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Opinion

  • By Kevin Concannon
    USDA Under Secretary for Food,
    Nutrition and Consumer Services

    As a child, I always looked forward to the carefree joy of summertime. I remember the long days of playing outside at a nearby park until I needed to come home for lunch. Unfortunately, many of our nation’s children do not experience the simple joys of summer. In fact, far too many are left worrying where their next breakfast or lunch will come from when schools are dismissed for summer break.

  • It comes with mixed emotions. For many people with a history in and around the Bushnell area, the demolition of the old Foodway grocery store building on Main Street comes with bittersweet feelings.

  • As economic conditions around the state start to improve, projects waiting on back burns for better financial times to arrive are beginning to awaken.
    In Sumterville, that means the rumblings of a massive community project thatwill change the undeveloped landscape into what is planned to be a flourishing community of substantial proportions.

  • Sumter County’s Master Gardeners program has a lot to be proud about given their annual festival this past Saturday.
    Patrons filled the parking area at the Wildwood Community Center and perused dozens of vendor exhibits of anything from orchids to pottery, from glass outdoor sculptures to bromeliads. The event provided a great opportunity for gardeners and plant enthusiasts to purchase a desired plant and also learn some interesting facts.
    This show is a definite hit. It’s well put together and provides  something for just about any interest.

  • Sumter County students swept the Big Spring Regional Science Fair once again! The 2014 Science Fair brought out the best and brightest middle and high school students to discuss their research, experimental designs, and conclusions with a host of judges from a variety of professions.
    Sixty-one eager researchers from South Sumter Middle, South Sumter High, Wildwood Middle High, and The Villages Charter School brought 53 projects to the Florida National Guard Armory in Ocala on the morning of Feb. 20.

  • All you have to do is look at the staggering weight totals for unwanted or unneeded prescription drugs that were turned in for disposal this past weekend to realize that Project Medicine Cabinet is a beneficial program throughout Sumter County.
    This year, about 1,500 pounds of prescription drugs were collected at the two drop-off locations in the county, one in The Villages and the other in Bushnell.

  • The yearly process can be confusing and frustrating. But for some Sumter County taxpayers, there’s help available for preparing those tax returns and the best part about it, it’s free.
    If you’re 60 years old or older and of low to moderate income, you may qualify for a local plan that is available to assist you with preparing your tax return free of charge.

  • It’s not a simple task in Sumter County – rounding up about 3,000 volunteers. Just ask the heads of any organization or club here, finding volunteers is never a simple matter. Typically, it’s the same people who seem always willing to offer their time.
    But Bob Fussner II is determined that he will find the volunteers that are necessary.
    Fussner is the president of Flags for Fallen Vets, a national project aimed at honoring all the heroes at rest at national cemeteries by placing an individual American flag on each gravesite of a veteran.

  • When the 4th annual “Spice it up for Hospice” chili cookoff happens on Saturday, Feb. 8, 11 a.m. TO 2 p.m. all the proceeds will benefit Cornerstone’s Lane Purcell Hospice House and patient care.
    Come join the fun and help raise money for a great cause, the cookoff will be held this Saturday in the new downtown Bushnell Plaza park! It only costs $5 to taste all the tempting chili recipes, a drink, and a vote for your favorite chili and your favorite booth decoration - and you get a chili pepper necklace!
    We need your support Sumter County!

  • Finally, after months of investigation and months of speculation, the mystery finally comes to a close for the murder victim sheriff’s investigators knew only as Jane Doe.
    Last week, during a press conference at the Sumter County Sheriff’s Office, it was announced that Jane Doe was actually Martha Wever and that her suspected killer is Ralph Harold Penrod, a longtime high school friend.

  • SECO officials are warning all electric customers to be wary of a variety of consumer scams being run in Central Florida this winter.
    SECO Director of Corporate Communications Barry Bowman said, “Right now there are a number of scams being foisted upon the public by unscrupulous individuals whose sole purpose is to separate people from their hard-earned money. These scammers like to prey on our older population, in particular, which makes their actions even more reprehensible.”

  • The colder weather may make us feel all cozy and comfy but it can be a very dangerous and harmful season for your pets without your diligence as their caregiver. Here are a few common sense tips to protect your pets during the holiday season provided by the Humane Society/SPCA of Sumter County:
    • Keep pets inside when the temperature drops. Cats can get frostbite and should be kept indoors. Many dog breeds are highly susceptible to the cold. Feed your livestock extra forage during harsh weather and check that outdoor water lines to their troughs have not frozen.

  • Yes, we’re in the middle of the Christmas season – with parades, festivals and frontier fun. While it’s a wonderful time for family and friends, there are some other events in the future that you might want to start thinking about.

  • Football season came to an end for the South Sumter Raiders last Friday night at Raider field when the team was finally shaken from its no loss season.
    The final score of 27-21 may have ended the Raiders hopes of advancing to the state semifinals but the Raiders ending Friday night was far from a defeat.
    This year’s team has been amazing and the Raider players can be proud of a great season of playing quality high school football.

  • The holiday season, with excited children, rushing parents, holiday decorations, and holiday parties, can unfortunately create potential for accidental poisonings.

  • By Laura Finley, Ph.D.
    In the last two weeks over a four-day period, 14 adults and seven children from four different states were killed in domestic violence-related murders.
    In Texas, police said a man with a long criminal history and a substance abuse problem went on a murder spree on October 26, killing his mother in the home he shared with her, then an aunt and three others.

  • Ghosts and goblins may not be the true threat to trick-or-treaters during this year’s Halloween festivities. Possibly tainted candy, use of costume materials, and food borne illnesses may really be the hazards. As such, the health professionals at the Florida/USVI Poison Information Center - Jacksonville can be an important resource for parents at this time of year. The Poison Center Help Line, 1-800-222-1222 is available 24 hours a day when these questions come up.

  • There’s just something really special about a quaint town festival – a place where people  can do everything from watch a parade and listen to music, to shop for crafts and end the day with fireworks.
    If you don’t know the value of what’s been created in Bushnell, look around. How many other communities and organizations have tried to host events and draw a crowd? How many communities would love to have the crowds that the Bushnell event draws?

  • By Dennis Van Roekel
    Will Congress ever get its act together? That question is likely on the minds of many Americans, but the latest impasse should actually serve as a reminder that we need to redouble our efforts to make sure Congress focuses on the right priorities and moves the country forward. As a former educator, I do not believe in giving up on anyone, even a Congress that always seems to be at loggerheads. Here are a few key budget lessons that Congress should heed.