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Making sure they can see

Dr. Mary Futch examines Jaxon Burnsed.Macclenny optometrist Dr. Mary Futch has been providing exams and glasses free of charge to a select group of students in Baker County public schools. It’s her way of giving back to the community.

“There is such a need in this county,” said Marcheta Crews, the school district’s chief nurse. “Dr. Futch didn’t want any children who truly needed vision correction to be without glasses, especially when it comes to school and learning. And being able to see properly is critical for them to adequately prepare for FCAT testing.”

A recent change in Medicaid coverage left many local children without access to vision care. Such services, once contracted to private vendors, were centralized at Shands Hospital in Jacksonville.

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McDuffie chosen Sharks cheerleader

New Sharks cheerleader Morgan McDuffie. Baker High senior Morgan McDuffie was recently selected as a member of the Attack Dance Team of the Jacksonville Sharks.

“I’ve always loved to dance and to cheer,” said Ms. McDuffie, a former member of the Baker County Bobcats cheering squad and current member of the Wildcats’ competitive cheerleading team.

She also has experience as a member of the All Stars cheerleading and competitive dance team in Jacksonville.

The Jacksonville Sharks play at Veterans Memorial Arena in the Arena Football League.

Her All Stars coach, Kim Newbern, also coaches the Sharks’ dance team. She encouraged Ms. McDuffie to audition.

About a month ago, aspiring Attack hopefuls were challenged with learning new material and routines at two preliminary competitions. Then came the finals on November 12.

“I liked the finals so much more than the preliminaries,” Ms. McDuffie admitted.


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Sarah Whitehead: student volunteer extraordinaire

Sarah WhiteheadCommunity service hours have become an important part of competing for college scholarships, especially Florida Bright Futures scholarships, as seniors at Baker County High School well know.

At one level, such volunteerism is performed with the knowledge that it’s required to help achieve financial security for college, but for one Glen St. Mary senior, Sarah Whitehead, being a volunteer is just a natural part of her personality and her life.

Some scholarships only require 30 hours of community service for a candidate to qualify. To date, Ms. Whitehead, 17, has racked up a whopping 531 hours since her freshman year as well as countless hours of volunteering that are not documented.

And this altruistic student has no intention of putting the breaks on her volunteer endeavors any time soon.

It all started with her aunt Amanda McCook, a teacher at Callahan Elementary.

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‘Wild Man’ goes public using social media

Taylor Wild Man's profile photo on Facebook.Baker County’s very own bogeyman — better known as the Taylor Wild Man — has emerged from the shadows and found an Internet connection.

“You know you were my worst nightmare growing up,” commented Pauline Faye Gibbs on the Taylor Wild Man’s Facebook page. “Now you don’t seem so scary. Happy Halloween Taylor Wild Man.”

To get better acquainted with the once illusive terror that’s plagued local children’s imaginations for generations, The Press contacted the Taylor Wild Man via social media to request an interview.

The interview and his posts to Facebook and Twitter show him to be a straight-talkin’ hunter and lover of the great outdoors, and a fan of the Florida Gators. He appears to have a crush on Miranda Lambert as well.

Taylor Wild Man: I just got a message on the Facebook from a young lady that said ya’ll might want to interview me. I reckon that sounds like a good idea. I don’t really know what ya’ll want to know about me, but if you wanna send me some questions I can try to answer them the best I can.  Ya’ll could try to come out here and find me, but most of the time when someone sees me I wasn’t looking to hold a meet and greet. I pretty much keep to myself for obvious reasons.

Joel Addington: Excellent. I guess my first question is how should I address you? Taylor? Mr. Wild Man?

TWM: You can call me the Wild Man an I guess.

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