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Features

  • Alabama, Johnny Nash, Bertie Higgins, Dennis Yost, Starbuck, Artimus Pyle and Bo Diddley are just a few of a diverse group of stars that Irwin has worked with in his long and storied career.

    Seeing the music industry eat up a lot of his friends, Irwin chose to take the low road some 20 years ago, moving to rural Levy County to chill out, spend time with the family, collect some royalty money and play a little music.

    It's worked out well in some respects.

  • Are the crystal clear Gulf waters and the wonders beneath calling your name?

    Break out your mask and fins! Scallop season began July 1 and runs through Sept. 10.

    Anyone who has scalloped before knows the technique of snorkeling along picking scallops off the bottom of Florida's coastal bay areas.

    This is typically done in 2.5 to 4 feet of water - an excellent activity for the whole family to enjoy. Other techniques involve wading and scooping up scallops with a dip net.

  • The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) announces a series of summer inshore fishing clinics for children at the Senator George Kirkpatrick Marine Lab in Cedar Key. This program is open to youths between the ages of 6 and 16.

    The one day clinics will take place in June and July. Participants will learn about fish identification, knot tying, casting, bait types, habitat types, gear care and more. The clinic will end with catch-and-release pier fishing.

  • There were tears during the slide show and tears at the presentation of flowers, but sunny smiles otherwise reigned Saturday morning as Cedar Key seniors walked into the gymnasium as students and skipped and danced out as alumni.

    The class of 2008 sent 16 seniors into the world this week, led by salutatorian Jaclyn Stefani. Eight scholarship recipients took home more than $6,000 in special awards, plus Florida Bright Futures scholarships which pay up to 75 percent to 100 percent of students' in-state tuition.

  • Jaclyn Stefani doesn't know where she'll be in 10 years. She's not sure where in the world she'd really like to live. But with a career track of Army nursing and her EMT and CNA certificates already under her belt, she's put herself in a great position to find out - one place at a time, if necessary.

    Stefani is the daughter of Peter and Gina Stefani, and Pete's big sister. She has the highest GPA in her graduating class - 3.666, and she'll be Cedar Key School's 2008 salutatorian.

  • With its thrilling juxtaposition of Miami Vice and the Irish Troubles, Pierce Kelley's latest legal thriller, A Tinker's Damn! may be his best work yet.

    Kevin Coffee, Kelley's latest protagonist, is an Irish immigrant growing up in New York City when the story begins. Poverty and prejudice lead him into the criminal world for the benefit of his family. With no father and no outside help, he learns to steal food so his family can eat. As an adult, he develops a morally ambiguous worldview, moving to Mariel boatlift-era Miami to become an opportunistic drug smuggler.

  • Nysie Watson was born to be an herbalist, it seems.

    "All my life I've been aware of an alternate way of healing," she says. "We used to pick mushrooms - shiitake, chantarelles - my mother could name the names of almost all the plants we'd find in the Pacific Northwest."

    She got her degree in Ag. Horticulture from the University of Oregon, but that's not what made her an herbalist.

    No, it took two devastating back injuries and a bout with lymphoma to make Watson an herbalist. The lessons she learned fighting back injuries and cancer made a lifelong impression on her.

  • Saturday morning, Tara Mace got an unwelcome phone call. Her partner for the Wild Hog Canoe Race, the 31st Annual adventure to benefit Levy Association for Retarded Citizens (LARC) couldn't make it.

    Tara was stuck - where to find a partner at 6 a.m. on race day? She called her mom.

    Theresa McFarland answered her daughter's call and agreed to give it a whirl.

    "I hung up the phone and thought, 'I don't have any idea what I'm doing,'" she said.

    "I kind of twisted her arm," Mace admitted.

  • She wears the pink and black Jennie Finch Mizuno batting gloves, rocks the pink and black Mizuno mitt, even checked out the pink and black cleats at Hibbett, "but they didn't fit."

    Her favorite color isn't pink, though.

    Cedar Key's starting first baseman Shawna Fenton wears pink gloves because "I like to aggravate the guys - you know, let 'em know you can wear pink and play good baseball."

  • Susan Livingston is taking the bones of the past and making them into art.

    The sculptor from Lutz has a Master of Fine Arts in painting from Florida State University, but put down her paints more than 30 years ago and never looked back.

    She began to produce clay sculptures, starting with some projects that took her back to childhood summers, when a much deeper past intervened.

  • Beneath the bright and cheerful colors is an urgent feeling - a need to preserve wild Florida before it's gone.

    Harriet Huss started her art career as a potter. Graduating from Eckerd College's storied art program in 1973, "It was a great time to be an artist."

    She was a professional potter for 15 years, but at one point, found herself starting to do more and more two-dimensional work - platters, tiles - mostly to have a surface on which to paint pictures.

    "I realized I really wanted to start painting," she says.

  • "I realized I had a chance to do what I really wanted."

    Atlanta-area water-colorist Jim Wilshire, one of the artists coming to this year's Old Florida Celebration of the Arts, double-majored in archaeology and anthropology at Georgia State University, but after graduation he took a corporate job in sales.

    "I had a family to support, so although those were my interests, I really wasn't able to pursue a career," he said.

  • Three nights a week - on winter nights when you can almost see your breath indoors, as well as on summer nights when every breath condenses in a river of sweat - you'll find the girls - and a few boys - in the steel building on U.S. Highway 27 in Williston, twisting and twirling, flipping and flying.

  • "I'm a strawberry fairy!" These were the words from Cedar Key Pre-K student, Annie McCain, as she took her first fresh-picked strawberry and popped it into her mouth. The eighth grade Ag class assisted members of Cedar Key's Pre-K class in picking their freshly grown strawberries. It all started when Mr. Bruce Wilson donated supplies, plants and guidance to Cedar Key School's Ag and FFA program. Thanks to Mr. Wilson's generosity, the middle school students built a hydroponics system to learn about this modern Ag method.

  • Have you ever had a great idea you wanted to share, but didn't know how to start? Have you ever wanted to ask for something, but didn't know how to do it? Do you think you could be a lot more successful if you could just act on some of your plans?

    There's a link between the inside world of the mind and the outside world of other people. That link is communication. Some people are really good at it; others less so. The good news is, with practice, anyone can get better at it.

  • Most people with schoolchildren in the house are familiar with the annual college rankings published by the newsmagazine U.S. News & World Report. Many students study the college rankings for years, planning their school applications on the outcome of the current issue.

  • Last week, we rolled the clocks back an hour. It came a week later than last year and I understand it will be even later next year.

    There is much controversy about daylight saving time. The idea is that it saves energy because less time is spent working in the dark during the summer. Fine, but it is just the opposite for me. I work early evenings, so in the summer I have to work an hour later in daylight that I'd much rather be spending at home.

  • Last week before the weather turned nasty, the full moon tides and calm winds set the stage for some very good afternoon and evening fishing trips. One trip was very special to me since I was able to take my mother and older sister out for a brief outing. And man, what an outing it turned out to be.

    My mom just loves to catch redfish, but my sister is equally enthused to admire the playful actions of dolphins showing off around a boat. On this trip, both orders would be filled.

  • It was many years before I knew the difference between sweet potatoes and yams. I still am not certain of any real difference except the color; one being a brighter orange color than the other. Like pumpkin, I like either one.

    A baked sweet potato is about the simplest way I know to fix these delicious vegetables that can also be used to make desserts. And, with a microwave it is even simpler! Just wash the potato, pierce it in a couple of places with a fork and either wrap in foil for the oven or place on a paper plate and cover with a paper towel for the microwave.

  • "What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?" (Matthew 16:26 NIV)

    It has not been my lot in life to rub shoulders with people that are commonly known as the rich and famous. However, along the way, there have been some people to cross my path that have accumulated a lot of this world's goods, along with some fame in their field of endeavor.