Coastal Connector

The CEP appreciates the efforts of the Florida Department of Transportation to ensure safe, viable, and efficient transportation corridors for our state. We have discussed the Coastal Connector with the Department, state and local officials, the equine community, and our business community. As a result, the Board requests the Department abandon the proposed Coastal Connector routes but continue to work with all of these partners.

The above statement is the CEP’s official stance on the proposed routes for the Coastal Connector. Over the last few weeks, several of our partners and community members have asked us our position on this issue. While we were able to provide commentary and background information, we could not take an official stance until it had gone all the way through our process for issues which ends with approval by the Board of Directors of a position. Because we work with a volunteer Board composed of 30+ executives, this process usually takes 6-8 weeks. [Read more…]

Leadership Ocala Marion

There are so many incredible things happening in our community. Significant new facilities are under construction for the McLane Company and Cardinal LG.  The Power Plant Business Incubator continues to help innovative and scalable startups primarily in the areas of technology, health care, and communications. The downtown continues to generate enthusiasm with the new Hilton Garden Inn under construction, an ever growing line up of restaurants and stores, and more residential options in the works. All of this excitement and growth is in large part the result of our partners. Thank you for your engagement and investment in moving Ocala and Marion County forward. [Read more…]

The Marion County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO)

MARION COUNTY, Florida (May 7, 2018) – The Marion County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) and the Department of Children and Families (DCF) are seeking information on the location of Curleasha Harris (B/F, DOB: 12/04/1984) and her four children. DCF has child custody pick-up orders for Samson Robinson (B/M, DOB: 01/28/2005), Shan’nya Montgomery (B/F, DOB: 01/18/2008), Dorian Leach (B/M, DOB: 09/11/2014) and Andre Harris (B/M, DOB: 02/12/2016). Deputies and DCF investigators believe these children are in danger while in their mother’s care and Harris has continually evaded DCF.

Harris was last seen occupying a white Mercury 4-door vehicle and might be staying in Deer Run, located in the City of Ocala. Harris’ last known address is 2912 NE 4th Court in Ocala. If you have any information on the whereabouts of Harris and/or the four children, please call 911 immediately.


(April 27, 2018)- On October 9, 2013, former Marion County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) Detective Eric Meyers, acting in his capacity as a member of the FBI Regional Task Force, responded to Osceola Middle School to investigate concerning comments that Sky Bouche had made on the internet which had been brought to the attention of the FBI.

Bouche watched a YouTube video on the Columbine school shooting and posted comments on the video about doing a shooting at his school and that he had the weapons and ammunition to do so. Detective Meyers spoke with Bouche, along with an Ocala Police Department School Resource Officer, where he admitted to making the comments.

Bouche denied owning weapons and stated that he was just trying to gain attention because he felt hopeless. Also during the interview, Bouche made several comments to Detective Meyers that made him concerned for Bouche’s well-being. On the same day, Detective Meyers along with MCSO Deputy Tiffany Warren then responded to Bouche’s residence and obtained consent to check the house for firearms. Meyers stated that numerous replica firearms were found (airsoft, BB guns or pellet guns) but no real firearms were discovered. [Read more…]

Safety Tips from Ocala Electric Utility

Ocala Electric Utility would like to provide a few simple tips to keep your family safe and prevent injuries from happening this spring.

OCALA, Fla. (May 3, 2018) – Ocala Electric Utility would like to provide a few simple tips to keep your family safe and prevent injuries from happening this spring.

  • Call 8-1-1 at least 48 hours before you begin any project that involves digging. Power lines may be above you or buried in the ground.
  • Do not trim tree branches that are close to, or touching, power lines.
  • Ladders that come into contact with power lines can be fatal. Keep ladders at least 10 feet away from overhead power lines.
  • Unplug all power tools when not in use.
  • Remember, water and electricity do not mix. Avoid standing in water while using any electrical tools or devices.
  • Inspect power cords for fraying and look for broken plugs and cracked or broken housing. If these items are damaged, they should be replaced immediately.

For more information, please contact Ocala Electric Utility at 352-629-2489 or visit

Dunnellon Boomtown Days

Dunnellon used to be a Boomtown back in the old days. They were mining Dolomite, a land sweetener sorts. It was used as a fertilizer to make things grow better and faster. As the mining slowed down the population shrunk. They also use the river to transport Dolomite and goods. The Town of Dunnellon celebrates its Boomtown days once a year. Now Dunnellon is Booming again. I had a great Italian sausage Hoagy at a food truck call Ely’s Cuisine.  As you can see a great time was had by all.


Photo credit info:

Stacey Anjanette Photography | 352-220-3256 | [email protected]

Jobs. Investment. Wages. Taxes.

The following column was originally published in the Florida Chamber of Commerce magazine to focus on the important role local chambers play in economic development.

Jobs. Investment. Wages. Taxes. Entrepreneurship. Incentives. Construction. All of these terms have been used to define economic development. Depending on where one lives, all could be right, some could be right, or none could be correct. Defining economic development is different for every one of Florida’s 67 counties. While defining economic development is hard, knowing who is responsible is pretty easy.

At its heart, economic development is the ultimate local issue. What is an appropriate and goal-worthy definition of economic development for Ocala (my home) will be very different than the definition in Miami which will be equally different from Pensacola’s definition. Even more important than the definition is the implementation. Whatever your definition, how are you going to practice economic development? Again, this is really a local issue but one in which the state and federal governments play a tremendous part. [Read more…]

Marion Target practice Law at your residents


I have been reading about the new Florida gun law which prohibits local governments from enacting laws regulating firearms. This makes gun regulations equal throughout the state. My county prohibits the discharge of of any firearm except at a range. Does this new law mean that I can now do some target shooting on my own property so long as I shoot safely?


Depends on county rules. In Marion County, you need a minimum of 10 acres and one really good backstop – then there are the distances to certain institutions like churches and schools, etc. The laws you are talking about were local gov’t can’t enact stiffer regs on buying and owning guns than what the state has.


CEP’s Business Creation Efforts

The Power Plant Business Incubator is Ground Zero in the CEP’s Business Creation efforts. The incubator, in existence since 2012, is a facility in downtown Ocala where entrepreneurs can temporarily locate their new businesses and receive a host of resources and connections. Resident companies must meet entrance criteria including being innovative, scalable, and open to coaching/mentorship.

The incubator currently has 14 companies in industries including software, mobile application development, biotech, virtual/ augmented reality, media, 3D printing, medical device and more.

Some of our new Residents:

Elistars – Bharat Patel, Founder
Convenience store business management and back office software that sets business on cruise control and makes managing a store a breeze. [Read more…]


MARION COUNTY, Florida (March 14, 2018) – Marion County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) Major Crimes detectives have announced that the suspect in this morning’s double homicide has committed suicide. Detectives’ investigation revealed that Gregory John Briseno (DOB: 06/01/1988) shot and killed Alexis Marie Waranka (DOB: 09/17/1991) and her boyfriend Ryan Anthony Young (DOB: 05/24/1987) early Wednesday morning in Waranka’s apartment located at 7417 Midway Terrace, Apartment E, in Silver Springs Shores. Briseno was Waranka’s exboyfriend.

During initial interviews with witnesses on scene and after a review of their prior history, Briseno was developed as the prime suspect in the murders. Detectives located Briseno’s Facebook page, where it appears he made a post around the time of the murders that contained incriminating statements and statements that made law enforcement concerned for his well-being. [Read more…]