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Sons of the Confederacy
Make Presentations

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Cmdr. Daryl Ratterree of the Sons of Confederate Veterans presents two framed items to the Dixie County Commission on Thursday night (May 21). The first was a framed proclamation that the commissioners had all signed at a previous meeting. This picture is of the first presentation – which is the proclamation. The second was a certificate of appreciation. Accepting the framed proclamation are (from left) County Commissioner Gene Higginbotham, County Commissioner Jody Robson, County Commission Chairman Ronnie Edmonds, County Commissioner Jason Holifield and County Commissioner W.C. Mills. The certificate of appreciation was to the Dixie County Board of County Commissioners for its support of the Sons of Confederate Veterans Camp #2086 ‘The Dixie Defenders.’
Published May 22, 2015 @ 2:37 p.m.
Photo by Jeff M. Hardison

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Bronson Town Council
offers public works director job
Candidate to speak Town Council on June 1

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Bronson Town Council members (from left) Aaron Edmondson, Katie Bogart, Franklin Schuler, Beatrice Roberts and Bruce Greenlee listen to Town Clerk Kelli Brettel.

Story and Photo

By Jeff M. Hardison © May 15, 2015 @ 3:17 p.m.
     BRONSON -- Four of the five leaders of the Town of Bronson on Monday night (May 18) chose to offer the job of public works director to Daniel Erik Wise of Gainesville.
     Mayor Franklin Schuler abstained from discussion because his son Shane Schuler was among the candidates for the job. Therefore, Vice Mayor Beatrice Roberts led this part of the meeting.
     Wise is being offered the same annual salary that former Bronson Public Works Director Jimmy Dunford was earning when Dunford left -- $39,000. Town Councilman Aaron Edmondson said he calculated Dunford's salary and the annual fees paid to Water Pro for that independent contractor's services related to water and sewer service, and that equaled $56,937.
     He and other Town Council members indicated that they would like to save $18,000 a year by having a public works director with the required water and sewer licenses to handle that aspect of the town's services.
     Town Councilwoman Katie Parks Bogart asked to make sure all of the candidates were aware that there is no retirement plan for Bronson town workers. She was assured this was done.
     Town Councilman Bruce Greenlee said he believes there is a need for more accountability from Water Pro, or the town needs to have a public works director who is willing to do what is required to earn the needed licenses to operate the water and sewer plants.
     Vice Mayor Roberts said it takes 2,080 hours of work to earn the required licenses.
     Town Clerk Kelli Brettel provided more insight. She said normally there is a utility director that holds the main licenses. The public works director is over the entire operation of the town, including streets. And under the utility director, in bigger cities, are different operators for wastewater and water, beyond that, there are different classes of workers with various licenses.
     Vice Mayor Roberts suggested selecting the top three of the six candidates. Award the first person with five points, she said. The second choice person would get three points and the third highest choice would get one point.
     The four deciders voted – with the mayor still abstaining.
     Roberts ranked them 1.) Wise; 2.) Curtis Stacy Jr.; 3.) Clay Edward Lott.
     Edmondson ranked them 1.) Lott; 2.) Stacy; 3.) Wise.
     Greenlee ranked them 1.) Stacy; 2.) Wise; 3.) Lott.
     Bogart ranked them 1.) Wise; 2.) Bryan Counts; 3.) Lott.
     Therefore the point spread went like this: Wise-14; Stacy-11; Lott-8; and Counts-3.
     The city leaders voted to offer Wise the salary and then if he rejects it, to make the offer to the second place finalist Stacy – the son of the Parks and Recreation director.
     Wise’s resume shows he earned a bachelor of science degree in public administration from the College of Central Florida. He also holds a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from Columbia Southern (Orange Beach, Ala.).
     He has a Florida Department of Environmental Regulation Levy 3 Distribution System Operator license for water. A drinking water operator “C” license; a Certified Site Manager license; and a Wastewater Collection license.
     He has been working for Volusia County since 2010 as an environmental specialist III, where he oversaw compliance sampling of water and wastewater. He also served in that capacity as the point of contact for the public when there was a customer issue or a public notification was required.
     Wise is scheduled to speak with the Town Council about the offer of employment on June 1, according to Clerk Brettel.


Fundraiser helps
new resource center

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Kylie Johnson, 17, is one of the dozen volunteers washing cars and selling items to raise money for Tri-County Community Resources Inc.

Story and Photos

By Jeff M. Hardison © May 17, 2015 @ 9:27 a.m.
     CHIEFLAND – Complete Sleep and Furnishings was a hubbub of activity Saturday (May 16) in Chiefland, not just because of the wonderful products at an excellent price and a thoughtful staff, but because there was a three-pronged fundraiser under way.
     Tri-County Community Resources Inc. (CCR) Chair Diana Child led about a dozen volunteers on a mission to clean vehicles, and provide plants and baked goods to willing donors. Mission accomplished.
     Not only do Child and CCR Secretary Kimberly Henderson sit on the board of directors for this group, but they get out and hold signs, wash cars, and sell baked goods and plants to help sustain the fledgling center, which is located in downtown Chiefland.
     Saturday was a good day for washing cars, and selling plants and baked goods. Henderson said on Saturday afternoon that the plants were going even faster than the delicious desserts.

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Tri-County Community Resources Inc. Secretary Kimberly Henderson holds a sign at the car wash, plant sale and bake sale on Saturday (May 16). The car wash is happening in the background. The baked goods are on the table. The plants are in pots forming the 'hedge' next to the curb of the road leading into Walmart, and adjacent to Complete Sleep and Furnishings.

     The Tri-County Community Resource Center is located in the John Fisher Building on the northeast corner of Park Avenue and Main Street (U.S. Highway 19). That building was once Chiefland City Hall and then it became the Chiefland Building Department.
     Chiefland currently has no building department, per se, but it contracts for those services. There is some discussion about hiring a city building official in the future.
     As for Tri-County Community Resource Center, the people in that building (and beyond) work in partnership with various agencies to assist individuals and families in Levy, Dixie and Gilchrist counties by providing services, resources and information.
     “We help match services for people in need, especially those in crisis mode,” Child said.
     For instance, if a family is unable to pay their utility bill, people in this center assist them in locating agencies and churches that might be able to get them through this bump in the road. Among the many other needs that the center helps people meet are housing, early education (Head Start), food, and medical service and supplies.
     This one-stop location also provides the persons in need with opportunities and methods to overcome some of the problems causing their economic distress. Connecting employers with workers by working with Citrus Levy Marion CareerSource is an option.
     So not only can people use the computers at the CLM center, which is just a few blocks away, or at the Luther Callaway Public Library, but they now have computers at this center to use for job searches and writing resumes.
     “We also have Rosetta Stone for Spanish and English,” Child said. “So anybody can come in to use those and learn Spanish or English for free.”
     Another important service is counseling for children and families. This location is a central point for immediate help in that regard, and it is a resource to use for sustaining that assistance for people needing emotional support as well as physical support.
     Among the groups that link with CCR to help people are First United Methodist Church of Chiefland and other churches in the Tri-County Area, the Partnership for Strong Families, CDS (formerly known as Corner Drug Store of Gainesville), the Child Protection Team, the Florida Department of Children and Families, Guardian Ad Litem of the Eighth and Third Judicial Circuits, Another Way and others.
     One great advantage for this facility is the ability for people to receive help by going to Chiefland rather than Gainesville, Child said.
     As for the fundraiser, the CCR is a non-profit group that is the cornerstone for all of this activity. While the other partners are key players, there is one voluntary group that creates the tie that binds the whole.
     Joining Chair Child of First UMC of Chiefland, and Secretary Henderson of Another Way as officers of CCR, are Vice Chair Judy Benton of the Early Learning Coalition, and Treasurer A.D. Goodman of Central Florida Electric Cooperative and the Chiefland Fire Rescue Department.
     There are several other members on the CCR Board of Directors, including Jaime Gilliam Hinote of Palms Medical Group; and Kenneth Ihlenfeldt of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul.
     Volunteers and staff in the building on North Main Street in Chiefland, started helping people there on March 23. Beverly Gooding Landingham of the Partnership for Strong Families is the Tri-County Community Resource Center manager.

-- UPDATED --

SUN.    MAY 24   8:17 a.m.

Levy-Dixie-Gilchrist




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