Tuesday, May 31, 2016

FWC Law Enforcement Weekly Report May 20 through May 26, 2016

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
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Division of Law Enforcement
FWC logo and law enforcement badge 
Weekly Report
May 20 through May 26, 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




FWC Officers Barnard and Cushing responded to a disturbance aboard a broken down vessel on the Escambia River. A nearby concerned citizen called in the disturbance after hearing threats from one of the subjects onboard this vessel that were directed towards several other subjects also onboard the vessel. The situation escalated and a second report was called in stating that the person making the threats was now armed. Officers Barnard and Cushing located the vessel and removed the suspect. An Escambia County deputy arrived and the suspect and the incident was turned over to the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office for further investigation.


Officer Corbin was on land patrol conducting state fisheries inspections at the Okaloosa Island Gulf Fishing Pier. Officer Corbin recognized an individual that he had previously cited for a derelict vessel violation. After confirming that the individual had failed to appear in court and the existence of an active arrest warrant, the officer arrested the individual and transported him to Okaloosa County Jail.

Officer Maltais was on land patrol conducting state fisheries inspections when he observed an individual fishing off a local marina in Shalimar. After making contact with the individual, the officer asked him if he caught any fish. The individual replied “white trout.” A subsequent fisheries inspection revealed four grossly undersized spotted seatrout. The individual was issued a notice to appear citation.


While patrolling Blackwater State Forest, Officer Hutchinson and Investigator Hughes inspected several primitive campsites. During these inspections, they observed alcohol and illegal drug violations. They made several arrests for possession of illegal drugs, including a felony arrest for possession of methamphetamine, and issued citations for possession of alcoholic beverages in posted areas. The officers also made contact with and identified a subject who had multiple warrants for his arrest from Escambia County. They subject was placed under arrest and booked into the Santa Rosa County Jail.

While off duty, Officer Hutchinson observed a woman parked near a creek and retrieve a large plastic box from the trunk of her car and walk towards the water’s edge. He observed the woman then dump several large goldfish into the creek. As she left the area, the officer was able to get her vehicle’s tag information. He walked to the creek and discovered six goldfish swimming in the creek where the woman had dumped them. The goldfish were approximately 8 to 10 inches in length and had large sores on them. He was able to catch one of the goldfish but was unable to catch the other five. The following day, Officer Hutchinson made contact with the woman and interviewed her. She admitted to dumping the goldfish into the creek because she didn’t want them anymore. He contacted Captive Wildlife Investigator Wilkerson who helped him properly identify the fish as comet goldfish which are not native to Florida. The female subject was issued a citation for releasing a non-native species into Florida waters without a permit.

Lieutenant Keen and Officer Brady were conducting offshore patrols when they checked a vessel that had eleven red snapper onboard. Initially, the captain said he didn’t realize he was in federal waters (15 miles offshore), but later admitted to knowing his location. The captain of the vessel was cited for the violation.

Officer Gore was contacted by Officer Goodwin concerning an oyster vessel that he was surveilling returning to a dock located behind a residence. Officer Gore went to the location and observed a subject sitting in the “doghouse” of the vessel smoking something out of a glass pipe. As Officer Gore approached, the subject quickly tried to hide the pipe. When asked for the pipe, the subject threw it overboard. The subject was handcuffed and the pipe recovered. Officers Alsobrooks and Hellet arrived to assist. Follow-up found an empty baggie containing residue that field tested positive for methamphetamine located on the deck of the boat where the subject was sitting and also a pipe with cannabis residue. The subject was booked into the Bay County Jail for possession of drug paraphernalia and resisting arrest without violence.

Officer Price conducted successful offshore patrols over the weekend. As he pulled up to one vessel, one subject was de-hooking a legal red snapper and returning it to the waters. A check of the cooler found four red snapper inside. During another stop, he found four red snapper onboard a vessel. And yet another inspection yielded twelve red snapper. Federal citations were issued for possession of red snapper during closed season. Another inspection found a filleted greater amberjack and several short grey triggerfish. When the captain was asked where the filets of the amberjack were, he said that he had eaten them. The amberjack was found to be undersized and a citation was issued.

Officer Price investigated a boating accident involving two personal watercraft (PWC) that were part of a Jet Ski tour group. As the group approached Grand Lagoon’s idle speed zone, one of the PWC ran into the back of another PWC causing one passenger to be injured. A citation was issued after the investigation was concluded.


Officer Brooks positioned a camera in an area on Nokuse Plantation where trespassing was suspected. A photo revealed a subject trespassing on three different days. Patrols were increased in the area and Officers Tison and Letcher observed the subject in the same area. The subject was issued a trespass warning upon the request from the land manager.



Lieutenants Hollinhead and Suggs, Pilot Tolbert, and Officers White, Brooks, and Tison searched with deputies from the Walton County Sheriff’s Department for a subject lost in the Choctawhatchee River Swamp near Bruce Creek. During the late afternoon, a subject called 911 to report he was lost which started the search throughout the night and into the following day. The subject had traveled from Texas and launched his kayak at Bruce Creek in hopes of observing and photographing an Ivory Billed Woodpecker. The subject became lost when he exited his kayak on foot to walk through the swamp. FWC Pilot Tolbert assisted from the air with the search while FWC vessels searched by water. The subject was located later in the afternoon in a wooded area and treated for dehydration.



While patrolling in Blackwater State Forest, Officer Hutchinson and Investigator Hughes located a gopher tortoise digging a burrow in the middle of a heavily traveled dirt road. It appeared that the tortoise was preparing to lay her eggs in the hole. They relocated the tortoise to a different area where the chance of her and her eggs’ survival were greater.



FWC Officers Cushing, Land and Miller, along with NOAA Officer Harewell, patrolled the federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico targeting federal fisheries violations aboard the FWC vessel Fincat. The officers conducted fishery inspections on several vessels and found four to be in violation of federal fishery laws. Federal citations were issued for undersized greater amberjack, over the bag limit gray triggerfish and no federal reef fish permit.


Okaloosa and Walton county officers participated in an organized detail to enforce rules and regulations for pompano fishing along the shoreline of Henderson and Grayton Beach State Parks. The detail was organized by Officer White after receiving complaints last year of bag limit violations. Seventy-six people were checked with numerous citations and warnings issued for license violations.



Officer Miller assisted with a youth bass fishing tournament.  Officer Miller brought his patrol vessel for a display for the attendants and went over boating safety and new regulation in both saltwater and freshwater with both the young bass anglers and their parents.  There were approximately 20 vessels entered in the tournament and 40 youth anglers.


Apalachicola Bay oyster harvesters continue to face strict rules during summer season

Oystermen who work in the Apalachicola Bay will continue to face strict harvesting rules through the summer season in an effort to rebuild the oyster population.  
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation commission said several oyster conservation measures will continue through the summer harvest season which runs from June 1st through August 31st.
The commercial and recreational harvest of oysters in the area commonly known as East Hole will be closed through the summer season.
The Daily commercial bag limit will remain at four bags of oysters in the shell per person and the recreational limit per person, vessel and possession is 5 gallons of oysters in the shell.
Commercial and recreational oyster harvesting will be closed on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from June 1st through July 17th.
The harvest will be closed only on Saturdays and Sundays from July 18 through August 31st.
These rules have been in place since the fall of 2014 in an effort to help the Apalachicola Bay oyster population recover from the effects of low river flow.
Apalachicola Bay oyster populations have significantly declined in recent years due to lack of sufficient freshwater flows in the Apalachicola River.

The FWC will continue to assess the health of the bay through the summer season to make sure this resource is properly managed.


Apalachicola Bay Chamber of Commerce June Newsletter

June 2016                                                                                                                             Vol 25, No 6
Florida's Oldest Chamber of Commerce (circa 1836)
 Monthly Business Luncheon
Wednesday, June 1st
First United Methodist Church
75 5th Street

Business After Hours
Thursday, June 9th
Sadie's Seahorse
140 West 1st St.
St. George Island

July Monthly Business Luncheon
Wednesday July 6th


Visitor Statistics

April 2004 1,494
April 2005 1,189
April 2006 1,268
April 2007 2,200
April 2008 2,987
April 2009 2,497
April 2010 2,968
April 2011 2,731
April 2012 2,687
April 2013 2,379
April 2014 1,180
April 2015 1,342
April 2016 1,237

Website Stats
April 2016




Pages / Session

Avg. Session Duration

% New Sessions

Board of Directors
Donna Duncan 653-8976
Bud Hayes 927-3305
Jerry Hall 653-9510
Kristin Anderson 653-2249
Brenda Ash 653-8805
Bonnie Fulmer 509-5009
Craig Gibson 653-8853
Ginny Griner 653-8853
Beverly Hewitt 653-9510
Mike Koun 653-2191
Michael Shuler 653-1757
Jean Ulrich 653-2900
Sara Ward 653-1399
Debbie Flowers 670-4000
Executive Director

John C. Solomon

Got Ideas? Suggestions? 

How can the Apalachicola Bay Chamber better serve you? 
Is there something that we can do better to help your business?  
Is there something you would like to see us add or change on the website, at the visitor's center or in the visitors' guide?  
Would like to be a volunteer with the Apalachicola Bay Chamber of Commerce.
Ideas and volunteers are always welcome.  Feel free to call or email us with your ideas at 

Business Luncheons and Business After Hours

If you or your business is interested in hosting a Business Luncheon or a Business After Hours in 2015, please feel free to call the Apalachicola Bay Chamber of Commerce at 850-653-9419 or email
John C. Solomon atexecdirector@apalachicolabay.org

Southern Lady Magazine
July / August 2016
The Apalachicola Bay Chamber of Commerce is proud to present the article form the July / August issue of Southern Lady Magazine. Featuring just a few of the great things to see in our area. This article was made possible by the Apalachicola Bay Chamber of Commerce with assistance from the Franklin County TDC

New Members

Gunn Heating & Air Conditioning

For reliable and affordable air conditioning and heating service in Franklin, Gulf, and now, Bay County, Gunn Heating & A/C is ready when you call. We provide service to both residential and commercial customers. Our family based business is prepared to help you with repairs, sales and installation of new systems from Lanark Village to Panama City.
Because we understand how important comfort is, Gunn Heating & A/C will arrive quickly and diagnose the problem right away. We are usually able to perform repairs the same day because our techs travel in service vehicles that are stocked with quality parts, tools and equipment.
Roberts Sand Company

Owned and operated by Michael Roberts, Roberts Sand Co. provides materials for home projects such as landscaping, play areas and gardening. Their materials meet all code requirements, no job is too large or too small.

Apalachicola Farmers Market

Located at the Mill Pond Pavilion at 479 Market St. in Apalachicola. Come out to get local seafood, produce, honey, homemade breads, pies, jewelry, art and other regional specialties offered every 2nd and 4thSaturday of each month from 9 AM until 1 PM. If you or someone you know offers home grown or hand made products, and is interested in becoming a vendor, please emailapalachicolafarmersmarket@gmail.com

Coastal Realty Group

Coastal Realty Group started in 2005 and has grown to 5 offices located on Cape San Blas, St. George Island, Carrabelle and Port St. Joe. We are now the largest company on the Forgotten Coast with over 30 agents and the highest sales volume year to date. We have created a marketing system that works for Buyers and Sellers and we have attracted the best Realtors to serve you. We offer our real estate services for Apalachicola, Carrabelle, Eastpoint, St. George Island, Cape San Blas, Mexico Beach, Indian Pass, Port St. Joe and Wewahitchka.

Associate Members

Terry C. Nelson

Terry has a residence in Apalachicola and would like get more involved in the community. 

Brad Segree

Brad grew up in Eastpoint and currently resides in Carrabelle with his wife Teresa. He has worked at the Franklin County Sheriff's Office for the past 24 years. He is also running for Sheriff of Franklin County.
Member News

Grand Opening & Ribbon Cutting
The Naumann Group May 27th, 2016

REALTORS Association of Franklin & Gulf Counties

Studio 16 is coming back!!!

How old is your picture on your website or business cards? If you can't remember and you didn't sign up in February, then here is your chance to get that fabulous updated photo. The company has 19 years national experience, and will take the time to capture that perfect image. Just ask anyone who participated!!
Pictures will only be taken on
Monday, June 13th and Tuesday, June 14th
This is a fund raiser, so you pay just $10 when you arrive, as a donation for the RAFGC Laundry Project, then you will have your picture taken here at our office by Studio 16 and view your images immediately! They will retouch your images perfectly. Studio 16 will add $10 to each member's donation for our Laundry Project as well! We raised enough money in February to fund our 2nd annual Franklin County Laundry Project, which was a huge success, hopefully this time around we can raise enough money to fund our 2nd annual Gulf County Laundry Project in August.
Once your photo is retouched, you will choose your favorite image for your free commemorative 4 x 6 photo and if you like the superb quality and that "magazine ready" look they will go over your purchase options (which are VERY reasonable) individually! You can bring in your spouse for personal shots and they will take team shots as well!
Slots are limited so please use the sign up LINK to make your appointment ASAP. Multiple wardrobe changes are allowed. Purchase options available!
You can view their work and information on
Local Businesses Featured in a Number of Articles this Month



   Only in your State Historic Villages


 Franklin Needs, Inc
2017 Forgotten Coast Calendar Sponsorships

Franklin Needs Inc., a non-profit organization (FEIN: 80-1049378) whose mission is to provide education and support about breast cancer health for Franklin County women. We will help to make early diagnostic breast care testing, enhanced services and personal support available to all qualified local women. We provide free mammograms for uninsured Franklin County Residents between the ages of 35-64. Today, breast cancer affects one in every seven women in the United States. The Forgotten Coast Classic Calendar has been a huge success in the past to raise funds for the women of Franklin County, and we are very excited about our upcoming 2017 edition. We will be printing 2500 copies that will be available at local businesses, chambers and visitors centers. Also online atwww.franklinneeds.com .
* Monthly Sponsor in the Calendar.   Month of your choice
* Link on Franklin Needs Website
* Listed on Back of Calendar

* Two Events listed in the Calendar
* Link on Franklin Needs Website
* Listed on Bock of Calendar

* One Event listed in the Calendar
* Listed on back of Calendar

* Listed on back of Calendar
Bay Organics has a New Location 

Bay Organic's the organic Grocery store that was located under the Riverwood Suites in Apalachicola has moved to 378 Hwy 98 in Eastpoint. They have also expanded their offerings to include a hot bar at the new location.


Learn about the behavior and biology of these endangered species, and what you can do to make their nesting season successful
 Every Wednesday in June, July, and August
2 - 3 p.m.
 Apalachicola National Estuarine Research Reserve Nature Center
108 Island Dr.
Eastpoint, FL 32328
Registration is not required, but seating is limited. For more information, call 850-670-7700 or emailgibby.conrad@dep.state.fl.us.
ANERR will have a weekly "Turtle Talk" where you can learn more about our sea turtle visitors. The Turtle Talk presentation will be given each Wednesday throughout the summer to provide vacationers and residents with multiple opportunities to attend. Check the dates below to see if a Turtle Talk will fit into your schedule. Amidst the schedule of regular Turtle Talks, Dr. Mariana Fuentes will present on June 15 about her nighttime work on the nesting females of SGI, and on June 22, Jamie Price will talk about his MS work last summer looking at beach brightness and nesting spatial relationships. Please call (850)- 670-7700 for more information. The talks are free and family-friendly so everyone can join us to learn more about these incredible animals!
Chamber News
The Chamber Cook Team won 1st place in Chicken Category at the 6th annual Butts & Clucks Cook-off by the Bay held by Weems Memorial Healthcare Foundation
Apalachicola Bay Chamber of Commerce Bass Tournament
July 9th & 10th 

Go towww.apalachicolabay.org for details and registration forms.

Chamber  Membership Dues
Invoices to all current Chamber members we mailed out last week. Membership dues for the 2016-2017 year are due on or by July 1st 2016. The Chamber is now using a invoice system to help us better serve our members. If you are not a current member and would like to join the Apalachicola Bay Chamber of Commerce email John atexecdirector@apalachicolabay.org
The Apalachicola Bay Chamber of Commerce & Visitor Center is a Certified Travel Information Center


Sea Grass Exploration Class
June 3, 2016 12:00 PM - 4:00 PM (ET)
St. Joseph Bay Buffer Preserve Main Lodge
WHERE: St. Joseph Bay Buffer Preserve, in the Main Lodge 3915 State Road 30-A Port St Joe, 32456, (850) 227-1787 (lodge). Course information call (850) 670-7743
WHEN:   June 3rd at 12:00pm-4:00pm Eastern Time.
Start your summer off right with a fantastic exploration of our crystal-clear seagrass ecosystem! This professional level class offered by the Apalachicola National Estuarine Research Reserve will teach you all about seagrasses and their habitat through hands on activities, group investigation, and instruction from experienced marine biology experts. The class includes a guided snorkeling tour of portions of protected seagrass beds of St. Joe Bay.
Registration is required and the cost is $25 per person. Visit gulfalliancetraining.com and click on Seagrass Ecology Class to register or click here http://www.gulfalliancetraining.org/detail.aspx?Id=120
Must bring your own snorkeling gear and water shoes (not flip flops). Please eat lunch before you arrive as food will not be provided. There will be 5 minute breaks if participants want to bring a snack. Rain date will be May 20th, 12:00pm-4:00 pm. Class limited to 25 people.

Apalachicola Gallery Crawl
June 4, 2016 6:00 PM - 9:00 PM (ET)
Join us for an evening of art, music and light refreshments in historic downtown Apalachicola. Saturday, June 4 from 6 pm - 9 pm.

Cuba Artist Exhibition
View a festive Cuban art collection of 36 paintings created by 12 of the artists who participated in Plein Air Magazine's Cuban Invitational event at On The Waterfront Gallery. The artists spent a week in February capturing the flavor of the heretofore forbidden destination.
All of the art is available for purchase but even if you aren't in the market, this is an exhibit worth seeing as it represents the first time in decades a large group of North American artists has been allowed to interpret Cuba's landscape and people. A wide range of styles is on display.
The Cuban Plein air works will remain on display at On the Waterfront until the end of June. The gallery is open 11 am -5 pm and admission is free.

Author Meet & Greet
Thursday, June 9th 6:00 to 8:00pm
Meet Karen White as she nationally launches her new book "Flight Patterns" and join us for champagne in support of our NEW library to be built in Apalachicola.
The New York Times bestselling author tells the story of a woman coming home to the family she left behind in Apalachicola- and to the woman she always wanted to be...
Tickets $35.00 includes a signed copy of "Flight Patterns". Make checks payable to Patrons of the Apalachicola Library Society, Inc. (PALS). Event location at a private residence on Bay Avenue. Tickets available at the Apalachicola library (74 6th Street, Apalachicola). Other ticket locations include the Apalachicola Bay Chamber of Commerce, Downtown Books & Purl and Forgotten Coast Books.
16th Annual Fisherman's Choice Youth Fishing Tournament
June 11, 2016 5:59 AM - 5:00 PM (ET)
Charles and Rex Pennycuff will host their 16th annual Fisherman's Choice Youth Fishing Tournament on June 11th. Kids 16 and under will fish for fresh and saltwater species. Each entry receives a t-shirt, and after the tournament, entrees are invited to attend a cookout at Fisherman's Choice in Eastpoint. Entry is free and generally about 200 kids sign up.
Apalachicola Farmers Market
Saturday, June 11th 9am-1pm
Saturday, June 25th 9am-1pm
Located at the Mill Pond Pavilion at 479 Market St. in Apalachicola come out to get Local seafood, produce, honey, homemade breads, pies, jewelry, art and other regional specialties offered every 2nd and 4th Saturday of each month from 9 AM until 1 PM. If you or someone you know offers home grown or hand made products, and is interested in becoming a vendor, please emailapalachicolafarmersmarket@gmail.com

SGI Mullet Toss
Saturday, June 11, 2016 58 West Gorrie Drive, St. George Island, FL 32328. This event takes place on the second Saturday of June each year. The Mullet Toss is hosted by The Blue Parrot. For a $30.00 entry fee you get a unique Mullet Toss T-Shirt, and 2 mullet to throw. Visitors and Locals compete for prizes and bragging rights.
There are prizes for the longest throws in the men's, women's and kids divisions. Located on the Blue Parrot Beach 10:00 AM until 5:00 PM.850-927-2987

Full Moon Climb at the Cape St. George Lighthouse
Monday, June 20, 2016 2 East Gulf Beach Drive, St. George Island, FL 32328www.stgeorgelight.org/
Climb to the top of the lighthouse to see spectacular views of the sunset and full moon. Light refreshments are served. Admission charge. Contact Gift Shop at 850-927-7745 for reservations.

Downtown Apalachicola Independence Eve Celebration 
July 3, 2016 4:00 PM - 11:00 PM (ET)
If you just can't wait for July 4th, join the thousands of people who come from near and far to celebrate our Independence, a little ahead of everyone else in America, on Independence Eve! Riverfront Park, on Water Street in downtown Apalachicola, is the place to be! For the fifth year in a row, the community is combining its resources for a July 3 spectacular, culminating in a stunning fireworks display over the Apalachicola River. Enjoy food, beverages, great live music, a parade, free ice cream, veterans tribute, the national anthem, face painting, and other activities. More details to be announced soon!

4th of July Freedom Fest
Monday, July 4, 2016 68 West Gorrie Drive, St. George Island, FL 32329www.blueparrotsgi.com
Come celebrate our great countries spirit of freedom and independence. Watch the greatest fireworks display on the Island from the Blue Parrot decks.
Have a delicious fresh seafood dinner while the sky lights up. Enjoy drinks from the Tiki Bar while the crowd oooohs and aaahs. Music and fun.

122 Commerce Street
Apalachicola, FL 32320