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8/31/18

Horror unfolded in a Jacksonville pizzeria last Sunday. While gamers competed in a video game tournament, one contestant took out a weapon and began firing at competitors. The attack ended in a matter of minutes leaving three dead, including the shooter, and several more injured.

First responders participating in a nearby training exercise rushed to the scene and immediately began rendering aid to victims of the shooting. Local law enforcement began clearing the scene. I immediately sent my victim advocates to help the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office counsel survivors, offer trauma services and assist with medical expenses. While in Jacksonville following the shooting, I also had the opportunity to visit with some of the victims and hear their stories. Continue reading

FREE English as a Second Language (ESL) classes at First Baptist Church of Ocala, 2801 SE Maricamp Road, Ocala, FL 34471.  Classes begin Wednesday, August 29th, and are held weekly.  All classes begin promptly at 6:00 pm, ending with conversation and refreshments at 7:15 pm. There are 3 levels of classes (beginner, intermediate and advanced) taught by loving & caring instructors.  If needed, there are fun & entertaining programs such as Awana for your children, and child care provisions are available, as well as programs for teens and adults.  Please contact the church office at (352) 629-5683 for more information.

August 24, 2018
Last Sunday, Clay County Deputy Ben Zirbel sustained critical injuries from a motorcycle accident. Just three days later, we learned that he passed away from those injuries. Every time I hear about a brave law enforcement officer getting critically injured while protecting our communities, it takes my breath away. My deepest sympathies go out to Deputy Zirbel’s family, friends and the entire Clay County law enforcement community.

May you rest in peace deputy.

This week, we filed legal action against a Florida travel agency that collected millions from consumers, then failed to provide promised vacations. Legendary Journeys, a now-shuttered Sarasota-based travel agency, still owes customers nationwide more than $3 million in refunds. Continue reading

(OCALA, Fla.) August 16, 2018 – Ocala Fire Rescue is proud to present the department’s second annual report to the community, showcasing the milestones, achievements, and progress made in the year 2017.

Molded by the dynamic nature of the fire service and its demands, Ocala Fire Rescue has continuously served this community since 1885. For more than 133 years the department has evolved to satisfy citizen’s needs. The year 2017 was no exception, in fact, it was noteworthy, marking the initiation of construction for Fire Station #7 (completed earlier this year), a rebuilding project, and improved Insurance Service Office (ISO) fire protection rating to Class 2, among other accomplishments. Continue reading

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Boys and Girls Club / April Savarese

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Ocala Insurance / Riley Smith (Thanks for the Door Prize) Continue reading

MARION COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE INTRODUCES NEW PROGRAM FOR HEARING-IMPAIRED DRIVERS

MARION COUNTY, Florida (August 24, 2018) – The Marion County Sheriff’s Office

(MCSO) has just introduced a new program designed to assist hearing-impaired drivers interact with our deputies. Statistics show that nearly 3 million Floridians have some form of hearing loss. Realizing the potential for miscommunication during a traffic stop between the deputy and the driver, MCSO has designed a communication card to assist with this.

The program works as follows: MCSO provides the hearing-impaired driver with a special sticker to place on the rear of their vehicle which alerts the deputy to the fact that the driver is hearing-impaired. A visor card is also provided for the driver to keep in the car with them to present to the deputy during a traffic stop. This visor card uses pictures and phrases that both the deputy and the driver may point to in order to better communicate with each other. This will help ensure that the driver knows the reason for the traffic stop and will ensure that the deputy knows how best to help the driver. Continue reading

Friends,

It is a great day to live in America! This week, across the State of Florida, school has begun again. There is much anticipation and excitement from students, parents and teachers. Excited about the opportunities that lie ahead, and that we live in a great country where anything is possible. A country where a young man who got his start washing cars at Hiers funeral home, could go to school, get a degree and one day become the principle of that company. That same man is now your State Senator, and it is an honor and privilege to serve you in Tallahassee. This is the final column of a short series that has highlighted many of our accomplishments since joining the Senate in 2016.

Last year, your Senator was awarded an “A” by the Independent Colleges & Universities of Florida (ICUF) in recognition of our continued support for higher education in the 2018 legislative session. The ICUF is a diverse association of 29 private, not-for-profit, educational institutions based in Florida that serve more the 130,000 students. Continue reading

Over the last few weeks, you have probably heard and read a lot from the Chamber & Economic Partnership (CEP) on the topic of workforce or Talent Development as we call it. When the CEP Board adopted our new 5-year strategic plan, Moving Forward-Phase II, in late 2016 it highlighted Talent Development as one of the two signature new project areas for the CEP. This new emphasis has really come into focus over the last year.  I want to discuss why this is such an important emphasis for the CEP and then explain what we are doing.

As communities across the country have been rebounding and growing post-Great Recession, one of the area’s that it became apparent had suffered was talent development. As companies, communities, and schools struggled to just remain viable, the importance of investing in workforce often went to the side. When this is coupled with the pending retirement of millions of Baby Boomers, a talent deficit becomes a clear reality. It is our belief that talent development is incredibly significant to the continued growth of our community. In fact, we believe the communities which figure out talent, will be the communities that win the next half century. Continue reading

Civil War:

Last month I wrote how Civil Wars begin. The information I received was from the web about the writings of Jack Minzey who died this year. He studied the subject for many of years and wrote a number of books on the subject. History tells us what happened. The social and political behavior today fits that mold. Hatred and social disorder is out of control. We need more love and respect. If not love and if not respect, then tolerance. No matter who wins the election I would never try to unseat a president that was voted into office. In today’s society most people have guns because they feel they need to protect themselves and their families. THEY DO! Today if you don’t agree with your neighbor they get violent and verbally abusive. Right now I have someone verbally abusing me over this very story from last month. Continue reading

By Tony Powell

Do we have a misunderstanding of the First Amendment which guarantees ‘free speech’?

A County Property Appraiser in Florida asked, “Show me a successful Moslem country?” He has been immediately denounced by the media and others as a ‘Xenophobic Racist’ (I didn’t know that ‘Moslem’ was a ‘race’).

(Definition of xenophobia. : “Fear and hatred of strangers or foreigners or of anything that is strange or foreign”).

A Georgia politician reports that she was being ‘attacked’ because she talked to Saudi prince who is ‘Anti-Israel’.

(In Europe, you go to jail for saying that the ‘holocaust’ never happened). Since when was stupidity illegal?) Continue reading

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