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Gary Miller's
Outdoor Truths Ministry,  Oct. 19, 2020

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Rotarians learn about training
to help special needs students

Gilchrist County Rotary Club Trenton Florida
(from left) President Lowell Chesborough, Heather Carlisle Bowland and Jon Ingraham are seen Monday in Trenton.

Photo By Holly Creel, Rotarian

By Rosemary McDaniel, Rotarian
Published oct. 19, 2020 at 8:10 p.m.
     TRENTON --
How do young special needs students gain work experience without training?

 

 

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     A grant-funded program called EmployU was explained to Rotarians and guests at the Gilchrist County Rotary Club meeting on Monday (Oct. 19).
     John Ingraham, the Transition Coordinator/Job Coach, told listeners about this program. Jon is also Pastor at a High Springs United Methodist Church and is a strong advocate for young people and their success in life.
     The program is open to students ages 15 to 21 who are placed in participating businesses for six-week time periods. The students are paid $11 an hour by EmployU while learning work skills at the businesses and there is no cost to those businesses. There is no liability on the part of the businesses, candidates are strategically matched to fit a business’s needs and there is no obligation to hire the students after the on-the-job training is complete.
     Students learn what employers look for and how to find the right job for them. EmployU also teaches students how to begin the path to independence, gain valuable skills and make connections with employers and other employees.
     To learn more about this novel program please contact them at https://employu.org/.
     Chef Jason provided a delicious lunch of pork tenderloin, corn casserole, green beans, garden salad, bread, a variety of cookies, and sweet and un-sweet tea.

 


FGC student-athlete
Dixie Raulerson
elected to national council

Dixie Raulerson  HardisonInk.com
Dixie Raulerson

Story and Photo Provided
By Stephen Culotti
Florida Gateway College
Public Information Specialist
Published Oct. 9, 2020 at 4:10 p.m.
     LAKE CITY –
Florida Gateway College volleyball player Dixie Raulerson has been selected to sit on the National Junior College Athletics Association (NJCAA) Student-Athlete Council.
     Raulerson is from Macclenny (Baker County), and is a sophomore at FGC. She is currently in her second year as a member of the FGC Women’s Volleyball team.
      “I couldn’t be more honored to have been selected for this,” Raulerson said. “Florida Gateway has given me so many opportunities to grow as a student-athlete, and now I get the chance to sit on a council representing our region and our school. I am very thankful for this and excited to see what I am able to do to represent student athletes all over.”
     The NJCAA announced the creation of the Student-Athlete Council in August 2020 to “advance NJCAA student-athlete voices to include them in the national dialogue, create new opportunities for the student-athlete experience, encourage student-athlete opinions on current or proposed legislation, provide recommendations based on student-athlete involvement, and increase engagement and participation by NJCAA Student-Athletes at a regional and national scope.”
     The council consists of one male and one female athlete from each of the NJCAA’s 24 regions.
     In addition to attending virtual meetings throughout the year, as a council member, Raulerson is scheduled to attend the annual NJCAA Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, in June of 2021.

 


Early voting set for Oct. 19-Nov. 1
By Jordan Lindsey
Assistant Supervisor of Elections
Published Oct. 7, 2020 at 5:10 p.m.
     LEVY COUNTY --
Levy County Supervisor of Elections Tammy Jones recently announced the start of Early Voting for the 2020 General Election.
     "Starting on Monday, October 19, and running through Sunday, November 1, Levy County voters can cast their ballot from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily at the Supervisor of Elections Office," Supervisor Jones said. "Due to the impact of COVID-19, we have made preparations to enable social distancing and will be supplying hand sanitizer and disinfectant. In order to protect the health of our community, all Poll Workers will be wearing masks."
     The benefits of Early Voting will include shorter wait times and more flexibility than voting on Election Day (Nov. 3). Early Voting dates and hours can be found online by clicking HERE.
     In addition to casting a ballot at an Early Voting site, voters can also drop-off a Vote by Mail ballot at each site listed below during voting hours.
Luther Callaway Public Library -- 104 N.E. Third St., Chiefland, FL 32626
and
Williston Public Library -- 10 S.E. First St., Williston, FL 32696
     Each site will have a drop box located inside and staffed by a Poll Worker, so voters can return their Vote by Mail ballots.
     A 24/7 drop box is available at the Supervisor of Elections Office -- 421 S. Court St., Bronson, FL 32621.
     Vote by Mail ballots must be received by the Supervisor of Elections Office by 7 p.m. on Election Day, Nov. 3, for the ballot to be counted.
     Voters with questions are encouraged to contact the Supervisor of Elections Office by email at tammy@votelevy.com, or by phone at 352-486-5163, Monday - Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.


 


Tri-County DAV Chapter
Celebrates At Otter Springs

DAV Dixie-Levy-Gilchrist counties at Camp Valor Otter Springs Park  HardisonInk.com
Last week, the Disabled American Veterans (DAV) celebrated 100 years of service to America’s disabled veterans (1920-2020). The DAV is a nonprofit charity that provides a lifetime of support for veterans of all generations and their families, helping more than one million veterans in positive, life-changing ways each year. Tri-County Chapter 63 celebrated the centennial landmark with a picnic At Otter Springs Park and Campground where Disabled American Veterans Chapter 63 holds its meetings. Otter Springs Park and Campground is the future home of Camp Valor. Seen here are (standing, from left) Chaplain Jim Tucker, Second Vice Kenneth Bamberger, Adjutant Charles Goodman, First Vice Freeze Stevenson, and (sitting, from left) Commander Larry Foland, Treasurer George Wood and Sergeant-at-Arms Wilbur Taylor.

(To learn more about ForVets Inc. or to make a tax deductible donation to Camp Valor, please visit https://forvets.us/.)
Published Oct. 4, 2020 at 9:10 a.m.
Photo and Information Provided By Larry Foland

 

 

 


Chiefland church uses
highest risk form
for Halloween celebration

By Jeff M. Hardison © Oct. 2, 2020 at 3:10 p.m.
     CHIEFLAND –
The leaders of First United Methodist Church (FUMC) of Chiefland have planned to conduct the highest risk method of celebrating Halloween – in regard to spreading COVID-19 – on Saturday, Oct. 31, according to its seeking the City of Chiefland to close roads for the event.
     The Chiefland City Commission approved Tuesday night (Sept. 29) a request from FUMC to close Northeast First and Second Streets, at Seventh Avenue, from 5 to 9 p.m. on Oct. 31.
     The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on its website shows the lowest to highest methods to celebrate Halloween.
     As noted verbatim on that website is the following.
     These lower risk activities can be safe alternatives:
     ● Carving or decorating pumpkins with members of your household and displaying them
     ● Carving or decorating pumpkins outside, at a safe distance, with neighbors or friends
     ● Decorating your house, apartment, or living space
     ● Doing a Halloween scavenger hunt where children are given lists of Halloween-themed things to look for while they walk outdoors from house to house admiring Halloween decorations at a distance
     ● Having a virtual Halloween costume contest
     ● Having a Halloween movie night with people you live with
     ● Having a scavenger hunt-style trick-or-treat search with your household members in or around your home rather than going house to house
Moderate risk activities
     ● Participating in one-way trick-or-treating where individually wrapped goodie bags are lined up for families to grab and go while continuing to social distance (such as at the end of a driveway or at the edge of a yard)
         ◦ If you are preparing goodie bags, wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 second before and after preparing the bags.
     ● Having a small group, outdoor, open-air costume parade where people are distanced more than 6 feet apart
     ● Attending a costume party held outdoors where protective masks are used and people can remain more than 6 feet apart
         ◦ A costume mask (such as for Halloween) is not a substitute for a cloth mask. A costume mask should not be used unless it is made of two or more layers of breathable fabric that covers the mouth and nose and doesn’t leave gaps around the face.
         ◦ Do not wear a costume mask over a protective cloth mask because it can be dangerous if the costume mask makes it hard to breathe. Instead, consider using a Halloween-themed cloth mask.
     ● Going to an open-air, one-way, walk-through haunted forest where appropriate mask use is enforced, and people can remain more than 6 feet apart
         ◦ If screaming will likely occur, greater distancing is advised. The greater the distance, the lower the risk of spreading a respiratory virus.
     ● Visiting pumpkin patches or orchards where people use hand sanitizer before touching pumpkins or picking apples, wearing masks is encouraged or enforced, and people are able to maintain social distancing
     ● Having an outdoor Halloween movie night with local family friends with people spaced at least 6 feet apart
         ◦ If screaming will likely occur, greater distancing is advised. The greater the distance, the lower the risk of spreading a respiratory virus.
         ◦ Lower your risk by following CDC’s recommendations on hosting gatherings or cook-outs.
Higher risk activities
     Avoid these higher risk activities to help prevent the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19:
     ● Participating in traditional trick-or-treating where treats are handed to children who go door to door
     ● Having trunk-or-treat where treats are handed out from trunks of cars lined up in large parking lots
     ● Attending crowded costume parties held indoors
     ● Going to an indoor haunted house where people may be crowded together and screaming
     ● Going on hayrides or tractor rides with people who are not in your household
     ● Using alcohol or drugs, which can cloud judgement and increase risky behaviors
     ● Traveling to a rural fall festival that is not in your community if you live in an area with community spread of COVID-19.

     As noted above by the CDC “Having trunk-or-treat where treats are handed out from trunks of cars lined up in large parking lots” is in the highest risk category.
     Meanwhile, on the very morning of the day when the Chiefland City Commission approved the request from the FUMC of Chiefland, Bishop Ken Carter and the Florida United Methodist Cabinet of The Florida Conference of the United Methodist Church noted for all interested members of the United Methodist Church in Florida, that Gov. Ron DeSantis opening of bars and restaurants is just that.
     As for church practices, the bishop noted for all readers that the same guidelines published Sept. 8 remain in effect as far as the church leadership is concerned.
     “Conference leaders have read the executive order,” Bishop Carter noted. “Our current FLUMC COVID-19 guidance has not changed. The focus of the executive order is on restaurant capacity and local government restrictions and fines.”
     Below are a few summary points from the Sept. 8 FLUMC COVID-19  guidance.
     1. At all times, persons must maintain at least six feet of distance between family groups.
     2. Masks or cloth face coverings are required when any group gathers (except for children under the age of 2).
     3. Monitor your symptoms. Stay home if you are sick or displaying COVID-19 symptoms. Those who have tested positive for COVID-19 or have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive should adhere to the CDC guidelines for isolation and quarantine.
     4. All inside activities must be in well ventilated spaces that allow for persons to maintain at least six feet of distance between family groups. Outside activities are preferred over inside activities.

     The FLUMC COVID-19 safety protocols and guidelines are connected to the ongoing guidance and recommendations from the Florida Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control.
     “Gov. Desantis’ order has not changed the guidance and recommendations of either group in terms of in-person, large gatherings,” Bishop Carter noted.
     Given the Chiefland City Commission granting approval to close the roads for celebration of Halloween by FUMC Chiefland, the local church must presume the city likewise endorses the highest risk methods for this celebration, at least in regard to this church’s choice.
     And given the instruction in the note to all Methodists, “At all times churches should carefully follow the guidance of your city and county officials. Any decision to resume in-person activities should be affirmed by the pastor in consultation with a team of leaders and should be communicated to your District Superintendent,” FUMC Chiefland must have consulted among themselves and the district superintendent for this part of the Florida United Methodist Church before choosing the highest form of dangerous Halloween celebration.
     Halloween is mostly a western custom and it has no direct reference in the Bible. As for FUMC Chiefland, trunk and treat is one of its methods for community involvement.
     Interestingly, there was an announcement on Oct. 2 that the President and First Lady have contracted COVID-19, which is the dangerous and highly contagious disease that has swept across the globe and caused people to have no symptoms, or symptoms requiring hospitalizatiion and even to the point of death. This is why the CDC provides guidance on Halloween celebrations.

 


CKWC Keeps Make Face Masks
Cedar Key Woman's Club  Cedar Key Florida

Cedar Key Woman's Club  Cedar Key Florida
Cedar Key Woman’s Club members are still making masks, with over 2,500 masks made so far. The leader in mask making is Christine Black who has completed and donated over 1,500 already. Cedar Key masks have gone all around Florida, Ohio, Oregon, Washington, California, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, Alabama, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Texas, Louisiana, South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia -- and even overseas. Masks have been made and donated to Cedar Key School, a middle school in South Carolina, doctors’ offices, businesses, banks, grocery stores, welcome centers, hospice centers, correctional officers and nurses at a jail, beauticians, soldiers, churches, home healthcare workers, food pantry workers and clients, Emergency Medical Technicians, hospitals, as well as families, friends and neighbors. As long as there are requests, we will keep making and distributing masks. We hope they are helping to keep people healthy! Janet Ramsey and Rosemary Danesi are making masks in the top photo. Christine Black is making masks for the Cedar Key School in the bottom photo
.
Published Oct. 1, 2020 at 10:10 a.m.
Story and Photos By CKWC Member Kathleen Salkaln

 


CF offers a variety
of virtual info sessions

Published Oct. 1, 2020 at 9:10 a.m.
     OCALA —
The College of Central Florida is conducting virtual information and application sessions for potential students, parents and guardians of high school teens interested in learning more about CF and the academic programs that the college offers.
     Sessions last about an hour and provide details about the application process, financial aid, placement testing and resources available to help students be successful. Sessions outline the expectations and outcomes for the specific academic programs. Parent and dual enrollment sessions are also available.
     Future students are encouraged to register and receive assistance with the application process, financial aid, placement testing, academic advising or assistance with registration for spring classes that start Jan. 6.
     Sessions include:
     * Health Sciences information sessions (BSN session will include application session)
     * Critical Care Transport, Friday, Oct. 2, at 1:30 p.m.
     * Physical Therapist Assistant, Monday, Oct. 5, at 4 p.m.
     * Bachelor of Science in Nursing, Monday, Oct. 19, at 1 p.m.
     * Critical Care Transport, Tuesday, Oct. 27, at 9 a.m.
     * Physical Therapist Assistant, Monday, Nov. 9, at 4 p.m.
     * Nursing Associate Nursing Degree, Bridge, BSN, Tuesday, Nov. 17, at 11:30 a.m.
     * BSN, Wednesday, Nov. 18, at 11:30 a.m.
     * Critical Care Transport, Thursday, Nov. 19, at 2 p.m.
     * Nursing ADN, Bridge, BSN, Monday, Nov. 30, at 3 p.m.
     * Critical Care Transport, Thursday, Dec. 2, at noon.
     * BSN, Thursday, Dec, 2, at 5 p.m.
     * Physical Therapist Assistant, Monday, Dec. 7, at 4 p.m.
     * Nursing ADN, Bridge, BSN, Thursday, Dec. 17, at 1 p.m.
 Information and application sessions
     * Tuesday, Oct. 13, at 6 p.m.
     * Tuesday, Nov. 17, at 11 a.m.
Parent/guardian information sessions
     * Tuesday, Nov. 17, at 7 p.m.
High school application sessions
     * Citrus County high schools: Thursday, Oct. 8, 10 a.m. and 6 p.m.
     * Levy County high schools: Tuesday, Nov. 10, at 6 p.m.
     * Marion County high schools, Tuesday, Dec. 8, at 5 p.m.
 Dual Enrollment information sessions
     * Wednesday, Oct. 14, at 6 p.m.
     * Wednesday, Oct. 21, at 6 p.m.
     * Wednesday, Nov. 18, at 6 p.m.
     For information about any of the sessions or to register, visit www.CF.edu/Informationsession or email admissions@CF.edu.

 


CF offers high school senior
and parent sessions in Nov.

Published Oct. 1. 1, 2020 at 7:10 a.m.
     CHIEFLAND —
The College of Central Florida will host a virtual information session for Levy County high school students as well as a parent information session in November to provide information about CF and the programs that the college offers.
     The high school student information session will be on Tuesday, Nov. 10, from 6-7 p.m. and the parent/guardian information session will be on Tuesday, Nov. 17, at 7 p.m. Both sessions will be online.
     Sessions last about an hour and provide details about the application process, financial aid, placement testing and resources available to help students be successful. Sessions outline the expectations and outcomes for the specific academic programs.
     For information about either of the sessions or to register, visit www.CF.edu/Informationsession, email admissions@CF.edu or call 352-658-4077.

 


Bronson deputy clerk
chooses to stay in post;

Method to fill vacant Town Council seat
to be discussed at the next meeting

Bronson Florida Town Council  HardisonInk.com
In this photo from a screen capture of a video record of the Sept. 28 meeting, the people are (from left) Interim Bronson Town Clerk Melisa Thompson Cook, Vice Mayor Jason Hunt, Mayor Beatrice Roberts, and councilmen Aaron Edmondson and Robert Partin.

By Jeff M. Hardison © Sept. 29, 2020 at 8:10 p.m.
     BRONSON –
Interim Bronson Town Clerk Melisa Thompson Cook, who is also the deputy town clerk currently, decided after the resignation of Town Councilman Berlon Weeks was accepted in a 3-1 vote, that she wanted to rescind her resignation, which would have take effect Tuesday (Sept. 29).

 

Bronson Florida Town Council  HardisonInk.com
In this photo from a screen capture of a video record of the Sept. 28 meeting, Williston area resident Linda Cooper complains to the Bronson Town Council with what she sees as favoritism for a town employee to keep her job in contrast with a Town Council member who changed his mind about resigning. Cooper’s opinion was heard, and the Town Council voted 3-1 to let Interim Bronson Town Clerk Melisa Thompson Cook remain in her post rather than accepting Cook’s resignation.


     During the Monday night (Sept. 28) meeting of the Bronson Town Council, Mayor Beatrice Roberts brought the matter up.
     Mayor Roberts read a letter from Cook to the Council, which noted she would like to remain as deputy clerk and that she hopes the town leaders’ search for a city manager-town clerk succeeds.
     Before anyone could raise their hand on the Town Council to show if they approved of keeping Cook in her capacity, Linda Cooper, a Williston area resident, said she had a question.
     The mayor allowed the visitor to address the Council from the podium.
     Cooper said she felt Weeks had been verbally attacked when he became upset and resigned. The out-of-town visitor said Weeks never did deliver a signed letter stating he wanted to resign. Yet, Cook had submitted a letter of resignation on Sept. 11, Cooper said. Cooper said Weeks wanted to remain on the Town Council, and expressed that verbally as well as in writing before the Council voted 3-1 to accept his verbal resignation.
     Cooper intimated that she felt one person was being treated differently than another when it came to acceptance of stated intents to resign.    
     Town Councilman Aaron Edmondson told Cooper that if she has a problem with something in Bronson government, she needs to contact the Mayor Roberts or Town Attorney Steven Warm, not any of the employees of the town. Edmondson indicated that he believed Cooper had been bothering Cook.
     Mayor Roberts told Cooper that the difference between Weeks’ resignation and Cook’s resignation was that he had resigned before, and he meant it. When Cook resigned, the whole Town Council wanted her to stay.
     By Cook choosing to stay, Mayor Roberts said, she is helping the town. She is performing the jobs of the clerk as well as the deputy town clerk. If Cook did leave the job on Sept. 29, then the Town Hall may as well close its doors until a replacement is hired, Mayor Roberts said.
     The mayor went on to explain to Cooper that just as she had called for a vote on how many Town Council members wanted to accept Week’s resignation, the mayor would call for the same vote to see how many Council members wanted Cook to remain.
     Clerk Cook then entered the discussion.
     Cook told Cooper that she had resigned once, and the Town Council had not accepted it.
     Cooper repeated her complaints until a point after Town Attorney Warm -- via teleconference -- advised the mayor that no progress was happening from an ongoing debate with Cooper about this matter.
     Mayor Roberts then called for a show of hands of Town Council members in favor of keeping Cook.
     Mayor Roberts, Councilman Edmondson and Councilman Robert Partin raised their hands to show they wanted to keep Cook. Vice Mayor Jason Hunt raised his hand in opposition when the mayor called for that vote.
     That 3-1 vote is by the same people as those who accepted Week’s verbal resignation to be binding.
     Therefore, Cook remains as the interim town clerk, and will continue as deputy town clerk after a town manager-clerk is hired.
     On the matter of filling the empty seat left by Weeks, Vice Mayor Hunt made a motion to appoint someone to fill Council Seat 5. Hunt’s motion died for lack of a second.
     Councilman Partin made a motion to table until the next meeting making the choice between appointing a person, having a special election or simply waiting until the next regular election for the voters to decide who would fill that seat. Partin’s motion was seconded by Hunt and received a 4-0 vote of approval.

 


Gilchrist County Rotarians learn
about Palms Medical Group

By Rosemary McDaniel, Rotarian
Published Sept. 29, 2020 at 7:10 a.m.
     TRENTON --
At the Sept. 28 meeting of the members and guests of the Rotary Club of Gilchrist County listened as Rotarian Dr. John Frazier, a chiropractor, introduced Allyson Schmitz and Tiffany Bodiford from the Palms Medical Group Public Relations Office.
     Tiffany spoke about the history of Palms Medical Group that was begun in 1971 by the Trenton Rotary Club and was originally called the Trenton Medical Center.
     Palms will celebrate its 50th anniversary next year and presently consists of 14 facilities in seven counties in this part of Florida.
     Services provided to Palms members include family practice, dentistry, pharmacy, X-ray/labs, chiropractic and behavioral healthcare. Palms Medica Group accepts Medicare, Medicaid and it offers services to uninsured patients on a sliding scale based on income.
     The medical service providers at Palms Medical Group also offer the Telehealth service to those who are unable to physically visit a facility, or who prefer to not visit a clinic due to current global COVID-19 pandemic.
     Another 20,000 square-foot building is scheduled to be completed in August of 2021 at the clinic in Trenton, and this will increase the capacity for patients with more exam rooms.
     Many goodies from face masks to Band-Aids were offered to members. A raffle for an Arctic soft cooler was won by lucky Diane Clifton.
     Palms Medical Group is very involved in, and supportive of, local fundraising activities for worthy groups in the counties it serves.
     Last week’s Paul Harris Fellowship attendees were provided with a very special luncheon consisting of hand-cut boneless ribeye steaks, scalloped potatoes, string beans, garden salad, an expanded offering of desserts, and sweet and unsweet tea. Chef Jason went over and above for this special occasion.
     Chef Jason of Springwater Events provided us this week with his most favored offering of fried chicken, macaroni salad, mixed veggies, toasted bread, dessert, and sweet and unsweet tea prior to the meeting.

 


FDOH encourages Floridians
to get flu vaccination now

By The Florida Department of Health
Communications Office
Published Sept. 29, 2020 at 12:10 a.m.
     TALLAHASSEE —
The Florida Department of Health urges residents to contact their healthcare provider or pharmacy to get vaccinated against the flu as soon as possible.
     Once vaccinated, it takes about two weeks to offer protection.
     Getting the flu shot each year is important, but reducing illness and hospitalization from flu is even more critical this year to protect frontline health care workers and hospital systems who will continue to care for people with COVID-19 and other illnesses.
     The flu and COVID-19 are respiratory illnesses, but until there is a steady vaccine supply against COVID-19, the way to prevent these two viruses from circulating at the same time is to get your flu vaccine now.
     Additionally, there will be less spread of the flu and COVID-19 if everyone continues to:
     • Stay home if you're sick;
     • Cover coughs and sneezes;
     • Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly; and
     • Wear a face covering when around others or if social distancing isn't possible.
     Lives are saved when less virus is circulating.

 


Church has room for 50
in sanctuary
and more listening on radio

Pastor James Howes Chiefland First United Methodist Church   HardisonInk.com
First United Methodist Church of Chiefland Pastor James Howes sits at a picnic table across the street from First United Methodist Church of Chiefland. His cloth face covering is around his neck, slid down for a photo op, which was taken from six feet away. The Rev. James Howes welcomes all people to the church – which is known to be a church without walls. The Chiefland First UMC is among the churches that have ‘Open Hearts, Open Minds, Open Doors’ as is a motto of the United Methodist churches.

Story and Photo
By Jeff M. Hardison © Sept. 26, 2020 at 3:10 p.m.
     CHIEFLAND –
Churches that are part of the Florida United Methodist Conference have been provided guidance from the Florida Conference of the United Methodist Church since the global COVID-19 pandemic impacted the state.
     Meanwhile, in Chiefland, a new pastor started at First United Methodist Church of Chiefland on Aug. 1 and he has instituted precautions to allow up to 50 people to worship in the First UMC Chiefland sanctuary on Sundays, with the worship service starting at 10 a.m.
     “I was advised to not be the 51st person to enter the church,” the Rev. James Howes said during an interview on Wednesday (Sept. 23).
     When the 50th person arrives, that person and the others after him or her are invited to go to the downstairs Fellowship Hall in the basement, or to go to their vehicles outside to listen on the radio, because the church transmits the service over FM channel 87.9.
     The Florida UMC Conference noted that it is praying for the hundreds of thousands of Floridians who have experienced the detrimental impact of COVID-19, and it prays for the friends, family members and other survivors of the almost 14,000 persons in Florida who have died From COVID-19 in 2020 so far.
     In a Sept. 8 letter from Bishop Ken Carter and The Cabinet of the Florida Annual Conference noted for the members of the clergy and laity several points.
     “We know this has been a very difficult season for you to navigate as clergy and lay leaders,” Bishop Carter noted. “All of us have had to adapt to this ever-changing reality and learn new ways of doing life and ministry together as a church. We have watched as you have persevered. We applaud your resilience and creativity.”
     The church’s consistent guidance has been grounded in Matthew 22, the healing ministry of Jesus and the Lord’s commandment for people to love their neighbors.
     “In a global health crisis, we do this by maintaining a social distance, and by honoring many of our older and more vulnerable members,” Bishop Carter noted.
     Bishop Carter and the Cabinet, with guidance from other conference leaders and medical professionals, reaffirm that COVID-19 safety protocols remain in place.
     The United Methodist Church’s COVID-19 safety protocols and guidelines are connected to the ongoing guidance and recommendations from the Florida Department of Health and the United States Centers for Disease Control.
     That ongoing guidance is noted below:
     ● At all times persons must maintain at least six feet of distance between family groups.
     ● Masks or cloth face coverings are required when any group gathers (except for children under the age of 2).
     ● Monitor your symptoms. Stay home if you are sick or displaying COVID-19 symptoms. Those who have tested positive for COVID-19 or have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive should adhere to the CDC guidelines for isolation and quarantine.
     ● All inside activities must be in well-ventilated spaces that allow for persons to maintain at least six feet of distance between family groups. Outside activities are preferred over inside activities.
     ● Continue to offer on-line worship and virtual ministry opportunities. It is important that opportunities are readily available for people in your church who are not ready to return to your campus. Persons in vulnerable populations or with underlying health conditions as defined by the CDC should be encouraged to stay home.
     ● Decisions about in-person activities will vary according to your church context. We understand there is not a "one-size-fits-all" approach for every church around the conference.
     ● At all times churches should carefully follow the guidance of their city and county officials. Any decision to resume in-person activities should be affirmed by the pastor in consultation with a team of leaders and should be communicated to your District Superintendent.
     Pastor Howes said he is glad to be serving the Lord in Chiefland. He provided his background, which follows.
     Howes was born Jan. 9, 1963 in the Suwannee County Hospital in Live Oak. He was the fifth child of six and had the privilege to attend the primary and elementary schools in Live Oak.
     In 1982, he graduated from Suwannee High School. After he earned an Associate in Arts degree from North Florida Junior College in Madison. The college is now called North Florida Community College.
     Howes earned a Bachelor of Science Defgree in Education from Florida A&M University. In 2010, furthering his education, he earned a Master of Theology at Andersonville Theological Seminary and now is in the process of completing the United Methodist Course of study program from Emory University in the fall of 2020.
     Before entering the ministry, Howed taught in the Suwannee County School system for 14 years. His first pastorate was at the Cedar Key United Methodist Church, where he spent two glorious years serving the island church. His first sermon was preached from the pulpit of the Cedar Key UMC on Father’s Day of 2004.
     From Cedar Key, James moved to Melrose and spent one year as their pastor. (Melrose is an unincorporated community in Alachua, Bradford, Clay and Putnam counties.)
     From there, Pastor Howes moved to Madison County for the next six years. During those years, Howes served the Hanson and Rocky Springs charge for five years and in the last year, added two more churches from Madison County, the circuit-Pinetta and Hickory Grove.
     Howes next pastorate was to serve a very rural church located in Lafayette County called, McCall’s Chapel.
     Since June of 2014 to present, Howes has been serving as pastor at the First United Methodist Church in Cross City (Dixie County), and he serves in the capacity as “supervising pastor” of the Steinhatchee United Methodist Church (Taylor County.
     Now, after 16 years in the ministry, Howes is very honored to say that he has added one more church to his biography -- the First United Methodist Church of Chiefland.
     Howes believes that Jesus Christ alone is the savior of all the world, and that salvation comes by faith and by faith alone in Jesus Christ. He believes the Bible is the authoritative Word of God. Pastor Howes is and will be fully committed to the ministry and work of the local church, he added.

 


CKS Aquaculture Students
Care For Island

CKS Students Show They Are Civic Oriented and Environmentally Sensitive HardisonInk.com
The Cedar Key Aquaculture Class has begun taking care of the island. These students are monitoring the debris that ends up in the storm drains along G street, they record the data on the types of debris found and clean them up. This group of students has also decided to monitor the trash/debris along the roads that dead end at the water and begin on G street. These students participated in Coastal Cleanup this past weekend and are working hard towards helping keep Cedar Key clean.

CKS Students Show They Are Civic Oriented and Environmentally Sensitive HardisonInk.com
The students who are lined up in this photo are (from left) Kyle Stewart, Ty Winfield, Jadyn Beckham, John Pelham, and Cadence Girdler.

CKS Students Show They Are Civic Oriented and Environmentally Sensitive HardisonInk.com
Jadyn Beckham is seen with a piece of litter she found and removed. Not pictured but participated in Coastal Cleanup were Anna LaVoie-Ingram and Natalie Stewart.
Published Sept. 25, 2020 at 5:10 p.m.

Photos and Information Provided by Rachel Wetherington, CKS Agriculture and Middle School Sciences, Cedar Key Middle and Senior Chapters FFA Advisor, and Varsity Girls and Varsity Boys Weightlifting Coach

 


Levy County Democratic Party
brings star power
to bear at virtual gala

Levy County Democrats 2020 HardisonInk.com
This screen shot shows Pastor Johnnie Jones III, Brandon and Stacey Peters and Gussie Boatright as they were on the Internet Sunday night during the Levy County Democratic Party’s Annual Blue Horizons Gala.

By Jeff M. Hardison © Sept. 21, 2020 at 10:10 p.m.
     LEVY COUNTY –
While some may perceive certain statements broadcast on a social media outlet Sunday night (Sept. 20) as hyperbole, most Americans know how sincere every word shared by a star-studded lineup was meant.



In this video mad by filming from the screen during the social media event, Jon ‘Bowzer’ Bauman sings ‘Goodnight Donald Trump, Goodnight.’

 

     This event heralded the second year of the Levy County Democratic Party’s Annual Blue Horizons Gala. The global COVID-19 pandemic caused it to be virtual rather than in-person. The first one was held at the Community Center in Cedar Key last year.
     On Sunday night, former United States Sen Bill Nelson, Florida Sen. Randolph Bracy III, Florida House of Representatives Minority Leader Kionne L. McGhee, Florida Democratic Party First Vice Chair Judy Mount, shared the social media stage with live entertainment from Jonathan "Bowzer" Bauman of Sha Na fame and other stars of the national, state and county Democratic Party.
     Emceed by the Ministerial Faith Alliance’s Pastor Johnnie Jones III, the event was hosted by Brandon Peters, the Florida Voter Protection director for the Biden-Harris campaign, and Levy County Democratic Party State Committee Woman Stacey Robertson Peters.
     Levy County Democratic Executive Committee Chair Gussie M. Boatright welcomed viewers and spoke about this political party in Levy County. The lineup of stars included Donna Waller presenting somewhat of a civics lesson titled "Partisanship and Amendment 3: Why Primaries Matter."
     Brandon Peters provided an update from his perspective of voter protection in his role as the Florida Voter Protection director for the Biden-Harris campaign.
     With about a two-to-one ratio of people registered as Republicans rather than Democrats in Levy County, some of the members of the minority party here may feel their votes do not count for much. One of the messages sent over the Internet Sunday night, though, was that every Levy County vote for President counts in the Florida toll. All of the speakers made it clear that to not vote for Joe Biden as President is a vote for the Republican who currently occupies The White House.
     Listeners were reminded that U.S. Sen. Rick Scott beat U.S. Sen. Nelson by only 15,000 votes. Florida Gov. Rob DeSantis only won the election against Andrew Gillum by 30,000 votes statewide.
     There was no meal for the event this year. There was no in-person camaraderie as there was at the first Blue Horizons Gala held in Cedar Key last year. Beloved Williston Mayor Emeritus R. Gerald Hethcoat was among those people who have gone to Heaven and could not attend even over the Internet as he had attended last year’s event in Cedar Key.
     What was missing as far as food and fellowship, however, was made up for with absolutely clear lessons regarding the critical nature of this race for President of the United States of America. Viewers and listeners saw and heard about the power of Florida in that regard and of the importance of Levy County voters in the national, state and county elections.
     The event ran long with speeches and information. It was as if the Levy County Democrats had been saving up energy and star power for three-plus years only to release it at this event in one powerful blast. The intensity of the message for people to vote Democrat all the way down the ballot was so strong it may inspire a positive outcome for Democrats in Florida and other parts of America.
     One interesting aspect this year was the social media platform of Facebook being used. There was the Internet connection not existing well enough for some people. There was the cost for people who pay by the gigabyte for Internet service.
     Even beyond the logistical hurdles and financial obstacles, though, also there was the hateful tone that is spread by some mean-spirited individuals via social media outlets.
     Pastor Jones put love and patriotism all over this single sour spot of humans falling for temptation. He recognized “trolls” who had come to the virtual event, and which were evidenced as existing by some commentary. Jones welcomed all people to the Democratic Party event as he reminded listeners that America is a country full of people with diverse outlooks on political matters.
     He even jokingly thanked the thieves who steal political signs. His calm and peaceful statements are bound to have quelled the hatred stirred by malcontents in the social media platforms.
     Some local candidates spoke briefly, including Melina Rayna Svanhild Farley-Barratt (D-Trenton) who is running for Florida Senate Dist. 5 and Jerry Lawrence (NPA-Cedar Key) who is running for Levy County Superintendent of Schools. They both shared why they feel they are better than the Republican Party counterparts in those races, as did one of the candidates for the local soil and water conservation district.
     Another Democrat running for election in the Levy County list of candidates is Barbara Byram (D-Morriston) who seeks to be elected to the Florida House of Representatives District 22 seat.
     Republican candidates in Levy County who are incumbents faced no opposition except for Levy County Superintendent of Schools Jeff Edison. Republican Christ Cowart beat Edison in the Republican primary and now Cowart faces Lawrence in the General Election.
      Following are some of the night’s many highlights.

KIONNE L. McGHEE
     McGhee, the Minority Leader in the Florida House of Representatives, is like some other Florida legislators in that he “terms out” in 2020. After growing up in South Dade public housing, McGhee went on to earn a bachelor’s degree from Howard University and a Juris Doctorate from the Thurgood Marshall School of Law.
     Like many of the speakers that night, showing McGhee’s entire curriculum vitae or even a shortlist of a résumé for this speaker would be a story unto itself.
     “This is the defining moment,” McGhee said.
     The 2020 Presidential Election is the moment that will shape the way of life in the United States for years to come, he said.
     The world as everyone knows it, McGhee said, has reached a critical point. McGhee is urging all American voters to go forward with a bold, progressive agenda that incorporates issues affecting all humans as they vote for the Joe Biden - Kamala Harris ticket in the race for President.
     The Biden-Harris manner of American leadership is equality for all -- regardless of economic status, race, gender, sexual persuasion or any other aspect of categories used to delineate one person from another. Voters can choose these candidates, McGhee said, to move forward.
     “Or we go backwards to a time,” McGhee warned, “that really differentiates us based upon our race, our class, our sexuality.”
     McGhee told listeners this is going to be the moment when all Democrats see this is not just a simple progressive movement, or a centrist movement, or a conservative movement. Instead, there is the graver reality that “this as a movement to save the United States of America as we currently know it.”
     McGhee captured the moment Sunday night, too, as he spoke about viewers who were in their homes, or even in their cars seeking a good Internet connection – where all gala attendees this year, across a wide area in space, were all together in the same cause.
     Listening and speaking about what must be done to bring about positive change, he continued, must be brought into action. Voters must vote.
     McGhee wants Florida to show the world that this is the defining state “that shapes the rest of the country for years to come.”
     He spoke words of appreciation and recognition to the Levy County Democratic Party, because while members of this political party are vastly outnumbered in registered voters, the Levy County Democrats did not “throw in the towel.”
     “You realize that just because it appears we are down and out,” McGhee said, “does not mean that we are forgotten. It does not mean that at least we can’t put forth a great effort to continue the fight.”
     Appearances should not -- and will not -- define who the Democrats in Levy County are, he said, “because what is inside of us is greater than that which is outside of us and is trying to conquer us.”
     Just as parents and pastors inspired Democrats when they were younger with stories about miraculously overcoming adversity, today’s voters don’t have to just be a footnote in a history book.
     “I want you to write that chapter,” McGhee said. “I want you to deliver that sermon. I want you to deliver that speech. It doesn’t matter whether you have $5 in the bank of $1 million locked away somewhere.
     “It just simply requires something that we all have in common,” he continued. “And that is a voice, an opportunity to pronounce words that change a nation. That’s what we need.”
     He went on to tell all Democrats in Levy County that while he may be speaking from Dade County at the minute, all Democrats in Florida are fighting the good fight are united in the noble effort to stop the man who is trying to break down the great union of the United States of America.
     As Americans, there are four things that McGhee has seen people fight for – they are the importance of family; the foundations laid for the future by actions of today; the flag of the United States of America, which symbolizes all that is good in this country of people who are brought together as one nation; and faith is among the things for which Americans will fight.
     McGhee said faith is the single most important thing to get America to the next level.
     Don’t lose faith, McGhee urged Democratic voters. The Founding Fathers of the United States, heroes of the Bible, community leaders seen every day throughout Florida, and good parents who spoke with their children at the dinner table -- all have shared messages of faith, he said.
     It is faith, McGhee said, that is going to bring America through this battle.
     The current President is one of the most diligent, deliberate destroyers of the United States Constitution that has existed in ages, McGhee said. The fight is not only for families today – but it is for the future of freedom in the country for decades to come.
     The four principles of faith, family, flag and the future serve as pillars, McGhee said, upon which all people in America rely. And these four things are among the reasons to vote for Democrats on Nov. 3, McGhee said.    

BILL NELSON
     United States Sen. Bill Nelson’s life of public service includes him as an active reservist in the military, as a Florida state legislator, as a member of the United States Congress and as a United States senator.
     Beyond that, he is among the few humans who has gone into outer space as an astronaut.
     Nelson shared with listeners that his family goes back five generations before him in Florida, back to 1829 – which is a time before the state was made part of the United States of America. Florida had been acquired from Spain as a territory in 1821, and it became a state in 1845.
     As for Levy County, Nelson visited Chiefland often even as a little boy. While in public office, he held town hall meetings in Fanning Springs and Cedar Key. He has gone to Bronson many, many times.
     Among his most recent visits was a well-attended campaign rally at the Suwannee River Youth Livestock Auditorium in Fanning Springs.
     The people of Levy County,” Nelson said, “are our kind of folks.”
     Nelson said he is grateful to the people of Levy County who have given him warm hands of support over the years when he was in public office.
     Nelson shared his perspective of why voters in America should choose Joe Biden as President of the United States.
     During this virtual gala by the Levy County Democratic Party, a clip from the National Democratic Convention was played, which showed a young man who had a stutter. The boy spoke about how Biden’s encouragement helped him overcome that difficulty, which Biden once suffered too.
     Nelson said this is one example of the honorable character of Biden.
     Biden can empathize with all people -- from the very young, who he will kneel to look at eye level, to the senior citizen who has a grandchild involved in war. Biden sees people with the eye of human compassion and empathy, Nelson explained.
     As Nelson shared a few stories about his friend Joe Biden, he gave examples to clearly reflect that Biden cares about other people. This is in stark contrast with the current President, who has unequivocally demonstrated a character flaw of being so narcissistic that he cares only about himself.
     “In public service,” Nelson said, “you need to serve the public – not serve yourself.”
     Biden understands this concept, Nelson said as he gave examples of that truth.
     In the 2012 campaign for reelection, Sen. Nelson had just left the University of Florida with President Barrack Obama and Vice President Biden. They were heading for a rally in Orlando, when the motorcade turned off from the Florida Turnpike.
     Sen. Nelson asked about what was happening. A Secret Service agent explained they were going to an ice cream shop located in the middle of The Villages, in Sumter County. Despite this being “pretty Republican territory,” that did not matter, Nelson said.
     Biden was buying ice cream for everyone. A crowd gathered outside, and the people were “getting a little rowdy,” Nelson said.
     The Secret Service agents were getting concerned and they wanted to move Biden back onto the campaign bus, Nelson said.
     “So, the task fell to me to go get him,” Nelson said. “I found Joe in the corner of the ice cream shop and he is talking to an elderly lady. He is totally focused on her.
     “And she is just pouring out her heart about how she’s so worried and so scared for her grandson that is in Iraq or Afghanistan. And Joe is just giving his total concentration to her – sensing everything that she’s feeling. (He was) telling her that the U.S. military is the best equipped, best-trained force.”
     Nelson said Biden’s comforting a person is typical – whether it is a little tike or whether it is a senior citizen, or any person between those generations.
     Another story Nelson shared about Biden was from just a few days ago, Nelson said on Sunday night.
     Biden went from a veterans’ event in Tampa, then to Orlando and on to Kissimmee to another event, Nelson said.
     Nelson and his wife Grace were asked to meet with Biden at an airport hangar, where all people were socially distanced and wore facemasks to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, Nelson said.
     A young woman was in the hangar. She was a student at Florida A&M University when Sen. Nelson and his wife Grace invited the young woman and others to an annual program on faith and values for college students. She was inspired to complete her undergraduate degree and then to further her studies to the point of earning a doctorate, Nelson said.
     She authored a book and wanted Vice President Biden to sign it for her that day.
     Biden met with the young lady and heard from her that she wanted him to sign the book she wrote, Nelson said.
     Biden then asked her to autograph her book to him, Nelson said, adding that Biden told her he would send her his book signed by him to her.
     This act mirrors the essence of being that exists in Biden, Nelson intimated.
     “I know him,” Nelson said of Biden. “I know him well. I had the privilege of serving with him in the Senate all those years, and to watch him as vice president. What you see is what you get. And wouldn’t it be nice to have a vice president turned President, who really cares about people.”
     It would give the American people comfort and confidence to have a President who the people know really cares about them, Nelson said, since he will be faced with many serious issues from the first day in office.
     Nelson reminded Democrats in Levy County that their vote could make the difference as Florida is weighed in on the Electoral College. Every vote counts in the presidential election.

JUDY MOUNT
     Florida Democratic Party First Vice Chair Mount said she is voting for “President Joe Biden,” whom she already is giving the win.
     With Biden serving as vice president to former President Obama for two four-year terms, Mount said she saw the loyalty and dedication of Biden through every moment when people would attack the President.
     Now, Mount said, Americans can choose a President who has loyalty, dedication and other fine qualities that have been missing from that office since the current officeholder occupied the Oval Office. 
     Mount said voters need to elect Biden to bring the good things back to the America that people used to know – with all of the pleasant attributes this country represented in the past.
     “America always has been great,” she said. “It may not have been great for some of us as we were going through the trenches of life, trying to get things going on a personal basis. No. But America is the greatest country in the world. That’s why we have the position of being the leaders of the free world.”
     For three and a half years now, every American voter should have been preparing himself of herself to vote on Nov. 3, 2020, Mount said, as this will be the day when voters “can help America get back to where we need to be.”
     Mount said any person who is not registered to vote, needs to do so now. All registered voters need to perform their civic duty and exercise that right this year.
     Beyond choosing Biden for President, Mount added, in every single space where there is a Democratic candidate, that is the person to choose. She urged people to literally drag their family, friends and neighbors to the polls to vote for Democrats.

RANDOLPH BRACY III
     Bracy is a Democratic member of the Florida Senate, representing the 11th district, which includes central and northwest Orange County. He has served since 2016.
     He served in the Florida House of Representatives from 2012 to 2016, representing the 45th district.
     Bracy mentioned that he was in that airplane hangar with Biden and Nelson recently. Bracy said everyone there could feel “the compassion and interest he (Biden) has for everyday human beings.”
     Biden will be a great President, Bracy said. It is imperative that each person utilizes their right to vote, he added.
     “Levy County,” Bracy said, “and counties like yours – even though they are ‘red’ counties, they matter. Sen. Nelson said it will make a difference in this election. I believe it’s going to be a razor-thin election.”
     Everyone needs to register to vote, and to check their voter registration, he added, “because we’re going to need all hands on deck in this election.”

JON ‘BOWZER’ BAUMAN
     Bauman was introduced by Brandon Peters as being an expert on issues involving senior citizens.
     Bauman lives in California with his wife of 49 years – Mary, who recently retired. They have two children and three grandchildren, Peters said.
     Bauman has been active in campaigns for several years, crossing the nation from Alaska to South Florida and from Maine to California.
     Bauman, who just turned 73 years old about a week ago, entertained people with his music, including playing some classical pieces. He started his musical career with his mother encouraging him to practice piano with the material played by orchestras.
     Bauman was born in Brooklyn, New York. He started attending The Juilliard School at age 12 and is a 1964 graduate of Martin Van Buren High School in Queens Village, Queens, New York City. Bauman was a member of the band Sha Na Na between 1970 and 1983. He was featured in the television comedy/variety show Sha Na Na from 1977 to 1981. In his "Bowzer" persona, he wore a sleeveless muscleman shirt and wore grease in his hair.
     When he performed at Carnegie Hall in 1972, his mother Bessie Bauman was in the audience, he said, as he sang Rama Lama Ding Dong. She called out to him, “Jonathan you’ve made it,” he said, because whether it was Chopan or Rama Lama Ding Dong, he was performing in Carnegie Hall.
     Frédéric François Chopin, who was born Fryderyk Franciszek Chopin {March 1, 1810 – 17 Oct. 17, 1849} – was a Polish composer and virtuoso pianist of the Romantic era who wrote primarily for solo piano.
     Afterward at the merchandizing table in 1972, she signed souvenirs as “Bowzer’s Mother.”
     On Sunday night (Sept. 20), he performed some classical pieces. He concluded his part in Levy County Democratic Party’s Annual (Virtual) Blue Horizons Gala by performing a version of the song that was known as “Goodnight, Sweetheart – It’s Time To Go” from Sha Na Na, only he changed the lyrics.
     “Doo-doo de de do. Goodnight Donald Trump,” Bauman sang as he made his classic flexing of an arm muscle. “Well, it’s time to go. Doo-doo de de de. Don’t hate to leave you, but we must really say ‘Goodnight Donald Trump, goodnight.”
     He put in another sentence or so and ended his song with “Vote for Joe Biden.”

 


National wildlife hero
to accept award on Oct. 22;

This year’s winner is local
Vic Doig USFWS  HardisonInk.com
Vic Doig enjoys some time in a boat on the Suwannee River.

Photo By Dan Frisk, USFWS

By Jeff M. Hardison © Sept. 17, 2020 at 4:10 p.m.
     LEVY COUNTY –
Before choosing to be involved with the biology of wildlife and the environment where animals live, a man being honored with national recognition next month was on a track to serve in the dental profession.

 

 

Vic Doig USFWS  HardisonInk.com
Vic Doig gives an educational presentation in Gainesville.
Photo by Larry Woodward, USFWS

Vic Doig USFWS  HardisonInk.com
A light moment at the Refuge is caught on film.
Photo by Daniel Barrand, USFWS

Vic Doig USFWS  HardisonInk.com
Active on the fireline
Photo by Anthony DiMaggio, USFWS

Vic Doig USFWS  HardisonInk.com
Active on the fireline
Photo by Larry Woodward, USFWS

Vic Doig USFWS  HardisonInk.com
Vic Doig checks the fire after a long day.
Photo by Larry Woodward, USFWS


     Speaking from the office at the United States Fish and Wildlife Services’ Lower Suwannee and Cedar Keys National Wildlife Refuges headquarters in Levy County, a man scheduled to accept a national award shared insight about his life on Thursday morning (Sept. 17).
     Victor Doig, who prefers to go by “Vic,” is named and is scheduled to be recognized and awarded the country’s Outstanding 2020 Employee of the Year Award by the National Wildlife Refuge Association, Elaine Meier noted in an email on Sept. 14. Meier helped HardisonInk.com arrange an interview with the man who earned the national recognition.
     Doig is 56 years old, and he plans to celebrate his 57th birthday in October.
     Meier, the owner of Elaine Meier Associates LLC, in Florida, was named to the Board of Directors of the National Wildlife Refuge Association (NWRA) based in Washington, D.C., in July.
     The National Wildlife Refuge Association (NWRA) is an independent non-profit 501c membership organization that works to conserve American wildlife by strengthening and expanding the 150-million-acre National Wildlife Refuge System managed by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service.
     In addition to his job as Fire Management Officer for the Lower Suwannee and Cedar Keys National Wildlife Refuges, Doig is a Certified Wildlife Biologist and promotes the protection of critical coastal birds nesting and feeding habitats. He will be presented his award at the NWRA’s Virtual Wildlife Refuge Awards event on Oct. 22, Meier noted.
     This award recognizes a current refuge employee whose accomplishments are judged to be the most outstanding of the candidates nominated, Meier noted.
     A resident of Gainesville, Doig worked for the State of Florida in wildlife management for 15 years. Originally from Ormond Beach, Doig graduated from the University of Florida with an undergraduate degree in Wildlife Ecology. He earned a master’s degree in Wildlife Management from North Carolina State University.
     Prescribed burns at the national refuge are important for that habitat. In his role there, Doig made invaluable partnerships with organizations, sharing information, equipment, personnel and support. These relationships with outside organizations, have worked to promote the use of fire as an irreplaceable management tool to enhance the management of these critically important ecosystems.
     “We have witnessed dramatic improvements in managed habitats and wildlife diversity,” Deputy Refuge Manager Larry Woodward said. “Many of these astounding improvements are directly attributed to Vic’s innovative efforts in the field.”
     In his role as a Certified Wildlife Biologist, Doig promotes the protection of critical coastal birds nesting, feeding and loafing habitats. Loafing is when those birds are not actively feeding and they are free from human disturbance. As storm frequency and intensities increase in recent times, suitable nesting habitat for declining shorebird populations have been drastically impacted by flooding and erosion along the coast of Florida.
     Doig has been instrumental in leading a conservation partnership with federal, state, academic and local community resources developing a strategy in providing artificial nesting structures, Meier noted.
     “Vic consistently goes above and beyond what’s expected of his position for the Lower Suwannee and Cedar Keys National Wildlife Refuges,” NWRA President Geoffrey Haskett said. “His ability to take on a heavy workload and leverage his skills as a wildlife biologist make him critical to the preservation of wildlife that depend upon these Refuges.”
     Since 1994, the NWRA has helped to honor the outstanding accomplishments by refuge managers, refuge employees, volunteers, Friends groups, and refuge advocates through its Refuge System Awards program. The National Wildlife Refuge System depends on the dedication of its exceptional workforce and the devotion of its volunteers, Friends groups and advocates to manage the world’s largest network of lands and waters set aside for wildlife conservation, Meier noted.
     Doig’s award will be presented to him at the National Wildlife Refuge Association’s Virtual Wildlife Refuge Awards event on Oct. 22, from 7 to 8 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. To register visit https://www.refugeassociation.org/awards or call 202-577-3200.
     He spoke about several aspects of his life in relation to this first-ever virtual award scheduled for presentation.
     “It’s truly humbling and a bit embarrassing,” Doig said about this national honor to be bestowed upon him. “It’s absolutely a tremendous honor. I’m blown away by it. It was totally unexpected, and undeserved.”
     Doig said that rather than seeing this as an award for him, it is instead a reflection of the whole team effort from the labor put forth by all of his coworkers, the partners in other organizations, the volunteers at the refuge and others.
     It is the individuals in leadership posts, too, who make wildlife and habitat management possible, Doig added, and they are deserving of recognition.
     “They support a job I absolutely love and am passionate about,” Doig said of the leaders. “I’m just blessed to work with such awesome folks.”
     Among those leaders, Doig said, are Lower Suwannee and Cedar Keys National Wildlife Refuges Deputy Refuge Manager Woodward and Manager Andrew Gude.
     Under the leadership of Gude and Woodward, this has made it possible for the employees at the Refuge to thrive in their various fields of service, Doig said. Doig has been at the Lower Suwannee and Cedar Keys National Wildlife Refuges for 17 years and these two gentlemen have been in the leadership roles for the past nine of those years there.
     Those leaders give Refuge employees what is needed to plan, produce and excel in the performance of their duties for the wildlife, habitat and for the visitors to this national Refuge. The leadership at the Refuge always has been good, Doig said, but these past nine years has provided leadership there that goes far above the bar. It is great.
     As for Doig’s current coworkers at the Refuge, which is in southeastern Dixie and northwestern Levy counties, there are seven to nine now. They, too, he said, are the best in their profession.
     “They are wonderful people,” Doig said of his colleagues.
     There was a time when the staff at this Refuge numbered 15, Doig said, however budget cuts in the last five years led to about a 50 percent reduction in force.
     “It’s a challenge when you lose so many folks,” Doig said. “Everybody has to wear more hats and do more stuff, because the work doesn’t go away” just because employees are removed from the workforce.
     Doig was slated to retire this year, he said, but instead he now plans to retire in December of 2021. His wife Jane recently retired from State Farm Insurance after 32 years, where she served as a senior insurance adjuster.
     When he retires, too, the couple plan to spend more time with grandchildren as well as to travel. His wife is a highly active volunteer now, and he intends to volunteer as well. They are bound for their home in Flagler Beach (Duval County).
     They both grew up on the East Coast of Florida. Doig said in addition to travel and seeing grandchildren more with his wife, he intends to volunteer at the state park there, and in the Turtle Patrol’s efforts to watch and help nesting sea turtles to be safer from human interaction on the beach.
     Beyond all that, Doig said he will continue to perform fire-oriented work. Not only does he plan to help in the prescribed burn activity at the Refuge in Levy and Dixie counties, but he will remain active in the wildfire fighting action, where he serves now.
     He will travel, as he does now, as needed across the United States to help fight fires.
     “I just got back from northern California,” Doig said, “and I’m waiting on orders to go out again – unknown where. I’m on an Incident Management Team (IMT).”
    This IMT is a “Blue Team” and it is a “Type One” set of firefighters.
     “My job on the team is as a field supervisor for fire crews,” Doig said.
     In that post, he must be out in the fray with the firefighters. While he is on the same ground as “the young guys,” his job is more in a supervisory capacity now than when he was one of those in that younger age range.
     “I’ve done for the last 31 years all of the jobs they are doing now,” he said. “So, I know how it is. My job now, first and foremost, is to keep the folks that are assigned to me – safe and productive.”
     Doig is happy to serve in this duty because he is dedicated and passionate about the profession.
     He admitted, nevertheless, that he is “a little long in the tooth to be scampering up and down the mountains.”
     After retirement, Doig sees his participating in another role in regard to the IMT – as a safety officer.
     Looking back in time, this national wildlife hero was on a different path before learning at the University of Florida.
     When he started UF, he was going to be a dentist. Taking classes with wildlife ecology as a major seemed good because of the science involved there, Doig said.
     During his freshman year at UF, Doig volunteered at the University of Florida College of Dentistry -- the dental school at UF.
     “I immediately decided I hated it,” he said. “At the same time, I just loved my wildlife biology classes – my techniques, my field classes. That’s when I knew that’s what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.”
     As noted, after graduating UF he was a wildlife biologist with the state of Florida.
     “The single most effective, efficient and beneficial tool for wildlife management in the Southeast United States,” Doig said, “is prescribed fire (burns).”
     Over the next many years, he became an expert in this aspect of wildlife and habitat management.
     While his career migrated to put him in this post the most, his background and education, including his earning a master’s degree in Wildlife Management from North Carolina State University, makes him useful as a wildlife biologist at the Refuge.
     And his firefighting profession is not the limit in that regard either.
     Beyond the federal IMT responding to huge wildfire disasters, those teams have helped people when there have been hurricanes and floods as well. They can be called during any sort of incident that requires an emergency organized response.
     They even answered the call to Texas to help collect debris from the space shuttle Columbia disaster. The space shuttle Columbia was destroyed during reentry to Earth in 2003.
     “It’s not just fire,” Doig said, “although that is 80 percent of the workload or more.”
     As for advice to national refuge visitors, Doig said he wants people to enjoy them. These areas are little sections of what the landscape used to be.
     “But they are so important,” he said, “because they provide pristine natural habitat for all of the critters, that unfortunately, most private lands can’t provide – because of other management objectives.”
     The United States Fish and Wildlife Service tries to provide a place for habitat conservation, for any number of species – with a focus on the endangered and threatened, or species of special concern, he said.
     These Refuges are small examples of what the Earth used to look like, Doig said, before the wholesale manipulation by modern man. And so, these areas are to be enjoyed by visitors.
     On the broader view of life on Earth, Doig shared insight about the science of climate change.
     There is no question that the planet’s climate changes over time, he said. The changes over eons, or over geological time are documented. Now, though, over the last few decades, Doig said, scientists see more immediate results.
     For instance, the frequency, size and intensity of wildfires – particularly in the western United States – show a perfect example of climate change. California is showing the highest annual temperature, he said.
     “With that, comes bone-scorching drought,” Doig said. “With high temperatures and drought, you have an ignition source – be it humans or lightning, whatever, you get these tremendous fires.”
     Doig said that as recently as 20 years ago, a 100,000-acre fire would be absolutely unheard of.
     Nowadays, he continued, a 100,000-acre wildfire is common. He just left a 700,000-acre wildfire in California that as of now is only 30 percent contained.
     “It is unimaginable how big and fast, and ferocious and devastating this wildfire is,” Doig said. “And it’s only one of many that are burning.”
     This fire affects people, domestic animals, wildlife, homes, businesses and the smoke reaches even farther – even around the globe. The air quality is terrible because of the intensity of smoke.
     “Yeah, I think climate change is real.” Doig said. “And it’s having effects. Our hurricanes are more intense. I don’t know if it makes them more numerous, but I know it makes them intensify quicker because the average sea temperature is much warmer, and that heat is the gasoline – the fuel source for these hurricanes.”
     To deny climate change, Doig said, is avoiding the obviously clear truth by pretending that it does not exist. He said humans need to do something about it.
     Another piece of science has dampened this honor to be presented on Oct. 22.
     Rather than going to Washington, D.C., Doig and his wife are staying home. In the virtual presentation, he will receive the award while interacting via a computer either at the office for the United States Fish and Wildlife Service’s Lower Suwannee and Cedar Keys National Wildlife Refuges headquarters in Levy County, or from a computer at his home in Gainesville.
     Hence, a tour of the nation’s center for federal government must be considered at some point in the future by Doig and his wife. This future tour will happen after the act of visiting places like that are more normalized, in contrast with the situation during the COVID-19 global pandemic.

 


CF to offer CARES Act
scholarships for
short-term programs

By CF Marketing, Public and Community Relations
Published Sept. 12, 2020 at 12:10 a.m.
Updated Oct. 6, 2020 at 9:10 a.m.
     OCALA –
The College of Central Florida is offering scholarships for short-term, in-demand programs intended to address the negative economic impact of the global COVID-19 pandemic.
     This effort is funded by a recent $505,000 Rapid Credentialing Grant award from the state of Florida as a part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act. Individuals who are out of work or who want to reskill or upskill may qualify to attend CF with no tuition expenses.
     The programs – which align with open positions in high-demand, high-wage jobs in our region – include Accounting Technology Specialist, Computer Information Data Specialist, Lean Six Sigma Green Belt, and Logistics and Transportation Specialist. The College Credit Certificate programs are for entry level students, range from 9 to 12 credits and can be completed in 18 weeks or less. They must be completed in spring 2021, though some may start earlier. Most are available fully online.
      “This grant presents a great opportunity for our students and for displaced workers to consider options that will help them start a new career,” said Dr. Mark Paugh, vice president of Academic Affairs. “Our area has so many high-demand jobs that need employees, and these programs can help someone earn a certificate fast and pursue a meaningful career.”
     CF will offer virtual information sessions on Oct. 21, Nov. 9, Nov. 20 and Dec. 2. Individuals who attend a session will have the $30 application fee waived. Details are available at www.CF.edu/Essential. Students may be eligible to receive additional funds for expenses such as uniforms and background checks, thanks to a partnership with CareerSource Citrus Levy Marion.
     The Rapid Credentialing Grant will also support a cohort of the Business Entrepreneurship College Credit Certificate program, offered in partnership with the Ocala/Marion County Chamber & Economic Partnership and its IMPACT initiative for minority business owners; seats are limited. Students in the Emergency Medical Technician program in the spring may also qualify for the scholarship. The Critical Care Transport program supported by the grant is not available for free tuition and students must be a current paramedic or nurse to participate.


 




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     On Feb. 1, 2011, HardisonInk.com came into existence on the Internet. On Nov. 1, 2011, The Christian Press section on The Life Page of HardisonInk.com started, which was about nine months after the start of the daily news website -- which officially began Feb. 1, 2011. The name "The Christian Press" was derived from an encounter a decade earlier in 2001 in St. Petersburg, when and where a man mentioned to a journalist that this particular journalist must work for "The Christian Press." Although the presumption by the man about that journalist was incorrect and misplaced, the name sounded good. And the journalist said that if he could work for The Christian Press, then that certainly would be the publication to serve.
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Thursday, October 22, 2020 at 7:10 a.m.
THE YOUNG MAN
WHOM JESUS LOVED

Read Mark 10:17-22

     Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me.
-- Mark 10:21 (KJV)


     Jesus loved John in spite of his faults. He loved him because of his possibilities. Jesus still desires - has desired through the centuries - to enlist in His cause young people of possibilities. Unfortunately, the Master is not the only bidder for the life and service of the young people. The devil is just as active in his endeavors to win them as the Lord is.
    One of the first lessons that young people must learn is that they are shining marks for the evil one to shoot at. The devil makes capital of the young people’s lack of experience. They have not had time to organize their defenses against attack. Is it too much to believe that Jesus loves every young person as He did the one in the story? Is not the fact of the Master’s love a call to everyone to use everything at their command to live the life that is the Master’s? He has given us wisdom, common sense, memory, affection and appreciation upon which to call in the fight of life. With His help, victory is secure.
     WE THANK THEE, Lord, that Thou art the Friend of young people. We thank Thee for that love which passeth all understanding and which impelled Thee to leave Thy home above to come to the rescue of the world. And now we pray for our comrades, young people who have left their homes and all they hold dear to come to the rescue of our grief-stricken world. Fill them with the spirit of unity, and let them experience joy in the privilege of giving their all that the world may be a fit place for our Lord to come and reign. We say this prayer, through Jesus Christ. Amen.
Pastor Thomas F. Gallagher
Oak Cliff Presbyterian Church
Dallas, Texas

Strength for Service to God and Country
(Whitmore & Stone © 1942; Renewed 1969 by Norman E. Nygaard; Second revised edition © 2002 Abingdon-Cokesbury Press, Providence House Publishers)

 




Outdoor Truths Ministry

By Gary Miller © Oct. 19, 2020 at 9:10 a.m.
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(One of my favorites, from the past.)

     Have you ever noticed that many of the best bucks ever taken have been of the non-typical type? The racks of these monsters are as unique as the stories of how they made it to the wall of fame.  They come in 16, 20, and even 30-point varieties. They may have drop-tines, multiple brow tines, stickers, and a host of other deformities; and yet they are trophies all hunters long for. It’s said the reason these racks become non-typical is either from injury or illness, and sometimes even genetics. That is, sometime early in their development a tragedy took place. It was one so great that it affected the entire life span of that deer. It was undoubtedly traumatic, and perhaps even life threatening. And the scars that were left could not be hidden from friend or foe. Even though they overcame the experience, everyone would always know something bad had happened. However, look what took place after that experience; the maimed became the monarch and the tragedy produced a trophy. And what was once the ugly duckling, became the swan of the woods.
     Herein, is a wonderful lesson. Many of you think your tragedy is too big to overcome. The injury was too severe. The illness was too devastating. Your past is tainted with one bad decision after another. You feel the scars of the battles have marked you as unwanted or unneeded. It seems now you are looked at in a different way – that you are non-typical. Friend, God’s specialty is turning the non-typical into the trophy. He mixes love, truth, and time together to produce a work of his grace. Your past is his canvas, and your hurts are the colors he uses to paint the picture of what he wants you to become. Don’t spend your time regretting an unchangeable past. Instead let God take it and make it into a place where He can show you off, as a trophy of grace.
     Contact me to speak at your next event.

 -- Gary Miller  gary@outdoortruths.org

Gary Miller has three books that are compilations of the articles he has written for nearly 15 years. He also speaks at game dinners and men’s groups for churches and associations.
Gary Miller's website is located at http://www.outdoortruths.org/.

--UPDATED--
THURSDAY  OCT. 22  7:10 a.m.
Levy, Dixie and Gilchrist counties



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