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Henry Griffin Jr., 61, of Olustee dies

Henry L. Griffin Jr., 61, of Olustee died on January 29, 2013 following a lingering illness.

Mr. Griffin is survived by his loving  children Wiljeania Turner (Raymond) of Lake City, Latina Griffin of White Springs, Tileta Griffin of Norcross, GA, Hendrix Taylor and Robert Wilson (Lynette) of Lake City, Dejuan Griffin of Baldwin, Henry Griffin III of Lake City, Willie, Genard, and Brian Perry of Starke; numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren; sisters Wilhelmina Coleman (Hybitha) of Hillside, FL, Betty Jean Griffin of Maywood, IL and Olivette Griffin (Venard) of Lake City; nephews, nieces and other family members.

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It’s ‘opposite year’ in Tallahassee

Remember opposite day? What’s up is down, what’s bad is good and what you did yesterday is the exact opposite of what you’re doing today.

Well, it must be opposite year in Tallahassee.

As the governor and state legislators and lobbyists and bureaucrats gear up for the 2013 session, I keep reading about how things that were true in Tallahassee in 2012 are no longer true. In fact, they’re diametrically opposed to that previous reality.

Let me explain.

Last year the Republican-dominated state legislature added a dozen constitutional amendments to the November, 2012 ballot, making it one of the longest, and certainly the most tedious, voting documents I’ve ever read.

The amendments slowed down the process and many precincts remained open after the 7 pm closing time on Election Day to accommodate the glut of voters still waiting in line at the polls.

The ballot arrived the same year the legislature and Governor Rick Scott passed an elections reform bill, ostensibly to save taxpayers money, shaving a week off the early voting period, essentially cutting it in half.

Many, myself included, saw this as a not-so-effective way of discouraging registered voters from casting ballots. Of course, voters tend to be a stubborn bunch, and I like to think they saw through the ruse, and turned out even more determined to cast their ballots.

But now, the Florida Legislature and Gov. Scott, heretofore considered models for cost cutting, government shrinking, free market unleashing cults everywhere, appear to be charting a different course — reverse.

They want add a week to the early voting schedule and allow more places to serve as early voting locations. They want to limit the number of amendments the legislature can place on the ballot.

After several years of budget reductions in education, healthcare, corrections and other state-funded services, the governor, at least, wants to give teachers and remaining state employees — like the many prison and state hospital workers in our area — bonuses of a few thousand dollars each.

Before, the message out of Tallahassee at this time of the year was a warning: don’t ask for additional money, you’ll be lucky if we don’t cut your funding. Now, they’re talking about a $437 million surplus. If that’s not proof of an economic recovery, I don’t know what is.

Gov. Scott, who is facing an uphill reelection battle next year, has an excuse for behaving so peculiar. His approval ratings are in the toilet and Charlie Crist still has that winning smile.

For everyone else in Tallahassee, 2013 must be opposite year.

Dewey Bridges, 69, of Macclenny

Dewey Wayne Bridges, 69, of Macclenny died at his home on Saturday, January 26, 2013. He was born in Shannon, Georgia to the late Paul Alfred and Birdie Mae Pierce Bridges. Mr. Bridges was a longtime resident of Baker County and member of the First Baptist Church of Maxville. He was a graduate of Baldwin High School’s  class of 1963 and retired in 2005 as a custodian at Baker County High School. Mr. Bridges enjoyed traveling with his wife Joyce and together they visited every state in the United States. He was preceded in death by son Donald Allen Bridges.

Survivors other than his wife include son David Bridges (Kim) of Valrico; daughter Connie Bridges of Jacksonville; brothers Clyde Bridges of Alabama and Frank Bridges (Diane) of Raiford;  sister Mildred Williamson of Baldwin; step-sons Alvin Lambert (Lisa) of Clermont, Bobby Lambert (Julie) of Orlando and David Lambert (Tookie) of Macclenny; step-daughters Martha Jo Davis (Wes) of Taylor and Brenda Daniels of Macclenny; numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

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‘Jody’ Burnham funeral Thursday

Joseph “Jody” Burnham, 49, of Macclenny died on Monday, January 28, 2013. He  was a lifelong resident of Baker County and a caregiver who loved working with special needs children. He also loved cooking on the grill and spending time with his family and friends.

Mr. Burnham is survived by his wife Mary Burnham of Macclenny; adopted daughter Zamiarah Burnham of Macclenny and step-son Gerome Pender of Macclenny; step-daughter Kimberly Stephens of Jacksonville; brothers Pete (Audrey) Lauramore of Macclenny, John Lauramore of Sanderson, and Frankie (Lynn) Burnham of Tifton, GA; sisters Patty (Donald) Brantley of Taylor and Rita (Eugene) Hodges of Sanderson; five grandchildren. He was preceded in death by parents John and Doris Starling Burnham.

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