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Author Archives: Doug

$18K approved for bleacher fix; Croft sole opponent

Ballfield bleachers.The Baker County Commission agreed to spend money that wasn’t budgeted for recreational improvements after publicly acknowledging that some of the old bleachers at the Knabb Sports Complex fields in north Macclenny had deteriorated to the point of being dangerous.

Commissioners approved County Manager C.J. Thompson’s recommendation to spend $18,194 to repair or replace most of the wooden bleachers after expressing concerns for public safety at the ball fields.

Commissioner James Croft, who was elected in November, cast the only dissenting vote, saying this was the first time he had heard of any safety issues with the bleachers. He said the time to discuss expenditures for repairs was before the 2012-13 budget went into effect on October 1.

“I doubt very seriously that those bleachers got that way since October 1,” Mr. Croft said, adding that mid-year is not the time to increase expenditures in a deficit budget that was only balanced last year after an infusion of about $1.6 million in reserve funds.

“I’m not anti-Little League and not anti-safety, and I’m not anti-youth,” he said. “But this board has got to face reality. We are on a down-hill pull.”

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Towed vehicle erupts in flames

A smoldering electrical fire under the hood of a 1995 Buick Century erupted while being hauled on a tow truck heading through Macclenny the morning of February 6.

The driver was heading north on S. 5th St. near Minnesota Avenue when black smoke began bellowing from the vehicle’s engine.

Another truck driver Derek Tippins was trailing the first and used a fire extinguisher to quell the flames enough for the tow truck driver to unhook the burning vehicle and remove it from the truck.

Nobody was injured in the fire but the Buick was completely destroyed.

Seven firefighters from the City of Macclenny used 650 gallons of water to fully extinguish the blaze, which had engulfed the front of the vehicle.

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The stench blowing off the Rayonier deal

It doesn’t pass the smell test.

It doesn’t even pass the “sewer sludge” smell test.

The past few weeks we’ve been treated to the spectacle of the City of Macclenny suing one of the largest real estate companies in the world.

Why? Because Rayonier balked at selling the city 114 acres north of the city limits for a “sludge field.” That’s where sewer plant waste is deposited and worked into the soil.

Now we’re looking at the prospect of throwing taxpayer funds down a rat hole seeing the lawsuit through, or alternatively, throwing taxpayer money down a rat hole pursuing an eminent domain condemnation of the property so it can be used as a sludge field.

Some choice.

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Cats clinch two pre-seasoners

Pitcher Jacob Milton.The Wildcat baseball team tuned up for the start of the regular season with a pair of pre-season wins this past week. The Cats defeated Bishop Snyder 16-5 on February 5 and Eagles View 3-1 on February 7 at their home field.

Jacob Milton pitched three innings for the Cats with Jared Crews and Dylan Hall coming in relief. Ethan Wilkerson had a trio of hits and a pair of RBIs for the Cats. Hunter Bell had two hits and two RBIs and Jacob Milton added a pair of hits.

“Our defense was a little sloppy, as Snyder didn’t have an earned run,” said Coach Fred Matricardi. “We made four errors and that’s not us. I’m sure nerves had something to do with it as we had four guys who have never started a varsity game before.”

Last Thursday the Cats beat Eagle’s View 3-1. Hunter Hanks threw four no-hit innings, striking out seven. Hanks also led the offense at the plate going 3-3 on the afternoon. Hunter Bell added an RBI single.

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