• “Part of the journey is the end.” — Tony Stark/Iron Man

    A little more than nine years ago, I came to the Riverland News, having accepted the role as the editor. It marked my return to life at a weekly newspaper.

    My goal was to make an impact, three years, four at the most, I believed and I’d make a move to a larger newspaper.

    Life has an interesting way of putting a twist on plans. But there’s little I would do differently because being here has taught me a lot of invaluable lessons.

  • The council made its point known to the county: it isn’t happy with the congestion at Blue Run Park, whether it’s the water-related users, the traffic or shuttle services and it wants a limit placed on tubers.

    That’s the message we received and it’s not very neighborly of city officials who bemoaned the current amount of people and vehicles entering and exiting Blue Run Park.

    We certainly agree, the overcrowding and traffic issues at Blue Run Park need to be resolved.

  • Recent deaths on the Rainbow River steered Dunnellon City Council into appointing an ad hoc River Safety Committee to see what could be done to stop additional issues.

    The committee met and developed some suggestions for use of the Rainbow River. Several of the proposals have merit and the necessary agencies should implement the ideals as soon as possible.

  • Jim Gissy loves Dunnellon, and he could have taken a different route in pursuing his efforts to improve the local economy.

    But he has chosen not to, because he wants to work hand-in-hand with city officials.

    So now, the future development rests with city staff, the planning commission and, ultimately, the city council.

  • “It is imperative that with the increased pressure from developers to make Dunnellon into a resort town that we make sure our elected officials have the communities (sic) best interests at heart.”

    — Blue Cove Homeowners Association Board in an August 2018 email to its members.

  • In less than a month, the council will decide the fate of Charles “Chuck” Dillon and his partners’ request to change the density of a 2.5-acre parcel of property west of Blue Cove Lake, as they seek to build up to 18 townhomes in a 55-plus community.

    The council has a lot to consider: staff recommendations, the planning commission’s decision and those of the residents who have voiced concerns. But at the end of the day, this is a choice that should be an easy one to make.

  • “I’m learning to fly, but I ain’t got wings.

    “Coming down is the hardest thing.”

    — Tom Petty

    I was 12,500 feet above DeLand on Saturday, when Freddie tapped me on my shoulder and asked if I was ready.

    Confidently, I said, “Yes.”

    Inside, I felt like Wile E. Coyote who had just ran off the cliff and was about to plummet hundreds of feet, sans a parachute. I wanted to hold up a placard, which stated, “Yikes!”

  • Beginning next Wednesday, the city council will host a series of “vision and strategy sessions,” buoyed by a $25,000 state grant from the Department of Economic Opportunities. The initiative, if you will, is designed at developing a new economic development plan for the city, which would benefit not just the residents, but the businesses and thousands of visitors who make the trek here annually to enjoy our beautiful surroundings.

  • “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.