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Too little known about the ‘pluses’ of virtual classes

I recently received a letter in the mail regarding a new program being offered to incoming fourth and fifth grade students who received either a 4 or a 5 on their FCATs in third grade. My first reaction was how smart my child is and how proud I was of his accomplishments. I thought this a great opportunity for him to accelerate his learning in school and challenge him more.

The program is a virtual school class replacing either grade level reading or math with an advanced middle school level reading or math. A ton of questions came to mind: What if he starts it and struggles? Can I as a parent allow him to quit the virtual program later and return to his grade level studies and does this set a precedent that he can quit when something gets tough? What if he gets bad grades or does poorly on the FCAT? What happens when he gets to BCMS and has already taken his sixth and seventh grade math online?

In my search for answers I attended a meeting held at Keller Thursday evening. I was very surprised at the small attendance in proportion to the number of letters mailed. I can only assume many parents either weren’t interested in enrolling their kids, spoke with teachers at open house or did their own research online.

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Ailing rescue units ‘just the tip’

Last week one of the county’s ambulances, while transporting a patient, had mechanical problems that prompted rescue personnel to call for a backup unit because the ambulance was “limping in,” as EMS director David Richardson put it this week.

That’s what they call it when the ambulance won’t accelerate above 15 mph because it could cause engine damage.

“It’s another one of those computer things,” said Mr. Richardson.

I had just mentioned what mechanics have been telling me for more than year about my SUV — that the sensor on the rear differential was on the fritz and it would be a cool $80 just to “diagnose” the bug.

I always smile and say, “That’s alright. I’ll just ignore the warning light on my dash board.”

The county, however, can’t be so careless, particularly with all those ambulance-chasing trial lawyers running around.

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Reflections on 96 years in Baker County

Mertie Mae Loadholtz celebrated her 96th birthday on August 6.

Mertie Mae LoadholtzI visited with her a few days later and she told me she had recently seen someone she had not seen for a very long time.

“You know what they told me?” she asked. “They said I hadn’t changed in 40 years!”

She got a kick out of that.

Her birthday party was a small family gathering, unlike the fancy affair that marked her 90th birthday for which she wore an elegant pink gown with embroidered flowers and dragonflies.

She urged me to have some of her birthday cake which still displayed two candles, one shaped like the number nine, the other, the number six.

“My son made me a deal,” she said. “He told me if I make it to 97 then he’s throwing a really big party for me.”

She’s lived in the same house since 1955. It was built in Olustee out of lumber salvaged from a Methodist Church and moved to Glen St. Mary by Gilbert’s House Moving Service.

It’s a sweet house, filled with photos of her children, grandchildren, great grandchildren and great, great grandchildren.

“There are so many now I’ve lost count,” she said looking at the photos.

Mertie Mae was born in Baker County in the early part of the Twentieth Century. She remembers walking to the school located beside the fire observation tower out in Taylor.

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The facts were distorted

Dear Editor:

I find myself in the unfortunate position of having to clarify my comments regarding the expansion of the Baker County Health Department’s dental wing due to an effort to distort the facts by persons within the department’s administration.

I fully support medical and dental care for indigent citizens in Baker County. To do otherwise would be inhumane.

I never said I spoke to “all” nor did I specifically name any dentist in Baker County who stated he or she was against the expansion [from four to eight dental chairs], contrary to what [BCHD assistant director] Terrenia Staier or [director] Kerry Dunlavey implied or said after a flurry of calls.

What I did say can be located on page eight of the [county commission] minutes, to wit: “I do know that the ones that I spoke to specifically said that they did not support it.”

That means I had not spoken to “all” and the expansion would only be opposed if there was an intention to accept private insurance or self-pay at a reduced rate due to a belief it would negatively impact private practice.

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