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Shelia Mader

Shelia Mader

Sports Editor

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Jackson County Parks preparing for summer time

With spring on the horizon in just a couple of weeks, it’s normal for Jackson County Parks and Recreation personnel to be preparing for the warmer weather. This year presents new challenges with damages to every key recreational area. 

Parks and Recreation Director Rett Daniels said the challenges are definitely in place this year, “From what our respective is from the county, trying to do as much as wen can on a short amount of time to get places open and safe for the people and the public to come out and enjoy. Primarily, our busiest places during the summertime are going to be Jackson Blue Springs which is county-maintained park owned by the state. Then we’ve got Spring Creek which is where the Millpond flows into the dam at Highway 90 and the bottom part of that is Spring Creek.  We have a public kayak and canoe launch there that a lot of people use and put in their own tubes and things like that.”

Daniels said both of those locations sustained quite a bit of damage and what they are looking at right now for Spring Creek, the entire boardwalk system has been demolished, “We don’t have time right now to remove the debris and then repair the Boardwalk system. So, for right now, that area will be minimally open. We are going to try to isolate a few areas that are okay and accessible and safe to use but for the most part, the upper parking lot area will not have a continual access to the bottom which is where a lot of people put in.”  Daniels said that would be a pretty big setback for parks and recreation this year. 

Another very popular spot is Blue Springs or Jackson Blue took a huge hit. Daniels says there are contractors in the park removing debris and trying to rebuild. He said, “Our dock system’s completely demolished, part of it’s detached and it’s further down the pond and hung up and we haven’t been able to retrieve it yet. A lot of our buildings sustained damage. The pavilions have to be re-roofed. There’s a lot that has to be done before we can trust the property to be able to sustain the amount of people that we have out there on a regular basis.”

Another popular spot is Turner’s Landing according to Daniels. Daniels said, “This is just a little ways down from Spring Creek and we’ve got a parking lot where they’ll come and park, set up lawn chairs and let children play in the water. This is one area that we are going to focus on and try to get opened up just so we can get people out and about exploring our beautiful waterways.”

Daniels said that it’s a possibility to adjust the schedule at Blue Springs to being closed one day to allow them to continue to clean up debris while the park is open the rest of the week from Memorial Day to Labor Day. 

He said, “We’ve got our work cut out for us. We just hope everybody will bear with us.”

Daniels did add that the county does plan to continue ‘Concert in the Park’ this summer.

Gulf Power is bringing solar power to Jackson County

Tuesday night, Jackson County residents gathered at the St. Mary Missionary Baptist Church in Jacob to hear from Gulf Power spokes people about the proposed Blue Indigo Solar Energy Center.  They informed people living near the area during the public meeting.

Gulf Power has plans to ask the county for permission to build a solar energy plant on nearly 700 acres of land in Jackson County, south of State Highway 162, more commonly known as Jacob Road. 

This would be the biggest project ever taken on in the city of Jacob, according to city officials.

It would be 300,000 panels spread across hundreds of acres, but before Gulf Power moves forward with the proposal for Jackson County, they wanted to touch base with the people of Jacob.

Ronstance Pittman is the City of Jacob’s consultant, “This is something new. Something that we don’t have a lot of knowledge about, but we’re getting more knowledge as time goes on.”

Ronstance Pittman continually seeks and gathers information to facilitate any change that comes to Jacob and its citizens. When she first heard the news that Gulf Power was looking to build the solar plant in Jacob, she put the wheels in motion to find out all she could about the pros and cons of such a project, “You don’t want to alarm people that are living around it. You want to make sure they are knowledgeable about the project, they’re not misinformed, they are not afraid, and they are embracing what is their neighbors.”

Gulf power purchased 697 acres of farm land that is not presently being used just south of Jackson Road from a private owner a few months ago to build the solar site. The project is expected to take about eight months to complete, and would employ about 200 employees to complete.

The solar energy center would produce 74.5 megawatts of energy. That’s enough to power 15,000 homes annually. The solar panels will not damage the soil. This alleviates the concern that once the panels are there, the farm land would not be usable. The farm land would not be harmed in any way. 

Pittman said, “It is the biggest project we’ve had in the city so far, so we’re hoping it will attract other projects to come in so we can continue to build the city.”

The next step for Gulf Power is to make the proposal to the Jackson County Commission. If permission is granted by the Board of County Commissioners, the work on the plant could begin as early as the summer of 2019.

Bulldog Wrestlers are headed to regionals

  • Published in Sports

Marianna High School wrestlers competed at the District matchups last weekend and eight wrestlers are head to Regionals as a result of their performance.  The top four spots in each division qualify for regionals. 

Senior Neal Smith is a four-year wrestler and is a second time district champion and four-time regional qualifier.  Smith had a huge redemption win from losses during the season over Arnold’s Will Ashby. 

Junior Corey Davis is the district champ in the 182-pound division. He will be moving on to participate in regional competition and you can bet he will have a smile on his face. 

Senior Jonah Mercer has grown leaps and bounds on the mat this year and it showed at districts this past weekend. Mercer placed second in the 195-weight class and advances to regional competition.

Freshman William Carrel is a first-year wrestler and moved mountains this year to prove himself on the mat. Carrel placed fourth in district and is a regional qualifier in his first year.

Sophomore Christian Cosson has been wrestling for two years and is a 2019 Regional Qualifier in the 160 class. With two years under his belt, things are looking rosy for Cosson for the next two years.   

Dustin Arnold is an MHS junior and is a two-year wrestler.  He is a 2019 Regional Qualifier in the 120-weight division.  With improvement shown this year, good things are in store for Arnold in his senior year. 

Junior Roosevelt Williams placed third in district and is a Regional Qualifier for 2019.  Williams is a first-year wrestler and found his place on the mat early in the season.

John Maddox is a junior and a three-year wrestler. He is a Regional Qualifier after placing at district.

Latest post season rankings from the Orlando Sentinel have 113-class Neal Smith at number thirteenth, 170-class John Maddox is ranked twelfth, always-smiling Corey Davis is ranked eleventh in the 182 class, while Jonah Mercer is ranked 18th in the 195 class.

Regionals will be held March 1 and 2 at South Walton High School. Results will be in next week’s edition of the Jackson County Times. 


  • Published in Sports

The Graceville Tigers picked up their game at just the right time this year. They appear to be operating on all eight cylinders as they are taking one game at a time in route to the final four. One game remained in their way and they were scheduled to take care of that one Tuesday night – that one coming after they shocked Poplar Springs last Tuesday with a 68-58 win.  Shocked is fitting considering Poplar Springs handed the Tigers a 72-37 loss less than two weeks prior to last Thursday. But the Tigers took the court and let it be known from the opening tipoff, “NOT THIS TIME, NOT ON MY COURT!”

The Tigers took a 12-11 win in the first quarter Joell Green and Cyprian James with five points each. The second quarter was just as tight but once again, it was Graceville edging out the Atomics 17-16 to take a 29-27 lead into the locker room at the half.  It was James with six points, followed closely by Cedric Williams with five points.

Graceville turned it up in the third quarter, posting 19 points while holding Poplar Springs to just nine points.  Andre Brown was the hero of the quarter with seven points.  With one quarter to go, the Tigers were feeling a victory, leading 48-36. 

It was all over but the shouting early in the fourth quarter with the hungry Tigers maintaining the lead despite Poplar Springs winning the final quarter by a narrow 22-20 margin. James posted eight points, including four-for-four from the line to lead the Tigers in the fourth.

Leading Graceville overall on the night was Cyprian James with 23 points, followed by Andre Brown with 17 points.  On board in double digits with 10 points were Joelle Green and Xavian Sorey.  

LATE BREAKING NEWS: The Graceville Tigers fought hard for four quarters against Paxton but fell 57-52.  Congratulations to the TIGERS and their first-year head-coach Cameron Dozier.  Great things are in store for the Tigers.  

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