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Wild Hog Canoe & Kayak Race
attracts highest number
of competitors in four decades

John Edwards, the fastest and one of the oldest racers in the competition, prepares to cross the final log. He is wearing a Wild Hog Canoe Race t-shirt from 1978.

Story and Photos
By Terry Witt, Senior Reporter © April 23, 2017 at 9:47 a.m.
Updated April 24, 2017 at 10:07 p.m.
The 40th Annual Wild Hog Canoe Race brought a record 132 canoes and kayaks Saturday (April 22) to a 15-mile stretch of the Waccasassa River best known to racers for its bends, hidden rocks, invisible holes and fallen trees.
     Racers said the river was more challenging this year due to lower water levels and an unusually high number of fallen trees, especially in the first leg of the 15-mile race.


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Oops. A female racer loses her balance after crossing the final log in traffic. She fell out of her canoe but recovered quickly.

This man decided the coolest and quickest way to cross the final log was head first into the Waccasassa River.

Sometimes the best way to cross the final log is by getting a boost from your partner. Jennifer and Ethan Bray are seen here as they near the finish line. Jennifer Bray has been in this race for 24 years (minus a few years for having children). She was just a teenager when she started participating.

     John Edwards, a frequent winning racer, came across the finish line in 2 hours 18 minutes and 50 seconds, which was slow for him. He has been racing the course since 1977 before some number of this year's racers were born.
     He has worn the same tattered Wild Hog Canoe Race t-shirt he won in 1978. He said his wife washes it by hand.

Katie Quincey (in back) and Sarah Trimm finish the grueling 15 mile race looking no worse for the wear.

     Sarah Trimm, Suwannee County High School agriculture teacher and Katie Quincey, agriculture teacher at Suwannee County Middle School, won the women’s canoe division with a time of 3:07:43.
     “The first part of the river had a lot of logs," Trimm, a veteran of five Wild Hog races, said. "There were a lot of spots in the river where the water was six to eight inches deep and the canoe wouldn’t go through. This is the hardest race I’ve done. This is the lowest water I’ve seen.”
     The canoe had to be carried through shallow spots.
     Trimm grew up in Gulf Hammock. Quincey grew up in Trenton. They became friends while attending the University of Florida.
     Daniel Maynard and Matt Schmidt placed first in the experienced canoe division with a time of 2:25:03. Maynard, his father Keith Maynard and Keith’s brother Justin Maynard organized and put on the race.
     Casey Cooper won the men’s kayak division with a time of 2:24:16.
     The first racer to cross the finish line was Brent Adams, a 12-year veteran of the race, but Adams said he knew his friend John Edwards would have a better time.
     “I was first overall one year, but John wasn’t here,” he said with a smile.
     Adams, racing in a 19-foot kayak, said the low water made the course more challenging.
     “It was low. It was real low and it’s been low before,” he said. “Actually there was a lot more trees fallen than before. I don’t know if a big storm hit or what caused all the fallen trees. There were the same old cypress trees that have been there for 50 years.”
     Adams is regional business manager for Kone Elevators.
     Edwards sells real estate and is in property management. He races all over the country for fun.

Hannah Rogers dishes out a plate of food to a guest at the food tent. The food tent was a super busy place.

Keith Maynard (center) and his sons Daniel on the left and Justin on the right are building the Wild Hog Canoe Race into a major fundraiser for LARC.

Betty Walker, longtime director of LARC, said community fundraisers and donations are the lifeblood of the Otter Creek work center.

     Monetary proceeds generated from the race benefits the Levy Association for Retarded Citizens. Maynard said the race raised $20,800 last year. He won’t know the total amount of money that was brought in to help LARC from the event held on Saturday (April 22) for about a week.
     The race was the big attraction Saturday in Gulf Hammock. A couple hundred people lined the banks of the river to watch racers emerge from the 15-mile race showing extreme fatigue. Racers were then forced to cross two manmade log-crossings to reach the finish line. Spectators cheered racers as they engineered ways to push their boats and themselves over the final log.

Audra Cross and her 3-year-old son Waylon come to the end of their ride on the zip line.

Wiley Bryd comes near the end of his ride on the zip wire.

     A short distance from the river was the second most popular attraction, the zip line.
     The zip line was new this year. It was constructed by Keith Maynard and his sons Justin and Daniel with help from Charlie Lakatos. Children and adults alike were strapped into a harness and carried 100 yards between two towers. The rides were free. Keith Maynard said every ride was free at the event. They wanted to make the canoe race a family event.
     “There aren’t too many places you can spend the whole day free. It’s for families,” he said.
     A pony ride and bounce house were also free for children.
     Wiley Byrd, 7, was one of the first to try the zip line. Asked what it felt like he responded, “Terrifying and awesome.”
     Auda Cross strapped her 3-year-old son Waylon into her lap and took the zip ride.
     “It was fun,” she said. Waylon nodded yes when asked if he liked the zip line ride, but told his mother he was ready for the bounce house.
     LARC Executive Director Betty Walker said the Wild Hog Canoe Race is essential to the survival of the work center in Otter Creek, along with the annual the $54,000 contribution from the Levy County Board of County Commissioners, individual donations and other fundraisers like the Ride to Provide, a motorcycle event that generated $7,000 last year.
     She said the State of Florida no longer provides funds for individual clients. She said LARC receives federal money for its clients. The remainder of the operating revenue is generated by the community.
     Walker said the community keeps LARC alive.
     “If it wasn’t for the generosity of citizens of Levy County we couldn’t function,” she said. "We want to praise Keith Maynard and all his workers. They have turned this race into a major event.”


Atlas V rocket launches
the S.S. John Glenn

The rocket and payload await the command to ignite and launch.

Story and Photos
By Jeff M. Hardison © April 21, 2017 at 3:07 p.m.
The launch of an Atlas V rocket on Tuesday (April 18) morning from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station heralds continued success by the National Aeronautics Space Administration (NASA).

This is a closer look at the rocket and the Orbital ATK CRS-7 on its top before launch. This photo was taken from a relatively far distance, where NASA provided a viewing area on one of the causeways in the area. This is a view across the Indian River lagoon in Brevard County.

This is an excellent video of the Orbital ATK CRS-7 lift-off provided via NASA's team of videographers. This set of video clips includes perspectives from the ground, from some airborne unit taking videos and from the rocket.
Video Courtesy of NASA - Published April 21, 2017 at 3:07 p.m. on the Home Page of HardisonInk.com.

     This launch used the United Launch Alliance’s (ULA) Atlas V rocket.
     The rocket took the Orbital ATK’s Cygnus cargo spacecraft, which was named the S.S. John Glenn, to the space station for docking and delivery that is scheduled to occur on Saturday (April 22).
     This mission includes the delivery of cargo to the International Space Station (ISS) so the astronauts can continue to conduct experiments – include in excess of another 250 experiments being made possible by this one delivery flight.

Some seconds into its flight, the rocket is seen leaving Florida for space as it pushes the Orbital ATK CRS-7 higher and higher. Below this picture are some more still shots showing the rocket as it continues away from the planet to deliver its cargo to the people on the International Space Station.

     This was the largest payload ever carried to the International Space Station by an Atlas V.
     Thousands of government and private enterprise workers combined their talents and resources to bring this supply mission to fruition.
      Since first taking flight in 2002, Atlas V rockets have sent NASA spacecraft on 70 previous missions to support communications, weather forecasting, missile warning systems, surveillance and scientific research.
     The United Launch Alliance rocket’s successful 11:11 a.m. (Eastern) liftoff on Tuesday (April 18) from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station further establishes this rocket brand as the most reliable and accomplished engine to send things into space.
     Rockets launching from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida lift off from three launch pads assigned to commercial rocket companies. United Launch Alliance’s (ULA) Atlas V rocket launches from Space Launch Complex 41, ULA’s Delta IV rocket launches from SLC-37, and SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket launches from SLC-40.
     Only SpaceX rockets are currently launching from Kennedy Space Center at Launch Complex 39A.
     When the hatch is opened by the astronauts on Saturday (given the scheduled arrival time occurs then), they will see the name of the delivery vehicle – the S.S. John Glenn.
     This launch is named the S.S. John Glenn OA-7 Cargo Delivery Mission to the International Space Station in honor of the late John Herschel Glenn Jr.
     Glenn had a storied career and is an American icon of “The Right Stuff.” Among his accomplishments was serving as a United States senator.
     In March 1942, Glenn entered the Naval Aviation Cadet Program and was commissioned in the Marine Corps in 1943.
Glenn attended Test Pilot School at the Naval Air Test Center in Patuxent River, Maryland, and was a project officer on a number of aircraft.
     In July 1957, he set a transcontinental speed record by traveling from Los Angeles to New York in 3 hours and 23 minutes, the first transcontinental flight to average supersonic speed. During his military career, Glenn logged nearly 9,000 hours of flying time, including 59 combat missions in World War II.
     Glenn was selected as a Mercury astronaut in April 1959 and made his historic flight orbiting the planet on Friendship 7 on Feb. 20, 1962. His flight helped to define America’s position in the space race with the Soviet Union. Glenn resigned as an astronaut in 1964 and won his Senate seat for Ohio in 1974, serving for 24 years.
     Glenn passed away on Dec. 8, 2016 and is survived by his wife of 73 years, Annie, and their children, John and Carolyn.
     The Orbital ATK’s Cygnus cargo spacecraft is packed with 7,600 pounds of supplies (such as food) and research equipment for the International Space Station crew aboard that orbiting laboratory.
     This is 7,600 pounds of science research, crew supplies and hardware arriving at the orbiting laboratory in support of the Expedition 50 crew members and Expedition 51 crew members who are onboard.
     There were six members of Expedition 50. Shane Kimbrough, Sergey Ryzhikov, and Andrey Borisenko launched to the space station Oct. 19, 2016, in a Russian Soyuz spacecraft. They joined the Expedition 49 crew already there and stayed aboard to become the first half of Expedition 50. NASA astronaut Shane Kimbrough was the commander for Expedition 50. The commander is in charge of the mission and makes sure it is a success. On Nov. 17, 2016, Thomas Pesquet, Peggy Whitson and Oleg Novitskiy launched to the space station in a Russian Soyuz spacecraft. They joined the other three members of the Expedition 50 crew already on the station.
     As for Expedition 51, it is the 51st expedition to the International Space Station, which began upon the departure of Soyuz MS-02 on April 10, 2017 and is scheduled to conclude upon the departure of Soyuz MS-03 in June 2017. Peggy Whitson, Oleg Novitskiy and Thomas Pesquet were transferred from Expedition 50, with Peggy Whitson taking the commander role. She is the first woman to command two expeditions to the ISS, having previously commanded Expedition 16. Due to a decision to cut down the number of participating Russian cosmonauts in 2017, only two cosmonauts were launched on Soyuz MS-04 yesterday (April 20, 2017) - bringing the total crew number to five.
     This supply mission marks the third time ULA’s Atlas V has launched Orbital ATK’s Cygnus spacecraft on its way to the International Space Station. OA-7 was the 71st launch of the Atlas V rocket since its first launch in 2002.
     The Atlas V 401 configuration rocket has flown 35 times, supporting a diverse set of missions, including national security, science and exploration, commercial as well as International Space Station resupply.
     The Atlas V family of Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicles (EELV) represents ULA's commitment to enhanced competitive launch services for the United States government. Since their debut in August of 2002, Atlas V vehicles have achieved 100 percent mission success in launches from Space Launch Complex-41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, and Space Launch Complex-3E at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif.
     Built modularly with flight-proven elements, Atlas V has followed a carefully executed program of incremental improvements resulting in 100 percent mission success.
     The Atlas program has logged more than 600 launches to date.
     The Atlas V family, which includes the flight-proven Atlas V 400 and 500 series, are the latest evolutionary versions of the Atlas launch system.
     Atlas V uses a standard common core booster (CCB), and up to five strap-on solid rocket boosters (SRB), an upper-stage Centaur in either the Single-Engine Centaur (SEC) or the Dual-Engine Centaur (DEC) configuration, and one of several payload fairings (PLF).
     There were no strap on boosters in the launch on Tuesday morning.
     Atlas V rockets uses an engine that burns kerosene and liquid oxygen to power its first stage and an American-built RL10 engine burning liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen to power its Centaur upper stage.
     On May 2, 2005, The Boeing Co. and the Lockheed Martin Corp. announced their intention to form a joint venture called the United Launch Alliance (ULA), combining the production, engineering, test and launch operations associated with United States’ government launches of Boeing Delta and Lockheed Martin Atlas rockets - providing world-class space launch services for the federal government at lower cost.
     The new experiments will include magnetized tools to make it easier to reproduce experiments on Earth, an antibody investigation that could increase the effectiveness of chemotherapy drugs for cancer treatment, and an advanced plant habitat for studying plant physiology and growing fresh food in space.
     Cygnus also is carrying 38 CubeSats, including many built by university students from around the world as part of the QB50 program, which are scheduled to deploy from either the spacecraft or space station in the coming months.
     When Cygnus arrives to the space station, Expedition 50 Commander Shane Kimbrough of NASA and Flight Engineer Thomas Pesquet of ESA (European Space Agency) will use the space station’s robotic arm, Canadarm2, to take hold of the spacecraft. After Canadarm2 captures Cygnus, ground commands will be sent for the station’s arm to rotate and install it on the bottom of the station’s Unity module.
     Cygnus will remain on the station until June, when it will depart with several tons of trash for a fiery re-entry into Earth’s atmosphere. Prior to re-entry, a third experiment will be conducted to study how fire burns in space.
     Learn more about the Orbital ATK CRS-7 mission by going to the mission home page at http://www.nasa.gov/orbitalatk.

Plane Crash Lands
In Water Near Yankeetown

Two people suffered no injuries when the airplane they in which they were traveling landed in the Gulf of Mexico just off of Levy County Road 40 about a half-mile from the coast of Yankeetown. The LCSO dispatch received a call about the crash landing at 8:45 p.m. on Wednesday (April 19). Riley Gordon, 19, of Longwood was flying the 1978 Cessna that he had rented from Orlando, Levy County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Lt. Scott Tummond said. Heather Souchik, 18, of Cape Coral was a passenger in the plane, Tummond said. The plane took off from Cedar Key Airport and it was bound for Sanford, Tummond said. The plane had engine failure at 5,500 feet in the air, and the pilot successfully completed a landing in the water, Tummond said. Members of the United States Coast Guard Yankeetown Station rescued the two and brought them to shore. Marine units from the Levy County Sheriff’s Office and the Citrus County Sheriff’s Office responded, Tummond said. An LCSO land-based deputy was on hand to take care of any traffic issues that might have resulted from people coming to see a plane partially submerged. (Thanks to Jack Schofield for sending in the photo to HardisonInk.com.)
Published April 20, 2017 at 6:47 p.m.
Updated April 21, 2017 at 9:27 a.m. on the Home Page of
Photo By Jack Schofield

He fought the law,
and the law won

Thomas William Ruble

Mugshot by LCSO

By Jeff M. Hardison © April 19, 2017 at 2:27 p.m.
A deputy with the Levy County Sheriff's Office became involved in a fight for his safety late Monday evening (April 17), LCSO Lt. Scott Tummond said in a press release Wednesday (April 19).

     Deputy Ryan Park had to subdue a suspect, Tummond said.
     A female called the LCSO Communication Division and requested help from a deputy to remove a male acquaintance from her property. When the deputy arrived, he spoke to the complainant who told him the male identified as Thomas William Ruble, 30, of Indiana had overstayed his welcome. Deputy Park attempted to speak to Ruble, and the officer was met with threats of violence directed toward both the female and him, Tummond said.
     During this encounter, Ruble spat in the complainant’s face then ran into the home, Tummond said.
     Deputy Park gave chase and apprehended Ruble in the kitchen area of the home. Ruble initially complied with commands to surrender, Tummond said, but then he immediately resisted when the deputy attempted to place handcuffs on him.
     Ruble initially placed his hands in his pockets and refused commands to “show his hands,” Tummond said.
     When the deputy took control of Ruble’s arm and hand, Tummond said, Ruble lunged for kitchen knives within arm’s reach in an opened dishwasher.
     Deputy Park was able to control Ruble and take him to the ground, but the fight continued, Tummond said.
     The deputy was battle-bruised, his uniform ripped, brass stripped from his vest and a Taser was ripped from its holster but he persevered, Tummond said.
     Deputy Park, a newcomer to the LCSO family, was able to restrain Ruble on the living-room floor until backup arrived some 10 minutes later, Tummond said.
     Deputy Park was unable to call for emergency assistance because any attempt to reach for his radio would have allowed Ruble to escape his grip and continue the fight, Tummond said.
     LCSO Cpl. Tom Martin arrived and immediately rushed to Deputy Park’s assistance.
     But, Ruble still was not willing to give up, Tummond said.
     He continued to fight with both deputies until he was ultimately overpowered and handcuffed.
     But, still he fought, Tummond said. Ruble was eventually at the receiving end of Cpl. Martin’s Taser when he refused to get into the deputy’s patrol car to be transferred to the Levy County Jail, Tummond said.
     Even after being zapped with a Taser, Ruble still fought, Tummond said. Shortly after being escorted into the jail, Ruble fought with detention staff and was Tasered again, Tummond said.
     Because of the violent nature of Ruble’s behavior inside the facility, he was not seen at first appearance the following morning.
     Ruble went before a judge at first appearance this morning (Wednesday, April 19) via two-way television.
     Ruble has been charged with battery for spitting in the complainant’s face, two counts of battery on a law enforcement officer, depriving an officer a means of protection or communication and resisting arrest with violence, assault with a deadly weapon without intent to kill, and introduction of contraband into a detention facility. His bonds are set at $675,000.
     Investigators located items believed to be drug paraphernalia when conducting a follow up investigation. Investigators tested these items and they tested positive for PCP. This could explain Ruble’s sustained superhuman strength during the fight, Tummond said.
      Deputies never know what they will encounter during a tour of duty and this is a perfect example of why maintaining excellent physical fitness saved Deputy Park from injury, Tummond said.

88th Jingle Singer

Zarek Hadden, 25, wears a SpaceX hat as he sings the HardisonInk.com Jingle on Monday afternoon (April 17).

Here is a still shot of Zarek Hadden.

Hadden is a front desk associate at LaQuinta Inn & Suites Cocoa Beach Oceanfront, Cocoa Beach. His father is among the SpaceX workers on the Space Coast. Hadden is the second jingle singer from LaQuinta Inn & Suites Cocoa Beach Oceanfront, Cocoa Beach, in 2017. Lorrie Goodin, front office manager, of LaQuinta Inns & Suites of Cocoa Beach/Oceanfront, was the first from this place when she sang the HardisonInk.com jingle on Feb. 3, 2017. Each performer or set of performers brings his or her, or their (when it is two or more performers) own special something to the jingle. If you see Jeff Hardison and you want to sing the jingle, just let him know or send an email to hardisonink@gmail.com. He asks people to sing it, too, and some of them agree to sing it. (Thanks people!)

Published April 20, 2017 at 6:07 p.m. © Video by Jeff M. Hardison, All Rights Reserved


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