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Opinion

  • 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.

  • Columnist Kathleeen Wallace opined a visit to the Vietnam Traveling Wall could help heal the wounds caused by the Vietnam War in which a portion of the nation turned its backs on veterans returning from the war, which divided a nation.

    While visiting the Wall could certainly bring closure, it won’t fully heal the wounds, still fresh 50-some years later. Visiting the Wall for those veterans who fought in the thick of the jungles is a stark reminder of the price we paid. The same can be said for family members who lost loved ones.

  • Thankfully, the great gator saga is over and done with, as trappers caught and killed a potential problem.

    The effects will likely linger as “experts” continue to chime in. What started as an innocent, be careful for those who take to the Rainbow River, became a smorgasbord of perpetual naysayers, quick to blame the family to the recreational water users who frequent the Rainbow River.

    The true harm in this instance is twofold.

  • A friendly hello to all citizens of Dunnellon and our surrounding area. Hopefully, you have had a wonderful summer so far and, like me, are looking forward to the fall cool down. My wife, Deidre’, and our two girls, Alilia and Sophia, have had a great summer break and certainly hope you have, too.

    I am so very proud of my four years serving the citizens of Dunnellon as mayor. I took office at a very chaotic time and am proud looking back over those four years in being able to show such undeniably positive results.

  • School bells are almost ringing and it is time to think about school supplies. The Chamber’s Queen of the Rainbow, Hannah Warren, is spearheading a “Dunnellon Back to School Supply Drive” for local students of all grade levels and is gathering supplies they need to be successful in school.

  • “Let’s do the time warp again.” — Richard O’Brien, “The Rocky Horror Picture Show”

    There is a sad reality among some folks who believe all of the city’s woes have occurred in the past six years.

    There is also a belief many in the public believe several of the current council members are the problem for the city’s current state of affairs. The old adage those who don’t study history are doomed to repeat it. That’s the true case in point here.

  • More than six months ago, we addressed Mayor Nathan Whitt and his public outbursts chiding his colleagues on the Council. Yet, we find ourselves again discussing the first-term mayor’s behavior in a public forum while serving as the key figure of the five-member board.

    This past November, Mayor Whitt accused Councilmen Chuck Dillon and Walter Green of threatening city employees. Yet, in the June 13 Council meeting, the mayor accused his equals on the Council of collusion. An accusation he knowingly admitted he did not have evidence, but called it a “gut feeling.”

  • With the dismissal of City Manager Eddie Esch, there’s no doubting the Council has its work cut out for them in the coming days, weeks and months ahead.

    Critical budget hearings will begin in earnest in the coming months, and if the public learned anything after the public spat between Esch and individual council members, the city’s day of reckoning is coming.

    That isn’t news.

    The public has been well aware that city officials need to do more to tighten the reins on its financials. We are now at a point where cuts don’t just need to be made. They have to be made.

  • In light of the recent evaluation of City Manager Eddie Esch, I would like to highlight some of the issues that have been created by four council members in an effort to discredit him and expedite his termination.

    This is clearly a planned attack on our city manager by these four council members and has no basis in fact, only personal animosity, not to mention that I believe a few of these council members do not have enough standing to even render an evaluation of our hard-working city manager.