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Daily Archives: August 31, 2012

The money squeeze: $400K more slashed

The Baker County Commission, grappling with the same dilemma its dealt with for the past few years, is once again trying to figure out how to balance a new budget when projected expenses exceed income from state and local revenue sources.

But the board got a pretty good start on it this week. During a three-hour workshop on the afternoon of August 27, commissioners and County Manager C.J. Thompson cut nearly $400,000 from a proposed $24.6 million budget.

That still leaves a $1.6 million deficit to be filled with additional revenue, or eliminated by spending cuts. However, Mr. Thompson said county departments had already absorbed significant budget cuts and didn’t know how much more slashing they could take.

“I’m happy with my department heads,” he said. “There are some departments that can’t be cut (any further).”

The next round of budget talks will begin at 3 pm on September 4.

A list of the reductions made by the county manager to trim the deficit included the elimination of $197,600 in contingency funding, $50,000 by removing two proposed new trucks in the road department, $39,000 by not filling an open road department position and $49,050 by eliminating a new Emergency Medical Services lieutenant position.

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Hurricane Andrew memories still vivid after two decades

Anne MoshierSanderson resident Anne Moshier fled Homestead, FL as a young girl to escape the wrath of Hurricane Andrew, which devastated the city and much of South Florida 20 years ago.

Last week on August 24, the anniversary of the hurricane’s landfill, Ms. Moshier updated her Facebook status to say, “Hurricane Andrew changed my life forever ...”

That day would have been her first day of 5th grade at South Dade Baptist Church and School. But the day before, she recalled this week, her parents, Terry and Howard Moshier, were in a frenzy.

Hurricane Andrew had reached Category 5 intensity and would become the costliest hurricane in U.S. history, that is until Hurricane Katrina hit some 15 years later in 2005.

But in the days leading up to impact, the hurricane was forecasted to make landfall further south, so the Moshiers, who lived in a sturdy home on the Homestead Air Force Base where her father was stationed, had not prepared.

“All the TVs in the house were on,” recalled Ms. Moshier, a Macclenny photographer. “The military police were on their loud speakers ordering everyone out. It was very surreal, like a bad dream. We started packing the truck with important papers, our pets and so forth. My dad was concerned about his Harley, so we brought it into the kitchen. I thought it was the funniest thing, but then again, I was a child and Daddy’s bike was never allowed inside.”

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13 months for theft, running meth lab

Randy MichaelA Glen St. Mary man pleaded no contest in circuit court to manufacturing methamphetamine, possession of the materials to do so and felony theft and was sentenced on August 21 to 13 months in prison.

Randy Phillip Michael, 37, was given credit for 51 days he was in county jail and will be on a drug offender probation for two years upon release.

He was arrested last December for operating a meth lab in a camper trailer he rented in the Deerwood Circle neighborhood of northeast Macclenny. He was also caught outside the CVS Pharmacy in Macclenny after another party purchased key ingredients for meth and delivered them to him in the parking lot.

Mr. Michael was implicated again this April in another meth lab operation, this one at the address of a woman on Taber Blvd. in Glen St. Mary.

The defendant also pleaded no contest to felony theft of liquor from Walmart in November of last year. He has a criminal past that includes grand theft, felony driving on a suspended license, battery on police and disorderly intoxication.

In other sentencings that day, Jeffrey Perryman, 31, of Glen drew a four-year probation term after pleading no contest to violating probation in several 2009 cases with his arrest for burglary, grand theft and criminal mischief in February of this year.

Judge Phyllis Rosier added the provision that the defendant successfully complete a drug rehab program and pay restitution of $3395. He will remain in jail until space opens at the rehab center.

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Baldwin hands Wildcats first loss in 2012

Wildcat Jared Crews breaks up a pass.Going into last Friday’s Kickoff Classic at home against Baldwin, Baker High coach Ryan Sulkowski and his staff had a lot of evaluating to do. There were starters to decide, substitutes to pencil in. But after the loss at the hands of the Indians there were more questions than answers.

The Wildcats were surprised in a lot of ways on Friday. For the first half the running game sputtered, with penalties galore. Receivers dropped sure catches. The kicking game still needs a lot of work. The vaunted defense had trouble stopping the elusive Indian quarterback. In short, it looked like the pre-season game it was. There will be a lot of work this week before the Cats travel to Columbia High on Friday to take on the Tigers.

If there was a positive to take from the loss, it’s that Baldwin, a 1A team, came to play against an opponent a couple of classifications higher. The Cats go into Friday against a team a couple of classifications higher, too.

Both teams will be telling their players this simple truth – this was not a “real” game. It was a pre-season game meant to point out glaring holes, positive play and things that can be changed before the season officially starts. It will make one team more confidant going into their season opener and the other more determined.   

Baldwin fans had “traveled” and the atmosphere was electric. The field looked pristine and the new Wildcat tunnel added an exciting start to the player introductions.

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