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Graduation redux: Class of 1987 will try it again

The congratulatory notice published in the newspaper after graduation was rained out in 1987.Patricia Hughes Harris of Sanderson and other Baker County High School graduates from the Class of 1987 missed one of the seminal moments in young adulthood.

Due to a bad storm, their graduation ceremony was cut short and they never walked across the stage at Memorial Stadium to receive their high school diplomas as friends and family cheered and congratulated them for the accomplishment.

“We lived nearby in Macclenny, so we walked to graduation,” recalled Ms. Harris, 43, who was joined by her mother and father that day. “But when it came time to walk, it started flooding. Severe flooding. We had to swim home.”

The most disappointing part, she said, was that her mother, who had been so adamant  about Ms. Harris finishing school, never got to the witness the experience. For months afterward, Ms. Harris’ mom lobbied school officials, to no avail, to reschedule the ceremony.

“Nobody cared for years that the Class of 87 never had their graduation,” she said.

Now, 25 years later, it’s happening.

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Feed the Children aides 250-300 families

Families collect food at distribution point.The Oklahoma City-based nonprofit Feed the Children sent a semi-trailer full of food, toiletries and household cleaning supplies to Macclenny on March 15 for distribution to families in need.

Northeast Florida Healthy Start Coalition in Jacksonville orchestrated the delivery and distribution of donated goods here and at similar events in St. Johns and Duval counties the same day.

Local nonprofit groups, which supplied some 30 volunteers for the event, were asked to register families in advance to receive food. The only requirement was that recipients have children in the home.

An estimated 250-300 families picked up donations beginning at 3:30 pm in the National Children’s Study parking lot on S. 6th St. in the Crossroads Shopping Center.

“The event was a great success yesterday when every bit of food, cleaning and hygiene items were distributed to Baker families,” said Kerry Dunlavey, director of the Baker County Health Department, by e-mail last week. “We were blessed to have the event here this year for the first time.”

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River cleanup set for Saturday, lunch at new location

Beer can on the beach at Steel Bridge Road boat ramp.The St. Mary’s River cleanup will take place the morning of March 17 at the Steel Bridge Road boat ramp as usual, but the celebration and lunch following the cleanup has been moved from its former location at White Oak Plantation.

Baker County cleanup leader Greg Sheppard said the after-cleanup festivities will be at Trader’s Hill Campground near Folkston this year because the Yulee plantation is no longer sponsoring the event.

“Financially, they can’t do it,” he said.

The four-hour cleanup will start at 8 am at 27 sites along the St. Mary’s River in Florida and Georgia, including the Steel Bridge Road site commonly called the boy scout camp. It’s one of the few public access points to the river in Baker County.

The annual cleanup is organized and sponsored by the St. Mary’s River Water Management Committee and its member counties. The committee consists of representatives from Baker and Nassau counties in Florida and Charlton and Camden counties in Georgia.

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‘Sunny’ debut for farmers market

Spring-like weather, complete with high March winds, ushered in this year's edition of the Baker County Farmers Market in north Macclenny.The Baker County Farmers Market kicked off its 2012 season under sunny skies and brisk winds at Macclenny City Park on March 3, offering something for just about everybody, including fresh vegetables, flowering and fruit-bearing plants, handmade jewelry and homemade baked goods.

For entertainment during the five-hour event from 8 am until 1 pm, there was music by the Bluegrass Breeze and clogging demonstrations by a local 4-H group.

If the first Saturday was any indication the weekly market should be a big hit this year, said Darryl Register, co-chair of the event and director of the Baker County Chamber of Commerce.

“I was very satisfied and happy,” Mr. Register said. “We’d love to have more vendors. But we had seven, and during the fall run we never had more than four.”

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