The Florida Times Union

Articles from July 6, 2005

'Absolutely Loved' Teacher Retires after 4 Decades; Gail Thurmond Last Taught at Mamie Agnes Jones, Doling out Lots of Treats
Byline: SANDY STRICKLAND From pajama reading parties to outdoor science walks to using M&Ms to teach counting, Gail Thurmond made learning fun. She brought baskets of muffins and powdered doughnuts to her students in the mornings. She used...
Applicants Vying for Clay Job; Candidates from Far and near Seek County Manager Job Vacated in Dumping Scandal
Byline: BETH REESE CRAVEY Forty-eight people, from as close as Orange Park and as far away as California, applied for Clay County's county manager job by the initial deadline last week. Among the people who applied are former Jacksonville City...
Arcade Businessman Charged in Threats against Town Leaders; He Threatened to Kill Mayor, City Council Members, Police Say
Byline: TODD DEFEO ARCADE, Ga. -- Jackson County authorities have charged the owner of an Arcade oil recycling company, the site of a deadly explosion last month, with threatening to kill the town's mayor and city council members, according to police...
At Age 65, of Course He Still Swims (and Bikes, and Runs); 'Dr. Death' a Favorite to Win His Age Division in Area Triathlon
Byline: Maggie FitzRoy They call him Dr. Death. He competes to win. He always has. But it's easier for him to win these days because he doesn't have many people his age to compete with. Roy Clarke, 65, of Ponte Vedra Beach is a triathlete who...
Atlantic Looks at 8-Foot-Wide Bicycle Paths; Public Works Studies Routes
Byline: Drew Dixon ATLANTIC BEACH -- City officials took steps to fulfill a long-standing plan for bicycle paths last month, authorizing the public works director to find safe and appealing routes and funding to build them. On June 27, the Atlantic...
Bice Isn't Driving like a Runner-Up; His Single Just Supplanted the Idol Winner at No. 1, and He's Still Rockin'
Byline: JEFF VRABEL Bo Bice may not think of himself as a rock star, but his car probably does. "I kinda went overboard," Bice said by phone last week from New York, when asked about one big-time rock 'n' roll cliche he's allowed himself since...
Blue Cross Is Cutting Employee Time off; the Insurance Company Says Downgrading Benefits Will Allow More Affordable Products
Byline: URVAKSH KARKARIA Workers at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida will soon be logging more hours in their cubicles as the company tries to juice productivity and cut costs. Employees at the health insurance company will lose an average...
Body of Drowning Victim Recovered off Guana River State Park; Man, 19, Vanished on the Fourth While Trying to Save a 10-Year-Old Relative
Byline: KEN LEWIS ST. AUGUSTINE -- Tok Cha Park lingered on the observation deck at Guana River State Park Tuesday morning, still searching for the son who vanished into the ocean on Independence Day while trying to save a 10-year-old relative....
Cats, Dogs and Kids All Week; Humane Society Offers Camp Kindness
Byline: SANDY STRICKLAND All it took was petting the irresistible black balls of fluff, and the 10-year-old boy was hooked. "I adopted two cats from here yesterday because I got to pet them," Phillip Brokaw said of Knight and Black Velvet. "I...
Chapters Paint the County Red (and Purple); the Red Hat Society's Popularity in Clay County Has Boomed in Recent Years
Byline: MARY MARAGHY Their hats matched the strawberries that topped the pink parfaits they ate for dessert. More than 100 women wearing lollipop colors -- red hats and purple outfits -- enjoyed lunch and a fashion show recently in Eagle Harbor....
Children Aren't Only Ones Who Go to Camp; Volunteers Important for Keeping Programs Going
Byline: Maggie FitzRoy Mary Hall recently turned 80, but she relates well with 5 and 6-year-olds. During the past school year, she was a volunteer storyteller at Mayport Elementary School and enjoyed her time with kindergartners so much that...
CITY HALL; Work It Out
Maybe the City Council members who support the idea of creating their own planning and zoning department got caught in the emotion of the moment. Surely they aren't gung-ho about creating more bureaucracy, duplicating services and spending taxpayer...
Community Notebook; Fitness Club Donates Baskets for Women
Byline: SANDY STRICKLAND Members of Curves for Women on Normandy Boulevard collected gift baskets for Hubbard House, a center for victims of domestic violence. Donna Reed, a trainer and instructor at Curves, suggested the idea to owners John...
Concourse Builders Agree to Higher Fees
Byline: AMELIA A. HART YULEE -- Hard-ball negotiations continued last week between Nassau County commissioners and Amelia Concourse developers about a road that will accommodate the added traffic. Developers now say they'll agree to higher transportation...
Determination Pays off in D.C. Trip
Byline: JOHN CARTER She was born on the Fourth of July. And even though Heather Overstreet's birthday was two days ago, she says her real present came a few weeks ago, when she visited the nation's capital with her mom, a few other adults and...
'Dogs Lose 2 Recruits for Academic Reasons
Two more Georgia football recruits will not be able to enroll this fall for academic reasons, further eroding coach Mark Richt's highly touted recruiting class. Corey Moon and Jamar Bryant are the fourth and fifth of Richt's 19 signees whose academics...
Durango Auction Moved to Dec. 6; Environmental Tests Will Be Done to Allay Bidders' Fears
Byline: GORDON JACKSON ST. MARYS -- The auction of Durango-Georgia Paper Co., originally scheduled for Monday, July 18, has been delayed 150 days to allow enough time for more environmental tests at the 750-acre site. Ward Stone, a Macon attorney...
Eminent Domain Debate Resurges; in Wake of Supreme Court Decision, Some Say There Are Abuses While Others Urge Caution on Restrictions
Byline: BRANDON LARRABEE STOCKBRIDGE -- Mark Meeks has a problem. The city of Stockbridge is threatening to condemn the flower shop Meeks and his wife, Regina, have run for the past 22 years. The couple has built a business and hope to someday...
Fernandina Property Worth $200 Million More
Byline: AMELIA A. HART FERNANDINA BEACH -- The Nassau County Property Appraiser's office is estimating Fernandina Beach is worth about $200 million more this year than last. The estimated taxable value of all property in Fernandina Beach is almost...
Fortunately, He Doesn't Rely on Reggae for Riches; Nelson Should Have Left Long-Term "Countryman" Project on the Shelf
Byline: JEFF VRABEL Willie Nelson's been kicking around his reggae project, Countryman (** [2 stars], Lost Highway) for about a decade, but it probably should have been left sitting in limbo. Originally slated for Island Records (Bob Marley's label)...
Gotti? I Can Definitely Hear You Now
Byline: Laura Capitano If cellular phones never died, I would still be operating a device the approximate size and weight of a brick of Velveeta. But in our world of planned obsolescence, the hassle of technology replacement makes for another mundane...
Grants Sought to Protect Cemetery; Residents Want Historic Status for Middleburg Site Undergoing Development
Byline: BETH REESE CRAVEY The Clay County Commission has hired a consultant to find grants to protect a historic Middleburg cemetery threatened by development. Katherine Gill of Green Cove Springs will look for funds to buy what's officially...
Guardian Ad Litem Program Rewarding; Advocates See to the Needs of Abused Children; More Volunteers Are Needed
Byline: ANNE SPONHOLTZ For Rick Bebout, volunteering is as much a part of his life as eating and sleeping. A force in continuing to bring the Rails-to-Trails project from Palatka to Lake Butler and through Clay County, Bebout also volunteers...
Health Director Offered Job Back; New Salary Would Make Him Highest Paid in State
Byline: CHARLIE PATTON Three weeks after the state Department of Health fired Jeffrey Goldhagen as director of the Duval County Health Department, the agency offered to hire him again Tuesday, but with conditions. Whether Goldhagen will accept,...
INCONVENIENT FOR ROBBERS; Stores Make Changes to Thwart Crime Clerks, Police Hope Minor Cosmetic Measures, Precautions Have Impact on Safety
Byline: SHANNON HOUGHTON They are seemingly minor cosmetic measures Jacksonville convenience store clerks and law enforcement officials hope will have a significant impact on safety. Things such as removing poster-sized window ads or unstacking...
Lawmaker Takes a Look at Blacks and Education; the Small Number of African-American Men in College Is Raising Concerns
Byline: J. TAYLOR RUSHING TALLAHASSEE --As an employee at the state Department of Corrections and the Department of Juvenile Justice, Randy Nelson started noticing differences between the African-American men who came through the barred doors and...
Litigation May Decide Incentives Policies
Byline: Karen Brune Mathis City Councilman Warren Alvarez once said that given the chance, voters would stop giving away tax money to companies expanding in Jacksonville. "If you put this on the ballot, it would fail," he said during one of the...
Masked Gunman Calls Man by Name, Shoots Him in Face; No Arrests Have Been Made. Injuries Aren't Life-Threatening
A Jacksonville man was shot in the face Tuesday by a masked man police said got out of a pickup truck and called the victim's name before opening fire. It happened about 1 a.m. at Fredericksburg Avenue and Devonshire Boulevard in the city's Sherwood...
McInerney Sailors Home in Time for July Fourth; Patriotic Spirit Is High as Family and Friends Welcome Them Home
Byline: Drew Dixon MAYPORT -- Just in time for the Independence Day weekend, the USS McInerney returned to port Friday after a six-month deployment running exercises with about a half-dozen other NATO countries with navies. Spouses and children...
Meeting Set on Lake Asbury Plan; Future of Undeveloped Acres Is at Stake
Byline: BETH REESE CRAVEY The latest version of the Lake Asbury master plan gets another showing before the public next week, before heading to the Clay County Commission and then the state Department of Community Affairs for review. The county...
Morning Briefs
ARMOR HOLDINGS WINS ADDITIONAL ARMY CONTRACT Jacksonville-based Armor Holdings Inc. Tuesday said it received a contract modification from the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command to provide an additional $45.2 million in protective...
My Six-Year Quest for a Six-Dollar Trophy; at Small-Town 3-on-3 Tourney, One Obsessive Hoopster Finds a New Way to Lose Each Year
Byline: THOMAS LAKE In my mind, I stand sweat-drenched at midcourt, smiling for the cameras and greeting my trophy with a Jordanesque kiss. I hug my teammates and shake hands with the refs. My beaten foes get kind pats on the head. "You played great,"...
Nassau Notes
ORIENTATION PROGRAM Passages, a four-day school orientation for girls entering middle school, will be presented in Nassau County by the Girl Scouts of Gateway Council. Passages will be July 18-21 at Callahan and Fernandina Beach middle schools,...
Navy Man Fell in Love with Jacksonville; Funeral for SEAL Killed in Afghanistan Will Be Monday. He'll Later Be Moved to New Veterans Cemetery
Byline: JEFF BRUMLEY Navy Chief Petty Officer Jacques Fontan had planned to live in Jacksonville after leaving the service. Instead, he will be buried here less than two weeks after being killed in action in Afghanistan. Fontan, 36, was one of...
Neptune Beach Gives Less Money to Sea, Sky Show; Beaches Cities Give $10,000 to Its $2,000
Byline: Drew Dixon All three Beaches cities are contributing money to the Jacksonville Sea and Sky Spectacular, which takes place in Jacksonville Beach this year. But one is contributing less than the others. Atlantic Beach was the most recent...
Newcomers Were 'Y' People before Move
Byline: MARIAN CHAPMAN What do Moses and Jim Bailey have in common? They were both born in Egypt. Bailey's parents had met there as short-term missionaries -- his mother from England as a nurse and his father, a chemistry professor from the United...
New York Experience Now Unconventional Film
Byline: TANYA PEREZ-BRENNAN Imagine three guys from Jacksonville with a video camera trying to get into New York's hottest art shows. That's how Kurt Polkey and Morrison Pierce approached their art documentary, Across the City. The pair teamed...
NFL Looking into Jaguars' Camp Access Policy; Jaguars Are Only Team to Announce Closure of Camp Following First Preseason Game
Byline: VITO STELLINO The Jaguars' decision to close the third and final week of training camp to fans and the media has prompted the NFL to study whether it needs guidelines for media access to training camp practice sessions. In an announcement...
Nocatee Plans for 210 Hit More Wetland Acres
Byline: Christina Abel Planners of the Nocatee community have revised their reconstruction design for County Road 210 with a plan that would impact 27 additional acres of wetlands. Nocatee Development Co. sent new drawings to the U.S. Army Corps...
One of the Lost Boys Hopes to Heal Old Scars; Plastic Surgery Is Taking Care of Physical Reminders of Past
Byline: RACHEL DAVIS Angelo Deng pulled the hand mirror up to his face to look at the doctor's handiwork. It had been 24 hours since the surgeon had taken a scalpel to his neck and the wound was still fresh. He stared at it. It looked good. ...
Panelist Wants Wireless Hot Spot to Promote Green Cove Springs
Byline: DEBORAH CEARNAL Providing free Internet access would help Green Cove Springs recruit business and visitors, a visioning committee member says. "I suggest Green Cove Springs become a wireless hot spot," Eugene Francis told other committee...
People
Byline: Cindy Holifield APPOINTMENTS Sharon Dowe of the Northside has joined Angelwood Inc.'s board of directors. Angelwood Inc. is a non-profit organization that provides habilitation and long term residential services to adults and children...
Players By-the-Sea Honors Its Best Of
Byline: Tamara McClaran If you saw a show at Players by-the-Sea this past season, you witnessed the behind-the-scenes artistry of Anne Roberts. The scenic painter transferred plywood into marble for The Lion in Winter, designed realistic brickwork...
Public Safety; Clay Man, Teen Arrested, Accused of Breaking into Homes, Stealing Van
Byline: DEBORAH CEARNAL Two Clay County residents were arrested Friday, after police said they were found hiding in a trailer home in Keystone Heights. Detectives had been looking for Adam Hall, 23, and a juvenile since June 28. Both are charged...
Ronald McDonald House Receives over 300 Movies
Byline: BETH DE LA RIONDA It wasn't your typical gift. When representatives of the Ronald McDonald House on the Southside recently answered their doorbell, Allison Fyffe, 10, and Alyssa Markowski, 10, of Jacksonville Beach Girl Scout Junior Troop...
Scholars Word Plays High-Energy Reggae
Byline: Tamara McClaran There are many challenges when it comes to being a member of a reggae band trying to make it big. In the case of Scholars Word, the band members work other jobs and live in different areas of the Southeast. That doesn't...
SCREVEN COPES WITH DISASTER; Twister Damage Fell below Threshold for Federal Aid City Works with Donated Money as Many Residents Fend for Themselves
Byline: TERRY DICKSON SCREVEN -- In the days after a tornado ripped through this one red light city in March, residents were grateful it wasn't any worse. But as people live in cramped campers or with relatives while rain pours through damaged...
So Long Gene's -- and Thanks
Byline: Tonyaa Weathersbee To his friends, he's known as Tony. But the minute Tony Bivens would step inside Gene's Sandwich Shop, he became known by his lunch choice. "My name was always Mr. Fish," said Bivens, a lieutenant in the Jacksonville...
Some in Graniteville Says Problems Tied to Chlorine Gas from Train Wreck; It's Getting Blame for Medical Concerns, but Health Authorities Say Gas Is "Long Gone."
Byline: JOSH GELINAS GRANITEVILLE, S.C. -- Dana Yonce says she isn't enjoying her backyard garden this year as she has in the past. Her skin breaks out when she goes outside, a condition that has worsened as temperatures climb higher. "It looks...
Sparklers Don't Increase Injuries; Hospitals Report Smattering of Cases
Byline: BRIAN BASINGER ATLANTA -- The state's first Fourth of July holiday since sparklers became legal saw no substantial increase in fireworks-related injuries, though several burns were reported over the weekend, hospital officials said Tuesday....
Sports Extra
Byline: David Johnson OLYMPIC VOTE SWINGS Paris is considered the favorite to land the 2012 Olympics today, but the vote by International Olympic Committee members could swing as cities are eliminated through the ballot process. In addition to...
Spotlight; Romance Author Celebrating Publication of Novel Her Success Shows That Happy Endings Can Be Real
Byline: AMELIA A. HART FERNANDINA BEACH -- Merrillee Whren says she likes writing romances because she likes happy endings. "I like a guaranteed happy ending," Whren said. "I love a happy ending. I don't like movies and books where you spend...
State's Litterbugs Now Face Stiffer Fines; New Law Doubles Fees and the City Now Has a "Zero Tolerance on Litter" Program
Byline: CARLY ROTHMAN A pack of gum costs about a dollar, and cigarettes a few bucks. But starting this month if you're caught tossing your gum wrapper or cigarette butt onto the street, you could end up paying $100, according to a new state law...
State to Delay Charging 2 Teens; Shorstein Wants Time to Weigh Treating Kids as Adults
Byline: PAUL PINKHAM Prosecutors are asking lawyers for two Jacksonville teenagers arrested in a homicide last week for evidence that could dissuade them from charging the youths as adults, a decision that could lead to life sentences if convicted....
Sunday at the Beaches Offers Perfect Bit of Life
Byline: Bill Longenecker Father's Day featured one of those perfect beach-life mornings. Saturday's late afternoon storm washed the air clean, watered the parched lawns for many a child to mow later on and gave us a blessed sub-70-degree morning....
Suns Report
JACKSONVILLE***4 MOBILE******4 Turning point: BayBears third baseman Corey Smith threw out Tydus Meadows while lying on his back, preventing the go-ahead run from scoring in the fifth inning prior to rain from Tropical Storm Cindy halting the...
Super Bowl Investigation Continuing; Events Were Canceled Due to Possible Fraud
Byline: Christina Abel A St. Johns County Sheriff's Office investigation into a canceled NFL VIP party and raffle at Sawgrass Village shopping center continues five months after the Super Bowl. Investigators are still digging into why the NFL...
Time to Raise the Roof, and Walls
Byline: JOHN CARTER The fireworks have faded, but they're still raising the roof. Developer Greg Matovina said he was thinking of a way to give a project to erect a new shelter downtown "a shot in the arm" when the idea hit him. "I thought...
Troubled Youth Unit Being Shut Down; They Will Be Moved to Other Programs; Old Unit Space Gets New Function
Byline: JAN SKUTCH SAVANNAH, Ga. -- The child and adolescent unit at Georgia Regional Hospital will close its doors this month as part of a series of moves designed to place troubled youth in community-based facilities. Sixteen youths will be...
TWO OF A KIND (SORT OF); Artists Morrison Pierce, Kurt Polkey 'Complement Each Other'
Byline: TANYA PEREZ-BRENNAN Ask Morrison Pierce a question, and he rambles for hours. He squirms in his seat, crosses his legs and takes a drag from his cigarette. Then he gets up and walks around, his tattoo-covered arms gesturing wildly as he...
Wal-Mart Project Is Topic at Ridgewood Meeting; Supercenter Planned for New 42.73-Acre Site on Blanding Boulevard Site
Byline: BETH REESE CRAVEY A development project for the Ridgewood area that includes a Wal-Mart Supercenter and a 15-acre regional park will be the topic of a community meeting today. The meeting is at 7 p.m. in the Ridgeview High School cafetorium,...
Wearing Patriotism on Sleeves and Faces; Campers Go All out to Wish America a Happy Birthday
Byline: SANDY STRICKLAND Devon Schindler was the picture of patriotic fervor. The 9-year-old was decked out in Fourth of July symbols, from her tie-dyed flag shirt to the red star on one cheek and "USA" on the other. Even her bike was festooned...
Which Accesses Require Clearing? Beach Walkovers to Be Case-by-Case
Byline: Christina Abel St. Johns County will decide, starting in October, which beachfront property owners must change their landscaping to clear the public's access to the beach in Ponte Vedra Beach and throughout the county. The commission...