Gary Miller's Outdoor Truths Ministry, Dec. 4, 2023

Student honored in Williston
Police chief thanks stores

Joyce Bullock Elementary School kindergarten student Zaria Rayne Taylor looks up at Williston Mayor Charles Goodman as the mayor starts speaking about this Outstanding Student.

Story and Photos
By Jeff M. Hardison © Dec. 7, 2023 at 7:45 a.m.
The starting point of what has become known as the Student of the Month honors in Levy County is the City of Williston.
     Once again, this happy event happened in City Hall on Tuesday night (Dec. 6). Each time, there are some variations.
     Historically, perhaps the best-ever presenter of the Mayor’s Student of the Month Award is the late Williston Mayor Emeritus R. Gerald Hethcoat, who passed away July 1, 2020, at the age of 77 years old. Mayor Hethcoat started this program, which has been adopted in Chiefland, Bronson and elsewhere.
     Williston Mayor Charles Goodman performed the duty on Dec. 6.
     Joyce Bullock Elementary School kindergarten student Zaria Rayne Taylor was the first of the two students to be called to the front of the meeting room that Tuesday night.
     Her teacher N.F.N. Calvin noted for Mayor Goodman that the young Miss Taylor is a model student, who is dedicated to trying her best in academics.
     This kindergartener is noted to help other students who are struggling.

Mayor Charles Goodman presents Zaria Rayne Taylor with the Mayor’s Outstanding Student Certificate.

Great Student
Williston City Council Vice President gives Zaria Rayne Taylor pins as an added gift for her accomplishments as a student at Joyce Bullock Elementary School.

Great Student
The mayor of Williston -- Charles Goodman -- and the student who attended the presentation in her honor -- Zaria Rayne Taylor -- provide a photo opportunity for the only actual journalist with a camera at the City Council meeting that night.

     Mayor Goodman presented her with a certificate showing she earned the Outstanding Student designation by her academic excellence, leadership, citizenship and attendance. The mayor presented her with a certificate for a free 14-inch, two-topping pizza from Domino’s of Williston as well.
     Outgoing City Council Vice President Jerry Robinson presented the little girl with an American flag pin, a State of Florida pin and a pin with the Seal of the City of Williston on it was well. This was a first-ever presentation.
     City Council President Debra Jones announced that Robinson would be presenting these gifts on behalf of the entire City Council. Robinson resigned from office later that same night, with the resignation date being Dec. 29. He cited his choice to leave local politics due to a new Florida law that requires more open statements of financial holdings by candidates than before.
     The other student who was scheduled to be honored on Dec. 5 was absent from the meeting. The mayor put that student’s Outstanding Student certificate and the free pizza certificate in the hands of City Clerk Latricia Wright for the clerk to assure the student received the awards. 

Williston Police Chief Moshoji J. ‘Mike’ Rolls is seen just before the start of the meeting. Like other department heads present at the meeting, Chief Rolls sits at the back wall behind long folding tables during City Council meetings, unless he is called to the front to welcome a new officer to the Williston Police Department and the like. The chief gave a ‘shout out’ to Winn-Dixie and Subway for those stores feeding visiting law enforcement officers who were part of the big Williston Christmas Parade. As noted in the first story published about the parade, written by correspondent Terry Witt with photos by him, too, it was a very big parade with a lot of spectators lining the parade route.


Man learns about solar
panels for monetary loss
City workers deal with pipes
Golf cart usage anticipated
next month in the city

Hey City!
Joe Penney expresses concern over his electric bill and the condition of the city’s water pipes.

Story And Photos
By Jeff M. Hardison © Dec. 6, 2023 at 4 p.m.
Joe Penney, a Williston resident, expressed his discontent about his electric bill and with the state of water pipes in the city, and he wanted to know when golf cart driving on city streets will happen as he addressed the Williston City Council during the public participation part of the agenda.


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     City manager Terry Bovaird helped everyone understand the city government’s perspective on Penny’s concerns.
     The dialogue from the two men gave some different perspectives on the matters.
     About a year ago, Penney said, he added solar panels to provide electricity. The monthly credits from the city have been in the $3 to $15 range, he said. Penney said he invited the installer to visit his house. The panels, according to Penney, are producing more electricity than the city is crediting him with.
     Penney said he spent $40,000 to install this solar electric system and the return on investment is not happening as he wants.
     Without taking a breath, he started on his second set of complaints. He asked about what happened to Williston’s infrastructure. Penney sees water pipes leaking and this causes him to be concerned.

Bad Water
As recently as Tuesday night (Dec. 6), the water provided for drinking and cooking is not ruled to be safe, according to Florida Department of Health laws for public water consumption. This is a water fountain in Williston City Hall after 6 p.m. on Dec. 6. Loss of pressure resulted in some pipes rupturing. After repairs, there is a time period required from when the water pressure was lost to assure safe drinking water. (The city clerk is not too keen on providing the press with information unless she is asked directly. Also, the city government's email system has been broken for a couple of days at least. Visitors to Williston may want to bring bottled water.)

Bad Water
Flanked by Williston City Councilman Michael Cox on the left in this picture and by City Attorney Kiersten Ballou on the right, City Attorney Terry Bovaird addresses concerns expressed by city resident Joe Penney on Nov. 5.

     City manager Bovaird explained that Penney installed a solar-panel system without a battery system to go with it. The way this system works, Bovaird said, simply does not produce electricity to the point where Penney will receive the money he wants from it.
     “We’ve talked to his neighbors who have a solar system very similar to his,” Bovaird said. “He gets about the same amount of money back that Mr. Penney gets.”
     The city manager said the city pays people 80 percent of the wholesale rate the city pays to its municipal electric provider for the power produced by these systems.
     The city warned the consumer that this was “a bad idea” for making money from electricity sales back to the city, Bovaird said.
     The city has an aging infrastructure, Bovaird said. When a fire hydrant was hit recently, the sudden change of water pressure affected different pipes in the system, causing ruptures.
      Bovaird, Mayor Charles Goodman and the City Council all expressed their sincere gratitude to the utility department employees and other employees who worked long hours, and who brought the system back into service. There is a boil water notice, due to the loss of water pressure. People were notified, and they will be told when the boil water notice is lifted.
     Golf cart signs are ordered and are expected to arrive in January, he said. Then the roads will be marked, and people will be using golf carts in certain areas of the city.     
     On yet another matter, the city manager said he is speaking with Seacoast Bank about a $2.5 million line of credit. Each time the credit is used, the City Council will review and approve or reject the request and recommendations from staff, he said. There is not necessarily ever going to be that much spent, but this is what the city and the bank are speaking about for a line of credit.
     Those specific financial matters will be discussed at later City Council meetings, including the payment of $350,000, for instance, to Oelrich Construction Co., and as the city is reimbursed with grant funds, those funds can go back to repay the line of credit, Bovaird said after being asked that question by City Council President Debra Jones.


Coalition keeps saving lives
Levy County Prevention Coalition Chief Operating Officer Jonathan Lewis is seen seconds before opening the general membership meeting on Monday afternoon (Dec. 4).

Story and Photos
By Jeff M. Hardison © Dec. 5, 2023 at 11:15 a.m.
Updated Dec. 6, 2023 at 11:15 a.m.
Programs and practices that continue today are set to keep going for some time to come as the Levy County Prevention Coalition (LCPC) continues saving lives.

     This is an essential fact from the last general body luncheon meeting of the LCPC held on Monday afternoon (Dec. 4) held in one of the classrooms of Williston Elementary School.
     As Benjamin Franklin (Jan. 17, 1706-died April 17, 1790) is noted to have said “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” By preventing children and others from becoming victims of drug abuse, the more costly expense from overcoming the heartache from subsequent incarceration, injury and death resulting from drug abuse is put aside.
     Meanwhile on that Monday afternoon, the present day iteration of the LCPC shows adherence to some founding principles that evolved into programs of success that came to fruition in the past decade-plus of the LCPC.
     LCPC Operating Officer Jonathan Lewis led the meeting Monday afternoon in the absence of LCPC Chair Crystal Seley. LCPC Secretary Levy County Sheriff’s Office Undersheriff W.O. “Brett” Beauchamp III was absent, too, however LCPC Treasurer and Founder Robert Wells was present.

LCPC Treasurer and Founder Robert Wells is seen with his soup, salad and breadsticks lunch from Olive Garden, which was on the menu for the luncheon meeting. The drink of the day was bottled water. Williston was still under a boil water advisory. Wells serves as the executive director of the Gilchrist Prevention Coalition, too.

     Also present, were LCPC some staff members, including Deedee Merando, coalition development; Sarah-Michelle Swartz, youth development (and Achieve program coordinator); Joelle Higgins, community health projects (and a leader in the anti-tobacco efforts for Levy County); and Octavious Lee, project quality assurance.
     Also present at the meeting from the Levy County School Board personnel was Levy County School District Family Liaison Shawn Meyers, who also is involved in the Exception Student Education area of the county curriculum.
     Monique Bissette, a tobacco treatment coordinator with the Suwannee River Area Health Education Center (AHEC), which is based in the City of Alachua, was present for the meeting. AHEC is involved in helping people quit using tobacco more than prevention of them becoming hooked on nicotine. 
     Absent from the meeting room but serving the LCPC that morning, too, was Evan Morgan, a new staffer at the LCPC. He assisted a journalist in locating the meeting room of the day for this event. In the meeting that afternoon as well as being a valued contributor to LCPC efforts, was volunteer and retired teacher Randol Weir.
     The Monday afternoon meeting was a switch from previous quarterly general membership meetings that have traditionally been on Friday afternoons. Also absent from this meeting were representatives from Meridian Behavioral Healthcare, CDS Family and Behavioral Health Services, the Levy County Sheriff’s Office and the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation’s Division of Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco.
     In the final meeting of the year, LCPC Chief Operating Officer Lewis announced that this year the coalition will continue with its Achieve After School and Summer Programs. This set of programs serves students at all nine Levy County schools and has a waiting list of 100 to 200 more students countywide who, with their parents’ approval, want to participate.
     Two factors limit the LCPC expansion to add those hundreds of more students, according to information shared at the meeting. First, there are not enough certified teachers who are not so worn out from their daily duties to be able to be coaxed into serving in the afternoons – especially for some children that are more of a challenge. Second, there are not enough vehicles with qualified drivers to transport children to drop-offs after the normal school bus routes have been run.
     Lewis said during this time of year, one challenge is not having long routes so that children reach homes before it becomes dark.
     Obviously, the resounding success of the Achieve program in Levy County is among the facts showing the LCPC meeting its goals of helping reduce drug abuse by providing preventative methods so that children will make better choices for positive activities in their spare time, rather than abusing drugs.
     While summer is still six months away, Lewis said he believes there will be at least a 20-day summer day camp LCPC program, and it may even reach a 25-day mark this coming summer.
     Among the many programs and strategies that have shown success in years past and are planned to continue in January are the individual and small groups mentoring program. Assistance with reading, mathematics improvement as well as life skills, and emotional and social skill advancement is on the curriculum in this program.
     The Friday Nights Done Right Program is among the activities in the first part of the school year that showed positive results for helping youth enjoy safe entertainment.
     The Friday Nights Done Right Program this year provided students with chances to attend away games as well as home games of football. Schools were given tickets to provide to students who wanted to participate in this activity, and the LCPC found a good return on that investment.
     One goal of the Friday Nights Done Right football games was to help the students cheer for their teams, be present as active members of a supportive audience and “to not be on their phones the whole time.” The coalition found participants enjoying this activity.
     Achieve is the shiny jewel in the center of the crown displayed during the final 2023 LCPC general membership meeting.
     Other activities already this school year included taking Achieve students to an aquarium in Clearwater (Pinellas County). Coming home through Tampa (Hillsborough County) traffic offered some excitement, according to commentary that afternoon.
     In the coming spring of the Levy County school year, there are a few more Achieve outings planned as the LCPC works out finer points of those plans, Achieve Program Coordinator Swartz said.
     The Achieve Enrichment Program is provided by the Levy County Prevention Coalition in partnership with the Florida Department of Education, 21st Century Grant. The purpose of the program is to offer academic and social enrichment to students during afterschool hours and camps during the summer months.
     Currently, in the LCPC Achieve Program, there are about 700 students helped countywide, Lewis said. Registered Achieve participants currently include 200 students at Williston Elementary School; 150 students at Chiefland Elementary School; 45 students at Chiefland Middle High School; 100 students at Williston Middle High School; 75 students at Bronson Elementary School; 75 students at Bronson Middle High School; 50 students at Yankeetown School; and 25 at Cedar Key School.
     There is a subset called Achieve Intensive, Lewis said, which is planned for the coming spring term in Levy County schools.
     This will be small-group core academic tutoring to help students, he said. While the Achieve program is five days a week program, this subset is two days a week, Lewis said, and it will include certain students from the Achieve program as well as other individual students whose parents want their children to have this added academic experience.
     Not every child in the Achieve program needs academic help. This program also provides a safe place for them to be rather than roaming the streets or sitting at home glued to their cell phones, television of computer screens.
     Some of the personal enrichment for WES students includes a bit of art since the school lacks that program.
     All LCPC programs have an underlying thread to enhance participants’ educational and social skills, while giving them options to enjoy a “natural high” rather than an unhealthy and dangerous chemically induced high.
     Lewis shared more details, which reflect the LCPC plan for the next year to continue existing program with a potential to add new programs or expand the existing set.
     This year, the LCPC has completed Year 10 of its Drug Free Communities Grant, Lewis said. That grant had a 10-year lifespan which finished on Sept. 30 of this year. That grant helped provide funding for establishing a foundation for the LCPC, which goal was accomplished.
     The LCPC was the first of the three county coalitions in the Tri-County Area of Levy County, Dixie County and Gilchrist County that exist today to help reduce the incarcerations, injuries, deaths and familial destruction caused by drug abuse and addiction.
     The Gilchrist Prevention Coalition started some years ago and is showing some progress. The Dixie County Anti-Drug Coalition has a focus more on recovery than prevention, having started after the LCPC and before the GPC.


The Children's Table mourns the loss
of beloved volunteer
and board member Alfreda Freeman

Bill Brown and Alfreda Freeman

Information and Photo Provided
By Stacey Kile of The Children’s Table
Published Dec. 4, 2023 at 10 p.m.
     BRONSON --
The Children's Table is deeply saddened to announce the passing of Alfreda Freeman, affectionately known as Ms. Freda, a woman who embodied the very essence of compassion and community service.
     For over 25 years, Ms. Freda was more than just a volunteer; she was the heart and soul of our organization, her story inextricably linked to our own.
     “Ms. Freda was the first person ever to receive food from our food bank when we were just starting out,” recalls Bill Brown, CEO of The Children's Table. “But instead of just accepting help, she saw a need and stepped forward to be part of the solution.”
     That act of selflessness ignited a lifelong commitment, as Ms. Freda dedicated countless hours to building The Children's Table into the vital resource it is today.
     Her impact was multifaceted. Ms. Freda played a pivotal role in establishing our bus routes, ensuring that nourishing meals reached even the most remote corners of our community. Her warm smile and unwavering encouragement were a beacon of hope for countless families facing food insecurity, reminding them that they were not alone.
     But Ms. Freda's dedication went far beyond the frontlines. For over two decades, she served on our board of directors, her wisdom and guidance shaping the very foundation of our organization. In 1996, her tireless efforts were recognized with the prestigious President's Volunteer Service Award, a testament to her unwavering commitment to serving others.
     While our hearts are heavy with grief, we find comfort in knowing that Ms. Freda lived a life of profound purpose. This year alone, The Children's Table served over 1.5 million meals to 80,000 people in need – a living monument to her legacy. We believe she would be incredibly proud of this milestone, knowing that her compassion, her tireless work ethic, and her unwavering belief in the power of community have touched countless lives and will continue to inspire us for generations to come.
     Rest in peace, Ms. Freda. You will be deeply missed, but never forgotten.


Free eye exams and prescription
eyeglasses available in Tri-County Area

By Jeff M. Hardison © Dec. 2, 2023 at 4 p.m. 
     CEDAR KEY –
The Cedar Key Lions Club is offering free eye examinations and prescription eyeglasses for people in the Tri-County Area of Levy County, Dixie County and Gilchrist County.

     There are two ways to qualify for these free services.
     Any person who receives any government benefits like SNAP or Medicaid is eligible. Another way to qualify for this service is by being a recipient of income from sources such as Social Security employment disability, or for people with annual income below the following thresholds:
     ● Single person household - annual income of $30,000 or less;
     ● Two-person household - annual income of $40,000 or less;
     ● Single household with children - annual income of $40,000 or less; and
     ● Two-adult household with children - an annual income of $55,000 or less.
     An application must be completed to be considered. Also, to be considered for these benefits, the applicant must submit the following:
     A picture with all adults’ W-2 IRS form (if working); and
     A photo ID for all adults in the household;
     Notice of eligibility for government benefits; and
     Photo ID for all adults applying for the benefits.

     The Cedar Key Lions hope to follow-up on each application to make sure that the process is personalized, and that services are actually provided. (Such as if transportation is an issue etc.)
     The Cedar Key Lions Club’s goal is to serve at least 50 people this winter and spring.
     The Cedar Key Lions have tried to simplify the application process with the hope of reaching more people needing help.
     The Cedar Key Lions Club website does not have a functioning application form to download.
     For answers to questions, such as where to get an application form to complete, call 352-477-1406 or send an email to cedarkeylionsclub@gmail.com or to bpiscura@yahoo.com.


Veterans enjoy
monthly pastries and coffee

coffee and more
Richard Tudor (left), 80, a United States Navy veteran and Don Etnier, 74, a United States Army veteran greet each other at the event on Wednesday morning. Both men served in Vietnam.

Story and Photos 
By Jeff M. Hardison © Nov. 30, 2023 at 8 p.m.
     TRENTON –
In the second month of at least a six-month run, American military veterans from North Central Florida accepted an invitation to enjoy pastries and coffee on Wednesday morning (Nov. 29).

     The next scheduled pastries and coffee event is set for Dec. 27, Wednesday, from 9 to 10 a.m. This Veterans Coffee and Pastries event is hosted by Gilchrist Prevention Coalition and Cherry’s Restaurant.
     Just as in the first two months, the event in December offers an opportunity for fellowship with other veterans while participants can enjoy coffee and pastries at no charge. It is held at Cherry’s Restaurant, 408 N. Main St., Trenton. For more information call or text Robert Wells at 352-359-0396.
     Wells is a 20-year retired veteran of the United States Navy. There were Navy veterans at the event on Nov. 29, as well as United States Army veterans and others.

coffee and more
(from left) Brianna Martin, the Cherry’s Restaurant hostess for the event, Gilchrist Prevention Coalition Co-Chair Sheila Smith, Gilchrist Prevention Coalition Robert Wells and Gilchrist Prevention Coalition Prevention specialist Lorin Wood prepare before the start of the event.

     Honoring and helping veterans enjoy a monthly get-together, the manager at Cherry’s Restaurant, 408 N. Main St., in Trenton, had the doors open that Wednesday morning.
     Sheila Smith, who is the co-chairperson of the Gilchrist Prevention Coalition with the other co-chairperson Gilchrist County Sheriff’s Office Capt. S. Brown, is happy to have spearheaded this Gilchrist Prevention Coalition event.
     Capt. Brown was unable to attend the Nov. 29 event. 
     There was plenty of coffee and pastries, including a wide variety of doughnuts, available.
     Wells, who is the executive director of the Gilchrist Prevention Coalition, said this monthly gathering has been off to a relatively slow start, but the coalition is going to have each of the first six months since its inception to let it catch on.
     He said if they skipped a month, and a veteran showed up thinking it was still happening, then that would cause people to lose faith in the planned get-together.
     Not only could attendees enjoy free doughnuts and other pastries to their hearts’ content, as well as drink free coffee; but there were also free doses of Narcan available and free gunlocks.
     Narcan is a brand name of a drug used to overcome overdoses from opioids like heroin, and certain pain killers. Gunlocks are devices that stop triggers from being pulled until after the person with the key unlocks them.
     The gunlocks are more preventative while Narcan is more of a recovery type of approach to solving an issue.
     Carson Pennypacker, with United States Veterans Affairs Community-Based Interventions-Suicide Prevention was there to give veterans her business card for further information if they wanted.
     She covers Alachua, Bradford, Citrus, Columbia, Dixie, Gilchrist, Hamilton, Lafayette, Levy, Marion, Sumter and Suwanee counties.
     This Gilchrist Prevention Coalition project is with Jeff and Jessica Cherry as partners to provide a monthly social gathering for United States military veterans in the Tri-County Area -- Gilchrist County, Dixie County and Levy County.
     Even though Jeff Cherry remains in Jacksonville undergoing physical therapy and receiving care after suffering severe injuries and subsequent hospitalization after a terrible crash on Oct. 17 in the Bell area, he and his wife are committed to helping the coalition with this project.
     Brianna Martin, the hostess who works for Cherry’s Restaurant and the worker who helped during the Wednesday morning event, said she hopes the community will come to the restaurant to show support for the family during Jeff’s recovery.
     Cherry’s Restaurant is open Tuesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
     Even though the kitchen stops serving food at 9 p.m. on Friday and Saturday nights, there is live music until 10:30 Cherry’s Restaurant has a full liquor bar as well as domestic beer, although it does not offer draft beer.
     And the range of great food is extensive. There are 11 different appetizers, including hot crab dip, southern fried gator bites and coconut crusted shrimp.
     Other entrees include buffalo wings and shrimp with the following types -mild, medium, hot, mango teriyaki, pineapple jalapeño, garlic parmesan and barbecue. These are served with blue cheese dressing or ranch dressing.
     There are seven different types of salads, including Greek salad and Caribbean shrimp salad.
     There are 10 different specialty pizzas as well as options to order a pizza with various toppings.
     Shrimp, scallops, fresh grouper, ribeye steaks and top sirloin steaks are on the menu, too.
     Grouper sandwiches, various chicken sandwiches, a pressed Cuban sandwich, a ribeye melt, and other sandwiches are available.
     There are seven different kinds of half-pound hamburgers, too, as well as a children’s menu. 
     Below is a reminder, which is also seen on the Community Calendar on the Calendar Page.
Dec. 27, Wednesday
     9-10 a.m. –
Veterans Coffee and Pastries hosted by Gilchrist Prevention Coalition and Cherry’s Restaurant. An opportunity for fellowship with other veterans while enjoying coffee and pastries at no charge. Held at Cherry’s Restaurant, 408 N. Main St., Trenton. For more information call or text Robert Wells at 352-359-0396.


Love triumphs again
Cedar Key Woman’s Club Fall Market
warms hearts and souls

Fall Market
Dennis Moran of Cedar Key and Michigan looks at a 12-string Yamaha guitar that was for sale at the yard sale part of the 17th Annual Cedar Key Woman’s Club Fall Market on Saturday (Nov. 25).

Story and Photos
By Jeff M. Hardison © Nov. 25, 2023 at 4:15 p.m.

All Rights Reserved
     LEVY COUNTY – Love triumphs again.
     The Cedar Key Woman’s Club held its 17th Annual Fall Market at the Big Yellow House located at 7391 State Road 24, in the area of Sumner on Saturday (Nov. 25).

     The Cedar Key Woman’s Club raised funds for its various projects, which all reflect a love for all humans. And while the temperature of the air was brisk (61 degrees Fahrenheit at 10 a.m.), the warmth brought to hearts and souls gained strength with each encounter between the various sets of humans at the event -- club members, vendors, crafts persons, artists, musicians, bakers, cooks, sales staff members as well as the other types of designations for guests and visitors at this joyful annual event.
     Kathy Freidenfelds again chaired the CKWC Fall Market this year, her second year of chairing the committee that brought it all together. It was great and wonderful, as always.
     The big front yard of the Big Yellow House seemed even more full of sellers than in some years past. 

Fall Market
Rachel Hanley of Cedar Key is among the sellers of the day. One item she brought for sale was a 12-string Yamaha guitar. She had many other superb articles available for purchase that day, too.

Fall Market
Vicki Shewey and Mike Shewey are seen behind a table where items created in Mike’s Wood Shop were available for purchase. This local craftsman was among the many talented creators at the market this year.

Fall Market
This view seen about one hour into the four-hour event captures some of the activity of the moment, as noticed from the front porch of the Big Yellow House that serves as the Cedar Key Woman’s Club Clubhouse.

Fall Market
Hotdogs and sloppy Joe’s are among the menu items from the kitchen of the Cedar Key Woman’s Club Clubhouse. Seen here as they are ready to serve diners are Rosemary Danesi and Leslie Vassall, two of the CKWC members making this fall market a booming success.

Fall Market
CKWC Treasurer Teresa Stevens (left) and CKWC First Vice President Vicki Crumpley are seen on either side of the Storm At Sea quilt. This quilt is being raffled to help fund the Fisher House in Gainesville, which helps military families of veterans who need medical care. The winner’s name in this raffle will be chosen and announced at the Cedar Key Art Festival in April of 2024.

Fall Market
Cedar Key Woman’s Club President Pat Stephens stands behind one of a number of tables full of Christmas items for sale, which were donated by a member of the Cedar Key Woman’s Club. Notice the Snoopy items.

Fall Market
Kathy Freidenfelds holds a sunflower. Freidenfelds chaired the CKWC Fall Market Committee again this year, and this artistic sunflower metaphorically captures the beauty and light that permeated the festival again this year. Love triumphs here, as it has annually for 17 years now. And while the air was brisk, or even chilly, the warmth of love for others overcame any feelings of cold from the external environment.

Fall Market
Kenneth Toombs of the Town of Otter Creek is seen with plants he brought to sell. Toombs said he is happy to help in this fundraiser. He said he joined his girlfriend Mary Inskeep, who is a member of the Cedar Key Woman’s Club, to help the club’s efforts on Saturday, as he did last year.

     Brokers, dealers, peddlers and purveyors provided plenty of quality used items. The full spectrum of items is so broad, and there absolutely were treasures galore on the field that day.
     There were lots and lots of Christmas items, including an awesome collection of Snoopy items. (Snoopy is a beagle of fame from the Charlie Brown series.)
     There was lovely jewelry and accessories, and items to add to a home’s decor. Several local artisans displayed their works for show and sale at this fall market.
     This annual affair continues to be a thriving festive occurrence that provides many treasures, treats, jewelry, fabulous artisan shopping, flea market vendors, home baking, a snack bar and more.
     The traditional cornerstones for this Fall Market were present on Saturday. One of those is the snack bar, where diners could enjoy hotdogs, sloppy Joe’s, chips, popcorn, coffee, tea and soft drinks (aka sodas).
     Granny’s Pantry (aka Granny’s Cupboard) is part of the traditional shopping spots of the Fall Market, and that is where home-baked goods were again available. 
     One hot-selling item again this year is the 2024 calendar. Photos for the 2024 calendar came from many contributors who are club members and other photographers.
     All profits from this fundraiser support worthy community projects, such as the Cedar Key Food Pantry, Cedar Key School programs, Fisher House for veterans' families, Boogey Creek Camp for children suffering from serious illnesses, Another Way for victims of abuse, and more.
     The single overwhelming takeaway from the market again this year is not the products or goods, but the less tangible things of love for others, fellowship, friendship, peace and the enjoyment found of being in a community of strangers where everyone can fell welcomed and comfortable.
     The Cedar Key Woman’ Club was established in 1960.
     The CKWC is part of the General Federation of Women’s Clubs of Florida, which is comprised of 189 women’s clubs across the state whose members are dedicated to community improvement by enhancing the lives of others in their local communities.
     These volunteer women’s club organizations attend to the diverse needs of their community through hands-on service projects, fundraising, education, leadership and friendship.
     Becoming a member of the Cedar Key Woman’s Club is relatively easy. The process starts by a woman letting a current member know that they would like to join. New members are urged to become as active as they want. The more experienced members enjoy helping new members feel comfortable in their new volunteer service to the community. As for the Fall Market on Saturday (Nov. 25, 2023), as anticipated, a good time was had by all.


Levy County recognizes National
Hospice and Palliative Care Month

Jaime Hinote of Haven Hospice is seen moments before Levy County Commissioner John Meeks reads the proclamation on Nov. 21.

Story and Photos 
By Jeff M. Hardison © Nov. 22, 2023 at 5:15 p.m.
– Just as the Dixie County Board of County Commissioners recognized November as National Hospice and Palliative Care Month at a meeting it held this earlier month, so did the Levy County Board of County Commissioners.

     Jaime Hinote of Haven Hospice accepted the proclamation, which was approved in Levy County on Nov. 21 by a 5-0 vote after Levy County Commissioner John Meeks read it and made the motion, which was seconded by Commission Vice Chair Desiree Mills, to approve it.
     Hinote thanked the County Commission on behalf of Haven for unanimously approving the proclamation.
     The proclamation noted that the Levy County Commission declares November of 2023 as National Hospice and Palliative Care Month in Levy County.

Providing a photo opportunity after the resolution was adopted on Nov. 21 are (from left) Commissioner Tim Hodge, Commissioner Rock Meeks, Commission Vice Chair Desiree Mills, Jaime Hinote, Commission Chairman Matt Brooks and Commissioner John Meeks.

     This declaration and proclamation result because:
     ● For nearly 45 years, Haven Hospice has helped provide comfort and dignity to thousands of people in North Florida, allowing them to live their last months, weeks or days comfortably with the people they love; and
     ● Haven utilizes an interdisciplinary, team-oriented approach to treatment, including expert medical care, quality symptom control, and comprehensive pain management as a foundation of care; and 
     ● Beyond providing physical treatment, Haven attends to the patient’s emotional, spiritual and family needs, and provides family services like respite care and bereavement counseling; and
     ● Haven provides community-based palliative care, which delivers expertise to improve quality of life and relief from pain and can be provided at any time during an illness; and
     ● In an increasingly fragmented and broken health care system, hospice is one of the few sectors that demonstrates how health care can – and should – work at its best for its patient; and 
     ● Every year, 1.5 million Americans living with life-limiting illness, and their families, received care from the nation’s hospice programs in communities throughout the United States, including Haven; and 
     ● Haven is an advocate and educator about Advance Care Planning that helps individuals make decisions about the care they want; and
     ● The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services have pledged to put patients first in all of its programs – including hospice – ensuring a coordinated and patient-led approach to care, protecting patient choice and access to individualized services based on a patient’s unique care needs and wishes. 


Step 11 Of Becoming
A Reverence For Life Coach

Reverence For Life
By Robert M. Echols
Published Dec. 4, 2023 at 7 a.m.

My dear friends in a reverence for life,
     It is again my privilege to extend to you the next step on our 13-step path toward becoming reverence for life coaches.
     This is step 11 toward believing, proclaiming and ultimately coaching a reverence for life. 
     As per usual, this step is offered gratis with no restrictions on your use. 
     Ultimately this step will be fleshed out in Volume 4 of my For Our Friends the Animals quartet, but for now I offer you this step with my deepest affection. May it be of service to you in your journey toward not only adopting a reverence for life as your chosen ethos, but more importantly, towards accepting and discharging the duty to enlist others, many others, in our ranks.
     My dear friends, we are all I am certain acquainted with fellow humans whose only pleasure appears to lie in constant carping, forever bemoaning their environment, yet offering, much less volunteering to implement, scant if any remedial measures.
     Our world today suffers from this malaise. We have sufficient fault finders to chronicle every failing, but we suffer from a dearth of affirmative humans providing both solutions and the needed energy for implementation of those solutions.
     This step delineates our response to the ills of this planet by positing the interconnectedness of spiritual energy and the life-affirming ethos of a reverence for life. As we augment our spirituality, we notice a concomitant augmentation of our need to make that spirituality manifest in tangible deeds. As we engage in tangible deeds premised on a reverence for life, we discern a concomitant burgeoning of our spirituality.
     It is a virtuous cycle, a cycle that will result in widespread amelioration of our many ills--if only we will be open to that cycle and allow it to work on us.
Cum meo maximo amore! (Latin)
With my greatest love! (English)

Step 11
     ● Rejoice in your newfound spirituality and resolve to augment it.
     ● Accept your burgeoning spirituality as increasing enlightenment.
     ● Acknowledge that your growing enlightenment is also occasioning a growing sense of duty.
     ● Understand this duty as an obligation to put your spirituality into practice.
     ● Agree that effecting a reverence for life as your ethos is the true path towards discharging that obligation.
     ● Allow a reverence for life to explain, motivate and animate your behavior.
     ● Admire how setting a reverence for life as your lodestar expands your spirituality.
     ● Admire how that expanded spirituality engenders comportment elicited increasingly by a reverence for life.
     ● Marvel at that closed loop of actuality.


First Published Feb. 1, 2011 at 8 a.m.
     On Feb. 1, 2011, HardisonInk.com came into existence on the Internet. On All Saints Day - Nov. 1, 2011, The Christian Press section on The Life Page of HardisonInk.com started, which was about nine months after the start of the daily news website. The name "The Christian Press" was derived from an encounter a decade earlier in 2001 in St. Petersburg, when and where a man mentioned to a journalist that this particular journalist must work for "The Christian Press." Although the presumption by the man about that journalist was incorrect and misplaced, the name sounded good. And the journalist said that if he could work for The Christian Press, then that certainly would be the publication to serve.
     Since Nov. 1, 2011, The Christian Press section of this page has run daily devotionals from several individuals who contributed over the past years. There were two days in 2018 when the daily devotional did not run due to a journalist requiring emergency orthopedic surgery on broken bones in his left arm and wrist. That surgically added metal, though, makes that part of that arm even more able to withstand forces. Many daily devotionals are pulled from Strength for Service to God and Country (Whitmore & Stone © 1942; Renewed 1969 by Norman E. Nygaard; Second revised edition © 2002 Abingdon-Cokesbury Press, Providence House Publishers). The journalist who is the sole proprietor and owner of HardisonInk.com (Jeff M. Hardison) notes his appreciation for the use of those devotionals from that now-defunct publishing company, and for the many other contributors who have helped people over the past decade-plus now. Strength for Service to God and Country's daily devotionals include many from a time when the United States of America was a partner in a World War, both WWI and WWII. This journalist welcomes contributions of daily devotionals. Daily devotional authors are asked to please send only their original works to hardisonink@gmail.com. Americans are reminded that all religions, having no religion and or being a person who endorses anti-religion are all protected as part of the freedoms from government intervention, as are other benefits from being an American.


Friday, Dec. 8, 2023 at 10 a.m.


Read Isaiah 52:7; Psalm 91:1-2; 104

     After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.
-- Matthew 6:9 (KJV)

     In His in a Life of Prayer – The Privilege of a Prayer Life (1927), Norman B. Harrison tells of a devout ship’s master and a man named George Müller who encountered a very dense fog as they were sailing to Quebec. The captain had remained on the bridge for 24 hours when Mr. Müller came to him and said, “Captain, I have come to tell you that I must be in Quebec on Saturday afternoon.” When informed that it was impossible, he replied, “Very well, if your ship cannot take me, God will find some other way. I have never broken an engagement for 57 years. Let us go down into the chart-room and pray.”
     The captain continues: “I looked at that man of God and thought to myself, What lunatic asylum could that man have come from? I never heard of such a thing as this. “Mr. Müller,” I said, ‘Do you know how dense this fog is?’ ‘No,’ he replied. ‘My eye is not on the density of the fog, but on the living God, who controls every circumstance of my life.’ He knelt down and prayed one of those simple prayers, and when he had finished I was going to pray; but he put his hand on my shoulder and told me not to pray. ‘Firstly’ he said, ‘because you do not believe God will, and secondly, I believe God has, and there is no need whatever for you to pray about it.’ I looked at him, and George Müller said, ‘Captain, I have known my Lord for 57 years, and there has never been a single day that I have failed to get an audience with the King. Get up and open the door, and you will find that the fog has gone.’ I got up and the fog was indeed gone. George Müller was in Quebec Saturday afternoon for his engagement.”
     OUR HEAVENLY FATHER, help us to keep our eyes upon the sunshine and not upon the shadows, upon the reality of Thy Love and not upon the counterfeits of the wilderness. Amen.
Glenn Clark (1882-1956) 
Founder of "The Camps Farthest Out"
Macalester College
St. Paul, Minnesota
Strength for Service to God and Country
(Whitmore & Stone © 1942; Renewed 1969 by Norman E. Nygaard; Second revised edition © 2002 Abingdon-Cokesbury Press, Providence House Publishers)


Outdoor Truths Ministry
By Gary Miller © Dec. 4, 2023 at 7 a.m.

     This time of year, orange fills the woods. It confirms gun season has come. I’ve sat in many places, thinking I was the only one around, only to scan the horizon with my binoculars to discover an orange vest in a tree closer than I wanted. I can remember one time while hunting in Muhlenberg, Kentucky, staying in a hotel, and nearly every single occupant either leaving early that morning or coming in late that evening, with an orange hat and vest on. It was a hotel from heaven.
     Years ago, fish and game commissions determined that orange was both a color that deer cannot distinguish and one that stands out markedly to humans. Shortly afterwards, wearing some form of orange became the law. Some states require only hats, some only vests, and some both. And the nuances of when it’s worn have changed over the years. Sometimes you are allowed to take it off once you are in a stand or blind, and sometimes it must always be on. There is no way to determine how many lives this hunting requirement has saved. It makes no audible sound. It is simple in its design. It is standard in its application. It comes in sizes to fit anyone. And it makes the same statement whether it is worn by the unknown or famous, or by the extrovert or introvert. When I think about the statement the orange vest makes, I make an application to how I think one’s Christian life is best lived out. It is best lived out by letting it make its own statement. It’s best when it is seen and not heard. It’s best when it is just a part of our everyday lives and not something in addition to. It’s best when its simplicity and subtleness stand out. It’s best when it shines like a light on a hill. It’s best when others see its value and even its safety, for themselves, and want it.
     I cringe at forced faith. Jesus did not come to force himself on anyone. He came to reveal what we didn’t know or understand about the Father. By his own words, He said he didn’t come into the world to condemn it, but to save it. And the way He would do that would be by Him putting on my sin and by me putting on His righteousness. Much like my orange vest.
-- Gary Miller  gary@outdoortruths.org

     Gary Miller has written the Outdoor Truths articles for 20-plus years now. He also has written four books which include compilations of his articles and a father/son devotional. He speaks at wild-game dinners and men's events for churches and associations. Gary Miller's website is located at http://www.outdoortruths.org/.

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