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TUEDSAY  SEPT. 21  7:11 a.m.  Levy, Dixie and Gilchrist counties


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Gary Miller's
Outdoor Truths Ministry, Sept. 13, 2021

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CKS students apply constructive lessons
CKS Students learn about home repairs
(from left) This set of four pictures shows Students discuss powering up their wall and testing it; Students cut out around a hole in the drywall to practice patching; Students measure 16 inches on center studs and create their frame; and Students wire a duplex receptacle and tack the wiring to the studs.
~
Story and Photos Provided
By Rachel Wetherington 
CKS Middle and Senior FFA Chapters Advisor
Published Sept. 16, 2021 at 4:11 p.m.
     CEDAR KEY -
- The ag tech students at Cedar Key School have been working on a unit for Ag Engineering.

 

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     This topic includes ag construction, maintenance, small engine, electrical, and plumbing.
     One project was to create a 3-foot by 3-foot wall with 16-inch on center studs, run electrical wires through the wall, install a duplex electrical receptacle outlet, install drywall, and patch over their screws and any mistakes in the drywall.
     The ultimate test was whether drywall patches were smooth, if their studs were square, and if their outlet worked.
     So far, two-thirds of the students have finished their projects. Now they do apply these lessons to conduct home repairs in their own homes.
     When the last group creates its wall, the students will use a stud-finder to locate the studs. Then the students will mark where studs on the "wall" exist, as well as where the electrical wires run through the wall.

 


Rotarians learn about
Gilchrist County Emergency Management

Gilchrist County
(from left) Rotarian Donna Lee, Gilchrist County Emergency Management Director Ralph Smith, and Gilchrist County Rotary Club President Rick Washburn pause for a photo at the meeting on Monday (Sept. 13).
Story and Photo Provided
By Gilchrist County Rotary Club President Rick Washburn
Published Sept. 15, 2021 at 12:11 p.m.
     TRENTON --
The weekly Gilchrist County Rotary Club meeting provided Rotarians a chance to welcome one of Gilchrist County’s own leaders Ralph Smith on Monday afternoon (Sept. 13).

     Gilchrist County Emergency Management Director Smith was born and raised in Gilchrist County. He was raised by his parents who both worked years for the county.
     Ralph began his service to the county with 10 years in the Gilchrist County Sheriff’s Office, while serving as a volunteer firefighter too. He earned the responsibilities of assistant chief prior to accepting his current position as the Gilchrist County Emergency Management director in December of 2015.
     As the ONLY member of the Emergency Management team in Gilchrist County, his duties include the regular review and updating of the various emergency plans for the county including the comprehensive plan due every five years.
     As he performs this task instead of outsourcing it, the county saves thousands of dollars from his efforts. Ralph Smith also is the point person for different disasters that may occur within the county including making the decision to open the three designated emergency shelters: Trenton Elementary School, Bell Elementary School and the Medical Needs one location at the Bell High School.
     These facilities are in need of staffing when operating. There is minimal training required and the volunteers would be part of a rotation to make sure basic needs are met. The Gilchrist County Rotary Club is considering the formation of a committee to help facilitate meeting this need. 
     An interesting fact Ralph presented was his involvement in the 100-year floodplain update study last year by the National Weather Service.
     During the flooding of January 2020, he traveled across the county documenting the high water levels and marks using various camera sources to help this determination. This on the ground documentation is not just for the benefit of a single study, but often a requirement of many of the disasters that strike a county.
     As the sole member of team, Ralph is regularly updated and personally involved in many issues that would tap into the emergency plans. These responses include, but are not limited to: flooded roads, roads blocked due to an accident (to law enforcement and emergency services can reroute as needed, notification of actions by farmers and agriculture businesses that could potentially lead to hazardous materials spills if not done correctly so that proper responses can be at the ready.
     Gilchrist County is blessed to have another homegrown professional rise through our education system and serve our community!

 


Year-old circuit civil case progresses
Weeks versus Roberts and others
In this composite photo, parties in the Zoom meeting are seen. They are Jeff M. Hardison (top left), Eighth Judicial Circuit Court Judge Craig C. DeThomasis (top right), Attorney Susan S. Erdelyi (bottom left) and Attorney W. Blake Fugate (bottom right).

Story and Photos
By Jeff M. Hardison © Sept. 14, 2021 at 2:11 p.m.
     BRONSON –
Eighth Judicial Circuit Court Judge Craig C. DeThomasis ruled Monday morning (Sept. 13) on aspects of a case that has been plodding through the state and federal civil courts for a year now.

 




Weeks versus Roberts and others
Eighth Judicial Circuit Court Judge Craig C. DeThomasis

Weeks versus Roberts and others
Attorney Susan S. Erdelyi

Weeks versus Roberts and others
Attorney W. Blake Fugate


     Having been remanded from federal court back to the circuit court in May, according to records, the case of Tony Berlon Weeks, as plaintiff, against six individual defendants (or respondents) -- Beatrice Roberts, Jason Hunt, Robert Partin, Aaron Edmondson, Melisa Thompson and Steven Warm, was set for case management on Sept. 13 at 11 a.m.
     Circuit Court Judge DeThomasis ruled on motions, resulting in progress toward an end to this set of issues. As he noted at the outset of that hearing, Circuit Court Judge DeThomasis needed to review the case with the attorneys rather than set it for a date, time and place for trial.
     Attorney Susan S. Erdelyi, representing Roberts, Hunt, Partin, Edmondson, Thompson and Warm, found the judge granting her request to dismiss Thompson and Warm from Count Three of the civil action, because when Thompson was town clerk, or serving in that capacity for Bronson, and attorney Warm was serving then (and still) as town attorney for Bronson, they could not violate the Sunshine Law.
     Thompson and Warm are not members of the same board, council, commission, etc., where they have the power to vote.
     Attorney Woodroe Blake Fugate of Williston, representing Weeks in this matter, made it abundantly clear that if those two individuals facilitated so that members of the Bronson Town Council could circumvent Florida law requiring members of that council to not discuss out of the public view matters, or to vote upon matters out of the public view, then he would bring those facts to the forefront for the court to see.
     There are requirements in Florida law, too, so that the public can see the date, time and place where a meeting of the Town Council is happening – so that the people can attend the public meeting if they want.
     Beyond the alleged potential Sunshine Law violations, the meat and potatoes of this case is whether Town Councilman Weeks actually resigned from Bronson Town Council. His attorney maintains that Weeks never resigned. And attorney Fugate contends, the Town Council had no authority to vote 3-1 to confirm the resignation. The attorney for Weeks said that when the Bronson Town Council met to vote 3-1 to say Weeks had resigned, that meeting was not properly noticed.
     From that Bronson Town Council meeting allegedly being held out of the sunshine from its alleged lack of proper notice, Fugate said, it was a meeting held in violation of Florida law. Subsequently, that 3-1 vote and all other action from that meeting is not valid or binding, attorney Fugate contends, according to what he said during the case management hearing.
     As noted, the hour-long case management hearing result in the setting of a date, time and place set for the trial. The judge did move the matter forward because of a 20-day limit for certain action, and another 20-day limit for response to that action by attorneys for both sides.
     Therefore, within 40 working days, the two sides on the issue should have settled the issues to go forward in finding answers to all of the questions.
     Attorneys Erdelyi and Fugate seemed receptive to moving even more quickly than the maximum allowed timetable for their next actions.
     This hearing on Zoom included only Judge DeThomasis, attorney Erdelyi, attorney Fugate and Jeff M. Hardison as a member of the press attending. It unfolded to show finer points in an argument that may have carried beyond the point of being timely anymore. Nevertheless, the United States is a nation of laws, and the case may serve historically for jurisprudence in Florida.
     The election of Bronson Town Councilman Tyler Voorhees (Seat 5) is a sure thing as of today (Tuesday, Sept. 14), because he faced no opposition. Voorhees was the man appointed by the Bronson Town Council to replace Weeks in Seat 5, after the Town Council decided Weeks had resigned.
     Voorhees served the remainder of Weeks’ term. When Voorhees ran for election, no person qualified to run against him, and he was elected as of the Sept. 14 election – unopposed to be the person in Seat 5 of the Bronson Town Council.
     Here is how the case management hearing went on Monday (Sept. 13).
     Judge DeThomasis welcomed the attorneys and the singular journalist covering the hearing.
     Attorney Erdelyi’s motion to dismiss the most recently amended complaint was addressed, as was attorney Fugate’s response – seeking to deny that motion to dismiss.
     Essentially, after a thorough review of facts and procedure, the proverbial bottom line was Judge DeThomasis dismissing the case, while allowing attorney Fugate the opportunity to amend the complaints alleged by his client against the defendants, and perhaps a new defendant – the Town of Bronson.
     This new version of the complaint may result in the Town of Bronson being named as the defendant, rather than or even as well as the various individuals, depending how the plaintiff’s attorney crafts the amendments.
      That turn of the potential future in this case came from discussion showing Fugate’s contention that defendants acted in the capacity as individuals rather than in their official capacity, as well as acting as members of the Town Council or as a town employee.
     As she started her statements for reasons to dismiss the case, Erdelyi noted that Thompson is no longer working for the town as the clerk, and there was a point during the hearing where Erdelyi even questioned if Thompson was the clerk. Thompson has become the human resources director for the City of Williston.
     Bronson has no town clerk now, although it has created the position of town manager.
     In her argument before the civil circuit court, Erdelyi said there was a lack of clarity in the suit. She questioned whether Weeks meant to sue the town or the Town Council, or what the plaintiff is alleging against the individual defendants.
     The judge let the defense attorney know that he had read all of the material submitted by both attorneys, as well as the various case law submitted by both attorneys to support their claims on state laws related to this case.
     At the meeting where Weeks allegedly resigned, Erdelyi said, Town Attorney Warm attended via telephone and could not “see” that Weeks had left his chair and walked out of the room. She noted the meeting continued after Weeks left the room.
     Erdelyi asserted her motion to dismiss is procedurally supported, because if the case moves forward with six individual defendants, then there may be more attorneys involved to represent separate interests.
     Erdelyi said her motion to dismiss is substantively supported, too, because of the lack of clarity as to what facts stated in the three-count suit apply to which of the various claims.
     Another point Erdelyi shared was her perspective that she does not see a remedy stated by Weeks, which the court can grant. It is not possible to go backward in time and Town Councilman Voorhees is the newly elected member who replaces Weeks.
     In part of her statement, Erdelyi said the plaintiff wants the judge to “… see the facts as he sees them.” Attorney Fugate responded to that statement by mentioning that all parties want the judge to see things as their sides believe they should be seen.
     Regarding the claim that Weeks resigned and created a vacancy in that seat, Weeks abandoned his post, Erdelyi said, when he walked out of the room and announced some degree of an intent to resign.
     “The challenge we have as a matter of law,” Erdelyi said, “is that if somebody abandons his post and walks out, a vacancy is created.”
     Erdelyi contends on behalf of the defendants that when Weeks walked out, he abandoned his post and the vacancy occurred.
     Later in his response to that concept, attorney Fugate told the judge that when a resignation occurs there is a vacancy. Weeks did not resign, Fugate added.
     The attorney said Bronson Town Councilman Edmondson walked out of a meeting and the Town Council continued doing its business. This was after the Weeks’ incident, when Edmondson became upset by an audience member, Fugate said.
     The Council asked Councilman Edmondson then if he was resigning, and he replied that he was not. Fugate said this demonstrates a different behavior or a different type of treatment for one Town Council member in contrast with how Town Councilman Weeks was treated, when both men performed the same alleged abandonment of their posts – by walking out of the meeting.
     Erdelyi argued and Fugate argues as well that the Town Council lacked the authority to replace Weeks to the vacancy he allegedly created when he allegedly abandoned his post. Erdelyi’s point being that he resigned and could not return, and Fugate’s point being that Weeks never resigned and the Council had no power to stop him from taking his seat at meetings, etc.
     Fugate argues that the Town Council lacked the authority to remove Weeks via a 3-1 vote, even if that meeting was properly noticed, because only the governor or the town’s voters have the authority to remove a sitting Town Council member.
     In her motion to dismiss, Erdelyi summed up, there is confusion caused by comingling of defendants and facts across all three counts of the suit. She asserted that Fugate did not follow the basic procedural rules of pleadings.
     She said the case should be dismissed as a matter of law on the issue of resignation. Erdelyi noted the Town Council members enjoy certain immunity from suit as well as from discovery by the very nature of them accepting the duty as a Town Council member, as she continued with reasons to dismiss the case outright, and without an ability to amend it.
     Fugate noted that if the Town Council members used their personal phones or computers to communicate with one another and to vote, then those devices will be open for inspection of the public records on them.
     As attorney Fugate responded to Erdelyi’s motion to dismiss, he went through his points for reasons to deny that motion.
     Fugate said his client never wanted the other four Town Council members “to put him back on” the Council, because Weeks asserts that he was never off of the Council. Instead, Fugate said, the plaintiff simply wanted them to “step out of the way” and let him sit where he rightfully belonged as a Town Council member.
     Weeks wants declaratory relief by a statement being made that he never resigned, Fugate said. Substantive due process issues exist because the other people are withholding his right to serve, the plaintiff’s attorney added.
     Fugate said these six individuals -- and not the town -- are being sought to be enjoined from stopping Weeks from serving on Town Council, and that is why the suit was filed as it was filed.
     Fugate said it was the clerk and the attorney, although the attorney may be a bit removed, however it was the attorney who gave Town Council advise on this matter.
     Fugate said it was never a legal construct on whether the other four members of Town Council could vote to decide if Weeks was on the Town Council or not. Fugate said that he wants to find out through the discovery process, why one of the four people on Town Council voted to say they thought that Weeks did not resign. He wants to depose that person to see why there was a “No” vote on ruling Weeks had resigned.
     Fugate contends that there is no clarity to establish that Weeks resigned. That “fact” is not established as a fact yet, Fugate said.
     Attorney Fugate said it is the plaintiff’s belief that “it is not the town’s fault” that these issues exist. Instead, Fugate added, it is from the actions of these six named defendants as individuals, who acted outside the scope of their employment with the town or outside the scope of their duties as elected members of the Bronson Town Council.
     When Fugate addressed Count III of the suit, regarding the alleged Sunshine Law violations, he explained to Judge DeThomasis that only the members of the Town Council could violate the Sunshine Law.
     “Can you take votes over the phone?” is one of the questions to be reviewed in this possible Sunshine Law violation, Fugate intimated.
     Action was being taken without noticed meetings, Fugate asserted.
     Ultimate facts have been placed in the initial complaint, he said, and later there will be evidence to show this text came from this person to this person.
     There are ample facts presented regarding the deprivation claim and regarding the Sunshine Law violation claim, Fugate said, to support the three points noted in the suit.
     Before sharing his ruling, the judge said this case presents some unique circumstances, affected in part by the protocol to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
     Judge DeThomasis granted the motion to dismiss, with leave for Fugate to amend his complaint either naming the Town of Bronson as a defendant, if the suit is against the defendants in their official capacity; or, if the allegations are that these individuals performed their acts simply and solely outside
the scope of their official duties.
     Therefore, in Counts I, II and III of the complaint, Fugate can assert with specificity and clarity, what actions were performed by which individuals outside their official duties, or if the Town Council performed actions, then the suit will be against the Town of Bronson.
     With this leave to amend, the judge can foresee how the three counts may have different defendants or the same. The amended complaint will be more specific and clearer with what actions are sought from the court
     In Count I, there is the issue of alleged violation of due process of law. In Count II, there is the issue of a violation of Weeks’ right to office. And in Count III, there will be more specificity and clarity about who allegedly violated the Sunshine Law.
     In respect to Weeks’ claim for damages, this too will have more clarity in the amended document, according to the judge’s order from Monday (Sept. 13).
     Regarding whether Weeks resigned, Judge DeThomasis said he is not, at this stage, prepared to rule via summary judgment.
     The judge ruled Thompson and attorney Warm are both excluded from the complaint regarding the Sunshine Law – Count III; however, if the plaintiff chooses, Thompson and Warm may remain in Counts I and II.
     To be clear, the Town of Bronson can be a defendant, and the six individuals can be defendants, except for Thompson and Warm in Count III, and the amended complaint will be clearer about the points noted.

 


 



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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 the 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 11 years here now. That publication's daily devotionals include many from a time when the United States of America was a partner in a World War. 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, Sept. 21, 2021 at 7:11 a.m.

Remember McGreggor

Read Psalm 37

     Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ;
-- 1 Peter 1:13 (KJV)


     Once I attended an important meeting, of which the chairman was named McGreggor. Before the meeting, he had given orders not to be disturbed. Yet the telephone rang. Because of its insistent ringing, he finally answered it. Almost immediately he fell to the floor in a dead faint, crying “My daughter has been killed!” We called an ambulance and got him to a hospital - the committee adjourned.
     Imagine our surprise and joy when his secretary telephone each of us later and said, “It wasn’t Mr. McGreggor’s daughter—it was his dog!” From that day to this, when anything looks bad to a member of that committee, he remarks, “Cheer up! Remember McGreggor.” It has even become a common saying with people who never knew the man.
     Recently, I have been wondering about starting a slogan, “Remember Psalm 37.” When someone comes to you upset and worried about something, why not say to him or her, “Remember Psalm 37?” This could not only be a great help to the individual but be doing real missionary work for Christ and His Church.
     God as revealed in the Bible is an inexhaustible source of power and wisdom. There are strength and comfort for those who will use this mine of resources. Don’t we owe it to God, to ourselves and to our friends to shake off our inferiority complex and tell the world? This would be a simple and practical way of doing so.
     O GOD, give us faith in what Thou canst do for us. May we each day use the help which is ours for the asking. May we stand firm, keep cool, and not fret, remembering that all things work together for good to those who love Thee. Amen.
Roger W. Babson (July 6, 1875-March 5, 1967)
Statistician and Business Analyst
Babson Park, 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 © Sept. 20, 2021 at 10:11 a.m.
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     One of the benefits of hunting is getting to see so many different animals and other things that one just doesn’t get to see otherwise. I have renamed one of my trail cameras, the zoo camera, because it always has pictures of so many different kinds of animals. On that one camera, within the last two months, I have pictures of deer, coyotes, bobcats, turkeys, raccoons, squirrels, and a bear. Not to mention the various birds. And not only do you get to see various creatures, but sometimes it’s the oddities that are the most fun. It’s when you see a piebald deer or an albino coyote. I look forward to seeing what shows up next, every time I check that camera. But these things are even more fun to see while I’m actually hunting. These are the real memories.
     The other day I read about a hunter who had one of these experiences. His was very odd. It was once-in-a-lifetime odd. He shot a deer with two heads. Well, not with two attached heads. One had come from another deer. The deer this guy shot had evidently been in a previous fight with another deer and had killed the other deer but was unable to untangle his antlers from the other one. So, somehow, as the other deer decomposed, the deer that won the fight was able to decapitate its foe. But since that time had to walk around with a dead, smelly, heavy, cumbersome, remembrance of a victorious fight, that was not worth the price paid. The comparison, for me, was too blaring.
     When I saw the picture of the guy’s trophy and the attached carcass, I thought about how much of the things people fight for are just not worth the hauls of a victory. While we may carry around the evidence of a win, it may also come with the stench of other spoils that may never go away. I wonder how many of us can remember a victory where the prize was not worth the win? And now the trophy is a burden of a painful memory. My friend, winning a battle, or an argument, over something that doesn’t really matter may bring immediate satisfaction, but don’t forget, it could also be the very thing that brings about your own demise. The slow death of personal regret and its burdens is sometimes worse than the immediate pride that comes from destroying another.

 -- 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/.


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