Archive for May 2011
BEMBRY SPONSORS STATE PARK BENEFITS FOR FAMILIES OF FALLEN MILITARY, LAW ENFORCEMENT AND FIREFIGHTERS
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – State Representative Leonard Bembry (D-Greenville) is pleased to announce that the Florida Legislature has approved a bill he sponsored to allow parents of deceased military veterans, as well as spouses and parents of fallen law enforcement officers and firefighters, to join a select group of people eligible to receive lifetime free entry to Florida State Parks.
The legislation (House Bill 95), which will be presented to Governor Rick Scott for consideration, builds on legislation Representative Bembry passed last year that made state park passes available to spouses of deceased members of the United States Armed Forces, National Guard, or reserves who have fallen in combat.
“I am proud to help Florida continue a tradition of being a veteran-friendly state by passing legislation that provides free lifetime family passes to parents who have lost a son or daughter who has fallen in military combat,” said Representative Bembry. “House Bill 95 also will allow spouses and parents of fallen law enforcement officers and firefighters to obtain annual entrance passes to state parks at no charge.
“I believe this is a thoughtful way for a grateful state to thank those who have sacrificed so much for our nation. It is only fitting that this legislation was voted on during the month that we commemorate Memorial Day,” added Representative Bembry. “I look forward to Governor Scott’s favorable consideration of this deserved legislation.”
By Kristin Finney
Greene Publishing, Inc.
On Thursday, May 5, the crowd at Aucilla Christian Academy was rockin’ and rollin’ to the sounds of the 50’s at the 2011 May Day celebration. The performance consisted of the announcement of the May Day Court, as well as 10 dances performed by the elementary children. There was also the winding and unwinding of the May Pole, which was done by the fifth graders at ACA.
The set list included the entire group singing “Hello Muddah, Hello Fuddah,” and “What A Wonderful World.” The K4 students sang and danced to “Calendar Girl,” followed by K5 dancing to “The Twist.”
This was followed by the first graders dancing to, “Do Wah Diddy.” The second grade then performed “Splish, Splash.” The multi-age class then sang “Rockin’ Pneumonia and the Boogie, Woogie Flu.” The third graders followed this by performing “Do You Love Me?” The fourth graders then sang “Rockin’ Robin,” followed by the fifth graders winding and unwinding the May Pole.
This year’s ACA May Day Queen was Jessica Hagan. The court included: Chelsea Wallace, Tiffany Funderburke, Julie Ann Schwab, Anna Finlayson, Ceira Roland, Jessica Hagan (May Day Queen), Caroline Mueller, Kaitlin Jackson, Katherine Hogg, Taryn Copeland, Nikki Hamrick, Abigail Vasquez, Sarah Sorensen, Elizabeth Riley and Cheltsie Kinsley.
Escorts for the evening were Kent Jones, Chase Bozeman, Brandon Darnell, Nathan Williams, Jake Armstrong, G.H. Liford, Clark Christy, Marcus Roberts and Casey Wheeler.
Joe Boyles Guest Columnist
The acronym SOF stands for Special Operations Forces. These irregular military troops that each of the four services contribute toward are sometimes referred to as “snake eaters.” Their headquarters (Special Operations Command or SOCOM) is located at Tampa’s McDill Air Force Base. SOCOM planners put together last week’s raid in Abbottabad, Pakistan that killed Osama bin Laden.
There are about 60 thousand members of SOCOM. The Army contributes Special Forces (aka Green Berets), the Rangers, and the elite Delta Force. Another Army unit is the Night Stalkers of the 160th Aviation Company that flew the Seals into the compound last week. The Air Force elements are primarily located in Florida’s Eglin complex at Hurlburt and Duke Fields and include gunships, aerial refueling aircraft, and heavylift helicopters. The Marines have RECON companies while the Navy contributes six SEAL teams including Team Six that conducted last week’s raid on ObL.
Our special operations forces, the best in the world, have come a long way in thirty years. In the spring of 1980, the services threw together a complex mission to rescue the hostages from the American Embassy in Tehran. To transport the assault team, six helicopters were needed. The team asked for 12 and were given eight. When they landed at a remote site in Northern Iran named Desert 1, three helicopters were broken and unable to continue. Since they had less than the six required, the mission was scrubbed. During a night refueling in blowing sand, a Marine chopper collided with an Air Force C-130. The accident cost the lives of eight American servicemen including a good friend that I had gone to flight school with nine years before, Rick Bakke.
The failure of this mission made President Jimmy Carter look weak, one of many factors that led to his electoral defeat six months later. Each of the services investigated this mission. The Air Force team included a Texan by the name of Jey Younger who I later worked for. Jey had done special operations helicopter work in Vietnam ten years before. One of the recommendations was to build a special operations command with elements from each of the services. This would be the forerunner of today’s SOCOM.
President Reagan’s Defense Secretary Casper Weinberger accepted the notion and told the four military services to pony-up their forces for the new command. In turn, the four services drug their feet. For one matter, they didn’t want to give up control. For another, the traditional services hated the snake eaters. You see, military traditionalists despise the unconventional nature of special forces. Cap Weinberger had to get really tough and lay down the law to make SOCOM happen.
SOF has had its up and downs over the years. When Don Rumsfeld was the Secretary of Defense from 2001-06, he made sure that SOCOM had the resources they needed to build an effective fighting force and Bob Gates has continued this emphasis. Consequently, SOF is in great shape today, witness the success of the difficult May 1st mission to kill ObL.
Many other nations have SOF capability including England, France, Italy, Germany, and Israel, but none can match the size and scope of SOCOM. These nations have invested in special operations because they are uniquely qualified to match and defeat para-military organizations like al-Qaeda. If al-Qaeda is the equivalent of a nuisance fly, then special operations uses a flyswatter. You wouldn’t want to try and kill a fly with a baseball bat, would you?
I think that SOF forces are the ideal fighting force in the war against al-Qaeda going forward. Whether the mission is retaking an embassy, freeing a hostage, capturing a high-value enemy combatant, or assassinating a terrorist, the best option is to turn the mission over to SOCOM. These are finite, precise missions where special forces specialize.
You won’t see these guys seek publicity or attend a press conference. They work in the shadows. A large measure of their success is anonymity. Just be glad they’re on our side.
By Lynette Norris
Greene Publishing, Inc.
After a year of gathering and gardening and giving back to the community, the Madison Garden Club drew their club’s official year to a close, thanking all those who had worked so hard to make all their projects a success, and installing new officers for the coming year.
But there was also time for remembering one of their number, Karla Rooks, who had passed away some months earlier. Mina Bloodworth read a poem about blossoms that fall too soon, and presented a memorial plaque to Rooks’ daughter, Catherine Cassidy, who said that her mother had always loved the garden club very much.
In addition, there was a much more recent loss, that of Inda Tinney’s mother, Margaret Sullivan. Immediately after the club meeting, many members were planning to go to her funeral service, and from there, on to the graveside service at Mt. Horeb.
President Dolly Ballard presented flowering coral-pink geranium plants to thank the officers who had served with her: Vice President Marianne Green, Treasurer Joyce Primm and Secretary Laura Coleman. She also introduced the new officers for the coming year: Martha Beggs, President; Laura Coleman, Vice President; Jan Ledsome, Treasurer; Ann Paquett, Secretary; Vicki Howerton, Chaplain, all of who were officially installed with a brief ceremony Ballard, who has served two terms as President, from 2009 to 2011, has also been listed in the National Distinguished Book of Garden Club Presidents, but the biggest surprise of all was a gift of a laptop computer from the other club members in appreciation for her willingness to take on two years in a row at the helm.
At the beginning of the meeting, there were numerous pots of flowering plants adorning the steps that led up to the stage. By the time the meeting was over, they had all been handed out as thank-you gifts to the women who had worked so hard on the Club’s projects throughout the year, including those who had worked with the children at Pinetta Elementary on their vegetable garden and butterfly garden and to Jan Ledsome and Thelma Dehart, who had worked on the Elvis Sock Hop. “That was Dolly’s little baby,” said Vice President Laura Coleman.
The biggest group to receive a thank-you was the group that participated in and made the flower and quilt show last month such a success — nearly 20 women received the pretty yellow corsages as thanks for their efforts.
The last Yard of the Month Award, until September, went to Alice Hammond.
A final honor went to Mina Bloodworth, from the Florida Federation of Garden Clubs – for her work as District Three director for 2010-11. She will have a brick with her name on it placed on the garden path at FFGC headquarters in Winter Park.
It’s been a busy year, so the garden club members will take a hiatus for summer months. When they return in September, it will be with new energy and a new line-up of officers picking up the reins as they move forward into the coming year of community work and projects and sometimes, just plain fun.
By Kristin Finney
Greene Publishing, Inc.
The sounds of class children’s songs could be heard from all around the Madison Academy on Friday, May 6. The students of Madison Academy danced to songs such as “Lean on Me,” “The More We Get Together,” and “I’ll Be There For You.” The winners of the May Fete Queen and King were also announced during the presentation. This year’s May Fete Queen and King were Alexis Bowen (Queen) and Dalton Browning (King).
The presentation began, as it does every year, with the dance around the Maypole and the coronation of the May Fete Court. Following this the group sang the intro song, “You’ve Got A Friend In Me.” The 3K students then performed “Peanut Butter And Jelly Time.” This was followed by the fourth grade singing, “Thank You For Being A Friend.” The second graders then sang, “We Go Together.” The fifth grade group did an excellent performance of, “Lean On Me.” 5K then followed with, “The More We Get Together.” Following that song were the third graders singing, “Jesus Is A Friend Of Mine.” 4K then sang “Waka Waka.” The seventh graders performed, “Ill Be There For You.” The final song was sang by the first graders, they sang, “The Friendship Train.” The entire performance was narrated by the eighth graders.
By Jacob Bembry
Greene Publishing, Inc.
J.A. Lane has a vision for what he wants the Tracy Stephens Recreation Park and J.A. Lane field to look like.
“We’re painting it black and gold,” he says as he points to the press box and the dugouts at the ballpark in Greenville. “We want it to look the way that it did when the high school played ball here.”
Memories of the Greenville High Pirates make Lane hearken to memories of yesteryear. Like many ballplayers, he can still remember the pride in donning the baseball uniform. He can also remember the smells associated with baseball; smells of hot dogs cooking, peanuts roasting, the smell of the leather baseball glove and the newly mown hay. Most of all, he remembers the action as he played left field for the Pirates.
J.A. Lane has been a man of action on many things over the years.
When the school decided to do away with baseball during his senior year, Lane organized a petition drive to bring it back. When Greenville youngsters needed something to do, Lane, along with several other Greenville citizens, formed a Little League, which was associated with Tallahassee in the late 1970s and early 1980s.
Lane, along with Bobby Harper, Tracy Stephens, Leonard Bembry, Zeke Griffin, Abe Mills and others had to depend on their own abilities to raise funds to establish the first organized recreational baseball program in Greenville’s history. They were able to start a tee-ball league, a little league and a senior league. The league was affiliated with Tallahassee before joining the Babe Ruth League in 2000. The town’s recreation baseball league went independent in 2005 and have been ever since.
Because of the early efforts of Lane and men like him, Greenville youth still have a baseball program to day. Later on, the town was able to secure grant funds to build a baseball facility.
Because of Lane’s efforts, the Greenville Town Council voted to name the field for him. In addition, he has also been honored by the town by being asked to be the Grand Marshal in the Country Christmas parade.
J.A. Lane grew up in the Lovett area, northeast of Greenville. His parents were Julius Audley Lane and Carrie Elizabeth Lane. He was born Julius Audley Lane, Jr., on Sept. 16, 1943. His parents shortened the name to J.A.
Playing baseball under Coach Leon Suggs at Greenville High School, J.A. developed his love of the game and he didn’t let distance from the school separate him from playing either.
“I used to hitchhike to Greenville to play baseball,” he said.
After high school, Lane joined the Marine Reserves and went to work as a forklift operator at Georgia Pacific in Greenville.
J.A. is married to Janie Lane and has five sons, Greg Lane, Julius Lane, Chris O’Neal, Eddie Peters and Jody Scott.
J.A. is now semi-retired but keeps busy tending the grounds at the Recreation Park for the Town of Greenville.
When he has a little spare time, he enjoys riding horses and fishing.
J.A. still plays softball with Greenville’s co-ed recreation league, which he helped start. He pitches on his team, which recently won a benefit softball tournament.
J.A. shirks off any praise heaped on him by others, saying, “I don’t do much. I’m just trying to help the youth out.”
In the mean time, J.A. works on trying to get a youth football program started in Greenville and works on getting the ball field done in the style of the old Greenville High School Pirates and Greenville Middle School Indians.