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Shelia Mader

Shelia Mader

Sports Editor

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  • Published in Sports

The saying third time’s a charm never rang truer than Saturday night when the Chipola Baseball team captured their third national championship last Saturday night in Grand Junction, Colorado. The win was a culmination of seven games, with the first game of the tournament an 8-6 loss to Walters State. Chipola had the last word though as they defeated Walters State by that same score Thursday, giving Walters State their first loss of the tournament.  The pie got sweeter Saturday night when a back-and-forth contest against the same Walters State Senators went Chipola’s way 10-7, earning them their third national title.

Having played six games in seven days Chipola coach Jeff Johnson pulled every rabbit out of the hat when it came to pitching in Saturday’s game. Getting the starting nod was Jack Dellinger who went one and one-third innings, giving up three runs, two of those earned on five hits, one walk and three strikeouts. Andrew Grogan came on for four and two-thirds innings, gave up three earned runs on six hits, no walks and fanned six batters. Jared Howell threw one inning, gave up one run on one hit and one walk.  The hero of the night, Phillip Sanderson took the mound for the final two innings.  In the eighth inning, Sanderson had a flyout to right field and back-to-back strikeouts. The ninth and final inning was a strikeout, strikeout and a ground out to third with the pile on hitting the field as soon as the ball landed in Max Guzman’s glove from the throw by third baseman Julio Carrion.

Offensively, the Indians had a slow start with one run crossing the plate in the first inning. Edmond Americaan singled but was out on a fielder’s choice by Francisco Urbaez. Morgan McCullough doubled home Urbaez before the inning ended.   Walters State tied it up in the bottom of the inning.

Chipola was three up, three down in the second with Walters State answering with two runs to take a 3-1 lead. 

Chipola had a leadoff walk by Jordan Hollins in the third inning but no runs crossed the plate. Walters State had a single but a double play erased that hit and a strikeout ended the inning. 

Chipola got one run back in the fourth inning when Francisco Urbaez led off with a walk, Morgan McCullough drew a walk to put runners on first and second. Max Guzman singled to load the bases for a sac fly to centerfield by Jared Howell to score Urbaez.  Walters State added two runs in the fourth to go up 5-2. 

Chipola had a quick answer in the top of the sixth with four runs crossing the plate. Urbaez led things off with a walk and McCullough following suit. A double by Max Guzman scored a run with Jared Howell loading the bases with a walk.  With two outs, Jordan Hollins came up big with a two RBI single. David Meadows answered with an RBI single of his own before the last out was made but Chipola had moved ahead 6-5. The lead was short-lived with the Senators adding a run in the bottom of the inning to tie the game. 

Chipola pulled ahead for good in the top of the seventh inning when they added three runs with one out on the board. McCullough, Guzman and Howell all singled, followed by a two-out double by Julio Carrion that scored the last two runs of the inning, giving the Indians a 9-6 lead. Walters State answered with one run in the bottom of the eighth.

Chipola added their final run in the eighth inning when Edmond Americaan took an 0-2 pitch out of the park to make it a 10-7 game. Walters State was held off the bases and off the scoreboard in the final two innings.

Miller and Miller preparing for new dealership

Aside from the brick, mortar, and special to the new Miller and Miller Nissan dealership, glass, there is many, many hours of work behind the scenes preparing for a new dealership.  This past year, Michael John Mitchell, executive manager and Dustin Miller, managing partner for Miller and Miller have accumulated quite a few frequent flyer miles traveling to and from Washington D.C.  The trips have been a year-long effort of one-week trainings to prepare them for the opening of the new Nissan store on Highway 90 East in Marianna. 

About their trip to Washington D.C. Mitchell summed it up nicely, “We learned how to run a dealership from the front to the back. Service, parts, how to look at financial statements, used car, and new car operations.”

Dustin Miller elaborated on some of the detailed items they were drilled on during their week-long trainings throughout the year, “We were shown how to keep inventory, obsolescence in parts and the importance of keeping up with that, basically everything from the back office to new cars.”

Their training lasted six weeks but was spread throughout the year. Mitchell said it was like clockwork, “Every six weeks, we went for a week and it was a very intense week of training every time.”

Ricky Miller said the breakdown of the training was done to cover everything, “It covered all around the store, they went for a week for parts and they came back and worked six. They then went a week for service and came back and worked six, a week for new cars and came back and worked six. Same thing with used cars, financials and accounting. They graduated from academy class number 327. They got to go watch how NADA worked at the capital. They actually got to meet the Dunn’s.”

Dustin Miller, “Yes, Neal Dunn’s wife was very gracious, showed us around the capitol building, very hospitable.”

Statistics show that less than 11 percent of people in dealerships graduate from this academy. 

Dustin Miller said they were excited to learn that the class he and Mitchell attended had been featured in the April issue of Automotive News,’ something they are very proud of for their new dealership to lay claim to. Miller and Miller Nissan’s grand opening is scheduled June 22. 

Michael John Mitchell in a 1996 graduate of Marianna High School and is married to Maredith Nolen Mitchell.  They have two daughters, Murphy Jane and Mabry Jewell. Dustin Miller is a 2009 graduate of Marianna High School and is engaged to Shawna Donofro. 

Martin Gage “Tuff” Vanderwerf has eye-opening procedure

Martin Gage ‘Tuff’ Vanderwerf is 17 years old and has never driven a vehicle. He’s never had a candlelit dinner or any nighttime activity. ‘Tuff’ was born with a deficiency in his eyes. He can see, he is not totally blind, however his peripheral vision was hindered as was his vision in dim lit areas. Thursday, March 24, Tuff underwent the first of two surgeries and is one of just four people to have had this procedure done in the United States. 

The bandages were removed and the look on ‘Tuff’s’ face said it all as he held up his left hand and said, “I can see my hand here.” Smiles were everywhere with the results.  This past Thursday, doctors performed the same surgery on his right eye with the results not quite as positive initially.  There was a small complication following the second procedure that ‘Tuff’ explained, “It just seemed like it had a little bit tougher start. Today, they went in and stitched it up because it had loosened up.  It started leaking the air out and they didn’t put me to sleep through it either.”  Although as painful as it was with no medication to assist, ‘Tuff’ took it like a champion, “It’s already doing a lot better.”

When asked if he had ever seen prior to his first procedure ‘Tuff’ said, “Yes ma’am I have seen before, I just didn’t have a lot of peripheral vision and I couldn’t see at night time.”  As far as being able to read, he says, “Yes ma’am I could, I just had to have lots of light.”

Vanderwerf is very humble about where he was and how far he has come, waking up after this procedure, “I think I adapted pretty well because I didn’t know any different from what I had seen. I thought for what I had I seen, I had done really good. I had worked with my cows, helped my dad with his business, and I didn’t realize until the surgery that I couldn’t see good at all. I didn’t realize I couldn’t see hardly anything compared to what I do now. I could see pretty good straight ahead, pretty decent amount far ahead. I had 20/50 vision straight ahead wise on a sunny day. If it wasn’t sunny or if it wasn’t straight away it was really a challenge.”

Vanderwerf could not see at all at night, he said, “Like when I walked into a restaurant, it’s like I couldn’t see in there at all and I had to sit somewhere where it was really light.”

‘Tuff’ attends the Florida School for the Deaf and Blind in St. Augustine and comes home during the summer, the holidays and on weekends. As far as what he will do about school this coming school year, he says, “Well, it’s hard to say, because I’d like to see how everything goes over the time of healing. I seem like I have a lot back, that I never had. I can see at night time and it’s just been a miracle. The Lord has blessed me, that’s for sure.” He’s not sure about graduation date as he is trying to graduate early if he can get his credits in to be a senior. He’s working hard on that through the summer.

Tuff is not sure what his plans are after graduation, “I’m going to tell you what Ms. Shelia I’m not really even sure. I would like to work with dad and keep going with my cows.” 

The procedure was done at the Bascom Palmer Eye Institute in Miami, Florida.  Electroretinography measures the electrical responses of various cell types in the retina, including the photoreceptors (rods and cones), inner retinal cells (bipolar and amacrine cells), and the ganglion cells. Electrodes (DTL silver/nylon fiber string) are usually placed on the surface of the cornea for Full Field/Global/Multifocal ERG’s and brass/copper electrodes are placed on the skin near the eye for EOG type testing. During a recording, the patient’s eyes are exposed to standardized stimuli and the resulting signal is displayed showing the time course of the signal’s amplitude (voltage). Signals are very small, and typically are measured in microvolts or nanovolts. The ERG is composed of electrical potentials contributed by different cell types within the retina, and the stimulus conditions (flash or pattern stimulus, whether a background light is present, and the colors of the stimulus and background) can elicit stronger response from certain 


If a dim flash ERG is performed on a dark-adapted eye, the response is primarily from the rod system. Flash ERGs performed on a light adapted eye will reflect the activity of the cone system. Sufficiently bright flashes will elicit ERGs containing an a-wave (initial negative deflection) followed by a b-wave (positive deflection). The leading edge of the a-wave is produced by the photoreceptors, while the remainder of the wave is produced by a mixture of cells including photoreceptors, bipolar, amacrine, and Muller cells or Muller glia. The pattern ERG (PERG), evoked by an alternating checkerboard stimulus, primarily reflects activity of retinal ganglion cells.

‘Tuff’s’ mother, Paige Vanderwerf says of the procedure, “This new vision may create a challenge.  I’m sure this summer will determine a lot for next year, school, career choices, etcetera. Most of all, as a 17-year old, he is most hopeful to be able to drive.  I think he has enough peripheral improvement to do so.  They will measure visual improvements in 30 days.   We will have to come back here numerous times for follow ups.  The clinical trial patients are only four years out but they have remained stable.”

‘Tuff’ is the son of Martin and Paige Vanderwerf.  He has a brother, Jeb Bruner.  

‘Tuff’ is truly an example for all of us to follow, never limited himself because of his eyes, plugged along and found what he could do, working with his cows and helping his father, and never once thought about what he couldn’t do.  Kudos to this fine young man and his parents on a job well done.

Passing of the gavel in Marianna

Tuesday night, Mayor Kenny Hamilton handed the gavel to incoming Mayor Pro Tem John Roberts. Commissioners Allen Ward, Travis Ephraim and Rico Williams were looking on and smiling as the gavel was passed.

Following the conclusion of the meeting, Mayor Roberts told those attending what an honor it was to be the mayor of Marianna, “I want to thank ya’ll for electing me as the mayor of Marianna.  Being the mayor is quite an honor. I think we have just a great thing here. I think we have all accomplished just so much since we have been on this committee.  I just appreciate the way we all work together and I want us to continue to work together as a commission and also work with the county in any way we can in seeing the city and the county move forward.  Normally anything that is good for the city is good for the county and anything that is good for the county is good for the city.  I think we need to keep that in mind as we work together and hopefully the county will get a new manager and will be able to move forward with that.” 

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