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Gilchrist County Rotary Club
learns about COVID-19

By Rosemary McDaniel
Published May 18, 2020 at 10:10 p.m.
     TRENTON --
At the second meeting of the Gilchrist County Rotarians since the COVID-19 pandemic caused restrictions limiting meetings, the Monday (March 18) program consisted of a video lecture by Dr. Maria Capua, a virologist presently at the University of Florida.

 

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     Dr. Capua happens to be a Paul Harris Fellow, one who has usually been a long time contributor to the Rotary International cause.
     Dr. Capua explained that elderly victims of the virus often have compromised immune systems, chronic diseases, and fragility factors. The virus attacks young people who have a genetic predisposition for illnesses, undiagnosed conditions, and lung issues. Also, men are more likely to die from the COVID-19 virus than women, but she did not explain why.
     There have been only four cases of the new corona virus in animals in the United States with three cats being infected in the Northeast and one dog in the Southeast. There is a connection of virus transmission between humans and animals, but it does not appear to be problematic.
     Regarding the wearing of masks, Dr. Capua stated that masks do not protect the wearer from the virus unless it is a specific kind of mask, but wearing a mask protects others from you should you be a carrier of the virus. Everyone wearing masks in public would reduce the likelihood of transmission of the virus.
     Dr. Capua commented on risk factors, such as cruise ships and large cities where people live in close proximity, and have difficulty maintaining social distancing.
     Chef Jason offered a yummy lunch consisting of grilled chicken, rice, black beans, corn, greens, several condiments, cookies and sweet and unsweet tea.
     There will be no meeting on May 25 in honor of Memorial Day. So, the next meeting of the Rotary Club of Gilchrist County is scheduled to be on June 1 in the Trenton Woman’s Club.

 


FGC will celebrate graduates with up to 40 in-person (live) ceremonies using CDC guidelines
By Mike McKee 
FGC Executive Director of Media and Public Information
Published May 18, 2020 at 10:10 p.m.
     LAKE CITY –
Florida Gateway College (FGC) will honor nearly 700 graduates during several smaller ceremonies on June 29, 30 and July 7.
     FGC surveyed all students eligible to graduate in the spring and an overwhelming number responded positive to an early Summer graduation rather than a ceremony at the end of the year.
     Plans are to hold ceremonies with 10 students and up to 5 of their family members, practicing social distancing in the Levy Performing Arts center on campus. If all eligible graduates participate in the ceremonies, FGC could hold a total of 40 ceremonies
     The first ceremony will be held at 9 a.m. on Monday June 29 followed by another at 10 a.m., 11 a.m., 1 p.m., 2 p.m., 3 p.m., 4 p.m., 5 p.m., 6 p.m., and the last at 7 p.m. The schedule would repeat on June 30 and July 7.
     Plans are to have videotaped inspirational messages from members of the college’s Board of Trustees and representatives of the graduating class as well as all of the pomp and circumstance of a normal ceremony.
     “By doing the smaller ceremonies, we can still celebrate the achievements of each individual graduate and they can share their experience with their families.” Dr. Lawrence Barrett, FGC president, said. “As a college we always believe our strength is to connect personally with each student and this event will culminate that experience.”
     The college will broadcast each ceremony on Comcast Cable channel 8 and will stream each ceremony on the Internet through the college’s website.
     Students wanting to participate are asked to go to the college website and register for the ceremony they wish to attend.

 

 


Chiefland city election is slated;
Qualifying is June 8-11;

Chiefland moves forward
toward imposing fire assessment fee

Chiefland and the 10 Commandments HardisonInk.com
In this stock photo of Chiefland City Hall, the monument with The Ten Commandments is shown to the right of the flagpole in the front yard.

Story and Photo
By Jeff M. Hardison © May 15, 2020 at 4:10 p.m.
     CHIEFLAND –
One of the two largest municipalities in Levy County is again on the brink of having an election to see who the qualified voters of that city want as their leaders.
     Chiefland City Commissioners Lewrissa Mainwaring (Group 2) and Tim West (Group 4) are the incumbents who may seek reelection and face whomever follows the law to become candidates in the races for those seats.
     The election fee is $448. Qualifying is June 8 through June 11 from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. on each of those days. The place to qualify is at the Hardy Dean Sr. Municipal Building, which is also known as Chiefland City Hall, 214 E. Park Ave.
     City Manager Mary Ellzey, who is also the city clerk, is the municipal supervisor of elections and she is the leader in charge of this election. As has been the case historically, Levy County Supervisor of Elections Tammy Jones will assist.
     If some other person or persons run against the two candidates, then the voters will choose during the election, scheduled for Aug. 4 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on that day at Chiefland City Hall.
     This election was among the items discussed during the one-hour plus meeting of the Levy County City Commission on Monday night (May 11).

IN OTHER MATTERS
     In other matters from that meeting, the Chiefland City Commission, comprised of city commissioners Mainwaring and West, Mayor Chris Jones and city commissioners Rollin Hudson and Norman Weaver, recognized employees for their honorable public service to the residents and visitors of Chiefland at benchmarks in time.
     Chiefland Police Department Lt. Matt Poppell was honored for reaching the 15-year milestone of city service. Chiefland Fire Rescue’s Fire Chief James Harris was recognized for his 10-year term in serving people. CPD Police Chief Scott Anderson was awarded for his five-year sojourn as the leader of that municipal law enforcement agency.
     In other news from Monday night, the 2019 annual audit from the city’s records was reported by the certified public accountants responsible for that independent service. Under City Manager Ellzey, the city again shows its use of tax revenue is proper and the records accurately reflect that.
     As is the case with many government pension plans, though, there was some discussion about the cost to taxpayers of post-employment benefits for former employees of the city who qualified as part of the retirement plan.
     In another matter relating to generating revenue, the City Commission discussed four proposals from interests that would conduct research and provide a report on a fire assessment for city taxpayers. Currently, Levy County has special assessments on property for fire service, ambulance service and solid waste (garbage) transfer (although not collection).
     Chiefland in January chose to begin the process leading to it potentially having this added fee on taxpayers’ bills. Mayor Jones has been the champion for adding a fee to help fund the Chiefland Fire Rescue Department.
      City Commissioner Mainwaring said she would like to table the choice of a company to conduct research for adding a special assessment to city taxpayers. She mentioned than some people have lost jobs, and some business interests were closed for two months and some are only partially reopened now.
     She added that the first expense for this is about $18,000 to determine the amount the city would have as a fee.
     Mayor Jones said that tabling the process now means the need for seeking new bids to restart the process of selecting the company for research. City Attorney Norm D. Fugate said that if the city tabled it for a year, then new proposals would be needed.
     Jones asked Mainwaring how long she is suggesting to table to action.
     Between Nov. 15 and Jan. 1, City Manager Ellzey said, is when the city would have to complete its first resolution to add the fire fee for taxpayers. This December would be the time for the resolution. If the action is tabled beyond that, then there would be a need to redo what has been done so far regarding selecting the company to perform the research.
     Attorney Fugate noted that to finalize everything to place this on a November tax bill, resolution must be completed for phase one of the process in September. With too much delay, he added, the City Commission will be unable to use numbers for the budget they will begin considering in June.
     Therefore, he concluded, if the City Commission tabled this action more than a couple of months, it could not meet deadlines to complete the action for the next tax year.
     West said he thinks the city is resilient and the CFR needs a bigger budget.
     Attorney Fugate noted that cities imposing a special fire assessment do so to relieve the General Fund from being the source to pay for the fire department. This leads, Fugate said, to the question of how much can the ad valorem tax millage rate be lowered as a result.
     Commissioner Hudson said this issue started when Chiefland and the Levy County Board of County Commissioners were not working well together for fire and ambulance services, and the funding of them some years ago.
     Now, Hudson sees a better relationship between the two governments in that regard.
     Fire Chief Harris said the CFR responds to 100 percent of the calls given to it, unless it is active on another call. Meanwhile, he said, some other fire departments are not as dedicated to responding to all calls for help within the districts they serve.
     While there are times when CFR sees a logistic nightmare by answering so many calls, Chief Harris said, the firefighters and volunteers do not gripe about it – they just do it.
     Hudson was assured that even with the special assessment added from city taxpayers, CFR will be funded by Levy County for its service to the outlying area it currently serves via the agreement with the county government. Fugate again said he sees this fire assessment as shifting the city’s portion of payment to CFR from the General Budget, which is funded by ad valorem tax revenue, to the people who will pay the special assessment – which will include some people who pay zero dollars in ad valorem property taxes due to homestead exemption and property values.
     Fugate said he foresees no change with Levy County in regard to its funding part of the fire service, and likewise, he sees no change in any issues with logistic problems from other departments not living up to an automatic aid agreement in regard to calls for service.
     Hudson said he believes county commissioners will see the city raising money for fire service, and then it will cut its aid to the city. Mayor Jones said if that happens then it will be the voters who will select different county commissioners. Mayor Jones said he sees the special assessment as another revenue source, not just a replacement for money from the General Fund.
     Chief Harris said his CFR budget is the same that he saw when he started as chief 10 years ago. In fact, he added, it is a bit lower because of some funding that was cut. The chief said the city needs to be proactive rather than reactive, if it is looking at business growth in the city.
     By creating the special assessment now, he said, the CFR will be prepared for the added need to respond.
     “If we did not get the grants that we got,” Harris said, “we would be in serious trouble – serious trouble. But I have always said that with this fire assessment, everyone pays for it. It’s not just the taxpayers (beyond exemptions) paying for all of it. That’s how it is now.”
     After much more discussion, Mayor Jones said he would like to see the city move forward with the process to potentially be able to put the special fire assessment on Chiefland city tax bills in November.
     The City Commission ranked the proposals submitted from companies. During the time as the city manager tallied the numeric rankings provided by the City Commission members, Commissioner Hudson commented that he sees gasoline price reduction as being one benefit from the COVID-19 pandemic. There was also conversation about ATMs, cancellation of the 2020 Chiefland Watermelon Festival, and more as scores were tabulated on the vendors seeking the job.
      There was a motion to award the bid to conduct the research to create special assessments for fire service. The motion by West was seconded by Weaver, and the motion passed 4-1 with Hudson voting “No.” The vendor ranked first, however, may not be the final vendor of the service selected. There is bound to be more information at the next Chiefland City Commission meeting.
     As for the next meeting of the Chiefland City Commission, since it would be on May 25, which is Memorial Day, there was a choice then to move the meeting to Tuesday, May 26, starting at 6 p.m. in Chiefland City Hall.

 


CF to host free online
noncredit courses
through June 30

By CF Marketing, Public and Community Relations
Published May 12, 2020 at 9:10 a.m.
     OCALA —
The College of Central Florida Corporate College is offering 10 self-paced, online noncredit courses available for employers and their staff at no cost through June 30.
     These free courses include a mix of hard and soft skills which are highly relevant in today’s changing job market.
     Courses include: Creating Web Pages; Creating WordPress Websites; Fundamentals of Supervision and Management; Twelve Steps to a Successful Job Search; Keys to Effective Communication; Managing Customer Service; Marketing Your Business on the Internet; Personal Finance; Small Business Marketing on a Shoestring and Individual Excellence.
      “We know that businesses and organizations are experiencing unprecedented challenges during this time and might have been directly affected by this outbreak. Now more than ever, the Corporate College remains as passionate as ever about helping our community learn, stay relevant and keep active,” said Dr. Jennifer Fryns, associate vice president, Career and Professional Programs. “We are pleased to have made a selection of our online course offerings completely free for a limited time to assist your employees and business.”
     Explore all online noncredit course options on the Corporate College website at https://cf.edu/CorporateCollege and click on Free Classes.
     Following COVID-19 CDC Guidelines, the Corporate College is still able to offer custom training for small groups on a case by case basis. Please contact CorporateCollege@CF.edu for a quote or to discuss options. 

 


Gilchrist County
Rotary Club resumes meetings

By Rotarian Rosemary McDaniel
Published May 11, 2020 at 4:10 p.m.
     TRENTON --
After suspending weekly meetings after March 16 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Rotary Club of Gilchrist County met on May 11 with its new president -- Lowell Chesborough -- at the helm.
     Lowell would have taken the position on July 1, but he was called into service early due to the departure of Past President Bob Clemons, who moved out of state.
     With no program in place, discussions followed regarding the future and present ways to stay healthy during this stressful time.
     The fishing tournament, which was to have taken place this month, may be held in the fall if conditions warrant. Ideas were forthcoming regarding future programs and the meeting ended at the usual 1 p.m. time.
     Chef Jason provided a tasty lunch of pulled pork in BBQ sauce, buns, green beans, coleslaw, macaroni and cheese, cupcakes, and sweet and unsweet tea.

 


Dixie County
blood donors save lives

By Debbie Almeida, Donor Recruitment Assistant
LifeSouth Community Blood Centers
Published May 7, 2020 at 7:10 p.m.
      DIXIE COUNTY –
The Community Blood Drive held by the Dixie County Rotary Club on Wednesday (May 6), helped save lives.
     Among the Dixie County Rotarians who helped this drive succeed were Holly Houghton, Anne and Heather
      LifeSouth Community Blood Centers extends its sincere thanks for all the Rotarians do to help the community know “there’s a LifeSouth bloodmobile in town, please donate.”
     The following is a breakdown of the total donations.
     Prospective Donors: 15
     Deferred Donors: 3
     Actual Donations: 12
      This includes two platelet donations and 10 whole blood donations. There were three first-time donors!
     When you consider that one blood donation can save up to three lives, it is easy to see how donating blood can make a significant difference in someone’s life. One never knows when the life that is saved may be a member of your own family, a friend, or a co‑worker.
     The long-time partnership between the Dixie County Rotary Club and LifeSouth Community Blood Centers is treasured and special.     

 


Williston offers
National Day of Prayer video

By Jeff M. Hardison © May 7, 2020 at 11:10 a.m.
     WILLISTON –
The Williston community is providing a 54-minute 2020 National Day of Prayer video.
     Today (Thursday, May 7) is National Day of Prayer.
     The video opens with Mayor Jerry Robinson introducing it, and mentioning that normally this event is at Heritage Park in Williston. Mayor Robinson led the effort to create the video.


Video By Logan Brooks


     The video, Williston City Manager Scott Lippmann said, was created by Logan Brooks. Brooks is an educator at Williston Central Christian Academy.
     Pastor David Bennett of First United Methodist Church of Williston offers the opening prayer, which is followed by the mayor saying the Pledge of Allegiance and then Mandy Fugate singing What A Friend We Have In Jesus. Later, she leads watchers and listeners as she sings God Bless America.
     Among the pastors who added to the work with prayers are Pastor Jason Owenby of First Baptist Church of Williston; and Pastor Wes Smith of Williston Church of God.
     Levy County Judge James Browning prays on the video for various federal government officials. County Commission Chairman Matt Brooks, of District 5 (which includes his hometown), offers a prayer to God for the members of the United States military. Brooks is a veteran.
     Levy County Property Appraiser Osborn “Oz” Barker participates in the National Day of Prayer as he prays for elected county officials.
     Pastor Johnnie Jones III of the Fountain of Life Church starts another set of prayers from among the set of pastors providing this prayer service for people anywhere in the world. Pastor Willie Barnes of United Temple International Fellowship, in Williston, like all of the participants, leads watchers and listeners in prayer.
     Each pastor and elected officials offer prayers for different aspects of life. Pastor Barnes, for instance, led the prayer to God for all law enforcement officers and other first responders.
     Pastor Joan Wells of First Presbyterian Church, in Williston, met the request to pray for local churches. Rob Sistrunk, the lay leader at First United Methodist Church of Williston, is among the people leading others in prayers to God in this video.
      Jack Screws, a former member of Williston City Council, after reciting verses from the bible leads people in a moment of silent prayer so that each individual can have their personal time with God during this National Day of Prayer video.
     The video concludes with Mayor Robinson asking God to bless the United States of America.
     The National Day of Prayer is an annual observance held on the first Thursday of May, inviting people of all faiths to pray for the nation. It was created in 1952 by a joint resolution of the United States Congress. It was signed into law by President Harry S. Truman (D- Missouri). Truman was born May 8, 1884 and died Dec. 26, 1972.


 


CF Early Childhood Education
program earns high score

By CF Marketing, Public and Community Relations
Published May 6, 2020 at 7:10 p.m.
     OCALA —
In a recent release of the Florida Department of Education annual program performance rating, the College of Central Florida’s Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education attained the highest score since it graduated its first class in 2013, earning a 3.5 out of 4.0.
     CF’s ranking is based upon students’ completion and retention rates while in the program and graduates’ job placement rate and teacher evaluations during their first year of professional teaching.
     When compared to other institutions of higher education offering the same degree program, CF’s B.S. in Early Childhood Education program scored in the top tier of institutions. CF’s program tied another program for fifth place in the state, earning a higher ranking than the same degree programs at Florida State University, University of North Florida, University of South Florida, Florida International University and Miami Dade College.
     “With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, our society is experiencing an unprecedented level of participation in young children’s educational processes and also experiencing the reward that comes with being an integral part of that process,” said Dr. Jennifer Fryns, associate vice president, Career and Professional Programs at CF. “My hope is that we see an uptick in individuals who are ready to take that passion and turn it into a career in early childhood education. The validation from Florida Department of Education that CF’s teacher preparation program is among the highest quality in the state provides those individuals with the best option that is local, affordable and now highly ranked in the state.”
     CF’s Associate in Science in Early Childhood Education and Associate in Arts pathway to Early Childhood Education directly articulate into the Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education. The program leads to Florida Teacher Certification in Pre-K Primary (age 3 to grade 3) with endorsements in Pre-K Disability, Reading (K-12) and English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL, K-12). Historically, 100% of graduates from this program also pass the Subject Area Exam for K-6 grade, allowing them to also teach fourth through sixth grades.
     To learn more about CF visit https://www.cf.edu/.

 


Florida Gateway College
prepares to re-open campus

By Mike McKee, Marketing Dept.
Florida Gateway College
Published May 4, 2020 at 5:10 p.m.
     LAKE CITY --
Florida Gateway College is making final preparations for summer classes and to reopen campus to students and the public.
     While most summer classes are currently online, plans are being made to offer some in person classes beginning June 1.
     We look forward to having a traditional fall semester of in-person and online courses, as well as student events.
     • May 14 Summer Fees are due. You may pay your fees in MyFGC. Call us at 386-752-1822 with any questions.
     • May 18 FGC will reopen campus to new and current students, with social distancing and CDC guidelines in place. You may access FGC student service offices and library beginning on this date. While we are excited to have students back on campus, our number one concern is your safety. Please ensure that you social distance, wash hands and cover your cough.
     • May 18 Fall registration begins.
     • May 26 FGC's campus will be open to the general public.
Updates with any changes to this transitional opening, as well as new announcements will be made through email, the college website, and FGC instructors.
     For more information, call 386-752-1822 or visit www.fgc.edu.

 


Warm Meals Warm Hearts
program debuts

By Jamie L. Williams
Marketing & Fund Development Coordinator
Marion Senior Services
Published May 4, 2020 at 4:10 p.m.
    OCALA –
Today (Monday, May 4) marks a new chapter in the ongoing story of Marion Senior Services (MSS) and the agency’s widespread impact on lives in Marion County.


Program is a partnership with restaurants to assist nutritionally-at-risk senior citizens in Marion County
 


     “Warm Meals Warm Hearts” (WMWH), a new, federally-funded program proudly makes its debut. Aimed at improving the nutritional status of and food reassurance for those age 60 and older, WMWH is a partnership between MSS and local restaurants / food vendors.
    The program will provide a restaurant-cooked-and packaged meal delivered right to their home on a select day each week.
     “In going through this unprecedented pandemic, it brought new attention to existing problems as well as shined a light on new realities that affect the elderly population in high numbers,” said Jennifer Martinez, Marion Senior Services’ executive director. “As a result, we’ve found positive in the negative and created programming to not only counteract some of these issues while we’re still deep in the trenches of COVID-19, but also to continue and grow once it’s in our collective rearview mirrors.
     “While it’s always easy to point out problems, it takes leaders to find and implement solutions; and I’m proud that our partners in this endeavor all have compassion and generosity befitting such leadership,” Martinez added.
     MSS has joined with the Florida Department of Elder Affairs, the Department of Business and Professional Regulations, and the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association to provide food reassurance to Marion County’s nutritionally-at-risk senior citizens.
    As a result of measures implemented due to the COVID-19 global pandemic, MSS and other lead agencies around the state are now able to partner with local restaurants and food establishments as emergency vendors. Allowing these partnerships helps to ensure that Florida’s roughly 5.5 million seniors have safe access to food.
    At the same time, it also allows MSS to positively help the local restaurant industry and the important impact it has on the overall economy.
    Seniors age 60 or older living in select independent-living, senior-only and/or combined housing communities within the agency’s target areas throughout Marion County, and who have completed a Department of Elderly Affairs Assessment via telephone, are eligible to participate in WMWH. All meals are prepared locally and the clients will receive meals that are planned in accordance with their respective nutritional and dietary needs (i.e. low sodium, gluten free, etc.). The inaugural restaurant partner in WMWH is Mojo’s, an area chain with four locations.
     “Warm Meals Warm Hearts is exactly what the name implies: Freshly-prepared warm meals cooked with genuine love that will make our clients feel great to receive,” said Martinez. “Cooking is an art form, with each meal being a work of art. This program,
however, takes things a step further and makes it a work of heart.”

 


Superintendent Jeff Edison
announces commencement plans
at Levy County Schools;

No announcements from
Dixie County or Gilchrist County yet

By Jeff M. Hardison © May 2, 2020 at 11:10 a.m.
     BRONSON --
Levy County Superintendent of Schools Jeff Edison announced, through an email forwarded from Levy County Emergency Management Director John MacDonald, which was forwarded to Nature Coast Business Development Council Executive Director David Pieklik who forwarded it to others, that there will be graduation commencement exercises available for every 2020 high school graduate in Levy County.
     The Levy County School Board, Edison noted in the public relations release, "... realizes that we are in unusual and trying times with the COVID-19 concerns, but we feel that commencement exercises are an important and vital part of the educational process.
     "We are pleased to announce that each of our secondary schools intend to provide commencement opportunities in compliance with existing safety guidelines," Edison continued. "Due to the current conditions, there will be limitations on the number of people who can attend. We understand that these limitations are not ideal and we ask for your cooperation in the interest of public safety. If conditions change, plans will change accordingly."
     The method attendance at any commencement for anyone outside a very tightknit circle connected to Bronson High School, Cedar Key School, Chiefland High School and Williston High School is not being made available by the Levy County School Board.
     "Because each community and facility is unique," Edison noted, "the plans of each high school will differ slightly. Each school will communicate their plans to safely conduct commencement exercises." 

 


COVID-19 tests
conducted at Cedar Key

By Jeff M. Hardison © May 1, 2020 at 9:10 p.m.
     CEDAR KEY –
There were 513 people tested for COVID-19 and for antibodies during a two-day research project by the University of Florida, Cedar Key Vice Mayor Sue Colson said on Friday (May 1).     The tests that concluded Friday were of 260 people on Thursday and 253 on Friday, she said.
     If a test shows a person is positively infected by COVID-19, they will be contacted within 72 hours of the testing date, Vice Mayor Colson said.
     If a person tests negative, they will be notified through a notice mailed to them, she added.
     If a person tested is shown to have antibodies for COVID-19, they will be notified in two weeks. The presence of antibodies means the person had COVID-19 but no longer has it.
     Research continues to determine if a person with antibodies can catch the virus again.
     Cedar Key is among the communities UF conducted studies as one of the many institutions with research projects to help learn more about this very contagious, and very dangerous virus.

 


Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services
FDACS provides
free educational resources
during COVID-19 school closure

FDACS Communications
Published May 1, 2020 at 9:10 a.m.
      TALLAHASSEE --
The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) is providing free educational resources for parents whose children remain home and are distance learning during COVID-19 school closures.
       “With Florida schools closed during COVID-19, it’s so important that our children continue learning, especially about the world around us including our animals, farms, and natural resources,” said Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried. “We’re sharing these free coloring books, recipes, and activities so that parents and caregivers can help kids connect with where their food comes from and the natural treasures of Florida.”
      A variety of materials such as workbook activities, coloring storybooks, and recipes for healthy snacks are available for students and teachers to use at home and in remote classrooms throughout Florida. These educational materials cover a wide range of topics, from insect identification to agriculture history, are delineated by grade levels, and are available for download on the FDACS Florida Resources for Parents, Teachers, and Students page.
      In partnership with the American Farm Bureau Foundation, Florida 4-H, and Florida Agriculture in the Classroom Inc., these resources are made available to benefit young Floridians during this period of distance learning. This collection of resources are intended to continue to inspire interest in Florida’s natural resource systems until Florida’s classrooms resume their regular schedule, and beyond.

 


Florida Supervisors of Elections
awards scholarship in memory
of Supervisor Joy Smith

The late Joy Smith of Williston

 

 

 


Joy Smith
(Jan. 27, 1929 - March 21, 2020)

Photo Provided

 


By Jordan Lindsey
Asst. Supervisor of Elections
Published April 29 at 3:10 p.m.
     BRONSON --
Levy County Supervisor of Elections Tammy Jones is pleased to announce that the Florida Supervisors of
Elections (FSE) is scheduled to award four worthy students from around the state each with a $1,200 scholarship.
     This year one of the four scholarships will be presented in memory of former Levy County Supervisor of Elections Joy Smith.
     Supervisor Joy Smith served the voters of Levy County for 16 years from 1976 to 1992. She was actively involved in her community and the Florida Association of Supervisors of Elections.
     "Supervisor Smith left a legacy of servanthood for those who would later follow in her footsteps by serving as Supervisor of Elections,” Supervisor Jones said. “She passionately believed in providing the voters of Levy County with accurate and fair elections."
     Applicants had to meet certain eligibility requirements to be considered for this scholarship.
     Applicants must live in the state of Florida for two years and have maintained at least a "C" average. They must have been accepted or enrolled as a full-time student in a senior college or university in Florida with the completion of two years of junior college or undergraduate work.
     Eligible majors included Political Science, Public/Business Administration or Journalism/Mass Communication.

 


Lions Remove Litter
Inglis Yankeetown Lions Remove Roadside Litter
Noticing trash building up along CR 40 in southern Levy County, the Lions hosted a community clean-up event in the Inglis Yankeetown Lions Club's Adopt-A-Highway area along Levy County Road 40 on Wednesday (April 22). The team included Larry Feldhusen (Inglis Yankeetown Lions Club President), Poco and Rob French (2020-2021 President Elect), Russ and Judy Lees, Dan and Debbie Oates, Peter Weiss, Linda Kyler, Jean Brennan, Michelle Grover, Nathan Nelson, Rob Kubistek, Susie Schofield and Cora Chubb. Several members of the group are seen here with a few of the trash bags filled at the event ready for pick-up. During the pandemic, the Lions continue to meet online using teleconferencing technology on the first and third Wednesday of each month. When it is safe, the Lions will restart face-to-face meetings following CDC Guidelines. If you or anyone you know needs assistance from the Lions, please call 352-505-7936. Anyone interested in becoming a Lion can call the same number for additional information.
Published April 28, 2020 at 10:10 a.m.

Photo and Information By Donna Norton

 


CF offering virtual information
sessions for health programs

By CF Marketing, Public and Community Relations
Published April 27, 2020 at 3:10 p.m.
     OCALA —
The College of Central Florida is conducting virtual information sessions for Health Sciences programs including Nursing, Physical Therapist Assistant, Dental Assisting, Radiography and Surgical Technology.
     Potential students MUST attend a virtual session before applying to any of the programs, which begin this fall.
     Sessions provide details about admissions criteria, program requirements, costs and more.
     There is no waiting list for any of the Health Science programs. Some programs have part-time enrollment options.
     Upcoming information sessions include:
Nursing (Associate Degree Nursing, Bridge, and Bachelor of Science in Nursing)
     ● Tuesday, May 12, 9-10 a.m.
Dental Assisting
     ● Wednesday, May 20, noon-1 p.m.
Radiography
     ● Tuesday, May 12, 4-5 p.m.
     To register visit https://cf.edu/healthinfosession. Sessions have limited spots available. For information about any of the programs or sessions, call 352-873-5817, or call 352-873-5800, ext. 1655.

 


Williston City Council virtual
meeting provides clear audio;

Council considers live-virtual mix
Williston Florida

Williston Florida
Here are two pictures from outside Williston City Hall

Story and Photos
By Jeff M. Hardison © April 23, 2020 at 4:10 p.m.
     WILLISTON –
The difference between the entirely virtual meeting in Williston Tuesday evening (April 21) and the teleconference method of a meeting by the Levy County Board of County Commissioners on Tuesday morning was like night and day for quality of audio.
     The day meeting of the County Commission was relatively abysmal for sound quality and the night meeting of the Williston City Council provided audio that was clear as day. There were a couple of moments when the city manager and city attorney lost their input microphone ability, but they were able to repeat themselves when that option returned.
     All participants had camera feeds as well as very good sound for listeners who were watching and listening to the Williston municipal leaders. People who were watching and listening could see up to 10 people at one time on the screen while they listened to them.
     City Manager Scott Lippmann, City Attorney Frederick L. Koberlein Jr., and Clerk Latricia Wright joined Mayor Jerry Robinson, City Council President Charles Goodman, Vice President Justin Head, Councilwoman Marguerite Robinson, Councilwoman Debra Jones and Councilman Elihu Ross -- who was celebrating his 82nd birthday.
     President Goodman called the meeting to order, and there was a prayer.
     At President Goodman’s direction, the mayor said the Pledge of Allegiance alone. Goodman said this would make it more clear than if all people said it at the same time.
     Goodman expressed his opinion that the virtual meeting was cumbersome, though. By the end of the meeting, he had convinced the mayor and City Council members to seek a different method to meet in two weeks.
     Rather than meeting entirely in a virtual method, Goodman and the other elected municipal leaders plan to meet in the City Hall.
     To keep from exceeding 10 people in the confined space of that City Council meeting room, if some person other than the City Council, the city manager, the city attorney and the city clerk, and one police officer, then that person or persons who might want to be at the live meeting, will need to be placed outside the meeting room, as best as could be understood from what was said.
     The plan will be to put them in a nearby location, such as the R. Gerald Hethcoat Community Center, which is part of City Hall. The other live watchers will be able to see, hear and communicate with the leaders.
     Meanwhile, though, for the people who enjoyed the option to watch, listen and participate from a place other than in City Hall, will again be able to use the virtual option -- if all goes as hoped.
     Williston, like Duke Energy and Central Florida Electric Cooperative are continuing to waive late fees and not suspending utility service, because of the economic hardships experienced by some from the COVID-19 pandemic.
     The Williston City Council ruled two weeks ago that it waives all late fees on utility bills until further notice, and it suspends utility account cutoffs until further notice.
     In other action at Williston from Tuesday night, President Goodman and the other City Council members chose against providing a verbal review of the job done by City Clerk Wright until they can meet more face-to-face, as will be the case in two weeks if all goes as hoped.
     The people in Williston City Hall at that possible next meeting will be at least six feet apart during the meeting, in accordance with the recommendation from the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC, the Florida Department of Health and other professionals in medicine are doing what they can to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

 


 



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First Published Feb. 1, 2011 at 8 a.m.
     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.
     Since Nov. 1, 2011, The Christian Press section of this page has run daily devotionals from several individuals who contributed over the past years. There were two days in 2018 when the daily devotional did not run due to a journalist requiring emergency orthopedic surgery on broken bones in his left arm and wrist. That surgically added metal, though, makes that part of that arm even more able to withstand forces. Many daily devotionals are pulled from 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). The journalist who is a sole proprietor and owner of HardisonInk.com (Jeff M. Hardison) notes his appreciation for the use of those devotionals from that now-defunct publishing company, and for the many other contributors who have helped people over the past 10 years here now. This journalist welcomes contributions of daily devotionals. Daily devotional authors are asked to please send only their original works to hardisonink@gmail.com. Americans are reminded that all religions, having no religion and or being a person who endorses anti-religion are all protected as part of the freedoms from government intervention, as are other benefits from being an American.

 


Tuesday May 26, 2020 at 7:10 a.m.

BECAUSE OF YOU

Read John 17:13-26

     And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth.
-- John 17:19 (KJV)


     Everything has a cause behind it. Things just don’t come to pass without reason. Happiness has a cause; so has hopelessness. Order rules or chaos reigns. This is not as a matter of chance but as a matter of cause. Sings the lover at the marriage altar, “A wider world of hope and joy I see, because you come to me.”
     We are what we are and the world is what it is, because…
     Because means “by a cause.” How we need to look to our causes! Are they petty or great? Are they worthy or unworthy? Do they make or destroy a person?
     Happy are those who know their cause is right and so can give themselves to it wholeheartedly. When they say, “I do this because…” their voice has a ring that we like to hear, and their eyes look straight forward.
     “For their sakes,” said One greater than any of us, “I sanctify myself.” He had a cause which made Him happy to give all He had for others. If the best the world has ever known gave Himself completely, can we do less?
     As soldiers, you fight. You fight not alone to defend your native land, but for all that we count as dear – for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness; for the building of a new and better world order; for the Kingdom of God on earth. And because of you, “a wider world of hope and joy we see.”
     FATHER, we thank Thee for the new day. May we face it with courage and cheer. We pray not for an easy life, but for a useful one. Give us wisdom to make right choices, and confidence and faith to meet the unexpected. Cleanse our hearts from evil thoughts and hard feelings. Make us strong for what we have to suffer, and brave for what we have to dare. We make this prayer in the name of our great Helper and Friend. Amen.
The Rev. Olin Berry Tracy (1897 - 1971)
First Congregational Church
Melrose, Massachusetts

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 © May 25, 2020 at 7:10 a.m.
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     We are in uncharted territory. COVDI-19 has not only affected my work life, but now my hunting life. Kentucky allowed no non-resident hunters to hunt during turkey season. I know the fish and wildlife agency was not happy either. They could have used the income.
     But to be honest, most fish and game agencies have been losing my money for some years now. The affordability to hunt out-of-state has become increasingly out-of-reach. In Kentucky, for example, a bear tag that was once included with your deer tag, is now $250. In Missouri, a turkey tag was once included with your deer tag. Today, it will cost another $224. And I’m not picking on Kentucky or Missouri. I could give you the same scenario in Tennessee, Virginia, Alabama, Texas, and the rest of the United States.
     And therein lies the problem. When an agency is asked why, most will say, “Every state is doing it.” And that is supposed to end the conversation. A wildlife officer once told me they were making more money now but with less hunters. This ought to make every single organization that is designed to increase the hunter population go bonkers.
     Now, let me defend the officers who work in the field. I think most are great. Many of them I consider friends. Most of them do not get to make decisions about the cost of license. They are doing their job, mostly because they love the outdoors, hunting and fishing, and doing things right. What upper management does not understand is they are slowly getting rid of the very outdoor activity they are sending others to propagate. They will send lobbyists to Washington to make sure hunting will survive, while undermining their efforts within their own constituents. Not only are fewer hunters hunting, but fewer new adults are getting into the sport. Why?
     It is priced out of range. I know, because I am one of those who like to travel to other hunting places but can no longer do that with any consistency. I simply can’t afford it. I am not alone. Some will say license costs have stayed the same. I say that’s not true when you consider the added fees. So, what do we do? Should I just complain without offering suggestions? Yes and no.
     My suggestion is for those who make these decisions to do what I’m going to do right now. Say “I don’t have any clue how to add more revenue without adding more cost to the hunter.” And once you say this, hire those who are an expert in these areas and let them do their work. If the goal is to make it through the budget year, then add another cost to the ones who love hunting. If you want to make hunting last for generations, then figure out another way to bring in revenue. If you are concerned about politicians, and anti-hunting organizations getting rid of our opportunity to hunt, you are concerned about the wrong people and groups. We are eliminating our passion from within. More revenue cannot be at the expense of less hunters. Or soon, there will be neither.

 -- 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--
TUESDAY  MAY 26  7:10 a.m.
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