• By Mark Scohier
    Two keepers of exotic animals in Levy County agreed to a court order Tuesday that requires the couple to remove the animals from their property, according to County Attorney Anne Bast Brown.

  •   A Patas monkey has been spotted in the Williston area in a block of woods between County Road 318 and 217th Court.
    The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is asking for the public’s assistance if the animal is spotted, because the monkey can be dangerous to anyone who might try to handle it.

  • Coming on the heels of Norm Fugate’s resignation as Williston City Attorney were comments from the audience, council members and the attorney’s wife,
    Nancy Etheridge, although not a Williston resident, said she was a property owner and had called Williston home for 60 years.
    “I am dismayed about Norm,” she told the council. “He has protected this city for a long time.”
    Etheridge said the city could advertise for a “fly-by-night” attorney but cautioned about that type of legal counsel.

  • Levy County seniors in need of a ride to have a hot meal at the Williston and Chiefland senior centers will continue to get one in the new year.
    The Levy County Commission approved an agreement with the Suwannee River Economic Council, Inc., the senior services provider to pick up seniors and transport them to the centers for the meals program. The cost of each round trip is $17.57 and the Council will pay for 665 trips for a total of $11,684.05.
    The transportation will be provided by Levy County Transit, the county’s shuttle service.

  • The Levy County Commission took 90 minutes to decide a request for a conditional use permit for a cowboy church and horse arena to be located on U.S. Highway 27A and Northeast 162nd Court.
    Cross Brand Cowboy Church wants to move its operations to the 25-acre site but it does not have the money to upgrade the turn from U.S. 27A onto Northeast 162nd Court to handle the increased traffic, a job estimated to cost about $30,000.
     “I am asking you to allow us to construct (the church) and do our ministry,” said Mike Smith, the church’s spokesman.

  • Amid allegations of Sunshine Law violations and failure to follow statutory requirements regarding certain contracts and agreements, Norm Fugate announced his resignation as Williston City Attorney effective immediately Tuesday night.
    The resignation came on the heels of several months of  verbal sparring between the attorney and city council members.
    It was only last month that the council agreed to advertise a request for professional services to weigh its options for legal services.

  • For over 25 years, they’ve lived in a sundry of locations in the eastern United States but in between moves, and sometimes simultaneously, they’ve always called Haiti home.
    Virginia “Ginger” Schmidt, with her husband, Tom, and their children have devoted themselves to what they call “the refuse” of Haiti–the children who are less than perfect and who are cast aside and left to die.

  • What made headlines during 2010? Here’s a look back at some of the stories that took top spot in the Williston Pioneer.
    January: Lone survivor of wreck is on road to recovery Nikole Brown decribes how it feels to be the only survivor of a car wreck that killed her two best friends. Church burglarized The Williston First United Methodist Church became the latest in a long string of churches that have been burglarized in the area. Hospital takes a turn for the better Partners Healthcare Development International (PHD) CEO Jim Full details improvements to the hospital.

  • Williston resident and county commissioner Danny Stevens got more than he bargained for Sunday morning when he called his 8-year-old daughter, Danielle, to look out the window at the deer knocking corn out of a backyard feeder.
    Upon closer inspection, the “deer” was standing on its hind legs and it wasn’t a deer at all–it was a monkey, specifically a Patas Monkey.
    “It was over three feet tall,” Danielle said Monday, with her father adding with its arms outstretched and standing, it was much bigger than that.


    chiefland citizen

    The message was we have no money. 

    But the folks who came to the Levy County Legislative Delegation meeting on Dec. 15 had more on their mind that the state’s money woes. They asked the legislators to look out for small, rural counties that cannot do the same things as larger, urban areas.

  • We three Pioneers--Debbie, Chris and Carolyn--wish you and yours the happiest of holiday seasons. Merry Christmas!

  • During a lengthy city council meeting Tuesday night, Norm Fugate resigned as the Williston City Attorney. See the story in Thursday's Williston Pioneer.

  • Williston School of Dance recently received a  $1,600 donation from Plum Creek Foundation.
     Plum Creek, based in Seattle, Wash. is the largest private landowner in the United States. The company owns an estimated 145,000 acres in Levy County.
    The contribution by Plum Creek served as a sponsorship for eight ballet students of the School of Dance.

  • Pamela Williams Blair's trial on a federal charge of lying to an FBI agent during an interview ended with a hung jury on Wednesday breaking a string of convictions for federal prosecutors.
    Blair was arrested in December 2008 in connection with an FBI investigation into public corruption in Dixie and Levy counties. An undercover FBI agent posed as a New Jersey-based developer looking to bribe officials in return for favorable treatment of his projects.

  • For the second time in less than three months, some Williston council members are disenchanted with City Attorney Norm Fugate and want to explore options to possibly replace him.
    At the conclusion of last week’s meeting, Councilor Brooks Holloway suggested that since the council was trimming costs, now could be “the time to cut more.”

  • A cross peninsula railroad for the State of Florida was the dream of the man for whom Levy County was named, David Levy Yulee.  The Florida Railroad, a 155.5 mile rail line, linked Fernandina on the Atlantic Ocean with Cedar Key on the Gulf of Mexico.

  • Five people have submitted applications to the Governor’s Office seeking appointment to the vacant District 1 County Commission seat.
    But no appointment will be made until Rick Scott takes office as governor on Jan. 4, says a spokesman for Gov. Charlie Crist.
    Sterling Ivey, a spokesman for Crist, said the governor would like to see more people apply for the position. “He likes to have eight to 10 applicants,” Ivey said.

  • Williston voters will not be deciding on city charter changes during the March 2011 elections.
    The decision came Tuesday night after a third discussion by council members on a proposed ordinance fell flat.
    The new ordinance called for the mayoral position to be elected by the voters and gave the mayor authority to preside over council members as one of the five councillors.