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Area students joined a handful of public officials and others for the annual parade and ceremony to honor Martin Luther King, Jr. near Keller Intermediate School in Macclenny on the cool and sunny morning of January 13.
The event has grown smaller in recent years, with fewer people taking part in the parade and program organized by Rev. Tommy Rollins of Macclenny.
The parade traveled through the center of the city, beginning and ending at Emmanuel Church of God at the northeast corner of South Boulevard and 8th Street.
Children and staff from nearby day care centers and preschools gathered at the roadside waving and clapping as the parade’s various groups marched, walked or rode by. Residents came out of their homes to watch the annual observance as well.
The roughly 45-minute procession was led by the flashing lights of law enforcement motorcycles from the Florida Highway Patrol and Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office.
They were followed by the high school’s Air Force Junior Officer Training Corps [JROTC] cadets, who near the end of the route halted after approaching a crowd from the Episcopal Children Services’ Head Start program. The cadets turned and saluted the children before marching on.
The school district’s Superintendent Sherrie Raulerson and Associate Superintendent of Human Resources Robin Mobley soon rode by in a bright red Jeep Wrangler, preceded by a golf cart from the Baker County Women's Political Network. Then came the high school band’s drum line, the middle school’s girls basketball, Dancin’ Paws and Marjorettes teams, and local fire and rescue units.
Seven Lady Wildcat weightlifters qualified for the state tournament at the sub-sectional competition January 14 at BCHS.
A dozen schools competed to send lifters to state with one sub-sectional remaining on January 28 in St. Augustine. The top three girls in each weight classification qualified.
Kasey Russell broke three school records at the meet with a 200 pound bench press, a 160 pound clean and jerk, and a 360 pound total in the unlimited class. Tiffany Braddy continued to smash records with a 160 pound clean and jerk and a 360 pound total in the 169 weight class.
Jordan Perry qualified in the 101-pound class with a second place finish. Laken Head placed third in the weight class.
Kristen Burnham placed first and Ashley Wheeler second in the 139-pound class. McKenzi Hand was third in the 154-pound class.
Recent comments on this page from readers (they continue this week) about unionized government employees prompt one to ask how we got to this point.
As we enter an age of shrinking public revenues amid calls for a drastic reduction in the role of government in our republic, we find ourselves debating over whether governors should be trying to bust up public employee unions, or greatly reduce their power to hold taxpayers hostage.
Remember that FDR himself, the patron saint of intrusive government, declared that public workers should never be allowed to form unions. Such a system is fatally flawed, reasoned this liberal icon, because public unions aren’t really bargaining with management.
FDR was fine with private sector unions, except when they threatened national security, and reasonable people concur that, despite the corruption endemic at the leadership level, labor unions cleaned up a lot of messes in the private sector.
The natural tension at the bargaining table when representatives of the workers meet with management representing industry owners and stockholders carries with it a certain grudging honesty.
When public employees bargain with agency management who are also paid by public funds, guess who’s not at the bargaining table?
You guessed it; the taxpayers.