By Kristin Finney
Greene Publishing, Inc.
It’s that time of year again; time to buy chocolates and roses, time to send a sweet letter to a loved one and most importantly time to buy balloons, a lot of them.
Lake Park of Madison is here to help with everyone’s Valentines balloon needs. They will be having a Valentine Balloon Sale from now until the big day. Not only will these balloons benefit their receivers, also all of the proceeds will go towards the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life.
Balloons can be purchased for the residents of Lake Park of Madison or for family or friends. Balloons can be delivered to you or picked up from Lake Park of Madison.
Pricing is as follows: red, white or pink latex balloons are two for $1. Red latex heart balloons are $1 a piece. Mylar valentine balloons will be $2 a piece and candy bags are $1 per bag.
They are taking orders now and will be until Feb. 14. If you or a loved one are interested call Carla Barrett at the Lake Park of Madison.
Archive for February 2011
By Kristin Finney
By Lynette Norris
Greene Publishing, Inc.
Last Friday, Ted Ensminger’s friends and coworkers gathered at the Chamber of Commerce to say goodbye as he resigned, not retired, from his old job, and wish him well in his new one at Honey Lake Plantation. He had been Executive Director of the Chamber for almost three years.
In his new position at Honey Lake, he said he would still be wearing his tourism hat, predicting that the Plantation, with its many amenities for individual guests as well as large gatherings, will become a significant draw for tourists.
As the party got underway, the room was nearly packed with friends and supporters as Chamber President, Dr. Jessica Webb, presented Ensminger with a plaque that included a clock, because, “we know he runs all the time.” A few minutes later, Cindy Vees presented him with something equally important – batteries for the clock.
In his farewell speech, Ensminger began with a little item of news, that not more than fifteen minutes ago, the Chamber had received its first call from a tour bus group headed for Amelia Island; the bus would be stopping in Madison, on May 16 and again on May 19. May 16, they would visit the Wardlaw-Smith-Goza Mansion as well as a couple of historic churches and have lunch at some local restaurants before heading out again. On their return trip May 19, they would be visiting the Ray Charles House in Greenville.
The Chamber had been working on trying to convince tour buses to stop in Madison County, so news of the first one to do so was greeted with applause and cheers.
When asked later if he thought this would be the first of many more tour buses to make a stop here, Ensminger smiled and said, “I’d bet the farm on it.”
By: Joe Boyles – Guest Columnist
Nation building, the act of creating and fostering a functional government in a foreign land, isn’t a core mission of the American military, but it “comes with the territory.” It has always been with our country, as it was with the British Empire before our nation was founded. Sometimes it is a political football between the parties like it was in the 2000 election – Gore argued that it was an important part of the military’s mission while Bush argued against it. Gore was right.
In our nation’s history from the time of the Civil War forward, our armies have forced civil control on the conquered lands for some period of time, often with mixed results. At the end of the Rebellion in 1865, the North instituted a period of Reconstruction which went particularly bad in the former Confederate states including Florida. Eventually, the North withdrew and allowed Southerners to once again form their own state and local governments.
In America’s one imperial war against Spain in 1898, we instituted government control over The Philippines and quickly discovered that we were not only out of our league but needed to return control back to the people. At the end of World War I, the winning Allies governed the area of Germany west of the Rhine River for several years to provide a protective buffer for France. It went badly.
Our efforts at nation building following World War II went much better. In Germany, our military government was short-lived and a new constitution and representative democracy were soon formed. In post-war Japan under proconsul Douglas MacArthur, the transition to a new democratic and liberal society was even more astounding. The democratic roots of both of these nations and firm allies are the result of American nation building following the ashes of world war. We learned well the lessons from our failure after World War I.
America’s efforts in nation building following the Korean War have proven spectacular. Today, South Korea is an economic bulwark in Northeast Asia. In South Vietnam, we bit off far more than we could chew. The revolving governments following the Diem assassination in 1963 never had the support of the people; we were unable to build any strength of government which could repel their northern brethren.
Since 2000, our two wars in the Middle East have seen different results with respect to building democratic nations which represent the aspirations of the people. In Iraq since 2007, the results have been good if tenuous. Part of this is the result of the people being accustomed to a strong central government. But in Afghanistan where governing is far more tribal, positive results for creating a central democracy have been agonizingly slow. It would appear that for every step forward, there are at least one and sometimes two steps backward.
Our strategy in Afghanistan is counter insurgency, developed in 2008 by the outgoing Bush Administration and implemented by the Obama team. We’re asking our troops, primarily the foot soldiers of our Army and Marines, to take territory from Taliban insurgents and then hold it while we fabricate a functioning government – administration, security, schools, health services, etc.
With this strategy, the iron fist of our military must be housed in a velvet glove. We must separate the enemy from the people and stride carefully. It subjects our troops to greater risk and more casualties. How successful and at what cost are the critical, unanswered questions. History tells us that when Afghanistan is forgotten and left to its own tribal inclinations, the results are bad and sometimes catastrophic – the 9/11 attacks were planned and executed from al Qaeda camps in the Afghan desert.
Today, Muslim North Africa is in flames as the people of Tunisia and Egypt rise up against totalitarian governments. As the Russian Jewish refugee Nathan Sharansky wrote, ‘when you hold a gun to the people’s head, sooner or later your arm will tire.’ What kind of rule will replace the long-standing strong men? Will a Muslim fundamentalist regime such as Iran fill the vacuum? Do we intervene to protect shipping through the Suez Canal? What kind of nation building will NATO be called upon to assist the democratic aspirations of these people? How well positioned is our State Department to handle these challenges?
Nation building is a tough job but an important responsibility. If we intervene and change a regime, we have an obligation to restore order and improve the government. The United States is the premier democracy among the world’s nations. People who are oppressed look to us for leadership and democratic reforms.
We live in a dangerous and sometimes exciting world in the second decade of the 21st Century. The possibilities are endless.
By Kristin Finney
Greene Publishing, Inc.
He is known by many names – Coach, Mr. Richie, etc – however, many will know him simply as Eddie Richie. Eddie and his wife, Melinda, are the owners of Richie’s Early Learning Academy. Eddie and Melinda have been married for eight years and have been together for 10 years. Richie shared, “I’d make a joke here, but my couch isn’t very comfortable. But seriously, she is my hero.” They have three children: Kyler, five, Alden, two, and Jocelyn. Richie stated of Jocelyn, “She was our early Christmas present. She was born December 19. She is our baby girl and will (God willing) be our last.” He is the son of Ed Richieand Cathy Richie. He has one sister, Dawn Phillips, who is married to Jason Phillips. Together Jason and Dawn have two daughters, Tiffany and Rebecca. Eddie’s mother and sister are the co-directors of Richie’s Early Learning Academy.
Eddie Richie graduated from MCHS in 1997. When asked about college, he said, “I went to a buffet of colleges, but I got there.” He graduated with his Associate in Arts from North Florida Community College and then continued on to receive his Bachelors in Elementary Education from FAMU by going to school at night.
At MCHS, Richie played basketball for three years, varsity for two. He said, “We won the first and only district championship in ‘97. We went 20-8. It feels good to accomplish something that no one else has. Now I want to accomplish it as a coach at my alma mater.” But basketball wasn’t always Richie’s main sport. He stated, “Baseball was actually my first love when I was young. We moved to Lee in sixth grade and basketball kind of took over. I thought I’d try out for baseball my freshman year but I broke my ankle the day of tryouts in P.E. In tenth grade, I had to have off-season shoulder surgery. Do you see a trend starting? So, in eleventh grade, I dropped baseball for good and got talked into playing tennis in the off-season to stay in shape. It was really fun because I got to play with my best friends in high school. The guys (my players) laugh at that when they see it on my letterman’s jacket, but if they tried tennis, then they would know how in shape you have to be to compete. But I’d probably laugh at me too if I were them.”
Richie explained, “I always saw myself as a coach. I was a student of the game. I knew early on that the chances of me playing in college were slim; Madison isn’t exactly a recruiting hotbed for basketball. NFCC basketball closed down at the end of our junior year. We all planned on going there to play after high school. Once NFCC basketball shut down, our plans changed. Some played in college, others gave it up entirely. But I wasn’t ready to give up. I started coaching right away at Lee Jr. High. I have been hooked ever since.”
After coaching for Lee Jr. High, Richie has coached on many different levels at Madison County High School. At Lee, he was the coach of boys basketball and baseball; however at Madison he was responsible for softball and basketball, both boys and girls at some point. He explained, “My former high school coach, Adrian Kinsey, approached me one day saying he wanted me to be his assistant because he was going to be the boys coach again at the high school. That was my break to get back into the high school and I have him to thank for it. That was in 2003. At Lee, I coached boy’s basketball and baseball. Then Patrick Murphy (now the current head coach, and my very good friend, at Hamilton County High School) took over the boys. So I was responsible for girls basketball and softball. While at the high school I coached JV boys basketball and JV girls softball. I also assisted both varsity sports. Then in 2006-07, I was given the varsity boys basketball position and also offered the varsity girls softball position. That was one of the toughest years I’ve had so far. Two different sports, two different genders and two different types of parents and support.” Richie didn’t let the pressure get him down though. He persevered. “There is a special place in my heart for both those teams though. Both were winning records. That softball team went undefeated in the district, won district championship and went on to the Sweet 16. Something had to give though. As much as I loved softball, and coaching it was a blast, I couldn’t do both varsity sports. Both sports are year round and I couldn’t commit to both and my growing family. So I decided to give up softball and commit to family and basketball. One of the toughest decisions I had to make, but one that I’m glad I did.” Richie is still the Varsity basketball coach at Madison County High School. He works with Allen Demps, who coaches JV. Eddie stated, “He [Demps] is doing a great job. He has been a true blessing.”
When asked about the rewards of being a coach, Richie said, “Wow, there are so many rewards to coaching. I guess now that I’ve been doing this for a while, the best part is when players come back to see you, call you, e-mail you, send you texts or write you on Facebook. We became a family. Not just the ones who played all the time, but mostly the ones who didn’t play much at all. As a coach, I try to build a relationship with all of them.” His family is very involved with the team as well. “Kyler knows most of them and remembers them as well. He has lots of their pictures up on his wall. Alden is starting to know them as well. They both pray for “the Cowboys” every night before they go to bed. So, I guess the best part is that I end up with a huge family as the years go on. I love that. I love how they call you when they’re getting baptized for the first time. I love when they texted to say they are winning this game for Mrs. Melinda when she was having our baby. I love when they all come to the house for dinner and play the Wii or they play with the kids. Those are the parts that I love the most.”
Eddie Richie is not only a basketball coach and a father; he is a Christian. He tries to share his faith with his players through his actions. Richie said, “I try to be a good example of a faithful husband and father who loves Christ. Now, that being said, we spend so much time together that the guys know me and see most of my many, many faults. I use myself as an example of the good, the bad and the ugly…sometimes it is mostly the latter. That gives me a great opportunity to share God’s forgiveness. I can share with them that even though it’s hard to imagine, God forgives us for all these stupid things we do. It opens up dialog for a decision that lasts for longer than a lifetime. So, as I’m learning this lesson of God’s forgiveness, I get to share it with them as I go.”
As for the coaches who inspire him, he said, “I’ve been influenced from a variety of coaches. The late Amos Turner, Coach Clyde Alexander and Jimmy Taylor helped me get my start at Lee and I’m privileged to have began under Coach T. Obviously Adrian Kinsey was and is a huge influence. He never got the credit that he deserves. He coached me for three years and I assisted him for three years. He and I are still good friends and I still go to him for advice. Coach Marcus Hawkins, who I played with in high school, influences me. How he coaches the player’s with such heart and balances family and church, along with coaching is amazing. My wife and mother continue to influence me as only a wife and mother can, especially when things get rough. Lastly, he isn’t a coach, but Steve McHargue has been influential to me. He has been a great friend and advisor. I have and will continue to go to him to seek wisdom. He hits it out of the park every time.”
Basketball has taught him many lessons, not only as a player and coach, but also for every day life. He shared some of the lessons he has learned as well as things that inspire him, “I have learned about dedication, commitment and sacrifice. Sometimes the player’s ability to show up to practice after what they go through at home keeps me going. Or, them showing up after I lay into them pretty hard, teaches me a lesson in life. Even though things don’t go like I want them, I still need to show up and get it right. They show me humility. They show me compassion. They show me patience. I fear that they, the players, show me more than I show them.”
In the Richie family, basketball is a family affair. Richie explained, “Family is the most important thing to me. Whether its trying to make our team a family or keeping my family involved in what we do. My family makes most, if not all, of the games. My mom, my wife, and Mrs. Demps (Coach Demps’ wife) are the team moms. They help keep us coaches and the players in line and focused. They do a lot for the program. My boys love the game. They love cheering. Alden’s favorite cheer is “Let’s say defense, Cowboys.” Remember, he’s only two so he’s still learning. Kyler is learning so much too. I don’t even have to teach him. He just learns from being around the game. He sits with me on the bench and “helps me coach.”
He also spends time in locker room, which holds us coaches and players accountable of our actions. When they get home, they often reenact what they saw at the game on their basketball goal in the house. They run and jump into some of the players’ arms when they see them. They even have special handshakes they do with certain players. As a coach, and a dad, that is pretty cool.”
As for other activities outside of basketball, Eddie Richie still stays busy. “I coach Kyler’s T-ball team in the spring. I’m a member of Fellowship Church and I’m a part of the coolest home-group on earth.”
The ceremony concluded with the new members taking the pledge and receiving their pins. The Beta motto is, “Let us Lead by Serving Others” and as such members work on service projects to help the school and community throughout the year. The sponsor of the Madison Academy Junior Beta Club is Willa Branham.
The Madison Academy Junior Beta Club is an integral part of the National Beta Club and is governed by the same rules and policies.
The membership is comprised of sixth, seventh and eighth grade students. In order to be inducted into the Beta Club, a student must have an overall grade point average of 92%. To remain a member, a student must maintain a 90% grade point average with no grade below a “B” in any academic class, as well as maintain an “S” in citizenship.
By Fran Hunt
Special to Greene Publishing, Inc.
For the past few years, county resident Matt Dobson has been a quarterback powerhouse on the football field.
He began playing football at a young age and began playing at the age of five years both at the Jefferson County Recreation park and at the YMCA in Thomasville, where he played Pee Wee flag football until the age of seven years. At the age of eight years, he began playing tackle football at the YMCA.
During those early years, his dad (Terry Dobson), who coached the local Pee Wee league, served as a great inspiration for him. His dad also helped him at home as well, getting him out in the yard and tossing the football around. They also enjoyed watching a lot of football on television.
His dad does not help coach anymore, but does enjoy going to as many practices as possible. In addition they spend many hours together watching films of previous games as well as films of upcoming opponents.
Dobson said that he discovered that he had a natural God-given knack for playing the position of quarterback, at about eight years of age.
In 2005, he was old enough to play football at school and he began playing on the junior varsity team at Aucilla Christian Academy. His performance on the field, during practices, in the weight room and in the classroom, were quite impressive.
When he was in the seventh grade, he was promoted to the varsity team, where he began to serve as an inspiration for all youth who wished to excel athletically.
It is most unusual for a freshman to be on a varsity team in any sport and even more so to playing in a position as critical as team quarterback. He was continually named to the list of Big Bend Leaders in football, where he held the number one position of quarterback for most of the season. Also, throughout his high school football career, he was continually named on the List of Big Bend Leaders on the gridiron.
At the end of his first year on the varsity team for the Warriors, he had a total of 146 pass completions out of 263 attempts for 16 touchdowns and 1,780 yards.
He played at Aucilla again in his eighth grade year and then transferred to North Florida Christian (NFC), where he has been playing for the Eagles for the past three years.
NFC Head Football Coach Robert Craft said of Dobson, “Matt is in his third season here at NFC. The first two years he started at freesafety and was the back-up quarterback. This year, as a junior, he was the starting quarterback.”
NFC finished the past season with six wins and four losses. At the end of the season, Dobson had 130 completions on 223 pass attempts for 1,888 yards and 17 touchdowns. He also had 94 carries for 587 yards and five touchdowns.
“Matt is a leader for our football team both on and off the field,” said Craft. “He leads by example in his determination in the weight room and his commitment to film study.”
Through his dedication and determination, Dobson religiously trains throughout the year to better himself on the football field and stay in the best possible shape.
NFC is involved in a 7-on-7 passing league all summer and they have weightlifting four days per week as well as conditioning throughout the year and Dobson is always in attendance during these sessions.
Dobson was chosen as the Tallahassee Quarterbacks Club Offensive Player of the Week two weeks this past season and he received the Offensive Player of the Year award in December.
So far this year, Dobson has been contacted by FSU, Florida, Auburn, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Louisville, University of South Florida, Texas A & M, Notre Dame and Nebraska among others for college scholarships.
“Matt is also a leader in our school,” added Craft.
“As a junior, his GPA (grade point average) is 4.2, due to his being in honors classes, which carries a higher weight than regular classes do.”
He plans to major in Education; he wants to teach and be a high school football coach.
Dobson said he would certainly love to play in the NFL one day but he realizes it is very difficult to do as only a small percentage of college players make it into the NFL.
He added that if it happened, that would be great but for now he just wants to concentrate on leading his team to a state championship next year and deciding which college is the best fit for him.
Dobson was asked what he would tell a youngster who aspired to be like him athletically. “Get your priorities in order. God should be first because football is not eternal. Your family should come second followed by academics and then football. No matter what you are doing, always do the best you can and give it 110 percent. Be a leader in the classroom and on the field. For on-the-field success, you’ll need to have fun and love what you are doing,” said Dobson. “Never take one play or one repetition off, whether you are at practice, in a game or in the weight room.”
In his spare time, Dobson enjoys hunting, fishing and attending church functions. He says he tries to keep everything well balanced by devoting the right amount of time to practicing, studying and spending time doing extracurricular activities.
He is the son of Jefferson County residents Terry and Rhonda Dobson and the grandson of Ron and Martha Smoak, of Madison.
Greene Publishing, Inc.
The Ten Commandments Monument, which sat on private property for a couple of weeks at the Busy Bee at the corner of US 90 and Highway 53, now sits on private property across the street from the Madison County Courthouse. They are located on property just east of the Courthouse and north of the post office next to the building, housing Owens Propane.
In June 2010, fearing lawsuits, the Madison County Commission ruled 3-2 against allowing the monument to be placed on the Courthouse lawn.
A quote attributed to James Madison, the fourth President of our country, one of the authors of the Constitution and the man who Madison County was named for, reads, “We have staked the whole future of American civilization, not upon the power of government, far from it. We have staked the future of all of our political institutions upon the capacity of each and all of us to govern ourselves … according to the Ten Commandments of God.”
Some have contended that President Madison never made the statement because it cannot be found in any of his writings, while others believe that it could have been transcribed from one of Madison’s speeches.
Madison, known as “the Father of the Constitution,” believed in the Christian system of morality. He wrote that people who lived outside a Christian set of standards “live in darkness” because the other systems were “false religions.”
Whether one is Jewish, Christian, Muslim (the Koran has a list of commandments almost exactly the same as the Ten Commandments) or any other religion, the rules provide a great standard of living that everyone should strive toward.
The Golden Apple Teacher Recognition Banquet will be held at the Madison County High School Cafeteria on Thursday, Feb. 3, beginning at 7 p.m. . This event recognizes the Teacher of the Year from all Madison County Schools and culminates with the announcement of the 2012 District Teacher of the Year who will then compete for the state Teacher of the Year. This special event is open to the public. Tickets are $20.00 per person and are available by calling the Old Book Store at (850) 973-6833.
By Jacob Bembry
Greene Publishing, Inc.
Due to numerous requests from readers, Greene Publishing, Inc. will publish the salaries and benefits of elected officials and employees for the county and for the City of Madison and Towns of Greenville and Lee in Friday’s Madison Enterprise-Recorder
This year, a decision was made to put the salaries in one issue instead of spread out over several issues. This decision was made so that readers can keep one copy at their fingertips.
The salaries and benefits should be good for the current Fiscal Year for each governing body.
Salaries and benefits for public employees are open to citizens under Florida’s Sunshine Law.
Submitted by Pat Lightcap
A quick-thinking citizen saw smoke and reported a late morning structure fire at 1240 E. Hwy 90, just outside the Madison city limits on Tuesday, February 1.
Madison Fire & Rescue and City Utilities personnel responded to a mobile home full of smoke. Upon entry a cooking pot in the stove with no one home was found to be the source of all the smoke. A concerned citizen and quick response of professional firefighters prevented the loss of a home
Special to Greene Publishing, Inc.
A Greenville man was life-flighted last week following a single-vehicle rollover.
Florida Highway Patrol reported that on Thursday, January 27 at 1:15 p.m., Marcos Tuleio Barela, 28, of Greenville, was driving a 2000 Ford Explorer SUV westbound on US-221, 1.4 miles south of Bailey Road.
FHP estimated that Barela was traveling at 75 miles per hour when the vehicle ran off of the roadway onto the east shoulder and continued to travel northbound for 386 feet before re-entering the roadway.
The vehicle traveled across the roadway and Barela attempted to regain control, but over-corrected the steering to the right.
The SUV began to rotate in a clockwise direction and began to overturn, coming to a rest on the west shoulder of the roadway facing east.
Barela was life-flighted to Tallahassee Memorial Hospital for treatment of serious injuries.
Assisting on the scene were Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office deputies, Jefferson County Fire Rescue and Jefferson County EMS.
FHP reported that the crash was not alcohol-related and Barela was wearing a seatbelt.
He was charged with failure to drive in a single lane. The vehicle was totaled.
Madison, FL – On Saturday, February 5, beginning at 11 a.m., the Madison community will join over 650 communities throughout the country, including over 30 Florida communities that have signed military family and community covenants, by holding a public ceremony to sign the Madison Military Family and Community Covenant. The Covenant is a public affirmation and pledge to support military personnel, military families and veterans. The signing ceremony will be held in the Courtroom of the historic Madison County Courthouse located at 125 Northwest Range Avenue in downtown Madison, Florida, the City of Four Freedoms. The public is invited to show support for military personnel, military families and veterans by attending the signing ceremony.
The Covenant reads, as follows:
We, the residents and friends of Madison, are committed to building strong communities. We recognize:
- The commitment Service Members, Veterans, and their Families make every day.
- The strength of Service Members and Veterans comes from the strength of their families.
- The strength of Families is supported by the strength of the Community.
- The strength of the Community comes from the support of Employers, Educators, Civic and Business Leaders, and its Citizens.
We are committed to:
- Building partnerships that support the strength, resilience, and readiness of Service Members, Veterans, and their Families.
Attending the ceremony will be federal, state and local officials, and military officers and personnel. In particular, Lt. Governor Jennifer Carroll, a 20-year naval veteran, will be attending the ceremony and delivering the keynote address. Also, in attendance at the event and addressing the public will be Brigadier General Joseph Balskus, Commander of the Florida Air National Guard and Lt. Col. Daniel O’Grady, Commander, U. S. Army Recruiting, Jacksonville Battalion. Other dignitaries attending the signing ceremony will include representatives of U. S. Senator Marco Rubio and the Pentagon, City of Madison City Commissioners, and other local officials.
Madison has a long and proud history of military service and community support of military personnel, military families and veterans. Beginning in 1864, when the St. John’s Seminary, Dickinson Residence and historic Wardlaw-Smith Gaza Mansion in Madison were used as Confederate hospitals to treat wounded soldiers following the Battle of Olustee fought east of Lake City, to the present day when Madison’s sons and daughters are serving either active duty or reserve duty in defending and protecting our freedoms in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Among Madison’s World War II military war heroes are Captain Colin P. Kelly, Jr. and Lt. Dale M. Leslie. Captain Kelly, a West Point Academy graduate and member of the U. S. Army Air Corps, lost his life during the early days of World War II flying a B-17C Flying Fortress making bombing runs against the Japanese Navy in the first days after the attack on Pearl Harbor. For his extraordinary heroism and selfless bravery, Capt. Kelly was posthumously awarded the Distinguished Service Cross.
Lt. Leslie, a naval aviator, was shot down off the island of Guadalcanal while flying his fighter aircraft in support of U. S. Marines. He eluded capture by Japanese soldiers for 40 days in the dense jungle of the island while battling hunger, thirst, fatigue and infection. He returned home to a life of public service where he served as Clerk of the Court for Madison County for 32 years.
In addition, Elaine Brown, a local Madison High School graduate, enlisted in the U. S. Air Force during the Korean War. She became the first woman to become Wing Commander and was later promoted to the rank of Major General.
A flag retirement and dedication ceremony will be held on the west lawn of the Courthouse immediately following the signing ceremony.