To See The Most Recent
Exploring Finances Column, Click HERE
County continues move
toward magistrate to rule on zoning cases
Attorney selection may be at next meeting
And other Levy County actions
Levy County Commission Chairman Matt Brooks and Levy County Vice Chair Desiree Mills look at paper during the meeting.
Story and Photos
By Jeff M. Hardison © June 7, 2023 at 9:30 p.m.
BRONSON – The Levy County Board of County Commissioners on Tuesday morning (June 6) chose against selecting the top-ranked firm to be the magistrate to make rulings on alleged zoning law violations.
More Below This Ad
Three law firms noted a desire to serve in this capacity.
They are Braswell Law Firm of Gainesville, Fugate and Fugate Law Firm of Williston and Weiss Serota Helman Law Firm of Gainesville.
The firm owned by attorney Jefferson M. Braswell bid $300 an hour and Fugate and Fugate, which includes attorney Norm D. Fugate and his son attorney Woodroe Blake Fugate bid $250 an hour for the service.
Braswell was chosen by the staff reviewing applications as the best candidate based on the criteria at the time of application.
Now, the County Commission is going to change its method for selection of the magistrate so that it can pick Fugate and Fugate to save $50 an hour.
Levy County Procurement Coordinator Alicia Tretheway addresses the County Commissioner during the meeting.
Levy County Procurement Coordinator Alicia Tretheway told the County Commission that Braswell was the top ranked.
Commissioner Mills said she wanted to hire the Fugate and Fugate firm because they are the least expensive.
She made a motion to hire that firm, and that motion was seconded by Commissioner John Meeks. Mills and Meeks, though, later rescinded their motion and second to consider the matter at the next meeting.
That choice to undo the motion before the vote happened after discussion.
Levy County Code Enforcement officer Dave Banton tells the County Commission about the number of potential cases to be brought before a magistrate if one was active now. He said there are several cases now, but none that he sees as needing a special magistrate yet.
Levy County Commissioner John Meeks questioned whether the Fugate and Fugate firm would have any conflicts of interests with it representing a person who may have a code enforcement action against them.
Attorney Norm Fugate addressed the point.
Fugate’s firm represents the City of Cedar Key, the City of Chiefland, the Nature Coast (Levy County) Business Development Council, and according to the mayor of Yankeetown – the first also represents that town now, too.
Representing these municipalities, Fugate intimated, he has seen that the special magistrate method is the most efficient way to resolve code enforcement cases. He commends the Levy County Commission for taking the steps to use this method.
Fugate said he is unaware of any client represented by his firm currently involved in a Levy County code enforcement action.
There are clients who come to his firm seeking advice on how to “navigate the permitting process,” Fugate said.
Fugate said if ever a possible conflict arose, then the county could use the Levy County Court process to resolve a code enforcement case. Right now and until a new Levy County Judge is appointed by Gov. Ron DeSantis, the judges of the Eighth Judicial Circuit are sharing the duties of the person who would sit as the Levy County Court judge for civil and criminal cases.
Former Levy County Court Judge James. T. “Tim” Browning retired on May 1 and as of June 7, there have been no notice for attorneys to apply for consideration for appointment to that office.
Procurement Coordinator Alicia Tretheway said after the Mills-John Meeks’ motion that the County Commission would need to make its own ranking system if it was not going to abide by the decision of the committee that reviewed and ranked the attorneys applying to be the code enforcement special magistrate.
Levy County Attorney Nicolle M. Shalley helps the County Commission members understand legal concepts as best as possible.
Levy County Attorney Nicolle M. Shalley then said that if the County Commission wanted to choose the second ranked Fugate and Fugate firm over the top ranked Braswell firm, then they must note they have thoroughly reviewed the proposals from all applicants.
The conflict of interest that the special magistrate ordinance is concerned with, County Attorney Shalley said, relates to the fact that a special magistrate acts as a judge.
“Just like the local county judge or the circuit judges,” Shalley said, “they are not allowed to practice law in the jurisdiction.”
A person who comes before a judge who serves as that person’s attorney in another matter, she said, it is “… at least the appearance, if not truly, a conflict (of interest).”
The county attorney went on.
“I don’t think I heard Mr. Fugate say his firm would not be representing clients in Levy County anymore.” Shalley said. “So, if a client who your firm has represented comes before the special magistrate, would you recuse yourself – and that’s the time when we would bring in the alternate (attorney to serve as special magistrate)?”
Fugate said “Yes,” and he qualified that answer by adding “if it rises to the level” of a person seeing that there was a conflict of interest.
Fugate mentioned that attorney Braswell is one of his closest personal friends who is also an attorney, and if Levy County chose the Braswell firm rather than the Fugate and Fugate firm, then the county would be very well served.
After more discussion, the County Commission chose to make its choice at the next meeting.
County Commissioner John Meeks (left) and County Commissioner Tim Hodge work behind the dais on June 6 to serve the residents and visitors of Levy County.
Vice Chair Desiree Mills and County Commissioner Rock Meeks are seen during one moment of the meeting Tuesday morning.
The Levy County Commission took other actions Tuesday morning.
Dan Hilliard of the Withlacoochee Aquatic Restoration group express his endorsement of the county moving forward with an application for a Community Planning Technical Grant from the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity to Develop a Community Action Plan for Restoration of Flows to the Lower Withlacoochee River. Hilliard and other WAR members have been doing what they can to help the state understand the value to the economy from the government restoring the water flow to its previous amount for that part of that river.
Levy County Tourist Development Coordinator Tisha Whitehurst receives a 5-0 vote of approval to her requesting for funding a Withlacoochee Gulf Preserve tourism project in the amount of $11,400.
The County Commission, among its actions and information shared that learned or performed the following actions.
● Heard from Bronson Town Manager Sue Beaudet that there will be a fireworks show at James H. Cobb Park, 275 Picnic St., in Bronson. There will be vendors in the park starting at 7 p.m. on July 4 and the fireworks will be sent into the air at about 9 p.m.
● Approved a request for task assignment between Levy County and Kimley-Horn and Associates Inc. for the landscape design at the Levy County Government Center in the amount of $11,500.
● Approved a request for a task assignment between Levy County and Kimley-Horn and Associates Inc., for the park schematic design at the Levy County Government Center in the amount of $20,800, and a not to exceed labor fee plus expenses basis with the maximum fee of $3,700 to be billed on an hourly basis.
● Heard from various commissioners, including Commissioners Mills and Tim Hodge that the Chiefland Watermelon Festival was enjoyable on June 3.
● Commissioner Mills recognized Nature Coast (Levy County) Business Development Council Executive Director Scott Osteen for being in the audience.
● The sheriff, the property appraiser and tax collector were noted as being in the audience.
● Staff members of State Sen. Keith Perry were noted as being in the audience.
● County Commissioner John Meeks spoke at length about the many actins by the Florida Legislature this session, including the bills that passed and did not pass, which were of interest to the Florida Association of Counties and the Florida Coalition of Small Counties.
● Learned that the Chiefland Rotary Club had a successful fishing tournament recently.
Should You Consider
401(K) Loans Or Withdrawals?
Published June 5, 2023 at 11 a.m.
NEWBERRY -- At some point, you may have more money in your 401(k) than in any other investment. And even though your 401(k) is intended for your retirement, you may one day think you have to tap into your account early — but should you? And if you do, how should you go about it?
If it’s possible to avoid taking money from your 401(k) before you retire, you probably should do so. You could spend 25 or more years in retirement, and you’ll need to pay for those years, so you may want to look for alternatives to your 401(k). If you’ve built an emergency fund containing several months’ worth of living expenses in cash or cash equivalents, you could use some of this money.
If you have a Health Savings Account (HSA), you could use it to pay for qualified medical expenses. Or you could sell some of your taxable investments, rather than going into your tax-deferred 401(k).
But if you have determined that you must look at your 401(k) plan to meet a short-term funding need, you’ll want to carefully consider how to go about it. You typically have two main choices: loans or withdrawals.
For plans that allow loans, employees can generally borrow up to 50 percent of the vested amount of their 401(k)s, up to a maximum of $50,000 within a 12-month period. Administrative fees may apply, and Interest will be charged, but it will be added back to the 401(k) account as part of the loan repayments. Except when they’re used for a home purchase, loans must be repaid within five years, with equal payments made at least quarterly, unless payments are allowed to be paused temporarily.
If you leave the company or don’t repay the loan according to the agreement, the loan balance will likely be treated as a taxable distribution.
Now, let’s consider withdrawals. For 401(k) plans that allow current employees to make withdrawals, the withdrawal requests are usually considered either hardship or non-hardship. To qualify for a hardship withdrawal, you must demonstrate an immediate and heavy financial need to pay for certain expenses, including a home purchase, college, a medical issue or other specified costs, and your withdrawal is limited to the amount necessary to meet the need. Non-hardship withdrawals can typically be taken for any purpose but usually are not granted until you’re 59½ years old or older.
Unlike with a loan, a hardship withdrawal can’t be repaid, while a non-hardship withdrawal can usually only be repaid by rolling over the amount to an IRA within 60 days. But the bigger issue may be taxes. If you withdraw funds from your 401(k), any previously untaxed money is generally taxed as ordinary income and a 10 percent penalty will apply if you’re younger than 59½, unless you qualify for an exception. Plus, your 401(k) plan typically must withhold 20 percent of the withdrawal for taxes, so you’d have to take an even larger withdrawal to meet your needs.
Before embarking on a 401(k) loan or withdrawal, you may want to consult with a financial professional and your tax advisor.
Taking money from your 401(k) is a big move, so make sure you know everything that’s involved.
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.
Salon set to open in Inglis on June 10
By Jeff M. Hardison © June 4, 2023 at 8:30 a.m.
INGLIS -- The Withlacoochee Gulf Area Chamber announced on Saturday (June 3) the planned grand opening next Saturday of the Alpha Salon in Inglis.
The grand opening of the Alpha Salon, at 402 Levy County Road 40 West in Inglis, is set from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on June 10, the WGA Chamber noted about its newest member.
Music, free root beer floats and chances to enter two free giveaways are noted as some of the attractions for the grand opening of the Alpha Salon.
Levy County Road 40 West is also known as Follow That Dream Parkway.
Follow That Dream is a 1962 American musical film starring Elvis Presley and made by Mirisch Productions. Part of the film Follow That Dream was staged in the Inglis-Yankeetown area, and the cities succeeded in having Levy County Road 40 West named in honor of this piece of historic cinema fame – Follow That Dream Parkway. The movie was based on the 1959 novel Pioneer, Go Home! by Richard P. Powell. The concept of following a dream, though, is as American as baseball and apple pie, and small business owners in America follow their dreams.
By the way, when Levy County Road 40 East meets the Marion-Levy county line, the road becomes State Road 40. Some people call Levy CR 40 “Highway 40.”
The Withlacoochee Gulf Area Chamber of Commerce is also known colloquially as the Inglis-Yankeetown Chamber of Commerce.
Economic development changes in Fla.
By Governor’s Press Office
Published June 1, 2023 at 8 a.m.
TALLAHASSEE – Yesterday (May 31), Gov. Ron DeSantis signed House Bill 5, creating a singular Department of Commerce in Florida. This bill:
● Consolidates the responsibilities and resources of Enterprise Florida, Inc. (EFI) into the Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO), which the bill also renames as the Department of Commerce;
● Creates a new direct-support organization (DSO) responsible for international economic development within the Department of Commerce;
● Reconstitutes VISIT FLORIDA and the Florida Sports Foundation also as DSOs of the Department of Commerce; and
● Repeals several economic incentive programs.
To lead the newly created Department of Commerce, DeSantis has announced his intent to appoint J. Alex Kelly, who currently serves as deputy chief of staff for the governor.
“Florida continues to be the nation’s top destination for new businesses, workforce development, and tourism, and streamlining our economic development programs in the Florida Department of Commerce will further support Florida’s thriving economy,” DeSantis said.
The Department of Commerce will continue to support Florida’s economic development and growth through performance-driven job creation and capital investment grant programs, infrastructure grants, rural county and small city grants, broadband grants, small business and rural loan programs.
State puts $60 million toward
22 projects through
the Broadband Opportunity Program
Information Provided By Governor’s Press Office
Published May 26, 2023 at 3 p.m.
TALLAHASSEE – Through an email sent at 2:08 p.m. today (Friday, May 26), Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis announced $60 million in awards through the Broadband Opportunity Program to expand broadband Internet access in Florida’s unserved communities.
These awards will support 22 projects in 19 Florida counties for broadband Internet expansion that will impact nearly 58,000 unserved residential, educational, agricultural, business and community locations.
Administered by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO), the Broadband Opportunity Program funds the installation and deployment of broadband Internet infrastructure in unserved Florida communities, providing valuable access to telehealth, economic, educational and workforce development opportunities.
The following projects will be awarded through the Broadband Opportunity Program:
● Cities of Cedar Key and Chiefland, Towns of Otter Creek and Inglis, and Unincorporated Communities of Gulf Hammock, Old Town, Rosewood, Summer and Suwannee ($5,000,000) — to add 1,096.91 miles of fiber optic cable to provide 1,238 unserved locations within Dixie and Levy Counties with symmetrical download and upload speeds of 1 GB.
● City of Williston ($25,000) — to add 20 square miles of fixed wireless coverage to provide 1,000 unserved locations within Levy County with minimum download and upload speeds of 100/20 Mbps.
● Town of Mcintosh, Reddick and Zuber; Unincorporated Communities of Anthony, Blitchton, Citra, East Williston, Ematha, Evinston, Fairfield, Irvine, Lowell, Martin, Orange Lake, Spar and York ($2,980,000) — to add 701.1 miles of fiber optic cable to provide 11,920 unserved locations within Marion County with symmetrical download and upload speeds of 1 GB.
● Unincorporated Community of Rainbow Lake Estates ($1,043,858) — to add 49.17 miles of fiber optic cable to provide 668 unserved locations within Marion County with symmetrical download and upload speeds of 1 GB.
● Unincorporated Communities of NE and NW Citrus County ($1,245,500) — to add 310.9 miles of fiber optic cable to provide 4,982 unserved locations within Citrus County with symmetrical download and upload speeds of 1 GB.
● Southeast Arcadia ($4,997,588) — to add 13 miles of fiber optic cable to provide 497 unserved locations within DeSoto County with symmetrical download and upload speeds of 1 gigabyte per second (GB).
● Cities of Hampton and Starke ($5,000,000) — to add 89 miles of fiber optic cable to provide 960 unserved locations within Bradford County with symmetrical download and upload speeds of 1 GB.
● Unincorporated Communities of Marion Oaks, Ocklawaha and Silver Springs ($2,428,013) — to add 122.12 miles of fiber optic cable to provide 1,061 unserved locations within Marion County with symmetrical download and upload speeds of 1 GB.
● Cities of Okeechobee and Sebring; Unincorporated Community of Lorida ($5,000,000) — to add 795 miles of fiber optic cable to provide 1,195 unserved locations within Highlands and Okeechobee Counties with symmetrical download and upload speeds of 1 GB.
● Towns of Jay and Pine Level; Unincorporated Communities of Berrydale, Brownsdale, Dixonville, Mount Carmel, Munson, Springhill, Walnut Hill and Whitfield ($2,615,434.62) — to add 1,015 miles of fiber optic cable to provide 1,193 unserved locations within Escambia and Santa Rosa Counties with symmetrical download and upload speeds of 1 GB.
● City of Mascotte; Town of Astatula; Unincorporated Communities of Astor and Astor Park ($2,007,768) — to add 71.94 miles of fiber optic cable to provide 1,272 unserved locations within Lake County with symmetrical download and upload speeds of 1 GB.
● Cities of Bowling Green and Wauchula; Town of Zolfo Springs; Unincorporated Community of Charlie Creek; Central and Northern Hardee County ($2,098,642) — to add 165.10 miles of fiber optic cable to provide 1,664 unserved locations within Hardee County with symmetrical download and upload speeds of 1 GB.
● Cities of Eustis, Groveland, Leesburg, Mount Dora, Tavares and Umatilla; Town of Astatula; Unincorporated Communities of Altoona, Lake Kathryn Lake Mack-Forrest Hills and Paisley ($1,800,250) — to add 341.3 miles of fiber optic cable to provide 7,201 unserved locations within Lake County with symmetrical download and upload speeds of 1 GB.
● Unincorporated Manatee County and Unincorporated Communities of Duette, Parrish, Rubonia and Willow ($1,550,553) — to add 42 miles of fiber optic cable to provide 261 unserved locations within Manatee County with symmetrical download and upload speeds of 1 GB.
● Cities of Frostproof, Haines City, Lake Alfred, Lake Wales, Lakeland and Polk City; Unincorporated Polk County and the Unincorporated Community of Indian Lakes Estates ($1,799,853) — to add 204 miles of fiber optic cable to provide 2,440 unserved locations within Polk County with symmetrical download and upload speeds of 1 GB.
● Cities of Bartow, Fort Meade, Frostproof and Mulberry; Towns of Bradley and Brewster; Unincorporated Polk County and the Unincorporated Community of Homeland ($2,321,388) — to add 103 miles of fiber optic cable to provide 853 unserved locations within Polk County with symmetrical download and upload speeds of 1 GB.
● Cities of Bushnell and Webster; Unincorporated Communities of Croom-A-Coochee, Lake Panasoffkee, Linden, Tarrytown and The Villages ($604,000) — to add 126.7 miles of fiber optic cable to provide 310 unserved locations within Sumter County with symmetrical download and upload speeds of 1 GB.
● City of Labelle and Unincorporated Communities of Felda, Fort Denaud and Port Labelle ($4,916,800) — to add 261.2 square miles of fixed wireless coverage to provide 1,128 unserved locations within Hendry County with minimum download and upload speeds of 100/20 megabits per second (Mbps).
● Cities of Bowling Green and Wauchula; Town of Zolfo Springs; Unincorporated Communities of Limestone, Gardner and Ona ($5,000,000) — to add 618 square miles of fixed wireless coverage to provide 6,071 unserved locations within Hardee County with minimum download and upload speeds of 100/20 Mbps.
● City of Valparaiso ($207,087.49) — to add 15.14 miles of fiber optic cable to provide 174 unserved locations within Okaloosa County with symmetrical download and upload speeds of 1 GB.
Cities of Trenton and Fanning Springs ($4,948,800) — to add 100 square miles of fixed wireless coverage to provide 1,981 unserved locations within Gilchrist County with minimum download and upload speeds of 100/20 Mbps.
● Cities of Chipley and Vernon; Towns of Wausau and Caryville ($2,493,000) — to add 616 square miles of fixed wireless coverage to provide 9,904 unserved locations within Washington County with minimum download and upload speeds of 100/20 Mbps.
Quilt shop opens in downtown Chiefland
(Top Photo) With big scissors in hand, Kim Hart (left) prepares to cut the ribbon on Thursday afternoon (May 24) with help from her granddaughter Ella Hart (center) and her daughter, and Ella’s aunt Shawna Hart.
(Bottom Photo) The cut ribbon falls toward the floor as the ribbon-cutting ceremony heralds the opening of the new shop in downtown Chiefland, just south of West Park Avenue, also known as Martin Luther King Jr. Road, on the west side of Main Street, also known as U.S. Highway 19.
Story and Photos
By Jeff M. Hardison © May 26, 2023 at 8 a.m.
All Rights Reserved
CHIEFLAND – The Busy Bobbins Quilt Shop was hoppin’ on Thursday afternoon (May 25), complete with a ribbon-cutting ceremony. There were quilters and well-wishers covering almost every square foot of a new location for people to buy fabric and other things to make quilts.
Located at 20 S. Main St. (U.S. Highway 19) in Chiefland, The Busy Bobbins Quilt Shop offers plenty for quilters to buy as they find equipment and material to make quilts.
Kim Hart and her daughter Shawna Hart said they plan to have their store open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.
The phone number for the shop is 352-507-2389.
They also have a web page at https://www.thebusybobbins.com/ and their email is TheBusyBobbins@gmail.com.
People gather in the store before the ribbon-cutting ceremony Thursday afternoon (May 25).
Some of the many items available for purchase are seen here. Fabric, gifts and more are ready to be bought and brought home or given to others.
Among the scores of quilters and well-wishers at the grand opening on May 25 was Myrtice Scabarozi, who took over the duties of writing a column published in HardisonInk.com titled “Log Cabin Quilters” after the passing of the previous columnist, and the founder of the Levy County Quilt Museum - Winnelle Frances Horne (Nov. 6, 1924-Jan. 30, 2012). The museum has changed over the past several years and is among the destination for quilters and others as they find their next adventure in Levy County.
Scabarozi retired from her somewhat locally syndicated column a year or two ago.
The Levy County Quilt Museum is located at 11050 N.W. 10th Ave., which is off of U.S. Alt. 27 near Levyville (between Chiefland and Bronson). It is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The phone number for the Levy County Quilt Museum is 352-493-2801.
Some quilt-oriented retail outlets in Cedar Key and Trenton have closed during the past decade or so, making this Chiefland store a prime location for those shoppers.
The sign out front is very inviting.
This artwork, inset into the bricks on the south side of the wall for building housing The Busy Bobbins Quilt Shop and other retail outlets there is known as Dancing Dragonflies, Barn Quilt # 691; Artist -4 Seasons Barn Quilts.
The plaque below it describes the artwork of barn quilts. The final paragraph noted on the plaque below the art shows 'We believe that Chiefland, Florida is poised for a great renaissance. Our hope is to bring a positive change to every property we renovate to uplift and unite our community.' Below that are the words 'Johnny Downz, LLC.' According to records in the Florida Secretary of State, the registered agent for this company is Nicole P. McQueen of Old Town.
see new social media policy
Hours off from disasters established
Levy County Human Resources Director Jacqueline Smith speaks to the County Commission about improving a couple of employee policies.
Story and Photo
By Jeff M. Hardison © May 24, 2023 at 9 p.m.
BRONSON – As Levy County Human Resources Director Jacqueline Smith prepares for her retirement, she noticed a couple of policies that the County Commission could approve to improve the guidelines for employees.
During the May 23 regular meeting of the County Commission, there was two 5-0 votes of approval on Martin’s suggestions.
One policy replaces the previous social media policy and the other policy amends part of the hours of work by employees.
The county leaders understand that social media can be a fun and rewarding way to share events in a person’s life and to share opinions with family, friends, co-workers and others.
“However, the use of social media also presents certain risks and carries with it certain responsibilities,” the new policy notes. “To assist you in making responsible decisions about your use of social media, we have established these guidelines for appropriate use of social media.”
Members of the County Commission working behind the dais on May 23 are (top photo, from left) Commissioner John Meeks, Commissioner Tim Hodge, Chairman Matt Brooks, and (bottom photo, from left) Vice Chair Desiree Mills and Commissioner Rock Meeks.
The guidelines are intended to provide employees with an understanding of both the proper and improper uses of social media. In addition to compliance with this policy, employee use of social media is subject to all other county policies, including, but not limited to, policies pertaining to confidentiality, ethics, standards of conduct, privacy, and inappropriate discrimination, harassment, and retaliation.
This policy applies to all county employees. Social media includes all means of communicating or posting information or content of any sort on the Internet, including to blogs, journals or diaries websites, social networking sites, web bulletin boards, chat rooms and the like.
This policy governs all activities pertaining to these online resources, whether personal or County-sponsored.
Nothing in this policy is intended to restrict employees from the right to speak freely on matters of public concern and to engage in other protected concerted activities.
“Before creating online content, employees should consider some of the risks and rewards involved,” the policy notes. “Keep in mind that any conduct, including social media activities, that adversely affects an employee’s job performance or the performance of fellow employees, or otherwise undermines the County’s legitimate interests and operations, may result in disciplinary action.
“As public employees, County personnel must be sensitive to the fact that employee conduct, both online and offline, is often subject to greater scrutiny in the community and the media. Each employee is expected to exercise good judgment in his or her social media activities so as not to cast the county in a negative light,” the policy notes.
The policy continues with specific verbiage to help employees understand that what they write can impact their employment with the county.
On the question of hours worked, the most recently past two storm events showed some employees were sent home and others worked during the storms.
Storm hours worked beyond the 40-hour workweek were paid at time and a half.
The proposal is to limit administrative leave to employees release from work and to pay employee working during the storm event at the time and a half rate even before reaching the 40-hour mark in a week.
The policy shows specific guidelines for employees who work four 10-hour days for a 40-hour week, as well as those who work five, 8-hour days a week. It shows application for the employees in the public safety realm as well.
With the arrival of each storm event being different, depending on whether it comes in on a weekend, and how long it forces the county government to be shutdown for safety, the policy takes factors into account.
During one lengthy storm event during the past 17 years or so, some county employees were unhappy about having to use personal vacation time when they felt they should have been compensated during times when they were unable work for various storm-caused situations.
Nevertheless, the new policies are enacted, and the commissioners were assured any changes in policy ae not part of the matters requiring agreement from the public employees’ unions.
Among the many other matters by the County Commission, it voted 5-0 to approve the following, and more:
● Mike West 9-1-1 Coordinator for the Levy County Sheriff’s Office was granted his request for approval and the on the Datamark Service Agreement.
● Commissioners approved the scheduling of a public hearing on Tuesday, Sept. 12, 5:15 p.m. in the Levy County Government Center to adopt the Annual Rate Resolutions for all special assessments, such as for solid waste, ambulance service and fire service.
● Commissioners heard from County Coordinator Wilbur Dean about projects to improve the Levy County Government Center and other current projects on county properties.
● Rod Hastings, Administrative Director of the Waste Management Department received approval to waive the bid process and to the purchase a 2024 Mac Trailer from CMD Trailer Sales & Leasing Inc., in the amount of $127,182.55. Hastings explained that his approval to buy two of these 50-foot long trailers in the next budget year can be changed for one this year and one next year. These semi-trailers are used to haul compacted garbage from the solid waste transfer station in Bronson to a landfill in North Florida.
● Planning and Zoning Director Stacey Hectus requested the County Commission to recognize Zoning-in Progress (Pending Ordinance Doctrine) to pause accepting applications for Lineal Heir Homestead Density Exemptions until an ordinance is adopted, which will be likely in the fall. After a lengthy discussion, the County Commission granted her request, which ultimately will resolve some of the issues existing now.
Private launch takes four
from Kennedy Space Center to ISS
Story and Photo Provided
By NASA News Releases
Sent May 21, 2023 at 7:14 p.m.
Published May 22, 2023 at 9 a.m.
KENNEDY SPACE CENTER -- Four private astronauts are in orbit following the successful launch of Axiom Mission 2 (Ax-2), the second all private astronaut mission to the International Space Station. Axiom Space astronauts lifted off at 5:37 p.m. EDT on Sunday, May 21, from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket propelled the company’s Dragon spacecraft carrying Ax-2 crew members Commander Peggy Whitson, Pilot John Shoffner, and Mission Specialists Ali Alqarni and Rayyanah Barnawi into orbit on a mission to conduct scientific research, outreach, and commercial activities on the space station.
“Congratulations to Axiom, SpaceX, and the Axiom Mission 2 crew on a successful launch! During their time aboard the International Space Station, the Ax-2 astronauts will carry out more than 20 scientific experiments, helping us better understand space radiation, weather in low-gravity conditions, and more,” said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson. “This mission is more proof of NASA’s commitment to help our industry partners develop the next generation of space technology and a support a growing commercial space economy.”
Beginning at 7:30 a.m. Monday, May 22, NASA will provide live coverage of SpaceX Dragon docking, hatch opening, and a ceremony to welcome the crew on NASA Television, the NASA app, and the agency’s website.
The SpaceX Dragon will autonomously dock to the space-facing port of the station’s Harmony module around 9:16 a.m. Monday with hatch opening about 11:13 a.m. Live mission coverage will conclude following the welcome ceremony expected to start about 11:45 a.m. The mission also will be covered by Axiom Space on its website.
Once aboard the station, the Ax-2 crew will be welcomed by Expedition 69 crew members, including NASA astronauts Frank Rubio, Stephen Bowen, and Woody Hoburg, UAE (United Arab Emirates) astronaut Sultan Alneyadi, and Roscosmos cosmonauts Dmitri Petelin, Sergey Prokopyev and Andrey Fedyaev.
Axiom Space astronauts are expected to depart the space station May 30, pending weather, for a return to Earth and splashdown at a landing site off the coast of Florida.
from Jemlands due to clouds
In the area where the rocket would have been seen at the time, clouds between the launchpad and this hayfield 150 west of Kennedy Space Center proved to be too much of an obstacle to overcome to watch the launch from that distance.
Story and Photos
By Jeff M. Hardison © May 22, 2023 at 9 a.m.
JEMLANDS – At attempt to watch the launch via a lawn chair in a hayfield of a neighbor just south of The Ink Pad in Jemlands, an unrecorded subdivision in unincorporated Levy County – about 150 miles west of the launchpad -- was unsuccessful.
Jeff M. Hardison said this launch was not visible from that location at that time due to cloud cover.
“I’ve seen rocket launches from several vantage points, including on NASA property as a professional journalist during the past everal decades,” Hardison said. “The first space shuttle launch I saw was as a student in the College of Journalism and Communications at the University of Florida when some fellow students and I somehow found our way into marshland to see the first launch of a NASA Space Shuttle on April 12, 1981 -- from a very close point of view.
“This most recently past Sunday evening (May 21) at 5:25 p.m., I sauntered out to the grassy field and looked where I have seen previous rockets go up over at Kennedy Space Center to the east,” Hardison said. “I was looking at the clouds when I felt fur brush against my ankle.
“Since this was not a nighttime launch, and since I have experienced the feeling before, I knew it was Needles the Community Cat of Jemlands,” Hardison continued. “There was no rocket seen going up from there, then, as I anticipated would be the case due to cloud cover.”
Three well-formed thunderheads just north of the viewing area in the sky where the rocket went up helped convince the journalist to clear the area relatively quickly to avoid tempting lightning bolts.
Needles the Community Cat of Jemlands walks away from a lawn chair where he had stood guard against any fieldmice that might have wanted to startle a roving reporter-photographer at the time.
The journalist spoke about seeing thunderheads and not seeing a rocket or even the contrail it would have left in its wake. He said he went inside, where his wife of going on 34 years had paused the coverage via TV by NASA, which showed the rocket and people in the spacecraft took off at 5:37 p.m. as planned.
“I have mastered the perfect rocket-launch viewing from the hayfield,” Hardison said. “I’m glad my neighbor to the south lets me look from there. Needles is a great quasi-feral community cat, by the way.”
Click On Ad To Go To Website.
Click On Ad To Visit Website.
Click On Ad To See The Website.
Click On Ad To Go To Website.
Please Click Above
To See Ad Rates And Reach.
Please Click On The Above Ad To Go To The Archived Stories And Photos.