Spring Career Fairs plant seeds
of opportunity
for businesses, job candidates

By Laura Byrnes, APR, CPRC
Communications Manager
CareerSource Citrus Levy Marion
Published Feb. 21, 2019 at 3:39 p.m.
     OCALA --
Employment and recruiting opportunities will be in full bloom next month during a pair of Spring Career Fairs hosted by CareerSource Citrus Levy Marion.

 

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CareerSource Citrus Levy Marion  HardisonInk.com


     The annual career fairs will take place in Citrus County on Tuesday, March 26 at the College of Central Florida’s Learning and Conference Center in Lecanto and on Thursday, March 28 at CF’s Klein Conference Center in Ocala.
     The Citrus County event will be held from 3-5 p.m. and the Marion County career fair is set from 3:30-5:30 p.m.
     Businesses and candidates are invited to attend either or both of the fee-free events:
     · Area businesses interested in taking part should call 352-873-7955, ext. 1713 or 800-746-9950, ext. 1713.
     · It is not necessary for candidates to sign up ahead of time, but those interested in participating are strongly encouraged to first register with https://www.employflorida.com. While there is no charge to take part, appropriate dress is required. More information can be found by searching for Upcoming Career Fairs at https://careersourceclm.com/ or calling 800-434-JOBS, ext. 1713.
     Brenda Chrisman, CareerSource CLM’s business services officer, said that holding the career fairs on two days in two locations “offers multiple opportunities for area businesses and candidates in that they have the flexibility to attend both.”
     Chrisman said the career fairs provide businesses with a “fast, efficient and effective” way to recruit, and candidates benefit because businesses are looking to hire now. Last year, 26 area businesses attended the career fair in Citrus County and 35 did so in Marion County.
     Free career fair preparation assistance is available for candidates at CareerSource CLM career centers.



The Right Insurance
Can Meet Both Short-
and Long-term Needs

Published Feb. 19, 2019 at 1:49 p.m.
     NEWBERRY --
If you’re going to achieve your important financial goals, you’ll need to build an appropriate investment portfolio.
     But that’s only part of the story – because you also need to protect what you have, what you earn and what you’d like to leave behind. That’s why it’s a good idea to become familiar with the various types of insurance and how they can address short- and long-term needs.
     For starters, consider life insurance. You may have important long-term goals, such as leaving an inheritance for your family and providing resources for your favorite charities. You may be able to fulfill some of these through the death benefit on your policy.
     You can also purchase life insurance to help fill the gap between the amounts you have saved and what your family would need if you died unexpectedly. Thus, insurance can pay for liabilities (such as a mortgage, car payments, student loans and other debts), education expenses (such as college for your children) and final expenses associated with your passing.
     Next, consider disability insurance. If you were injured or became ill and couldn’t work for a while, the loss of income could be a big problem for your family members – in fact, it could disrupt their entire lifestyle. Even a short-term disability could prove worrisome, while a long-term disability could be catastrophic.
     Your employer might offer short-term disability insurance, and that could be enough – but do you really want to take that chance?
     To protect your income if you were out of work for an extended period, you might need to supplement your employer’s coverage with your own long-term disability policy. Long-term disability insurance, which generally kicks in after you’ve used up your short-term benefits, may pay you for a designated time period (perhaps two to five years) or until you reach a certain age, such as 65. Long-term disability insurance likely won’t replace your entire income, but it can go a long way toward helping you stay “above water” until you recover.
     You may also want to think about long-term care insurance.
     Despite its name, a long-term care policy could meet either short- or long-term needs. On the short-term end, you might need the services of a home health care aide to assist you in your recovery from an injury such as a broken hip. On the other end of the long-term care scale, you might someday need an extensive stay in a nursing home, which can be extremely expensive and which isn’t typically covered by Medicare. But in either case, you might be able to benefit from a long-term care insurance policy, or possibly a long-term care rider attached to a life insurance policy.
     And the earlier you take action, the better, because long-term care insurance, in particular, generally becomes more expensive the older you get.
     This list of insurance policies, and the needs they can help meet, is certainly not exhaustive, but it should give you an idea of just how important the right insurance coverage can be for you – at almost any stage of your life.       
    PUBLISHER’S NOTE: This article was written by Edward Jones for use by Edward Jones Financial Advisor - Sheila K. Smith, 25349 W. Newberry Road, in Newberry. Phone 352-472-2776. Edward Jones is a licensed insurance producer in all states and Washington, D.C., through Edward D. Jones & Co., L.P. and in California, New Mexico and Massachusetts through Edward Jones Insurance Agency of California, L.L.C.; Edward Jones Insurance Agency of New Mexico, L.L.C.; and Edward Jones Insurance Agency of Massachusetts, L.L.C.




Phoenix Rising YouthBuild
breaks new ground
with first project in Belleview
on Feb. 26 instead of Feb. 21

By Laura Byrnes, APR, CPRC
Communications Manager
CareerSource Citrus Levy Marion
Published Feb. 11, 2019 at 2:09 p.m.
* Updated Feb. 19, 2019 at 2:09 p.m.
     OCALA –
The Phoenix Rising YouthBuild program will break new ground with its ninth project in Marion County.
     For the first time, the construction portion of the program will take place in Belleview. The wall raising set for Tuesday, Feb. 26 at 9 a.m. at 10906 SE 54th Ave., in Belleview.
     Phoenix Rising has been raising the hopes and expectations of at-risk young adults since 2011. The alternative-education program is designed to help revitalize economically challenged areas in Marion County while making a positive difference in the lives of young adults, age 18-24.
     Through the program, students receive hands-on and classroom training designed to develop workforce skills that lead to employment or a post-secondary education program. A key component of the program involves construction of Habitat for Humanity homes for deserving families. Additionally, participants may earn their high school diploma as well as industry-recognized certifications while receiving weekly participation payments.
     CareerSource CLM and its youth services provider, Eckerd Connects Workforce Development, recruit program participants, assign career coaches to help coordinate and oversee the program and provide classroom employability training. 
     Kimberly Grey, Eckerd’s program manager, said that all 12 students enrolled in the current program have earned their OSHA and Forklift certificates in partnership with the College of Central Florida, and that all are well on their way to earning high school diplomas.
     Grey said that anyone interested in the program is encouraged to attend the wall raising – whether a prospective student, program partner or member of the community.
     Major funding for the Marion County YouthBuild comes from an $806,000 grant from the US Department of Labor obtained by CareerSource Citrus Levy Marion. The grant covers four Phoenix Rising YouthBuild projects for 48 students. 
     In addition to CareerSource CLM, Eckerd, Habitat for Humanity of Marion County, YouthBuild and CF, primary partners include Marion County Board of County Commissioners, City of Ocala, Marion County Sheriff’s Office, Neighborhood Housing and Development Corporation, Florida State Housing Initiative Partnership (SHIP), Equal Housing Opportunity, and Silver River Mentoring & Instruction (SRMI).
     Phoenix Rising YouthBuild has become a national model of what communities can build when public/private partners work together. It has earned recognition from the Florida League of Cities, National League of Cities and Harvard's School of Business. The program also received Habitat for Humanity International's highest honor, the Clarence E. Jordan Award, for creativity and innovation in building homes and communities.
     For more information, call 352-291-9550, ext. 2293.

 


Dixie County Chamber of
Commerce becomes involved
in preparing
a more skilled workforce

Dixie County Chamber of Commerce American Legion HardisonInk.com
American Legion Post 383 Past Commander Craig Hubbert and American Legion Post 383 Commander Mary Luyk are representing the post at the Chamber of Commerce meeting on Thursday. The Post recently became a member of this Chamber. Commander Luyk is the first female to be the commander at that post.
~
Story and Photos
By Jeff M. Hardison © Feb. 15, 2018 at 3:39 p.m.
     CROSS CITY --
Members and guests at the Dixie County Chamber of Commerce monthly meeting Thursday afternoon (Feb. 14) heard suggestions that everyone can apply to help students prepare for their future in the world of work.



Dixie County Chamber of Commerce leaders HardisonInk.com
Co-President Andrew Rains and Co-President Cheryll Jones lead the meeting on Thursday.

     The five points shared with everyone, where the groups seemed to agree to do these things are:
     ● Involve students in Chamber activities, meetings and planning. Quit shielding them from life.
     ● Model manners in ever aspect of life, including at work, at home in church and throughout the community.
     ● Intentionally share skill sets with youth, such as how to conduct a meeting with order; how to work with wood and create furniture; how to practice good sportsmanship.
     ● Continually communicate the need for life and work skills – to be employable and to be a productive member of society.
     ● Offer to help with reference letters, scholarship applications, practicing etiquette or help with a visit to a college or technical school.
     In other matters at the Dixie County Chamber of Commerce monthly meeting, members spoke about the Chamber’s 2019 budget; determined a method to conduct a survey of business interests in Dixie County; and spoke about the upcoming April 27 Fly-In and Expo scheduled for Cross City Airport.
     People who want to be vendors or who want to volunteer to help the Chamber with this event are asked to send an email to info@dixiechamber.org.
     Members and guest enjoyed a potato bar with all of the fixings, such as bacon, shredded cheese, butter and sour cream for lunch. Beverages were soft drinks and tea.
     Lunch was provided by Cross City Rehabilitation and Ruth Ann Lovelace.
     The 2019 Dixie County Chamber of Commerce officers and directors are Co-President Andrew Rains, Co-President Cheryll Jones, Vice President Melanie Anderson, Secretary Cindy Bellot, Treasurer Debbie Dembo, and directors Richard T. Balog, Darbi Chaires Meisner, John Cherry, Rebecca Fusco, (Dixie County Clerk of Court) Dana Johnson, Heddie Johnson, (Dixie County Property Appraiser) Robbie Lee, Ruth Ann Lovelace and Beverly Pivacek.


Williston City Manager
plans for the future

Williston Florida plans for the future HardisonInk.com
Williston City Manager Scott Lippmann and City Planner Jackie Gorman are seen Tuesday afternoon (Feb. 12).

Story and Photo
By Jeff M. Hardison © Feb. 15, 2019 at 2:09 p.m.
     WILLISTON –
Williston City Manager Scott Lippmann, like other city managers, leads his city on a daily basis by keeping operations flowing, and he looks to the future too.
     As City Manager Lippmann looks toward the future, he is assisted by City Planner Jack Gorman, whom he sees as an excellent asset for the city’s residents and visitors.
     Recently Dennis Davis, senior client service manager, and Bartt Booz, senior project manager, with Wright Pierce Engineering, spoke to the City Council about a 20-year plan for replacement of and addition of equipment in the city’s wastewater treatment facility.
     The city has obtained and is obtaining grant funding for this project.
     Meanwhile, Lippmann, Gorman and Utilities Department Director C.J. Zimoski are reviewing documents, which Lippmann wants converted to a digital record. This will lead to the creation of planned replacement for underground pipes.
     Fitting in with this operation is the review of work orders to determine if certain sections of pipe are showing a frequency of calls for service to an extent that it is more cost-effective to simply replace the clay, cast iron or Orangeburg (also known as "fiber conduit" or "bituminous fiber pipe" or "Bermico") pipes, rather than to keep answering service calls.
     Lippmann said he strives to meet the demands placed on the infrastructure before anything reaches a critical need for attention.
     While there are the day-to-day operations, and the planning for future needs, there is hope. Positive additions can have a domino effect on a city’s economic engine.
     Two things could be game-changers for positive growth in the Williston economy, Lippmann said Tuesday (Feb. 12) during an impromptu interview.
     First, is high-speed, fair-priced broadband Internet service.
     Likwid Communications is the current frontrunner to potentially offer that in the Williston-Bronson-Chiefland market, Lippmann said. However, if some other company comes to town with an offer, then that may be the company that captures the deal.
     If Williston had superior Internet service, he said, then people who operate primarily on the Internet, such as consulting firms, could have their business in the city. Beyond the addition of companies, existing residential and commercial Internet users would welcome an improvement in that aspect of the infrastructure.
     The second significant potential benefit for the city, he said, would be the addition of a hotel with 70 to 80 rooms.
     If a nice hotel existed in Williston, beyond what already is here, then people could come from farther away and stay to visit places like Kirby Family, Farms, Two Tails Ranch, Devil’s Den, Blue Grotto, the Annual Levy County Fair, botanical gardens and other attractions within a stone’s throw of Williston.
     In the meantime, the city continues to move forward with progress especially around Heritage Park – home of the Annual Peanut Festival.
     Williston has the biggest municipal airport in Levy County as well as the only hospital in the county. City Manager Lippmann said if a hotel developer wants to contact him, he will gladly help that project as much as possible.


Intern Starts
Levy County Emergency Management HardisonInk.com
Levy County Emergency Management Director John MacDonald (right) welcomes Caleb Harder as the first-ever student in the Levy County Emergency Management’s Intern Program, which just started. Harder is a Chiefland resident who is studying Fire and Emergency Services at the University of Florida. Director MacDonald, Assistant Director David Peaton and Planner Leatha Keene look forward to assisting Harder with his education and career, and they are happy to have him on the Levy County Emergency Management team.
Published Feb. 14, 2019 at 10:39 a.m.

Information and Photo Provided
By Assistant Director David Peaton

 


Investiture of Meshon T. Rawls to the Alachua County Court bench scheduled for Feb. 22
By Christy Cain, Public Information Officer
Court Administration, Eighth Judicial Circuit
Published Feb. 12, 2019 at 8:09 p.m.


Judge Meson T. Rawls
 

     GAINESVILLE – The Honorable Meshon T. Rawls was elected to the Alachua County Court bench on Nov. 6, 2018, for a six-year term commencing Jan. 7, 2019.
     Her investiture is Friday, Feb. 22, 2019, at 3:00p.m. in Courtroom 1B of the Alachua County Criminal Justice Center.
     Judge Rawls obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree in Criminal Justice from the University of Florida and a Juris Doctorate degree from the University of Florida College of Law.
     Most of Judge Rawls’ legal career has been devoted to advocating for the rights of children. Judge Rawls was the Director of the Gator TeamChild Juvenile Law Clinic at the University of Florida Levin College of Law and a Master Legal Skills Professor.
     Prior to joining the University of Florida Levin College of Law, she worked at the Eighth Judicial Circuit Public Defender’s Office in the juvenile, misdemeanor, and felony divisions. Judge Rawls is a Past President of the Eighth Judicial Circuit Bar Association and the Josiah T. Walls Bar Association.

     Judge Rawls was appointed to serve on the Florida Bar’s Juvenile Law Board Certification Committee and the Florida Bar’s Voluntary Bar Liaison Committee. She also previously served on the Florida Supreme Court Steering Committee on Families and Children in the Courts, the Florida Bar Legal Needs of Children Committee, the Alachua County Juvenile Justice Council, and the Eighth Judicial Circuit Grievance Committee.
     Judge Rawls is currently assigned to Alachua County Civil Division IV, and Circuit-wide Back-up Coverage. Her Judicial Assistant is Ashlee Corales.

 


State News In HardisonInk.com
Commissioner Nikki Fried
appoints Holly Bell
as Director of Cannabis

Director of Cannibus Holly Bell HardisonInk.com
Florida Department of Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried announces her appointment of Holly Bell as the Director of Cannabis.
~
Story and Photo Provided
By the Communications Office
of Commissioner Nikki Fried
Published Feb. 7, 2019 at 8"29 p.m.
     TALLAHASSEE --
On Wednesday (Feb. 6) Commissioner Nicole “Nikki” Fried announced her appointment of Holly Bell as the Director of Cannabis.
     Bell’s selection comes after a national search and interviews with multiple finalists for the position.
 
     In her role as Director of Cannabis, Bell will oversee the development of rules, work directly with scientific experts, and ensure Commissioner Fried’s vision for cannabis in Florida continues moving forward. Bell will work closely with the Department’s Division of Plant Industry on developing Florida’s hemp industry, including the production, processing, inspecting, and manufacturing of industrial hemp, and will assist in implementing the new Farm Bill as it relates to industrial hemp.
     She will also monitor the actions of the Florida Department of Health as it relates to medical marijuana, and will work with the Division of Food Safety on implementing the forthcoming edibles rules. Bell will work closely with the Commissioner’s industrial hemp and medical marijuana advisory committees, members of which will be appointed in the coming weeks.
     “More than two years ago, Floridians overwhelmingly voted for medical marijuana. While previous administrations obstructed access and denied the will of the people, today is a brand new day for Florida,” said Commissioner Nikki Fried. “Cannabis is an incredible opportunity for our state, which is why I’ve appointed a Cannabis Director to oversee this top priority going forward. Holly was instrumental in helping start up Tennessee’s industrial hemp program, where she heard from farmers who needed an alternative for the future. She brought people together to make that vision a reality, and she’ll do the same here in Florida. Holly’s experience in finance and knowledge of managing programs make her a bold choice – and the right choice – to help build the future of cannabis in Florida.”
     “I’m grateful to Commissioner Fried for the opportunity to help literally grow Florida’s future,” said Bell. “After 80 years of stalled progress, we can finally begin putting cannabis to work, and realize its full potential for farmers, consumers, and patients here in Florida. That’s exactly what I did in Tennessee – bringing together farmers, investors, and government to help build an infrastructure to prepare for that state’s hemp bill and cannabis industry, and drive their economy.”
     Florida's medical marijuana industry is projected to have a $1.6 billion economic impact and create more jobs than manufacturing in Florida by 2020. Studies have shown that Florida has the potential to become the biggest medical marijuana market in the nation by 2021. The passage of the Farm Bill brings the opportunity to grow industrial hemp, which has billions in potential economic opportunity for the Florida agriculture community as an alternative crop of the future. Research also shows that medical marijuana laws can lead to a 25 percent lower annual mean opioid overdose mortality rate.
     After a career in banking and financial services, Holly Bell consulted on cannabis business issues in numerous states. Bell worked to build the infrastructure to support the creation of Tennessee’s cannabis industry, following passage of that state’s industrial hemp legislation. A native of Indiana with family roots in Northeast Florida, Bell earned a bachelor’s degree in agricultural economics from Purdue University.

 

 


HardisonInk.com is
Keeping It Fine In Year Nine

Goldy The Cat HardisonInk.com Levy County Dixie County Gilchrist County
Goldy the cat Hardison is seen here ‘reading a small newspaper’ (actually playing with a Hall’s Defense vitamin C throat lozenge wrapper) on Jan. 15, 2011. If this was a tiny newspaper, then one of the business news stories would be that on Feb. 1, 2011, the online daily news website named HardisonInk.com was scheduled to begin; and it did. Today (Feb. 1, 2019, HardisonInk.com goes into its ninth year.)

Column and Photos
By Jeff M. Hardison © Feb. 1, 2019 at 1:39 p.m.
     JEMLANDS --
Nestled in the woods of the unrecorded subdivision known as Jemlands, in the unincorporated part of Levy County between Carter's Crossroads and Fowler's Bluff, the Code Orange Office hums with the sound of happy electronic gear as I look out at the sign that says "The Ink Pad."



InkyThe Cat HardisonInk.com Levy County Dixie County Gilchrist County
Inky the cat Hardison joined the daily news website team as a mascot some years ago, which resulted in Goldy being named as Senior Mascot.

Needles The Cat Levy County HardisonInk.com
Needles the Community Cat became the first county-fixed cat in Levy County, to help bring the feral cat issue under control. Once completely feral, Needles still lives outdoors and only lets a few people pet him. He has sharp teeth and claws. He may become an inside pet someday, but he just seems a bit too wild for that right now.


Goldy The Cat HardisonInk.com Levy County Dixie County Gilchrist County
Needles (upper left) is outside and Goldy is indoors. The two cats get along with a glass door between them, however the more feral cat Needles (so-named because he blends in with the pine needles) probably is too wild to somehow become a domestic indoor cat, living with a couple of felines who are unfamiliar with the dangerous life in the wild outdoors of Jemlands.

     It's 1:14 p.m. at this very moment of writing on Friday, Feb. 1, and as the sole proprietor of HardisonInk.com I earlier this morning placed the last of five hearts in an advertisement for people to find. I also happened across an event that took me away from finishing this column in one sitting this morning.
     While today is the first day of Year Nine of HardisonInk.com, it is thanks to another set of business owners at Trenton Floral, Featuring Designs by Marty, that soon a person will have a certificate for $75 worth of Valentines flowers.
     It must be a mixture of serendipity splashing along with the fate, predestination, free will and all other things in this particular part of the space-time continuum, which has brought the many blessings God has bestowed upon me.
     Since HardisonInk.com is a relatively new concept for people – a daily news website that provides information, educates and entertains people – on the occasion of the start of Year Nine, I am taking the literary liberty and license of writing in the first person.
     I have not traveled alone on this long path that has brought me to my own version of Walden – living in the woods.
     I am, though, none other than Jeff M. Hardison doing business as HardisonInk.com.
     The trek across the past 63 years of my life as a native Floridian, including my travels through Hood’s Dairy and the Coca-Cola Warehouse; and the miles of pipe-laying ditches in Pinellas County (and Hillsborough County); and my service as a waiter at Red Lobster, The Cheyenne Social Club, and the Columbia Restaurant on the top of the former St. Petersburg Pier’s inverted pyramid; and my toiling as an oyster-shucker at a fancy-schmancy restaurant in a north Pinellas County mall, and my fun as a dishwasher and busboy at various eateries in Pinellas and Alachua counties; and my sojourn through the hallowed halls of Harris Elementary School; Meadowlawn Jr. High School, Northeast High School, St. Petersburg Jr. College, Modern Media Institute, St. Petersburg Jr. College, the University of Florida, two campuses of the University of South Florida, and Manatee Community College; and my service in the United States Army’s First Artillery at Fort Sill, Oklahoma; and my work as a teacher in the public school system of Charlotte County, and at New World Language Institute, Eckerd College, Admiral Farragut Academy; and even my decades of honorably carrying out my calling as a professional weekly and daily (multiple award-winning) newspaper reporter and editor – is what brings me to this point.
     And now, HardisonInk.com ventures forth into its Year Nine.
     So here goes. I am essentially ignoring the pain from the mending fractured bones in my left arm and wrist.
     "We are keeping it Fine in Year Nine."
     The first contest of the year is going well. The owners of Trenton Floral donated a $75 gift certificate toward the purchase of a floral arrangement for Valentine's Day.
      Every community is unique. And every business and every human are gifts to the whole of each of our perceptions and our existence. I was very happy to see Trenton Floral springing to life. It made me see hope for downtown Trenton.
     Cross City and Bronson are a couple of other county seats where I have found wonderful people who love one another and want their communities to thrive economically as well as spiritually.
      By the way, we are in America and this is not a theocracy, so everyone, including me, should respect one another’s free choice to believe in anything or believe in nothing. The same is true with politics. We live in a free country, where the government is based on an ideology that a set of people can work as a representative body of the bigger whole.
     So, I have strayed from message. I have, as sometimes happens by accident and sometimes happens with purpose, buried the lead.
     I have chased some shiny objects down rabbit holes, and now I am going to stop paying attention to those distractions – including one that took me away for hours just now.
     We are keeping it Fine in Year Nine.
     This is a daily news website that is visible on the Internet. It is a publication. Stories can be printed actively from the Internet as they exist, or they can be printed if and when they reach the archives.
     I have learned about something people call a blog. That is like a “dear diary” or a personal journal thing. That’s great for Facebook, so that Mark Zuckerberg can enjoy some sort of zillions of dollars from the ads he sells there.
     This particular column that you are reading now, could go into being categorized in that set of works to some degree. However, this is a column. Yes, it includes subjective opinion.
     As a professional journalist, I work to keep my stories as objective as I can. Certainly, I am a human, mortal all the way to the point of my body someday becoming dust. As for my soul, I believe it is going to Heaven for eternity, although God only knows if I have the correct answer there.
     So, here’s some final messages as we go into Year Nine of HardisonInk.com. It is “we” because I am the sole proprietor and the publisher; I am among the writers, photographers, videographers, and ad sellers for the venture. And “we” are the people, all of us “peeps” who are readers, viewers and listeners (videos have audio) who receive various benefits from this venture.
     As for today, I have gone into the world of first-person narrative. I’ve written countless other columns over the past several decades. This is not among the best ever. It is just saying, Hey! Here’s a landmark in time and space. HardisonInk.com is starting its ninth year of striving to help humanity.
     Before I get too far along, here’s a couple of other things. I am putting “9” as the time of the minutes for the updates on pages, because it is the ninth minute this year when a page is updated. I can update faster than every 10 minutes, though.
     In the first few years, I would literally mark the moment when one of the seven pages (there was an eighth page, but due to lack of interest, the classified ad pages went to computer heaven) was updated. Then for a few years, I liked noting them as being updated with “7” as the last digit of the minute.
     All of last year (where the HardisonInk.com year begins on Feb. 1), I went with “8.” Today, starting with my nine minutes after midnight update, I am starting “9” as part of the “Keeping It Fine” thing.
     Here’s the second of a couple of things more. On occasion, I note, when I am writing in the first person, “God willing.” Long ago, when Professor Martin was teaching me and other juniors at the University of Florida College of Journalism and (Mass) Communications in the belly of the stadium (I was at U.F. then through the time of Rae O. Weimer Hall being constructed, and I interviewed Mr. Weimer for a story published in the Gainesville Sun back then) {oh those shiny objects and rabbit holes-get behind me Alice In Wonderland} – Professor Martin taught us that we should write “Such and so is scheduled to happen” rather than, for instance, “The Kiwanis Club of Sumter County will meet on Wednesday night at Joe’s Café.”
     Professor Martin went so far as to say the sunrise and tide schedules should note those things are expected to happen at whatever day, time and place. Sunrise is anticipated to be at whatever O’clock and the same with sunset, he told us.
     The future is uncertain, he said. Hence, with my beliefs, I note “God willing… whatever will happen.”
     As for tomorrow, God willing, either Goldy, or Inky or Needles will be the cat or combination of cats to choose the winner of the first gift certificate in Year Nine.
     What is HardisonInk.com doing in March for a prize to give to readers, viewers and listeners?
     Well, my wife of 29.5 years Sharon Hardison agreed with me this morning, because we always agree. She said we are not having a contest every month. Year Five was a whirlwind of contest and prize work. Apparently, there are a lot of people who wanted to win the gift provided by Trenton Floral.
     I am not noting how many submissions she worked on every day so far, but it is correct to say there were even more people finding the heart in the ads for this contest than for the people who did what was required to win an Amazon Kindle Fire in a contest back-when.
     In the meantime, between now and our next contest, while everyone on the HardisonInk.com team is Keeping it Fine in Year Nine, I hope to inspire all humans to do their best at helping each other. Please have fun and be good. Yes, the two actions are not mutually exclusive.
     Go Year Nine!
     That’s all for now – column-wise. Over and out. Poof!



Agriculture commissioner
signals a new day for
2nd biggest industry in Florida;

Forward-thinking approach is evident

Published Jan. 30, 2018 at 4:08 p.m.
     TALLAHASSEE --
Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Nichole "Nikki" Fried gave a strong speech Wednesday (Jan. 30) during the 2019 Florida Associated Press Day, an annual gathering of Florida news reporters and editors, in which she laid out her vision and agenda for Florida’s farmers, consumers, and families.
     Her remarks are shown below, thanks to the information being provided by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services' Office of Communications.
      Following is a verbatim account of what she said today (Wednesday, Jan. 30).
      Good afternoon, I’m Nikki Fried – and I’m here today proudly serving as the first woman elected as Florida’s Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services.
     I want to thank all of you for your public service to our state and nation as journalists. Our democracy relies upon a free and strong press.
     And I want to give a special thank you to Brendan Farrington and The Associated Press for making today possible — and providing us all a great opportunity to speak to the people of Florida.
     As the first woman elected to this office, and the first Jewish woman elected statewide in Florida, the people entrusting me with this office signifies a desire for something new here in Tallahassee.
     I wasn’t chosen by our fellow Floridians because I look like, sound like, or walk in the same boots as our previous Agriculture Commissioners.
     I believe it was because of my vision for this Department, and the opportunity we have to move our state forward, to prepare for the challenges of the future, and make life better for all Floridians.
     It’s because the people of Florida want leaders with the courage to do something different, who bring a new approach to governing our state, and who strive for results.
     And as Commissioner, that’s exactly what I plan to do.
     We have a bold agenda and a fresh vision for Florida’s farmers, consumers, and families.
     Agriculture is our state’s second largest industry – with 47,000 commercial farms creating $132 billion in economic impact.
     Florida’s farmers, producers, and ranchers support two million jobs, export more than $4 billion in agricultural products to 164 countries, raise more than one million head of cattle, and are critical to feeding families in our state and around the world.
     But we face a changing economy and environment, and we are committed to helping our agriculture community adapt, compete and thrive.
     The future of this state and of our nation depends greatly on our ability to produce a fresh, nutritious, safe supply of food. Our success, and our children’s success, is tied directly to the success of our farmers and ranchers.
     Our Department will continue to be a partner to our agriculture community, with a forward-thinking approach that ensures they have access to alternative crops and innovative technology.
     Because innovation is fundamental to that success, I’m excited to share I will be creating a brand-new agricultural innovation committee to help our farmers meet the challenges of the future.
     Included on that committee will be international agriculture experts from nations like Israel and Canada with whom we have great trade relationships, and experts in helping implement new environmentally-conscious technologies.
     Florida’s farmers are also key allies in protecting our natural lands and waterways for generations to come.
     We have a unique opportunity to work together to take on climate change and conserve our environment.
     No state in America is more vulnerable to the intensifying effects of climate change than Florida, including stronger hurricanes that have devastated our state, parts of which I visited just earlier this week with our lawmakers.
     Through our Department's Office of Energy, we will push for new, collaborative approaches to increasing renewable energy production and mitigating climate change, ensuring Florida does its part to build a sustainable future and create new clean energy jobs.
     Combating the red tide and blue-green toxic algae choking our waterways and threatening our communities demands our full effort and attention. This must be a top priority.
     We will bring all stakeholders to the table to find and implement real solutions to this crisis, and we will work towards continued stronger adoption of best management practices that reduce pollution into the water sources upon which we all rely.
     The only way forward on our shared water and climate future is together – the health and safety of Floridians, and the future of our state depends on it.
     The safety of Floridians also extends to threat we all face from gun violence. The time to say nothing and do nothing has long since passed.
     The failures in oversight of the licensing program are serious. That is why one of my top priorities is to adequately screen applicants for concealed weapons permits.
     You have my word today – here and now – that when someone in Florida applies for a concealed weapons permit, they will receive the full and complete background check required by law.
     This is an extraordinary responsibility, and one that prior failures have demonstrated belongs under the purview of law enforcement professionals.
     Since taking office, we have reviewed the audit report and the negligence that led to a compromise of public safety. And in the coming weeks, I will be sharing with you updated rules and safeguards to protect against those failures occurring again.
     We are also committing ourselves to protecting our consumers, elevating consumer services within our Department, and giving it our full measure of attention.
     We must strive to protect our communities from fraud — Florida has been a leading state for fraud for long enough.
     We’ve brought on a champion for consumer protection with the addition of Mary Barzee Flores as Deputy Commissioner for Consumer Affairs.
     Her experience on behalf of Floridians, as both an attorney and a judge, make her a perfect fit as we work to make the protection of Florida taxpayers a central priority.
     And while we’re fighting to protect and help Floridians, we must make sure we’re listening to them.
     The people of Florida spoke clearly when they voted for access to medical marijuana.
     It's been my experience as an advocate that's informed my commitment to compassionate, patient-focused medical marijuana policies.
     I've met people fighting stage-four cancer, parents desperate to provide their sick children with relief, and patients suffering from terrible and chronic illnesses — it's one of the reasons I've been such a strong advocate for medical marijuana.
    This is an issue that touches my family personally — my mother was recently diagnosed with cancer, and she is struggling to find medicine that relieves her suffering.
    The fact that she can’t access the medicine she needs breaks my heart.
     We have a moral and legal obligation to act in our patients’ best interest and expand access to medical marijuana, so that sick and suffering people can get the medicine they need.
     We need to increase the number of licensed medical marijuana growers and create a more open market, stronger competition, more affordable prices, and greater of access to medicine for patients. And we need to fight to get our health insurers to start covering medical marijuana.
     Cannabis is life-changing for patients, but also can bring an incredible, positive change to our state as a whole.
     Hemp's reclassification provides an enormous opportunity for Florida agriculture to drive job growth and revenue in a potential multi-billion-dollar industry.
     From fibers, to building materials, CBD oils, and more, hemp presents an opportunity for Florida to take the lead on the alternative crop of the future.
     You all know I will be appointing a director of cannabis soon, but I’m also excited to share I will be creating two new committees to advise our Department on this important issue.
     I’m establishing a medical marijuana committee to help us listen to Floridians, suggest program changes, and advise on implementing new initiatives, such as a patient portal on our website for gathering consumer complaints and feedback from patients.
     And I’m also establishing a hemp advisory committee, whose members will be dedicated to making Florida a national leader in hemp. I intend for our state to harness the potential of, and become the gold standard for, hemp production.
     Now, despite this great potential, we still face fundamental challenges as a state to ensure the well-being of all Floridians.
     Food security is an issue that affects communities from South Florida to Jacksonville to the Panhandle.
     Everyone understands that hunger holds people back. When people are hungry, they cannot succeed. When children are hungry, they cannot learn.
     The societal cost of food insecurity affects us all — it increases our state’s healthcare costs, undermines the vitality of our workforce, and hinders the ability of too many of our children to live up to their full potential.
     This is an issue that has a direct impact on our future — when we ensure people have access to healthy food, their lives improve and our state is stronger.
     Addressing the challenge of food insecurity is an opportunity to invest in the future of our state and change the lives of our neighbors.
     We will build an even stronger partnership with our food banks, and join together with our agriculture community to expand access to, and increase education and outreach about, fresh and nutritious food.
     Now, Florida faces significant challenges. We have a lot of people who need a hand. But I truly believe that together, we will rise to the occasion and work to build a Florida that is better for everyone.
     The responsibilities of this office are vast and varied — and they present an opportunity to help those people, to feed our families, to protect and conserve our environment, to strengthen our economy, and to build a Florida that’s equipped to face the future.
     Because when Florida farmers, ranchers, and producers succeed, Florida succeeds.
     When we listen to the people, and take action on their priorities — democracy is functioning as it was intended.
     And when we put into action a long-term vision to tackle problems and better our state — we’re making an investment in our future and the future of generations to come.
     We’re building a team that is responsive and ready to serve Floridians. And in the coming weeks, we’ll be introducing some new positions for the first time in our department, including a Veterans Affairs director to create opportunities for our 1.5 million veterans, and an LGBTQ director to listen to voices that haven’t historically had a voice at our table.
     As a member of the Florida Cabinet, I will dedicate my service to building a forward-thinking and resilient state, ready to take on the challenges of the future.
     After just 23 days of being in office, I’ve been encouraged by the collegial action of our Cabinet.
     In just our first meeting, we made real progress, taking a significant step to bring closure and resolution to historic injustice by pardoning the Groveland Four.
     It brought relief to the families of four wrongly accused men, who for years have felt ignored as the names of their loved ones were wrongly recorded in history as criminals.
     It didn’t undo the damage, but it was an attempt to right a wrong, and set the record of history straight.
     Governance for the greater good. That is why we’re here — getting things done for the people we came to this city to represent.
     It’s a new day. We have an incredible opportunity to make a difference.
     It’s my hope that together, as a Cabinet, we will put science before politics, results over opinions, and state above party to push this state we all love forward, and build a better future for every Floridian.
     Thank you all for your time, and I look forward to your questions.

--UPDATED--
FRIDAY  FEB. 22  6:49 a.m.
George Washington's Birthday

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