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Taylor Countys legislative delegation listened to a number of concerns from local ofcials for nearly an hour during a public meeting held in Perry Monday. Sen. Bill Montford and Rep. Halsey Beshears met with ofcials and the public in the Taylor County Commission meeting room. The meeting began with Taylor County High School student Jeremy Padgett leading the room in the pledge of allegiance. After brief welcomes from both representatives, the pair then invited people to the podium. The only member of the public to speak was a woman who stated she did not have a concern to raise, and instead only wanted to thank Montford and Beshears, along with local ofcials, for their service. The representatives then turned the meeting over to local elected ofcials. Superintendent Paul Dyal was rst, requesting assistance from the legislators in securing funding for the construction of the proposed new Perry Primary School. County Commissioner Pam Feagle passed on residents concerns over the speed limit on the new Aucilla River bridge on U.S. 98, which the Florida Department of Transportation is reducing to 45 mph. Feagle said Index Editorial . .................. A-2 Living . ...................... A-4 Religion . ................... A-7 Sports . ...................... A-8 Community . ............ A-10 Classieds . ............ A-11Weather Wednesday 81 51 Thursday78 45 Serving the Tree Capital of the South Since 1961 TacoTimes Wednesday October 22, 2014 50 Two Sections53rd year, No. 43www.perrynewspapers.com A true American hero rememberedBy MARK VIOLA Staff writer More than 80 people gathered Monday afternoon to witness the dedication of a new bridge over the Aucilla River on U.S. 98 in honor of U.S. Army SP4 Billy Jacob Hartseld, who was killed in action during the Vietnam War. State and local ofcials, along with neighbors and friends, joined Hartselds family for the ceremony, which was conducted alongside the highway at JRs Aucilla River Store just east of the bridge. Welcome to this very, very special occasion, not only in the lives of the family but in the lives of this community and this state, said State Sen. Bill Montford to open the ceremony. Montford and Rep. Halsey Beshears helped push for the passage of Senate Bill 820, which named the new bridge the SP4 Billy Jacob Hartseld Bridge. Hartseld was killed in early 1970 during his second tour in Vietnam, just weeks before his 21st birthday. During his service, he received the Army Commendation Medal for combat bravery for action under enemy re in Tien Phouc Province. It is because of people like Sgt. Billy Hartseld that we are able to stand here today, to be able to enjoy freedom, to be able to congregate like this, Montford continued. So it is very betting for us, this state, to be able to honor him and his family by dedicating the name of this bridge after a true American hero. He apologized on behalf of Beshears, who could not attend the event. Rep Beshears and I were talking earlier today about what an honor it is for us to serve the people of this area, people like Billy Hartselds family, people who make a difference. The woods are full of good people down here. Thank God that we have people who serve their country, serve their community and others, serve these United States like Billy Hartseld. Because if it wasnt for true Americans like Billy Hartseld, our children, our grandchildren and we today would not be able to enjoy the lives that we enjoy, Montford said. So in a very small way, were sending our thanks from the State of Florida to a true American hero. On behalf of all of the State of Florida, Rep. Beshears and myself, everyone who truly loves this state and loves this country, we are indebted to the Billy Hartselds of this country. To his family, thank you. Thank you for raising such a kind man. A kind man who dedicated his life to this country, dedicated his life to his family and his loved ones, he said. So again, we dedicate this bridge to a wonderful, wonderful human being who defended this country, defended this state and defended this community. County Commissioner Pam Feagle, who helped spearhead local efforts to Please see page 3 2 seriously injured in crash on C.R. 30 Two young men were airlifted to Tallahassee Memorial Hospital Monday night after both sustained serious injuries in a one-vehicle crash on C.R. 30. Neither man was wearing a seatbelt, the Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) reported. The driver was a 17-year-old male and his passenger was 22-year-old Caleb Wayne Markey. Davis takes the helm at Foley mill Lee Davis assumed his responsibilities as vice president and general manager of the Foley Cellulose Mill Sept. 23, replacing former site manager Howard Drew. Since taking ofce, Davis said he has been focused on the success of Foley Cellulose, working long hours to become familiar with operations and getting to know the hardworking employees at Foley Cellulose. The south Georgia native grew up in a small town called Ludowici. I would say Perry is a big town compared to the one-red-light-town of Ludowici, he said. Davis and his wife, Cindy, have two daughters attending college, Presley and Haley. He and his wife plan to reside in Tallahassee. Davis graduated from Georgia Southern University with a degree in mechanical engineering and received a masters degree in business administration from the University of Phoenix. Since then, Davis has worked in the pulp and paper industry for more than 30 years. He started at Rayoniers Jesup, Ga., operation in 1984 and worked at Boise Cascade and Smurt-Stone before joining GeorgiaPlease see page 3 Please see page 9 Local ofcials seek legislators help with Florida Retirement System and Medicaid Please see page 3 Inside today Special 2014 Florida Forest Festival edition 2014 Distinguished Young Woman of Taylor County Jharmara Simmons
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A-3 Taco Times October 22, 2014 secure the dedication, spoke next. Im truly honored to be here today to take part in this ceremony, she said. This is such a special day. Billy Hartseld gave the ultimate sacrice and were here to honor him and his family. She thanked several people, including James Lee, a childhood friend of Hartseld who started the push to have the bridge dedicated in his name. I am so happy today that this has become reality, Feagle said. Lee himself took the podium next to talk about his friend. Me and Billy grew up together as good friends, he said. We hunted together, shed together and played together. I passed over this bridge for several years going to work in Franklin County. I had it on my mind to get this bridge dedicated to him. When I found out they were going to build a new bridge, I said, Its time to act. I thank Sen. Montford, Rep. Beshears and Pam Feagle, Lee said. I know throughout the years, special times of the year, a lot of Vietnam vets will be crossing this bridge and I believe they are going to be proud that this bridge is dedicated to one of their comrades. Lee then shared several childhood stories from growing up with Hartseld, including one about Hartseld talking a neighbor into giving him a Mohawk haircut. He also talked about shing with Hartseld at the glory hole in the Aucilla River near the bridge. I think about a lot of the fun we had, a lot of good times we had, Lee said. Im honored to be here today and to have had a small part in getting this done. Im just thrilled that now when I come this way, and I still travel it every week, that I can see that sign. Following the ceremony, friends and family gathered at the new sign leading up to the bridge, where the curtain was dropped, revealing the SP4 Billy Jacob Hartseld Bridge for the rst time. The men were traveling east on C.R. 30 in a 2009 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 when, for unknown reasons, the driver lost control. The truck veered off the roadway into the wooded area south of C.R. 30, striking several trees before coming to a stop. The teen driver is facing charges of careless driving, FHP reported. Trooper Charles Swindle was the crash investigator. The crash occurred at 7:35 p.m., east of U.S. Highway 19. she had elded requests to drop the speed limit even further to 35 mph, noting that the speed limit on the bridge over the St. Marks in Newport is 35 mph. County Commissioner Jody DeVane, meanwhile, requested assistance on behalf of the county regarding those sentenced to community service by the county judge who then work those hours off with the county. The workers must be covered by the countys workers compensation insurance, and DeVane said this was a nancial burden for the county, suggesting that the state could include such workers on its insurance instead. County Tax Collector Mark Wiggins requested help with local governments required contributions to the Florida Retirement System (FRS), the rates for which have risen considerably over the past several years. Dyal noted that the school districts FRS contributions jumped $60,000 this year, while County Administrator Dustin Hinkel said the countys increase was in hundreds of thousands of dollars. Property Appraiser Bruce Ratliff requested support for a bill being proposed by the statewide property appraisers association regarding a discount given to four groups: disabled, blind, widows and widowers. He pointed out that the $500 discount is not off a property owners tax bill but on the propertys assessed value, resulting in an actual tax break of only around $8. The proposed bill would increase the discount and the association is currently investigating the nancial impact. The last ofcial to speak was Hinkel, who noted that the countys Medicaid contribution is set to increase from around $300,000 to $500,000 over the next six years and requested support for a proposal which would cap annual increases. He also asked for assistance with a Department of Agriculture education grant the county is seeking for Phase II of renovations at Forest Capital Hall. At the end of the meeting, Beshears concluded by thanking those in attendance, assuring them that their requests dont fall on deaf ears. The 2015 legislative session will begin March 3. AMERICAN HERO Continued from page 1 Feagle: Hartseld gave the ultimate sacrice and were here to honor him Sen. Bill Montford (above), who helped sponsor the bill which approved the dedication in Billy On behalf of all of the State of Florida, Rep. Beshears and myself, everyone who truly loves this state and loves this country, we are indebted to the country. Childhood friend James Lee (right) shared several stories of growing up now when I come this way, and I still travel it every week, that I can see that sign. LEGISLATORS Continued from page 1 CRASH Continued from page 1 Truck crashed into trees 2015 legislative session will open on March 3
A-4 Taco Times October 22, 2014 Living Mr. and Mrs. Reet G. Tanner will be honored Sunday, Oct. 26, on the occasion of their 60th wedding anniversary, with a luncheon following the 11 a.m. worship service at First Presbyterian Church. The Tanners were married in Laurel, Miss., on Oct. 2, 1954. The luncheon will be hosted by their two children: Beverly Walton who lives in Lake Jackson, Texas, and Steve Tanner who lives in Boulder, Colo., as well as their six grandchildren. The Tanners were longtime residents of Perry where Reet worked with and later retired from Procter & Gamble. They now reside in Dowling Park.Tanners have been married 60 years! Celebration Sunday M St. Marks Wildlife Refuge has seen a population inux of hundreds--no thousands-of visitors. But these visitors dont pay the $5/carload entry fee. Instead, they y 2500 miles and are welcomed by the goldenrod and other blooming wildowers. Each year, the refuge holds its Monarch Buttery Festival welcoming these visitors. Monarch butteries, it seems, are the only insects to migrate 2500 miles. How visible they are depends on the weather, said an employee at the refuge. When the sun is out, the weather is fairly warm and the wind is still, the sky is often lled with the butteries. But on overcast and windy days, the Monarchs cling to the trees and the goldenrod. Actually, it is easier to take portrait photographs of monarchs in the worst weather, when they are not moving, he added. Otherwise, the butteries it and play in the sunshine. The refuge is welcoming, not only Monarch butteries, but also Viceroy, Queen, American Painted Beauty and Gulf Fritillary varieties. They typically arrive the rst of October to the middle of November. The annual festival celebrating the butteries is this Saturday, conicting with the Florida Forest Festival. But never fear: the butteries arent just at St. Marks for the day. Human visitors are invited to come see the butteries, and to enjoy the 60,000 acres of roads, trails and levees for hiking as well as the scenic vistas for photographers, not to mention the shing, hunting and birding opportunities which abound. For additional information on hours or activities, please contact the St. Marks National Wildife Refuge at (850) 925-6121. From Steinhatchee to Horseshoe Beach... The Steinhatchee Red Hot Tamamas traveled to Horseshoe Beach and dined at Lilly Creek Cafe. The fresh seafood was hard to beat, said Susan Curtis for the group. The meal was punctuated by mullet dip as well as cake generously provided by the owners for the special occasion. A good time was had by all, she added. Mr. and Mrs. Reet G. Tanner Perry caregivers invited Thursday The Perry Caregiver Support Group will meet this Thursday, Oct. 23, at 10:30 a.m. in the First Presbyterian Church. The group meets on the fourth Thursday of each month to provide information and education to caregivers. The setting, organizers say, also gives participants an opportunity to share their experiences and create new friendships. If you have questions or concerns, you may call Angela Mendoza at 850765-2900. This group is intended for all caregivers and not restricted to those caring for loved ones with Alzheimers Disease. Your attendance is encouraged.
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A-7 Taco Times October 22, 2014 Religion Praise in the Park Main Street recently sponsored Praise in the Park at the Grand Pavilion in downtown Perry and Director Meagan Robertson reports a good turnout. Robertson said more than 100 attended the event, with entertainment provided largely by the Calvary Youth Band and The Promise. They really stepped up, and gave a great show, she said, noting that Carlotta Washington also presented a couple of songs a cappella and she really was phenomenal. Parking is free to all; games and prizes promised ObituariesWilliam Curtis KohlerDr. William Curtis Kohler, M.D., age 72, died at home in Brooksville on Oct. 15, 2014. He had lived in Tallahassee and also Fishtail, Montana. Born in Wharton, N.J., to Walter and Elizabeth Kohler, he graduated from Oberlin College and The University of Florida College of Medicine. He served in the Air Force as a major at Wilford Hall Medical Center, LacklandAFB, Texas. On Sept. 1, 1962, he married his high school sweetheart, Barbara Louise Bauman (and they recently celebrated their 52nd wedding anniversary.) Dr. Kohler worked intensely in sleep medicine for more than 40 years and was board certied in that eld, as well as pediatrics and neurology. For 18 years, he was a partner in the Tallahassee Neurological Clinic. He also had a medical clinic in Perry and owned property at Keaton Beach. Dr. Kohler later founded the Florida Sleep Institute in Spring Hill. While at Oberlin College, he was a member of the noted Oberlin Choir that toured Russia at the request of the U.S. State Department. He had a lifelong love of singing and shared it with his church family at Cornerstone Baptist Church in Spring Hill. Survivors include: his wife of 52 years, Barbara; son, Jon and his wife Erica of Tallahassee; daughter Kris Mitten and her husband John of Brooksville; daughter Elizabeth of Brooksville; and nine grandchildren. A memorial service was held on Saturday, Oct. 18. Memorial contributions may be made to Cornerstone Baptist Church, Building Fund, 13171 Tara Street, Spring Hill, FL 34609. Alice Fay Cruce Alice Fay Cruce, 52, of Perry, died Sunday, Oct. 19, 2014. She was born March 7, 1962, in Perry to Kelly and Goldie (Stafford) Ferguson. She was preceded in death by: two brothers, Mark Ferguson and Kenny Koon Ferguson; and one sister, Lola Gear. Survivors include: two sons: William H. (Candice) Cruce Jr., and James Kelly Cruce, both of Perry; longtime companion, Dennis Necket; three brothers, Matthew Ferguson, Alvis Ferguson and Billy Ferguson; three sisters, Linda Philmon, Rita Parker and Cindy Sherouse; seven grandchildren; and a host of nieces and nephews. A memorial service is planned for a later date. All arrangements are under the care of Joe P. Burns Funeral Home. Are you looking for the best place to watch the Florida Forest Festival reworks? Look no further. Courts of Praise Church on Puckett Road invites the community to join us for free parking, a bounce house, games and prizes on Thursday, Oct. 23, beginning at 6 p.m. Hamburgers and hot dogs will be available for purchase, so dont worry about dinner. St. Johns Christian Fellowship is also participating in the event, and encourages you to bring your family and friends for the best view in town on the night of the Forest Festival reworks.Fellowship Day planned for Sunday New Mt. Zion M.B.Church will observe its annual Fellowship Day on Sunday, Oct. 26, at 3 p.m. Minister William Bolden will be the guest speaker. for the celebration. Choir rehearsal is scheduled for Thursday, Oct. 23, beginning at 7 p,m. Pastor Izell Montgomery Jr. cordially invites the community to attend. TRUNK OR TREAT Calvary Baptist ChurchCalvary Baptist Church is planning a Trunk or Treat fellowship on Wednesday, Oct. 29, from 6-7:30 p.m. We will have numerous trunks set up all over the church grounds for kids of all ages to enjoy. Free pizza and refreshments will be served, along with exciting games, face painting and hay rides, said Kim Tharpe for the church. This year we are also adding a dunking booth which we will use to raise funds for our Haiti Missions trip in January. We have 11 church members making the roundtrip to Haiti so the dunking booth is donations only. All of the activities aside from the dunking booth are absolutely free and we would like to welcome the entire community to come out and join us for a guaranteed night of laughter and family fun. Adding music to the evening, the Calvary Youth Band will perform. First Presbyterian Church First Presbyterian Church will hold its third annual Trunk or Treat on Friday, Oct. 31, from 6 p.m. until the candy runs out. Last year, we had 250-300 kids, so participants need to be parked and ready by 6 p.m., said Jennifer Caruso for the church. For additional information, please call the church ofce at 584-3826. community churches welcome Fall with fellowshipsShow off grilled ribs in cook-off at San Pedro BaptistSan Pedro Baptist Church will hold its annual Fall Festival on Friday, Oct. 31, with its rst rib grill-off from 5-7 p.m. The competition could be brisk, but youre invited to showcase your skills on the grill. This evening of food, candy, games and fun will have a fabulous ending with a hayride for the kids. The festival runs from 7-8:30 p.m. All are welcome.
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A-10 Taco Times October 22, 2014 Community The Community Based Work Experience Program at Taylor County High School (TCHS) has set a goal to help students become better prepared for the world of work after graduation. The training program provides students with opportunities to explore careers, practicing job skills in community work settings while exposing students to different work environments. It allows students to talk with employees and employers, honing the practical and soft skills required to be a successful employee. The Non-Paid On-theJob program is the rst step to building successful employment skills. Students volunteer at businesses in the community and are assisted by the district employment specialist, who helps train students to learn the skills needed to be successful on the work site. This provides students the opportunities to identify, explore and experience careers while practicing skills needed to secure and maintain future paid employment, school ofcials said. Several local businesses have already joined Community Based Work Experience as partners. Ofcials extended special thanks to the following businesses: Armstrong Tires, Walmart, Kmart, Faulkner Lawn Service, Taylor Pre-K and Save A-Lot. We look forward to working with more businesses in our community so that our program can grow, more students can be involved, and our prepared, skill-experienced workers graduating high school are ready to serve the community in which they live. Please contact Robin Baker at Taylor County High School (850-838-2525) if your business would like to participate in this program. TCHS students explore the world of work Fire Safety Week Win me! Today (Wednesday) is the nal day to purchase pre-sale tickets for the 59th annual Florida Forest Festival carnival, which opens tonight on Industrial Drive. Tickets are $15 each and can be purchased at the Perry-Taylor County Chamber of Commerce until close of business today (Wednesday). The carnival will be open each evening through Saturday night, Oct. 25.Today is the nal day to buy pre-sale tickets for carnival: $15 All Aucilla Christian Academy (ACA) alumni are invited to celebrate homecoming this Friday, Oct. 24, at 6 p.m. at the ACA Alumni Tailgate Party, to be held at the Warrior Memorial Field entrance, before the 7 p.m. kick-off. Warriors unable to attend the event can continue to stay in touch with fellow alumni by submitting their email addresses to Lisa Flournoy, ACAs director of development, at firstname.lastname@example.org. ACAs Alumni Associations newly installed ofcers are: Connie Peterson, Cassie Davis, Tyler McNeill and K.C. Cooksey. The next event sponsored by the ACA Alumni Association will be a sporting clay shoot to benet the scholarship fund Jan. 10, 2015, in Quitman. For more information on the association, visit aucilla. org/alumni or call 850-997-3597. ACA alumni will tailgate Friday at Warrior Field
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A-12 Taco Times October 22, 2014 In the parade...
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By SUSAN H. LINCOLN Managing Editor Its been there awhile, but you have to pause from your frantic pace in order to see the sign that was eaten by a tree. It is located behind Smith & Smith Attorneys At Law which faces Washington Street, located in the historically renovated Taylor County Jail. The sign, which is closer to East Lafayette Street, originally said, No Parking This Side of Street, but now it just leans in a permanent slant, having been surrounded by cellulose. Taylor-Dixie County Forester Jim Fleming was contacted about other such hungry trees, and although the phenomenon is curious, its not unheard ofso he was surprised that he could think of no others in Taylor County. He issued a call to surrounding county foresters and received reports from David Poletti who is Jefferson Countys forester. Its not really an inclusion, Fleming added, but none of us had ever seen a prickly pear growing on a limb 15 to 20 feet off the ground, so I added it, he said. Our own Greg Marshall, Fleming added, was in Gainesville and snapped this picture of the chain encased in a tree. Originally intended to secure a gate or a fence, the chain is now a victim of its own purpose. The most infamous story of inclusion takes us from Perry, Fla., all the way across the United States to Seattle, Wash., or more specically, Vashon Island. Since a rst-hand account is always more colorful, this legend of the bicycle-inthe-tree came to life in the travels of Rebecca Smith, an elementary school teacher from Homewood, Ala., whose journey across America also included a stop in Perry. I heard about this tree because of an app, Roadtrippers. I also follow them on Facebook and they had posted an article about fascinating trees in the U.S. When I went to see my friend in Seattle, I mentioned it to her, and since she had not been on the island before, we ventured out there, Smith said. On this island, it is like stepping back into time, Smith said, although-she admitted--it is only a very short ferry ride from Seattle and Tacoma. I dont remember the exact dimensions, but we drove from one end of the island to the other in well under an hour and the width of the island was only a fraction of its length. The downtown of the island was smaller than Perrys and the shops and the restaurants were closed when we arrived at 5 p.m. on a Saturday, Smith said. The tree was fairly easy to nd, she added, reciting the directions she was given: look for a catering company.park in their lotcross a small wooden bridgeand walk about 10 paces into the woods. But its amazing, she quickly added. Smith explained that the bicycle was about about ve or six feet off the ground where it was left years ago. As one story goes, a young boy on the island was given a hand-me-down bike from a girl in 1954. I dont remember the exact details of the story, but I believe his family had fallen into hard times because his father had passed away. Anyway, he begrudgingly accepted the bike, but was always quite embarrassed about it. One day after a ride, he returned home without the bike. His mother was upset that the gift was missing, but knew about her boys resentment of the bike, so she dismissed it. Decades later, a local newspaper did a story on the tree and it was then that she learned what had happened to her sons bike. While we were on the island, Smith said, we managed to nd one little adorable country store that was open where some older ladies were eager to tell us about their delightful home island. They showed me a picture book written by a local author about the bikein-the-tree, so of course, being an elementary school teacher, I purchased it. According to Smith, the story in that picture book is quite different: A grumpy little boy spent his Christmas holiday with his poor aunt on Vashon Island. He met a man on the island that everyone believed to be Santa Claus. Of course, he was quite cynical when he went to talk to the old man, but he decided that he would ask for the thing he wanted most: a tweed bike to test Santa and see if he was the real deal. On Christmas morning, he did not get the bike, and he was so mad that he marched over to Santas house. There, he found Santa, sick in bed surrounded by his elves. (I believe he needed more people to believe in him to make him well) Santa greeted him with a weak smile, and said, Did you get it? Was it perfect? Seeing this sickly Santa and learning that he had tried, the boy grew soft and lied to Santa, saying yes he had gotten it, how perfect and beautiful it was. Santa got better, went back to the North Pole with his elves and all was saved. The boy, knowing he did the right thing, felt better, but he was still upset about not getting his wish. On his way home though, he found the treed bike and realized that Santa had just misheard him. Not tweed, but treed. Smith smiles as she recalls the tale. Everybody has a version, she wisely admitted. When ABC News featured the bicycle-in-thetree, it designated 1954 as the year when Helen Puz, recently widowed, received the bike as a gift from someone in the community. People were very sympathetic and generous, Puz reportedly wrote in a document on display at the Vashon-Maury Island Heritage Museum. We were given a girls bike and my eight-year-old son Don seemed the natural one to ride it. But Don Puz was none-too-pleased to be cruising the island on a girls bike. One day he told his mother that he had lost the bike, and given that it was built for a girl, they decided to let it go. It wasnt until decades later that Helen Puz, now 99, found out what happened to her sons bike when she read in the local newspaper that someone had discovered the bike ve feet high in the air, embedded in the tree. The tree had grown around it. The roadside marvel was not only the inspiration for the Berkeley Breathed book Red Ranger Came Calling (referenced above by Smith) but also a Japanese documentary. Not to mention its placement in this, the 2014 Florida Forest Festival Edition. Trees with an appetite A-8 Florida Forest Festival October 22, 2014 Rebecca Smith, who visited Perry on her many travels, also found her way to Vashon Island where the infamous bicycle-in-the-tree is located. Her close-up photograph is below. No matter how hard she tried, Breanna Kaschmitter couldnt pull this sign from the oak tree on East Lafayette Street. The sign, below, once insisted, No Parking This Side of Street. Now it leans in a permanent slant, with the base visible on the other side of the trunk. (Above) Purple Queen Wandering Jew trails from the mid-section of an oak tree on Shiloh 15 feet above ground, on an oak tree limb. If you park your motorcycle next to a tree, dont leave it too long. This remnant of a chain, photographed in Gainesville, is surrounded by a tree which didnt respect its authority.
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By ANGELA M. CASTELUCCI Staff writer A uorescent sunset backdrop transported audience members to Paradise for the 2014 Florida Forest Festival Distinguished Young Women (DYW) program held Saturday, Oct. 4, at Forest Capital Hall. The seven title candidatesNiya Lawson, Haley Horner, Viva Gunter, Emily Arnold, Clara Taylor, Michayla Mitchell and Jharmara Simmonsthen punctuated the journey as a State of Mind during their opening number. Dressed in owing skirts accented with gossamer scarves, the groups lyrical dance was an elegant ballet of motion and set the tone for the nearly two-hour program that followed. Charm, poise and talent were the keywords of the night, with each candidate displaying her own unique personality and presence for the judges. By nights end, Jharmara Simmons was declared the winner along with rst runner-up Haley Horner and second runner-up Michayla Mitchell. Viva Gunter won the scholastic award and Clara Taylor took home the Spirit of Distinguished Young Women award. (Horner is the daughter of Jennifer Davis and Marty Horner; Mitchell is the daughter of Jim Mitchell and the late Sheila Mitchell; Gunter is the daughter of Vonda Whiddon and Troy Gunter; and Taylor is the daughter of James and Nancy Taylor.) Simmons, the daughter of Lakechia Bryant and Gregory Simmons, swept the remaining award categories, winning the Be Your Best Self, tness, talent and self-expression awards. Following the opening number, the candidates returned to the stage for a ve and one-half minute workout for the tness portion of the judging. Next came talent performances and nally the evening wear/ self-expression showcase. During the nal competition phase of the program, the candidates appeared on stage in cocktail-length evening wear selections of their choice. Marine Sgt. Chad Mitchell stood at attention centerstage and presented each distinguished young lady a long-stemmed red rose. 2013 Distinguished Young Woman Makenzie Cannon took a nal walk before assisting with the awards presentation. Other special guest appearances included the 2013 Little King Hudson Harvey and 2013 Little Queen Kaylan Kirk. Special entertainment was provided by Taylor Gymnastics, Cheer & Dance as well as a lyrical dance performance from Casey Copeland. Cindy Vees of Madison served as emcee and Kimberly Shefeld was creative director; co-chairs for the event were Sonya Jones and Tonya Benziger. A-10 Florida Forest Festival October 22, 2014 is a state of mind Paradise Marine Sgt. Chad Mitchell (brother of second runner-up Michayla Mitchell) presented roses to candidates as they took the stage during the presence and composure competition. The serviceman, center, is shown with (l to r) Niya Lawson, First Runner-Up Haley Horner, Viva Gunter, Emily Arnold, Clara Taylor, Michayla Mitchell and 2014 Distinguished Young Woman of Taylor County Jharmara Simmons.Simmons named DYW 2014 Distinguished Young Woman Jharmara Simmons, center, and her court, First Runner-up Haley Horner, left, and Second Runner-Up Michayla Mitchell, Woman Jharmara Simmons is the daughter of Lakechia Bryant and Gregory Simmons. She is a senior at Taylor County Hihgh School. essay awards. Scholastic winner Viva Gunter, left, and Spirit of DYW winner Clara Taylo r
A-12 Florida Forest Festival October 22, 2014 Dignitaries invited to start the day at the Womans Club The Perry Womans Club (PWC) will roll out the red carpet for dignitaries who travel to Perry for the 59th annual Florida Forest Festival. Nearly a hundred invitations have been mailed to visiting queens and politicians as well as forestry industry representatives. These festival dignitaries are invited to gather at the Perry Womans Club from 8:30-10 a.m. for breakfast pastries and refreshments before the beginning of the King Tree Parade. Supervisor of Elections Dana Southerland, a member of the PWC, will coordinate this event, assisted by staff from her ofce. The red carpet treatment provided by Dana Southerland and her staff at the Supervisor of Elections ofce features serving pieces from Southerlands mother-in-laws collection. Called Pine Needles, the pattern is particularly appropriate for a celebration of forestry. I love using it because of how involved Marks dad (Jim Southerland) was with the festival, Dana said. At last years Dignitaries Reception, Congressman Steve Southerland (center) and Rep. Halsey Behears (left) couldnt get in the door of the Perry Womans Club before the questions began! Pictured with Earl Swann, right, the two politicians are expected at this years event too.
B-1 Florida Forest Festival October 22, 2014 Happy Birthday, Smokey! Taylor County will celebrate Smokey Bears 70th birthday at the 59th annual Florida Forest Festival, Oct. 24-25. The Forest Service icon will also serve as Grand Marshal of the King Tree Parade. Since 1944, Smokey Bear has been a recognized symbol for the conservation and protection of Americas forests. Smokey Bear is the center of the longest-running public service campaign in United States history. Smokey Bears message, Only you can prevent wildres, has helped to reduce the number of U.S. acres burned by wildres from about 22 million (1944) to 7 million annually. Human carelessness is responsible for 70% to 80% of all Florida wildres, said Jim Karels, state forester. Smokey Bears message is as important today as it was 70 years ago. The Florida Forest Service invites young and old to celebrate with Smokey at the following Florida Forest Festival events: Share birthday cake with Smokey Bear and the Fire Prevention Clowns at the Downtown Kids Parade. a.m.: See Smokey Bear as Grand Marshal of the King Tree Parade. noon: Visit Smokey and the Florida Forest Service at Forest Capital Park. The Florida Forest Service manages more than one million acres of public forest land while of homes, forestland and natural resources from the devastating effects of wildre.
The Florida Forest Festival will once again take over downtown Perry Friday, Oct. 24, with an expanded list of activities. The festivities kick off at 5 p.m. with the third annual Strutt Your Mutt Contest, sponsored by the Helping Hands of the Shelter, Inc. This years event will be held at the Grand Pavilion in Rosehead Park (adjacent to the Splash Pad). Prizes will be awarded in the following categories: Best Bark, Best Trick, Best Costume, Biggest Dog, Smallest Dog, Oldest Dog, Best Kisser, Best Tail Wagger, Best Shelter Dog and Best In Show. Entry forms are available at the Perry-Taylor County Chamber of Commerce. The entry fee is $5 per pet. Participants will also be able to register prior to the contest, starting at 5 p.m. The pet parade and judging will begin at 6 p.m. The Kids Parades theme this year is Forest Life. The parade is for children ages 12 and under. Parents are asked to arrive and register no later than 5:45 p.m. All units must be nonmotorized, organizers said. You may decorate bikes, wagons, baby carriages, etc. Awards will be presented for most keeping with festival theme, most original/creative, most humorous and judges choice. The parade will also feature local Cub Scouts and a ock of Forestry Queens. The procession will be led by the festivals Little King and Queen, starting at 6 p.m. Once the parade concludes, the fun continues with a series of carnival-type games and food concessions in the courthouse parking lot. Returning this year is the Kids Kilometer Fun Run, which will begin at 7 p.m. at Java Connection in Perry Historic Station. (Please see related story) The annual Classic Car Gaslight Parade, featuring classic cars from almost every decade will begin at 7 p.m. as they loop around the Courthouse Square several times before returning to Perry Square (Save-a-Lot shopping center) for a street dance. Concluding the downtown activities is another returning event when children gather at the Grand Pavilion for a series of scary stories at 8 p.m. B-2 Florida Forest Festival October 22, 2014 The local Run For Your Life Track Club will once again host two races during the Florida Forest Festival The Great Race 5K will be held festival morning (Saturday, Oct. 25) prior to the King Tree Parade, while the Kids Kilometer Fun Run is set for Friday, Oct. 24. Both events will raise funds for seven-year-old Gracie Tull in her ght against cancer, organizers said. We are trying to spread the word to get as many people signed up as possible, said Charles Praytor, Run For Your Life president. We are trying to promote tness and health in our community and we hope this will help. The registration fee for the Great Race on race day is $25. The Kids Kilometer will extend a little more than half a mile through Downtown Perry. Participants will uncover prizes along the way and everyone will receive a set of runners dog tags at the end of the race. Registration for the Kids Kilometer is $10. For more information about either event, visit www. RunForYourLifeinc.org or www.GetFitPerry.com. Both events will also be costumed runs, so the runners can wear costumes, Praytor said. We will have more than 80 medals for the Great Race along with best costume medals for both races. Get set for The Great Race, Kids Fun Run Dog contest, Kids Parade, Kids Fun Run, Gaslight Parade & Scary Stories
B-3 Florida Forest Festival October 22, 2014 Welcome to the JUNGLE By ANGELA M. CASTELUCCI Staff writer Judges were given a daunting task at the 59th annual Florida Forest Festivals Little King & Queen Pageant Saturday, Oct. 11select a new royal court from among 25 oh-so-charming junior competitors. Each young boy and girl danced, twirled and waved his or her way across stage to loud applause and cheers. The sky was the limit when it came time to wow the audience with presentations of what they wanted to be when they grew up and the selections were as varied and colorful as the children themselves. There was a tadpole catcher, several animal doctors, an astronaut and a little lady who wanted to be a sailor so I can hunt mermaids because mermaids are real! The nal round of competitionevening wearmade the judges task even more difcult as boys and girls took turns answering questions and prancing across stage dressed in brightly colored ball gowns and tailored tuxedos. Deliberations took more than one hour and in the end, Preston Denmark, the son of Hope and Seth Mardis, and Jeremy and Felicia Denmark, and Aubriana Vann, the daughter of Adam and Jessica Vann, edged past the competition to claim the crowns. First runners-up were Marshall Slaughter, the son of Bradley and Tricia Slaughter, and Melissa Sunderland, the daughter of Paul and Leslee Sunderland; second runners-up were Colin Stiles, the son of Mindy and Christopher Stiles, and Mabry Johnson, the son of Felicia and Jeremy Denmark, and Joshua Johnson. Bradley Freeman, the son of Beth and Bry Freeman, and Georgia Miller, the daughter of Paul and Crystal Miller, were also recognized for having sold the most ads for the pageant program. The evenings theme was Welcome to the Jungle and the opening number shook the rafters with contestants romping and stomping their way on stage dressed in adventure/jungle costumes of their choice. Wild-haired cavemen, khaki-clad explorers and brightly-plumed exotic birds (toucans to be exact)not to mention a monkey and a lionsang and danced to a bopping jungle-beat. Emcee Scott Mixon captured the scene in a single line, That is certainly Taylor Countys best on stage tonight. Co-chairs Amy Bowden and Marcy Freemen thanked parents for sharing their children with them for the experience and gave emotional well-wishes to the competiors: We are so proud of each and every one of you. Choreographers Magan Bowden and Cassidy Pridgeon also shared stage duty, interviewing the boys and girls during the career and evening wear segments. Dueces Wild provided entertainment along with talent performances from Taylor Countys 2014 Distinguished Young Woman Jharmara Simmons and DYW rst runner-up Haley Horner. The Buddys provided concessions with proceeds benetting Taylor County Special Olympics. Several local athletes were given special introductions at the beginning of the program. Next for the new festival royalty are appearances at the Kids Parade Friday, Oct. 24, in downtown Perry and the King Tree Parade Saturday, Oct. 25. Denmark, Vann crowned Little King & Little Queen All in the family
B-6 Florida Forest Festival October 22, 2014 The 59th annual Florida Forest Festivals Fabulous Fireworks Display will once again light up the night sky over Perry-Foley Airport on Thursday, Oct. 23, beginning at 8 p.m. The Florida Forest Festival looks forward to sponsoring a community reworks show again this year, Event Coordinator Dan Simmons said. We invite everyone to attend and enjoy the show. We encourage spectators to be in position to view the reworks by 7:55 p.m. because the show is expected to start promptly at 8. The show will be provided by Sky Lighters of Florida based in Ocala. The company has provided reworks for the Florida Forest Festival in the past. Other clients of Sky Lighters of Florida are the University of Florida and the New York Yankees. The show will include 700 shells three-inches or larger in diameter plus an additional 2,600 smaller, low-level barrage rockets. There will also be 49 six-inch shells that reach a height of 500 feet. The grand nale will include 1240 shells and aerial effects up to three inches in diameter, plus 36 four-inch shells, seven ve-inch shells, six six-inch shells, and one mammoth eight-inch shell, Simmons said. Fabulous Fireworks Display is ursday Fireworks will start at 8 p.m.
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B-8 Florida Forest Festival October 22, 2014 Timberrrrrrrrrr LumberjacksThey opened the land to farms and cities, help build America and became the legends of the forest. The tales of their feats are as big as a pine tree and lumberjacks always claimed to be the best. The legend lives on in the All American Lumberjack Show, which brings two teams, 10 exciting lumberjack events, and 10,000 gallons of water to the 59th annual Florida Forest Festival Saturday, Oct. 25. Admission is free to all shows, which begin at 12 p.m., 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. A special Kids Lumberjack Sport Camp will be held at 2:30 p.m. and is free to all youngsters young and old. Lumberjack events of cross-cut sawing and log rolling will be taught by the pros. Remember, bring a towel because you are going to get wet. Parking Pass Need a parking pass for festival day? Call the Florida Forest Festival ofce at 584TREE (8733). The Florida Forest Festival chainsaw and crosscut saw competitions will be held Saturday, Oct. 25, at Forest Capital State Park. Registration will be from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. The competition begins promptly at 1:30 p.m. with crosscut events followed by chainsaw events. Entrants must be at least 18 years old. The competitions will include mens and womens categories for chainsaw events with mixed pairs (Jack-n-Jill) included in the crosscut events. Best time in each chainsaw event wins a new chainsaw. Other awards include plaques and cash prizes. The event is sponsored by the Florida Forest Festival, Mims Power Center, Inc., Ring Power Corporation and Tractor Supply, with additional support from the Florida Forest Service and Foley Cellulose Mill. Win a new chainsaw!