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Five CF students named
to All-Florida Academic Team

College of Central Florida
Divya Patel and Mathew Danuff with Vice President of Academic Affairs Dr. Mark Paugh

Story and Photo Provided By
CF Marketing, Public and Community Relations
Published March 31, 2020 at
     OCALA --
Five College of Central Florida students were named to the Florida College System’s 2020 All-Florida Academic Team.


 

 

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     The students were recognized at an awards ceremony March 6 in St. Petersburg.
     CF students Janice Cunningham, Mathew Danuff, Divya Patel, Barry Schneider and Zhengying Wang were named to the team because of their outstanding academic achievement, leadership and service to the community.
     In nominating students for the All-Florida Academic Team, colleges considered the following criteria:
     ● Participation in honors programs;
     ● Membership in, and awards received from, academic or honors organizations;
     ● Awards and honors received for academic and leadership accomplishments; and
     ● Academic enrichment achieved through study, internships and cultural experiences.

 


CF now offering IGNITE
transfer program to FAMU

Story Provided By
CF Marketing, Public and Community Relations
Published March 31, 2020 at 8:10 p.m.
     OCALA --
The College of Central Florida (CF) has joined the IGNITE program at Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU) to provide a direct transfer pathway for students attending the College of Central Florida.
     This partnership with Florida A&M University guarantees FAMU admission to students who earn an Associate in Arts at CF.
     “This new partnership is a huge benefit to our students and community,” said Dr. Jim Henningsen, CF president. “It gives students the opportunity to complete their first two years at CF, where they thrive in smaller classes with our award-winning faculty and programs and pay less in tuition. It is a giant step forward in helping increase the education attainment level of our community by increasing access to bachelor’s degree programs in Marion, Citrus and Levy counties.”
     While students who graduate with an Associate in Arts degree or an articulated Associate in Science degree from a Florida College System institution are guaranteed admission to a state university in Florida, IGNITE guarantees admission to FAMU.
     The CF A.A. graduates applying for limited access programs at FAMU such as FAMU/FSU College of Engineering, College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, School of Nursing, School of Journalism and Allied Health Sciences-Cardiopulmonary, will need to meet the additional admissions and prerequisite requirements for those specific programs.
     Students can begin their studies at CF with the knowledge that they will have a seat at FAMU once they attain an A.A. The partnership provides students a smoother transition with admission and enrollment. Since students receive advising from CF and FAMU, they might also find a shorter time to degree completion.
     Students can enroll in the FAMU IGNITE program if they have 0-30 academic credits earned. The purpose of the IGNITE program is to engage students throughout the course of their associate’s degree, connect them with FAMU academic advisors for specific fields of study, and provide scholarships opportunities for eligible students.
     IGNITE participants who maintain a 3.0 GPA or higher are eligible for an IGNITE Card, which grants them free access to most FAMU on-campus and athletic events.
     To learn more about IGNITE, visit http://famu.edu/index.cfm?transferservices.

 


Levy County School Board gives
free meals all children

By Julia Oberst
Food & Nutrition Services Coordinator
Levy County School Board
Published March 31, 2020 at 12:10 p.m.
     BRONSON --
The School Board of Levy County will provide meals at no cost to ALL children 18 years of age and younger or to Students with Disabilities 21 years of age or under.
     This includes ALL children who attend private schools, charter schools, or home schools, children who do not yet attend school, children visiting family members, or children in families that are homeless.
     Children must be present to receive meals. The meals are not available or provided to adults. Again, the goal is to feed ALL children!
     The distribution of breakfast and lunch meals for two days will be delivered to all current bus stops Wednesday, (April 1), and Thursday (April 2) between the hours of 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. 
     Additionally, meals at no cost to ALL children 18 years of age and under or to Students with Disabilities 21 years of age or under will be available for pick up on Thursday (April 2) between the hours of 10 a.m. and 12 p.m. in the parent loop at the following five locations: Bronson Elementary School, Chiefland Elementary School, Williston Middle High School, Cedar Key School and Yankeetown School.
     Please visit the site locator – updated twice daily - for other pick up locations in Levy County at https://summerbreakspot.freshfromflorida.com/.

 


EPA encourages Americans
to only flush toilet paper

By EPA Communications
Published March 30, 2020 at 9:10 p.m.
     WASHINGTON, DC –
Today (Monday, March 30), the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that it is encouraging all Americans to only flush toilet paper, not disinfecting wipes or other non-flushable items that should be disposed of in the trash.
     Flushing only toilet paper helps ensure that the toilets, plumbing, sewer systems and septic systems will continue working properly to safely manage our nation’s wastewater. While EPA encourages disinfecting your environment to prevent the spread of COVID-19, never flush disinfecting wipes or other non-flushable items.
     These easy steps will keep surfaces disinfected and wastewater management systems working for all Americans.
     Toilet and sewer backups can pose a threat to human health and present an extra challenge to the water utilities and their workforce.
     Flushing anything other than toilet paper, including disinfecting wipes, can damage internal plumbing, local sewer systems and septic systems. Fixing these backups is costly and takes time and resources away from ensuring that wastewater management systems are otherwise working properly.
     The EPA thanks wastewater utilities and their workforce for their courageous efforts at a time when resources may be stretched thin. Having fully operational wastewater services is critical to containing COVID-19 and protecting Americans from other public health risks.
     The United States’ wastewater employees are everyday heroes who are on the frontline of protecting human health and the environment every single day.
     For more information, see https://www.epa.gov/coronavirus.

 


A Whimsical Method For
A Message With Meaning

Hay Art With An Important Message
This haybale design promotes an important message. Please be safe, be smart, be supportive. 

Photo By Sharon Hardison © March 28, 2020 at 11:10 a.m.

 


Levy County 4-H members
participate In SRF

SRF Levy County 4-H
Fifth Place Overall Fat Steer Winner Bailey Bird is seen with her family and the judge for this competition.

Story and Photos Provided
By Jessica Emerson, 4-H Extension Program Assistant
UF/IFAS Extension of Levy County
Published March 26, 2020 at 3:10 p.m.
     FANNING SPRINGS --
Levy County 4-H members participated in various events at this year’s Suwannee River Fair Youth Livestock Show and Sale, starting with the Dog Show on Saturday, Feb. 29 and ending with the Market Animal Sale Day on Wednesday, March 18.



SRF Levy County 4-H
Swine Primary Showmanship winners included (from left) Mason Boyd, Brooks Yancey and Will Conquest.

SRF Levy County 4-H
A.J. Kennedy (left) with Kountry Kids 4-H and Mason Boyd (right) with Williston Wranglers 4-H Club are seen in the ring showing their market hogs.

SRF Levy County 4-H
Junior Grand Champion Horse Performance winner Elle Fugate is seen here with the 2020 SRF Horse Show Superintendent Leonora Hale.

SRF Levy County 4-H
Waiting in line to go into the sale ring is Eli Munden with Kountry Kids 4-H. There were 33 Levy County 4-H members that sold their market animals this year.


     Several of the 4-H members in Levy County earned top awards during the fair. Levy County 4-H members participated and placed in the Beef Heifer Show, Fat Steer Show, Feeder Steer Show, Horse Show, Livestock Judging Contest, Poultry Show, Rabbit Show, Record Book Contest and Swine Show.
     Overall, 33 Levy County 4-H members participated in the sale this year.
     UF/IFAS Extension of Levy County congratulates all Levy County 4-H members who received an award and placed during the 2020 Suwannee River Youth Fair, as well as to express thanks to all members who participated at this year’s fair.
     Record Book- Market Animal winners consisted of Annabelle Whitehurst of Williston Wranglers 4-H Club (Primary Class 1st Place) and Bailey Bird of Wekiva Run 4-H Club (Primary Class 2nd Place).
     Livestock Judging winners included the 3rd Place Team made up of Bailey Bird, Lilly LeMieux, Abby Locke and Vaden LeMieux of Wekiva Run 4-H Club. Bailey Bird of Wekiva Run 4-H Club also received 3rd Place High Individual.
     Rabbit Showmanship winners included Kaylee Kurtz of Yankeetown 4-H Club (Primary Class 2nd Place) and Jacob Mulligan of Yankeetown 4-H Club (Primary Class 3rd Place).
     Poultry Showmanship winners consisted of Kaylee Bellamy of Williston Wranglers 4-H Club (Primary Class 3rd Place), Liam Meeks of Kountry Kids 4-H Club (Junior Class 2nd Place), Carson Meeks of Kountry Kids 4-H Club (Junior Class 3rd Place) and Regan Varnes of Kountry Bumpkins 4-H Club (Senior Class 2nd Place). Poultry Show Reserve Champion was Kaylee Bellamy of Williston Wranglers 4-H Club.
     Heifer Showmanship winners included Abby Locke of Wekiva Run 4-H Club (Primary Class 1st Place) and Bailey Bird of Wekiva Run 4-H Club (Primary Class 2nd Place). During the Heifer Show Abby Locke of Wekiva Run 4-H Club received 3rd Overall.
     Horse Performance Winner Elle Fugate of Williston Wranglers 4-H Club received Junior Class Grand Champion.
     Fat Steer Showmanship Winner Bailey Bird of Wekiva Run 4-H Club placed 1st in the Primary Class. Fat Steer Show Winner Bailey Bird of Wekiva Run 4-H Club received 5th Overall.
     Swine Showmanship winners included Mason Boyd of Williston Wranglers 4-H Club (Primary Class 1st Place), Brooks Yancey of Williston Wranglers 4-H Club (Primary Class 2nd Place), William Conquest of Kountry Kids 4-H Club (Primary Class 3rd Place) and Regan Varnes of Kountry Bumpkins 4-H Club (Senior Class 3rd Place).
     Swine Show Division winners included Melody Roberts of Creekside Christian 4-H Club (Division 1), A.J. Kennedy of Kountry Kids 4-H Club (Division 4) and Brice Thomas of Kountry Bumpkins 4-H Club (Division 5).
     4-H is an all-inclusive youth organization that offers a variety of youth involvement ranging from school-based programs to community clubs. Students are encouraged to join 4-H and find their passion by exploring the many opportunities the program has to offer. Enrollment is still open for the 2019-2020 year through the Florida 4HOnline web portal - https://florida.4honline.com/.
     For more information about the Levy County 4-H Program, please contact the UF/IFAS Extension Office at (352) 486-5131.

 


Life From Death;
Turn, Turn, Turn
Life from death Stump and new tree in Levy County
Brilliant green foliage springs forth as new life from a dead, hollowed-out stump somewhere near the unrecorded subdivision known as Jemlands in the unincorporated part of Levy County on Monday (March 23).
Photo by Sharon Hardison © March 23, 2020 at 8:10 p.m.
In 1965, The Byrds, an American rock band, created a song that is reflexive of part of Ecclesiastes 3. There is a time for every purpose under Heaven.
(Click HERE to hear and see a video with the song, Turn, Turn, Turn, by The Byrds.)

 


Cedar Key School valedictorian
and salutatorian named

CKS valedictorian and salutatorian 2020
Amanda Robinson and Michele DiBari

Story and Photos
Provided By Karen Voyles
Published March 23, 2020 at 11:10 a.m.
     CEDAR KEY --
Congratulations to this year's Cedar Key School valedictorian Amanda Robinson and salutatorian Michele DiBari!
     CKS Principal Kathy Lawrence notified Amanda and Michele on Thursday (March 19) that they were the top students in the Class of 2020. Amanda and Michele credit each other for doing so well in high school. Both seniors said the academic competition between them forced them to work harder in every class.
     Amanda, the daughter of Laura and Robert Robinson (and aunt of Brighton) has been accepted by Yale University, the University of Florida, and every other college and university she has applied to so far.
      Her plans after high school are to major in political science at an institution of higher education, and eventually work in either government or media.
     Amanda is one of six students in this year's graduating class who have attended CKS since pre-kindergarten. During her years on campus, Amanda participated in cross country, High-Q, Beta, FFA, student government, and yearbook. Her favorite memories of her high school years include a lunch club that met in the library, bonfires created by Chanler Beckham, and anything and everything that happened in Mr. Powers' class where Amanda said, "There were so many antics. So many!"
     Michele is the son of Vito and Martina DiBari, and he is the older brother of freshman Alessio. Michele also has been accepted at UF as well as at several other top universities, including the University of Chicago where he was recruited as a thrower for the track and field team. Michele's plans are to earn a business degree at UF, then go onto graduate school for an MBA before starting his own platform business (which has been motivated by the growth he has seen among existing platforms such as Uber and Airbnb).
     Michele joined the Class of 2020 as a middle school student when the family moved to Cedar Key from Miami. During his time as a Shark, Michele was selected as the MVP on the basketball and track and field teams in 2019, served as captain of the High-Q team, and created the livestreaming system that allows games in the Shark Tank to be broadcast live on YouTube.
     The best high school memories Michele will take with him revolve around a close-knit group of classmates who got involved with salvaging a sunken sailboat, took a three day camping trip on a remote island, and used shelving to wakeboard in roadside ditches following the flooding last fall.
     "But in school, competition with Amanda was always the underlying reason for getting good grades," Michele said.
    Whether or not Amanda, Michele, and the rest of the class will walk across the stage to get their diplomas remains to be seen as the COVID-19 pandemic unfolds, and social distancing becomes a standard practice.
     Amanda, who set being valedictorian as a goal years ago, said she realizes the pandemic may prevent her from delivering the valedictory speech at graduation.
     "That would be disappointing, but I lecture my class every day; so, they wouldn't be too disappointed if I didn't get to give a speech," Amanda said with a laugh.
     Graduation currently is scheduled for Saturday, May 23 at 9 a.m.

 


Levy County Canvassing Board
events schedule shared

Information Provided
By Levy County Supervisor of Elections Tammy Jones
Published Jan. 25, 2020 at 3:09 p.m.
Updated March 23, 2020 at 8:10 p.m.
     BRONSON --
Levy County Supervisor of Elections Tammy Jones recently provided a listing of the meetings of the Levy County Canvassing Board. Remaining are the meetings shown below, to be held on the following dates:
March 27, 2020
     1 p.m. Canvass 10-day Overseas Ballots
     File Official Results, Conduct of Election
March 30, 2020
     9 a.m. Audit of Voting System
     In accordance with the Sunshine Law of Florida, this meeting is open to the public. The Levy County Canvassing Board will meet at the office of the Supervisor of Elections, 421 South Court Street, Bronson, Florida.
     Bajo petición, este documento está disponible en español.

 


Spring Is Here
Spring Levy County Dixie County Gilchrist County 2020
This waning crescent Moon reflects sunlight to the dark Earth on Tuesday (March 17) at about 6 a.m. as spring moves ever closer.
Photo By Sharon Hardison

Spring starts tonight (Thursday, March 19) 11:49 p.m. (Eastern Daylight Time). With that in mind, Jeff and Sharon Hardison took the photos below to illustrate some of the impact of the changing season. Astronomical Spring is determined by the changing positions of the Earth relative to the Sun giving. Seasons are caused by the tilt of the earth on its axis by 23.5 degrees.


Spring Levy County Dixie County Gilchrist County 2020
A woodpecker looks at the next possible tree for him to peck in search of insects to eat.
Photo By Sharon Hardison

Spring Levy County Dixie County Gilchrist County 2020

Spring Levy County Dixie County Gilchrist County 2020
These two pictures of a female (foreground) and a male cardinal reflect the couple communicating as birds of a feather are inclined to communicate.
Photo By Sharon Hardison

Spring Levy County Dixie County Gilchrist County 2020
A close view of an azalea shows its essence of color. Azaleas come in many colors.
Photo By Sharon Hardison

Spring Levy County Dixie County Gilchrist County 2020
Tall yellow flowering plants along the roadside in the Tri-County Area of Levy, Dixie and Gilchrist counties are common in the spring.
Photo By Jeff M. Hardison

Spring Levy County Dixie County Gilchrist County 2020

Spring Levy County Dixie County Gilchrist County 2020

Spring Levy County Dixie County Gilchrist County 2020
Another sign of spring in the Tri-County Area is Phlox, a genus of 67 species of perennial and annual plants in the family Polemoniaceae. These flowers may be pale blue, violet, pink, bright red or white.
Published March 19, 2020 at 4:10 p.m.

Photos By Jeff M. Hardison

 


Levy County Prevention
Coalition's efforts
heralded at meeting

Levy County Prevention Coalition
Levy County Prevention Coalition Chief Operating Officer Jonathan Lewis shares information from the 2018-2019 Florida Youth Substance Abuse Survey. The two-year survey reflects information collected by students self-reporting their choices regarding drugs.

Story and Photos
By Jeff M. Hardison © March 8, 2020 at 11:10 a.m.
     WILLISTON –
Leaders from Levy County schools and law enforcement, as well as individuals from other agencies that focus on helping people met in the Williston Elementary Music Room on Friday afternoon (March 6) to enjoy lunch and hear a progress report.


Levy County Prevention Coalition
Sherri Higgins of the Levy County Prevention Coalition provides listeners with information showing the LCPC is diligently working to help Levy County children choose against abusing drugs.

Levy County Prevention Coalition
Levy County Superintendent of Schools Jeff Edison (left) and Levy County Undersheriff Brett Beauchamp listen to Levy County Prevention Coalition Chief Operating Officer Jonathan Lewis share facts about drug abuse in Levy County. Without cooperation by leaders in schools and law enforcement, and other community partners, there can be no coalition to prevent drug abuse, especially by children. Edison mentioned the Family Engagement piece of the programs with the LCPC. That program began just two weeks ago, Edison said on Friday. In the summer, he added, Levy County will become an AVID School District. Right now, Williston Elementary School is an AVID school. Williston Elementary School Principal Jaime Handlin spoke about this program, and training she went to learn about the program to improve the culture, so that school staff and families work together to help parents keep their children engaged in learning.

Levy County Prevention Coalition
Gilchrist Prevention Coalition Executive Director Robert Wells, a founder of the Levy County Prevention Coalition, listens to a presenter during the program Friday at Williston Elementary School.


Gwen Love of CDS Family and Behavioral Health Services Inc., which is a private non-profit social services agency that has provided services in North Central Florida for more than 40 years, tells listeners how blessed the people of Levy County are to have Jonathan Lewis as the chief operating officer of Levy County Prevention Coalition. Love describes Lewis as “a great community champion.” She mentioned, too, that the partnership with the Levy County School District is in no small part thanks to Superintendent of Schools Jeff Edison. The school principals in Levy County, Love added, deserve accolades as well, for being willing to work with outside agencies. As an Alachua County resident and worker, Love said she has seen more opportunities to provide services for children in Levy County than in Alachua County.


     Levy County Prevention Coalition Chief Operating Officer Jonathan Lewis shared information from the 2018-2019 Florida Youth Substance Abuse Survey (FYSAS) as it relates to the state and Levy County, as well as spoke about the many programs the LCPC provides to reduce drug abuse in this county.
     Lewis presented FYSAS data from other years as well to put the most recent records in perspective with the past decade of drug abuse in the county.
     The percentage of children in Levy County middle schools and high schools who are abusers of alcohol, marijuana, synthetic drugs (like bath salts), inhalants, club drugs (like ecstasy), methamphetamine, cocaine, heroin, depressants and prescription pain drugs were shared.
     From information the students self-noted on questionnaires in Levy County and in every Florida county at public schools, number-crunchers created graphs with percentages. The surveys showed usage during their lifetime, as well as within the 30-days prior to answering on the form, in general Levy County students abused alcohol, marijuana and other drugs with a higher percentage of the population doing so than the average percentages of children in Florida.
     Cocaine (which includes powder and crack cocaine) showed the biggest spike in Levy County percentages when reviewed on a two-year basis in 2010, 2012, 2014, 2016 and 2018. Other drugs, including alcohol, showed generally downward trends – except for methamphetamine and marijuana in Levy County during that 10-year span.

Levy County Prevention Coalition
These graphs by the LCPC show usage percentages over the 10-year span.

     While the percentages of school children abusing the many forms of drugs are recorded as existing at these rates in Levy County, there is some margin of error from students being absent during the polling period, as well as those children who either self-report drug abuse that exists or who neglect to report actual drug abuse.
     The one-hour luncheon meeting provided attendees with an enjoyable meal served buffet style from Olive Garden, from tossed salad through a main entrée of a pasta, meat and cheese dish, and including relatively small but delicious desserts. Sweet and unsweetened tea were the drinks of the day, with a water option available as well.
     In the 2018/19 FYSAS Report booklet handed out to audience members, Lewis provided people with several pages of detailed information about drug abuse by children in Levy County, especially in the 2018-2019 period. Abuse of tobacco products by underaged individuals was not in this report.
     The LCPC showed a report in the 2018/19 FYSAS Report for sources of alcohol, still the most common drug abused by children in Levy County. Following is the list of sources of alcohol for that two-year span by percentages: Bought in a store – 13.1 percent; Someone bought it for me – 14 percent; Someone gave it to me – 39.7 percent; Took it from family member – 14.3 percent; and Some other way – 14.9 percent.
     Alcoholic beverage drinking locations in this county for those years showed the following results: My home – 40 percent; Another person’s home – 37.7 percent; Car of other vehicle – 5.5 percent; and Some other place – 12.9 percent.

PREVENTION
     The Levy County Prevention Coalition is the oldest and best established of the coalitions in the Tri-County Area, with the Gilchrist (County) Prevention Coalition just starting to become a force for the future. GPC Executive Director Robert Wells was among the people in attendance at the LCPC meeting on Friday.
     Wells, a founder of the LCPC, is extremely involved among the leaders in helping the youth of the area understand there are better ways to enjoy life rather than by distorting the perception of reality via drugs.
     The GPC is next scheduled to meet on Thursday (March 12) at the Gilchrist County Sheriff’s Office in Trenton. Wells is seeking to establish an office for the GPC, which most recently met at the Otter Creek Park and Campgrounds.
     The Dixie County Anti-Drug Coalition led by Katrina VanAernam uses office space donated by Ameris Bank in Cross City.
     As for the LCPC, its arsenal of programs includes covering a weeklong period when school is out of session. The pending operation is during spring break, when 50 Williston children are scheduled to participate in Spring Break Camp, thanks to the LCPC partnership with the Levy County Sheriff’s Office and the Florida Sheriff’s Youth Ranches, Lewis said.
     This program will be at a Williston school, where children are set to enjoy fun educational activities under the guidance of paid, certified Levy County teachers, who are being funded through the LCPC.
     The Spring Break Camp, Lewis said, is more of a LCSO and Florida Sheriff’s Youth Ranches program, although the LCPC is a key player to bring it to fruition. This may happen at other locations during spring break in future years, he said.
     Beyond this immediate upcoming short-term project, the LCPC Youth Programs this past summer included a field trip to the movie Endgame, where students celebrated their much-improved behavior and grades in May of 2019.
     Williston Central Christian Academy is among the schools incorporating the LCPC Natural High Club, with music. The theme during one of those sessions was “self-esteem” and mentees of this mentoring program took home workbooks filled with encouragement, and they received a summer packet with 102 fun ideas, a summer calendar, activities and a fill-in directory to help them remain in contact with their friends over summer break.
     Among the programs enjoyed as a reward by Bronson Middle High School students was “Friday Night Done Right,” where one of those Fridays included a trip to CiCi’s Pizza in Gainesville and then they went to Regal Cinemas at Celebration Point to watch the newest version of the movie Godzilla.
     During the third week of June as the summer fun continued, students went to a movie and then to Blue Springs. The theme then was “Our World, Our Responsibility!” in which the children learned to take responsibility for the planet while learning leadership skills.
     A trip to Goethe State Forest gave them an opportunity to learn from experts in the Florida Forest Service about how they can make a difference. Some students said they want to become forest rangers when they returned to LCPC summer camp.
     The LCPC noted its appreciation for the Florida Department of Agriculture’s Florida Forest Service and to Mark Larson and his team, who taught the children about preservation of wildlife in the forest.
     The Natural High Club’s activities included archery class at summer camp and a Wednesday afternoon movie, with pizza. Fishing, learning about firefighting from Williston Fire Rescue and other activities helped scores of children have opportunities for a fun summer.
     The LCPC started the 2019-2020 school year and continues it with several more programs throughout Levy County.
     Friday Nights Done Right is among those programs. Another activity is the LCPC Mentoring Program. The Natural High Clubs are expanding across the school district as well, Lewis said.
     The launch of the expansion into Yankeetown School and Cedar Key School of the Too Good For Drugs and Too Good for Violence programs succeeded this school year, he said, as those programs go into those two smallest educational institutions in the county.
     The Prescription Drug Dropoff Campaign by the LCPC, in partnership with the United States Drug Enforcement Agency, the Levy County Sheriff’s office and municipal police departments in the county went well in October, Lewis said. By adults removing unused painkillers from medicine cabinets, that reduces the odds of those being sources for drug abusers to tap.
     An enrichment program is blossoming in the Levy County School District as the LCPC adds its resources to help students overcome learning barriers in academics, as well as to gain in physical fitness, mental health, personal enrichment and social and emotional growth.
     Education is seen as an excellent deterrent to the abuse of alcohol, marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamine and other drugs.
     Through the cooperation of the Levy County School District, the LCPC helps students in the afternoons after school. In the most recent program, there is discussion of expanding it to include more art and music education as well.
     The Levy County Food Service Department provides snacks and lunches for after-school programs, Lewis said, as the LCPC works with county staff. Among the Levy County School Board personnel at the meeting Friday was Coordinator of Food Services Julia Oberst.
     Other School Board personnel at the meeting included Williston Elementary School Principal Jaime Handlin and WES Assistant Principal Emily Hancock.
     Lewis said among the many often unsung heroes who are a strong part of the LCPC efforts to help students know about the dangers from drug abuse are all the principals at the schools in Levy County.
     In the afternoon, spring and summer programs, the LCPC works with the Levy County School District for transportation of participating children as well.
     To note the full breadth of the LCPC work in Levy County, even from what was covered in the one-hour meeting, is daunting.
     One thought to help capture part of the idea here is that the LCPC returns several hundreds of thousands of dollars annually to the local economy by paying certified teachers, bus drivers and other School Board employees for their help in afternoons, during spring and summer breaks.
     Lewis said the LCPC understands how teachers are very pressed for time already. Therefore, it provides lessons in a pre-packaged box so that they do not have to invest their time on creating new lesson plans and the like.
     Lewis told listeners on Friday that Levy County Superintendent of Schools Jeff Edison warned him about the degree of what is required for teaching, transporting and feeding masses of children.
     “So far, so good,” Lewis said about the LCPC’s progress in adding extra curriculum activities for Levy County students to enjoy as they learn and grow physically and otherwise.
     As for numbers in the LCPC Achieve Enrichment Program, there are 65 children who will be delivered home from Williston Elementary School by vans and buses after school. Children in Chiefland, he said, also will be provided with transportation from the school after the LCPC afterschool programs.
     Afterschool and summer enrichment programs in Levy County by the LCPC are planned for expansion in coming years, Lewis said.
     Marcia Tilson, a prevention specialist who serves Dixie, Gilchrist and Levy counties via the Hanley Foundation, was present for the Friday LCPC meeting. She let the Levy County listeners know the Foundation wants to help in the Tri-County Area.
     The Hanley Foundation, based in Palm Beach County, is committed to stopping addiction before it starts.
     It began this work in 1998, and the Hanley Foundation’s vision then was to raise the age of first substance use for children.
     “By providing evidence-based prevention programming, we’ve lifted the age of first use within Palm Beach County from age 10 in the year 2000 to age 13 in 2015,” the Foundation notes on its website. “Going forward, we know we can do better.”
     Last year, the Foundation provided almost $1 million in prevention and education services in Florida, impacting the lives of nearly 30,000 students, parents, and caregivers, it noted on its website.

 


Guidance offered for COVID-19
food safety for consumers,
and food establishments

By The FDACS Communications Office
Published March 4, 2020 at 3:10 p.m.
     TALLAHASSEE --
March 1-7 is National Consumer Protection Week.
     With Florida’s first presumptive positive cases of COVID-19 (coronavirus) identified this week, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) is providing guidance to consumers and food retailers/establishments on food safety to mitigate infection risk.
     The FDACS Division of Food Safety inspects and regulates more than 40,000 grocery stores, convenience stores, markets, and food manufacturing facilities in Florida. As of March 3, the Division of Food Safety has been in communication with the majority of these food establishments, as well as the Florida Retail Federation and the Florida Petroleum Marketers Association, to share food safety practices that protect public health.
     Consumers and businesses with questions about food safety practices can call the Division of Food Safety at (850) 245-5520 or email FoodSafety@FDACS.gov. Questions about other human health-related impacts of COVID-19 should be referred to the Florida Department of Health’s COVID-19 center at (866) 779-6121 or COVID-19@flhealth.gov
     “With coronavirus spreading throughout the country, we should take every action possible to limit its transmission,” Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried said. “As residents of the nation’s third-largest state, Floridians should adhere to warnings and guidelines from federal, state, and local officials and public health personnel. Proper sanitization and food safety techniques like thorough handwashing and surface disinfection are critical to safeguarding public health.”
     The director of food safety commented as well.
     “One of the most important preventive measures for mitigating viral and food-borne illness while working with food is to wash hands with soap and water frequently, in-between the handling of raw and uncooked foods, and before handling any food,” Dr. Matthew Curran, FDACS Director of Food Safety said. “Today, it is as important as ever to utilize good handwashing and sanitization techniques not only in the home but also in the workplace. Florida’s food supply — and your health — are at the forefront of everything we do here in the Division of Food Safety.”
     Cooking improves food safety.
     “While there is currently no evidence that COVID-19 is transmitted to people via food in the United States, the virus should be killed by normal cooking temperatures,” said Dr. Lisa Conti, FDACS Chief Science Officer. “As a general public safety rule, we do not recommend that people consume raw meat or unpasteurized dairy products.”

For Retailers/Food Establishments
     FDACS is reminding these businesses of the following requirements (Rule 5K-4.002, Florida Administrative Code and FDA Food Code) to ensure food safety and reduce the spread of respiratory illnesses, such as COVID-19:
     ● Food preparers must keep hands and arms clean, and follow cleaning procedures including washing at least 20 seconds with hand cleaner and rinsing under warm running water.
     ● When to wash includes: after touching body parts; after using the restroom; after caring for animals; after coughing, sneezing, or using tissue; after using tobacco; after eating or drinking; after handling soiled equipment during food preparation; after handling raw food and working with ready to eat food; before donning gloves; and after any other activity that contaminates hands. (Chapter 2-301)
     ● There is required to be at least one hand washing sink (Chapter 5-203), that handwashing sink must be convenient to employees and or immediately adjacent to toilet rooms (Chapter 5-204), and handwashing supplies such as hand soap and cleanser and drying devices such as towels or heated air devices for handwashing sinks are required to be present (Chapter 6-301).

For Consumers
     ● Studies have shown that human coronaviruses can persist on inanimate surfaces like plastic, glass, or metal for up to nine days. Therefore, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and FDACS recommend the following food safety tips for consumers:
     ● Wash your hands often when cooking, including: before, during, and after preparing any food; after handling raw meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs; before eating; after touching garbage; after wiping counters or cleaning surfaces with chemicals; after touching pets, pet food, or pet treats; and after coughing, sneezing, or blowing your nose.
     ● Wash your hands even when wearing gloves, as contaminated gloves can spread germs to your hands when removing the gloves.
     ● Disinfect and dry commonly-used surfaces such as countertops and cutting boards, as dampness can help remaining viruses survive and multiply.
     ● Use disposable cloths or paper towels when possible, or wash reusable cloths at 140 degrees Fahrenheit after each use.

 


City of Inglis offers scholarships
for U.S. Naval Sea Cadet Corps

U S Naval Sea Cadet Corps Yankeetown Florida

 

By Jeff M. Hardison © Feb. 29, 2020 at 9:10 a.m.
     INGLIS --
The Manatee Division of the United States Naval Sea and League Cadet Corps (USNSCC) recently entered a partnership with the City of Inglis, according to information provided by Heather Jackson, administrative officer of the Manatee Division of the USNSCC.


     The mission of this partnership is to create positive and life-altering opportunities for local youth, Jackson said.
     The City of Inglis has developed a grant program that will cover the full cost of membership, as well as, any advanced training the cadet wishes to attend for any child, age 10-17, that resides within the
City of Inglis city limits.
     Parents of the children must show City of Inglis water bill as proof of residency, and these scholarships are only available while funds last, Jackson added.
     The USNSCC and USNLCC program provides exposure to the United States Navy, United States Marine Corps, and the United States Coast Guard.
     The Naval Sea/League Cadet Corps provides young people with the opportunity to experience life aboard ships at sea, as well as to learn to fly airplanes, scuba dive, sail, fight fires, cook, lead others, or just have fun doing things that most kids their age never get to experience, she said.
     The junior program, the Navy League Cadet Corps, is for youths who are 10 through 13 years old. The senior program, the Naval Sea Cadet Corps, is for youths aged 13 through completion of high school.
     At each level, cadets are mentored by committed adults and peer leaders.
     Prospective cadets must be drug-, alcohol- and gang-free while attending school full-time with at least a “C” average. The annual enrollment fee is determined by the unit. For the Manatee Unit, Inglis city residential children can have a scholarship for free participation -- while funding lasts.
     Throughout the year, cadets regularly meet for activities with a local unit. During school vacations, cadets have the opportunity to participate in training events around the country. The USNSCC offers programs in areas such as aviation, field and medical training, leadership development, military police science, scuba diving, seamanship, photojournalism and sailing. Cadets train aboard United States Navy and United States Coast Guard ships and can meet Sea Cadets from around the world on our International Exchange Program.
     Cadets have the privilege of wearing the U.S. Navy uniform with appropriate Sea Cadet insignia. Cadets have absolutely no commitment regarding future military service, but cadets who do decide to enlist may be eligible to enter at an advanced paygrade. Cadet experience also helps individuals become more competitive for commissioning programs. Annual scholarships are awarded to exceptional cadets who wish to pursue a college education.
     Jackson further noted that the USNSCC and USNLCC are non-profit, volunteer run, youth organizations. The program was founded in the 1960s by the Navy and is still largely supported by the United States Navy and United States Coast Guard.
     The Manatee Division has approximately 16 cadets between the ages of 10-17 and is always looking to grow.
     "Our cadets get to experience a variety of activities such as marksmanship, leadership through horsemanship training, camping, Young Eagles Flight Program, mud runs, community service, honor guard, veteran appreciation, field navigation, military knowledge and military bearing," Jackson said. "The goal of the program is to create positive experiences that help cadets develop character traits and grow as a leader."
     She said the organization is very excited to announce the new partnership with the City of Inglis.
     Visit https://www.seacadets.org/ for more information.

 


 



AdChristianpress2
Published Feb. 1, 2011 at 8 a.m.
Updated March 3, 2020 at 7:10 a.m.

     On Feb. 1, 2011, HardisonInk.com came to exist 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.


LENT 2020

Published Feb. 26 at 9:10 a.m.
(Updated Daily Through Easter)

Remember to scroll down
     Lent is a solemn religious observance in the Christian liturgical calendar that begins on Ash Wednesday and ends approximately 40 days later on Holy Saturday, the day before Easter Sunday.
     During Lent 2020, HardisonInk.com is republishing a Lenten booklet by the Rev. Dr. Tom Farmer Jr., a Christian leader who retired as the head pastor from St. Paul United Methodist Church of Largo and has served several years now as an associate pastor in Keystone Heights.
     The following devotionals will show Day 1, etc., through Lent. These are all pictures of those pages, which Dr. Farmer allowed HardisonInk.com to republish before, and they are being shown again now.
     The introduction and “A Time For Personal Commitment” are remaining at the top of the series. In the actual booklet, there are blank lined pages for people to make their own notes as they reflect on the devotionals each day.
     Dr. Farmer dedicated this booklet to the Glory of God and to his wife Peggy K. Farmer.
     Counting The Cost of The Cross was first published in 2002.
     One concept related to the “Sunday exception” of having 40 days of Lent, which can be seen as a time to fast or “to give up” something like – ice cream – for instance, is that Sundays are not really part of Lent.
     Actually, Sundays can’t be excluded from any calendar. Think of the reason for Lent and make choices accordingly.
     On the calendar, between Ash Wednesday and Easter is actually 46 days.
     As for the "Sunday exception," another idea is that Sundays are days of celebration. Each and every Sunday, even during Lent, is like a “little Easter.” Therefore, it would be inappropriate to fast on a Sunday. This can be argued either way. We all have free will. If people are fasting, or "giving up" something for Lent, each person will make his or her choice in that regard.
     The “40 days” don’t quite add up, too, because technically Lent ends on Holy Thursday, when the Easter Triduum begins (though fasting continues up to the Vigil on Holy Saturday).
     Here’s the thing for the HardisonInk.com republication of Dr. Farmer’s Counting The Cost of The Cross. Each Sunday within this time, there will be something other than a picture of the page from that pastor’s thoughtful publication that can be used for Christian growth during this time.
     Also, for the grammarians, and adherents to The Associated Press Stylebook and Libel Manual, Dr. Farmer’s work includes two spaces between the period at an end of a sentence and the start of a new sentence. That’s O.K. This is his composition, and he follows the style and rules of grammar for his age and for this type of publication at that time in this beloved pastor's life.



Lent 2020 Dr. Tom Farmer Jr.

Lent 2020 Dr. Tom Farmer Jr.
 


April 1, 2020  Wednesday at  8:10 a.m.

Lent 2020 HardisonInk/com

 




Outdoor Truths Ministry

By Gary Miller © March 30, 2020 at 8:10 a.m.
AdGaryMiller062318
     It such a shame that time seems to be in lesser quantities as one gets older. It’s not just age but the responsibilities that come with having a family, career, and expenses. I can remember when the striper and walleye run would be the most important event in my life. Since the run was only a few weeks long, everything else would have to wait until the more predictable days of fishing came. I was not the only one who felt a draw to the river during this time. In fact, fishing in the river during March was one of the few times where I stood nearly shoulder to shoulder with other fishermen just to have a place to wet a line. And as soon as someone left, the vacuum would be filled quickly by another fisherman wanting that spot. It was there I learned what a doll fly was, and I learned to bring plenty of them because the river had a way of eating her share as well. If the water was drained at Earl’s Holler, there is no telling what stories it would have and what treasures it would expose. The river has a unique quality. The water that runs in her banks has never passed through there before, and yet the riverbed itself has remained basically the same. Erosion has softened her floor but only to reveal a more solid foundation. What is loose and shallow has floated away and what is firm and deep has remained to provide an unmovable path for her liquid cargo. Very rarely do we ever see a storm so great that it permanently changes the direction of the river. Most of the time when the storm subsides, the waters find their previous parameters and mind them well. 
     I want my life to be like Old Man River. I don’t want to be a stagnant pool. I want my foundation to be solid and yet smooth and the things that are shallow to float away. I also want to provide a path for every new thing that life offers but I want to make sure it conforms to what I know to be true and right. And what about the storms? There’s no doubt at times they will overflow my banks, but hopefully after the water subsides, my direction will be just as sure as it was before the storm. If this exemplifies my life, I will be able to say I have been blessed by the presence and stories of many friends who left some great treasures for me to guard

 -- 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--
WEDNESDAY  APRIL 1  8:10 a.m.
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