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NEWS Washington County w w w. c h i p l e y p a p e r. c o m Wednesday, JANUARY 8, 2014 For the latest breaking news, visit CHIPLEYPAPER.COM IN BRIEF PLCS sets meetings MARIANNA — The Panhandle Public Library Cooperative System will have KOHA training in Blountstown from Jan. 13-15. The cooperative will have its library directors meeting at 9 a.m. Jan. 16, and the monthly board meeting will be at 4 p.m. Jan. 21. The cooperative serves libraries in Washington, Holmes, Calhoun and Jackson counties. Town receives ‘Lifetime CBI’ designation, A3 50¢ Volume 90, Number 77 Cook retires as clerk of courts By RANDAL SEYLER 638-0212 | @WCN_HCT CHIPLEY — Washington County Clerk of Courts Linda Cook retired last week because of health concerns, and her interim replacement, Harold Bazzel, has taken reins of the office until a new clerk can be elected in November’s General Election. Bazzel, the former Bay County Clerk of Courts, took the oath of office on Thursday. Bazzel served as Bay County’s clerk of courts for 28 years and begins serving this week at the Washington County Annex, where the courthouse INSIDE For more on Linda Cook’s retirement, see Perry’s Prattle on Page A4. employees have been relocated because of mold and structural issues with the courthouse building. Cook has served in the county office since the mid1980s, beginning as a deputy clerk and being elected clerk of courts in 1996. The county had a retirement reception for Cook on Dec. 20, and numerous friends and officials were on hand to wish her well. Prom and Bridal Expo Cook began her career in the clerk of courts office in 1984, serving in the traffic department, back when everything was entered manually into docket books. “The first computers came into the office in 1985, and the staff was so proud of this accomplishment. We thought we were really special to have computers in our small Washington County,” Cook said in 2012. Cook was elected to the top job in 1996 and assumed the role of clerk of courts in January 1997. “Since that date, a lot of changes have occurred,” she said. Cook See COOK A2 FILE PHOTO Linda Hayes Cook, left, is sworn in to the office of clerk of the circuit court on Jan. 19, 2013, by County Judge Colby Peel. Her brother, Harvey Hayes, held the Bible for Cook. Cook retired from her office last week because of health reasons. BABY, IT’S COLD OUTSIDE! CHIPLEY — The Chipley Women’s Club will sponsor the fifth annual Prom and Bridal Expo from 1-4 p.m. Jan. 19 at the Washington County ag center. Admission is free. For more information, call 260-5896. Chipley baseball, softball sign-ups CHIPLEY — The city of Chipley is having baseball and softball sign-ups for youth 4 to 14 years old. Sign up at City Hall from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday. Registration is $42 before Jan 17 and $51 after. Every child who registers on time will be placed on a team. Parents should call Pals Park at 638-6348 on Jan. 10 and listen to the pre-recorded message to find out if and when the evaluations will take place. For more information, call Guy Lane at 638-6348 or 658-2773 or email palspark@cityofchipley. com. INDEX RANDAL SEYLER | The News Temperatures fell into the teens Monday night as Washington County got a blast of arctic weather this week. Schools were closed in Holmes County because of the low temperatures, but Washington County students were still out on their holiday break when the mercury dropped. The record low temperatures are expected to be gone by the weekend. Police seek robbery suspects Dwayne Langston returns to Gilley’s Family Opry From Staff Reports By CECILIA SPEARS Opinion ................................A4 Society .................................A6 Obituaries ............................A7 Faith ....................................A8 Classifieds ..........................A11 Phone: 850-638-0212 Website: Fax: 850-638-4601 547-9414 | @WCN_HCT VERNON — Local singer and songwriter Dwayne Langston is returning to the stage at 7 p.m. Friday, Jan. 10, at Gilley’s Family Opry in Vernon. “My love of music started at age 6, singing old folk songs with his family around the river house fireplace,” Langston said. “As an Air Force brat, me and my two brothers learned to play the guitar in Germany. In England, we started a trio and were soon winning talent contests on base.” When he returned to the United States, he began performing with numerous bands throughout Florida, Georgia and Alabama. “Making an album of original music has always been a dream of mine, and with the release of this album (“Someplace I’d Rather Be”), that dream See LANGSTON A2 CHIPLEY — Washington County sheriff’s deputies are seeking three suspects in connection with a robbery in Vernon. At about 8:48 p.m. Dec. 30, the Washington County Sheriff’s Office received a call in reference to an armed robbery at the Vernon Express Store. Three suspects entered the store parking lot in a dark-colored four-door car. Two women exited the vehicle and proceeded to the store. A third, unidentified suspect remained in the vehicle as the getaway driver, according to police. Both females were observed wearing black pants, black gloves and black hoodies. After entering the store, one of the suspects pointed a revolver-type handgun at the store clerk. The women took an undetermined amount of cash from the store, then left the store and entered the waiting vehicle. The vehicle left heading south on State Road 79, according to police. Crime Stoppers is offering up to a $1,000 reward for information leading to the ar- SPECIAL TO THE NEWS Police are seeking information on two women who robbed the Vernon Express Store on Dec. 30. rest of those responsible for this armed robbery. If you have any information on the identity of these suspects, contact WCSO. You can make an anonymous report to WCSO by calling 638-TIPS (8477) or by emailing Connect with us 24/7 Get breaking news, videos, expanded stories, photo galleries, opinions and more... we bring it home! @WCN_HCT 5018786

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