Wednesday, July 27, 2016

NOAA Fisheries considers changes to red grouper fishing

NOAA Fisheries is asking for comments on changes to the red grouper allowable harvest in the Gulf of Mexico.
NOAA  is considering a plan to increase the Gulf of Mexico red grouper annual catch limit for the commercial sector from 6 million pounds  to about 8.2 million pounds gutted weigt.
The plan would also increase the annual catch limit in the recreational sector from 1.9 to 2.6 million pounds. 
NOAA Fisheries said if the increase is approved it would allow the recreational fishing season for red grouper to remain open yearlong instead of closing late in the season.
In addition, the increase in quota will provide the commercial fisherman an increase in their Individual Fishing Quota allocation.
NOAA Fisheries is taking comments on the proposal through August the 25th.

Comments can be made at the federal e-Rulemaking Portal at regulations.gov/

You may submit comments on the amendment or the proposed rule, identified by "NOAA-NMFS-2016-0077", by one of the following methods:

Electronic Submission: Go to the federal e-Rulemaking Portal at
https://www.regulations.gov/docket?D=NOAA-NMFS-2016-0077, click the "Comment Now!" icon, complete the required fields, and enter or attach your comments. NOAA Fisheries will accept anonymous comments.

Mail:    NOAA Fisheries
Southeast Regional Office
Sustainable Fisheries Division
            c/o Rich Malinowski
263 13th Avenue South
St. Petersburg, Florida 33701-5505

All comments received are a part of the public record and will generally be posted for public viewing on the regulations.gov website without change. All personal identifying information (e.g., name, address, etc.), confidential business information, or otherwise sensitive information submitted voluntarily by the sender will be publicly accessible.




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Duke Energy Foundation awards 10K to Refuge House

                Refuge House of the Big Bend was one of six organizations in Florida to share in 175 thousand dollars in grants from the Duke Energy Foundation.
Refuge House provides direct services to victims of domestic violence and sexual assault, and to their children and families.
It also works to eliminate such violence through community education and public advocacy.
The group was awarded 10 thousand dollars from the Duke Energy Foundation.
The grant money will help Refuge House fulfill its mission through professional development programs and other tools.
Duke Energy has given more than $56 million to Florida charitable organizations since 2000.

Duke Energy Florida employees have also volunteered more than 45,000 hours of community service within the last five years through the “Duke Energy in Action” program. 


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Wakulla County announces new mobile app




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Florida Department of Corrections Hosts Job Fair at Liberty Correctional Institution in Florida



BRISTOL, Fla. – The Florida Department of Corrections will be hosting a recruitment event at Liberty Correctional Institution.

WHAT:
The Florida Department of Corrections is seeking qualified individuals to join our agency. If possible, please bring the following: driver’s license, legible copy of birth certificate, social security card, high school diploma, GED or college transcripts and any name change documents (if applicable), such as a marriage certificate. Veterans and current reservists/Guardsmen should bring a copy of their DD-214 or military ID, respectively. In addition, applicants will also have the opportunity to take the Criminal Justice Battery Aptitude Test (CJBAT). Applicants who wish to take the CJBAT will need to bring a money order in the amount of $12 made payable to the Florida Department of Corrections.
WHEN:
Friday, July 29, 9:00 a.m. EST Please arrive no later than8:30 a.m.
WHERE:

Liberty Correctional Institution 
11064 N
orthwest Dempsey Barron Road
Bristol, Florida 32321
                                          
CONTACT:
For employment information, please contact:
Liberty Correctional Institution Recruitment Officers Marshall Hill (850) 643-9628 or Officer Melissa Millard (850) 237-3336.
###


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The Organization for Artificial Reefs and the Coastal Conservation Association Announce the Deployment of CCA Billy's Barge



Carrabelle, FL-The Organization for Artificial Reefs (OAR) and the Coastal Conservation Association Building Conservation Trust  (CCA/BCT) announce an upcoming reef deployment titled “CCA Billy’s Barge” in honor of Bill Solberger, a longtime OAR Board and Research Dive Team member. A 110 foot long construction barge has been selected as the artificial reef material and will be deployed Thursday July 28, 2016 in the Carrabelle 10 Mile Reef System, weather permitting. The barge was the watercraft in the movie Anaconda. Over the years the engines, fuel system and all hazardous material have been removed and it was used as a construction barge. The Anaconda will have a new role in entertaining divers and recreational fishers in Franklin County. This opportunity for OAR and CCA/BCT to establish a marine habit for the angling public resulting in an economic impact for the local community.
“Billy was a true marine enthusiast, and it is an honor to recognize our friend and board member with an artificial reef for the public to enjoy,” said Alan Richardson, OAR Chairman. “For every dollar spend locally on artificial reefs, $138 comes back into the local community. Billy would have been proud of the economic impact of this project and the access it will provide to local divers and anglers.”  
Funding for the project comes from the Solberger family, OAR, CCA Florida and the CCA Music City Chapter though the CCA Building Conservation Trust. This is a privately funded project with no government funding involved. OAR will provide their Research Dive Team to perform the required dives to documentation of the deployment and Water Marine of Orange Beach, AL is the contractor for the project.
“This collaborative project reflects CCA’s commitment to recreational fisherman and to establishing fishing habitats for the residents and visitors of the Forgotten Coast,” said Bill Mickler, of the CCA Big Bend Chapter. "CCA Billy’s Barge, being only 10 miles southeast of Dog Island, is reachable by smaller boats providing access for local anglers to enjoy this exceptional reef, strategically placed on the barren sand bottom. This site will serve as additional habit for game fish species transitioning from the grass flats fish nurseries to the deeper water reef areas further off shore. The typical game fish attracted to areas of this magnitude are pelagics such as kingfish, cobia, and amberjack, which for many anglers in our area, are out of reach.” The proposed latitude and longitude coordinates for the site is 29 39.670 N- 84 30.000 W.

OAR advocates to create and sustain artificial reef systems, through public engagement and education on the marine issues impacting the region. CCA seeks to advise and educate the public on conservation of marine resources and works to conserve, promote, and enhance the present and future availability of coastal resources for the benefit and enjoyment of the general public. For more information or to join OAR or CCA please visit http://oarreefs.org or www.joincca.org.


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Join the Trash to Treasure Beach Clean-up this Saturday at a beach near you




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Gulf Council Convenes Standing & Reef Fish SSCs

header
Meeting Announcement
July 11, 2016
 
Gulf Council to hold a webinar meeting of its Standing and Reef Fish Statistical and Scientific Committees (SSC)
  
The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council has scheduled a webinar meeting of its Standing and Reef Fish Scientific and Statistical Committees (SSC), August 2, 2016. The meeting will begin at 1:00 pm Tuesday, August 2, 2016 and conclude no later than 3:30 pm. To register for the webinar, click here.
 
The items of discussion on the agenda are as follows:
  • Selection of SSC representative to attend the August 2016 Council meeting
  • Reevaluation of alternative Fmsy proxies for red snapper
  • Discussion of the next gray triggerfish assessment
  • Review updated SEDAR schedule 
The agenda and supporting documents can be found on the Council's file server. Visithttps://public.gulfcouncil.org:5001/webman/index.cgi. Username and password are both "gulfguest". Click on the "Library Folder", then scroll down to "SSC meeting-2016-08". 
About the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council
The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council is one of eight regional Fishery Management Councils established by the Fishery Conservation and Management Act of 1976. The Council prepares fishery management plans, which are designed to manage fishery resources within the 200-mile limit of the Gulf of Mexico.
 
Submit comments and stay updated on fishery issues:
Check it out! Go to www.gulfcouncil.org and click on the thermometer in the middle of the page. From there you can read up on all the pending actions, watch the video presentations, read comments, and submit your own. All comments submitted through the online form are automatically posted on our web site for Council review. Other comments are manually posted every couple of days. 

There is also a thermometer for each issue that lets you know where the Council is in the process for that particular amendment, whether it's the scoping phase, final action, or implementation.
  
You can also find information on our Facebook page, blog, and YouTube channel.
 Like us on Facebook  Visit our blog  View our videos on YouTube
 

The Gulf Council has an APP for that - Download it for free!
 
        iPhone
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Join Our Mailing List
Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council
Public Information Officer



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Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Local unemployment up in June

Local unemployment jumped over 4 percent in June.
Franklin County unemployment was 4.2 percent last month – that’s up from 3.9 percent the month before.
Franklin County still had one of the lowest unemployment rates in Florida; only 6 counties had lower unemployment rates than Franklin County.
206 people were looking for work in Franklin County in June, 16 more than in May.
The workforce also increased by 19 people.
Gulf County unemployment also increased from 3.9 to 4.1 percent.
 256 people were looking for work in Gulf County in June.

Wakulla County unemployment was 4.2 percent last month, in Liberty county unemployment rose to 5.2 percent.


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NOAA Fisheries agrees to extend federal commercial shrimp permit moratorium until 2026

NOAA Fisheries has agreed to extend the existing commercial shrimp permit moratorium for an additional 10 years.

The moratorium was put in place in 2006 because high fuel prices and reduced shrimp prices were hurting the gulf shrimp industry.

Regulators felt limiting the number of shrimp boats allowed to work in federal waters would allow the fishery to again become profitable for the remaining participants.

NOAA Fisheries says the moratorium has also indirectly lowered bycatch levels of juvenile red snapper and sea turtles.

The moratorium on new permits was scheduled to end this year and regulators feared additional boats could lessen profitability for the shrimp fleet as a whole.


Under a new rule that takes effect on August 22nd, the commercial shrimp permit moratorium will be extended for an additional 10 years – until October the 26th, 2026.


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Mix it up with the Carrabelle Chamber of Commerce at the Marine Street Grill





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Florida’s Do Not Call List Hits 1 Million Subscriber Mark





TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam announced today that 1 million phone numbers have been added to the Florida Do Not Call List, with more than 928,000 added since Commissioner Putnam worked with the Legislature in 2012 to remove the fee to join. Florida residents who do not wish to receive sales calls or sales texts may have their residential, mobile or paging device numbers included on the Florida Do Not Call List.

“Since eliminating the fee to join several years ago, we have seen an explosion of Florida residents seeking relief from unwanted sales calls and joining Florida’s Do Not Call List,” said Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam.

It is illegal for solicitors to call or text numbers on the state’s Do Not Call List, with penalties of up to $10,000 per violation.

Commissioner Putnam worked with Sen. Anitere Flores (SB 888) and Rep. Dana Young (HB 749) during the 2012 legislative session to eliminate the registration and renewal fees. The bill also increased penalties for disobeying Florida’s Do Not Call Law.

To join, Florida residents can visit FreshFromFlorida.com, or call 1-800-HELP-FLA (435-7352) or, for Spanish speakers, 1-800-FL-AYUDA (352-9832). Each subscriber is able to enter six phone numbers that will remain active on the list for five years.

For more information on the Florida Do Not Call List, visit FreshFromFlorida.com.




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NOAA Fisheries Seeks Comments on Proposed Changes to Red Grouper Allowable Harvest in the Gulf of Mexico

header
The following Southeast Fishery Bulletin from NOAA Fisheries Southeast Regional Office is provided as a courtesy to our subscribers. 

SOUTHEAST FISHERY BULLETIN  
(Gulf of Mexico) 
 
FB16-052
 
July 26, 2016   
 
  
NOAA Fisheries Seeks Comments on Proposed Changes to
Red Grouper Allowable Harvest in the Gulf of Mexico
 
  
NOAA Fisheries is seeking comments on changes to the red grouper allowable harvest in the Gulf of Mexico.
Proposed Changes:
  • Increase the Gulf of Mexico red grouper annual catch limit and quota (annual catch target) for the commercial sector from 6.03 and 5.72 million pounds gutted weight, to 8.19 and 7.78 million pounds gutted weight, respectively.
  • Increase the Gulf of Mexico red grouper annual catch limit and annual catch target for the recreational sector from 1.9 and 1.73 million pounds gutted weight, to 2.58 and 2.37 million pounds gutted weight, respectively.

Need for Action:
 
This increase in allowable harvest is anticipated to allow the recreational fishing season the opportunity to remain open yearlong instead of closing late in the season. In addition, the increase in quota will provide the commercial fisherman an increase in their Individual Fishing Quota allocation.
 
How to Submit Comments:
 
NOAA Fisheries must receive comments on this proposed rulemaking no later than August 25, 2016. You may submit comments on the amendment or the proposed rule, identified by "NOAA-NMFS-2016-0077", by one of the following methods:
 
Electronic Submission: Go to the federal e-Rulemaking Portal at
https://www.regulations.gov/docket?D=NOAA-NMFS-2016-0077, click the "Comment Now!" icon, complete the required fields, and enter or attach your comments. NOAA Fisheries will accept anonymous comments.
 
Mail:    NOAA Fisheries
Southeast Regional Office
Sustainable Fisheries Division
            c/o Rich Malinowski
263 13th Avenue South
St. Petersburg, Florida 33701-5505
 
All comments received are a part of the public record and will generally be posted for public viewing on the regulations.gov website without change. All personal identifying information (e.g., name, address, etc.), confidential business information, or otherwise sensitive information submitted voluntarily by the sender will be publicly accessible.
 


NOAA Fisheries Southeast is pleased to announce the introduction of our Text Message Alert Program.  The program will allow you to sign up to receive important fishery related alerts via text message. Text alerts you may receive include immediate fishery openings and closures, and any significant changes to fishing regulations that happen quickly.


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Gulf County Sheriff's Office LAW ENFORCEMENT SUMMARY July 18, 2016 – July 24, 2016




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Monday, July 25, 2016

"Anaconda" barge will soon be a Franklin County artificial reef

                 A barge that was once used in the film “Anaconda” will soon become an artificial reef off of Franklin County.

The Organization for Artificial Reefs will deploy two artificial reefs this week.

On Thursday, weather permitting, the group will deploy a 110 foot barge in about 50 feet of water about 10 miles off of Carrabelle – north of an existing reef called Robby’s reef.

It will be called the CCA Billy’s Barge Artificial reef after Billy Solberger, an avid fishermen and former board member of the Organization for Artificial Reefs.

The Solberger family helped fund the reef.

The Barge was a movie prop for the 1997 Motion Picture "Anaconda" which means that J-Lo, Ice Cube, Eric Stoltz, and Jon Voight all spent time on the former river tug before it was converted into a construction barge after the movie wrapped.  

The groups are hopeful that the reef will be productive as habitat for species such as Kingfish and Spanish Mackerel, and well as seasonal visitors such as Cobia.    

Afterward, OAR plans to deploy a second reef project in 34 feet of water off St Teresa about 1.6 miles south of Dog Island Reef.

The Prices' Point Artificial Reef system is named after Price Thornal who was 19 when he died in a car accident.

The reef will be paid for from proceeds of a fishing tournament annually held in Price's name.  

The reef will be in the shape of a large "Iron Cross" made of steel with dimensions of 40 feet by 25 feet suspended 10 feet off the bottom and anchored in concrete.  


It's location less than nine miles off shore will make it accessible for smaller boats.   



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Florida DEP permit activity for Wakulla County

DEP Logo
Florida Department of
Environmental Protection

Bob Martinez Center
2600 Blair Stone Road
Tallahassee, Florida 32399-2400
Rick Scott
Governor

Carlos Lopez-Cantera
Lt. Governor

Jonathan P. Steverson
Secretary


Permitting Application Subscription Service


Subscriber email address: manager@oysterradio.com

  Profile Name: Oyster Radio

Permit: Water - Individual With No Conceptual Approval Permit
Project Name: SAN MARCOS BOAT RAMP IMPROVE.
Location Id: 273571
Location Name: SAN MARCOS FORT BOATING FACILITY IMPROVEMENTS
County: Wakulla
Application Number: 273571-002

For further information, please contact the Northwest District Branch ( Tallahassee ) permitting office in Tallahassee at (850) 245-2984



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NOAA Fisheries Announces the Extension of the Gulf of Mexico Commercial Shrimp Permit Moratorium

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The following Southeast Fishery Bulletin from NOAA Fisheries Southeast Regional Office is provided as a courtesy to our subscribers. 


SOUTHEAST FISHERY BULLETIN  
(Gulf of Mexico) 
 
FB16-051
 
July 22, 2016   
 
  
NOAA Fisheries Announces the Extension of the Gulf of Mexico Commercial Shrimp Permit Moratorium
Small Entity Compliance Guide
A new rule effective August 22, 2016, will extend the existing commercial shrimp permit moratorium for an additional 10 years, until October 26, 2026.
 
NOAA Fisheries, with the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council, developed Amendment 17A to the management plan for Gulf shrimp containing these management measures. The final rule implementing the regulations published in the Federal Register on July 22, 2016. 
 
This bulletin serves as a Small Entity Compliance Guide, complying with section 212 of the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996.
 
Electronic copies of the amendment, final rule, and supporting materials may be obtained from the NOAA Fisheries Web site
 
NOAA Fisheries would also like to remind permit holders of reporting requirements to renew Gulf shrimp permits. All permit holders must complete the annual landings and gear survey forms before renewing their permits. In addition, permit holders must complete the annual economic survey form and participate in the electronic logbook, observer, and trip interview programs, if selected. For more information about these surveys and programs:
  • Permit renewals: NOAA Fisheries Southeast Permits Office, 1-877-376-4877
  • Annual landings survey, annual gear survey, and electronic logbook program: Rebecca Smith, 409-766-3783
  • Annual economic survey: Southeast Fisheries Science Center, 305-365-4109
  • Observer program: Elizabeth Scott-Denton, 409-766-3571
 
This bulletin provides only a summary of the information regarding the existing regulations. Any discrepancies between this bulletin and the regulations as published in the Federal Register will be resolved in favor of the Federal Register.




NOAA Fisheries Southeast is pleased to announce the introduction of our Text Message Alert Program.  The program will allow you to sign up to receive important fishery related alerts via text message. Text alerts you may receive include immediate fishery openings and closures, and any significant changes to fishing regulations that happen quickly.
 
How to opt-in
Sign up for related alerts for one or more of the following groups. Standard message & data rates may apply. You may opt-out at any time.
  • Gulf of Mexico Recreational Fisheries: Text GULFrecFISH to 888777
  • Gulf of Mexico Commercial Fisheries: Text GULFcommFISH to 888777
  • South Atlantic Recreational Fisheries: Text SATLrecFISH to 888777
  • South Atlantic Commercial Fisheries: Text SATLcommFISH to 888777
  • Caribbean Fisheries: Text CARIBFISH to 888777
About Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council
The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council is one of eight regional Fishery Management Councils established by the Fishery Conservation and Management Act of 1976. The Council prepares fishery management plans, which are designed to manage fishery resources within the 200-mile limit of the Gulf of Mexico.

 Like us on Facebook  Visit our blog  View our videos on YouTube
Join Our Mailing List
Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council
Outreach Specialist


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July 28th Blood Drive at George E Weems Memorial Hospital





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Back to School events at the Franklin County School




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Remembering the Apalachicola River Maroons of 1816: August 13, 1:00pm





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Wakulla County to hold recognition ceremony for county emergency workers





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FWC Division of Law Enforcement Weekly Report July 15 through July 21, 2016

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
(Having trouble viewing this email? View it as a Web page.)

FWC
Division of Law Enforcement
FWC logo and law enforcement badge 
Weekly Report
July 15 through July 21, 2016
This report represents some events the FWC handled over the past week; however, it does not include all actions taken by the Division of Law Enforcement.

Patrol, Protect, Preserve

NORTHWEST REGION

CASES

BAY COUNTY

Officers Hellett and Alsobrooks responded to a complaint of an alligator that had been shot in the City of Parker. Arriving on scene, they contacted a Parker Police Officer and located a dead alligator tied up to a seawall behind a house. The subject who owned the house stated that he saw the alligator in the water behind his house and got his brother, who lives next door, to shoot the alligator. After the brother shot the alligator, they both tied it to the seawall. Both subjects gave written statements of the incident and the alligator was seized. Charges have been filed with the State Attorney’s Office.

ESCAMBIA COUNTY

FWC officers provided waterborne security during the annual Blue Angels Air Show on Pensacola Beach. During the three‑day event, a total of 60 FWC officers conducted 589 hours of law enforcement patrol in and around Pensacola Beach providing security to the estimated 750,000 people attending the show by both land and water. An estimated 20,000 people attended the show by way of water aboard approximately 3,000 vessels. FWC officers conducted more than 250 vessel stops, checked more than 1,000 users and issued several citations and warnings for boating safety violations. Additionally, four boaters were arrested for BUI, two for underage drinking and two for assault.

JACKSON COUNTY

Lieutenant B. Allen and Officer Burkhead responded to a boating accident on Lake Seminole in which two vessels collided. Both vessels had one occupant/operator on board. The collision caused significant damage to both vessels and serious injuries to one of the operators. At the conclusion of the investigation, the vessel operator at fault was charged with violation of U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) Navigational Rule Number 8 (action to avoid collision).

OKALOOSA COUNTY

Officer Pifer responded to a complaint of a vessel harvesting red snapper in state waters off the Gulf of Mexico during the closed season. The vessel name provided was one that Officer Pifer was familiar with as being a federally permitted charter vessel out of Destin Harbor. Officer Pifer launched his patrol vessel and located the suspect vessel with customers on board actively engaged in fishing in state waters. A saltwater fisheries and license inspection determined that the vessel had red snapper on board which were harvested from state waters. The vessel’s captain was issued a citation for the violation.

Officer Pifer was on land patrol conducting fisheries and license compliance when he observed a vehicle with an expired tag parked in the parking lot. A computer check of the tag and registered owner determined that the owner had an active warrant out of Santa Rosa County for failure to appear. As Officer Pifer was leaving the parking lot, he observed an individual matching the driver license photo of the wanted individual. When asked, the individual provided his name which was that of the wanted person. Officer Pifer notified FWC Dispatch who confirmed the warrant. The individual was arrested and transported to the Okaloosa County Jail where the intake process was completed.

RESCUES

HOLMES COUNTY

Lieutenant Walsingham and Officers Yates and White responded to assist the Holmes County Sheriff’s Office with a search and rescue on Choctawhatchee River at the Highway 2 boat ramp. A swimmer had become distressed and disappeared under the water in the strong current. Through a collaborative effort with Holmes County Sheriff’s Office, Geneva County (Alabama) Sheriff’s Office, Alabama Game and Freshwater Fish Commission, and Jackson County Sheriff’s Office, the missing subject’s body was located later that afternoon by the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office Dive Team, using side scan sonar.

Officer Kinney assisted the Washington County Sheriff’s Office with a search and rescue on Econfina Creek. Two adult females and a juvenile underestimated the arrival time at their destination and were stranded on the creek after dark. Officer Kinney responded and assisted the Sheriff’s Office. Due to the very low water levels and numerous trees blocking the creek, Officer Kinney was unable to navigate the area by boat. Shortly after daylight, the subjects were located by land. They were unharmed and transported to their vehicles.

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING

WASHINGTON COUNTY

Officer Letcher participated in an outreach event at the Shepard’s Gate Church in Sunny Hills during their Vacation Bible School. He spoke with approximately 50 children about boating safety and conservation. He showed the children his patrol vessel, handed out whistles, and answered numerous questions.



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Sunday, July 24, 2016

Carrabelle man injured in single vehicle accident



A Carrabelle man received serious injuries in a single vehicle accident on Highway 67 in Liberty County on Saturday.

The Highway patrol said 47 year old Michael Land Lee was life-flighted to Tallahassee memorial Hospital after losing control of his 1999 Ford Ranger at around 8 o’clock Saturday morning.

Lee was traveling north on County Road 67 and was just south of Ox Revell Road when he drove on to the east shoulder.

The driver overcorrected and drove back across both lanes of the highway before going into a spin and hitting a tree.

The Highway patrol said the accident was not alcohol related and the driver was wearing his seat belt.

Florida Highway Patrol was assisted at the scene by Liberty County EMS, Franklin County EMS, the Carrabelle Police Department, the Franklin County Sheriff’s Department, the Liberty County Sheriff’s Department and Tallahassee Life Flight.

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