http://www.westmarionmessenger.com/todaysnews/rss.xml en Message on school safety http://www.westmarionmessenger.com/content/message-school-safety <p> Hello, Marion County, I&#39;m your Sheriff, Billy Woods.</p> <p> I want to take a moment to talk to our citizens&hellip; and our parents&hellip; about the horrible tragedy that occurred at a Broward County High School in South Florida yesterday. I want to tell you what we do here in Marion County to protect our children and to give you a sense of comfort during these worrisome times.</p> School Board disenfranchising some voters http://www.westmarionmessenger.com/content/school-board-disenfranchising-some-voters <p> The Marion County School Board has decided to put the renewal of a local tax on the primary ballot in August.<br /> So if you&rsquo;re a snowbird who will leave to go up north this summer, and you&rsquo;re registered to vote here, make sure you get information about absentee ballots before you leave.<br /> The issue will be decided before you come back.<br /> Human trafficking Part 2 http://www.westmarionmessenger.com/content/human-trafficking-part-2 <p> <strong>By Patricia A. Woodbury</strong></p> <p> Who are these victims of human trafficking? Can you recognize them among the people you see each day? Probably not! Some would say that they are probably foreigners or poor people. However the experts say that Human Trafficking victims can be of any age, race, gender, nationality, and come from any socio-economic group.</p> Human trafficking Part 1 http://www.westmarionmessenger.com/content/human-trafficking-part-1 <p> <strong>By Patricia A. Woodbury</strong></p> <p> Twenty million people are enslaved throughout the world with 2.5 million located here in the United States. Slavery was supposed to end with the Emancipation Proclamation in 1862 and the Thirteenth Amendment in 1865. However statistics show that slavery is still alive and flourishing through the entire world.</p> Ocala Kmart to close http://www.westmarionmessenger.com/content/ocala-kmart-close <p> Sears Holding announced Thursday that Kmart stores in Ocala, Belleview (both in Marion County, and Clermont in Lake County will close in the next few months. Employees were notified Thursday.</p> <p> Sears in Ocala was not on the list.</p> <p> Earlier in the day, Macy&#39;s Inc. said the store at The Oaks Mall in Gainesville will close down. Macy&#39;s in Ocala was not affected.</p> Gainesville Macy's to close http://www.westmarionmessenger.com/content/gainesville-macys-close <p> <em>The following Macy&#39;s stores are closing in early 2018. In most cases, clearance sales will begin on Jan. 8 and run for up to 12 weeks.</em></p> Ocala Palms 12-20-2017 http://www.westmarionmessenger.com/content/ocala-palms-12-20-2017 <img src="http://www.westmarionmessenger.com/sites/www.westmarionmessenger.com/files/imagecache/thumb85/1220_pic_palms_charlene.jpg" alt="Charlene Brown and Amy Masten." title="Charlene Brown and Amy Masten." align="left" hspace="6" width="101" height="85" /><p> <strong>By Barb Dedics</strong><br /> <br /> Ladies from Ocala Palms Golf &amp; Country Club recently enjoyed their annual Christmas Luncheon held at Golden Ocala Golf &amp; Equestrian Club. Not only was the room beautifully decorated, but the ladies with their festive attire and smiles added to the day.<br /> Fairfield Village 12-20-2017 http://www.westmarionmessenger.com/content/fairfield-village-12-20-2017 <img src="http://www.westmarionmessenger.com/sites/www.westmarionmessenger.com/files/imagecache/thumb85/1220_pic_page_1_ffv.jpg" alt="Santa is climbing his way into the Village." title="Santa is climbing his way into the Village." align="left" hspace="6" width="48" height="85" /><p> <strong>By Priscilla Barnett<br /> </strong></p>