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Big plane somewhat dwarfs
extinguished fire review

WWII Bomber Cedar Key

WWII Bomber Cedar Key

WWII Bomber Cedar Key
These photos of  what is probably a C-130 flying over Cedar Key on Tuesday (Nov. 13) capture the awesome experience of the relatively low flyover.

Story and Photos
By Jeff M. Hardison © Nov. 13, 2018 at 8:48 p.m.
* Updated Nov. 14, 2018 at 8:48 a.m.
All Rights Reserved
     CEDAR KEY --
A C-130 flew over Cedar Key Tuesday afternoon (Nov. 13) somewhat dwarfing a story about a woman who extinguished a small fire Sunday night.
     The plane had "USAF" under one wing.


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Voyle's  Robinson's
In the boat, are people enjoying Robinson Guide Service. In the airboat, are people enjoying Voyle’s Guide Service – Fishing Charters. These two vessels were passing each other Tuesday afternoon (Nov. 13).

Levy County Superintendent of Schools Jeff Edison is seen moments before he went upstairs to enjoy lunch at Steamers Clam Bar and Grill on Tuesday (Nov. 13). (The setting for the camera was incorrect for this shot.)

     The C-130 Hercules is the longest continuously produced military aircraft at over 60 years, with the updated Lockheed Martin C-130J Super Hercules currently being produced. It is a post WWII-era aircraft.
     The four-prop plane came went east and flew along the coast of the island going to the west.
     The distinctive roar of a huge four-engine aircraft coming from the east caused island visitors near the big concrete dock to look up.
     After about three-seconds of that event being captured in three pictures, the huge airplane was gone.
     Follow-up research on a rumor of a minor fire at Steamer's Clam Bar and Grill on Dock Street, which reportedly happened Sunday night (Nov. 11) drew one journalist to the island Tuesday afternoon.
     Dennis Gill, owner of Steamer’s Clam Bar and Grill, said a cigarette butt appears to have caused a small fire that made a little damage to an area where customers never go. There were no injuries and insignificant damage resulted.
     There is a place on the second-story restaurant, where kitchen workers who smoke can go outside to smoke cigarettes, he said. It is an area with access from the Steamer’s kitchen. There is a bucket there for disposal of cigarette butts, Gill said.
     Gill said the wind was blowing from the east that night at about 20 m.p.h. Therefore, the cigarette butt that is believed to have been the source of the flame may have come from a patron at the restaurant who was eating at a table on the southwestern balcony with its view of the Gulf of Mexico.
     A customer may have flicked a lit cigarette butt into the wind, and it was taken to the area where the little fire started.
     The cigarette butt may have been from a restaurant worker. There is no way to know where the burning cigarette butt originated, he said.

Burnt Wood In Cedar Key
This photo of the burnt boards shows the extent of damage caused by a careless smoker.
Photo By Dennis Gill

     Gill said there was minor damage, thanks to a neighboring worker.
     Robin Tindall is the bar manager at Duncan's On The Gulf, a bar and restaurant near Steamer's. Apparently, the cigarette butt whipped by the wind started a very small fire, Gill said.
     Tindall saw some small flames through the kitchen door of Duncan's, Gill said. She called 9-1-1.
     She climbed up on railings and threw water on the little fire, Gill said. Cedar Key Fire Rescue Chief Robert Robinson responded and assured the fire was 100 percent extinguished.
     According to a post by Fire Chief Robinson on a social media site, the call for service was at 9:15 p.m. Not only was Cedar Key Fire Rescue called out, but so was Chiefland Fire Rescue, Bronson Fire Rescue and the Levy County Department of Public Safety's battalion captain and LCDPS EMS Rescue 5, the chief noted.
     In fewer than two minutes, cancellation tones went out for everyone except Cedar Key stating that the fire was out, but that the scene needed to be checked, the chief noted.
     Tindall had climbed up and over a wall to gain access to the fire, the chief said.
      Joe Catalano, John Caddigan and Lauren Ashley McIlwain handed Tindall buckets of water so she could douse the fire, Chief Robinson said, and Tindall noted on a social media account.
     On Tuesday, Chief Robinson said it is important for people who smoke to "be responsible and confirm your cigarettes are fully out before discarding them and do so in proper containers."
     While the bomber flyover provided more of a photo opportunity than a small piece of burnt wood, the story of a bar manager risking her life to put out a small fire captures the minds of many people.
     Tindall acted quickly and decisively to help a neighboring business when she saw what seemed to her like an immediate threat.
     There have been losses to fire on Cedar Key – including at least one restaurant.
     On Jan. 26, 2012, there was quick and formidable response to a fire on Cedar Key’s Dock Street in the wee hours of the morning.
     Cedar Key Fire Rescue received a call of a structure fire at 2:47 a.m. on that Thursday morning – Jan. 26, 2012.
     As firefighters were going to the station in the dark on that morning in 2012, they saw flames shooting through the roof of the Rusty Rim Restaurant and Pub on the northwest end of Dock Street, Chief Robinson said in 2012.
     Joining Cedar Key in the firefight were trucks and firefighters from departments based in Bronson, Chiefland, Fowlers Bluff, Otter Creek and Rosewood. There were 23 people responding to fight that fire six years ago.
     That fire had started upstairs in the ceiling of the office bathroom, Chief Robinson said back then.
     The downstairs bar – Coconuts – and the upstairs restaurant and pub – Rusty Rim – never reopened. The whole building has since been removed.
     As for what would have happened if Tindall did not see the fire and call 9-1-1 or climb across a dangerous area of old wood to extinguish the small fire on Sunday night (Nov. 4, 2018) to help a neighbor, no one can say.

Historic march set for Chiefland
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. March
scheduled for Chiefland on Jan. 21, 2019

MLK Parade Effort For Chiefland
Pastor Alex Christian of First United Methodist Church of Chiefland stands at the podium as Alex Christian of First United Methodist Church of Chiefland, Pastor Lance Hayes of Potter House Exalting of Chiefland stands near to him Tuesday evening (Nov. 12) when the men succeeded in starting the effort required for a march to honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on Jan. 21 in Chiefland.

Photos and Story
By Jeff M, Hardison © Nov. 13, 2018 at 10:18 a.m.
A few good men approached the Chiefland City Commission Tuesday (Nov. 13) and succeeded in setting the wheels in motion for a march that is historic for that municipality.

MLK Parade Effort For Chiefland
Chiefland Police Chief Scott Anderson tells the City Commission about a successful raid of eight Internet cafés formerly operating in Chiefland. The chief also mentioned the costs to the CPD, and the city, for law enforcement required during parades down U.S. Highway 19 in Chiefland.

MLK Parade Effort For Chiefland
After the meeting Tuesday, some of the leaders seeking to make the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. March become a reality in Chiefland are seen here. They are (from left) Pastor Alex Christian of First United Methodist Church of Chiefland, Pastor Lance Hayes of Potter House Exalting of Chiefland, Minnie Hayes of Potter House Exalting of Chiefland and Robert Wells, one of the founders of the Levy County Prevention Coalition.

     Pastor Alex Christian of First United Methodist Church of Chiefland, Pastor Lance Hayes of Potter House Exalting of Chiefland and Robert Wells, one of the founders of the Levy County Prevention Coalition as well as a counselor with Meridian Behavioral Health Inc., all spoke in favor of conducting the first-ever Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day Parade in Chiefland on Jan. 21, 2019 – Martin Luther King Day.
     Earlier Tuesday evening, Pastor Hayes had succeeded in securing the Tommy Usher Community Center for Jan. 10 from 5 to 7 p.m. for a countywide domestic abuse awareness program. Hayes said he anticipates between 15 and 18 vendors to be there that evening for a free event that is open to the public, where people can obtain information and other resources in the effort to reduce the many forms of abuse.
     City Commissioner Donald Lawrence, a retired teacher and coach, made a motion, seconded by City Commissioner Tim West, an RV park developer, to approve the request to wave the $75 Tommy Usher Center booking fee as well as the $20-per-hour fee and the deposit normally required to use that facility.
      Voting in favor of that motion were Lawrence, West, Mayor Betty Walker and Vice Mayor Chris Jones.
     Chiefland City Commissioner Rollin Hudson was absent Tuesday night.
     Then Pastor Christian of First United Methodist Church of Chiefland requested and received, again by a 4-0 Lawrence-West motion, approval to have a march starting at 11 a.m. on Jan. 21 at First United Methodist Church of Chiefland. This Martin Luther King March will go southbound from the church on Main Street (U.S. Highway 19) and Northeast Seventh Avenue to the Chiefland City Park next to the Historic Chiefland Train Depot on Southeast Second Avenue.
     Pastor Christian said after the march there is a relatively short program scheduled at the park to honor the memory and accomplishments of Dr. King, and the reverend anticipates it concluding at 1 p.m.
     Chiefland Police Chief Scott Anderson brought the City Commission into awareness that it will cost the Chiefland Police Department $1,300 that he had not budgeted for this march to happen on Jan. 21.
     Chief Anderson said the CPD spent $1,300 to accommodate the Walk For Jesus last year and there were only 12 people participating. The chief said he has no qualms about the Walk For Jesus or the MLK March, he just wants the city leaders to be aware he had not budgeted for it.
     While no person argued for or against the merits of Christianity or of the recognition of a Christian preacher who was assassinated during the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s, Chief Anderson just wanted the city to know it was not in his department’s budget.
     The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. {Jan. 15, 1929-April 4, 1968} was an American Baptist minister and activist who became one of the most visible spokesmen and leaders in the American Civil Rights Movement from 1954 until he was assassinated in 1968.
     Vice Mayor Jones said he believes some Chiefland business interests may donate some money to the city to help pay for this first-ever MLK March in Chiefland. Wells said the LCPC may be able to donate some funds to the city for this purpose.
     While Jones and Wells spoke about possible donors to cover the CPD costs from the march, Anderson said on Tuesday that he had heard the Walk For Jesus promoters were allegedly going to help cover the CPD’s expense for that event, but it never happened.
     Chief Anderson said he just wants the City Commission to remember that every time the city conducts a parade or a march, the CPD has to bring every CPD officer into action as well as to seek help from the Levy County Sheriff’s Office and its Citizens On Patrol.
     The Chiefland High School Homecoming Parade and the Watermelon Festival Parade are a couple of events the chief budgets for each year, he said. When he saw a mere dozen people in the Walk For Jesus event, Chief Anderson noticed a potential problem with future requests of a similar nature.
     Essentially, the police chief is expressing to the City Commission that he is not in favor of unfunded mandates by elected officials on department heads who must bring about the required resources for safety.
     Chief Anderson stays within his budget and when he sees an issue that can take that bottom line into the debt zone, he alerts the City Commission.
     Even the recent raid of suspected illegal Internet cafés, Chief Anderson said on Tuesday morning (Nov. 13) in a telephone interview, required him to wait until after the start of the fiscal year (Oct. 1) so that the big operation could be funded.
     Chief Anderson said there is a reality of the bottom-line for law enforcement. Anderson did not even ask Williston Police Chief Dennis Strow or Cedar Key Police Chief Virgil Sandlin for help from their cities’ departments in the raid on Internet cafés in Chiefland, he said, because he knows their budgets have little to zero leeway for unanticipated costs.
     Chief Strow has asked the CPD for help with its July 5 parades in the past, Chief Anderson said, and Chiefland has routinely said it regretfully cannot help.
     In regard to the raid of the suspected illegal gambling houses, Chief Anderson asked the City Commission on Tuesday night to have a barbecue event in January to say “Thank you” to the law enforcement officers from the Levy County Sheriff’s Office, the Ocala Police Department, the Marion County Sheriff’s Office and the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office for their help.
     The City Commission agreed, but there was no mention of funding for it. The chief on Tuesday morning said the officers of the CPD may end up donating to make this barbecue happen for those officers who came from other departments to assist the CPD.
     As for the Friends of the CPD and the Halloween Haunted House this year, Chief Anderson said funds raised from that event – where every CPD officer volunteered on their own time – will go to buying Christmas gifts for needy children.
     Meanwhile in regard to a march to honor Dr. King n MLK Day 2019, Mayor Walker said she has wanted this to happen in Chiefland for several years.
     As a result of the 4-0 vote Tuesday night, the event is on track to occur. While Wells mentioned that there is a movement for a countywide MLK event, with people from Bronson and Williston being interested, the past couple of years has shown no unity from the municipalities for one event in any particular city.
     Pastor Christian and Pastor Hayes alluded to a unified church effort from the community’s houses of worship for the abuse-awareness program set for the early evening of Jan. 10 at the Tommy Usher Center.
     As shown in the story, photos and three minutes of video clips that can be seen by clicking HERE, there was a very successful 13th Annual MLK Parade and Ceremony in Cross City (Dixie County) in January of this year.


Dixie County celebrates its
18th Annual Veterans Day event

Veterans Day In Cross City
The American Legion Post 383 (of Old Town) Color Guard arrives at the city park, still in step after marching in a parade for more than a mile on Saturday (Nov. 10).

Story, Photos and Videos
By Jeff M. Hardison © Nov. 11, 2018 at 5:08 p.m.
All Copyrights Reserved
     CROSS CITY --
Mayor Tank Lee of the Town of Cross City brought people together Saturday (Nov. 10) to celebrate the 100th Anniversary of Armistice Day when he again served as the leader for a parade and program for Veterans Day, which began as Armistice Day at the end of World War I -- Nov. 11, 2011.


This video is the start of the parade in Dixie County on Saturday (Nov. 10)

This video is the Dixie County High School Band performing a military medley at the ceremony in the park.

Dixie County Veterans Day Celebration
Cross City Police Officer Adam Stinson (left) speaks with CCPD Inv. Stant Bradley (in the vehicle) and Citizen On Patrol’s leader Don Rofahl.

Dixie County Veterans Day Celebration
Here are some members of the Dixie County Citizens On Patrol who helped during the Veterans Day Parade. They are all volunteers who help with traffic control.

Dixie County Veterans Day Celebration
Dixie County Sheriff Dewey Hatcher Sr. donated an old DCSO cruiser to the Dixie County Citizens On Patrol for the use of that organization.

Dixie County Veterans Day Celebration
Cross City Mayor Tank Lee welcomes a visiting journalist (who is an honorably discharged United States Army veteran) to the event.

Dixie County Veterans Day Celebration
Official Flag Passer-Outers for the parade are (from left) Maggie Forehand, Carol Ann Forehand and Debbie Lee. They were equipped to give out 400 American flags. The day before they placed American flags on graves of American soldiers in Cross City, Eugene and Old Town.

Dixie County Veterans Day Celebration
Standing in front of perhaps the oldest vehicle in the parade – a 1930 Model A Ford (the Jolly Jalopy) – are (from left) Cross City Mayor Tank Lee, (Ret.) United States Marine Corps Sgt. Robert W. Davis, Bill Palmer (Mode A owner) and Victor Jones.

Dixie County Veterans Day Celebration
The engine of Bill Palmer’s Model A Ford shows it is a four-cylinder. He has a starter button, however the crank for the front is still functional to start it. (If a person uses the proper method, then he or she will not hurt themselves using the crank to start the vehicle.)

Dixie County Veterans Day Celebration
Here is the Model A with people on the other side of it. Classic!

Dixie County Veterans Day Celebration
Riders of American Legion 383 prepare to start. At the right of the picture is part of the Color Guard.

Dixie County Veterans Day Celebration
The parade gets ready to begin.

Dixie County Veterans Day Celebration
Chuck Elton, a well-established local photographer, is seen capturing moments at this Veterans Day event.

Dixie County Veterans Day Celebration
Dixie County Commissioner-elect Jamie Storey expresses his gratitude to Jesus and to veterans.

Dixie County Veterans Day Celebration
State Rep. Chuck Clemons says his heroes are on the battlefields more than on the football fields.

Dixie County Veterans Day Celebration
Some of the people who attended the ceremony are seen here. During parts of the program, children were heard in the background enjoying the city park facilities – more free right now from tyranny than they would be without the sacrifices of Americans veterans now and from centuries past.

Dixie County Veterans Day Celebration
The mayor introduces the guest speaker as two members of the American Legion hold the American flag and a POW-MIA flag, as they did throughout the hour-long ceremony.

Dixie County Veterans Day Celebration

Dixie County Veterans Day Celebration
The Dixie County High School Marching Band and Flag Corps stands ready to perform.

United States Navy Veteran Thomas W. Browne speaks about Vietnam War veterans.

Dixie County Veterans Day Celebration
Michelle Riles of the Church on the Move prepares to hand out another hotdog lunch to a veteran.

Dixie County Veterans Day Celebration
The front of the commemorative tee-shirt this year (it was more blue than shows up in this picture).

Dixie County Veterans Day Celebration
The back of the commemorative tee-shirt this year (it was more blue than shows up in this picture). Attorney Shannon Smith, representing Smith Asset Management Co. and Smith Law Firm, is a member of the Class of 1990 of the United States Military Academy at West Point. He was in the audience, as were Dixie County Clerk of Court Dana Johnson and some of the other sponsors shown here. These are the sponsors this year.

     This marked the 18th Annual Veterans Day under the leadership of Mayor Lee, who initiated the first one and continues to make it happen with help from his family and others.
     State Rep. Charles Wesley "Chuck" Clemons Sr. (R-Newberry, Dist. 21) and Dixie County Commissioner-elect Jamie Storey were a couple of unanticipated guest speakers at the program.
     Steve Fremen set up the sound system speakers this year, in contrast with the man who has done so for every year since the second year – Bob Leichner of Dixie Music Center.
     Dotti Leichner, who has expanded her sales of her art, had scheduled to participate in a Nov. 10 art show in Orlando before the mayor switched the traditional Nov. 11 event to be on Nov. 10 instead, and Bob Leichner needed to stay in Old Town to mind the store.
      Another new aspect this year was Michelle Riles leadership and representation from Church on the Move. Church on the Move offered veterans a hotdog, cookie, and crackers and cheese as a lunch after the ceremony. Drinks were given to veterans too.
     Riles and her colleagues also gave any veteran who wanted it bags of food and bags of meat. The bags of meat included bacon-wrapped sirloin medallions, and packages of prepared sliced smoked turkey breast.
     The food packages contained pears, apples, packets of instant grits, sugar wafer cookies, granola bars, a bag of glazed doughnuts and more.
     Mayor Lee, his wife Debbie Lee, Maggie Forehand and Carol Ann Forehand gave each veteran a commemorative tee-shirt from this event to honor veterans.
     Tank Lee and Debbie Lee’s daughter Angel was extremely active in helping the program success again this year too.
     The program was held after a parade, and the program included very thoughtful speeches by Mayor Lee, Rep. Clemons, United States Navy veteran Tom Browne and Mike Hutto, District Commander of the American Legion and former Post Commander of American Legion Post 383 of Old Town.
      American Legion Post 383, American Legion Auxiliary 383, American Legion Riders 383 and American Legion Sons 383 were all among the veterans involved in the parade and other aspects of the ceremony.
      The local VFW sent a strong contingent to the event as well.

      The parade started at the Dixie County manager’s office and went down U.S. Highway 19 southbound to Highway 351 where it turned west to go to the Dixie County Courthouse and then to the city park behind the courthouse.
     All along the western side of U.S. 19 there were hundreds of flags to honor veterans. Terry Dembo, project originator, and his wife Debbie Dembo are among the leaders of the Dixie County Chamber of Commerce involved with this project.
     To see one of the stories about these flags, please visit this July 14, 2016 story by clicking HERE.
     Cross City Police Officer Adam Stinson was driving the cruiser that led the parade.
     After the cruiser, the American Legion Post 383 Color Guard carried Old Glory and a POW-MIA flag with riflemen marching on either side of the two flags.
     Appearing for the first time in this parade were the American Legion 383 Riders. There were at least 16 of those vehicles, with many having a driver and a passenger.
     At least a dozen more American Legion Post 383 members rode on a float pulled by a pickup truck.
     A lady in wheelchair, a man on a riding lawnmower, Rep. Clemons and other walkers followed.
     Next in line from the starting point was Bill Palmer driving his 1930 Model A Ford.
      Mayor Lee pulled a model tank with an ATV. That tank included live tracer rounds from the Vietnam War. Also, from the Vietnam War and on that tank were a trenching tool and an empty mortar shell box.
     Lee said before the parade that he did “fire” one of the tracer rounds by hitting the firing cap on the back with a nail. He said it was “cool” to see that tracer go through the air, but he has no plans to repeat that firing.
     Mayor Lee is a member of the Sons of the American Legion 383.
     Behind his tank, for their first time in a Veterans Day Parade, were the members of the Old Town Elementary School Color Guard. They carried white flags and red flags. There were many students in that unit of the parade.
     Cub Scout Pack 24 and Boy Scout Troop 24 from Old Town participated in the parade as well.
     Members of the Joppa Lodge No.4 F&AM Masonic Lodge of Old Town, and or the Shamrock Lodge No.268 F&AM Masonic Lodge of Suwannee participated.
     The Dixie County Anti-Drug Coalition with Rebecca Fusco and another representative rode in the parade. Fusco was also recognized during the ceremony for the DCADC efforts to significantly improve the appearance of the stage at the city park.
     Bringing up the rear of the parade was the Dixie County High School Red Regiment Marching Band and the DCHS Flag Corps, which performed in the parade and at the ceremony.

     Mayor Tank Lee welcomed everyone to the park for the ceremony.
     He thanked the Dixie County Chamber of Commerce for making the town beautifully decorated with flags next to U.S. Highway 19.
     In addition to Terry and Debbie Dembo, Andrew Rains, Ben and Carol West and other Chamber members were recognized for their work to put up the flags and crosses.
     The mayor spoke about the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I. That war started in July of 1914 and it ended Nov. 11, 1918 – on Armistice Day.
     Eventually, the Armistice Day celebration became Veterans Day to honor all American veterans who served in any war.
     To honor the 100th Anniversary of Armistice Day, the America Legion has called for a bell-tolling to recognize peace, and the solemn sacrifice of the 116,000-plus American men and women who died in WWI. The bell rang in the park 21 times as part of this ceremony on Saturday.
     American Legion District Commander Mike Hutto gave the opening prayer. MaShayla Rollison sang the Star-Spangled Banner a cappella (without accompanying instruments).
     Cross City Mayor Lee mentioned his gratitude to the Town of Cross for him being able to have the program at the city park.
     Dixie County Commissioner-elect Storey spoke to the people.
     On behalf of the Board of County Commissioners, Storey expressed gratitude to every person who was in attendance at the event. He said “Thank you” to veterans and their families.
     He said he is thankful to Jesus for the Good Lord protecting soldiers as they protect the people of America.
     Rep. Clemons spoke next.
     Nothing makes Clemons prouder, he said, than to drive through Cross City and see those American flags on the side of the highway.
     “You know I’ve got heroes,” Rep. Clemons said. “None of them wear a football jersey. My heroes wear the uniforms (of the military service branches) that protect our liberties.”
     Clemons’ grandfather was in WWI and he suffered for the rest of his life from the effects of mustard gas.
     Mustard gas, or sulfur mustard, is a chemical agent that causes severe burning of the skin, eyes and respiratory tract. It can be absorbed into the body through inhalation, ingestion or by coming into contact with the skin or eyes.
     “Every day should be Veterans Day in the United States of America,” Clemons said, after he mentioned the sacrifices of veterans to secure and keep the freedoms that some people take for granted.
     A favorite uncle of Clemons will be 99 in April. This uncle loss the use of his left lung after a German machinegun took it out during combat during WWII, “… defending our liberties and our freedoms.”
     The state representative for this district urged people in the audience.
     “May we never forget these sacrifices,” he said. May we never forget the cold, the damp, the hunger – all things that our troops went through,” Clemons said, “so that we can enjoy the things that we enjoy today.”
     Clemons said he wants God to bless “all of the defenders of the dream.”
     Guest speaker Thomas W. Browne of Old Town is a member of the Military Order of the Cootie. The Military Order of the Cootie of the United States is a non-profit Veterans Service Organization. It is known as "The Honor Degree of the VFW" and its members are comprised of the officers and leadership of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States.
     Browne thanked everyone for attending the ceremony to recognize and thank the veterans who nobly served as they defended honor, duty and country.
     He reminded listeners that since the first shots were fired in the American Revolution, patriots have responded to the call to duty. Millions of American have fought to defend freedom here and abroad, he said.
     Even today, troops are giving their lives to defend freedom and serve the interests of the United States, he said. And even as some them die, still other Americans enlist to be part of the military service.
      “We owe more than we can ever repay to veterans of all wars in which our nation has been involved,” Browne said.
     He emphasized the debt to Vietnam veterans, of which he is one.
     They served under some of the most difficult psychological pressures, he said. At the time, many of their peers and elders denounced their service to the country as immoral, Browne said.
     They served while some avoided the draft, he said. They served without the full support usually seen for soldiers going to war.
     Nevertheless, these soldiers served with a high level of professional competence, he said, and courage. America has a deep obligation to these fighting men and women.
     “As they served us in war,” Browne said, “so must we serve them in peace. They protected our freedom and prosperity.”
     Vietnam veterans, he said, are the forgotten and silent heroes of their generation. 
     The 6.5 million veterans who served during Vietnam, he said, are served by organizations that recognize their quiet courage. On this 51st anniversary of the end of that war, Browne says to those veterans “Welcome home.”
     The veteran spoke about his family’s involvement in the military.
     Browne concluded his presentation by saying “God bless America.”
     Also on Saturday (Nov. 10) from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., there was a car show and craft show at Otter Springs Park and Campground in Gilchrist County near Trenton.
     The craft show is from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Car awards were presented at 2 p.m. There was food and music planned at this event as well.
     Proceeds from this event are to help the Camp Valor Project that is being put together by ForVets Inc. For more information about the For Vets project, please call 352-463-0800.
     The United States Marine Corps was founded Nov. 10, 1775, and so the celebration in Cross City also was sort of a birthday party for the USMC.
     Today (Sunday, Nov. 11) the City of Williston hosted a Veterans Day event at 4 p.m. in Heritage Park.

Williston holds first city council meeting in new City Hall
New Williston City Hall
The front of the new Williston City is so long it needed to be captured in two photos.

New Williston City Hall
and yes, the car closest to the photographer in this shot is the 2008 PT Newser (Cruiser) that replaced the former late model Jeep Compass (Newsmobile) that was destroyed in a crash in Chiefland this year.

Story and Photos
By Jeff M. Hardison © Nov. 8, 2018 at 11:38 p.m.
It has been several months since the old Williston City Hall was bulldozed away and construction of a new $3 million City Hall began.

New Williston City Hall
The relatively unfurnished main entrance of City Hall is big. This view is looking from the front door toward the welcoming desk. There is some very attractive woodwork to be added to the front desk.

This view is from the front desk looking toward the front door.

New Williston City Hall
This is the view of the audience as seen by the person in the City Council President’s seat. Each City Council member is not able to see every member of the audience. The podium used to be to one side of the audience, so that the people could see the speaker, as well as the full City Council.

New Williston City Hall
This view from the back center of the audience section shows that Williston, like Bronson, has very awkwardly placed a podium so that the person speaking to the City Council will have their back toward the audience and there are only going to be a few, if any seats in the audience where a person can see the whole five-member City Council. This photograph was taken while the photographer was standing up at the back of the room.

New Williston City Hall
City Council President Nancy Wininger

New Williston City Hall
City Council Vice President Marguerite Robinson

New Williston City Hall
City Councilman Justin Head

City Councilman Charles Goodman (seated) speaks to surveyor Steve McMillan about a replat of some previously platted property.

New Williston City Hal
Planning and Zoning Administrative Assistant Alyssa Monaghan is seen in action as a substitute for City Clerk Fran Taylor.

Before the start of the meeting, seen here (from left) are Vice President Marguerite Robinson, City Councilman Justin Head, Mayor Jerry Robinson, City Council President Nancy Wininger, City Councilman Charles Goodman, City Councilman Elihu Ross, City Manager Scott Lippmann and
Williston City Attorney Frederick L. Koberlein Jr.

New Williston City Hal
One of the cute decorations from the Williston Peanut Festival is seen here in the lobby of the new Williston City Hall.

     On Tuesday night (Nov. 6), the Williston City Council held its first meeting in the almost-finished structure. Yes, the certificate of occupancy is approved; but there is a bit of moving-in duties to be completed.
     For instance, City Manager Scott Lippmann said his phone has an outlet in the wall, but there is no wire from that outlet to take the messages to and from the lines on the poles.
     The city manager half-jokingly mentioned that he does not look forward to checking his voice mailbox, and that he is sorry for anyone inconvenienced as a result of this technical issue that may be hampering communication.
     An almost-funny, relatively loud air-conditioner in the meeting room will reportedly be quieter before the next City Council meeting on Nov. 20.
     City Clerk Fran Taylor was absent due to her duties on Election Day. In Taylor's place was Planning and Zoning Administrative Assistant Alyssa Monaghan.
     The very first person to make a motion in the brand-new City Hall was City Councilman Justin Head, who on Item 1 moved for approval of additions, deletions and changes, and approval of that very night's agenda. Councilman's Head's motion was seconded by City Council Vice President Marguerite Robinson, and met with a unanimous vote of approval.
     City Council President Nancy Wininger opened the meeting with the grace and style she regularly exhibits. She welcomed everyone to the new City Hall.
     City Councilman Charles Goodman is showing progress in his project to grow hair for the Locks of Love group.
     Locks of Love is a non-profit charity based in the United States. The organization accepts donations of human hair and money with the stated intention of making wigs for Canadian and American children in need due to medical conditions that have caused them to permanently lose their hair.
     The city councilman’s daughter had cancer and he told her that he would grow it to donate to Locks of Love.
      City Councilman Elihu Ross was the second Williston leader to make a motion in the new building. His motion to approve the minutes of the Oct. 16 meeting was seconded by Councilman Goodman and met with a unanimous vote of approval.
     There was action related to some rezoning matters, which met with no resistance.
     The City Council unanimously approved four standard resolutions required for the $700,000 Community Redevelopment Block Grant application for a sewer plant upgrade. Grant Administrator David Fox of Fred Fox Enterprises Inc. helped the municipal leaders understand why certain actions were required.
     As for an official grand opening ceremony for the new Williston City Hall, Vice President Robinson, who is a member of the Williston Woman’s Club, said the club has spoken about co-hosting the event, which would include providing some refreshments.
     The club prefers not to have this event on the same day of the Light Up Williston event – Dec. 1.
     The day after, Dec. 2, a Sunday is a possible time for the celebration.
     City Manager Lippmann and city staff will be working with the Woman’s Club to determine the best date and time for the event.


Democratic Party
reenergizes in Levy County

DEC to organize on Dec. 1
By Jeff M. Hardison © Oct. 17, 2018 at 2:18 p.m.
A plan for the reestablishment of the Democratic Executive Committee (DEC) in Levy County includes two meetings on Dec. 1 (a Saturday) in Williston.
     There will be two organizational meetings for the Levy County Democratic Executive Committee at 1610 120th Ave., Williston.
     To accommodate disparate schedules, there will be two separate meetings: 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. There is no need for interested parties to come to both meetings. There is also no need to reserve a seat.
     Brandon Peters, a past Democratic Party candidate for Congress, is among the local Democrats leading this effort.
     On Wednesday morning (Oct. 17), during a telephonic interview, Peters said the event is at his father-in-law's house and it can comfortably seat 25 to 30 people.
     During this meeting, Peters said, the plan is to review reasons why people believe it is important and timely to restore the Levy County DEC, which appears to have been relatively inactive since 2012.
     The plan is to address past efforts by people to help the Democratic Party in Levy County, as well as to look at past issues in that regard, he said.
     While this meeting will be after the general election of Nov. 6, Peters said this is reorganization of the Levy County DEC to "build for tomorrow."
     The soon-to-be-reestablished Levy County DEC intends to prepare for the next election cycle, Peters said.
     The Levy Cunty DEC intends to engage in three activities year-round, every year.
     It will help encourage people to register to vote. It will engage in fundraising efforts to help Democrats. It will engage in community outreach across Levy County at every level to help people understand there is a major political party for people who are not inclined toward the Republican Party. 

Tri-County Area
General Election results posted

Story and Photos
By Jeff M. Hardison © Nov. 7, 2018 at 9:18 a.m.
Americans voting in the Tri-County Area of Gilchrist County, Levy County and Dixie County participated to a relatively high degree for a midterm election, according to information from the three counties’ supervisors of elections.
     All of the numbers below are unofficial; however, they are only unofficial because there is a vetting process that must be completed and that takes more time.
     In reference to the number of registered voters, Levy County had the most voters. From the perspective of percentages of active registered voters who could vote, it was Gilchrist County in first place; Levy County in second place; and Dixie County in third place.
     There were no local issues upon which Levy County voters could choose because all of those choices were completed by voters during the primary election.
     Dixie County had the only two candidates running for one elected office, which was decided last night (Tuesday, Nov. 7).
     Gilchrist County had a “straw ballot” or a non-binding referendum question in regard to taxes and building a new jail.
     Below are the results from those races, as well as the total District 21 Florida House of Representatives race, the total District 22 Florida House of Representatives race, and the total count for the race for Eighth Judicial Circuit Court Judge.
     Information from the Office of Levy County Supervisor of Elections Tammy Jones showed voter turnout was 61.43 percent of the 27,854 active registered voters.
     In Levy County, there were 5,486 ballots cast by voters using the mail-in ballot; 3,443 voters ballots cast by voters using early voting; and 8,146 voters who cast their ballots on election day.
     Levy County Supervisor of Elections Jones on Thursday morning (Nov. 7) said there was a 73 percent turnout for the Presidential election in 2016 and a 52 percent turnout for the Midterm election of 2014. Therefore, the 61.43 percent turnout for this year is an increase from the previous Midterm tally.
     Information from the Office of Gilchrist County Supervisor of Elections Connie D. Sanchez showed voter turnout was 63.14 percent of the 11,751 active registered voters.
     In Gilchrist County, there were 1,775 ballots cast by voters using the mail-in ballot; 1,800 voters using early voting; and 3,845 voters who cast their ballots on election day.
     Information from the Office of Dixie County Supervisor of Elections Starlet Cannon showed voter turnout was 54.78 percent of the 9,669 active registered voters.
     In Dixie County, there were 1,723 ballots cast by voters using the mail-in ballot; 1,500 voters using early voting; and 2,074 voters who cast their ballots on election day.

Dixie County
County Commissioner, District 4
Jamie Storey (NPA) 3,416 votes (61.31 percent)
John L. Driggers Jr. (NPA) 2,156 votes (38.69 percent)

Gilchrist County
No Local Elections -- all decided in the primary
Nonbinding Referendum Concerning Tax Increase for Construction of New Gilchrist County Jail and Correctional Facility. The Gilchrist County Board of County Commissioners have determined that a new jail and correctional facility is needed by Gilchrist County, Florida. In order to provide funding for the new facility, are you in favor of a tax increase by the Board to provide funding for the facility?

Yes - For approval of increasing taxes to provide funding for new jail and correctional facility. 2,165 votes (31.06 percent)
No - Against approval of increasing taxes to provide funding for new jail and correctional facility. 4,805 votes (68.94 percent)

(Total Circuit Votes)
Circuit Court Judge
David Robertson (NOP) 62,736 votes (43.86 percent)
Gloria Walker (NOP) 80,300 (56.14 percent)

State Rep., Dist. 21 (Total District Votes)
Charles Wesley “Chuck” Clemons Sr. (Rep.) 39,806 (51.48 percent)
Jason Haeseler (Dem.) 16,227 (48.52 percent)

State Rep. Dist. 22 (Total District Votes)
Charlie Stone (Rep.) 48,373 (63.84 percent)
Bernard Parker (Dem.) 27,403 (36.16 percent)

     Following are how the voters made their choices in each race.
     To see how the vote was recorded with unofficial results for Levy County, click HERE.
     To see how the vote was recorded with unofficial results for Gilchrist County, click HERE.
     To see how the vote was recorded with unofficial results for Dixie County, click HERE.




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106th Jingle Performers

Krista Campbell (seated with guitar) and Dotti Leichner perform the jingle on Sept. 7, 2018 in the Dixie Music Center in the City of Old Town. This is Campbell’s version of the jingle that she made for this performance. Leichner and Campbell made this version within five minutes of rehearsing and with one take. Campbell is playing the Ibanez guitar autographed by Josh Turner that is being raffled to help the Dixie County Education Foundation. (There are still some tickets available as of this minute.) Campbell won a Fender guitar autographed by Turner in 2015, when she was one of the raffle ticket-buyers that year to help the Foundation. Campbell is a renowned local musician who performs every Thursday, Friday and Saturday evening at The Putnam Lodge on the very northern end of Cross City (in Shamrock) on U.S. Highway 19. She sings songs requested by people at the restaurant and bar from 6 to 10 p.m. on those three night. Dottie and Bob Leichner are musicians and business owners who sell musical instruments and equipment, and provide music instruction through their independently contracted music instructors. If you want to buy a guitar or anything musical, visit Dixie Music Center. If you see Jeff Hardison and you want to sing the jingle, just let him know or send an email to He asks people to sing it, too, and some of them agree to sing it -- like these two wonderful ladies above. (Thanks people!)
Published Sept. 17, 2018 at 4:08 p.m.

© Video by Jeff M. Hardison, All Rights Reserved

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