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Tent Revival In Chiefland
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Thomas Ingram, an evangelist, invites everyone to the tent revival happening in the tent on east side of U.S. Highway 19 just southeast of Danny's Food Mart (which is the convenience store and gas station on the northwest corner of U.S. 19 and State Road 345) in Chiefland. Ingram said the revivals start at 7 p.m. each night through Saturday night (April 25).
Published April 20, 2015 @ 3:17 p.m.
Photo by Jeff M. Hardison


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Team Cirque Du Monterey with Mary Sestito and Kim Koenichen as leaders show they are dressed for the occasion.

Story and Photos

By Jeff M. Hardison © April 18, 2015 @ 7:47 p.m.
     WILLISTON – As planned, The Relay For Life Of Williston started at 2 p.m. on Saturday afternoon (April 17) and the official opening ceremonies were at 6 p.m. with the Survivors’ Walk.
        This relay was around the track at Williston High School’s football field.
Relay041815C     The Relay For Life Of The Tri-Counties is set to start on May 1 at the Agricultural Arena between Trenton and Bell in Gilchrist County at 6 p.m.

Relay Ambassador Kami McCormick, 14, who was crowned at the pageant last year said she felt it is ‘Pretty cool’ that she was reappointed as the ambassador again this year, due to the lack of a pageant.

     Despite a very warm afternoon Saturday, some teams dressed up completely for the event. The theme this year in Williston was Cirque Du Relay.
     Years ago, the Relay For Life would go for 24 hours with events and teams making many laps around the track. The basic idea remains the same and all funds go to the American Cancer Society in its efforts to rid the world of cancer. In rural North Florida the Relay For Life events do not go for 24 hours any more.
      The mission of the Relay For Life runs parallel with the American Cancer Society’s mission. Preventing cancer, saving lives and diminishing suffering from cancer through research, education, advocacy and service is the mission.

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Ray Minor performs a sound check just before the 2 p.m. start of the event.

     The event in Williston ran through Saturday night and into early Sunday morning. All of the action is at Williston High School at the football field and track. Teams raised money to fight cancer by selling barbecue chicken, pork sandwiches, chicken wings, corndogs, chili dogs, popcorn, cotton candy, funnel cakes, cookies, candy desserts and more.
     There were raffles, face painting, temporary tattoos, shirts, games and more, including special laps.
     Children began enjoying the free bounce house from the start at 2 p.m. Music opened with Bob Dylan’s classic song Blowing in the Wind at 2 p.m.
     The many different teams around the track all shared stories about people who survived and some who succumbed to cancer. Everyone worked together for the same purpose, and competition was spirited but friendly.


Jokester opens
Old-Fashioned River Party

Story, Photos and Videos
By Jeff M. Hardison © April 18, 2015
     LEVY COUNTY – He refers to himself as the Victor Borge of bagpipes.
Music041815     Robin Hendrickson of Gainesville was the first musician in a long line-up of performers at the 23rd Annual Old-Fashioned River Party. It was first started by Bill “Suwannee Cracker” Roberson when he was park manager. He has since retired, but he is known for his singing, guitar playing, storytelling and his art.
     Among the types of music performed on Saturday were bluegrass, old-time and folk music.
     Lloyd Baldwin of Gainesville and Jack Williams of Alachua invited Hendrickson to join them at this event. Baldwin and Williams are folk musicians.
     Hendrickson plays the bagpipes. When performing folk music with others, though, he uses the smaller pipes. Nevertheless, he let the big pipes roar when he launched the start of the day of music, as he hoped this would attract more campers and park visitors.
     The first few songs drew fewer than a dozen people, but the day was full of music at the state park once again.
     After a warm-up song, Hendrickson was joined by Williams  as they first played Way Down Upon The Suwannee River, which is also known as Old Folks at Home.  This classic is a minstrel song written by Stephen Foster in 1851. It is the official state song of Florida.


Way Down Upon The Suwannee River

     The next song by the wandering minstrels of Manatee Springs State Park was When The Saints Go Marching In. This song is an American gospel hymn.
     Hendrickson joked quite a bit between songs. He said bagpipe players tune their instrument for 90 percent of the time and play for 10 percent.
     Hendrickson said he is Welsh, as he wore a kilt. Some people ask him if he is Scottish and he helps them understand which part of that section of Europe are the place of his ancestry.


When The Saints Go Marching In

     He asked if there were any Irish members of the audience. Then he told a joke.
     “Why don’t the Irish hunt for elephants anymore?” he asked the small crowd.
     “Because they got tired of carrying the decoys.”
     Most folks could almost hear the rimshot of a drum, although there was none there at that time.
     One question he is asked often is “Are the bagpipes hard (to play)?”
     “Yes,” Hendrickson said. “But not nearly as hard as the rocks and sticks and other things people throw at me when I play them.”
     The man to whom Hendrickson referred is known professionally as Victor Borge, and that man’s actual name was Børge Rosenbaum, a Danish comedian, conductor and pianist who achieved great popularity in radio and television in the United States and Europe. His blend of music and comedy earned him the nickname "The Clown Prince of Denmark."
     And so “The Clown Prince of Wales” graced Manatee Springs State Park as he was the first in a very impressive set of musicians, who performed for all park visitors.


Williston City Council
members take the oath of office

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(from left) City Council members  Elihu Ross, Danny Etheridge and Matt Brooks take the oath of office administered by Levy County Judge James T. Browning.

Story, Photos and Video

By Jeff M. Hardison © April 15, 2015 @ 10:37 p.m.
Updated April 17, 2015 @ 5:47 a.m.

     WILLISTON – Three members of the Williston City Council took their oath of office Tuesday night (April 14) and the five City Council members determined who serves as the president and who is the vice president of this august body.
     Elihu Ross, Danny Etheridge and Matt Brooks were sworn in by Levy County Judge James T. Browning as they participated in the investiture ceremony.
     Determining who would serve as the Williston City Council president and vice president brought an opportunity to revisit why this selection process was not in synch with the investiture of the members.


(from left) City Council members  Elihu Ross, Danny Etheridge and Matt Brooks take the oath of office administered by Levy County Judge James T. Browning.

     There is a three consecutive annual term annual limit for president and vice president. Each year, the council selects these leaders.
     City Council President Jason Cason said the City Charter calls for the election of officers following an investiture.
     Cason was elected the first time as council president on Aug. 22, 2012. Therefore, there must be a new selection of council president on Aug. 22, 2015 or just before that date.

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(from left) City Council members  Elihu Ross, Danny Etheridge and Matt Brooks pause for a photo opportunity with Levy County Judge James T. Browning.

     Cason was elected again as the president. Brooks nominated Cason to be president. Ross nominated Charles Goodman to be president.
     Cason, Brooks and Etheridge voted in favor of Cason as president until the next vote in August. Ross and Goodman voted in favor Goodman as president.
     Goodman was elected as vice president the first time and each consecutive year on Jan. 1, 2013. Goodman was elected as vice president again on Tuesday night.
     Goodman had nominated Ross to be vice president.
     Brooks nominated Goodman to be vice president.
     It was a 3-2 vote again, with Cason, Brooks and Etheridge being in the majority and voting for Goodman as vice president. Goodman and Ross had voted for Ross to be vice president.
     Cason mentioned that during the August vote for the new president, the City Council may choose a new vice president as well.
     The way that the current appointments went out of synch happened at two turning points related to the ending times for former City Council members Jerry Robinson and Norm Fugate, Cason explained.
     Former Council President Robinson resigned from the City Council and the vice president at the time was unable to perform the duties due to scheduling conflicts. That is how Cason was first elected as council president on Aug. 22, 2012.
     Former Vice President Fugate resigned in January of 2013 and so Goodman was elected as the vice president.
     The City Council president signs documents and checks. He also leads the meetings. In his absence, the vice president performs those duties.

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The Williston Mayor and City Council are seen here. They are (from left) Councilman Danny Etheridge, Councilman Matt Brooks, Mayor R. Gerald Hethcoat, Council President Jason Cason, Council Vice President Charles Goodman, and Councilman Elihu Ross.

-- UPDATED --

MON.  APRIL 20  3:17 p.m.

Levy, Dixie, Gilchrist counties



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