Stew Lilker’s

Columbia County Observer

Real news for working families.  An online newspaper

Columbia County News
Beginning in 2013 County & County Commission News will be here. Earlier
years will be found in either County News or County Commission indexes
Index of Stories • 2013 2012-2009

County News 2014 (scroll down)

County Attorney Candidate Joel Foreman
Ethics Questions Surface

Posted August 17, 2014  02:15 am | (1 comment)

COLUMBIA COUNTY, FL – Columbia County Florida is the only Florida County where the County Attorney, the attorney that represents the County Commission in civil matters, is elected by the people. Joel Foreman is running for the position. The Codes of Judicial Conduct and Professional Responsibility require the recusal of a Judge who is being represented by an attorney, who is appearing in front of him, and the attorney to advise the opposing party that he is the judge's attorney.

Columbia County's Good Ole' Boy Audit Club – 30 Years and Counting

Posted August 10, 2014  09:58 am

DOH & WellFlorida Partner With Survey To Improve Health Outcomes In Columbia County

Commissioner Bucky Nash Brokers $659,780 Backroom Deal With Sheriff Hunter
Road Deputies To Get Raises – Other County Employees?

Posted July 18, 2014  09:58 am

COLUMBIA COUNTY, FL – Just when you think Columbia County's infamous County 5 can't outdo itself, it does. Last night, in an admitted backroom deal brokered by County Commissioner Bucky Nash and the County's external auditor and financial advisor, Richard Powell, The 5 gave the Sheriff $659,780 in current and future commitments for salary adjustments, while at the same time leaving its other County employees in the dark about their financial future.

Resident Complains About Garbage In the Streets:
The County 5 Have Ignored the Problem For Years

Posted June 24, 2014  05:15 am

COLUMBIA COUNTY, FL – Last night's meeting of the County 5 had garbage on the front burner. Long time resident Robert Long had emailed the County advising that residents in his neighborhood put out old and broken furniture, dryers, box springs and rubbish on the wrong days for pick up. He wrote, "It negatively affects home values and neighborhood appearance. It seems to be an increasing trend." The instances of garbage and trash being put out to the curb on the wrong day in Columbia County are nothing new.

Columbia County Jail – $35,000,000: Replace or Renovate, The Conversation Continued

Posted June 14, 2014  10:55 pm | Part II | Part I

Columbia County Jail – $35,000,000: Replace or Renovate, The Conversation Begins

Posted June 13, 2014  03:40 pm | Part I

County 5's Docket Tonight: New Jail - Residents Could Be on the Hook for $30 to $35,000,000

Posted June 12, 2014  09:40 am

COLUMBIA COUNTY, FL – Tonight at 6 o'clock, the Public Safety Coordinating Council (PSCC), an advisory board to the County 5, meets for the first time since 2006 at the School Board Admin. Bldg. For decades, the County has claimed it needed a new jail. The purpose of the PSCC is to assess the population status of the County Jail. The eternal foot dragging of Florida's quintessential Good Ole' Boy County Commission, and its wheeling and dealing with County funds, may once again put the County's taxpayers and residents on the hook. This time for $30 - $35,000,000.

Harvey Campbell Dreamed of a Field of Dreams, A Miracle Field Where all Children Can Play
"I am making it a priority," County Manager Dale Williams

Posted June 06, 2014  07:55 am

Another Economic Development Master Plan For Columbia County: Paid For By The Taxpayers

Posted June 04, 2014  06:00 am

COLUMBIA COUNTY, FL – Last Thursday, May 29, 2014, the Columbia County Economic Development Department met for an emergency economic development work shop to gather information in order to be in compliance with the terms of a $40,000 economic development grant from the state. Columbia County is the pilot community for what Enterprise Florida called the "Next Level" Community Competitiveness Grant. Dragging its feet, the County now has its back up against the wall. The County's taxpayers had to pony up $17,250 to pay a consultant to finish the grant. This story really began in 2009 – in secret.


Columbia County 5 Facing a $50,000,000 Public Safety Crisis: Sheriff Mark Hunter Stands Up

Posted May 28, 2014  11:10 am | (4 comments)

Lake City Middle School Students Inducted Into Nat. Jr. Honor Society: Supt. and School Bd. MIA

Posted May 20, 2014  06:45 am

The A-7 Corsair's Columbia County Transformation: From Mold and Excrement to Glistening Paint?

Posted May 19, 2014  12:35 pm

Unanimous Vote To Dispose of a Piece Naval History, the A-7 Corsair Display Alongside of I-75

Posted May 16, 2014  11:25 am |(1 Comment)

Suwannee Valley TA: Dialysis Patients Riding On Saturday for Another Month

Nash keeps SVTA on track

Columbia County Economic Development:  First Appearance By New Chief, Glenn Hunter

"My family goes back six-seven generations"

Glenn Hunter, Economic Development Director by Default: It's the Pedigree, Not Degree That Counts

FL's Sunshine Law a problem for Mr. Hunter

FOILED – A Plan to Depose the North Central Florida Regional Planning Council and Replace it With the SVTA

Suwannee Valley Transit Authority Administrator and Director of Operations Resign

Ted Yoho Town Hall Columbia County: The Congressman Impressed Supporters and Doubters

Posted April 22, 2014  07:35 am

COLUMBIA COUNTY, FL – Last night Congressman Ted Yoho came to Columbia County. The audience was filled with supporters, fence straddles, doubters, and the curious who had never seen a real live United States Congressman. Congressman Yoho, a large animal veterinarian, had not spent his life at the public trough, worked his way through school and after becoming a veterinarian spent 28 years being one. He didn't like the direction America was taking and ran for congress. This November he is running for his second two year term.

4 Years After Opening Fort White Library in the Woods Gets Outside Lighting: What took so long?

Posted April 18, 2014  08:15 pm

COLUMBIA COUNTY, FL – Last night after almost 4 years of inaction, The Columbia County 5, The 5, finally decided to pay to put lighting in the Fort White in the woods library parking lots. Dedicated in a private "invitation only" ceremony for The 5, some County staff, and County royalty in November 2010, the parking lots have remained unlit. The County claimed it couldn't afford the lights. During the intervening years, The 5 spent millions on anything they felt like, such as the $28k-$100k on the Boondoggle in the Boondocks debacle, or an outright donation of $80,000 to the Lake City Chamber of Commerce for a three year study to determine what you are thinking about before you buy a six pack of beer.

The County 5: Another New High or Low
Discovers Library in the Woods is in the Dark

Posted April 17, 2014  08:35 am | news/analysis

In Favor of 5¢ County Gas Tax Hike: Bubba Twelvepack Comments

County 5 Chairman Ronald Williams In Favor of 5¢ County Gas Tax Hike: 4 of The 5 Silent

Columbia County 5: Violate FL Law Then Approve 12th Hr. $500,000 Plus Real Estate Deal

The rule of law is what Florida's infamous good ole' boys say it is

The County 5 Tonight: Buried in the consent agenda tax incentives to an anonymous company

$18 mil Proposed Public Safety Communications Upgrade: Not Worth the Paper It's Written On

Suwannee Valley TA Under Microscope: OIG (Office of the Inspector General) Called In To Investigate

Suwannee Valley TA Moves Into 21st Century Commissioner Nash Says, "No Mas" to Secrecy
Suwannee County Com. Gamble seconds the motion

The 5 Barrel Ahead: Ignore Potential $5-$10 Mil Savings On $18,000,000 Communications System

Late Breaking: Chairman Williams wants to hear the Harris proposal

The 5: Putting County Workers at the Bottom of the Barrel

The 5: Money by relay.` Another quarter million headed to a School District that can't afford books.

The 5: Up To It's Old Tricks As Tonight's County Commission Docket Rolls Around

Floating On A Sea Of County Cash, The 5 Donate Another $200,000 to the School DistrictColumbia County 5

Emerald Lakes Special Assessment Ballot Fails
Tonight, Will The 5 Take Matters Its Own Hands?
Columbia County 5

Columbia County 5County 5 Sets 2014 Budget Priorities
Total Cost Could Be Over $100,000,000

Chairman Williams: You've got to think about raising taxes

Economic Development Advisory Board: Long time Commissioner Ronald Williams takes over the helm

He will bring $100,000s of suggestions before The 5 in Feb

Emergency Management Director Morgan Warns of Black Ice – Gives 5 P's of Cold Weather Safety
Columbia County Schools will be closed Tuesday
Gateway College will be open Tuesday

County 5, Big Business As Usual At 1st Meeting of the Year: Waste Pro may get $200,000 free pass

The County 5: The enhanced right to participate, "A little extreme for Columbia County," Com. Nash

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