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Cedar Key 2008

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By The Staff

January

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Publisher Dale Bowen announces that the Cedar Key Beacon, along with Chiefland Citizen and Williston Pioneer, are up for sale.

Cedar Key Sharks celebrate Homecoming.

February

Astronomers and gazers converge on the islands for the Cedar Key Star Party.

Sagging floors and a minor sewage leak invade City Hall.

Tri-County Hospital unveils first drawing. The hospital will offer Cedar Key residents much closer access to medical care.

Local clam farmers donate more than 6,000-lbs of clams and 12 tubs of oysters that are served up for dinner in the park by Cedar Key School PTO and the Oystermen’s Association, raising $3500 toward new playground equipment and exercise gym for students. CK Lions Club donates $10,000 to the project, and Oystermen’s Association and CK Aquaculture Association donate $1500 each. Two months later, Plum Creek Foundation gives CKS $5,000 for playground.

March:

Levy County All-Stars Cheer and Dance teams take first place at the American Cheer Power Gasparilla Open Championship in St. Petersburg. They take first place at the Georgia Jewel Beach Blast in Jekyll Island and receive an invitation to the National Championship in Virginia.

The new pier is under construction.

The Island Room’s 13th Annual Wine Dinner sponsored by Peter and Gina Stefani raises $5,200 for CKS.

To serve the islands in times of crisis, the Fire Department gets three alarms to alert residents to emergency, voluntary evacuations and mandatory evacuations.

Florida Department of Environmental Protection recognizes Cedar Key Marina as a member of the Florida Clean Marina Program.

April

CKS gets a new track in Rosewood. CK girls score 98 points to win the Levy County Track Meet and the boys score 83.5 to place second. Samantha Beckham’s 11-foot pole vault sets a new CKS record.

Thousands turn out on Historic 2nd St. to enjoy the fine art festivities and 125 booths at the 44th annual Old Florida Celebration of the Arts. This is the third year since the Old Florida Celebration of Arts has gone back to a juried format.

The city votes to add $50,000 to the $500,000 already committed by the CRA to fund the Lutterloh Building restoration. The Historical Society raises $35,000 through its own fund raising. CRA approves bidding process for the restoration expected to cost $643,000.

As part of the Fire Fighter-1 training course, Cedar Key Fire Captain Jeff DiMaggio and Assistant Fire Chief Robert Robinson brought their department’s aerial device, or ladder truck, to the Bronson Fire and Rescue Station for the trainees to practice the climb.

The 31st Annual Wild Hog Canoe and Kayak Race kicks off in full paddle. The benefit for the Levy County Association for Retarded Citizens (LARC) raises $6,800.

After 25 years at Bronson High School, Cedar Key native Kelly Beckham tops 500 wins and decides to coach basketball at Gainesville High School.

May

Mayor Paul Oliver is defeated by Scott Dennison, 172-153. Heath Davis runs uncontested and Dottie Haldeman is elected to the Water District over Michael Day, 190-177. Heath Davis is named Mayor.

A tasering incident appalls locals. Fisherman Danny Beckham is drive-stunned repeatedly by a police officer. Police and residents grow more estranged.

Cedar Key Water and Sewer District Superintendent James McCain celebrates 30 years of service.

In a divided decision the Cedar Key Commission votes 3-2 to discontinue police chief Bubba Castell’s contract. An overflow crowd spilling out of City Hall onto the porch and lawn look on as Colson, Dennison and Davis vote to discontinue the contract. Pat O’Neal and Gene Hodges are in the minority.

Cedar Key RV Resort in Sumner breaks ground May 20 on $4.5 million facility adjacent to Cypress Station.

Officer Mary Blankenship resigns from police department over firing of Castell.

June

CKS graduates 16 seniors.

Fire Chief James McCain resigns, citing concerns over the dismissal of the police chief.

A sightseeing tour is disastrous for three people early Saturday morning. Witnesses report seeing a fireball as the Cesna 206 plunged into the Gulf of Mexico, killing pilot Frank Gonzales, plane owner John Borchard and Julia Kelly.

The Lions Club adopts a two-mile stretch of Route 24 from the No. 4 Bridge heading out of town.

Cedar Key Commission adopts new 11 p.m. closing-hour for the park to align with curfew for minors.

Island native Lindon Lindsey, 81, donates 500 notebooks to the Historical Society. The notebooks contain clippings dating back to the 1800s and pictures of old Cedar Key.

July

Although not entirely finished, officials decide to open the Big Dock a few weeks early so that it can be enjoyed for the July 4th celebration Clamerica.

Thirteen-year-old Keith Eberhardt of Tennessee catches a seven-foot nurse shark while fishing in the waters off Cedar Key.

Roy Sills, former city commissioner and mayor, dies unexpectedly at the age of 45.

Third Class Petty Officer Jeremy Philabaum is commended for excellent performance, and is named Aviation Maintenance Professional of the Month while on tour in the Persian Gulf.

Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) Director Jackie Gorman resigns after a series of controversies. She soon withdraws her resignation.

August

The Cedar Key Beacon welcomes new General Manager Tom Ten Broeck.

CRA Director Jackie Gorman does not sign new contract offered by the commission. She receives three months severance pay and agrees to not pursue any other claim.

Gregory Lang, longtime city and CRA advisor, is appointed as the CRA’s Interim Director.

Janet Hale Betts, founding member of the Historical Society, dies at age 94.

At Mayor Heath Davis’ request, the board votes for vice-mayor Sue Colson to take his place as CRA chairperson.

Cedar Key native Cheryl Allen returns to teach at her 1989 alma mater.

Tropical Storm Fay makes history as the first on record to make landfall in the same state four times, and fortunately spares the Cedar Keys.

Ardent supporter of Cedar Key history and culture Lucille Alice Dumont Andrews, wife of Dr. John Andrews, dies at 66 while surrounded by friend and family.

September

The Lutterloh Building closes its doors for renovation.

Work begins on the Cedar Key Library to fix improperly finished repairs from the 2004 restoration.

Residents of Cedar Key participate in the world’s largest annual cleanup of beaches and waterways, The International Coastal Cleanup (ICC).

Claude Lewis, Beacon contributing writer and Sports Editor for the Chiefland Citizen, dies unexpectedly at the age of 54 while on his way to cover a football game.

Cedar Key Lion’s Club hosts a candidate forum for citizens to check out those running for both county and state public office.

October

The fishing pier, also known as Big Dock, celebrates grand re-opening and dedication. Fishing, clamming, crabbing, oystering and guiding boats are blessed.

Cedar Key patriarch Mack McCain dies at age 69, taking one last tour of the town he loved before his burial.

Residents and visitors enjoy the 39th Annual Seafood Festival’s arts, crafts, and local seafood.

Virgil Sandlin is introduced as the new Cedar Key Police Chief, and soon after implements the use of police golf carts.

LifeSouth’s Five Points of Life 2000-mile bike ride finishes in Cedar Key.

An extensive tree survey begins, comprehensively documenting the historic trees on the Cedar Keys.

Jenna McKenna, Beacon Editor, says farewell to the islands and takes up post as Sports Editor for the Chiefland Citizen.

November

Kellie Parkin is named Bureau Chief for the Beacon.

Amendment 6 passes, allowing for property tax assessments to be based on current use, rather than currently applied just value.

Public support and thanks pour in, praising the changes made to the police department.

General Manager Tom Ten Broeck announces that the Cedar Key Beacon, Chiefland Citizen and Williston Pioneer are no longer for sale.

Construction workers find an old sign from the Cedar Key State Bank, which is now Drummond Bank, when they take down the current Historical Society Museum sign during renovations.

The Cedar Key Museum is one of 19 Florida state parks named in a proposal to temporarily close public access during economic crisis. Members of the public protest, sending letters to state legislators calling for dismissal.

Roadwork begins on Cedar Key streets!

The Cedar Key Fire Department welcomes its newest addition with the arrival of Marine 75, a boat that will be used to rescue people on the water and fight coastline fires.

December

Trouble in Cedar Key bids his farewell to Beacon readers.

The Cedar Key Garden Club attacks Brazilian Pepper, a fast growing exotic noxious plant.

Van Proctor, former “Naked on the Streets” columnist for the Beacon, passes away.

Santa Claus arrives at the Community Center in a shiny red fire truck.

Construction begins at Cemetery Park, adding important ADA accessibility requirements. Work also begins on a water main connecting airport road to the city.