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Thursday, May 29, 2008

Day of the Knight

May 29, 2008

On Sunday just after lunch, the clank of swords and armor could be heard at the Citizens Lodge Park. The "Society for Creative Anachronism" was holding one of their monthly meetings. This unique group selects a period of history, studies it in detail, and then through a series of projects relives life as it was during that period as much as possible.
This includes learning the dances, art, literature, dress, food, and general life of the period. On Sunday they were making yarn from fibers for the eventual creation of fabrics, jousting in combat simulations, and partaking in music study and dance of the medieval period.
They just finished a session last month where they learned how to create manuscripts using the process of "illumination" calligraphy. These are the manuscript papers of the medieval era that had the decorative borders embossed in the paper edges.
The members often take a name representative of the names used during the period being studied, and refer to each other by those names during meetings. For instance, the two knights in combat were Knor McAltein (really Karl Christensen) and Sir Kristiff (Donald Allman). The female knight (if that is the right term) is Morrigen Oneal. The contestants did not joust for long, the ninety degree heat soon made the armor hot and intolerable. Thankfully, the Northern European climate of England and France was much cooler during the Middle Ages or Lady Catherine might have never been rescued from the tower of that castle.
The society has approximately forty members, and usually meets once per month. If you are interested in learning more, the national website is, or locally you can contact Woodrow Griffith at 482-7110, or

Jackson County’s Hidden Treasure Is Discovered

May 29, 2008

Only a privileged few have ever experienced the natural wonders that have lain for centuries just a few feet below the surface of Jackson County. In order to see these spectacular natural creations a person must have special skills and a brave heart. Most of us will never see these wonders first hand. We have all seen the Florida Caverns at the local State Park, but much, much more in cave beauty is here and until recently has been inaccessible for the average citizen.
However, because of tremendous steps forward taken by local diving experts such as Edd Sorenson with Cave Adventures, who has recently engaged in extensive filming and mapping of the vast network of caves around Blue Springs and other local springs, we can now all get a glimpse of what beauty God has created below our feet in miles of underwater caverns. If you have not yet seen the film they produced, you are missing an enlightening treat.
During Memorial Day weekend they hosted a NSS-CDS convention workshop at the local armory which brought over 300 visitors to Jackson County from all over the world. I visited the event on Saturday morning and found the National Guard Armory converted into a convention center. After passing the registration desks in the entrance area, I entered an area filled with convention type booths displaying a wide assortment of diving gear, tanks, ropes, clips, underwater lights, safety equipment, and much more. Behind this display area was a large area set up with auditorium seating. It was here that over two hundred attendees were sitting and enjoying the films of our local caverns. It was not a small event.
At the mid day presentation, the organization awarded two local students $500 scholarships. The winners of these benefits were Margaret Mathis and Stephanie Rabon, both MHS Seniors.
On Sunday the group enjoyed a cook out on the grounds of Cave Adventures on the Mill Pond. Several groups participated in underwater diving adventures into the many caves which can be accessed from the lake. Photos with this story show divers from Sarasota about to enter the cave known as the "Hole in the Wall". Other photos show expert diver Jason Richards and his wife Crissy from Ft. Campbell Kentucky who were diving at the cave near Shangri Lai. Jason is one of the divers that has been assisting Edd Sorensen in mapping Blue Springs Cave.
We should all be supportive and appreciative of the work being done by the local diving group. Because of their work, Jackson County is becoming known internationally for the wonderful "cave adventures" and God given wonders that we fortunately have so near. Our Creator blessed our area by creating amazing natural beauty upon and below the fertile lands of Jackson County.
For more information about the films or the underwater caves contact Edd Sorenson at Cave Adventures at 850-482-6016, or Bill Rotello at 386-663-5163 or e-mail

BCF Online Programs Continue to Grow

May 29, 2008
You can earn an associate divinity degree from BCF over the internet
The rising trend in continuing education is fueled by the convenience of studying online from the comfort of home or from a remote location. The adaptability of an online degree program fits the busy lifestyle of today’s students especially vocational ministers and active duty service members. The Baptist College of Florida (BCF) in Graceville, FL continues to lead the way in offering a growing online program providing opportunities for men and women to reach their lifetime educational goals.
According to David Coggins, Director of Distance Learning and Assistant Professor of Leadership, the current BCF online courses are just one of the innovative delivery options available in the Distance Education program. Internet technology has allowed students to study around the world, evident by one current BCF student taking courses from Kosovo. Other options include attending classes at one of the three distance sites located in Pensacola, Jacksonville and Orlando.
Currently, students can receive an Associate of Divinity degree completely online. They can also take the theological classes online needed for a Bachelor of Science degree in Biblical Studies. General education courses are expected to be available online in the near future.
In regards to the future of the BCF online program, Coggins commented, "I’m excited about the future. We’ve been doing online work since 1999 and it’s only gotten better. I anticipate it getting a lot better. There will be a lot more options for us to use different technology to enhance our courses."
Students applying and registering for classes online go through the same process as any BCF student. Course schedules and admission procedures can be obtained through the website ( or by contacting the Admissions Office at 800-328-2660 x 460.

Chipola Nursing Grads Enjoying Success in Health Field

May 29, 2008

Chipola College nursing graduates Tracy and Michelle Mears have made a name for themselves in the local health care industry.
After overcoming a traumatic event and meeting the challenges of education, this husband and wife nursing team is enjoying tremendous success.
Tracy serves as RN Charge Nurse in the Emergency Room of at Jackson Hospital in Marianna. On paper, Tracy’s story looks like many other high-achievers, but his plans were complicated by a serious automobile accident in 1999. Tracy served as a Paramedic for more than 14 years before the car crash changed his plans. He suffered broken legs, a crushed ankle and associated injuries that put him in a wheel chair for several months.
"It was a lesson in humility," said Mears who was accepted to Chipola’s nursing program after the accident. "When I met with Kathy Wheeler (Chipola’s Director of Health Science programs) I hobbled in on crutches and breathless. I told her that I wasn’t sure I would be able to enter the program because I wouldn’t be able to walk very much. She told me she would do whatever was necessary to help me finish the program."
That encouragement was all Tracy needed. He went right to work, completing Chipola’s ADN program and earning RN certification in 2004. Tracy continued his education, earning the BSN from FSU in 2006. He is currently enrolled in the Masters program at FSU in the second year of the Nurse Practitioner (ARNP) program.
Now Tracy is helping other health professionals with their education. He teaches Advance Life Support courses for the American Heart Association and serves as a clinical preceptor—a medical term for mentor—for students in their final year of the RN program at Chipola and the University of South Alabama BSN program. He has also worked in the Intensive Care Unit at Jackson Hospital.
Michelle completed her RN training at Chipola in 1999. Since then, she has served at Jackson Hospital, Calhoun-Liberty Hospital and Blountstown Health and Rehabilitation. Currently, she is a Senior RN Supervisor at Sunland Center in Marianna.
Michelle also taught some classes for a time in Chipola’s Certified Nursing Assistant program. She has high praise for the Chipola nursing program. "The resources were readily available and Kathy Wheeler really helped. The availability of a nearby college with clinicals in Dothan was a big plus."
Of working together in the same field as her husband, Michelle says, "We worked together when he was an EMS captain and I was a nurse at the hospital in Blountstown. We tried to look out for each other and make recommendations about patients. It was helpful to work together. We can communicate without having to say much at all. We both enjoy interacting with people and helping people stay healthy."
Tracy said the roles of the nurse have expanded tremendously since the couple joined the profession. The Mears’ roles have changed as well with addition of daughters, Brittany Nicole, who is four, and two year-old Heather LeAnn.
Kathy Wheeler, Chipola’s director of Nursing, says, "Michelle and Tracy Mears are great success stories for the Chipola Nursing program. They possess the qualities so highly desired in the profession: compassion, knowledge and advocacy. They provide valuable services and serve as excellent role models for our community."
For information about Chipola’s Nursing program, call 718-2316.

BCF Alum Receives Four Dove Awards

Mark Hall, a 1995 graduate of The Baptist College of Florida (BCF) in Graceville, received four Dove Awards at the 39th Annual Gospel Music Association Awards ceremony held on April 23rd. He was presented awards for Song of the Year, Pop/Contemporary Recorded Song, Inspirational Recorded Song, and Special Event Album. Many BCF students are partial to Hall’s 2005 award winning song, Voice of Truth, which was written while he was a student.
In addition to being a BCF Alum, Hall serves as student pastor at Eagle’s Landing Baptist Church in McDonough, Georgia, and lead singer for the contemporary Christian band, Casting Crowns, which won Group of the Year for the fourth consecutive year. Casting Crowns’ album reached No. 2 on the Billboard Top 200 Albums.
"Mark Hall is representative of many BCF students who recognize God’s vision for their life and are persistent and hard working to fulfill that dream," stated BCF Worship & Music Division Chair, Don Odom. According to Odom, he is an excellent example of a student allowing God to use his talent and education in the Lord’s service.
The Dove Awards show will be playing multiple times on the Gospel Music Channel for all who missed the live broadcast and still desire to view the show.

Perfect 6.0 on the FCAT Essay Test

May 29, 2008

The Jackson County School Board recently recognized students from grades 4, 8, and 10 who scored a perfect 6.0 on the FCAT Essay Test. Pictured receiving their certificates from the Board are--not in order: Riverside Elementary--Kayleigh Temples; Sneads Elementary--Allison Cort; Marianna Middle--Shelby Allen, Alexandra Brockner, Rebecca Inman, Ashlee Laramore, Whitney Merritt, Jacqueline Rodriguez; Cottondale High--Benny Thompson, Brittney Dearman, Mary-Roselyn Jernigan, Randolph McKinnie; Marianna High--Vance Coley, Nicholas Harris, Jordan Neel, Maggie Rooks, Elynn Wallace; Sneads High--Christopher Holloway, Caitlin McCaffrey. Not pictured: Graceville High--Kayleen Rodriguez,Cameron Dozier; Marianna High--Kelsey Barfield, Rebekah Martinez; Sneads High--Brian Long

Corrections Courses Set at Chipola

May 29, 2008
Application deadlines are June 3 and 5 for Chipola College’s next Basic Corrections courses.
A day class is scheduled to begin June 4. The course meets from 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., Monday through Thursday.
The evening class begins June 10 and will meet from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m., Monday through Thursday. Applicants must be at least 19 years of age, be of good moral character, possess a valid driver’s license, earn a passing score on the Florida Basic Abilities Test (FBAT) and meet FDLE requirements.
Students are encouraged to apply early due to the extensive application process. Application deadline is June 3 for the day class and June 5 for the night class.
For information, call (850) 718-2394.

BCF President Recognizes Chamberlain and McCall

May 29, 2008
During the spring 2008 graduation ceremony held at The Baptist College of Florida (BCF) in Graceville, two of Florida’s extraordinary men of faith, Peter L. Chamberlain, President of B. R. Chamberlain & Sons, Inc., and James W. McCall, Pastor Emeritus at First Baptist Church Sebring, FL and BCF alum, were presented with Honorary Doctorates of Christian Letters, one of the highest honors granted from an academic institution.
BCF President Thomas A. Kinchen commended both men for their exemplary lives of service and devotion to Jesus Christ. "Pete Chamberlain epitomizes the life of the dedicated Christian businessman," Kinchen stated. "He has set the base of his business in the provision of our Lord; his priorities in the service of our Lord, and his hope in the grace of our Lord. Through service in his church and community Pete has been a channel of our Lord’s blessings for countless persons around the world. I am grateful that Dr. Peter L. Chamberlain is a friend to The Baptist College of Florida and to its President."
According to Kinchen, Jay McCall is his ideal image of a Baptist preacher and pastor. "He has the heart of a kind pastor, the fervor of an ardent evangelist, and the mind of a keen student of the word of our Lord," stated Kinchen. Kinchen told BCF graduates how "McCall is the very finest example of what an alum of The Baptist College of Florida should be. My fondest wish would be that each of the graduates of The Baptist College of Florida would serve our Lord with the boldness, grace and dignity displayed by Jay McCall."
Kinchen was the keynote speaker for the graduation ceremony where sixty-four students received degrees in the college’s Assembly Center, making it one of the largest graduating classes in BCF’s history. Graduates received diplomas in various areas of study to include Associate of Divinity, Associate of Arts in Music, Bachelor of Arts in Biblical Studies, Christian Counseling, Christian Education, Christian Studies, Church Music, Contemporary Worship Ministry, Elementary Education, Leadership, Ministry, Missions, Theology, Music Education and Bachelor of Science in Biblical Studies.

Summer Classes Begin at BCF

May 29 ,2008

The spring semester is over for students at The Baptist College of Florida (BCF) in Graceville and although most students return home for the summer or journey to some foreign country doing mission work, many students remained on campus this year to attend summer classes. BCF offers several college courses during the summer, typically in a 2-week accelerated instructional format, where students study extensively for several hours a day and earn college credit.
"I’m glad I’m given the opportunity to take a two-week class over the summer and get credit," stated BCF junior Carmen Turner who is taking advantage of summer classes. "It’s more convenient for me to take these classes in the summer, and it speeds up graduation, which is great!"
The first summer session of classes offered on the BCF campus began on May 20 and end May 30. Classes for the second summer session begins June 2-20; session three begins June 24-July 3; and session four begins July 8-25. It’s not too late to sign up for the next summer session and earn college credits during the summer! The complete course listing is available through the Admissions Office (800.328.2660 ext. 460) or easily accessible online at

Sneads Beta Club Wins Awards At State Meeting

May 29, 2008

Congratulations to the Sneads Beta Club members who attended the Beta Club convention in Daytona Beach April 13-15. Competing with over 400 statewide delegates, Sneads High Beta club members brought home the following awards:
2nd Place in Wreath Design
3rd Place in Philanthropy (They raised $500 for the American Cancer Society)
5th Place in Academic Quiz Bowl
David Williams, SHS senior, won the following awards: 1st place in Math, 2nd Place Scholarship (awarded $250), and 3rd Place in Creative Writing. David will compete at the National Beta Club Convention in South Carolina. In addition, these SHS delegates won the Marshmallow Race: Dustin Croft, Kari Strickland, Austin Beauchamp, Kali Pringle, and Brooke McIntosh. Sneads High School Beta Club sponsor is Mrs. Karen Hall.

Northwest Florida Palomino Association Memorial Day Classic Held at Farm Center

A Herd Of Beautiful Blondes Compete In Weekend Event By Sid Riley
The Northwest Florida Palomino Association held a Memorial Day Classic horse show over the three day holiday. Over thirty beautiful palomino horses were entered in the show, traveling to Marianna from North Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, and throughout Florida.
The event was hosted by the local palomino members, led by Tina and Doug May of Greenwood. Their daughter, Katie and her champion horse Ima Gold Investor were entrants in the event.
Memorial Day Show Results were:
Class Horse By
Halter/Color Always Envied Richard Brown
Junior Horse Little Mr. Sundance Marlow Taylor
Senior Horse Always Envied Richard Brown
Youth 5-9 Custom Miz Sweet Te Carli Price
Youth 13 & up Mr. Collision Maddie Wing
Youth 14-18 Ima Gold Investor Katie May
Amateur Irresistable Star Sue Chancey
Amateur Select Mr. Tama Leaguer Barbara Osborne

Pet of the Week- Snowball

May 29, 2008

This happy girl is named Snowball. She is about 18 months old and is a white lab mix and has not been spayed. She has a friendly disposition and appears to be trainable as she is already able to respond to some basic commands.
If you are interested in adopting Snowball or any of the other wonderful pets, stop by the shelter at 4011 Maintenance Dr., in Marianna or call 482-4570. The hours are Monday through Friday, 10:00 - 3:00 and Saturday 10:00 - 2:00.
Adoption fees are $65 for dogs and $55 for cats, with a $50 deposit on unaltered animals. The adopter receives a $40 voucher to use at the veterinarian of their choice, for spay/neuter fees. Once the spay/neuter voucher is returned by their veterinarian, the $50 is refunded to the adopter.
Dog Obedience Training classes will be offered at the Partners for Pets shelter on Saturdays from 8:00-9:00 a.m., at $5.00 an hour and taught by Sonny Fortunato. He can be reached at 693-0908 or 482-4570 for more information.

First Neurological Operation Occurs at Jackson Hospital

May 29, 2008

May 20th Day of Historical Event as Neurosurgeon Mark Cuffe, M.D. performs operation.
May 20th marked the day when the first neurosurgeon performed surgery in Jackson Hospital’s Operating theatre. Mark Cuffe, M.D., of Tallahassee Neurological Clinic (TNC) was the surgeon who made history at Jackson Hospital. Neurosurgeons are medical physicians that specialize in the prevention, diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation of disorders that affect the entire nervous system -- brain, spine, spinal cord and peripheral nerves. Neurosurgeons provide both non-surgical and surgical care.
Debbie Matthews, RN, CNOR, and Department Director of Surgery says, "May 20th marks the beginning of many more such procedures provided by TNC available right here in the community at Jackson Hospital."
Jackson Hospital performs on average 250 surgeries each month. Some of the types of surgeries performed at the JCAHO gold-seal facility are: Orthopedics (total joints, sports medicine), Neurosurgery, General Surgery, Laparoscopic, Urology, Gynecology, Ear-Nose-Throat, and Gastroenterology (including scopes). Jackson Hospital surgeons operate on Adults and Pediatric patients.
The Tallahassee Neurological Clinic Marianna office is located at 4295 Third Ave, adjacent to The Doctor’s Office, P.A. TNC’s contact number is (850) 877-5115 for Neurosurgery, (850)878-8121 for Neurology. TNC is a member of the Jackson Hospital Medical Staff.
One of Jackson Hospital’s strategies for future growth is to bring new physician specialties to Jackson County. Dave Hample, CEO of Jackson Hospital says, "Certainly, Tallahassee Neurological Clinic not only provides clinic hours in our community but also operates in our surgery suites representing a very exciting first step towards achieving our goals."
Jackson Hospital, a top 100 Hospital in the nation according to Thomson Healthcare, is the only Florida hospital in its size category to receive the 2006 Performance Improvement Leaders award. The Hospital provides in-patient, outpatient, and emergency care services from its main location in Marianna at 4250 Hospital Drive.
If you would like more information about this topic, please call Rosie at 850/718-2696 or email her at

Overview of County Commission Meeting

By Sid Riley
Review of Tuesday May 27 Meeting
1. Presentation by Cliff Knauer, Washington County Engineer advising Commission of feasibility study that will be competed in August for the construction of a connector between Highway #77 in Washington County and Highway 231 in Jackson County in order to meet projected needs from growth in southern ends of both counties. Projected cost of project is $30,000,000.
2. Approved request from State Office of Criminal Conflict and Civil Regional Counsel to move to old jail building when new EOC is completed and existing emergency operations function relocates.
3. Reappointed Caretha Everett and Bill Hopkins to three year term on Chipola Regional Workforce Development Board.
4. Denied request from Code Enforcement Board to clean up debris on private property abutting county road on Biscayne Road and Sunlight Road.
5. Heard presentation from Sonny Dean with Communications International on alternatives to resolve existing and future needs in radio communications systems for county operations. Could involve eight transmission sites costing $1,000,000 each for 95% coverage, five sites providing 90%, four sites providing 86%, or three sites providing 83% coverage. Discussed alternative of leasing space from existing towers vs. county building towers and then leasing space to other users. First priority was defined as Sneads area.
6. Accepted bid from Anderson Columbia for Church Street Resurfacing and Widening Project …$2,634,166.
7. Accepted bid of $15,951 from Milton Carpet Center for recarpeting of Jackson County Main Library.
8. Approved making application for Solid Waste Grant for Recycling.
9. Approved Tourist Development Council funding for Dixie Youth State Baseball Tournament ($6,000), Malone Pecan Festival ($2,000), and Advertising campaign on FOX 49 promoting day trips to Jackson County ($6,000)

Marianna High School Class of 1950 Has Reunion

Fifty Eight Years Ago Remembered
By Sid Riley
The Marianna High School Class of 1950 was a large class by measurements of that day, having 70 class members. The class has retained a close bond through the years and has held several reunion functions. This year they decided to meet again to renew old friendships and remember those wonderful childhood years they all shared together.
The first event on their schedule was a breakfast meeting at the beautiful home of Virginia and Leland Thomas on Daniels Street in Marianna. Approximately twenty of the classmates and their spouses came and enjoyed the hospitality of Mr. and Mrs. Thomas and the time spent with their childhood friends. Also in attendance was one of their teachers, Mrs. Elrod, who taught Math and Geometry at MHS for many, many years. She is now in her nineties and going strong.
I also met Miss Marianna of 1950, Jessie Mae Allen-Olive. She was also football queen that year, and was escorted by football team captain Charlie Brown at her halftime crowning ceremony. Oscar Olive, her husband, said it was at that time he became enthralled with the young beauty, and vowed that he was "going to marry that girl"! Six months later they were married and he is still enthralled.
That afternoon the group met again at the farm of Kenneth Anderson, located between Malone and Greenwood. There they had a bar-B-Q lunch and relived more events of their past. Approximately forty class members and spouses attended the afternoon function. Lawrence Weston was recognized for traveling the longest distance for the meeting, coming from Tennessee.
Congratulations to the Class of 1950…Keep on remembering.

Stimulus Check Mailing Schedule

May 29, 2008

The Jackson County Times has been sent the following information regarding the mailing schedule for the stimulus checks that are being issued by the federal government to taxpayers in an effort to stimulate the sagging US economy. If you make your IRS tax deposits via direct deposit, then you should already have your payment. This schedule is for mail transactions only.
Do not confuse the IRS direct deposit program with the Social Security direct deposit process. They are completely separate.
The mailing schedule for the checks is based on the last two digits of your social security number.
Last Two Digits Check Mail
Of SS # Date
9-09 May 16
18-18 May 23
25-25 May 30
38-38 June 6
51-51 June 13
63-63 June 20
75-75 June 27
87-87 July 4
88-99 July 11

Surf's Up!!

Record Crowd of Over 2,000 At Blue Springs For Memorial Day Opening
By Sid Riley
Somebody must have yelled "SURF’S UP" at Blue Springs on Memorial Day, because a record throng amassed at the popular county park for the opening day of the summer season. Cars were lined up for half a mile on both sides of the Blue Springs Highway, above and below the park entrance as the overflow crowd overfilled the existing parking areas. Additional parking is on the drawing board and will have to be provided as the park continues to grow in popularity.
People were paddling, snorkeling, Bar-B-Qing, sun bathing, volley balling, wading, sitting, standing, eating, sleeping, bikini watching, and a few were even swimming. It was a Memorial Day well spent.
Chuck Hatcher, Director of Parks and Recycling stated that the crowd was a new record for the park, exceeding the 1,590 overflow crowd from last year. He states that some 2,011 people attended the park on its opening day. The improvements made in the facility and the operation of the facility is making Blue Springs Park into a huge area attraction. Our Commissioners, Chuck Hatcher, and his staff all deserve a "thank you" from the citizens of Jackson County for investing time and funds into this attraction.

The American Revolution in Jackson County

May 29, 2008
By: Dale Cox
Although Jackson County seems far removed from Lexington and Concord, Valley Forge and other landmarks of the American Revolution, the area was actually touched by the war that gave the United States its independence from England.
We hear so often of the original thirteen colonies or states that it is easy to forget that there were really sixteen colonies. When the war began, Great Britain also controlled Canada, East Florida and West Florida. The British had gained possession of these colonies at the end of the French and Indian War. The three additional colonies, however, did not join in the revolution against the King George III.
As the war progressed, an important front developed along the border separating East Florida and Georgia. Word reached the British in St. Augustine in early 1778 that the Americans in Georgia were planning an invasion of Florida. Calls for reinforcements went out and a detachment of British officers and troops set out from Pensacola to reinforce the garrison at St. Augustine.
The expedition followed a path then called the "Pensacola to St. Augustine Road." This ancient trail led across Northwest Florida from Pensacola Bay and crossed into what is now Jackson County near Graceville. From there it followed the approximate route of today’s State Highway 2 across the future sites of Campbellton and Malone to cross the Chattahoochee River at Neal’s Landing.
Crossing through northern Jackson County, the British reached Neal’s Landing on July 25, 1778. The historic site was then the location of the Lower Creek Indian village of Ekanachatte ("Red Ground"). According to a journal kept by a British official named David Holmes, Ekanachatte was then the home of around 25 families. The chief or principal leader of the village was "the Bully," a man of mixed Spanish and Indian ancestry. In addition to his duties as chief, he operated a trading post and was described as being fabulously wealthy for the place and time.
The British camped for several days at Neal’s Landing, visiting with the inhabitants and sending out officers to request that the chiefs and warriors of other villages in the area come to a conference at Ekanachatte.
The conference was attended by 55 chiefs and warriors from throughout the Jackson County area, as well as the white traders James Burgess and John Mealy who operated trading posts on the Apalachicola River at Tomatley (near present-day Sneads) and Ocheesee (in Calhoun County). The council resulted in an agreement by the Native Americans to join the British in their effort to defend St. Augustine. These early residents of Jackson County ultimately fought in several battles and skirmishes between St. Augustine and Savannah.
The British broke camp at Neal’s Landing on the morning of July 31, 1778, and crossed the Chattahoochee River to continue their march to St. Augustine. Their six day visit at Neal’s Landing, however, left Jackson County with an almost forgotten connection to the American Revolution and the effort that gave the United States its independence from Great Britain.
Editor’s Note: Writer and historian Dale Cox is the author of several books on Florida history, including The Battle of Marianna, Florida and Two Egg, Florida. His books are available locally at Chipola River Book & Tea in downtown Marianna. Read more of his writings by visiting the Local History section at

Local Organizations Recognize Fallen Heros

May 29, 2008
By: Sid Riley
At 8:00 Monday morning a Memorial Day ceremony was conducted and a memorial wreath was placed on the combined armed forces marker that stands on the northeast corner of the Jackson County Court House lawn. This Memorial Day tribute was conducted and sponsored by several local veterans groups.
These groups included the local chapter of the Buffalo Soldiers of Marianna, which is an organization recognizing the services of black military units from 1866 through 1944. Also participating was the local chapter #22 of the Disabled American Veterans and the Sneads American Legion.
Featured speaker for the memorial ceremony was retired USAF Colonel Bill Rimes of West Florida Electric. We appreciate the work of these local groups in helping our community recognize the sacrifices made by local men in defense of our nation. We should never be too busy to pause and pay tribute to what they did on our behalf.
"We walked among the crosses
Where our fallen soldiers lay.
And listened to the bugle,
As taps began to play.
Thanks for what you’ve given,
No one could ask for more.
May you rest with God in heaven,
From now through evermore."

Congressman Alan Boyd Calls from Afghanistan

May 29, 2008
By: Sid Riley

On Tuesday afternoon we were privileged to receive a call from our Congressman Alan Boyd while he was on his way home from a fact finding tour which included visits to Afghanistan, India, and Pakistan. He met with the President of Afghanistan, Hamad Karzai, the President of Pakistan, Pervez Musharraf, and the Prime Minister of India, Manmohan Singh. He was accompanied by Senator Ben Nelson (Dem, Nebraska), Representative Tim Mahoney (Dem, Florida), and Representative Nick Lampson (Dem, Texas).
During our conversation we discussed the problem of the Afghanistan economy being so dependent on growing poppies for the international drug cartels. Congressman Boyd stated that it is a problem that must be solved through our work with the new central Afghan government. "Alternate crops are the best solution, but the problem is that the growing of poppies is so lucrative for the farmers. Being a farmer myself I can understand their plight. They can realize approximately $3000 per acre from growing poppies while the best alternate crop is wheat, which will yield them about $300 per acre. Which would you grow?", he asked. "Some want to engage in aerial eradication spraying of the poppies, but there are too many potential public health and ecological problems with that approach", Boyd continued. "However, it is a problem that must be addressed. I understand that most of the product ends up in Europe rather than in the US, but it still creates a huge social problem", he concluded. This country has a population of thirty one million and an average annual household income of around $200. Poverty is worse than in many areas of Africa.
Boyd stated that this trip has given him a deeper understanding of the complexities of the religious and tribal interaction with government in both Afghanistan and Pakistan. He explained that the Taliban is really comprised of many separate factions, and they are mainly focused on local and religious issues. It is the Al Qaeda that is the international terror minded group that seeks to disrupt and destroy the United States.
The central Pakistan government actually controls a relatively small portion of the country. The rugged inner areas of the impoverished nation are still controlled by tribal factions, and this is where Al Qaeda is the most influential. There is one remote area where 3.3 million of the most impoverished and most inaccessible live that is still governed by a tribal agreement from the 1800’s, Boyd explained.
"I feel that our War On Terror has become sidetracked by our involvement in Iraq. The core of our threat lies in Pakistan and Afghanistan as well as Iran." Boyd emphasizes. "We must continue our presence with NATO in this part of the world."
Boyd stated that he feels India is making social and economic progress, but still has far to go. Human slavery and unfortunate social conditions are still prevalent in the population of almost 1.3 billion people. "India has the largest Moslem population in the Middle East, but it is only 15% among the 85% Hindu majority. However they have learned to live together with a minimal amount of conflict.
Congressman Boyd wanted us to say hello to all of his friends and supporters in Jackson County and the surrounding areas. We at the Jackson County Times thank him for taking time to talk to us during his busy travel schedule….and wish him a safe trip home.

Rattlesnake Score= 1, Thumb Score= 0

May 22, 2008

Meadowview Estates Resident Meets Unwelcome Visitor
By Sid Riley
Last week local resident Larry McKeithan who operates the Caverns Golf Course and lives in Meadowview Estates just outside of Marianna, had a visitor in his back yard. Larry was picking up debris that was in a depression in his back yard when he was bitten by a rattlesnake hidden in the leaves. "I see rattlesnakes frequently as I work on the grounds at the golf course", stated McKeithan, "but this one was closer than I wanted him to be. He surprised me.
Larry was able to jerk his hand back as he saw the snake striking, thus escaping one of the fangs. However, the other fang penetrated his thumb.
"Within two minutes I was nauseated and broke out in a cold sweat. The pain was the worse pain I have ever experienced. I would have welcomed taking a hammer and slamming my thumb just to make it feel better", McKeithan continued.
He traveled to the emergency room where ER doctor Griffin provided immediate treatment, followed quickly by help from Dr. Steven Spence. They administered anti-venom that was in stock, along with pain relievers and antibiotics. Larry had to remain in the hospital for two days because of the bite.
"I guess if he had gotten me with both fangs it would have been twice as bad", says McKeithan. "That would have been unbearable. I want to caution everyone to be careful, the snakes are really active now that warm weather is here. Believe me, you do not want to experience a rattlesnake bite."

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Covenant Hospice Awards Volunteers

Covenant Hospice of Marianna held its Annual Volunteer Appreciation Banquet at the Florida Caverns State Park. This event rallied over 100 volunteers that support the patients of the Marianna Branch of Covenant Hospice. "Inspire by Example" was the foundation of this year’s banquet.
Mrs. Bernice Wheeler received the Covenant Hospice "Volunteer of the Year" Award. Some words to describe Mrs. Wheeler are loyal, caring, giving and inspirational. She will tell you that volunteering with Covenant Hospice is a priority in her life. Mrs. Wheeler gave over 300 hours of her time and drove almost 3,000 miles in 2007. She serves as an Administrative Volunteer, Patient/Family Support Volunteer and an 11th hour Volunteer. She helps with the monthly newsletter, inputs volunteer hours and eagerly accepts patient assignments. One example of her unselfish dedication is staying with a patient from 5:00 p.m. until 1:30 a.m. The patient did not die alone. She has been there for a patient in their "11th Hour" nine times. She serves patients in three counties who may be in long term care facilities or at home.
Ms. Josephine Taylor was awarded the Covenant Hospice "Inspire by Example" award. She gives her time and efforts to Covenant Hospice Patients both at home and in long term care facilities. While serving Covenant Hospice Patients she faces a life limiting illness as well. She has inspired each of us to carry on her mission to love and give to others. Ms. Taylor was treated to a day of pampering and relaxation the day of the banquet. Partenza Salon and Spa along with Diamond’s Full Service Salon donated their time and talent to help make this day special for Ms. Taylor. Then her chariot waits for her outside—a white stretch limo was waiting on her to carry her to the banquet. What a fairy tale day, for such a deserving woman.
Donna Meldon, Volunteer Services Manager, recognized the Covenant Hospice "Rookies" as well. Stevie Smith of Greenwood was awarded the Covenant Hospice "Administrative Rookie" award; Lumen Rushing of Blountstown was awarded the Covenant Hospice "Ambassador Rookie" award; and Lori Brooks of Blountstown was awarded the Covenant Hospice "Patient & Family Support Rookie" award.
Volunteering can be one of life’s most rewarding experiences! It’s a great way to network and contribute to your community. Hospice and palliative care volunteers bring companionship to people in the final months and weeks of life, respite to families and caregivers, and support in fund raising and administrative efforts by hospice care providers. These dedicated volunteers are integral members of the interdisciplinary team of professionals who provide care at the end of life.

BCF Graduates Record Numbers

After a week of final exams and late night study sessions, 64 seniors at The Baptist College of Florida (BCF) in Graceville, FL excitedly walked across the stage on May 16 to receive their graduation diploma. Family and friends began gathering in the BCF Assembly Center in the early morning hours in support of their graduating seniors. Flashing cameras and smiles were in abundance as parents, grandparents, spouses, children, siblings, and friends, all celebrated this milestone and academic accomplishment with the 2008 Spring graduating class.
The commencement ceremony began promptly as the administration, faculty, and graduating seniors marched in to take their seats of honor. BCF President Thomas A. Kinchen welcomed guests and specifically recognized family members who had sacrificed time, provided monetary support, and prayed for the graduates to make this day possible.
Accolades continued as Kinchen honored two of Florida’s extraordinary men of faith, Peter L. Chamberlain, President of B. R. Chamberlain & Sons, Inc., and James W. McCall, Pastor Emeritus at First Baptist Church Sebring, FL, commending them for their exemplary lives of service and devotion to Jesus Christ. They were presented with Honorary Doctorates of Christian Letters, one of the highest honors granted from an academic institution.
Graduating senior, Kim Graham, provided the special music singing Shepherd of My Heart declaring devotion to the Lord in good times and bad.
Starting his 19th year as President of The Baptist College of Florida, Kinchen gave the commencement address issuing the graduating class a two question pop quiz, "Who do men say Jesus is, and who do you say Jesus is? Many people say that Jesus is just a good man," stated Kinchen. "But He is more than just a good man, He is the God man. He is the story on the bumper sticker, the story in jewelry, and the story on the billboard. He is the living God, current Savior, lamb without blemish, the guiding light, the one sent to redeem, and the carpenter busy preparing a place for you, He Lives!" With Amen’s of agreement and frequent applause, Kinchen motivated graduates to let the living God guide their ministry and their lives.
Graduates received diplomas in various areas to include Associate of Divinity, Associate of Arts in Music, Bachelor of Arts in Biblical Studies, Christian Counseling, Christian Education, Christian Studies, Church Music, Contemporary Worship Ministry, Elementary Education, Leadership, Ministry, Missions, Theology, Music Education and Bachelor of Science in Biblical Studies. This was another record number of graduates for the college that is "Changing the World Through the Unchanging Word®."

A Special Day of Remembering

By Sid Riley
Jackson County Honors Fallen Hero Police Officers
The poignant trill of the bagpipe expertly playing "Amazing Grace", the flyby of the Police helicopter, the twenty gun salute, and black balloons slowly rising into the blue sky all set the mood for the memorial ceremony that was held on the front lawn of the Jackson County Sheriff’s Department Facility on Tuesday morning. A crowd of officers, families of fallen hero’s, government officials and candidates, and a caring public all assembled to pay honor to those Jackson County Police Officers who paid the ultimate price while in the call of duty.
In total, eight police officials have lost their lives while performing their jobs in Jackson County. These are Dave Hamm, John Ivey, Aaron Creel, Allen Finch, James Bevis, William Thomas Jr., John Altman, and Millie McDaniel. Eight empty chairs draped in black were lined up in front of the stone memorial in the yard. Each chair had a black balloon tethered to it. As Mark Sims with the States Attorney Office read a brief story of how each officer lost their life, the balloon for that chair was released to drift away into the summer sky.
Sheriff McDaniel gave the welcoming and closing remarks. The Color Guard of the American Legion Post #214 presented the flags to open the event. Sheriff McDaniel then led the Pledge of Allegiance. This was followed by invocation by Rev. Jack Hollis. Next, Major John Dennis recognized fallen hero family members that were present.
The Optimist Club and CrimeStoppers then announced and presented the Officer of the Year and Rookie Awards for Marianna Police Department, Sneads Police Department, and the Jackson County Sheriff’s Department. (See separate story for details of awards.)
Next, Sheriff McDaniel placed a floral arrangement at the memorial stone while Geordie Org expertly played "Amazing Grace" on the bagpipes. (See freeze frame picture.) Then Mark Sims read the roll call for fallen officers as the balloons were ceremoniously released. Immediately afterward there was a 21 gun salute from the Honor Guard of the American Legion Post #214, Sneads. Just as they finished the police helicopter performed a low level fly-by. Then Amy Allen played Taps. The program ended with a benediction from Rev. Jeff Ward.
A food tent had been set up for a free lunch sponsored by several area businesses including Rahal-Miller, Chipola Ford, The Oaks, and Baxter’s Oyster Bar. Rev. Flavious Pittman delivered a meaningful blessing and the crowd enjoyed their meal.
It was a somber, sad event on a beautiful day. We all are thankful for the fine, brave work of our area police officers.

County Planning Commission Begins Hearings on Comprehensive Land Use Plan Revisions

Several areas have been identified as needing clarification and/or revision.
By Sid Riley
The Jackson County Planning Commission began the lengthy review and revision process for making improvements in the County Comprehensive Land Use Plan by holding the first public workshop on Monday afternoon. Only a few citizens were present at the session.
The meeting began with Mr. Ben Chandler with the Genesis Group, the consulting firm which helped the county properly create the plan, making a power point presentation describing the required steps in conducting this review of the original plan. He also discussed some of the issues that have been identified thus far as areas of concern.
The next step is another public workshop which will be conducted by the County Commission on Tuesday, May 27. After that meeting a revised EAR (Evaluation and Appraisal Report) will be delivered to the ECA in Tallahassee for approval. After this is returned with their recommendations, the final document will be prepared. Then another public hearing will be held to adopt the EAR. This adopted EAR will then again be transmitted to the ECA in Tallahassee for final approval. With this approval in place, the Commission can then begin to enact the amendments to the original plan.
Simple process isn’t it?
If you would like to make suggestions or comments for consideration, please plan to attend the May 27 meeting.

The UPS Store Now Officially Open

By Sid Riley
Packing and Shipping Are US
A crowd of well wishers, officials, and beauty queens assembled at the new UPS Store on Tuesday morning for the official ribbon cutting ceremony. Art Kimbrough with the Chamber, Jamie Streetman, head of the chamber’s Ambassador Group, and Tommy Lassman, current Chamber President all made short appreciative remarks prior to the cutting of the ribbon. Judy Williams, store owner also thanked everyone for their participation and support.
The new store, located across from Confederate Park in the midtown area, will provide a full range of packing and shipping services. This is a fully franchised UPS center. Judy Williams was required to spend two weeks in intensive training by UPS in Thomasville, Georgia and another two weeks at the Corporate Center in San Diego, California. The store will employ two full time and two part time associates. In total, the creation of the new store represents an investment of approximately $250,000 by Judy and Roger Williams.
We encourage the Jackson County community to support this new business.

Remembering Pope’s Trading Post

By: Dale Cox

Long before the modern community of Sneads was founded, the area was known as the "Pope Settlement." The name came from an early trading post established there by William S. Pope, a businessman and government official.
Pope first appeared in the Jackson County area at about the time Florida was transferred from Spain to the United States. He lived first in Mt. Vernon (today’s Chattahoochee), but soon migrated across the river and acquired land in Jackson County’s early "Chipola Settlement."
Chipola was the name given to the area bounded roughly today by the Chipola River, Waddells Mill Pond, U.S. 231 and U.S. 90. Pope was an early promoter of the town of Webbville, a community established during the 1820s. When Marianna won the backing of the Florida Territorial Council in its quest to become county seat, however, Webbville faded and its promoters moved elsewhere.
William S. Pope soon acquired new land on the high ground overlooking the confluence of the Flint and Chattahoochee Rivers. Here, in around 1830, he established a trading post and farm and quickly established himself in a growing community that stretched from about the area of Three Rivers State Park south to present-day Sneads.
Since it was a place where local residents could obtain supplies or hear news, Pope’s store soon became a gathering place for the area. Early Jackson County records indicate that it served as a voting precinct and in 1833 was the site of a major negotiation with the remaining groups of Native Americans still living along the lower Chattahoochee and Apalachicola Rivers.
The result of this council was a document known as the "Treaty of Pope’s." Under its terms, the chiefs Econchattico and Mulatto King agreed to give up more of their land for white settlement. The treaty eventually led to their removal to present-day Oklahoma by U.S. Troops just five years later.
Holding an appointment as the U.S. Subagent to the Apalachicola tribes, Pope was heavily involved in the negotiations. Because he conducted much business with Econchattimico and Mulatto King and their people, however, he may not have been happy to see them go when General Zachary Taylor showed up to remove them in 1838.
Over time, the community that William Pope founded grew to become the modern Town of Sneads. In many ways he can be considered one of the town’s founding fathers, even though he was not still alive when Sneads, as we know it today, became a reality. The modern town fulfills his dream of a permanent community near the confluence of Chattahoochee and Flint Rivers.
The site of Pope’s trading post and farm was just northeast of today’s Apalachee Correctional Institution. Located below the 77 foot contour, historic site was flooded when the Jim Woodruff Dam was finished and Lake Seminole was created in 1957.
Editor’s Note: Dale Cox is the author of several books on Florida history. You can read more of his comments about local historic sites by visiting and clicking the "Local History" button.

Blue Springs To Open Memorial Day

Summer Season Officially Begins

The Jackson County Board of County Commissioners and the Parks and Recreaation Department announces the opening of Blue Springs Recreational Area for the 2008 season on Monday, May 26. The park will open on Monday, May 26, for Memorial Day, from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm. For more information please call 718-0437 or 482-2114.

On Sat, May 24 and Sun. 25, the park is hosting NSS-CDS International Cave diving convention and they are expecting over 300 cave divers from around the world. Because of this large event, the park will not be open for swimmers on these days. On Sunday, May 25th, the public is welcome to attend the 9:00 a.m. free talk and exhibition on cave diving at the Blue Springs Recreational Area. An admission fee of $2.00 per person will be required.
On Monday, May 26, 2008, Memorial Day, the park will open to the public at 10:00 a.m. for swimming and recreation. After Memorial day, the park will open for the summer season. Hours of operation for the park will be: 11:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m. Tuesday – Sunday.
The rules for the park are as follows: All radios must be turned off upon entering the park. Portable radios must be used with headphones. No alcohol allowed. No weapons. No profanity. No pets, except service animals. Proper swimwear must be worn. Including, but not limited to: no swimming in blue jeans, no thongs (guys or girls), no underwear can be visible. These rules will be enforced and patrons may be removed from the park for violation of any of these rules.

According to Chuck Hatcher, Director of Parks and Recycling, "We want to go back to the family atmosphere we had when we were growing up. Last year we set a park attendance record of nearly 27,000 visitors, and with gas prices high and going higher we expect to have another record season. The park has a concession stand for any food or beverage needs. You can rent canoes, kayaks and paddleboats. For the swimmers we have tube rentals available. For the younger kids we have a multi –station playground. For the older kids and adults we have an official beach volleyball court. We have just about anything you could want at a swimming facility. We are so fortunate to have a great facility like this! Why go to the beach when Blue Springs is so close, so clean, and so much fun? We also have pavilions for rent, but you need to call soon, because they are going fast."

Admission to the park remains $2.00 per person. New for this year are $20.00 per person season passes for Jackson County residents. Non-Jackson County residents may purchase a $30.00 per person season pass. Just a reminder, there is a new power boat No Wake Ordinance passed May 22, 2007 by the Jackson County Board of Commissioners. This no wake zone is from the buoy line located just south of twin caves to the fence at the swimming facility. "This was passed to allow Fish and Wildlife to help monitor the water in the Blue Springs Recreational Area" Hatcher said. "It provides more safety for our canoes, paddleboats and swimmers. Everyone should check the requirements for boating and snorkeling before entering this area."

Construction of New Farm Implement Dealership Near Marianna In Final Approval Stage

By Sid Riley
New John Deere Tractor Dealer and Farm Store to Locate East of Marianna on Highway 90.
The Jackson County Times has learned through conversations with Mary Margaret, project engineer for Melvin Engineers that the new John Deere Dealership is in the final approval phases prior to beginning construction. The new dealership will be known as Sun South Country Store and will include a John Deere Dealership, a repair department, a parts and supplies section, and a retail area which will sell garden and farming supplies including a nursery area.
The new dealership will be located on Highway 90 East, across from Mercer’s Paint and Body Shop. Initial approval of the site has to come through the North Florida Water Management District Offices, and it appears that hurdle has been passed awaiting final signatures. The project is on the future agenda for the Jackson County Planning Commission on June 2, and the Jackson County Commission on June 10. After passage of those boards, and acquisition of the required permits, site preparation and construction can finally begin. The owners are hoping for a December 2008 completion date.

Jackson County CrimeStoppers and Optimist Club Give Special Awards

By Sid Riley
"Officer of the Year", and "Rookie of the Year" Awards are announced at Fallen Hero’s Ceremony on Tuesday. *See related story below
As part of the Fallen Hero’s Ceremony held on the Jackson County Sheriff’s Department front lawn Tuesday morning, the Jackson County CrimeStoppers and the Jackson County Optimists Club announced the recipients’ of several special awards.
For the Marianna Police Department the "Officer of the Year" award went to Sgt. Michael Mears, and the Marianna Police Department "Rookie of the Year" was awarded to Officer Cheree’ Edwards. The Sneads Police Department "Officer of the Year" is Officer Brett Preston, for the Jackson County Sheriff’s Department the "Officer of the Year" is Corporal John Hill, and the "Rookie of the Year" is Officer Jerry Basford.
Special awards for meritorious service were given to Capt. John Dennis and Sheriff John McDaniel.

Zannie Williams – Hoping To Become Jackson County’s New Sheriff

By Sid Riley
Zannie Williams has lived and worked in Jackson County all of his life. He was born in Marianna in 1960, and graduated from Grand Ridge High School in 1978.
Zannie is the son of Nellie Williams and Isaac Williams, also of Jackson County. He has two boys, Zannie Williams Jr. who is attending college in Tallahassee at Tallahassee Community College, and Austin Williams who is an eighth grader in Malone. Zannie is a member of the Mt. Tabor Missionary Baptist Church where Reverend Dwight Cockerham, Sr. is pastor.
After graduation from high school Williams attended Washington – Holmes County Technical Center in Chipley where he completed the Corrections Officer School. He then went to work in the Jackson County Sheriff’s Department under Sheriff McDaniel as a correctional officer. He worked in this position until 1986.
He worked as a corrections officer for the state Department of Corrections for the next thirteen years. This was followed by five years working at Sunland. Currently working as a Deputy Sheriff in Gadsden County for Sheriff Morris Young.
Zannie Williams feels his years working in the field has prepared him for filling the job of Sheriff of Jackson County. "I now have a good feeling for knowing what the people want from their Sheriff", Williams states.
He feels that the jails are overcrowded and would engage in programs to relieve that situation. He would create a closer interconnection between the County Sheriff, FDLE, City Police Forces, and private investigators to eliminate crime in the county. Most importantly, his department would "Stand for all of the people of Jackson County".
Mr. Williams will not be on the August 26th Primary Ballot, as he is running as an Independent, but, would appreciate your vote on the November 6th General Election. He can be reached at 209-6229.

Monday, May 19, 2008

The Success Story of James and Julie You

One of the best means to motivate young people is telling them a successful story of a person who had failed on many attempts to fulfill their dreams and yet, have the resilience and faith to keep their hopes alive. I am very proud of my fellow Taiwanese friend, James You, who overcame many obstacles in his early business ventures. He can now finally be recognized as an incredible success as an entrepreneur.
James You and his wife, Julie owned and operated the "House of You", a Chinese Restaurant in Marianna from 1984 to 2001. They also subsequently owned and operated a Seafood Restaurant in Graceville, FL for three years. After they sold the House of You (which now, is changed to the Fortune Cookie Chinese Restaurant) and seafood Restaurants, the Yous and their associates owned and operated four different restaurants in Albany, GA and also managed a shopping center containing 19 business spaces in Leesburg, GA from 2001 to 2007. After they sold their shares to their partners in Georgia, they were planning to retire and settle down in the Tampa Bay and Clearwater area.
This hard working couple simply could not enjoy their early retirement. In less than half a year time, they moved back to this area settling in Dothan, AL. . They and their new associates now own the "Egg Roll House", a Chinese Restaurant, as well as "Kobe", a Japanese Restaurant located in West Gate Mall.
They are native Taiwanese. James started in the U. S. as a chef for his brother at the "Fortune Cookie Restaurant" in Gainesville, FL in 1980. After working for his brother for one year, James, Julie, his two young daughters and James’ mother moved to Ocala, where they owned and operated a motel for one year. They discovered that they did not have much experience in motel management and therefore, they sold the motel and reinvested their resources into a Chinese restaurant in Independence, Missouri in 1983.
Those unproductive ventures in Gainesville, Ocala, and Independence did not discourage them. Still looking for an answer, they sold their business in Missouri and decided to move back to Florida. Traveling with a little U-Haul trailer behind their car, they checked many little towns along Hwy 231, which ultimately brought them to Marianna. This is where the family eventually moved in January, 1984.
Our oldest son, Mark, called us while Tama and I were vacationing in New Orleans to watch the Auburn-Michigan game at the Sugar Bowl on New Year Day, 1984. He told us that Mr. Jimmy Harkins had called to tell him that a young Taiwanese family had just moved to Marianna and they were looking for a place to open a Chinese restaurant. We rushed back and realized that Jimmy had already leased the Donut Den (across from McDonald’s on the West Lafayette Street) to the Yous. We also found that they had rented a small, unfurnished house on Smith Street. While grocery shopping at Winn Dixie right after we returned home, we serendipitously met the Yous. Jennifer was 5 years of age and Phyllis was just little over 2 years old and sitting on a grocery cart. Since there are not many Asians in the town of Marianna, we realized this was obviously the new Taiwanese family Mark mentioned.
Speaking in Mandarin for an initial self-introduction, my assumption was quickly confirmed. It was just like to have a new brother from our old country. We loaned them some of our furniture to help get them settle in. Our dear friend, Mr. James McGill also loaned them a refrigerator. Bernie Hall, who lived a couple of doors down from them, also lent her assistance and helped in taking very good care of their two little girls. Julie and James worked 7 days a week. They eventually moved the restaurant to a little bigger place near the railroad bridge on West Hwy 90, which was a Pizza restaurant at one time. The "Taco Tavern" had become the "House of You".
The Marianna folks were very nice to the Yous and supported them any way they could. In less than two years, the Yous bought 8.5 acres from Mr. Ross Sheffield. They lived in a house trailer for four years on the lot they bought and became a good neighbor of the Sheffield’s. Eventually, they built a beautiful new house in the subdivision of Forest Park in Marianna.
In 1990, they bought Kingry Restaurant on Lafayette Street. They did a complete face-lift for this old seafood establishment. They also redesigned and refurnished the entire kitchen and dining area with new equipment and furniture, as well as an air conditioning unit and heat pumps. They also expanded the parking lot. The new Chinese restaurant was then called "The House of You".
The You family lived in Marianna for 17 years. The girls attended our public schools. They were very studious and were outstanding students. They always proudly presented their perfect report cards to me, their "Uncle Paul" as they called me. As is our tradition, a reward of $20.00 was given to them for each perfect card.
Tama and I frequently attended the girl’s school functions on behalf of James and Julie who were busy in their restaurant. Some folks even thought we were their grandparents at the Honor’s Day and Beta Club meetings. Jennifer was the Valedictorian at Marianna High School in 1997 and a scholarship recipient at Birmingham-Southern. She received her Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD) at the University of Alabama in Birmingham, School of Dentistry in 2005. Following her sister’s footstep, Phyllis was also the Valedictorian at MHS in 1999 and a scholarship recipient of Vanderbilt University. She received her Doctor of Medicine (MD) at University of South Florida on May 2, 2008.
Jennifer met her future husband, Justin Cotney at Birmingham Southern. They were married last year after he completed his Ph.D. in Genetics and Molecular Biology at Emory University. Jennifer is practicing general dentistry as an associate in Connecticut. Justin is doing his Post-Doctoral in genetic research at Yale University.
Phyllis met her future husband, Will Dunaway, while they were classmates at Marianna Middle School. They have been close friends for many years. Will received his DVM from the University of Florida in 2007. He and Phyllis were married six hours after she officially received her M.D., from USF. The evening wedding was held on a Sailboat at St. Petersburg Beach. Phyllis and Will have moved to Boise, Idaho, where Phyllis is a resident in the family medicine program and Will will be practicing veterinary medicine.
The immigrants, James and Julie have struggled to keep their businesses successful and have simultaneously supported their girls to enable them to have the best possible education. His hair has turned very gray at a young age.
After two decades of hard work, the following list depicts just some of their successful achievements: 1) to become naturalized U.S. citizens; 2) to have successful business; 3) both girls received their degree in higher education; 4) the family has expanded to six members, both of their son-in-laws received their degree in higher education also; 5) to have many Christian friends; 6) to own a nice house in Tampa Bay and a nice condo in Clearwater.
This article was initially intended to be called "An Immigrants Song". I would consider this is a beautiful song describing a beautiful story. There are plenty of other immigrant songs telling their successful stories about those who have attained excellence in business, academics, and entertainment fields. James You and Julie have taught us how necessary the attributes of faith and resilience are necessary for achieving a personal goal. I hope this story is also an example for helping young men and women think about their future.

Legislators Couldn’t Raise Taxes So They Raised Fees Instead

During this past legislative session, realizing the growing financial plight of the common citizen, lawmakers were hesitant to raise taxes, even though state revenues were significantly down. In order to not pass any tax increases and still make up some of the shortfall, they eagerly raised several fees.
Specifically these included the traffic fines, fees charged to reinstate licenses after suspension, and the fees paid by landlords seeking to evict dead beat tenants. This is in addition to the widely publicized proposed 6% increase in tuition fees at state colleges and universities.
The additional revenue from traffic violations is projected to increase revenues for the State by over $17,000,000. This will help pay for the wage increase granted to the State Troopers.
Court cost fees were also significantly increased. It will soon be more expensive to be a criminal or to be accused of being a criminal. The higher court fees are expected to increase government revenues by $98,000,000.
The filing fee for a landlord to evict a dead beat tenant will be increased from$75 to $265, and will take a projected $28,000,000 from the pockets of the landlords and place it in the leaking pocket of the State.
If approved by the legislature and signed by Governor Crist, these new revenue generators would be enacted July 1, 2009.

Dudley Hall Passes After Battle With Cancer

Dudley moved to Jackson County when he was two months old. He attended the old Central School near Two Egg, and then Malone High School. He has two brothers and five sisters, all of whom went to school in Jackson County. After graduation Dudley entered the National Guard, and then active duty in 1960. He became a paratrooper with the famous 101st Airborne Unit. He went to Vietnam in 1966 and served several tours of duty during that violent conflict. He was frequently involved in active combat and earned numerous battle decorations.
After Vietnam, Dudley returned to Jackson County and served for many years as the area army recruiter. He retired from the military in 1982 after twenty-six years of dedicated service to his country. He then went to work as a security guard at the Farley Nuclear Power Plant in Alabama.
Hall ran for sheriff on two previous occasions, and always desired to be the Sheriff of Jackson County. He had initially announced his intention to run in this year’s election, when shortly thereafter he discovered he had cancer. He regretfully announced his withdrawal from the race in February, since he knew he had another, more critical battle to fight.
Our prayers and deep condolences go to his loving wife Carol, their six children, and the rest of his family. We have lost a friend, and the county has lost a valuable citizen.
Services for Mr. Hall were held on Wednesday, May 14, 2008 at 2 P.M. in the Marianna Chapel Funeral Home with Rev. Charlie Dykes and Rev. Roland Rabon officiating. Interment followed in the Circle Hill Cemetery.
Donations in Dudley Hall’s behalf may be made to Covenant Hospice. Expressions of sympathy may be submitted on at Marianna Chapel Funeral Home was in charge of arrangements.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Over 200 Attend Ribbon Cutting for New VA Clinic

by Sid Riley

Area Veterans will no longer have to travel to Dothan or to Tallahassee in order to utilize their VA medical benefits. After years of work by numerous people, the VA has come to Marianna. Welcome!

A crowd of over three hundred local citizens were at the new clinic facility on Tuesday morning to witness the formal ribbon cutting ceremony for the new clinic. The usual adornment of area beauty queens were on site to add to the festivities.

The new clinic is located in the newly renovated building located on Highway 90 East, where
Marianna Medical Center was previously located. The clinic will provide a wide range of services to qualified veterans. The ribbon cutting ceremony was hosted by the Jackson County Chamber of Commerce, with Congressman Alan Boyd the featured speaker. Officials from the Veterans Administration were also in attendance.

The new clinic is part of an ongoing program to eventually have a clinic available within a fifty mile radius for most of the nations veterans. The staffing of the new Marianna clinic has not yet been completed, with routine services expected to begin within the next four weeks. Initially the clinic will be taking only new enrollees into the VA system, but by the end of the summer some 1400 veterans now enrolled in the Tallahassee clinic will be transferred here.

Congressman Boyd was especially proud of the acquisition of the new clinic for our area. “It is appropriate that we stand up for our veterans by providing this service….since they once stood up for us all”, he quoted.

Monday, May 12, 2008

County Commission Moves to Resolve Conflicts in Compass Lake

The original agreement signed with the developers of Compass Lake In The Hills in 1984 in entering into a management contract with the Property Owners Association for management of the Municipal Services Taxation Unit has proven to be inadequate in form and content. As a result of these shortcomings, the property owners in the development have experienced much disagreement, disillusionment, and continuing conflict. At the Tuesday evening workshop, our commissioners presented an approach that promises to greatly improve the situation.
The commission staff had conducted a study to evaluate the performance of the Property Owners Association (POA) in delivering municipal services to the area, to identify shortcomings, and to examine issues of known concern and conflict. This analysis was presented by County Manager, Ted Lakey and District 4 Commissioner, Jeremy Branch.
The report generally gave a positive report related to road maintenance, equipment, facilities, and fire protection. It ended with outlining two possible approaches for the commissioners to take in resolving the conflict. The first option was for the County to discontinue the contract with the POA, and assume responsibility for managing and delivering services to the development area. The second approach was to engage in a series of workshops with the POA Board to amend the agreement in areas found to need strengthening, omission, or change. The board voted unanimously to proceed with the second approach.
The report specifically recommended consideration of several perceived changes for improving the contract. These included, (1) Negotiating a defined fee for the POA to be paid for managing the MSTU. (2) Requiring separation of the budget into two separate budgets, one for the MSTU operations, and the second for the POA. (3) Establishing a Compass Lake bank account for funds collected by the Tax Collector through MSTU taxation to be deposited into and then administered by the Commission. (4) Requiring all capital outlays to be approved by the Commission. (5) Requiring all purchases to be processed and controlled by the Commission through the county’s bidding process. (6) Providing for regular annual audits.
It would appear that this additional level of involvement and oversight from the County Commission would probably resolve most of the existing problems. The Jackson County Times applauds the Commission for this well conceived, positive approach to a difficult situation.

Local Dentists Are “Bridging the Gap”

The medical establishment receives continual recognition, praise, and sometimes criticism for activities within the medical community. This is only natural since many aspects of medicine involve life and death matters, and none of us are exempt from enjoying the advantages of living in a country that has such an abundance of excellent medical specialists and services.
However, there is another group of public health providers that also deliver essential services to the public -- our dental care community. We have some twelve dentists serving Jackson County, and these professionals are routinely engaged in many charitable public health activities. Throughout Northwest Florida, the dental care providers give assistance to the needy at a level that far exceeds the level of benevolence demonstrated by dentists in the rest of Florida. They routinely perform these needed services without acclaim or fanfare.
One state wide charitable program created by the Florida Dental Association is titled "Project: Dentists Care", which features sponsoring free clinics for the needy. The signature program for children within the Association is the "Give Kids A Smile Day" events. These have been held annually in Jackson County for the past three years, with almost every eligible area dentist participating. The program works closely with the Jackson County Health Department, with the county health nurses referring eligible children to the clinics. At this year’s clinic in February, forty-six children were treated, ages four to sixteen. The value of this free care was over $9,000.
In the Northwest Region (Florida Panhandle), there were sixty one dentists who participated in these clinics, giving services valued at $128,539. State wide, the services had a total value of $562,791. Northwest Florida is the smallest region with the fewest dentist in the population, yet it ranked second in participation for the entire state.
Participants this year were; Dr. Bob Payne, Dr. Matthew Payne, Dr. Larry Cook, Dr. Henry Knowles, Dr. Michael Stripling, Dr. Jana Calhoun, Dr. Terry Nichols, Dr. Forrest Bowen, Dr. James Campbell, as well as dental hygienists Letitia Elliott, Sherry Slichter, and Victoria Branch.
Local Dentist, Dr. Robert Payne is currently the State Secretary/Treasurer for Project:Dentists Care, as well as being on the State council for Dental Health Care and Health. He has been active in organizing and assisting in "Give Kids A Smile" clinics throughout the state.
The need for making dental care available to needy children is heightened by inadequacies in the State Medicaid Dental Care Program. Very few dentists will treat Medicaid patients, except in cases of critical need. The failure of the dental programs under Medicaid is created by the extremely low level of reimbursement to the provider under the guidelines of the program.
Normally, a private dental practice will realize an overhead cost that is approximately 60% of the fees charged for services. Under Medicaid, the dentist is repaid only 25% of their normal fee for a procedure, thus falling far short of even covering basic overhead costs. The dentist will lose money on any Medicaid patient that is treated. Thus, the state’s needy citizens are left with few options for dental care.
Locally, this shortfall is partially filled by the State Public Health system which locally has a clinic for eligible citizens located near the Public Health Department facility on 4th Street. Additionally the department operates a Dental Care Bus, (Smiles on Wheels) that sets up mobile clinics in the county to treat children. Additionally, there is a free clinic named the St. Andrews Clinic in Bay County. However, there is generally a three month waiting list for this service.
In addition to these state wide charitable programs, many dentists engage in charitable services through other associations, clubs, and church activities. An example of this is Dr. Robert Payne’s involvement with the University of Florida Dental School’s Christian Dental Society.
For the past three years Dr. Payne has supervised dental students as they provided dental care for the needy in Honduras. They worked in orphanages, schools, and rural villages providing both routine and emergency care.
Dr. Payne has participated in dental missions in many underdeveloped countries over his career. These countries include Haiti, Brazil, Jamaica, and Honduras. He has taken an active role in over twenty missions to Honduras. One project in Honduras involved building and equipping a dental clinic in a hospital in a small town where no dental care was available. For this particular project, Dr. Payne was given the prestigious award of "Humanitarian Of The Year for 2004" by the Florida Dental Health Foundation.
He is not alone in volunteering. Many of the NW Florida dentist have participated in other overseas dental mission projects. From this we can see that just as most physicians give of themselves to help their fellow man through participation in charitable activities, in Northwest Florida we also have a large group of caring dentists that are also providing valuable services to "Bridge The Gap" for those in need.

Governor John Milton Found Dead At Sylvania Plantation

That was undoubtedly the headline in the local paper early in April, 1865. Governor Milton was brought to the family plantation from Tallahassee by Confederate Major William H. Milton on the morning of April 1. Later that same day he was found dead in his room, with a spent shotgun at his feet. He had worked diligently to support the Confederacy and to defend Florida throughout the terrible war, and could now see clearly that the War was lost. Eight days later Lee surrendered and the occupation of the South began.
Milton was replaced by A.K. Allison who tried desperately to send a delegation to Washington in an effort to negotiate Florida’s return to the Union. This effort was discovered when they attempted to obtain passes for passage through the Northern lines. An angry General McCook threatened to arrest the committee and Governor Allison as well if they persisted in the effort.
Florida citizens waited anxiously to find out what was to happen to them next, since they were the vanquished enemy helpless at the hands of the North. It was to be several months before anything decisive was revealed, due to the assassination of Lincoln in Washington, and the months of confusion that followed.

“Wall of Fame” At The Courtyard Inducts Four “Hometown Heroes”

An elder care facility can be a sad, discouraging place. It usually is a place of refuge and care for people in the last phase of life. It is often a place ravaged with pain and suffering as people struggle with life threatening maladies.
But there is another side to that gloomy picture. Within most facilities there is a social network of sharing and caring. The staff works hard to make the experience as pleasant and concern free as possible. Activities are scheduled each day to fill what would otherwise be long, lonely hours of despair. The clients often develop meaningful friendships with staff and co-clients.
That was the feeling I had as I left the Courtyard facility located a few miles east of Marianna. I was there for the induction ceremony of four clients who are being recognized for their lifetime accomplishments and services. They are deemed to be "Hometown Heroes", and large, attractive picture plaques are presented to be hung permanently in the main hallway of the facility.
This year’s inductees were Eddie Everett, who was recognized for his distinguished military service, which included being awarded the Bronze Star. Jean Morehouse was honored for her military career and volunteerism, including being a Jackson Hospital "pink lady" for many years, working with Habitat For Humanity, and Partners For Pets. Alton Parris was recognized for his academic achievements and military service. He was a teacher , coach, and mentor to many students, and he even won the "Coach of the Year" award in Florida one year. Dudley Armstrong was honored for his career and service as a law enforcement officer in the Miami Police Department. During undercover work he was recognized for saving a fellow officer’s life.
Last year’s recipients’ were Sidney Mordes, George Rose, Perly Saffold, and Mary Ann Jones-Burke. The Jackson County Times wishes to congratulate all of these deserving senior citizens.

Malcolm Gillis – Travels The Road From Jackson County Schools to President of Rice University

This week one of our native sons has returned to Jackson County. Malcolm Gillis has lived a distinguished career in the world of collegiate teaching, college administration, and as a recognized, world class economist. However, his roots are deeply planted in the rich soil of Jackson County.
Malcolm Gillis was raised in Marianna. He is the son of Eva Mae Gillis who was a long-time nurse in Marianna. While in High School Malcolm played tackle on the championship football team, along with other local notables such as Johnny McDaniel, Jim Standland, Willie Whitehead, Wilton McRae, Bill McQuaigge and others. During the summer, on weekends they would often hunt rattlesnakes and turn them in for a $2.00 bounty at the County Jail.
Malcolm always had to work while going to school. He started working at the Farmers Trading Post hardware store for Aubrey and Bonnie Blanton when he was twelve or thirteen years old. While attending the University of Florida he worked at Baird Hardware in Gainesville. In school he was a member of the Phi Delta Theta fraternity along with Wayne Grant and several other Jackson County students.
He graduated in 1958 from Marianna High School, and then attended Chipola College where in 1960 the earned his AA degree. This was only the beginning for a distinguished academic career that was to earn him national and international acclaim. Jackson County can be proud that a product of our school systems and our local social environment has risen to a position of prominence in the field of higher education. He is certainly one of our local success stories.
Malcolm Gillis is married to the former Elizabeth Cifers of Chattanooga, Tennessee. They have two daughters, Nora and Heather, and a son named Stephen.
This week Malcolm Gillis returns home. He will deliver the primary commencement address at the Chipola College graduation ceremony on Thursday, May 1. The next morning, Dr. Gillis will be the program speaker at the Jackson County Chamber of Commerce First Friday Breakfast.
We welcome this most favored son back to Jackson County.
After graduating from Chipola Gillis entered the University of Florida where he earned his B.A. in 1962 and his Masters Degree in 1963. He then went even further with his educational development by earning a PHD from the University of Illinois in 1968.
He spent the first twenty five years of his career teaching economics and becoming involved in assisting in developing economic policies for governments in over twenty countries around the globe. He became internationally recognized as a leading world class economist.
He has authored or co-authored eight books in the field of economics. He has also written numerous widely published articles and essays in his field of expertise. He also serves on many private and government committees and boards. He served for eight years on the board of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, and currently chairs the Vietnam Education Foundation.
From 1986 to the present time Gillis has been involved in University Leadership. From 1986 to 1991 he was Dean of the Graduate School, Duke University, and vice provost, Academic Affairs. From 1991-1993 Gillis was Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Duke University.
Gillis is also an Institute Fellow, Harvard Institute for Economic Development and Lecturer in Economics, Harvard University, 1974-1984. Malcolm Gillis next served the prestigious position of President, Rice University from 1993 through 2004. He is now University Professor and the Ervin Kenneth Zingler Professor of Economics at Rice University.
Jim Hart of Bascom who was formerly a top executive with Duke Energy in Houston, Texas recalls working with Malcolm Gillis on several civic projects, including the Greater Houston Partnership Program. "I worked with Dr. Gillis on numerous fund raising, charity projects and he always elevated the level of participation and results of the activities," stated Hart.
He and Elizabeth will be in Marianna this weekend, staying at the home of Wayne and Barbara Grant. He will be back the following weekend for the 50th class reunion for the Marianna graduating class of 1958. Welcome home Malcolm.

New County Health Center Is Back In State Budget

Due to the budget shortfall for the State, and subsequent budget revamping, the funding for the needed Jackson County Health Center looked like it was dead and buried. However, Senator Al Lawson has been working diligently in Tallahassee, discussing the need that exists in our area with key state officials, and his work appears to have reaped rewards.
The original funding of $11,000,000 was planned through grants from the Lawton Childs Endowment Fund. When the revenue shortfalls became evident, the funding for this project was withdrawn.
It now appears that that original funding has been reinstated in the current budget for both the Senate and the House, and is awaiting final approval from Governor Charlie Crist. If the measure is approved as expected, construction could start as early as July. It will take approximately fourteen months for completion.
Senator Lawson serves on several key committees in State Government. Among these, he is Chairman of the Government Operations Committee, Vice-Chairman of the Government Appropriations Committee, and serves on the Health Regulation Committee.
William Long, Administrator of the Jackson County Public Health Department stated, "We are all very appreciative of the efforts put forth by Senator Al Lawson and his staff on our behalf. They have performed a meaningful service to many of the citizens of our area."
When asked what the location of the new facility will be, Long stated that several sites have been under consideration, and the final choice would be made within a few days after final approval. "I’m holding my breath and saying nothing until it has final approval", Long stressed. "This could be a successful ending to an effort begun many years ago. Let us all keep our fingers crossed for the next few days."

Kenneth Stephens is Running for County Commissioner - District Five

Kenneth Stephens has announced that he will seek the Office of County Commissioner District Five in Jackson County. Stephens grew up in Grand Ridge and developed a love for the land while working summers on his uncle’s farms and with other local farmers. After graduating from Grand Ridge High School in 1972, he worked for various road construction companies and then went to work for his Dad in 1976 running heavy equipment and clearing land. In 1978. He bought his first piece of equipment and went into business for himself. Today his business is known as Stephens Equipment LLC. Through the course of his business, he has worked for and met the farming community in Jackson County learning to appreciate their concerns and struggles. Stephens Equipment LLC is presently in its 30th year and now not only serves the farming community but has expanded to include the residential and commercial market with various services.
He believes that his experience with earth moving, erosion control and road building will be an asset to the road maintenance program. He states that his personal experience in developing residential properties could serve well for growth and development that Jackson County is presently experiencing. He states that he knows and understands District Five in this capacity.
Stephens has seven years municipal experience serving as Councilman and Mayor for the Town of Grand Ridge. His experience working with the Town of Grand Ridge in local government has provided opportunity to help make decisions concerning infrastructure needs for the community as well as various citizens and commercial needs. He believes the experience gained dealing with zoning and development will be extremely valuable in this role. The combination of a successful land development business and municipal experience has helped prepare him to serve as a County Commissioner. Stephens and wife, Vickie, an Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner who works at Florida State Hospital, reside in Grand Ridge. They have three children and six grandchildren. He is a member of Cypress Grove Assembly of God Church.

Grand Ridge FBLA Wins Big

Students from the middle school came home from FBLA state competitions in Orlando with some very large trophies in hand. Some bigger than the students who won them. Pictured Above, Jarice Barbee - 1st in Leadership / Parliamentary Procedures, Drew Gay - 1st in Intro to Computers, Sheynna Patterson - 2nd in Proofreading and Editing, Dillon Galloway - 3rd in Intro to Computer Concepts, Breanna Bugg - 5th in Proofreading and Editing. Nationals will be held in Atlanta Georgia June 30 – July 3. Congratulations to the students and their teacher Mr. Nolen, and good luck in the nationals in Atlanta. - Contributed Photo

Television Celebrity Danny Lipford Seen Atop Roof Near Marianna

Today’s Homeowner with Danny Lipford®, picked up its first nomination in the 35th Annual Daytime Emmy® Awards announced on April 30th. An ABC camera crew was in Marianna this weekend to catch Danny as he worked on the roof of his mother’s home off Laramore Road, south of Marianna.
Lipford, who graduated from Marianna High School in 1975 frequently returns home to visit his mother and fellow classmates. Although he has become a national celebrity with his widely syndicated home improvement shows, he says that his roots are firmly planted in Jackson County.
The long-running show, now in its 10th season, was nominated in the category of Special Class Writing for show Writer Scott Gardner,who is also the Director of the show. Other nominees in the category are The Ellen Degeneres Show and ABC’s The View.
"I couldn’t be more excited about this nomination," says Host and Executive Producer Danny Lipford. "And I can’t say enough about the quality of Scott’s writing which has contributed to the long-term success of the show. To be nominated against that level of competition - it just shows that if you keep at it long enough, you’ll eventually get recognized for your work."
The Daytime Emmy awards show will air June 20th at 8:00 pm on ABC, live from Hollywood’s Kodak Theatre.
"Yes, we plan to be there," Lipford says.
The 35th Annual Daytime Entertainment Emmy® Awards is a presentation of the National Television Academy in cooperation with the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences.

Taking A Toll

It appears that the required amount of bureaucratic holy water has been sprinkled on a major road project that has been under consideration for several years. This new road would be a toll road and would operate in a manner similar to the "Sunshine State Parkway" that connects the central part of Florida to Miami and the South Florida "Gold Coast". This road would provide unhindered access to Panama City, the area beaches, and the new Panama City airport from Montgomery, Atlanta, and Birmingham.
At present it appears the route would bring the toll road across highway #2 in Northern Jackson County between Campbellton and Graceville. An interchange at highway #2 would be a benefit to both communities. The route further South is still uncertain. One proposal has the road veering west into Washington County before it crosses highway 90 and I-10. Another proposal has the route continuing South and crossing I-10 in Jackson County, West of Cottondale. Again, the creation of interchanges at these points would be beneficial to our area.
The massive project is estimated to be a two Billion dollar project. This would be the most significant public works project in our area since the construction of I-10 in the 1970’s. The local unemployment rate for construction workers should also be favorably impacted for several years by this project.

Jake Has A Nose For Business

A dog’s nose is approximately forty-four times more sensitive than yours or mine. Additionally, while we might smell beef stew in the kitchen, your dog smells beef, carrots, pepper, peas, corn, and all of the other ingredients. The amazing ability of a dog’s nose has become a valuable tool for use in law enforcement.
We have known for years that dogs were valuable tools in tracking. Bloodhounds have resulted in the capture of many fleeing criminals and have saved lives of people lost in the wilderness. However, in the modern era of fighting crime, the use of the dog and his special abilities has been expanded beyond the tracking function. The key word today is "detection".
Dogs can be trained to "alert" to a wide variety of contraband and thus become valuable tools as the police forces search for illegal items. The U. S. Customs Service has developed a large canine element which is routinely used for search and detection of illegal drugs as well as many other illegal, smuggled items.
Local police agencies such as the Sheriff’s Department, ACI, and the Marianna Police Department have canine capabilities. These are traditionally used for search and rescue or in tracking fleeing felons.
Jake and Mike Guy work for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission. Mike is the son of Herman and Vanessa Guy. He graduated from Marianna High School in 1995, Chipola College in 1997, and the Law Enforcement Academy in 1998. He then went to work as a Sheriff’s deputy, then Joined the Wildlife Commission in 2003. He now resides in Marianna with his wife Leigh and their nine month old daughter…..and Jake.
Jake is a two year old male black lab. He completed months of training and earned his badge one year ago. The Wildlife Commission has a slightly different approach to selection and training of their dogs and the handlers. The dogs are carefully selected for several innate desirable characteristics including aggressiveness, energy level, and retrieving response. The dogs then are put through a rigorous training program along with their handler. No pre-trained dogs purchased from contractor canine training schools are used.
In the canine corps for the Wildlife Commission the dogs are trained to alert on firearms, wildlife, fish, and human scent. Jake has been directly involved in over forty arrest during the past year of work. He and Mike are on call to assist any enforcement activity underway in an area that spans from Pensacola to Tallahassee.
Mike told of a recent case in Gadsden county where villains had robbed and shot some citizens and fled into the woods. The ACI bloodhounds tracked and found the culprits, but the guns they used were not found. Knowing that locating the guns were critical to conviction in the incident, Mike and Jake were summoned to the scene. They retraced the path the earlier chase had taken, and after traveling some distance Jake alerted to the guns which had been hidden under some brush. Jake had done his job well.
They travel in a specially equipped vehicle which contains a kennel enclosure and a special ventilation and temperature sensing system. If the temperature exceeds a set level, the vehicle’s cooling system and fans automatically turn on. If the temperature continues to rise above a second set level the horn begins to sound and lights begin to flash.
So if you see a Fish and Wildlife Expedition SUV on the road, give a friendly wave to Mike and Jake. They are on duty helping preserve our wildlife and increase public safety.

A Hidden Piece Of Heaven In Jackson County

People travel from sites far away to enjoy the accommodations and experience of the Lilly Pad Ranch, located near Alford, right here in Jackson County. Why should we travel to the mountains or to beach resorts when we have a wonderful resort waiting just a few miles from where we live?

Built into a beautiful natural setting, the facility offers a wide range of activities with great meals, and comfortable accommodations. Some of the fun things to do at the Lilly Pad Ranch include canoeing, horse back riding, hunting, fishing, hiking, bird and butterfly watching, and just spending a few days relaxing in a beautiful natural setting.
State record deer have been taken from the hunting areas which are part of Lilly Pad Ranch. Duck hunting is also available in season. A well stocked lake lures fishermen to cast for their luck.
Built in 2003 by Steve Smith and his wife Connie, the accommodations are excellent for in season hunting excursions, corporate retreat meetings, weddings, vacations, and even birthday parties. The next time you have the "urge" to get away for a weekend or longer, remember it is not necessary to travel for hours to get to a piece of heaven. We have such a spot here in our back yard. Call Ray Windham, Director of Operations at 850-638-4868 for more information.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Suspect Arrested in Bank Robbery

A Grand Ridge man has been charged with Wednesday's robbery of the Superior Bank at 2260 Highway 71 South in Marianna.

Charged in the case was 57-year-old John Hervey Tatum, Jr., of 1193 State Highway 69 in Grand Ridge.

Sheriff's Deputies were called to the bank at 2:24 p.m. Wednesday afternoon in response to an alarm from employees. Upon arrival they were told that a man had robbed the bank and fled the scene in a black Ford Ranger pickup truck. According to tellers, he had entered the bank and given them a note that claimed he had a gun.

A deputy spotted the truck in question traveling south on Highway 71 and then turning east on Interstate 10. It was stopped and the suspect was taken into custody.

Tatum has been charged with one count of robbery. He is also currently on Federal Probation for a prior armed bank robbery.

An investigation into the robbery is continuing.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Local Historian Dale Cox speaks to West Gadsden Historical Society

Mt. Pleasant - Jackson County writer and historian Dale Cox spoke to the West Gadsden Historical Society on Sunday afternoon about the history of the "Second Seminole War" in the region.

The lecture was attended by around 50 interested listeners and featured a lively question and answer session.

The focus of the presentation was the war that took place between settlers in Jackson, Calhoun, Liberty and Gadsden Counties and a party of Creek men, women and children who were driven from Alabama at the time of the Trail of Tears in 1837. Cox's presentation offered a rare chance to learn about the events from the perspectives of the people on both sides and he focused heavily on what happened to start the war and what became of the Native Americans involved.

He also discussed the surviving Native American population of the region and answered questions about how to research Native American genealogy.

All proceeds from the event went to support the West Gadsden Historical Society, with Cox donating his time to assist the organization.

Dale Cox is the author of several books on Florida history, including The Battle of Marianna, Florida, Two Egg, Florida: A Collection of Ghost Stories, Legends and Unusual Facts and The Battle of Natural Bridge, Florida. His new The History of Jackson County, Florida: Volume One will be released this month.

His books are available online at and can be purchased locally at Chipola River Book & Tea in downtown Marianna (across from the Battle of Marianna monument).