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Shelia Mader

Shelia Mader

Sports Editor

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County battle on the diamond goes to Lady Bulldogs

  • Published in Sports

Records are out the window when Marianna and Sneads softball teams take the field.  The outcome is as unpredictable as Florida and Florida State, Auburn and Alabama in football (despite some diehard fans who would like to say otherwise). Last Friday night was no exception as Marianna traveled to Sneads in hopes of a sweep.  It’s become tradition that this is the last regular season game for these two teams, gearing up for the post season.  This year, both teams are sitting on top in their district and are fully loaded to make a run for state. 

Marianna sent their senior ACE Chloe Temples to the circle with Sneads countering with their senior Marissa Baxter. Both pitchers have signed to play college ball and both wanting to end the regular season with the ‘W’ over their county rival. In the end, it was Marianna who would survive with a 4-2 win, with Temples allowing just one earned run and Baxter just two earned runs.  Baxter allowed four total runs on seven hits, two walks and struck out six batters. Temples allowed two runs total on three hits, three walks and fanned a whopping 16 batters. 

Offensively, six runs between the two teams says what a defensive game it was. The 10 hits, five walks, and 21 strikeouts solidified that it was a pitcher’s duel. 

For Sneads, they collected three hits with one each from Abby Perkins, Michaela Edenfield and Marissa Baxter. Edenfield made the best of her swing with two-out solo shot over right centerfield in the first inning. Perkins singled in the third and was drive in by Edenfield. Edenfield, Baxter, and Georgia Scott waited patiently for the right pitch but took the cheap way out with a walk instead. Taylor Reese Howell recorded a sacrifice to help out her team, while Edenfield got a second freebie when she reached on an error. 

For Marianna, it was Gabby Bess leading the way with two hits, and two RBIs, followed by Angel Curry with a hit and an RBI. On board with one hit and one run scored each was Lauren Brock and Jayden Sorey, followed by Lexie Spooner with a double. Brock recorded a double in her at bat with a hit and reached base twice on Sneads’ miscues. Amari Brown was issued two walks and two runs scored.

Autism committee discusses development of Endeavor

The Autism Committee met last Thursday for an update on the progress of the buildings at Endeavor, formerly Dozier School for Boys. Members present were Syntha Alvarez, Connie Butts, Toolie Harkins, Shelia Mader, Clint Pate, Rick Pettis, Roland Rabon and Rhonda Thomas.  County Administrator Wilanne Daniels was also present from the community. 

Rick Pettis addressed the board about the future plans for Endeavor, the property and buildings that have been assigned, and told of the long-term effort that will be required to make the Autism program become what it is projected to be. Pettis presented a map that outlined some of the designated areas.  The area in blue is land that is set aside for future indoor public uses. One of those areas is where the sheriff’s office is moving. The Jackson County Sheriff’s Office has been given property at the former JJOT facility.  It is presently being renovated and will not be the jail but rather the sheriff’s offices and the 911 center. Work is presently in progress on that building. 

The Autism Center is proposed to be where the vocational area was and they are plans to be looking for expanding that concept to include other vocational training as well as other groups. Pettis said it’s hopeful to potentially have a residential area for that vocational group. 

The north side of 276 is the area that is directly behind the jail and the county’s alternative school.  Pettis said the county itself may end up taking that building sometime down the road, once the school board vacates that property in 2021-2022. Pettis said it is a possibility to see county administration take over some of that property. 

The ‘yellow’ area on the map is proposed for commercial development. It could be stores, resale, offices, or mixed use.  That is the main part of campus that you see when you drive though the area. 

Pettis said, “We actually have a project right now that we are working that is considering come here, and putting a 50,000 square foot manufacturing facility there. That’s already moving forward. There is a lot of promise and a lot of parties we are talking with, housing developers and other manufacturers, various business owners. All kinds of things that could go out there but it may take years to get there. We have a lot of work ahead of us.”

Following Pettis’ presentation about the future of Endeavor, he discussed the autism school. He said the county and others have been entertaining three or four different parties who have expressed some level of interest in potentially being the managers of that facility, to help put that together. Pettis said the biggest concern right now for the facility is sustainability for the facility. There is $750,000 which is budgeted for that, for the start of that and the cost of the building that was not incurred but both are considered soft costs Pettis said.  He said it works out to about $80,000 a year in costs for salaries for the first three years. Other costs would be for software and materials. Pettis said there was enough money to create a framework for the school but not enough money there to fund it for three to five years. There will have to be sustainability money through tuition with a lot of work to be done on that.  This is viable according to Pettis as there are interested parties already.

The Autism Board was given the proposed by-laws to review with the vote on them coming at the next meeting.

Buying local in Jackson County supports more than business owners

Hurricane Michael has come and gone but its destruction is still present.  The last six-plus months have been a challenge for many individuals, families and businesses in Jackson County. Shoppers have long been and still are encouraged to shop local by patronizing small businesses as well as larger ones. These businesses all depend on garnering your business in order to stay alive to maintain a sound economy for Jackson County in the hope that it will soon flourish.  The slogan “850 Strong” motivated us through the early days of the storm, but it is even more important now that recovery is underway and folks are building for the future.  

The Times has had numerous calls from local residents and business owners about what they refer to as “fly by night” businesses. These entities set up on the side of the road, bear no overhead, and are gone just a few days after taking sales away from local businesses.  The local brick and mortar businesses pay taxes, pay building permit fees and access fees, but even more importantly, they support our community. They fund FFA projects, support BETA Clubs so they can make state and national conventions, sponsor yearbooks to offset the costs for parents, and constantly support sports programs, including band and cheerleading.  These clubs and activities could happen without the many contributions made by businesses in Jackson County. In good times and in bad, local business owners find ways to keep supporting students and their activities.

In recent months, we have had several “Fly by Nighters” come into town, take our citizens’ money and leave to never be heard from again.  It makes no difference if it is a washing machine, a tee shirt, jewelry, cars, trucks, or purses that they are selling – whatever the item(s) is, this temporary seller is taking money out of Jackson County in the taxes that would have been collected and contributions that could be made to benefit people in Jackson County.  One such business that sold vehicles in Marianna was not a member of the Better Business Bureau; that’s certainly not a crime. However, before you purchase from someone who is NOT brick and mortar, it is sound judgment to see what past customers have said about them. There were 33 complaints found on the BBB website. One former customer said, “I would like the money back from the purchase of this vehicle and an explanation as to why I was not informed of the damage/accident that this car has... I asked if this automobile had been in any accidents and why it was sold with only 11,000 miles on the odometer... I would like to hear what this business (New Wave Auto Sales), has to say.  They are also doing business as ALL IN EVENTS”.  Of course, the customer who complained has not gotten a response for there is no one here to answer.

Another unhappy customer wrote, “This 2015 Toyota Camry was involved in a serious accident. The front end has damage to the frame and I asked if the car had been in an accident. This car was purchased in Stuart, Florida, December 16, 2018... The damage was pointed out to me from Carmax of Jensen Beach, FL. January 4th, 2019... This car may have hit a wall and then had silver spray paint added over the welding marks where both fenders had been replaced... No notice of this damage or report of an accident was provided by seller... The car : 2015 Toyota Camry, VIN # 4T1BF1FK5FUXXXXXX.”  This customer, too, was without any recourse.  

The Times also had a lady stop by the office who had purchased a pair of earrings and a ‘designer’ bag in early December from a set up on the side of the road. The earrings sent her to the doctor’s office with an infection. She said she was told the ‘designer’ bag was a knock-off, but she felt could live with that for the price she paid for it.  However, the office visit and meds for her ears tallied over $125 (out of pocket). Though these are smaller items, the situation is much the same.  The vendor paid no fee, used the roadway, and bilked customers.

A couple of months ago, another vendor was set up at no cost to him, no water hookups, building permits, inspections--- nothing. They were selling ‘designer rugs’ yet they contributed nothing to our local schools’ sports teams, FFA chapters, band or cheerleading. They sold rugs for three days, the same or similar rugs offered from brick and mortar businesses here in Marianna. A lady from Sneads called our office and was irate because when she vacuumed her rug the second time it started shredding and coming apart. As bad as I felt for her, I found myself aggravated that the rug could have been purchased from Big Lots, WalMart or other business anywhere within Jackson County.  No doubt, the owner/manager would have gladly honored their commitment to the customer. 

Support your local businesses--- those who support your children, your grandchildren and pay taxes that provide law enforcement, fire and medical assistance and keeps roads in good repair.  Talk with those whose businesses or services you may need.  As business people, they respect that you want good value for your hard earned money.   Contact your city and county commissioners/councilmen and ask them to pass whatever needs to be passed to curtail these temporary vendors taking advantage of locals. Local governments also face many post storm challenges; the fees being lost by not requiring these vendors to pay can be used to help in recovery efforts.   It is in the interest of every citizen to help maintain the businesses which support us; support them now so that they can continue to be a vital part of our community at large for many years.

Optimist Park AAA wrap up

  • Published in Sports

The AAA fields were alive with the first full week of games last week.


Riverbandits take one from Scrappers

The Riverbandits played the Scrappers in AAA action and walked away with a close 7-5 win.

In the top of the first, Keyton Foster singled to get the Scrappers defense going. Foster stole second and moved to third on a single by Cooper Castleberry. Press Nolen drew a walk to load the bases for the Scrappers. Foster and Castleberry scored before three consecutive outs were made. Jason Stewart had a one-out single to get things going for the Riverbandits in the bottom of the frame. Luke Thomas reached safely with two outs before Landon Cornelius singled to score Stewart. Noah McCormick was issued a free pass. Thomas and Cornelius crossed the plate before the third out ended the inning. After one complete inning, the Riverbandits had a 3-2 lead. 

In the top of the second, Riley Farris had a leadoff single for the Scrappers. Farris moved to third, and with two outs, Rathan Barnes drew a walk. A strikeout left runners one the corners for the Scrappers. Kaden Johnson had a one-out single for the Riverbandits in their half of the inning. With two outs, Tyler Stevens singled and scored Johnson. Going into the third inning, the Riverbandits led 4-2.

The Scrappers went down one, two, three in the third. Jason Stewart was issued a one-out walk for the Riverbandits in the bottom of the third. With two outs, Luke Thomas tripled, but was left stranded at third when a strikeout ended the inning. 

The Scrappers were retired in order in the fourth. Landon Cornelius singled to get the Riverbandits defense started. Cornelius stole his way home before three consecutive outs ended the frame.  After four complete innings, the Riverbandits led 4-2.

In the fifth and final inning, back-to-back walks by Riley Farris and Braiden Chafin started things off for the Scrappers. With one out, Rathan Barnes doubled home Farris and Chafin. With two outs, Keyton Foster was issued a walk. Cooper Castleberry doubled to score Barnes for the Scrappers final run of the game. A one-out double by Teddy Skinner got the Riverbandits offense started. Skinner moved to second on a passed ball, followed by a single by Tyler Stevens. With two outs, Riley Adkison tripled home Skinner and Stevens to pick up the win for the Riverbandits. 


Rockhounds take 9-3 win over Riverbandits 

The Rockhounds faced the Riverbandits and picked up a 9-3 win in AAA action.

In the top of the first, walks to Mason Wood, Landen Gammons and Cody Byrd loaded the bases for the Rockhounds. Gage Neal scored Wood when he drew a walk to pick up a cheap RBI. Landon Barber’s single brought Gammons home and reloaded the bases. Makylan Menchion was issued a one-out walk that scored Cody Byrd. With two outs, Joshua Redmon walked in Neal to add an RBI to his stats. Aidan Byrd joined the cheap RBI parade when he also had a walk that scored Menchion, before a strikeout ending the inning. The Riverbandits were retired in order in their half of the frame. Going into the second inning, the Rockhounds had a 6-0 lead. 

Taylor Jernigan drew a walk to get things started for the Rockhounds in the second inning. With one out, Jernigan was out going for second. With two outs, Landen Gammons stood tough and took one for the team, but was out trying to steal second. Luke Thomas had a leadoff single for the Riverbandits in their half of the frame. Mason Lewis was issued a walk that moved Thomas to second. Lewis was out going to second. Thomas crossed the plate before back-to-back strikeouts ended the inning. After two complete innings, the Rockhounds led 6-1.

Cody Byrd got the crowd on their feet when he had a leadoff HOMERUN for the Rockhounds in the third. Gage Neal drew a walk, but was out on an attempted steal of second. Back-to-back strikeouts ended the inning for the Rockhounds. The only offense for the Riverbandits in the third was a one-out walk to Wyatt Oliver. Heading into the fourth inning, the Rockhounds led 7-1. 

With one out, Ethan Burt and Joshua Redmon were issued back-to-back walks for the Rockhounds in the top of the fourth. Aidan Byrd reached safely to load the bases for his team. With two outs, Taylor Jernigan drew a walk and scored Burt. Redmon scored before the final out was made. Riley Adkison had a leadoff single for the Riverbandits in the bottom of the inning. With one out, Landon Cornelius reached safely. Luke Thomas tripled home Adkison and Cornelius. Thomas was out on an attempted steal of home and with two outs, Mason Lewis was issued a free pass. A strikeout ended the inning and the game with the Rockhounds picking up the win. 


Rockhounds deal Redwings a loss

The Rockhounds took on the Redwings at Optimist Park and picked up the 9-4 win.

In the top of the first, Mason Wood, Landen Gammons and Cody Byrd drew walks to get things started for the Rockhounds. Wood was out on an attempted steal of home. With one out Landon Barber was issued a free pass to reload the bases for the Rockhounds. A walk to Gage Neal scored Gammons and added an RBI to his stats. Cody Byrd was out heading for home. With two outs, JoJo Saffold also drew a walk that brought Barber home. Ethan Burt picked a cheap RBI scoring Neal when he was issued a free pass by way of a walk before a strikeout ended the inning. A single By Aiden Smith was the only offense for the Redwings in the bottom of the first. Going into the second inning, the Rockhounds led 3-0.

With one out, Jaedon Nichols, Makylan Menchion and Aidan Byrd were all issued walks to load the bases for the Rockhounds in the second. With two outs, Mason Wood walked in Nichols for the first run of the inning. Landen Gammons was issued a walk that brought Menchion home. Cody Byrd doubled home Aidan Byrd and Mason Wood. Gammons crossed the plate before a strikeout ended the inning. In the bottom of the frame and with two outs, Branden Spooner reached on an error and stole second for the Riverbandits. A strikeout ended the inning with Spooner left stranded at second. After two complete innings, the Rockhounds led 8-0.

Gage Neal and JoJo Saffold were issued back-to-back walks to get the Rockhounds offense started in the third inning. With one out, Joshua Redmon took one for the team to load the bases. With two outs, Gage Neal was out trying to steal home. The Redwings were three up, three down in the third. 

With one out, Makylan Menchion reached on an error for the Rockhounds in the fourth. Mechion stole his way around the bases to score his team’s only run before back-to-back outs ended the inning. Cole Shelton was hit by a pitch to leadoff for the Redwings in the bottom of the fourth. With one out, Aiden Smith got the crowd on their feet when he had a two-run HOMERUN to pick up two RBIs. Back-to-back walks to Trenton Bragg and Eli Mercer put runners at first and second. Bragg stole his way home, with Bryce Mitchell singling home Mercer. Back-to-back strikeouts ended the game with the Rockhounds picking up the win. 


Rockhounds and Sneads battle on the diamond

The Rockhounds hosted Sneads in their first week of regular season ball and walked away with a 12-1 win.  Cody Byrd started on the mound for the Rockhounds, went one inning before giving way to Gage Neal who closed out the game. 

Hits were slim for the visiting Sneads team with A. J. Hamilton picking up the only hit of the game.  Donnie Green took one for the team to round out the Sneads offense.

For the Rockhounds Gage Neal, Landen Gammons, Aidan Byrd, Landon Barber, Cody Byrd and Jo Jo Saffold all reached base safely twice and scored two runs each. Scoring one run was Taylor Jernigan. Joshua Redmon reached safely in the first inning and made his way to third 


Rockhounds win over Riverbandits

After one week of play, it seems the Rockhounds are the team to beat. After winning earlier in the week, they made it two in a row for the regular season with a 9-2 win over the Riverbandits. Luke Thomas got the starting nod for the Riverbandits with Riley Adkison coming on to close out the game. For the Rockhounds, it was Landen Gammons going the distance and picking up the win.  

For the Riverbandits, it was Luke Thomas with two hits and one run scored, With Riley Adkison and Landon Cornelius both singling and scoring one run each. Mason Lewis had a single and a walk with Wyatt Oliver drawing a walk. 

For the Rockhounds, runs and hits were plentiful. Cody Byrd led the team with two hits and two runs scored, followed by Mason Wood, Landen Gammons, Gage Neal, Landon Barber, Makylan Menchion and Ethan Burke all reached base and scored a run. Gammons added another hit to his stats without scoring, while Joshua Redmon and Aiden Byrd had a pair of his each. Taylor Jernigan was issued a pair of walks on the night. 

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