en Hearing planned for water issue <p> By Martin Steele</p> <p> Staff Writer</p> <p> The large group of Sumter County residents trying to stop an Ocala company&rsquo;s plans to pump almost a half million gallons of water per day from a Sumterville site has apparently finally succeeded in getting a legal hearing on the issue.</p> <p> In a July 14 letter, Southwest Florida Water Management District&rsquo;s (SWFWMD) attorney formally requested the state Division of Administrative Hearings to assign an administrative law judge to the case of Joseph Flynn versus SWFWMD and SWR Properties, LLC.</p> Sumter schools score high <p> <strong>S</strong>chool Supt. Rick Shirley announced recently that Sumter County is ranked 11<sup>th</sup> out of 67 school districts moving up from 17<sup>th</sup> in Florida, according to a preliminary school grades press release by the Department of Education.&nbsp;</p> Sumter: Quiet local election year <div id="cke_pastebin"> Many Sumter County residents won&rsquo;t find many choices this fall when it comes to local elections. &nbsp;</div> <div id="cke_pastebin"> Whether it&rsquo;s municipal or county offices, there will be few races on the ballot that will require a voter decision.</div> <div id="cke_pastebin"> Official qualifying for local offices ended June 2 and the resulting lack of competition leaves only two county races to be resolved during the Nov. 8 General Election &ndash; school superintendent and the District 4 school board seat.&nbsp;</div> <div id="cke_pastebin"> Sheriff's office names newest K9 officer <img src="" alt="Dallas was named Thursday afternoon, after hundreds of names were suggested by the public." title="Dallas was named Thursday afternoon, after hundreds of names were suggested by the public." align="left" hspace="6" width="90" height="85" /><p> The Sumter County Sheriff&#39;s Office welcomes &quot;Dallas&quot; to the force. After gathering suggestions from the public, the department named their newest K9 officer Dallas, in memory of the officers who were killed in Dallas, Texas. Dallas is shown here with Cpl. Justin Brannen (left) and Sumter County Sheriff Bill Farmer.</p> Water withdrawal protest continues <div id="cke_pastebin"> A mass of residents last week tried and failed again to sway the Sumter County Commission to intervene against an Ocala company&rsquo;s plan to pump and transport water from a proposed Sumterville well site.</div> <div id="cke_pastebin"> A crowd of about 400 residents on June 28 packed the County Commission meeting room at Colony Cottage in The Villages to plead for the board to take some action to deter the Fern Spring project that the Southwest Florida Water Management District (SWFWMD) permitted on June 8.</div> <div id="cke_pastebin"> Celebrating America at Dade Park <img src="" alt="Egg toss was part of the activities at the park." title="Egg toss was part of the activities at the park." align="left" hspace="6" width="113" height="85" /><div id="cke_pastebin"> A firecracker-hot afternoon greeted visitors Sunday at the Dade Battlefield Historic State Park&rsquo;s Patriotic Family Fun Day.&nbsp;</div> <div id="cke_pastebin"> Park personnel and a troop of volunteers were busy making sure that there was plenty of things to do and enjoy to make it a fun day for the kids and adults.&nbsp;</div> <div id="cke_pastebin"> They were treated to grilled hot dogs, home-churned ice cream and homemade cookies and treats.</div> <div id="cke_pastebin"> Plans for gas pipeline continue The start of construction on a large natural gas pipeline through Sumter County is still on track for this summer, but, so far, there is no apparent sign of activity in the areas mapped for the massive project. “We are still targeting a summer 2016 construction start date,” wrote Andrea Grover in an email last week. She is the project spokesperson for Sabal Trail Transmission, LLC, the joint partnership company building the pipeline. Update: Gator bites local man A Bushnell man on Friday was still hospitalized following a June 21 alligator attack that left him with gashes in his upper right thigh and lower right calf, according to a Sumter County Sheriff’s Office report. Jackie Eugene Hildreth , 58, was reportedly bitten after approaching a large alligator that had been shot by his father shortly before the attack in a pasture off County Road 311 in Bushnell.