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Daily Archives: March 15, 2013

County to launch litter cleanup effort

Some of the litter scattered on Woodlawn Road this week.Based on a recent poll by The Baker County Press in which most respondents said they would volunteer to help keep roadsides clean, county officials are planning a neighborhood anti-litter campaign.

The proposal was pitched by County Commissioner Jimmy Anderson during a board meeting on March 5, which followed his suggestion a month earlier for county government to take the lead in a massive cleanup effort.

“Part of my 2013 goals was cleaning up Baker County,” Mr. Anderson said last week, adding he was encouraged by the results of the recent poll which asked readers whether they would participate in neighborhood clean-up efforts if local government furnished supplies.

“I was surprised that a majority (43 percent) said they would help,” he said. “Forty percent said they wouldn’t help. That wasn’t a surprise.”

Another 12 percent said they weren’t even aware the county had a litter problem, while 5 percent said they were already doing their part in cleaning up litter.

Buoyed by the number of potential volunteers, Mr. Anderson suggested the county could provide plastic bags and form community groups to “get some of this trash off our roads.”

If the commission wants to move in that direction, County Manager C.J. Thompson said, neighborhood coordinators could be named and assigned the task of organizing volunteers to patrol designated areas.

Commissioner Anderson suggested designated areas could include specific sections of roadways assigned to neighborhood groups in an Adopt-A-Mile campaign, which have been employed in other communities for many years to control litter. He said signs could be erected identifying volunteer groups responsible for maintaining the grounds alongside certain roads and highways, say a one-mile section per group.

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Fatal flaw in new jail: feds are in charge

If you read Joel Addington’s in-depth look at the financial picture surrounding Baker County’s new jail two weeks ago, then his opinion piece last week on the county commission’s funding woes, you might have scratched your head.

Essentially Mr. Addington pointed out in the first instance that prospects of an operating surplus at the new jail flowing into the coffers of the county commission are bleak.

Then he opined that a dreaded operating deficit in this coming year’s county budget may not be as dire as in recent years when Baker County’s $11 million cash surplus was sucked down to its present $3 million.

The main culprit, of course, has been the cost of housing county prisoners at the new jail. Their numbers steadily rise, and county taxpayers are on the hook for the $85 a day boarding fee per inmate, the same as the non-profit running the jail gets for ICE inmates.

That could reach $100 a day soon, and kick in the same obligation for local inmates.

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‘Best fish’ award for Glen taxidermist

Mr. Davis with his replica fish and award.Visitors to the 2013 Florida State Taxidermy Association’s convention last month voted local taxidermist Casey Davis’ replica fish the best in the state.

Mr. Davis, 31, though relatively new to the profession, also took second place for his white-tailed deer entry. He’s been honing his craft for just three years now, learning from other taxidermists in the region and on his own at his workshop on CR 125 N. in Glen St. Mary.

Winning the “McKenzie Taxidermy Supply Taxidermist’s Choice — Best Fish Award” at the Ocala convention was a bit awkward for the unassuming artist.

But garnering the most votes from his fellow taxidermists for an air-brushed and hand painted speckled perch, a freshwater fish commonly called crappie, was an honor nonetheless.

“I knew I had to bring something a little bit different to the table this year,” he said of the entry. “A lot of taxidermists will go to the competition with a large-mouth bass or a blue gill or a salmon. I wanted to take a fish like this speckled perch that’s hard to paint.

“It takes about six hours to paint one properly. Instead of three color patterns, I used ten and three different paints. Combined they gave me great depth. It worked out well. I got first place … I believe it was primarily because they could see my detail; it was not done with a stencil pattern. It was hand drawn.”

He took home four other awards from the convention and his apprentice, Scott Lightsey, earned a second-place ribbon in the amateur division plus three other awards.

Mr. Davis, a Macclenny native, graduated from Baker County High School in 2000 before spending two years on a mission trip in Nevada. Next he earned an associate degree from FCCJ and a bachelor’s in business administration from the University of Phoenix.

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Boys tennis remains unbeaten

The BCHS boys’ tennis team continues to dominate opponents winning a pair of matches this past week to stay undefeated.

The boys lineup defeated Hilliard on March 7 in convincing fashion with a 7-0 margin. Jared Stafford won the No. 1 singles match 8-1 and Brock Dukeman had an 8-3 win in No. 2 singles.

Tyler Curry won 9-8 with a 10-4 tie-break victory and Evan Barrett had an 8-6 win. Logan Campbell won 8-0.

The doubles team of Stafford and Dukeman were victorious 8-2 while Curry and Barrett won 8-4.

The girls squad continues to improve despite losses against Hilliard and Union County.

The girls fell 2-5 to Hilliard with NO. 1 singles player Kaylann Stafford winning 8-4 and the doubles team of Stafford and Andrea Clark winning 8-6. Danielle Mathis, Toree Jones, Victoria Sapp and the doubles team of Mathis and Jones fell to the Lady Flashes.

The boys notched another victory on March 11 in a 6-1 home match over Union County.

Stafford, Barrett, Dukeman and Curry all won their singles matches. Doubles teams Stafford and Barrett, and Dukeman and Curry posted wins as well.

Campbell fell in singles play.

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