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Opposite mining forces gird for a battle

Oldcastle Southern Group has been putting on a major public relations campaign to gain support for its sand mining plans in southeastern Baker County. But opponents of the proposal are working just as hard to convince county officials to kill the project.

The issue could be decided on July 16. The county commission has scheduled a hearing at 6 pm that day to consider Oldcastle’s request for a special zoning exception to allow sand mining for up to 50 years in an area zoned agriculture in the southeastern part of the county.

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Health insurance increases 25 percent

The Baker County Commission will soon have to decide how to absorb a roughly half-a-million dollar hit to an already tight budget from rising health insurance costs.

The county is currently eyeing a 25 percent increase in health insurance premiums for the coming fiscal year, which begins October 1.

None of the county’s options are good, says County Manager C.J. Thompson, a former health insurance executive with Florida Blue, formerly Blue Cross Blue Shield of Florida. He’s been busy preparing for the commission’s budget workshop on July 16, when the board will get its first crack at the proposed spending plan for the 2013-14 fiscal year.

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Van strikes three other vehicles; two injured

The green van to the right of the logging truck above, driven by Tsuneko Kim, hit three other vehicles at the intersection of US 90 and Lowder Street about 9:30 the morning of June 25.

Cpl. Coty Crews of the sheriff’s department said Ms. Kim, the at-fault driver, and the van’s passenger, 12-year-old Katie Hodges, sustained minor injuries and were transported to the Fraser ER.

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Cocaine sale lands man 2 year sentence


Arlee Givens

A circuit court judge on June 18 sentenced two Baker County men to 24-month prison terms, one for sale of cocaine in north Sanderson and the other for stealing property from a shuttered dairy near Glen St. Mary and attempting to sell it for scrap.

Arlee Givens, 20, of Macclenny entered a no contest plea to sale and possession of crack to an undercover buyer working for the sheriff’s department in November, 2012. He gets credit for 107 days in county jail since his arrest and Judge Mark Moseley ordered him onto a two-year drug offender probation upon release.

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