Archive for January 2011
The lone shooter, 22 year old Jared Loughner, is in custody thanks to the quick action of several bystanders – they kept him from reloading after he had expended a 31-round clip and wrestled him to the ground. In barely 48 hours, we are learning more about Loughner and his troubled past. What is emerging is the picture of a mentally unstable young man, although apparently he had never been diagnosed or institutionalized.
As the shock of this tragedy wears off, left-wing politicians and media are replaying two familiar mantras: gun control and political speech. The narrative goes like this – we wouldn’t have these types of incidents if we clamped down on the proliferation of firearms and cleansed the airwaves of so-called hate speech from right wing media.
We have heard this type of knee-jerk reaction more than once. In the wake of the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, no less than President Bill Clinton called out talk radio for supposedly inciting this type of violence. Every mass shooting results in a renewed call for gun control. In the race for headlines, there is a stampede among the media and their political allies to transform a tragedy into a crisis that only they can solve with more regulation.
It is unfortunate when politicians use a tragedy such as this to push their political agenda. In a similar vein, former chief of staff Rahm Emmanuel said that “we should never waste a crisis” in order to push an aggressive political agenda. The danger here is that there is a “rush to judgment” where facts are ignored and a narrative is pushed without any reason or debate. Often, the result is not only rushed, but creates many unintended consequences as well.
What we should concentrate on is the accused gunman and his history of mental instability. The guy was a nut case and lots of people knew it. Why were the signals missed or ignored? Why weren’t law enforcement officers at this public gathering? Instead, some are going after his firearm and a nebulous connection to political speech. It’s like looking for a rabbit in an empty hole.
In the wake of the Enron Scandal ten years ago, Congress rushed through a piece of legislation known as Sarbanes-Oxley named after its congressional sponsors. Without truly addressing the accounting deficiencies that resulted in the Enron mess, this legislation heaped enormous accounting costs on business and prevented many private companies from going public. It was if legislators and their lobbyists had a bill in their desk drawer waiting for the first accounting scandal to occur; never mind whether or not their bill addressed the actual issues or not.
This is typical of political opportunists. Congresswoman Carolyn McCarthy of New York, herself a victim of gun violence, is dusting off gun control legislation in the wake of the Arizona shooting. Never allow a crisis to pass without some activist regulation. Grab some headlines, pass the bill in a flurry, and sort out the consequences later.
There is an old cliché that goes like this: haste makes waste. Never is this more true than with legislation. Good law requires careful debate, consideration of all issues, and reasoned judgment. Laws passed during a rush without calmer heads prevailing frequently result in disaster. When and if they are corrected, significant damage has already occurred. We deserve better.
Before we write off gun advocates, it is interesting to note that one of the citizens who rushed into the Tucson shooting scene was a young man who carried a concealed firearm. He was one of two people who wrestled Loughner to the ground. While he didn’t have to use his sidearm, he didn’t run from the chaos but toward it. Because of his actions, and those of others, the violence was stopped. Never underestimate the importance of a vigilant, prepared, and engaged citizenry.
In the “business world,” this holds true, also. Whatever our job may be, sometimes we forget to step back and really look at what others might see, or think.
I’d like to take this time to thank our readers, and patrons, for the telephone calls, letters, and Letters To The Editor, that we receive. Whether the intention is positive, or negative, it is good to hear from “the public,” for this lets us (the newspaper) know what you like, and don’t like.
We try our best, as your local hometown newspapers, to serve the public in the best way that we can. We try to stay abreast of the local news and happenings so that we may pass that same information on to you.
As hard as we try, sometimes, we just don’t know of EVERYTHING that might be coming up in the community. I would like to encourage everyone to please call our office and let us know if an event is happening, that you would like (or think needs to be) covered. We will do our best to be there and cover it to the best of our ability.
I know that we can’t please everyone in our community. With each story that is printed, some will like it – some will not. “We don’t make the news, we just report it” has become my favorite quote; as it holds the same for all media. It is our job to let the citizens of Madison County know what is happening in Madison County. The good, the bad, and the ugly are all a part of that scenario.
Thank you for your patronage and please feel free to call our office at any time. We truly appreciate your thoughts and ideas and welcome any suggestions that you might have. We especially look forward to learning of events happening in our county that we might not know about.
Have A Great Week!
Until then….see you around the town.
By Jacob Bembry
Called To Coach
The first book I read from cover to cover in 2011 has been the book Called to Coach by Bobby Bowden. The book gives a behind-the-scenes glimpse at college football during Bowden’s 40-plus years of coaching.
The book is more than a book about college football and even more than a book about Bowden. The book is about a calling from God that Bowden felt that he had to fulfill. He was called to be a coach.
The book details how Bowden shared the gospel of Jesus Christ with his players and coaches. In one chapter, Bowden writes about Pablo Lopez, an offensive lineman for the Seminoles, being murdered one fall Saturday evening when Florida State did not have a football game. He spoke at Lopez’s funeral about the faith that Pablo had found in Jesus Christ. He told his team and coaches that he knew where Pablo was and if they wanted to know how to get to Heaven also, his office door was always open. One of the people who took up his invitation was Mark Richt, an assistant coach, who is know the Georgia Bulldogs head coach. Richt invited Jesus into his heart.
One heartbreaking chapter in the book is about the deaths of his son-in-law, John Madden, and his grandson, Bowden Madden. John and Bowden had been headed home from Tallahassee on a rainy Interstate 10, when they were killed in a traffic crash. Billy Smith, a retired highway patrolman who escorted Bobby Bowden at football games and another trooper came to Bowden’s house to break the news to his daughter, Robyn, who had remained in Tallahassee with the family following a 19th birthday celebration for another son.
The book details devotionals that Bowden and team chaplain Clint Purvis shared with the FSU team over the years. It talks about how some of the players were able to change their lives during their time at FSU and even about how some of them failed to turn their lives around.
I would recommend the book to anyone, whether they are a diehard Seminole fan like me, or even a Florida Gator fan. I’m planning on reading Tim Tebow’s book when it comes out because I admire his stand as a Christian. Bowden has the same stand, so I urge everyone to buy the book, borrow the book (I would loan you mine, but I only have a copy on my Kindle) or check the book out from the library. The book is truly inspiring.
I hope and pray that one day, my calling as a writer, will inspire people to give their lives to Jesus Christ.
Submitted by Florida State University
Researcher Reports on ‘Biomarkers’ That Could Help Boost Survival Rates
TALLAHASSEE, FL. — Using biological samples taken from patients and state-of-the-art biochemical techniques, a Florida State University researcher is working to identify a variety of “biomarkers” that might provide earlier warnings of the presence of breast and prostate cancers.
“Biomarkers are indicators of certain biological and pathological processes that are occurring, such as cancer,” said Qing-Xiang “Amy” Sang, a professor in Florida State’s Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. “Either the cancer cells themselves, or surrounding normal tissue for that matter, can produce specific proteins or exhibit other biological changes that provide a signal that something unusual is taking place. Different types of cancer produce different biomarkers, so the challenge is to identify the most effective one for each type of the disease.”
For more than 15 years, Sang and her colleagues have focused their efforts on two types of cancers that are particularly prevalent in the United States: breast and prostate. National Cancer Institute statistics illustrate the enormity of the problem:
* An estimated 207,090 American women and 1,970 men were expected to be diagnosed with breast cancer during the year 2010, with 39,840 women and 390 men dying from the disease. It is the second most frequent type of cancer and second leading cause of cancer death among American women.
* An estimated 217,730 American men were expected to be diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2010, with 32,050 men dying. It is the most frequent type of cancer and the second leading cause of cancer death among American men.
“The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has recognized three separate biomarkers for the identification of breast cancer and one for prostate cancer,” Sang said. “But if we can identify new and more accurate biomarkers that offer even earlier glimpses of these diseases, we stand a better chance of offering patients the most customized treatment possible, then, being able to closely monitor their progress, provide follow-up treatment as needed. With earlier diagnosis and treatment, the end result will hopefully be fewer people dying from these cancers.”
Sang and five colleagues recently co-wrote a paper published in the cancer research journalClinical and Experimental Metastasis that could set the stage for breakthroughs in the identification of new biomarkers for breast cancer. Their paper, “Alteration in Protein Expression in Estrogen Receptor Alpha-Negative Human Breast Cancer Tissues Indicates a Malignant and Metastatic Phenotype,” noted that most research efforts involving breast cancer have focused on epithelial cells — cells that line the surfaces of structures throughout the body — while paying less attention to the stromal cells, or connective cells, that lie beneath them. Those stromal cells, however, may play a larger role in the spread of breast cancers than was previously known, and measuring the number and amount of immunoreactive and metastasis-suppressing proteins that they produce could provide an early indication of how likely the cancer is to metastasize.
(Working with Sang on the Clinical and Experimental Metastasis paper were postdoctoral associate Ziad J. Sahab and graduate students Suzan M. Semaan and Robert G. Newcomer, all from the FSU Chemistry and Biochemistry Department, as well as Yan-Gao Man of the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology and American Registry of Pathology in Washington, D.C. and Stephen W. Byers of the Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, also in Washington.)
Sang recently co-wrote another paper, this one published in the Journal of Cancer, that focused on possible new approaches for identifying and treating prostate cancer. In “Protein Profiling of Isolated Leukocytes, Myofibroblasts, Epithelial, Basal, and Endothelial Cells from Normal, Hyperplastic, Cancerous, and Inflammatory Human Prostate Tissues,” she, Ziad J. Sahab, her graduate student Zahraa I. Khamis at FSU and collaborator Kenneth Iczkowski of the University of Colorado Health Science Centerexamined the crucial role that stromal cells play in tumor development and invasion. Advanced analyses of normal stromal cells and “reactive,” or tumor-associated, stromal cells in prostate tissue showed key differences in the patterns of proteins that were expressed by each. This suggests that targeting the so-called tumor “microenvironment” — the precise location where cancer cells interact with and sometimes alter epithelial and stromal cells — may lead to the identification of new biomarkers produced by stromal cells, thereby providing a promising opportunity for prostate cancer prevention and treatment.
A number of organizations are helping to fund Sang’s various cancer research efforts. They include the U.S. Department of Defense’s U.S. Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs, the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Breast Cancer Foundation, the Florida Breast Cancer Coalition Research Foundation, the Elsa U. Pardee Foundation, and a Program Enhancement Grant from the Florida State University Research Foundation. In all, approximately $940,446 is helping Sang to advance her work in these areas.
“Many frequently fatal diseases, including cancers of the lungs, liver, pancreas, and colon, as well as heart disease, asthma, and cystic fibrosis, currently have no FDA-approved biomarker that can be used to diagnose them early and allow doctors to get a jump on treating them,” Sang said. “So while I’m hopeful that our current research will lead to more effective biomarkers for breast and prostate cancer, I would also be very pleased if it could provide other scientists with the knowledge they need to take on these other diseases as well.”
Submitted by Madison County Extension Service
Do you experience envy of a beautifully manicured and landscaped lawn? Ever wish you had a green thumb in efforts to grow your own fruits and vegetables? Would you like to make a difference in your community? Do you like teaching/helping others or just wish to be more involved in the community? Are you an experienced gardener and just want to nurture your keen interest in horticulture? Maybe you just like being outside.
If any of these apply to you, then you may be interested in the Florida Master Gardener program offered by the Madison County Extension Service.
Members of the Master Gardener program are provided with a minimum of fifty hours of in-depth horticultural training in a variety of topics. In return, graduates give at least seventy-five volunteer hours helping the local Extension program.
Master Gardener volunteers help the county Extension office in many ways: answering garden related phone calls from homeowners, staffing plant clinics, working with 4-H youth, helping with school gardens, and many others.
For more information, contact Covey Washington or Heidi Waller at (850) 973-4138 for an application. The deadline for receiving applications is February 25.
Submitted by Judge Parker’s Office
Circuit Judge Greg Parker of Perry was recently appointed by Florida Supreme Court Chief Justice Charles T. Canady to serve a six year term on the Florida Trial Courts Budget Commission. Judge Parker is one of 14 Circuit Judges and 7 circuit court administrators appointed from among the 20 judicial circuits in the state. The Trial Court Budget Commission was created to oversee the preparation and implementation of the trial court component of the judicial branch budget. The Commission is directly responsible for recommending budgeting and funding policies and procedures for the trial court budget, in order to support a trial court system that will effectively carry out the administration of justices in all trial courts throughout the State of Florida. Judge Parker, elected in 2008, is one of the seven circuit judges having jurisdiction throughout the Third Judicial Circuit of Florida which is comprised of Columbia, Dixie, Hamilton, Lafayette, Madison, Suwannee and Taylor Counties. Judge Parker is currently primarily assigned to preside over the circuit civil and felony criminal dockets in both Madison and Hamilton Counties.
By M.K. Graves
Greene Publishing Inc.
Ellen Feacher is feisty at age 98: she climbs on the Madison Senior Center van twice a week and attends church almost every Sunday at Jeslamb AME Church.
“I got to come see my buddies,” says Feacher cheerfully. She especially likes to talk to Lorrine Quinn, Corine Rayam, Susie Powell, Jenethel Woods and Mosley Barfield.
“You old crow,” said Feacher as she greeted Mosley Barfield in the Senior Center foyer.
Feacher was named Senior of the Month at the Madison Senior Center, where her daughter, Ella Mae, 68, has served as the Volunteer Coordinator for two years.
“She’s always been a hard worker,” said Brown of her mother. “I used to see her working and wished I could help.”
Feacher was born in a family of eight in Monticello on August 15, 1913. She helped her mother, Maggie Nelson, raise her brothers and sisters. Later she went on to have her own family of nine children.
Making $1.25 tending a plantation, Feacher said, “I didn’t like hoeing, so I went to plow with a mule.” She put her children under a shade tree while she worked in the field.
“She would leave out of the field, cook, wash clothes, and take care of us,” said Brown.
The family includes four girls and five boys: Anthony, Earnest, James, Nickey, Lillie Mae, Ella Mae, Beatrice, Posey and the late Alfonso.
One day Feacher spotted her first Model T car. “I didn’t know what that thing was,” she said.
“What happened the first time you saw a car?” asked Brown.
“I ran from it,” she said. “I didn’t know it was coming!”
She remembers being 12 years old when Jefferson County was working on paving the road from Monticello to Tallahassee.
Meanwhile, some things never change.
“I enjoy my best friends,” said Feacher.
Warner Robins – Frances Lee Ottilia Kelley Edenfield, 67, entered into rest on Wednesday, January 5, 2011.
Frances was born on November 7, 1943 in Madison. She was a member of Hopewell Baptist Church. Frances was employed as a F-15 FMS Production Management Specialist at Robins Air Force Base for twenty six years. She was a former President and member of the Warner Robins Art Association, and a charter member and executive officer of Houston Arts Alliance. In addition to her love of the Arts, she enjoyed working with flowers and creating gardens.
Her parents, Benjamin Franklin Kelley, Jr. and Martha Louise Tompkins Kelley and grand daughter Lauren Elizabeth Joiner preceded her in death.
Her memory will forever be treasured by her children, Mary Catherine Edenfield Joiner, Warner Robins; Paul Anthony Edenfield, Buford, Georgia; brothers and sisters, John Benjamin “Ben” Kelley, Raymond Michael “Mike” Kelley, Van Breckenridge Kelley, Dale Randolph Kelley, Darlene Maretta “Maret” Sheffield, Richard Allen Kelley, Debra Montez Signer, Christopher “Chris” Scott Kelley, and five grandchildren.
Visitation will be Friday, January 7, 2011 from 6:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m. at McCullough Funeral Home, Warner Robins. Funeral services will be held at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, January 8, 2011 with a visitation prior from 11:00 a.m.until 2:00 p.m. at Hopewell Baptist Church in Madison, Florida. Interment will follow in the Hopewell Baptist Church Cemetery.
Go to www.mcculloughfh.com to sign the Online Registry for the family. McCullough Funeral Home has charge of arrangements.
Edith W. Tyre, age 78, died Sunday, January 9, 2011, in Gainesville.
Funeral services will be held at 3 p.m. on Wednesday, January 12, 2011, at Beggs Funeral Home with burial at Oak Ridge Cemetery. Visitation will be one hour prior to the service from 2-3 p.m. at Beggs Funeral Home.
She was born on July 25, 1932 in Ray City, Georgia to Norman and Bertie Walker. She lived in Madison before moving to Jasper.
She worked as a bookkeeper most of her life and was a member of Madison Church of God.
She is survived by one son, Edwin Tyre of Jasper; one brother, Robert Walker (Robbie); one sister, Elizabeth Haraz, both of Pinetta; and one grandson, Allan Tyre.
She was preceded in death by her parents. Norman and Birtie Walker; two husbands, Tommy and Jess Tyre; a son; Mike Tyre: two sisters; and two brothers.
Dorothy Moore “Miss Dot” Pridgeon, age 85, died Thursday, January 6, 2011 at her home in Greenville.
Funeral services were held at 2 p.m., Sunday, January 9, 2011 at Greenville Methodist Church, with burial at Evergreen Cemetery. Visitation was Saturday from 5-7 p.m. at Beggs Funeral Home, Madison Chapel.
She was born in Brooksfield, Georgia and lived most of her childhood life in Moseley Hall before residing in Greenville. She was City Clerk for the City of Greenville for fifty years before retiring. She was a member of Greenville Methodist Church.
She is survived by two sons, G. W. Pridgeon Jr (Darlene) of Perry; George R. Pridgeon (Lila) of Greenville; a sister, Lucille Cruce, of Madison; four grandchildren George W. Pridgeon III, Krystle Pridgeon, George Russell Pridgeon, Jr. (Angela) and Suzanne Tart (Paul); and two great-grandchildren, Taylor and George Quartman Pridgeon.
Beggs Funeral Home Madison Chapel is in charge of arrangements (850-973-2258).
By Jacob Bembry
Greene Publishing, Inc.
The Madison County High School Cowboys varsity basketball team beat the Florida High Seminoles 64-51 in action played Tuesday, Jan. 4, in Madison.
The Cowboys took a 17-10 lead in the first quarter, but trailed 25-23 at the half.
The Cowboys took command in the third quarter, outscoring the Seminoles 22-12 and taking a 45-35 lead.
In the fourth quarter, the Cowboys outscored the Seminoles 19-14 and put them away.
Marty McDaniel led the Cowboys in scoring with 13 points.
Brandon Vought had 12 points in the game.
Jermaine Hart scored 11 points for the Cowboys.
Chris Brown and Devontay Stephens eached scored 10 points.
Tre Arnold added eight points for the Cowboys.
The Cowboys travel to Perry Thursday evening, Jan. 14, to play against the Bulldogs at 7:30 p.m. They will play the Jefferson County High School Tigers Friday evening, Jan. 15, at the gym at Madison County High School.
Press release submitted by Madison County Sheriff’s Office
Madison County Sheriff Ben Stewart reports that on Saturday morning, Jan. 8, at approximately 9:40 a.m., a Madison County Sheriff’s Office Deputy and a Florida State Trooper were involved in a shooting that resulted in the death of a suspect.
Both Officers were in the process of checking on a subject that was illegally camping on the side of an entrance ramp to Interstate 10 in Madison County. The suspect pointed a shotgun at the deputy, which resulted in return fire from the Officers. The suspect was killed during the incident.
In accordance with Sheriff’s Office policy and procedure, the investigation of the incident was then turned over to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the Third Circuit State Attorney’s Office. The investigation is currently ongoing, however preliminary investigation revealed that the officers involved responded appropriately to the threat.
By Jacob Bembry
Greene Publishing, Inc.
Three Rivers Legal Services will be at the new Madison County Senior Center, located at the corner of Highway 14 and Harvey Greene Drive, on Wednesday, Jan. 19, to offer free civil legal services. The services are available to low-income and other eligible citizens.
Staff members from Three Rivers will be available from 9:30-11 a.m. Their areas of practice include landlord/tenant disputes; foreclosures; Social Security; living and legal wills; unfair sales practices; contracts; Medicaid/Medicare; and family law (limited).
Those wishing to make an appointment to speak with someone from Three Rivers Legal Services should call 1-800-495-0039.
By Jacob Bembry
Greene Publishing, Inc.
The Madison County Planning and Zoning Board will broach the subject of defining exactly what the definition of “intensive agriculture” should be at their Thursday, Jan. 13, meeting.
The subject was discussed at length in the board’s December meeting. An overwhelming majority in the room was against changing any classification where farm land was involved.
Also on the agenda will discuss allowable vs. special exception requirements for recreational uses in all land use categories.
New items on the agenda will include the election of a chair and vice-chair for 2011 and the approval of the 2011 meeting schedule for the board.
The P&Z Board will also consider scheduling a visit to Full Circle Dairy, which is located south of Lee. The purpose of the visit is so that board members can gain knowledge of dairies.
A discussion family homestead lot splits on unplatted subdivisions is also on the agenda.
The meeting will begin at 5:30 p.m. in the county commissioners meeting room in the Courthouse Annex.
By Jacob Bembry
Greene Publishing, Inc.
Citizens of Madison County who want to take a pro-active role in their government may apply for seats that are vacant on three different boards.
An at-large seat is available on the Madison County Planning and Zoning Board.
Responsibilities on the P&Z Board include planning and land use issues, review of the Madison County Land Development Code and Comprehensive Plan and recommendations to the Board of County Commissioners on requests and applications submitted for approval.
P&Z Board meetings are on the second Thursday of each month at 5:30 p.m. at the Madison County Courthouse Annex.
The Madison County Design Review Board is seeking individuals who have a special interest, experience or education in history, architecture or the preservation of historic resources.
The Design Review Board usually holds meetings the first Monday of each month at 5:15 p.m. at the Madison County Courthouse Annex.
Three members are being sought for the Madison County Code Enforcement Board. Positions that need to be filled are Member-Realtor; Altnernate-Architect; and Alternate-Business Person.
The Code Enforcement Board has the authority to impose “administrative fines and other non-criminal penalties to provide an equitable,, expeditious, effective and inexpensive method of enforcing any codes and ordinances in force in the County and municipalities, where a pending or repeated violation continues to exist.” The Board is governed by Florida State Statute 162 and Madison County Ordinance 98-95.
Anyone interested in filling these non-paid vacancies should send their name and contact information, including a brief resumé and the board that they wish to serve on, to Allen Cherry, Madison County Coordinator, Madison, FL 32341 or email the information to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The deadline to apply is Jan. 26 at 4 p.m.
By Lynette Norris
Greene Publishing, Inc.
Prevention is the key, Madison Police Chief Gary Calhoun told a group of Madison business owners regarding concerns about protecting themselves and their businesses from crime. At the Jan. 6 meeting at the Mail Room, 321 SW Pinckney St., he also advised his audience that gang-related activity is actually not that big a problem in Madison, and strangers targeting random victims is only a small portion of crime in the area. Instead, much of what his department sees is friend or family-based, with arguments between siblings, spouses, other family members, or acquaintances over “just really stupid stuff” escalating into violence.
So, the basis of any good crime watch, whether it’s a neighborhood or a group of business owners, is people being educated about what to look for when they’re out and about, noticing when something is a little off, and having good communication with each other and the police department. Everyone has cell phones, he said, including his 90-year-old mother. “Three things you can do are, call the police, call the police, and call the police…anytime something just doesn’t look right.”
Following Calhoun’s presentation, Ted Ensminger of the Madison Chamber of Commerce took the floor to discuss creating a small-business-friendly environment in the area with a “Shop Madison First” initiative. However, Madison business owners themselves need to lead by example, and make a commitment to turn things around at the cultural level. Currently, figures show that 80 percent of Chamber members shop outside of Madison four times a month or more, spending an average of $400 each trip. “We have a culture of making money in Madison and spending it in other places,” he said. “It’s a social event to go shop in Valdosta and see your friends, while restaurants in Madison remain empty.”
The group also discussed strategies for making their businesses more visible in the community, using technology such as linking websites and smart phones, as well as more events that would bring people into the downtown area. Several business owners related stories of people coming to their shop during the last Fifth Saturday event and saying, “I had no idea you were even here.”
Another problem for downtown businesses is adequate parking for their customers, an issue many agreed would take an ongoing effort to mitigate.
Other discussions included ideas for publicizing their various businesses, from Facebook to flyers. Ensminger further announced that the Chamber was creating a youth advisory board to help merchants connect with the 20-to-30-year-old demographic.
Drawing tourists was another topic that generated lively discussion. One area in particular that remains untapped, as far as a potential tourist attraction, is the abundance of Civil War history in the county, things that could be developed into tourist draws possibly comparable to the Battle of Olustee for Lake City and the Battle of Natural Bridge for Tallahassee.
Plans for the immediate future also include setting up an email list of local merchants and drawing Latino and African-American business owners into the next small business owners meeting - the time, date and location to be announced as soon as they are decided upon.
By Fran Hunt
Special to Greene Publishing, Inc.
Longtime Aucilla Christian Academy (ACA) Head Baseball Coach Ray Hughes has decided to step down from his position following 34 years as the program’s head coach and one year with its junior varsity.
Hughes will reverse roles with first-year Assistant Coach Drew Sherrod, who played for Hughes from 2001-2005 and will take over as head coach, effective immediately.
While playing for Aucilla under Hughes’ leadership, Sherrod and the Warriors were District Champions in 2003, 2004 and 2005. They were also Regional Finalists in 2003, 2004 and 2005.
In the ACA record books, the second highest most runs scored during one game was in 2005 against John Paul II, when the Warriors scored 28 runs.
In 2004, Sherrod scored the second highest most home runs in one season with eight.
In 2005, Sherrod also tied for the most RBIs in a season with 46, a record set by Leonard Thigpen in 1984.
Hughes, who recently retired as ACA’s athletic director after 25 years of service, felt it was in his best interest, as well as that of the program’s, to hand over the reins to Sherrod and serve as his assistant.
“I have been extremely fortunate to have had the opportunity to coach a game I love for the past 35 years,” Hughes said. “Drew Sherrod was one of the most dedicated players I ever coached. I think he will do an excellent job.”
“After having led our program for over 30 years, we can’t thank Ray Hughes enough for all of his dedication and efforts in serving our school, our students and our Savior,” said ACA Principal Richard Finlayson. “He has positively impacted so many people in so many ways. We are excited about his commitment to continue to be a vital part of our coaching staff and about his enthusiasm in regard to the future of our baseball program.”
“We are also excited about turning the reins over to Drew Sherrod,” Finlayson added. “He is extremely knowledgeable about baseball and is a very positive coach that approaches coaching with a great deal of enthusiasm. Most importantly, he is looking forward to the opportunity to serve God through this new role. We have great confidence that our baseball program will continue to grow and thrive under Coach Sherrod’s leadership.”
Sherrod recently joined the ACA staff as a physical-education instructor, assistant varsity football coach and middle-school boy’s basketball coach.
“I am so excited and thankful to have this opportunity,” Sherrod said. “Coach Hughes is a legend at this school as well as in the sport of baseball. It means the world to me that I get to coach at my alma mater but it is extra special that I get to coach alongside Coach Hughes.
“It is going to be a great challenge, but one I am very much looking forward to,” Sherrod added.
Sherrod, a standout pitcher and infielder for Hughes, went on to play one year with North Florida Community College before transferring to Florida State University, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Recreation Management. Sherrod is also an instructor with the Southern Ball Academy of Tallahassee.
“Coach Sherrod has proven extremely beneficial to all of our sports programs since joining our staff in August,” said ACA Athletic Director Mary Beth Bishop. “He brings substantial knowledge of fundamentals and technique and his enthusiasm for our baseball program has our players more than ready for the upcoming season.”
The Warriors begin regular season play around the diamond, against Hamilton County at 4:30 p.m. on Feb. 15, away.
The Daughters of Destiny #635 and Francis Gary Lodge #433 (International Free & Accepted Modern Masons, Inc. & Order of the Eastern Star) will be hosting an interest meeting on Saturday, Jan. 15, at the Madison County Public Library, 378 NW College Loop, Madison (located near North Florida Community College) from noon until 2 p.m.
If anyone has a desire to become part of the Order of the Eastern Star, Daughters of Destiny #635, or the Francis Gary Masonic Lodge #433, the groups look forward to seeing them at the public library.
For more information, call Gloria J. Randall at (850) 464-4945.