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Arrests in check, ATM fraud

Aaron W. TaylorTwo brothers were arrested earlier this month and a third alleged accomplice now in jail in Jacksonville will be charged in a check writing scam in late July that resulted in at least $800 in fraudulent withdrawals from an ATM on a Vystar debit card.

Aaron Taylor, 22, of Glen St. Mary is charged with defrauding a financial institution and issuing a counterfeit check. Ryan Taylor, 19, of Macclenny is charged with defrauding a financial institution, forgery of a public record, issuing counterfeit checks and issuing checks on accounts with insufficient funds.

A warrant for similar charges was issued in early August for Hailey Dan, 20, of Macclenny, who sheriff’s investigator Mike Hauge says is in Duval County jail charged with a theft from her grandmother in Jacksonville.

Police say Ryan Taylor deposited a bogus $900 check into the Vystar account of ex-girlfriend Amber Goldsmith of Macclenny on July 29 after borrowing her bank card on the false premise that his was not operable.

The check was written on an account that Mr. Taylor opened at TD Bank the previous day, and he then allegedly withdrew the maximum daily $500 from an ATM using the Vystar card.

Investigator Hauge then confirmed that Mr. Taylor and Lauren Smith, 19, of Macclenny both opened TD accounts that day but deposited only $10 in them.

Further investigation revealed that Mr. Taylor used the same card three times to obtain cash advances of $100 each at Walmart on July 29. He later admitted he spent the cash on clothing and a tattoo.

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Mining companies withdraw zoning applications

Commissioner Jimmy Anderson (right) speaks with resident Danny Burger (center) and others outside the courthouse the evening of August 20.Two separate sand mining proposals totaling nearly 500 acres in Baker County were put on hold by the Baker County Commission on the evening of August 20 after the applicants withdrew their petitions to allow more time for reviews of the plans by regulatory agencies and a consultant for the county.

The decision to postpone the matter was not received well by members of the audience, however, as dozens of opponents had come to the meeting on a rainy night hoping the plans would be rejected.

“I just think it’s a stalling tactic by the sand mines to give them more time to get all their things in order,” said Pat Shannon, one of an estimated 6o-70 people in attendance at the meeting, which was held in the biggest courtroom at the county courthouse because a large gathering was expected.

“I call for a vote up or down — period! The majority of people are against the sand mines,” Mr. Shannon said.

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Students return to the classroom

Carolyn Davis of Glen St. Mary drops her son Garret, 4, off for his first day of preschool the morning of August 20.About 4500 students returned to Baker County schools the morning of August 20, with another 500 expected in classrooms by the end of the week.

“It was very smooth day,” commented Superintendent Sherrie Raulerson during a school board meeting that evening.

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Wildcat faces Baldwin in season opener

You’ve got to hand it to the Baldwin Indians, the team that the Wildcats will face off against on Friday night in the Kickoff Classic at Memorial Stadium in Macclenny.

The Indians are a team on the upswing.

Last season Coach Steve Shields took a team that was 4-8 in the previous year and turned it into a playoff team. The Indians went 9-3 last year and though they lost to the Village Charter school in the first round of the playoffs, it was a huge achievement.

Shields and his squad hope to continue with his rebuilding model as they take on the Wildcats in the Kickoff Classic. The game gives both teams an opportunity to evaluate talent and their off-season moves before they both open up for real next weekend.

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