Archive for July 2011
Joe Boyles – Guest Columnist
I just finished reading Fighter Pilot: The Memoirs of Legendary Ace Robin Olds, edited by his daughter Christina along with Ed Rasimus. When my daughter Kim sent it to me for Father’s Day, she had no idea that I had a long association with General Olds.
In the fall of 1967, I was beginning my second year as a cadet at the Air Force Academy. Then Colonel Olds arrived at USAFA to become the commandant of cadets. He took over from BGen Ted Seith, a well respected bomber pilot. Olds brought the swagger and bravado of a fighter pilot to the cadet wing. The change was palpable. General Olds would remain commandant for the remainder of my schooling, nearly three years.
Robin Olds, who died four years ago at age 85, lived a story-book life. He really was “larger than life.” His father Robert was an aviation pioneer from the WW I era so the boy grew up in the company of airpower greats like Hap Arnold, Billy Mitchell, and Tooey Spaatz. Naturally he wanted to follow in their footsteps.
That led 18 year old Robin to West Point in the summer of 1940. Because of the war, his class would graduate a year early in June 1943 and by that time, he had earned his pilot wings during summer training. He also played football, earning All American honors in 1942 as a tackle (he played at 6’2”, 205). Years later, he would be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.
The reason Olds attended West Point was to obtain a regular commission and become a fighter pilot which he accomplished. His first fighter was the Lockheed P-38 Lightning. The P-38 flew primarily in the Pacific theater, but Olds’ group, the 479th went to England to join the 8th Air Force. He became an ace (5 enemy kills) in the P-38 before his group transitioned to the better P-51 Mustang. Olds ended the war in Europe with 13 air-to-air kills, 12 by ground strafing, the rank of major (at age 22) and command of a fighter squadron. He was well on his way to a remarkable career.
Robin Olds came of age in the golden age of aviation brought about by so much wartime innovation. Consequently, he flew dozens of different fighters during a time when new aircraft were introduced yearly. One of the most interesting things about this book is his detailed description of the flying characteristics of so many aircraft. For example, there is a great description of the problem of compressibility in the P-38 where the shock wave in a high speed dive renders the tail elevator inoperative. The only way to recover from the dive is for the aircraft to slow down sufficiently to regain control of the elevator. Robin was able to recover from this mistake. How many did not?
Returning from England, Olds was an early entry into the new technology of jets, qualifying to fly the P-80 Shooting Star. At an early air show featuring jet fighters, Robin met Hollywood siren Ella Raines. A year later they married, beginning a tempestuous 29 year relationship. In truth, they never reconciled their differences. Ella was a movie star and her husband, a hard-nosed fighter pilot. It was not a match made in heaven. Love does not always conquer all.
Robin continued his career, flying fighters and leading units and men. Ella would follow him some times, consenting to live in Washington, New York or London while her husband flew in Germany, England and North Africa. Two daughters were caught in the middle of their parent’s troubles.
When Olds was sent to the Pentagon, he was a caged tiger. Suffice it to say that he made just as many enemies as he did friends. After serving as wing commander at RAF Bentwaters in England, he arrived at Ubon, Thailand to command the 8th Tactical Fighter Wing in the fall of 1966. For a year, Olds led the Wolfpack into tough battles against the North Vietnamese. He flew 152 combat missions over the north, knocking down four MiGs with missiles from his F-4C Phantom
II. His reward for the brutal year was a general’s star and command of the Academy’s cadet wing.
I learned a lot of things from General Olds, among them leadership by example. Robin led his men from the front. (Trust me; he would do more than sneer at anyone who suggests that you can lead from behind.) He believed that you should not ask anyone to do something you are unwilling to do yourself.
Robin Olds was an imposing man; after all, he was a tackle. He spoke with a raspy voice. He was a heavy drinker, but I observed that more of the whiskey in his glass would be poured over the head of some unsuspecting fellow than actually down his throat. At age 85, it wasn’t his liver that gave out but rather, his heart.
Fighter pilots are amazing, Type A personalities. They charge head-long into the fray, modern day knights of the air.
They are masters of their machine. They live life on the edge. Robin Olds was a fighter pilot’s fighter pilot, the leader of the pack. I’ve met many unforgettable men over the years, and Robin Olds was at the head of the list.
Mr. Marion N. Hampton, Jr. passed away Friday July 8, 2011 in Madison, due to cancer. He was born in Bartow and moved to Madison in 1993. Marion was self-employed in real estate for many years. He was a US Army veteran of the Vietnam War and received the Purple Heart and Bronze Star medals. Marion was a member of the Masonic Lodge in Lakeland and then in Madison.
He is survived by his loving wife, Glenda of Madison; son, Marion “Scooter” Hampton, III and (Jenny Orcasitas) of Bartow; daughter, Lori Hart and (Shawn) of Valdosta, Ga., seven grandchildren, Ryan and Regan Hampton, Emily and Hunter Orcasitas, Haley & Ally Vasvary and Gage Hart; and two great-grandchildren, Jayden and Caleb Hampton.
Visitation will be Tuesday from 6-8pm at Gentry Morrison Funeral Home, Southside Chapel, 1727 Bartow Rd. in Bartow. Funeral services will be conducted on Wednesday at 10 a.m. at the funeral home chapel. Interment will follow at Oak Hill Burial Park with military honors.
Woney Leslie McClamma, age 85, died Friday, July 8, 2011 in Valdosta.
Graveside funeral services were held Monday, July 11, 2011 at 11 a.m. at Oak Ridge Cemetery. Visitation was held Monday 1 hourprior to the service at Beggs Funeral Home.
He was a lifelong resident of Madison, and retired from Georgia-Florida Railroad and was a registered Building Contractor. He was a member of New Hopeful Baptist Church.
He is survived by his wife, Louise Hughey McClamma of Madison; and one daughter: Sandra McVicker (Jim) of Madison.
Lillian M. Allen, age 89, passed away Saturday, July 9, 2011 in Madison.
Funeral services were held at 11 a.m. Tuesday, July 12, 2011, at Lee First Baptist Church with burial at Lee Memorial Cemetery. Visitation was held Monday, July 11, 2011 from 6-8 p.m. at Beggs Funeral Home.
She was a lifelong resident of Lee and a member of Lee First Baptist Church. She retired from Madison County Hospital as a LPN after 40 years.
She is survived by two daughters, Juanette Welch and Kathy Bass (Ronnie), both of Lee; three grandchildren, Allen Welch (Susan) of Jasper, Carla Welch of Lee, and Josh Thomas (Kelley) of Lee; three step-grandchildren: Ronnie Charles Bass (Jena) of Jennings, April Bass of Jennings, and Grace Bass of Lee; two great-grandchildren: Riley Fowler Welch of Jennings, and Brady Thomas of Lee; one sister, Lela Curry of Lee; and a loving caregiver, Diane Walker.
Funeral service for Earline Marie Collins, 64, who passed away July 8, 2011 will be held Saturday, July 16, 2011 at 11:00am in Mt. Zion AME Church 576 West Dade Street.
Ms. Collins will rest in St. Luke Missionary Baptist Church 221 NW Pickle Lane for the visitation of friends on Friday, July 15, 2011, from 5-7 p.m. and in Mt. Zion AME Church on Saturday from 9:45 a.m. until the hour of service.
Interment will be in Concord Cemetery (Greenville).
Arrangements by McKinney Family Funeral Home, 6507 W. Beaver Street, Jacksonville.
By Lynette Norris
Greene Publishing, Inc.
In spite of overcast skies threatening rain, the Madison Cowboy varsity and junior varsity cheerleaders did well with their chicken ‘n’ rice dinner fundraiser Friday, July 8, in front of the Madison County Courthouse.
The girls sold chicken dinner plates (including the chicken ‘n’ rice, green beans, a bread-and-butter pickle, bread, dessert, and a drink) for $6 each, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., and raised approximately $1,500. The proceeds go toward paying their expenses for cheerleading camp at the University of Florida, July 29 through August 1.
Greene Publishing, Inc.
Hungry Time, the little green and white diner with the dark green striped awnings, is open for business in Lee, on the southeast corner of the only intersection in town with a caution light – or any kind of traffic light at all for that matter. It is the quintessential little American small-town diner with home cooking that includes those perennial favorites, hamburgers, cheeseburgers and hotdogs, with a modern twist – free wi-fi.
New manager Lane Gerth and her father Myron surprised even themselves with their opening on July 2. They had planned to open about mid-July.
However, when they realized the town was holding its Lee Days Celebration the weekend before the Fourth, they moved up the opening date and rushed to get everything ready for the busy Saturday with crowds of people downtown.
There were a few bumps in the road with the change in plans, such as the gas not being hooked up yet to run the grill, but they made do with hotplates and skillets, serving breakfast with eggs, meat, pancakes and home fries, and lunch with burgers and hot dogs to a lot of hungry people. The menu from that day, hand-written in black magic marker on white poster board, is still up on the wall.
Hungry Time now has printed menus with handwritten notations as Lane and her father keep adding things. So far, the big favorites with the customers are the hamburgers and cheeseburgers.
“And they have awesome hot dogs!” said Joan Faglie, who stopped in with her husband Ned for a quick bite.
Independence Day itself was kind of slow, since it was a Monday, and a holiday, and a day known for people firing up their own backyard grills, but the following Sunday, July 10, was their busiest day yet. It was the first time they did their Sunday lunch buffet ($7.97 for all you can eat, including a drink), catching the after-church crowd and folks that, for one reason or another, just don’t like to cook on Sundays. If they bring their church bulletin with them when they come in, they will get a 10 percent discount.
Lane worked as a waitress in such places as Denny’s, learning about the restaurant business from there. Her father, Myron, originally from Minnesota, moved to Florida with his parents when he was 15; he has lived all over Florida since then, but he and his daughter Lane have lived in Jasper since 2001. Myron’s parents had two restaurants, both family-friendly/home-style cooking places, much like Archie’s. They ran one and he ran the other.
Then, he spent several years horseracing with two wheeled carriages. “That was ‘back in the day’ as the kids would say,” says Myron. There are a couple of old framed photographs of him from his horse-racing days that will soon go up on the wall in Hungry Time. Once he retired from horseracing, he worked for a while as a truck driver, and after he retired from truck driving, he and Lane decided to open a restaurant. When Archie’s came up for rent, they liked the location, right in the middle of town, and the building itself, the oldest building in the town of Lee, with bead-board walls in the back dining room.
With the three dining areas together, the place can host up to a hundred people, and they will be using all three areas on a regular basis quite soon. They will soon be starting up all-u-can-eat dinner buffets, with Thursday as prime rib night, Friday as catfish night, and of course the Sunday lunch buffet they already have going. Also, large groups of people will be able to reserve the dining room for their gatherings.
Currently, Lane says, a lot of people run in to grab a menu, and then come later with friends. Sometimes, people stop in “just to see if you’re open” said Lee’s Volunteer Fire Department Chief Reese Thomas, as he traded jokes with Ned Faglie about who looked better dressed as a woman for the Firefighters’ Challenge during the Lee Days Celebration. Faglie had won a dance contest doing the twist.
Before he left, Lane gave him the free beverage all volunteer firefighters receive, (along with a ten percent discount on meals) whenever they come in. Other uniformed service personnel such as EMTs, police officers, sheriff deputies, etc, receive a ten percent discount if they are in uniform.
“The community is really helping up out,” said Lane. They’ve really come together to help us. Everybody is very friendly here.”
Hungry Time is open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. seven days a week.
By Jacob Bembry
Greene Publishing, Inc.
“I knew Ray Charles before he knew himself,” said Thomas Lane, who predates the famous former Greenville resident by five years. Pointing to the west, he said, “His house is right down the road there.”
“Do you want some real news?” one of his friends pipes in. “They put his house in the wrong place.”
The men who gathered each day under a tree next to the S&J Deli in Greenville all agree on it. They tell this writer that Charles’ childhood home had been on the other side of the street, and when it was refurbished, they put it in the wrong place.
Lane and friends, Leroy Scott, Jesse Hunter, Fred Hampton, Frank Howard and Jimmy Scott were all gathered beneath the tree on a Thursday afternoon. Greenville residents commonly refer to the oak as the “Tree of Knowledge.” Some days, a few others join them.
All of the men sitting under the tree worked in tobacco at one time or another in their lives. When the question was asked to them, the answer came back “What you talking about? We all did.”
Leroy Scott said, “I’m the youngest one here and I worked in tobacco, too.”
Scott served eight years in the Army, joining in 1988. When asked if he had been in any wars, he responded that he had been to Bosnia, “If you can call that a war.”
The other men said, “Yeah, because they were fighting over there.”
Jesse Hunter is a veteran of World War II. He served in the Seventh Army in England, France and Germany. Commanders of that component included General Dwight Eisenhower and General George S. Patton. Patton, then a lieutenant general, took command of the Seventh Army aboard the USS Monrovia. This led to the Seventh Army’s motto: “Born at Sea, Baptized in Blood.” It later became “Born at Sea, Baptized in Blood, Crowned in Glory.”
Frank Hampton went into the Army right after the Vietnam War. Most of his time was spent in Europe.
Jimmy Scott was born and raised in Greenville. He joined the Army after graduating from high school in 1974, but never made it to Vietnam. He was on the football team for the Greenville High School Pirates.
Unlike the others, Frank Howard was not born and raised in Greenville.
“I’m from Jefferson County,” he said. He said that he lives on Highway 221 North.
Howard was one of the first students to attend Howard Academy in Monticello.
“I went there when they first opened it,” he said. He said that he was no relation to the people who the school was named after.
When asked if they had any advice they would like to share with the younger generation, a phrase comes out that youngsters should heed: “They need to show respect to their elders.”
By Lynette Norris
Greene Publishing, Inc.
Turn off Colin Kelly Highway onto Dusty Miller Road, and look for the small “U-PIK Peaches, Madison Peach Farm” besideCaladium Drive on the right. Next to it is an overturned white five-gallon bucket painted with the word “OPEN” in big black letters.
This Saturday and Sunday, July 16 and 17, are the last two days you’ll see that bucket there, at least until peach season rolls around again next year.
Last weekend, (July 9-10), the farm was busy with those who love the smell and the taste of warm, fuzzy, fresh-picked peaches. While not as crowded as it had been at the peak of the season, the orchard still hosted plenty of people braving the heat and humidity to gather the loads of peaches that bent some of the branches toward the ground.
Carl and Sharlene Blomquist have been running the Madison Peach Farm for nine years now. Before that, they had bought some “good hunting land” just south of Greenville, but “Carl really loves agricultural stuff,” said Sharlene. So, when the 60-plus acres off Dusty Miller came up for sale, “he fell in love with it,” in spite of the seven-foot-tall weeds everywhere.
Originally from Georgia, Sharlene loved the idea of a peach farm, but realized that Georgia variety peaches would not get enough “cold hours” in Madison to set fruit. After some research on the internet, she selected six varieties that would thrive in Madison’s shorter winters: June Gold, Southern Pearl, Texas Royal, Suwannee, La Rouge, and Sam Houston.
Different customers have different favorites: Nina Jo Chamblee likes the small June Golds and Southern Pearls for making the perfect pickled peaches, but she loves any variety fresh out of the bucket. Some customers like the big, white-fleshed Sam
Houstons, while others want only the Suwannees and call Sharlene to ask when they will be ripe.
The different varieties also ripen at different times, meaning the picking season lasts much longer.
Sometimes it can be a challenge knowing when to hold the first weekend “u-pick.” Because the weather was so hot so early this year, the peaches ripened faster, and the farm was open for business two weeks early.
“This year was just perfect for really good peaches,” said Sharlene. It has been really dry, of course, but the trees are watered with a drip irrigation system (one year, there was too much rain, causing a lot of brown spot fungus because the leaves and fruit stayed too wet).
While the trees were blooming, she and Carl rented some beehives from Chris Gunter of Perry, who ended up with some really good peach blossom honey to sell afterward.
Rev. Willis Phillips of Madison and his daughter Telisha, the first customers of the morning, emerged from the rows of trees with three buckets of Sam Houston peaches. “(Sharlene) told us we could pick all down that row,” said Phillips. “But all we had to do was stand at three or four trees to get all we wanted.”
When he is not out picking peaches, Phillips oversees 14 churches. Music is a big part of his ministry, so he also stays busy writing gospel music and performing with his band. Sharlene spoke of the CD the band had made, featuring both original songs andclassics like “When the Saints Go Marching In.”
“We played that one every which way you can play it,” said Phillips.
While Philips and his daughter paid for their buckets, Wes Kelley, a former Madison county tax collector (who is usually the first customer of the day, according to Sharlene), drove up for a bucket or two or peaches, exchanging some jokes with the Reverend and the Blomquists before heading off into the orchard.
Other customers, like brother and sister Terrill and Terrica Blackshear of Madison, were first-time visitors to the farm.
Several more family groups arrived in short order, like mom and dad Stephanie and Clay Driggers from Hamilton County, with sons Zack and Caleb, and the boys’ grandmother, Charlsie Gaston of Greenville. Cathy Norris brought her grandsons Gabe and Ezra Sivyer.
As more and more people arrived and began gathering peaches, they chatted back and forth from row to row, like neighbors chatting across backyard fences.
It didn’t take long to fill their buckets, with so many peaches on every tree. While they paid for their pickings, more cars drove up – more familiar faces looking for their weekly fill – and as they prepared to drive home later with the warm, sweet scent of peaches filling their cars, many of them said they would be back next weekend, July 16 and 17, for one last picking.
After that, it’ll be nearly a year before more peaches are ready and the gates of Madison Peach Farm swing open once again.
The Suwannee River Water Management District (District) will pay $346,345.32 to 11 counties for Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILT).
The PILT program was created by the Florida Legislature to help reduce the fiscal impact to rural counties when the State or District acquires lands. Since land owned by the District is tax-exempt, PILT funds offset the loss of tax revenue when the District purchases property for flood control, water quality, water supply and natural resource protection.
The District will pay PILT funds to counties until their populations reach 150,000.
The following are totals that each county is scheduled to receive:
• Bradford: $15,093.45
• Columbia: $42,992.68
• Dixie: $24,196.21
• Gilchrist: $44,619.14
• Hamilton: $37,943.47
• Jefferson: $9,223.41
• Lafayette: $77,306.21
• Levy: $25,108.88
• Madison: $20,464.85
• Suwannee: $30,429.59
• Taylor: $18,967.43
District staff will distribute PILT payments to the county commissions from July through August.
By Kristin Finney
Greene Publishing, Inc.
Beginning at 12:01 a.m. on Friday August 12, Florida will begin their annual Back-to-School Sales Tax Holiday. The sale will last until midnight on Sunday August 14. During this holiday there will be no sales tax placed on clothing, footwear and some accessories that cost $75 or less. Some school supplies, costing under $15 will also be included in the sale. Some books will also be on sale as long as they are under $50.
According to www.stayathomemoms.about.com some of the clothing items eligible to be tax-free include: Baby clothes, belts, bibs, blouses, caps and hat, coats, diaper bags, diapers, dresses, gloves, formal clothing, jackets, jeans, rain coats, socks, sleepwear, sweat suits, sweaters, undergarments and uniforms. School supplies that will be exempt from Florida sales tax are: binders, calculators, colored pencils, compasses, composition books, construction paper, crayons, erasers, folders, glue, highlighters, legal pads, lunch boxes, markers, notebooks, paste, pencils, pens, poster board, rulers and scissors.
Books exempt from taxes on these days include Bibles, books with a publisher, foreign and old books, instruction manuals, music books and textbooks