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Tallying The Evaluations
Williston City Manager Scott Lippmann adds the numbers of evaluation put on four companies bidding on a design-build proposal for a new Williston City Hall. Conducting the arithmetic on Tuesday night (Feb. 21), the city manager found how the City Council and Mayor R. Gerald Hethcoat evaluated the proposals. The rankings from top to bottom showed Oelrich Construction of Newberry with 502 points; BBI Construction Management of Gainesville with 443 points; Parrish-McCall Constructors of Gainesville with 419 points and TWC with 381. The highest possible score would be 600. City Council President Charles Goodman, himself a contractor, said all four companies were high quality. There was a motion by City Council Vice President Nancy Wininger, seconded by City Councilman Elihu Ross, followed by a 5-0 vote, to start negotiating with Oelrich to design and build the next Williston City Hall. If that negotiation process is unsuccessful, the next likely company to negotiate a contract with is BBI, which includes Project Manager James G. 'Butch' Batts, who was at the hearing. Butch Batts and The Southbound Band is performing again this year at the Levy County Fair.
Photo by Jeff M. Hardison © Feb. 24, 2017 at 10:17 p.m.
Bridge closes in Gilchrist County
By Jeff M. Hardison © Feb. 24, 2017 at 4:07 p.m.
GILCHRIST COUNTY -- An immediate bridge closure happened at about 10 a.m. on Friday morning (Feb. 24) after an inspection in Gilchrist County, according to a press release from Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) (District Two, Northeast Florida) Public Information Specialist Troy Roberts.
This morning, FDOT enacted an immediate closure of the wooden bridge at Southwest 85th Lane over Bell Springs Run in Gilchrist County, Roberts said. This bridge by the Wilcox Subdivision will be closed to all vehicular traffic until repairs can be made, Roberts said.
Capt. Sheryl Brown said there are some houses served by the bridge.
The residents have been notified, Capt. Brown said. The Gilchrist County Road Department is scheduled to build a bypass around the bridge on Monday (Feb. 27), Brown said. The plan is to complete the bypass no later than Tuesday (Feb. 28). Once the bypass is completed everyone will be notified, she said.
The FDOT and the GCSO will provide updates, both agencies noted.
* (Update) - Search Continues Today
airplane parts recovered
With the Sea Tow boat (yellow) in the background, Capt. Joey Cannon guides the Baby Cakes (clam-farming boat) into a public dock and ramp in Cedar Key on Monday afternoon (Feb. 20). Capt. Cannon and others are helping conclude the search and recovery effort after an airplane crash just over a week ago.
Story, Photos and Video
By Jeff M. Hardison © Feb. 20, 2017 at 4:47 p.m. All Rights Reserved
Updated Feb. 24, 2017 at 7:57 a.m.
* Levy County Sheriff's Office spokesman Lt. Scott Tummond said Thursday (Feb. 23) that Hernando County Sheriff Al Nienhuis told Levy County Sheriff Robert "Bobby" McCallum Jr. that the Hernando County Sheriff's Office's helicopter will join the two LCSO boats today (Friday, Feb. 24) to search for the remains of Dylan Jerrels, 17.
* The two boats owned and being used by the LCSO are am airboat and a 24-foot Carolina Skiff.
* As noted in the story below, this is the one victim whose body has not been found yet.
CEDAR KEY -- The body of the second of three passengers on a single-engine airplane that crashed into the Gulf of Mexico a week ago Sunday (Feb. 11) was recovered on late Sunday (Feb. 19) afternoon, and it was turned over to the Eighth Judicial Circuit Medical Examiner's Office, Levy County Sheriff's Office spokesman Lt. Scott Tummond said Monday afternoon (Feb. 20).
Capt. Sammy Royal guides the Sea Tow boat in on Monday afternoon.
The body of Jasper Jerrels, 65, and his fiancé Hue Singletary have now been recovered, according to information from the United States Coast Guard and the LCSO.
Lt. Tummond said the woman's body was seen by a Sea Tow captain on Sunday (Feb. 19).
The body of 17-year-old son of Jasper Jerrels --Dylan Jerrels -- had not been recovered as of Monday afternoon, Lt. Tummond said.
Sea Tow Capt. Sammy Royal of the franchise operating out of Cedar Key is the man who dove and recovered Singletary's body. Working with Capt. Royal on Sunday and Monday was Will Knight of Cedar Key.
In this video, it shows the arrival of the boat Baby Cakes with airplane parts recovered from the Gulf of Mexico. The next clip shows those parts being moved from that boat to a trailer for transport to a location so that the NTSB and FAA officials can study the wreckage.
Capt. Joey Cannon of Cedar Key and Phillip Campbell brought in the other boat -- the Baby Cakes - which had several parts of the airplane, including the tail structure. That boat arrived at the public dock in Cedar Key on Monday afternoon.
Cannon and Campbell worked with Sea Tow on this project, but they are really full-time clam farmers.
Cannon said he is just glad to have been able to have helped this family as best as he could.
Workers with Florida Air Recovery LLC of Jacksonville collected airplane parts from the crash scene. They used machine to offload from the Baby Cakes onto a trailer. Then, they took the airplane parts to an undisclosed location for the NTSB and FAA to inspect those parts.
Cedar Key Fire Chief Robert Robinson (left) speaks with Cedar Key Police Chief Virgil Sandlin (below) before the plane wreckage arrives at a public boat ramp in Cedar Key.
The National Transportation Safety Board, the Federal Aviation Administration and insurance companies that are involved have an interest in what caused the crash, and the wreckage is usually part of this type of investigation leading to answers.
Crews from United States Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater, USCG Station Yankeetown, USCG Sector St. Petersburg, the USCG Cutter Seahawk, Citrus County Sheriff’s Office, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Levy County Department of Public Safety, and Cedar Key Fire and Rescue, alongside commercial salvage companies and multiple good Samaritans aided in the search initially.
The United States Coast Guard suspended its search Feb. 14 at sunset, according to a USCG press release. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission suspended its search as well.
The LCSO, Sea Tow and Florida Air Recovery LLC of Jacksonville were out on Sunday (Feb. 19). Lt. Tummond said the LCSO is continuing to search for the third victim's body.
On the photo above, kayakers and other boaters are seen in the background as the Baby Cakes nears the ramp and dock. Below the clam-farming boat continues getting closer to landing and an offshore island is seen in the background.
The boat on a trailer is taken to an area for offloading.
A machine is used to offload the airplane parts from the boat to a trailer.
A plane approaches Cedar Key Airport to land on Monday afternoon.
A bag with material from the crash site is put on the trailer.
Click HERE to see a previous story in HardisonInk.com where there was coverage in regard to this plane crash.
There are many archived stories, and there is a link to previously published videos, which can be seen by clicking on the ad on the lower right side of any of the seven pages of HardisonInk.com.
Female employee dies
after accident at Walmart
By Jeff M. Hardison © Feb. 23, 2017 at 12:47 p.m.
Updated Feb. 23, 2017 at 5:47 p.m.
CHIEFLAND -- A tragic accident at her worksite claimed the life of a Chiefland woman Wednesday (Feb. 22), according to records.
Sandra Jeanette Quincey, 60, of Chiefland died as a result of injuries she suffered at about 8:22 a.m. at Walmart of Chiefland, 2201 M. Young Blvd., according to information in an incident report by Chiefland Police Department Officer M. Watkins.
When Officer Watkins arrived, she saw Walmart employees standing outside a trailer as would be pulled by a semi. The EMS unit moved Quincey to the back of an ambulance, Watkins said.
Walmart employee Alice Barber, 62, of Chiefland, told Watkins that Quincey was inside the trailer straightening pallets while Barber was on the forklift placing pallets inside the trailer, Watkins said. That is when the victim was injured, according to records.
The EMS unit arrived and took Quincey to Shands Hospital in Gainesville, where Dr. Charles Hwang pronounced her as dead at approximately 9:35 a.m., Watkins said.
“Sandra was an invaluable part of our family and will be missed by many,” Senior Manager of Walmart Corporate Communications Leslee Wright said in an email on Thursday morning. “Her impact on our store was tremendous. Our prayers are with her family and friends.”
Mark Johnson set for
Grand Ole Opry performances
Photo Provided by Mark Johnson
Published Feb. 22, 2017 at 3:57 p.m.
on the Home Page of HardisonInk.com
NASHVILLE -- Mark Johnson, a planner with the Levy County Unit of the Florida Department of Health and the former director of the Levy County Emergency Management Department, continues making appearances in his other role as the inventor of Clawgrass Banjo playing.
Johnson has been invited by Grand Ole Opry Star Mike Snider to come perform with him and his great band up in Nashville, Tenn. at the Grand Ole Opry. This appearance is set for this weekend (Feb. 24 and 25), on the Friday and Saturday segments of the show.
This will be Mike Snider and Mark Johnson.
In 2012, Johnson earned the Steve Martin Prize for Excellence in Banjo and Bluegrass and also hit the stage of the “Late Show with David Letterman.” From there, Johnson and Emory Lester’s music careers have taken off with national and international bookings.
According to Bluegrass Now Magazine, “Mark Johnson and Emory Lester are wonderful innovators as individual artists; as a duo their combined creativity is tremendous!”
The award-winning acoustic duo of Mark Johnson on banjo and Emory Lester on mandolin and guitar are scheduled to appear in concert at the Ocala Civic Theatre on Saturday, on April 27 at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
This acclaimed duo has received great reviews from the bluegrass and acoustic music community. Both musicians have been called the best in the world at their respective instruments.
Johnson has been nominated for awards alongside bluegrass greats like Ricky Skaggs. Johnson’s unique fusion of bluegrass, traditional folk and acoustic styles is called “clawgrass,” expanding on an old Appalachian style of playing (known as clawhammer, or drop-thumb) to incorporate it into all genres of music.
Lester is also known for his musical creativity and skill, his clear sound and clean technique, and his strong, lyrical style that ranges from one end of the acoustic spectrum to the other.
Together this particular duo seamlessly combines the modern with the traditional, creating a fresh new sound. Inspired by a wide variety of influences, their music transcends genre. Their style defies easy categorization and will shatter any preconceived notions about what traditional acoustic music sounds like.
Tickets for the shows in Ocala go on sale April 1.
James Smith (Bears #11) completes his cut of the net after the game Thursday night (Feb. 16) and prepares to pass the scissors to Dalyn Valentine (#13). The Dixie County High School Bears won the game 61-55 in a great match against the Crescent City High School Raiders. For the story, photos and video, please see the LEISURE PAGE.
Photo by Jeff M. Hardison © Feb. 17, 2017 at 10:37 a.m. All Rights Reserved
Federal charges levied
against Ocala convicted felon;
Explosives were to be put in Target stores
Published Feb. 16, 2017 at 3:07 p.m.
on the Home Page of HardisonInk.com
Mark Charles Barnett (at left)
Photo Courtesy of the Marion County Sheriff's Office
OCALA -- United States Attorney A. Lee Bentley III announced on Thursday afternoon (Feb. 16) the signing of a criminal complaint charging Mark Charles Barnett, 48, of Ocala with possession of a firearm (destructive device) affecting commerce by a previously convicted felon.
If convicted, he faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in federal prison. Barnett is currently in custody at the Marion County Jail on state charges for violating his terms of probation.
According to the affidavit supporting the criminal complaint, Barnett offered a confidential source (CS) $10,000 to place improvised explosive bombs in Target retail stores along the East Coast of the United States.
Barnett created at least 10 of the explosive devices, disguised in food-item packaging, which Barnett delivered to the CS on Feb. 9. Barnett then asked the CS to place the explosive devices on store shelves from New York to Florida. He provided the CS with a bag of gloves, a mask, and a license plate cover to disguise the CS’s identity from law enforcement.
Barnett theorized that the company’s stock value would plunge after the explosions, allowing him to cheaply acquire shares of Target stock before an eventual rebound in prices. Rather than placing the devices on store shelves, however, the CS surrendered them to authorities.
An explosives expert determined that they were capable of causing property damage, serious injury, or death to nearby persons upon detonation. A subsequent search of Barnett’s house by federal agents revealed components consistent with those used to create the explosive devices.
A criminal complaint is merely an allegation that a defendant has committed one or more violations of federal criminal law, and every defendant is presumed innocent unless, and until, proven guilty.
“The swift work of ATF Special Agents, Explosives Enforcement Officers, and other specialized violent crime resources foiled this individual’s plot that could have caused great harm to the public. Our Federal and State law enforcement partners played a vital role in supporting this investigation, and ATF will continue to work alongside the U.S. Attorney’s Office to bring this case to a successful resolution,” said Special Agent in Charge Daryl McCrary, ATF Tampa Field Division.
“Once FDLE received the information, we initiated an investigation. Upon determining the nature of the threat we notified and began working jointly with our local, state and federal partners. The arrest in this case demonstrates the importance of collaboration in keeping our communities safe,” said FDLE Commissioner Rick Swearingen.
“The cooperation between the local, state and federal law enforcement agencies involved in this case was instrumental to quickly identifying this individual and resolving any potential threat to the public,” said Charles P. Spencer, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Jacksonville Division. “The FBI remains dedicated to working with our partners to make our communities safer.”
This case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, the Florida Department of Corrections – Probation and Parole Services, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Marion County Sheriff’s Office, and the City of Ocala Police Department.
It will be prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Robert E. Bodnar, Jr.