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FREE TAX PREP

If your household income is less than $50,000, North Florida Community Action Agency will prepare your taxes for free at their office at 84 W. Lowder St. Walk-ins on a first come first serve basis are on Saturdays from 9 am to 2 pm. Appointments are available on Tuesday through Friday from 9 am to 5 pm. Call 904-259-4481 x25 for an appoitment.

Three lady wrestlers breaking the mold at BCHS

From left: Catherine Davis, Jenna Reeves and Sydney Williams.Go to a BCHS wrestling match and you’ll find athleticism, intensity and hard working wrestlers. But  among those usual sights you might also come across something surprising.

Three of them actually.

The high school fields a trio of female wrestlers as part of the team. Catherine Davis, Jenna Reeves and Sydney Williams take the mat and wrestle male and female competition.

Wrestling is one of the few sports that went coed on the high school level. The reason is quite simple; it is played out in specific weight classifications so it doesn’t really matter whether the competitor is male or female.

Coach Adam Brunner, in his first year, enjoys coaching his lady wrestlers and has not altered his style at all because of their gender.

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MLK’s final speech recited for annual tribute program

The annual Martin Luther King Jr. parade and program began and ended at Emmanuel Church of God in Christ adjacent to Keller Intermediate School the afternoon of January 21, the anniversary of MLK’s birthday.

The highlight of the program and new this year was Stephanie Gaskins and her daughter, 14-year-old Kelsey Wilcox, reciting an excerpt of MLK’s last public speech before he was shot in 1968.

In the speech, known as “the mountaintop” speech, MLK talks of when he was stabbed by a woman at a book signing in Harlem 10 years earlier and how the doctors told him the knife came so close to a critical artery, had he sneezed he would have perished in the attack.

“Like anybody, I would like to live a long life — longevity has its place,” said Ms. Gaskins, a high school teacher and tutor with the new Keller Outreach Ministry, which offers free tutoring to students at St. James Baptist Church.

For video from the parade and program, click here.

“But I’m not concerned about that now,” she continued. “I just want to do God’s will. And He’s allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I’ve looked over, and I’ve seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the promised land. So I’m happy, tonight. I’m not worried about anything, I’m not fearing any man. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord.”

The parade included fire department and ambulance units, a few classic cars like the 1970 Buick Wildcat driven by former school board member Paul Raulerson with daughter and schools superintendent Sherrie Raulerson; and a number of residents carrying signs and banners paying tribute to the slain civil rights leaders.

A hot dog lunch was served following the parade  as public officials and others shared their reflections on the MLK’s life.

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Mental healthcare at root of curbing mass shootings

Gun control is one of those hot button issues that invites the partisan grandstanding and bickering that plagues our leaders in state and national government. But if there’s one point that the Obama administration and the NRA appear to agree on, it’s that our mental healthcare system needs some work.

As far as I can tell, it’s even more of a patchwork system than the traditional physical healthcare system and it has little in the way of an early warning mechanism that could prevent mass shootings before they happen.

It’s all too easy to dismiss the trigger men in mass shooting cases as crazy, evil or deranged and to blame their families, friends or coworkers for not doing something to stop them from committing such heinous crimes.

That pretty much gets society at large off the hook from taking responsibility for these murders or taking any action to prevent them in the future.

Deep down though, I think we all know that reducing the frequency and deadliness of mass shootings will take a collective effort to be more vigilant of each other’s behavior.

But even then, who do you call when you think there may be a problem?

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