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Author Archives: Jessica Prevatt

15-year term for string of burglaries

One-half of a two-person team responsible for a rash of home burglaries in Baker County before and after Christmas, 2012 drew a 15-year prison sentence in return for multiple no contest pleas in circuit court on April 8.charles-w.-cope
Charles Wayne Cope, 36, until recently indicated he would go to trial for his role in eight burglaries between November 29 of that year and mid-January 6 and at one point insisted on defending himself before William Salmon of Gainesville was reinstated as his taxpayer-funded attorney.
His co-defendant Julie Driggers, 44, entered similar pleas in November of last year and was placed on a five-year probation after serving more than ten months in county jail. She was poised to testify against Mr. Cope had the case gone to trial. Read More »

Glades ICE jail reported closing

An administrative officer with the Baker County Sheriff’s Office says there’s no cause for alarm at a report that the Glades County jail that served as a model for the struggling Baker County facility is closing for lack of ICE inmates.
The facility will reportedly close in the next few months, according to a story in the Glades County Democrat published April 10.
Two days before, reporter Charles M. Murphy wrote, Glades County Sheriff Stuart Whiddon made the announcement at a meeting of the Glades County Commission, citing a loss of inmates from the federal agency Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, that cost the jail $1 million during a two month period.
“We had a meeting with ICE in Miami last Friday and had a heart-to-heart with them and they told us it probably won’t get much better,” the sheriff was quoted as saying.
He explained the Glades County jail needs at least 400 inmates to stay afloat, but it has averaged about 200 in recent months.
Officials in Baker County, where federal inmates including ICE are housed, have said they need about 400 inmates in all, including local prisoners and those from other federal agencies, to remain financially viable. Read More »

Merging football and ‘corn hole’ at One Spark

Joel Addington
Managing Editor
reporter@bakercountypress.com
What do you get if you combine American football with another beloved southern past time, corn hole?
Gridiron Toss, that’s what.
It’s a new game invented by Baker County native Stacy Simmons with help from his father Johnny Simmons of Glen St. Mary, and his two brothers Matthew and Jeremy, of Glen and Sanderson, respectively.
The family debuted Gridiron Toss at last week’s One Spark festival, billed as the world’s largest crowd-funding festival and held in downtown Jacksonville for the second year in a row.
The four-day festival drew some 250,000 spectators.
While the Simmons family didn’t garner any of the cash prizes awarded at the event, they garnered something just as valuable – exposure.

Click here for a video of Gridiron Toss at One Spark. Read More »

Conference title for Bobcats!

Jon Shumake | Sports Editor | jonshu@live.com
Baker County Middle School is quickly becoming the School of Champions.
The Bobcat baseball team became the school’s third sports team to hoist a conference championship trophy this school year when they defeated the visiting Madison County 2-1 on April 10.
“I’m super proud of my boys,” head coach Matt Turner said. “To be a second-year program and win a district championship like that shows that Baker County baseball is serious business.” Read More »

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