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Sanderson corrections officer transferred after inmate’s death

Last week several news agencies reported that a handful of Union Correctional Institution officials, including a major from Sanderson, were transferred in the wake of an investigation into the death of a prison inmate September 4.

Frank Smith, 44, died from injuries sustained in a confrontation with correctional officers transporting him back to the prison from a hospital. The inmate was nearing the end of a 16-year sentence for armed car-jacking, kidnapping and other crimes.

Maj. Philip Jefferson of Sanderson confirmed by phone the morning of October 5 he was transferred to Lawtey Correctional and was not in the transport vehicle when the confrontation occurred. He referred all other questions to the Florida Department of Corrections.

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‘Big boys-big toys’ converge at Glen for Shadetree fly-in

Jeff Howard has always loved remote-controlled toys. But at 49, the civil service worker and former Navy submariner has found only one Jeff Howard with his lighted model Citabria aircraft.that’s still exciting.

Mr. Howard was among some 40 enthusiasts flying scaled-down airplanes at the Shadetree Miniature Aircraft Association’s air show north of Glen St. Mary last weekend.

“I’ve had every high-dollar remote motor-controlled thing that has ever existed ... ,” Mr. Howard explained the morning of September 28. “But this is the only thing — because if it goes up, it has to come down — that’s kept my interest and didn’t get boring.”

The association hosted the three-day event at the privately-owned 35-acre field, drawing pilots from as far away as New Jersey and Pennsylvania, some arriving with RVs and campers.

Billed as the International Miniature Aircraft Association’s District V Fly-in and Bud McMillan Memorial, the show featured motorized and remote-controlled replicas of real aircraft, some decked-out with strip lighting for night flying the evening of September 28.

One of Mr. Howard’s planes, a Citabria, which he pointed out was “airbatic” spelled backwards, has a 103-inch wing span and 35 cubic centimeter engine. It was adorned with multi-colored lights along the body, wings and tail, plus a trio of small flashlights mounted to the under-carriage that serve as landing lights.

The plane was also equipped with a small hatch on the underbelly that releases illuminated figurines hanging from parachutes.

“At night, they look like stars falling down,” said Mr. Howard of St. Mary’s, GA.

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County will again hear bid for private campground on the river

Bryan Rhoden at his riverfront property off Steel Bridge Rd.Families camping out together on the St. Mary’s River, with mom and dad lounging on lawn chairs in front of the tent keeping an eye on steaks cooking on the grill while their children play along the sandy shore. That’s the wholesome image.

Rowdy drunks dancing beside a campfire late at night with loud music blaring from speakers near a cooler filled with ice and beer. That’s the troublesome scenario.

The two pictures will be brought to mind on October 15 when the Baker County Commission meets to consider a request to rezone nearly seven acres of private property for recreational use, including overnight camping, along the river adjacent to the county boat ramp off Steel Bridge Road.

The last time county commissioners voted on the same issue five years ago for the property, which lies just west of the St. Mary’s Cove subdivision, the proposal was shot down after numerous objections were raised by nearby homeowners who said they didn’t want their peace and quiet disturbed.

“In 2007 it filled the commission meeting,” Planning and Zoning Director Ed Preston said.

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Deputy scores three DUIs on same night

The same county deputy may have posted a record making three drunk driving arrests during a five-hour period during the early morning hours of September 30.

In two of the arrests, the offenders were also charged with driving on suspended licenses. All of them were in the Macclenny area.

Just after midnight, Deputy Daryl Mobley was called to the intersection of Lowder St. and Miltondale to check out a 1998 Chevrolet pickup parked in the southbound lane of Lowder with its engine running and lights out.

Stephen Bledsoe Jr., 35, of Macclenny was passed out at the wheel and admitted only to smoking a few marijuana cigarettes earlier. He failed field sobriety testing and was charged with DUI, refusal to submit to a blood and urine test, and having a suspended license.

About two hours later, Deputy Mobley arrested Derrickal Major, 26, of Macclenny after observing him driving a 2002 Saturn erratically on US 90 near MLK Dr. He also ran a stop sign at the intersection.

He failed sobriety testing in the parking lot of CVS and his blood alcohol level measured .200 at county jail, more than twice the legal limit.

Late about 5:30, the officer responded to another suspicious vehicle call, this one off James Barton Lane northwest of Macclenny.

There he found a 2006 Chevrolet pickup stopped with its engine running and evidence on dewy grass that it had been steering in and out of ditches.

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