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Shelia Mader

Shelia Mader

Sports Editor

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Malone, Alford, Campbellton receive D.O.T. SCOP grants

Three Jackson County towns are the recipient of five paving grants.  Alford and Campbellton both received one grant each with Malone racking up three grants.  

The grants are from D.O.T. (Department of Transportation) SCOP (Small Community Outreach Program)

Campbellton received $183,665.00 for the paving of Dothan Street.  This street has been a continuing issue with temporary repairs not able to keep up with the traffic utilizing the road. 

Alford received $498,851.00 for the paving of 3rd Avenue that will bring relief to drivers who frequent that road and have to endure potholes and needed repairs that the town could not afford to make.

Malone was a big winner when they were notified of funds totaling $690,409.03 for the paving of three streets. Project one is 12th Avenue with 7th Street listed as project two receiving much needed funds. Project three the resurfacing of 9th Street. 

Malone was also the recipient of $474,000.00 for the Water Management Sewer grant for Malone School, bring the total to over $1 million ($1,164.409.03).

The gifts won’t stop this year with Cottondale, Graceville and Sneads in line for grants next year. Cottondale will receive $252,895.76 for the paving of Church Street and Magnolia.  Graceville will receive $599,614.15 for the paving of 12th Street while Sneads will be the biggest winner with $742,964.40 for repairs and paving to Keever Road. 

Malone Mayor Gene Wright was nothing but smiles when he received the news as was the town council when they were told of their windfall at the Town Council meeting Tuesday evening, “This is just great.  Melvin Engineering has done a fantastic job of putting the pen on the paper and Malone is definitely the benefactor of their hard work.  You know, Malone is a small town, we are a great town, but we don’t have the revenue to fund projects of this magnitude, so we’ve just been patching as best as we can. To get something like this and to get them back-to-back is super for our town.  Many thanks to D.O.T., David Melvin Engineering and the Town Council for all they do for our town.”

Chipola and Miller & Miller partnership is a win-win for all

Chipola College has invested in Jackson County since it opened its doors 70 years ago and has become increasingly more invested year after year.  Approximately 15 years ago, Chipola Automotive partnered with what is now Miller and Miller and it has been a road to success for both since that time. 

Miller & Miller Nissan has four Chipola Automotive graduates on staff today and they all give credit to the partnership for where they are today.  John Gardner oversees the automotive program and Chase Vileg is a key instructor there.  Dustin Miller, vice president of Miller & Miller gives accolades for the impact the program has had on Jackson County teaching hands-on skills with work waiting on students when they complete the program. Internships are also available while they are completing the program.

Kyle Lawrence is a 2015 graduate of Sneads High School. After graduation Lawrence enrolled in the automotive technology program at Chipola College and graduated in 2017. Lawrence said, “I got a job kind of early, so I went about the full two years.” 

Lawrence has been with Miller & Miller about two years. Lawrence went on to say, “I worked at Auto Zone during school, but this is my first tech job out of school.”

When asked what he thought of the Automotive Technology program at Chipola Lawrence said, “It’s wonderful.” He says the program helps students prepare for real-life situations.  When asked about what the rewards of his job were Lawrence said, “Seeing a car come in that don’t even run and it leaves running, knowing you fixed it right.” 

Lawrence definitely showed excitement when talking about the new Nissan state-of-the-art facility, “Oh it’s wonderful, we got all new equipment, all new everything. It’s clean and everything’s nice, it makes the job a whole lot easier and better.”

Lawrence had nothing but kudos for the automotive program and Gardner, “Chipola is a great program. It prepared me very well for the work I was going into. Gardner is one of the best instructors there is.” Lawrence shared a story about a van he had worked on, “Y’all would love to have that van down there. For our electrical class it had a bad wheel-speed sensor they thought. Well, the will-speed sensor was fine, the harness was broken above the gas tank. I had to chase that down with continuity and find that both the wires were cut in two, both of them. It looked like someone took a pair of vice grips and went ‘whoosh’.   

Another graduate of the program was Joey Macaluso who graduated from Jackson Academy in 2004. Macaluso started Chipola in 2014 and graduated in 2016. Macaluso was offered a job at the Mercedes dealership in Tallahassee where he worked for one year. Macaluso came to Miller & Miller and has been an employee there for almost a year. 

When asked about his take on the Miller & Miller Nissan facility and what Chipola gave him to bring to his job Macaluso said, “Chipola gave me the knowledge and the actual ability to become a technician. I’ve always been into cars, but I didn’t know where to take it. When I graduated high school, I was in collision and repair and I was still working on cars, but people didn’t really care what their car looked like as long as it was running. So, that’s where I kind of took it. So, I got up there with Gardner and just listened to absolutely everything he could say and soaked it in. I don’t feel I would be where I am now without going to Chipola. I mean, you can learn from a shade tree mechanic guy but you’re not going to sit there and know voltage drop, and go all in and out, continuity of a wire and circuit. That’s mostly what we deal with here is just all electronics.” Macaluso went on to say, “I’m lead tech here, so I walk around and when they need help, I jump in. We went to school all at the same time but I graduated master tech. I’m really big into electrical and knowing stuff, learning it, reading it. When they need help I go over there and talk to them about it and go let them know if you’re getting continuity on this side, why aren’t you getting it here. Why don’t you do this to check it? This place is all of us, it’s just not one person. That’s one thing I do like about this dealership, it’s a little bit different than the older dealership. No one would really help you that much, but here we’re a team, we’re a family and we help each other as much as we can.” Macaluso has a seven-year-old son, Jackson who will attend Sneads Elementary. He is the son of Raymond and Sharon Macaluso, and has a sister Heather. Macaluso says of his sister, “She was there, she watched Jackson a bunch so I could do everything that I’m doing now.”

Trent Moats is a 2015 graduate of Sneads High School. After graduation Moats enrolled in the automotive technology program at Chipla and graduated in 2016. Moats has always taken an interest in automotive mechanics. 

When asked about the advantages of working at Miller & Miller Nissan Moats said, “Oh, it’s nice, way nicer than the other place I was. I enjoy it.” He was with his previous employer for a little over a year before joining Miller & Miller Nissan in June of this year. 

Moats said some of the things Chipola prepared him for to be at Miller & Miller were, “It prepared me for all of it, everything that I’ve had to do here, I was prepared to do because of Chipola.”

When asked about how advanced the technology is at Miller & Miller Nissan compared to other places even Chipola, Moats said, “We have a lot of new technology, I mean, it’s nice.” 

Christian Wynn is a 2016 graduate of Dayspring Christian Academy. Wynn enrolled in the Automotive Technology program at Chipola and graduated this past year. Wynn said, “I worked at another automotive shop for about a month, then I started here. I started there in January, I left there and I started here February 14. 

When asked how Chipola was as far as preparing him for where he is today Wynn said, “It was really well, because I was going to go to UTI first. The money there was a whole lot more expensive than here. I kind of came and toured the school, and they assured me that their credentials were the same as UTI’s. It was a whole lot closer here than going all the way to Orlando. I got here and started doing my work and stuff and they’re more hands on. That’s one thing that helps a lot and obviously you learn more hands on. It gets us better and to be more prepared out in the field because we are a smaller class and going to bigger schools, there’s so many people so you can’t get as hands on so it’s prepared me a lot.” About how he likes the new technology at Miller & Miller Nissan Wynn said, “Here, it’s amazing. I never thought so soon after school I would be working in a brand-new dealership and they went out and bought the most state-of-the-art tools for us to use, so it’s helped out a lot.” Christian is the son of John and Paula Wynn. 

John Gardner said about the partnership with Chipola College and Miller & Miller, “The partnership, I think is a big thing between Miller & Miller and Chipola. What happens is they take our guys in and they kind of give them a mentoring situation to give them a chance to work and work there. When they work there it’s kind of a partnership. So, not only are we having a partnership for actually getting these guys out to work, we’re having a partnership for community development too. If we can keep these guys here locally that’s really cool. Joey left for a little while and he went to Mercedes in Tallahassee but he came back because it was a good opportunity here, which was really cool. We always try to put them here locally and keep that economic development in the region going. It’s partnerships, Miller & Miller is really, really strong with taking our techs and giving them apprentice opportunities. They let them come into the shop and let them see the real world. We can only give them so much at Chipola, so really the credit lies in that partnership with Ricky Miller and Michael John (Mitchell).  It lets them go in there and lets them see, most places just take these guys and throw them in a shop, give them a repair order and set them up for failure. It’s a lot different with Ricky Miller because him and Chuck Anderson they take them in the shop and they let them work with a tech mentor and they may not be the best tech in the world to start. They have the attitude, they have the skills, they have ethics to go in there and succeed. They give them six months to learn the system and succeed. That’s the big thing, they’re saying great things about Chipola, but the bottom line is the partnership with Ricky Miller and Chuck Anderson and having them on an advisory board allows these guys to be successful. We give them the basics, but they give them what they need to succeed in the automotive industry.” 

Darwin Gilmore Dean of Workforce and Economic Development said the Automotive Technology program has about 27 or 28 students. When asked about the program Gilmore said, “It’s an 1,800-hour program and they mainly go fall and spring terms. Some kids will go during the summer too, but mainly the fall and spring terms.” Gilmore said it clocks out to roughly two years but that the students could finish quicker.

In talking about the benefit of having John Gardner as the lead instructor of the automotive technology program Gilmore said, “All this show and the stuff that comes out of that is only because he’s so genuinely good with the students. So, our commitment at Chipola is to make sure we’re finding ways to be good business partners and finding ways to invest in the type of technology to help Ricky make money. That’s what we’re trying to do and we’re committed to that. We want to stay current in technology because it’s changing so fast.” 

When asked how long Miler & Miller has been partnered with Chipola College Michael John Mitchell said, “I don’t really don’t have an exact time but it’s over 15 years. We’ve been getting techs for a while. It’s a family atmosphere, they’re all helping each other and pulling each other’s weight. If somebody’s having problems they all get together.” 

U. S. Representative Neal Dunn – Government our citizens deserve

U. S. Representative Neal Dunn stopped by the TIMES office Monday afternoon prior to his attendance at the political forum held at the Prough Center for the Arts at Chipola College.  Dunn has proven he is dedicated to the needs of the veterans and the agricultural segment of the country, serving on committees for both. 

Dunn said of the political forum held he was scheduled to attend, “So, we’re really grateful for the opportunity to be at the candidate forum here tonight. It’s a great opportunity to discuss what we’ve been doing for the last 18 months and a chance to really underscore just how well the economy is doing, how much better the military is doing and some of the things we are laying out on healthcare. On the side, we can also say there’s huge improvements in a lot of branches of government, not just the least of which is the United States Supreme Court, but also all of the Federal circuit courts. We have 24 new Federal circuit court judges as of earlier this week and one new Supreme Court Justice we think very, very soon. So, that really does change the nature of the judiciary, that’s a big, big deal. There’s a lot of other things going on as well, I mean look at North Korea’s the negotiating table for the first time in my life. Four generations of my family served in North Korea, it’s time to get them to the table. It’s the first time ever the President of North Korea met with the President of the United States and that’s huge, huge stuff. I think we really are making some great strides in America, an important fact I think we have the best economy than any of us have ever seen in this country. Four percent growth, four plus, the highest wage growth in 16 years. More jobs than there are people looking for jobs, there’s a lot of positive developments out there. We’re rolling back the regulations, streamlining that process and that helps everything. Now you have proposals coming out of the agencies as we’ve populated the agencies with good people. You have proposals that really make a difference, like freezing the admission standards, that saved American car buyers $500 billion over 10 years. That’s all money that can be put into other things jobs, homes, education. There’s a lot of bright lights out there, you don’t hear it all the time but there is good news.”

We asked Dunn about the importance of candidate forums in places like Jackson County, “Well, I think it’s especially important because right now a lot of the national news media outlets seem to be distracted by things that really aren’t important to my people on the ground, so if you’re having a problem in East Point, nothing in the national news media is helping you. If you’re having a problem in Port St. Joe, you are kind of on your own, so it’s important for us to be out there. This district, the 2nd congressional district of Florida is inherently a very rural agrarian district. So, people are good but they’re thinner on the ground. We go from Panama City Beach and the west all the way down to Yankeetown and Ocala in the east and so it’s actually the largest district east of the Mississippi River. We spend a lot of time getting into those smaller communities, talking to people who have absolute real problems and real needs. One of the big areas is agriculture, so right now the Farm Bill is in conference. I’m one of the conferees, so I’m on that committee that reconciles the Farm Bill from the Senate side to the House side and come up with a product. You get in there and play, let’s don’t take too much out of this bill. It’s good for the farmers, it’s also good for the nutrition program, it’s good for education. This is a major win, this Farm Bill to get it across. It’s one of the hardest we do, we only take it up every five years. It’s a fight to the death to get this thing across the finish line. There’s a lot of good stuff in there for our farmers right here, and our foresters. By the way, our cattle ranchers as well.” 

Dr. Dunn said of being in Franklin and Gulf Counties, “I think we all remember very recently out at East Point they had a very sad and tragic fire. It was one of those wild fires that turned very quickly and did something you wouldn’t normally predict and so we had a lot of people homeless, a lot of families homeless. It was a sad situation and we were out there looking to see what’s being done to remediate that situation. Both for those families so they’re housed and clothed and replace some of their belongings to get them back into flow of life and also to make sure that we don’t have anymore wild fires out there. The communities all around here have been very, very generous to the folks in East Point. There have been some great novel and innovative kind of things that have been done for them, the sheriffs office has been great down there. They did a GoFundMe site which was kind of surprising and cool. They really took care of a lot of people, I got a chance to see some of their new housing that came in and very low prices and have donated to the people who need it. It’s a great nice save there in the fire area in East Point. We also went and looked, they have a break wall that hasn’t been dredged in 70 plus years and it’s too shallow. Their commercial fishing industry which is robust, but they can’t bring their boats into East Point so they have to spend the night over in Apalachicola, which is a big long run in a shrimp boat. I think we need to dredge that for them. They have the permits and everything is in order, we just need to get the core over there and give them what they need. The community is all behind it, they are willing to pitch in and be good citizens. We should be the government our citizens deserve. We needed to get the government kind of engaged to the people who are out there.”

Dunn also said, “I believe you have to be an optimist. I’ll tell you why I think I have to be an optimist. I have grandchildren and I refuse to give up on them. If you have grandchildren, you’re looking far into the future and you have to know we can’t give up, that’s not an option. Smile, pick it up and gang let’s go. We’ve got to fix this thing, there’s no half measures allowed. Everybody who has grandchildren feels that way. They want them to have the same kind of America that we inherited from our parents. They deserve that and we owe it to them. I think about the military, I was in the military for a long, long time. I’m the son of a military officer, father of a military officer, we’ve got to take care of our troops. When they’re down range fighting for us, when they’re defending us, when they lay their lives on the line, we can’t send them down there half prepared and half equipped. That’s not fair to them, that’s not fair at all. I’m anxious to get going on all this. I think we’ve had a great 18 months, honestly, it’s outstanding for the country. America’s back and I go around the world now as a congressman and I can tell you our allies are grateful that America’s back. They were worried and deeply concerned. They see us, we’re back in the saddle, we’re growing, we’ve got their backs now. They’re grateful everywhere, you may not read that in the paper and you may not see that in the news, but I promise you when we got to our allies’ governments and that’s whether it’s in the Middle East, Asia, the South Pacific, Europe they are grateful that America’s back.” 

Graceville Tigers optimistic about 2018 season

  • Published in Sports

The Graceville Tigers will be under new leadership this year on the football field, something the school has experienced all too-often in recent years. Tommy Roberts is hoping to be a constant though and has retained assistant coaches the team is familiar with to help facilitate a smooth transition this year. 

Roberts started early establishing stability when he asked assistant coaches Leroy Barkley, Jarred Seegers and Chris Works. Well known Graceville coach Rod Adams will also be joining the football program this year.  The Tigers will have a varsity and junior varsity team, opting against a middle school team based on numbers. Coach Butch Burrell will head up the junior varsity squad that will be comprised of seventh through ninth graders. 

As far as this year’s varsity squad, Roberts is hopeful for a turnaround season after a disappointing 2017 year. He will have Savoric Williams returning as the starting quarterback with the center position still up for grabs. Junior Josh Howell and sophomore Brandon Crutchfield are expected to make an impact this year.  Big things are expected from senior Joseph Claiborne who will have double duty as a fullback on offense and will be a defensive starter. Sophomore Xavian Sorey returns as a premier running back, gaining on his experience from last year with sophomore Damion Robinson expecting to be a feature running back. Roberts says they have lost some key players from last year to other schools but he has a solid team that is committed to his program and he is confident it will be a good year for Graceville Tiger football. 

At present, there are 26 varsity team members and 18 on the junior varsity. The Tigers will run an offensive multi spread with some double wing plays also. The team will run the ball more, utilizing their speed and pass the ball less.

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