Stew Lilker’s 

Columbia County Observer

Real news for working families.  An online news service



WEATHER:  Today Tonight

Enterprise FL & the NFEDP: Helping Columbia County Lasso $60-70 mil Project At the 12th Hour

Posted March 26, 2015  08:55 am

"Tremendous Opportunity, but we don't have a rail; we don't have roads; we don't have utilities."

After Generations of Economic Underdevelopment: Will Columbia County Turn a Corner?

Posted March 24, 2015  10:40 am

COLUMBIA COUNTY, FL – Yesterday morning at 10:00 am, Columbia County's Economic Development Advisory Board (EDAB) met for a special meeting called by Economic Development Director, Glenn Hunter. The purpose of the meeting: discuss economic development incentives which will cost Columbia County millions; the payback: jobs. This article deals with one of those projects, code name: Project Sandra. (Photo: the face of Columbia County Economic Development, Glenn Hunter)

FL Legislature Considers Controversial "Campus Carry Bill"

Columbia County 5 & Sheriff Make History: Percent Based Budgeting or Flim-Flam 101

Posted March 20, 2015  11:10 am

COLUMBIA COUNTY, FL – Columbia County Sheriff Mark Hunter likes to spend his time at County Commission meetings sitting in the shadows. Last night, before the evening's County 5 meeting was gaveled to order, Commissioner Everett Phillips asked him to sit where folks could see him. He refused. Thirty minutes later, The 5, made history, when they unanimously voted, without one substantive question, to approve an interlocal agreement between the County and Sheriff, the first of its kind in the history of Florida. The agreement, prepared by the Sheriff's lawyers at the Florida Sheriff's Association, guaranteed him 39% of Columbia County's non restricted revenues and gave him an unrestricted reserve fund of $1.3 mil.

External Auditor Richard Powell - The 40 Year Man On The 5's Docket Tonight: Time For a New Face?

"Beside God, that’s the next man I believe in"

Posted March 19, 2015  07:20 am

COLUMBIA COUNTY, FL – Tonight, the Columbia County 5 is going to decide whether or not to make its forever Auditor, Richard Powell, secure for another 40 years.  State law required an Audit Committee of the Constitutional Officers and County Chair to be formed to give the County 5 input. Last week, they did, and they unanimously decided to negotiate another contract with Mr. Powell. County 5 Chairman, Rusty DePratter, voted with the Constitutionals. Tonight the public will see if the rest of The 5 will "go along to get along" and support the County Chair. (File photo: Richard Powell)

Community Tennis Association Forming, Commissioner Nash says, "Keep moving forward"

Posted March 18, 2015  07:45 am | 1 comment

COLUMBIA COUNTY, FL – Last night, Columbia County's Sports Advisory Council heard from County Economic Development Director, Glenn Hunter. The Sports Advisory Council is the sounding board and clearing house for all sports and activity groups that utilize the County's Southside Sports Complex and the extensive network of County community centers and parks. A grass roots tennis committee is looking to bring a county-wide tennis program to Columbia County, as well as a world class tennis facility for tournament and recreational use. (Photo: Economic Dev. Dir. Glenn Hunter at the SAC)

Associated Press Features Trouble With Public Records at the Lake Shore Hospital Authority

Miami  Considers Law Aimed at Expelling Homeless

Constitutionals Meet: County Auditor Powell Secure for Another 40 Years? The 5 Will Decide

Posted March 13, 2015  08:59 am | 1 comment

Blanche Hotel: 6 Months & Counting – $14 mil Letter of Intent May Be Next Month

Lake Shore Hosp Auth Berry Recommends Keeping Threat of Cyberstalking Civil Action Alive

"Secretive" Monkey Breeding Facility Lawsuit Moves Forward

FL DOH's Wendy Bragdon on Healthiest Weight: "This is not just a job for me, this is a passion."

Posted March 6, 2015  05:45 am

COLUMBIA COUNTY, FL – Last night's meeting of the County 5 saw the introduction Wendy Bragdon, the Florida Department of Health's (DOH), Columbia County Division, new Health Education Consultant and Healthiest Weight Coordinator. Ms. Bragdon told The County 5, "This is not just a job for me, this is a passion. I've lost over a hundred pounds. I want to encourage the members of our community to live healthier lives."

The Supremes Will Have Food for Thought, The Panel Met, Most Public Officials Blew off the Public

Posted March 03, 2015  11:00 am | Part II (Part I: The FL Sup. Ct. Wants to Hear You)

COLUMBIA COUNTY/LAKE CITY, FL – Yesterday afternoon from 3 pm to 7 pm, 4th DCA Judge Jonathan Gerber, Third Circuit Chief Judge, Gregg Parker, and former Third Circuit Chief Judge, Leandra Johnson, took up residence in Columbia County's courtroom I to listen, take notes, and ultimately report back to the Supremes. The Florida judicial branch is developing its long-range strategic plan for 2016-2022. Folks came from as far as Tampa to address the committee. Most of Columbia County's public and elected officials, along with the County's daily newspaper, the Lake City Reporter, came to be seen and mingle with each other, then made a bee line to the exit when the public came to the microphone.

Bitter Times for Florida Citrus

The FL Supreme Court Wants to Hear From You: Monday 3 pm - Courtroom I

Posted March 01, 2015  10:30 am | Part I

COLUMBIA COUNTY/LAKE CITY, FL – A cornerstone of a well-functioning society is an effective judicial system. “We need to know how we’re doing, what works well, and what may need to be improved. The opinions and perspectives of all Floridians are important to us,” said Fourth District Court of Appeal Judge Jonathan Gerber. The committee is looking for answers for two questions: 1) What are your thoughts about the state courts system? 2) What do you believe are the most important issues currently facing Florida courts? The committee will meet in Courtroom I, Monday at 3 pm and continue until 7 pm, first hearing from the public officials and then the public.

SCLC vs. Columbia County School Board
Will Justice Delayed Be Justice Denied?

Posted February 26, 2015  06:45 pm

COLUMBIA COUNTY/LAKE CITY, FL – Columbia County Florida is in the heart of the Deep South. Once a year it celebrates the defeat of Union forces in the Battle of Olustee. In 2015, race relations are still a confusing and contentious issue. The Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) Lake City President, Befaithful Coker, on February 2, 2015, asked to be put on the School Board agenda so that a resolution could be made "In Recognition of Black History Month and Alfonso Lofton," who, in 1963, graduated from Columbia County's all black high school and went on to become Florida's first black state trooper. The District refused – the SCLC sued. Black History month concludes in 3 days.

Harmony in the Columbia Cnty School Dist.

Blanche Hotel Train of Advisors Pulled into City Hall Last Night: Lots of Pictures - Not Much New

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

•  Meeting Calendar

Bill Day's Latest Cartoon

FL Leg. Subverting Our Will on Amdt 1

To Rick Scott Open Gov't is a Closed Book

Legislators: Ignore the Death Mermaid At Your Own Peril

The State of the State Floridians Should Hear

Assisted Suicide: Death With Dignity

"Bathroom Bill" Alive in FL Leg

FL Leg in the Sticky Embrace of Big Shug

Gov. Scott: Give Kids a Break From Computer Plagued Tests

Gov Scott Owes George Orwell a Debt of Gratitude for Primer on  Doublespeak

Welcome to Tallahassee’s Festival of Bad Ideas

FL Gas Up 11.2¢ Last Week      FL Average Back to Dec. Prices

FL Men Can't Let Leg. Overpower Women

Florida Children Benefit From Anti-Poverty Programs

Everglades Supporters Break the Peace With the Sugar Industry

Floridians Battle for National Paid Sick Leave Law

FL Gas Up 11.5¢ Last Week - 51% Higher Than Nat. Average

Bogus Allegations:
The Injustice of Guilty until Proven Innocent