• “We’re citizens, not subjects, we have the right to criticize government without fear.”

    — Chelsea Manning

    The council might consider refresher courses in civics and public decorum but most notably its own Code of Ethical Conduct.

    That they are required to sign the document when they take office; with the acknowledgment they understand it, but that they do not put it into practice continues to confound us.

  • I believe, no matter how much we continue to learn throughout our lives, there are just some things I’ll never understand, even if I live to be 100 years old.

    So here are a few random thoughts of things I’ll just never understand.

    Two years ago, when then-Mayor Nathan Whitt gave former City Manager Eddie Esch a perfect rating on his evaluation, Whitt’s marks were deadpanned by Councilman Rick Hancock.

  • The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) and Florida’s Turnpike Enterprise are currently studying possibilities for a new high-speed roadway, as some 8,000 property owners in Citrus and Marion counties recently learned when they received letters from the FDOT advising that their properties might be affected.

  • Most everyone knows, I began running almost 18 months ago and my three children have been extremely supportive, tagging along for races and training runs.

    This past weekend, two of my offspring opted to lace up their running shoes and join me on the road.

    My 9-year-old, Jayden, competed in his second 5K, shaving more than two minutes off his time. He has a chance to be a very good runner. He’s lean — scrawny, like me — and lanky.

  • I’m sorry to interrupt your day and bug you about this matter.

    But it is important, sort of a life or death type matter. We’ve got bugs. Yeah, I know this is Florida and there bugs of all types: creepin’, crawlin’ and slippin’ around in all kinds of places without any invitations.

    They were not invited to our place either. However, there is evidence, that irrefutable type, we have termites. Some in that corner, others over there near the bathroom, a batch by the door and others near the back door.

  • “Our reputation in the community is our most valued asset and I will do everything in my power to keep it that way. It has taken a lot of years to earn it.”

    — Dawn Bowne, city administrator, in an email May 2017 requesting a clarification.

    Records requests can be a valuable tool, not just for learning about information, but general lessons about Sunshine Laws.

    Case in point, the Riverland News’ recent records request with the city of Dunnellon piqued my curiosity when I stumbled upon an email in the mayor’s files.

  • “All communication associated with my position, as Mayor is public record. The public has a right to access all questions presented and a right to access all my replies. This has been the policy for several months and has served the public interest.” — Mayor Walter Green, responding to a question from the Riverland News.

    We learned a few valuable lessons this past week, taking up Mayor Green about his offer to access “all communication” he has as mayor in honoring the spirit of Sunshine Week.

  • We couldn’t be more enthused about the prospect of extending the bicycle trail into the city along East Pennsylvania Avenue. 

    Not everyone, unfortunately, shares that excitement.

    The extension of the trail from Blue Run Park to the Dunnellon Chamber & Business Association office will be a boon in many ways; from the financial benefits for businesses to health benefits for those living in the greater Dunnellon area to visiting tourists.

  • “If it’s good for the goose, it’s good for the gander.”

    There’s a lot of “trash” talk echoing through the streets, and most of it isn’t cordial.

    Justifiably so, especially if you are a business owner within the city limits who recently peered at their most recent garbage bill from Waste Management. Those bills show a significant increase for “franchise fees,” implemented by the city of Dunnellon.

  • Sunshine Week is less than six weeks away, and for those unfamiliar with Sunshine Week, it is a nationwide effort to maintain access to public information and what it means for you and your community.

    However, if two state lawmakers see their respective bills come to fruition, it would only serve to darken what public officials are doing.

  • The Villages of Rainbow Springs: “A 55 plus Active Adult Deed Restricted Country Club Golf Course Community within a natural setting.” That was the design and intent in 1979 anyway.

    Today, in almost 2018, “It’s a great place to retire or raise a young family within a natural setting.” Well, it should be, yet there are those who refuse to make those changes to the modern world, especially when children around here are known as (them).

  • Kathryn Taubert

    Special to the Riverland News

    I’d hoped not to use this forum to cite concerns over recent events relative to Rainbow Springs Property Owners Association activities; however, administrators of an internal forum ideal for that purpose have chosen to delete posts with which they do not agree.

  • In case you missed it Saturday, and judging by the crowd, you didn’t: the city was awash with visitors for its Christmas celebrations.

    Dunnellon hosted three key events: the Ugly Sweater 5K, Brunch with Santa and the annual Christmas Parade and Celebration. All told, more than 4,000 people flooded the streets of Dunnellon.

    That’s not a bad day’s work.

    But it doesn’t happen overnight that is for sure.

  • There should be little, if any, surprise the city of Dunnellon is about to part ways with its utility system in the coming months.

    It’s a necessary evil, as several on the city council as well as staff who have said the system is too large to handle.

    The system, especially within the city limits, is antiquated and poor decisions throughout the past 20 years have led to a decision.

    Some will label this a “hard decision” that had to be made. In reality, this was an easy choice.

  • There were plenty of mixed reviews regarding Jazz Up Dunnellon throughout the course of the night’s festivities.

    But before offering a touch of constructive feedback, here is what went right:

  • Editor's Note: The Florida Commission on Ethics notified the Riverland News that City Administrator Dawn Bowen did submit a quarterly gift disclosure form Sept. 28, but did not provide the paper with a copy by Wednesday's deadline. The Commission on Ethics provided the form today. This column has been updated to clarify that.

    As parents, we often want our children to be better than us: whether it be academics, sports, careers or people. We have a belief they can be better than us. There’s nothing wrong with admitting it, I want my kids to be better than me.

  • There a lot of folks still seething over the decision to disband the city’s fire department in favor of county-run services, which for now, are being housed in the Dunnellon Fire Department. One has to wonder if it will soon be dubbed Marion County Station No. 3?

    But that’s a moot point. So, too, is the uproar over the Council’s decision-making progress in opting to contract with Marion County Fire Rescue.

  • As Hurricane Irma bore down on Florida, I took refuge at Dunnellon High.

    There were two key reasons for my rationale.

    One, the Dunnellon Police Department was there. It allowed the opportunity to keep in the loop regarding storm updates throughout Irma’s approach.

    Two, I could be in the greater Dunnellon area sooner, avoiding a longer drive without a plethora of potential road hazards, such as downed trees and power lines.

  • I would like to publicly thank those hardworking and dedicated individuals who worked tirelessly to assist the citizens of Dunnellon during Hurricane Irma.

    The Dunnellon Police Department began its preparation days before the storm arrived. It began by making sure the city would have emergency fuel. I am sure that you saw them together with the sheriff’s department directing traffic around city gas stations, making certain gas was distributed in an orderly manner.

  • It should come as no surprise the state of Florida has some of the best multiuse trails throughout the nation, especially if you consider the number of folks — more than 270 million ­— who utilize the various systems statewide.

    State lawmakers haven’t ignored those figures, as well as the economic impact, agreeing to fund millions of dollars for those new trails and connections.

    Dunnellon is at the epicenter of the Heart of Florida Loop.