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Merrillee’s Activities in September and October – Merrillee Malwitz-Jipson

MERRILLEE For 10 Kick Off Fundraiser

This is the very successful fundraiser held on September 7 at Rum 138.






As of September 18, 2018, Merrillee has received 239 contributions totaling $22,818.50.

Read more about this event on her BLOG on this website.


Florida Trail Association

On September 10, 2018, Merrillee attended the monthly meeting of the Florida Trail Association, which meets at the Suwannee River Water Management District headquarters in Live Oak.

They are an active group of about two dozen enthusiastic hikers.  The featured speaker was Jeff Glenn, who is the North Florida Trail Program Manager.

The Florida Trail Association (FTA) develops, maintains, protects and promotes a network of hiking trails throughout the state, including the unique Florida National Scenic Trail (commonly known as the Florida Trail). They provide opportunities for the public to hike, engage in outdoor recreation, participate in environmental education and contribute to meaningful volunteer work. 




Merrillee and volunteer Kristin Rubin are ready for the crowd.  Both the free water and the candy were popular items.

The Baker County Fair in Macclenny  took place from September 14 through September 22 and Merrillee was there every day in her attractive booth, fortunately inside an air conditioned building.  This was a typical rural county fair with livestock judging, arts and crafts competition, along with a midway with amusement rides and fair food.

Many exhibits were inside the long building, and they included local businesses, and civic organization as well as political candidates.  Upwards of 10,000 people attended during the week and Merrillee spoke with many.  She even found some Union and Bradford county residents that had not heard of the proposed phosphate mine.

There were moments when things were extremely busy.


Signs Across 5 Counties

Faithful and hard-working volunteer Kristin Rubin with Merrillee in Jennings.

On September 25, Merrillee and volunteers undertook a long road trip to distribute large, 4 X 8 signs.  These are not like the small yard signs, but require ten foot 2 by 4s put into the ground with post hole diggers, and as such, usually require permission from private property owners.

We began on a friend’s property on Hwy 27 between High Springs and Fort White, and from there continued to Branford, where we had no contacts, but by asking nicely we soon had a prime spot at the intersection of Hwy 27 and 129.

On Hwy 27 midway between High Springs and Fort White.

Choice spot at 27 and 129.

The beautiful Suwannee River.  If we continue as we are, we will lose this river.

No other candidate in District 10 has the slightest clue as to the peril that our rivers face.  No other candidate has any idea as to what must be done.  Merrillee has been working to preserve our springs, rivers and aquifer for at least 13 years on her own time and her expense.  She has no learning curve here, but will be able to start immediately after election to work on this very important problem.  Most people never think of our water and take it wholly for granted.

Between Branford and Live Oak we discovered an ideal communal area where we left a sign, and one on the communal round-about chain link fence at Hwys 136 and 51.  Earlier we set one on a friend’s property on Hwy 90 near Suwannee River State Park.  From there to  home  with  a short stop at a park on the Alapaha.

Road signs sometimes disappear and must be replenished from time to time.


The Alapaha is one of our lessor known tributaries of the Suwannee.  It comes in from the north through mostly undeveloped agriculture land in Georgia, and is a beautiful shallow system.


Gibson Park Meet and Greet

On Sunday afternoon, September 30, good friends and volunteers Chris and Deanna Mericle hosted a “meet and greet” event at Gibson Park on the Suwannee River. Citizens from Hamilton and Suwannee Counties turned out to meet Merrillee and discuss their concerns and priorities for District 10 and the state. Good discussion and refreshments were shared.

Merrillee at the VFW banquet with Chris and Deanna.

This park located on the beautiful Suwannee River highlights one more time the importance people place on our rivers and springs, so important to all aspects of our lives.  Merrillee is the only candidate who is fighting for our water treasures.



Chronologically, the next events Merrillee attended were the Blue  Springs Advisory meeting  on Oct. 2, and the Valdosta wastewater tour on Oct. 3, both of which will be posted separately.


Water Voices at Columbia County Downtown Library

On Tues, Oct. 2, she also attended the Water Voices event presented by Bob Knight on the Ichetucknee River in Lake City.

The program featured Dr. Robert Knight of the Howard T. Odum Florida Springs Institute (FSI) talking about FSI’s 2016 Ichetucknee Report Card, the new Blue Water Audit/Aquifer Footprint project, and his idea for an Aquifer Protection Fee. Also included were the premieres of three new short videos by the Alliance, edited by Eric Flagg—Ichetucknee: Yesterday -Today – Tomorrow.  This session was held in Columbia County, 6:30-8:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 2, 2018, at the Columbia County Public Library,  Lake City, FL.

A lively and long discussion took place after the presentation, in which Merrillee participated.

Bob Knight presents Water Voices.  Merrillee is on the lower right.


Nationwide Civic Action Program

On Thursday, October 4, Merrillee participated in Nationwide Civic Action Program (CAP)  in Gainesville.  CAP is a nonpartisan organization established in 1978 to support Nationwide government relations activities by encouraging associates, agents and retirees to voluntarily participate in the political process.

Various candidates from different positions set up tables and spoke with constituents.  Opponents for Merrillee’s State House Representative District 10 who were present were Ron Williams and Chuck Brannon.

Happily, at this political forum there were lots of young people.


Christmas in October

On October 6, Merrillee traveled to Branford, Hatch Park to meet constituents at the Christmas in October Stop and Shop event.

Among the vendors participating were Pampered Chef, Cooper’s plants and trees, Celebrating Home (home decor and candles), homemade crafts, Tupperware, Avon, local author Jonnie Kidd Whittington with family novels and children’s stories and activity books, Southern Sweet Tooth, and Studio 4 Designs by Sharon.

Food vendors were also  on site with sausage dogs, baked goods, grilled pork chop or chicken dinners, kettle corn,  and funnel cakes.

Merrillee met some interesting people who were eager to hear her political platform, and she discussed with them, their concerns as well.

It was a beautiful day and a beautiful park with friendly people.  Thanks to  Jennifer Jamison and Alms Ministry for Merrillee’s invitation.

Merrillee poses with enthusiastic supporter Karen Davis.