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Rema Parker, 88, of Glen St. Mary

Rema Parker, 88, of Glen St. Mary died Tuesday, August 7, 2012. Born in Perry, FL to the late William and Victoria Padgett Parker, he has been a Baker County resident since 1968. A World War II Navy veteran, Mr. Parker was aboard the fifth ship into Tokyo when Japan surrendered. He enjoyed hunting, fishing, building things, and spending time with family and friends.

He is survived by sons Douglas Parker of Glen St. Mary, Steve (Wanda) Parker and Barry (Alice) Parker, both of Jacksonville, and Wayne (Wanda) Parker of Macclenny; daughters Maria Parker of Jacksonville and Evelyn Parker of Sanderson; sister Ruth Cribbs of Live Oak; eight grandchildren and thirteen great grandchildren; his loyal sidekick “Pistol.”

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T.J. Parks, 90, onetime resident

Thomas J. (T.J.) Parks, 90, died Sunday, August 12, 2012 in Jacksonville. He was born February 14, 1922 in Donalsonville, Georgia to Charles and Lizzie Parks and lived in Macclenny for several years. Thomas loved the great outdoors, especially fishing. He will be dearly missed by all who knew him.

He was preceded in death by  wife Gladys, son David, a brother and sister. He is survived by  sons Bobby, Lamar, Rufus, Mickey, Terry and Fred; daughters Betty Davis, Shirley Wiest and Faye Flick; 21 grandchildren, 34 great-grandchildren and five great-great-grandchildren.

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‘Ms. LV’ Branigan dies in Vero Beach

Elvira D. (Ms. LV) Branigan, 95, died on August 5, 2012 at The Place in Vero Beach. She was preceded in death by husband General Edward S. Branigan Jr., a decorated World War II hero and her husband of 49 years who died in 1993.

Originally from New York, she moved to Florida in 1971 and to Baker County in 2006. Her father Dr. Domonic DiPasca made house calls using a horse and carriage. Her mother Emilia DePasca, was an opera singer. She had two brothers, Dr. Robert DiPasca and Roger DiPasca, Esq.

Ms. LV was a familiar face at the Baker County Council on Aging in Macclenny and at “Miss Elvie’s Place,” the respite center named after her and operated by the council. She looked forward to “going to school” every day, and being there with her friends.

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Break tradition: lengthen annual school term

Every year about this time the nagging feeling comes around that perhaps we should re-think traditional school calendars, or more specifically, the nine-month school year broken by a nearly three-month summer vacation.

The majority of industrialized countries don’t use it because that large gap between grade levels is believed to be too lengthy. It breaks the learning cycle and puts the burden on teachers to bring students “back to earth” on vital matters like concentration, recalling what they learned last year and delving into new material.

China, for instance, has a school year that runs from early September to mid-July — some six weeks longer than ours (school days run from 7:30 am-5 pm!).

Japan requires 240 days (vs. 180 here) and gives students three equal breaks from April when new levels begin through March.

In South Korea, the year is divided into two semesters — March to July and September to February — with intervening one-month breathers.

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