also available
     Individuals or companies interested in helping sponsor this event or volunteering at the clinic should contact Maci Kepler at 352-527-7540.
To find out more about fishing clinics for kids, go to and select “Kids Saltwater Fishing Clinics” option under “Education.”


Gone Fishing
What to do when
you accidentally hook a sawfish

FWC sawfish

Column and Photo
By Jasmin Graham
Of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
Published Feb. 11, 2020 at 11:10 a.m.
When I started graduate school at Florida State University, I had never seen a sawfish in the wild but I was excited to be part of the recovery of a species I had been so awestruck by in aquariums.
     The smalltooth sawfish, the only sawfish found in Florida, has been protected in Florida since 1992 and became federally listed under the United States Endangered Species Act in 2003. Little was known about the species when it became listed but since that time, scientists have learned a lot about its biology and ecology.
     As sawfish recovery efforts continue, we expect there to be more sawfish sightings, especially in Florida. This includes anglers who may accidentally catch one on hook-and-line while fishing for other species.

Sawfish encounters
     Sawfish can be encountered when participating in a number of activities including boating, diving and fishing. Further, the species may be encountered by waterfront homeowners and beach goers in the southern half of the state where juvenile sawfish rely on shallow, nearshore environments as nursery habitats. When fishing, targeting sawfish is prohibited under the ESA, though incidental captures do occur while fishing for other species.
     Knowing how to properly handle a hooked sawfish is imperative as sawfish can be potentially hazardous to you. One of the first things that stood out to me while conducting permitted research was the speed at which a sawfish can swing its rostrum (commonly referred to as the saw). For creatures that glide along the bottom so slowly and gracefully, they sure can make quick movements when they want to. It’s best to keep a safe distance between you and the saw.
     If you happen to catch a sawfish while fishing, do not pull it out of the water and do not try to handle it. Refrain from using ropes or restraining the animal in any way, and never remove the saw. It is important that you untangle it if necessary and release the sawfish as quickly as possible by cutting the line as close to the hook as you can. Proper release techniques ensure a high post-release survival of sawfish. Scientific studies show us that following these guidelines will limit the amount of stress a sawfish experiences as a result of capture. Note that a recent change in shark fishing rules requires use of circle hooks, which results in better hook sets, minimizes gut hooking, and also maximizes post-release survival. 
     In addition to capture on hook-and-line, sawfish can easily become entangled in lost fishing gear or nets. If you observe an injured or entangled sawfish, be sure to report it immediately but do not approach the sawfish. Seeing a sawfish up close can be an exciting experience but you must remember that it is an endangered species with strict protections.
     If you are diving and see a sawfish, observe at a distance. Do not approach or harass them. This is illegal and this guidance is for your safety as well as theirs.
     An important component of any sawfish encounter is sharing that information with scientists. Your encounter reports help managers track the population status of this species. If you encounter a sawfish while diving, fishing or boating, please report the encounter. Take a quick photo if possible (with the sawfish still in the water and from a safe distance), estimate its length including the saw and note the location of the encounter.
     The more details you can give scientists, the better we can understand how sawfish are using Florida waters and the better we can understand the recovery of the population. Submit reports at, email or phone at 1-844-4SAWFISH.

Sawfish background
     Sawfishes, of which there are five species in the world, are named for their long, toothed “saw” or rostrum, which they use for hunting prey and defense. In the U.S., the smalltooth sawfish was once found regularly from North Carolina to Texas but its range is now mostly limited to Florida waters.
     In general, sawfish populations declined for a variety of reasons. The primary reason for decline is that they were frequently caught accidentally in commercial fisheries that used gill nets and trawls. Additional contributing factors include recreational fisheries and habitat loss. As industrialization and urbanization changed coastlines, the mangroves that most sawfishes used as nursery habitat also became less accessible. For a species that grows slowly and has a low reproductive rate, the combination of these threats proved to be too much.

Engaging in sawfish recovery
     During my thesis research, which focuses on tracking the movements of large juvenile and adult smalltooth sawfish, each tagging encounter is a surreal experience.
     The first sawfish I saw was an adult, and what struck me the most was just how big it was. I also remember being enamored by its mouth. Like all other rays, its mouth is on the underside of its body. The mouth looks like a shy smile and I found it almost humorous how different the top of the sawfish was compared to the bottom. After seeing my first baby sawfish, the contrast seemed even greater. It’s hard to believe upon seeing a 2 to 3 foot sawfish that it could one day be 16 feet long! No matter the size, anyone who has encountered a sawfish will tell you it’s an experience like no other.
     The hope is that one day the sawfish population will be thriving once again, and more people will be able to experience safe and memorable encounters with these incredible animals. Hopefully, we can coexist with sawfish in a sustainable and positive way in the future.
     Gone Fishing is a quarterly column of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.


Winner selected
in first contest of Year 10 BubbaQue's Winner
Alicia Bollinger holds the banner to show she is the winner. This photograph was taken at about 10 a.m. on Saturday (Feb. 8), just hours after the winner’s name was selected.

Photo By Jeff M. Hardison © Feb. 8, 2020 at 11:10 a.m.

     THE INK PAD – One cat hopped up to the call of duty and chose the winner of the first contest of the 10th year of the existence of

In this video, Inky the cat makes short work of selecting the first winner in the contests for “Here’s To 1o Years.”
Video By Sharon Hardison © Feb. 8, 2020 at 11:10 a.m. BubbaQue's Winner
Jeff M. Hardison, owner of the daily news website, prepares to pour the pieces of paper for some cat to pick a winner.

Photo By Sharon Hardison © Feb. 8, 2020 at 11:10 a.m.

Inky the cat Hardison selects a piece of paper with the name Alicia Bollinger on it, making her the winner of a $50 gift certificate to BubbaQue’s. Meanwhile, a bit of Goldy's fur is seen in the lower left corner of this photo.
Photo By Sharon Hardison © Feb. 8, 2020 at 11:10 a.m.

     From among the almost 100 small pieces of paper with names on them, Inky the cat Hardison selected one with the name Alicia Bollinger. Goldy the cat (and senior mascot) Hardison wandered on the floor, being a cat.
     This was the first time for renowned contest videographer Sharon Hardison to use the most high-powered machine introduced for the assignment. The Canon and its operator captured the moments well.
     Conversion to was not as successful as some years, as new software is on the way to replace software lost last month in a computer catastrophe.
     “We did not suffer a lot when one of our computers wore out in January,” Jeff Hardison said. “I did lose one video editing program, that I need to reinstall on the new computer.”
     The seventh and final hog with a heart, hidden in an ad, was found by many people on Feb. 7, and the contest’s conclusion on Feb. 8 resulted in one winner being selected.

Ad for Valentine Contest of
This shows the ads that were found by people entered into the contest.

Graphic By Sharon Hardison © Feb. 8, 2020 at 11:10 a.m.

     The ads for the event were the College of Central Florida on the Home Page; the Back Door Antiques on the Leisure Page; the Evergreen Pooled Herefords on the Calendar Page; the Southern Leisure RV Resort on the Life Page; the 2nd Street Café of Cedar Key on the Community Page; Secured By Likwid Communications Inc. Alarm Systems And Cameras on the Police Page; and The Print Shop of Chiefland on the Police Page.
     “I meant to put the final ad with the hog and heart on the Business Page rather than the Police Page on Feb. 7,” daily news website owner Jeff M. Hardison said. “It was shortly after midnight, and I put the correct ad on the ‘wrong page.’ The reason it would have been on the Business Page was to have one on each of the website’s seven pages.”
     Hardison said the next contest is scheduled to be in April.
     “My wife of 30-plus years Sharon Hardison is the person who creates the contests, the graphics, and everything,” Jeff Hardison said. “All three cats, Goldy the senior mascot Hardison, Inky the junior mascot Hardison and Needles the Community Cat of Jemlands have all chosen at least one winner in the past 10 years.”
     The multiple award-winning journalist added that Goldy was the lone cat for at least the first five years. began its 10th year on Feb. 1, 2020.
     “The people who visit the website are the solid foundation on which the daily news website exists,” Jeff Hardison said. “The advertisers are the economic engine that keeps it running. And from my perspective, it is thanks to God that this venture of mine continues to sustain a free press, for this part of a free society. And I thank God for all things.”
     The publisher noted his appreciation for Ryan Bell donating the $50 gift card from BubbaQue’s.
     “We have not selected a prize yet for our April contest,” Jeff Hardison said. “Any merchant or service-provider who has something worth $50 or more can be considered as a donor for this part of our 10th year celebration. Business owners can send me an email to if they are interested in participating in this fun year of the daily news website.”


CF International
Film Series wraps up;

Movies Feb. 25, and March 3

By Tina Banner of the College of Central Florida
Marketing, Public and Community Relations Department
Published Feb. 1, 2020 at 11:10 a.m.
Updated Feb. 17, 2020 at 7:10 a.m.
     OCALA —
The College of Central Florida’s International Film Series wraps up the 2019-2020 season with “XXY” on Tuesday, Feb. 25, and “A Man Called Ove” on Tuesday, March 3.
     Shows start at 2 p.m. at the Appleton Museum of Art and at 7 p.m. at the Ocala Campus in the Humanities and Social Sciences Building 8, Room 110.
     ● “The Salesman” features a young couple living in Tehran who is forced to move into a new apartment with a violent history. Their lives are dramatically changed. This film is in Persian with English subtitles. It is rated PG-13 and has a total run time of 125 minutes.
     ● “XXY” is about 15-year old Alex who has had to deal with being born as an intersexed child growing up in a small town in Uruguay. When a plastic surgeon is invited for gender reassignment surgery and brings his son, the sexual attraction of the two teens soon complicates an already tense situation. This film is in Spanish with English subtitles. It is not rated and has a total run time of 90 minutes.
     ● “A Man Called Ove” is based on Fredrik Backman’s international best-selling novel. Ove is the angry old man next door whom we have all known. An isolated retiree with strict principles and a short fuse, he spends his days visiting his wife’s grave and enforcing block association rules that only he cares about. This film is in Swedish with English subtitles. It is rated PG-13 and has a total run time of 120 minutes.
     Films on the CF campus are free. Films at the Appleton are free to members; nonmembers pay the museum admission price to see the films. To become a film series member, pay $15 for individuals, $25 for dual membership at For information about membership, call 352-873-5808.
     For more information on the International Film Series, contact Joe Zimmerman at 352-854-2322, ext. 1233, or visit


WMHS hosts
JROTC drill competition

Williston JROTC
Union County High School JROTC cadets demonstrate their skill as a color guard.

Story and Photos
By Micaiah Johnston © Jan. 26, 2020 at 4:39 p.m. Correspondent
Army Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC) units from 11 different schools gathered on the front grounds of Williston Middle High School to participate in their annual drill competition on Saturday (Jan. 25), starting at 9:30 a.m.

Williston JROTC
The gentleman to the left of the Union County High School JROTC cadets, in the camouflage uniform, is serving as a judge in the competition.

Williston JROTC

Williston JROTC
Paxon High School JROTC cadets compete in the Unarmed Male Squad category. Paxon High School is in Jacksonville (Duval County). (2 pix)


Williston JROTC
Westport High School JROTC cadets compete in the Unarmed Female Platoon category. West Port High School is in Ocala (Marion County).


Williston JROTC
Lecanto High School compete in the Armed Male Platoon category. (Lecanto is in Citrus County.)

Williston JROTC

Williston JROTC
The awards ceremony takes place in the Williston Middle High School.

     JROTC cadets travelled from districts across North Central Florida to participate in this event, with some coming from as far as Flagler County and Duval County.
     As the event began, students eagerly awaited their opportunity to compete in their selected categories. Across the school’s open front grounds, the students split into platoons, squads and color guards, as well as in individual and dual drill performance sections. They were further categorized for armed and unarmed, competing in both separated and mixed gender groups.
     When the competition ended, the cadets from the 11 schools gathered in the gymnasium and partook in enthusiastic cadences while waiting for the competition results to be announced.
     Among the most awarded were Matanzas (Flagler County), Union County, Lecanto and Umatilla (Lake County) high schools with two first place wins each, as well as East River High School (Orange County) with three first place wins.
     Williston High School’s JROTC unit earned third place for its performance in the Male Mixed Armed Platoon category. West Port High School from Marion County left the event as the most decorated, receiving five first place awards, seven second place, and two third place awards.
     Regardless of awards, each school’s cadets all appeared to demonstrate a sense of pride in their accomplishments.


Florida State Parks celebrate
Lu the Hippo's 60th birthday

Lu The Hippo

Story and Photo
By Florida Department of Environmental Protection Press Office
Published Jan. 25, 2020 at 10:09 a.m.
Yesterday (Friday, Jan. 24), the Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park celebrated the historic 60th birthday of Lucifer (Lu), the resident hippopotamus.
     Lu is a longtime resident of Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park, with fans around the world. For his special day, a celebration was held this morning where visitors, staff and volunteers joined together to sing Lu Happy Birthday as he enjoys his specially-made birthday cake.
     “We’re proud that Lu calls Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park home,” said Florida Park Service Director Eric Draper. “He is an impressive sight and a valuable partner who helps engage visitors in learning about wildlife.”
     "Lu is an iconic part of our park and all of Citrus County. He is loved by all and has been an inspiration to generation after generation," said Park Manager Tricia Fowler. "We could not be prouder to celebrate 60 years with Lu and the happiness that he has brought to the community and countless visitors."
     In the afternoon, another celebration took place during the park’s alligator and hippopotamus program, providing park visitors another opportunity to join the birthday celebration of Florida’s only resident hippopotamus. A giant birthday card was available for visitors to sign to wish Lu a happy birthday, and the card was presented to Lu during the second ceremony. Lu's fans can also send him a birthday greeting on his Facebook page.
     Lu, an African hippopotamus, was born at the San Diego Zoo on Jan. 26, 1960. Like all hippos, Lu is a vegetarian and his diet consists of alfalfa hay and assorted vegetables and fruit. Hippos typically live from 40 to 50 years old. At 59, Lu is the oldest hippo in North America.
     Lu, an African hippopotamus, was born at the San Diego Zoo on Jan. 26, 1960. Like all hippos, Lu is a vegetarian and his diet consists of alfalfa hay and assorted vegetables and fruit. Hippos typically live from 40 to 50 years old. At 59, Lu is the oldest hippo in North America.
     A fixture at Homosassa Springs since 1964, Lu was a movie and television star with the Ivan Tors Animal Actors troupe, which wintered at the park while it was in private ownership. His credits include the 1960s movies "Daktari" and "Cowboy in Africa," and television specials such as the "Art Linkletter Show" and the "Herb Alpert Special."
     For more than five decades, Lu has been a mainstay among the animals at Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park. When the Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s Florida Park Service purchased the attraction in 1989, the state planned to shift the emphasis of the park to native Florida wildlife and find homes for all of the exotic species, including Lu. Public support, however, led the state to grant Lu special Florida citizenship in 1991.      Since then, he has become an icon at the park, attracting visitors from around the globe.
     For more information about Homosassa Springs State Park, visit the park's webpage.


Florida Artists Group presents
‘Contradictions’ exhibition
at CF Jan. 8-March 12

Story and Art Provided
By CF Marketing, Public and Community Relations
Published Jan. 20, 2019 at 9:09 a.m.
     OCALA --
The College of Central Florida presents the “Contradictions” exhibition featuring the work of the Florida Artists Group beginning on Jan. 8 at the Webber Gallery, 3001 S.W. College Road.
     The public is invited to the opening reception on Thursday, Jan. 23, from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. The exhibit and reception are free to attend.


Art at the College of Central Florida
A Winter’s Circle, 2018
By Ginger Sheridan

Art at the College of Central Florida
A Summer Silence, 2019
By Ginger Sheridan

     The show is a visual response to a culture that is becoming increasingly fractious. The artworks, which are presented in pairs, set up internal dialogues between the two halves. But more significantly, visual discussions are created between artists across gallery walls comparing what are their deemed priorities. The goal is to present to the public a template for visual thinking, a way of moving forward. To embrace contradiction in a constructive manner through visual thinking can often slip the bounds of verbal constraints, grammatical restrictions, and lead to new interesting combinations and ultimately new ideas.
     The Florida Artists Group, a statewide artists organization, was founded in 1949 in the absence of solid cultural institutions. It continues its activities, holding multiple exhibitions across the state yearly. FLAG artists form the core of the show along with prominent Duval County artists who were individually invited. The goal was to create a group of artists with different backgrounds, ages and experiences.
     The exhibit will continue through Thursday, March 12. 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.


The art and history of Flamenco
come alive in new exhibition
at Appleton Museum of Art

Flamenco Ocala Florida
Unknown Artisan, “Mantón de Manila (Manila Shawl),” undated, silk, natural and synthetic dyes

Courtesy of the Museum of International Folk Art

Story and Photos Provided
By CF Marketing, Public and Community Relations
Published Dec. 13, 2019 at 1:29 p.m.
Updated Feb. 17, 2020 at 7:10 a.m.
     OCALA --
The Appleton Museum of Art, College of Central Florida, is scheduled to present the exhibition “Flamenco: From Spain to the U.S.,” from Jan. 25 to May 24.


Flamenco Ocala Florida
José Greco in his classic traje campero, ca. 1950s
Courtesy of the Ana Börger-Greco and the José Greco Foundation

Flamenco Ocala Florida
“Vicente and Maria” ca. 1970s
Courtesy of the Museum of International Folk Art 

     Passionate, fiery, sensual, intense. “Flamenco: From Spain to the U.S.” provides an in-depth and multi-dimensional examination of the history and culture of Flamenco dance and music.
     Exhibition curator Nicolasa Chávez from the Museum of International Folk Art writes, “Flamenco developed as a folkloric tradition in southern Spain, beginning nearly 500 years ago. Flamenco was learned within the family and passed down through generations. By the end of the 19th century, it had become an art form presented on stage at new venues called cafés cantantes, which first showcased Flamenco in small nightclubs in Spain. The audience was comprised of tourists looking for an exotic experience and local aficionados, seasoned appreciators of the art form.”
     The exhibition traces these origins to its arrival in the United States and its rise as an international art form. Traditional Flamenco continues as a way of life for the people of southern Spain and in other parts of the country, apart from the staged performance with which it is usually associated. In 2010, UNESCO declared Flamenco a Masterpiece of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
     Organized by the Museum of International Folk Art, Santa Fe, New Mexico and circulated through GuestCurator Traveling Exhibitions, the exhibition features close to 150 objects, dating from the late 19th century to the present, including costume, apparel and musical instruments. Other ephemera includes costume sketches and set designs by both Picasso and Goncharova, who collaborated on various pieces with the Ballets Russes.
     “Flamenco: From Spain to the U.S.” is sponsored in part by Fine Arts for Ocala, Florida Division of Cultural Affairs and Campus USA Credit Union.

Special Event
Maharaja Flamenco Trio, Musical Performance
     Thursday, March 26, 6-8 p.m.
-- Join us for a performance by Maharaja Flamenco Trio, whose sound blends the flavors of Spain, Africa, the Middle East, the Caribbean and more. They have performed nationwide from Florida to Harlem, on NPR and on television, and now at the Appleton. $15 for Appleton members and nonmembers; tickets available now at via Eventbrite. Cash bar available. This event is sponsored by Angie Lewis State Farm and Fine Arts for Ocala.


Quilt On Display
Drawing Set For March
Cedar Key Woman's Club Quilt
This quilt created by the members of the Cedar Key Woman's Club is known as Kaleidoscope Dreams. It is being raffled to raise money for the Fisher House. The winning ticket is scheduled to be drawn in March of 2020. The ticketholder need not be present to win. This quilt is currently on display near the piano in the lobby of the Island Hotel and Restaurant, 373 Second St., in Cedar Key. That is a manatee behind the keyboard of the piano, and a poinsettia adorns the top of the musical instrument. As for the Fisher House, it is a beautiful ‘home away from home’ for families of United States military veterans and military servicemembers receiving care at the Malcom Randall VA (Veterans Administration) Medical Center in Gainesville. Raffle tickets are available at the Chamber of Commerce Welcome Center, at the Island Hotel, from members of the Cedar Key Woman's Club and elsewhere.

Photo By Jeff M. Hardison © Dec. 12, 2019 at 8:39 p.m.

THURSDAY  Feb. 20  8:10 a.m.
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