By Caitlyn Burchett

Five camo-clad men thrash through the darkness of the woods, branches and briars tugging at their skin, as the tall pines prevent the moonlight from reaching the forest floor.

They rose in the dead of night, answering the call for felon apprehension, plunging into the unknown — guided by a four-legged tracking machine.

“You can run, but you can’t hide!” some 28 men bellowed in unison, as the Taylor Correctional Institution (TCI) honored its newest graduates of the Florida Department of Corrections’ (FDC) K9 Academy during a commencement ceremony on Friday, Feb. 26.

Dressed in tactical camo…


HAITI, 1994: The stagnant air is ripe with the pungent, sour odor of death. A 40-foot boat drifts in the crystal-blue Haitian waters -- the only sign of life is a goat on the bow, bleating as a United States Coast Guard crew approaches.

Before he steps foot on board, Don Hodges knows what is awaiting him below deck.

Hodges brings a trembling hand to his lined face, attempting to disguise the tears streaming down his cheeks, trickling into his greying beard.

The horrific images of 143 decomposing Haitian men, women and children are seared into Hodges’ brain despite the…


Leathered hands — freckled by the sun and scarred from a lifetime of mullet fishing — rhythmically pull in 147 feet of net, plucking out tangled fish with an ease that can only be acquired through decades of experience.

Clinton Wood piles the net onto the bow of his dented, weather-worn airboat, occasionally pausing to wipe beads of sweat from his forehead and reposition his once-red baseball cap — faded from days spent protecting his face from the blistering sun and salty wind.

At 80 years of age, Wood is one of the last commercial mullet fishermen remaining in Taylor…


By CAITLYN BURCHETT

Staff Writer

From drug busts to tracking missing persons, the Perry Police Department’s dual-purpose canine units are always ready to protect and serve the community.

The Perry Police Department (PPD) now boasts four canine units, as two new dogs and three new handlers recently completed the certifications required to serve as narcotic detection and patrol canines.

The three new units will be patrolling the streets of Perry with 580 hours of training under their belts — surpassing the Florida Department of Law Enforcement’s (FDLE) minimum requirement of 480 hours.

“The training they received is patrol training, apprehension…


“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”

I wholeheartedly and absolutely believe in the First Amendment.

While some may ask if I am a First Amendment absolutist — someone who takes those 45 words literally — I would ask in reply, “Isn’t that the only way to support the First Amendment?”

All or nothing, right? Apparently not.

Last week I observed people…


“Is this going to be the end?” the elderly man asked.

“No sweetheart. Your family loves you, and you will see them all again very soon,” his nurse responded, peering at him from behind her surgical mask and plastic face shield.

As Cristy (Turner) Albrecht-Carrie held her patient’s hand, he took his last breath. He was one of dozens of COVID-19 positive patients the former Taylor County resident and registered nurse has been caring for at a New York City (NYC) hospital amid the pandemic.

Nearly three weeks ago, Albrecht-Carrie made the difficult decision to leave her husband and young…


Six men crawl through the rice paddy fields just outside a Vietnamese village, their surroundings only briefly illuminated by the occasional signal flare drifting down under a parachute.

Throughout the night artillery rounds whizzed overhead and thumped into the muddy berms providing cover as the young soldiers held their positions, partially submerged in leech-infested waters for hours.

It was Nov. 27, 1968 — the day Perry resident and Vietnam veteran Henry David (“Paranoid”) Paramore escaped death twice.

Paramore, then just 19 years old, had been drafted into the U.S. …


“Blue is blue,” Denver Fleming said. “Anywhere in the world, policing is policing. There is no difference.”

From the sandy beaches of Florida to the lush mountains of Nepal, Fleming, a Keaton Beach resident, has dedicated his life to law enforcement, no matter the ground he stands upon or the nationality of his brothers and sisters in blue that stand beside him.

Fleming’s international peacemaking career has spanned some 45 years and counting, transcending continents, cultures and conflicts.

Fleming was just 21 years old when he first put on his uniform and strapped on his duty belt — a decision…


“You have dodged a huge atom bomb — not a bullet — an atom bomb,” Circuit Judge Greg Parker said, sternly addressing the man before him who had just been granted a second chance at life.

After deliberating for more than four hours Tuesday, a 12-person jury found Marcques “E.I.” McGee not guilty of first-degree murder in the 2018 slaying of Kashawn “Chico” Davis.

Nearly half of those in the courtroom erupted in an uproar of elation as the words “not guilty” left the lips of the clerk. …


A 71-year-old woman sits in front of me, clutching a framed photograph to her chest, her knuckles white as she grips it with all her might.

“He came home in a pine box for his 22nd birthday,” says Sandy Oller, sister of the late Cpl. Raymond Evans.

In an attempt to hide the tears welling up in my eyes, I raise my camera to my face and snap a picture.

A 101-yearold man with a dusty green pilot’s hat perched atop his head poses next to a photograph from 1959 with six smiling, uniformed men in front of a B24.

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