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Local News

  • Cigarette tax rises

    Twenty-three percent of Marion County residents have seen more money going up in smoke in the last week.

    That’s the percentage of people whot smoke in Marion County, according to records of the Florida Department of Health.

    The cost for a pack of cigarettes increased $1 on July 1. Blame the increase on taxes.

    For smokers, the increase means they will have to cough up, on average, $5.73 for a pack of cigarettes, or $52.80 for a carton.

  • Celebrating and helping

    Chiropractic USA celebrated its one-year anniversary at the Jasmine South location last Friday. In conjunction with the celebration, the business raised money for the non-profit organization Animal Rescue Kingdom (ARK).

    During the charity event, there were plenty of activities to keep visitors busy. Children could play around in the bounce house or take a ride down a large blow-up slide. Many also tried to hit the bull’s eye and dunk massage therapist Julie Hollwedel ,who was the sitting duck in the booth, for the majority of the day.

  • CORRALLING CLIFFORD

    PBS’ Clifford, The Big Red Dog recently made a stop at the Freedom Public Library in conjunction with the library’s summer reading program.

    A crowd of children anxiously waited for the appearance of The Big Red Dog, including 3 ½-year-old Madylin Morrow, who was content once she was able to give him a hug (pictured).

  • Bedazzled by beads

    Diane Dzik, of On Top of the World, can’t remember her first fascination with beads, but it may have started in the “hippie” days of the ‘60s.

    From then on, she was always searching the jewelry boxes of family and friends or going to estate sales or finding the few bead stores that were around at the time.

    About 1997, she decided the challenge of seed bead weaving was exactly that! The appeal of these small jewels has not changed over the years.

  • New businesses on Corridor

    Over the next few months, some new businesses will be popping up along the 200 Corridor.

    Trent Comer, marketing director for the Market Street at Heath Brook, said business has picked up in the last few weeks and the open-air mall has recently signed a “ton” of tenants including restaurants and clothing stores. Though he cannot unveil the six to eight new businesses just yet, he plans to in the next few weeks.

  • Getting a ‘reverse’ 9-1-1 call

    People are urged to call 9-1-1 in the event of an emergency. But, what if law enforcement called you during a crisis?

    The Marion County Sheriff’s Office reverse 9-1-1 or GeoCast system does exactly that. The program, which has been available in the county for several years, alerts residents in the area of an emergency.

  • Medical evolution: Robotic surgery arrives

    The da Vinci Surgical System brings high-tech medicine to doctors’ fingertips.

    Dr. Harvey Taub, a urologist at Associates for Urology Care, was the first surgeon to use the five-armed robot more than four years ago at Munroe Regional Medical Center.

    He recently gave a talk about the machine at Central Florida Community College. Residents listened as he explained the types of procedures the machine can be used for and its benefits.

  • Hygiene program helping needy children

    Soap, toothpaste and shampoo are some of the simple necessities in life. But, for more than 1,500 school-aged children living in Marion County, these necessities would not be readily available if it weren’t for the Homeless-Needy Children’s Personal Hygiene program.

  • Plant taken from store

    Blaise Bonaventure figures the thieves who made off with a plant from in front of his B-Healthy store in the Friendship Center knew what they were doing.

    Sometime between the close of business Saturday, June 6, and Monday morning, June 8, someone took off with a 6- to 7-foot schefflera plant. The plant was estimated to weigh  35 to 45 pounds.

    The plant had graced the store for about 19 years and many of those years outside.

  • Stacks of colorful scarves, afghans and hats line the tables of the Pine Run room — and each had a purpose.

    The mission of the newly formed Knit and Crochet Group of Pine Run is to help needy children. In January 2009, the eight women began sewing at the clubhouse each Tuesday. Six months later, they had made more than 100 clothing pieces.