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Monthly Archives: November 2012

Incumbents retain seats locally, glitch causes early vote recount

Residents listen as results are announced at the elections office November 6.Voters re-elected Sheriff Joey Dobson by a land slide Tuesday and two county commission incumbents, Gordon Crews and Mark Hartley, retained their seats by much narrower margins.

All are registered Democrats.

The final tallies didn’t come from elections officials until about 2:30 am, however, thanks to a technical glitch that triggered a recount of early voting ballots.

But the number of early voting ballots in the recount did not match the total counted when early voting ended the previous Saturday, at least not initially.

Soon a bag of the ballots was uncovered under a book in the vault where ballots are stored after voting. Once the bag's ballots were counted, the total still did not match the original figure.

About 1:45 am two more bags of early vote ballots were found. They had been mislabeled as absentee ballots when placed in the vault.

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Former Macclenny physician arrested on 822 fraud counts

Charles Scarborough Just over a year after the state stripped former Macclenny physician Charles Scarborough of his medical license, investigators arrested him on one count of fraud in excess of $50,000 and 821 counts of filing false or fraudulent insurance claims.

Dr. Scarborough was taken into custody at 8 am on October 25 at his residence in southwest Clay County, said Special agent supervisor Andrew Shedlock with FDLE’s Jacksonville Regional Operations Center.

The single count is a first degree felony that could net Dr. Scarborough, 76, up to 30 years in prison. The other counts are third-degree felonies, which are punishable by up to five years in prison.

The investigation began last year when authorities identified Dr. Scarborough as “a significant prescriber of controlled substances in Northeast Florida,” according to a statement from FDLE.

FDLE reported that investigators said they discovered evidence allegedly linking the former Macclenny resident to overprescribing medications and allowing unlicensed and untrained staff to practice medicine.

“The employees were then being directed to inflate medical billing to Medicare, Medicaid and private insurers for a level of service that the patient did not receive,” reads the FDLE statement. “Interviews with employees indicated that Scarborough, a sole practitioner, pushed his staff to see 50 or more patients a day and bill for medical issues not addressed and treatment not received ...”

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Jax man arrested on six felonies, including false imprisonment

Jason AmbroseA Jacksonville man is charged with six felonies and two misdemeanors following a standoff with two county deputies at a residence north of Glen St. Mary the afternoon of October 27.

Jason Ambrose, 35, had earlier been at the address on Yellow Pine Circle to retrieve property about noon when he allegedly broke through a locked door, beat estranged girlfriend Amy Masters, 34, then left in her 2002 Ford Explorer.

He returned about three hours later, and refused to allow Ms. Masters and her daughters, ages 10 and 16, to leave the residence. She managed to place a 911 “hang-up” call and Deputy Ben Anderson again returned to the scene.

He said he was met by Ms. Masters when he arrived, and she said the ex-boyfriend was inside with the two girls. The deputy coaxed them outside and heard what he believed to be the suspect attempting to exit through a bathroom window.

Deputy Anderson kicked open the bathroom door and twice tasered the suspect when he refused to show his hands.

Deputy Patrick McGauley arrived as a back-up and stationed himself with a drawn pistol near the window, and released the K-9 Tango when Mr. Ambrose continued to conceal his hands after the taser charges. The dog bit the suspect on the left arm until Deputy Anderson and Sgt. James Marker secured him with handcuffs.

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Early voting in full swing here through Saturday

Voters exit the Supervisor of Elections off after voting early October 30.Elections officials reported a surge in early voting on Monday and Tuesday, roughly one week before the 2012 general election.

Carol Ruise of Supervisor of Elections Nita Crawford’s office said they saw more than 700 voters on October 29.

“It was a madhouse,” she said.

The following day foot traffic remained steady outside the office nestled between N. 5th and 6th Streets and around the corner from the Baker County Republican headquarters.

Supporters for sheriff candidates Joey Dobson and Cameron Coward occupied opposite sides of N. 6th waiving signs early this week as well.

One early voter, Carol Baker of Glen St. Mary, said she’s been casting early ballots since it became an option in 2004.

“I like to get it done and out of the way because you never know what’s going to happen,” said Ms. Baker. “It’s a great service.”

Yolanda Reed of Macclenny voted early for the first time this year to avoid long lines at the polls on election day November 6, which could be longer this year given the lengthy list of state constitutional amendments included on the ballot.

As of late Tuesday, after nearly four days of early voting, 2285 ballots had been cast, 911 from Democrats and 1213 from Republicans. That’s about 16 percent of all registered voters here. Early voting ends Saturday.

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