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Features

  • In commemoration of the recent changes in food laws in Florida, specifically regarding “cottage” cooking laws, I thought writing about my recent venture into jam-making was in order.

  • The Cedar Keyhole Gallery Artist of the Month for August is Joanne Pirzer. She uses the skills of woodworker, painter and sculptor in combining various types of wood into an overall wall hanging. It may be a tropical or wildlife scene but the sense of realistic presentation is immediately striking. 

  • Tucked away off Hodges Avenue is arguably the ugliest circa 1960’s building on the island. But don’t let that put you off.  Inside and around the property are a variety of things to do and see that will make you forget the bad architecture.

  •     There is secret garden at the corner of 6th and E Streets and you are welcome to drop in any time. Tonya Sprong has reestablished her business, “Beauty By The Yard” at her home, after a short stint on 2nd Street.
        She is not a fan of four walls and loves the opportunity and inspiration for creativity that her back yard provides under the sheltering branches of a giant oak tree.

  • Cassie Lozier, age 10, and her dog, Chase, take a break in front of her aunt Julie Gore’s shop on State Road 24. She, her two dogs and a friend had been out collecting sea water for a new salt water aquarium she was assembling - with some help. They later went out and caught a variety of ocean critters to stock the tank with and, according to her aunt, it’s coming along just swimmingly.

  • Some tales are hard to believe, but this one is absolutely true as relayed by Miss Grace Cowart and her mom, Molly.

  • There was once a real estate appraiser in a large city on the west coast of Florida getting pressured by banks to “help us make the numbers work.” 

    So he decided after many years in the business to close shop, mail his license back to Tallahassee and instead, become a police officer. Nine years ago, at the age of 55, that man was Officer John McMullen. 

  • Next time you flush your toilet, give a silent thank-you to the men who work at the Cedar Key Sewage Treatment Plant and be glad it is them, and not you, who work there.

    Then, thank them again when you see them around town.

    A tour of the plant on Tuesday by the proud manager, Jack Hotalling, revealed more than any resident would ever want to know, see or smell about the facility.

  • Back in mid-winter, when the FFA Aquaculture team was beginning to practice for the state contest, the team asked me, “If we win the state, will you take us charter fishing?”

  • Chunky Pond, Levyville, Bronson–no matter what it was called, it was always the center-piece of Levy County. That was but one of the hundreds of historical snippets shared Saturday as Levy County celebrated the 150th anniversary of the Atlantic to the Gulf Railroad that connected Fernadina Beach to Cedar Key.

    The brainchild of David Levy Yulee, Florida senator and the first Jewish member of Congress, the railroad began in 1856 and after several starts-stops, at last reached Cedar Key in 1861. 

  • You may have walked or driven by a house on Fourth Street numerous times and barely noticed it was there - half hidden behind low limerock walls that terrace the sloping yard and overgrown cabbage palms.  Or, perhaps, you stopped to take a photo of the pair of adirondack chairs, swaths of ferns and pile of bleached out shells on each side of the stairs.

    It is one of those houses that could go either way - photo op or you might pass right by and not look up. 750 Fourth Street - home of Luz Beckham Kraujalis and her husband, Walter. 

  • A new book, "Dark Origins of Valentine’s Day" by Arnie Spiel details the not-so-romantic history of Feb. 14, that includes Roman executions in the 3rd Century.

    Luckily, that was not the case in Cedar Key on Monday, when 150 people met to celebrate at the Community Center and enjoyed a dinner catered by the Island Room and music by the Dock Street Band.

    Among the sold-out crowd at the event, sponsored by the Lion’s Club, were three couples who revealed a thing or two about their relationships and a little bit more. 

  • Cedar Key’s Police Department has a well known leader, Chief Virgil Sandlin. But, the men who make up his force may be less known. I sat down with Cpl. David Perry this week to find out more.

    The Basics: He is 33 years old and in April will have been on the force for six years — his first job out of the police academy. He has been married for “around” eight years and has a four year-old son, also known as “My World”.

  • A small army of children from Cedar Key and Rosewood descended upon the Community Center Monday night, once they realized that Santa had slipped into town early on a firetruck. The only hint were the Christmas lights that decorated his ride.

    Somehow, he managed to not only get into Cedar Key virtually undetected but he also set up his headquarters - complete with an elf named Teresa.

  • Cedar Key School FAA met 40 of the top FFA teams in the state in the food science competition at the University of Florida on December 4 and came home winners. Cedar Key's Future Farmers of America students included Laia Gore, Brooke Allen, Mikayla Pope, Caitlin Goss, Ariel Alexander, Taryn Epperson, Abby Osteen and Samantha Sapp.

  • This past Saturday at Kona Joe’s Island
    Cafe hosted a book signing for author Terri
    DuLong.
    Her latest book, "Casting About " is the
    second in the Cedar Key series. The first,
    "Spinning Forward," came out last year.
    Additionally, DuLong has a story, "A Cedar
    Key Christmas," that has been included in
    the Christmas Novella "Holiday Magic."
    The collection of four short stories by
    four different authors, has made the New
    York Times best seller list for three weeks
    and was at No. 12 last week. This is the first
    time that a Cedar Key author has made the
    prestigious list.

  •  Now is the perfect time to enjoy Florida's famous oysters. Florida oysters are available year round, but harvest really gears up in fall as water temperatures begin to drop. The cool months are when oysters taste the best.

    Florida's oyster industry is based on the Eastern oyster (Crassostrea virginica), which is found from the Yucatan Peninsula in the Gulf of Mexico to the St. Lawrence River in Canada.

  • The Cedar Key Garden Club Garden of
    the Month for November belongs to Bill and
    Alyce Phillips of the Cedar Key Bed &
    Breakfast. Their gardens include water features,
    as well as one of the island's grandest
    live oaks. Their staghorn fern also rivals the
    best. Please join us in congratulating them
    for such a picture-perfect garden.

  • Literally under our noses in Cedar Key, for the past six years,
    mosaic artist Valerie Bretl has been going about her work - meticulously
    creating fine art that will endure forever.
    Working for eight to 10 hours a day on her
    screened porch, she even received inspiration for
    her current piece from one of the massive oak
    trees in her yard. The dappled light, gravel
    paths and beautiful landscaping are a
    soothing backdrop to her work table covered
    in marble pieces and tiles. Heavy