Crabfest violence biggest story of 2013

-A A +A

The year in review

By The Staff

 There were 365 days in 2013 and the Williston Pioneer published every week for 52 consecutive weeks–maintaining the service and dedication to the community it has served since 1879.

Each week the front page of the newspapers was filled with news that affects, interests and involves our readers. 

From what happened at the city council meeting to FFA honors and awards,  each edition was solidly packed with Williston news.

Here are the first paragraphs of the top news stories from our front pages last year. See how many jog your memory.

Jan. 3

On New Year’s Eve two constitutional officers retired from office early— Supervisor of Elections Connie Asbell and Sheriff Johnny Smith.

The departures allowed Sheriff-Elect Bobby McCallum (R) and Supervisor-Elect Tammy Jones (R) to take office a week early,

Jan. 10

Norm Fugate, elected to the city in council in 2011, tendered a letter of resignation Tuesday stating that his scheduling conflict as the attorney for Cedar Key would allow him to only attend one Williston council meeting between now and the end of his term in April. 

Jan. 17

It’s been a month since a shooter entered the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. and forever changed the lives of the town’s 27,000 residents and the nation that felt its pain.

This Saturday, Jan. 19 people will gather in Williston’s Heritage Park to honor and pay tribute to the 27 victims during a candlelight vigil at 7 p.m.

Jan. 24

Dennis Strow, Williston’s Chief of Police for the last 18 months, was chosen by Williston Pioneer readers as their Pioneer of the Year.

Jan. 31

Williston seniors will be able to breathe a sigh of relief tomorrow now that a way has been found for them to stay in what many consider their home away from home.

The Suwannee River Economic Council (SREC) announced Monday that while it is opening a new meal site at Williston First Baptist Church Feb. 1, it will still serve meals from Thompson Hall on Wednesday and Thursday.

Feb. 7

If you were rejoicing two weeks ago that the city of Williston would no longer have impact fees, you may want to rein in that enthusiasm today.

At Tuesday night’s meeting, council took a flip flop on its Jan. 22 decision to eliminate the fees on water and sewer capacity for new development.

Feb. 14

The former Levy County Sheriff’s lieutenant who attacked and held his ex-girlfriend prisoner for 10 hours, beating and raping her, will spend 30 years in prison followed by 15 years sex offender probation with electronic monitoring.

Feb. 21

Failure to submit its annual audit in a timely manner cost the city of Williston a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG)–as much as $650,000–that would have replaced antiquated sewer lines on seven city streets and added a pressure reducing valve for the water system.

Feb. 28

2012 Police Officer of the Year Cpl. Fred Morris and 2012 Firefighter of the Year Tony Moos were honored at the annual Policeman/Fireman banquet at Williston Crossings.

March 14

Three people were arrested Wednesday, March 6, on charges of manufacturing and selling meth out of the Bronson Motel while a 5-month-old infant was also in the room, according to a Levy County Sheriff’s Department press release. 

March 21

The Levy County Commission has approved hiring Chiefland building official Bill Hammond as the county’s building and zoning official but it was not without some heartburn over his salary and benefits. 

March 28

Two people were arrested last week after agents from the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the Levy County Sheriff’s Office received information about an indoor marijuana grow operation at 10150 NE 103 Lane in Bronson.

April 4

Jack Screws, Elihu Ross and Cal Byrd will take their oaths of office Tuesday night during the investiture ceremony for Williston City Council.

April 11

In an attempt to correct what they once called an egregious error, the Williston City Council voted 3-2 Tuesday night to return over $104,000 in impact fees to property owners.

April 18

An alleged carjacker was arrested April 11 after he crashed the vehicle he allegedly took from Hilltop Motel.

April 25

The Williston Middle School Baseball team completed a successful 2013 baseball campaign by winning the 2013 SMAC championship tournament, completing a sweep of all the Boys SMAC championships for the 2012-2013 school year.  

May 2

A long-time celebration was marred Saturday night when shots rang out at Crabfest, killing one and injuring four others.

Barry Barney, 36, died after being shot at Crabfest, billed by promoters as a cultural event for the black community, which occurs every April on CR 318, east of Williston.

May 9

The Williston Police Department is seeking information on locating a Morriston man who may have passed forged checks Between March 31 and April 25.

May 16

After reviewing videos and photographs taken at Williston’s Crabfest April 27, Levy County law enforcement agents discovered that at least one more incident was occurring simultaneously with the shooting that left one man dead.

Three juveniles were arrested last week after the authorities reviewed the    images and interviewed multiple witnesses.

May 23

Last year when interim City Manager Oel Wingo was preparing the current city budget, she allocated $10,000 to be allocated in the form of recreational use scholarships.

The intent was for the money to be used to help defray the registration costs associated with organized sports for any youth who is a city resident who had a genuine financial need, and who might otherwise not be able to afford to play.

Tuesday night the Williston City Council learned that more than halfway through the current fiscal year, that money is untouched and no money has been requested from any participant.

May 30

The jobless rate in April for Workforce Connection’s Citrus, Levy and Marion counties region was 7.5 percent, down 0.3 percentage points over the month and 2.1 percent lower than the same time last year.

 The unemployment rate for the region is the lowest since June 2008 when it was 7.7 percent.  

June 6

It has been five long years, but county workers will see a 3 percent pay raise in the checks they receive on June 20.

June 13

A tree may grow in Brooklyn but in Williston there’s a proliferation in the triangle located in front of McDonald’s off U.S. 27A.

June 20

When BP's oil started gushing into the Gulf of Mexico in April 2011 from the wellhead of the Deepwater Horizon rig folks in five states held their breath as it headed towards the shore. 

Now, folks are waiting with bated breath to see how much responsibility —monetarily — will be assessed to BP for the damage the explosion and spill did to Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida. 

June 27

The Pavilion, since it was constructed, has always been a well-used, but simple community facility. 

This Pavilion expansion project was intended to create a more beautiful, useful and attractive civic space. 

July 4

Church goers at New Abundant Life Church at 131 N. Main St. had to leave the building around 11:19 a.m. June 25 after a fire erupted from a 75-foot extension cord.

July 11

The city of Williston may be knee deep in the budget planning throes for the next fiscal year, but the council and its administration know it still has to get through three more months in the current budget year.

The good news for all involved is that at 66 percent through FY2012-2013, things are looking well financially for the city and its residents.

July 18

Williston is a city full of history and a group of Willistonians are working to share it with the world. 

The Williston Historical Museum Exploratory Committee met July 11 for its second time to discuss steps that will bring a museum to fruition. 

July 25

Recently, 10 members of Morriston Baptist Church traveled to Kingston, Jamaica on a mission trip. They were blessed to serve in the town of Old Harbor Bay, a tiny fishing village outside of Kingston. The team was hosted by Old Harbor Bay Baptist Church and Praying Pelican Missions.

Aug. 1

 Baylee Etheridge of the Williston Middle FFA Chapter is the winner of this year’s coveted State Star Discovery award. 

Aug. 8

After five years and an estimated $1 billion, Duke Energy is canceling the proposed Levy County nuclear plant.

Aug. 15

What could a man who survived eight bouts of malaria, earned two Purple Hearts and loved and lost three women possibly want for his birthday? How about a ribeye steak cooked medium rare?

That’s all  Williston’s Richard A. “Dick” Williams wanted for his birthday and Saturday a small group of friends made sure the 93-year-old got what he asked for.

Aug. 22

The odds for a new middle-high school in Williston narrowed a little this week, but local school board officials remain optimistic that a new facility will come.

Aug. 29

More than two dozen Morriston residents have been pestered by an unwelcomed visitor for the last few months.

A black bear has gone from residence to residence stealing bird, deer and chicken feed and rummaging through garbage in the pursuit of food.

Sept. 5

The Levy County Sheriff's Office does not know how much it spent on overtime this Labor Day weekend, but one thing it does know is that it prevented a hip hop extravaganza planned for 2.4 acres at 21151 N.E. U.S. Highway 27 outside Williston. 

Sept. 12

It was a no muss, no fuss, no fanfare night Tuesday when the Williston City Council held its first public hearing on the 2013-2014 millage rate and budget.

With no one from the public speaking on the issue, the council approved a final millage rate of 5.9025 mills.

Sept. 19

A Williston man was arrested following last Thursday night’s robbery of the Grocery Depot (formerly Hitchcock’s).

 Brian Hernandez of Williston was charged with armed robbery, aggravated battery, aggravated assault and burglary of a structure, according to Deputy Police Chief Clay Connolly.

Sept. 26

 Citing medical reasons, Williston Councilor Jack Screws tendered his resignation from the city council Friday morning, Sept. 20.

Oct. 3

Heritage Park filled with Willistonians last Thursday for the much anticipated opening ceremonies for the new clock tower on the newly refurbished park centerpiece, the pavilion.

Oct. 10

A lifetime dedicated to agriculture and teaching young people about its vital role in America culminated last week when Williston’s Robert E. Philpot was inducted into the Florida FFA Hall of Fame during a banquet and reception held at the Florida FFA Leadership Training Center near Haines City.

Oct. 17

Known for hurling himself into harm’s way and showing off his training for the county’s children, K-9 Deputy Taz served with honor and distinction.

Last week, after more than nine years of service with the Levy County Sheriff’s Office, Taz died after a brief illness.

Oct. 24

State officials are still investigating an incident involving an elephant at Williston’s Two Tails Ranch that left a woman critically injured and unable to talk about what happened.

“It’s definitely still under investiagtion,” said Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission spokesperson Karen Parker Tuesday morning. “We don’t really know what happened.”

Oct. 31

The trial of Devonte Tremaine Ocasio, 20, in the shooting death of Barry Barney, 36, and the wounding of four others at the Williston Crab Fest on April 27 is underway in Levy County criminal court. 

Nov. 7

The Williston FFA Senior Chapter Nursery Landscape team competed in the national competition.  Team members Chloe Young, Quincy Cason, Jace Colina, and Travis Bergdoll underwent rigorous rounds during two days of testing and judging.   

All team members earned gold citations and the team placed 10th in the nation.

Nov. 14

The rumor you’ve heard is true: Williston is getting a Pizza Hut.

City Manager Scott Lippmann said last week that plans for a 56-seat Pizza Hut on Noble Avenue are well underway and the restaurant is tentatively scheduled to open Dec. 23.

Nov. 21

A mobile home east of Williston converted to a nightclub serving alcoholic beverages in return for a $5 cover charge and a $5 cup of ice was shut Friday night and three people arrested by the Levy County Sheriff's Office wih the help of several local and state agencies.

Nov. 28

It’s a lot safer in Williston these days.

Last week, the Williston City Council learned that for the first six months of the year, the city has seen almost 11 percent fewer crimes.

Dec. 5

A man living in a group home on NE 35 Street, Williston was charged Tuesday with 13 counts of criminal use of personal information after he allegedly used a bank card to take money from another man who lives at the same address.

Dec. 12

About two dozen people listed three dozen reasons why Williston needs a hotel  when the consultant conducting a feasibility study came to call last week.

Dec. 19

The Williston Police Department has positively identified the woman who is accused of stealing a donation jar from the Kangaroo on Noble Avenue. 

Police Chief Dennis Strow said minutes after the video was made public, people–especially from Facebook–began calling in to offer up her name. 

Dec. 26

A night to celebrate the holidays and winter break turned into another kind of excitement last week when Williston High School Principal Eulin Gibbs learned his school had earned an “A” ranking for the second year in a row.