Thursday, March 5, 2015

Don't miss the 33rd annual Charity chili cookoff and auction this Saturday on SGI!

County commissioners gave the St. George Island volunteer Fire Department permission this week to close two roads on the island this weekend for the 33rd annual Charity Chili Cook-off and Auction.

On Tuesday the county commission agreed to close off Chili Blvd and the first block of West Gulf Beach Drive on March 7th where the cook-off will be held.

The chili cook-off brings thousands of people and dozens of professional chili cooks to the county and raises well over 100 thousand dollars every year which makes up nearly half of the fire departments annual budget.

This year’s event will include live music from Tobacco Road as well as annual favorites like the miss chili pepper and mister hot sauce contests.

There is also a crockpot chili division for amateur cooks.

There is a 5 dollar fee to get into the park on Saturday.
People are allowed to bring in coolers or alcohol but can buy beer at the site.

You can see a full list of events for the chili cookoff on-line at

Everything you ever wanted to know about oysters on March the 5th

One dead and two injured at gathering at Wright's Lake

                One man was killed and two others seriously injured in an early morning shooting at Wright’s Lake.
The Franklin County Sheriff’s department has not yet released the names of those involved, but said there are no local individuals involved in the case.
The incident happened at about 2:30 Thursday morning at a gathering of the Rainbow Family of the Living Light – they were holding their annual gathering at the end of Wright Lake Road.
The Rainbow Family includes people from around the country – it is a group devoted to non-violence.
The sheriff’s department said when they arrived at the scene at just after three in the morning, they found one white male dead from a gunshot wound, and another who had sustained multiple life threatening gunshot wounds.
A third man, who is believed to be the shooter in the case, had multiple stab wounds.
He was held by several members of the rainbow family until sheriff’s officers arrived at the scene.
The two injured men are in critical condition at a Tallahassee hospital.

The sheriff’s department is investigating the case with the help of FDLE and the US Forestry Service.

Franklin county extends contract with Florida Probation Services

                County commissioners have agreed to extend a contract with Florida Probation Services.
The company has handled local misdemeanor probation services since 2011.
They collect payments from people on probation and monitor community service hours.
Their contract with the county ends on March 16th.
By law the county has to provide the service.
The new contract is for three years, though the county has the right to end the contract with 90 days notice.
The contract extension was recommended by County Judge van Russell and the county’s attorney.
The action was taken even though a former company employee has pleaded no contest to pocketing possibly hundreds of thousands of dollars in Franklin County probation payments over a period of about 5 years.
The company has agreed to have an external audit done every year to make sure that doesn’t happen again.

They said an external audit is required in Bay County where they also work, and they have no problem providing one here too.

Franklin county will replace the playground at the St. George Island public beach

The county is moving forward with replacing the children’s playground at the St. George Island Public Beach.
County Commissioners have agreed to completely replace the playground equipment – parts of it are already taped off because of age and damage from saltwater.
Commissioner Pinki Jackel said some of the damage is bad enough to pose a danger to small children.
While the board has agreed to replace the equipment they are still working out how to pay for it.
About 20 thousand dollars will likely come from the Parks and Recreation Department budget – and the county will see if there is any tourist development funding available for the project too.
Any additional funds will likely come out of the county’s capital outlay budget.
Commissioner Jackel asked that the playground be replaced as soon as possible, as he island’s busy tourist season is just getting started and the playground is very popular.

It will could take 6 to 8 weeks for the new playground equipment to be delivered.

One person killed and another wounded in shooting at Wright Lake

Fri. 3/6/15 Seahawk Scoop

Franklin County commission schedules meeting with attorney to discuss St. Joe Company lawsuit

            Mediation is continuing between Franklin County and the St. Joe Company over a lawsuit the company filed over the removal of four future land use maps from the county’s comprehensive plan in 2009.

The St. Joe Company sued Franklin County 6 and a half million dollars under Florida’s Bert Harris law which is designed to protect private landowners from overreaching government intrusion.

The issue goes back to 2005 when county commissioners added 4 land use maps to the county’s comprehensive plan which set out areas east of Carrabelle where the St. Joe Company planned to build thousands of homes.

That was before the property market crashed.

In 2009 the county voted to remove the Future Land Use Maps to protect Franklin County property values from a glut of buildable lots in the future.

For its part, Franklin County says that the St. Joe Company still has every right to build on its land; it’s just going to have to work with the county commission every step of the way to make sure the developments are right for the area.

The two began the mediation process last year and there could be a resolution on the horizon.

The county commission has agreed to meet with its attorney on April the 7th to discuss a possible offer – that meeting will be closed to the public.

Gulf Council's Standing, Special Reef Fish, Special Shrimp, and Special Spiny Lobster Scientific and Statistical Committees to Meet

Meeting Notice
February 24, 2015

Gulf Council's Standing, Special Reef Fish, Special Shrimp, and Special Spiny Lobster Scientific and Statistical Committees to Meet

The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council will convene a meeting of its Standing, Special Reef Fish, Special Shrimp, and Special Spiny Lobster Scientific and Statistical  Committees (SSC) beginning Tuesday, March 10, 2015 at 1:00 pm, concluding no later than noon, Thursday, March 12, 2015. The meeting will take place at the Gulf Council office - 2203 N. Lois Avenue, Suite 1100, in Tampa, Florida.

The Standing, Special Shrimp and Special Spiny Lobster SSC will meet Tuesday, March 10, from1:00 pm until 5:30 pm to address the following items:
  • Review a report from the Maximum Sustainable Yield Acceptable Biological Catch Control Rule Workshop for Penaeid Shrimp
  • Review recommendations from both the Shrimp Advisory Panel and Shrimp Working Group relative to Shrimp Amendment 17 - Permit Moratorium
  • Review a report from the Spiny Lobster Review Panel workshop
The Standing and Special Reef Fish SSC will meet Wednesday, March 11, from 8:30 am until 5:00 pm, and if necessary, Thursday, March 12, from 8:30 am until noon to address the following items:
  • Review a Mutton Snapper Update Assessment from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
  • Set Hogfish Overfishing Limit and Acceptable Biological Catch Levels Based on a Recent Assessment
  • Review Possible Options for a Minimum Stock Size Threshold Amendment
  • Review SEDAR 45 Vermilion Snapper Terms of Reference & Project Schedule
  • Discuss Review of Draft National Standard 1 Guideline Revisions
  • Review of National Marine Fishery Service Climate Change Strategy
  • Review National SSC Workshop Summary
  • Review Ecosystem Working Group Summary 
Meeting materials will be posted on the Council FTP site at - username and password are both gulfguest. Materials can be found in the "SSC meeting-2015-03"  folder.

To watch the meeting live, please register at:  
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.

Unique Species of Dolphin Strands on St. George Island

Gulf World Marine Institute (GWMI) responded to a stranded Risso’s dolphin today in St. George Island State Park.

When the Institute first received the response call for this cetacean it was reported alive, but before the team arrived the dolphin had passed. The GWMI stranding team retrieved the Risso’s dolphin to proceed with performing a necropsy (animal autopsy) at Southeast Fisheries Science Center in Panama City. The samples taken from the necropsy will then be sent to National Marine Fisheries Service in Miami to determine why this dolphin stranded.

Risso’s dolphin’s habitat is broad; they are known to migrate from temperate to tropical waters worldwide. There are populations of Risso’s in the Gulf of Mexico but they are pelagic (species found offshore) so this is why this sighting is so rare. Most of the time beachgoers along the panhandle will observe coastal dolphin species which include the Atlantic bottlenose dolphins, spotted dolphins and spinner dolphins. Unlike bottlenose dolphins, Risso’s dolphins have a distinct blunt head and no rostrum or beak. They can reach up to 10-12 feet in length and have light grey coloration with dark appendages.

Agenda and meeting information for March 10th Gulf County Commission meeting

The Port of Port St. Joe Granted Permit by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

PORT ST. JOE, Fla.--()--The Port St. Joe Port Authority has been issued a permit by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to allow for spoil disposal as part of the planned dredging of the port’s navigational channel to the maximum authorized depth of 37 feet.
“The significance of this permit is immeasurable at this time. It opens the gateway for economic opportunities in this area that has not been seen in recent years”
“The significance of this permit is immeasurable at this time. It opens the gateway for economic opportunities in this area that has not been seen in recent years,” said Rep. Halsey Beshears (R-Monticello).
The issuance of this permit, SAJ-2007-01572, represents the final milestone in the administrative process and will allow the port to commence with the dredging phase of the project.
“About one year ago, we began this journey by submitting our applications for both the state and federal permits to dredge and deposit spoils for the port channel,” said Port Authority Chairman Eugene Raffield, “the approval of the this permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers was the last regulatory requirement before dredging the channel.”
“The Port of Port St. Joe has great potential to be an economic driver for North Florida, and this permit marks a big step towards opening the port for business. I am eager to see things move forward and I stand ready to be of assistance in any way needed,” said Senator Bill Montford (D-Tallahassee).
Once dredged, the port in Port St Joe is well positioned for new shipping and industrial opportunities, offering access to rail that will extend to the bulkhead, the Intracoastal Waterway, and state and U.S. highways.
“Florida ports are working hard to ensure that they are ready for prime trade opportunities, which means that they have to have the infrastructure and facilities necessary to compete,” said Doug Wheeler, president and CEO of the Florida Ports Council. “We congratulate the Port of Port St. Joe in reaching this milestone in moving their port toward being a viable economic engine for their community and beyond."
About The Port of Port St. Joe – Located in Gulf County, Florida, the Port of Port St. Joe offers a 180-acre deep-water seaport with nearly 1,900 linear feet of bulkhead at the ship channel turning basin. The port is well suited for bulk and cargo shipments, offering access to rail, the U/S. Gulf Intracoastal Waterway, and state and U.S. highways. One of the port’s greatest assets is the approximately 213 acres of combined ready-to-be leased lands adjacent to the bulkheads and many more acres of land in the Port environs available for immediate development. Businesses wishing to establish facilities have plenty of room to build and expand. For additional information, please visit

Florida DEP permit activity for Franklin and Gulf Counties




Permitting Application Subscription Service

Subscriber email address:

  Profile Name: Oyster Radio

Permit: Water - ERP Exemption Permit
Location Id: 333006
Location Name: PENATE DOCK & BOAT LIFT - 2606 HWY 98 W
County: Franklin
Application Number: 333006-001

For further information, please contact the Northwest District Branch ( Panama City ) permitting office in Panama City at (850) 872-4375
Permit: Water - ERP Exemption Permit
Location Id: 329268
County: Gulf
Application Number: 329268-003

For further information, please contact the Northwest District Branch ( Panama City ) permitting office in Panama City at (850) 872-4375
Permit: Water - ERP Noticed General Permit
Location Id: 333015
Location Name: SR 65 BRIDGE #490033
County: Franklin
Application Number: 333015-001

For further information, please contact the Northwest District permitting office in Pensacola at (850) 595-8300


~Help Stabilize the shoreline to protect the historic Marshall House~

APALACHICOLA- Come help the Apalachicola National Estuarine Research Reserve (ANERR)   fill mesh bags with oyster shells on the morning of Friday, March 13h, 2014, from 9:00am-12:00pm. The bagged shells will be used to build a breakwater that will protect the shoreline of Cape (Little) St. George Island. The oyster breakwater will help dissipate wave action that erodes the shoreline.  ANERR will also plant a living shoreline to reestablish a vegetative buffer on the shoreline. Living Shorelines provide shoreline stabilization using a combination of coastal native vegetation for sediment stabilization and breakwaters constructed of oyster shells, limestone rock, or other structures conducive to the natural environment.
The historic Marshall House is located on Cape St. George. Years of wave action have eroded the shore which makes the historic structure vulnerable to storms. To help ensure the structure is protected, ANERR will build the breakwater and reestablish a living shoreline on the bayside of the island
ANERR has written a grant to help preserve the historic Marshall House. Cape St. George Island, or Little St. George Island as it is known locally, is rich in history. The island was privately purchased in the 1890’s, except for the six acres owned by the U.S. Lighthouse Establishment, which included the lighthouse and two dwellings.  Edward Gibbs Porter served as the lighthouse keeper for Cape Saint George Lighthouse until 1913. The Marshall House is an early 1900’s Florida homestead that was constructed by Herbert Marshall for his family and wife, Pearl Porter Marshall, who bears a direct connection to the island as the former lighthouse keeper’s daughter. ANERR has applied for a Special Category Historical Preservation Grant to repair and restore the house back to its original state. Upon completion, this historic site will be used as a living museum. Visitors will be encouraged to take tours through the Reserve to experience how life once was on this Florida homestead. In addition, visitors will learn about the history of the island, the lighthouse, and the early historic people that once occupied the island.
Please wear closed toed shoes, bring sunscreen, a hat, and a bottle or cup to drink from.  ANERR will provide the gloves, shovels, and water. For more information Kim Wren, 850-670-7718, email

WHAT:      Apalachicola National Estuarine Research Reserve Oyster Bag Assembly
WHEN:     Friday, March13, 2015
                 9:00-12:00 pm est,
Place:      Scipio Creek Commercial Marina, at the north end of Market Street, Apalachicola,


Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Encourages Floridians to Sign Up for State’s Do Not Call List


TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Consumers are bombarded with calls from telemarketers trying to sell everything from travel clubs to insurance. To avoid these unwanted sales calls, consumers can sign up for free for Florida’s Do Not Call list.

“In order to better protect Floridians, I worked with the Legislature to eliminate the fee to subscribe to the state’s Do Not Call List. Since that time, the phone numbers on the list have grown exponentially,” said Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam. “We’re proud to protect more than 780,000 Floridians from unwanted sales calls through this program.”

Since the fee was eliminated in 2012, the amount of phone numbers on the list has grown from 71,460 to more than 780,000. A 2014 law also adding texting to the Do Not Call list, so consumers can file complaints about unwanted texts they receive on their phones as well.

The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services is the state’s clearinghouse for consumer complaints, protection and information. The call center is staffed with trained analysts who can respond to questions about programs and regulations under the department’s purview, provide information on a wide variety of topics or direct callers to the appropriate government agency. For more tips on how to keep safe from fraud and scams, or to file a complaint, go

Consumers who believe fraud has taken place can contact the department’s consumer protection and information hotline at 1-800-HELP-FLA (435-7352) or, for Spanish speakers, 1-800-FL-AYUDA (352-9832).

For more information about the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services,

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Everything you ever wanted to know about oysters on March the 6th

Operation Emerald Warrior will return to Franklin County in April

Franklin County will once again serve as a training ground for the military in April and May.
Operation Emerald Warrior will be held in our area beginning April the 21st; the operation is scheduled to run through the 30th.
This is the 5th year the program has used Franklin County sites for training.
The exercise will also include parts of Liberty and Calhoun counties
Operation Emerald Warrior is an Air Force Special Operations Command designed to train forces with lessons learned from Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom.
The operation will include ground and air mobility operations including the use of helicopters and fixed wing aircraft as well as live and simulated munitions training.
The military says the impact on civilians should be minimal – but that doesn’t mean it won’t be loud at times.
Homeowners who might be impacted by the noise will be notified beforehand.

County commissioners did ask that the nighttime training be done as far from the public as possible, especially around the Apalachicola Airport.

Thurs. 3/5/15 Seahawk Scoop

Gulf World releases 20 sea turtles after weeks of rehab

Gulf World Marine Park released about 20 sea turtles into the wild on Tuesday.
The sea turtles were released from two locations, the St. George Island State Park and the Cape Palms Park in Cape San Blas.
The turtles were from two separate cold stun events including a mass cold stun event in New England in December and a cold stun event in February in the St Joe Bay area.
The turtles from New England were Kemp’s Ridley sea turtles which are the most endangered sea turtle species.

12 of the turtles were rescued from St. Joe Bay on February 20th

Free Climate Change Film Festival at Trout Pond

Come early and enjoy live music from the duo Hot Tamale

TALLAHASSEE, Fla., Feb. 25, 2015—For Immediate Release. The National Forests in Florida will host a Climate Change Film Festival Under the Stars at Trout Pond Recreation Area on Springhill Road in Tallahassee, Friday, March 6, 2015 at 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

The festival includes two short videos and features the award winning documentary “Chasing Ice.” The movie follows acclaimed National Geographic photographer James Balog as he discovers undeniable evidence of our changing climate. Come early and enjoy live music from the duo Hot Tamale at 6:30 p.m.

This event is free and the public is invited to attend. Trout Pond Recreation Area normally opens from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and has picnic shelters, outdoor grills, accessible bathrooms, walking and biking trails surrounding a tranquil pond.

“This is our second year hosting a film festival at Trout Pond. Last year’s event was so successful we’re doing it again. Hopefully, this will become an annual event.” said Recreation Manager Chandra Roberts.

This is an outdoor event so come prepared. It is recommended that attendees bring their own lawn chairs, insect repellent, flashlights, blankets if needed, refreshments and snacks. Dogs on leashes are allowed.

From Tallahassee, Trout Pond Recreation Area is located three miles south of the Tallahassee Regional Airport at 8995 Springhill Road.
For more information about this event please contact Recreation Manager Chandra Roberts at (850) 926-3561 or email

Rep. Graham Announces Office Hours in All 14 Counties

Wednesday, March 4, 2015
Contact: Matt Harringer, Communications Director

Rep. Graham Announces Office Hours in All 14 Counties

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Representative Gwen Graham is announcing her office will hold regular mobile office hours in the 12 rural and small counties in the Second Congressional District.  The mobile offices are in addition to two permanent offices in Panama City and Tallahassee, and will begin on Tuesday, March 10.

“I’m proud to announce regular office hours in all 14 counties,” Rep. Graham said. “The 12 small and rural counties in our district make up the backbone of North Florida and deserve the same full access and services as Bay and Leon counties.”

At the mobile office hours, Rep. Graham’s staff will be available to hear constituent concerns and assist them with problems they may be having with federal agencies. Rep. Graham will also frequently attend the rural county office hours. Just two months into her first term, Rep. Graham’s office has already helped dozens of constituents resolve Veterans Affairs, Social Security and Medicare issues.

“Constituent services are a top priority for my office. If you’re struggling with a problem, then it’s a big problem to you – so it matters to me, as well., ” Rep. Graham said. “I want every single person in North Florida to know, it doesn’t matter if you’re in a big or small county, if you vote Republican or Democrat, my office is ready to help everyone.”

Attached to this document are an office hours schedule and calendars for March and April. Our office asks that you please publish hours relevant to your readers in any story on this topic or in your community calendars. Constituents can also view the office hour schedule at www.Graham.House.Gov/Schedule

March 4, 2015 Florida State Parks Newsletter

Alfred B. Maclay Gardens State Park
Florida Department of Environmental ProtectionMarch 4, 2015 Newsletter
March is Women's History Month
~Celebrate women’s history at a Florida state park.~   
The historic home at Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Historic State Park.The historic home of Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings at Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Historic State Park.Each March, the National Women’s History Project chooses a theme to depict National Women’s History Month. This year’s theme is “Weaving the Stories of Women’s Lives” and presents an opportunity for women to collectively share their stories and weave them into the essential fabric of our nation’s history. The stories of women’s lives and the choices they made, encourage girls and younger women to think larger and bolder in respect for their futures.
2015 also marks the 35th anniversary of the Women’s History Movement and the National Women’s History Project. Numerous scholars and activists helped to shape the Women’s History Movement and we recognize and celebrate the many ways that women’s history has become woven into the fabric of our national story.
Some of Florida’s state parks are named after women in history who have made a contribution particularly to Florida. At Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Historic State Park, visitors can learn about 1930s farm life where Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings lived and worked in Cross Creek. At her cracker style home and farm, Rawlings wrote her Pulitzer Prize winning novel, The Yearling, along with other wonderful works of fiction. The park has been restored and preserved to look as though Rawlings herself still inhabits the grounds. On Sat. Mar. 7, visitors can join Anne Pierce at the park from 8:15 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. for a Yearling Trail Walk as she reads passages from The Yearling.
Another Florida state park named after an influential woman in history is Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park. Ellie Schiller is known as the daughter of nature lover Phil Felburn. Felburn was the founder of the non-profit Felburn Foundation, which made large land purchases to promote environmental preservation. Directed by her father’s influence, Ellie Schiller used her biology background to support countless causes throughout Florida, including Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park. The park is the only wildlife state park in Florida and showcases Florida’s native wildlife and endangered species. Visit the park this month to learn more about Ellie Schiller and the park’s newest resident, Yuma, a Florida panther who has become a permanent resident at Homosassa Springs. Events this month include Homosassa Heritage Day on Mar. 14 from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and the Monthly Bird Walk on Pepper Creek Trail on Mar. 28 from 8:00 to 9:30 a.m.
Florida Bike Month is in Full Swing
~Join us at a Florida state park or trail for Florida Bike Month.~
Marjorie Harris Carr Cross Florida Greeway bicycling trail
Bicycling trail on the Marjorie Harris Carr Cross Florida Greenway.
Proclaimed by Florida Governor Rick Scott, Florida Bike Month is celebrated throughout March. As winter weather fades away and the warmth of spring enters, March is the perfect time to get outside and ride a bike in a Florida state park or along a state trail. Florida Bike Month focuses on the important role bicycling plays in many Floridians’ lives. Not only is bicycling a popular means of transportation, it also promotes health and wellness and is a great recreational activity. Nearly 25 million Florida residents and tourists participate in bicycling annually, with more than 18.4 million bicyclists using paved trails and nearly 6.5 million using unpaved trails.
Florida’s state parks and trails offer many opportunities for residents and visitors to take full advantage of Florida Bike Month. With 90 parks and trails offering bicycling activities throughout the state, visitors and residents are sure to find a place to get outdoors and ride. In addition, 10 parks and trails also offer mountain biking for the more adventurous and skilled bicyclists.
Get outdoors this month and ride a bike at a Florida state park or trail. Remember that wearing a helmet is recommended for all riders and law requires anyone age 16 and under to wear a helmet.
Important Dates in March
  • Thur. Mar. 12 - Girl Scout Day
  • Sun. Mar. 22 - World Water Day
  • Thur. Mar. 26 - Manatee Appreciation Day
  • Mon. Mar. 30 - Take a Walk in the Park Day
Upcoming Special Events

Other Important News
Mobile App for Smartphones
Plan your state park adventures using the new Pocket Ranger® app for your smartphone. The FREE Florida State Parks Pocket Ranger® mobile app is available now on iTunes, Android Market and
Shop Online
Purchase a souvenir of your visit to Florida State Parks online. Our online store will help you purchase shirts, water bottles, backpacks and more.

BBB Warns of Misleading “Annual Minutes Requirement” Mailings

Pensacola, Fla. (March 4, 2015Your BBB has received reports that misleading mailings from Compliance Services are showing up in mailboxes of businesses across northwest Florida. A local business in northwest Florida provided BBB with a sample of the mailing.
For a $125 fee, Compliance Services claims they will prepare documents “to satisfy the annual minutes requirement for your corporation”.  There is no requirement that you submit the information they’ve requested or any annual minutes to the State of Florida.  Furthermore, Compliance Services is not associated with the State of Florida or the Florida Department of State Division of Corporations.
Do not confuse these notices with the messages sent by the Division of Corporations reminding each business entity to file its Annual Report by May 1, 2015. Reports can be filed electronically the Florida Department of State Division of Corporations at
Any business owner who believes he has been a victim of this scam should call the Florida Attorney General’s Fraud Hotline at 866.9.NO.SCAM.
For additional information and advice you can trust as a business owner, start with

Authors in Apalach March 14, 2015 10:00 AM - 5:00 PM

Carrabelle City Commission March 5, 2015 Agenda

Carrabelle City Commission Meeting
Tomorrow – Thursday
March 5, 2015
6:00 p.m. – sharp
Carrabelle City Complex
Agenda Attached Above