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July: Local politics heat up, domestic violence turns deadly

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Year in Review

By Alice Du Pont

The city of Quincy held an open house for the second fire station on Joe Adams Road. The $970,000, 7,000-square-foot building was funded by a grant from the American Recovery Act.

“This facility will allow us to improve our response time based on the city’s contract with the county to improve our service to those citizens who live south of Quincy,” said Chief Howard Smith.

The new station will be staffed 24 hours by firefighters and volunteers.

The Gadsden County School District was recognized for support of Special Olympics. It’s a tradition that goes back 42 years in the school district and received the prestigious Marilyn Grisby Award in Orlando in early July. The award was named for one of the founding members of the Florida Special Olympics and is given for sustained support and leadership.

Gadsden County was honored with another distinction in July when Quincy’s Gay Steffen was tapped for the All-American Women’s tackle football team. Steffen, who played defensive end with the Tallahassee Jewels, traveled to the national championship game in Pittsburgh, Pa.

Domestic violence came knocking early one morning in downtown Quincy when a Gadsden County man, 30-year-old Kelvin Paden, lead officers from five jurisdictions to the Gadsden County Courthouse where he sat in his vehicle threatening for several hours to kill himself. It all started in a Tallahassee motel where Paden was allegedly involved in a disturbance. When Leon County sheriff’s officers arrived, Paden left the scene and drove west on Interstate 10 to U.S. Highway 90 in Midway and west to Quincy.

He was booked in the Gadsden County Jail after surrendering to Sheriff Morris Young. He was returned to Leon County for crimes there and later released. Two weeks later Paden, who was out on bond, shot his estranged wife several times before turning the gun on himself.

Sheriff Young said Paden’s wife told him she was afraid her husband wanted to kill her.

Children’s book author Anastasia Means-Dallas returned home to a book signing at the McGill Public Library. The book, “Fourth Street,” is her story of growing up in Quincy on Fourth Street and the relationship she had with her grandfather, a local cobbler.

As the date for qualifying drew near, those who wanted to run for office were busy filing the necessary papers to get on the ballot. Others, who had decided to toss their hats in the political ring earlier, were busy filing political contribution campaign reports with the supervisor of elections office.

Members of Love at Work, a faith-based youth group spent part of their summer fixing up homes in Gretna. Each year, from 50 to 100 children come to the county from various churches in the region to make minor home repairs.

Jennifer Bey, a 37-year-old woman who worked with the Midway Volunteer Fire Department as an auxiliary member, was charged with five counts of sexual assault on a child. A 14-year-old girl told authorities Bey had approached her at an Explorer’s event and asked her if she wanted to “be with” and older man and woman.

Law enforcement officers were allegedly told the girl met with Bey and a former Midway assistant fire chief, 40-year-old Charles David Owens, who was charged with 25 counts of child molestation.

East Gadsden High School Principal Dr. Kimball Thomas declared his intention to run for Superintendent of Schools in Wakulla County.

Hazel Padgett turned 100 years old and celebrated with friends and family at the Magnolia House.