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INITIATIVE TO RESTORE
VOTING RIGHTS TO THE
FORMERLY INCARCERATED
 
October 207
Cedar Key, Florida

Having had hands-on volunteer arts and mental health volunteer experience for the past 5 years, I have come to passionately support this proposed change to the Florida constitution. Twenty years ago, I founded the Journey Daybook, a registered Florida non-profit collaborative. We work one-on-one with select small groups of women inmates at the Florida Women’s Reception Center, in Lowell, near Ocala FL. We teach these women how to access their intuition and express their feelings through written, illustrated journals. I have had a unique opportunity to know many of these women on a personal basis as friends and to understand the harsh reality and heartfelt healing and redemption that that can result after a long prison sentence.

Recently, there has been much in the media describing the problems and challenges of incarcerated adults who adapt to recreating their lives outside prison. Among these spokespersons are Susan Burton, author of Becoming Ms Burton: from Prison to Recovery. She received a CNN Hero of the Year award in 2010. Recently, there have been several other books and documentaries made on this subject. Just Google the subject of “Prison Reform” and you will find a wealth of material.

Florida is one of only 3 states that does not allow the restoration of voting rights after incarceration for crimes except murder and sexual assault. The other states are Kentucky and Ohio. The Commonwealth of Virginia restored voting rights to ex-felons in 2016. Isn’t it time that Florida become a state that shows compassion and opportunity to our citizens who have returned to society after incarceration?

The Florida Voting Rights Restoration Initiative (Initiative #14-01) may appear on the November 6, 2018 ballot. This measure would restore the right to vote for people with prior felony convictions, except those convicted of murder or a felony sexual offense, upon completion of their sentences.

In order for this ballot initiative to appear on the 2018 ballot, however, there need to be 766,200 verified signatures collected by February 1, 2018. This ballot initiative is sponsored by Floridians for a Fair Democracy who is collecting these petitions. The initiative is support by both Democratic and Republican organizations. To add your signature to the petition for ballot inclusion, go to online to -
 and sign your petition!
 
For more information, including specific history, facts and other data: 
Read a report from the Brennan Center, New York University Law School –

I hope that you will understand the need for adopting this ballot initiative. Thank you for the opportunity to present my concern for the restoration of rights for those of us who have already paid our debt to society.

Peggy Herrick

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Thanks, Thanks 
Morriston, Florida
July 26, 2016

 

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.


     
 ONLY IN CEDAR KEY AND
      ONLY AT THE ISLAND HOTEL…
      if you  love cedar key, boats, and music,  
     this  article is for you...

 

THE PRINCESS AND THE PIANO PLAYER
08 MAY 2016

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 MAY 15 Playingplay 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……


Small Boat Weekend Rescue
Cedar Key
May 12, 2016

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.


 LUKENS  UPDATE  MAY 5
“NOW YOU SEE THEM,
NOW YOU DON’T”….SIGNS

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. 

THE LATEST SIGN INCIDENT
On May 4, 2016, good to its word, the Suwannee River Water Management District posted signs on the Lukens Tract carefully delineating the private and public properties and the public access road through the entire Tract.  The signs were, for the second time, placed on posts driven into the ground.

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.   


 

CKN EDITORIAL 
 
 
 
Who Is in Charge?
22 April 2016
It has happened again . . . another visitor to the SRWMD conservation area, a public site locally known as the Lukens Tract, experienced an obscene verbal assault by the owner of the private inholding parcel. In this bullying attempt to threaten and intimidate, the property owner showed a volatile side of his personality to another person who had the legal right to be on the site.
 
The bullying and sending of intimidating, threatening letters to some of those who do not agree with the property owners, has been an on-going tactic since the public, some eighty individuals strong, opposed the sale of the conservation land during the SRWMD meeting in Cedar Key in November of 2015.
 
Now, in an attempt to keep the public out of the conservation area, tactics have intensified to include verbal, threatening assaults on people who are visiting the conservation area, with every legal right to access this public land.
 
The attack this Monday was only one of the attacks by the present private land owner.  The menacing, aggressive verbal abuse leveled upon visitors on in this publicly owned, pristine conservation area just north of the Number Four Bridge is inexcusable.
 
This public conservation area has been owned by the Suwannee River Water Management District (SRWMD) since 2011 and is managed by the Lower Suwannee National Wildlife Refuge. No incidents have been reported on this public land until the recent sale of the in-parcel to the present owners. All of the confrontations have occurred on the public conservation land. Some of these attacks have been reported to law enforcement agencies and to both the SRWMD and the LSNW Refuge.
 
The 60-foot public access right-of-way, that runs from the paved road at the entrance to the east end of the tract, has been in use for years. The new owners were aware of the existing right-of-way and that it crossed through their property when they purchased their site.
 
This Lukens Tract is state conservation land and is open to the public for recreation uses. The SRWMD has had signs posted on the conservation property to inform the public of the different parcels and how to proceed through the properties. These signs lasted no more than two days before they disappeared. No one has been charged with the theft or vandalism of this state property.
 
This harassment of visitors to the conservation areas has to be stopped. These recent attacks are aggressive, criminal and dangerous.
 
This is state land managed by a federal agency. There should be no reason for the public to feel that they cannot safely visit the area. Who is in control here?
 
 
The Cedar Key News

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SOME REGISTERED VOTERS CAN’T VOTE
February 11, 2016

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.

Sincerely,
D. Brown
Morriston FL 32668
 
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Thanks, Cedar Key Fire and Rescue
Cedar Key, Florida
May 22, 2015
 
Dear Editor,
This comes to applaud the services and care afforded by Chief Robinson and the local volunteers. Last year, I fell and the response was outstanding. It is so comforting to look up from my forced prone position on the ground and see my neighbors there to help. My broken hip at the time immobilized me. Not a fun state; even for an old fellow. Many belated thanks, and may we continue to be served by these skilled and generous gentlemen and neighbors. 
 
Earl Starnes
Cedar Key, Florida
May 21 at 4:24 pm 
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To the Citizens of Cedar Key:
I am honored and thankful that you are allowing me to return to the City Council.  Some of you know that in the last 15 years I have served our community both on and off the Council and in other roles. Public service is a priority in my life; however while Lauren and Sarah were still in high school, I withdrew from elected service in order to be more available for them, and to play a more active role in their lives while I could.  Now, as they move on to the next stage of their lives, I am excited to be back on the Council, and to apply all the things I’ve learned since last serving.  And, now that I am back, I plan on staying. How long?  As long as you will have me.
One of my goals for this term is to implement better long-term planning so that our resources are wisely allocated, and contingencies are anticipated and prepared for.  Also, I hope to run our departments in a professional manner so that citizens receive exceptional service from our City.  Most of all I look forward to listening to the needs of our community, and to rolling up my sleeves to work with the new Council and staff to provide for those needs in a frugal, efficient and timely manner. And, behind all my efforts is always the goal of protecting our community from inappropriate change so that we can preserve it the way we all love and enjoy so much.
I have been circulating throughout the community talking with many of you to gather your thoughts, and concerns.  I appreciate your taking the time to meet with me.  If I have not had time to see you, please feel free to find me.  I value your ideas and look forward to serving you.   Again, Jolie and I thank you for your support, and look forward to positive and productive years to come.
Heath Davis
 
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Chimney-trapped Turkey Vulture
Lassoed from Rye Key Fireplace
Cedar Key, Florida
APRIL 1, 2015
 
 
The late Jack Tyson was frequently heard to exclaim “Only in Cedar Key” when he heard of the latest eccentricity that had happened in the town. Our Annual Visitors nowadays provide more weird happenings than he could have dreamed of, but we would like to share with other readers our latest home-grown adventure.
 
On Tuesday last we, sadly, decided that, after weeks of extensive market research, the ospreys are not going to nest on top of our chimney this year. On Thursday, however, there were definite rustlings inside the chimney that suggested the swifts might be back and preparing to rear another of the happy families that we have fostered over the years. But it’s not nearly time for the swifts, so what else could it be? A first sighting of a bit of wing indicated a bird that might possibly be a dove, but with some gymnastics and the help of a flashlight we eventually decided that the small naked red head and a beady eye identified our visitor as a somewhat sooty and uncomfortable turkey vulture.


 
Cell Tower Update in Cedar Key
Scott Dennison
Cedar Key, Florida 32625
 

 Dear Editor,

Jeff Pilgrim, the ATC (American Tower Corp.) Project Manager, has indicated that all four suggested sites are acceptable to the carriers and are suitable for construction.
 
Here is a brief synopsis of some facts concerning this project;
 
1. City tax dollars - NO public funds will be used to permit, construct, maintain, repair, or operate the ATC site. ATC and its tenants fund the entire permitting, construction, maintenance, repair and operation of the tower site. 
 
2. Safety - ATC will construct the tower to meet all current City and State building codes, and it will be engineered to meet the windstorm requirements. Any buildings will meet the requirements of the current lease agreement and approvals of the City. 
 
3. Liability - ATC and the tower tenants carry liability insurance for any catastrophic collapse or fire at the tower site. The City taxpayers are not liable. 
 
4. FCC Regulations -  The ATC site must comply with FCC regulations which limit the wattage or signal strength to stay within the prescribed limits for public health and safety. The regulated carriers use automated monitoring systems to ensure their equipment complies with the FCC and other regulations. These regulated companies face severe fines should their equipment exceed the regulatory requirements for public health and safety. FCC Info link: www.fcc.gov/guides/human-exposure-rf-fields-guidelines-cellular-and-pcs-sites (FCC summary attached)
 
5. Site location - There are 4 sites under consideration by the City ; the City parking lots at 3rd and D Streets (SR24), or at 3rd and A Streets, or on Park Street adjacent to Cedar Key Marina II building, or the public works parking adjacent to the fire department. ALL of these sites are acceptable to both ATC and the prospective cell companies. The City Commission approves the final location. 
 
6. Site construction - The City lease agreement specifically dictates the site requirements and appearance. Any buildings must comply with the appearance requirements of the agreement, as well as, City and State FBC building requirements.  Chain link fencing and security bob wire is not permitted. 
 
Improved cell service will allow our residents, businesses, and guest to maintain critical communications for their own safety, family, and business communications. Our own police and fire departments use City provided cell phones for their daily and emergency communications. Florida's aggressive eHealth initiative is designed to support improved communications for rural communities with their doctors and health service providers.
 
I would suggest City taxpayers to contact the City Commission at;
 
Mayor Dale Register
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
#352-543-9187
       
Vice-Mayor Sue Colson
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#352-543-6648
 
Royce Nelson
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#352-543-9292
 
Annette Hodges
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#352-543-5707
 
Tina Ryan
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#352-543-0301
 
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Tale of Two Counties
Thank you for the timely and thought provoking editorial "Tale of Two Counties." Although currently I'm not a resident of Levy County, I am an admirer of Cedar Key, and subscribe to the Cedar Key News.  
This election year the National News is concerned with individual States hastily pushing through legislation to prevent "Voter Fraud," Levy County Florida and Mr. James Griffin provide a new twist on this problem. The voters of Levy County deserve clarification on a number of issues put forth in your Editorial. As an interested Party so do I.
Would the Levy County Property Appraiser help me understand how the legal residency issue was overlooked?
Would Mr. Griffin help me understand why he would choose, under the circumstances, to run for Levy County Commissioner and not run for one of the two open Dixie County Commissioner seats?
Since records indicate that Mr. Griffin is a resident of both Dixie, and Levy Counties. (registered in Dixie County in 2010 and Levy County in 2012), is he listed as eligible to vote in both counties in the same election? If so, has he? 
Maureen Reilly-Nathanson
Hypoluxo, Florida
31 October 2014
 
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CKN has never endorsed a candidate for public office. The CKN Board of Directors has had a policy of requiring unanimous agreement on political endorsements, hence none have ever been made. Furthermore, CKN has assiduously avoided the interwoven emotional minefields of religion, abortion and guns. However, we believe that newspapers, even local newspapers, must report critical fact-based articles during contested elections.
 
On October 29, 2014, CKN published an article about a candidate for office in Levy County. The article is based on hard facts found in the public record. The candidate in question was given ample advanced opportunity to respond to questions raised by the article. Our pages are open, as always, to letters to the editor, within the published policies of our paper.
 
We welcome discussion.
Editor, Cedar Key News
 
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