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Monthly Archives: October 2012

Outraged by Mann trial coverage

Dear Editor:

I am writing to express my sincere disappointment with your publication of the story of October 18, 2012 Not guilty of child sexual batteries, votes Mann jury.

I am outraged that this story was published. Have you no consideration for the poor child who is now known to every reader of The Baker County Press? Whether the accused was found guilty or not, this story should never have been published. Whatever happened to protecting the identity of the victim [and yes, her identity will be known, because you published her father’s name]?

Did you not take into consideration that it will now be known by every person of Baker County, plus any others that read this publication, that this child considers herself a victim of sexual assault. Baker County is a small community and information spreads like wildfire.

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Candidates square-off in lively debates

Six candidates for local office squared off debate-style at the high school the afternoon of October 20, exactly seven days before early voting begins here and across the state.

It was the second election forum organized by The Press this year and featured a more lively format allowing candidates to respond to their opponent’s answers.

The first forum in late July did not include rebuttals and each candidate for the same office answered the same questions. This time around, some questions were posed to specific candidates while others were answered by all the commission or sheriff candidates.

Questions were collected from both readers and the newspaper’s staff during the weeks leading up to the debate, which started at 3 pm in the school auditorium and drew 100-200 attendees. Commission hopefuls fielded nine questions and the sheriff candidates seven.

Below are highlights from the event, but you can see all the action at the following links: sheriff debate (20 min) or commission debate (29 min).

County commission debate

From left: Eddie Davis Jr., Mark Hartley, Gordon Crews and Leonard Davis.Candidates for county commission took the stage first, addressing issues like the Barber Road closure, sand mining, their political affiliation and others during the 40-minute portion of the program dedicated to the county’s governing board.

Democrat Mark Hartley, the District 5 incumbent, is facing Republican Eddie Davis, Jr. while Gordon Crews, the board’s current chairman and a Democrat, is up against Republican Leonard Davis in the District 3 race.

Their first question from debate moderator and Press publisher Jim McGauley: “Why would you be a better commissioner than your opponent?”

Both incumbents said their respective experience on the commission and in the community sets them apart from their challengers.

Mr. Crews pointed to his eight years on the board and his nurse management experience in Fraser Hospital’s ER. Mr. Hartley cited his 12 years in office and ample volunteer work in the community.

Leonard Davis leaned on his resume as well, noting his experience in the Civil Service managing large budgets, planning, and developing policies and procedures for the government.

“I think we (the county) need more detailed policies and procedures … and more long-range planning,” he said.

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Homecoming 2012

Homecoming fever took over central Macclenny late last week beginning with a parade down US 90 to Memorial Stadium where the Cat Growl pep rally took place immediately afterwards on October 18. Here are some of the images from the festivities, but more are available for viewing and ordering prints here.

All-American Twirling Academy performers.Bucs youth cheerleaders.

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One year for vodka fatality

James HarmonA Macclenny man arrested nearly a year ago for supplying vodka to a teenage girl who later died was sentenced in county court on October 18 to a year in jail.

James Roy Harmon, 24, entered a no contest plea before Judge Joey Williams to a single count of contributing to the delinquency of a minor. A companion charge was dropped as part of the plea agreement.

Mr. Harmon, who has been out on bond since his arrest on November 22 of last year, begins his jail term the evening of October 26.

He admitted to furnishing Alexis Lloyd, 14, with the shots the evening of November 17 when she, her brother and other friends showed up at the defendant’s Barber Circle residence to eat pizza.

The teen returned later that evening to her mother’s residence on Twin Oakes Lane in Glen St. Mary where she became ill. Her mother Rachel told police she checked on her daughter in a bedroom and she had stopped breathing.

The girl was flown to Shands Jacksonville that night and died November 25 at Wolfson Children’s Hospital without regaining consciousness.

Her blood alcohol level at the hospital was .08, equal to legal intoxication.

Mrs. Lloyd described her daughter, a BCHS student, as “very outgoing and free-spirited with an infectious laugh.” She also said Alexis was “not a party girl.”

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