Panasoffkee group grows

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By Brenda Locklear

An estimated 250 residents and business owners of Lake Panasoffkee turned out for a Monday night meeting, verbal and united in their efforts to improve the community. The crowd burst out in applause several times during the meeting, so show their support for desire to bring change to the area. The meeting was held in the recreation center building at the park.
The original effort began back in October, as a handful of people came together to create a non-profit organization. That organization, the Lake Panasoffkee Improvement Association, has now moved from a small group of people with hopes to an organization of action. They started out with $1,000 and since then have hosted a weeklong amnesty days, built a home and cleaned up local business and residential areas.
Treasurer Tammy Gorby also reported that that $1,000 is now $80,455 – the treasury has increased thanks to small efforts and the sale of the new construction home.
The raffle tickets were sold at $100 each and were for either a television set, one of two guns or a crossbow. The house sold for $100,000.
Some of the areas cleaned up include the former tire shop on C.R. 470, a vacant lot, the property of a senior and a burned-out home. The home site was donated to the organization and the burned structure was replaced with the brand new home – built on dollar and labor donations from the community. Yoder put in $25,000 as “match” money for the effort, while local contractors like Pepper Wysong and Mark Weber offered their time and effort.
Association president Terry Yoder and treasurer Tammy Gorby presented a collection of awards to those volunteers who have gone above and beyond in the clean-up effort, sharing stories of the person’s involvement.
Committee members include Terry Yoder, Tammy Gorby, Susan Jones, Bill Smith, Johnny Galvin, Randy Pfetcher, Lowell Wells, Jessie Brannen and Woody Hill.
“We as Lake Panasoffkee citizens allowed it to happen…,” Yoder said of the decline of the community, noting that as residents they all need to participate to make it happen and not expect the government to take care of the problems.
“We allowed it, as citizens, to happen… only us, as citizens can turn that around.”
Throughout the meeting, Yoder stressed the need for residents to work to improve the community, noting that working together, they can get anything done.
“… there’s nothing we can’t do.”
Next up is a battle against crime and drugs.
Yoder explained that by allowing crime and drug abuse to continue, even when it’s a family member, it’s not helping the person or the community. He likened pursuing the problem to spanking a naughty child and said of the criminals in the area, “we’re gonna spank their hind-ends,” which brought a round of applause from the audience.
With the clean-ups and the hope for growth and business in the future, the organization will make a concerted effort to battle crime and drugs in the area.
Lt. Chris Haworth spoke to the crowd Monday night, explaining the need for their participation in that battle. He said they’ll need to be vigilant and observant, patient and to participate – to report suspicious or criminal activity.
Haworth explained to residents the laws that officers have to follow and how the residents can help. He is the lieutenant assigned as supervisor over the Panasoffkee area and serves as liaison.
As for the future, the association is also making plans to hold another “amnesty days” event, which has been set for March 1, through March 9.
 Yoder asked that the public please make sure all household garbage is bagged this next round, noting there was a tremendous amount of loose garbage they had to remove from the ground.
He said there’ll be bags available at Panasoffkee Hardware during that time, for those who need them.