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Local News

  • Restoring mother's murals is her labor of love

    It's 1948. Bessie Gibbs and her husband "Gibb," new owners of the historic Island Hotel on Second Street, are stumbling around a large storage closet on the first floor. Bessie would like to turn the dark, dank space into a cozy bar.

    In walks a lively blond in her early forties, 18-year-old daughter in tow. They have driven up from Clearwater in a late-thirties International panel truck, colorfully painted with marine scenes from a previous business. Helen Tooker, an artist, and Bessie, both strong and outspoken, immediately hit it off.

  • More trash talk: City garbage rates to go up again

    Just a few months ago, the city of Cedar Key raised its rates for residential refuse collection from $15/month to $16/month, the first residential rate increase in nearly a decade. Commissioner Gene Hodges gripped his wallet in mock outrage as he asked the other commissioners, "Another dollar?"

    Over the last few years, the city had absorbed several minor rate increases from its own portion of the fee, and commissioners felt that the city's own increase was both minor and timely.

  • Music. Rhythm. Tile?

    When you sit down to a meal, chances are, you look down at your plate and see a shiny pattern of leaves and flowers, grapevines in relief, a repeating motif in French blue. Before there's anything on the plate, there's something on the plate.

  • Beacon publisher reaffirms commitment to serve community

    To our readers and advertisers:

    The recent announcement by Landmark Communications Inc., the parent company of our newspaper, to consider strategic alternatives that might include the sale of this newspaper and others was made last week.

  • Once in a blue moon, a purple pearl

    Once in a blue moon, in between lightning strikes, as reliably as a lottery, you find a purple pearl in a plate of clams.

    Cedar Key clams, to be specific.

    Everyone's probably heard the beginning of the story. On Dec. 28, a Royal Palm Beach couple, George and Leslie Brock, were vacationing in Lake Worth. They went to Dave's Last Resort and Raw Bar and, on a whim, ordered a plate of clams.

  • Mandatory water use restrictions start April 7

    The Suwannee River Water Management District governing board today issued the agency's first-ever Phase II Water Shortage Order which includes mandatory water-use restrictions that will become effective Districtwide on April 7.

    The order includes restrictions, and some exemptions, for all water-use categories including residential, commercial, industrial and agricultural.

  • Saving the centerpiece: Endangered Lutterloh Building is a treasury of local history

    Dr. John Andrews, vice president of the Cedar Key Historical Society, has been actively pursuing public engagements to talk about saving the Lutterloh Building for at least a year.

    Last March he addressed the Cedar Key City Commission to ask about a joint effort with the historical society, and since that time he has pursued state grants and interrogated engineers. At that meeting, commissioners asked Andrews how soon the building might fall down if no action was taken.

    "Not for at least 12 months," he told them, barring catastrophic storms. Ten months have gone by.

  • Low-key revelry rings in Cedar Key's 2008

    No rain pelted the heads of revelers. Except at Coconuts, no heavy amps battered their ears. Unlike on the eve of 2007, Cedar Key welcomed in 2008 with a quieter revelry.

    Some things stayed the same. As it had last year, Joel Benefiel's group reined at the Island Hotel. Local Traffic rocked the swamp at Coconuts.

    Local rockers Dock Street brought their Bob Seger-style stomp to the Seabreeze downstairs, and the up-and-coming duo of T.J. Brown and Josh Calvert were joined at the Raw Bar by Gulf Hammock songbird Naomi Cahours.

  • Landmark explores possibility of sale

    Landmark Communications Inc., parent of Landmark Community Newspapers, Inc. (LCNI), owner of the Williston Pioneer Sun News, has hired national investment firms to explore selling the Norfolk, Va.-based company.

    "I can confirm that Landmark Communications has retained investment banks JPMorgan and Lehman Brothers to assist in exploring strategic alternatives, including the possible sale of the company's businesses," said Richard F. Barry III, vice chairman of the company.

  • Tax reform could save money for some

    Using an average of 18 mills as a typical amount for Levy County taxpayers in the current tax year, Property Appraiser Francis Akins said property tax legislation on the Jan. 29, 2008 ballot could save some individual taxpayers $188.50 each.

    About 40 percent of the people in Levy County who are qualified for Homestead Exemption will see no change in their tax bill from this legislation, Akins added.

    The proposed legislation will mean zero additional savings for people who are qualified for Homestead Exemption, but who have an appraised property value of less than $50,000.