Inglis election is coming;
Candidate forum planned
Published Jan. 27, 2015 @ 9:57 p.m.
     INGLIS -- On Saturday, March 14 (the Saturday before the Inglis election) there will be a candidate forum from 1 to 5 p.m. in the Inglis Commissioners room (Inglis Town Hall).

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     Candidates  should be receiving an invitation soon.  Inglis registered voters, as well as individuals who just want some answers from the candidates, are invited to have questions ready.
     There will be questions for the panel and individuals. The format will be similar to what is used by the League of Women Voters.
     Ruth Ruppert has agreed to be the moderator.
     The qualifying candidates for Town of Inglis Election 2015 on March 17 are:
Mayor Candidates
Vote for one
1. Carol Gibson
2. Drinda Merritt
3. Stephen P. Smalldridge
Commission Candidates
Vote for two
1. Bill Kline
2. William A. Monteverde
3. Pat Tully
4. Betsy Webb
5. Sally Price

Williston cruises on
the S.S. Adventure;

Hospital owner gives acceptance speech

Story and Photos
By Jeff M. Hardison © Jan. 26, 2015 @ 10:57 a.m.

     WILLISTON -- The Williston Chamber of Commerce's annual installation banquet on Saturday night (Jan. 24) was a resounding success.
     The theme this year was based on a cruise on an ocean-liner named the S.S. Adventure.
     Prefixes for ship's names come from a variety of sources. As for the "S.S." that is for "Steam Ship," according to the website named Marine Insight.

The table sponsored by Fugate Forestry was the Best Dressed this year. This group livened up the audience by wearing outfits to match Gilligan's Island characters. They are (from left) Patrick Williams (Captain/The Skipper Jonas Grumby), Sean Fugate (First Mate Gilligan), Lynn Fugate (movie star Ginger Grant), Angie Brooks (Mrs. Eunice Lovelle "Lovie" Wentworth Howell), Matt Brooks (Mr. Thurston Howell III) and Milisa Williams (Mary Ann Summers). The character -- Professor Roy Hinkley, Ph.D., was 'away from the table' when this photograph was taken.

IMG_4021     Last year, the cowboy theme was a big hit. This year, the Chamber leadership again delivered for everyone who attended.

Somewhere in Tri-County Area of Levy, Dixie and Gilchrist counties a yard is decorated with this great work of art.

     There were free massages, free beer and wine, some mock gambling games, and door prizes galore. Steve McMillan again narrated an extremely funny slide show that he creates annually from pictures he takes as he is surveying property.
     The meal was catered by Ivy House and consisted of smoked ham and roasted turkey breast, vegetable casserole and more.
     There are many aspects of the event. These include awards, fun, sponsors, and installation of officers and directors.

Dr. Devaiah Pagidipati accepts the award for Regional General Hospital of Williston as it is held by Chamber Secretary Jana Carlisle as President Jennifer Radder stands beside them.


Chamber012415ZD     The Business of the Year Award went to Regional General Hospital of Williston. Dr. Devaiah Pagidipati accepted the award.
     He owns the hospital, which he has improved and he took the presentation of the award to share some information with listeners.
     Dr. Pagidipati is a medical doctor whose background includes learning at Harvard University. He is a very successful businessman who has changed the path of history for the hospital, which had owners who abandoned it after periods of time.
     Dr. Pagidipati said he has been asked when he is leaving, because previous owners have left. He plans to stay, and to keep the healthcare institution on its new road to recovery.
     Staff has increased from 70 occasionally paid employees to 110 regularly paid employees. The Emergency Room at Regional General Hospital of Williston is now improved from being staffed by physicians’ assistants to being staffed 90 percent of the time by medical doctors.
     Dr. Pagidipati said patients who need emergency care can reach Williston Regional General Hospital more quickly than being taken to Ocala or Gainesville. The first hour of care in trauma situations, he reminded listeners, is critical.
     The patients can be stabilized at RGH and then be taken elsewhere, or they can stay at RGH – which may be much closer and easier for family and friends to visit.
     Dr. Pagidipati reminded all of the business owners that they can help their community by utilizing this newly renovated facility, in which he has invested to help the people of the greater Williston area.
     Dr. Pagidipati mentioned that he is opening a major medical center in Ocala in the very near future
     In addition to the Business of the Year Award, there were other awards from Williston Chamber of Commerce. Some were annual and traditional, while others were even more special.

Darrell Kline accepts his award.

     The Lifetime Honorary Membership Award is a unique presentation. Darrell Kline who for 47 years has been married to Mary Kline, the executive director of the Williston Chamber of Commerce, has for this past 17 been helping the Chamber because of his love for the community and his desire to assist his wife.
     Executive Director Kline told that at this banquet, with the theme being related to an adventure on a cruise ship, Mr. Kline is her First Mate.


     The New Business of the Year Award went to A Downtown Beauty Lounge. Missy Maguire and Kay Hobbs accepted the award.

J.R. Harr accepts the award from Chamber Secretary Jana Carlisle as Brian McMahon watches. President Jennifer Radder applauds in the background.

     The New Member of the Year Award went to The Repair Shop – Brian McMahon and J.R. Harr.
     Outgoing Chamber President Jennifer Radder presented the Williston Chamber Director of the Year Award to Jana L. Carlisle.
     And, President Radder, who earned the President's Award, accepted it from Carlisle. The two women are good friends, and they work in the Chamber at helping the Williston area business community thrive as much as they can.

     Fun was an overriding factor for the annual event. Judy Sparrow of A Nu U Salon provided massages for anyone who wanted them.

Danny Etheridge in his role as a blackjack dealer asks a player if they want a card.

     Two drink tickets for wine were provided for each couple. There were also the Williston Chill non-alcoholic drink and the Chilly Willi alcoholic drink available. Bill Radder served as bartender.
     Hors d’oeuvres included buffalo wing egg rolls, coconut shrimp, and jalapeño shrimp.
     Danny Etheridge and Justin Hardy served as blackjack dealers. Chips were provided and people would win or lose chips and tickets. The tickets were for possible door prizes.
     There were many, many tickets given away for free, too; so there is no need to think a person had to play blackjack (or “21”) to win door prizes.
     There was an active art gallery with artists showing and selling their works at this event too.
     Table sponsors were Capital City Bank; Drummond Community Bank; Fugate Forestry;; Kirby Family Farm; Levy County Fair Association; Maguire’s Auto Repair; The Repair Shop and Williston Peanuts.

Judge Joseph E. Smith jokes as he prepares to present Chamber Executive Director Mary Kline (left) with an award for her service. In the center of this photo is Chamber Board member Tracy Kirby.

     Special sponsors were: Event Sponsor – Williston Crossings RV Resort; Bar Sponsor – Coldwell Banker; Clam Glam Sponsor – Andover End; Excursion Sponsor – Visit Williston; Hors d’oeuvres Sponsor – Florida Food Service; Ice Sponsor – The Ice Chest; Memorabilia Sponsor – B4 Signs & Advertising.
     Among the many other sponsors and interests helping this event were the Levy County Visitors Bureau; Palms Medical Group; Sean Mullins, artist and art teacher; and A Downtown Beauty Salon.
     While almost nothing is as constant as change, a man who is an institution himself as far as administering oaths of office is Eighth Judicial Circuit Court Senior Judge Joseph E. Smith, who is a former Levy County judge.

Chamber Secretary Jana Carlisle (left) hugs her friend and colleague President Jennifer Radder as Carlisle accepts a plaque for her service. This is the Director of the Year Award, which went to Carlisle.

     Judge Smith is known to have administered the oath of office to many, many government officials. As for installing the Williston Chamber officers and members of the board of directors, he has done this for umpteen years and the presenter is beloved in the Williston business community.
Chamber012415Z     Incoming Chamber President Patricia Zerbini was unable to attend because she was out of town on business. However outgoing President Radder assured the Chamber that President Zerbini pledges to continue the Chamber’s forward progress.

Jennifer Carlisle holds her Director of the Year award.

     For each of the Chamber leaders who were present, Judge Smith presented them with tokens to represent their duties. Combined with his sage advice, as usual for this installation program, he added a touch of levity, as he mentioned that while this is an important installation ceremony, it need not be overly solemn.
     The individuals who have accepted this voluntary service, he said, have devoted their time and talents to promoting the Chamber and the community. He commended each person for giving of themselves to enhance their community.
     “I complement each of you because you do make a difference,” Smith said. “I encourage each of you as you work together to make Williston an even better place to live, and to work and to raise families.
     “I applaud each of you because it is an effort; and you will give of your valuable time and energy as you volunteer,” he continued. “And I thank you for your willingness to be part of the solution.”
     For each office, he confirmed that they agreed to fulfill their duties to the best of their ability.

     Outgoing President Radder accepted her job of presiding at meetings and conducting other business in the absence of incoming President Zerbini. The judge said that while some incoming vice presidents will “watch and learn” from the president, Vice President Radder knows the goals and direction of the Chamber, and will lead it as a president in the absence of the president.
     Even though Smith knows she does not need to be “a yes person,” he gave Vice President Radder a card as a reminder of how to help support the president in her new role as vice president.
     The card said “Absolutely” on one side and “Yes Of Course” on the other side as a reminder of what she is to say, Smith said as he added his humor to the installation program.

     Jana Carlisle accepted the duty of being secretary again. Attending to the correspondence of the Chamber and making a written record are among her responsibilities in this office, Smith said.
     “You need to be quick with words and nimble with your fingers,” he said. “Will you fulfill your duties to the best of your ability?”
     “I absolutely will,” Carlisle said.
     “And I absolutely thank you for that,” Smith said as he took the added presentation for her from his gift bag. “And I know you will. And know that you will be using the latest model computer to complete your duties, but every good secretary needs a backup. Your backup is a yellow pad and a Bic pen”

Treasurer Tami Wood accepts the Monopoly money from Judge Joseph E. Smith. Debra Jones volunteered to hold the microphone stand, which had presented a problem from the start of the evening.


     Tami Wood accepted the duty of being treasurer again. She receives, records and expends the revenue within the coffers of the Williston Chamber of Commerce, Smith said.
     The senior judge told her that he knows money is always a problem. He advised her to make use of the money he was giving her so that the Chamber would have no money issues.
     He gave her Monopoly money with one bill from each denomination $500, $100, $50, $20, $10, $5 and $1 as he advised her to use it well.


     Jim Smith and Jennifer Munden are outgoing members of the Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, and Judge Smith reminded people to say “Thank you” to Jim Smith (and there is a long story the judge has shared at a previous installation about the Smith relationship) and Munden for their service.
     The judge gave a package of Lifesavers candy to the Williston Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, whom he installed. The candy represents that they are lifesavers. The board of directors of this Chamber is now J.R. Harr, Paul Jones, Tracy Kirby, Rick Maguire and Alan E. Wallace.


TUE.  JAN. 27    9:57 p.m.
Levy, Dixie, Gilchrist counties

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