https://www.riverlandnews.com/todaysnews/rss.xml en CROWD CONTROL https://www.riverlandnews.com/content/crowd-control <img src="https://www.riverlandnews.com/sites/www.riverlandnews.com/files/imagecache/thumb85/15-blue_run_park_3007.jpg" alt="Shuttle buses from Rainbow River Canoe &amp; Kayak stop to load tubers and other water-related users Saturday at Blue Run Park during an afternoon rain shower. City officials aired their concerns about the overcrowding from both pedestirans and vehicles, including shuttle servcies that use the park to service their customers. The council directed city staff to begin conversations with the county about the problems. Their No. 1 directive: a limit on tubers entering KP Hole, a county-run park." title="Shuttle buses from Rainbow River Canoe &amp; Kayak stop to load tubers and other water-related users Saturday at Blue Run Park during an afternoon rain shower. City officials aired their concerns about the overcrowding from both pedestirans and vehicles, including shuttle servcies that use the park to service their customers. The council directed city staff to begin conversations with the county about the problems. Their No. 1 directive: a limit on tubers entering KP Hole, a county-run park." align="left" hspace="6" /><p> Overcrowding has become an issue at Blue Run Park, the city council says, and it has the power and authority to find a solution.</p> <p> &ldquo;My hope is we all recognize this issue exists,&rdquo; said Councilman Bill White, who raised the issue of tubers flooding Blue Run Park, especially on the weekends and holidays throughout the summer months. &ldquo;It is something that needs to be addressed. It needs to be done.&rdquo;</p> <p> Blue Run Park is supposed to be multi-faceted, White told his colleagues and citizens.</p> LEFT TO THE BORDER https://www.riverlandnews.com/content/left-border <img src="https://www.riverlandnews.com/sites/www.riverlandnews.com/files/imagecache/thumb85/25-road_construction_project_2208.jpg" alt="A left-hand turn lane is in the process of being added in front of the soon-to-be-open Taco Bell and Hardees. It was part of the $5 million to $6 million development, according to Don Wallace, director of development Arbor Capital Development, which is paying for the cost of the road modification." title="A left-hand turn lane is in the process of being added in front of the soon-to-be-open Taco Bell and Hardees. It was part of the $5 million to $6 million development, according to Don Wallace, director of development Arbor Capital Development, which is paying for the cost of the road modification." align="left" hspace="6" /><p> For those who will want &ldquo;to make a run for the border,&rdquo; a left will get you there if you&rsquo;re driving north.</p> <p> Hardees and Taco Bell are within weeks of opening their doors to customers, and one of the last major remaining hurdles is nearing completion: a left-hand turn lane into the parking lot of both eateries.</p> <p> It was part of the $5 million to $6 million development, according to Don Wallace, director of development Arbor Capital Development.</p> Men strike out in mailbox ‘baseball’ https://www.riverlandnews.com/content/men-strike-out-mailbox-%E2%80%98baseball%E2%80%99 <img src="https://www.riverlandnews.com/sites/www.riverlandnews.com/files/imagecache/thumb85/25-arrest_mailboxes_evans.jpg" alt="Chase Evans." title="Chase Evans." align="left" hspace="6" /><p> A video posted to social media, plus a bit of undercover work from an off-duty deputy&rsquo;s daughter, led to a bevy of charges for four Dunnellon men and one juvenile, according to Marion County Sheriff&rsquo;s Office arrest affidavits.</p> <p> The batch of charges brought the two-day binge of bashing mailboxes in the greater Dunnellon area to an end Sunday, July 14.</p> <p> Chase Evans, 19; Adam White, 18; Heath Ritchie, 19; Gregory Stein, 20; and one juvenile, whose name is being withheld because of their age, were all charged July 14.</p> RISING FROM THE ASHES https://www.riverlandnews.com/content/rising-ashes <img src="https://www.riverlandnews.com/sites/www.riverlandnews.com/files/imagecache/thumb85/11-romeo_fire_9860.jpg" alt="Two weeks ago, Ricky and Julie Donalson lost their home, possessions and dog to a late-night blaze. The problem, however, is because of the age of the home, they could not secure insurance. The situation that has left the Donalson’s in a precarious position: starting over from scratch. “Things are things,” they admitted. “And we’re old enough in our lives to realize that. We know it’s another bump in the road; it’s going to be tough, but it’s going to be OK.”" title="Two weeks ago, Ricky and Julie Donalson lost their home, possessions and dog to a late-night blaze. The problem, however, is because of the age of the home, they could not secure insurance. The situation that has left the Donalson’s in a precarious position: starting over from scratch. “Things are things,” they admitted. “And we’re old enough in our lives to realize that. We know it’s another bump in the road; it’s going to be tough, but it’s going to be OK.”" align="left" hspace="6" /><p> Five days after losing their home to a devastating house fire, Ricky and Julie Donalson remained in a state of shock but eager to move forward after the tragedy.</p> <p> Gone was the home Ricky had been reared in by his parents; gone were items passed down from generation-to-generation, family photos and their dog who died in the late night blaze June 27. The fire, according to both Ricky and Julie, had started in a backroom of their home where a fan had been plugged in.</p> Fourth of July bash will offer family fun https://www.riverlandnews.com/content/fourth-july-bash-will-offer-family-fun <img src="https://www.riverlandnews.com/sites/www.riverlandnews.com/files/imagecache/thumb85/12-stars_stripes_4699_jb.jpg" alt="Olivia Mintrone, left, offers her sister, Sophia, help with picking out watermelon seeds prior to the watermelon seed spitting contest. " title="Olivia Mintrone, left, offers her sister, Sophia, help with picking out watermelon seeds prior to the watermelon seed spitting contest. " align="left" hspace="6" /><p> It might not be the &ldquo;Boomtown Blast&rdquo; folks are accustomed to, but organizers of the second annual Stars &amp; Stripes Family Fun Day are sure the hands-on, old-fashioned games will offer more of a bang than folks can expect.</p> BACK IN THE SADDLE https://www.riverlandnews.com/content/back-saddle-0 <img src="https://www.riverlandnews.com/sites/www.riverlandnews.com/files/imagecache/thumb85/20-kristina_bair1.jpg" alt="Kristina Bair and her horse, Trigger, scoot past a barrel during an event last year. The 2008 graduate of Dunnelon Christian Academy is eager to return to the rodeo arena after missing most of the second half of last season after a leg injury to her horse. She has a little more than three months to prepare for the upcoming Southeastern Rodeo Circuit, which begins in October." title="Kristina Bair and her horse, Trigger, scoot past a barrel during an event last year. The 2008 graduate of Dunnelon Christian Academy is eager to return to the rodeo arena after missing most of the second half of last season after a leg injury to her horse. She has a little more than three months to prepare for the upcoming Southeastern Rodeo Circuit, which begins in October." align="left" hspace="6" /><p> Kristina Bair pulled the reins tight as she settled into her saddle and soothed her horse Trigger.</p> <p> For the pair, it has been a long six-plus months and this was a critical juncture. It was her first ride aboard her trusty sidekick as he recovered from a leg injury he suffered toward the end of the 2018 season.</p> TOP OF THE CLASS https://www.riverlandnews.com/content/top-class-1 <img src="https://www.riverlandnews.com/sites/www.riverlandnews.com/files/imagecache/thumb85/23-dhs_top_honors_0257.jpg" alt="Vanessa Ortiz, left, and Matalyn “Mattie” Gibbs, were the top two academic students for the Dunnellon High School Class of 2019. Perez was named the class valedictorian, while Gibbs is the the salutatorian. The pair will address their fellow graduates at 6 p.m. Saturday at Richard Kennedy Stadium when the school will host graduation ceremonies for this year’s class" title="Vanessa Ortiz, left, and Matalyn “Mattie” Gibbs, were the top two academic students for the Dunnellon High School Class of 2019. Perez was named the class valedictorian, while Gibbs is the the salutatorian. The pair will address their fellow graduates at 6 p.m. Saturday at Richard Kennedy Stadium when the school will host graduation ceremonies for this year’s class" align="left" hspace="6" /><p> The whirlwind of the past four years will come to a close Saturday night for the Dunnellon High School Class of 2019 as the 240-plus graduates prepare to close out one chapter of their lives, and begin the next journey.</p> <p> For Vanessa Ortiz, class valedictorian, she is already preparing for the next step of life at the University of Florida. She knows full well college will have its ups and downs.</p> NATIVE SPIRITS https://www.riverlandnews.com/content/native-spirits <img src="https://www.riverlandnews.com/sites/www.riverlandnews.com/files/imagecache/thumb85/16-fish_hawk_7271.jpg" alt="Matthew Bagdanovich shows off the R&amp;D area of Fish Hawk Spirits during a tour of the facility nestled on a picturesque 3.5-acre plot of land, northeast of Duffy’s. Fish Hawk Spirits has been in business since 2011. " title="Matthew Bagdanovich shows off the R&amp;D area of Fish Hawk Spirits during a tour of the facility nestled on a picturesque 3.5-acre plot of land, northeast of Duffy’s. Fish Hawk Spirits has been in business since 2011. " align="left" hspace="6" /><p> Nestled on a picturesque 3.5-acre plot of land, northeast of Duffy&rsquo;s, there&rsquo;s something special brewing,but it&rsquo;s no secret as to what Matthew Bagdanovich is cooking.</p> <p> And those who have learned about his operation want a taste, and he&rsquo;s more than happy to oblige.</p> <p> Part &ldquo;Mad Scientist&rdquo; or &ldquo;Chemist,&rdquo; Bagdanovich has been honing his craft for most of his adult life.</p> <p> &ldquo;Grandma was a Sutton from North Georgia,&rdquo; he deadpanned when asked how he learned the craft.</p>