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Thursday, May 21, 2009

Long Time Marianna Businessman, G.D. Yon Dies

Community has lost a fine citizen and leader
By Sid Riley
"Who will we call now when we have a problem?" That is a question many property owners in Jackson County are asking. For the past thirty-six years, when most people had a problem with their septic systems… was G.D. Yon that they turned to for help. He always responded to their calls quickly, bringing the necessary equipment and knowledge….and always bringing a big smile and friendly, caring attitude.
G.D. was traditionally active in school athletic programs, and was always one of those fathers rooting vigorously for his children as they competed. He could be counted on to provide support, personally and financially for community activities. G.D. was a certified referee, frequently refereeing area basketball games.
G.D. was a graduate of Cottondale High School. After graduation, he went to work for the local Coca Cola Bottling plant, then Florida Public Utilities as a linesman. He suffered a severe electrical shock in an accident while at work, and had to be rushed to Tallahassee Memorial for treatment. As bad as this event might have seemed, it ended up being a blessing. for the rest of his life…while convalescing at the hospital he met a young nurse named Francis Grubbs, who he married in 1964, and loved for the next forty five years. They had two daughters, Lyn and DeAnne.
In 1973 he opened Yon’s Septic Tanks, which served the citizens of our area for the next thirty six years. Will Speights started working for him the first day they were open for business, and continued to work with G.D. every day for the next 36 years. Jackson County will miss G.D. Yon. May God bless him.


The Jackson County Parks, Recreation and Recycling is pleased to announce that they will be opening Blue Springs Recreational Area for the 2009 season on Saturday, May 23. The hours of operation will be 11:00 am to 6:00 pm Tuesday through Sunday. They will be open on Monday, May 25, for Memorial Day, from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm and Monday, September 7, for Labor Day. On the 4th of July hours will be 10:00 am to 6:00 pm. For more information you can call 718-0437 or 482-2114.
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 have enjoyed the family atmosphere that we had when we all were growing up. The park has a concessions stand for any food or beverage needs. There you can rent canoe, 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 such a great facility like this! Last year we had over 27,000 visitors, and we expect to surpass that number. We also have pavilions for rent, but you need to call quickly, because they are going fast. Last year we had over 2,000 visitors on Memorial Day, so if want to get a good spot, you better come early, we open at 10:00 am on holidays. We will also have security patrols by the Jackson County Sheriff’s Department.
All boaters should remember the No Wake Zone in the park area. This no wake zone is from the buoy line located just south of twin caves to the fence at the swimming facility. "This is 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."

All of Jackson County’s Auto Dealers “Make the Cut”

G.M. and Chrysler close dealerships across the United States.
By Sid Riley

Jackson County citizens should rejoice that all of our local automotive dealerships will continue to operate on a normal basis, even though General Motors and Chrysler both cancelled dealership arrangements in communities across the nation. This action will cause thousands of employees to suddenly lose their jobs, and will cause many dealership owners to lose all they have worked for during their careers.
Locally there were three of our valued dealerships which could have been subject to this unfortunate action, Hopkins Pontiac-GMC, Pforte Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep, and Rahal-Miller Chevrolet-Buick-Cadillac. Thankfully, they and our community made the grade and will continue as part of the recovery and future of these industrial giants.
Bill Hopkins, of Hopkins Pontiac, was understandably worried until he was notified on Friday that Hopkins Pontiac was not going to lose its dealer privileges. "I have been part of the GM organization for all of my career, some fifty nine years", Hopkins relates. "I could not believe that all of that time, loyalty, and continuing relationships meant nothing to them. Also, they realize that North Florida will be an area of continuing growth in the near future. We are relieved and very proud to be one of those chosen to continue selling their wonderful products. We look forward to the future."
Ricky Miller of Rahal-Miller had similar emotions. "I feel that our outstanding record of customer satisfaction scores, sales performance, and dedication to their products resulted in our status with GM," Miller stated. "We have always enjoyed a very high dealer ranking, and I felt confident we would be among those chosen to continue. We are excited about the future. We see sales increasing, and are currently looking to add a couple of personnel to our sales and maintenance staff."
Bob Pforte of Pforte Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep had the same experience. "It could have happened, but I was confident we would be picked to continue. Our dealership just made a $200,000 investment in becoming one of the few "Business Link" dealers in the area. We are now equipped to sell and service the new truck franchise we acquired." Bob related. "We are encouraged by the upturn in business, and are having great increases in our service department. We appreciate our old, loyal customers for helping us through this period."
The amount of support the local dealerships provide to our local communities is immeasurable. When any organization, club, school event, charity, church, or group of any kind needs to raise funds, one of the first places they go it to our car dealers for participation and support. And in almost every instance…they get it. The auto dealerships in Jackson County are all very involved in the communities they serve, they are good citizens, and they contribute more than their share.
These are difficult times for the auto industry. Under current conditions, they need every sale they can possibly muster. If at all possible, we should all repay the benefits we receive from their presence by doing business with them. All of these local businessmen state that buying local has never meant more.
Collectively these three dealerships employ over 100 people with high paying jobs, and pay approximately $2,500,000 per year in payrolls. This payroll is multiplied by a factor of three or four as these people buy from other local businesses as the money circulates in the local economy. Their sales create income for the local banks, and the taxes they pay significantly impacts our schools and local governments.
The automotive dealerships in Jackson County form a very important segment of our local economy, our communities, and our well being. They actively support our schools, our churches, our hospitals, our communities, and us as individuals through their generous donations of money and time. We would all suffer from the loss of any of them. They deserve our blessings, our continued support, and our thanks. Try to buy local first!

Remember the Buddy Poppy

By: Ernest McNeill
Ted Walt V.F.W. Post #12046 Commander
For 86 years, the V.F.W. has been distributing the renowned "Flower of Remembrance." Last year, V.F.W. posts gave out 12 million buddy poppies. This is a tradition the Marianna Post and all other posts want to perpetuate. Here is a brief history of the Buddy Poppy Program.
In 1915, Col. John McCrae of the Canadian Infantry picked up his pen and began, "In Flanders Fields the poppies blow, between the crosses, row on row. The poem would long outlast its author.
In Paris, Anna E. Guerin, chose the poppy as a symbol of the wartime dead, the "Flower of Remembrance." In 1920, she and a host of volunteers made bright red artificial poppies. They distributed them to raise money for hundreds of thousands of French orphans and others made destitute by the Great War (W.W. I).
The "Poppy Lady" approached the V.F.W. and found a warm reception to handle sales in the U.S. In May, 1922, the V.F.W. began its first distribution of poppies made in France. Demand exceeded supply, so florists in New York made up the shortage. At the V.F.W’s National Convention in 1923, a plan was adopted to have Disabled Veterans assemble the poppies.
A factory was set up in Pittsburgh for that purpose. Doughboys, Marines, and Sailors called their friends "Buddy." So paper flowers with green-taped wire stems were called "Buddy Poppies." They were distributed by the thousands on Memorial Day.
In 1924, the V.F.W. was granted the trademark on Buddy Poppies and has owned that right ever since. That same year, assembly, and distribution branched to regions all across the country. Poppies are still put together in V.A. Hospitals and Veteran’s Homes.
"Buddy Poppies" have enjoyed broad popular support since their inception. American Presidents have had poppies pinned to their jackets by girls from the V.F.W. National Home for children.
During the 1940’s and 1950’s, leading Hollywood Actresses became "Buddy Poppy Girls," including, Jane Wyman, Doris Day, and Natalie Wood – all representative of the American Ideal "Girl Next Door." Distribution of poppies remains a staple of Veterans and Memorial Day activities. More than a billion Buddy Poppies have been distributed since 1922.
Under V.F.W. bylaws, the proceeds are funneled to the Post Relief Funds for distribution to Disabled Veterans, maintaining the National Home or similar facilities dedicated to the care of Veterans. Funds also perpetuate the memory of American’s war dead in the form of memorials.
Visitors today can still find poppies waving gently in the breezes among the crosses row on row in Flanders peaceful fields in Belgium.
The Marianna Veterans of Foreign Wars and Ladies Auxiliary will be holding "Buddy Poppy" drives in front of the Grocery Outlet and Wal-Mart on Friday, May 22, 2009. So come by and show your support for our Veterans.

Tea Party Continues In Jackson County

"Concerned Americans" hold first organizational meeting.
By Sid Riley

On Thursday evening, May 14, over one hundred local citizens met at the Agricultural Center to participate in a follow-up meeting to the "Tea Party" demonstration which was held in front of the Court House on Tax Day, April 15. The primary speaker for this inaugural meeting was your writer, Sid Riley. The text of his presentation can be read in his regular column "Getting It Right" in this issue.
Event organizers Elaine Thompson and Sybil Andreasen also gave presentations to the attendees. They reviewed pending legislation about which they are encouraging concerned citizens to contact their legislators to voice their opinions. Among these are bills which would repeal the 22nd amendment, and would thus allow the President to serve more than two terms. Also mentioned were bills relating to the expansion of "hate crimes" groups, gay marriage, and increasing allowable state debt levels for Florida.
The group was also told of a new web site and e-mail connection for the area organization, called A vote was taken and the group decided to hold monthly meetings in order to discuss political actions and concerns.

How Healthy is Your Brain Wave Activity?

By Sid Riley

New "Better Brain Care" clinic opens in Marianna

Dr. Jack Golden PhD, and Barry Jones MSW, have opened a new clinic at 2917-COptimist Drive in Marianna. This clinic utilizes ‘neurofeedback’ to read brain wave activities during various tasks. They then develop a program of corrective programming to create conditioning of these brain waves to improve concentration, performance, and abilities. They specialize in treatment of Attention Deficit Disorder, Autism, Asperger, Migraines, Anxiety, Depression, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, PMS, Fibromyalgia, Learning Disorders, and other neurological disorders.
The first step is to have a detailed EEG prepared which maps the brain wave activity. Some brain waves are normal and beneficial, while waves of too slow or too fast cycles create unwanted, disruption to thought and performance. The brain can be conditioned through programmed exercises to decrease the incidence of unwanted brain wave activities, while normal, desirable brain wave activity is increased. Often this course of treatment enables patients to discontinue traditional drug therapy for these types of disorders.
Sessions are normally 45 minutes in duration, and are conducted on a twice per week basis. The total number of sessions will vary with the type of disorder and the severity of the problem.
They are open in Marianna on Tuesday’s and Thursday’s from 9:00 A.M. until 4:30 P.M..
For more information, visit They can be reached at their Tallahassee offices at 950-656-1129.

Friday, May 15, 2009

FDLE Confirms: NO Mystery Graves at Dozier

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement today confirmed the findings of local historian Dale Cox... There are NO mystery graves at Dozier School in Marianna.

The 31 graves in the little Dozier School cemetery have all been identified and NONE of the people buried there died as a result of abuse by staff members.

Local historian Dale Cox, author of numerous books on Jackson County, has been saying since the story broke last fall that the graves had nothing to do with abuse at the school and today's announcement by the FDLE confirms his research on the cemetery. In fact, as Cox reported in an article for the Jackson County Times two weeks ago, most of the graves were there before 1940.

The historian reacted today to the news by telling the Jackson County Times that he feels Marianna and Jackson County have been given a black eye by what he called "wild, sensational and unconfirmed media reports." "The people here are due an apology from some of the biggest newspapers in the nation," he went on to say. "False accusations were printed as facts in many newspapers and on many television reports when, in fact, the truth was available all along."

Here is the official announcement from the FDLE:

FDLE Identifies Unmarked Graves at Dozier School for Boys
May 15, 2009

Florida Department of Law Enforcement Commissioner (FDLE) Gerald Bailey today announced the findings of the department’s investigation into unmarked graves located on the property near the Arthur G. Dozier School for Boys in Marianna, Fla. FDLE investigators identified 31 individuals buried in the school’s cemetery: · Twenty four of the individuals died as a result of illness or accident. Of the 24, eight students and two staff members were killed in a dormitory fire in 1914. Twelve students perished as a result of influenza, pneumonia, tuberculosis, or other medical conditions. Two students died of accidental deaths: one drowned and another fell from a mule and ruptured a lung.· In 1944, one student was murdered by four other students who were planning an escape. Accounts indicate the victim was killed because of his knowledge of the escape plans. The four involved were charged in the death. · In September 1940, an individual ran away from the school and was later found deceased four months later under a Marianna residence. Records reflect a coroner’s inquest but determination of death could not be made due to decomposition.· Five individuals, all of whom were buried from 1919 – 1925, had no listed cause of death. The only notation found in records indicated that they were buried in the cemetery.In addition to identifying the 31 individuals buried at the cemetery, the investigation documented 50 student deaths that occurred from 1911 to the last known death at the school in 1973. These deaths were mostly accidental or illness-related and their circumstances are documented in school records and death certificates. Two of these deaths are cases in which students murdered other students. In one case, an escapee from the school was shot and killed by a sheriff’s deputy. The records available document all of these student deaths. There is no information indicating burial in was the cemetery.The investigation found no evidence that the school or the staff caused, or contributed to, any of these deaths. The investigation found no evidence that the school or its staff made any attempts to conceal the deaths of any students at the school. In all cases, the deceased were accounted for in official records.In conducting the investigation, FDLE interviewed former students and staff and reviewed records from school ledgers, student record books, the school’s newspaper (The Yellow Jacket), local and national newspapers, the Florida Department of State Library and Archives and the Florida Department of Health’s Division of Vital Statistics. The Department of Juvenile Justice cooperated fully in the investigation and provided FDLE with access to all available records, files and documentation.FDLE’s investigation also found that during the time the graves were placed (1914 – 1952), the school was owned or operated by the Governor Appointed Commissioners and the Board of Commissioners of State Institutions. FDLE’s investigation began Dec. 9, 2008 at the direction of Governor Charlie Crist. Governor Crist charged FDLE with determining: 1) the entity that owned or operated the property at the time the graves were placed; 2) identification, where possible, of the remains of those buried on the site; and 3) if any crimes were committed, and if so, the perpetrators of those crimes. While the portion of the investigation addressing the identification of unmarked graves has concluded, FDLE continues to investigate allegations surrounding the abuse of the students at the school.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Cottondale Police Department Launches "Click It or Ticket" to Help Save Lives

By Chief William Watford

Enforcement Blitz ‘Buckling Down’ On Those Not Buckled Up – Day and Night
During 2007, more than 14,000 people in passenger vehicles died in crashes while unbelted. About half of these lives could have been saved if they had been wearing seat belts at the time of the crash. As sad as this statistic is, the numbers are even worse at night than during the day, according to new figures released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Nationwide in 2007, 14,464 passenger vehicle occupants died in highway crashes during evening and night-time hours (6p.m. to 5:59 a.m.), and fully 63 percent of those killed in crashes (8,319) were not wearing their seat belts. By contrast, during daylight hours, 45 percent (5,917) of those killed were not wearing seat belts.
That’s why (Cottondale Police Department) is joining state and local law enforcement agencies and highway safety groups in supporting an aggressive national Click It or Ticket seat belt enforcement campaign from May 11 through May 31. Police will be ticketing unbelted vehicle occupants around the clock – night and day.
"Consistent research has shown that fewer people are buckling up at night, when the risk of a being in a fatal crash is greatest." "That’s why police will be out in force at night as well as during the day to make sure that drivers and passengers take seat belts, and seat belt laws, seriously."

Why Do We Become COPS?

By Chief Watford - Cottondale Chief of Police
Why do we do what we do? I’ve never really given that question very much thought. I remember when I first joined the force. I asked myself if I was doing the right thing. This is one of those jobs if you don’t like it, you get out.
We police officers put on a uniform which symbolizes law and order. We place a shield on this uniform which gives us awesome authority to arrest, or if need be, take a life.
We are the fine line between freedom and disorder. We are seen as the good guys, or more often as the enemy. No one likes to hear a knock at their door and see a police officer standing on the other side, whether it’s with good news or bad.
We go to work every day, put on a bulletproof vest, our uniform, and a web belt that carries a loaded gun at our side along with other tools to subdue anyone out of control or who appears to be getting violent towards us or a third party.
As we get ready to go out on patrol, questions run through our minds; whether consciously or subconsciously. We all ask ourselves the same questions. "Is this the day? The day I may have to take someone’s life? Is this the day I get seriously injured, or the day that someone may try to take my life? Did I say goodbye to my family for the last time?"
Each day we go to work knowing that we just might make a difference in someone’s life. We may save a life today or stop a crime.
Most of the time we have a thankless job, but, each day we go home we thank God we made it through another day. Because we do what we do, no one did die today. Not on my watch, not today. I know I’m doing what I do best. Keeping others safe.