June: Quincy gets award for good taste, National Solar plans proceed

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Year in Review

By Alice Du Pont

In a changing testing environment with standards being raised and test scores tumbling statewide, Gadsden County’s elementary schools continued to perform well in mathematics. With the release of all FCAT scores for grades 4 through 8 for mathematics, reading and science, 61 percent of Gadsden County fourth-graders were proficient in math, beating the state average of 60 percent. In fifth grade, 58 percent of Gadsden County students were proficient in math, exceeding the state average of 57 percent.

While most high-school graduates will not remember the commencement speaker, it’s a sure bet the members of the Class of 2012 at West Gadsden High School will remember Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll was their speaker.

On the business front, National Solar Power and the county took another step toward agreeing to a contract. After reviewing the most recent proposed draft, the third, of the economic development agreement, county commissioners unanimously voted to accept the proposed changes and transmit the document back to NSP for review.

James Scriver of NSP told commissioners it would be eight to 14 months before construction could begin after the final agreement is signed. But, he said, NSP is at work in the county even without a final agreement.

The city of Quincy was winner of the Region 1 National Water taste contest sponsored by the Florida Section American Water Works Association for having the best-tasting water in 2011. A plaque was presented on May 8 to the city commemorating the honor by FSAWA president Ed Bettinger.

Following months of questions about the use of City of Quincy issue P-cards for purchases, the city commission adopted a policy regarding the use of the cards and consequences associated with misuse of cards. The policy includes the following:

* City commissioners will no longer be issued P-cards.

* Only goods and supplies for city use can be purchased with P-cards.

* No food may be purchased.

* No travel may be charged to P-cards.

* No sharing of P-cards.

* Violators will be dismissed if the charged amount exceeds $40.

On the political scene, the campaign office for the re-election of President Barack Obama held its grand opening June 12. Organizers were on hand to welcome visitors and sign up volunteers.

In the local arena, only the clerk of courts and tax collector were unopposed.

The first half of the tomato-growing season drew to a close early in 2012. A milder than usual spring brought the tomato crop in early, with some farmers ending the packing season in mid-June.

“This was one of the best seasons that we’ve had in the past three years,” said tomato grower Graves Williams.

Gadsden County’s May unemployment numbers were released in June with a rate of 8.6 percent, which is still lower than the 9.0-11.5 percent threshold where the county remained during a three-year period of January of 2009 to March 2012. Also, this was a 0.5 percent decrease over the year.

A former West Gadsden High School science teacher, Shermeeka Hogan-Mathews began doing what she encouraged her student to do: move forward. Hogans-Mathews completed her first year of medical school at Florida State University. She was one of 13 recipients of a 2012 Minority Scholars Award from the American Medical Association Foundation and will receive a $10,000 scholarship.