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Levy County Clerk's Office
improves access to court records
via the Internet;

Statewide changes help people in Florida
By Jeff M. Hardison © Dec. 12, 2019 at 10:09 a.m.
     BRONSON --
The website for the Office of Levy County Clerk of the Court Danny Shipp is undergoing changes that will help people involved with court cases as they gain easier access to public records via the Internet, according to information provided by Levy County Chief Deputy Clerk Deanna Dobbins.
     Meanwhile, every clerk in all 67 counties of Florida is seeing changes in Florida's trial courts to help the people of Florida, according to Florida Courts (


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Levy County Clerk's Office Improvements

     Chief Deputy Clerk Dobbins noted that Levy County Clerk Shipp is improving the web services, and the Levy County Clerk's Office will have a new court system.
     "Unfortunately, our web for court records will be down to finish up the last stages," Dobbins said.
     The new system for court-record access via the Internet will be available on Dec. 26, she said. Court records from Dec. 12 through Dec. 26, however that were formerly available via the old system will not be available via the Internet until after the new system is online on Dec. 26.
     There is no loss of records. And while Internet access will be down for court records for a couple of weeks, everything is still able to be obtained from the office in the Levy County Courthouse in Bronson.
     All of this relates to court records only, Dobbins noted. All other services of the clerk’s office via the Internet will remain the same. For instance, there is access to records related to the Levy County Board of County Commissioners, for whom Shipp is the clerk, per Florida law, on the clerk’s website. Like all 67 county clerks in Florida, Shipp is the comptroller for the county.
     People who were accessing court information from the Levy County Clerk of the Court via the Internet will be slightly inconvenienced for a couple of weeks. When the new system becomes active, however, Dobbins noted, the improvements will be appreciated by people who will no longer have to drive to Bronson, but will be able to gather even more court information from anywhere with an Internet connect.
     “Court records only will be down for our final steps in our conversion to our new CMS, Clericus,” Dobbins said. “The records will show up to Dec. 12.”
     This will affect CCIS and Eportal, during those couple of weeks, she added.
     “We do apologize for this inconvenience,” Dobbins said, “but we are working toward improving our service to you and the community.”
     All access to court records should be restored on Dec. 26, she said, and the service will be even better than before.
     The chief deputy clerk in Levy County asks for people who use court records via the Internet to please be patient with the office staff during the transition. Everyone in the office is striving to assist and serve everyone as best as they can, she said.

     TALLAHASSEE -- In just under three weeks, on Jan. 1, 2020, changes in Florida state law and the Florida Rules of Procedure will go into effect, changing where a variety of court actions are heard, according to Florida law.
     ● County court jurisdictional thresholds increase to $30,000 on January 1, 2020, and to $50,000 on January 1, 2023.
     ● Small claims cases on January 1, 2020, will include cases up to $8,000
     ● Filers will be required to include a civil cover sheet specifying the dollar amount in dispute in cases exceeding $8,000 in value.
     ● The new law maintains current rules that limits the provision of subsidized court mediation services to county court cases with an amount in controversy up to $15,000.
     ● State law provides that on January 1, 2020, appeals of county court orders or judgments with an amount in controversy greater than $15,000 will be heard by the district courts of appeal until January 1, 2023, when the provision repeals.
     All of these facts are noted on the Florida Courts website, and there is much more, including a flow chart to show the path of jurisprudence in Florida courts -- including county courts, circuit courts, the Florida District Courts of Appeal and the Florida Supreme Court.
     There are self-help functions and more, starting from the Home Page of


Toll Roads
Stoney Smith Chiefland Florida
Stoney Smith is seen at the Chiefland City Commission meeting on Monday night (Dec. 9). He said he thinks that if the Florida Department of Transportation is considering building another road from Citrus County to Jefferson County (Suncoast Corridor), then FDOT should incorporate U.S. Highway 19, perhaps with a bypass around Chiefland. There are three Multi-use Corridors of Regional Economic Significance (MCORES). The Suncoast Corridor (Citrus County to Jefferson County ) Task Force Meeting #3 is scheduled for Dec. 17, Tuesday, at IFAS Auditorium 203 Forest Park Drive, in Perry. It begins with registration at 8 a.m. and the welcome at 9 a.m. There is a break for lunch. Public comments wrap it up at 4:30 p.m. The Northern Turnpike Corridor Task Force Meeting #3 Dec. 18, Wednesday, at the Hilton Ocala 3600 S.W. 36th Ave., in Ocala. This MCORE includes Citrus, Levy, Marion and Sumter counties. These three possible toll roads, with other possible infrastructural improvements, are at the information gathering point. People who want more information about MCORES may want to visit this website The website will show where meetings are held. There are going to be public hearings, and the FDOT has people attending government meetings to accept input. There are also methods for the public to provide input via the website.

Photo By Jeff M. Hardison © Dec. 10, 2019 at 10:39 p.m.


Boil water notice
issued for Cross City

By Jeff M. Hardison © Dec. 9, 2019 at 10:09 p.m.
     CROSS CITY --
Mayor Tank Lee said on Monday (Dec. 9) that people will need to exercise the actions known for a "boil water notice" for the 48 hours following a low-pressure period of city water in Cross City.
     A precautionary boil water notice is issued to protect consumers when it is possible that drinking water has been contaminated by microorganisms that can cause illness (i.e. germs or pathogens).
     To learn more about a precautionary boil water notice, click HERE for the proper link to the Florida Department of Health.
     Mayor Lee noted that "The city will be turning off the water citywide in the morning Tuesday, Dec. 10)  for repairs at the water plant from 9 a.m. until approximately 10 a.m."
     When asked if this means people should practice "boil water notice" procedures, he said "Yes, for 48 hours."


FBI Continues Work In Pensacola
FBI Jacksonville In Pensacola Florida
FBI Jacksonville Special Agent in Charge Rachel Rojas, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Florida Larry Keefe, and FBI Assistant Special Agent in Charge Todd Bobe met with Escambia County Sheriff David Morgan and his leadership team this morning (Monday, Dec. 9) to provide a briefing on the Naval Air Station - Pensacola shooting investigation. Assistant Special Agent in Charge Bobe was deployed to Pensacola on Saturday (Dec. 7) and since has been serving as the FBI liaison to Sheriff Morgan, Escambia County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Chip Simmons and his leadership team, and the United States Navy.
Information And Photo Provided By Amanda Warford Videll, Public Affairs Officer, FBI Jacksonville Division

Published Dec. 9, 2019 at 11:29 a.m.

Please see related story - POLICE PAGE


Fla. Gas Transmission warns
of possible loud noises;

Do not be alarmed, the company says
By Jeff M. Hardison © Dec. 6, 2019 at 4:19 p.m.
Florida Gas Transmission Co. is advising area residents of maintenance work it intends to perform on pipelines (both 30-inch and 36-inch diameters) at a location east of U.S. Highway 19 just east of Powerline Road in Citrus County starting Monday, Dec. 9.
     To accommodate this work, the company will conduct gas blowdowns or venting at valves located about a mile north of Inglis.
     The valves are located behind Dave Christopher’s Auto Shop on U.S. 19 on the east side.
     The blowdowns could continue through Thursday (Dec. 12) depending on the progress of the project.
     FGT is providing a flyer that is being provided to residents and business interests in the general vicinity of the blowdowns in Levy County. 
     This process includes the controlled release of natural gas, which will result in a loud noise for approximately six hours.
     Residents and visitors may smell an odor, which is from an additive in the gas, during the time of the release.
     Local officials and law enforcement officers have received information on this work.
     THIS IS A CONTROLLED OPERATION. DO NOT BE ALARMED! the company notes on flyers.
     For safety, people are asked to please avoid the immediate area near the release location during this operation. Florida Gas will have signs posted to limit access.
     Please call 1-800-238-5066 if you have any questions.

Santa Accepts Letters
Santa Claus Chiefland Florida
Every child who lives in the 32626 or 32644 Zip Code areas and wants to send Santa Claus a letter, and potentially have him write back, is asked to send him a letter in care of the Chiefland Post Office, 222 W. Park Ave., Chiefland, FL 32626. Another method to get the letter to Santa is to put it in the mailbox that is located in the lobby of the Chiefland Post Office. No postage is required on these letters if they are sent from a mailbox that serves a Chiefland address. A helper of Santa Claus said that the jolly old elf knows every language, but for the letters coming to the Chiefland Post Office, he requests that they be limited to either English or Spanish. Here is how the letter should be addressed:
Santa Claus
in care of Chiefland Post Office
222. W. Park Ave.
Chiefland, FL 32626

Santa Accepts Letters
Santa Claus stressed that he sincerely wants to reply to children as best as he can. And while Santa knows everyone's address and whether they are on one of the lists he keeps, he requires a RETURN ADDRESS so that he may respond to the young letter writers. Please remember, Santa Claus is accepting letters from children with Chiefland postal addresses via the mail, and no postage stamp is required on that letter; however, any child can deliver a letter to Santa Claus by going into the lobby of the Chiefland Post Office and placing the letter in the mailbox that is in the lobby.
Also Santa Claus can read letters written in Spanish! And he will write back in Spanish too.
(¡También Santa Claus puede leer cartas escritas en Español! Y también va a escribir en Español.)
All Letters Must Be Submitted By Dec. 24 For Santa Claus To See Them.
Another note for children writing letters, Santa Claus is working to provide children with gifts they ask for, within reason. As a result of Post Office workers holding a parking lot sale recently, the workers raised $280 to spend on gifts for children, Chiefland Postmaster Tammy Gomez said. Therefore, children will see some small gifts. It is hoped that letter writers will receive at least a pencil and a candy cane, although Santa has some other small gifts already on the elf assembly line for delivery.

Photos by Jeff M. Hardison © Dec. 4. 28, 2019 at 4:39 p.m.


5,785-acre conservation
easement added to Lower
Suwannee National Refuge
in Dixie County

Dixie County Lower Suwannee National Refuge
Photo Courtesy of The Conservation Fund

By DEP Press Office
Published Dec. 3, 2019 at 8:09 p.m.
Today (Tuesday, Dec. 3), Gov. Ron DeSantis and the Florida Cabinet approved the purchase of a conservation easement of more than 5,785 acres in Dixie County within the Lower Suwannee River and Gulf Watershed Florida Forever project.
     Purchase of this easement buffers and conserves the natural resources of the Suwannee River and the Gulf of Mexico, protecting habitat and corridors for rare plants and animals over a wide span of undeveloped public lands.
     "Natural resources are the backbone of Dixie County. This acquisition will allow ecotourism to flourish," Florida Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Noah Valenstein said. "Through a multi-agency effort, this Florida Forever Project creates a continuous corridor of conservation area and working lands."
     “This easement is an important investment in Gulf water quality, wildlife habitat, the region’s forest economy, and future resilience,” Audubon Florida Executive Director Julie Wraithmell said. “We are grateful for the Governor and Cabinet’s leadership in protecting this important part of Florida.”
     “The Lyme Timber Company, Florida Department of Environmental Protection and The Conservation Fund have long pursued establishing permanent working forest conservation easements in Dixie County,” Tom Morrow, managing director of The Lyme Timber Company LP, said. "The lands will remain on the local tax rolls and continue to be actively and sustainably managed timberland providing employment to local foresters, logging contractors and mills.”
     “The Conservation Fund is honored to partner with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and Lyme Timber Company on this truly unique effort that helps provide clean water and air, wildlife habitat, jobs and economic benefits to communities in Florida’s Big Bend,” said Lauren Day, Florida Field Representative for the nonprofit The Conservation Fund. “This project supports the health of the Lower Suwannee River and Gulf of Mexico and will help increase coastal resiliency during major storms. Protecting this tract is part of an unprecedented partnership, involving numerous and diverse partners that are united in protecting this critical watershed to safeguard our environment and economy.”
     Florida Forever is the state's conservation and recreation lands acquisition program, a blueprint for conserving natural resources and renewing Florida's commitment to conserve natural and cultural heritage. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection is Florida’s lead agency for environmental management and stewardship.


Cedar Key Woman's Club 2019
Fall Market fills house and yard

Cedar Key Woman's Club Fall Market
This view from the front porch shows a small portion of the massive activity on the front lawn of the Cedar Key Woman’s Club Clubhouse on State Road 24 in the Sumner area of Levy County on Saturday (Nov. 30).

Story and Photos
By Jeff M. Hardison © Nov. 30, 2019 at 5:09 p.m.
People driving along State Road 24 near the Sumner area of Levy County once again saw a hubbub of activity as the Cedar Key Woman’s Club's 2017 Fall Market on Saturday (Nov. 30) showed this annual affair continues to be a thriving festive occurrence that provides many treasures, treats, jewelry, fabulous artisan shopping, flea market vendors, home baking, a snack bar and more.


Granny’s Cupboard is part of the traditional shopping spots of the Fall Market. The Cedar Key Woman’ Club, established in 1960, supports Cedar Key High School Senior Scholarship; the Community Food Pantry; Local Active American Military Members; the Health Fair; Coastal Cleanup; the Cedar Key Public Library; a Domestic Violence Shelter; Weekly Seniors’ Luncheon; Hurricane Preparedness; the USMC Reserve’s Toys For Tots; the Operation Smile Project; The Hacienda Girls Ranch; and Heifer International.

     This was the 14th year for the annual event that brings joy to shoppers as well to participating club members.
     The club has more than 50 members and there must have been at least 20 of them on the grounds and in the big yellow two-story house on SR 24 Saturday helping with this annual event.
     Traditional cornerstones for this Fall Market were present.
     There was the snack bar, where members provided guests with the following meals that included baked beans and chips with each of the main course meals of -- pulled pork BBQ plate (including baked beans, coleslaw and chips) for $6, chili dogs or hotdogs (with chips) for $3. Soda pop drinks and coffee were selling for $1. There were brownies, cookies or muffins for 50-cents from the snack bar. Cake slices were going for $1 each there.
     Granny’s Cupboard was the place for patrons to purchase homemade breads and many, many other baked goods. This bake sale aspect of the Fall Market helped add to the mix of donations from volunteers to aid the Cedar Key Woman’s Club in its efforts to raise money for the community of Cedar Key. The wonderous assortment of many baked goods Saturday included (but was not limited to) chocolate banana bread, banana bread, peanut butter pie, blueberry cobbler, rye bagels, doughnuts, cookies and more.
     This bake sale extravaganza helps finance the scholarships that the Cedar Key Woman’s Club awards. In the past, the club has given a $1,000 scholarship to a deserving female graduate from Cedar Key School.
     There were other things beyond baked goods at the Fall Market -- as there are each year.

 Tables and tables of very low-cost jewelry beckons buyers, whom all have been happy after their annual visit to this event.

Teri Brennan and Cindy Leiner stand near a clothes section indoors. These proceeds help Haven (Hospice).

Another view from the porch to the front yard shows that even early-on there were lots of visitors this year.

     One hot-selling item again this year is the 2020 calendar.
     Photos for the 2020 calendars came from many contributors who are club members and other photographers (as noted in a recently published story with photos in Calendars are selling for $10 each. These calendars have sold like hotcakes each year for eight years now.
     They are available at various island locations. One of the best places to visit is the Cedar Key Chamber of Commerce Welcome Center in beautiful, historic downtown Cedar Key. Even after the calendars sell out from that location, the Chamber folks are very friendly and can direct calendar buyers to other locales; however, the sell-out time is predicted to be before January.
     As has been noted, this successful project, like the other ventures by the club is a combined effort that takes everyone’s input.
     Proceeds from the calendar all return to the island city, supporting causes such as the Cedar Key Relief Fund, the Cedar Key School, the Cedar Key Food Pantry, the Cedar Key Public Library, the Cedar Key Volunteer Fire Department, and the arts center program for children.
     Work on the calendar continues all year.
     The support from businesses which carry the calendar is an important partnership for the Cedar Key Woman’s Club and is very appreciated by the club.

     Inside the clubhouse, there were people selling a very wide range of items.
     Once again, for the person who missed this year, it might be a good idea to be alert for the excellent opportunities at the Cedar Key Woman’s Club's Fall Market coming in 2020. Thanksgiving turkey might trigger that reminder.
     Another method to remind oneself about the 2020 Cedar Key Woman’s Club Fall Market is to buy a 2020 Cedar Key Woman’s Club Calendar and mark it on there. It is traditionally on the Saturday after Thanksgiving.

     The turnout of people selling items in the front yard as well as inside the big yellow house on State Road 24 showed plenty of items for interested buyers.
     In addition to the various aforementioned causes, the club provides assistance to the Cedar Key health fair, hurricane preparedness, the coastal cleanup, a domestic violence shelter and weekly seniors’ luncheons.
     Among the vast assortment of items at the yard sale were an electric fence and a vacuum pump.
     The Annual Fall Market event is not the biggest fundraiser for the club, but like it does for the other events, this woman’s club puts the “fun” in fundraiser.
     Several shoppers again found items they wanted for themselves, relatives, spouses, friends, coworkers, colleagues and acquaintances.
     The other places where this club raises funds are its annual fashion show (which may occur this year), its potluck lunch, the annual spaghetti dinner and through its participation with the Cedar Key Lions Club, which hosts the extraordinary annual Cedar Key Seafood Festival.

     The quilt being raffled by The Cedar Key Woman’s Club this year shows an ongoing commitment to help The Fisher House, which is a facility for injured veterans’ families.
     Funds raised by the exchange of donations for tickets on the quilt, go to the Fisher House in Gainesville. The Fisher House is for veterans’ families as their family member is cared for at the VA hospital in Gainesville.
     To stay at the Gainesville Fisher House, please contact the Malcom Randall VA Medical Center in Gainesville.
     The Cedar Key Woman’s Club, which was first established in 1960, is a member of the General Federation of Woman’s Clubs. This club’s purpose is to enhance the quality of life in Cedar Key through volunteer service; although the club’s positive impact reaches far beyond the four corners of the little islands in western Levy County that are generally known as Cedar Key.
     Becoming a member of the Cedar Key Woman’s Club is relatively easy.
     The process starts by a woman letting a current member know that they would like to join.
     New members are urged to become as active as they want. The more experienced members enjoy helping new members feel comfortable in their new volunteer service to the community.
     As for the Fall Market on Saturday, as anticipated, a good time was had by all.


Tri-Counties Hospice
Care Center 0pening Dec. 2

By Jeremy Haupt    
Haven Marketing and Communications Manager
Published Nov. 29, 2019 at 9:19 a.m.
Haven’s Tri-Counties Hospice Care Center in Chiefland will open for respite and general inpatient care beginning Monday (Dec. 2).
     Haven’s respite care service allows caregivers to take a small break for up to five consecutive days, while general inpatient care is appropriate when a patient’s medical condition warrants an inpatient stay for symptom management or pain control.
     “The Tri-Counties Hospice Care Center is a tremendous resource for the Tri-County Area (Levy, Gilchrist and Dixie counties) that vastly improves the quality of people’s lives,” Haven Director of Access Patrick Allen said. “Haven is pleased to
provide full comprehensive hospice services to this community.”
     To celebrate the care center’s reopening, Haven recently held an open house at the Tri-Counties Hospice Care Center in Chiefland that included tours, inspirational stories and fellowship with community partners and donors.
     Haven has cared for patients in the Tri-County Area since 1979 and looks forward to continuing high-quality hospice and advanced illness care for patients at the Tri-Counties Hospice Care Center in addition to in their homes, nursing homes and assisted living facilities.
     To see a story, photos and video regarding the recent open house at Haven, please click HERE.


Democratic gala fills Cedar Key
Community Center to the max

Levy County Democrats
State Rep. Anna V. Eskamani (D-Orlando, Dist. 47) speaks to the Democrats during the Blue Horizons Gala in Cedar Key late Saturday afternoon and early in the evening. The Orlando native became the first Iranian-American elected to any public office in Florida. The daughter of working-class immigrants from Iran said it is vital to encourage young people to be active in politics. Her major priorities include (but are not limited to) addressing climate change; increased funding for arts and culture; protecting public education from privatization takeover; and securing equality for all people, including equal pay for women who do the same work as men.

Story and Photos
By Jeff M. Hardison © Nov. 24, 2019 at 7:19 p.m.
     CEDAR KEY --
The Blue Horizons Gala, the first planned fundraising event for the recently reorganized Levy County Democratic Party, packed the Cedar Key Community Center on Saturday (Nov. 23).

Levy County Democrats
There were so many Democrats at this sold-out fundraiser that people were shoulder-to-shoulder, and elbow-to-elbow as they approached the buffet-style seafood and chicken dinner catered by The Island Room. While there was not much space between people, at times making it difficult to even bid on the silent auction items, everyone was friendly and polite. Every single seat had a person in it.

Levy County Democrats
Among the many distinguished guests at the event are Levy County Democratic Women’s Club President Stacey Peters (left) and First Vice Chair of the Florida Democratic Party Judy Mount. Peters is also the Levy County Democratic Party State Committeewoman, and a leader in the Levy County Democratic Executive Committee.

Levy County Democrats
Among the 2020 candidates at the event in Cedar Key is Cynthia Dela Rosa of Ocala (left), who is a Democrat seeking election to the Florida House of Representatives (District 23). Standing next to Dela Rosa is First Vice Chair of the Florida Democratic Party Judy Mount. Rep. Stan McClain (R-Ocala) is the incumbent, who is currently listed as the other candidate in the race so far in the District 23 race for Florida House, according to the Florida Secretary of State. Cedar Key is in District 22 of the Florida House. Dela Rosa is among the Democrats from Marion County who came to show support for Levy County Democrats. Democrats from Alachua, Citrus, Volusia, Orange and other Florida counties, and people from other states came to the event to show support for Levy County Democrats as well.

Levy County Florida Democrats
Second Vice President of the Democratic Women’s Club of Florida Danielle Neetz is seen at the event. She also is extremely active in the Democratic Party of Volusia County.

Levy County Florida Democrats
Drollene Brown of Marion County is among the octogenarians in the audience. Formerly from the Williston area of Levy County, Brown is known for her peaceful, polite and civilized political activism, especially with the Citizens for an Engaged Electorate.

Levy County Florida Democrats
Performing with an astounding set of songs at the Blue Horizons Gala are (from left) Larry Thompson on drums, Robbie Blake on keyboards and lead vocal, Ali Che Ree on lead guitar and Dotti Leichner on bass.

Levy County Florida Democrats
Bob Leichner, renowned drummer and equally famous sound system setup professional, is seen offstage from the band of the night.

Levy County Florida Democrats

Florida Democratic Party Director of Voter Protection Brandon Peters (left) stands with Levy County Democratic Party Chair Gussie Boatwright. Peters, a Florida native, earned his undergraduate degree from Princeton University, where he graduated with honors from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. Boatright graduated Bethune Cookman University (Cuma Sum Laude). She retired as manager of security operations from UF Health, where she had worked for 43 years.

Levy County Democrats
Beverly R. McCallum is the first Democrat to register as an intended candidate to replace outgoing Eighth Judicial Circuit State Attorney William Cervone is seen at the Blue Horizons Gala. Brian Stuart Kramer is the first Republican to note his intention to seek election to that honorable office.

Levy County Democrats
At home in Cedar Key are (from left) Amy Gernhardt, a renowned potter, Cedar Key Mayor Heath Davis and Cedar Key Vice Mayor Sue Colson. City Commissioner Susan Rosenthal is another of the city’s leaders who was at the event, as was Cedar Key Water and Sewer District Board Chair Stephen Rosenthal, and many other Cedar Key Democrats.

Levy County Democrats

Among the many photographers at this gala was Cornelius Clayton of Melrose. (Melrose is an unincorporated community in Alachua, Bradford, Clay, and Putnam counties.)

   The Inaugural Blue Horizons Gala promises to become an annual event. This first one was sold out. Although some people call it the “first annual,” Associated Press and other style shows an event gains the title “annual” from the “third” and thereafter.
     This gala was an afternoon affair that was filled with entertainment, silent auctions and inspiring messages from distinguished members of the Florida Democratic Party, including the keynote speaker – State Rep. Anna V. Eskamani (D-Orlando, Dist. 47).
     Other moving speakers for Democrats at this gathering were First Vice Chair of the Florida Democratic Party (and member of the Democratic National Committee) Judy Mount; Levy County Democratic Party Chair Gussie Boatright; Levy County Democratic Women’s Club President Stacey Peters; Levy County Democratic Party Chair Gussie Boatwright and Florida Democratic Party Director of Voter Protection Brandon Peters.
     Tickets for the gala cost $50 per person. Other donations were accepted through the silent auction, which resulted in successful bidders going home with several spiffy items.
     Money generated from the Blue Horizons Gala is scheduled to be used to support communications with Democrats in Levy County; to assist Democrats running for office representing Levy County; to support Democrats participation in community events that promote the Democratic Party; to fund Get Out The Vote drive (GOTV) in Levy County and to encourage Democratic voter participation in all upcoming elections.
     Other messages throughout the gala were urging for voters to use the vote by mail method, and for Democrats to offer transportation to the Bronson office of the Levy County Supervisor of Elections for Democrats who lack transport during the early election periods for the primaries and the general election.
     The Levy County Democratic Party intends to be among the determining forces in turning Florida blue, according to information shared by Levy County Democrats.


Road Closed In Levy County
Avoid The Area

Levy County Road Issue
Southeast 73rd Lane in the area of Southeast 147th Avenue in the Triple Crown Farms Subdivision has been closed. A sinkhole has opened and spans across both lanes of Southeast 73rd Lane. The Levy County Road Department has been contacted to make repairs. It is currently unknown how long repairs will take.
Published Nov. 22, 2019 at 7:19 p.m.

Information and Photo
Provided by LCSO Lt. Scott Tummond on Nov. 22, 2019 at 4:39 p.m.

A&M Manufacturing
cuts the ribbon at new location

Boat Builders In Chiefland Florida
Partners (from left) A&M Manufacturing Marketing and Sales Manager Tory Brodahl, Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operating Officer Amy Brodahl, and Chief Executive Officer John Hemken stand in front of a prototype boat that promises to take the market of platform boats to a new point. Tory Brodahl said it’s too early to talk about this in any detail, but this boat has a wonderful future.

Story and Photos
(except one photo by Tory Brodahl)
By Jeff M. Hardison © Nov. 17, 2019 at 2:19 p.m.
A ribbon-cutting in Chiefland Thursday evening (Nov. 14) heralds a bright future for the city and for the company.

Boat Builders In Chiefland Florida
Here is a close-up of the partners (from left) A&M Manufacturing Marketing and Sales Manager Tory Brodahl, Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operating Officer Amy Brodahl, and Chief Executive Officer John Hemken.

Boat Builders In Chiefland Florida
The A&M Team stands behind the uncut ribbon.

Boat Builders In Chiefland Florida
Joined by Chiefland Chamber of Commerce leaders and others, the A&M Team stands behind the ribbon that is cut by Tory Brodahl, one of the three partners of the relocated business.

Boat Builders In Chiefland Florida
Tory Brodahl stands next to a prototype for a solar-powered oyster and clam boat that will be propelled through the water by twin electric motors. The company is moving forward with new and innovative ideas. Tory Brodahl even invented a head (toilet) that will provide users with privacy aboard some models of the platform pontoon boats.

Boat Builders In Chiefland Florida
This is a view of a mother form showing 26-feet to where it ends at the boards in the distance. This mold is another 24-feet long beyond that point. Among the projects at A&M Manufacturing is the construction of a boat for research in Bimini that will include a 5-foot sphere for people to enter, and that sphere will be hydraulically lifted in and out of the water to and from the research vessel.

     A&M Manufacturing relocated from Dixie County, and the move has proved to be healthy for the boat-buying public, the local economy and for everyone -- because a high tide floats all the boats under it.
     Nature Coast Business Development Council David J. Pieklik opened the program, which included the cutting of a ribbon brought by the Chiefland Chamber of Commerce.
     A&M Manufacturing bought the former warehouse of Central Florida Electric Cooperative, just to the west of Hardee’s (fast-food hamburgers) in Chiefland.
     “This is a huge win,” Pieklik said, “not just for Chiefland, not just for the community, but for the county and the region. You’re looking at some huge things coming down the road, or coming down the waterway, I guess, if you want to say it that way, in the near future.”
     The Nature Coast Business Development Council, the Levy CO-County Board of County Commissioners and CareerSource Citrus Levy Marion are among the key partners who worked with A&M Manufacturing to bring this business to fruition in Chiefland, Pieklik said.
     As the business development organization for Levy County, the Nature Coast Business Development Council wants to invest in the community, Pieklik said. While there are currently about 20 employees of A&M Manufacturing, Pieklik believes that within the next three years that workforce will grow to be more than 100 employees.
     Pieklik presented the company with a check for $2,500 for it helping the local economy.

Boat Builders In Chiefland Florida
Presenting and accepting the NCBDC check for $2,500 are (from left) Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operating Officer Amy Brodahl, A&M Manufacturing Marketing and Sales Manager Tory Brodahl, Chief Executive Officer John Hemken and Nature Coast Business Development Council David J. Pieklik.

     Accepting the check from NCBDC Executive Director Pieklik, who presented it on behalf of the NCBDC and the County Commission, were A&M Manufacturing Chief Executive Officer John Hemken, Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operating Officer Amy Brodahl and Marketing and Sales Manager Tory Brodahl.
     CEO Hemken had all of the employees to raise their hands as he introduced them.
     “This is the A&M crowd,” Hemken said. “So, give them a big round of applause.”
     He said this venture would not have happened without all of the workers.
     He then introduced Tory and Amy Brodahl, who he said are the best partners anyone could have.
     He also introduced his wife of 30 years, Kathleen Hemken; and John Hemken introduced Glen Davis, the founder of A&M Manufacturing 29 years ago.
     Tory Brodahl provided with a tour of the warehouse and provided information about the business that recently relocated from Dixie County to Chiefland.

Boat Builders In Chiefland Florida
This boat with two slides going into the water is seen parked at the Chiefland manufacturing point.

Boat Builders In Chiefland Florida
This boat with two slides going into the water is seen in action on the water.

Photo By Tory Brodahl

Boat Builders In Chiefland Florida
Kathleen Hemken, John’s wife, and (in the background) Glen Davis, founder of A&M Manufacturing, are among the people at the check presentation and ribbon-cutting ceremony.

Boat Builders In Chiefland Florida
Lead Laminator Lovie Fout stands behind a Summer Breeze hull, that is skinned-in and waiting for build. In the lamination part of the process, it is critical to not have one single bubble, because that single flaw leads to a leak and eventually the need for a new part, if not a whole new boat. She is among the lead workers, like Akeem Thompson, who is the chief of assembly, who are part of the complete A&M Team.

     Brodahl said the new facility has been fully operational since August. In those two-plus months, the business has brought its production up to five to six boats a month. Since the move, the company has become even more efficient than before.
     When Hemken and the Brodahls took over A&M Manufacturing, there were 20 unfinished or unstarted boats in the works, Brodahl. Within a year, Amy Brodahl made sure those jobs were completed, her husband said. She honed the efficiency to make the company healthier.
     Before partnering with Hemken to take over A&M and move it to Chiefland, the Brodahls provided the upholstery work for the boat builders.
     The A&M team is a group of workers who create the parts and put them together. Akeem Thompson is the chief of assembly. He leads the building team.
     Another leader on this strong and cohesive crew is Lead Laminator Lovie Fout. She has more than 20 years of experience with fiberglass.
     Thursday evening was a great time for the economic and industrial development of Chiefland, Levy County and the region, just as NCBDC Executive Director Pieklik said, thanks to the work of the A&M Team and others. 


Sylvia Hiers wins;
Community cat picks winner
Sylvia Hiers in Gilchrist County

Sylvia Hiers holds the winning certificate on Tuesday afternoon (Nov. 12) in Trenton. The gift certificate is in a separate envelope.
Photo by Jeff M. Hardison © Nov. 12, 2019 at 4:39 p.m.

This is a video of the selection process this morning (Tuesday, Nov. 12), where Sylvia Hiers’ name was selected as the winner of a $30 gift card to Winn-Dixie.

Video By Sharon Hardison
Story By Jeff M. Hardison © Nov. 12, 2019 at 11:09 a.m.
Updated Nov. 12, 2019 at 4:39 p.m.
     THE WORLD --
With about 100 different names to choose from, Needles the Community Cat of Jemlands selected Sylvia Hiers of Gilchrist County as the winner in the November contest of Keeping It Fine In Year Nine.


Front porch of The Ink Pad with Needles and Jeff Hardison
This is a still shot, taken from the video by Sharon Hardison, showing one of the moments just before Needles made his selection.

     Goldy the Senior Mascot of and Inky the Junior Mascot of were off the mark for being able to select the winner on Tuesday morning (Nov. 12). I did not give them their breakfast of Fancy Feast before trying to get them to select the winner.
     They said "Meow! (“Kibble Before Contest – We are on strike!”)
     Therefore, as a first-ever experiment, Needles the Community Cat of Jemlands was given a chance to make the choice outside on the front porch of The Ink Pad, which is located in the unrecorded subdivision known as Jemlands in the unincorporated part of Levy County, in the woods somewhere between Carter’s Crossroads and the Fowlers Bluff community.
     Needles’ faint "Meow" of approval is heard at the last millisecond of the video.
     Following is a list of the dates, winning ads and pages where those ads existed with acorns on them.

Acorn Ads
Nov. 5 Career Source Citrus | Levy | Marion -- Business Page
Nov. 6 The Hemp Station -- Community Page
Nov. 7 Cash Munny Gun & Pawn -- Life Page
Nov. 8 Camp Anderson -- Leisure Page
Nov. 9 Dixie County Anti-Drug Coalition --Calendar Page
Nov. 10 Garden Patch Café -- Home Page
Nov. 11  Yellow Jacket RV Resort -- Police Page

Hidden Acorn Contest
This graphic shows the acorns in those seven ads. Each day, a new ad was put up and the previous ad was taken down.
Special Acorn Ads and Graphic by Sharon Hardison

     As noted, about 100 competitors found at least one of the seven acorns placed within ads on one each of the seven pages of through the end of the contest -- Veterans Day 2019.
     Those qualifiers are in the running to win a $30 gift card from Winn-Dixie, purchased from Winn-Dixie by
     Also as noted, the final acorn (the acorn of Nov. 11) was found in the ad for the Yellow Jacket RV Resort Of Dixie County, located on the Police Page.
     Some of these ads were on all seven pages, but it was only one specific page that qualified searchers to be among those from whom the cats would select a winner later today (Tuesday, Nov. 12).
     From the correct submissions, Needles is the Community Cat of Jemlands was the cat that selected the winner.
     (For people who don’t know about the mascot cats of, please visit the Police Page and find the two videos down on the right side near the bottom of the ads. Goldy plays dead and Inky performs Olympic leaps.)
     Since he did the work, readers can click HERE to see the first story about Needles.
     Sharon Hardison and I (Jeff M. Hardison) and the cats, have the next contest scheduled for what I call our Christmas-themed contest.



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Newest Jingle Singers
Trinity River Band Singers Jingle

Brianna Harris (left) and her older sister Sarah Harris-Hall perform the Jingle

120th Set Of Jingle Singers

Brianna Harris (left) and her older sister Sarah Harris-Hall perform the Jingle shortly before they joined their mom Lisa Harris, their dad Mike Harris, and their brother Joshua Harris when the family sang and performed with acoustic stringed instruments at the Cedar Key School Auditorium on the evening of Nov. 15. This family of performers are the Trinity River Band. These two members of this excellent bluegrass and gospel-music band are singing just offstage as their family readies to perform that night. If you want to sing the jingle, just let Jeff M. Hardison know or send an email to He asks people to sing (or perform) it, too, and some of them agree to sing it or to perform the jingle. (Thanks people!)

Published Dec. 4, 2019, at 5:09 p.m.
© Video by Jeff M. Hardison, All Rights Reserved


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