MONDAY JUNE 21 9:11 a.m. Levy, Dixie and Gilchrist counties
residential construction continues
Garbage and fire assessments
may be on the horizon
Before the start of the meeting Thursday night in Cross City, leaders prepare. Seen here are (from left) Dixie County Clerk Barbie Higginbotham, County Commissioner James Valentine, County Commissioner Mark Hatch, County Commission Chairman Jamie Storey, County Commission Vice Chairman W.C. Mills and County Commissioner Jody Stephenson.
Story and Photos
By Jeff M. Hardison © June 18, 2021 at 10:11 p.m.
CROSS CITY – The Dixie County Board of County Commissioners on Thursday night (June 17) approved resolutions for property owners, approved a potential method to preserve records better and moved forward with the plan to auction surplus county-owned equipment.
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Three rows of chairs in the audience are all filled, and there were times on Thursday night at this meeting, when and where people were standing just outside the doorway to the meeting room due to a lack of enough seating.
Dixie County Manager Duane Cannon (left) and Dixie County Attorney M. Michael O’Steen listen to a person speaking Thursday night.
Dixie County Building Director Leon Wright looks at documents as he goes through the requests from people for special exceptions and variances required for building in certain zoned areas of the county.
Additionally, among their many actions, the five men set the date, time and place for a public hearing related to special assessments for solid waste (garbage) and fire service.
The five members of the Dixie County Board of County Commissioners are County Commission Chairman Jamie Storey (Dist. 4), County Commission Vice Chairman W.C. Mills (Dist. 2) and County Commissioner Jody Stephenson, Commissioner Mark Hatch (Dist. 3) and County Commissioner James Valentine.
Residential, business and vacant lot property owners are scheduled to be sent letters telling them about the planned public hearing, as well as the maximum rates of these special assessments. As of Thursday night, the date, time and place for the public hearing was Aug. 5, starting at 10 a.m., in the meeting room for the Dixie County School Board, 823 S.E. 349 Highway (Dixie County Road 349) in Old Town.
The reason to move that meeting away from the small meeting room for the County Commission to the big meeting room for the Dixie County School Board is because there is a relatively strong likelihood of many people showing up to speak about these possible future special assessments.
The current maximum special assessment would be $180 per year for residential solid waste, and the same rate would be for small commercial interests. Other rates would be for larger garbage customers.
The current maximum special assessment would be $125 per year for residential property owners for fire service. There are other rates for business owners and vacant lots.
As for the public hearings on Thursday night, the County Commission unanimously approved a requested special exception for Edward R. and Eloise Parrott to permit one residential vehicle in a Residential, (Mixed) Single Family/Mobile Home zone district.
The County Commission unanimously approved seven variance requests, with two of those from William and Kimberly Sikes, and five of those from Michael E. Driscoll.
The variance in all instances allows a reduction from 25 feet to 10 feet in a Planned Residential Development on seven lots in the River Shores at Jena subdivision.
Building Director Wright said these variances are on new homes. This is the first time, Wright added, when there were seven variances sought on new homes at one County Commission meeting. This action, he indicated, shows a trend toward people buying land in Dixie County and developing residences.
In other action that night, the County Commission unanimously agreed to a request from Dixie County Clerk Barbie Higginbotham to pay Kofax – a company that changes paper documents into digital records, as well as preserving those paper copies and creating a method for public access to documents via the Internet.
The single-time price is in the $140,000 range and there are federal grants to cover the cost. On a motion by Commissioner Stephenson, seconded by Commissioner Hatch, conditioned on grants covering the costs, the County Commission voted 5-0 to approve the request. The annual fee of $5,000 or so is already budgeted for records keeping and storage.
As he made his pitch for the service, a representative of Kofax told about the terrible disarray of records he saw in the Dixie County Clerk’s Office before Higginbotham, staff members and an independent contractor began to sift, sort, file and tend to duty of untangling the mess that the recently-elected county clerk found in January.
One selling point for the service by Kofax was the discovery of the DD-214 form from the United States Navy for a hero from Dixie County. The company spokesman got some “oos” and “aws” from the crowd as he spoke about saving that public record from destruction or losing the ability to find it.
Among the many other actions and informational matters that night, was one from Donald “Don” Savoie, the president-chief executive officer at Meridian Behavioral Healthcare Inc. He made a request for an increase in annual funds from the next budget.
The previous year, the county spent about $53,000 for the services of Meridian. The new request is for $54,067.
Savoie said there were 373 people from Dixie County helped through 1,900 telehealth conferences.
Savoie provided a lot of data about Dixie County’s residents needing help with behavioral healthcare, including with addiction to drugs, especially opioids. He received no “yay” or “nay” vote on his budget increase request.
Dixie is one of 12 counties served by Meridian Behavioral Healthcare Inc.
The Dixie County Commission meets the first Thursday of each month at 10 a.m. and the third Thursday of each month at 6 p.m.
The meeting Thursday night was jampacked with matters to consider and the meeting room had every seat filled with a person.
Individuals who want to be placed on the agenda for a meeting should call County Clerk Higginbotham by 4 p.m. on the Friday preceding that coming Thursday’s meeting. The number to call is 352-498-1200.
AmVets Post 444 raffles
motorcycle and sidecar in fundraiser
Information and Photos Provided
By Venus Rhonomus
Published June 16, 2021 at 10:11 p.m.
LEVY COUNTY – With the passing of Vietnam Veteran Richard M. McClure on May 7, his daughter Venus Rhonomus and her husband Steven Rhonomus chose against adding another motorcycle and sidecar to their set of vehicles.
McClure left his 2015 Ural motorcycle and sidecar.
“I wanted to do something special to honor my Dad,” she said. “He bought the Ural brand new in 2015, but with his health issues, he barely rode it. It has 389 original miles on it.
“We decided to donate it to our local AmVets Post 444 in Williston, in memory of my Dad,” she noted.
The motorcycle and sidecar are scheduled to be raffled to raise money to help AmVets Post 444, to help local veterans, their supporters and the community.
The raffle begins at noon on Father's Day (June 20). The winner will be announced on Nov. 25 after AmVets Post 444's Thanksgiving Dinner, at 7 p.m.
This raffle will be in time to get the Ural home for Christmas.
The winner will be responsible for transporting the Ural home. There is a United Sidecar Association representative willing to assist with local delivery.
There is an email for questions and to request a raffle entry.
Anyone wanting to purchase an online raffle entry can email the Post for raffle entries by letting them know how many entries they want and providing their name, PayPal email, and contact number. That email is MVETS444_UralRaffle@hotmail.com.
The post has a PayPal account for use to send people invoices from (American Veterans Post 444 Inc.) to receive secure payment, provide receipts and entry ticket numbers to anyone who chooses to purchase raffle tickets online, securely.
The Ural is now at AmVets Post 444 in Williston. People may also purchase raffle tickets directly from the Post. The Ural will remain at the Post and may be viewed by calling Steve at 352-363-4659.
Anyone is welcome to donate and participate in this raffle.
There are certain things that need to be noted in this raffle. They follow:
ELIGIBILITY: You must be 18 years of age to enter.
FUNDMISER DONATIONS: The raffle ticket price is not tax deductible as a contribution to AmVets Post 444. The suggested donation for a raffle ticket is (1 ticket for $20, or 3 tickets for $50. There is no maximum number of entries an individual may purchase. Only official numbered ticket entries will be accepted.
All participants who enter the raffle have an equal chance to win. AmVets Post 444 will limit the total number of entries to two thousand [2,000]. Entries may be made via the AmVets Post 444 PayPal account through www.paypal.com sending entry donation funds to firstname.lastname@example.org or American Veterans Post 444 Inc.
Tickets may also be purchased in person at AmVets Post 444 and at certain events at which AmVets Post 444 or other AmVets representatives are present.
ENTRY SCHEDULE: The AmVets Post 444 Ural Motorcycle & Sidecar raffle will begin on June 27 at 12 noon. The random drawing will take place on Thursday, Nov. 25 at 7 p.m. EDT. All electronic entries through the AmVets Post 444 PayPal account must be received by Nov. 24 by 7 p.m. EDT. Tickets will continue to be sold in person until Nov. 25 at 6:55 p.m. EDT.
RECEIPT OF PRIZE: The winner does not need to be present to win. The winner agrees to arrange for removal of the Ural Motorcycle & Sidecar by Dec. 17. Failure to do so may result in forfeiture of the Ural Motorcycle & Sidecar, which will then be returned to the original donor of the vehicle. The winner is responsible for transportation and delivery of the Ural Motorcycle & Sidecar. The winner is also responsible for any applicable taxes and fees including state and federal sales or income tax where applicable.
AmVets Post 444 will comply with all applicable tax requirements, including reporting and withholding requirements. AmVets Post 444 will mail applicable tax forms to the winner of the raffle and report the prize to the IRS.
AmVets Post 444 will not be responsible to collect the required withholdings upon the transfer of title of the Ural Motorcycle & Sidecar to the winner and remit to the appropriate authorities.
PRIZES: The PRIZE is a 2015 Ural Motorcycle & Sidecar, donated to AmVets Post 444 by Venus and Steven Rhonomus in memory of Vietnam Veteran Richard M. McClure.
No warranty is made by either the donors or AmVets Post 444 as to the working condition of the Ural Motorcycle & Sidecar. The winner will be contacted by telephone immediately following the drawing and by e-mail and/or USPS mail as to his or her winnings subsequently following the drawing within 24 hours.
ENTRY LAWS: The AmVets Post 444 Ural Motorcycle & Sidecar raffle is subject to all applicable laws, state or federal and is void where prohibited or otherwise restricted by law. Entrants to this fundraiser are responsible for compliance with all such laws and regulations based on their age, place of residence, etc. As a nonprofit organization, AmVets Post 444 cannot require an entry fee, substantial consideration, payment, proof of purchase or contribution as a condition of entering a raffle.
Therefore, no one is required to purchase an entry or make a contribution to AmVets Post444 as a condition of this raffle and all participants who enter the raffle have an equal chance to win.
The winner of this 2015 Ural Motorcycle & Sidecar PRIZE release AmVets Post444, its officers, members and any other AmVets Posts, members, officers, state and national representatives, as well as any related sponsors or donors from any responsibility or liability in connection with any loss, accident or death incurred with the use of this prize.
ENTRY RULES: It is AmVets Post 444's right to amend, revise, and interpret the Raffle Rules as it may see fit. It is expected that by donating money for an entry ticket, entrants will hold to the rules of entering as presented here. If you have any questions about this Ural Motorcycle & Sidecar raffle, you can email AmVets Post 444 at email@example.com.
Market at Homestead Park launches
Indigo Crandell, 21, (left) and her sister Sami Crandell, 18, stand in their booth for Sad Donkey Coffee at The Market at Homestead Park on Saturday morning (June 12). Their main location for the coffee shop is 102 N.E. Second Ave. in Williston. It is open from 6:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Saturday and from 8 a.m. to noon on Sunday.
Story and Photos
By Jeff M. Hardison © June 12, 2021 at 8:11 p.m.
WILLISTON – The Market at Homestead Park launched with a temporary offering and a taste of grace and style Saturday (June 12) in Williston.
Homestead Tiny House Enterprises Business Manager Heidi Showalter (left) and Tiny House Enterprises Sales Associate Katie Hollenshead stand in the honey booth at The Market. Vendors, such as the honey seller, brought their products and placed them for sale, however vendors were not present in their booths Saturday morning. Sales were completed, though, and the providers of goods received their payments.
The second day of the two-day event is set for tomorrow (Sunday, June 13). (See the advance story on the Home Page for more details about that.)
Developers Matt Crandell and Kevin West, who are co-founders of Homestead Tiny House Co., with support from Homestead Tiny Enterprises LLC partners Chase Crandell, Indigo Crandell, Sami Crandell and Zac Crandell, Matt’s children, are bringing Homestead Park into existence. Of course, demolition, waste removal and construction crews are involved in this lengthy process as well.
Zac Crandell is only 12 years old, but his father Matt Crandell said he wants all four children to learn about business by participating hands-on with the experience of owning and operating ventures. That is why Matt Crandell made the four siblings equal partners in Homestead Tiny Enterprises LLC of Dunnellon, he said. Matt Crandell is the registered agent of this venture, though, according to records.
This view of the former Winn-Dixie Shopping Center in Williston, on SR 121 near Northeast 50th Street, shows where The Market at Homestead Park will be located when it is built as a permanent structure. The Market was under a tent Saturday and Sunday to show people the high quality of items that are planned for the day when it becomes regularly active.
In this graphic representation, provided via email by Kevin West, the future scene of The Market and Sad Donkey Coffee at Homestead Park is planned to look like this.
Once the scene of a thriving Winn-Dixie and other retail outlets, which then fell into a deep abyss of slum and blight, Homestead Park is the future development that is currently being built.
West said the first part of this multiuse facility will be The Market. It will include 15 spots for vendors in an open-air setting. On Saturday and Sunday there were samples of the types of quality the developers want for that part of Homestead Park.
Every vendor will be screened to assure they provide buyers with the highest quality of items. On Saturday, there were of artworks, plants, clothes and jewelry in a boutique setting, locally harvested honey, homemade jerky, locally grown produce, furniture and coffee from Sad Donkey Coffee.
Visitors entering The Market see two Homestead Tiny Houses on display at either side of the entrance. The houses on wheels are for people to walk through and discuss which colors and other options they want as they are built for them. These range in the $62,950 to $67,950 range. Tiny Houses are built on trailers and remain on those wheels.
While the Homestead Park venture is set for the future, there are a couple of enterprises active in Williston already.
Homestead Tiny House Resort is a bed and breakfast in Williston in the area of Northeast First Avenue and Second Street. People can rent a tiny house to stay in there.
The Sad Donkey Coffee Shop is run by Indigo and Sami Crandell, although all four Crandell siblings founded it. Sami told how it got its name.
When she came down to Ocala from the Atlanta area, Sami would compete in eventing horse competitions. Eventing is an equestrian event where a single horse and rider combine and compete against other equestrians across the three disciplines of dressage, cross-country, and show jumping.
Sami said her horse was big, gray and it had long ears. She said it looked sad, and that is why her family called it “Sad Donkey” even though it was a horse. The horse’s real name was Theo.
Sami sold Theo to another rider some time ago, however the Sad Donkey name was the winner for the coffee shop’s name.
This is the front of one of the two tiny houses brought to the event. The two windows at the top are for viewing out of the lofts of the structure, which can be reached by the stairs inside.
Vii Tanner, Homestead Tiny House production manager, stands next to one of the tiny houses brought for display. He stands five-foot, 11-inches tall to put the house in perspective for size.
Walking up the indoor stairs to the master loft, this is the view. There is not enough room for a 5-foot, 10-inch tall man to stand up, but a person can get onto the bed on their knees.
Kevin West, co-founder and product director of Homestead Tiny House Co., stand next to a couple of artistic renderings of the future Homestead Park. The picture at the left shows the temporary scenario for The Market. The picture at the right shows one of the resting places in the park, where people can relax between dining and entertainment. At the southern end of the property now is the planned area for the more permanent location for The Market.
Matt Crandell, co-founder of Homestead Tiny House Co., speaks to people as he stands in one of the booths where an artist showed her works.
Visitors look at art
Art waits to be viewed.
High quality beef jerky waits for buyers. Matt Crandell tried the spicy version, and it was spicy.
Beautiful plants are ready to be purchased.
Victor Suarez, owner of the Arepa-Burger Venezuelan Cuisine food truck, stands near his mobile kitchen.
As for the tiny houses, there were two brought from the manufacturing shops in Alpharetta, Georgia, on Friday. Both showed they are completely functional as a tiny house.
Homestead Tiny House Co-Founder Kevin West, who co-founded the company with Matt Crandell, towed one of the tiny houses on display in Williston with a Ford F-250. Homestead Tiny House Production Manager Vii Tanner towed the other one to the site from where they were built – Alpharetta, Georgia.
Tiny houses stay on the trailers on which they are built. The ones on display on Saturday and Sunday are 24 feet long, 8 feet wide and 13 feet tall. They weigh 11,000 pounds, Tanner said. There is no Commercial Driver License required to tow them.
West departed from Alpharetta a bit after Tanner and had to travel through some wet and windy weather. The two men made their drives in about six and eight hours respectively.
So far, Tanner said, Homestead Tiny House Co. has sold 40 or so of the tiny houses. Right now, there are another 20-plus under construction. They range in price between $62,950 and $67,950 each.
These tiny houses have full kitchens and full bathrooms, with hot running water. They have lofts where people walk up a ladder to sleep on a mattress. They are built very sturdily, Tanner said. They are built like a tiny house. They can be parked at many different places, including at an RV resort. They are all equipped with standard RV hookups, he said.
As for The Market at Homestead Park, the showing on Saturday was under a tent. When the venue is built in its permanent location, it will be on the southern end of the property that is on the west side of State Road 121 near 50th Street – across from Williston Crossings RV Resort.
As the tiny-themed multiuse Heritage Park development grows, it is planned to include a concert hall, high-end eateries – including a steakhouse – and retail outlets. There was music on tap Saturday evening as the program continued into the night.
As Matt Crandell spoke to the Williston City Council on Tuesday (June 8), he shared a vision of a place where people could go for hours of enjoyment in a relaxed, safe, friendly environment, where they could enjoy shopping, live entertainment and good food. Likewise, he mentioned that in the summer heat, sometimes the evening and night are the better times of the day for enjoying outdoor activities.
While the completed version of this vision is a few years out from being fully constructed, the sample provided of The Market under the tent offered a taste of what is to come as The Market at Heritage Park becomes a more permanent fixture.
CKWC gives $2,000
to help the Fisher House
(No Photo Available)
By Kathy Salkaln of the CKWC
Published June 9, 2021 at 9:11 p.m.
GAINESVILLE -- Every year members of the Cedar Key Woman’s Club create a unique quilt to be raffled off in the spring for the benefit of Fisher House, which offers shelter and support during a medical crisis for members of the United States Military, retirees, veterans and their families.
In spite of all the difficulties and restrictions due to global COVID-19 pandemic, on Friday (June 4), Cedar Key Woman’s Club member Eileen Senecal presented a check for $2,000 to Michelle Howard, Fisher House Manager.
The CKWC Club thanks the community for its continued support for this worthy cause.
Rotarians hear from
Undersheriff Robert Willis
inducted as a new member
Seen here (from left) are Gilchrist County Rotary Club President Lowell Chesborough, Rotarian Jo Buckles, newly inducted member Cathy Underhill, Gilchrist Undersheriff Robert Willis and Rotarian Sheree Lancaster.
Story and Photo
By Holly Creel, Rotarian
Published June 8, 2021 at 2:11 p.m.
TRENTON -- The Rotary Club of Gilchrist County enjoyed an informative presentation by Gilchrist County Sheriff’s Office Undersheriff Robert Willis at the meeting Monday (June 7) in the Woman's Club in Trenton.
GCSO Chief Deputy Willis was introduced by Rotarian Sheree Lancaster. Club members asked questions about crime in Gilchrist County, the impact of growth from new residents moving to the area, upcoming laws that would influence freedom and safety, and how the Rotarians can support law enforcement officers.
Gilchrist County Sheriff Robert D. “Bobby” Schultz III promoted Willis from being a reserve captain to chief deputy of the Gilchrist County Sheriff's Office, according to a July 22, 2019, announcement from the GCSO.
Willis replaced former Chief Deputy Jeff Manning who resigned effective Aug. 2, 2019.
Willis moved to the GCSO chief deputy post after serving for the previous 10 years as the Gilchrist County Division Chief for the Office of (then) Eighth Judicial Circuit State Attorney William Cervone.
Willis has been a certified law enforcement officer since 1993, and a GCSO deputy since 1997 when he was hired by former Gilchrist County Sheriff David P. Turner.
Willis earned a bachelor’s degree from Saint Leo University, graduating Cum Laude, in criminology with a dual specialization in law enforcement administration and human resource management.
He went on earn a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Florida’s Fredric G. Levin College of Law.
The chief deputy has been an attorney and member in good standing of the Florida Bar Association since 2003.
Undersheriff Willis on Monday afternoon in Trenton received a round of applause and a standing ovation from the members and guests at the meeting, for the work he and the GCSO provide to keep the residents and visitors of Gilchrist County safe.
The Gilchrist County Rotarians also on Monday inducted a new member to the club. Nurse practitioner Cathy Underhill is sponsored by Rotarian Jo Buckles. Underhill was welcomed as Rotarians noted they look forward to serving with her.
Chef Jason Fuchs of Springwater Events catered the wonderful luncheon of a pasta bar with red sauce and meatballs, chicken Alfredo, Caesar salad, veggies, garlic bread, dessert and sweet and unsweetened tea.
Benefits from pre-planning funerals
shared at lunch program in Williston
Barbara Carbaugh (left), director of marketing, and Kaitlynn Schrader, one of the funeral directors from Roberts Funerals and Cremations of Ocala, are seen just before presenting the information to the group gathered in the Fellowship Hall of First United Methodist Church of Williston on Thursday afternoon (June 3).
Story and Photo
By Jeff M. Hardison © June 4, 2021 at 10:11 a.m.
WILLISTON – Food, fellowship and pre-planning for funerals came together for people who met Thursday afternoon (June 3) in the Fellowship Hall of First United Methodist Church of Williston.
Kaitlynn Schrader, one of the funeral directors from Roberts Funerals and Cremations of Ocala, and Barbara Carbaugh, director of marketing, provided helpful information in a very friendly manner.
BubbaQue’s provided the food, which included an all-you-can-eat option of pulled pork, several sides such as coleslaw, macaroni and cheese, and baked beans. For the people in attendance, not only was there a delicious free lunch, interesting information offered through a professional and polite method, but one lucky participant went home with a $25 gift card from BubbaQue’s.
Pastor Jack Ladd of First United Methodist Church of Williston and Church Secretary Debra Jones were among the people in attendance.
The lunch and learn program at First United Methodist Church of Williston, 213 W. Noble Ave. (U.S. Alt. 27) showed observers an option for planning ahead for what is among the stressful points in almost anyone’s life – the death of a beloved family member.
Before Carbaugh started the program, she invited everyone to the tables full of food from BubbaQue’s, where each person helped himself or herself to the lunch. Even before that, though, she provided each person with sweetened or unsweetened tea, that were among the items purchased from one of the barbecue venues in or around Levy County’s easternmost municipality.
Before the lunch, people who arrived early chatted and greeted one another. The relaxed atmosphere of meeting in the fellowship hall of a church was conducive to socialization.
Some things remain constant. All humans die, as far as their mortal bodies are concerned. After that, humans have different beliefs, hopes and faith for their souls regarding eternity, including those who choose to believe they have no soul and a wide range of other theological choices. Funeral directors provide for meeting the needs of family members in those regards as well.
As for what happens to the body of a person at death, Roberts Funerals and Cremations of Ocala provided the chance Thursday for people to learn about the benefits of planning ahead for that day or night.
Chester Weber of the Williston area, and a primary partner of Roberts Funerals and Cremations of Ocala, wants to provide this option of pre-planning to people in the Williston area, Carbaugh said. Conversation at the event indicated there will be more opportunities for people to gather and hear about pre-planning for funerals and other matters related to honoring the lives of people who pass away.
Carbaugh said people who are in her generation know their parents and grandparents took action in advance of that fateful day, by purchasing gravesites before the need was immediate and urgent. Sometimes, soon after marrying they would even buy gravesites next to one another.
Since then, there has been a trend away from some of those traditions by some people, she said.
Roberts Funerals and Cremations of Ocala offers everyone in the area a full range of different options for planning and pre-paying for services.
Planning ahead not only prevents loved ones from the added tension of making complex decisions while under emotional stress, Carbaugh said, but it saves the family money, and ensures that final wishes are met. Prices applied today provide for those services in the future Carbaugh said, and there is a contract between the parties to guarantee it happens.
Funeral Director Schrader, who has been in this profession for more than 15 years now, provided clear and correct answers to direct questions about Social Security benefits, and Veterans Affairs (formerly Veterans Administration) benefits after giving a brief synopsis of those benefits in her concise introduction to that part of the topics.
There was information shared about burial versus cremation.
One older visitor to the event asked about the cost of an urn. He was told the range goes from $100 to $6,500, while starting as low as just hundreds of dollars.
There is a psychological benefit, Schrader, Carbaugh and the Rev. Ladd said, for a person to let his or her survivors see their body at a funeral service before cremation. One important fact intimated through the lunch and learn program is that each person will make individual choices in this pre-planning offering.
One of the central points of the theme of the afternoon is that when a person dies, his or her survivors are going to have to make crucial choices. Those decisions can involve substantial financial and emotional outcomes that affect survivors’ lives afterward.
Not only did this 18-minute session include facts to consider about money and emotions, but there are logistics that were covered. Schrader spoke about Roberts Funerals and Cremations of Ocala providing transport for the body from the home or elsewhere to the Ocala chapel or elsewhere, including for instance First UMC of Williston, which has agreed to offer a place for funeral services.
Beyond Ocala or Williston, Roberts Funerals and Cremations of Ocala offers professional transferring of funeral plans out of state. There are laws regarding the transport of bodies over state lines and out of the United States to other countries, and licensed funeral directors like Schrader and Josh Leverette, as well as a full staff of other professionals at Roberts Funerals and Cremations of Ocala will care for all matters – including obtaining the death certificate, helping survivors create an obituary, and more.
There was no sales pitch at this lunch and learn session. And lunch did earn its place at the front of the term “lunch and learn.” The program was presented by people who clearly understand the fundamental needs of all people at a time when help is required.
This was an informal gathering for lunch, where Roberts Funerals and Cremations of Ocala representatives provided information and answered questions.
For those who wanted to work out specific pre-funeral plans, Schrader, who is not only a licensed funeral director, but who is also a family care programs manager, provided her business card with her office number and her cell phone number.
As individuals choose to confer with Roberts Funerals and Cremations of Ocala to pre-plan for services, a licensed funeral director will meet with them at their home, at a church or wherever they are most comfortable to discuss the relevant matters, Carbaugh said.
Stay alert to scams
during hurricane season
By FDACS Office of Communications
Published June 2, 2021 at 8:11 a.m.
TALLAHASSEE -- June 1 is the official start of hurricane season, and Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried and the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS), the state’s consumer protection agency, are joining the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in reminding consumers to stay alert to disaster-related scams.
“Getting prepared, staying safe, and recovering from a hurricane are enormous challenges – the last thing anyone needs when disaster strikes is a scammer stealing their hard-earned money or personal identity. I urge all Floridians to prepare for an active hurricane season, which includes guarding themselves against disaster-related scams,” Commissioner Fried said. “As Florida’s consumer protection agency, our Division of Consumer Services is working hard to prevent these predatory practices. To help stay alert, visit FloridaConsumerHelp.com for tools and helpful information.”
Dealing with the aftermath of a hurricane or other disaster is never easy. Knowing how to recognize and avoid the following common scams, however, can help protect your finances and personal information.
• Clean-up and repair scams: After disasters, unlicensed contractors and scammers may appear with promises of quick repairs, clean-up, and debris removal. Some may demand upfront payment and not do the work, claim you’ll get a discount but quote outrageous prices, or lack needed skills. Before you do business with any company providing these services:
• Do your research: Ask for IDs, licenses, proof of insurance, and references. See if local contact information is on their trucks. Check with FDACS’ Division of Consumer Services for complaints.
• Get another estimate: Check if other companies offering similar services are providing quotes with comparable prices.
• Review contracts carefully: Ensure all promises a company makes are in writing and that you understand what you’re signing.
• Never use cash: Always pay with a check or a credit card and never make the final payment until the work is complete.
Imposter scams: Imposter scams come in many varieties but often work the same way, a scammer pretends to be someone you trust and tries to convince you to send them money or personal information:
• Posing as government: Some scammers pretend to be government officials, inspectors, or utility workers who say immediate work is required. Always ask to see an ID. If anyone asks you for payment or your financial information, it’s a scam.
• No fees: Note that FEMA does not charge application fees. If someone wants money to help you qualify for FEMA funds, it may be a scam.
• Job scams: Scammers often advertise in the same places as real employers and job placement firms, but they lie about your chances of getting a job and often ask you to pay before you get one — which is a sure sign of a scam. Authentic resources to locate job opportunities after a disaster:
• CareerOneStop: Sponsored by the United States Department of Labor, CareerOneStop lists hundreds of thousands of jobs.
• State and county offices: The state’s Jobs.MyFlorida.com site or Career Source Florida may have job listings.
• Colleges: College career service offices have helpful resources. If you’re not a current or former student, some schools may still let you access their job listing resources.
• Rental listing scams: If you’re looking for a place to live, avoid anyone asking you to wire money or who asks for security deposits or rent before you’ve met or signed a lease.
• False listing: Some scammers hijack a real listing by changing the email address or other contact information and posting a modified ad. Try googling some the information in a listing to see where else it’s posted and if the contact information is the same.
• Verify addresses: Other scammers create listings for places that aren’t for rent or don’t even exist. Try searching the address and contact information provided to verify it’s legitimate.
• Disaster charity scams: Scammers will often try to take advantage of the misfortune of others, including when disasters strike. Review FDACS consumer tips on donating wisely and avoiding charity scams.
What should consumers do?
• File a consumer complaint: To file a complaint, complete our online form or call 1-800-HELP-FLA (435-7352) or 1-800-FL-AYUDA (352-9832) en Español.
• Share your story: Share your story with friends and family or on social media to help others avoid falling victim.
• Review the FDACS consumer resources: Consumers can find helpful tips and recourse on our website: https://www.fdacs.gov/Consumer-Resources.
• You may also contact the FTC about it at ReportFraud.ftc.gov. The Federal Trade Commission is a partner agency to FDACS at the federal level and also has helpful consumer information on how to avoid scams.
Duke Energy urges customers
to prepare for hurricane season
By Duke Energy Media Communications
June 1, 2021 at 7:11 a.m.
CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA – June 1 marks the beginning of the Atlantic hurricane season and serves as an important reminder to take steps now to prepare for hurricanes and other severe weather to keep people safe and protect property.
The 2021 Atlantic hurricane season runs through Nov. 30. Duke Energy meteorologists forecast 20 storms and nine hurricanes for 2021, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration forecasts 13 to 20 named storms and six to 10 hurricanes.
Duke Energy works all year to prepare for hurricanes and other severe storms and modernize its power delivery system. The improvements increase reliability and resiliency, strengthen the grid against severe weather and hurricanes, and provide for better customer service.
“We’ve been making upgrades across our system to build a stronger and smarter power grid to serve our customers,” said Scott Batson, senior vice president and Duke Energy’s chief distribution officer. “Our crews are ready to respond when the next hurricane strikes. The improvements we have made, and will continue to make, will provide real benefits to customers and communities and help us restore power faster when they count on us most.”
In addition to trimming trees and inspecting and replacing wires and wood poles, the company has invested in grid automation and smart technologies to reduce the duration and number of outages and restore service faster when outages do occur.
Duke Energy’s smart-thinking grid automatically detects outages and intelligently reroutes power to speed restoration or avoid outages altogether.
Self-healing technology helped to avoid nearly 600,000 extended customer outages in North Carolina, South Carolina and Florida in 2020, saving more than 1 million hours of total outage time. Over the next few years, Duke Energy expects to install enough self-healing technology to serve most customers.
After a storm, Duke Energy crews must physically inspect miles of power line to ensure everyone’s power is restored. It’s time consuming, but Duke Energy crews can now use a technology called Ping-it to remotely check that service has been restored following repairs. Ping-it sends a signal to each meter in a few seconds to confirm repairs were successful. This saves time and frees up crews to help other customers. Duke Energy has installed more than 8.5 million smart meters, providing new technology to better serve customers in six states.
Important safety steps
Duke Energy has made changes to the way it responds to major storms to promote the safety of crews and communities during the global COVID-19 pandemic. Many of those process modifications and improvements will continue during the 2021 storm season.
The safety of customers and communities is important. Duke Energy encourages customers to have a plan in place to respond to an extended power outage after a hurricane or other severe weather. Below are some tips:
Before the storm
Create (or update) an emergency supply kit to save valuable time later. The kit should include everything an individual or family would need for at least two weeks, especially medicines, water, non-perishable foods and other supplies that might be hard to find after a storm hits. Although the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has relaxed some of its guidance for vaccinated individuals, an emergency kit should still include items that can help protect you and others from COVID-19, such as hand sanitizer, bar or liquid soap, and face coverings aligned with CDC guidance.
Keep a portable radio or TV or a NOAA weather radio on hand to monitor weather forecasts and important information from state and local officials.
Charge cellphones, computers and other electronic devices in advance of storms to stay connected to important safety and response information. Consider purchasing portable chargers and make sure they are fully charged as well.
Maintain a plan to move family members – especially those with special needs – to a safe, alternative location in case an extended power outage occurs or evacuation is required.
Review insurance policies and include extra copies of the policies and other important documents in your emergency supply kit (ideally in a waterproof container).
Pet owners should arrange to stay at evacuation shelters that accept pets, friends' or family members' homes, or pet-friendly hotels.
After the storm
Stay away from power lines that have fallen or are sagging. Consider all lines energized, as well as trees, limbs or anything in contact with lines.
If a power line falls across a car that you are in, stay in the car. If you MUST get out of the car due to a fire or other immediate life-threatening situation, do your best to jump clear of the car and land on both feet. Be sure that no part of your body is touching the car when your feet touch the ground.
If you need to go to a disaster shelter, follow CDC recommendations for staying safe and healthy in a public disaster shelter during the global COVID-19 pandemic.
For more tips on how to prepare for storm season, and how Duke Energy can help, please visit https://www.duke-energy.com/safety-and-preparedness/storm-safety.
Hurricane season begins;
Federal program protects public safety
Information Provided By
Renee Bodine, NRCS, Public Affairs Florida
Published June 2, 2021 at 7:11 a.m.
GAINESVILLE — Hurricane season officially began yesterday (June 1) and the Emergency Watershed Protection Program (EWP) may be able to help if your area suffers damage from a natural disaster.
The program can relieve imminent hazards to life and property caused by floods, fires, wind¬storms and hurricanes. Aid may include financial and technical assistance to remove debris from streams, protect destabilized stream banks and establish cover on critically eroding lands, repair conservation practices and purchase flood plain easements.
Public and private landowners are eligible for assistance, but must be represented by a project sponsor, such as a city, county, conservation district or a Native American tribe or organization.
The United States Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) provides technical assistance and pays up to 75 percent of the construction. Local sources contribute the remaining portion in the form of cash or in-kind services.
The process begins when the sponsor requests assistance from a local NRCS office. Staff visit the site and determine eligibility based on environmental impacts and economic analysis, then request funding from the NRCS national office. If Congress appropriates funds, the sponsor enters into a cooperative agreement to complete the work. Learn more HERE.
CF offers a variety
of virtual program sessions in June
By CF Marketing, Public and Community Relations
Published May 21, 2021 at 11:11 a.m.
Updated June 18, 2021 at 7:11 a.m.
OCALA — The College of Central Florida is conducting virtual information and academic program sessions for potential students, parents and guardians of high school teens interested in learning more about CF.
Sessions last about an hour and provide details about the application process, financial aid, placement testing and resources available to help students be successful. Sessions outline the expectations and outcomes for the specific academic programs.
Future students are encouraged to register and receive assistance with the application process, financial aid, placement testing, academic advising or assistance with registration for summer classes that start June 28 and fall classes that begin Aug. 16.
Virtual sessions in June include:
Health Sciences Radiography, Monday, June 21, at 3 p.m.
Health Sciences Dental Assisting, Tuesday, June 22, at 11:30 a.m.
Health Sciences NursingCrew2023, Wednesday, June 23, at 11 a.m.
General Information, Tuesday, June 29, at 6 p.m.
Health Sciences Nursing ADN, Bridge, Bachelor of Science in Nursing, Wednesday, June 30, at 1:30 p.m.
These two sessions will be in-person events located at 3001 S.W. College Road, Ocala.
Application Day, Saturday, June 12, from 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
Bachelor of Applied Science, Monday, June 21, at 5:30 p.m.
For information about any of the sessions or to register, visit www.CF.edu/Informationsession or email admissions@CF.edu.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.
Monday, June 21, 2021 at 9:11 a.m.
WHAT DOES GOD MEAN TO ME?
Read Psalm 23; John 10:7-18
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
– Psalm 23:1 (KJV)
What does God mean to you? Perhaps the psalmist was asked that question, and the picture of the shepherd caring for his sheep, even to the point of risking his life, came first to his mind.
God was all of that, certainly, but that was not enough for the psalmist. God was also a guide who with His rod and staff guided one down through the valley of the shadow of death; and how we do need guides! Even so, the psalmist was not yet satisfied. God was a friend, a true friend, who took one into His home and provided food and shelter and protection, even against enemies, and filled one’s cup of joy full and overflowing.
To us, Jesus comes into this picture as the Shepherd who gave His life for us and so has become the Way, the Truth and the Life. He tells us that God is a father – “Our Father.”
O GOD, be to me this day my Shepherd, my Guide, my Friend and my Father. Help me so to live through the hours of this day that Thou canst use me to further the Way, the Truth and the Life. Amen.
Murray S. Kenworthy (1875-1951)
First Friends Church
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 © June 21, 2021 at 9:11 a.m.
I’ve told you about my fishing adventures with Mike. He’s a local striper guide. I have fished with him on numerous occasions, but most of the time I am his helper when I have friends come and use his services. We always have a good time and it’s even better when all those on board catch plenty of fish. Most of the time, there’s about 4 guys who join us for about a half-day of fishing. Mike has everything ready when we arrive. The rods are ready for the bait, he’s got a good idea where the fish are located, and he’s already been out before 4:00 a.m. getting live bait for the day. Heck, he even provides water and snacks for all. During the summer, the boat leaves at 6:00 a.m., and there’s normally a short ride before we begin to locate the species we’ve come after. Mike’s fish-finder looks like a large computer screen, or maybe a small television. It has more lines, graphs, shapes, and notifications than a stock market ticker tape. Again, it’s all part of making it easy for those who are his guests, whether they are novices or experts. When we do locate our fish, Mike baits the hooks, lowers the lines, and instructs his crew to simply raise the rod and give it a little tug when a fish gets on. Mike has done all the work so anyone who wants to fish can have success. Pretty neat.
This is a great illustration of the work Christians believe was done by Jesus for each of us, to ensure a right relationship with God. Jesus made all the preparation, done all the work, and sacrificed all the effort needed, so the sin that was separating us from God would be destroyed. And after he did all that, he invited every person to join him in the boat. Don’t be concerned about bringing anything. He has that covered. Don’t concern yourself with your lack of ability. He has planned for that. Just get in and enjoy the gift the captain has provided for you. While it cost him everything, it costs you nothing. And he paid the price not out of resentment, but for the hope he has of being the good captain of your life.
-- Gary Miller email@example.com
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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