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Daily Archives: February 15, 2013

$18K approved for bleacher fix; Croft sole opponent

Ballfield bleachers.The Baker County Commission agreed to spend money that wasn’t budgeted for recreational improvements after publicly acknowledging that some of the old bleachers at the Knabb Sports Complex fields in north Macclenny had deteriorated to the point of being dangerous.

Commissioners approved County Manager C.J. Thompson’s recommendation to spend $18,194 to repair or replace most of the wooden bleachers after expressing concerns for public safety at the ball fields.

Commissioner James Croft, who was elected in November, cast the only dissenting vote, saying this was the first time he had heard of any safety issues with the bleachers. He said the time to discuss expenditures for repairs was before the 2012-13 budget went into effect on October 1.

“I doubt very seriously that those bleachers got that way since October 1,” Mr. Croft said, adding that mid-year is not the time to increase expenditures in a deficit budget that was only balanced last year after an infusion of about $1.6 million in reserve funds.

“I’m not anti-Little League and not anti-safety, and I’m not anti-youth,” he said. “But this board has got to face reality. We are on a down-hill pull.”

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Mann guilty of battery; placed on probation

Defendent Marshall Mann (center) with his attorneys during his October trial.The nearly three-year-old criminal case against a City of Macclenny computer technician for predatory sexual activities with minor females came to a close on February 6 when he pleaded no contest to a charge of simple battery on one of them back in March, 2002.

Marshall Mann, 48, was acquitted in a jury trial last October of felony sexual battery and lewd acts on another young victim. The state attorney’s office last month downgraded the sole remaining pending count against him to battery, and transferred the case to county court.

County Judge Joey Williams refused a defense request to withhold adjudication of guilt during last week’s hearing, ignoring Mr. Mann’s denial that he touched the victim in a sexual manner.

The judge termed the defendant’s actions “intentional and sinister.”

“You’re in a pickle,” asserted the judge. “You’ve told the court and community ‘I’m not denying what I’m accused of.’ That’s a big thing. What you’re accused of is a heinous misdemeanor.”

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