Jefferson County

Florida is planning a major expansion of its highways with a series of toll roads that would open new parts of the state to development.

Exactly where the roads will go hasn't been announced yet, but opposition to the highways is growing in rural areas such as Jefferson County in North Florida. Mike Willis' family has lived there since before Florida became a state. He likes to refer to it as "the other Florida."

"Most people think of Florida as palm trees, white sandy beaches," he says. "We have rolling clay hills and beautiful pine forests."

A map of North Florida criss-crossed by black, red and blue lines showing highways
Florida Department of Transportation /

Are they an innovative approach to the state’s future transportation needs or an environmental and economic road to nowhere? Florida lawmakers approved the creation of three new toll roads during the last legislative session, but opposition from environmentalists, small business owners and local officials is growing.

Jefferson County residents are opposed to a planned toll road that would run through the county and into Georgia. The road is part of three Florida lawmakers approved earlier this year. 

Monticello-Jefferson County /

Alfred “Mac” McNeill will serve as the interim sheriff of Jefferson County. The appointment follows the death this week of Sheriff David Hobbs.

The Florida Sheriff's Association

Jefferson County residents are mourning the death of Sheriff David Hobbs. David Hobbs died Monday after leading the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office since 2004. County Commissioner Betsy Barfield says the sheriff's death surprised many in the small North Florida community. 

MGN Online

Two former Jefferson Correctional officers are now facing charges of official misconduct and unlawful compensation, following their arrests last month. An investigation found they smuggled in contraband and had inappropriate relations with inmates.

The State Board of Education has approved a plan to turn control of Jefferson County Schools over to a charter school. Jefferson County School Superintendent Marianne Arbulu says the district is in the process of finding a charter school that meets state standards and is willing to take over.

MGN Online

President Barack Obama has announced a disaster declaration for counties affected by Hurricane Hermine.

Jefferson County Courthouse
Michael Rivera via wikimedia commons

There’s a fight brewing in Jefferson County between the school board and the county commission.  A federal judge threw out the local district map, and the school board believes it’s not getting enough say in revisions.

Jefferson County Courthouse
Michael Rivera via wikimedia commons

The Jefferson County Commission appears ready to revise its municipal borders rather than appeal a federal court ruling.  For the first time, a judge has ruled against a municipality including prisoners in its local districts.

Civil rights activists are challenging Jefferson County's municipal districts in federal court.
Jenn Greiving via Wikimedia Commons

On its face, the one person one vote principle seems simple.  But reports a federal case against Jefferson County is a reminder the devil is in the details.

Jefferson County Library
Jessica Palombo / WFSU News

The Jefferson County town of Monticello is home to a very busy library. An infusion of state and county funding will soon bring upgrades to the facility that offers more than books.

“This is gonna be the teen room,” says Jefferson County Library Director Kitty Brooks. She’s looking at blueprints for the upcoming remodel on Wednesday afternoon.

“This used to be an old high school media center, and that used to be a recording studio,” she says, pointing to a small, padded room.  

Florida Department of Children and Families

In the next couple of weeks, a service center that helps people apply for benefits in Jefferson County will close its doors. It’s a cost-saving measure by Florida’s child welfare agency.

Perspectives: Ancient Jefferson County

Jun 21, 2012

Were Jefferson County’s first residents among the very first people in all of North America? Recent archeological evidence in the Aucilla River Basis has some prominent scientists thinking that’s the case. Mainstreet Monticello’s Anne Hold and preservationist Jack Carswell have a preview of an upcoming conference that will focus on those findings.

By early June, 11 Florida correctional facilities are expected to close, but one county is not taking that sitting down. As Sascha Cordner reports, the Jefferson County Commission declared an economic emergency Thursday night, and hired two lobbyists to fight the prison closure in their area.