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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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Angus Combs, 89, of Sanderson dies

Angus Jackson Combs, 89, of Glen St. Mary died Friday, August 3 at the Acosta-Rau Center for Caring in Jacksonville following a long illness. He was born in Sanderson and resided in Baker County all of his life. He was a forest ranger with the Florida Division of Forestry for 28 years before his retirement.

Mr. Combs was a member of the Taylor Church, a Navy veteran of World War II and enjoyed fishing, farming and growing his garden. He was preceded in death by parents Cole Younger Combs Sr. and Effie Mae Sweat Combs, and his daughter Deborah Joan Kennedy.

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