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Opinion

  • In the words of Wayne and Garth: “Party On.” So that’s what city staff, elected officials and guests did at a recent “invitation-only” celebration.

    Everyone in town is talking about the city’s party, even those who didn’t get an invitation: That’s what you call a “party.”

    But the $4,550 question everyone has been asking, “what were they thinking?”

    Your guess is as good as mine, but the answer might be, “They weren’t.”

  • In case you missed it, and judging by the guest list, you did.

    The Council, if you will, hosted an “invitation only” party — one that need an event planner — to honor the newly appointed city administrator and clerk. This was not funded by taxpayer money, but by donations.

    Initially, city staff, by email, requested permission to solicit donations from its “larger vendors/consultants/business partners.” A letter, signed by the mayor, was emailed to potential contributors.

  • The Southwest Florida Water Management District’s Governing Board recently approved minimum flows (or MFLs) for both the Rainbow River and the Crystal River/Kings Bay systems. A minimum flow is the limit at which withdrawals will cause significant harm.

    Some recent guest editorials and letters have suggested the water management district arbitrarily sets these limits and offers a “blank check” to pump unlimited amounts of water out of the aquifer.

  • It appears a familiar path lay in wait, one that will have a new adversary in Jim Gissy, with the city of Dunnellon stuck in the middle of it.

    The citizens and business community suffered through the first decade-long setback and can ill-afford another one. The taxpayers in the city are still paying for the mistakes levied by decisions made in 2006 and 2007 by the then-City Council, which was dominated by members of a nonprofit environmental group.

  • Gary Rowe doesn’t consider himself a hero.

    He was one of many men, he says from 121st Assault Helicopter Company, who were simply doing their jobs as a collective unit.

    Rowe is modest, and if you haven’t met him, it’s one of the first items you’ll learn about him.

    But the documentation of his actions July 24, 1967, is the proverbial “proof in the pudding.” And, for those who are eager to read those eyewitness reports from his actions in the thick of the jungle, we’ve included the material online.

  • We would like to invite you to help the Wall-Rives American Legion Post No. 58 and the Dunnellon Ministerial Association in participating in a program to ensure that no local veteran is ever forgotten even as they are laid to rest.

    This “Never Forgotten” program goal is to mark all our local veterans’ graves, regardless of branch of service or religious affiliation, to ensure that their dedication to our country and community is neither lost, nor forgotten for posterity.

  • City staff is to be commended for the positive comments made by auditors following the annual city audit report. Throughout the report it was noted that staff is performing in a professional manner and following good business practices across the organization. And, this is being accomplished in spite of the dire conditions they must operate under every day.

  • There’s been a lot of debate about the recent spur of new commercial development taking place, and the development to come.

    The questions are: what does it all add up to and what direction will it take Dunnellon? Sure, the increase in new construction will add to the coffers but with a debt service of more than $17 million, it won’t do much to put a dent in that total in the short term, perhaps not even the long term.

    The question we need to ask, and begging to be asked, is what is the plan? What does Dunnellon want to be? What should it be?

  • Four years ago, we tried warning folks there would come a day the city could no longer fund one of its two public emergency service departments.

    That came shortly after the fallout from the city’s defunct telecommunications system and the city abandoning red-light cameras, which officials finally admitted were used as a revenue source, not “safety.”

    Simply put, this debate has been brewing for years.

    But when we issued the warning, no one blinked.

    Now, we are on the edge of it and folks are mad.

  • Now entering its 14th year, the Rainbow Springs Property Owners Association is operating, but without a state approved set of covenants. The Department of Economic Opportunities rejected the POAs submission to remedy the situation.

    Now the POA is back to square one, and it could prove time consuming and costly for the residents again. Legal fees were $30,000 for Rainbow Springs residents, not a small amount by any stretch of the imagination. An appeal or a second filing could mean larger legal bills for the community of 3,000-plus property owners.

  • Paddle boarders can breathe a collective sigh of relief after the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission sunk an idea being floated about.

    The plan, which was vetted by a citizens’ advisory board, would require individuals and businesses to license non-motorized water craft such as canoes, kayaks and stand up paddleboards.

  • This past week we lost an American Icon when Mary Tyler Moore passed away. I was shocked to hear she had passed and wondered what happened. I didn’t realize that Mary Tyler Moore was 80 years old, I knew she had diabetes and many people die young as a result of that disease. To me, 80 years old is not old, but then when I was a young mother and wife and watched her show, I thought 80 was ancient.

  • Saturday’s sizable protest aimed at raising awareness and educating the general public about the Sabal Trail Pipeline is commendable.

    It’s also unlikely to be the last, if organizers follow through with plans for future gatherings.

    While some believe those against the 515-mile natural gas line are behind the 8-ball due to the sizable amount of construction completed, those who braved a chilly Florida morning contend otherwise.

  • “For me, collaborating is a marriage of the minds. It’s two or more people coming together and making an idea come alive.”

    — Scarlett Johansson

    A void was created by the resignation of Penny Lofton as executive director of the Dunnellon Area Chamber of Commerce; she leaves behind big shoes to fill, but it also creates an opportunity for the Chamber and Dunnellon Business Association to merge.

  • Almost two weeks have gone by since my mom died; and I still feel a hollow empty, numbness to it all, if you will. Yes, there are plenty of wonderful memories I will cherish forever. There are even a few surprises.

  • I am a local citizen concerned about the Sabal Trail 36-inch high-pressure gas pipeline. Many local residents did not know about it until recently. Together we decided to reserve the Dunnellon Library on Oct. 4 for an informational meeting so our neighbors could hear our concerns, ask questions, and discuss Sabal Trail pipeline.

  • On the Nov. 8 ballot, Dunnellon voters will be asked to decide whether to keep the city manager as the chief administrator for the city or return to a City Council that administrates city government. This question has come about after several years of business decisions that have not worked out, and the resulting high debt that was created.

    Costs associated with the city manager position and control over this position has been the primary factors that have been noted as a reason for making this change.

  • In May, we chastised the City Council — certainly, not the first time — for taking the easy road when it came to approving an option for connecting the trail at Blue Run Park and seeing it brought into the hub of the city’s business district.

    At the time, city officials chose the cheaper of two options, because of the timeline for funding availability through the Florida Department of Transportation. The Council didn’t even inquire if the city chipped in funds would it be beneficial.

  • WWhen it was first suggested I write something about the Vietnam Wall coming to Dunnellon, I declined. I have very sound reason to not go there.

    My oldest brother, Danny, was drafted during the Vietnam-era. After growing up enjoying our town’s Twin Rivers, he was a lover of all things water-related and enlisted in the U.S. Navy. The reason I should not write about this is the fact that he never returned from his tour.

  • It was a typical day at the park, or so it began. The kids and I jetted off to Whispering Pines Park for a little sunshine and exercise.

    And in typical fashion, Jackson and Jayden began recruiting other children to play hide-and-seek, a favorite of ours for several years now. Though their idea of hiding is darting from their proverbial “hiding spot” and forcing me to do the unthinkable -- chase them.