• 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.

  • On more than one occasion, Mayor Walter Green has made it known how vital public input is and his desire to speak with citizens and business owners throughout the community. Three weeks ago, he stressed that point, as well as the need for public participation, in the Riverland News.

  • 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.