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Backup plan: use eminent domain to take slugde property

One month after suing Rayonier in an effort to force the sale of 114 acres of company land to the city for a sewage sludge disposal site, the Macclenny City Commission has already launched its backup plan: taking the property under the state’s power of eminent domain.

The strategy, which enables governmental agencies to take private property for a public use and requires a jury trial to determine the price to be paid, was recommended by City Attorney Frank Maloney in the event the city loses the lawsuit.

Commissioners approved the eminent domain measure during a board meeting on the evening of February 12, four weeks after filing the civil action in circuit court asking the court to order Rayonier to honor a contract it later reneged on after agreeing to sell the parcel to a Realtor working on behalf of the city in June 2012.

Before reading a resolution explaining the necessity of acquiring the Rayonier property for a public purpose, Mr. Maloney told commissioners he wanted to employ “both (legal) proceedings in case something happens to our specific performance lawsuit.”

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Industrial land use sought on 300 acres in Sanderson

Thousands of pine trees in an area near Sanderson in western Baker County, located near railroad tracks and two major highways, could be replaced one day by a manufacturing plant, warehouse, mining operation or some other business employing hundreds of people.

At least, that’s what is intended in a proposal to amend the county’s long-range comprehensive plan to change the future land use designation on 300 acres from agriculture to industrial.

The Baker County Land Planning Agency, an appointed panel that reviews land use and zoning applications, endorsed the proposed change during a meeting on the evening of February 14 and sent it on to the county commission for consideration.

Ed Preston, the county’s planning and zoning director, told the board that the proposal, known as a “large scale future land use amendment,” had met the unanimous approval of the development review committee comprised of various county department heads, and his staff also recommended approval.

No specific development plans have been drawn up, nor are any known developers interested in the site at the moment, Mr. Preston said. Or, if there are, he said, “they haven’t told me about it.”

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Couples renew vows, marry on Valentine’s Day

Pastor Jack Pope marries Johnny Johnson and Sandra Steward on Valentine's Day.Five couples renewed their vows and another was married at New Life Church by Pastor Jack Pope on Valentine’s Day.

There was Ralph and Pamela McCormick, who attend services at the church on N. SR 121 and celebrated their 50th anniversary last month.

Together they have five children, seven grandchildren, 22 great-grandchildren and many, many memories.

How did they make their marriage last five decades?

“Mainly it’s been our trust in the Lord,” said Mr. McCormick before the vow renewal ceremony with four other couples. “We’ve had lots of serious ups and downs, but both of us hung onto the Lord, so it has been easy to forgive one another.”

“And never go to bed mad,” added Mrs. McCormick.

Pastor Pope and other congregates opened the 7 pm evening service with several praise and worship songs. That was followed by a message from the pastor about the roles of men and women in the household and some do’s and don’ts for marriage according to scripture.

“You can’t go into marriage with the idea that it’s a 50-50 partnership,” said Mr. Pope. “You have to go into marriage understanding that you’re going to give 100 percent and you’re not going to hold anything back.

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Bebe Heffernan dies February 10

Bebe Marie Heffernan died on February 10, 2013. She was born in Adel, GA, raised in Miami and resided in Jacksonville for 44 years before moving to Macclenny in 1997. Bebe enjoyed a successful career in the food service industry and with her late husband Frank Schroeder managed food service at the old Jacksonville Railroad Station, Imeson Airport and Jacksonville International Airport. Frank died in 1976 and she continued managing three restaurants and a newsstand until her retirement in 1989.

Bebe was an avid golfer who passionately followed the sport even after her playing days were over. She also loved to travel and visited many foreign countries. Flying with her husband Thomas in their airplane was a particular delight for her. She was predeceased by her mother Marie Smith, father Thomas Hodges and stepbrother James Smith. She is survived by her husband; stepdaughters Bonnie Williams (Brian), their son Joshua, and Kristin Crawley (Marty) and their children Olivia and Mason. She is also survived by stepbrother James Pergola (Ginger) of Naples, Florida.

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