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County will again hear bid for private campground on the river

Bryan Rhoden at his riverfront property off Steel Bridge Rd.Families camping out together on the St. Mary’s River, with mom and dad lounging on lawn chairs in front of the tent keeping an eye on steaks cooking on the grill while their children play along the sandy shore. That’s the wholesome image.

Rowdy drunks dancing beside a campfire late at night with loud music blaring from speakers near a cooler filled with ice and beer. That’s the troublesome scenario.

The two pictures will be brought to mind on October 15 when the Baker County Commission meets to consider a request to rezone nearly seven acres of private property for recreational use, including overnight camping, along the river adjacent to the county boat ramp off Steel Bridge Road.

The last time county commissioners voted on the same issue five years ago for the property, which lies just west of the St. Mary’s Cove subdivision, the proposal was shot down after numerous objections were raised by nearby homeowners who said they didn’t want their peace and quiet disturbed.

“In 2007 it filled the commission meeting,” Planning and Zoning Director Ed Preston said.

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Deputy scores three DUIs on same night

The same county deputy may have posted a record making three drunk driving arrests during a five-hour period during the early morning hours of September 30.

In two of the arrests, the offenders were also charged with driving on suspended licenses. All of them were in the Macclenny area.

Just after midnight, Deputy Daryl Mobley was called to the intersection of Lowder St. and Miltondale to check out a 1998 Chevrolet pickup parked in the southbound lane of Lowder with its engine running and lights out.

Stephen Bledsoe Jr., 35, of Macclenny was passed out at the wheel and admitted only to smoking a few marijuana cigarettes earlier. He failed field sobriety testing and was charged with DUI, refusal to submit to a blood and urine test, and having a suspended license.

About two hours later, Deputy Mobley arrested Derrickal Major, 26, of Macclenny after observing him driving a 2002 Saturn erratically on US 90 near MLK Dr. He also ran a stop sign at the intersection.

He failed sobriety testing in the parking lot of CVS and his blood alcohol level measured .200 at county jail, more than twice the legal limit.

Late about 5:30, the officer responded to another suspicious vehicle call, this one off James Barton Lane northwest of Macclenny.

There he found a 2006 Chevrolet pickup stopped with its engine running and evidence on dewy grass that it had been steering in and out of ditches.

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Wildcats top Palatka in come-from-behind win

Michael Boone reels in a touchdown catch.The Wildcats faithful had barely taken their seats and bit into their hotdogs when the Palatka Panthers scored on a 58-yard run the second play of last week’s game.

It could have turned into a very bad evening for the fans who traveled to Palatka the evening of September 28. But this was not the same team that was pummeled by the Tigers in Lake City. These Wildcats struck back and got a come-from-behind, 28-23 victory over the Panthers.

For the Panthers, it couldn’t have been a better start. After beating Bradford County in the opening game of the season, they were winless and desperately wanted to get back on the winning track.

They got the opportunity early as Jatwan Honor took the second snap of the game, broke into the clear and rambled 58 yards to pay dirt. The point-after gave the hosts a 7-0 lead.

It was a shock to the system of the Wildcats. But because it happened so early in the game, the visitors had time to regroup. Instead of being rocked back on their heels, they dug in their heels and marched 80 yards on the next possession.

Mike Boone, who had a great game running and receiving, gained five yards on the opening play. Corey Lawler continued where he left off the previous week and dashed for 10 yards, moving the Cats into Palatka territory with a strike over the middle to Blayne Merchant.

A pair of Lawler runs took the ball to the 20 and three plays later Falon Lee touched the ball for the first time, running it in from five yards out. Lawler converted and BCHS took an 8-7 point lead.

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Praise, not barbs for animal control

Dear Editor:

After reading the article in The Baker County Press last week concerning Baker County Animal Control, I would like to share my experience.

For nearly a decade I have had frequent interaction with Georgia Monfort and other animal control personnel, most recently Mr. Self. I regularly foster puppies for them and call for advice when I have unexpected “guests” that need to be trapped and removed from my property.

They have always been caring and kind. In fact, animals are shown for adoption at county events, including the upcoming Baker County Fair.

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