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Sandra Warren

Sandra Warren

Managing Editor and Web Developer Jackson County Times

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4 Killed in Jackson County Wreck

The Florida Highway Patrol reports that an automobile accident took the lives of four and critically injured two in west Jackson County on January 24.

According to the report, a 2003 Chevrolet S10 pickup truck driven by George Henry Hayes, 54, of Greenwood failed to stop at the stop sign posted at the intersection of County Road 162 and State Road 77. Hayes collided with a 1995 Ford F150 driven by Larry Collins, 57, of Campbellton who was traveling southbound on State Road 77.

Both trucks entered the northbound shoulder, south of 162, overturned and caught fire destroying both vehicles.

Hayes, the driver of the S10 and two passengers, Bishop Peterson, 22, of Greenwood, as well as Angela Peterson Spencer, 45, also of Greenwood were killed in the accident. Lanasai McCutcheon, 6, of Greenwood was transported to Southeast Alabama Medical Center in critical condition.

Sandra Collins, 55, of Campbellton, a passenger in the F150 was killed and Larry Collins, the driver was transported to Southeast Alabama Medical Center and listed in critical condition.

No charges have been filed.

Obituaries for those killed in this accident are:

Bishop Jacolvi Peterson

Angela Peterson Spencer

George Henry Hayes

Sandra Yvonne Collins

Pumpkins in the Park a Smashing Success

Madison Park was alive Saturday with the 2nd Annual Pumpkins in the Park and Fire Safety Fun Day. An estimated 5,000 to 6,000 people enjoyed food, fun and frolicking in the pumpkins.

Vendors, parents and grandparents were very complimentary of the event including the smaller sized pumpkins this year. "We were at first worried about the size of the pumpkins because they were much smaller than in previous years." said Sharon Arnett, Co-Event Organizer. "But, the parents and children liked the smaller ones better as they were easier to carry."

Sharon said "All the volunteers and family members that helped need a BIG shout out for making this day a huge success!"

Tablet Rollout in Jackson County Schools

Meshing the requirements of business and industry with the educational system in the country has long been a point of argument and contention as more and better jobs are sought for the citizens. Local educators believe that they have come up with a solution, albeit a long-term one.

The Jackson County Public School Board (JCSB) introduced Digital Jackson Students and Teachers Achieving with Technology (DJ-STAT), at the Chamber of Commerce’s First Friday Power Breakfast Oct. 3. Michael Kilts, Supervisor of Federal Programs at JCSB, detailed the tablet system and its implementation for kindergarten through third grade.

Kilts emphasized that “student achievement has to improve and it has to improve now.” The intention of DJ-STAT is to prepare students for college and careers by providing a one - to - one student to computer environment.

The Windows 8 device is durable and lightweight, with a built in handle for easy transport. The school district, in partnership with Intel, Microsoft and CDI Computers, will provide the devices to students in a gradual rollout. The tablets will be ready for grades K-3 after Christmas Break, followed by grades 4-8 and finally grades 9-12. The full implementation is scheduled to be complete August 2016. “There will be over 7,000 computers in Jackson County, with every student having one in the classroom,” Kilts said.

“To increase our capacity of support to teachers we are developing 14 technology mentor teachers to support the other 135 K-3 teachers in training on how to incorporate the device they receive and how they can improve instruction in the classroom using the student device.” Kilts said.

The cost of this one-to-one initiative in Jackson County is approximately $2.25 million in taxpayer funds, which equates to $360 per child. A funding overview focused on realignment and repurposing of soon-to-be antiquated devices, such as copy machines and text books as well as replacing paid services with free resources.

Kilts addressed the business leaders saying “we are educating your future workforce in the next 10, 20, 30 years.” He asked businesses to “help us create that system that will support you in the future. Come be a part of our school system; come volunteer.” Kilts stated that they are always looking for donations and funding opportunities to support the teachers and students.

There are “over 360 industry certifications that can be provided in a high school setting” Kilts said. Computer software certifications such as Adobe Photoshop and Microsoft Office are important in some industries and give the student an edge in the workforce. “Which one’s should we do in Jackson County?” Kilts asked.

A question and answer session followed with the first question “Why didn’t you start with grades 9-12?” Kilts explained that during the planning stages, they learned from other districts that had started with grades 9-12, the students were ready but the teachers were not.

Another question was posed regarding Common Core strategies to which Kilts replied “these students with these devices are pretty much going to do Common Core standards or New Florida Standards as they are called now, without even blinking an eye. They are not even going to know they are doing Common Core.” He further explained that the process of learning the analysis of different ways to find solutions would be practically automatic with these devices.

Questions were raised about the repurposing and textbooks. Kilts detailed resources such as free e-books and other web-based programs, will save the district money. Textbooks cost the district over $600,000 each year and are available online in pdf format for about $15 each.

Ag Commissioner Putnam Comes to Jackson County

Speaking without notes to approximately 50 agricultural proponents at the Marianna Ag Center Monday, Florida’s Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam addressed both problems and advances in the state‘s food and fiber production and marketing.

The potential for problems comes from diseases that can possibly devastate the Sunshine State’s citrus, from two proposed amendments to the Constitution that will be on the ballot in November and the need for equitable distribution of water resources throughout the state, not just in the southern section alone.

Citing proposed Amendment One, Commissioner Putnam stated that the 33 percent transfer of funds from documentary stamp purchases to land acquisition is “budgeting by amendment” and warned that in the 10th year (the amendment will, if passed, be on the books for 20 years) the amount transferred and restricted will be well over 1 billion dollars.

The Second Amendment proposed and being presented to the voters is the “medical marijuana” approval. Putnam warned that the methodology for acquiring the substance is much easier than that required for distribution of presently tightly restricted medication.

The advances are positive, with the Fresh from Florida program being in the foremost. The Commissioner cited Wal-Mart stores in Atlanta heavily advertising the availability of the hundreds of food products so labeled. He went on to tell of the cooperation of school districts in serving Florida products in lunchrooms. “In Plant City two years ago lunchrooms were about to start serving strawberries from Mexico, but the local growers led the way in putting on the serving lines the better products grown within the county”, Putnam related.

Before and after Commissioner Putnam’s short presentation attendees had the opportunity to tell about the situation in Jackson County in cotton, soybeans and peanuts.

Adam Putnam is from Bartow in Polk County, and is a third generation grove owner. A graduate of the University of Florida, he was elected to the Florida House of Representatives at the age of twenty-one. He then moved up to the U. S. House, getting elected just a few days after reaching his twenty-sixth year. Ten years later he campaigned for and was elected to his present post.

Many political pundits say that he could well be the top contender for governor in 2018.

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