• An Environmentally-Friendly
    Guide to Gifting
    By Jason Mahon
    Florida Department of Environmental Protection

    Finding the perfect gift for everyone on your list can be stressful and costly, not to mention the effect all those plastic toys and electronics have on the environment. This year, try something different by going green for the holidays. Use these green gifting tips and ideas to find exactly what you need this holiday season.

  • By Wyatt Fraas,
    Center for Rural Affairs
    Farm to School programs appeared in the ‘90s with a three-way focus: fresh, local foods in schools; agriculture and nutrition education in classrooms; and purchases that support local family farms. Years since have seen these programs grow to include 40,000 schools and 23 million students.
    However, the focus has slipped from ‘local family farms’ to ‘local food.’

  • Decades ago, the community of Lake Panasoffkee was filled with volunteers of all sorts participating in a variety of activities to raise money for a variety of local causes.
    Community volunteers got out to help raise funds for the local fire department, the local library and the community center not to mention a variety of special community events.
    But times change, and situations change. Oh, Panasoffkee still has its community volunteers, but it just doesn’t have enough of them.

  • Thanksgiving is much more than a big meal with family and friends. It’s a time to reflect on, and be thankful for, all of the good things you have. Even with all of the uncertainty and turmoil in the world, you have so much to be thankful for. It’s important to be grateful, not just on Thanksgiving, but each and every day. Rather than lamenting what you feel is lacking in your life, begin each new day by developing an attitude of gratitude. Take inventory of your blessings and you will be surprised at just how much you have to be thankful for.

  • The Great American Smokeout is today - Thursday, Nov. 20. The Florida Department of Health in Sumter County and Tobacco Free Florida are encouraging tobacco users in Sumter to plan in advance to quit today or to use the day to make a quit plan.
     The Great American Smokeout, sponsored by the American Cancer Society, is currently in its 39th year. The observance raises awareness about the dangers of smoking and the many effective resources available to successfully quit.

  • All was silent on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month of 1918. The world had just experienced a previously unthinkable holocaust, a four-year battle of attrition, where the cruel efficiency of 20th century technology of heavy artillery, tanks, airplanes and poison gas met trench warfare and would take 16 million military and civilian lives. Millions more were seriously injured and permanently disabled.

  • Alright, granted, the Halloween costume is still warm from the holiday. So who in the world is ready to think about Christmas already?
    Well, for one, the City of Bushnell. And it’s not too early to beginning thinking about helping a needy child this upcoming holiday season.
    Later this month, the city will launched its annual Grant a Christmas Wish 2014 gift event.
    Every year the City of Bushnell works with the Children’s Home Society to help provide Christmas gifts for less fortunate Sumter County children.  

  • Everyone loves a good Halloween scare, but not when it comes to safety. Friday, trick-or-treaters will be out haunting the neighborhoods, and the Florida Highway Patrol is reminding motorists and pedestrians to use extreme caution and to safely share the road.
    Parents and drivers should take extra care in safeguarding children. Low visibility and heavy pedestrian traffic can make Halloween roadways a bit “tricky;” These safety tips can help keep this holiday a “treat.”

  • It’s going to be an unusual Halloween in Lake Panasoffkee. For decades, kids have relished the community’s celebration of the haunting holiday in the local park.
    But this Halloween is different. This year the annual Halloween in the Park has been cancelled.
    Organized each year by The Friends of the Panasoffkee Community Library, this year the group says they don’t have enough volunteers to put on the annual event.

  • March of Dimes, the leading organization for mom and baby health, urges parents to immunize their children against infectious diseases before the beginning of the 2014-2015 school year. Influenza, pertussis (whooping cough), and measles are just a few of the serious vaccine-preventable diseases that still affect children and adults in the United States today.

  • What an unusual election year this is here in Sumter County. When voters went to the polls Tuesday, they didn’t have to worry about making a final decision between local candidates seeking election.
    There weren’t any local candidates to select from in any county government or School Board races.
    As a matter of fact, the only local candidate appearing on the ballot was Mary Hatcher, a Bushnell candidate for the seat of judge in the 5th Judicial Circuit.

  • It may be a bit early to think about Halloween but that’s exactly what a group of volunteers is thinking about and they need your help.
    Historically, the Friends of the Panasoffkee Community Library focus their fall energy into sponsoring the community’s annual Halloween in the Park.
    The event provides the community and visitors with a fun-filled holiday experience complete with games, costume contests and other treats.
    But the event is no easy undertaking. It takes substantial planning and volunteers to pull Halloween in the Park together.

  • There’s an event just around the corner that deserves participation by both businesses and individuals Next month, the Sumter County Chamber of Commerce will sponsor its annual “A taste of Simply Sumter.”
    It’s an interesting event that provides patrons with the opportunity to try samplings of signature dishes from many local restaurants and peruse unique and interesting items from local boutiques and shops.

  • With Sumter County schools starting early this year, the upcoming tax-free holiday comes at a convenient time.
     The 2014 sales tax-free holiday begins this coming Friday,  Aug. 1.
    Parents and students can save money on  back to school shopping with the sales tax-free holiday from Aug. 1 through Aug. 3. Sumter County schools start up on Thursday, Aug. 7.

  • There is always hope that crimes will be solved and that the perpetrators of wrong and evil deeds will be apprehended and brought to justice.
    Hopefully, that will be the case for  the armed robbers who reportedly shot a pizza delivery man in the face last week, dragged him from his vehicle to take money from his pants pockest and then ran off into darkness with two pizzas and a bottle of soda.

  • For some folks, the idea of paying an additional $18 a year to the county for their fire assessment fee may not be a big deal; for others, the increase may be costly.
    Unfortunately, the County Commission is not making it very easy for residents who are subject to the fee hike to comment about the proposed rate increase.
    If approved, the fee which would go from $106 a year to $124 when the new fiscal year begins Oct. 1.

  • Sumter Adult Education has a program that makes it easy for you to take high-quality, affordable online courses and online career enhancement courses. Through a partnership with ed2go|GES, you can develop new skills and knowledge in order to stand out in today’s competitive job market.
    This program allows you to enhance your personal and professional skills and prepares you to launch a new career or advance in an existing one, no matter where you’re located.

  • It’s called the Florida Move Over Act and it was enacted to help protect law enforcement and emergency vehicles stopped at emergency situations by having motorists move over into an inside lane when possible to provide more room between them and the vehicles.
    The law was enacted following some hits and close calls for emergency workers stopped at wrecks and other emergency by motorist coming too close.
    Well, the law has now been expanded. Utility crews are now protected by the Florida Move Over Act, as they work on the side of roads and highways.

  • The Lake-Sumter State College Alumni Association needs your help in making its alumni network  stronger.
    If you have completed a course or graduated from LSSC the college needs you.
    “We are looking for lost alumni. If you or someone you know attended LSSC and would like to receive information about our programs, special events, or volunteer opportunities please email your contact information to the Alumni office at Morrisc@lssc.edu to start receiving information about all of our exciting news and events.”

  • It often goes unnoticed and draws little attention at times but the City of Coleman is about to hit the map.
    For Sumter County’s smallest city, Coleman is embarking on a progressive project that is likely to have many heads turning throughout the state, and perhaps even throughout the country.
    On Monday, the city held a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the recent expansion of the Coleman 70-kilowatt solar-powered water system.