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Daily Archives: July 29, 2011

Miranda Wilkerson ruling: Not about ‘good guys or bad guys’

As displayed by this week’s letters to the editor section, emotions are running high regarding last week’s story on the Miranda Wilkerson custody case, and that’s understandable considering the involvement of Donald Coleman, a registered sex offender now responsible for the 4-year-old girl’s well-being.

Let me take this opportunity, however, to respond to some of the criticisms and questions posed in the letters published this week.

Our goal was certainly not to portray Rita Manning, Miranda’s paternal grandmother, as “the good guy” or “the bad guy,” or to defend or assail Circuit Judge Phyllis Rosier’s decision to award custody to Mr. Coleman.

Rather, with extensive coverage of the case by First Coast News for nearly a week before last week’s edition was published, we hoped to offer readers information that might help to answer the question on everyone’s mind: Why did the judge rule the way she did?

In most cases, a judge will explain his or her decisions in writing and those records are open to review by the media and everyone else. In this case, however, the court files were not open to public inspection, the judge had not spoken publicly about the case and reporters were barred from entering the courtroom during a hearing that followed the custody decision. Thus, we had to rely on other court records and comments from those present at the protest July 18, all of which were reflected in last week’s edition.

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Don Welch, 80, retired Navy vet

Don Welch, 80, retired Navy vet

Donald “Don” Maynard Welch, 80, of Macclenny died April 21, 2011.

He was born in Burlington, Vermont to William Maynard and Eva Provost Welch on July 20, 1930. He was a resident of Baker County since 1990 after moving from Middleburg, and attended St. Mary’s Catholic Church.

Mr. Welch joined the Navy in 1947 and retired after 20 years of honorable service in 1967. He worked for 14 years for Southern Wine and Spirits of Jacksonville before retiring in 1991. He was a member of the Macclenny Moose Lodge #2412 and the American Legion. He enjoyed golf, trips to Biloxi, MS, yard work, fishing and camping. He was predeceased by brother Andy Blow.

Survivors include his loving wife of 16 years, Lavada Welch of Macclenny; children Donald Welch of Jacksonville, Carol Welch and Kelly Garcia, both of San Jose, CA, Susie Welch of Watertown, SD; step-children Sheila Brooks, Bruce Hodges and Robert Hodges, all of Macclenny and Chuck Roth of Valdosta, GA; brothers Edwin (JoAnn) Blow and Carl Blow; grandchildren Raymond Garcia, Chelsea Welch, Ashley Hodges, Aaron Brooks, Taylor Hodges and Chase Bennett; step-grandchildren Dustin, Danyelle and Devin.

A memorial service was held April 25 at 7:00 pm at V. Todd Ferreira Funeral Services chapel in Macclenny with celebrant Father Jose Maniyangat officiating.

Travis Rhoden, 74, of Glen dies

Travis Rhoden, 74, of Glen dies

Travis Carlton Rhoden, 74, of Glen St. Mary died April 25, 2011. He was born in Baker County to the late Claude Victor Rhoden and Mamie M. Williams Rhoden on August 28, 1936.

Travis was a life long resident of Baker County, a 1955 graduate of Baker County High School and a member of First Baptist Church of Glen St. Mary.

Mr. Rhoden honorably served in the US Navy and retired in 2000 from the Department of Transportation after 41 years as an asphalt inspector. He loved hunting and was an avid sudoku player.

He was predeceased by brother Everett “Bud” Rhoden.

Survivors include his loving wife of 48 years, Elouise Harris Rhoden of Glen St. Mary; sons O’Dell Rhoden and Timothy “Timmy” Rhoden, all of Glen St. Mary; his sisters: Jean Toney of Sanderson and Ginger Townsend of Jacksonville.

A graveside service will be held on Thursday April 28 at 10:30 am at Manntown Cemetery with Pastor Randy Williams officiating. The family will receive friends on Wednesday April 27, 2011 from 6:00-8:00 pm at the funeral home. Ferreira Funeral Services was in charge of arrangements.

Danny Peters, 52, Baker native, dies

Danny Peters, 52, Baker native

Danny Lee (Byrd) Peters, 52, of Kansas City, Missouri died Thursday, April, 7 2011 at the University of Kansas Medical Center.

He was a native of Baker County and grew up in Taylor and Macclenny, graduating from BCHS in 1977. Danny was a son of the late Shirley F. (Richardson) Smith of Jacksonville and Marshall B. Peters of Sanderson. He was a longtime member of the culinary arts community where he perfected his cooking and culinary skills. He was preceded in death by his mother Shirley F. Smith and brother Marshall “Duane” Peters.

Survivors include sister Deborah June Peters of Waycross, Ga; brothers Burley H. “Bugger” (Tina) Peters of Taylor, Thomas “Tab” Byrd of Macclenny and Michael S. Peters (Robert Hubbard), of Charlotte, NC; two nieces, one nephew; six great-nieces and nephews.

A memorial service will be held at the home of Ken and Linda Carter, 15985 Jack Dowling Circle in Sanderson on May 7 at 4:00 pm.

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