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The Florida legislative session just finished this past week. What a crazy week it has been. The Coronavirus has taken over the focus of all Floridians, including state legislators who were finishing up their work for the year. There is a good chance that legislators will be making their way…

It happened. I was hoping it wouldn't, but it did. The governor closed all fitness facilities in the state of Florida. The gym is my home away from home. What am I supposed to do now?

Two months ago, we were celebrating the dawn of a new decade. One month ago, while a new virus ravaged China and made its way eastward, we were in the throes of Florida’s annual legislative session, barely considering its spread in Washington state. Even two weeks ago, we went about our dail…

What a crazy week it’s been! No matter where you live, at this point you have heard something about the coronovirus or COVID-19.

Union General William Tecumseh Sherman’s famous quote said it best about war, but I’m not about to repeat it in this article. Perhaps the quote of Confederate General Robert E. Lee will do, though: “It is well that war is so terrible, else we should grow too fond of it.” Throughout history, …

The Bible says, “Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?” (2 Corinthians 13:5).

Dealing with the unknown probably causes our greatest fear. Regardless of life’s situations, having little knowledge or details causes fear to overtake us. Rational, informative thinking will eliminate the fear emotion.

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The song of the Easter whippoorwill plaintively singing a nocturnal song a few nights ago was a sweet sound, and I love it. That song always give me hope that springtime has arrived. There is so much in our natural world for which we can give thanks. My brother and I took a drive north of ou…

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On May 8, 2007, a fire was started by lightning on an island in the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge. It was nothing unusual; summer lightning storms do this kind of thing every year, but sometimes with unwanted and unforeseen consequences. This fire was stubborn and soon crossed over int…

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Right up until I got the notice on Friday evening that schools would be closed in all of Florida for the next two weeks, the Coronavirus, aka COVID-19, seemed like something that was serious, but that would not affect my life too much.

Can’t escape the news. One way or another you’ll hear something throughout the day. This past week have been updates on the coronavirus and I’m sure everyone is listening and watching to see what happens next. What we need to remember is to think things through logically using common sense. …

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I was reading an old Suwannee Democrat recently and came across a discussion of Daylight Savings Time (originally dubbed “Daylight Saving Time”). Like many people, I detest the time changes each year. As with every home in the United States, “Spring forward” and “Fall back” are a small nuisa…

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I’m sad. The streak has come to an end. For the first time in the 68-year history of the Florida Folk Festival, Ruby Shaw will not be there in person this year. Last weekend White Springs said goodbye to “Miss Ruby.” You’ll surely want to read this if you knew her, but even if you didn’t kno…

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In my column this week, I pay tribute to the late Mrs. Ruby Register Shaw, White Springs, Florida. “Miss” Ruby lived a good, long life having passed her 90th year before her demise on March 4, 2020. She saw many changes in her life and, yet, she held on to those qualities that, to me, are th…

The coronavirus’s spread into Florida did not stop several thousand music lovers from coming together in the small town of Okeechobee for a music festival this past weekend. Festival goers have always worn masks and scarves to keep the dust out of their noses and to disguise their identity. …

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Mom has been here since the end of December. She’s much more active here in Florida than at home in Ohio during the winter months. This has been another year for a lot of snow and cold temps up north. Cabin fever is a very real thing.

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Last week there was no “Life in White Springs.” I don’t mean that there was no actual “life,” indeed most of us were alive and well, but that certainly was not the case with me when last week’s column was due. I was sick. This is no “the dog ate my column” excuse; I was actually really sick,…

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I spent a couple of days in Tallahassee watching our state legislature work on law making this past week. I wish I hadn’t. The saying about laws being like sausages is possibly more true today than it was in the 1800’s when the phrase was first uttered.

As your farmers, foresters, ranchers, and agricultural scientists, we know you’re buying based on more than price. We see it when you spend extra for grass-fed beef, organic produce, or cage-free eggs.

The Bible says, “Open rebuke is better than secret love. Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful” (Proverbs 27:5-6, KJV).

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Nearly everything goes in cycles. The weather goes in cycles; the seasons; the economy and even life is a cycle. Each individual participates in it; no one avoids it.

“Come again!Come with thy sweet voice again!Come, oh! come again!Come with thy sweet voice again! Come again!Come with thy sweet voice again!Come, oh! come again!Come with thy sweet voice again!”— The chorus of “Come with Thy Sweet Voice Again” written and composed by Stephen C. Foster.

I have been to fall festivals, Medieval Festivals and plenty of music festivals. This past Saturday, I had a chance to attend my first beer festival. I liked it. The 7th annual Riverside Craft Beer Festival was a sight to behold. Tickets for the event were $40 if purchased in advance or $50 …

Having returned from an amazing weekend with my mom after a first time visit to Kennedy Space Center, it became quite clear how winning the journey to space was a challenge. From the moment we pulled into the parking lot of the Space Center until the minute we left, we continually had to pic…

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There have been many influential citizens in Suwannee County over the years. One who impacted the county in a rather short time was George Francis Allison, a Suwannee County-born citizen who was well-known enough to be written about in a 1923 book entitled “The History of Florida: Past &…

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“Lift every voice and singTill earth and heaven ring,Ring with the harmonies of Liberty:Let our rejoicing riseHigh as the listening skies,Let it resound loud as the rolling sea.Sing a song full of the faith that the dark past has taught us,Sing a song full of the hope that the present has br…

This past weekend, I went to my first Civil War battle reenactment. The 44th reenactment of the Battle of Olustee was a sight to behold. There were many people there to witness the reenactment, which I am sure motivated the volunteer armies of more than 1,000 soldiers to put on a good show f…

Optimist? Pessimist? Realist? Do any of these titles resonate with how you view yourself? I am definitely an optimist so when I am around negativity in any form, it's draining. I don't even want to hear anything negative put out into the world.

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Suwannee County and the surrounding areas have dealt with sinkholes and washouts for the entirety of its history, to varying effects. One of the most recent (and probably the most widespread) of these events happened during Tropical Storm Debby in 2012, when dozens of sinkholes opened around…

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The poetic writings of the great King of Israel, David, are overflowing with emotions. His expressions of thanks to God for helping him are the most encouraging to us. Psalm 30 describes his thankfulness to God along with David extolling the Lord for His help.

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It’s a fair question. If you are reading this column online, or in the Suwannee Democrat or the Mayo Free Press, you don’t have to drive through here in your daily travels. The Towns of Live Oak, Branford, Mayo and Dowling Park probably meet your occasional shopping and culinary needs. Even …

The Wekiva Parkway — a 25-mile, soon-to-be completed expressway in Central Florida — has become the gold standard in our state for how to build an environmentally responsible highway. In the past year, proponents of the three M-CORES expressways authorized for more than 300 miles of environm…

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The time is always right to encourage someone and to let someone know you care. On Friday, Feb. 14, 2020, we celebrate Valentine’s Day. It is a day when florists are busy, cards go out through the mail to friends and loved ones, children at school exchange Valentine’s and get good and “sugar…

This past weekend I had a blast at the Brainquility Music Festival at the Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park. The weekend got off to a rough start due to the weather, but things quickly got back on track, and Brainquilty’s second year at the SOSMP was a success.

You try so hard to make sure you do everything possible for your health. Keep an eye on your diet. Hit the gym. Keep stress minimal. Unfortunately, that may not be enough. Even the most health conscious of us can make health mistakes.

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This year marks the 100th anniversary since the ratification of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution allowed women the right to vote in the United States. Although many states had allowed women this right after the Civil War, Susan B. Anthony and many like her did not live to see it finall…

Our thought life is the genesis for our practical life. The way we think determines the way we’ll act. We can’t think one way and live another way. When we try we become divided against ourselves and are hypocrites, and of all men most miserable. 

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To the “sons of the mighty” the King of Israel wrote a psalm (29) encouraging them to ascribe to the Lord, Glory! He wants the citizens of his kingdom to give glory and honor to the Lord, their God. He gives several reasons why this god is to receive worship and glory.

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The month of February has the distinction of hosting several notable holidays. Our first president George Washington shares the month with our 16th president, Abraham Lincoln. Add President’s Day, Groundhog Day, Valentine’s Day, Susan B. Anthony Day, Marti Gras and Ash Wednesday and you’ve g…

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During this time of year we are reminded of the blessings of joy and warmth. While north central Florida does not have the freezing weather for several solid months which descends on many of our northern neighbors at this time of year, we have enough for many of us to learn where our winter …

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The Town of White Springs, particularly the White Springs Historic District, is a bit of a time machine. The abundance of homes and churches and buildings that were built from 100 to 150 years ago make it easy to imagine life back then, and imagination is the key to time travel.

This Week's Circulars

Obituaries

Michael A. Stellabotte, Jr., 94, Live Oak, FL passed away on Monday, March 16, 2020. The native was a WWII Veteran while serving in the Navy and was of Catholic Faith. Mr. Stellabotte is survived by his three daughters: Jessica (Greg) Hammock, Live Oak, FL, Ingrid (Ed) Stokes, TX, Jennifer (…

Mr. Robert B. Dozier, 74, Live Oak, FL passed away on Thursday, March 5, 2020 at Shands UF in Jacksonville, FL following an extended illness. He was the son of the late Marvin Allen and Janet Britt Byrd Dozier, Sr. Mr. Dozier was preceded in death by his daughter, Dolly Dozier and a brother,…

James G. Cordry, 67 of Branford, FL. passed away on Tuesday March 10, 2020. He is preceded in death by his parents; Claudia Mae and Edward Cordy and one brother Larry Cordry. James is survived by his wife Nancy Branch Cordy, one daughter, Kristy (Steven) Harris of Mayo, FL., one son Derek (A…