The Suwannee Democrat's top 10 stories of 2011.
1. Suwannee County is wet
(Published Aug. 17, Nov. 18)
Suwannee County voters reversed a 65-year ban on alcohol sales containing more than 6.243 percent of alcohol by volume Aug. 16 by a vote of 7,489 to 3,612. Voters also elected to allow the sale of such alcohol by the package and drink as opposed to the package only.
2. Fallen officer
(Published May 25, June 1)
About 1,500 people attended the funeral of Suwannee County Sheriff’s Cpl. Gary Edwards May 28. Edwards, 43, was killed after his vehicle was forced off SR 51 late Saturday night, May 21 in Live Oak. Pedro Leyva Terrero, 53, Live Oak, struck the rear of Edwards’ vehicle as they were traveling northbound on SR 51, just down the road from Edwards’ home. The impact caused Edwards’ truck to lose control where it ran off the roadway and struck a utility pole.
3. Firefighters lose their lives battling blaze
(Published June 24)
Two Florida Forest Service firefighters lost their lives while battling a wildfire in Hamilton County June 20. Brett Fulton, 52, and Joshua Burch, 31, were helping to contain the Blue Ribbon wildfire about 14 miles east of Jasper. The two were killed when one of four tractors plowing fire containment lines got stuck on a stump around 4:45 p.m. Another tractor came to help, but the flames shifted, trapping Burch and Fulton.
4. Howze agrees to plea deal
(Published Oct. 26)
James Lindsey Howze entered a plea of guilty Oct. 24 and avoided the death penalty for the August 2010 execution style slaying of three members of a McAlpin family in the home they shared. As part of the plea deal, Howze, 39, must testify against his co-defendant, Lonnie Robert Munn, 48, for his involvement in the killings. He is slated to go to trial in January.
5. Wellborn man bludgeoned to death in home
(Published March 4)
Robert B. Przybysz, 82, was found beaten to death March 1 in the camper trailer in which he lived. Suwannee County Sheriff Tony Cameron said he was beaten with a meat cleaver.
6. Landfill application filed
(Published Oct. 19, others)
7. Water woes
(Published July 1, Nov. 9, Dec. 16)
The month of May was the driest since 1932, as the Suwannee basin experienced a 25 inch rainfall deficit compared to an average year. Several months of drought has led to the record-breaking lows on the Suwannee River.
8. ‘Stop the bullying’
(Published March 11)
9. Felony murder charges dropped
(Published Jan. 26)
A Suwannee County Grand Jury failed to indict a local man on felony murder charges Jan. 25. Bryan Van Auken, 21, had been jailed following a Jan. 4 drug deal gone bad, in which a gun-wielding companion of his was shot to death by a teen whose father the man had threatened.
10. Palm tree controversy
(Published June 3, June17, Dec. 7, others)
- Local News
Sales tax-free holiday helps Florida families save money
Governor Scott signed legislation for break starting Friday, Aug. 1
The Great Suwannee River Cleanup is fast approaching
Cleaning up the Suwannee and its tributaries
- Structure fire leads to discovery of pot operation
- Great Suwannee River Race set for Sept. 13
- ‘School Tools for Cool Kids’ School Supply Drive at Publix
E-learning contract approved with Suwannee County Schools
Concerns raised over cost of new virtual learning programs at schools
- White Springs town manager officially sworn in
- Primary registration closes Monday
- Community mourns loss of former mayor, Buddy Nott
- Live Oak CRA has planning meeting
- More Local News Headlines
- Sales tax-free holiday helps Florida families save money