Page 1


Branford News,




breast cancer awareness M O N T H

14 year run comes to an end

Breast cancer survivor -

Denah Phillips


Democrat Friday Edition — October 4, 2013

128th YEAR, NO. 101 | 2 SECTIONS, 24 PAGES


Serving Suwannee County since 1884, including Live Oak, Wellborn, Dowling Park, Branford, McAlpin and O’Brien


Public’s right to comment stirs heated debate Chairman wanted to change format, public cries a resounding “No” even get that opportunity. County Attorney Jimmy Prevatt began the meeting by explaining a new law passed by the Florida Legislature that took effect Oct. 1, stating the board must allow the public a reasonable opportunity to be heard before the board takes action on a particular item. However,

By Bryant Thigpen

Lori McCraney was furious with the board’s actions regarding public speaking. - Photos: Bryant Thigpen

See related story, this page About 100 people attended the Suwannee County Board of County Commissioners meeting Tuesday night to voice their concerns about the proposed medical waste incinerators, however, there was much debate as to if they would

Chairman Wesley Wainwright was called out for trying to change the public speaking format.


Voices grow louder against medical waste incinerators

Shutdown continues Yoho: Republicans are not backing down

By Bryant Thigpen

By Bryant Thigpen While there were many items to discuss Tuesday night at the Suwannee County Board of County Commissioners meeting, there was only one thing on the mind of the public in the audience: medical waste incinerators. Local residents packed the commissioner’s meeting room at the Judicial Annex with signs protesting Integrated Waste Management Systems, a Pennsylvania-based company who seeks to place four medical waste incinerators at the catalyst site. Although the people struggled to have their voices heard, their presence was duly noted. As one resident began to approach the commissioners regarding her concerns about the medical waste incinerators, she was inter-

The U.S. Congress is in a battle stimulated by the Affordable Healthcare Act, commonly known as Obamacare, which has led to the first government shutdown in 17 years that began Tuesday. Over 800,000 federal government employees are out of work with no pay and national parks have closed as a result of the shutdown. Locally, the pain won’t hit for awhile, if the shutdown continues through October. If it does continue, folks on WIC could see a delay in benefits or none at all. Those on the SNAP (food and cash assistance) program won’t be affected. Veterans services would be affected and the city of Live Oak said grants from FEMA and other sources associated with continued Tropical Storm Debby coverage will be delayed if the shutdown continues. As of Thursday, there was no end in sight. Representative Ted Yoho (R-Florida) believes this is a result of the SEE SHUTDOWN, PAGE 2A

Smoke is seen coming out of a vent in the side of this 145th Road home on Tuesday after a kitchen fire as SCFR crews work to contain it. Photo: SCFR

Kitchen fire claims home Dogs saved

What’s left of the kitchen following a fire.

Staff A kitchen fire claimed a 145th Road home in South-Western Suwannee County Tuesday afternoon, according to Suwannee County Fire/Rescue Fire Mar-

shal Tim White. No injuries were reported. According to White, the owner had been cooking shortly after 3 p.m. in his double-wide mobile home at 16611 145th Rd., when he re-


Pregnancy Center racks up $25K in Run4Life By Bryant Thigpen

The Live Oak Pregnancy Care Center held their annual Walk/Run4Life Saturday, Sept. 28, at the Suwannee County Coliseum in conjunction with Lake City’s center to raise money for the center’s community efforts. Approximately 460 walkers and runners participated in this year’s events, raising over $25,000. And they’re off! Runners and walkers start the Live Oak Pregnancy Care Center annual Walk/Run4Life Saturday, Sept. 28. - Photo: Rob Wolfe


Denver Cameron doing the freestyle. - Photo: Paul Buchanan (

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First win for the boys team and second win for the girls team.


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Viewpoints/Opinions BIBLE VERSE “They called out in a loud voice, “How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?” – Revelation 6:10 (NIV)

Suwannee Democrat

MYRA C. REGAN Publisher


Members of the Suwannee Democrat editorial board are Myra C. Regan, publisher, and Jeff Waters, editor. Our View is formed by that board.

Editorial objectives for 2013 1. Reduce waste in local government 2. Revitalize downtown Live Oak  3. Continue work on Perimeter Road 4. Attract more business and growth 5. Build up I-10, US 129 corridor

“Your Community, Your Newspaper, Your Life.” National Newspaper Week is Oct. 6-12, 2013. This marks the 73rd year of the week, which observes the importance of newspapers to communities large and small. We celebrate this week as a reminder of how important our role is in your lives. We are first a community newspaper, but we are so much more. We are the history of the communities we serve. We share your joys - first birthdays, anniversaries, reunions; we share your sadness - deaths, violence, wrecks; and we share your frustrations - government, taxes, when we get a fact wrong or misspell a name. We are here together and without your local community newspaper, the Suwannee Democrat, where would we be? As technology ever evolves, so will we. We already have a secure online presence with roughly 50,000 unique visitors a month on We appreciate you. The numbers tell us you appreciate us. Just remember your local community newspaper. Pick up a copy today, it’s more than just the news. It’s your life.


QUESTION OF THE WEEK October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. How has breast cancer affected you? Know someone with breast cancer Have breast cancer Survived breast cancer Know no one who's had breast cancer Poll Results (9-27-13)

Open enrollment for the Affordable Care Act is slated for Oct. 1. You will: Enroll in a health plan immediately. - 5% Enroll but wait a week or two. - 23% Not enroll until the last minute. - 0% Not enroll at all. - 73% This poll is not scientific and reflects the opinions of only those Internet users who have chosen to participate. The results cannot be assumed to represent the opinions of Internet users in general, nor the public as a whole.


Want to vent? Our hotline is open 24/7.

Callers to 386-208-8314 may express their thoughts, good or bad, 24/7, about community issues and politics. Private individuals or businesses are excluded from comments and will not be published. If you prefer, you may email your comments to Or, simply visit our website at, click on the Rant & Rave tab on the left and submit your thoughts there. You don’t have to give your name. Phone submissions must be no more than one minute long, or exceed 200 words. The same word count holds true for written submissions, such as email messages. Anything over will be discarded. If the constraints are not enough, write a letter to the editor (guidelines for letters appear below).    What kind of society do we live in, where some people think it's alright to take things that don't belong to them? Bushes and plants on private property are not free to be taken! Get a job and buy your own!    re:Suwannee County's recent drug arrestsThank you Sheriff's Office! but, Where is the Community's LEADERSHIP?Where are the Church's ELDERS? And, OH! Where is the NAACP on this? We should all be asking these questions. If you see something happening (and YOU KNOW you do!)pick up the phone and report it! That's YOUR responsibility. Dealing drugs cannot be considered gainful employment.    I wish more people in our community knew what was going on with the infectious medical waste incinerator proposed in Suwannee county. Mecury, cancer,dioxens furons ,birth defects,needles, body parts,roting smell the list goes on! Our commissioners took our vote from us won't return our calls! Wake up Suwannee county we need to stand up to this disgrace! This is not the jobs we need in our community !!!

   Why is everyone complaining about the waste incinerator? This could be the best thing ever. Once everyone contracts cancer and other illnesses they can sue the County and sit at home and make money until they die. This is just a great idea by the County Commissioners to enhance everyone’s wealth.    Since my property is about 5 miles as the crow flies from this nightmare incinerator I guess my taxes on it should be $0.00 as it will destroy property value that pays the fools that run this place like 3rd world dictators. 2 more middle aged working taxpaying home owners and the money generated by our businesses will be leaving Suwannee County if this goes through. Also plan on walking away from the house & leave the local bank stuck with it rather than selling at a loss or living near a death trap.    Initially thought the incinerator was not great idea, but could live with it. A little homework shows it is a terrible idea. We already have the worst agriculture pollution in the state along with highest mortality @ youngest age. The incinerator does actually present a real danger being this close to large scale agri. op's. The really worst part of this is Comm. Wainwright & his love affair with toxic waste. The way they have abused their power to pull this off is highly offensive, but Gov. Scott & D.C. must be proud of them. Can you spell recall vote? If they plan on treating the people that fund their paychecks like this, they got it coming to them.    With Suwannee Middle School's 6th graders' agendas having trigonometry, differential and integral calculus reference pages, is there any possible way the school has students who need them? If so, it should have the international baccalaureate (IB) program for these students!!!    Regarding the medical waste facility and their Air Permit approval. Is it just me or can everyone else see through Alberta Hipps. Mr. Barry looked long and hard to find her. What does it take for this company to see they are not wanted here in beautiful Suwannee County. SEE RANT & RAVE, PAGE 11A


Waste incinerator what, why and how By Stephen Williams Suwannee County property owner “What” is coming to Suwannee County is a medical waste incinerator owned by Integrated Waste Management Systems, 932 Lark St. Lehighton, Pa., 18235-8903. Authorized representative Marvin J. Barry, and Bio-Haz Solutions, 531 Seneca Rd. Suite 2, Lehighton, Pa., 18235, David Henritzy, VChm/VP ph: 888-794-7894 and Jacksonville, FL. ph: 904-374-1237. Both companies are new (start ups) in the field of medical waste incineration (MWI). What is medical waste incineration? It is in the best interest of the people of North Central Florida to be informed in order to give us a clear picture of what is coming and how it will affect our health and economic future. On your computer search medical waste incineration or get to the library and find out. You will learn that burning body parts, bloody bandages, contaminated plastic tubes and syringes and chemotherapy chemicals, release a mix of toxic chemicals/metals/particulates and nano particles into the atmosphere 24/7. Another not so easy to get rid of by-product is a contaminated ash that has to be indefinitely stored or sent to a landfill, (think aquifer contamination). The very air that you, your children, pets, livestock and neighbors breath everyday for what’s left of the rest of your lives can promote cancer and a host of other illnesses in you. The elements of medical, chemical and biological contaminated waste will blanket our communities, fields, farms, school yards and homes and be absorbed into our bodies, and the meat, fish and vegetables we produce and consume. What are the by-products of MWI? Dioxin (remember Agent Orange), mercury (think cancer), heavy metals lead and cadmium common in PVC (more cancer), and like mercury, are neurotoxic to fetuses, infants and young children. Then we have arsenic, sulfur dioxide, ammonia, benzene, acid gases, and particulates are but to name a few more. One gram of mercury, that’s 1/28th of an ounce is enough to contaminate all the fish in a lake with a surface area of 20 acres, the fish thus being unsafe to eat. Fetal exposure to mercury can cause mental retardation, attention deficit learning disabilities, gait disturbances and impairments of language and memory. Mercury exposure puts newborns at high risk of irreversible neurological and developmental damage. Dioxins are a class of 75 chemicals which are created by burning organic material such as paper products in the presence of chlorine. Medical waste contains 14 percent plastics, municipal waste half that much. Medical waste contains a higher percentage of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) used in IV bags and tubing, blood collection and specimen bags, anesthesia masks, examination gloves, catheters, feeding tubes, dialysis tubing, etc. PVC is 59 percent chlorine by weight. PVC, which is burned in in-

cinerators along with paper and other organic material, produces dioxin. Even if most of the dioxin is trapped by scrubbers, how much of it is released into the air? Dioxins are a Class I human carcinogen and are among the most toxic chemicals on earth. According to the EPA, the average Americans cancer risk is increased by 1,000 fold because of dioxin stored in our bodies. Dioxins also cause reproductive and developmental problems, disrupting sexual development, causes damage to the immune system and birth defects. It is important to realize that incinerators don’t eliminate toxic waste, they concentrate them and they are stored in our bodies, the soil, the biomass, surface waters and the aquifer. The EPA has concluded that there appears to be no “safe” level of exposure to dioxin, (Estimating Exposure to Dioxin Like Compounds, Volume 1: Executive Summary, USEPA, Office of Research and Development, EPS/600/6-88/005Ca. June 1994 Review draft, p. 36). I’m not sure that it would be all that productive to continue by outlining all the hazards of the remaining extensive list of toxic by-products of medical waste incineration, suffice to say that the current state of the art of incineration is on its way out and being replaced by safer and more advanced and cleaner methods around the nation. Now to the “Why” build a medical waste incinerator in North Florida, which would accept highly toxic waste from as far away as Savannah, Ga., to Miami and Jacksonville to Birmingham, Ala. and beyond. Consider first that in the last 15 years about 98 percent of the MWI in the United States have closed down and a growing number of states have passed legislation which prohibits this type of incineration to operate within its borders. The industry now heavily markets its equipment to potential customers in third world countries which often are less informed and have less socially responsible governments. We’re not a third world part of the globe or for that matter, that far off in the sticks are we? I defiantly don’t think so. I’m used to friendly neighbors who take care of their families as best they can and depend on responsible leaders in the community to look out for their interest. I question why it is that most often the purveyors of dirty or dangerous waste management practices end up setting up shop in rural counties? If the manner in which they transport, process and store the by-products of their industry are so innocuous and safe why don’t they manage them where they originate from? Maybe there is really no secret why those who need to get rid of their dangerous and filthy waste, process them in what’s left of our natural rural areas. The politically savvy and political establishments in higher population centers couldn’t take SEE GUEST, PAGE 11A

Letters To The Editor, or Suwannee Democrat, PO Box 370, Live Oak, FL 32064. Please include your full name, address and daytime phone number. We ask this so we can verify your letter and discuss any questions about it with you.




breast cancer awareness M O N T H

TODAY TODAY The SHS homecoming parade begins at 3 p.m. Friday. The parade will begin on US 129 South in front of Suwannee Elementary School. The parade will go north on US 129 to Howard Street (US 90), then turn left. The parade will then turn left onto Houston Avenue where it will end at Langford Stadium.

Breast cancer survivor -


Marci Douglas

“No Bio in Suwannee County” will be holding a town hall meeting Sunday at Millennium Park in Live Oak at 3 p.m. to garner support in opposing the proposed medical waste incinerators.

Suwannee 128th YEAR, NO. 104 | 2 SECTIONS, 24 PAGES

Democrat Friday Edition — October 11, 2013


Serving Suwannee County since 1884, including Live Oak, Wellborn, Dowling Park, Branford, McAlpin and O’Brien

IWMS reps speak to Economic Alliance Invitation only event brought mostly economic elite See Democrat Says, Page 8A,

‘We don’t support incinerators’

Members of the Suwannee County Economic Alliance and others gathered at the train depot on Wednesday for an invitation only meeting to hear a presentation by Major General (retired) Marvin Jay Barry, president of Integrated Waste Management Systems Inc. and Alberta Hipps, Barry’s consultant.

- Live Oak Council President Adam Prins

Members of the Suwannee County Economic Alliance and others gathered at the Train Depot on Wednesday for an invitation only meeting to hear from representatives of Integrated Waste Management Systems Inc., a company proposing to place four medical waste incinerators at the catalyst site in Northwestern Suwannee County. The press was notified the day of the meeting. If constructed, IWMS Suwannee facility will consist of four hospital, medical, infectious waste incinerator (HMIWI) units. Each unit will burn 2,500 pounds per hour, a maximum of 30-tons per day of hospital, medical and infectious waste. Major General (retired) Marvin Jay Barry, president of IWMS and the company’s consultant, Alberta Hipps of the


Plus, permits issued by SRWMD

By Bryant Thigpen

Live Oak City employees to receive bonuses Including councilmen By Bryant Thigpen

The Live Oak City Council voted 4-1 to spend $85,000 to give each city employee a $1,000 bonus, including the mayor and councilors. The city has not given their employees a raise or bonus in about two years. City Administrator

Staff According to an economic impact analysis prepared for the Suwannee County Economic Alliance by the North Central Florida Regional Planning Council, revised Oct. 8, and presented at Wednesday’s invitation only meeting with Integrated Waste

Springs, lakes, near catalyst site

Public will be asked to fill out participation cards


Analysis of jobs, taxes, investment


City council: Public speaking format changes

The Live Oak City Council announced Tuesday night it would be making minor changes to their public speaking format in accordance with the law recently passed in the Florida Legislature and which took effect Oct. 1. The board voted unanimously to pass Ordinance 1313 which addresses public comments. The new law states each governing board must allow the public a reasonable opportunity to be heard before the council takes action on a specific item. “The new law makes it


- Map courtesy Suwannee River Water Management District

The map shows the catalyst site and 10 and 20-mile buffers from that location. It also shows the location of known springs, lakes, ponds and rivers within those buffers.

Staff According to the Suwannee River Water Management District, Integrated Waste Management Systems has received a permit application for IWMS Bio-Medical Thermal Reduction Facility, ERP13-0043, on Oct. 8. The application is currently under review. The district has issued a master system permit for the construction of the Klausner Lumber One LLC sawmill at the catalyst site. The permit, ERP12-0110M2, was issued on July 26 and allows for the construction of the stormwater system and infrastructure that will serve the sawmill. The district is in process of reviewing the permit modification for the construction of the sawmill building and parking, ERP120110M3.


Ross to perform in Orlando Saturday Nearly 3,000 expected to attend By Bryant Thigpen

Local music star Jeremiah Ross will be heading to Orlando this weekend to headline a concert at Baptist Antioch Church, where a crowd of nearly 3,000 is expected to attend. Ross will be Ross performing with his group, Papa Ross and Dominion, during the performance. Ross was born in Gainesville on Nov. 25, 1993, but has lived in Suwannee County all his life. He attended Melody SEE ROSS, PAGE 3A

Suwannee C.I. K9 team places 1st in event Pictured from left: Officer Jeremiah Carter, Officer William “Kolby” Bispham, Officer Bobby Horne and Sgt. Joey Hamm. This is the team that competed and won.

Submitted The administration of Suwannee Correctional Institution is very proud to announce a stellar and unprecedented accomplishment by our K9 team in a recent Tri-state Man Hunt competition held at the Blackwater State Forest. For the second consecutive year, Suwannee C.I.’s K9 team placed first in this competition. Thirtytwo teams from Florida, Alabama, Louisiana and Arkansas began this

Courtesy photo




Live Oak Scarecrow Festival Oct. 19

“Home cookin’ the way Mama does it”


See story, Page 3A

Call 386-752-1670 For Kids 12 & Under

Lake City Mall Open: 10:30 a.m. - 9:00 p.m. Daily MasterCard, VISA, American Express, Discover


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“As long as I’m president, I’ll let the public be heard.”

By Bryant Thigpen




Viewpoints/Opinions BIBLE VERSE “For we know him who said, “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” and again, “The Lord will judge his people.” It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” Hebrews 10:30-31 NIV

Suwannee Democrat

MYRA C. REGAN Publisher


Members of the Suwannee Democrat editorial board are Myra C. Regan, publisher, and Jeff Waters, editor. Our View is formed by that board.

Editorial objectives for 2013 1. Reduce waste in local government 2. Revitalize downtown Live Oak  3. Continue work on Perimeter Road 4. Attract more business and growth 5. Build up I-10, US 129 corridor

The Democrat We don’t support incinerators Tone it down, chairman You will be hard pressed to find many people in our county who support the idea of medical waste incinerators calling Suwannee County home. We, also, do not support this venture. Take a look at the map on the front of today’s paper that was supplied by the Suwannee River Water Management District. The map shows the location of springs, lakes, rivers and ponds within a 20 mile buffer of the catalyst site. If you count the springs alone, you will tally 96. If you add in the rivers, lakes and ponds, you are up to at least at 150 water sources, or more. All of these bodies of water are within 20 miles of the catalyst site, the very site Integrated Waste Management Systems is seeking to locate four incinerators that would burn hospital, medical and infectious waste. You have read the many guest commentaries, letters, rants and stories ever since we told you they were seeking an air permit in early August. We won’t go into all the technical details. However, we will throw this out again: each incinerator can burn up to 60,000 pounds of hospital, medical and infectious waste a day. The company is proposing to build four. That would equate to 240,000 pounds of waste being burned daily. That is if the plant is at full operation, which the president of the company, Marvin Jay Barry, told us it would. Tone it down, chairman There have been a lot of emotions surrounding the incinerators. When you start a meeting telling folks they can’t talk about the subject at an open commission meeting, those emotions tend to overflow into open, heated debates. Commission Chair Wesley Wainwright, we are not entirely sure what your intentions were, or are, when it comes to public speaking, but we ask you to remember why you are looking out at the audience and not the other way around. The agenda for upcoming Tuesday night’s meeting is the third meeting in which you have (or will have) changed public comments. Indeed, the first page of the agenda is more than half full of rules on public speaking. We thought it was a done deal when the people cried “No” on changing the format at the last meeting. We believe there should be some form of control at meetings. If not, they could get out of hand. The public needs to be able to speak, but how and when should be handled delicately, and not by changing it three times, and certainly not by starting a meeting by stating certain topics will not be heard.

Letters To The Editor, or Suwannee Democrat, PO Box 370, Live Oak, FL 32064. Please include your full name, address and daytime phone number. We ask this so we can verify your letter and discuss any questions about it with you.


Want to vent? Our hotline is open 24/7. Callers to 386-208-8314 may express their thoughts, good or bad, 24/7, about community issues and politics. Private individuals or businesses are excluded from comments and will not be published. If you prefer, you may email your comments to Or, simply visit our website at, click on the Rant & Rave tab on the left and submit your thoughts there. You don’t have to give your name. Phone submissions must be no more than one minute long, or exceed 200 words. The same word count holds true for written submissions, such as email messages. Anything over will be discarded. If the constraints are not enough, write a letter to the editor (guidelines for letters appear below).    Something stinky is going on with this medical waste incinerator. Why all the secrecy? Why Commissioners do YOU feel the need to make this land use change in such an underhanded way? The lack of transparency makes us voters suspicious of your civic duty. Could it be that some of the hired hands in County government may benefit from the deal? OPEN YOUR EARS COMMISSIONERS, THE VOTERS ARE SCREAMING!    Well said Lori McCraney! Well said!    Why do LOPD officers that live in the county get to drive the potrol cars home ? Is really necessary do so,or is because they dont have too pay for fuel? I think our tax dollars are being wasted. I have too pay for my gas too work, they should too.    Open letter to Glenda Williams. What needs to be done for a recall election of the County Commissioners?    Commissioner Wainwright has become the Bully of the Board. Bet he would have a different attitude if the waste incinerator was in his backyard. I may move to the Branford area just to vote against him.    Considering all of the mess we have in DC, why would anyone think our City and County elected officials would be any better? Just status quo.    Something just doesn't make sense. It is quite obvious that the majority of Suwannee County citizens, taxpayers and voters don't want the medical waste incinerator here. Yet, the lame-duck five insist otherwise. What gives? It's funny how other counties just said "no." Yet, we can't do that also?    If we have to have recall elections for all five County Commissioners to keep away the medical waste incinerator, then so be it.    If we already had a working red light at Pine Avenue and 90th, why take it down? Traffic will increase with the opening of the sawmill.    The work ethic here is a joke, everyone complains there are no jobs, which is true, but then nobody wants to actually work. The work done is slow, inconsistent or nobody shows up. If businesses want to succeed around here, start making your employees do their jobs and maybe with a smile !!


QUESTION OF THE WEEK When it comes to public comments at public meetings you: Think it should be open to any issue, all the time. Think there should be some time limits. Think there should be no public discussion. Believe it should only pertain to what’s on the agenda. Poll Results (10-4-13)

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. How has breast cancer affected you? Know someone with breast cancer -- 50% Have breast cancer -- 28% Survived breast cancer -- 16% Know no one who's had breast cancer -- 6% This poll is not scientific and reflects the opinions of only those Internet users who have chosen to participate. The results cannot be assumed to represent the opinions of Internet users in general, nor the public as a whole.

   Suwannee county has some of the most nasty,trashy people living in the area that I have seen. Take your trash to the dump, not on the side of the roads. Have some human decency and respect for yourselves.    I say let the waste incinerator project go forward!!! Don't you people realize that is jobs for people here? People complaining are probably older and retired and don't like change but change has got to come or the unemployment rate will continue to rise here. There are no Jobs here. I say bring it on!!    I attended the last commissioners meeting always held on the first Tuesday of the month. How dare he state that he was ashamed of how people acted at the “peoples” meeting with med. waste management. That was “our” meeting to voice “our” questions and opinions. We did so respectfully, no raised voices or profanities. Perhaps he didn’t like our message “please leave”.    Mr. Wainwright's smug response that he already has a home offends me. The point is why doesn't he place a home on the catalyst site? If there is no danger, it shouldn't matter. It's time for Suwannee Cty citizens to speakup.    I am 100% against this medical waste burning in Suwannee county. We have property on the Suwannee river twenty five miles away. We are presently trying to move our 100 year old cracker house there. Now we are disgusted. After looking up medical waste and reading about Salt Lake City, Utah and their experience as they are currently trying to get rid of this pollution, I am so upset. Suwannee county officials please vote against this. Florida should be about eco-tourism not dirty filthy smokestacks burning 24/7. Potentially with permits pending to bring in more and more to burn like they did in Salt Lake City. How sad and pathetic that this would even be considered. Why would anyone in their right mind want to move here now? SEE RANT & RAVE, PAGE 10A


Commissioners, let this one go By Wendell Snowden Suwannee County Regardless of who was on the receiving end, it was great to see Live Oak City Hall packed by Suwannee County Citizens at the town hall meeting on Sept. 19. The turnout proves that we do care what happens in our community. The recipient of the turnout was the Pennsylvaniabased medical waste incinerator company (IWMS). Owners Marvin Barry and David Henritzy conducted a town hall meeting to explain their intent and answer public questions. They both did an admirable job of explaining and answering under fire. I believe Mr. Barry and Mr. Henritzy to be good people with good intentions, and they need a place to build. However, Suwannee County is a bad choice for their medical waste facility. The catalyst site is a good venture if properly managed. Proper managing is not to put a medical waste incinerator on the property. Suppose a clothing manufacturer or auto parts distributor wanted to build there, how would the medical waste incinerator impact those companies? When our commissioners signed up Klausner Saw Mill, they talked about needing restaurants and motels out there to service employees. Really? A Burger King, Zaxby’s, Olive Garden next to a medical waste incinerator? I think Suwannee Countians’ dreams for this site were for light industry; for example, the manufacturing of clothes, shoes, furniture, consumer electronics and home appliances. One question, asked on Sept. 19, was why they pulled their application out of Baker County. Their consultant, Alberta Hipps, answered by stating that they had not applied for nor received an Air Permit. That may have been one reason, but the real reason was that Baker County citizens became organized and let IWMS know in no uncertain terms that they were not wanted in Baker. But Ms. Hipps is a hired consultant, just doing her job. One reason IWMS likes Suwannee County is I-10 and I-75 access. Well, Ms. Hipps is from Duval County and I believe her county has access to I-10, I-95 and I-295. Build it there. I believe her county is also the one (Jacksonville Electric Authority) draining our aquifer at 1.5 million gallons per day. But that’s another story. The majority of Suwannee Countians live here by choice! There is a lack of jobs, but that’s all over the country. People born and raised here plan to stay. They have been joined by people from all over the USA. Those of us who have moved here from other regions support them in protecting and preserving Suwannee County in the manner in which they have protected it for centuries. What about our neighbors who live out there? Let’s say within a 5-mile radius. What would you be doing right now if you were in that radius? What about your kids, grandkids? Would you worry about their health? Mr. Barry said if you see light white smoke then the incinerator would be at five percent capacity. If you see black smoke, they would be at 100 percent. Black smoke? I guess this will just blow away and not fall into the Suwannee River or any of our many springs. If you lived near the catalyst site would you be trying to sell your property? Shouldn’t IWMS be required to buy you out? (See suggested FloriSEE COMMISSIONERS, PAGE 10A




IWMS reps speak to Economic Alliance Continued From Page 1A Hipps Group, a consulting firm out of Jacksonville, were on hand to give a presentation and answer questions about the proposed project. Also on hand was Russell Simpson, northeast district ombudsman for the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. Medical waste incinerators not new to Florida “I want to be clear on one thing,” Barry said. “There used to be, three or four years ago, 10 of these facilities operating in the state of Florida. The closest one down in Apopka ran by Stericycle. These 10 facilities, some of them are more than 20 years old, they have all been doing this, not quite as effectively as this system will. But they’ve been doing it for the last 20 years. They have been disposing of those ash components to this day.” Ashes, ashes “We may have that (waste remains) coming through this county anyhow,” said Suwannee County resident Tim Alcorn. “The trains (that) run through here, you don’t know what’s on that train...yet we’re worried about this ash and its transportation.” “This is perplexing to me because the ash should not be an issue. It’s dead,” Barry said. “It’s a result of being burned at 2,000 degrees, folks. There’s nothing living there. It’s not like an autoclave where they key it up to a couple hundred degrees and steam it. If they have 100 pounds of waste in an autoclave, then they have 100 pounds of chopped up junk that goes out to a landfill.” The smoke “There is a measure

that’s included with these emissions called opacity, and that’s the ability to see through it,” Barry said. “I believe 80, 90, 100 percent is black or gray smoke. This (facility) has to operate at five percent capacity. What that is, is the visible stream of hot gases. It’s not a smoke.” Local resident Wendell Snowden said, “When citizens see white smoke, they feel comfortable. But when they see black smoke, they worry.” “There will be no black smoke,” Barry said. The punishment for violations “As far as the regulatory authority goes, what type of action is the result of non-compliance?” County Administrator Randy Harris asked. “Does the DEP step in and say ‘stop immediately’, and then does it take 10 days for the facility to shut down? That’s the type of question that has been circulating out here.” Simpson was on hand to answer the question. “Certainly, I don’t have a straight forward answer but we will have one for you. I can assure you of this, if it had any type of harmful effect for the people, the citizens of this county, we would definitely take action to shut down whatever operations were non-compliant. So from a health and safety standpoint, we would definitely take very quick and decisive action for that type compliance issue,” Simpson said. He continued, “If we were talking about non-incidental compliance issues, then that would be another issue within itself. We would work with the facility to counteract and counter-balance that.” “How tolerant is DEP?” Harris asked. “We’re hearing lots of criticism before

anything has actually occurred, so the best way to address that, I think, is to say, ‘Okay, this is what occurs if there is non-compliance.’” Barry replied, “I can’t speak for them (DEP), but I do know they’ve obviously had 20 plus years of experience. I’m sure there are guidelines set up, and those guidelines will have to be changed based on the new rules, the numbers for those guidelines. When someone doesn’t meet those guidelines, there’s going to be some kind of action taken.” “Now, I also have to say that in these specific modules, a system of systems, in order to operate at peak efficiency, the system has to comply with those new guidelines. If not, then there’s probably something wrong with the system. We have people monitoring those systems continuously that will be able to pinpoint any kind of problems. If it’s bad enough, for self preservations, we’re going to end

up shutting that thing down,” Barry said. The next step for IWMS Simpson said DEP did issue a permit which allows the building of the facility itself. “Prior to it ever becoming operational, they will have to come back to us and receive an operational permit. At that point, that’s when we will stipulate what would be expected and what action would be taken (if non-compliant), but again, I’m just putting words in my own mouth because I’m not certain of that,” Simpson said. “But the operational portion of the permitting process will ensure that all emissions requirements will be met prior to the facility ever opening.” Dioxins discussed “You mentioned flipping the switch, spewing things out in the atmosphere and hurting everyone, I take that into consideration and I understand people’s opin-

IWMS BY THE NUMBERS Continued From Page 1A Management Systems Inc., the incineration company is anticipating having 104 full-time employees by its third year of operation, which will include 23 management and 81 manufacturing roles. The total annual wages would be $4.05 million. The average annual value of benefits per job would be $9,937. Here are some more numbers and stats: Total capital investment: $16 million ($7 million construction, $2.5 million office and other equipment) Gross domestic product: The GDP of the county is forecast to increase from $10.3 million in year one to $14.4 million in year 10 as a result of this project. According to the analysis, this will be due primarily to the infusion of new salaries spent and re-spent in the county. Ad valorem taxes: Estimated taxable value for year one would be $6,150,000. Year four would be about $26,300,000. The analysis states the company is not seeking any local incentives but will request qualified targeted industry tax refund from the state.


ion, but the fact is it’s not true. This facility will be a minor source of those emissions. The most worrisome emission you hear people talk about is dioxins. They say this is going to spew those dioxins and it’s going to kill people and kill the fish, cattle and everything else,” Barry said. “This source, our facility, is minuscule compared with our normal sources.

Barry said burn barrels, burn pits and piles and forest fires all produce dioxins grossly more than his facility will. “The difference is, in my facility, I’ve got a multimillion dollar system of filters that filters that stuff out. You burn trash, you’re getting the real stuff into the atmosphere right there. That’s so much more than my facility will ever produce,” said Barry.

See survivor story, Page 6-7A

Tax Collector’s Office closed Monday for training To better serve our customers the Tax Collector’s Office will be closed on Monday, Oct. 14, for an “In Service Training Day.”

CALLING ALL SCARECROWS Live Oak Scarecrow Festival Oct. 19 See story, Page 3A






Wednesday Edition — October 16, 2013

129th YEAR, NO. 1 | 2 SECTIONS, 30 PAGES


Serving Suwannee County since 1884, including Live Oak, Wellborn, Dowling Park, Branford, McAlpin and O’Brien

‘No Bio’ rally draws large crowd Over 200 attend Sunday’s event By Bryant Thigpen


By Joyce Marie Taylor

Editor’s note: See related story, below. Local residents packed Millennium Park in downtown Live Oak on Sunday for the "No Bio in Suwannee County" protest rally/town

Residents from all over the county gathered at the park in downtown Live Oak to let the commissioners know they don’t want the waste incinerator company.



A long line was formed of people signing a petition to oppose the medical waste incinerator company.

By Bryant Thigpen

Magnolia Fest kicks off tomorrow A Live Oak woman faces several charges for this wreck on US 90 East Friday afternoon, including drug possession. Staff photo

Three vehicle wreck on US 90 East Friday afternoon

Submitted Magnolia Fest, one of the greatest Americana music festivals in America, is Oct. 17-20 at the beautiful Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park (SOSMP) in Live Oak. Artists include Willie Nelson, John Prine, Kris Kristofferson, Stephen Marley, Drive-By-Truckers, Railroad Earth, Mavis Staples, Donna The Buffalo, Dawes, Keller Williams with the Travelin’ McCourys, The Duhks, Jim Lauderdale, Col. Bruce Hampton, Jeff Mosier, The SEE MAGNOLIA, PAGE 14A



1 undecided

Featuring Willie Nelson, Kris Kristofferson and more at SOS Music Park


4 commissioners oppose incinerators

- Photos: Bryant Thigpen

Willie Nelson

hall meeting. There were lots of folks wearing red shirts to signify their disapproval of medical waste incinerators from coming into Suwannee County. Several people held signs of protest at the event that featured several speakers in an organized fashion. "No Bio in Suwannee County" was formed to oppose Integrated

Staff A Live Oak woman was seriously injured and faces multiple charges including marijuana possession after causing a Friday afternoon crash on US 90 East at CR 10A, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

According to FHP, around 3:40 p.m. Friday, a witness was stopped behind stopped traffic eastbound on US 90, waiting for clearance to travel east in the westbound lane due to ongoing SEE THREE, PAGE 14A

Four Suwannee County Commissioners have officially announced their intentions to withdraw their support from Integrated Waste Management Systems who seeks to locate four medical waste incinerators in the northwest corner of Suwannee County. Chairman Wesley Wainwright is still undecided and cites a lack of information as his reason. On Saturday, just a day before the “No Bio in Suwannee County” rally at Millennium

Jury selection begins tomorrow Trial slated for Oct. 21-25 By Bryant Thigpen

Staff The Suwannee Valley Humane Society presents the 28th annual Pet Show Saturday, Oct. 19, at the Suwannee County Coliseum. Admission is free. You can register your dog(s) and/or cat(s) at 10 a.m. Thirty-one contests starts at 11 a.m. and there is a $1 entry fee per contest. Bring your pet or just watch the show. Super raffles including a 50/50.

Enjoy refreshments and baked goods. Ribbons will be given and there will be best in show trophies. Pets must be on a leash or in a carrier at all times. Owners are solely responsible for the actions of their pets. For more information or to become a pet show sponsor, please call 1-866-236-7812. Email is



This Saturday: Suwannee Valley Humane Society's 28th annual Pet Show

Park, Commissioner Ricky Gamble publicly w i t h d r e w Wainwright his support from IWMS through the Suwannee Democrat. “After careful thought and debate, I have decided I can no longer support the project coming to our county,” Gamble said in a letter to IWMS Consultant Alberta Hipps. Gamble’s announcement was followed by Commis-

Anthony Michael Ortiz, an 18-year-old accused of first degree murder, is scheduled for trial next week, according to Suwannee County Clerk of Court Office. Ortiz’ jury selection date is set for tomorrow and Friday, and his trial will be held Oct. 2125. Ortiz stands accused of first degree murder while armed, home invasion robbery while armed with a

Ortiz deadly weapon and tampering with evidence in the April 2012 shooting death of Charles David Napier, 49. Ortiz will be tried as an adult. According to Sheriff Tony Cameron, Ortiz, who was 16 at the time, admitted to murdering Napier at his home in Suwannee County on April 28, 2012. The Suwannee County Sheriff’s Office stated that Napier was shot nine times with a .40 caliber handgun. The incident took place at Napier’s residence around 7 p.m. Ortiz’ trial is set to begin Oct. 21.

HANGIN’ WITH THE FANS The Suwannee High School Bulldog was hanging with fans at the homecoming football game Friday night in Live Oak. The Bulldog keeps the fans motivated and entertained at the games.


- Photo: Paul Buchanan 829184





‘No Bio’ rally draws large crowd Continued From Page 1A Waste Management Systems, a company who seeks to place four medical waste incinerators at the catalyst site in Northwestern Suwannee County. Mark Lyons of the Baker County Conservative Alliance served as the emcee for the afternoon and helped spearhead the formation of the group, which is comprised of Suwannee County residents, groups and agencies. IWMS first sought to establish their incinerators in Baker County, but faced tough public opposition. Lyons told the people he wants to use his experience

to help local folks in stopping the company from locating here. The rally was the first of many meetings designed to combat polluting industry from being established in Suwannee County. The group will hold future strategic meetings to keep the organization going, even after a final decision has been made regarding IWMS. The event kicked off with speeches from several Baker County officials and participating agents. Local residents were then given the floor to express their concerns. Commissioners Clyde Fleming and Jason Bashaw

spoke, announcing they’re not supportive of the incinerators. They joined Commissioners Ricky Gamble and Phil Oxendine who both publicly withdrew their support over the weekend. The audience then broke into groups and were encouraged to sign petitions objecting the medical waste incinerators. One petition will be presented to the Suwannee County Board of County Commissioners. The petition, prior to the rally, had already obtained over 1,000 signa-

Continued From Page 1A sioner Phil Oxendine who said he sent a letter to Hipps on Oct. 8 stating he will not support the venture. Oxendine made his announcement known Sunday and told the Democrat the company is not a proven one, they lack financial proof and his third reason for pulling support is the public's outcry against the proposed venture. Just minutes before the rally on Sunday, Commissioner Clyde Fleming told a Democrat reporter that he was making a stand against the project. Fleming asked the event organizers if he could be the first speaker on the agenda and they agreed. “My desire is to do the right thing and I want to let the people know that I'm not going to support the medical waste incinerator,” Fleming said. “This is my home and the people have spoken...the voice of the people have spoken, so we have to listen to what the people say. I'm against it.” After Fleming announced he would not be supporting the medical incinerator project, the crowd erupted in loud cheers and applause. About halfway through the rally, Commissioner Jason Bashaw was asked to address the audience, and he agreed. To the surprise of the people, Bashaw also announced his intentions to withdraw support from the IWMS project. “It has come to my attention from various sources that several commissioners have withdrawn their support from the IWMS project,” Bashaw said. He said he was going to ask for a consensus vote

Tuesday night among the Board of County Commissioners for the county administrator to write a letter to the company expressing their desire for them to locate somewhere else. This news was welcomed by a crowd of people standing to their feet with applause. On Monday, the Democrat phoned Chairman Wesley Wainwright about his decision. As of press time Tuesday afternoon, Wainwright said his opinion remains up in the air, for now. “My opinion has not been finalized because I haven’t obtained all of the information yet,” Wainwright said. “We don’t have all of their information, so I’m still undecided because all of the information hasn’t been evaluated.” The Democrat made many attempts to contact Hipps for comment, but none were successful. IWMS could still come before the board asking for them to sell the 25 acres they seek to build the medical waste incineration plant. If the consensus of the commissioners hold, the vote would be a no. However, IWMS can still seek land near the catalyst site that is bank owned. “No Bio in Suwannee County” member Lori McCraney sent an email Monday to each commissioner asking for an immediate vote to rescind the ordinance that allows companies to come to the catalyst site by right, and to immediately take catalyst site properties off the market until land use regulations are changed “to prevent undesirable industries and businesses from locating here.”


The people’s voice During Sunday’s rally, the people voiced their objections loud and clear against the medical waste incinerators. Sandi Bartolotti from

Dowling Park said, “We have a farm and we are very much against a medical waste incinerator polluting our land. We can't have it here.” Kim Snyder lives near the site of the proposed waste incinerator: She said, “I've lived out there for 30 years and I don't want to see this go up out there. I don't want to smell it, I don't want to know what it's doing to the environment. I just oppose it completely. I don't see how I can live an organic lifestyle like I choose to

with something like that and bringing it in. It's not fair.” Dewey Rogers lives in Live Oak and he said, “I do oppose this incinerator.” Donnie Rutherford lives three miles from the proposed IWMS site and said, “I don’t want the waste in my back yard.” Suwannee County’s Jerry Carmichael said, “From what I’ve heard, I don’t want it. If they ruin that part of the county, it’ll ruin mine, too.” “I say no to it,” local resident Randall Box said.

Sad shutdown stories distract from debt crisis Continued From Page 6A

4 commissioners oppose incinerators

tures. Local residents were also encouraged to volunteer with the group in helping educate the public about the dangers associated with the medical waste incinerators. Others were to help obtain signatures for the petition and attend county commission meetings.

and internationally. Leadership means that ‘the buck stops here.’ Instead, Washington is shifting the burden of bad choices today onto the backs of our children and grandchildren.” Whoa, sounds like something the “Hezbollah wing of the Republican party” (one of the gentler epithets lobbed at conservatives by liberals) would say. If only the president would listen to the senator he used to be. Or at least acknowledge that he once said what he now accuses Republicans of being irresponsible for saying. As a few sober voices have pointed out, the government “shutdown” (the majority of it is still operating) and the fight over the debt ceiling are relatively trivial distractions from the real danger – debt that will crush coming generations and that puts the nation in serious danger of default. It sounds almost quaint these days to recall former independent presidential candidate Ross Perot, who warned in 1992 how catastrophic it would be if “our children” were to inherit a $4 trillion debt. If only. The nation’s debt is more than four times that now, closing in on $17 trillion and climbing. And that doesn’t count the unfunded liabilities for Medicare, Social Security and federal employee retirement benefits. Estimates of the nation’s true debt range

somewhere between $87 trillion and $123 trillion. The nonpartisan Concord Coalition, citing data models from the Government Accountability Office, found that by 2027, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and net interest would consume all revenues collected by the federal government. Yet the unending mantra from the left is that everything would be fine, and government could do even

more for the “most vulnerable” and the middle class if the rich would only pay their “fair share.” With numbers like that, it is clear that the government could confiscate 100 percent of the assets of every “millionaire” (defined by the president as making $250,000 or more), and it would not even make a dent in that debt. Then, once the rich are broke, where would the next infusion of cash come from?

That’s what true leaders – the kind Obama spoke of when he was a senator – would be talking about. Instead, the White House and its enablers feed television stations stories about how little Susie could get her cancer treatments started again if only those mean Republicans would end the government shutdown. Taylor Armerding is an columnist. independent Contact him at

Magnolia Fest kicks off tomorrow Continued From Page 1A Rev. Peyton with Jimbo Mathus and Alvin Youngblood, Grayson Capps, Tornado Rider, Seth Walker, The Heavy Pets, Nikki Talley, Honey Island Swamp Band, The Stacks, Beebs and Her Moneymakers, John Stickley Trio, Billy Iuso and Restless Natives, Sloppy Joe, Quartermoon, Big Cosmo, Habanero Honeys, Steve Pruett’s Back From The Brink, Steve Pruett’s Back From The Brink, Corbitt Brothers, Stephen Kellogg, Flagship Romance, Canary In The Coalmine, Tropic of Cancer, Jackson Vegas, Sentropolis, Jason Lamar and Alien Carnival. The first artist to perform will be Bonnie Blue from 4- 5 p.m in the Amphitheatre Oct. 17. Friday’s music begins in the Music Hall with Habanero Honeys from 11:30 - 12:30 p.m. Music will continue throughout the day in the Music Hall, Porch Stage, Amphitheatre and the Meadow Stage. Kris Kristofferson, John Prine and Stephen Marley will highlight the evening performances on the Meadow and Amphitheatre stages.

Saturday’s music begins in the Music Hall with Tropic of Cancer from 11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. The evening will end with Willie Nelson & Family from 9:30 - 11:30 p.m. on the Meadow Stage, DriveBy Truckers on the Porch Stage and the Michael A Benefit in the Music Hall with Donna The Buffalo & Friends beginning at 1 a.m. Sunday’s final day of Magnolia Fest will kick off at 11:30 a.m. - noon in the Amphitheatre with Acoustic Ensemble, followed by Big Cosmos, Jim Lauderdale, Tornado Rider, Rev. Peyton with Jimbo Mathus & Alvin “Youngblood” Hart and end with a 7-9 p.m. performance by Donna The Buffalo. Go to to view and or print out a schedule. Saturday will be an exciting day with the wonderful artists and the Legends Parade. Dress up as your favorite music legend, decorate your golf cart and join the parade through the beautiful Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park Oct. 19 beginning at 11 a.m. All guests are asked to bring five cans of food to the Suwannee Music Foundation Tent to receive a Magnolia Fest 2013 poster.

All donations will go to Love INC in Live Oak to help the needy. Your donations are much needed and appreciated. Watch the website for a Magnolia Fest phone app to be available with maps, daily schedules and more at your fingertips. For RV, camper and beautiful cabin or primitive

camping space rentals or for more info on the SOSMP, please go to, email or call the Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park (SOSMP) at 386364-1683. The Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park is located at 3076 95th Drive, Live Oak.

Three vehicle wreck on US 90 East Friday afternoon Continued From Page 1A construction at the Suwannee/Columbia county lines. A 2012 Chevrolet Silverado, driven by Ezequiel Barcena, 39, Lee, no injuries, was stopped behind the witness. A 2007 Chevrolet 1500 pickup, driven by Shawn Brian Lee, 54, Lake City, minor injuries, was stopped behind Barcena. A 2005 Suzuki Reno four-door, driven by Angela Maria Benjamin, 34, Live Oak, serious injuries, was traveling eastbound on US 90 approaching the stopped traffic. The Suzuki impacted the rear of the 1500 pickup. The 1500 then impacted the rear of the Silverado.

FHP reported there are two big flashing signs that say "Be prepared to stop" and "Lane closure ahead" in the area alerting traffic. A passenger in the Suzuki, Chloe Marie Benjamin, 5, suffered minor injuries. FHP reported neither Angela Benjamin or Chloe Benjamin were wearing seat belts. Passengers in the vehicle with Barcena were: Ismael Barcenas Ortega, 38, Live Oak, no injuries, and Ezequiel Barcena Jr., 8, Lee, minor injuries. FHP reported Benjamin is facing charges for careless driving, no seat belt, child not restrained, possession of marijuana less than 20 grams and possession of drug paraphernalia.



breast cancer awareness M O N T H

• 1 injured in two-car wreck at US 90 and CR 49 Tuesday


• 2 injured in Tuesday afternoon wreck at CR 49 and US 27


Breast cancer survivor -

Suwannee Weekend

Michelle LeNeave

Live Oak Scarecrow Festival


Democrat Friday Edition — October 18, 2013

129th YEAR, NO. 2 | 2 SECTIONS, 24 PAGES


Serving Suwannee County since 1884, including Live Oak, Wellborn, Dowling Park, Branford, McAlpin and O’Brien

Hammering Wainwright out the details supportive of IWMS Live Oak Charter Review Committee weighs position of mayor, new form of government

Nobles said he’s done with politics, bowing out of next election

By Andrew McGee andrew.mcgee@

The Live Oak Charter Review Committee met at City Hall on Oct. 15 to continue working out details for revisions in the city charter and whether the position of mayor should be eliminated and if the city should continue to have a city administrator or change to a city manager form of government.

Councilman John Yulee John Yulee Councilman John Yulee wasn’t present at the last meeting, so he was given an opportunity to speak before the committee. Yulee SEE HAMMERING, PAGE 13A

Encourages company to seek other land near catalyst site Staff Suwannee County Commission Chairman and District 5 representative Wesley Wainwright told the Democrat Thursday morning that while he supports the decision of his fellow commissioners to send a letter to Integrated Waste Management Systems to look elsewhere, he supports the company’s venture. “I’m supportive of the board but I didn’t want to send the letter,” said Wainwright. “That’s an industrial site that millions of not only our money but state money has been used to attract industry there.”

Four commissioners came to a consensus Tuesday night to send a letter to IWMS officials asking them to not locate their medical waste incinerators in Suwannee County. The next move for IWMS, prior to this consensus, was SEE WAINWRIGHT, PAGE 12A

Commissioners will ask IWMS to not locate here

Public speaks up against ‘by right’

County Administrator will send letter to company requesting them to shop for another county By Bryant Thigpen

Four Suwannee County Board of County Commissioners agreed consensually Tuesday night to send a letter to Integrated Waste Management Systems reps, asking them to locate their medical waste incinerator company to another county. This decision came as a result of many commissioners speaking out against the company prior to the meeting.

Jacqueline Starke.

Letter carrier rescues stroke victim

Over 100 people packed the Judicial Annex Building Tuesday night to voice their opposition of the medical waste incinerator company, as well as their dissatisfaction with the “by right” land regulations for the catalyst site.


By Andrew McGee

Sept. 11, 2013 started out as a normal day for Live Oak letter carrier Jacqueline Billy Fennell. Starke. She arrived at the - Photo: Andrew McGee Live Oak Post Office, loaded her United States Postal Service truck and went on her city route. Starke, like most letter carriers, knows a lot of her customers that she delivers mail to. Billy FenSEE LETTER, PAGE 12A

In July, commissioners voted 5-0 to allow industries to locate at catalyst site “by right” By Bryant Thigpen

Local residents packed the Judicial Annex Building Tuesday night to express their objections to the medical waste incinerator company and the decision made by the Suwannee County Board of County Commissioners to allow businesses to locate at the catalyst

site “by right.” Lori McCraney, a local resident and leader for the “No Bio in Suwannee County” group, asked the board to rescind their vote and change the land development regulations for the catalyst site immediately. “That needs to be done immediately,” McCraney said. “And you need to start

Lincoln Reagan Dinner set for Oct. 24 By Bryant Thigpen


government shutting down the WWII memorial as part of the government shutdown and that if he was in

Suwannee County’s Republican Party will be hosting their Fourth Annual Lincoln Reagan Day Dinner on Thursday, Oct. 24, at 6:30 p.m. at the Phillips Center in Dowling Park.



- Photo: Andrew McGee

WWII vet angry over closed memorial By Andrew McGee

Editor’s note: The government was still shutdown at time of this interview. WWII veteran Johnny Thompson is 89 now but he still remembers some interesting and often terrifying times of being in Europe during WWII. Thompson told a Democrat reporter Tuesday he was highly livid over the


The Bulldog Bash was held Thursday night, Oct. 10, at Paul Langford Stadium in Live Oak. The Bash is a skit show performed by students and staff of SHS prior to homecoming. Pictured from left is Tessa Ferreira and JaShari Blige. See more, page 12B. - Photo: Paul Buchanan



Hwy 90 West • Lake City •386-755-3444

Hwy 90 West • Lake City •386-755-3444




For Kids 12 & Under No Purchase Necessary Must Present Coupon Limit 1 Per Person


“Lots to do this weekend.”


The Old Dog Says,




Viewpoints/Opinions BIBLE VERSE “May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.” Psalm 19:14 NIV

Suwannee Democrat

MYRA C. REGAN Publisher


Members of the Suwannee Democrat editorial board are Myra C. Regan, publisher, and Jeff Waters, editor. Our View is formed by that board.

Editorial objectives for 2013 1. Reduce waste in local government 2. Revitalize downtown Live Oak  3. Continue work on Perimeter Road 4. Attract more business and growth 5. Build up I-10, US 129 corridor

The Democrat The power of the ‘People’ The people have spoken and their commissioners have listened, well, four out of five have. “No Bio in Suwannee County” group had one purpose when they first formed, to stop Integrated Waste Management Systems from locating four medical waste incinerators here. Congratulations, folks. We say congrats because we know the fight isn’t yet over, but you have managed to get four of the five commissioners to publicly denounce the incinerators. That is a huge deal and you should be commended for it. Indeed, you have accomplished a lot. Hold your heads high, continue to hold government accountable and remember that this is just one battle in this fight. Keep at it. Keep bringing forth ideas, keep asking questions, keep demanding answers. That is the essence of this republic that far too many have forgotten. It is you, the public, that forges the American experiment and it is you that keeps it going.


Want to vent? Our hotline is open 24/7. Callers to 386-208-8314 may express their thoughts, good or bad, 24/7, about community issues and politics. Private individuals or businesses are excluded from comments and will not be published. If you prefer, you may email your comments to Or, simply visit our website at, click on the Rant & Rave tab on the left and submit your thoughts there. You don’t have to give your name. Phone submissions must be no more than one minute long, or exceed 200 words. The same word count holds true for written submissions, such as email messages. Anything over will be discarded. If the constraints are not enough, write a letter to the editor (guidelines for letters appear below).    Y'all just need to drop the issue of Suwannee County being a wet county and potentially selling liquor on Sunday. Get on with your lives, folks. If it isn't something you want to be a part of guess what NO ONE is holding a gun to your head making you buy it. Get your noses out of everyone else's business for crying out loud.    It amazes me the waste of taxpayers money. That is allowed by the city council. Why are police officers that do not reside within the city limits allowed to take home cars? Its a waste of taxpayers dollars , im sure with there pay they can afford gas. No other non salary employees get vehicles with free gas and maintenance. Oh wait its not free ,Come on people wake up and stop this and other waste!    Well written letter Mr. Snowden, I hope the Commissioners will listen, now I wish you could do something with Tater Bug before all the taters go bad. And it's about time Suwannee Democrat, you took a stand on no incinerator and freedom of speech, good for you. Don't wait so long next time.    I was both appalled and shocked by the article giving city employees a 1000 dollar bonus! So if an employee has been on the job a year or less they qualify. Just seems like more wasting of my tax dollars. How is this being funded oh that's right raise the taxes of your constituent    Integrated Waste Management Systems, please do not give up on coming to Suwannee County. You and our county commissioners shouldn't be unpersuaded by a handful of tree huggers. We need the jobs.    Why is an area so close to the population, and our springs the site for the proposed medical waste incinerator? There is a lot of land, more remote and far from our population. Would this be more costly for the company in traveling expenses...and employee time to travel a greater distance? This was not well thought out...... Who owns the land at the proposed site, that we now have the saw mill and now a medical incinerator in that area? We need jobs, but we need the right kind of jobs.... Not ones that will increase the amount of respiratory illnesses and cancer.    This current quintet of County Commissioners will go down as the worst in Suwannee County history. Indeed, that is saying something.    I really enjoyed reading the guest commentaries written by Wendell Snowden and Donna Ellis. Thank you both for writing what we would all have liked to have

been able to express as well as you did.    We need to pack the commissioners meetings held on the first and third Tuesday of each month or suffer the consequences. Fool us once we now have an unzoned catalyst site, fool us twice we could have a medical waste incinerator.    What doesn’t belong in Suwannee County? Beautiful rivers and springs, wooded areas and state parks, wildlife, birds and fresh air, a medical waste incinerator plant.    I am shocked by Commissioner Wainwright's actions. I think he needs to take a closer look at his constituents.    At last nights town hall meet recreation director Mr Scott phrased the warden and his tracking team (our rec dept uses inmate labor)for coming over and using his tracking dogs to look for a burglary suspect who stole from Mr Scotts personal question is when my home was broken into no such services was offered .is this just naval as a perk to our elite or is this just aanother small example of how the good ole boy system this the reason why we have to have a special day dedicated to Suwannee prison for just doing there jobs or is it an initiation into the official good ole boy elite club.sort of like a secret handshake when we where kids. But instead of trading marbles its free use of services.(or as us lay people. Call it kickbacks) on another point let's build more football fields for the low enrollments in sports and raise rates to play higher so only elite few can afford to play.we are already highest around.$75 to play soccer is insane. Oh yeah save $10 if you sign up early .that should help single hard working parents?????    What happened to the days when homecoming was a special event? The parade this year and the past several years is embarrasing. It was just several flatbed trailers hauling people through town. There is no pride in the preparation of the floats, when I was in school we spent weeks preparing our floats and the float for the homecoming court was the highlight of the parade. Let's put some pride back in our schools and homecoming events.    Aborted human fetuses are legally considered “human tissue” and sent to a bio-hazard medical waste incinerator for disposal. IWMS says it will be incinerating hospital, medical and infectious waste, which includes syringes, soiled wound dressings and human tissue from surgery. Maybe someone should ask Barry and Hipps about that?    I would like to rant and rave about how the way people dump their animals at the local dumps around here. Everybody complains about feral cats. Well cats weren’t born feral. They’re feral because they’re dumped to defend for themselves so if our local people that keep dumping animals at local dumps, it’s just, God made animals for humans and people are dumping them like they are trash. I just can’t understand the mentality of that in Suwannee County.    Winderweedle Street, the old truck route, is in dire need of work.    I would like to have published to the parties complaining about the Goldkist dump site not being open on Saturday at 7:15 a.m. For years the hours at all the dump sites on Saturday had been 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. For a complete of all the dump sites and hours you can stop in at any one of the sites and the attendant will give you a copy. If these hours don’t suit you, please call your county commissioners, they set the hours. Thank you.


QUESTION OF THE WEEK Halloween is right around the corner, you: Spend the night at a fall festival. Attend a trunk-or-treat. Go trick-or-treating with kids. Hand out candy. Poll Results (10-11-13)

When it comes to public comments at public meetings you: Think it should be open to any issue, all the time -- 50% Think there should be some time limits -- 25% Think there should be no public discussion --25%


Regarding emergency response involving the proposed medical waste incinerators By James Sommers Suwannee County Public Safety Director It has come to the attention of Suwannee County Fire Rescue that there are questions regarding emergency response involving the proposed medical waste incinerators in Suwannee County. I would like to take this opportunity to explain the capabilities of your county fire rescue department. Suwannee County Fire Rescue is a combined fire rescue service providing fire and advanced life support EMS response out of five career stations. In addition to the five career stations, Suwannee County Fire Rescue has 10 volunteer reserve stations throughout Suwannee County. There are 42 career personnel and 39 volunteer reserve personnel that make up the staff of Suwannee County Fire Rescue. Out of the 39 volunteer reserve staff, 16 are certified to the Firefighter I level. The 42 career personnel are certified to the level of Firefighter II/Paramedic with the exception of five which are FirefighterII/EMT. In addition to fire and EMS response Suwannee County Fire Rescue is also a member of the North Florida Regional Hazardous Materials team. Out of the 42 career personnel, 19 are certified by the state of Florida as Hazardous Materials Technicians. As a member of the Re-

gional Hazmat team, the North Florida Regional Planning Council supplied a trailer with all the necessary equipment to handle most hazardous materials emergency calls. Our Hazmat team members train with representatives of Gainesville Fire Rescue’s Hazmat team monthly. We also have a mutual aide agreement with Gainesville Fire Rescue to assist when needed for Hazardous material calls. In the event of an emergency that is fire related at any commercial occupancy, Suwannee County Fire Rescue dispatches the three closest career stations and the three closest volunteer reserve stations. This ensures that sufficient manpower is on scene to handle the emergency. The officer in command of the scene will alter the response as needed to ensure the emergency is taken care of. The main area of concern in emergency response with an incinerator, is fire. I can assure the citizens of Suwannee County that our department is capable of handling an emergency response of this nature, and if the proposed medical waste incinerators are placed in Suwannee County our department will attend any specific training that is necessary to further our response capabilities. If you have any questions regarding Suwannee County Fire Rescue feel free to call headquarters at 386-3643404.

Believe it should only pertain to what’s on the agenda -- 0% This poll is not scientific and reflects the opinions of only those Internet users who have chosen to participate. The results cannot be assumed to represent the opinions of Internet users in general, nor the public as a whole.

Letters To The Editor, or Suwannee Democrat, PO Box 370, Live Oak, FL 32064. Please include your full name, address and daytime phone number. We ask this so we can verify your letter and discuss any questions about it with you.




Public speaks up against ‘by right’ Continued From Page 1A working to change the land development regulations.” “We’ve been told by the commissioners and by people that know how these things work, that removing these protections, via the land use regulations, has left the county vulnerable to very aggressive businesses and companies that may want to come here,” she said. “We do want economic growth, and we do want jobs. But we have a very unique opportunity to actually control that type of growth by choosing good industries to come here.” McCraney said by restoring the land development regulations that will require businesses to hold two public hearings, it will protect the county from unwanted businesses. “Basically, what we’re requesting is that we protect the county and we protect the citizens and the agriculture through land use regulations changes. We do not need something like a medical waste incinerator in this county,” she said. She continued, “The citizens do feel like, and it’s a plain fact, that it will remove public comment and public hearing from that process. I do not understand who or why anyone thought that was a good idea when that was voted on.” McCraney asked the board if they would consider temporarily taking the catalyst site off the market until the land development regulations could be changed. “I have no desire to take it off the market,” said

Chairman Wesley Wainwright. “I don’t know how the rest of the board feels, but that’s my thinking.” “Wouldn’t it make you more vulnerable to lawsuits?” McCraney asked. “It’s been told to me that if you have real estate on the market, and a company comes with any financial reasonable offer, and you refuse just based on the fact that you don’t like them, they can sue you.” Commissioner Ricky Gamble said the board has never officially put the catalyst site on the market. “It’s not listed,” Gamble said. “It’s owned by the county and the county has been very clear that we intend to sell it. But we’ve never listed it in the open market.” “It’s great news to know it’s not on the market,” McCraney said. “We appreciate that you want to create jobs here. But we want good jobs.” Wainwright noted although the commissioners haven’t listed the site, the Department of Economic Opportunity has been marketing the site. “We want you to rescind the ‘rights’ so that you can work on getting the land use regulations done like you want to do them for the property,” local resident Debra Johnson said. “I’m not prepared to take any kind of action on the ‘by right’,” Wainwright said. “I don’t want to change it.” Wainwright added, “I’m satisfied with how that it (by right) is set up. The public is not eliminated from the discussion process. Anybody that wants to come out to the

catalyst site, they have to come into an agreement with the county, which would require advertised public meetings, so the public is not denied an opportunity to come. The public has not been omitted, and would not be omitted from any discussion or to discuss any entity wanting to locate at the catalyst site. I don’t agree that nobody would have an opportunity to speak.” Wainwright said Thursday he is okay with reevaluating the “by right” clause. “Keep in mind if we own the property, we have to have two public hearings to sell them the property,” Jason Commissioner Bashaw said. “If we do a development agreement with the company, we have to have two public hearings on that. So, to say that there’s not public hearings or things that could go in there, that’s not true.” Commissioner Phil Oxendine said he was interested in modifying the current “by right” policy. “I would like to check into ‘by right’ and see if we could somehow modify and incorporate some kind of wording that would secure the voice of this board in which companies could locate here and which couldn’t,” Oxendine said. “I would like to see if we could modify it (by-right) to protect the county.” The comments by Oxendine were welcomed with loud cheers and applause. Commissioner Clyde Fleming said he, too, would like to see changes to the land development regulations for the catalyst site.

“I realize that the people of Suwannee County have spoken. I realize that you are speaking well. Those concerns are very important to all of the residents of this county,” Fleming said. “On this ‘by right’ a lot of people have asked us why we did it. I’ll tell you why I did it,” Commissioner Ricky Gamble said. “I aggressively want jobs here. To be honest, when you have six people coming to a meeting, and two of them speak out against it, I didn’t think it would be that big of a deal. Call it inexperience of a politician, elected official or whatever you want, but that was my thinking on it. I wasn’t doing it to be under-handing or trying to take anybody’s voice away. I know we want jobs here,” said Gamble. He continued, “I don’t think we need to do away

with it completely, but we need to come together as a community and decide what we want to develop and grow as...I think we might have overreached by completely removing it, but I still think some things need to fall under it.” Gamble said he would like to see a moratorium in place for 90-120 days to redevelop the land uses for the catalyst site, with the exception of Klausner Lumber One’s land. “If you don’t like the current uses of the site, then that’s what we should be changing, not taking the ‘by right’ back,” Commissioner Jason Bashaw said. Bashaw said by totally removing the “by right” regulation, it would be removing the board’s ability to develop the property as desired. In July of this year, the commissioners voted 4-0 to adopt an ordinance that

would amend the land development regulations that will permit various types of industries to locate on the catalyst site in Northwestern Suwannee County without having to obtain a special permit. Bashaw did not arrive at the meeting in time to vote. The vote then left many residents dismayed. Gamble asked County Attorney Jimmy Prevatt if the board could put a moratorium on the permitting process during Tuesday night’s meeting, but Prevatt said it would have to be advertised at least 10 days in advance before the board could take action. Gamble said he wouldn’t be asking to rescind the “by right” regulations, however, but to put a moratorium on it to provide the board with time to adopt changes. The board plans to take action at the next meeting on Nov. 5.

Wainwright supportive of IWMS Continued From Page 1A to ask for the purchase of 25 acres at the catalyst site, land which is county owned. Since there is a quorum to squash that move, Wainwright said he has encouraged IWMS representatives to go ahead and pursue getting land directly from a Jacksonville bank who holds title to some near the catalyst site. Wainwright said he wanted to give the group “No Bio in Suwannee County” credit for getting four commissioners to make a stance against the incinerators, but right now,

Wainwright isn’t budging. “I applaud their efforts (and getting signed petitions) but that doesn’t represent the majority,” said Wainwright. “At this point, I’m unmoved.” Wainwright said he wanted to be clear that the public has not been left in the dark. He said that if a development agreement is signed with IWMS, the company would have to appear before the board of county commissioners and the public in two public hearings, regardless if they were seeking catalyst site land or other land in the county. As for commissioners

changing the land development regulations to allow companies to locate “by right” at the catalyst site, Wainwright said that skips only one step, and that is having the company, or any company seeking land at the catalyst site, to not go through the zoning board and instead go straight to the county commissioners for two public hearings. “IWMS or any entity that wants to locate at the catalyst site would have to enter into a development agreement,” said Wainwright. He also said he is OK with reevaluating the “by right” clause.

WWII vet angry over closed memorial Continued From Page 1A Washington with the others that removed the barri-

cades, all of D.C. would have known he had arrived. The spry Live Oak native said when he was in

Europe fighting to defend our country there were no barricades to keep him safe when he stormed Nor-

Letter carrier rescues stroke victim Continued From Page 1A nell is one that always comes to the door and speaks with Starke. However, on Sept. 11, that wasn’t the case, and that worried Starke. “Well, you get used to looking for different things and the gentleman usually sits outside on his deck and he has a little dog,” said Starke. “I was running late because my truck had broken down and when I went by, it was a different time frame.” This particular “time frame” usually had Fennell sitting outside on his deck with his miniature dachshund, Snuggles. Starke didn’t see Fennell or Snuggles. Fennell said Snuggles usually gets a treat from the letter carrier, that’s why they sit outside, waiting. “It’s like a routine to us,” said Fennell. That particular afternoon, however, Fennell’s routine had been severely interrupted by a stroke he had earlier that morning. When Starke didn’t see Fennell, she thought it odd and decided to stop and take a look around. “All the doors were shut and everything was locked up, I didn’t notice him sitting outside,“ said Starke. “I got out of my truck and went and knocked on doors.” Fennell said when he is outside, his carport door is unlocked, but this particular day since he wasn’t outside, all of his house doors were locked. Starke didn’t see him anywhere, but eventually heard Snuggles whining, then she heard Fennell and knew something wasn’t right. “There was no way to get in,” said Starke. “There was nothing I could do at the time until I sat and thought.” After some quick thinking, Starke went and looked again and noticed Fennell’s house had two partially opened windows in the front. She took one of he screens out and crawled through the window. “I got the door opened and figured what his problem was and called 911,” said Starke. “I didn’t know what was wrong. He was on the floor and I just assumed he had fallen. He’s had an aneurism, so I

thought he fell, he can’t get up, but I’m not about to move him because I didn’t know what was wrong.” Starke said Fennell was bruised from his neck down. He had been unable to get up from the floor for about 10 hours that day. “They (medical personnel) said I had a stroke, but I also had several mini-strokes other than that one,” said Fennell. “I fell twice the night before and had been there for several hours and then I fell that morning at 5:30 a.m. I was down there until about 3:30 p.m.” Fennell smiled when he thought of Starke and said, “She’s really nice and checks on me everyday.” Starke likewise is fond of Fennell and said, “He’s a good guy, but he’s stubborn and doesn’t like to go to the doctor.” She said Fennell’s sister visits him frequently and after talking with her learned she was making some arrangements for his care. Starke said in the evening hours she will usually go by and check on several elderly people to make sure they’re okay. She said because her father is also elderly, she knows what people go through. Her final comment about Fennell was, “He’s grumpy and I’m glad he’s back and talking and is doing good,” smiled Starke. “That’s my main concern.”

Lincoln Reagan Dinner set for Oct. 24 Continued From Page 1A The guest speaker for this year’s event is Jeff Atwater, who serves as the state fire marshal and chief financial officer. This event serves as a fundraiser for the local GOP to provide Republican candidates with financial support for the 2014 election. The Phillips Center is located at 11057 Dowling Park Dr., Dowling Park. Tickets are currently on sale and can be purchased by calling Barbara at 3647784 or visit

mandy; there were no barricades when he fell off a bridge into icy cold water, and almost drowned and there should not have ever been any barricades at a memorial to honor his and the sacrifice of others. Thompson is also angry that vets were kept out of the Colleville-sur-Mer Cemetery and Memorial in Normandy, France where thousands of Americans are laid to rest, overlooking Omaha Beach. “I can not tell you a reason for the government to shutdown this memorial to the World War II veterans except stupidity,” said Thompson. “Stupidity is the only word I can use.” He said whoever was responsible whether President Barack Obama or Congress, should have more respect than keeping the veterans from seeing a memorial they fought and

many died for. “It was a disgrace to do that to the WWII veterans,” said Thompson. “It was like spitting in their face.” Thompson had the opportunity to visit the Washington memorial which he enjoyed seeing and appreciated what was done in their memory. He didn’t see where the expense of running it would give the government the authority to shut it down. He saw no expense and if there were any security guards, he didn’t notice them and saw no admission to anything there - and this was a few years ago when he visited. “We walked in free. We saw all that we wanted to see free,” said Thompson. “We were able to stay as long as we wanted.” He said every veteran who was there that day enjoyed it because it meant something very deep to

them. “There were some veterans over 90-years-old with tears in their eyes knowing the sacrifice they made and the appreciation that was shown to them by building this memorial,” said Thompson. “And then our government to come over there and put a (barricade) across there and tell them they can’t go in was a disgrace.” Thompson is from Phenix City, Alabama, and if he had been there that day when the barricade was across the walkway, they would have known that Phenix City blood was coming out. “I would have torn that gate down or died trying,” said Thompson. Thompson concluded the Democrat couldn’t print “all” he wanted to say. Might make some folks turn red.

Suwannee Weekend

Saturday Live Oak Scarecrow Festival

In cooperation with the Live Oak Woman’s Club, The Live Oak Partnership will host the annual Live Oak Scarecrow festival on Saturday, Oct. 19. This event will kick-off the fall festival season for the Live Oak community. With activities for the entire family beginning at 9 a.m. at Millennium Park in downtown Live Oak, this annual event will feature several inflatable games and activities for the young and young at heart. The Live Oak Branch of the Suwannee River Regional Library will also be on hand with special activities for children. The Live Oak Woman’s Club will host their annual Chili Cook-off Competition beginning at 11:30 a.m. The public is invited to participate and vote on the best chili offered through this competition. Tasting begins at 11:30 a.m. and continues until 2 p.m. Don’t forget the Shrimp Festival at Bull-

dog Flea and Market on East Howard Street. It is at 12 p.m. Saturday.

Saturday Suwannee Valley Humane Society Pet Show The Suwannee Valley Humane Society presents the 28th annual Pet Show Saturday, Oct. 19, at the Suwannee County Coliseum. Admission is free. Register your dog(s) and/or cat(s) at 10 a.m. Thirty-one contests starts at 11 a.m. and there is a $1 entry fee per contest. Bring your pet or just watch the show. Super raffles including a 50/50. Enjoy refreshments and baked goods. Ribbons will be given and there will be best in show trophies. Pets must be on a leash or in a carrier at all times. Owners are solely responsible for the actions of their pets. For more information or to become a pet show sponsor, please call 1-866-236-7812. Email is




Hammering out details in the city charter Continued From Page 1A began by saying he had some concerns about the changes the committee proposes to make. He said he wanted to share some things in his heart that he felt were important. He asked for the committee to summarize what their plans were and that he would then address them. Committee Chairman Tommy Jefferson said they invited the Live Oak City Council to their last meeting to voice their opinions on what items within the charter they thought needed to be revised. Other reasons included elimination of the position of mayor and the changing of the city administrator to city manager form of government. He said much of the revisions had already been taken care of by ordinance, but he wanted to know why there was a desire for the council to change some of the language in the charter. “I think I was the only one who voted not to get rid of the mayor’s position,” said Yulee. “I grew up in Live Oak and it’s very important to me.” He said one thing he’s learned is that sometimes change can hurt people. He said change can be good, but getting rid of the position of mayor wasn’t and that it would be hurtful. Yulee’s reasoning was that in 1990, he ran for the chief of police when that position was an elected one. He said at that time, the council had voted to abolish the chief’s position and to consolidate it with the Suwannee County Sheriff’s Office. “The council felt that during the situation, that we no longer needed an elected position as a police chief,” said Yulee. “So, what the council did is abolish the police department for four years.” He said after the four years, they brought the position back as an appointed one. “You really don’t stand a chance when there is a group of people and that’s the way they feel when they want to get rid of someone,” said Yulee. “That’s the way that I felt in my heart. They got rid of me and I never had the opportunity to serve as police


chief, but I had all the certification having graduated out of Metro Police Academy.” With that said, Yulee asked them where would he be today if all the city councilors were appointed instead of elected positions. He said there are young people who would like to serve as mayor, city administrator or on the city council. “If it were an elected position, the people would have the right to vote on who they want to go in these offices,” said Yulee. “I’m urging y’all tonight to not get rid of the mayor’s position because you never know when (Mayor Sonny Nobles) might retire. Although Yulee agreed the position was mainly ceremonial, he urged council not to alter the charter in regards to the removal. Yulee said he fully agreed to the city having a city manager, but was adamantly opposed to abolishing the position of mayor. Live Oak Police Department Committee Vice Chair Stefan Blue asked Yulee why the police department had been consolidated years ago. Yulee said he wasn’t a council member then, only a police officer and was told there was a problem with some of the officers, that they were taking advantage of some of the city council members. He said the mayor might explain it better. “First off, I want to say that I opposed that,” said Nobles. “It was consolidation and I opposed it. It was suggested because they thought it would save money.” Nobles said it didn’t happen the way council expected it to at the time. He said the sheriff at that time frequently demanded more and more money, but the city wasn’t getting the services they needed. Nobles said they only had one officer in the city and the response time was terrible causing the public to become disgruntled. After this had gone on for some time, Nobles said he called a town hall meeting in his district and also invited council. “We had some dis-

course,” said Nobles. “I finally asked the people there, ‘Do you want your police department back?‘ and there was maybe 75 to 100 people there, they all said they wanted it back.” Nobles said it wasn’t a council meeting per se, but they voted that night to reinstate the Live Oak Police Department. Yulee thanked the committee for inviting him and allowing him to speak his mind. Nobles was then given a proper opportunity to speak before them. Nobles done with politics “I just want to say, I’m not going to run for office,” said Nobles. “I’ve got eight more months. None of this has anything to do with me. I’m through. I’ve given 38 years of my life to Live Oak as councilman and mayor.” Nobles said there was a charter review about two years ago and that every item (about 10) on the charter referendum pertained to the position of mayor. “I tell you, it was a mayor’s witch hunt, it was a witch hunt against me,” said Nobles. “There’s no doubt about it. You can’t tell me that there wasn’t something else wrong on that charter that needed to be corrected.” He said he has no administrative authority in that no one reports to him and he doesn’t tell anyone what to do. He pointed to Live Oak City Administrator Kerry Waldron and said he was the man with the authority. He asked the committee to later ask Waldron if Nobles ever interfered with any of his responsibilities. Nobles said after the charter referendum two years ago, he was very aware of what he was supposed to do and not do and that what he is supposed to do is important. He said what he makes is a meager salary, but what he does more than pays for it. He said he was faithful to the job and that he’s at City Hall constantly and more than any mayor he’s known in Live Oak. Nobles asked that the position not be eliminated as he was asked almost daily to sign declarations, proclamations, requested at churches, to at-

tend meetings, fundraisers and other events. He said these are all the time, everyday, evenings and weekends. “You’ve got to have a mayor, people,” said Nobles. “Mayor, basically as a ceremonial position except for the few things that are left in the charter that are the checks and balances that y’all don’t need to mess with.” He said again in eight months he would be gone, but asked for the welfare of Live Oak, for them to leave the position alone. Councilman Adam Prins was present for the sole purpose of answering any questions anyone might have had for him in regard to his opinion. He was absent from the last committee meeting, but had previously sent City Clerk John Gill his thoughts on why the mayor position should be incorporated into one of the councilman’s position. He thought every year, a councilman should assume the role of mayor and execute any of the contracts and other mayoral duties. “Just go to a League of Cities conference, you’ll meet tons of people that are

elected council people, but they serve a year as mayor,” said Prins. He said just as the committee elected chair persons and vice-chairs, so would city council vote who would be mayor for a year. Blue said he had been at the League of Cities website to try and clarify what form of government Live Oak falls under which is actually defined as “strong council/weak mayor”, but is a bit of a hybrid; the mayor is somewhat more than ceremonial. They all agreed this was not entirely unusual to have a mix of the responsibilities between a council and mayor. Blue brought up an interesting point that it seemed that the titles administrator and manager were synonymous and it was actually up to council to define what responsibilities were expected from the position. “I think it comes down to what the council will allow him to do,” said Blue. “It’s about what responsibilities and authority you’re going to give him.” He added, “I know he (Waldron) can do the job. I think we’re playing with a word too much.”

Nobles stood up again and said that there was no reason for them to change the charter. He said the council members are the bosses and their duties are to make the policies and laws for the city of Live Oak and the changes they make can be done through ordinances. “They can write in anything they want to,” said Nobles. “Whether you call it administrator or manager, it doesn’t matter.” Prins said when former City Administrator Bob Farley was there, there was a lot of council involvement. He said Farley involved the council on a lot of issues that probably shouldn’t have been done. Prins said he didn’t want to disparage Farley, but he was prone to involve people. “I promised myself that when we (council) found a professional to do this job, I was going to leave him alone and I’ve done that,” said Prins. “I’m very pleased at what I’m seeing out of Mr. Waldron.” The committee soon wrapped up the meeting and decided their next meetings would be held on Nov. 19 and Dec. 17 at 6 p.m.

Commissioners will ask IWMS to not locate here Continued From Page 1A “I request for the consensus of the board to send a letter to Integrated Waste Management Systems on behalf of the Board of County Commissioners requesting that they select another site (based on the impact of the community),” Commissioner Jason Bashaw said. “It’s not a motion, just a consensus. It’s a consensus of the board that we would respectfully request they (IWMS) look for another site to locate their business.” He continued, “I’m asking the board if they would like to do that.” “I don’t have a problem with it,” Commissioner Phil Oxendine said. “I’m good with it,” Commissioner Clyde Fleming said.

“Yes,” Commissioner Ricky Gamble said. Bashaw’s proposal was supported and upheld by majority of the board consenting, save for Commission Chair Wesley Wainwright. County Administrator Randy Harris was given the task of drafting a letter and submitting it to the company. This comes after Bashaw stated at a rally Sunday in downtown Live Oak that he was going to ask for a consensus at the commission meeting for the county administrator to write a letter to the company expressing their desire for them to locate somewhere else. The news brought the large crowd to their feet with applause and once again Tuesday night at the meeting.


Oct 1 merged  

Newspaper, contest. Public Service of Year

Oct 1 merged  

Newspaper, contest. Public Service of Year