Archive | November, 2010

Deonte Bridges, valedictorian with $1 million in scholarships

Posted on 27 November 2010 by The Florida Star Online

Students come to school with all types of family issues. Some of them will allow their problems to hinder them while others will strive no matter what.

Deonte Bridges is the perfect example of a child who chose to overcome his many obstacles. Bridges was robbed at gunpoint, stereotyped, and tempted with drugs. In addition, his brother died when Bridges was young and his mother has been battling leukemia.

Nevertheless, Deonte yearned for success and excelled in school. He stayed up late hours to complete papers and persevered in every class. As a result, he graduated valedictorian from Booker T Washington High School.

“Bridges is Washington High’s first black male valedictorian in more than a decade, a rising freshman at UGA, the winner of scholarships totaling more than $1 million.”

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Jaguars Win Over Browns

Posted on 27 November 2010 by The Florida Star Online

Written by: Richard McLaughlin
Photographer: Laurence Greene

The citizens of Jacksonville made a commitment to stand behind the Jaguars with an even stronger grip when Everbank made the necessary move and earned the right to name the stadium after them.

At the beginning of the season, the sales were great. However, prior to this game, the tickets did not go as well and a few people were worried. However, the sales did come through and those ticket holders are still feeling the joy of attending.

The offense was having problems but the defense showed up and showed out in the last few minutes. It was a defining sequence in another dramatic game for both teams. An even more important twist came during the last few minutes. Jones- Drew finished with 132 yards rushing and 87 receiving. It’s the first time in his five-year career that he’s put together three consecutive 100- yard games.The Jaguars (6-4) are starting to make frantic finishes look routine as they are now tied with the Colts for first place in the AFC South.

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Florida Classics – and the winner is…

Posted on 27 November 2010 by The Florida Star Online

Written by: Richard McLaughlin

Almost 62,000 attended the Florida Classics in Orlando this past weekend. It was stated that the attendance was the largest crowd in history. Some were late getting into their seats, but by half time, every seat was taken as the ‘battle of the bands’ began. You may be late for the game, but you are always present for halftime. 

There was never a question of who was a FAMU Rattler or a BCU Wildcatter. You knew when the bands started playing and what really turned the crowd wild is when each played, “Da Butt.” The crowded seats were suddenly empty – according to what school. In some cases, you could observe husband and wife or best friends separate, according to the school. 

By the way, who won the game? Well, the FAMU Rattlers won the game but the coin got stuck in the air when you asked who won the Battle of the Bands.

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A special time in a young boy’s life Xavier’s baptism

Posted on 27 November 2010 by The Florida Star Online

Xavier Fefie is eight years of age and enjoys being a high achiever. He says he has always enjoyed church service and especially appreciates the communion ceremonies. This past summer, he told his grandmother that he is a true believer in the father, the son and the holy ghost and feels it is time that he profess his feelings and become a member of the church.

Last month, Xavier expressed the same feelings to his mother, and on that Sunday, they both joined Brook Hollow Baptist Church – The Church Without Walls, in Houston. His mother knows his sincerity so when he made a decision to join, she went with him.

On Sunday, Xavier was baptized and after the service, many family and friends joined him and his mother for a wonder brunch. His philosophy is that whenever there is a special day, all join hands in harmony. Why should joining the church and getting baptized be different. It is a celebration of belief and happiness. Those in attendance thanked Xavier for pointing out that joining the church and getting baptized is a time for true celebration.

Thank you Xavier.

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Goodbye to the America We Know and Love

Posted on 27 November 2010 by The Florida Star Online

What is going to destroy America if we don’t act now?
(1) The Party of “No”
(2) The Tea Party

The two parties above are trying to misdirect our thinking by putting emphasis on racism, religion and the economy. They have the money and the power and are about to achieve their goal, being so greedy that they can’t see that they are destroying America. They just need to look at the old philosophical statement – “Greed and common sense can’t sit at the same table.” But, in a way, that is understood because common sense is not common.

Their first unexpected moves:
1. Obama was elected president.
2. The census predicted that the majority will soon become the minority.

Now first, let us make this clear. It is not all of the people in America, not even the majority that is a part of this ‘fear’ strategy. It is only the ‘party of no’ and the ‘tea party.’

When the party of no took control of the White House, had control of the house and senate, there was a surplus in the American budget. America was in the black and we were considered the number one country in the world. This budget surplus was left by President Bill Clinton. The controlling party was so angry with this Democratic president that they activated impeachment proceedings against him, dealing only with moral values – ‘he had a sexual encounter with a female that was not his wife, and denied it – under oath.’ Since that trial, how many representatives, local, state and nationally, have had their sexual encounters exposed?

The surplus funds that were present when the Republican Party took over were quickly depleted as a large amount of it was spent because we entered a war of ‘mass destruction,’ advising that we were at war with an enemy country, led by Hassan Hussein. This was our first step of hate towards Muslims. People became afraid to ride in taxi cabs driven by persons from Arab nations since they felt that all Arabs, Iranians, and the like, were terrorist Muslims.

Along with the issue of terrorism, the lending institutions, investment bankers and the housing market saw a way to get the American people in a world of high hopes. You can now own your own home and fulfill your American dream. The industry leaders understood the program designed for the housing market would make the homeowner get into a rut when they could not get the persuaded pay increase to match the escalating mortgage payments. But what they did not consider was those homeowners who could make the payment but would walk away from the luxury homes because the large number of foreclosures would decrease the value of the properties and that these money folks would not purchase the foreclosed home to make them rental properties because the decrease in value would be too dramatic.

Another shock to them was the fact that the voters were so fed up with the increase in most of everyday living expenses and the price of gas, they would vote for a president who could see and understand the strategy used and change the laws of Wall Street, the banking and credit card industry, the insurance industry and like companies so that the new laws would not continue to place a burden on low and middle income citizens while the wealthy enjoyed a huge surplus in funds.

They also did not predict that the same administration would evaluate and see how the rich was able to place their surplus funds in overseas banks and outsource jobs while they escaped paying taxes on those extremely large dollars compared to low and middle income Americans. In addition, the rich had a higher percentage of tax benefits then poor and middle class Americans.

What is so sad is the majority of the Tea Party participants are so focused on religion such as who is Christian and who is Muslim as well as the racial changes, it increased their fear of no longer being the majority in spite of the fact that many Blacks and Hispanics are in the prison system for crimes such as the use of crack cocaine while few of the higher income citizens who use cocaine are not in prison because the penalties for the use of crack cocaine has been one to 100 higher than that of the expensive cocaine that the poor and lower income could not afford. Therefore, until this present administration, the penalties placed the users of “cheap crack” in prison for long terms.

So, all the Tea Party can say is, “We want our country back” meaning, we can’t let these minorities become the majority. Lets bear down on immigration even though they know that their ancestors came from many other countries to a land populated by Indians with a slogan on the Statue of Liberty saying, ‘Give me your tired, your poor.’ But of course, they were able to take over from the Indians through fighting weapons and strategies. Now it is their country and they want it back, but not like it was when the ‘founding fathers’ took over from the minorities and became the “new” founders.

To add fuel to the fire, all of a sudden, everybody and everything is focused or concerned about race. Why? Is it because the strategy is to prove that America can no longer be prosperous if it is led by a person who is not of the majority race? Look at the recent attacks on Black politicians. Race is now a big issue and so is being female. Oh, you women did not know that? Sarah Palin, if she is able to get to the White House, she will see the attacks made on President Obama will be minute compared to the attacks she will receive.

It does not take much to figure why they question President Obama’s birth certificate and religion. Hawaii is an American state and he is not a Muslim – for goodness sake, he eats pork (hamburgers).

It was believed that most got over religion when President Kennedy was elected, even though he was of the Catholic faith. But, maybe we did not get a chance to see how some Americans felt about his religious faith since he was assassinated not long after he took his seat and embarked upon a battle for equal rights for all Americans. Like President Obama, his goal was to make a change. President Kennedy was not in the White House long enough and security did not have the technical advances that exist today. But prayers still go up for the health and safety of our present president.

Now that we have a better understanding or view of this strategy that is being played today, what can we do to stop the destruction of America?

We cannot continue to allow the strategies and games being played, including those efforts to change laws and our constitution, to forget who placed this country in a economical hole, who started the war, who keep bringing up issue regarding race as if that is a focus point, who caused the housing problems, who caused the Freddie Mac and Freddie Mae crises, who misrepresented the student loans and accepted fees for doing nothing while graduates struggled to pay the loans off; who caused the high misleading financial fees, who outsourced the jobs; who allowed more import of foreign goods than what was being purchased from us and being exported.

What we should also remember is who came into office less than two years ago and immediately began to make positive changes such as equal pay for women and more.

We should not forget that every proposed improvement made by President Obama was met with a “no” by the entire party. He wanted health care for all but many of the benefits that he wanted, were amended to get passed those representatives and senators on the other side of the aisle.

For a country whose motto is “In God we trust,” changes still have been made so there is a small growth in the economy monthly.

We now have better housing laws; we now have better loans for higher education; we now have banking reform, we now have credit card reforms; we now have health care reform for all Americans; we now have equal pay for women and many, many more.

The Republicans are now back in because many Americans did not understand or received distorted information. They voted out of fear and the formed a pact. Those elected have pledged to reverse all of the changes, and even though they are not in yet, those who are waiting for them to come, have begun a destructive path for America, by not extending unemployment benefits. Those who were elected received their votes by pledging to “get rid of Obama” or work to see that he not serve a second term.

You have begun the journey that will allow the party of no back in or the tea party who ‘want their country back’ (power they don’t even understand and really are not a part of because they will NOT REAP THE BENEFITS OF THE WEALTHY), America will truly be destroyed but not by terrorist. And think, your children, grand children and great, great grands will truly suffer because the party of “No say, “Hell No. “ You must say”ditto – you can’t come back in.”

“We love America and we want to keep it as the number one nation in the world.” To do so, you can no longer sit back while doing nothing. You must take an active role in getting America back on the success trail or be destroyed. We can’t wait, “it’s just that simple.”

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Murder Charges Dropped

Posted on 27 November 2010 by The Florida Star Online

Cederic Cutter has spent the last 26 months at the  Duval County jail. He was arrested in 2007 after  being identified as the triggerman who committed a  double murder in Arlington. 

Cutter was identified by an inmate in the county jail  as he was seen walking past another inmate. He was  arrested by the U. S. Marshals Service in  Statesborough, Georgia about seven months after  being pointed out. 

The murder was done by two individuals. Killed  were David Holmes, 41, and Surapol Martin, 17 in a  house on Lone Star Road. The man who was supposed  to have been with him at the time of the murders,  Anthony Vaughan, was convicted of two counts of  murder in the deaths of the two men and sentenced to  life in prison. 

A private investigator, Allan Wainwright, worked on the case from the very beginning and  stated that he could not find any connection between Cutter and Anthony Vaughn. In addition,  a witness described the other person with Vaughn as being six inches taller than  Cutter. 

After gathering much evidence, the prosecutors agreed to drop the charges. Cutter has  been released and will have his 30th birthday at home next week.

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Dumbest Criminals

Posted on 23 November 2010 by The Florida Star Online

Those Legs Were Made for Walking
Things were looking up for Frank Singleton, 21, as he was released from jail. However, when he realized that he  didn’t have a ride home, he walked straight into the prison parking lot and attempted to carjack a woman. He was  foiled when he realized that he couldn’t drive a stick-shift car. As he was re-arrested — this time, for felony carjacking  — Singleton told police that he simply “didn’t feel like walking.”


Now Hiring
28-year-old Demetrius Robinson wanted to rob a Golden Pantry store late one night, but he needed to pass the  time as naturally as possible until he and the clerk were alone. He decided to fill out a job application. Not a bad  idea, except he left his real name on the application, along with his uncle’s phone number. After he robbed the  store, it didn’t take long for police to track him down. Needless to say, he didn’t get the job.  


Billion Dollar Dummy
Rule #1 of trying to cash a bogus check: make it out for a reasonable amount. Charles Ray Fuller, 21, broke that  rule and all conventions of common sense when he tried to cash a check for $360 BILLION DOLLARS. To top it  off, the check wasn’t even made out to him. He was arrested on forgery charges.

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Two JSO Officers Resign after Internal Affairs Investigation

Posted on 22 November 2010 by The Florida Star Online

Sheriff John Rutherford recently announced that the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office has concluded its internal affairs investigation of two of the five officers’ response to the March 26th armed bank robbery and carjacking, where the armed robber/carjacker Jeremiah Mathis was killed by police, and a young child and his mother in the car were injured by gunfire.

The State Attorney’s Office cleared the five officers of any criminal wrong doing in June. This entity investigates all officerinvolved shootings and found no violation of criminal law or criminal intent by officers. By the end of the investigation, and based on the determination of no criminal wrongdoing, the JSO was able to convene its Response to Resistance (RTR) board hearing. (Garrity vs New Jersey, 1967)

The RTR board hearing, held in June and open to the public, determined that Lt. Jesse York, Officer Jason Lederman, and Officer Richard Santoro all acted within policy guidelines and they were returned to their regular police duties.

Also at the June hearing, that same board recommended that the actions of Officers Ryan Black and Darries Griffith be referred to Internal Affairs for an investigation into whether or not their actions were within the guidelines of the agency’s policies.

Both Griffith and Black fired their guns multiple times at Mathis as he carjacked a vehicle occupied by a woman and two small children, at a Wendy’s drive thru window, located on Baymeadows Road.

Mathis was attempting to escape police apprehension following an armed bank robbery he committed just minutes earlier, at a nearby Wachovia Bank, by carjacking the car and taking its three occupants hostage at gunpoint.

The two officers continued firing as the car occupied by Mathis and his three hostages moved forward in the restaurant’s drive thru lane.

The Sheriff’s review of the internal affairs investigation determined that because the two officers did not act with any certainty about the presence of the three innocent hostages, they did not use reasonable caution necessary to avoid unnecessarily endangering the lives of others during the discharge of their firearms.

The review of the investigation also concluded that officers Black and Griffith failed to use reasonable caution by shooting at a car that was in motion which caused them to continually move their point of aim, putting other officers and citizens in a position to be exposed to the gunfire.

It was later determined that 2 year old Daniel Crichton, restrained in a car seat in the backseat of the vehicle, was shot by one of Black’s 24 fired rounds. The child’s mother also sustained a gunshot wound. The child and his mother survived their injuries.

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New Fire Chief for Jacksonville

Posted on 20 November 2010 by The Florida Star Online

Mayor John Peyton, as  required, is now putting together  his transition team for the  next mayor. In doing so, he  appointed Dan Kleman as  head, who presently serves as  director of Jacksonville’s Fire-  Rescue Department and  replaced him with Dr. Charles  Moreland. Moreland will need  to be confirmed by the City  Council. He has been with  Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department for twenty years. He  has served as chairman of the department’s rescue division  since 2003 and will be the city’s second African American  Chief. Prior to Peyton, Ray Alfred served. 

In 2009, Chief Moreland was named EMS Administrator of  the Year by the Florida Association of County EMS. He  received his bachelor from Edward Waters College. He also  has a degree in nursing, a doctorate of education and a masters  in public administration from Nova Southeastern University.  Dr. Moreland was the first minority to serve as chief of rescue  and led a command of more than 200 personnel.

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Cox Art of Hair Barber Shop Honor Roll

Posted on 20 November 2010 by The Florida Star Online

We are once again into a new school year and we are looking forward to a better academic year. Cox Art of Hair Barber Shop is proud to show case the  following Honor Roll Students for the first semester who have worked hard to achieve this goal. We are still encouraging all students to work hard and get a good education. We continue to encourage all parents to take an active role in their children’s education.

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Challenging Racial Prejudice

Posted on 20 November 2010 by The Florida Star Online

Challenging racial prejudice in the United States in the 1950s was a daunting undertaking and continues today. While African-Americans, in the main, again bore the brunt of the backlash, no single person, group, or institution put civil rights on the national agenda, and no one person, group, or institution saw to it that it stayed on the national agenda.

The changes in attitude and law that did occur, came about as the result of a shared commitment from many, many people who took risks, highlighted injustice, and press the cause for change. That commitment was not an easy one to make then and is missing on present civil and human rights agendas.

Today, its easy for some to forget the historical era of the fifties and sixties and the frequent deaths of civil rights activists. This is largely due to the lack of Black History infused in school curriculums and Baby Boomers failing to tell their children and grandchildren the stories as it relates to the civil rights movement.

During the civil rights movement, tens of thousands of people of all races risked not just their standing in the community, but also their lives, in the hope of building a coalition for racial equality that could not possibly be ignored. They succeeded in building coalitions, even if the highest ideals of the cause they promoted remain in some cases, unfulfilled.

The Movement as it came to be known was fueled not only by courageous African-Americans, but also by college students and religious leaders of many races. These activists employed the tactics of legal challenges and civil protests including sit-ins, marches, freedom rides and other initiatives in their efforts to see that African-Americans received equal opportunity and protection in the United States.

As some groups and individuals are advocating take back America, its important that the religious and civil rights communities rekindle a diverse movement that seeks to reform the criminal justice system, in the United States. Also to dismantle the influence of public, private, political, and economic interests in the prison industrial complex.

Over the years, I have come to see more and more clearly the ways in which the criminal/juvenile justice and the prison system in the United States is fundamentally, bias and must be at the top of a modern day civil and human rights movement.

Disparity has raised its ugly head in Congress against two senior political icons, Representatives Charles Rangel and Maxine Waters and because I care passionately about dismantling racism on all levels, we must address this modern day crisis as it continues to create hardships and fill jails and prisons and at a great lost and cost to African Americans, other minorities, and the poor.

“At no time do we condone wrongness on either side of the wall”

Richard P. Burton, Sr., Director

P.O. Box 440248
Jacksonville, FL 32244
Bus: 904-786-7883 Cell: 610-349-3358

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No Unemployment Extension

Posted on 20 November 2010 by The Florida Star Online


 The line was long as hundreds, including some retired school teachers, waited to receive food from Second Harvest and True Light of God in Christ Church Saturday, almost two weeks since mid-term election that changed the dominant party in the House of Representatives, making the ‘party of no’ more stronger. So, congress went back to work and on their fourth day, rejected a bill that would have extended unemployment benefits for another three months. The vote was 258 to 154, not the two-third needed to fasttrack procedures. Therefore, four million Americans are set to lose their benefits when they expire November 30.

The Republicans say they want their country back, claiming extending unemployment benefits would increase the deficit. In the meantime, they are committing to extending tax cuts to the very wealthy while cutting what they see as government support programs, for the unemployed and don’t forget those whose benefits have already run to 99 weeks and the 17 to 25 percent unemployed young African Americans and Hispanics over the past decade, including the number of homeless Americans and the millions without healthcare. With this rejection right before Thanksgiving and Christmas, who can be blamed?

In Duval County, five precincts had over 70 percent voter turnout on November 2nd. 

The five precincts that had over 70 percent voter turnout were Precinct 14R the Ortega United Methodist Church, which had a 74.22 percent total voter turnout, Precincts 03A the Queen’s Harbour Yacht and Country Club, 13G the Adele Grage Cultural Center and 14P the Ortega United Methodist Church topped 71 percent turnout and Precinct 05E the Saint Mark’s Luthern Church – ELCA, was at 70-90 percent for the Election.

What is this telling the voters around Duval County? That these people had a planned strategy and commitment that they followed through. The other voters, African Americans and Hispanics, did not feel it was important to go out to the polls and therefore will now suffer the consequence.

Also, please note that most of the precincts were churches. That is another message on how the pastors and ministers were helping to get the people out to vote. It d efinitely shows the organization of the tea party members and how much they believed in what they are doing and the importance of their desire.

Just as the tea party members stood together for the November 2, 2010 election, it appear the same thing is happening with Dancing With the Stars, where Sarah Palin’s daughter keeps getting the high votes from the audiences, not from the judges. In fact, in a survey, it was discovered that there are or were web sites,advising tea party members that they could vote more than one time by changing e-mail addresses. One lady said she voted 300 times for Palin’s daughter. It also shows that beliefs are stronger than honesty.

Many African American organizations, including the Black media tried to let the community know how crucial it was to vote, if they wanted to stop the republicans from rolling back job creations, healthcare and financial reforms that President Obama fought and continues to fight for.

Richard Burton of Project R.E.A.C.H. said that “the invisible vapor of racism has caused many young voters both black and white to distrust the political system and to skip this past election. Also, many seniors voted out of fear with the belief that healthcare is reparations and black kids can beat up white kids with impunity.”

What those who are complaining about the high deficit have forgotten how we got into debt and have not taken the time to use mathematics.

Rather than cut off unemployment, they should understand that if a person is getting some form of income, the economy will continue because those unemployed and homeless will have money to put into the economy, if it is just for food and clothing, or a place to stay warm or stay cool.

The unemployment money does place funds back into the economy through funds just to survive. Will extending tax cuts to the wealthy make the same impact? Not as long as jobs are being outsourced and the large companies, like our former vice president, are moving their headquarters overseas.

The republicans are saying that the reason the elections went the way they did is because people want them to provide help to those in need, not add to the debt. Unemployment and bringing jobs back to America will not deepen out debt. Extending unemployment to those who have low income levels will do much more to stimulate the economy than providing the wealthiest Americans with additional tax cuts.

It is the method that was used to communicate to Americans that made them vote the way they did in this past election. They were fed information that was not beneficial to them, but beneficial to those who wish to continue the one percent of America’s wealth.

We need more jobs created, and they do not all need to be desk jobs. We need to begin manufacturing again. According to reports, the top jobs in America today are retail salespersons, cashiers, office clerks, food service workers, registered nurses, waiters and waitresses, customer service representatives, material movers, janitors, stock clerks and order fillers, secretaries, bookkeepers, general managers, truck drivers and elementary school teachers.

Americans need work.

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Please, Don’t Let Alisa Die

Posted on 14 November 2010 by The Florida Star Online

The Florida Star received a letter from Eric Wilson advising that he and his wife are in need of assistance regarding a health care problem for their daughter, Alisa Wilson, who is 37 years of age with a 10-yearold son. Alisa is in need of a liver transplant.

The couple was informed on November 3, 2010 that Lisa would receive a transfer from St. Vincent’s ICU in Jacksonville to Florida Hospital in Orlando to receive preparatory rehabilitation for a liver transplant. However, on the following day, the family was told that the liver transplant could not be done because her medicaid care had reached its maximum.
Prior to Lisa’s illness, she was with Sunshine State Health Insurance Plan HMO. That program was not acceptable to Mayo, which is known for its professional work regarding liver transplants.

The Wilsons were seriously concerned as their daughter’s health continued to fail. After discussion with Dan Evans of The Florida Star and cooperation from their church, the Wilson again felt hope.

A “One Life to Live” Candle Light Prayer Vigil is planned for Saturday, November 13th, 2010 at 6:30 p.m. at Good News Evangelism Ministries, 7646 Lem Turner Road, Pastor Dr. Deborah H. Coleman and Rev. Otha Coleman Sr. have planned the event.

Mr. Wilson was informed on Thursday, November 11 that Medicaid has made a determination, after many inquiries, to take care of surgery for Alisa. The Wilsons are needing to know the cost of all that is needed to take care of their daughter, who is getting weaker daily. They wish to know the cost and are having the prayer vigil to get help from God and the people. It is not clear how much would be needed and if Medicaid would want to know the total cost before going forward before Lisa can actually get prepared for the transplant.

In talking with a medical care specialist, it was learned that many hospitals will take care of those in need, knowing that they may have to ‘eat the cost of the procedure.’ In this case, at least they will know that part will be paid through medicaid. Another concern is the health of Alisa and her ability to go through with the surgery and the procedures that will follow.

Prayer will make a difference. Therefore, all is invited by the church and the family, to attend this prayer vigil. Lisa does not wish to leave her son alone and her parents are getting older.

When you see situations like Alisa Wilson, you wonder why Florida’s Attorney General Bill McCollum has filed a Motion for Summary Judgment in the Health Care Lawsuit. Oral argument for this motion will take place on December 16, 2010 in Pensacola. With all of this, and realizing that Lisa is not the only person that is suffering now or in the future with health problems.

Help is needed. Please help!

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Florida National Guard Soldiers To Deploy To Iraq

Posted on 14 November 2010 by The Florida Star Online

Written by: Staff Sgt. Blair Heusdens

Approximately 25 Soldiers from the Florida National Guard’s 1153rd Finance Management Detachment were honored during a ceremony in St. Augustine, Nov. 10, 2010, prior to departing for their deployment to Iraq.

The unit will provide financial assistance for Soldiers at forward operating bases near Baghdad, Iraq. For most of the Soldiers, this will be their first deployment overseas “We have a real young unit,” said Sgt. 1st Class Corey Walker, the senior enlisted member of the detachment. “For a lot of people, this will be their first time going, but we’re leaning on our veterans to push us through.”

To prepare for the deployment, the Soldiers spent months conducting additional premobilization training. The Soldiers will leave at the end of the week for additional training at Fort McCoy, Wis., prior to arriving in Iraq.

“We’ve gone through months of rigorous basic Soldiering training,” said Walker. “We also went through extensive finance training to hone our finance skills at Fort McCoy, Wisconsin.”

Family support was emphasized throughout the ceremony, with leaders at each level reassuring the families present that the Florida National Guard is committed to helping them while their Soldier is away.

“What I want you to remember is, the Florida National Guard is a family,” said Lt. Col. Paul Chauncey, the commander of the 927th Combat Service Support Battalion. “We understand that it takes the strength of each and every one of you sitting out in this audience for these Soldiers to do their job.”

“We recognize your sacrifice,” Maj. Gen. Emmett R. Titshaw, The Adjutant General of Florida said to the families. “You are so much a part of what we do. We are there for you while your Soldier is gone. Please remember, we are only a phone call away.”

At the unit level, a family support group is in place to provide support to families throughout the deployment. The group has held numerous events prior to the deployment to ensure that the families know each other and they know how to get in contact with each other if they have any issues.

The unit leadership expressed confidence in their Soldiers’ training and their ability to accomplish the mission safely and effectivel.

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Calvary Lions Club 38th Annual Mule Day Festival

Posted on 14 November 2010 by The Florida Star Online

Correspondent: Frank M. Powell III
Photographer: Frank M. Powell III

Only about 200 people call Calvary home, but on  the first Saturday of November, every year, Calvary’s  population grows to 60,000 to 90,000 (not counting  mules). The reason for this is the Calvary Lions Club  Annual Mule Day Festival. Proceeds of which go to  Lions International Sight programs and local charities. 

Enjoy a big parade with mules, horses and antique tractors;  contests, and all day entertainment. Over 450 arts  & crafts exhibitions, concessions, cane grinding, and  syrup making make Mule Day a time to remember. It’s  358 days left until the 39th Annual Festival first  Saturday of November returns.

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UF Gators Sink The Vanderbilt Commodores 55-14

Posted on 14 November 2010 by The Florida Star Online

Correspondent: Scott Jurrens
Photographer: Joseph Lorentzson
In Vanderbilt Stadium in Nashville TN on November 6, 2010, the Florida Gators trounced the Vanderbilt Commodores for a game final of 55-14.

The Gator offense capitalized in the 1st quarter on a Commodore blocked punt by Chris Rainey that lead to the first touchdown of the game on a 3-yard scamper by Mike Gillislee.

In the 2nd quarter, the Gators blew the game wide open with 5 touchdowns and Vanderbilt was scoreless. Touchdowns courtesy of Deonte Thompson, Chris Rainey, Terron Sanders (a 45-yard fumble recovery and score), Frankie Hammond Jr. and Solomon Patton (42-yard blocked punt return for a score). At halftime, the score was Gators 41; Commodores 0.

For those still watching the game in the second half, Vanderbilt got on the scoreboard with a 4-yard return of a blocked Gator punt by Javon Marshall for a touchdown and the extra point was good. The Gators responded to that score with two more touchdowns of their own with a 43- yard run by Mike Gillislee and a 6-yard scamper by Jordan Reed. At the end of three quarters, the Gators led 55-7.

A 4th quarter touchdown by Vanderbilt on a 6-yard pass to Jordan Matthews with 39* seconds left in the game capped the game scoring. Game final: Gators 55, Commodores 14.

With the win, the now 22nd ranked Gators (6-3, 4-3 SEC) continue their two game winning streak and face the 23rd ranked South Carolina Gamecocks (6-3, 4- 3 SEC) in Gainesville at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on Saturday, November 13, 2010 with a 7:15 PM EST kickoff. The game will be televised on ESPN and ESPN3.

The winner of this contest clinches the Southeastern Conference Eastern Division title and a berth in the SEC championship football game in Atlanta. The Gamecocks are coming off a 41-20 drubbing by the Arkansas Razorbacks (ranked 18th) so will need to regroup to make it a contest in The Swamp. If the Gators win, this will be their consecutive third trip to Atlanta and the SEC Championship game.

And if the SEC Championship game is not prize enough, there is the coaching dual of ex-Gator now Gamecock coach Spurrier returning to the Swamp to face current Gator coach Urban Meyer. If the Gamecocks win, it will be their first ever trip to the SEC Championship. However, the Gamecocks are 0-12 against the Gators and have only won once in the last 19 times the two teams have played.

South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier synopsized the upcoming matchup succinctly with this quote, “We’re going to find out if we can perform on the big stage and this is the big stage down there, one of the biggest in the nation.”

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Killed Intruder was like a Godchild

Posted on 14 November 2010 by The Florida Star Online

Ezekiel Wiley is a well known, greatly loved  Brunswick business man, considered a philanthropist  that was always willing to help neighbors and church  members in need. 

On Wednesday, someone broke into his home. He quietly  reached for his gun and fired six shots at the intruder.  He could not see the person’s face but could see that  he was holding a knife. The intruder, William Bernard  Stafford, 47, was pronounced dead at the scene and that  is when Wiley realized that he has known the intruder  who had broken into his home for more than 25 years.  He was a man, he considered as his ‘godson.’ The  intruder’s mother lived a few houses down from Wiley  and is actually considered his ‘spiritual mother.’ The  intruder’s mother, Rev. Carlee Wiley too is very loved by  the community. Wiley was close to both mother and son. 

Even though she is grieving for her son, who police  says had been arrested eight times between 1994 and  2009 for such crimes as forgery, burglary, assault, battery  and shoplifting, she still had a mother’s love but also  understand Wiley’s action. Wiley had been in the hospital  and perhaps William thought he was not at home. 

Wiley is sorry for his death but felt he had no other  choice but to protect himself. No charges were filed.

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Bishop Tom Diamond – Sudden Death of a State Legend

Posted on 07 November 2010 by The Florida Star Online

Bishop Tom Diamond  had an eventful Sunday, October 31 when  Congresswoman Brown, candidate for Governor  of Florida, Alex Sink and State Representative  Audrey Gibson visited his church and joined in  fellowship. Bishop Diamond’s sermon was: How  to Stay Calm in the Storm. His message was  strong and moving. After his dynamic sermon, the  bishop stopped and took pictures with his special  guest. No one even thought that the pictures taken  would be his last pictures.

Bishop Tom E. Diamond, Senior Pastor of  Abyssinia Missionary Baptist Church died  Monday of sudden heart failure. He was 67.  Bishop Diamond served as Pastor of the 2000  member church for the past 26 years. 

Born in Perry, Bishop Diamond was reared in Lake  Wales. He received a bachelor’s degree in English  from Florida Memorial College. He received his master of divinity degree from  Colgate Rochester (N.Y.) Divinity School and his doctorate of ministry degree from  Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur, Ga. 

His first pastorate was in 1975 at St. Peter’s Missionary Baptist Church in Gifford,  Fla., before accepting the pastorate at Abyssinia here in  1984, he was pastor of Mount Bethel Missionary accepting the pastorate at Abyssinia here in 1984, he was pastor of Mount Bethel  Missionary Baptist Church in Daytona Beach. 

One of Bishop Diamond’s sons, the Rev. Eugene Diamond, was named co-pastor in  1998 and was elevated to pastor in 2002 when his father was named senior pastor. 

In November 1999, the church, which had been a fixture on Kings Road just west  of Edward Waters College for more than two decades, purchased 10 acres of land in  North Jacksonville on Interstate Center Drive just west of I-95. The church moved  to its new sanctuary in 2005. 

Bishop Diamond was a former president of the Florida General Baptist Congress of  General Education and taught preachers on growing churches through Sunday school  as a teacher of the ministers division of the National Congress of Christian  Education. 

He was a member of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity, the Baptist Ministers Alliance and  the NAACP. He authored several books, including “Book of Sermons – Not Much  Just Crumbs,” “Sermons from the Heart of the Diamond Mind,” and “From Boys to  Men.” 

Known for his strong involvement in civil rights, Bishop Diamond led numerous  demonstration and challenged issues that were pertinent to the well being of local citizens.  He received various awards from his work and became well known throughout  the country for his preaching and teaching style. 

“Bishop was a dynamic Father, Pastor, Husband, and friend” says Eric Sparrow, a  staff member of the church. “Jacksonville and the country have lost one of its greatest.” 

Bishop Diamond is survived by his wife of 46 years, Lois B. Diamond: another son,  Minister Roderick Diamond of Jacksonville; eight grandchildren; and three brothers,  Bennett Diamond of Albany, Ga.; Oscar Patterson of Adel, Ga.; and Willie Hill Jr. of  Jacksonville. 

Homegoing services for Bishop Diamond will be Saturday, November 6 at 11:00  a.m. at Abyssinia Missionary Baptist Church. 

Congresswoman Corrine Brown said, “We are all deeply and profoundly sadden by  the tragic and sudden loss of the Reverend Tom Diamond, of Abyssinia Missionary  Baptist Church, whom I considered as a personal friend and spiritual leader. Tom  Diamond was a man of great stature and one who was blessed with the passion to  serve his community. A man who was dedicated to living the true word and who  took his truths from the pulpit to the streets, teaching, preaching and reminding us of  our obligation to ourselves and to our community. He is to be remembered for his  dedication, determination and his unwavering belief in the sanctity of the Holy word  and its practice in service to mankind. 

We offer our prayers for Mrs. Diamond and the Diamond family, his parishioners  and the community he so dearly loved. We are indebted to Reverend Tom Diamond  for all his good works and his love for all of us as shown as a true advocate for peace,  justice and fairness.”

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Posted on 07 November 2010 by The Florida Star Online

On October 30, 2010 in  Jacksonville FL at the annual Florida  Gator/Georgia Bulldogs Fall Classic,  also known as the World’s Largest  Cocktail party, the Gators nipped the  Bulldogs to win in the first overtime  34-31. 

The first quarter of the game  was scoreless as both teams had  chances to score but the defensives  held strong coming away with interceptions  and creating fumbles. 

The Gators erupted in the 2nd  quarter with 3 touchdowns, courtesy  of Chris Rainey, Jeffrey Demps, and  Trey Burton. Georgia was able to  respond with a score from Bulldog  quarterback Aaron Morris to wide  receiver Tavarres King on a 63-yard  b o m b .  At the half, the Gators led 21-7. 

The sole score in the 3rd quarter  was a Bulldog 28-yard field goal  by Blair Walsh to inch the score at  the end of the quarter, Gators 21,  Bulldogs 10. 

In the 4th quarter, both teams  lit up the scoreboard with two Bulldog  touchdowns (Washaun Ealey 4-yard  scamper and 15-yard reception by  A.J. Green) and a 51-yard touchdown  run by Gator Trey Burton and  34-yard Gator field goal by Chas  Henry to knot the game up at the end  of regulation 31-31. 

In overtime, the Bulldogs got  the ball first, 1st down and 10 at the  Gator 25-yd line. The Gator defense  intercepted an Aaron Murphy pass to  stop that Georgia scoring attempt. 

The Gators took over 1st and  10 on the Georgia 25-yard line. After  several plays, the Gator offense  stalled and punter-turned-kicker  Chas Henry was called upon to  attempt a 37-yard field goal for the  Gator victory. With his teammates  support, he nailed the kick and  Gators won 34-31. 

This was the first overtime  game ever in the 95 year history of  this series. Florida head coach  Urban Meyers said, “This is the  biggest win we’ve had. We’ve had  some great wins around here and  maybe some people would say more  important. I’d probably argue that  one. This is the biggest one that I can  remember, and I’ve coached a long  time.” 

The win keeps the Gator SEC  Eastern Division title hunt and eliminates  the Bulldogs chances altogether.  Georgia came into the game with  a three game winning streak and  Florida a three game losing streak. 

The Gators (5-3, 3-3 SEC)  now will face Vanderbilt  Commodores (2-6, 1-4 SEC) on the  road on Saturday, November 6,  2010. The Commodores got  trounced by the Arkansas  Razorbacks 49-14. Expectations  would be the Gators will have no  problems winning this road game  after the emotional win over Georgia  this past weekend.

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Carroll and Brown – Florida Political History Makers

Posted on 07 November 2010 by The Florida Star Online

Can we now brag that Florida  understands the power and value of  a woman?

In 1992, Corrine Brown was  elected to serve in the U. S.  Congress and was again re-elected  Tuesday to add another four years  to her 18 years, already served.

You don’t have to ask why,  because everybody knows that  “Corrine delivers.” 

Now Florida can boast of another  trailblazer, Jennifer Carroll who  presently serves as a Florida State Representative and come January, she will take the  seat of Florida’s Lieutenant Governor – another first for Florida. 

Voting was not easy around the state, even though it appeared to be but one would  say it was not easy, using Duval County as an example of was displayed all around  America. People did not go to vote, especially members of theDemocratic Party. The polls showed early that the turnout was low. In Duval  County, there are 527,079 registered voters. There were 260,269 ballots cast,  49.38% of the registered voters, which is less than half of those who have the ability  to utilize their right to vote. 

Jennifer Carroll is truly a history maker since the 51-year-old is also the first black  female Republican elected to the state legislature. As an adopted child, born in  Trinidad, West Indies, she has shown much strength. The Navy veteran served for  more than twenty years, and retired as a Lieutenant Commander. She was an aviation  maintenance officer with a degree in political science and she also has a master’s  degree. Both Congresswoman Corrine Brown and Lt. Elect Carroll hold master  degrees. 

They are both very talented women and have served the community well in their  elected positions. 

There were few Democrats elected during this mid-term election. Ms. Brown was  one and Democratic Rep. Sanford Bishop of Georgia’s 2nd District, was re-elected  by a very small margin, even though he has served for 18 years. Also winning in  Florida is Iraq veteran, Republican, Allen West. The retired Lieutenant Colonel will  be representing Florida’s Congressional District 22. Ten Iraq veterans will join as  new members of Congress. 

Many were disappointed by some of the amendments for the State of Florida,  specifically Amendment 5 and 6. It is understood that even though the state voted  for the Amendment, it may not be able to become effective until after the census has  been counted and reported as it would go against the U. S. Constitution if the  approval change would overlook the minority population in the districts where such  a population is high and the citizens would prefer a minority representing them. 

Even though Ms. Carroll did not use this on her platform, her son, Nolan Carroll is  a rookie defensive back for the Miami Dolphins so, we know someone is really  ‘watching her back.’

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A Spooktacular MOLES Celebration

Posted on 07 November 2010 by The Florida Star Online

When we think of PRI we  think of props, tents, etc. Well we  now know that they have events  at their Studio. Jacksonville  MOLES member Mrs. Janet  Garrett and Gregory Owens hosted  a Halloween Party at the PRI  Studio and what fun it was! At  PRI, the props that we are accustomed  to seeing at various First  Coast events are featured in a  Museum type setting. And selecting  this venue for a party was a  most novel idea. Costumed for  the occasion as Pirates, Witches,  Bunnies, ‘Hip’ Crossing Guards,  Rock Stars, Jackson de Ville,  Trick or Treat Lady and more, we  mingled while gazing at the  gigantic props that were, in some  instances, quite familiar to us.  The place provided great fun, not  to mention the magnificent cuisine  of Chef Matthew Medure.

Hostess and Host Owens led  their guests in the Pictionary  Game and everyone left with useful  party favors. How wonderful  it was to have a memorable  ‘childlike’ evening!!

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Ron Washington takes team to World Series

Posted on 01 November 2010 by The Florida Star Online

It was a little over a year  ago that Texas Rangers’ manager Ron Washington  tested positive for cocaine  use. Washington owned up  to his personal failure and  made valuable use the  second chance that he was given.

Washington’s laid back demeanor and aggressive coaching style  is well suited to the young and talented players on the team. 

He allows his players to pursue their own playing style and play  according to their strengths. 

Washington’s energy level has caught on with the entire team as  they have become a more motivated and emotional team that plays with a lot of heart which has translated into winning and now to the World Series.

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Southern Women’s Show 2010

Posted on 01 November 2010 by The Florida Star Online

There were over 95,000 consumers this year at the
Southern Women Show, held at the Prime Osborn
Convention Center. Nearly all vendors sold out of their
merchandise which made this the best year yet.

The Florida Star sponsored two fashion shows with
clothes from Ashley Stewart, modeled by Dangerous
Curves. And, as always, the crowd (women of all ages)
went wild over the firemen models, actually putting
money in their pants.

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