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Monthly Archives: March 2013

Active meth lab raided on Clete Harvey

BoothCounty deputies raided an operating meth lab on Clet Harvey Rd. in the south county the afternoon of March 10, acting on a tip from child protective investigator with the Department of Children and Families.

The arrest of Daniel Booth, 29, at his residence marked the second case involving methamphetamines in Baker County in a week.

Mr. Booth, along with girlfriend Kaylyn Adams, 27, were inside a shed near the suspect’s trailer home when deputies went to the property about 4:30 that afternoon.

Earlier they met up nearby with John Ring of Lake City, a DCF worker who received a hot line tip that the suspects were cooking meth at the location.

Mr. Booth emerged from the shed as officers approached, and Deputy Brandon Kiser said he located Ms. Adams attempting to hide in what was described as “a small wooded shed beside the residence.”

Inside, officers found an assortment of ingredients used to cook the drug, along with a weighing scale and plastic baggies commonly used to package the drug for sale.

Investigator Randy Crews, part of a regional federal task force, was summoned and inventoried the shed’s contents that included gas cans, brake cleaner, camping fuel, cold medicine and syringes.

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FDEP favors Oldcastle mining plan

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection has signaled its intent to issue a key permit to Oldcastle Southern Group, the Tampa-based company with plans to mine course sand from 264 acres in the southeastern county.

Last week FDEP notified the company as well as the county and other regulatory agencies of its intent to issue an environmental resource permit required for projects that impact surface water.

Oldcastle intends to mine using a floating dredge that moves over man-made lakes, which grow larger as more land is mined.

The notice of intent to issue the permit, which the company must publish in the newspaper, gives anyone with “substantial interests to be affected” by the permit 21 days from the publication date to petition for an administrative hearing.

The hearing could delay or halt final approval of the permit.

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County to launch litter cleanup effort

Some of the litter scattered on Woodlawn Road this week.Based on a recent poll by The Baker County Press in which most respondents said they would volunteer to help keep roadsides clean, county officials are planning a neighborhood anti-litter campaign.

The proposal was pitched by County Commissioner Jimmy Anderson during a board meeting on March 5, which followed his suggestion a month earlier for county government to take the lead in a massive cleanup effort.

“Part of my 2013 goals was cleaning up Baker County,” Mr. Anderson said last week, adding he was encouraged by the results of the recent poll which asked readers whether they would participate in neighborhood clean-up efforts if local government furnished supplies.

“I was surprised that a majority (43 percent) said they would help,” he said. “Forty percent said they wouldn’t help. That wasn’t a surprise.”

Another 12 percent said they weren’t even aware the county had a litter problem, while 5 percent said they were already doing their part in cleaning up litter.

Buoyed by the number of potential volunteers, Mr. Anderson suggested the county could provide plastic bags and form community groups to “get some of this trash off our roads.”

If the commission wants to move in that direction, County Manager C.J. Thompson said, neighborhood coordinators could be named and assigned the task of organizing volunteers to patrol designated areas.

Commissioner Anderson suggested designated areas could include specific sections of roadways assigned to neighborhood groups in an Adopt-A-Mile campaign, which have been employed in other communities for many years to control litter. He said signs could be erected identifying volunteer groups responsible for maintaining the grounds alongside certain roads and highways, say a one-mile section per group.

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Fatal flaw in new jail: feds are in charge

If you read Joel Addington’s in-depth look at the financial picture surrounding Baker County’s new jail two weeks ago, then his opinion piece last week on the county commission’s funding woes, you might have scratched your head.

Essentially Mr. Addington pointed out in the first instance that prospects of an operating surplus at the new jail flowing into the coffers of the county commission are bleak.

Then he opined that a dreaded operating deficit in this coming year’s county budget may not be as dire as in recent years when Baker County’s $11 million cash surplus was sucked down to its present $3 million.

The main culprit, of course, has been the cost of housing county prisoners at the new jail. Their numbers steadily rise, and county taxpayers are on the hook for the $85 a day boarding fee per inmate, the same as the non-profit running the jail gets for ICE inmates.

That could reach $100 a day soon, and kick in the same obligation for local inmates.

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