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John O’Brien II, dies on June 2nd

John Patrick O’Brien II, 42, of Jacksonville died Saturday, June 2, 2012. He was a heavy equipment mechanic who enjoyed spending time with family and friends. He also enjoyed singing and playing the guitar.

Mr. O’Brien is survived by his mother Carrol O’Brien of Jacksonville; sons Cody O’Brien and Dustin Brown, both of Jacksonville; daughter Katina Todd of Jacksonville; granddaughter Shaela Brown; brothers James (Holly) Powell, Nathan (Ruby) Rice, and James (Teresa) O’Brien, all of Jacksonville; his loving fiancé April Conner.

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Cecil Privett of St. George

Cecil Webster Privett, 76, of St. George, GA died on June 9, 2012. He was born October 4, 1935 in St. George to Yulee Webster and Edna Raulerson Privett. He retired after 39 years from Florida Wire & Cable in Jacksonville. Mr. Privett enjoyed hunting and fishing.

He is survived by his wife of 56 years, Bertha; daughter Lorie (Rick) Spears of Baxley, GA and son Greg Privett of St. Augustine; daughter-in-law Georgette Privett of Palm Coast, FL; grandson Matthew Tillman of Valdosta, granddaughter Megan Tillman of Statesboro, GA;  great-grandson Aiden Tillman of Valdosta; several nieces and nephews.

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Class of ’87 finally walks

Lori Sullivan receives her diploma.A cluster of thunderstorms passed over Baker County the afternoon of May 31 but cleared out in plenty of time to avoid wrecking the Class of 1987’s second graduation ceremony as they did some two-and-half decades before.

About 7 pm several dozen ‘87 graduates or family members of deceased graduates gathered at Memorial Stadium before the same stage that the Class of 2012 would cross the following night.

They heard from former Baker High principal Danny Boutwell, classmates, former schools superintendent Tim Starling and others before their names were called to accept diplomas as a few hundred friends and family cheered them on.

“Aren’t you glad we won’t be called that class anymore,” said ‘87 grad and Macclenny dentist Dr. Margaret Cannon, who welcomed everyone to the event.

She and other speakers reminisced about what high school was like in  the late 1980s. There were no cell phones and no computers, but you still had to pay your past due library fees to receive a diploma, as Mr. Starling reminded them.

See video from the ceremony here.

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Don’t let mishap spoil the fireworks

Lawyers are everywhere.

Even if their numbers are somewhat modest in Baker County, they’re still all around us.

Why bring this up?

Last week’s fireworks “malfunction” (remember the “wardrobe malfunction” at the Super Bowl?) at Memorial Stadium at the close of the BCHS graduation ceremony is why.

As you’ll note in the news coverage of the event in this week’s edition, there was stonewalling on the part of the school district and Macclenny Fire Department (which supervised the pyrotechnics) to reveal just who it was that furnished the fireworks.

The high school principal said, in effect, since they were “donated” he was reluctant to name the source. He did, however, assert the school district was responsible for fireworks being part of the graduation program.

Kinda hard to deny that. Otherwise, we’d have to assume some entity, vigilantes perhaps, brought the fireworks to the event without warning and “Bam!” — they went off.

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