Stew Lilker’s 

Columbia County Observer

Real news for working families.  An online news service



WEATHER:  Today Tonight

Lake City's Gulf Coast Financial Awarded Small Business of the Year

Posted April 25, 2015  12:01 am

LAKE CITY, FL –  Local financial practice, Gulf Coast Financial Services, Inc. (Gulf Coast), was recently awarded Small Business of the Year by the Lake City-Columbia County Chamber of Commerce.

'Skunkie' Patriarch Passes Out in Small Claims Court: "Lake City Reporter put me over the edge"

Posted April 24, 2015  08:15 am

Bernie Haake being attended to by Lake City's Fire Chief, Frank Armajo, at the Courthouse.

Blanche Hotel Developer Equity Skyrockets 850%: What is The Real Investment?

Johnson's Legacy Inflating: Blanche Price Tag Now $17,000,000 from $13,675,000

School District Auction Goes off Without a Hitch
Laptops, Monitors, Video Cameras: MIA

Posted April 20, 2015  07:10 am

Lined up like yellow giant caterpillars, the district's surplus school buses were sold.

COLUMBIA COUNTY, FL –  Saturday's Columbia County School District (CCSD) auction went off without a hitch. The surplus school buses were lined up like giant yellow caterpillars. Inside the warehouse were tables, chairs, kitchen equipment, and screen printing equipment. Many of the items looked new or nearly new. There was also a tire changer, vehicle jacks, and welders. Laptop computers and computer equipment that some folks came to buy was MIA.

Everett PhillipsPhillips Leads The 5 in 3-2 Quality of Life Split
Planning & Zoning Board Overruled

Posted April 17, 2015  07:20 am

COLUMBIA COUNTY, FL –  Last night, The Columbia County 5, in a 3-2 split, led by Dist. 4 Commissioner Everett Phillips, turned back the Planning & Zoning Board (P&Z) and voted in favor of quality of life. The question before The 5 was:  should they overrule the P&Z's decision to change the use of 110 acres from very low density, 1 dwelling per acre, to industrial. Randy Jones, the County's Building Dept. Director, presented nothing locating the property during the public hearing.

Report: Working FL Families Would Benefit From Medicaid Expansion

Lake City Reporter: A Newspaper You Can't Trust
Handmaidens to Columbia County's Good Ole' Boys

LSHA's Berry and LC's Johnson Ignoring the Needs of the Handicapped on the Authority Campus

CDC Warns Against Use of E-Cigarettes

Indiana-Style Discrimination in Florida?

Columbia County 5 Vote 3-2 to Look for an Auditor: But After 40 yrs They All Want Powell Back

Posted April 3, 2015  05:30 am

COLUMBIA COUNTY, FL –  Last night, the Columbia County 5, (The 5 or the County Commission) decided after 40 years to put out a search for a County Auditor to possibly replace the only Auditor the County has had since the 70's, External Auditor Richard Powell. The County's Constitutional Officers had previously recommended keeping Powell. Last night, the County Staff recommended keeping Powell. Chairman Rusty DePratter, after a split vote in favor of searching for another auditor, announced that he hoped the County ended up "with the same" auditor.

Auditor Richard Powell – The 5's 40 Year "Go-to-Man": Back on The County 5 Docket Tonight

Columbia Cnty Making a Play for Sunbelt Forest Products (Project Sandra): Others also in the Hunt

Posted April 1, 2015  10:15 am

COLUMBIA COUNTY, FL – Yesterday afternoon's County 5 meeting brought no surprises as County Economic Development Director Glenn Hunter pitched economic development incentive packages that were already discussed last week during the Economic Development Advisory Board (EDAB) meeting. Project Sandra was reported here. The incentive package needed the County 5's approval. Columbia County is not the only location in the hunt for Sunbelt's expansion.

"Big Sugar" Getting a Sweet Deal from Florida Lawmakers?

FL Bills Propose Making University Job Searches Private

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)

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

•  Meeting Calendar

Florida's Legislative Leaders Don't Trust Women

Bill Day's Latest Cartoon

Rick Scott's FL: If the Flooding Doesn't Get You, Lack of Health Insurance Will

Rick Scott: Street-Walkin’ His Way to Washington

Five Year Anniversary of BP Oil Disaster Highlights Risks of Offshore Drilling in New Areas

Rick Scott Has Lost His Conscience – If He Ever Had One

Politicians Respond to Racist Dog Whistles

Education Reform Bill: Dishonest and Politically Cowardly

Campus Sexual Assault Exposed: "The Hunting Ground"

FL Legislature Doesn't Care What You Think

FL Senate: Will It Realize Every Child Has the Right to be Loved?

Religious Freedom: Not a License to Discriminate

FL Gas Average $2.48 Last Week – Nat. Average $2.39

Amdt. 1: At Session Midpoint, Disappointment Replaces Promise

Practical Ways Everyone Can Advocate for Children

Concealed Weapons On Campus – Tragedy In the Making

FL Guns on Campus Debate: Logic - Courage - Passion

FL Leg. Subverting Our Will on Amdt 1

To Rick Scott Open Gov't is a Closed Book

Bogus Allegations:
The Injustice of Guilty until Proven Innocent