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One little disc delayed election results

A dead battery similar to the one above delayed reporting of election results for hours.A bad battery about the size of a nickel caused a roughly seven-hour delay in the reporting of Baker County’s election results last week and exposed how small oversights can have big impacts when they occur on election night.

Everything was going fine, Supervisor of Elections Nita Crawford said, until about 4:30 pm when  her staff began setting up to download early voting totals, which are usually the first results announced after polls close at 7 pm.

That’s when elections staff discovered a small battery manufactured by Sony, which powers the memory card storing early voting results, was dead, and the information was lost.

“We said well, we have to re-run all the early voting ballots,” the elections supervisor said the following day. “We go in there and get three [voting] machines going, putting ballots in. That took us up until about 7:30.”

The election night glitch was a first for Ms. Crawford and her two full-time employees, plus the county’s IT manager, who assists during elections. The office is well known for processing election results quickly. In fact, Baker County is usually the first of Florida’s 67 to report its totals to the Florida Division of Elections in Tallahassee.

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Police dog collars fleeing truck thief

Breon WalkerA Jacksonville man is in custody in Baker County early this week following a high-speed chase that began in Sanderson and ended in Columbia County on Interstate 10 the morning of November 12.

Breon Walker, 21, who police later learned was wanted on a Duval County warrant for violating probation, was chased down by a sheriff’s department K-9 dog shortly after his stolen 1998 Ford pickup veered off the interstate and struck a tree.

Deputy Patrick McGauley said he and Cpl. Tony Norman reached speeds of 90 mph as the pickup, which had been stolen earlier in Jacksonville, headed west from the CR 229 exit through west Baker County just before 8 am.

The officer said Mr. Walker leaped over a barrier fence off the north shoulder and fled on foot as the K-9 Tango was released and took the suspect down about 150 yards into a heavily wooded area. The suspect was treated at the scene for bite wounds to the shoulder and neck, then taken into custody by Columbia County deputies.

He was brought to Baker County later that day and faces counts of reckless driving, fleeing police, carrying a concealed weapon, possession of a weapon by a convicted felon and resisting without violence.

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Poachers surprised, nabbed by game cops

Dustin RhodenFive north county residents involved in a poaching enterprise were recently cited for more than 30 wildlife law violations by Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) officers.

Trenton Lee Stokes, 19, Joseph Johnson, 41, Dustin Rhoden, 26, Brian Harris, 21, and a 17-year-old juvenile, along with David Henry Jones, 52, of Callahan, were charged with multiple violations for the illegal taking of deer and alligators as well as several hunting license violations.

FWC officers in Baker County had received several complaints of illegal hunting activity in a remote part of the county.

“After following leads and gathering information, we were able to ascertain where the illegal hunting was happening and who was involved,” said FWC K-9 Officer Bret Gill, who put together the case.

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‘A way to teach children’: Planting flags at vet’s graves

Josie Jacobs, 8, plants a flag at a veteran's grave at Macedonia Cemetery on Veterans Day.With a bundle of American flags in hand, 8-year-old Josie Jacobs pronounced with conviction the headstone’s inscription: “Charles L. Jordan, Florida, U.S. Marine Corps …”

The youth from Glen St. Mary then sank one of the flags into the ground next to the marker.

On Veterans Day, Josie Jacobs, along with her mother Laura Jacobs, and two older sisters, Brandi and Rachel Harrison, 16 and 14 respectively, adorned the graves of many veterans laid to rest in the Macedonia Cemetery with the Stars and Stripes.

In recent years, the family has made similar trips to the South Prong and Olustee cemeteries for Veterans Day or Memorial Day to honor local deceased veterans.

Last Sunday was their first such trip to Macedonia, which is located off CR 23C and abuts the South Prong of the St. Mary’s River.

It’s where Laura Jacobs’ uncle, Air Force veteran Leon Mobley, is buried. He’s one of the many men in her family who served in the military going back four-plus Brandi Harrison adorns a veteran's grave with a red, white and blue cap.generations.

“It’s a way to teach the children about Veterans Day and the importance of remembering veterans for their service to our country,” Mrs. Jacobs said before the group weaved their way through the property, looking for veteran’s graves without flags.

“It’s sad to see the ones with no flowers or flags,” she said.

After walking more than two thirds of the cemetery and distributing dozens of flags and red, white and blue caps, the ladies ran out of materials.

The flags, about 40 large ones and a number of smaller ones, and the hats came from Laura Jacobs’ husband, who distributes them at Tea Party rallies. Next year, she plans to bring more.

She said her heart goes out to the veterans whose family members may have passed on or moved away from the area, leaving their graves without Old Glory flying overhead.

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