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Monthly Archives: October 2012

Ousted commissioner pushing for fees, casts sole vote against budget

After Michael Crews was elected to the Baker County Commission in 2008 he began calling for measures to ease the tax burden on property owners by implementing special assessments that everybody would pay to cover the costs of public services.

He’s still spreading that message just weeks before he leaves office after losing his re-election bid in an atmosphere of public protests over county budget issues, including the continued use of reserve funds to cover deficits, and pending sand mine proposals.

Mr. Crews cast the only vote against the $28.2 million 2012-13 county budget at the commission meeting on October 2, which he later explained was his way of saying that the county had not done enough to ease the tax load on property owners by spreading out the costs of public services more equitably.

“I did not vote in support of the budget for multiple reasons,” Mr. Crews said in an interview on October 8. “One is because the way it is currently done is a burden (on too many property owners) because the cost of services is falling on the few.”

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Storm zaps power for 2400 customers

A crew dismantles the large tree that fell onto a W. Ohio Ave. duplex the evening of October 7.Sunday night’s thunderstorm knocked out power for an estimated 2400 Baker County customers and left a number of north Macclenny residents looking for new places to live.

About 8:30-9 pm a large uprooted tree fell into the roof of a two-unit duplex at 675 W. Ohio Ave., puncturing sizable holes that made way for the nearly 3-inches of rainfall that accompanied the storm the evening of October 7.

The next morning, the 2130-square-foot duplex’s occupants were busy moving out as a work crew dismantled the tree outside.

“It shook the house,” recalled Connie Walker, an 8-year tenant of the property owned by Donnie and Barbara Gaines.

Next, Ms. Walker said, water began coming through the air conditioning vents. Then, the bedroom ceiling collapsed on her mattress.

Ms. Walker, who works for the Florida Department of Transportation in St. Augustine, said she was able to remove most of her property, besides the bed, before it was damaged. Her two pet dachshunds went unharmed as well.

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Wildcats capitalize on Paxon turnovers for 36-0 win

It didn’t take long Friday night for the Baker County High School Wildcats to resume their dominance of the Paxon Eagles and stake a claim to the co-lead in the district title race. The Cats scored on their first possession and then cruised to a 36-0 victory.

The Wildcats have had Paxon’s number over the last few years. Last season they shut out the Eagles to set a scoring record of 64-0 (broken in this year’s 73-0 waxing of Duval Charter).

Though Paxon is considerably better than last year’s version, it still was unable to stop BCHS. In the Cats’ opening possession, Falon Lee romped for 20 yards into Paxon territory to the 45-yard line. Corey Lawler, who has been running the ball very well as the Wildcats marched to a 4-1 record, moved the ball to the 3-yard line and on the next play, Mike Boone ran it in for the score. Lawler picked out Boone in the end zone for the two point conversion and an 8-0 lead.

Paxon had trouble all night long with long snaps. After the opening possession stalled, the center snapped the ball over the head of the punter, and though he got off a good punt to the Wildcat 32 it was the first of many miscues for the Eagles.

Lee moved the ball into Paxon territory on three successive runs and Lawler found Mike Boone for the touchdown. Boone got an excellent block from lineman Jon Kinney to break him out into the open and from there Boone did the rest as he scored from 45 yards out. The conversion attempt was no good but the Cats were up 14-0 at the end of the first period.

The second period saw the Cats capitalize on a second poor snap as the Eagle punter bobbled the ball and the Wildcats rushed in and blocked the punt to give BCHS the ball on the Eagle 7-yard line. Three plays later, Lawler ran it in from 2 yards out and then found Boone in the end zone for the conversion score and a 22-0 lead.

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Debra Gainey, NEFSH retiree

Debra Kay Gainey, 50, of Macclenny died on Thursday, October 4, 2012 at home surrounded by her family. She was born and raised in Baker County and was a graduate of Baker County High School, Class of 1980. Ms. Gainey was the daughter of the late J.D. Gatlin and Frances Wilkerson Gatlin Crews. She was a certified nursing assistant and retired in November, 2011 after 15 years at the Northeast Florida State Hospital.

Ms. Gainey was raised in the Church of Christ and enjoyed reading, sewing, playing video games and traveling to the mountains. She was preceded in death by her father Jeff Crews,  husband Johnny Gainey and brother Lamar Crews.

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