September: Quincy launches Porchfest, Gov. Scott visits school

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Year in Review

By Alice Du Pont

A Gadsden County nurseryman, Richard May, was selected as a state finalist for Florida’s Farm Bureau 2012 Achievement in Agriculture Award. May, the production manager for May Nursery, was one of three nominees for the award.

The award is for full-time agricultural producers younger than 35. Finalists are evaluated on the financial stability and development of their respective enterprises as well as their leadership in Farm Bureau and their local communities.
The sixth annual Bridge the Gap literacy summit was held at the Joe Ferolito Recreation center. Hundreds of people attended to receive information on health literacy, financial literacy, family literacy, basic and pre-GED, English as a second language, career studies and correctional literacy.

A mosquito-borne disease advisory was issued for Gadsden County after the health department confirmed the first human case of locally acquired West Nile virus in 2012. The 48-year-old woman was likely infected the third week of August and was recovering in September.

This was the first human case of locally acquired West Nile virus in the county. The official advisory warned the community to take precautions to prevent being bitten by mosquitoes.

Gadsden County hosted the first Rural County Summit. It was designed to bring small, rural counties together as experts explained the need to work together and share resources.

The inaugural Porchfest event kicked off Sept. 8, but a rainy day didn’t dampen spirits of those who turned out for the musical event in Quincy’s historic district. More than 200 people spent the afternoon visiting eight venues to hear 20 performers. Those who participated said they look forward to the 2013 Porchfest.

There were other visitors, too. A group of young college students, called Dream Defenders, joined hands with residents for a symbolic March from Arnett Chapel AME Church to Courthouse Square. Led by civil rights attorney John Due and local ministers, the students said they want to preserve the freedom and opportunities they enjoy for generations to come.

The march also served as a voter registration drive.

Four new officers were sworn in during the regular monthly meeting of the Midway City Council. They were: Officer Vincenzo Tripoli, Officer Eddie Gainer, Sgt. Zachary Woods and Sgt. Ronnie Williams.

Gov. Rick Scott visited Gadsden Elementary Magnet School and held a meeting with parents, students and other stakeholders. The stop was part of Scott’s Listening Tour, where he visits schools statewide for a roundtable discussion.
Former Gretna police chief, Brian Bess, who resigned in August, was arrested by the Tallahassee Police and jailed overnight on charges of driving under the influence, a non-moving violation. Bess allegedly did not have his driver license and was operating a motorcycle without an endorsement.

A six-member jury convicted Bobby Dukes Jr. of manslaughter. It took the jury about three hours to return a verdict after a three-day trial. Dukes was charged with second-degree murder in the 2009 death of his 3-month old son.

The attorney for the family of a young man shot to death during a party at the Senior Citizens Center, Anthony Hopkins Jr., filed a lawsuit against the county alleging wrongful death. They are asking for $50,000 or more. County commissioners learned of the lawsuit during the regular September board meeting.

After months of trying to curb thefts of copper tubing, a Midway man was allegedly caught in the act. Earnest Johnson, 23, was arrested after he literally ran into the arms of two Gadsden County deputies who were in the area to serve warrants.

Uniformed Midway officers were dispatched to an area after an anonymous caller said a man was seen trying to take an air conditioner just after midnight one Sunday. Johnson heard the siren and the saw the lights of a marked police unit. In his attempt to flee, he reportedly ran toward the deputies in an unmarked unit.

Cortex Hatten of Midway was found guilty of manslaughter in the shooting death of Kenneth Moran in April 2010. Hatten had been originally charged with five felonies, including second-degree murder, attempted second-degree murder, aggravated assault with a firearm and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

The charges stemmed from an incident that left one man dead and another man wounded. Moran died several hours after the shooting from a gunshot wound to the head. The shooting occurred where people had gathered in the middle of a street in Midway Forest Mobile Home Park. Another man, Anthony Chavers was wounded during the same incident with the same bullet, which hit Chavers in the left shoulder, exited through his back and hit Moran in the head.