Stew Lilker’s 

Columbia County Observer

Real news for working families.  An online newspaper



WEATHER:  Today Tonight

Gov. Scott's First Big Challenge of New Term: FDLE Legal Scandal

South FL Action Plan Takes Aim on Climate Change

SVTA Attorney: "A confusing time. I don't think anybody really knew what was being approved."

Posted January 21, 2015  09:35 am | Part II

COLUMBIA - HAMILTON - SUWANNEE COUNTY, FL – The saga of the Suwannee Valley TA continued this past Friday. Since 1999, Columbia, Hamilton, and Suwannee Counties have been designated as Rural Areas of Critical Economic Concern (RACEC). RACEC's were created by Governor Jeb Bush and the Florida Legislature. The conditions in these areas are: areas of persistent poverty; lowest educational achievement, low household income; depressed economic activity, etc. Two commissioners from each of these three counties met to plead nolo contendere and accept the OIG report and its findings unopposed, with an answer which represented a mini Corrective Action Plan.

Suwannee Valley TA – $13.9 Million in Funding Since 2009: Who Was Watching the Store?

Posted January 20, 2015  10:50 am | Part I | Part II

County 5 Refuse to Take a Stand Against Fracking: County Manager Speaks – The 5 Are Reviewing

Posted January 16, 2015  07:59 am | (1 comment)

Push for New Law: Cheaper Solar Power for Sunshine State

"End the Solar Eclipse in the Sunshine State"

LSHA Berry to Gov. Scott's Board: Pull Down the Shade on Florida's Sunshine

Lake Shore Hosp Auth Berry Digs In: Refuses to Answer Questions, Makes Record Inspection a Trial

Economic Development: $500,000 Banner Center Disappears; Rail Spur Not a Panacea

Posted January 09, 2015  10:35 am

Major Shake-up at the County 5: New Chairman Changes the Deck Chairs - Williams Deep Sixed

Posted January 07, 2015  12:01 am

Suwannee Valley TA: Fandango Continues, Tri County Board  Has Collective Amnesia

Posted January 5, 2015  11:55 pm | (1 comment)

COLUMBIA - HAMILTON - SUWANNEE COUNTY, FL – The Suwannee Valley TA (SVTA) fandango continues unabated. The constants are Columbia County Commissioner Ronald Williams, who has been the Chairman of the SVTA for as long as anyone can remember, and a North Central Florida culture of cronyism and back room decision making that has apparently gone on forever.

Jeb Bush Resigns as George W. Bush’s Brother

Holiday Celebration: See a Drunk - Dial *FHP

Suwannee Valley TA Pays $257,318 in Exempt OT
DOT OIG Wants an Explanation

Posted December 29, 2014  06:40 am

COLUMBIA - HAMILTON - SUWANNEE COUNTY, FL – Last Monday, December 22, the State Attorney empanelled a grand jury to hear matters concerning the Suwannee Valley Transit Authority. Ten days before, on December 12, 2014, the Florida DOT, Office of Inspector General (OIG) released its long awaited Advisory Report on the Suwannee Valley Transit Authority (SVTA).

SVTA Board Should Bring Back the Team That Brought it Back from the Brink of Bankruptcy

Lake Shore Hosp Auth: Gov. Scott's Board Nixes Closing, Berry Shuts Down the Auth – Anyway

Posted December 23, 2014  10:35 pm

COLUMBIA COUNTY, FL – A little over two weeks ago on December 8, Governor Scott's Lake Shore Hospital Authority Board, relying on the approved Authority policy, told Authority Manager Jack Berry to keep the Authority open on the Fridays after Christmas and New Year's. A request by Hosp Auth Manager Berry to close the Authority on Friday, December 26, and Friday January 2 was denied by the Authority Board. On Friday, December 19, an undated, unsigned sign hanging from the front door of the Authority said the Authority was closed on December 26.

Taking the Bite Out of Holiday Dangers for Pets

Columbia County 5 Bails Out Suwannee Valley TA After It Runs Out of Money - Again: Gives $50,000

Posted December 18, 2014  03:25 pm | (2 comments)

COLUMBIA COUNTY, FL – The Suwannee Valley Transit Authority (SVTA) was front and center at the Columbia County Commission (County 5 or The 5) last night. Once again, the SVTA ran out of money. Records that were not made available to the public in advance of the meeting, in violation of the County Charter, show that on December 1 the SVTA was $50,600 behind in its bills. The request from the SVTA for a $50,000 grant from Columbia County's taxpayers made it onto the County's agenda. There was no explanation how it got there.

The Blanche: Johnson & Decker want inclusion "Anybody that wants a seat will have one"

Lake City's Blanche Hotel: $15,000,000 Renovation Discussion Off & Running

LAKE CITY/COLUMBIA COUNTY, FL – Yesterday's 8:30 a.m. discussion by the handpicked "Grassroots Blanche Stakeholder Committee" went off on time as City Manager Wendell Johnson led the discussion of the proposed $15,000,000 renovation of the downtown landmark. Ninety minutes after a bit of a shaky start, the committee seemed to have found itself heading for a community project in which the pro and con sides are going to have to come together to make this successful for Columbia County/Lake City and put its historic downtown back on the map.

LSHA's Berry Says, "Guardian Angel" Posted Ad on Craigslist – Impersonated Hospital Authority

Family & Holidays: Sometimes Less is More

FDOT's Petihomme Enlightens Planning Council on Fed Funds for Hometown Projects

Vice Mayor Moses High on Downtown Lake City: "There is a new energy downtown"

Billions Available for FL Gulf Restoration
National Wildlife Federation Has a Plan

Man's best friend rescued - then becomes boys best friend 

•  Meeting Calendar

FSU’s John Thrasher: Brave Enough to Thwart Campus Guns?

Bill Day's Latest Cartoon

The 5: Making Laws, Spending Our Money , Towing a Line on Things We Know Nothing About

Marriage Equality Underscores Vital Role of Our Courts

BP Faces $Billions in Fines: Deepwater Horizon Penalty Phase Begins

Florida Tops Nation in Obamacare Signups

Hitler's Dachau: Bearing Witness Even When It Seems Too Much To Bear

The Mandate is Clear: Don’t Slap Amendment 1 Voters in the Face

Lousy Education Policy Blurs Line Between Public – Private

FL Gas Falls 28.6¢ in 3 Weeks     Diesel Finally Under $3 gal

FL's Code of Judicial Conduct: Will the Supremes Listen?

10 Things You Can Do Besides Visit the Circus

Jeb & Hillary: Please Stay Home

Bondi's Pretending FL's Clerks of Court Exempt From US Constitution: That's Chutzpah

FL's Politician of the Year: Refurbished Rick Scott

Florida's 2014 Top 10 Environmental Stories

Florida's Political Ditch Diggers of 2014

Torture & War: Sen. McCain Speaks With Authority

We're Back To Blaming the Victims for Rape

President Jeb Planning More Neocon Wars

Report Highlights Unsafe Toys in Time for Xmas

It's Payback Time: What Will FL GOP Contributors Expect for Their Millions?

Attorney/Author Jim Slaughter Informs About Robert's Rules After The 5's Bloodless Coup

Bogus Allegations:
The Injustice of Guilty until Proven Innocent