Bronson Town Council
moves forward with projects

* Clerk corrects councilwoman

By Jeff M. Hardison © Feb. 20, 2019 at 2:19 p.m.
* Updated Feb. 22, 2019 at 2:49 p.m.
     BRONSON --
Meeting Tuesday night (Feb. 19) rather than at their regular twice-a-month meeting, which would have been on the night of Presidents Day (Feb. 18), the Bronson Town Council took action and gave reports on progress in the seat of government for Levy County.


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     Due to President's Day, the normal daytime meeting of the Levy County Board of County Commissioners was moved to Tuesday night. This recent switch from its normal daytime twice-a-month meeting on the first Tuesday after the first Monday of a month, and then two weeks later, was switched to nights when there is a Monday holiday.
     The Levy County Commission decided people had difficulty remember a Tuesday morning meeting after a Monday holiday. So, it switched the Tuesday morning meeting to a Tuesday night meeting in those instances.
     The County Commission also revised its meeting place on Tuesday night to be in Courtroom A rather than being in its normal meeting room.
     Meanwhile, the Williston City Council conducted its regular twice-a-month meeting on Tuesday night (Feb. 19) as it normally would have that meeting on that day. The meeting in Williston was at the city’s new City Hall in the City Council Meeting Room.
     At the Dogan Cobb Municipal Building, the Bronson Town Council wrapped up its action within 90 minutes or so.
     By a 4-1 vote, the Bronson Town Council approved raises for Town Clerk Shirley Miller and Deputy Town Clerk Melissa Thompson.
     On a motion by Vice Mayor Jason Hunt, seconded by Town Councilman Berlon Weeks, Clerk Miller’s rate went from $15.38 an hour to $21 an hour and Deputy Clerk Thompson’s hourly rate went from $13.50 to $15.60 an hour.
     Town Councilwoman Beatrice Roberts voted against the pay increase. During the discussion, she mentioned the longevity of some town workers who had attained hourly rates.
     Roberts noted Public Works Director Erik Wise’s salary was at the $21 an hour level and he had worked his way up to that salary and has earned a four-year college degree. Miller has no four-year college degree.
     Weeks expressed his opinion that Bronson will grow, and he said he believes the town should do what is necessary to keep good employees in Town Hall, adding that he is not intending to slight the value of the excellent town workers in the field and on the streets.

     Bronson Town Clerk Shirley Miller corrected some incorrect statements made by Bronson Town Councilwoman Beatrice Roberts in regard to the other Town Council members wanting to give Miller an increase in pay.
     "I didn’t think it was appropriate to contradict Ms. Roberts in a public forum, but I do have a BS (Bachelor of Science) Degree in Education, Miller noted Friday morning (Feb. 22, 2019). "It is on file with my application for employment and was presented for the council to review at my time of hire."
     Miller noted that she earned that degree from Drake University with a 3.83 GPA (where 4.0 is an A).
     She was also honored as the Cum Laude (with great distinction).
     The town clerk was the Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) commander, president of ROTC Army USA, and was awarded the Governor’s Award.
     Later, she completed a Business Concentration at Polk State University, at the Lakeland  campus with a 4.0 GPA.
     Miller enrolled in a program to earn a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree from Nova Southeastern, and completed statistics and marketing with a 4.0 GPA.
     "I have an active state of Florida Insurance 220 General Lines Property and Casualty, and 620 All Lines (insurance) Adjuster's licenses. And (I) have completed numerous insurance-related courses to include Chartered Property Casualty Underwriting certificates."
     Miller was employed at GEICO Insurance for more than 15 years, and she was afforded the opportunity to complete in excess of 200 hours of human resources and management workshops and training courses.
     "These courses are very relevant to my scope of duties as a town clerk," Miller noted, "and are available with (the) new hire packet (she completed before being hired)."
     Miller's academic and hands-on knowledge is not the end all. She is a decorated veteran.
     "I am a combat veteran from the Gulf War," Miller noted, "and was awarded the Bronze Star, Southwest Asia Service Medial, and the National Defense Service Medal. I have prided myself for my continued self-development throughout my life time and feel all of my experiences collectively will be of value in my current role."
     Also, while Roberts was critical of the pay increase for Miller to $21, noting it is almost as much as Public Works Director Erik Wise, his salary is $22.43.
     Miller noted that she feels Wise's salary is "... well deserved. He brings a lot to the town."

     Mary Tracy, a town resident, questioned the raise during the discussion period. Weeks provided her with his paper copy of comparatively sized towns and pay-scales. Tracy said she wondered how a little town like Webster could afford to pay its clerk as much as was noted on the information, which came from the Florida League of Cities.
     Also, in relation to this discussion, Tracy told Weeks that she was “offended” by his referral to Miller and Thompson by the pronoun “girls,” because they are women. Tracy said she feels Weeks and the other men on the Town Council were called “boys” or even “good ol’ boys.”
     Weeks said he is sorry for anyone who may have been offended by his colloquial use of the pronoun, and that he will attempt to use the correct pronoun in the future.
     Later in the same meeting, Councilwoman Roberts said “girls” but quickly caught her verbal error and restated “women” in reference to the clerk and deputy clerk.
     In other news related to Town Hall, which is a big historic house on a hill behind the Dogan Cobb Municipal Building, the office staff members are now going to be present for accepting bills, and for conducting other town business from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Mondays through Fridays, effective March 1.
     Most recently, Town Hall had been closed on Fridays.
     In another point of contention related to the new hours, town resident Tracy called attention to a grammatical error on the agenda, where it said “Monday to Friday.”
     Resident Tracy let the Town Council know that this literally means the building would not be open Friday. She explained that the “to” should have been noted as “through.” No Council member responded to Tracy’s correction of the Scrivener's error or typographical error (whichever is most fitting and least offensive in this instance).

     In other news from the meeting, town staff and Vice Mayor Hunt are searching for prices on a vehicle for Miller, or Parks and Recreation Director Curtis Stacy, or other department administrators to use as they travel on town business.
     For instance, Stacy on occasion needs to go to Gainesville to purchase supplies, Hunt said.
     This administrative vehicle, Hunt said, would be an SUV like a Ford Explorer or its Chevrolet counterpart.
     Mayor Robert Partin suggested that Hunt look at the state bid process local governments to piggyback onto vehicle purchases.
     Vice Mayor Hunt and the Bronson Fire-Rescue staff are looking for deals, or perhaps a donation of a vehicle for the town’s clerk to use as she performs official duties for the town. The town has been reimbursing Miller for those occasions where she has had to use her own vehicle.
     In another action from the many projects reviewed by town leaders, Town Councilman James Beck proposed doing away with the Blueberry Festival and instead having a Frontier Festival.
     Councilman Beck said he sees a better representation of Bronson by having the festival theme being from Bronson’s “wonderful history.”
      In regard to the future Bronson Frontier Festival, Councilman Beck created the following bullet points, which were noted in the record.
   ● Involve the Levy County Quilt Museum and other historical enthusiasts.
   ● Have old-style barbecue, local honey, homemade cider, homemade orange juice and homemade lemonade.
   ● Invited local woodworking craftsmen, and knife and leather work vendors.
   ● Invites horse and buggy enthusiasts, and people who provide pony rides. Invite other local livestock vendors who have like chickens, ducks and other animals to add to the celebration of Bronson’s agricultural heritage.
   ● Celebrate and highlights the history of Bronson with old stories, tours of the town and Town Hall, and highlight the old farming and gardening techniques.
   ● Help visitors enjoy the nature trail at James H. Cobb Park.
   ● Highlight the local timber history of pines, cypress and oaks.
   ● Install an old-fashioned working water pump. Bronson had a community well in its history.
     In his thorough presentation of initial ideas Councilman Beck mentioned the potential to have a youth historic costume contest; a black powder musket event; and a turkey shoot contest.
     Beck went on to mention there may be some funding available through a historic grant opportunity to help this festival thrive.
     Beck invites any interested person to contact him to be on a committee to make this festival come to fruition. As of Tuesday night, no date has been set for the inaugural event.
     In still other news from among the many topics of the night in Bronson, Public Works Director Erik Wise said there was a boil water notice issued to 22 homes. Wise said every home was notified by a door-hanger, and that every residence will be noticed in that manner, for the next boil water precaution as well as when the water will be safe for use from the faucet.
     Councilman Weeks asked Wise if he was familiar with the survey work conducted during the tenure of previous Public Works Director Jimmy Dunford, when Florida Rural Water found certain underground town assets.
     Wise said he knows about the points which were located then. The city of Williston is looking at its inventory of underground pipes, reviewing service calls, and determining if the best return on investment is to replace rather than repair certain sections of pipeline.


Carolyn Cohens leads
a discussion about
Black History in Levy County;

18th annual event packs courtroom
Debra Ward Levy County Black History
Debra Ward holds a certificate of participation from Levy County Clerk Danny Shipp (left) and a certificate of appreciation from Levy County Superintendent of Schools Jeff Edison.

Story and Photos
By Jeff M. Hardison © Feb. 16, 2019 at 4:39 p.m.
     BRONSON –
About a two-hour program Friday (Feb. 15) provided listeners with information about some of the black history in Levy County.

Levy County Black History
People begin to fill Courtroom A in the Levy County Courthouse before the program begins.

     The 18th Annual Levy County Black History Month program was held in Courtroom A of the Levy County Courthouse, with Carolyn Cohens serving as emcee. And the courtroom was filled with people.
     This annual event is an exhibit presented by Levy County Clerk of the Court Danny Shipp. Holding with tradition, Cohens spoke about the accomplishments of certain individuals and families, and she invited those persons and, when applicable, their surviving family member and friends to share insight with listeners.
     This year, Levy County Commission Vice Chairman Matt Brooks welcomed people. In opening the program, Commissioner Brooks said he agrees with the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. who said “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character."
     Brooks said he and his wife Angie Miller Brooks have taught all of their children to be blind to the color of a person’s skin, and instead to see all people as humans equally.
     Brooks intimated that he believes the United States as a nation has progressed since the decades before the Civil Rights Movement, and that Americans will continue as a society toward that day that Dr. King dreamt would come to exist.
     Cohens, a renowned artist, author and historian from Chiefland has helped countless people learn about scores of members of African American heritage who have lived, worked and played in Levy County
     Cohens attended Chiefland Junior High School and graduated from Williston Vocational High School.
     Levy County School Board Member Chris Cowart said the prayer. Before presenting the prayer, Cowart shared his belief with the audience that love is the answer to defeat hate. And love will always prevail over its vile counterpart in the war for souls.
     The courtroom was packed with people. In addition to Brooks and Cowart, other elected and appointed government leaders present included Levy County Supervisor of Elections Tammy Jones, Superintendent of Schools Jeff Edison and Chiefland City Manager Mary Ellzey.

Carolyn Cohens Levy County Black History
Artist, author and historian Carolyn Cohens starts the program. As always, Cohens was 'dressed to the Nines' and she demonstrated her continual grace, friendliness and humility to provide everyone with another wonderful view of many people's lives.

     This year, the following people were honored -- Debra Ward, Al Joseph Carnegie Sr., Luvella Juanita Phillips Anderson, Bishop Willie A. Battles, Deacon Bobby J. Brown, Willie Burgman, Frank Edmondson, Lola Holmes-Riley, Alphonso Leon Johnson, Adam Thomas and Reginald L. Williams Sr.
     Ward was the first to be recognized on Friday. She mentioned that she is turning 60 (on Feb. 17) and there is a celebration for that, where she was unable to stay for the entire program.
     She is a member of the Chiefland High School Class of 1977. Ward retired from the Levy County School System, where she worked for 37 years.
      As she has for many of the 18 years in her efforts to help the Levy County area know about the history of African Americans here, Cohens created a multi-page booklet with photos of each person being honored and some essential facts about them. It was the testimony provided by some of those individuals who are still living, and family members and friends of the them and of those who have passed on, that made Cohens’ program so informative, educational and entertaining.
     Following, under each heading, is a little bit of what Cohens, who is a historian as well as being an artist and an author, wrote about each honoree.
     All of the people were recognized after the event opened with Ward accepting certificates signed by County Clerk Shipp and Superintendent of Schools Edison.

     ● Al Joseph Carnegie Sr.
     Cohens put a picture of Carnegie on the cover of the booklet. She mentioned that she wanted to place a soldier’s photo on the cover this year, and that is one reason she chose him.
     Carnegie is married to Elizabeth Carnegie and has three children, Cohen noted. He served in the United States Army as an administrative specialist, and served on the National Defense Service Team. He was a parachute master and earned several commendations overseas in joint services. He is an active member at New Zion A.M.E. Church of Raleigh. He owns Carnegie Funeral Home of Chiefland, Cohens noted, and he is the president of the Levy County chapter of the NAACP.
Luvella Juanita Phillips Anderson (Jan. 14, 1950-Nov. 12, 2018)
     Anderson was the fifth child of the late Pastor John H. Phillips Sr. and Ida Bell Littles Phillips. She was a member of the Chiefland High School Class of 1968. Anderson went on to earn her Associate of Arts degree as Summa Cum Laude, and was in the final year of earning her Bachelor of Science degree from Santa Fe College.
     She was employed by Southern Bell for 20 years, was a tax preparer and provided child care. Anderson served a short time in the United States Army Reserve.

Levy County Black History
This photo of Bishop Willie A. Battles was on a table as were photos of the 10 other people recognized in the small book by Carolyn Cohens.

Bishop Willie A. Battles
     Bishop Battles is the founder and pastor of Unity Temple International Fellowship Inc. He is married to Elect Lady Sharon D. Battles for 25 years now, and is the proud father of daughters Skyla and Shari.
     He graduated Williston High School and joined the United States Army in 1986. He later attended electrical school at SFCC and became a master electrician. In 1997, he became the owner of Battles Electric Inc. He is a well-known spiritual leader, business man and community leader. Bishop Battles founded Unity Family Community Center Inc. in 2002, and it specializes in providing prevention and intervention services for people aged 5 to 24 years old.
Deacon Bobby J. Brown
     Deacon Brown has been married to Louise Lee Brown for 45 years. They have four children. He is a member of Saint Johns Missionary Baptist Church, where he has served as a deacon for 35 years, presently under the leadership of Pastor George Jones Jr. He retired from Central Florida Electric Cooperative in 2011.
Willie Burgman (March 8, 1888-April 14, 1970)
     Born March 8, 1888 in Waycross, Georgia, Burgman was the oldest of four children. At the age of 22, he moved to Williston in 1910, where he met the love of his life Flossie Sims. They married and had 12 children.
     He became the first black school bus driver in Levy County, after converting an old truck into a school bus, historian Cohens noted. Florida cut State Road 121 through part of the 120 acres the couple had purchased. On April 8, 2014, the Levy County Board of County Commissioners renamed East Levy Street to be Willie Burgman Street in his honor.
Frank Edmondson
     Edmondson, 47, a Bronson High School graduate, is the son of Frank and Mary Joe Edmondson. He is an accomplished musician, and was cast in his first community theater show when he was an 11th grader at BHS when he was in a play with the Suwannee Valley Players of Chiefland.
     He since has performed at the Gainesville Community Playhouse, the Hoggetown Medieval Fair and The Hippodrome in Gainesville. In 2004, he started working at Busch Gardens in Tampa, where he served as vocal captain until 2010. He accepted several other roles in the Tampa Bay Area. Today, Edmondson is on the road touring with Decades Rewind singing the best music of the 1960s, ‘70s and ‘80s.
Lola Holmes-Riley
     Holmes-Riley was born Aug. 31, 1921 in Bell. She met and married Charlie Riley. They settled in Chiefland and raised 12 children in the Hardeetown area of the city. She is a cook at Lancaster Correctional Institution in Gilchrist County.
Alphonso Leon Johnson
     Johnson was the first Valedictorian to graduate from Williston Vocational High School in 1948. He joined the United States Army, and later earned a Bachelor’s degree from Florida A&M University in 1956 in pre-med, with a minor in chemistry. He went on to earn two master’s degrees at Tuskegee (Alabama) University. He taught science for 11 years, and served as a school administrator for 19 years in the Alachua County School System, retiring at the age of 57. He is a Sunday school teacher and deacon at his church, and is very active in the community.
Adam Thomas
     Thomas was born in 1955, the son of King and Mabel Thomas of Chiefland. He is married to Sharon Thomas, has two daughters and four grandchildren.
     This member of the Chiefland High School Class of 1973 was voted Most Likely to Succeed. He attended Santa Fe College and Florida State University. During his employment with State of Florida, Thomas climbed the ranks to become probation supervisor, circuit administrator, correctional inspector and deputy secretary. He received many awards, Cohens noted, but his favorites are the Minority Law Enforcement Award of 1995, the Black History Award in 2000 and the Ebony Appreciation Award in 2002.
Reginald L. Williams Sr.
     Williams, 64, is married to Rose M. Williams. They have two children and one grandchild. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Florida and a Master’s degree from Nova University.
     In 1990, Williams received the Minister’s license from the late Pastor Johnny Jones Sr., founder and late pastor of the Jones Temple of God. He became the pastor at Gethsemane Church of Christ in Live Oak on Jan. 7, 1996. He was appointed as past in 2004 at the Jones Temple of Church of God in Christ.
     After teaching elementary school for 12 years, Williams accepted a position as assistant principal at Williston Middle School in 1988. In 1992, he made Levy County history by becoming the first African American principal of Joyce Bullock Elementary School. He remained there until 10 years later when he became assistant principal at Williston High School, where he served for seven years.
     He retired after 33 years of service as an educator.
     Once again, Cohens conducted the required research as well as contacting individuals and families to organize another great Levy County Black History event this year.

Levy County Tourist Development Council Director Tisha Whitehurst provided cookies and lemonade for refreshments after the Levy County Black History Month program in Bronson.

Williston Rotarians
prepare for Easter egg hunt

Williston Florida Rotary Club
Amanda Lane, seen here, was the guest of Rotarian Danny Etheridge at the meeting on Tuesday. Lane is the new manager of the Williston office of Capital City Bank.

Story and Photos
By Jeff M. Hardison © Feb. 15, 2019 at 1:19 p.m.
About a dozen members of the Rotary Club of Williston enjoyed lunch and fellowship Tuesday afternoon as the Rotarians conducted a business meeting.

Williston Rotarians prepare for egg hunt
Rotarian Reggie Priest provides a photo opportunity with the peanut used during the club’s annual Purple Pinky Peanut Run, which is a fundraiser to help fight polio worldwide.

     Held in the Prudence Ross Fellowship Hall of the First Presbyterian Church, the meeting included a competitive trivia game, time for sharing happy news, the saying of the Four-Way Test (plus one > have fun) as well as discussion about business matters.
     The Williston Rotary Club Annual Easter Egg Hunt is scheduled for April 6. Hot dogs are going to be ready to eat at 10:30 a.m. and the egg hunting is to start at 11 a.m. at Johnny T. Henry Celebration Park on Northwest Fourth Street one block north of Noble Avenue.
      The Rotary Club meeting included guests. Bruce and Lorraine McConnelee of Scotia, New York, came to surprise Dave and Anne Sterman, who are affiliate members in Williston as well as being members in Scotia.
     Lorraine McConnelee is the secretary of the Rotary Club of Scotia, and the couple from New York were guests of their friends, the Stermans, who live in Williston during the winter.
     Amanda Lane was the guest of Rotarian Danny Etheridge. Lane is the new manager of the Williston office of Capital City Bank. Etheridge is a financial advisor, serving Capital City Investments’ customers in Bell, Branford, Bronson, Cedar Key, Chiefland, Cross City, Fanning Springs, Trenton and Williston.
     Williston Rotary Club Sergeant-At-Arms Jim Mixson invited publisher Jeff M. Hardison as his guest for the meeting.
     Williston Rotary Club Secretary Donna Hatcher led the meeting due to the absence of President Fran Taylor and Vice President Jennifer Jones. Treasurer Matt Brooks provided insight to the club members in regard to matters related to funding.
    Chris Cowart, former assistant district governor for Area 10 of District 6940, provided input about logistics for the Easter egg hunt and other matters. Current Assistant District Governor for 6940’s Area 10 Jana Carlisle also has Williston as her home club.
     Rotary District 6940 Area 10 includes Levy, Dixie and Gilchrist counties.
     Among the OTHER Williston Rotarians at the meeting on Tuesday afternoon were Mary O’Banyoun-Abdullah, Dedee McLeod, Reggie Priest, Blake Fugate, Patsy Fugate and Justin Head.

Back Door Antiques has it all
Back Door Antiques Williston Florida
Store owner Jim Smith stands among some of the many objects ready to be bought and taken home, or to the office, or given as gifts.

Story and Photos
By Jeff M. Hardison © Feb. 14, 2019 at 4:09 p.m.
First opened in April, Back Door Antiques continues thriving in Williston.

Back Door Antiques Williston Florida
This is a view from the parking lot. Jim Smith said some customers have walked all of the way around the building to enter through the front door. However, this is the shorter route from the parking lot.

     Proprietor Jim Smith remembers when the building at 36 E. Noble Ave. (U.S. Alt. 27) was the Ross Hardware Store 65 years ago.
     Today, it is Back Door Antiques, Williston's newest antique store, with furniture, books, collectibles and more. The back door is one of the two entrances to the store. And that is where most shoppers park – behind the building.
     Smith said he has seen some customers cross Noble Avenue from Pizza Hut to come and shop at the store, but he highly recommends against crossing the highway. Park in back, and then come on in to the Back Door Antiques.

Back Door Antiques Williston Florida
The woman in bronze is selling for $2,400. This is at the higher end of objects available for purchase at the store.

     The range of prices for the multitude of objects able to be purchased in this huge store generally ranges from $1 to $2,400.
     The list of what is there is extensive. The best method to see the items is to visit the store between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., Monday through Saturdays.
     There is so much to consider, this is a place just to walk through on a self-guided tour.
     Among the unique items is a wooden telephone booth, complete with phone. There are even sets of relatively glamorous women's clothing. Everyone is invited to browse, and to buy.

Back Door Antiques Williston Florida
This wooden telephone booth is just the place for Clark Kent to change if he happens to visit.

Back Door Antiques Williston Florida
Look! there are even binoculars or opera glasses in this picture. The photos here capture just a glimpse of what is at Back Door Antiques.

Back Door Antiques Williston Florida

These are the TY Toys selling for $3 on Tuesday morning (Feb. 12). It is important to remember that things can be sold. See it. Like it. Buy it.

Back Door Antiques Williston Florida
Some of the women's clothing on display at the store are seen here.

Back Door Antiques Williston Florida
Here are some tea cups and other items.

Back Door Antiques Williston Florida
Is it live or is it Memorex? Before tapes, there were vinyl records.

Back Door Antiques Williston Florida
From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturdays
- Back Door Antiques is open.


Michael McElroy inducted into
Gilchrist County Rotary Club

Trenton Florida Gilchrist Couny Rotary
Pictured here are (from left) Gilchrist County Rotary Club President Aaron Haynes, Rotary Membership Chair Todd Gray, Rotarian Pat Yates and the newest member of this club, Michael McElroy

Story and Photo
By Holly Creel, Rotarian
Published Feb. 11, 2919 at 7:
39 p.m.
     TRENTON --
The Gilchrist Rotary Club was honored to have Michael McElroy inducted into the club on Monday (Feb. 11) during the monthly business meeting held at the Woman's Club in Trenton that afternoon.
     McElroy, sponsored by Rotarian Patricia Yates, is the epitome of a leader who puts service above self, the Rotarian motto.
     He is not new to Rotary, having been a member of the Trenton Rotary Club in the 1990s (and served as treasurer) and a Madison County Rotarian in the early 2000s (also serving as treasurer).
     McElroy has been employed by Ameris Bank in Trenton for the past 16 years as market president, commercial lender and branch manager.
     He was previously employed by Capital City Bank for 20 years.
     Michael McElroy is married to Christie McElroy and they have two children - Brandon McElroy, who lives in Indianapolis and Alyssa Ackett, who resides in Washington, D.C.
     Michael McElroy is a member of the Cherry Sink Church of Christ, where he is a song leader and a Bible class teacher. He enjoys giving back to the community, traveling and is an avid gardener in his free time. 
     And there's more! Michael and Christie McElroy were honored last week at the Gilchrist County Chamber of Commerce annual awards banquet where they were awarded the J. Min Ayers Lifetime Achievement Award for their dedication and service to the community. In 2017, Michael McElroy was presented with the Citizen of the Year Award by the Gilchrist County Chamber of Commerce.
     It is easy to understand why the Rotary Club of Gilchrist County is proud to welcome such an active member of our community into its ranks as a member. Welcome Michael!
     Chef Jason Fuchs of Springwater Events served BBQ pulled pork sandwiches, baked beans, coleslaw, mini Valentine's Day cupcakes and sweet and unsweetened tea for lunch at this meeting on Monday.
     There is no Gilchrist County Rotary Club meeting next Monday, because it is Presidents Day.

YIWC celebrates 60th year of
owning and maintaining
the A.F. Knotts Public Library

Yankeetown Inglis Woman's Club AF Knotts Library
Historic photos provided

By Helen Ciallella, President, YIWC
Published Feb. 9, 2019 at 8:59 a.m.
As history shows, most libraries in the United States were started by local women’s clubs.
     With that said, in January of 1959, the Yankeetown Library was opened on Riverside Drive in the back room of the Knotts & Lynch Real Estate office located across from the Izaak Walton Lodge. It began with more than 1,000 donated books and the cataloging services of future founding members of the Yankeetown Woman’s Club Mrs. A.W. Billinghurst and Mrs. Thomas Knotts.
     The library remained in back of the old real estate office for 15 years.
     Over those 15 years, Yankeetown Woman’s Club members were instrumental in keeping the Library open and served on the board. In 1962, the Yankeetown Library became part of the Central Florida Regional Library, which later became the Levy County Library System.

YIWC AF Knotts Library Yankeetown

     In December of 1974, Mr. and Mrs. Eugene Knotts presented to the Yankeetown Woman’s Club a building next to the clubhouse on 56th Street as a gift to be used as a library. The gift of the building was contingent upon the Woman’s Club accepting responsibility for the building’s maintenance and upkeep expenses, which they gladly accepted.
     The new building at 11 56th Street in Yankeetown was named in honor of A.F. Knotts, founder of Yankeetown.

YIWC AF Knotts Library Yankeetown
     In May of 1990, Central Florida Regional Library Director Robert Lipscomb presented a plan for a 1,280 square-foot addition to the existing Library building.
     Phil Felburn, president of the Felburn Foundation and part-time Yankeetown resident, was offering a grant from the Felburn Foundation for construction. The addition would almost double the size of the library and add greatly to the cultural and educational life of the community.
     Felburn had only two stipulations; that a plaque be on display designating that the Felburn Foundation provided a grant for the construction and that the theme of the room be oriented toward natural history. The executive board of the Yankeetown Woman’s Club was happy to accept Felburn’s proposal.
     Now, 60 years later, the Yankeetown-Inglis Woman’s Club is still the proud owner of the A.F. Knotts Public Library. We are grateful for the continued support from the Felburn Foundation, the towns of Yankeetown and Inglis and the Friends of the A.F. Knotts Public Library. We are very proud to be the only Woman’s Club to still own and maintain a public library that continues to provide great service to our community and the surrounding area.

YIWC AF Knotts Library Yankeetown



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