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Colson Johns, 76, Friday service

Colson Johns, 76, of Macclenny died on Monday, March 18, 2013. He was the son of the late George and Ruby Gainey Johns and is survived by daughter Jannette Copeland of Sanderson; grandchildren Ronny (Deedra) Dinkins of Glen St. Mary, Jaime Sigers of Macclenny and LaDonna Rhoden of Jacksonville; 10 great-grandchildren; a great-great-grandson and great-great-granddaughter; special friend Debra Crawford of Macclenny; son-in-law Sammy Berry of Jacksonville.

A memorial service will be held on Friday, March 29 at Sanderson Congregational Holiness Church at 4 pm. The family will receive friends at the church following the service until 6 pm. Forbes Funeral Home of Macclenny was in charge of arrangements.

Ellen Covey, 89, of Jacksonville Beach

Ellen Compton Covey, 89, of Jacksonville Beach died on March 23, 2013. She was born in Jacksonville on January 20, 1924, the youngest daughter of the late Mr. and Mrs. A.W. Compton. Ellen graduated from Andrew Jackson High School and attended Florida State College For Women. She was a faithful member of Community Presbyterian Church, serving as a deacon, an elder, president of the Presbyterian Women and a choir member for 46 years. She also played the piano to first and second graders in Sunday School for 10 years.

Mrs. Covey was an active volunteer with Baptist Beaches Hospital Auxiliary for years, and a member of Selva Marina Country Club since 1957. The family business, Covey Furniture, was one of Ellen’s passions and she enjoyed years of working with customers.

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Lindsay Chace, 27, accident victim

Lindsay Danielle Chace, 27, of Lake City died on Wednesday, March 20, 2013. She enjoyed spending time at the beach, swimming, fishing and being outdoors. She dearly loved her children and spending time with them, her family and friends.

She is survived by her father David (Laurie) Chace of Macclenny; mother Sherrie Chace of Lake City; children Kellen Ryan Woolf and Kelcie Breanne Woolf and their father Chris Woolf; brother Christopher Combs of Jacksonville.

The funeral service was held on Wednesday, March 27 at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in Macclenny. Interment followed at 2 pm at Ebenezer Cemetery om Lake City. Forbes Funeral Home of Macclenny is in charge of arrangements.

Bills could alter state retirement

The Florida Legislature is poised to pass additional reforms to the Florida Retirement System, a public pension plan benefitting more than 40 percent of Baker County’s workforce.

Three week’s into the 2013 session, bills are making their way through both the house and senate to move the Florida Retirement System away from a “defined-benefit” plan to a more risky “defined-contribution” plan for new hires.

The existing defined-benefit system guarantees pension benefits based on a worker’s top annual earnings and years of service. The defined-contribution plan functions as a 401K-style investment plan that’s subject to the ups and downs of market forces.

The house bill (7011) filed in February by Rep. Jason T. Brodeur (R-Sanford) and pushed by House Speaker Rep. Will Weatherford (R-Wesley Chapel, FL), would automatically enroll government employees hired after January 1, 2014 into the investment plan.

The senate bill (1392) filed by Sen. Wilton Simpson (R-New Port Richey) takes a more flexible approach.

It would give new hires the option of enrolling into the investment, or defined-contribution, plan or the traditional plan. If they fail to make a choice, they’ll default into the investment plan, not the defined-benefit plan as they do today.

Sen. Simpson’s proposal would require elected officials and senior management employees to enroll in the investment plan, however.

The senate bill also includes incentives to attract workers to the defined-contribution plan.

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