Activists Call GOP Voting Restrictions A Threat To Democracy

A day before the U.S. Senate was expected to take up significant legislation on voting rights that is looking likely to fail, Martin Luther King, Jr.’s eldest son condemned federal lawmakers over their inaction.  Speaking in Washington, D.C. on Monday, Martin Luther King III said though he was marking the federal holiday named for his father, he wasn’t there to celebrate. He was there to call on Congress and President Joe Biden to pass the sweeping legislation that would help ease Republican-led voting restrictions passed in at least 19 states that make it more difficult to cast a ballot.  King said the laws threaten democracy as a whole.

 Today’s weather certainly isn’t typical of Florida.  For many of you, covering your tender plants last night should have been a priority as some frost is covering much of the Ocala area with temperatures in the 30’s.  And our high today isn’t expected to be much above 60.  As you head out this morning be sure to give yourself some extra time and make sure the windows on your car are cleared as they could be covered in that thin layer of ice. 

Hundreds of people turned out Monday morning braving the chilly winter weather to participate in the annual Martin Luther King parade which ran from the downtown square to the Crosky Park on west State Road 40.  The parade featured a line of marchers that stretched some 6 blocks.  Following the parade, participants enjoyed a day at the park at the Martin Luther King Complex where food vendors and speakers gathered for a day of celebration.

Michael Moskowitz, an attorney, a prominent Democratic fundraiser, has died following a bout with pancreatic cancer according to an announcement from his family.  Moskowitz died just days after attending the swearing in of his son, who was appointed by Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis to fill a spot on the Broward County Commission.  The 68 year old was considered a mover and shaker in the political world, especially in Broward County.

Welcome to Wild West Ocala.  There was more gun violence in Ocala Sunday night on the city’s Northwest side.  Police were called to NW 8th Street near NW 13th Avenue around 6:30 PM where they found 30 year old Keith Boone suffering from multiple gunshot wounds.  Boone was rushed to a local hospital but died shortly thereafter from his injuries.  Investigators say they are looking for a man on a bicycle wearing a red or maroon shirt.  No other details about the shooting were give by authorities who are now asking for the pubic to come forward by calling Crimestoppers.

Meanwhile, Police have not released any new information on a shooting over the weekend that left one person dead.  The victim was dropped off at a neighborhood emergency room on Mericamp Road but did not survive.  Police do confirm that the victim was shot but aren’t saying how many times.  Investigators are also trying to determine where the victim was shot and the circumstances surrounding the shooting.  They are now asking for the public’s help through crimestoppers.

One of the last surviving members of the Tuskegee Airmen is gone.  Brig Gen Charles McGee died Sunday morning in his sleep.  McGee was known for his kind-hearted and humble nature.  McGee was 102.

After pounding the Southeast over the weekend, that dangerous winter storm moved to the Northeast where New England is getting pummeled with significant snowfall, strong thunderstorms and blustery winds.  Some areas have already seen a foot of snow and some 80,000 people are without power.  Most areas are advising residents not to travel unless it is absolutely necessary. 

Marion County’s number of new COVID-19 cases and new positivity rate both reached record highs last week, according to the most recent state report, released Friday. Marion County reported 5,536 new cases for the week of Jan 7 to Jan. 13. The positivity rate for the past week climbed to 31.3%. That was up from 24.6% for the previous week.  Generally that means you’re very likely going to contract the virus.  If you’re vaccinated however, symptoms tend to be very mild.  Thusfar, medical officials say the only group really being hit hard are those who are not vaccinated.

Yes we had some nasty weather Sunday but was timid compared to other parts of the Southeast.  A dangerous winter storm combining high winds and ice swept through parts of the U.S. Southeast on Sunday, knocking out power, felling trees and fences and coating roads with a treacherous, frigid glaze.  Tens of thousands of customers were without power in Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Florida. Highway patrols were reporting hundreds of vehicle accidents, and a tornado ripped through a trailer park in Florida.  Some parts of the Carolinas even got up to 10 inches of snow. 

Leah Bender of West Port High School was announced as Marion County’s 2022 Teacher of the Year Saturday night at the annual Golden Apple Gala sponsored by the Public Education Foundation of Marion County. As the Teacher of the Year, Bender received a new, pre-paid, three-year leased vehicle from Jenkins Auto Group in Ocala. She will now submit her packet to the Florida Department of Education to compete for Florida’s Teacher of the Year.

Several busy railroad crossings in Ocala will be closed starting tomorrow.  The closures could last all week.  For a listing of the closures and the detour routes that will be implemented just go to our website, and click on today’s news.

Railroad crossing closures:

NE 25th Ave.

NE 19th Ave.

N Magnolia Ave.

NW Second St.

SW Third St.

Detour routes:

NE 25th Avenue and NE 19th Avenue

North-bound access will be detoured west on NE 14th St., north on NE 8th Rd., and east on NE 24th St.

South-bound access will be detoured west on NE 24th St., south on NE Eighth Rd., and east on NE 14th St.

North Magnolia Avenue

North-bound access will be detoured east on NE Third St., north on NE Eighth Ave., and west on NE Ninth St.

South-bound access will be detoured easter on NE Ninth St., north on NE Eighth Ave., and west on NE Third St.

NW Second Street

East-bound access will be detoured south on NW Seventh Ave., east on W Silver Springs Blvd, and north on S Pine Ave.

West-bound access will be detoured south on S Pine Ave., west on W Silver Springs Blvd, and north on NW Seventh Ave.

 SW Third Street

East-bound access will be detoured north on SW Seventh Ave., east on but  Broadway St., and south on SW Fifth St.

West-bound access will be detoured north on SW Fifth St., west on SW Broadway St., and south on SW Seventh Ave.

Gas prices in the Ocala area took a jump last week with most stations now posting prices above $3.00 a gallon.  But we did manage to find at least one station with pricing below $3.  That’s a BP station on College Road.  A more likely price you’ll pay around town is about $3-10 a gallon.  For the latest pricing and prices in your neighborhood, just log on to our website,  The link is right there on the front page.

DirecTV plans to drop One America News Network, significantly shrinking the reach of the right-wing TV channel friendly to Donald Trump and widely criticized for spreading misinformation including the former president’s false claim that he won the 2020 election.  The satellite television provider said Saturday that it has informed OAN’s owner, Herring Networks. Inc., that it will no longer carry its two channels when their contract expires.  Major cable companies including Comcast do not carry OAN but it can be accessed online.