On behalf of Williston AARP Chapter 912 and Citizens for an Engaged Electorate (CEE), I wish to thank and congratulate the people of all ages and party preference who attended our jointly sponsored Candidate Forum on Saturday, July 23.
We appreciate the city’s willingness to allow the event to take place in the community center, and we thank Mayor Heathcoat for allowing us to use the flag from City Hall. We also thank Pam Vamosi and the Lion’s Club for graciously lending us their podium.
We are grateful for the presence of our Supervisor of Elections, Tammy Jones, who spoke and then maintained a voter registration and information table throughout the event.
We also thank the candidates for coming before the people to tell who they are, why they are running and what they plan to accomplish if they are chosen.
Jerry Lawrence and Jeff Edison for Superintendent of Schools and those running for positions on the County Commission—Berlon Weeks, John Meeks, Chetley Breeden, Mike Joyner, Matt Brooks and Danny Stevens—presented their contrasting views to enable voters to make informed choices.
Three of the six candidates running for our newly drawn U.S. Congress District 2—Steve Crapps, Rob Lapham and Ken Sukhia—drove many miles to be there, as did Florida Congressman Charlie Stone, who represents Levy County, as part of Florida House District 22. His opponent was not present.
It’s 9:30 in the morning. I’m in the cabin of a once submerged, rather odd-looking houseboat. I’m listening to a pianist play one of his own compositions. Eyes closed, his head bobs slowly with the tempo.
Just another Monday morning in Cedar Key.
It began the night before. Captain Bobby tugged on my sleeve for the second time. “You’ve got to hear this young man play,” Bobby said. “He’s phenomenal.” I did and he was. For the next hour or more, Galen Huckins coaxes notes from the baby grand in the lobby of the Island Hotel. A bit of New Orleans jazz, mixed with just a touch of classical. Even a dash of salsa, combined with a ballad or two. He changes tempo, then changes key. He reaches into the piano and plucks a string. The music flows. One after another, each piece more captivating then the last. After the last song Galen Huckins grins, shares a bit of his story and I'm hooked. We make arrangements to meet in the morning……
Cedar Key, it is déjà vu all over again. On Saturday of small boat weekend our 17 foot Oday day sailor capsized not too far from Atsena Otie in a failed jibe attempt because of what will remain an unspecified operator error. (Déjà vu all over again because this is our second knockdown for the same reason).
The purpose of this letter to the editor is to thank all of the anonymous small boat weekend participants who took part in our rescue. Our mishap occurred in water shallow enough that we could stand and we wound up walking, sheepishly, up to the beach on Seta Otie. In the meantime our boat was drifting away with the tide and wind and, honestly, we thought it might be best to just let it go. However, that was not to be.
Several people went about rescuing our boat. One group caught up to the drifting boat, stood on the center board which miraculously righted it, and then towed it to the beach. Another group retrieved almost all of our equipment (including the rudder). I think all we lost was one hat and one short piece of line. We were then ferried to town, hitched a ride home with Andy Bair, and brought our motor boat back to tow our sailboat home. Thanks to the efforts of many small boat weekend participants the sailboat is safely at home sitting on its lift looking no worse for its exciting Saturday.
The issue of signage is a critical one. Proper signage informs the public what it may do, where it might go, what is legal and illegal, and so on. In effect, signage ensures safety and promulgates adherence to expectations. Signs are not a convenience; they are a must. Lack of signage compromises public knowledge and consequently its safety.
Destruction of signs is not an option; however, their obliteration continues to occur on Lukens.
On May 4, at 6 pm the signs and the posts were still in place.
On May 5, at 7:20 am, less than 24 hours later, the signs and the posts were gone, nowhere to be found in the area.
LUKENS UPDATE MAY 2, 2016
As some focus upon the Suwannee River Water Management Distract’s management regarding the Lukens Tract, others focus upon Levy County’s issuance of building permits to Topping for his property at Lukens.
Below you will find Dr. Marguerite VanLandingham’s challenge to Levy County for issuing a permit to Topping to build a home on the Lukens Tract.
Following those cogent arguments is Levy County Development Department Director William Hammond’s response to VanLandingham.
Some registered voters in Levy County won’t be allowed to vote in the presidential preference primary next month, March 2016. It has nothing to do with picture I.D. or precinct designation.
Florida is a closed primary state, and if you are not registered as a member of the party of the person for whom you wish to vote—either Democrat or Republican—you will not be allowed to vote for that person. Citizens registered as Independent, NPA, Green, Libertarian or other party affiliations may as well stay home. They won’t be given a ballot.
It is not too late to register if you have moved or changed your name or you wish to vote for the first time. Neither is it too late to change your party affiliation if you wish to vote for your chosen candidate, but the deadline is looming. To vote in the presidential preference primary, you must declare your party ahead of time by registering for that party by February 16.
To be clear, if you wish to vote for Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush, or any other Republican candidate, you must be registered as a Republican in order to get a Republican ballot in the primary on March 15 or during the early voting the week prior to that date.
If you wish to vote for Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders, you must be registered as a Democrat in order to get a Democratic ballot in the primary period in March.
It costs nothing to switch, and you can change right back after the vote. On the other hand, if you wish to vote in the August primary for other major party candidates, the same rules apply. You must be registered as a member of the party of the candidates for whom you wish to vote. That deadline is August 1.
Registration forms can be downloaded from the Internet at www.votelevy.com/Register-to-Vote. Completed forms can be mailed, but they must be postmarked by February 16, 2016. Forms can also be picked up at the office of the county’s Supervisor of Elections, any DMV office or public library.
I can’t imagine why anyone in America would skip the opportunity to vote. If you don’t think the person in the White House has an impact on your life, you are not paying attention.
People have died for the right to vote, and others have died so that you can have this privilege. Please exercise your privilege, your duty, your honor to vote.
More information has come to light of late; it is abbreviated below. The bottom line is still the same: all discussions thus far involve express denial of public access to the Lukens Tract.
The Toppings made two “offers” to the Suwannee River Water Management District on October 13, 2015. Both “swaps” involve denial of public access to the Lukens Tract.
THE SWAPS / EXCHANGES
In effect, for one or two small properties (see property sizes below) which are geographically separated from SRWMD other properties, and thus difficult to manage, the Toppings acquire nearly the entire Lukens Tract with no public access.
In effect, for one less-than-on- acre-sized property, which is geographically separated from SRWMD other properties, and thus difficult to manage, the Toppings get nearly the entire Lukens Tract with no public access.
THE PROPERTIES AND THE NUMBERS
According to the Levy County Tax records as of today, some of these parcels are not currently owned by the Toppings.
The land the Toppings want to the east and the west of their currently-owned Lukens Tract property is approximately 28 acres.
Cedar Key News is currently investigating and will report upon two very unclear concepts:
Cedar Key News EditorialLUKENS PROPERTY TO BE CLOSED
Colleagues from Palm Harbor, Casselberry, New Smyrna Beach, Belle Glade, and Marco Island converged at the Cedar Key Library’s upstairs meeting room to participate in the workshop designed to teach participants to ably interpret, assemble, and disassemble the Smithsonian’s “The Way We Worked” traveling exhibit, which will remain in place until October 24, 2014. The group is pictured to the left.
The exhibit will travel to these other five small Florida cities when it leaves Cedar Key in October and these visitors will be the exhibit’s orchestrators in their towns. They came ready to learn and learn they did.
Welcoming them with smiles and coffee were Cedar Key Vice-Mayor Sue Colson, Cedar Key Historical Society President Ken Young, Cedar Key Historical Society Museum Director Galina Binkley, cedar Key's own Dr. John Andrews, and Levy County Visitors Bureau Exeutive Director Carol McQueen. Later in the day, participants experienced a first-hand taste of “how Cedar Key works” with lunch at Tony’s Seafood Restaurant, a location so integral to the city’s living history of fishing and tourism. Andrews, Colson, and McQueen are pictured to the right.
What was an empty room at 8am became, before noon, a series of colorful gears, action-filled pictures, informative banners, and interactives explaining how Americans have labored over the past 150 years.
Smithsonian Institution Director of Exhibits Carol Harsh led the workshop, carefully overviewing the contents of some twelve huge crates and their packing logic and demonstrating, in much detail, the erection of one of the exhibit’s parts. Instruction included everything from how to introduce visitors to the exhibit’s meaningful content to the repacking of the crates and the truck at the exhibit’s end. Harsh is pictured in the above left snapshot in the polka-dotted center.
Florida Humanities Council Program Coordinator Alex Buell and his colleagues Dr. Jennifer Snyder and Keith Simmons functioned as the critical support team assisting the small Florida cities’ representatives construct their assigned part of the exhibit. University of Florida Master Lecturer, the Department of History, Dr. Steven Noll will function as Cedar Key’s resident expert on the exhibit’s content.
Demonstrating the adage that learning is doing, the participants did, indeed, learn as they worked. Under Harsh’s careful eyes and with Buell’s, Snyder’s, and Simmons’ assistance, the exhibit took shape. No hammers, no nails, no pliers, no wrenches were needed, so well designed is the exhibit.
The session ended with no ceiling tiles, no ceiling fans, and no lights lost in the endeavor and learned, confident, smiling small cities’ representatives.
CKS GRADUATION SENIORS, A RICH AND VARIED LOT
From “ag” and “chem” class shenanigans, homecoming court, and the football field and basketball court to the United States Naval Academy, Air Force, insurance, music photography, nurse anesthetist, fishing guide, international relations, CSI agent, and resting on a beach, the Cedar Key School seniors are a rich a varied group.Do, take a moment, and enjoy the photographs below and the Spotlights of each graduate that will appear when you click on the the photos or the blue “View the Senior Spotlights” under the photos. You’ll enjoy the students’ memories, favorite teachers, and future plans.
Summer’s arriving soon, and that means heat, good fishing, the occasional tropical storm, and, to some of us, the baseball season. The Cedar Key Sharks baseball nine did remarkably well in their first year in their new division, but school’s out and the games have ended. The #1 ranked Gators are just 51 miles down SR 24, but after this weekend’s series with rival FSU for the right to head to Omaha for the College World Series, McKethan Stadium will be empty again until next spring. That leaves professional baseball, for those willing to travel some distance. But if you’re planning to visit a major league stadium this summer, you’d better bring money. Lots and lots of money.
According to Fortune magazine feature writer Jonathan Chew, two people attending a game this summer, buying tickets, two hot dogs, two beers, and parking their car can expect to pay $77.92. Our closest MLB team- the Tampa Bay Rays-comes in a bit cheaper at $69.11, but if you’re a family of four, you must add two tickets, many more hot dogs and sodas, and . . . well, you may be looking for a second job when the trip is over.
Or. Or . . . you could travel 2:44 minutes down 19/98 and spend far far less watching the Lakeland Flying Tigers, who are playing their 2016 season at historic Henley Field. The Flying Tigers, minor league affiliate of the Detroit Tigers, compete in the Florida State League, which is Advanced, or “High A Ball” in the parlance of professional baseball. This means that the players, most of whom are relative newcomers to the profession, are considered very serious prospects whose chance to move upwards towards “The Show’ are better than average. The Tigers have been coming to Lakeland for over 50 years, easily the longest relationship between a major league team and a spring training venue. Minor league baseball teams are known for colorful mascot names, and the Florida State League is no exception: the Clearwater Threshers, the Daytona Tortugas, the Brevard County Manatees, the Charlotte Stone Crabs and the Jupiter Hammerheads are just a few of these entries. So your trip southward to Lakeland will provide a good look at some future stars who play an energetic style of ball in their attempt to impress the organization and enhance their future in the game.
Uncle Ernie Died Last Week
Ernie, Ernest R. McDonald, Uncle Ernie, died last week. He was a dirt farmer, a son of a dirt farmer, one of those kind that live so close to the soil, to the ground, that they sort of become inseparable, the earth, the farmer, the soil, the ground. Uncle Ernie died last week.
He was maybe, five foot ten though he seemed much taller. He had a barrel chest that, after a deep breath, measured maybe fifty-four inches around. He always wore bib overalls over a cotton plaid work shirt and white socks and clod hoppers on his feet, you know, those boots with the leather laces that come up through the eyes so far then go to those brass hooks above to lace as you wished for the work you were about.
He had a round, red, robust face, and when he laughed which was often, it came from deep in the belly and came out like a rapid machine gun rattle or a hen pheasant forty yards off, too far away to fire that twelve gauge.
I visited him often as a young boy, sometimes with my younger sister, Barbara, and when I did, I stayed in the old house, the big house, a two story wooden frame with a fireplace and registers to allow the warm air downstairs to reach the bedrooms upstairs. His dad lived alone in the big house. I was a visitor there. It wasn’t wired. We used coal oil lamps for light. It was dim most of the time.
Uncle Ernie lived in a small house a few yards off built much like what a few years back we might have called a house trailer. It was wired. The farm was somewhere outside of Salem, in Northeastern Ohio, on a dirt road, in the midst of the Amish people with their black horse-drawn carriages. That’s how it was.
Uncle Ernie farmed eighty acres with two draft horses, work horses with the big hooves, the hair growing long around them, with mechanical plows, rakes, bailers, and the rest, that somehow magically were connected to the yoke behind the horses. His job, that dirt farming, was a tough one.
He was up way before daybreak, shaking me so I dressed and went along, to milk by hand those eleven or twelve milk cows, who spent the night in the lower part of the barn, each of us carrying coal oil lanterns which we hung on nails overhead. The barn down there was steaming and warmer due to heat from the cows and from the decomposing manure, the smell of which you could not escape. That was part of it.
I remember the sound of the squirt, squirt, squirt, as you squeezed the teats, one in each hand, and pulled as you squeezed so as to get the most milk from the utter with each as you alternated left hand then right hand and back up for another grip and yet another stroke, left and right.
And the sound of the squirt of that warm milk as it hit that galvanized pail held between your knees as you sat on that three-legged stool. And the smell of that milk, that sweet unpasteurized, unhomogenized milk as it built in that pail. And the steam coming up from that warm milk, and the color, much more yellow than that we buy at the Market and much stronger by taste, too.
He had some sows and some pigs that ate the leftovers and the apples picked off the ground from the several acres of orchard on the hill overlooking the house, the valley, the farm. I remember a picnic with Uncle Ernie, his wife, Virginia, my dad’s sister, we called her Auntie, under that large maple tree in the pasture, when one large sow got into the picnic basket and made short-shrift of what was in there.
Then his dad died. Then one night the orchard caught fire. All the neighbors came to help to no avail. It was destroyed. Then one of the draft horses got sick and died. And the cows were older and not producing much milk. And the silo collapsed. Uncle Ernie, with a growing family that needed providing, took a job with Chrysler a little ways away. He sold that eighty-acre farm that had been in the family for who knows how many generations, for something like seven thousand dollars. He moved to a place on a hill closer to work and eventually retired from Chrysler.
His last years were spent in a rest home not that far from Salem. He didn’t really belong there. Now he’s back where he belongs, back one with the soil, back one with the ground, as dirt farmers should. Uncle Ernie died last week.
‘Till we meet again, be out there looking for Trouble in Cedar Key…
Eons of ions . . . . . Broccoli Billy
Some time back, say about ’70, Allen and Caroline drove to Franklin, VA, near the southeast shore to visit Peggy and me for a few days. You’ve met these people before. Allen worked for “The Atlanta Constitution” as a sports writer. Caroline was his wife, a schoolteacher in Atlanta and sister to Peggy, a legal secretary. Allen and I had a number of interests together, fishing and hunting being two of them.
One day early, Allen and I set out, boat in tow, to a fresh water reservoir serving Virginia Beach. The boat was a short, V-prow, aluminum Jon boat with a two-and-a-half horse motor. That was the maximum sized motor that was allowed on the reservoir. There were attendants at this lake that would let you fish if you had a freshwater fishing license. There was a modest charge to fish the lake.