Local News

  • No Zika in Levy, but mosquitoes are being tested

    After the daily thunderstorms pass through Levy County residents need to go on patrol outside their homes and empty every container that has water in it. 

    That’s because the mosquito that carries the Zika virus is a container-grown pest, it does not breed in open ditches and ponds, said Matt Weldon, Levy’s Mosquito Control Department director. He made the plea to empty containers after every rainfall in a report on the virus to the County Commission on Tuesday. 

  • Williston tentatively sets millage the same

    Williston Council members were faced with its annual dilemma Tuesday night: raise the taxes or keep them the same.

    Florida law dictates that once a tentative rate is set it cannot be raised, but it can be reduced. Some government bodies opt to set it at the higher rate while budget preparation continues, knowing it can be lowered at the final public hearing.

    But Williston councilors appeared content with both the budgeting process and the city's current millage of 5.8627.

  • Levy braces for teacher shortage

    Candy Dean, the Levy school district’s personnel director, said the teacher shortage in the county is the worst it’s been since she’s been in the job.

    And the problem isn’t isolated to the county. 

    The district still had 33 teaching positions listed on its job openings site two weeks before students return to class. Other counties in the region, like Citrus, Columbia and Hernando, are reportedly facing just as steep – or even steeper – shortages.

  • School bells will ring Wednesday

    Students return to school a week earlier this year in Levy County, meaning they’ll be back in class on Wednesday, Aug. 10.

    Drivers are encouraged to be cautious of lower speed limits near schools as well as students waiting at bus stops.

    Schools are holding open house events for parents to meet their children’s teachers in the days running up to the start of school. 

  • FBI makes arrest in 39-year-old crime

    Over 39 years ago, Mary Gene Bailey French and her husband, Royal, were ending a beautiful vacation in the Hawaiian Islands.

    The splendor of the trip was marred in the days ahead by a story shrouded in mystery, deception, betrayal and murder.

    Mrs. French's father, Gene Bailey, and three of his friends, were bushwhacked eight miles from Williston as they drove home from Ocala after having dinner.

  • Property values not rising quickly enough

    Usually when Levy County Property Appraiser Oz Barker says property values – and hence property taxes – are rising folks are not happy. 

    But public officials are facing a different dilemma. While property values are going up in most of Levy County, they are not rising as fast as the cost of goods and services the county must provide. And there are an increasing number of exemptions that take property off the tax rolls or minimize the taxes they must pay. 

  • County offices to be filled Aug. 30

    It's a funny thing, but usually candidates for local office square off in a party primary and then face their opponents in the other party in the general election. 

    Not so this year in Levy County where the Republican Party is dominating local elections and the Democratic Party candidates are nonexistent.

  • County still looking for DPS chief

    Williston Fire Chief Lamar Stegall, the No. 1 ranked choice for director of the Levy County Department of Public Safety, has turned down the job offer and the county is now in negotiations with their No. 2 ranked candidate, James Mitchell "Mitch" Harrell, emergency operations chief for the Gilchrist County Department of Public Safety.

  • Williston overpays into pension funds

    If times get hard in Williston, city workers will be glad to know their future pensions won't suffer.

    Over many years, the city has contributed more than it needed to into its employees' pension funds – to the tune of $380,000.

    The overpayment is by no means the fault of the city's management, said Paul Shamoun of the Florida League of Cities, when he addressed the council last week.

  • Accidents mar Saturday

    Three separate accidents Saturday left one Williston woman dead, three people in critical condition and four people seriously hurt.

    Suzanne M. Barrett, 47, died following an accident that occurred Saturday at 8:10 p.m. on U.S. 27A and 140th Court.

    According to the Florida Highway Patrol, Barrett, driving a 2001 SUV, was traveling east on 140th Court.