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Sylvia Hiers wins;
Community cat picks winner
Sylvia Hiers in Gilchrist County

Sylvia Hiers holds the winning certificate on Tuesday afternoon (Nov. 12) in Trenton. The gift certificate is in a separate envelope.
Photo by Jeff M. Hardison © Nov. 12, 2019 at 4:39 p.m.

This is a video of the selection process this morning (Tuesday, Nov. 12), where Sylvia Hiers’ name was selected as the winner of a $30 gift card to Winn-Dixie.

Video By Sharon Hardison
Story By Jeff M. Hardison © Nov. 12, 2019 at 11:09 a.m.
Updated Nov. 12, 2019 at 4:39 p.m.
     THE WORLD --
With about 100 different names to choose from, Needles the Community Cat of Jemlands selected Sylvia Hiers of Gilchrist County as the winner in the November contest of Keeping It Fine In Year Nine.

More Below This Ad

Gilchrist County
Click on Ads to See Websites.


Front porch of The Ink Pad with Needles and Jeff Hardison
This is a still shot, taken from the video by Sharon Hardison, showing one of the moments just before Needles made his selection.

     Goldy the Senior Mascot of and Inky the Junior Mascot of were off the mark for being able to select the winner on Tuesday morning (Nov. 12). I did not give them their breakfast of Fancy Feast before trying to get them to select the winner.
     They said "Meow! (“Kibble Before Contest – We are on strike!”)
     Therefore, as a first-ever experiment, Needles the Community Cat of Jemlands was given a chance to make the choice outside on the front porch of The Ink Pad, which is located in the unrecorded subdivision known as Jemlands in the unincorporated part of Levy County, in the woods somewhere between Carter’s Crossroads and the Fowlers Bluff community.
     Needles’ faint "Meow" of approval is heard at the last millisecond of the video.
     Following is a list of the dates, winning ads and pages where those ads existed with acorns on them.

Acorn Ads
Nov. 5 Career Source Citrus | Levy | Marion -- Business Page
Nov. 6 The Hemp Station -- Community Page
Nov. 7 Cash Munny Gun & Pawn -- Life Page
Nov. 8 Camp Anderson -- Leisure Page
Nov. 9 Dixie County Anti-Drug Coalition --Calendar Page
Nov. 10 Garden Patch Café -- Home Page
Nov. 11  Yellow Jacket RV Resort -- Police Page

Hidden Acorn Contest
This graphic shows the acorns in those seven ads. Each day, a new ad was put up and the previous ad was taken down.
Special Acorn Ads and Graphic by Sharon Hardison

     As noted, about 100 competitors found at least one of the seven acorns placed within ads on one each of the seven pages of through the end of the contest -- Veterans Day 2019.
     Those qualifiers are in the running to win a $30 gift card from Winn-Dixie, purchased from Winn-Dixie by
     Also as noted, the final acorn (the acorn of Nov. 11) was found in the ad for the Yellow Jacket RV Resort Of Dixie County, located on the Police Page.
     Some of these ads were on all seven pages, but it was only one specific page that qualified searchers to be among those from whom the cats would select a winner later today (Tuesday, Nov. 12).
     From the correct submissions, Needles is the Community Cat of Jemlands was the cat that selected the winner.
     (For people who don’t know about the mascot cats of, please visit the Police Page and find the two videos down on the right side near the bottom of the ads. Goldy plays dead and Inky performs Olympic leaps.)
     Since he did the work, readers can click HERE to see the first story about Needles.
     Sharon Hardison and I (Jeff M. Hardison) and the cats, have the next contest scheduled for what I call our Christmas-themed contest.


Cross City honors veterans with
19th Annual Parade & celebration

Veterans Day Cross City Florida
Cross City Mayor Tank Lee speaks of the need to honor veterans.

Story and Photos
By Terry Witt, Correspondent
© Nov. 11, 2019 at 8:09 p.m.
     CROSS CITY --
Hundreds of people gathered today (Monday, Veteran’s Day, Nov. 11) for the 19th Annual Town of Cross City Veterans Day Parade and Celebration to pay tribute to those who served this country in the military services.
     Nearly 800 white crosses and American flags lined the side of U.S. 19 along the parade route and beyond to say thank you to veterans who have passed away as well as those living today.

Veterans Day Cross City Florida
Flags and white crosses were placed along the parade route to celebrate veterans who have passed away as well the living.

Veterans Day Cross City Florida
The Dixie County Middle High School Band marches along the parade route playing patriotic music.

Veterans Day Cross City Florida
Retired Sgt. Robert Davis who served in the United States Marine Corps rides the parade.

Veterans Day Cross City Florida
Members of the Dixie County Anti-Drug Coalition wait for the start of the parade. Pictured (from left) are Katrina VanAernam, Donna Crawford, Anthony Fusco, Rebecca Fusco, Danielle Fusco and Jennifer Gregory.

Veterans Day Cross City Florida
American Legion Post 383 Commander Mike Hutton prepares to ride his motorcycle in the parade.

     The Dixie County Chamber of Commerce has arranged for the display of crosses and flags along the highway right-of-way every Veterans Day and Memorial Day for the past three years.
     The first flag and cross along U.S. Highway 19’s eastern shoulder is for the Unknown Soldier. The flags and crosses immediately behind it are for veterans who have passed away. A small dark line is painted on those crosses. The remaining crosses are for living veterans.
     People who wish to honor loved ones pay $30 for two years to have the name of their family veteran displayed in the roadside memorial. The money funds education scholarships from the Dixie County Chamber of Commerce.
     Ben West, who served in Vietnam aboard an AC-47, also known as Puff the Magic Dragon, a fixed wing aircraft that could spray thousands of rounds of 7.62 mm bullets per minute on Viet Cong positions in close air support of American troops, played a role in establishing the roadside veterans’ memorial.
      “It’s a dedication to all the veterans of this country; the veterans that have passed away and the living veterans,” West said.
     Terry and Debbie Dembo are the main champions in this Dixie County Chamber of Commerce project, 2019-2020 Chamber Co-President Andrew Rains has said, although Rains, West and many other Chamber members have helped over the years.
     Cross City Mayor Tank Lee gave a moving speech to a crowd of veterans, their families and Dixie County residents at a small park near the Dixie County Courthouse. His father was a veteran.
      “The countless men and women who have served this great nation all over the world should forever be honored for their sacrifices and their service,” Lee said. “We set aside one day a year to honor these men and women but I’ve said it a thousand times and I’ll say it again; every day should be Veterans Day. I believe that.”
     Mayor Lee said American soldiers have defended the country in the worst times. He said they have performed their duties in pursuit of peace and prosperity with little recognition or fanfare. He said he believes the Vietnam veterans “could tell you all about that.”
      “They have provided sanctuary for the weak and oppressed throughout the world,” Lee said. “A hand should be put on the back and a big thank you should be bestowed on the veterans here today. We can never repay our debt of gratitude to the more than 650,000 American servicemen and women that died in battle and the 1.4 million wounded. We can, however, thank the 25 million veterans living today.”
     He quoted from an inscription on the Korean War Memorial in Washington, D.C., that said:
      “Our nation honors or sons and daughters who answered the call to defend a country they never knew and a people they never met. Those words apply equally to our World War I, World War II, Vietnam and Gulf War veterans as well,” Lee said. “They apply to today’s active service members, who are helping maintain peace throughout the world. Today it is our privilege to say thank you. Today, all Americans, please let them know we appreciate their service and honor their sacrifice, and we celebrate our veterans for keeping this the land of the free, and we offer a big thanks to you and your families.”

Shannon Smith Veterans Day Dixie County
Guest speaker Shannon Smith urges veterans to ‘Stay in the fight.’

     The guest speaker this year was Shannon Smith, a 1996 graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point Point who earned the rank of captain during 10 years of service as a field artillery officer. He is an attorney with the Smith Law Firm in Chiefland and with Smith Asset Management Co.
     Smith said the veterans gathered in the crowd were born to be warriors and they served the country with distinction, but he challenged them not to give up the fight.
      “Veterans are the one group of Americans that step forward and stand between use and the evil ones that are in our world, the Hitler’s of the world, the Stalin’s of the world, the Saddam Hussein’s of the world. The list is endless of evil, but our veterans were the wall between us and them and that is why we must always remember them, we must always support them and you veterans must always stay in the fight,” Smith said.
     Smith told the story of a visit from former President Ronald Reagan (President 1981 to 1989) to West Point in 1993 when Smith was a cadet at the academy. He said Reagan told the story of how the American military invaded the island of Granada to free the 1,000 Americans living there and attending school. The American military freed those Americans from a communist regime that had seized the country in a coup.
     Reagan later visited a young soldier at a hospital who had been seriously injured in the attack on communist forces holding Granada. The soldier told the President how he was injured.
      “When the soldier was done, the President leaned forward and asked, ‘Was it worth it, was it worth it?’” Smith said. The solder looked up to him and said, “Hell yes. Sure, I’d do it again. So, for us veterans and the other 25 million, hell yeah, I’d do it again. Stay in the fight.”
     A young boy with a powerful singing voice, Jalen Teague, belted out the Star-Spangled Banner before the start of the speeches. He is a Dixie County Middle High School student who performs gospel music at his church. He said gospel is his favorite music. He received loud applause.
     The Dixie County Middle High School Band marched in the parade and later performed a medley of patriotic songs before the ceremony at the park. The band’s performance like that of Jalen Teague was of exceptionally high quality. The crowd showed their appreciation once again with loud applause.


Future hotel serves
as centerpiece
for Tri-County Area tourism;

3 women turn dream into reality

Hotel Fanning Springs Florida

Hotel Fanning Springs Florida
As shown in this video and still shots, breaking ground are (from left) Freedom Bank Vice President Charles S.  Conoley, Steve Small of Capital Resources Group, Diane Scholz of the North Florida Economic Development Partnership, Fanning Springs Mayor Trip Lancaster, Jennifer Padot Collins, Maritess Padot, architect Daniel Brewer and Jana Harold. Collins, Padot and Harold are the three women who succeeded where other developers fell short.

Story, Photos and Video
By Jeff M. Hardison © Nov. 8, 2019 at 11:19 a.m.
An hour-long groundbreaking ceremony on Thursday morning (Nov. 7) provided listeners with an opportunity to hear perspectives on tourism in the Tri-County Area of Levy, Dixie and Gilchrist counties.
     Beyond that, information shared with the public there and then showed the five-story, 88- to 95-room Best Western Premier Fanning Springs Hotel and Resort, at 7900 S.W. State Road 26 in Fanning Springs, is coming to fruition about two decades after the concept was first put to paper.

Hotel Fanning Springs
(from left) Gavin Padot Collins, Levi Padot Collins and Logan Padot Collins demonstrate they are breaking ground with smaller shovels, very much like the adult counterparts. These brothers are the children of Marty Collins and Jennifer Padot Collins.

Hotel Fanning Springs
Architect Daniel Brewer speaks about the Best Western Premier Fanning Springs Hotel and Resort.

Hotel Fanning Springs
Here, Architect Daniel Brewer speaks about the Best Western Premier Fanning Springs Hotel and Resort from an aerial view.

     Architect Daniel Brewer of Delray Beach (Palm Beach County), was among the people who spoke about the hotel.
     This Best Western Premier Fanning Springs Hotel and Resort, he said, is 14,000 square feet on the ground floor, which was in the background as people addressed the crowd for the ceremony.
     Construction on Thursday showed the foundation has been laid with outer walls built.
     When it is completely built, Brewer said, this five-story tall hotel will have in excess of 63,000 square feet.
     On the main floor, there will be a restaurant, Brewer said. (Charlie Bond currently is the anticipated chef there.)
     Outside, behind the hotel, Brewer said, there will be a swimming pool, a patio and an extension of the restaurant.
     The architect showed the audience an aerial view as captured by an artist’s rendition of how it will look when built. On the roof, he said, there will be a patio as well.
     At rooftop level, there will be a lounge overlooking the Suwannee River and it will be called the Sunset Lounge, Brewer said. Next to it, he continued, will be meeting rooms for many events.
     “On the grounds of the hotel,” Brewer said, “will be spaces for large tent gatherings, and other events that could be on the site at the same time.”
     This will be a place for more than just hospitality facilities for overnight stays, he added. There will be extended stay rooms with kitchens. There will be suites, he said.

Hotel Fanning Springs
(from left) Jennifer Padot Collins, Maritess Padot and Jana Harold are the three women credited with bringing the hotel to exist after a few developers could not do that.

Hotel Fanning Springs
Director of Business Development Bruce Brotherton of WB Services tells about the company’s joy in working with the community to create this family-friendly hotel.

Project Superintendent Mel Troyer (left) and Florida Division Project Manager Lenny Gonzalez stand in front of some of the first floor of the hotel that is built. This will be a five-floor premiere hotel when it is completed.

     The hotel currently is anticipated to receive its certificate of occupancy in July or August of 2020, according to WB Services Director of Business Development Bruce Brotherton, Florida Division Manager Lenny Gonzalez and Project Superintendent Mel Troyer.
     Brotherton, Gonzalez and Troyer are all of WB Services, the general contractor for the hotel project.
     During the program on Thursday, Brotherton mentioned that WB Services’ central office is in Ohio. WB Services owns eight hotels and operates 11 hotels, in addition to constructing hotels, Brotherton said.
     Fanning Springs Mayor Howell E. "Trip" Lancaster III served as emcee for the event. He told the audience about Fanning Springs choosing to take the reins to move forward as the ecotourism leader of the Tri-County Area.
     Adding this hotel, Fanning Springs Mayor Lancaster said, creates an economic engine to help the area grow. Part of the requirements for the grant the city received to build the needed infrastructure to support the hotel, he said, is the creation of 30 full-time jobs.
     At least 51 percent of those new full-time hotel jobs must be for low-income to moderate-income workers, Lancaster said, as a condition of the economic development grants from the government.
     These 30 jobs are slated to create an annual payroll in excess of $1 million, which will further help the local economy, Lancaster added.
     This project was in the works even before Lancaster became mayor five years ago, he said.
     Lancaster took the oath of office as Fanning Springs mayor in on Jan. 5, 2015 and on Jan. 7, 2015, he met with the first of the would-be developers.
     Mayor Lancaster introduced the three women who are the actual people who got the project started after some developers did not initiate activity enough to make it happen.
     Jennifer Padot Collins, Maritess Padot and Jana Harold are the individual partners who developed the project, according to what was said during the program Thursday.
     When she took the podium, Jennifer Padot Collins thanked everyone for attending the event Thursday. She said Mayor Lancaster loves the City of Fanning Springs and he “... strives every day to make Fanning Fabulous”
      Collins noted her appreciation for the city staff members; Gilchrist County Tourist Development Council Executive Director Donna Creamer; Diane Scholz, the director of rural economic development director for the North Florida Economic Development Partnership; the United States Department of Agriculture Rural Development; Steve Small of Capital Resources Group (the underwriter for funding with Freedom Bank and USDA); Freedom Bank; WB Services; architect Brewer; attorney Sarah Gulati; Best Western; and many others.
     Collins said her great-grandparents, grandparents and her father (Davey Padot Sr.) farmed the land where the hotel is being built.
     As a “sixth-generation Gilchrist County woman,” she said this is home.
     Organized in 1925 from the western part of Alachua County, Gilchrist County is the last county to be formed in the state. On March 3, 1845, only one day before the end of President John Tyler's term in office, Florida became the 27th state to join the United States of America.
     Sixteen years ago, Collins said, her father had a site plan drawn showing a hotel on this land.
     “This was his vision and his dream,” Collins said, “and I feel so honored and blessed to be a part of it.”
     Maritess Padot, when she went to the podium, said first of all, she wanted to thank Jesus Christ who made this project possible. She thanked Mayor Lancaster, U.S. Rep. Ted Yoho, Fred Fox and David Fox of Fed Fox Enterprises – the USDA grant writer, and several others, including D. Ray Harrison Jr., who retired from the Gilchrist County Board of County Commissioners after decades of public service.
     After the three leading ladies of the project (Jennifer Padot Collins, Maritess Padot and Jana Harold) spoke, the mayor gave a shout out Gilchrist County Sheriff Bobby Schultz, as he expressed his appreciation for the agreement to place a Gilchrist County Sheriff’s Office substation, which is about 100 yards behind where the hotel is being built.

Hotel Fanning Springs
Before the event, several people were seen speaking together. Captured on film here are (from left) Gilchrist County Sheriff Bobby Schultz, Gilchrist County Emergency Management Director Ralph Smith, Gilchrist County Court Judge Sheree Lancaster, Constituent Advocate Jessica Norfleet of U.S. Rep. Ted Yoho’s Office, and Gilchrist County Administrator Bobby Crosby.

Hotel Fanning Springs
U.S. Rep. Ted Yoho greets State Rep. Charlie Stone.

     The mayor also let people in the audience know he appreciates seeing Gilchrist County Sheriff Schultz, Gilchrist County Tax Collector Michael McElroy, Gilchrist County Clerk Todd Newton, Gilchrist County Commissioner Todd Gray, Gilchrist County Property Appraiser Damon Leggett, Gilchrist County Supervisor of Elections Connie Sanchez, Gilchrist County Administrator Bobby Crosby, Diane Clifton and others.
     A grant from the United States Department of Agriculture Rural Development in the form of a Community Development Block Grant helped cover the expense from required infrastructure being put in place.
     In the audience were Mayor Lancaster’s father Howell E. Lancaster Jr. and his stepmother Gilchrist County Court Judge Sheree Lancaster.
     The program opened had with a prayer, and then State Rep. Charlie Stone (R-Ocala, Dist. 22) led the audience with the recitation of The Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag.
     While the hotel is in Gilchrist County, which is in the district for State Rep. Charles Wesley "Chuck" Clemons Sr. (R-Newberry, Dist. 21), the connection with Levy and Dixie counties is strong in Gilchrist County. The City of Fanning Springs is within both Levy and Gilchrist counties.
     Mayor Lancaster said he sleeps in Levy County, but he will always consider himself as "a Gilchrist County boy," and the hotel is in the Gilchrist County part of the area.
     Meanwhile, back at the groundbreaking ceremony, it was a very auspicious occasion, and the hosts of the event were extremely gracious, with Marty Collins (Jennifer Padot Collins’ husband) being among the individuals hand-delivering bottles of chilled Zephyrhills bottled water to scores of audience members who had raised their hands when asked if they were thirsty.
     The list of people at the event was lengthy and included Fanning Springs City Council Chairman Thomas “Tommy” J. Darus III and Vice Chair Ginger Russell. Other current members of that City Council are Ray Tremblay, Jane Jones-Redd and John T. McDonald. The mayor mentioned Tremblay may be at work in Chiefland at the moment. Tremblay is the second in command at the Chiefland Police Department, where Chief Scott Anderson is the CPD leader.
     These five and the many previous City Council members were thanked by Mayor Lancaster for their service leading to the start of construction. Fanning Springs City staff members, including City Clerk Sheila Watson, and city staffers Pam Wilson and Debbie Watson, were on the long list of people who helped assure the start of this hotel project.

Hotel Fanning Springs
U.S. Rep. Ted Yoho speaks to the people. Notice the bottle of Zephyrhills water. Hosts for the event made sure that no one went thirsty. There were refreshments after the event as well.

    When Rep. Yoho spoke, he said the vision and tenacity of the Padot family, and their ability to bring a team together, is what brought the hotel into existence. The congressman said teamwork is the ingredient required for vision and tenacity to bring a dream to become a reality.
     Florida is continuing to grow in population, Rep. Yoho said, and the managed growth of the state, though projects like this for ecotourism are important to maintain the quality of life Floridians have come to know.
     Rep. Yoho said he looks forward to the completion of the project, including the conference center. He is proud to have helped this American dream come to be, Yoho said.
     Gilchrist County TDC Executive Director Creamer spoke about the growth and economic impact of tourism in Gilchrist County.
     Creamer shared that Gilchrist County has seen growth in its tourism industry.
     Creamer said she has been involved with tourism since 2005, and she worked personally with David Padot Sr. on this project since 2010.
     In 2006, Gilchrist County enacted its tourism tax, or bed tax, which is paid solely by the tourists who visit the county. The hospitality industry property owners and citizens of Gilchrist County do not pay this tax.
     In 2017, Gilchrist County brought in $17,000, she said, from the tourist tax. In 2018, the county saw an increase to $59,000 in revenue from the bed tax, she said.
     Creamer explained the tourist tax came from only five campgrounds as its sources for revenue. That $59,000 comes from the tax on more than $2.9 million spent by tourists who wanted to camp in Gilchrist County in 2018 – to create that tax revenue, Creamer said.
     Creamer said that while many people like to camp, she prefers a nice hotel. And, she added, this hotel is projected to be full to capacity at all times.
    Creamer mentioned that she and Levy County Tourist Development Council Executive Director Tish Whitehurst, who was also at the groundbreaking, work with 14 other North Florida counties to promote North Florida.
     They let tourists see there is more to the state than what is found in Orlando and Miami. Florida is more than theme parks and beaches, Creamer said.
     Attorney Sarah Gulati spoke about the hotel.
     Like other speakers, Gulati thanked Mayor Lancaster, the several City Council members over the years, and the city staff for helping Best Western be able to place a premiere hotel on the site.
     She said she believes the hotel will join to become among the many excellent assets in the area.
     Gulati expressed her gratitude to Congressman Yoho, U.S. Sen. Rick Scott, Fanning Springs Clerk Watson, Gilchrist County TDC Director Creamer, Freedom Bank (headquartered in St. Petersburg), Best Western, the USDA and “… all of the individuals who have worked on this project thus far.”
     She especially noted her gratitude to the Padot family for having the courage to undertake such a daunting task. They worked tirelessly to achieve their worthy goals for the Fanning Springs community.
     “Their commitment has been inspiring,” Gulati said, “and truly sparked excitement for all who have worked with them. It has been a personal pleasure to work with them. None of this would have been possible without the time and dedication they have sacrificed.”
     Breaking ground for the Best Western Premier Fanning Springs Hotel and Resort is the start of a much larger vision, Gulati said, of what the family has for the Fanning Springs area.
     Like other speakers, Gulati noted this hotel serves as another factor to build economic growth in the area.
      Mayor Lancaster, before introducing Scholz, spoke about the two combined grants the city obtained for a total of about $1.5 million to create the infrastructure required to place the hotel where it is being built.

Hotel Fanning Springs
Diane Scholz of the North Florida Economic Development Partnership is welcomed to speak by Fanning Springs Mayor Trip Lancaster.

     Scholz, the director of rural economic development director for the North Florida Economic Development Partnership, said tourism is a vital part of Florida’s economy.
     From this hotel’s opening, Scholz said, people may be surprised at the number of start-up companies spinning off from this economic engine in the Tri-County Area.
     Business interests that plan wedding events, florists, charter fishing captains, hiking trail guides and other tourist-oriented ventures will grow in the area, she said. Schulz noted that these business members and their local employees are individuals who prefer not to have to commute to Gainesville, Ocala, the City of Crystal River, Lake City or farther so that they can earn a living.
     Scholz apologized for the absence of North Florida Economic Development Partnership Executive Director Jeff Hendry being absent and staying in Tallahassee, but he was a “bit under the weather” on Thursday. However, Scholz noted that she is certainly happy to be at the event to represent the NFEDP.
     After Scholz spoke, Steve Small of Capital Resources Group spoke.
     Small crested the underwriting package for funding with Freedom Bank and the USDA Rural Development.
     Small said that after he found four developers could not get off center with their plan for moving forward, he approached the Padot family. He saw a group of people who could develop the property, own it and operate it.
     Small met with the three women who would lead the project (Jennifer Padot Collins, Maritess Padot and Jana Harold). Collins and Padot were already in the area, and Harold came from Virginia, he said.
     They spent time at the clubhouse of River Walk, the neighboring subdivision to the future hotel site.
     These three smart, independent women, Small said, did what three other developers could not do in four years. A year and half after his first meeting with them, Small said, the first floor of the hotel is under construction, and the plan shows opening to be in the late summer to fall of 2020.
     The other group Small mentioned is Freedom Bank, which is headquartered in St. Petersburg.
     Small told the bankers that Fanning Springs was ripe for a name-brand hotel, because the closest point of that sort of facility is Gainesville. Small said his wife will not stay in an “unbranded hotel.”
     By building this hotel, he added, Fanning Springs will see more people spending the night in the area – and therefore, those visitors will have more opportunities to spend their vacation dollars in the area, rather than going home after a visit to the park, the springs or the river.
     After Small spoke, the ground was broken. And then, guests enjoyed refreshments.


State Attorney William Cervone
chooses against
running for reelection in 2020

By Jeff M. Hardison © Nov. 4, 2019 at 8:29 a.m.
William "Bill" Cervone, the man who has served as the state attorney for the Eighth Judicial Circuit of Florida for 20 years, announced last Thursday (Oct. 31) his choice not to seek office for another four-year term.
     The Eighth Judicial Circuit of Florida includes Alachua, Baker, Bradford, Gilchrist, Levy, and Union counties. There are 20 different judicial circuits in this state.
     Making the announcement in his November monthly column for the Eighth Judicial Circuit Bar Association newsletter, which was published Oct. 31, as well as telling his staff on the same day, the 70-year-old prosecutor reminded readers there are still 14 months remaining in his current term of office.
     During the next year-plus, the leader of the state's team of prosecutors who attempt to prove beyond reasonable doubt that individuals suspected or crimes, and brought to justice by law enforcement agents are guilty as charged, will continue as he has for the previous couple of decades in that position.
     "I have decided that I will not run for re-election next year," Cervone noted in an Oct. 31 email that went to all recipients in his officewide email list. "Over 20 years as the elected State Attorney and over 40 years as a prosecutor with this office are enough. I will be here until early January of 2021 when my current term expires.
     "Until then nothing changes in terms of what I will be doing or my expectations regarding what you will be doing," he noted in the email. "Please do not waste time or energy worrying over the future. This office and what we do is bigger than any of us and I am confident that everything will be fine."
     Following is his column for the local bar association newsletter.

By William Cervone
     It turns out that the Bible and Kenny Rogers have some things in common, at least thematically. Most everyone knows that among the many wisdoms contained in the Bible is the instruction that to everything there is a season. Kenny Rogers phrased it differently but he made the same point with lyrics noting that there's a time to hold 'em and a time to fold 'em, adding, the admonishment that it's important to know when to do both. For me, I've always thought that it was good to have a sense of timing, and maybe more importantly, that timing is much if not everything in life. To use one example, the athlete who doesn't know when he can no longer compete risks tarnishing his past achievements. Better to graciously exit stage right of your own accord than to get the hook. 
     And so, the time has come for me to announce that I will not run for re-election in 2020. To some of you this may come as a surprise. To most it should not. Last month, October, I turned 70 years of age. Candidly, I never imagined that milestone actually coming to pass and while I am fortunate, as best I know, to have far better health than many might at that age it's still a reality with all it implies. At the end of 2020 I will have served as the elected State Attorney for 20 years. I will have worked as a prosecutor for something over 40 years. I never set out to do either and have been blessed beyond measure with the opportunity to have, I hope, positively impacted the lives of our communities and many individuals. But it is time to move on.
     There are too many of you who have helped me along the way for me to ever try to thank you all individually. Surely, I would miss as many as I managed to mention. Rather than try that, I hope that this will in some small measure serve to reach out and express the deep appreciation I have for each of you, no matter our respective roles or positions, for your part in my life. I've always looked upon life as a path that extends beyond the horizon, along the way intersecting the paths of others. Some of our paths touch tangentially, others combine for some time and duration, and still others intertwine forever. Regardless of which it may be we are the sum of each path we might merge with, no matter how briefly. You have all enriched me in some way, and for each of you I am grateful.
     This is hardly “goodbye,” as I have fully 14 months remaining in my term, during which I will be doing as I have for over 40 years. Nor is it some kind of set up for a victory or retirement tour of some sort across the circuit. I don't need or intend that, nor do any of you need to react or respond. In fact, I'm comfortable that you don't as that would all be quite bittersweet. Whatever assessment of my tenure may come will best be done with the perspective of time anyhow. Rather, I am sharing this now simply because I know all about the speculation regarding my plans, and at least my staff needs and deserves to know my plans as that may affect theirs. I am confident that my office will continue to move forward, building upon the legacy of those who preceded me and through my years into the future. But that is another discussion for another day.
     For today, this and a thank you for your part in having allowed me to serve our citizens for so many years will suffice.




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New Jingle Singers
Teresa Cruz and Stephanie Wilson

Cedar Key
Teresa Cruz (left) and Stephanie Wilson are captured in this still shot before singing the Jingle on Friday afternoon, Oct. 11, 2019, at Duncan’s On The Gulf in Cedar Key.

Photo By Jeff M. Hardison © Oct. 12, 2019 at 5:09 p.m.

118th Jingle Singers

Teresa Cruz (left) and Stephanie Wilson sing the Jingle on Friday afternoon, Oct. 11, 2019, at Duncan’s On The Gulf in Cedar Key. If you want to sing the jingle, just let Jeff M. Hardison know or send an email to He asks people to sing (or perform) it, too, and some of them agree to sing it or to perform the jingle. (Thanks people!)
Published Oct. 12, 2019, at 5:09 p.m.

© Video by Jeff M. Hardison, All Rights Reserved


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Cross City Dixie County Florida


Edward Jones Newberry Florida Sheila Smith


Cedar Key Florida


Dixie County Anti-Drug Coalition

Bronson Florida Levy County Florida


Gilchrist County Florida

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to contact Danny Etheridge, CRPC.


Chiefland Florida
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Williston Florida

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Inglis Florida


Chiefland Florida


Gilchrist County Florida
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Dixie County RV Site


Clinical Research Chiefland
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Chiefland Florida
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Dixie County Putnam Lodge HardisonInk


Garden Patch Cafe Chiefland


The Hemp Station Chiefland



Dixie County Emergency Services


Archive Levy Dixie Gilchrist counties

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