Is It Opinionnews or a Big Fat Lie

Is it Opinionnews or a Big Fat Lie?

Jefferson County Courthouse, Florida

Jefferson County Courthouse, Florida

There’s a new but insidious way of presenting “Facts” or “News” that is doing great damage in our society. The lead statement presented as a news story is true, then one or two words from that statement are artfully twisted and twisted again until it becomes unrecognizable – a lie. This is done so carefully and so well that the listener or viewer must be alert and watchful not to follow these twists and turns to be misled.

So called “Newscasters” on several television stations use this “opinionnews” constantly. Certain radio personalities have perfected the method and use it almost exclusively to make their opinion appear as real news. Each one of us must listen carefully and think hard as we follow these artful twists and turns so we will not be misled.

Recently opinionnews has crept into our daily newspaper. This story about Jefferson County Florida, presented on Feb. 21, 2017 in the Tallahassee Democrat on the front page above the fold, began in truth. The Jefferson County school system is a complete failure. This fact hurts our community in many ways. That does not mean however, as this story concludes, that we are a complete and dismal failure in every way.

Read carefully, and be aware that you are being led by this new opinionnews method to believe a lie in this piece. The City of Monticello and Jefferson County are not dying. We have several interesting and eclectic business districts. Downtown Monticello is thriving. We have businesses in all of our storefronts except one and that one is being remodeled for use. We have several outstanding restaurants and an active opera house.

Our town is full of beautiful historic buildings, some designed or restored by famous architects, others in the process of restoration with the help of Florida Historic Resources. We have great old houses, many large and elegant, but also streets lined with adorable cracker cottages, their porches shaded by big trees. People say hello to you on our streets.

People beside Opera House

People beside Opera House

Our City Council and County Commission are helping interested citizens improve our parking and infrastructure. Both governmental bodies support Monticello and Jefferson County’s progress. Our police force and fire fighters are hometown heroes.

Jefferson County’s natural environment is a pristine miracle in our modern world. You can really breathe here. The Aucilla and Wacissa River System, flatwoods, rolling red hills, deep forests and protected wetlands are precious to every Jefferson County citizen. Scientific studies are proving that Jefferson County is the home of the first settlers of North America.

On the Wacissa

On the Wacissa

We welcome visitors. Don’t be misled by opinionnews. Come and find out for yourself.


Christmas Tour of Homes in Monticello, FL, 2016


Pearl Street in Monticello

Pearl Street in Monticello Florida

The 2016 Christmas Tour of Homes in the City of Monticello in Jefferson County Florida is on Saturday, December 10, 2016 from 12:00 to 6:00 PM. This event includes a self-directed tour of nine (9) historic venues and is presented by the Monticello Area Historic Preservation Association.

The tour costs $15.00 and you can buy tickets in advance from Monticello/Jefferson Chamber and several other venues in the town of Monticello and Southern Friends Framing and Antiques in Thomasville.

The most fun however, will be to go to the Women’s Club building at 985 East Pearl Street (Monticello’s prettiest street). They not only have tickets for the tour, they have their famous holiday cakes and if you are hungry they also offer a light meal for sale. The sponsors of this event provide a phone number if you have questions – 850-997-6552.

This tour encompasses an area of Monticello that is often overlooked except by local residents. You will see several houses that are truly beautiful as well as interesting historically and culturally.

One other thing you should look for during the tour is the magnificent Monticello Avenue of Oaks. These wonderful trees are worth the tour alone. Ask someone to direct you when you visit the Women’s Club.

The tour sponsor, Monticello Area Historic Preservation Association, works with our Women’s Club, Monticello/Jefferson Chamber, Jefferson County Tourist Development Council and Main Street of Monticello to encourage the preservation of the treasured buildings in this tiny 1827 town.

Monticello’s tree lined streets are full of small and large historic homes, many dating from before the Civil War. They are an expression of the best of our culture and we welcome your visit.

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Located - Pearl and Jefferson

Located – Pearl and Jefferson

Monticello’s Ecological Park

Monticello Ecological Park Committee meeting on the bridge

Monticello Ecological Park Committee meeting on the bridge


Located on south Water Street, at the top of the hill beyond the old school buildings, our city council purchased 26+ acres of old growth forest to give Monticello our own “urban forest.” Volunteers removed truck-loads of trash from the acreage, scoured it for invasive species and removed many—helped design trails and picnic grounds. The city found grant funding for building walks and bridges to provide access to the entire park and protect its wetlands.

Young Hawk

Young Hawk

If you haven’t visited yet, take your children or grandchildren with you, bring your Home School group. The Ecological park a great experience. You will hear or see more than 30 species of birds including turkeys, warblers, and owls. Bird watchers have certified sightings of every ordinary bird you can imagine and a few surprise visitors. Main Street and the Chamber are working to help the City get the park on the Great Florida Birding Trail. Birding groups from Tallahassee and the surrounding area are already visiting.

This child found butterflies and other interesting thing on the park trail

This child found butterflies on the park trail

A Monticello Ecological Park visit is a learning experience even for many adults but it is especially so for children. You will find signs naming trees and shrubs and signs explaining why we were so careful to protect the wetlands that actually help provide the clean, sweet water we drink right here in Monticello. I was fascinated to learn that the contractor who built the walks and bridges pushed the construction ahead of his tractor, never running a wheel into the wetlands.

There is fun in the park, not just education and exercise. You could host a luncheon on the bridge—turn left as you enter the park to find it. I attended a “brown bag” lunch hosted by Katrina and the Chamber. She placed folding tables and chairs on the bridge and we ate and discussed Monticello’s needs and our future for more than an hour.

The Park’s picnic area is used by the Boy Scouts on a regular basis, but it is open to you and any citizen. This area is to your left as you enter the park. The cleared picnic area boasts tables with benches and other things for your enjoyment. Extra parking is provided by our friends at the American Legion Post.

Go straight at the entrance and look to the left for the picnic area.

Go straight at the Park entrance and look to the left for the picnic area.

Southern Music Rising Festival Comes To Monticello

The Foundation For The Preservation Of Historic American Music will present the 7th Annual Southern Music Rising Festival on Friday, May 9 and Saturday, May 10, in Monticello, Florida. The festival will boast over 40 performances on 6 stages featuring Bluegrass, Folk, Americana, Blues, Country and Rock. There will be great food and drinks, including a Saloon, located at the Opera House. The festival begins Friday with cocktail hour beginning at 6:00 p.m., followed by a 7:00 p.m. kick-off concert at the Monticello Opera House.



Atlanta blues Bill Sheffield will be the Friday night opener.  Bill’s music is described as “Powerfully Acoustic” blues. Bill has some eleven albums to his credit with his latest ” In Other Words”, getting fantastic reviews.To learn more about Bill and his music, check out

The headliner for the evening features

CONNOR CHRISTIAN & Southern Gothic

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CCSG is one of the hottest Americana bands in the country with its music described as an amalgamation of roots-rock, bluegrass, and country. Their new album ” New Hometown” is tracking on Billboard Magazine’s Heatseekers album charts with their hit single “Sheets Down” getting considerable video and radio airplay. Check out Connor Christian & Southern Gothic at


The festivities continue Saturday, with activities beginning at 9:00 a.m. and lasting until 6:00 p.m. in the Monticello downtown area and the Opera House. Please see schedule below for specifics on stages, locations and performers. In addition to the music there will be a variety of booths set up selling crafts and food items. Tickets for Saturday’s event are $10 in advance, $15 the day of the event. Saturday Festival only – Children 12 & under are FREE!


 9:00 am     Barbara Hobbs – Children Story Time

10:00 am    Sam & Sallie Worley – One Heart Children Show

11:00 am    Tracy Perez

12:00 pm    Ron Patrick

 1:00 pm     George Gray

 2:00 pm     Lamar Jones and Mary McElhannon

 2:30 pm     Dave Allen

 3:00 pm     Frank Lindamood

 4:00 pm     Ric Edmiston

 5:00 pm     Slim Fatz


11:00 am   Hananel

12:00 pm   Sam & Sallie Worley with C.E. Pullen

 1:00 pm    Mimi & The Hearn Dogs

 2:00 pm    Lis and Lon Williamson

 3:00 pm    Wild Ponies

 4:00 pm    Carrie Cooley

 5:00 pm    Grandpa’s Cough Medicine


10:00 am  Wreckin’ So

11:00 am  Gypsy Darlings and The Full Moon Bandits

12:00 pm  New 76ers

 1:00 pm   Slim Fatz

 2:00 pm   Carrie Cooley

 3:00 pm   Grandpa’s Cough Medicine

 4:00 pm   Bill Sheffield

 5:00 pm   Wild Ponies

 6:00 pm   Swingin’ Harpoo

There will also be a Saturday After-Party at the Opera House Garden with The Swingin’ Harpoon band so don’t go home early and miss the fun!


11:00 am  Nitro Ground Shakers

12:00 pm  R.B Johnson & M.T.I. Band

 1:00 pm   Cherry Street Ramblers

 2:00 pm   Gypsy Darlings

 3:00 pm   Craig Daniel Hardin & The Porch Lizards

 4:00 pm   Mimi & The Hearn Dogs

 5:00 pm   Black Sheep


11:00 am  Gail Carson

12:00 pm  Dan Stevens

 1:00 pm   Cliff Miller and Rex Ware

 1:30 pm   Ric Edmiston

 2:00 pm   Busted Strings

 3:00 pm   Belle & The Band

 4:00 pm   Lis & Lon Williamson

 5:00 pm   Baby Gray

All day Saturday the Wirick Simmons House will feature Cow Hunter Corner where cowboy memories, musings, and music can be heard.

Also this year Tupelo’s Bakery and Cafe will be hosting a Pickin’ Parlor between 10:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. for musicians to gather, meet, greet, and play music. Several areas will be available for musicians to mingle and provide entertainment to the visitors of Monticello and the Southern Music Rising Festival.  A sign up sheet will be available for musicians to reserve 30 minute slots to perform in the front area of the store. In addition, musicians will have access to the back porch and “bee and honey” room for practicing and pickin’! Come out and have some fun with fellow artists and enjoy some of Tupelo’s fine foods and coffees!

Southern Music Rising thanks you for your support and hopes you enjoy the festival.

Southern Music Rising is dedicated to promoting the preservation of historic American music.

Monticello Stage Company Offers “Dearly Departed”

Dearly Departed Poster

The Play

Dearly Departed is a play that follows the antics of a dysfunctional Southern family following the death of their patriarch. When patriarch Bud passes, all sorts of family come out of the woodwork to make his funeral special. What ensues is a comedy of hilarious proportions with characters to match.

The women prepare to serve "dinner" at the viewing in Dearly Beloved. Dinner, unfortunately, involves questionable-looking corn dogs.

The women prepare to serve “supper” at the Daddy-Bud’s viewing in Dearly Beloved. Supper, unfortunately, involves questionable-looking corn dogs.

Monticello Stage Company member, Jan Williams reports that the actors are all doing an excellent job on this production. They have been rehearsing for several months, though “fortunately, there has been a lot going on at the Opera House.”

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“Unfortunately,” Williams continues, “that has not given us very much time to practice on set. We have very great actors—some of them are Stage Company veterans and some are new to us—and they are working well with whatever they’re given.” From adaptable, larger-than-life actors, believable and hilarious characters are born: this play is sure to be a must see.

She also praises the writers, David Botrell and Jesse Jones, for capturing the stereotype of Southern families. “If you’ve been in the South for any length of time or have met a Southern family, you’ll recognize the characters,” Williams laughs.

The Food

Catering is provided by local restaurant gem, Carrie Ann & Company.

Carrie Ann & Co.

The night’s meal will include Caesar salad, white chicken lasagna with mushrooms and fontina cheese, sautéed vegetables, rolls, and a tasty dessert of sour cream pound cake topped with whipped cream.

Carrie Ann & Company is a local restaurant with a café-style lunch including fresh salads and sandwiches and a pleasant atmosphere. Their dinners are delicious, hearty fare including local favorites like shrimp and grits, and more elaborate dishes from quiche to ham, herb-stuffed pork loin to crepes and everything in between. They also cater events.

Carrie Ann & Company is in the process of moving to the Mays House, an historic downtown home. The Mays House was built in 1922.

Carrie Ann & Company is in the process of moving to the Mays House, an historic downtown home. The Mays House was built in 1922.

When you visit Monticello, this is a must-visit dining experience. It is convenient, then, that they are catering Dearly Departed so that visitors might taste their delicious cuisine.

The Venue

The Monticello Opera House is nestled into the large brick building commonly known as the Perkins Block. John Perkins, a remarkable entrepreneur of Victorian Jefferson County, built the Perkins block in 1890.

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The building and Perkins’ businesses, which were operated out of the building, flourished for nearly a decade. Downstairs, Perkins sold general goods, sewing machine parts, farm implements, horses, carriages, and more.

Upstairs, the theatre crowned the building.

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This became a regular venue for local and traveling performers. It was popular, acoustically perfect, and the largest theater in the area. Perkins showed particular foresight in building the Perkins block, which thrived with much thanks to the tourists that flocked to the area. Perkins was able to capitalize on their business by providing for their needs.

The Perkins Block is generously sprinkled with Romanesque Revivalist style elements. These Corinthian columns that stand sentry along the front of the building are among these elements, which provided a cosmopolitan feel and showed off Perkins' wealth.

The Perkins Block is generously sprinkled with Romanesque Revivalist style elements. These Corinthian columns that stand sentry along the front of the building are among these elements, which provided a cosmopolitan feel and showed off Perkins’ wealth.

Unfortunately, Perkins could not have foreseen the tragedy that affected Jefferson County at the turn of the century: it was at that time the railroads were rerouted such that they bypassed Jefferson County and especially Monticello. Tourism went from a flood to a trickle, and even winter residents became less pervasive. This downturn was Perkins’ downfall—financially ruined by the large investment he put into the building and the lack of income from the razed tourism industry, Perkins business career was over. Fewer and fewer performers came to the venue and he eventually shut it down.

Since that time, the building has been used as a great number of things, including a movie theater, all with little success. In the 1970s, the dilapidated and abandoned Perkins Block was set to be put to the wrecking ball—and would have, but for a group of concerned citizens and public outcry against such a travesty.

It has since been restored and the Monticello Opera House Inc. was formed as a non-profit organization that facilitated and will continue to ensure the treatment and business of the historical landmark. Various local performing groups use it as a venue—the Monticello Acting and Dance Company, The Monticello Stage Company, and Southern Music Rising name only three of many.

The Night Away

Bed and Breakfasts are tastefully and lovingly decorated by the proprietors of the establishments-- forget boring and impersonal hotels.

Bed and Breakfasts are tastefully and lovingly decorated by the proprietors of the establishments– forget boring and impersonal hotels.

While a night out can be nice, busy parents and professionals need a night away sometimes—let Monticello be that place for you.

Convenient to Tallahassee residents, Monticello offers fine opportunities for food and entertainment and charming Bed and Breakfasts for a romantic night away. The Cottage, the Avera-Clarke House, and the John Denham House are just a few examples of the beautiful accommodations you will find in Monticello.

See our Directory Post of our local Bed and Breakfasts for more information about the luxurious accommodations Jefferson County has to offer!