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Shelia Mader

Shelia Mader

Sports Editor

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Governor Ron DeSantis comes through with Bridge Loan for ag producers

The TIMES received a call from a very excited Senator George Gainer last week in reference to a major signing by Governor Ron DeSantis to aid the agricultural producers in the wake of damages left by Hurricane Michael.  Senator Gainer said, “This is historic for our ag industry and we couldn’t be prouder of Governor DeSantis for what he has done for the Panhandle since he took office.”

Senator Gainer was referring to Governor DeSantis activating the Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program to support agricultural producers impacted by Hurricane Michael. The program will have $25 million to help agricultural producers prepare for the upcoming growing seasons as part of ongoing recovery efforts from Hurricane Michael.

The counties included are Bay, Calhoun, Franklin, Gadsden, Gulf, Holmes, Jackson, Jefferson, Leon, Liberty, Okaloosa, Wakulla, Walton and Washington counties. The application period opened Wednesday, May 15 and runs through June 30, 2019.

Governor DeSantis said, “Since day one, my administration has been laser-focused on making sure Floridians in Northwest Florida completely recover from Hurricane Michael. The activation of the Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program will provide much-needed relief to Florida farmers whose crops were decimated by this storm and will help in our efforts to bring Northwest Florida back stronger than before.”

The press release went on to say, “The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) currently administers the Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program with the Florida Small Business Development Center Network and Florida First Capital Finance Corporation to provide cash flow to businesses damaged by a disaster. The short-term, interest-free loans help bridge the gap between the time damage is incurred and when a producer secures other financial resources, including payment of crop insurance claims or federal disaster recovery appropriations.”

“We appreciate Governor DeSantis’ leadership as communities in the Florida Panhandle are continuing to recover from the impacts of Hurricane Michael,” said DEO Executive Director Ken Lawson. “This loan will provide agricultural producers in the impacted areas the opportunity to prepare for the upcoming growing seasons.” 

Florida agricultural producers with land in production that has suffered physical damage and/or economic injury as a result of Hurricane Michael can apply for the short-term loans up to $200,000. To be eligible, the agricultural producer must have been established prior to Oct. 7, 2018.

“As agricultural producers are preparing for the upcoming growing seasons, we want them to know we are here to help walk them through the loan process as they pick up the pieces from the devastating impacts of Hurricane Michael,” said Mike Myhre, CEO of the Florida SBDC Network. “We appreciate Governor DeSantis for working to find solutions for these small businesses. It is a pleasure to partner with the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity to help small businesses throughout the Florida Panhandle.”

Jackson County Cattlemen’s Association President Jeff Snell applauded the Governor’s actions, “On behalf of the members of the Jackson County Cattlemen’s Association, I would like to thank Governor DeSantis, Senator Gainer, Representative Brad Drake, Commissioners Clint Pate and Jim Peacock, the representatives from Florida Farm Bureau, the Jackson County Farm Bureau President Jeffrey Pittman, Bud Baggett, The Jackson County Chamber of Commerce, and Jackson County Cattlemen’s Association members Andy Andreasen, Billy Bigham, Ken Godfrey and Mack Glass for all of their hard work and dedication to the ag community of Jackson County. Countless behind the scenes hours have been devoted to seeing this program come to life. This program will be instrumental to the continuation of the local ad industry until federal legislation is passed.”

Local farmer Bud Baggett was extremely pleased with the announcement by Governor DeSantis, “I thank Governor DeSantis for his diligence in looking after the agricultural community and I’d like to add a special thanks to Richard Pinksy for all of his help to arrange our meetings with Governor DeSantis and legislators in Tallahassee.”  

To complete an application by the June 30, 2019 deadline, or for more information on the program, visit For questions regarding the Emergency Bridge Loan Program, contact the Florida Small Business Development Center Network at 866-737-7232 or email . The phone line will be answered during regular business hours; all voice mails and emails will be responded to within 24 hours. Applications can be submitted beginning May 20th, 2019.

Bannerman Surveyors closes after 50 years

Robert A. “Buddy” and Sharon Bannerman’s names are synonymous with surveying in Jackson and surrounding counties. Last week, their time in the surveying world came to an end after over 50 years of service in the Panhandle.  The building and records have been sold. 

Bannerman Surveyors opened in Tallahassee in 1945 under Buddy’s father, Robert C. Bannerman with Buddy beginning his career in surveying under his tutelage. Buddy opened his office in Marianna in 1970.  In 1988, Sharon and Buddy Bannerman became incorporated as Bannerman Surveyors, Inc. in Marianna.  At the peak of the business, they had as many as four crews running with four on each crew. Their son, Scott worked for them during his training years until his certification as well as their son-in-law Gary (Tew).  

Buddy Bannerman told of how he came to open an office in Marianna, “The reason we wound up in Marianna was his grandfather Henry Anderson Bowles was a prominent politician in Jackson County. He served as clerk of the court, the tax collector and the sheriff. My mother was from here. My father, according to my mother was a principal surveyor and engineer.”  Sharon Bannerman downplayed her role in the company but Buddy Bannerman was quick to say, “You were half of me and half of the business.” Bannerman is also very proud to have served in the Green Berets for 18 years, serving directly under General McMillian. 

Their service in Marianna has not been strictly business and career oriented. Both Buddy and Sharon Bannerman have been faithful members of the First Presbyterian Church for 45 years, with both having served as elders. Buddy Bannerman was President of the Florida Society of Professional Land Surveyors, and was also registered in Colorado for many years. He was a member of the Lions Club for 60-plus years and was president twice.  Bannerman was bestowed as a fellow in the American Congress of Surveying and Mapping (ACSM) and the National Society of Professional Surveyors (NSPS). Sharon Bannerman has been a very active member of the Marianna Women’s Club and served a term as president, was a 25-year volunteer at Jackson Hospital as a Pink Lady, and a member of the Red Hat Society. 

Bannerman said many changes have occurred since he started out as a surveyor, “Everything is done by GPS now, interlocks and satellites have come a long way.”

Sharon Bannerman said, “With legal descriptions, when we started back in 1974 when Buddy and I got married, if we made a mistake in the legal, we had to type it all over again.  Now, it’s a breeze.”

Sharon and Buddy Bannerman have six children among them and are blessed to have them all living in Jackson County.  Susan (Rance) Massengill, Laurie (Greg) Massengill, Deborah Matthewuse, Kathy McCrary (Rodney Carpenter), Nancy Tew (Gary) and Scott Bannerman (Mendy).  They have eight grandchildren and seven great grandchildren with one on the way. 

Sneads Lady Pirates bounce back for 2-1 win over Paxton

  • Published in Sports

The Lady Pirates were eager to hit the diamond Friday night after a one-day delay due to weather. They wanted to erase the bitter taste in their mouth left by the loss to Holmes County. For this pivotal game, Sneads coach Shawn Graham sent his ace, Marissa Baxter to the circle. Baxter went the distance, giving up no earned runs on four scattered hits, three walks and struck out three batters.

Sneads drew first blood in the top of the first inning when Abby Perkins led off with a double, followed by Michaela Edenfield drawing an intentional walk with one out. Kiara Garrett singled to load the bases for Taylor Lanphere’s fielder’s choice that scored Perkins but got Edenfield going to third. A groundout ended the inning with Sneads leading 1-0. A hit and a walk went for nil in the bottom of the inning for Paxton. 

Sneads was kept off the scoreboard in the second inning with a leadoff single by Hannah Stephens the only offense. Paxton was three up, three down.  Sneads threatened in the third inning with a leadoff single by Marissa Baxter, followed by Michaela Edenfield reaching on an error. Kiara Garrett hit into a fielder’s choice with no runs crossing home plate. A two-out walk was no harm, no foul for the Lady Pirates as a zero went on the board for Paxton. 

In the fourth inning, Lacee Glover singled to get things going but was out on an attempted steal of second. A ground out and a fly out kept the game at 1-0 with Paxton coming up empty in the bottom half. Taylor Reese Howell led off for Sneads in the fifth with a double but an oops play had her out when she slipped past second and a quick tag got her. The Lady Pirates Sneads picked up their second and game-winning run in the top of the fifth inning in grand fashion. Marissa Baxter went yard on an 0-2 pitch over the right field fence.  A walk and an error was all of Paxton’s offense in the bottom of the frame. 

Sneads went down in order in the top of the sixth with a walk, hit batter and single coming up with one run in the bottom of the frame to narrow the lead to 2-1.

Sneads went quietly in the seventh inning with a goose egg for Paxton cementing the Lady Pirates a win and a chance to move on to semi regionals. 

Grand Ridge Volleyball 20-0 for 2019 season

  • Published in Sports

The Grand Ridge volleyball team concluded their regular season Tuesday night before family, fans and tons of supporters with recognition of their ‘seniors’ prior to the start of the ‘A’ game. Both teams completed the season with perfect 10-0 records.  Team spirit between the two squads was alive and visible to all who attended Monday night’s game. ‘B’ team players not only cheered for their older team, Ella Ann Childs sent Sister Arnold off in fashion with a sign that said it all about Sister Arnold!.

Exceeding all dreams and expectations without a single set loss throughout the season was the ‘A’ team. Coach Pat Jones was all smiles following Monday’s games, “A team did not lose a single set all year. I’m not sure the last time that was done.”  The ‘A’ team players are: Sister Arnold, Gabby Bellamy, Morgan Dykes, Morgan Edwards, Lily Glover, McKenzie Henson, Kaliah Jones, Keirstyn Jones, Chloe King, Ella Sprouse and Kylie Stephens. 

The Grand Ridge ‘B’ team kept the court just as exciting this year and gave the fans a taste of what’s to come, another undefeated season. Rest assured, they took note of the ‘A’ team’s unbeaten status in a single set throughout the season and they will be striving to repeat that next season. Making up the ‘B’ team is: Emily Brown, Ella Ann Childs, Hanna Dean, Addyson Duboise, Serenity Fernandez, Megan Harrison, Jayla Lewis, Gracie O’Neal, Jadyn Riano and Reagan Watkins. 

The win gives ‘A’ team the number one seed going into conference championships Thursday. The conference games start at 2 p.m. when the number four seed versus the number five seed.  At 3 p.m. the winner of the 2 p.m. game will play Grand Ridge as they are the number one seed. At 4 p.m., the number two and three seeds with the winners of those two games playing for the championship game at 5 p.m.  

Congratulations to both the Grand Ridge A and B teams and their coaches on an awesome season.

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