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Mining firm helps tidy up Little St. Mary’s park

Volunteers at last Saturday’s cleanup of Little St. Mary’s River Park on the north side of US 90 just west of Macclenny collected about a dozen trash bags of litter and another usual item — a vehicle seat found in the woods that surround the park.

The seat and a large tire were hauled off to the dump by Douglas Moore, a local landowner and proponent of Oldcastle Southern Group’s mining plans in the southeastern county.

The mining company sponsored the lunch that followed the morning cleanup on June 15. It was held in partnership with the county’s recently launched anti-litter program dubbed “Keep Baker Beautiful.”

The program offers cleanup supplies like vests and garbage bags to volunteers who wish to help keep areas of the county free of garbage and debris.

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FFA shines at convention

(From left) State Secretary Matthew Cantrell of Baker County, Clayton Lyons, his parents Patty Lyons and Clay Lyons, Greg Johnson, and Katie Hutchenson, Area 5 vice-president.

(From left) State Secretary Matthew Cantrell of Baker County, Clayton Lyons, his parents Patty Lyons and Clay Lyons, Greg Johnson, and Katie Hutchenson, Area 5 vice-president.

Once again Baker County FFA chapters at both the high school and middle school were a force to be reckoned with at the state convention last week in Orlando, capturing two big awards.

Shelby King won the state middle school extemporaneous speaking contest and Clayton Lyons took the State Star Farmer award.

Lyons was given the prestigious award for his work in SAE (supervised agricultural experience) with his beef, swine and row crop production enterprises. He was also a state finalist in the diversified livestock proficiency area. Lyons won the job interview contest and will be compete at the national convention in October.

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My new eyeglasses are ‘outta sight’

Bob Gerard and his new spectacles.

Bob Gerard and his new spectacles.

I am staring at life through my new “retro” glasses.

They are new because … well, they are. They are retro because they look like a throwback to 1959. Which, of course, makes me look like a throwback to 1959.

I’m not so sure about looking like I could have hung around with Marty McFly in Back to the Future or sang with Jerry Lee Lewis’ backup band. But my wife likes them and I guess that’s what counts.

As a matter of fact, she picked out the Ray-Bans last week when I went in to see why everything was a blur out of my right eye. The reason was that I hadn’t changed out these Coke bottles in five years.

While I was getting my eyes checked, Kelley was browsing and scheming.

“Hey, Doc, how come I’m having trouble seeing at night?”

“Because you’re getting older if you haven’t noticed.”

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Oldcastle on firm ground, Jahna not so much

The Baker County Commission will now turn its attention back to whether it should approve a special exception to allow sand mining southeast of Macclenny on a 437-acre tract off SR 228.

The proposal to permit Oldcastle Southern Group of Tampa was tabled last year pending issuance of permits by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, a process now complete. The state says it’s okay and the question now rebounds back to two local boards: the Land Planning Agency and the commission.

Thanks to some creative problem solving, the matter of drawing out water from the aquifer for the mining process is now mute. Oldcastle and the City of Macclenny last week entered into a half-century pact to pipe treated wastewater to the mining site.

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