In what is now, as opposed to last week’s Tentative Budget Hearing lasting ten minutes, the shortest meeting in years, totaling seven minutes, the Cedar Key City Commissioners met at City Hall on Monday, September 15, 2014, for its Final Budget Hearing at 6pm.
All commissioners were in attendance: Mayor Dale Register, Vice-Mayor Sue Colson, and Commissioners Tina Ryan, Royce Nelson, and Nettie Hodges. Staff in attendance were Police Chief / Public Works Director Virgil Sandlin, City Clerk Teresa George, and staffer Lisa Fine.
Commissioners unanimously approved two resolutions. Resolution Number 358 adopted the final levy of ad valorem taxes for the City. Resolution Number 359 adopted the city’s 2014-2015 final budget.
This final budget is based on the rollback rate of 5.4940, which requires no raise in city taxes for the 2014-2015 fiscal year.
A copy of the final budget is available at City Hall.
Feasting on mouth-watering baked clams, Tony’s rich, delicious clam chowder, and huge butter-drenched steamed clams, wll over ninety of the Cedar Key community and its visitors gathered behind the Library and the Chamber of Commerce last evening to celebrate the opening of the Smithsonian presence to Cedar Key.
Visitors also toured the ongoing exhibits, which will remain in place for the six-week visit, along Second Street: the Cedar Key Arts Center second floor gallery, the Aquaculture Association exhibit with the giant clam outside its door welcoming them inside, the Cedar Key Historical Society Museum, and the Smithsonian’s The Way We Worked” exhibit in the Library’s second floor meeting room.
Levy County Visitors Bureau Executive Director Carol McQueen dressed in last century garb. Maurice Hendrix, Lannie Cardona, and Dale Register manned the bar. Sue Colson and Leslie Sturmer served while Russ Colson and Ada Lang cooked clams. Vincent Quinn served Tony’s chowder. Linda Seyfert provided not only the truly Cedar Key décor but the recipe for the baked clams.
The Whitney Laboraatory for Marine Science and Seahorse Key Marine Laboratory group were, indeed, present. Director of Developent and External Relations Jessica Long is picturred here in yellow. Seahorse Key Marine Lab Associate Director and Research Assistant Professor with the Departmennt of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation at the University of Florida Dr. Coleman Sheehy III is the gentleman with his arm about Ms. Long. The second lady with Dr. Sheehy is Cedar Key's own Dr. Maria Sgmbati, Education and Outreach Coordinator with the University of Florida and based at the Kirkpatrick Marine Lab on Cedar Key.
Lilly Rooks, currently running for Levy County Commissioner in District Four, graced the exhibits.
The Drummond Bank, Cedar Key Aquaculture Association, the Lions, Tony’s Seafood, the Chamber of Commerce, and other businesses and individuals came together in true Cedar Key style to produce the Sunday evening event.
Crossing the Number 4 Bridge onto the island, looking out over the oyster bars and black needlerush to clouds reflected in glass-flat water, I have to wonder why on earth any of us ever leave Cedar Key.
Nevertheless, we did leave this summer, to walk 175 miles of the Way of Saint James (called El Camino de Santiago in Spanish) in Portugal and Spain. And, this was the sixth time my husband Russ and I left to hike parts of the Camino. “Why on earth?” surely is an appropriate question.
This year’s hike was on the Portuguese Route of the Camino. We gave up a month in Cedar Key for rivers, oceans, bridges, fields, woods, mountains, seafood, wine, sunshine, rain, birds, frogs, lizards, sheep, goats, Aussies, Spaniards, Texans, Czechs, eucalyptus, slickrock and mud.
Lisbon, our point of arrival in Portugal, was beautiful. Well, beautiful until I encountered a pickpocket and lost a bunch of money. I saw him outside the food market when I went in. I saw him behind me as I walked away. I turned and smiled at him. He smiled back, which was appropriate as since he had all my money. But, bless his little thief heart, he put my wallet back in my bag with only cash missing. I still had my credit card and passport.
Things got much better after that. We began our hike from Porto, a short train ride north of Lisbon. The first evening, after a day of level, cobblestone trails through villages and farm lands, we stayed in a renovated 18th century monastery with beds for 50 people. We shared the building with a Czech woman, Janna. We each had a room with three cots and three double windows overlooking the grounds, chapel, and distant fields. The shared toilet and shower room was at the far end of the long hallway with only vacant rooms opening to it.
In the cool morning sunshine of the next day, we left with Janna still behind her closed door. We walked, again on cobblestone trails, through fields of wildflowers and wheat. The owner of the café-bar, where we had breakfast in a village after an hour on the trail, was from Rhodesia. She was eager to speak English. Over fresh-made pastry and café con leche we learned about her emigration to Portugal.
By afternoon, following a second sunny day of flat-land walking, we were settled into a small B&B with Portuguese speaking innkeepers, a private suite with our own bathroom, antique wooden winemaking equipment scattered about the yard and house, a huge flower garden, and a homemade breakfast. When I asked what we owed them and he replied 35 euros (about $50), I assumed I misunderstood and asked again. He thought I meant it was too much.
The next evening found us in a small city with a lively plaza. When we came out of our restaurant after diner, bands were playing and the townsfolk were dancing in the square. No special occasion . . . just a weekend.
Ah, but it does rain on you when you commit to a three-week, outdoor trip. Ponchos deployed, the next day we walked forever, smelling the fresh wet soil and anticipating arrival at Casa Fernanda, reputed to be the best albergue (hostel) in Portugal. It popped up on us unexpectedly in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by a vegetable garden.
We were glad to be there. The kitchen in the main house seated 18 at the dining table. The outdoor, open-air living room had chairs and tables under a roof. In the rain, we sat around with the other hikers. Janna had caught up to us and was there. We met a young Finnish woman, a Slovenian, and a Pole, a self-described second-generation Texas hippie from Terlingua, and four Italian women hiking together. This group became our “hiking pod.” We kept meeting up with them in cafes and other lodgings.
The bunk house had one room with 16 cots and a bathroom, and one room with a double bed and bathroom. Being the only married couple there that night . . . thank you, Universe . . . we were assigned the private room. Lunch, dinner, singing, guitar-playing by Janna, folk dancing by our hosts, story-telling in four languages later, Fernanda and her husband requested that we pay “whatever you want to give.” If they had said 30 euros we would have paid, but since they didn’t, we paid 50.
We hiked for 15 more days, two of them in a steady downpour, two in ponchos part of the day, and 11 in the cool sunshine . . . near perfect. Of course, the biggest hill and the only one with slick rock appeared in the steady rain. I could hardly believe we weren’t miserable. But the woods were so pretty in the rain that it was joyous, like being at camp when I was a kid.
Seafood is king in Portugal and the Province of Galicia of Spain where we walked. Razor clams were my favorite, especially combined with Padron peppers. The peppers of Padron are served roasted in olive oil and sprinkled with sea salt. You get a whole plate of them, each about the size and color of a jalapeno. They are sweet and mild . . . usually. Occasionally they are hot. The excitement is that you never know; roulette on a plate.
The last few days of our hike were along the coastline in Spain. The sun was bright. The water was rich blue. We stayed in quaint, old, stone inns run by couples welcoming us into their villages and history. It was spectacular.
Is all of that beauty enough to make us, and many others, return to hike the Camino several times? What is the Camino? When we decided to give it a try, how did we prepare? I will try to tell you in Episode 2 of this little series.
Peg Rooney Hall lives in Cedar Key and Gainesville. She is on the Board of the Friends of the Lower Suwannee & Cedar Keys NWRs and chair of its communications team. She is co-author, with her husband Russell J Hall, of Second Wind on the Way of Saint James: A Novel and The Summer of a Thousand Cheeses. Their blog is www.caminodreaming.net. In November, they will teach “Hiking the Camino” for the Santa Fe College Community Education.
At a Sept. 10 meeting in Kissimmee, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) acted to prohibit lionfish aquaculture. Lionfish are an invasive species that have a negative impact on native fish and habitat.
The changes will go into effect by Dec. 1. Updates will be available at MyFWC.com/Lionfish.
As part of our Paddling Project, Friends has been involved with the Hidden Coast Paddling Adventures for several years . . . in 2012 in the Town of Suwannee, 2013 in Cedar Key, and 2014 in Jena/Steinhatchee.
The International Coastal Cleanup, taking place on September 20th this year, is the world's largest volunteer effort to help protect the ocean. Sponsored by the Ocean Conservancy, it has become the world’s largest volunteer effort for ocean health. An astounding 648,015 volunteers in 92 countries picked up more than 12.3 million pounds of trash from the shores of lakes, streams, rivers, and the ocean on just one day in last year’s International Coastal Cleanup. They have recorded every item found, giving us a clear picture of the manufactured items impacting the health of humans, wildlife, and economies. The body of data from the International Coastal Cleanup has inspired action to rid the ocean of harmful trash.
Cleanup of the Cedar Key shoreline and outlying islands will occur from 8:00 AM until Noon on Saturday, September 20th. Volunteers are to sign-in and pick-up trash bags at the Cedar Key Marina. Boat transportation provided by Tidewater Tours, Cedar Key Island Tours, the NWR and others to offshore keys is available to volunteers on a “first come, first serve” basis. From Noon to 2 PM, all collected garbage will be sorted and documented on Ocean Conservancy data cards. Hot dogs will be provided to all volunteers. Cold water will also be supplied, but bring your own bottle to fill as we do not want to contribute hundreds of plastic bottles to the local landfill.
This year’s effort in Cedar Key is being spearheaded by the Cedar Key Aquaculture Association, City of Cedar Key Marina, USFWS Cedar Keys National Wildlife Refuge, Cedar Key Women’s Club, Florida Nature Coast Conservancy, UF/IFAS Shellfish Extension Program, Tidewater Tours, Cedar Key Island Tours, Kayak Cedar Keys, Robinson’s Seafood, Dog Island Blues Clam Company, Southern Cross Sea Farms, B&E Seafood, and Marina Hardware.
In conjunction with Cedar Key’s Coastal Cleanup, the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Division of Aquaculture is sponsoring a cleanup effort targeting clam farming gear. Plastic netting is used for predator protection of clam crops. However, during storm events cover netting can become dislodged and tidal currents can carry it away from the lease areas. From September 12th through 23rd, a dumpster will be located at the City Marina for clammers, boaters, or anyone to deposit recovered cover netting, clam bags, and any other discarded farming gear.
Those interested in joining this year's Coastal Cleanup in Cedar Key should contact Sue Colson at 352- 543-6648.
Pictures are from the 2012 Coastal Cleanup in Cedar Key. Cover netting collected by the DEP Aquatic Preserve staff being disposed (left). Marine debris collected from offshore keys arrives by canoe (right). At the end of the day, a good haul (left).
The CKS Senior class is doing a yearlong fund raiser where they will be selling Smencils, delightfully scented pencils, for $1.00. The Smencils will be sold all year long by senior class members (or affiliates) at the lunchroom and next to the food cart during the morning.
The Smencils are sold in ten different scents ranging from jelly donut to root beer. Coming soon the senior class will be selling seasonal Smencils, in autumn and Christmas scents.
The pencils are being sold to help fund senior class this year. Mrs. Patty Shewey, senior class sponsor, had this to say about Smencils, “we’re excited about the Smencil sale; it has been going very well.”
September 10, 2014
Fishing with local guide and Cedar Key School teacher Denny Voyles, Gavin Pine, 10, of Gainesville (and weekend Cedar Key visitor) enjoys catching this nice Cedar Key redfish.
Residents, business owners and everyone who has concerns or interest in Orange Creek Basin, which includes Orange Lake, Lochloosa Lake, Newnans Lake, and Paynes Prairie, are welcome and encouraged to attend the Sept. 25 meeting starting at 5 p.m. at Grand Lake RV and Golf Resort, off Highway 318 just east of Interstate 75 next to Ocala Jai Alai in Citra.
This meeting will provide a forum for concerned stakeholders to voice their concerns and play an active role in water quality and natural resource management.
CEDAR KEY SCHOOL ANNOUNCEMENT:
Even though you can hardly tell, summer is almost over. Kids have returned to school, football is back on TV, and hunting season has already been going on for a month now in south Florida. Finally, the time of year we’ve been waiting for is here. And although some of us still have to wait just a bit longer for our season to come in, most of us have already finished our preseason scouting, and we’ve hung our tree stands along well-traveled deer trails, next to a mature oak that’ll soon begin dropping acorns. I don’t know about y’all, but I got a bad case a BUCK FEVER!
In the shortest meeting in years, the Cedar Key City Commissioners met at City Hall for the Thursday, September 4, 2014, Tentative Budget Hearing at 6pm. All commissioners were in attendance: Mayor Dale Register, Vice-Mayor Sue Colson, and Commissioners Tina Ryan, Royce Nelson, and Nettie Hodges.
Commissioners unanimously approved two resolutions. Resolution Number 356 adopted the tentative levy of ad valorem taxes for the City. Resolution Number 357 adopted the city’s 2014-2015 tentative budget.
This tentative budget is based on the rollback rate, which requires no raise in city taxes for the 2014-2015 fiscal year.
In this tentative budget: revenues are estimated at $1,931,502; expenditures are estimated at $1,837,922; excess is estimated at $93,580.
A copy of the tentative budget is available at City Hall.
The Cedar Key Community Redevelopment Agency and the City Commission met in the Cedar Key City Hall on Tuesday, September 2, 2014, the CRA at 6pm, the Commission at 6:20pm.
Staff in attendance included City Attorney Norm Fugate, Police Chief / Public Works Director Virgil Sandlin, Fire Chief / Building Department Manager Robert Robinson, City Clerk Teresa George, and Staffer Lisa Fine.
In the audience were Jean Rigg, Tom Liebert, Allison Nelson, Bob and Jeri Treat, and Mandy and Frank Offerle
COMMUNITY REDEVELOPMENT AGENCY
In attendance were Chair Royce Nelson, Vice-Chair Tina Ryan, and members Dale Register, Sue Colson, and Nettie Hodges.
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.
Twelve rolling crates containing the Smithsonian’s “The Way We Worked” exhibit arrived at the Cedar Key Library yesterday morning, September 3, 2014, at about 9:30am.
The black crates, pictured here, ranged from 150 to some 300 pounds and are pictured below. Nearly four feet high and varying in length and width, the crates, only with the removal of the door handle, barely made it into the Library foyer.
Delivered by STI, Specialized Transportation, Inc., owner operator Elton King, the nine smaller and three larger crates were met and transported upstairs by Cedar Key Public Works’ Brian Hancock and Norm Hodge.
Close at hand and assisting in the operation were Cedar Key Historical Society’s Ken Young and Galina Binkley. Dr. John Andrews, George Sresovich, and David Binkley assisted.
The exhibit will be constructed tomorrow, Friday, by the Florida Humanities Council personnel and assisted by the same Cedar Key entourage.
Expect a follow-up series of pictures in the Cedar Key News.
September 3, 2014
36 million Americans have hearing loss and 7 million cannot afford hearing aids. To answer the call of this underserved population, the Cedar Key Lions Club is partnering with local hearing professionals to not only provide hearing aids but also complete care including testing, fitting and follow-up care at no cost to qualified recipients.
If you are a resident of Cedar Key, Sumner or Rosewood, have a hearing impairment and limited income, you may qualify for this program. Before applying for this program, please be advised that the following providers should be approached first for eligibility:
If you have been denied state and federal assistance, are unable to access commercial markets due to limited resources and are at one of the income levels as stated below, you are eligible to apply for this program.
Applications for Lions Hearing Aid assistance, as well as for vision care and eyeglasses are available at the Cedar Key Library. Please mail all completed applications to: Cedar Key Lions Club, P.O. Box 68, Cedar Key, FL 32625. Upon receipt of the application you will be called to schedule an interview. All information submitted on applications is confidential and all income will need to be verified with statement of benefits from SS, SSD, paycheck stubs, food stamp allowance, pensions, child support, AFDC and VA benefits.
As Helen Keller said, “Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” The Cedar Key Lions Club stands ready to serve those in our community who are in need and are hearing impaired.
August 31, 2014
When someone catches sight of a panther or black bear and reports it to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), the agency’s biologists may use that sighting to help research and manage those species.
Already, the public’s willingness to report where they see panthers and black bears in Florida is having a positive impact on what is known about where these large mammals live and reproduce in the state.