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Jean Wiggins – Librarian from the very start

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County Commission begins budget workshop hearings

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Shelia Mader

Shelia Mader

Sports Editor

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Graceville takes 6-4 win over Marianna in Ozone Action

  • Published in Sports

In the teams’ first game of the State Tournament Saturday, it was the Graceville Ozone taking a 6-4 win over the Marianna Ozone team.  

Kelbee Woodham took the mound for Graceville and picked up the win with Marianna countering with Isaiah Spencer.  

In the top of the first inning, Neal Adams lit up the scoreboard when he took the third pitch over the fence for the first run of the game.  Woodham helped himself out with a single, stole second before going to third on a wild pitch.  With two outs, Tyler Deon drew a walk but a grounder back to the mound left two on base.  Marianna had tied it in their half of the first.  Spencer singled but was out on a double play ball.  Brady Barber drew a four-pitch walk, went to second and third on passed balls before scoring when Griffin Tucker reached on an error.  A strikeout ended the inning with Tucker on first.

Graceville’s Christian Myrick reached on an error in the second inning with two outs, but a strikeout ended the inning.  Marianna’s Maxx Harkrider took one for the team in the second and with one out, moved to second on a single by Tanner Padgett.  A strikeout and a groundout ended the inning with no runs crossing the plate.  

Graceville was three up, three down in the third inning.  Marianna scored two runs to take a 3-1 lead.  Peyton Black drew a walk but was out on a fielder’s choice by Ty’Keise Facion.  Spencer took one to the side to land on first safely.  With two outs, Brady Barber drew a walk to load the bases before a pair of wild pitches plated two runs.  

Graceville answered with two runs to tie the game in the fourth inning.  Neal Adams doubled and moved to third on a sacrifice by Woodham.  Zephaniah Brunson singled home Adams, and stole second.  Tyler Deon drew a walk to put runners on the corners.  Connor Dillard scored Brunson on a sacrifice to second before a popup to second ended the inning.  Marianna added a run in the fourth to go up 4-3.  With one out, Harkrider doubled, followed by Andrew Rush taking a hit to the hip.  An error allowed Tanner Padgett to reach and load the bases.  A fielder’s choice by Giovanni Wamble scored a run before a strikeout ended the inning. 

Graceville countered with three runs in the fifth inning to take a 6-4 lead.  With two outs, Anthony Watford walked, stole second, and moved to third on a wild pitch. Neal Adams picked up his third hit of the day, making him a triple shy of the cycle, and scored Watford with a single.  Kelbee Woodham singled to score Adams while Zephaniah Brunson tripled home Woodham.  A strikeout ended the inning.

Marianna was retired in order in the final two innings.  Graceville went down one, two, three in the sixth.

All-Stars hear from National Championship coach Jeff Johnson

  • Published in Sports

Last Friday night, 24 teams converged on Marianna High School and packed the gym with coaches, parents, and state championship hosts for the opening ceremonies of the Florida State Tournament.  Marianna had the advantage this year when searching for the key-note speaker.  Chipola College Athletic Director and head baseball coach Jeff Johnson lives right here and is always willing to give back to his community.

The teams made their way into the Marianna High School gym, took the seats with their teams with all the baseball decorations you could ask for as done by the many volunteers for the State Tournament.  Inflated baseballs identified the team tables and baskets filled with peanuts, cracker jacks, and other assorted baseball memorabilia were placed on the tables along with sports articles from this year’s Optimist Park baseball and softball season placed on the tables compliments of the Jackson County Times.  Home plate placemats greeted the players as they sat with their meal, ready to hear what the speaker had to say.

Johnson, well known throughout the baseball world, kept the players tuned in to what he had to say.  He talked about building teams to win championships, team bonding, what it meant to be a team player, and what coaches look for when building a team from scratch.  He encouraged the kids to practice good sportsmanship throughout their playing days, to be there for their teammates on good days and not so good days, to practice taking losses as graciously as they take wins, and above all keep the game in perspective.  At the end of the day, everyone is going to move to a different area of their life, friendships are going to be made off the field as quickly as they are on the field, and everyone should leave that opportunity open.  

He praised his National Championship team of 2017 and spoke of his 2007 team, who won it on grit more so than talent and said both were special in their own way.  

Marianna High School’s hallways took on a State Tournament appearance from the time all the players, coaches, parents, and guests from across the state.  The 2017 State Tournament Directors, the Marianna Recreation Department, the City of Marianna, and the volunteers outdid themselves in putting on the tournament! 

Jean Wiggins – Librarian from the very start

As children, we often imagine what we are going to be when we ‘grow up’.  That changes daily, weekly, monthly, for the most part for all children.  They want to be a doctor, a fireman, a nurse, a teacher, a police officer, and the list goes on.  This was not true for Jean Wiggins.  Mrs. Wiggins said she knew from the very start she wanted to be a librarian.  

She graduated from Blountstown High School in 1952 and left for Florida State University two months later to begin the pursuit of her dream.  Mrs. Wiggins graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Library Science in May, 1956 and began as the librarian at Marianna High School three months later.  She remained at Marianna High School as the librarian until May 30, 1991. 

Wiggins says, “I have always loved books and I knew exactly what I wanted to do before I graduated high school I wanted to share my love of books with students.”  

Wiggins saw lots of changes through her 35 years at MHS, but one that stands out was the addition of the new library in the late 60s, “That was one of the biggest highlights of my career.  We went from having a couple of film projectors to having multiple ones.  We were able to provide projectors to the classroom and tried to provide all the material to fit the curriculum with all the audio and visual equipment available.  We had 16 mm projectors that were catalogued using the Dewey Decimal system just like our books were, only they were audio and visual.”  The library was moved from the main hall of MHS to a freestanding brand new state-of-the-art building.  The books were moved by students forming a human assembly line and books handed from one to the other.  All students were in the hallways or under the cover of an awning of the sidewalks going to the new library.  That was a real treat for students then to have time away from the books.  Rest assured, it was a speedy process and little time was missed. 

Assisting Wiggins throughout her tenure at MHS were Mrs. Margie Turnage, Mrs. Milton, and Mrs. Eunice Martin, “They were great help for me especially when we were a demonstration library for Florida.  We had people from all over the state coming to observe our library. Some would come in early and some later to see how we operated.  This was in the 70s.”

Wiggins says without a doubt to see some of her students in the work force today, doing well means so much to her, “Ernie Padgett our county administrator, Dr. Joe Gay, and a bunch of lawyers and teachers, and a county commissioner. Chuck Lockey, Jackson County Commissioner stood up in a meeting and said he owed me an apology for his so-called misbehavior in the library when he was in school.”  Lockey responded, “I sure did that.  You know just being a boy, you couldn’t stay quiet in the library and Mrs. Wiggins was pretty adamant about the library being quiet so people could study. She was a very good person that could handle all of us guys at one time. We tried her patience but she always prevailed.  That look she gave could freeze us in our steps.  We weren’t as tough as we thought we were. I owed her that apology.”

 Wiggins has two children, Melanie and Todd who both live near Atlanta, one in Fayettville and one in Cummings.  Melanie is a nurse and works as a case manager.  Todd is a computer analyst.  She is the proud grandmother of two granddaughters, Molly McMillian who just returned from having taught a year in China, and Morgan who lives in Fayetteville.   Todd is married to Kimberly and she has a son Joseph who has two children.   Prior to his death, Jean’s husband Bill had a florist which Jean assisted in many ways while working at the high school.  She refers to herself as the gopher for him, getting whatever he needed for flower arrangements, catering, anything to do with the business.  

Although she retired in 2003, she is still very active in the community.  She teaches a lady’s Sunday School class at First Baptist Church, sings in the choir, is secretary of the Joy Club and is church clerk.  She is past president of the Friends of the Jackson County Public Library and is still a faithful member.

Libraries have definitely changed over the years and as they did, Jean Wiggins changed with them, adapting and improving every step of the way to continually influence the students passing before her a love for reading which in turn produces a smarter, more well-rounded adult!  Thank you, Jean Wiggins for 35 years of dedication to the Jackson County School system.

County Commission begins budget workshop hearings

The Jackson County Commissioners began their annual budget meeting for the coming fiscal year Wednesday morning.  All commissioners, county administrator Ernie Padgett, constitutional officers, and department heads were present with their budget requests for the coming year. 

Administrator Ernie Padgett began with an opening statement about the upcoming budget.  Padgett said he felt like he needed to make some introductory comments and “get this out there before the start of the budget meetings.”  Padgett said he had chosen not to go one on one with the commissioners but rather to wait until the workshop to address them all at once.  

Padgett said, “As we start we are going to hear a lot about needs, some wants, but a lot about needs.  You’re going to hear from the constitutionals about primarily what their needs are.  Then this board will have to assess those needs.  What I’d like to do is bring your attention to page three of your budget packet.”  Padgett praised the work of Danielle (McDaniel), Pam (Prichard), and the clerk’s office for the amount of work put into putting the proposed budget together.  Padgett continued, “Commissioners I feel like the five months that I’ve been in this position, in my opinion, we need to seriously look on the revenue side.  We have to look at the expenditures of the board and of course it goes without saying that we cannot fund everything that everyone requests, there is just no way.”  Padgett went on to say that at the same time, the county was responsible for maintaining an acceptable level of service for the citizens of Jackson County.  Padgett said, “We are in a position here in Jackson County that we are behind, we are playing catchup and I think we need to this year, to really look at this and address it.” Padgett’s concern was for the board to be proactive with revenue and budget, “This is something I think we need to be very mindful of.  For thirty something years, I’ve pledged myself as a bit of a conservative but at the same time I feel that we are responsible for funding governmental services at the level they should be funded and not extravagantly.”  

Padgett said, “I made it a point to share what I am going to share all at one time and I thought the place to share it was right here in a meeting where everyone hears it at the same time.  There are two revenue sources that I think we need to talk about and I just want you to think about as we go through the budget.”  Padgett made reference to two areas of revenue to assist in making this happen.  He referred to the millage information provided in the packet.  Last year’s millage was 7.8727 and 95% of that would generate $11,496,929. This would result in an increase of $200,938 over last year’s levied taxes of $11,901,093.  If the proposed millage of the current year rolled-back millage of 7.8073 were adopted, it would generate $11,401,422 at 95% of assessed property values. Padgett said, “As your county administrator, I hardly recommend that we not increase the millage rage but that we keep it at rate it is today and that’s going to mean the difference of about $200,000 that will be coming in.”  Padgett reiterated that he was not recommending a millage increase but he did advise that if they were asked if they had in fact increased the millage rate, they would have to say yes but attributed that to a legislative action 30 years ago.   Padgett then referenced some figures on homeowner taxable values to put the figures in perspective.  

Padgett addressed another revenue source that he asked the commissioners to consider and think about, “There’s up to five cents of gas tax that’s available to this county if this board decides that.  Now to pass the gas tax, it takes four of the five votes.  You can’t do it on the majority.”  Padgett presented what revenue would be generated with one cent and with five cents tax added to the price per gallon.

Padgett told the TIMES, “What I want to do is to be proactive with generating revenue and bring us up to today’s times.  We are behind and we need to move forward and these are just some ideas for the board to consider that will allow that to happen.”

The Budget hearings will be continuing and will be reported in the TIMES.

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