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NEWS

  • Livestock awards

    from Fair planned

    The Levy County Fair Association will be holding an Awards Presentation for the livestock exhibitors from the 2008 county fair on Saturday at 2 p.m. at Williston Heritage Park on Main Street.

    Refreshments will be served and there will be live music; please bring your own chair. The exhibitors from the Creative Arts program and the public are also invited.

    5,000-pound event

    kicks off Saturday

  • The work on State Road 121 between U.S. 41 in Williston and the Alachua County line is scheduled to begin the near future, although no specific date has been announced.

    In an effort to provide citizens with more information about the project, representatives of the Florida Department of Transportation will hold an informal question and answer session at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 3 in the city council chambers, directly preceding the city council meeting.

  • At its meeting on Monday evening, Williston’s Community Redevelopment Association took a look back at its accomplishments in 2008 and looked forward to 2009 and the ensuing years.

  • The Tuesday evening meeting of the Williston City Council began quietly and predictably enough.

    The mayor awarded certificates of achievement and King Munchie’s pizza coupons to the students of the month for February: Riley Battle from Joyce Bullock Elementary School; Ryan Battle of Williston Elementary (yes, they’re siblings); Laquisha Hill of Williston Middle School; and Kenya Gardner of Williston High School.

  • Senior citizens in Williston may be entitled to an additional Homestead Exemption to be applied to millage rates levied by the city.

    Ordinance 496 allows for such additional exemptions for people 65 and over who have an existing homestead exemption. The total income for all members of the household must not exceed $26,500 for 2008. That number has been adjusted for the cost of living in each of the years in which the exemption has been in force.

    The Levy County Property Appraiser’s Office has a simple one-page application to be filled out.

  • An elaborate underground pot-growing operation that even had its own 100 kilowatt electrical generator has been put out of business and two persons arrested by the Levy County Multi-Jurisdictional Task Force and the federal Drug Enforcement Administration.

  • Newly minted Levy County Property Appraiser Oz Barker says he fired a veteran employee on his first day in office because he did not have confidence or trust in her, but two leaders in the Tri-County NAACP said he told them God directed him to do it.

    And they think the reason is a little less divine - that Barker traded a promise to fire her in return for votes to help him win the office in the November election.

    Barker denies he fired Mary Golding to help him win the race, will not discuss why but he did seek legal counsel from an attorney specializing in labor issues.

  • As of noon on Wednesday, Jan. 14, three candidates had qualified for the City Council elections to be held in early March.

    Steve Holcomb, the incumbent in Group A, has filed to retain his seat. Marc Nussel, who has been a member of the council since November, when he was appointed to fill the Group B seat vacated by Cal Byrd, has qualified to run for that position for a full two-year term. He previously served on the council for eight years during the 1990s.

  • Only one seat on the Williston City Council will be contested when the election is held in early March.

    City Council President Debra Jones is being challenged by former council member Jerry Robinson, who left the council last year in an unsuccessful bid for the County Commission.

    Council members Marc Nussel and Steve Holcomb drew no opposition and will automatically be re-elected.

  • Tuesday Jan. 20, the country swore into office the 44th President of the United States in a tremendous pomp and circumstance celebration on the steps of the Capitol.

    You didn’t have to be in Washington DC to be caught up in the celebration as a group of concerned citizens held their own celebration at Millers Park on the east side of Williston at the corner of highways 331 and 318.

    The event went off with joy and jubilation, and all who attended were even treated to the cold and blustery Washington, D.C. weather.

  • School Superintendent Bob Hastings’ plan to ask all school employees to take three days off without pay has been dismissed, he told the board Tuesday morning.

    Because of the state retirement system, teachers must have a contract of 196 workdays.

    The plan would have reduced it to 193 days, jeopardizing employees’ retirement eligibility.

    “It was deemed that it would not be appropriate and we couldn’t take that route,” Hastings said.

  • An advertisement for a new position at city hall, that of Human Resource Director / Assistant City Clerk, may signal the beginnings of changes in the way Williston’s government is managed.

    At the council’s most recent meeting, the first one attended by new City Manager Marcus Collins, the subject of the retirement of City Clerk Barbara Henson was addressed.

  • At their first meeting of the year, members of the Community Redevelopment Association met new city manager Marcus Collins, who sat in on their deliberations, asking an occasional question and in general learning what that body does.

    Chair Dr. Ken Schwiebert read a letter he proposed sending to Bob Uhlar, who donated a great deal of his time installing new lighting in the pavilion in time for the Light Up Williston. Schwiebert said that the lighting “added significantly to the ambience of the celebration.”

  • The qualification period for the three City Council seats available this year is scheduled beginning at noon on Monday, Jan. 12 and ending promptly at noon on Friday, Jan. 16.

    The seats available for this year’s March 3 election are Groups A, B and C.

    Steve Holcomb is the incumbent in Group A. Holcomb has been a member of the council since 2000. His particular area of responsibility is parks and recreation.

  • After the presentation of January’s Students of the month awards and the ceremonial swearing in of Marcus Collins as the new City Manager, the Williston City Council got down to two controversial items of business.

    Not for the first time, the council debated at length a policy for establishing a non-tenant business permit for those who wish to do business at the airport, but do not lease facilities there. And, not for the first time, the discussion resulted in the policy being sent back to the Airport Committee for reworking.

  • As the nation underwent a year of major change with the election of a new president, Levy County and Williston also experienced some changes during 2008.

    Downtown took on a new look as the first block of Northwest Main Street disappeared and became a part of Williston Heritage Park, the new name for what was known as Linear Park. Included was a new parking lot for the City Hall area and an entrance to Walgreens.

  • The combination of recent hard freezes in North Central Florida along with an average drought index of 619 has created higher than normal risks for wildfires.

    The index is based on a scale from 0 to 800 with readings in the winter months over 540 considered severe. And hard freezes kill and dry-out grasses and other light vegetation that helps spread fire. Wildland fire officials are urging citizens to use caution.

  • JANUARY

    3 - A 19-year-old, Ethan Monette, was killed New Year’s Eve in a single-car accident.

    An upcoming homestead exemption amendment is explained.

    10 - School Superintendent Cliff Norris says he will not run for another term.

    The city will once again debate the issue of charging for police response.

    17 - The city’s CRA is concentrating on façade improvements.

    The League of Cities opposes a budget-cutting amendment.

    24 - City of Williston employees have voted to unionize.

  • An accident at approximately 5 p.m. on Friday on North Main Street, north of the triangle, tied up traffic as the Williston Fire Department and local police cleared up the scene. The accident involved multiple vehicles, including a motor home.

  • Freddie Byron Hale, 80, of Williston, died Dec. 22, 2008, at North Florida Regional Medical Center in Gainesville following a short illness.

    He came to the Morriston area from Gainesville in 1943. He was the owner and operator of the Ivy House Restaurant in Williston and Alachua, a member of the Florida Cattleman’s Assocation, S.E. Wood Producers Association, Florida Forestry Association and the Good Ole Boys Club in Williston. He was an avid fisherman. He was a member of the Williston Church of God.