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Sanderson country singer to open for Colt Ford Thursday

Justin FreemanJustin Freeman of Sanderson is about to play one of the biggest shows of his young country music career in Gainesville.

Mr. Freeman, 30, preformed before to his largest audience at the Suwannee River Jam in 2011 opening for Blackberry Smoke, and also takes the stage at Jack Rabbits in Jacksonville’s San Marco neighborhood and the Country Club Lounge in Macclenny on occasion.

But on Thursday, October 18 at the Florida Theatre, the Baker County native will open for the Athens, GA-born country rapper Colt Ford. The show begins at 8 pm. Tickets are $25.

Mr. Freeman began his full-time music career in 2009 after a tumultuous period in his life. He lost his job as a graphic designer after eight years and went through a divorce.

“When everything was falling apart, or so it seemed, I was able to focus my attention on writing and producing,” said the budding singer-songwriter in an interview with The Press.

“It definitely helped me move on and get through one of the toughest times of my life. Music is the thing that can get people through any situation. I hope someone hears some of my songs and can relate and know they aren’t alone in their situation,” he said.

Mr. Freeman recalled one instance when a U.S. soldier approached him after a show about his song, “Since You’ve Been Gone.”

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Two dead in early morning I-10 collision

A fatal crash on the interstate near mile marker 335 involving a vehicle traveling in the wrong direction killed two people about 2:30 am Friday, according to Maj. Gerald Gonzalez of the sheriff’s office.

Emile McPherson Whitney, 47, of Ocala was heading westbound in the eastbound lanes of I-10 in a 1997 Jeep Grand Cherokee when it hit head-on the 2005 Honda Odyssey driven by Nge Thay, 20, of Jacksonville, which carried eight passengers.

Two of those passengers, Ta Nu, 47, and Kaw Lay, 37, both of Jacksonville, died at the scene.

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Rain dampens fair attendance, pushes rodeo

Noah Carter tests his aim at the fair.The wet weather kept attendance down at the fairgrounds for most of the weekend, but fair association president Cathy Rhoden said most people ventured out on Saturday and late Friday night.

“It was a really great Saturday night,” she said. “Some people came after the rain on Friday, but nothing like they normally do.”

The rodeo was delayed until this weekend, Friday and Saturday at 8 pm, as a result of the weather.

5-year probation thefts, fraud

A Sanderson man was placed on a five-year probation after pleading on September 25 to four counts of grand theft and fraud for what amounted to a one-man crime spree starting late in 2011.

Aaron Roy Davis will be on house arrest the first year of that term, according to court records. Circuit Judge Phyllis Rosier ordered him to avoid contact with all of the six victims he stole from through March of this year.

A later hearing will determine the restitution amount that will be part of the probation obligation.

Mr. Davis was arrested for stealing property including tools, a trailer, farm implements and fence posts during that period. He was also charged with defrauding a pawn shop and scrap yard by representing himself as the owner of items he turned in for cash, but those charges were dropped as part of the plea agreement.

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