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Williston Rotary learns
about tobacco addiction
prevention and cure

Story and Photos
By Jeff M. Hardison © Oct. 30, 2014

     WILLISTON -- After enjoying a delicious lunch that included attorney Blake Fugate's homemade gumbo and rice, with a side salad, bread, dessert and a drink, members and guests of the Rotary Club of Williston listened to a program by Kristina Zachry, tobacco prevention specialist for Levy County with Quit Doc.

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     The Florida Department of Health provides Quit Doc with a grant to assist people in 11 counties as they get off of the tobacco addiction or they see enough reason never to start. The communities served by Quit Doc include the Tri-County Area of  Levy, Dixie and Gilchrist counties.
     Since the first U.S. Surgeon General’s Report in 1964 linked tobacco use to cancer, there have been 32 reports, she said, which included information about secondhand smoke and what has become known as third-hand smoke. Third-hand smoke is the remnants left in carpets, curtains, couches and other areas that capture residual chemicals from tobacco smoke.

Rotary102814B     Zachry showed the Rotarians reason to think that tobacco is a poison that kills people.
     Every organ in the body is impacted by tobacco use, Zachry said. Of all of the forms of cancer, lung cancer kills the most men and women, Zachry said as she quickly presented many facts about several aspects of the Quit Doc mission.

Williston Rotary Club President Justin Head presents Kristina Zachry with a gift from the club.
     “Tobacco kills more people per year than all other causes of death combined,” she said.
     Tobacco is responsible for 480,000 deaths each year, she said.
     It is never too late to quit using tobacco, she said.
     Click HERE for a link to a site to begin finding methods to quit using tobacco.
     The young people of Levy County are involved with tobacco prevention, she told the Rotary Club of Williston. There are about 200 members of Students Working Against Tobacco (SWAT) from the entire middle and high school population in Levy County.
     And on a 12-member statewide SWAT Board, one of those leaders is from Levy County, Zachry said.
Rotary102814     Among the accomplishments in Levy County is the abolition of any use of tobacco on any Levy County School Board property at any time, including at extracurricular activities such as sports on any campus.

Kristina Zachry

     Another success story from SWAT is the young people influencing the Cedar Key City Council to adopt an ordinance restricting placement of tobacco products in stores within the city limits of Cedar Key. That restriction is seen as a method to help reduce the influence and ease for people younger than the age of majority to begin the tobacco habit.
     The members of the Rotary Club of Williston received their guest speaker well, applauding her well-done presentation, and Club President Justin Head presented her with a gift.
     The Rotary Club of Williston has grown since its inception and the members continue to strive to meet the “Object of Rotary,” which is noted as:
     “To encourage and foster the ideal of service as a basis of worthy enterprise and, in particular, to encourage and foster:
    “First: The development of acquaintances as an opportunity for Service.
    “Second: High Ethical Standards in Business and professions; the recognition of the worthiness of all useful occupations and the dignifying of each Rotarian’s occupation as an opportunity to service society.
     “Third: The application of the ideal of service in each Rotarian’s personal, business and community life.
     “Fourth: The advancement of international understanding, goodwill and peace through a world fellowship of business and professional persons united in the ideal of service.”
     The club meets each Tuesday starting at 11:45 a.m. at First Presbyterian Church of Williston, 247 First St.
     The officers are President Justin Head, President-Elect Blake Fugate, Secretary Jennifer Radder, Treasurer Matt Brooks and Sergeant-At-Arms James Mixson. Rotarian Patsy Fugate, during the time when club members and guests shared "happy dollars," mentioned that she liked the prayer given by Danny Etheridge as a blessing before everyone enjoyed her grandson's gumbo.
     Among the other many other social and fun activities at that meeting (which are too many to even list) was the recognition of a couple who are visiting Rotarians from Scotia, New York.


City manager review completed

Story and Photo
By Jeff M. Hardison © Oct. 29, 2014

     CHIEFLAND -- The three-month review of Chiefland City Manager Mary Ellzey went quickly, despite the City Commission not having a quorum for the first half of that special meeting on Monday night (Oct. 27).
     City commissioners Betty Walker and Chris Jones were in place and ready to begin at 5:30 p.m., per the advertised time of the meeting. Vice Mayor Teresa Barron was absent from that meeting and the regular twice-monthly meeting, which began at 6 p.m.

CitCou102714B
Considering city business matters on Monday night are (from left) City Commissioner Rollin Hudson, Mayor Teal Pomeroy Vice Mayor Betty Walker and City Commissioner Chris Jones. City Commissioner Teresa Barron was absent.

     Mayor Teal Pomeroy showed up at about 5:45 p.m. and City Commissioner Rollin Hudson made it with very few minutes before the 6 p.m. regular meeting started.
     Despite the complete absence of one City Commissioner and the late arrival of two, there was a quorum long enough to complete the process.
     Mayor Pomeroy said he was very pleased to work with Ellzey and he saw  a seamless transition after the administration of former City Manager Kevin Gay.
     Overall, on a 5-point scale, Ellzey averaged 3.54 in the estimations made by the various City Commission members in their written evaluations.
     Although this evaluation process, revised since the choice to not renew the annual contract with Gay, showed five spaces for “goals, finding, corrective action, time to be completed, evidence of improvement and benchmarks,” the four city commissioners present chose against listing any goals, etc.
     Pomeroy said he has received positive feedback from the people of Chiefland and from organizations such as the Levy County Commission.
     Vice Mayor Walker said she is happy that “everything has smoothed out” since Ellzey accepted the offer to be city manager.
     Walker added that she endorses Ellzey’s choices in personnel placement. Those revisions include the appointments of Deputy City Clerk Laura Cain, and Finance and Projects Coordinator Bryan Hassell, and the move of Laurie Copeland to the post held by the late Carol Allen in city finance.
     Although she was absent, Barron noted on the evaluation that the work by the new city manager in regard to the city’s effort to provide Advanced Life Support via its Fire Department while they await an ambulance from the Levy County Department of Public Safety has been excellent.
     Barron noted that she is “impressed and very appreciative” of the work of Ellzey in regard to her work toward the ALS project.
     The next evaluation for Ellzey’s work is set for six months from now, and then it will be each year.


Chiefland preps for
economic development grant

Story and Photos
By Jeff M. Hardison © Oct. 29, 2014

     CHIEFLAND – By a 4-0 vote Monday night (Oct. 27), the Chiefland City Commission agreed to staff’s request to accept a $35,000 grant for technical assistance with economic development, along with another $5,000 to create case studies detailing the city’s economic development story.
     This funding comes from the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity’s Competitive Florida Partnership program.
     There is no matching funding required of the city, however the city must agree to conduct public meetings and to perform outreach activities to the public to achieve the program’s goals.
CitCou102714     Laurie Copeland told the City Commission about the program, which opened in the previous fiscal year. The DEO chose a limited number of municipalities and two counties to participate in the first round, she said. Newberry in Alachua County and White Springs in Hamilton County was another city in the pilot program.

Laurie Copeland speaks to the City Commission. Fire Chief James Harris is in the background. Hardy Dean Sr., the former city manager for whom the building is named, is seen in the photo above the fire chief.

     The DEO staff approached city leaders and asked what they saw as needed to help business grow.
     Copeland said Newberry based much of its growth around promoting its sports facilities and programs, Copeland said.
     “They want to bring in recreational tourism,” she said.
     Chiefland had started its Vision Committee as it worked toward development, Copeland said, and it applied for another grant. She also applied to the state for this cycle of the Competitive Florida Partnership program.
     The grants overlap and can become one grant, she explained.
     The state DEO will assist the city in creating its plan, or roadmap, for economic development. The state will help the city hold workshops with the public as well as to aid the staff in creating a plan.
     One service the state will provide, Copeland said, will be to take stock of the assets and resources of the city so that interested parties might feel attracted to develop business in the area.
     “It is a pretty big deal for us to be chosen to be a Competitive Florida Partner,” she said.
     It is more than $40,000 in grant funds, she said. It is a lot of exposure for Chiefland. The state of Florida will include Chiefland in its data base for companies looking for places to locate their business ventures, Copeland said.
IN OTHER ACTION
     In other action, by a 4-0 vote, the City Commission approved allowing the display of Florida's fallen soldiers, a memorial that was on display Oct. 10 at the Florida Capitol Building in Tallahassee. Audrey Campbell, the mother of a fallen soldier, asked the City Commission to allow the display to be placed in the lobby of City Hall. Her son 34-year-old Sgt. Karl Campbell was killed while on foot patrol in Babur, Afghanistan, in 2010. "Remembering Our Fallen" was created to honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. The memorial for the soldiers from Florida is on tour of the state.
     The city commissioners also listened as Police Chief Robert Douglas read a letter of thanks that a stranded motorist wrote in regard to a police officer who helped her get gasoline when her vehicle ran out.
     Chief Douglas said the Police Department also enjoyed providing candy to hundreds of children who visited the CPD, in addition to visiting the First United Methodist Church’s event on Saturday evening, the Chiefland Area Athletic Association’s event and the Family Pet Vet’s event that night.


 

-- UPDATED --
FRI.  OCT. 31   8:47 a.m.
Levy, Dixie, Gilchrist counties


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