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SCORE Of Citrus County Accepts
Levy County As A Service Area;
Williston Chamber Mixer
Offers Networking Opportunities

SCORE Citrus County
Jim Green, chapter chair of SCORE of Citrus County, stands below a banner that helps promote the organization.
Photo by Jeff M. Hardison © Aug. 17, 2018 at 11:08 a.m.
See the BUSINESS PAGE for the whole story and photos.

CFR To Get Jaws Of Life
Thanks To Firehouse Subs

Belinda Wilkerson
Chiefland Planning Project Coordinator Belinda Wilkerson (standing in the foreground) worked with Chiefland Fire Rescue Capt. Dwayne King (not pictured) to bring about the awarding of the Jaws Of Life coming to CFR, Chiefland Fire Chief James Harris (in the background) told the City Commission on Monday (Aug. 13). Seen here, the chief is looking toward the captain and asking him to stand for recognition. The Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation Grant -- from Firehouse Subs -- will provide 100 percent of one set of Hurst extrication tools (cutter, spreader, ram and accessories) to the CFR. The city is getting this for free. These are the tools known as the Jaws Of Life, because they are used by fire departments to cut vehicles apart and save trapped drivers and other occupants. Firehouse Subs awarded a set of the Jaws Of Life to Cedar Key Volunteer Fire Department in January of 2017. The story about the Cedar Key event can be read by clicking HERE. The video made from the January 2017 event can be seen by clicking HERE.

Photo by Jeff M. Hardison © Aug. 15, 2018 at 3:38 p.m.


J.R. Trimm, 22, is seen (at right) climbing the hill with the American flag and a flag-stand he placed as part of the ribbon-cutting scene at the Trenton location of Trimm Auction Services LLC. To see the story, more photos and a video, please look at the BUSINESS PAGE.
Photo by Jeff M. Hardison, Aug. 11, 2018 at 8:08 p.m.
All copyrights on are protected by federal law.


Son of fallen deputy starts VPK
Sheriff Scultz
Gilchrist County Sheriff Bobby Schultz prepare to help Noel Ramirez Jr. out of the vehicle that brought him to school on Friday (Aug. 10). Chiefland Elementary Principal Michael E. Homan (to the right) waits to greet the new student. She welcomed hundreds of elementary school students to CES that day.

Story, Photos and Video
By Jeff M. Hardison © Aug. 10, 2010 at 3:28 p.m.
All Copyrights Reserved
Students in Levy and Dixie counties began their 2018-19 school year Friday (Aug. 10) and Gilchrist County students start theirs on Monday (Aug. 13).

Chiefland Elementary School
Levy County Superintendent of Schools Jeff Edison and LCSO Sgt. Max Long are among the people welcome all students to Chiefland Elementary School on Friday. Almost every other student had arrived before Noel Ramirez Jr.’s arrival. Trenton Public Safety Director Matthew Rexroat is in the background in a white shirt. He is the leader of municipal law enforcement and the fire department in Trenton.

In this video, the contingent of law enforcement vehicles arrive at Chiefland Elementary School on Friday (Aug. 10) and Noel Ramirez Jr. arrives for his first day of VPK at CES.

Chiefland Elementary School
Noel Ramirez Jr. takes a step from the vehicle to the sidewalk as his mother Glorimari “Gigi” Gellert assists him.

Chiefland Elementary School
LCSO Lt. Scott Tummond accepts a toy to give to Noel Ramirez Jr. as GCSO Det. W. Holder passes on the gift from another person.

Chiefland Elementary School

Chiefland Elementary School
The line of 20 or more officers forms to welcome the new VPK student. The camera in this picture is from one of the two Gainesville TV stations that came over for the event.

Chiefland Elementary School
LCSO Lt. Scott Tummond

Chiefland Elementary School
CES Principal Michael E. Homan

     One child began the first day of his sojourn through academia by entering Voluntary Pre-Kindergarten (VPK) at Chiefland Elementary School with a lot of support from the Thin Blue Line, because his father was one of the two deputies with the Gilchrist County Sheriff’s Office who was killed in April.
     GCSO Sgt. Noel Ramirez Sr., 30, a seven-year veteran of law enforcement and GCSO Deputy Taylor Lindsey, 25, were killed April 19 by a man with a gun as the two law enforcement officers ate lunch in Trenton that day.
     Since then, Noel Ramirez Jr. has been without his father and his mother Glorimari “Gigi” Gellert has been dealing with the aftermath from that horrific attack.
     Several law enforcement vehicles rolled into the parent drop-off area at the front of CES Friday morning. Law enforcement and detention officers from the GCSO, Levy County Sheriff’s Office, Chiefland Police Department and Trenton Public Safety Department were the most easily identified uniformed officers as they created a line to welcome the child on his first day of school.
     The very young Mr. Ramirez was escorted to the cafeteria by his mother and Gilchrist County Sheriff Bobby Schultz, followed by the line of officers.
     LCSO Lt. Scott Tummond, the public information officer for the LCSO, spoke to the press about the event.
     This was “a proud parent moment, in the absence of a parent who was taken from us by a coward in Gilchrist County in April,” Tummond said. “This should have been like any other first day of school for little Noel, having his mother and father escort him into class.”
     The GCSO and LCSO are part of the boy’s family now, Tummond said. Most law enforcement officers feel a familial bond with all other officers.
     Tummond said the GCSO and LCSO deputies are here to support the child, and beyond this moment so that during the milestones in his life, he will be surrounded by family.
     In regard to the quality of education at CES, Tummond said the child is in the best learning environment that he could be in now. Chiefland Elementary School has opened its doors to Ramirez and will assure he gets the best education available, Tummond said.
     Lt. Tummond said Sheriff Schultz and Gellert did today what Tummond has done three times in his life – with all three of his children at this very same campus.
     “Whether the child is yours,” Tummond said, “or someone you are responsible for, the nerves and the excitement are there for the child.”
     Sheriff Schultz, Tummond said, has a pure heart. His commitment to help this child is going to be forever. The emotions Schultz and Gellert showed, Tummond said, are those of a proud parent.
     After Sheriff Schultz exited from dropping off the child as he walked to his vehicle to leave, he responded to a question by saying that this event was just like dropping off his own child. And like Lt. Tummond, Sheriff Schultz said he is sorrowful that this could not be Sgt. Ramirez dropping off his little boy for the first day of VPK.
     CES Principal Michael E. Homan said she expects an average of 850 children at the school each day this year.
     Principal Homan said she is very pleased that the arrival of the child went as smoothly as she had hoped. The attention was not an intrusion to him or to the other students, she said. Homan said mothers of Pre-K children all have an extremely difficult time when they drop their children off for the first time.
     And for Gellert, the support shown by the law enforcement community helped her get through this moment.
     LCSO Sgt. Max Long, a member of the team of School Resource Officers in Levy County, said he thinks Noel Ramirez Jr. is pretty special, and Sgt. Long said he is honored to have been part of the group of law enforcement officers welcoming the boy to his new school.

Tim West wins Chiefland
election by choosing
the long straw;

90-90 vote is broken
by drawing lots - per the law

Judge Holds Straws
Levy County Judge Tim Browning holds the two straws, one of which is only slightly longer.
Story, Photos and Video
By Jeff M. Hardison © Aug. 7, 2018 at 11:08 p.m.
It was the most classic reminder that – every vote counts.

     The municipal race for Chiefland City Commission, Seat 4, was decided Tuesday night (Aug. 7) by a coin toss to decide who would draw the first straw, and then with candidate Tim West drawing the winning longer straw over incumbent City Commissioner Teresa Barron.

In this video, Levy County Judge Tim Browning throws a coin, which is called, and then he holds straws, where one long straw is selected as the winner.
Video By Jeff M. Hardison
All Copyrights Protected
© Aug. 7, 2018 at 11:08 p.m.

Chiefland City Election
Before the votes were counted, a group of people stood across the street from the polling place. Seen here are (from left) Colin Rogers, Alex Barron, Teresa Barron, Eddie Barron, Audrey Munson, Hailie Asbell, Robert Asbell, Romaine Asbell and Leah Blitch.

Working at the process to tally the votes are (front row, from left) Mary Jane Deas, inspector, and Chiefland Deputy City Clerk Laura Cain. In the back row are (from left0 Police Chief Scott Anderson, Police Chief James Anderson, City Manager (and Ex Officio City Clerk) Mary Ellzey and Levy County Judge Tim Browning. City Clerk Ellzey is the supervisor of elections for elections within the city. Judge Browning here is serving as the chairman of the canvassing board, upon which Chief Anderson and Chief Harris are serving.

Chiefland City Election
Poll Deputy Kary Colson (in green vest) watches as Voting Precinct Assistant Clerk Deborah Anderson puts votes into the machine to be counted.

Levy County Supervisor of Elections Tammy Jones (at right) was on the scene to assist in the election process. She allowed the city to use the machines owned by the county.

The canvassing board, and Chiefland City Election Supervisor Mary Ellzey and Levy County Supervisor of Elections Tammy Sullivan confer.

Chiefland City Election
Canvassing Board Chairman Tim Browning reveals the count of votes as Chiefland Supervisor of Elections Mary Ellzey and Levy County Supervisor of Elections Tammy Jones listen.

Candidates Teresa Barron (left) and Tim West (center) listen to how the machines will be checked in the recount as Levy County Supervisor of Elections Tammy Jones explains this part of the voting process to the candidates.

Chiefland City Election
Candidates Teresa Barron and Tim West shake hands after the straws are drawn. Both candidates ran very civil campaigns.

     Levy County Judge J.T. "Tim" Browning sat as the chairman of the city election canvassing board, with Police Chief Scott Anderson and Fire Chief James Harris joining him on that board.
     There were 18 ballots by mail sent out. There were 14 of those vote-by-mail, or absentee, ballots returned and counted.
     On Election Day, Barron received 78 votes. On Election Day, West received 88 votes.
     Added to that for Barron were 12 mail-in ballots. West saw two mail-in ballots cast for him.
     Both candidates scored 90 votes.
     The judge followed Florida law to the letter. The ballots were counted again by machine. There were no provisional ballots -- that is a ballot with a questionable signature or identification.
     There will be a manual recount of all of the ballots on Thursday (Aug. 9) at 5 p.m. in Chiefland City Hall -- the Hardy Dean Sr. Municipal Building. Given that the machines brought to the city by Levy County Supervisor of Elections Tammy Jones proved over-and-over again to be reliable, and given that the votes were counted and recounted with the exact same results on both machines, the manual recount may be more of an exercise than something with any anticipation of a different result.
     Judge Browning explained that the machines were tested for accuracy. The recount by machine showed 90-90 as the accurate count.
     Levy County Judge Browning read Florida Statute 100.181, which states:
     "Determination of person elected.—The person receiving the highest number of votes cast in a general or special election for an office shall be elected to the office. In case two or more persons receive an equal and highest number of votes for the same office, such persons shall draw lots to determine who shall be elected to the office."
     To determine who would pick the straw first was decided by a coin toss. West said that “ladies first” to be the way to decide who would call the coin toss in the air.
     Barron called “tails” as the judge threw the coin in the air. When it came up “heads,” that resulted in West winning the first draw of a straw.
     The judge took extraordinary care to assure the longer straw could not be determined by looking at the straws he held.
     West chose first and he picked the longer straw.
     Shortly after the win, newly-elected incoming Chiefland City Commissioner West responded to a question about how he felt after winning the straw draw.
     “I feel a little nervous,” West said after the win, “a little excited. I feel my heart torn for my opponent, because I know she did a really good job running.”
     He went on to say what people may remember as they watch him as a city commissioner.
     “I will listen to what the people say,” West said, “and see what brought them here (to Chiefland), what keeps them here and what makes them want to come back. So, I feel mixed emotions now. This was a very interesting thing that just happened.”


DCSO saves armed
suicidal man from harm

By Jeff M. Hardison © Aug. 7, 2018 at 7:08 a.m.
Dixie County Sheriff's Office Inv. Tony Lopresto and Deputy Steven Box both jumped on a man who had a gun and at times pointed it at himself Saturday (Aug. 4) as he threatened to shoot himself, DCSO Maj. Scott Harden noted in a press release.
     One of the law enforcement officers grabbed his hand that was holding the gun, while the other member of the DCSO was able to pull the gun from his hand. Once they had the subject secured, Harden said, they called for the supervisors and Dixie County EMS to come onto the property.
     This life-saving action was Saturday afternoon, Harden said, and the process leading to that daring rescue began shortly before 9 a.m. that morning after the DCSO received a call from a home-care worker in regard to one of her clients who she thought to be suicidal.
      When the deputy arrived, Harden said, he found the male subject sitting on his porch.
      As the deputy arrived, Harden said, the subject raised his gun to his head and ordered the deputy from his property. When a second deputy arrived, the man again raised his gun to his head and told them that another deputy better not come up there.
     The two attempted to speak with him from the yard, Harden said, and they had dispatch notify on-call supervisors.
     Dispatch then had the responding supervisors along with EMS stage nearby in the neighborhood out of view of the subject, Harden said.
     Each time the deputies attempted to move closer to the home, Harden said, the armed man continued to place the handgun to his head or in his mouth.
     As the morning progressed, Harden said, the deputies told the subject that one of them had to leave and that a DCSO investigator would take his place.
     Once this was done, Harden said, the two continued to converse with the subject and shortly after noon, Harden said, they convinced him to allow them onto the porch -- to be out of the hot sun.
     After they were onto the porch, the subject continued to keep them at a distance by placing the gun to his head each time one of them moved.
     At approximately 1:50 p.m. Saturday the subject lowered the gun while talking with the two of them, Harden said, and it was at this point that they both sprang into action.
     After being treated on scene by EMS, Harden said, EMS was accompanied by law enforcement as EMS transported the man to Gainesville to be treated for what appeared to be a mental health crisis.

New DCHS - Bears Win
Story, Photos and Video

DCHS New Campus
State Rep. Chuck Clemons and the DCHS mascot show their approval for the completion of the new Dixie County High School construction project.
Photo by Jeff M. Hardison © Aug. 5, 2018 at 1:08 p.m.
All Copyrights Reserved


One candidate for Congress,
one candidate for agriculture
commissioner and four
gubernatorial candidates
show up for Levy County voters

Story and Photos
By Jeff M. Hardison © Aug. 5, 2018 at 7 a.m.
Six men running for one federal elected office and two elected state offices visited Levy County a week ago Saturday (July 28).
     Another 24 candidates are seeking those three spots too. The political forum was hosted by Citizens for and Engaged Electrorate, and that group invited all parties running for federal, state and county offices where Levy County voters could cast their ballots.

Brandon Peters For Congress
Brandon Peters, Democrat for United States House of Representatives, Florida Congressional District 2

     Brandon Peters is one of two Democrats running to take the place of incumbent Neal Dunn as the member of the United States House of Representatives, Florida Congressional District 2.
     Dunn has won the Aug. 28 Republican primary because no other Republican qualified to run against him.
     Democrats will choose between Peters and Bob Rackleff in the Democratic primary on Aug. 28.
     Peters, who lives in Levy County, said he is running because he is tired of all of the political bullies.
     “It’s time for leadership,” he said, “and I want to be your next congressman.”
     Peters said he is running on “a very strong pro-people platform.” The AFL-CIO has endorsed him as the candidate to elect, he said.
     The Democratic Labor Caucus of Florida, the Democratic Progressive Caucus of Florida, endorse him as well, Peters said, “… because I care about people.”
     Peters will seek the establishment of a $15-an-hour minimum wage, he said. For part-time employees, the minimum wage he wants to see is $16.50.
     Another mission on Peters’ list is to make Medicare available for every man, woman and child in the United States of America.
     For a country that put human beings on the moon, revolutionized technology and defeated fascism, Peters think the United States has the ability to assure that every human in the country can have access to healthcare.
     Peters also prefers lowering taxes for the middleclass working families.
     “The next tax cut, people, is ours,” Peters said. “We’re OK with the billionaires and the multi-national corporations that got the last one. We get the next one.”
     Peters promises to protect Social Security, and will seek to expand it. He wants people to be eligible at the age of 65 rather than the 67 years old that it stands at now.

Jeff Porter For Commissioner of Agriculture
Jeffrey Porter, Democrat for Florida Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Affairs

     Jeffrey "Jeff" Porter, a Democrat who is the mayor of Homestead (Miami-Dade County), is seeking election to be the next Florida Commissioner of Agriculture.
     The other candidates who have qualified to run for this office are Matt Caldwell (Rep.); Nicole "Nikki" Fried (Dem.); Denise Grimsley (Rep.); Mike McCalister (Rep.); Baxter Troutman (Rep.); and Roy David Walker (Dem.).
     Born in Homestead, he and his wife of 24 years have lived their almost all of their lives. He has been the mayor of Homestead for five years, and served on the City Council for 10 years.
     Porter said he is running because he has seen agriculture die as a viable industry in his community. There was a time when there were 30,000 acres of tomatoes grown in his part of Florida. Now that is down to 3,000 acres and in two years, he sees that crop as no longer being grown there.
     Porter reminds voters that the Florida Commissioner of Agriculture is also the head of the Department of Consumer Services.
     Of all 50 states, Florida is ranked as number one in fraud cases, Porter said.
     Porter said the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services had problems with its part in the issuance of conceal-carry weapons licenses.
     The reason to elect Porter, he said, is because he has a significant amount of experience with local government. He has been the mayor of a city with a $200 million budget. He is over the police, water, sewer, an electric generation plant and the electric distribution center and other departments in Homestead.
     He sees the need for helping agriculture remain a strong part of the economic engine of Florida.
     In answering questions, Porter reminded the listeners that the Commissioner of Agriculture is part of The Florida Cabinet and will have an impact from that seat as well.


The four candidates for who came to Levy County on Aug. 28 (seen here from left) are Bruce Stanley, Alex Lundmark, John Joseph Mercadante and Darcy Richardson.

     Of the four candidates running for governor, only one faces no opposition on Aug. 28.
     Darcy Richardson is in the Reform Party and no other candidate in that party qualified for this race.
     The other three men who showed up in Levy County to meet the people were Alex Lundmark (Dem.); John Joseph Mercadante (Rep.) and Bruce Stanley (No Party Affiliation).
     The other candidates for governor who did not come to Levy County on July 28 are Don Baldauf (Rep.); Piotr Blass (Write In Candidate); Henry Choice (Write In Candidate); Ron DeSantis, Ron  (Rep.); Timothy M. Devine (Rep.); Ryan Christopher Foley (No Party Affiliation); Kyle "KC" Gibson (No Party Affiliation); Andrew Gillum (Dem.); Gwen Graham (Dem.); Jeff Greene (Dem.); Raphael Herman (No Party Affiliation); Hal Johnson (Write In Candidate); Chris King (Dem.); Anthony "Tony" Knox (Write In Candidate); Bob Langford  (Rep.) ; Monroe Lee (Write In Candidate); Philip Levine (Dem.); Bruce Nathan (Rep.) Adam H. Putnam (Rep.); John Wetherbee (Dem.); Bob White (Rep.); and Ellen Marie Wilds (Write In Candidate).

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Trimm Auction Services Sarah Boles
This still shot taken from the video below shows Sarah (Trimm) Boles, after she sang the jingle. She also had just sung the Star-Spangled Banner at the grand opening of the new location for Trimm Auction Services.

105th Jingle Performer

Sarah (Trimm) Boles sings the jingle on Aug. 11, 2018 just after her brother’s ribbon-cutting ceremony in Trenton. Her brother is J.R. Trimm. He owns Trimm Auction Services LLC. If you see Jeff Hardison and you want to sing the jingle, just let him know or send an email to He asks people to sing it, too, and some of them agree to sing it. (Thanks people!)
Published Aug. 11, 2018 at 2:48 p.m.

© Video by Jeff M. Hardison, All Rights Reserved

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