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Clermont day care reopening under new ownership

Discovering Basics closed after toddler burned

POSTED: August 11, 2014 12:16 p.m.

The Clermont location where Discovering Basics day care operated is set to reopen soon under new ownership. The day care closed after a toddler was burned.

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A Clermont day care building, where the owner and some employees are accused in the burning of an 18-month-old toddler, has been purchased and will reopen under a new name.

Discovering Basics on Cleveland Highway will soon become Joyland Child Development Center North, a second location for the center already located on Rainey Street in Gainesville.

Tina and Stephen McConnell, directors and owners of Joyland, bought the property, which has been closed since June 24.

“Any day now we’re hoping to have the change of ownership go through and hoping to enroll children,” Tina McConnell said.

Former owner Minnie “Sue” Dupree, 66, site director Tara Miller, 40, both of Gainesville, and employee Eddye Pittmon, 55, were arrested in June on charges relating to toddler Damon Gaddis’ second- and third-degree burns. Miller is Dupree’s daughter.

Hall County investigators believe the burn occurred at the center around 10 a.m. June 13.

Pittmon was the first person arrested, with a charge of first-degree child cruelty. Dupree faces a charge of influencing testimony, accused of intimidating an employee to delete photographic evidence. Miller is charged with second-degree child cruelty, allegedly having knowledge of the injury and not seeking medical attention.

On July 11, the same day the Discovering Basics employees’ cases moved forward to Superior Court, the Department of Early Care and Learning issued a license revocation for the day care following a three-week investigation. Discovering Basics chose not to appeal the decision.

After the doors closed, Childcare and Parent Services helped place four different families with 10 total children into different day cares throughout Hall County. Clermont families have already approached the new center, Tina McConnell said.

“We’ve had a couple people stop by and say they’re glad to see one open,” she said.


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