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Albert Sweat, 49, dies June 23

Albert Sweat, 49,
dies on June 23rd

Albert Sweat, 49, of Macclenny died Thursday, June 23, following an extended illness. He was born in Starke, the son of the late Willis and Betty Jean Johns Sweat. He was a farmer and enjoyed spending time with family and friends.

Mr. Sweat is survived by his wife Judy; step-daughter Donna Baker; brother David Sweat of Starke; sisters Linda Davis of Sanderson, Mandy Sweat and Betty Ann Tressler, both of Macclenny; two grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his sister Sandy Sweat.

A memorial service was held on Monday, June 27 at 11:00 am at Raiford Road Church with Reverend Tim Alford officiating. Arrangements were by Forbes Funeral Home, Macclenny

J.W. Sparkman, former resident

J.W. Sparkman, former resident

James William “J.W.” Sparkman, 82, a resident of Bell, Florida, died Friday afternoon at Memorial Hospital of Jacksonville. A native and longtime resident of Baker County, Mr. Sparkman had been a resident of Bell for the past six years, having moved there from Waccasassa, Florida. He was the son of the late Ralph Franklin Sparkman Sr. and Lillie Mae Garrett Sparkman.

Mr. Sparkman served in the United States Navy for three and a half years and was stationed on the USS Leyte for more than two years in the Korean War. He then began working as an aide at Northeast Florida State Hospital in Macclenny, a position he held for ten years prior to working at Florida Wire and Cable, in Sanderson as a mechanic for more than twenty years.

Following his retirement, Mr. Sparkman enjoyed honing his woodworking hobby. He was known for his extremely “precise” finishing carpentry work. Mr. Sparkman was preceded in death by his brother Ralph Franklin Sparkman Jr. He was a member of the Ichetucknee River Baptist Church.

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Ms. Chism, 36, long time resident

Ms. Chism, 36,
longtime resident

Tanya R. Chism, 36, of Sanderson died June 21. She was born in Waycross, Georgia on October 21, 1974. She was a resident of Baker County most of her life. Tanya had a big heart and was a great mother to her sons. She was always willing to lend a helping hand.

Survivors include her parents Frank Wesley Chism and Deborah Lynn Carlson Chism of Sanderson; children Charlie and Wesley Siemering of Sanderson; grandparents Harvey and Winifred Carlson of Waycross; sister Michelle (Beep) Thaimes of Waynesboro, Georgia; numerous nieces, nephews and cousins.

The funeral service was held Friday, June 24 at 3:00 pm in the chapel of Ferreira Funeral Services with Pastor Alvin Baldwin officiating. Interment followed at Canaday Cemetery in Moniac, Georgia.

Lengthy re-drawing of districts begins

The first week of redistricting meetings were held last week with two meetings in Tallahassee, and one each in Pensacola, Fort Walton Beach and Panama City. After 13 hours of driving and 13 hours of listening to public testimony, it is clear that the effort to draw new [legislative] districts will be tedious.

This is my first experience in the redistricting process and I am honored to have been appointed to serve on the Redistricting Committee. While other members were thankful to dodge the “extra work,” I enjoy the opportunity to be a part of history and to learn the mechanics behind redistricting.

Every 10 years, Florida redraws the political boundary lines of state legislative and congressional districts to reflect changes in population, as determined by the most recent US Census and as required by the Florida and US Constitution. The term “reapportionment” refers to the task of dividing the state’s population by the number of congressional seats apportioned to the state. The task of “redistricting” is the redrawing of political boundaries to reflect change in the population.

Between now and September 1, members for the Florida House and Senate will hold 26 public hearings throughout the state to hear from Floridians on how they wish the new lines to be drawn.

The various redistricting committees will then begin drawing Florida House, Florida Senate and US congressional boundaries. It is important to note that no new maps have been drafted yet. There are an infinite number of ways that the 120 House, 40 Senate and 27 Congressional seats can be drawn; the first step is to listen to the public so we understand where they have communities of common interests and how they want to be represented in their legislative branch.


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