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Opinion

  • Sunshine Week is coming up in March, and for those unfamiliar with Sunshine Week, it is a nationwide effort to maintain access to public information and what it means for you and your community. 

    However, if two state lawmakers see their respective bills come to fruition, it would only serve to darken what public officials are doing. 

  • Well, bless your heart, Mildred Milligan.

    And I say that, not in a southern derogatory way. You see, in the south, it can be an endearment or it can be a smart- aleck remark, with subtle meanings - it can range from genuine concern or sincere sympathy, to casting aspersions to your intellect and ability.

    But believe me, this bless your heart for Ms. Mildred isn’t about sympathy or insult - it’s about true blessings.

  •  A free care seat safety inspection is available Wednesday, Dec. 13, at the Early Learning Coalition of the Nature Coast  office at 617 S. U.S. Hwy. 301, Sumterville. The inspection only takes minutes, and it might save a child from harm.

    To schedule an appointment for the free service, call 352-563-9939 ext. 235. The Child Passenger Safety Program also provides low-cost car seats to income-eligible families.

  • It’s beginning to look like the type of park you’d expect to find in a larger, more metropolitan city.

    Piece by piece, bit by bit, the City of Bushnell is transforming its downtown park at Bushnell Plaza into an interesting and artistic area.

    In recent weeks, city personnel have been busy installing new sculptures in the park to help pique visual interest.

    The sculptures and new works of art are coming from a variety of sources. 

  • To say the least, it has definitely been a challenging football season for the South Sumter High School Raiders.

    That season comes to a close this week when the Raiders face the St. Petersburg Green Devils in their final competition. It’s a home game and hopefully  the bleachers will be full of fans to support the team as the season comes to an end.

  • The Sumter County Sheriff’s Office (SCSO) is warning county residents to beware of criminals and scammers possibly posing as FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) representatives.

    The SCSO recently investigated what appears to be a FEMA scam. 

    About mid-afternoon on Oct. 2, two Hispanic men reportedly arrived at a woman’s residence and implied they were FEMA representatives sent to her home to survey damage following Hurricane Irma.

  • As we have done in past years, this week the Sumter County Times focuses its attention on Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

    Our goal is to provide you with valuable information,  resources and services that are available in the fight against breast cancer.

  • As I evacuated for Hurricane Irma, I packed up a plastic basket filled with clothes, a tub of books, including my Bible, a tub of canned foods and yes, a tub with the pretty red Kitchen Aid mixer and my Ninja food processors.

    Now I know most of you will say, “What? You’re mixer and food processors?”

    One relative said, “I’m storing my important papers (insurance, loan, etc.) in plastic and you’re packing your mixer?”

  • If you live in one of the disaster-designated Florida counties (Sumter is included) and experienced property damage or loss directly caused by Hurricane Irma, register with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for disaster assistance – even if you have insurance. This can be an important step to begin the process of recovery.

    You may register for assistance the following ways:

    • Online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov 

  • At a time when workforce demands for technical skills and industry certification are at an all-time high, Sumter County schools increased the number of students earning industry-relevant credentials by 31 percent with 266 industry certifications awarded this school year. 

  • The Sumter County School District offers a number of exciting Career and Technical Education opportunities to students.  

    The district offers numerous programs, which typically consist of three to four courses in an articulated sequence, that are aligned to entry level job skills.  

    The programs and some of the industry credentials can also articulate into college credit at various state colleges in the area.  Local employers recognize many of the industry credentials as well.

  •  Sumter County youngsters head back to the classroom this week with classes getting under way on Thursday.

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  • Since it’s July and “kitten season,” according to the Humane Society, I thought it would be a good time to tell you about Walter ... the cat.

    The agency is pushing for adoptions this month, even offering a deal of two cats for a total of a $50 adoption fee - apparently, lots of kittens are born in the summer and there are already an abundance of cats available.

  •  While a few rain events during the past week may have given the impression that drought conditions are easing, Sumter County remains under drought conditions and will likely stay that way until water levels begin to rise again.

    In the meantime, University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences experts are suggesting ways to maintain your landscape during this drought, including an irrigation audit and knowing the watering laws in your area.

  • The Humane Society/SPCA of Sumter County (HS/SPCA) currently has funding available for 100 free spay/neuter pet vouchers for qualifying Sumter County residents through May. 

    This community assistance program is a vital necessity in reducing the pet over-population problem facing Sumter County animals who are then at risk for potential euthanasia. 

  • Your email tells you that you are the recipient of unclaimed riches. Callers on your telephone are either telling you that you’ve been pre-selected for a fantastic opportunity or that you’re in trouble with one governmental agency or another and need to pay up.

    Seems like wherever you turn these days, someone is out to either offer you something for free, give you money or threatening you in some way unless you pay out money.

  • Emergency health care may never cross your mind, until your life depends on it. But when an emergency arises, the availability of potentially life-saving services becomes a top priority.

     It’s scary to realize that when fast transportation is essential to receive critical help, residents of rural counties across Florida may be at a disadvantage. They may not realize how limited access to trauma centers can be until an accident occurs and they or loved ones need to drive hours for vital treatment.

  • Identity theft, especially during tax season, is a serious threat to Floridians. Attorney General Pam Bondi is releasing an Identity Theft Resource Guide that offers a wealth of information about the many forms of identity theft, ways consumers can further protect private information and steps to take if identity theft occurs.

  • If you’re looking for local fun at the annual county fair, get ready, ‘cause it’s here. It’s a week filled with local fun and talent - from the royal court that was selected last week during the Miss Sumter County Pageant to the live entertainment set for the stage, Sumter County is out to shine in a journey from Wagon Wheels to Ferris Wheels.