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Shelia Mader

Shelia Mader

Sports Editor

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Christmas comes early to Jackson County in Dozier property

What has been in the works for months and months came to fruition Tuesday morning in less than five minutes as the Florida Cabinet unanimously approved transferring 1278 acres of what has commonly been referred to as the ‘Dozier’ property to Jackson County.  Present for this long-awaited formality was Jackson County Commissioner Chairman Clint Pate, commissioners Eric Hill and Jim Peacock, along with Sheriff Lou Roberts, local engineer David Melvin and Marti Coley Eubanks.  All have been instrumental in working towards this project.  

Chairman Clint Pate addressed the cabinet in advance of the vote, introduced those who traveled from Jackson County and thanked them for their consideration of donating the property to Jackson County. 

Pate said in an interview with the TIMES following the dotting of ‘I’s and crossing of ‘T’s, “This was a big step for Jackson County.  This was the Governor’s last cabinet meeting and we knew the preliminaries were all done last week for this but we were pleased once it was signed. Jackson County has had some negative publicity and we wanted to take this land and put it to good use. We want to help the citizens of Jackson County, create jobs and economic development and put a positive spin on it.  We do have a company of interest who wants to come to Jackson County and it’s a good possibility that it will be considering being on the Dozier property. We have a committee already formed and working on an autism center that has been named “Endeavor” that is slated to be on this property. It is for the benefit of training post high school autism citizens. The Jackson County Sheriff’s Department will be relocating their offices to the section known as the JJOT Building due to the damage they suffered as a result of Hurricane Michael.”

Pate said it will take some time to get the title assigned to us. He said there is insurance to be cleared up on the insurance buildings and we received $5.8 million to do the cleanup and that has to be done.  I think that now that we have it, can start to move forward. He said they still have part of the property that’s tied up with leases to PRIDE (Associated with prison industries) and the Jackson County School Board. 

For now, the commissioners are more than excited that this been finalized and they can move forward.  Commissioner Eric Hill said, “I am very grateful to everyone, especially Governor Rick Scott and Senator Gainer and Representative Drake for all of their hard work and dedication to seeing this project through for Jackson County.  It is now time to move forward and develop the property into something positive for Jackson County.  I know the autism committee that was formed a few months back has been working hard to put the wheels into motion to make that happen and that’s a good start.  We are just really glad this is all behind us now and we can start making concrete plans.”  

Commissioner Jim Peacock has been instrumental in this project from before its beginning and couldn’t be happier, “Governor Rick Scott has given us a huge Christmas present and I am very appreciative. There is 1278 acres that could have a major economic impact on Jackson County for the next 50-100 years.”  About the condition of the buildings, Peacock said, “The Governor has covered all of that. David Melvin of Melvin Engineering is and has been out there doing an analysis of the buildings and there is money through insurance that will fix what needs to be fixed to those buildings that are usable. There are approximately 70 buildings that can be used we think. But bottom line, we don’t have to use any of them if we don’t want to do so. We can tear them up and make road base out of them but we will probably tear some of them down. But they are ours now.  That is a done deal.”

School board updated on storm damages to buildings

The Board asked Director of Facilities and Construction, Stuart Wiggins about the progress with the estimates and repairs to the buildings damaged by Hurricane Michael.  Wiggins said, “The bids were so close to my estimates, it was scary.”

School board member Chris Johnson asked for clarification from architect Paul Donofro, “Sneads High School auditorium and Sneads High School gymnasium, they are grossly different. Did somebody see something the other one didn’t see? Of course, if they get a contract, they are binding.”

Donofro explained that the prices delivered by C & C were much closer in line with what was expected. The prices delivered for those two buildings by Ducky Johnson offered nobody there from the company to answer any questions, so no questions could be asked.

Johnson inquired if the school board has ever done work with C & C. Stuart Wiggins said, “Yes, they have done several projects for us. As a matter of fact, they won the east/west bid last year. Been very happy with them. Chet Sherrer is the owner and he’s done a lot of work for us. For the last several, he’s been very, very low on them. As a matter of fact, he’s been lower than our estimates on most of them and for them to come in at what we, and I estimated at pre-hurricane prices. We’re right were I thought we would be prior to the storm.”

Johnson said, “I was concerned that our prices would not be anywhere, that they would be overly inflated. Next question, these are all storm related so, at some point in time, will we be getting insurance?”

Wiggins said, “Yes, that is correct. Yes, all this will be turned in to our insurance and as a matter of fact, I believe Mr. Moore has already gotten word about how much we can expect to be receiving from insurance. Mr. McDaniel was very pleased with our numbers from what we were going to turn in.”

Johnson asked if the gymnasium and auditorium would be first and Wiggins advised that they were on the start list and if the approval came in this meeting, they would proceed tomorrow. They’ll have 30 days to get the permits and will start as quickly as possible, “They’re ready to get this rolling.” 

Wiggins said, “If you vote to approve this tonight, they’ll have a notice to proceed tomorrow. They will have 30 days to get their permits and I’m not sure what the county’s doing with permits. I know the city has put theirs on hold, they’ll have 30 days. They’ll start as quick as possible, they’re ready to get this rolling.”

C & C has 75 days to complete the projects at Sneads High School. Donofro said they had a notice to proceed on December 1. 

Johnson said that there are a lot of classrooms that have been temporarily tarped. Wiggins said that was the second phase of the project and said that once Mr. Donofro had the specs ready, which should be within a few days and once the specs are ready, they will advertise. It is within statue that there will be an abbreviated advertising period so they can get the bids back to the board. They are hoping to get bids back to the board before Christmas. Wiggins went on to say that was for all the other commercial style roofing. Wiggins said, “We have a third phase that’s going to be more on the residential roofing, for the smaller portable buildings and that’ll be right behind that one. We hope to have everything under contract before Christmas break.”

Superintendent Larry Moore asked for the total number of roofs, with Wiggins saying, “It’s getting close to 60, we added a couple more smaller ones.”

Moore said, “Roofs, covered walkways and fencing are going to be our big-ticket items.”

Johnson said, “We can discuss this later, but we did discuss Thursday night a little but about Golson.”

Wiggins said, “The problem with Golson and it’s a good problem to have, is they tarped it immediately. So, it’s hard to evaluate how much damage the shingles have. I sent our roofers over to look at it and they tried. Prior to tarping it, the agency that came, Belfour said that the west plane of the west wing was in the worst shape. I asked them about the west plane of the east wing and they said, ‘Not so bad, it was just that one side that caught the reversed wind when it went by and blew a lot of shingles off.’ We’re hoping that we can just re-shingle that one side and patch the other. We will not know for sure, part of this bid is a unit price. I didn’t put it on the tally sheet you have. We did get a unit price for singles at $4.50 a square foot or $450 a square.”

Johnson commented that the price was outrageous, that $200 a square was fair.

Wiggins said that before the storm, the price was $375.”

Johnson said that the price was still outrageous and that three-tab shingles could be purchased for less than $100 a square and normally you would double the price with the price it costs to put them on.”

Wiggins agreed saying, “I think you’re right Mr. Johnson, the prices did go up some from the storm. Prior to the storm, they were around $350. We’ve specified three-tab JAF, but the comment that was made in the pre-bid by the gentleman who won the bid, ‘I can buy the architectural for the same price as the three-tab.’ He’s going to use the architectural, he said they go up faster and quicker and they look better.”

Mr. Moore asked Mr. Wiggins to comment on the process with PAEC and the FEMA consultant, Wiggins said they had met last week to evaluate RFPs for the FEMA consultants. They had 11 submitted and rated ten of them. PAEC will choose the top three this week and then the school board will make a choice between the top three that they want to use. Wiggins said, “I can’t remember all three of them, there were some that were extremely talented and had been used throughout the southeast for many, many storms. We got some good names to chose from, I’ll get wit Mr. Moore when these three are approved and go over what we discussed with each of them.” 

Johnson pointed out to the board that the consultants may also be doing other work for some of the local impacted cities and he appreciated having three applicants to choose from and that if one gets it all then he or she may be spread a little thin.

Wiggins said that some of the agencies have about 100 agents and there were some that had 50 or 60 and added that one agency having 320 agents and they covered disasters all over the world. 

The motion passed unanimously.

Marianna Bulldogs end preseason with 57-53 win

  • Published in Sports

The Marianna Bulldogs concluded the Bulldog Preseason Classic last week on a winning note, defeating Arnold 57-53. 

Marianna fell behind in the first quarter, 12-9.  Kegan Jones led the team with two shots from outside range, while Stefon McMillan added a three.  In the second quarter, it was the Bulldogs who took the quarter, 18-12 to narrow lead going into the half leading 27-24. McMillian led his team with seven points, followed by JJ Jackson with four points. 

Following the half-time break, Marianna edged the third quarter 16-14.  McMillian put up a trio of baskets, with Kegan Jones added a pair of threes to lead Marianna. The fourth quarter narrowly went to Marianna with a 16-15 lead.  

Leading the Bulldogs on the night was Stefon McMillian with 18 points, followed by Kegan Jones in double digits with 14 points.  James Davis was on board with nine points, Tavis Groomes checked in with six, JJ Jackson and Shaq Smith both posted four points while Jaden Smith ended the night with a basket in the fourth quarter.

After a trip to Cottondale Tuesday night, the Bulldogs will host Holmes County Friday night. Junior varsity is scheduled to tip off at 5:30 while the varsity begins at 7:00 p.m.

Chipola Lady Indians stay perfect through Thanksgiving

  • Published in Sports

While many were feasting on Thanksgiving specialties or black Friday shopping, the Lady Indians were on the road competing in four games throughout the week. They were scheduled to conclude their road trip this week before returning to the Milton H. Johnson Center Friday night to take on Central Georgia Technical College.

Chipola wins 87-73 over College of Central Florida

Chipola took game one of their Thanksgiving week road trip over College of Central Florida behind team-leading Courtajia Sanders with 27 points, eight rebounds, three assists, three steals and a block.  Valerie Nesbit double-double with 15 points on the board and 12 rebounds, eight assists and four steals. Right on her heels was Lyric Turner with 14 points, two rebounds and two assists. Dekeriya Patterson was in double digits with 12 points, two rebounds and two assists. 

Lady Indians defeat Palm Beach State 

In their second game of the week, the Lady Indians traveled to Palm Beach to take on the Palm Beach State Lady Panthers. Chipola handed the Lady Panthers a 75-52 loss. 

The Lady Indians won the first period 25-8.

In the second quarter, Chipola posted 14 points, while holding their opponent to 10 points. Going into the halftime break, the Lady Indians led 39-18.

Palm Beach edged by Chipola 18-17 in the third period. After three quarters of play, the Lady Indians led 56-36.

In the final quarter, Chipola outscored the Lady Panthers 19-16, securing the win.

Dekeriya Patterson led her team with 28 points, seven rebounds, one assist and three steals. Adding 15 points, seven rebounds, three assists, four steals and a block to her stats was Courtajia Sanders. Blessing Ejiofor duplicated Nesbitt from the previous game with a double-double of her own, garnishing 14 points, 12 rebounds, two assists, three steals and three blocks. 

Chipola takes it to overtime in nail bitter over Broward

Chipola played their third road game of the week against the Broward College Lady Seahawks on Black Friday. The Lady Indians took a slim 92-90 win in overtime.

The visiting Lady Indians outscored their opponent 23-18 in the first quarter.  Broward squeaked by the Lady Indians 15-14 in the second period. At the halfway mark, Chipola led 37-33.

The Lady Indians took the third quarter 22-17. With one quarter remaining, Chipola led 59-50.

Broward won the final quarter 29-20 tying at game 79 and forcing overtime to declare the winner.

In the overtime period, Chipola edged by the Lady Seahawks 13-11. That was just what the Lady Indians needed to secure a win. 

Leading the Lady Indians with 31 points, eight rebounds, one assist, one steal and a block was Courtajia Sanders. Blessing Ejiofor had 16 points, 11 rebounds, four steals and a block. Right behind her with 15 points, seven rebounds, two assists and two steals was Valerie Nesbitt. Dekeriya Patterson had 14 points and two rebounds on the evening.

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