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Year in Review: April

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National Solar Power in the spotlight

By Alice Du Pont

Negotiations continued between the Gadsden County Board of Commissioners and National Solar Power. Following a Feb. 21 workshop, which included public comment and commissioners’ concerns, a draft developer agreement was forwarded to NSP.

But just before a regular meeting when the issue was to come up for discussion, the company sent a response to the county’s proposal, which stalled the agreement further.

One sentence in the NSP letter left Commissioner Eugene Lamb unhappy.  He said he didn’t like to feel threatened because the sentence “the county would become less competitive than other counties if the  $30,000 per farm in a cash rebate,” is not included. Lamb said he felt including that sentence would leave the county with its back against the wall.
National Solar Power reached a major milestone in its plans to build solar energy facilities totaling 700 megawatts in Florida by completing an agreement to acquire several million solar panels from SolarWorld, the largest solar technology manufacturer in America.

The projects in Gadsden, Hardee and Liberty counties will showcase NSP’s renewable energy leadership by enabling institutions and investors to help establish renewable energy infrastructure.

Approximately 100 students from Crossroad Academy wanted to show their support for Trayvon Martin, the 17-year-old Miami teenager killed Feb. 26 in Sanford. The case stirred emotions nationwide among African-American youth and accounts of the incident drew worldwide attention. Students from the local charter school carried handmade signs, wore hoodies and carried cans of Arizona Ice Tea around the courthouse square on their lunch hour to show support and concern.

East Gadsden’s High School Class of 2012 had a pleasant and welcome surprise when it came to naming the top students. For the first time, there was a tie for the honor of valedictorian. Brandi Pringley and Keyunna Reynolds both ended up with the same grade point average of 4.07.

Darius Johnson, EGHS student, won the boys 300-meter hurdles at the Chiles Capital City Classic and placed second in the 110-meter hurdles. Torriah Bell won the girls high jump competition and Mykeisha Ray placed third in the 100-meter hurdles.

The annual Special Olympics Law Enforcement Torch Run was hosted by Gadsden Correctional facility for the third year. Warden Sergio Molina led the run that raised funds for Gadsden County’s Special Olympics participants.

Gadsden Correctional Facility inmates are training retired racing greyhounds to help veterans deal with post traumatic stress syndrome. The all-female facility, located in Gretna, houses 1,541 medium- and minimum-custody inmates.
“This is a win-win situation. We not only save these beautiful animals from being put to sleep, we also help veterans who are having a hard time transitioning from war,” said Warden Sergio Molina.

The correctional facility partnered with the National Greyhound Foundation’s Second Chance at Life Program, which provides inmates the opportunity to train retired racing greyhounds and in the process learn compassion, teamwork and vocational skills.

April and May were banner months for the Gadsden County Drug Task Force as they continued to make street-level drug buys and arrests throughout the county.

The city of Midway got a little larger when it annexed nearly 200 acres. Nearly 100 acres are in the 10/90 industrial park, while the other 92.81 acres are near County Road 159. JJH & T properties LLC, which owns 87 acres in the park and T & H Outdoors, which owns 12.79 acres, requested the voluntary annexation.

Surrounded by members of her large extended family, Vernon Cannon celebrated her 107th birthday at River Chase Care Center. When asked when she was born, Cannon was quick to reply “April 10, 1905.”