https://www.riverlandnews.com/todaysnews/rss.xml en 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> ‘The process’ https://www.riverlandnews.com/content/%E2%80%98-process%E2%80%99 <img src="https://www.riverlandnews.com/sites/www.riverlandnews.com/files/imagecache/thumb85/16-fish_hawk_0751.jpg" alt="Matthew Bagdanovich checks on a batch of fresh brew in the distillery at Fish Hawk Spirits. " title="Matthew Bagdanovich checks on a batch of fresh brew in the distillery at Fish Hawk Spirits. " align="left" hspace="6" /><p> When it comes to Fish Hawk Spirits, it begins with the oats, or corn, in which they place the product in the smoker for about three days. On this particular day, the corn malt is in the smoker while the oats will go in the following day. The wet grain has changed to green malt, Bagdanovich explained.</p> TOUGH TYKE https://www.riverlandnews.com/content/tough-tyke <img src="https://www.riverlandnews.com/sites/www.riverlandnews.com/files/imagecache/thumb85/2-matt_snodgrass1.jpg" alt="Less than a month ago, 11-month-old Matthew Snodgrass was diagnosed with B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia, or ALL, also called acute lymphocytic leukemia. He’s undergoing chemotheraphy treatments, with doctors planning to do a bone marrow biopsy scheduled May 13, three days after his first birthday." title="Less than a month ago, 11-month-old Matthew Snodgrass was diagnosed with B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia, or ALL, also called acute lymphocytic leukemia. He’s undergoing chemotheraphy treatments, with doctors planning to do a bone marrow biopsy scheduled May 13, three days after his first birthday." align="left" hspace="6" /><p> Matthew Snodgrass was like most inquisitive toddlers, as he was learning to walk, exploring newfound boundaries.</p> <p> But even for the 11-month-old tyke, the bruises that would randomly appear were becoming disconcerting, especially for his parents, Megan and Matt. So when Matthew fell ill and began running a fever, his mom, Megan, took him to a nearby clinic. The doctor, she said, dismissed the bruising and diagnosed Matthew with an ear infection and sent them home.</p> Fire Rescue takes over Landings for training https://www.riverlandnews.com/content/fire-rescue-takes-over-landings-training <img src="https://www.riverlandnews.com/sites/www.riverlandnews.com/files/imagecache/thumb85/2-landings_fire_training_9847.jpg" alt="Marion County Fire Rescue firefighter Owen Ward carries hoses Monday at The Landings as fellow firefighter Casey Allen follows close by during a training exercise." title="Marion County Fire Rescue firefighter Owen Ward carries hoses Monday at The Landings as fellow firefighter Casey Allen follows close by during a training exercise." align="left" hspace="6" /><p> Their approach was methodical, and for good reason.</p> <p> As a four-man crew with Marion County Fire Rescue Station No. 21s tactical rescue unit, they were afforded the chance to make sure they got it right as they ascended one of the numerous stairwells at the Landings. While it was a training exercise, they wanted to make sure they got it right, so as they hoisted the hose, their men got into position near Unit No. 33 on the third floor, they asked questions, they pointed in each other&rsquo;s directions, gave orders and sought advice.</p> WHAT’S THE BUZZ? https://www.riverlandnews.com/content/what%E2%80%99s-buzz <img src="https://www.riverlandnews.com/sites/www.riverlandnews.com/files/imagecache/thumb85/25-beekeeper.jpg" alt="Frank Kogut (inset), a beekeeper who lives in the greater Dunnellon area six months out of the year, holds a “frame of bees” from his collection of honey bees. Kogut, who long had an interest in beekeeping, began his hobby after retiring from Kraft Foods 12 years ago. He has taken numerous online and college courses to enhance his knowledge in the field. “I got a couple of hives and the first two years they all died. The third year, Debbie (his wife) told me I couldn’t buy anymore bees. I decided I had to do something because some people were successful as beekeepers and others were not.”" title="Frank Kogut (inset), a beekeeper who lives in the greater Dunnellon area six months out of the year, holds a “frame of bees” from his collection of honey bees. Kogut, who long had an interest in beekeeping, began his hobby after retiring from Kraft Foods 12 years ago. He has taken numerous online and college courses to enhance his knowledge in the field. “I got a couple of hives and the first two years they all died. The third year, Debbie (his wife) told me I couldn’t buy anymore bees. I decided I had to do something because some people were successful as beekeepers and others were not.”" align="left" hspace="6" /><p> Augie Salzer</p> <p> Riverland News</p> <p> One Dunnellon couple is enjoying the Florida sunshine and so are their honey bees.</p> <p> Frank and Debbie Kogut are &ldquo;snowbirds&rdquo; from New York and have brought their bees to Florida with them for their six months stay.</p> <p> &ldquo;I bring my bees with me down here because they flourish in the winter months,&rdquo; Kogut said. &ldquo;They think it&rsquo;s summer. They like the winters and prosper here.&rdquo;</p> OVER THE RAINBOW https://www.riverlandnews.com/content/over-rainbow <img src="https://www.riverlandnews.com/sites/www.riverlandnews.com/files/imagecache/thumb85/18-boomtown_2362.jpg" alt="Christine Adams expresses shock after being named the 2019 Queen of the Rainbow during the annual pageant. Adams, a junior at Dunnellon High School, bested five other young women for top honors Saturday at Boomtown. Last year’s queen, Maci Raulerson prepares to place the gown on Jackson. For more photos from Boomtown Days Dunnellon festivities, see Pages 10 and 11 of today’s edition of the Riverland News." title="Christine Adams expresses shock after being named the 2019 Queen of the Rainbow during the annual pageant. Adams, a junior at Dunnellon High School, bested five other young women for top honors Saturday at Boomtown. Last year’s queen, Maci Raulerson prepares to place the gown on Jackson. For more photos from Boomtown Days Dunnellon festivities, see Pages 10 and 11 of today’s edition of the Riverland News." align="left" hspace="6" /><p> Before an afternoon thunderstorm settled in, raining on Boomtown Days Dunnellon, it did not dampen the Boomtown Pageants, where the reigns of the victors began in earnest.</p> Bring the boom https://www.riverlandnews.com/content/bring-boom <img src="https://www.riverlandnews.com/sites/www.riverlandnews.com/files/imagecache/thumb85/11-boomtown_days_dunnellon.jpg" alt="From a pie-eating contest on the lawn of Six Crazy Chicks, to pageants, a classic car show and shootouts, Boomtown Days Dunnellon will offer a variety of activities for young and old from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday in the Historic District in Dunnellon. Parking will be available at Dunnellon Middle School, 21005 Chestnut St." title="From a pie-eating contest on the lawn of Six Crazy Chicks, to pageants, a classic car show and shootouts, Boomtown Days Dunnellon will offer a variety of activities for young and old from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday in the Historic District in Dunnellon. Parking will be available at Dunnellon Middle School, 21005 Chestnut St." align="left" hspace="6" /><p> Cowboys, classic cars, music, pageants and a pie-eating contest.</p> <p> Boomtown Days Dunnellon, the decades-long festival celebrating the discovery of phosphate, which sparked a &ldquo;boom&rdquo; in population in the city, will bring a bustle into the Historic District from 9 to 6 p.m. Saturday.</p> <p> There is sure to plenty for all ages, according to Joanne Black, president of the Dunnellon Chamber &amp; Business Association. And those who plan to flock to Dunnellon, expanded parking will be available at Dunnellon Middle School.</p>