Sunland Center is NOT CLOSING

Sunland Center is NOT CLOSING

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Shelia Mader

Shelia Mader

Sports Editor

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Sunland Center is NOT CLOSING

In recent weeks, the Times has received numerous calls in reference to the possible closing of Sunland Center.  The rumor was also circulating about the closing of DDDP in Chattahoochee.  In response to concerns about Sunland closing or substantial changes being considered by the administration in Tallahassee, regarding restructuring which would adversely affect future operations, the TIMES obtained a letter addressed to Sunland and DDDP employees. 

The letter was from Karen Hagan, Chief of Staff for Agency for Person with Disabilities.  Hagan said, “In recent weeks, false rumors about the future of Sunland have been in the newspaper and on social media. I want to reassure every one of you that there are no plans to close Sunland or DDDP.  APD values both Sunland and DDDP and the important work that you do to serve people with disabilities in the region.  Remember, people can post anything they want on their Facebook page, and that does not mean any of it is true. I am sorry that many of you have been distressed by these rumors, and understand that anything that would impact your livelihood is of concern.  Rest assured, your jobs are safe and there are no plans to shut down Sunland or DDDP. The work you do is both important and appreciated.”

In a telephone interview with the Melanie Etters, we asked if there were any truth to the rumors surrounding the closing of Sunland. Etters said, “Nothing is going on.” Nothing substantial will be changing in reference to Sunland or DDDP.” Etters added, “Here in Tallahassee there is some reporting shifting but nobody’s jobs are in danger. The word they are using here is they are ‘reorganizing’ but sometimes when you use that word people think their jobs are in danger and that is not the case.  What we have is a lot of people who used to report to the Deputy Director of Programs will not report to the Deputy Director of Operations. Some of those who used to report to the Deputy Director of Operations will now report to the Deputy Director of Programs, once it is approved. It has not been approved yet. The centers and that includes Sunland will go to reporting to the Deputy Director of Operations to reporting to the Deputy Director of Programs. But that will have nothing to do with who lives at Sunland. None of that is changing. The only change will be is they will report from one man to reporting to the other man. Nothing is changing in the big picture of the operation of Sunland.”

The Times has spoken with Senator George Gainer and he continues to reiterate he will do everything in his power to insure Sunland and DDDP remain open. 

Sneads Pirates overpower the Bozeman Bucks

  • Published in Sports

The Sneads Pirates gave new meaning to home-field advantage last Friday night. After a less-than-friendly away game two weeks ago, the Sneads Pirates were more than happy to take Citizens Field last Friday night. They gave the fans their money’s worth with a 27-7 win over the Bozeman Bucks. 

After a scoreless first quarter, Sneads removed the goose egg with a touchdown and an extra point off the foot of Trent Smith.  That score held till halftime. 

The Bucks wasted little time in tying the game at seven in the third quarter but the Pirates had an answer for them – three answers in fact. They scored in the third quarter to move ahead 14-7 and never looked back. 

A pair of touchdowns and an extra point in the fourth quarter put the game out of reach and a W in the right column for the Sneads Pirates. 

The Pirates picked up 303 yards on the ground on 56 carries.  Colton Mercer had two punts totaling 57 yards. 

Leading the team in rushing was Calvin Stringer with 161 yards on 18 carries, followed by Courtavious Garrett with 56 yards on 10 carries. Alonzo Hill had five carries for 30 yards, while Trent Smith had five carries for 25 yards. On board with 26 yards on nine carries was Colton Mercer with 26 yards on nine carries. Trent Smith had five carries for 25 yards.

Courtavious Garrett was one-for-one passing for eight yards. 

Stringer was definitely the workhorse finding the endzone three times with Garrett accounting for the other touchdown.  Trent Smith was three-for-four in point after attempts. 

The Pirates will be back at it Friday night when they make the long haul to Franklin County. Game time is at 7 p.m.  Franklin County is 1-3 on the season, having started the season with a 20-13 loss to Florida A & M High School. They beat North Bay Haven Academy 13-0 before dropping a game to Bell 20-13 and last Friday’s 6-0 loss to Liberty County.  Sneads enters the game with a 2-1 regular season record. 

Graceville Tigers win BIG 42-21 over Holmes County

  • Published in Sports

Tiger fans knew and were prepared for a rebuilding year this year but they saw something last week in the Tigers’ game against the visiting Chipley Tigers that gave them hope that something good was close to happening.  Friday night, that hope made its way to the scoreboard in a 42-21 win over an always tough Holmes County Blue Devils team. 

The outcome never appeared to be in question for the Tigers from the time they stepped on the field. 

They went up 8-7 before falling behind 15-8 in the second quarter. Another touchdown made it 21-8 but the Tigers went into the locker room at the half and returned with a determination that didn’t let up until the final buzzer sounded.  A quick touchdown made it a 21-14 game and the Tigers had new life. A pair of touchdowns and the Tigers were cruising 34-21.  In the end it was all Graceville with a 42-21 win.

Joe Claiborne had two touchdowns on the night with Xavian Sorey racking up 114 yards through the air and a touchdown in the air.  Sorey also added a 90-yard punt return for a touchdown, a 72-yard kickoff return and two sacks. Combine all of that for a 42-21 solid first win of the season. 

The Tigers will use that momentum to carry over into Friday night’s game when they return to the friendly confines of their home field to take on Freeport.  Freeport is 1-2 on the season and coming off a 27-6 win over Walton.  The lost 27-6 to Walton and 26-18 to Holmes County.  Game time is 7:00 p.m.

Eddie Elmore – USMC prepared him for life

Eddie Elmore graduated from Cottondale High School in 1997, where he left his home two hours after receiving his diploma to join the Marines. Elmore said, “So the night I graduated, I jumped into the recruiter’s car and we took off to Parris Island, South Carolina.” Elmore says it was the right decision for him and prepared him for the life he has today.

Elmore was in Parris Island for the normal three-month boot camp. He came home on leave for 10 days and was then sent to Camp Geiger, where Elmore completed his infantry training. Elmore said, “I was a reservist then and reported to the reserves in the 3rd Force Reconnaissance Company in Mobile.” Elmore spent some time with the 3rd Force and then went to Lima Company 3/23, which is an infantry company. This was all reserve time at the time.  

Elmore said, “In 1999, being in the Reserves you get called up for different types of active duty training and active duty operations. I got called up for ‘Operation Cornerstone’ in Albania/ Kosovo in the Balkans in 1999. I spent a couple of weeks over there doing security operations for NATO and the security forces to help support Albanian construction. Of course, after 9-11 everybody that wore a uniform pretty much got deployed at some point. I was attached to the 1st Marine Division in Task Force Tarawa, in Iraq in ’03 during the invasion. I went over there and did about eight months deployment to Iraq, I was in the Reserves then but got called back to active duty and got attached to the 1st Marine Division for the invasion. We were the second wave invasion force. I made it all the way up to Baghdad doing operations during my deployment in Iraq.”  

Elmore got out of the Marines after returning from Iraq, where he worked for the Department of Children and Family Services as a child abuse investigator, Elmore said, “During that time, I applied with the Highway Patrol and got accepted into the Highway Patrol Training Academy in December of ’04 and started working with FHP and been here ever since.” 

When asked if the Marines helped prepare him for where he is now, Elmore was quick to say, “Absolutely. Not only do I think it prepared me because coming out of high school, you need direction. I come from a very strict upbringing, so if I hadn’t of gone into the Marine Corps to further that discipline then I honestly think, I would’ve been in trouble. I would’ve been in big trouble. I don’t think it would’ve kept me on the track I’m on now. Because, not only in the Marine Corps you have to be able to focus on a mission, but you have to be able to accept orders and to become a follower before you can become a leader. All good followers who are good leaders start as good followers.”  

Elmore graduated from Chipola College in 2000 and from there he transferred to Troy State University where he graduated in 2003 with a degree in criminal justice and a minor in sociology.

Eddie is married to Keely Elmore, and they have two daughters Rylee Elmore and Allie Hinson. Allie is currently a student at Chipola College majoring in education. Rylee is a seventh grader at Marianna Middle School, where she is a cheerleader.  

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