Friday, December 19, 2014

St. Vincent, NWR Supporters Group Fall 2014 Newsletter

FWC Law Enforcement Weekly Report 12/12 - 12/18/2014

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
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Division of Law Enforcement
FWC logo and law enforcement badge 
Weekly Report
December 12th thru December 18th, 2014

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



Officer Gore was conducting resource inspections at the Burnt Mill Creek Boat Ramp when a commercial oyster boat coming to dock made a U-turn upon seeing the officer.  Officer Gore learned a subject was dropped off upstream and found he possessed no saltwater products license to commercially harvest oysters, a small baggie of cannabis and two baggies of crystal methamphetamine.  The subject was booked into the Bay County Jail for the violations.

Lieutenant Chesser received a call concerning a subject that was selling oysters out of the back of his truck.  Lieutenant Chesser and Officer Gore responded and found the subject to be a commercial oysterman selling oyster’s retail.  Seven bags of oysters were seized and returned to the waters and citations were issued.

Officers Basford and Hellett were working duck hunting on Deerpoint Lake when they observed two hunters shooting at red-winged blackbirds and double-breasted cormorants.  The hunters were checked and one cormorant and two blackbirds were observed floating nearby.  Citations were issued for taking/attempting to take migratory non-game birds and warnings were issued for no migratory bird permit, failure to sign a federal duck stamp, and no vessel registration on board.


Officers Livesay and Miller along with Investigator Goley worked a detail targeting night hunting in an area where multiple complaints have recently been received. From a concealed location, Officer Livesay observed occupants of one vehicle quickly shine a small light in multiple locations attempting to disclose deer.  Officer Livesay stopped the vehicle and discovered a rifle in the front seat between two subjects. After questioning, one of the subjects admitted they were trying to kill a deer.  Officer Livesay seized the gun and light and issued notice to appear citations for the violation.

Lieutenant Lambert was given the last name and vehicle description of two subjects that had illegally killed two doe deer at night.  Both deer were shot with a .22 caliber rifle, five days apart.  Neither deer was recovered by the subjects, but both deer were found the day after they were shot.  Several hours after receiving the tip, Lieutenant Lambert observed one of the suspects shining a light attempting to disclose deer on the same road where one of the deer was shot earlier in the week.  At that time, the subject did not have a gun in his possession, but after being questioned, admitted to killing the two illegal deer.  After obtaining a written confession, Lieutenant Lambert traveled to the second subject’s house and obtained a second written confession.  The rifle was seized and charges were filed on both subjects for two counts of taking deer at night with a gun and light.

Officers Cushing and Barnard were on water patrol on the Escambia River. They received a complaint regarding multiple bait sites in the Escambia River Wildlife Management Area (WMA). While investigating this complaint, they came across a vessel in the described area. As they were getting out of their vessel on the bank, they observed a subject carrying an automated barrel feeder back to his boat. When confronted, he denied having any previous knowledge of the equipment. He stated that he was removing it from the area because he knew it was a violation. An inspection of his boat revealed a hand-held seed broadcaster with corn in it. Two areas were located with corn and hunting equipment in the immediate area. After a thorough investigation, the officers obtained a written statement from the subject and a citation was issued for placing bait in the WMA. In addition, one citation for an expired registration and several warnings for other boating safety and hunting violations were issued.


Officer Yates was working night hunting when he observed a truck shining a field with a spotlight.  He stopped the vehicle and observed a hunting rifle sitting between two individuals.  The subjects admitted to hunting deer with the light and were issued citations. The driver also received citations for driving with a suspended license and attaching a tag not assigned to the vehicle.

Officers Jackson and Forehand responded to a complaint in an area where shots had been heard and, after conducting surveillance, observed a truck driving down the road shining a spotlight into a field.  An inspection revealed three Alabama residents with four guns.  An investigation revealed that they had permission to hunt the field for hogs; however, they had killed a fox.  The driver was issued a citation for killing a fox.


Lieutenant Parker cited a Leon County man for willful and wanton waste of wildlife. The individual had shot a buck deer in the Joe Budd WMA which did not meet the antler length requirements for the area. The individual hid the deer and left the area. Another hunter had observed the violation. The FWC was notified and the subject was located the following day.


Officer Arnette received information that an individual was seen entering the Blackwater Wildlife Management Area with a centerfire rifle during muzzleloading season.  Officer Arnette relayed the information to Officer Tison.  Officer Tison went to the location where the individual was allegedly hunting.  Upon inspection, the individual was found hunting with a 30-06 rifle and was cited for the violation.


Officers Clark and Cushing and Federal Officer Demesillo were patrolling Gulf of Mexico federal waters in the FinCat (off-shore patrol vessel). Of the boats they inspected, three were found to be in violation. Federal citations were issued for possession of red snapper, gray triggerfish, red grouper, and gag grouper during a closed season.


Officer Kinney responded to a dog-hunting complaint in Hinson Crossroads. The complainant advised that a hunting dog was barking at his goats and trying to get in the pen.  Officer Kinney arrived, caught the dog and notified the owner.  After interviews were conducted, it was determined that the Westville resident had been hog hunting on the Choctawhatchee WMA and lost control of his dog allowing it to go on private property.  He was charged with the violation and his dog was returned.

Lieutenant Walsingham was off duty when he encountered three individuals hunting while trespassing.  Officer Jackson responded to assist.  The three were charged with trespassing and one was also charged with possession of cannabis less than 20 grams.



The FWC successfully kicked off the 6th annual Blackwater Family Hunt this past weekend with a pre-hunt safety meeting, free dinner and prize give-away.  This event, organized by local officers and FWC staff, precedes the annual weekend family hunt in Blackwater.  Numerous sponsors of the event provide everything from food and drinks to door prizes for the youth hunters.  The weekend hunt started off with a bang as eight lucky hunters bagged deer on Saturday morning.  Two more deer were taken that evening and a total of seven deer were taken on Sunday, making the hunt one of the most successful ever.  There were approximately 90 people in attendance with approximately 45 of those being youth.


Officer J. Rockwell taught the laws portion of a Hunter Safety class at Okaloosa Correctional Institute. Thirty-two students were in attendance. Officer Rockwell answered questions about the new antler restrictions for the two different deer management units.

Florida unemployment statistics for November, 2014

Gulf County Sheriff's Office toy drive a success

The Christmas tradition at the Gulf County Sheriff’s Office continued this year. The collection of toys and the donations of funds to make Christmas possible for many needy children in Gulf County was the most successful yet! “The toy drive wouldn’t be successful without the generosity of our loving community.” said Sheriff Mike Harrison, “My hat is off to the many individuals and organizations that made this year’s project a success.”

The Sheriff’s Office began collecting toys and donations at the beginning of December, and with the assistance of Mr. George Duren a central distribution point was secured on Reid Avenue in Port St. Joe. Working closely with Dr. Patricia Hardman, the Coastal Community Association, South Gulf County Fire and Rescue, the St. Joseph Bay Golf Club, Gulf 2 Bay Construction, and Centennial Bank drop-off locations were established.

The project blossomed as local businesses and organizations made the toy drive a priority. Toys and monetary donations were received from B.J. Pierce of BJ’s Auto Repair, the John C. Gainous VFW Post 10069, the Port St. Joe Lions’ Club, and Brandon Davis with Sea Tow Port St. Joe. The source for donations continued through many individuals and community events such as the Jingle Bell Golf Tournament, Christmas Bazaar at the Club, and events at service clubs around Gulf County.

Distributions to families began on Wednesday and will continue into next week. “Thank you to all who gave!” said Sheriff Harrison, “We are honored to be able to assist these families in need and hope the toys will bring a smile to each child’s face on Christmas  morning.”

New Highway Patrol troopers hitting the roads

There are now a few more highway patrol troopers in Florida, including two more that will be working in our area.

Fifty three recruits from the 129th Basic Recruit Class graduated from the Florida Highway Patrol Academy this week.

The graduation marks the conclusion of a rigorous 23-week training program that includes human relations, law, firearms, defensive tactics, vehicle operations and first aid..

And you may want to familiarize yourself with Troopers Mitchell Kauffman and Richard Templin because they will both be joining Troop H and patrolling state roads in our area.

Franklin County's graduation rate was way up last year

Franklin County saw a big jump in its graduation rate last year.
Franklin County’s graduation rate for the 2013-2014 school year was nearly 70 percent – up from less than 59 percent the year before. 
The statewide graduation average was just over 76 percent. 
Gulf County saw its graduation rate fall from about 86 percent to 78 percent. 

In Wakulla County the graduation rate fell from 79 percent to 75 percent.

Franklin County School moves from a D to a C grade

The Franklin County consolidated school showed some improvement in its school grade this year.          
Preliminary grades for Florida’s high schools and consolidated schools were released on Thursday – the Franklin County school received a “C” grade – up from a D last year.
It was one of 126 high schools in Florida that earned a "C" grade this year.
The high school grade is based on a number of elements including the performance of each school’s students on the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test.
The grades also include factors like the school’s graduation rate, its performance and participation in Advanced Placement and Dual Enrollment classes and the college readiness of high-achieving students.
Other high school grades in the area: Port St. Joe high school received a B grade after being an A school for three years in a row.

Wewahitchka High School raised its grade from a C to a B.

Liberty County High School saw got its second B in a row and Wakulla High saw its grade drop from an A to a B.

The grades are preliminary - all schools districts have the opportunity to appeal high school grades through February 1st.

Everything you ever wanted to know about oysters on December 19th, 2014

Parrish arrested on charges of stealing from Dixie Youth baseball program

An Apalachicola woman is facing charges for stealing from the Apalachicola Dixie Youth League baseball program.

The Franklin County Sheriff’s department said Chala Parrish has been charged with Grand Theft 3rddegree for spending more than 3000 dollars from the Dixie Youth League account on personal items.

Miss Parrish was the group’s secretary.

The Sheriff’s department said they began investigating the theft on December the 3rd when the league board discovered that a Centennial Bank debit card had been fraudulently used.

The card was intended for purchases related to the Dixie Youth League only.

An investigation found that more than $3,000 was spent from the account on items including payments to the City of Apalachicola for water and sewer, Duke Energy, and the Franklin County Health Department.

Money was also spent at stores including, Ross, Dillard’s, and Office Max.

These purchases showed up on the account during the months of July through December when the account should be dormant because the baseball season was over.

The login and passwords to access the online banking account had been changed in August to prevent other board members from viewing the monthly bank statements.

Mrs. Parish had been making deposits back into the account beginning in October from the Kelley Funeral Home account writing the word “sponsor” on the checking slip.

At one point in November when the Centennial bank account was overdrawn, Ms. Parish took $600 from another Dixie Youth League account at Cadence Bank and deposited into the League checking account at Centennial Bank.

A warrant for Grand Theft 3rddegree was issued on December 16th – Miss Parrish turned herself in to the Liberty County Jail where she was released on her own recognizance.

Merry Christmas from the Camp Gordon Johnston WW2 Museum

Tobacco Free Franklin Partnership - Community Awareness Newsletter

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Garrison Design chosen to re-roof the Franklin County jail

County commissioners agreed this week to work with a company called Garrison Design to put a new roof on the county jail on Highway 65.
Garrison design is located in Tallahassee – they were one of four companies to bid on the job – they also had the lowest bid at about 678 thousand dollars.
The company will now design and install a new roof on the administrative building at the jail as well as the octagonal roof on the jail itself.
The federal government is footing 75 percent of the cost through a hazard mitigation grant received after Tropical Storm Debbie – the county is paying the rest.
Garrison Design is also involved in another project in Franklin County; they are replacing the roof on the Emergency Management office at the Apalachicola airport.

County director of Administrative Services Alan Pierce said the new roofs should give the county long life on both buildings.

Franklin County commission approve extension of bridge cleaning contract

            County Commissioners agreed this week to continue working with a Carrabelle company to clean local bridges.

The board voted to continue its contract with Captain Dave’s Lawn Maintenance to clean litter from the Apalachicola and St. George Island bridges.

He also cleans along the Carrabelle and Ochlocknee River bridges.

Captain Dave’s gets about 23 thousand dollars a year in county and TDC funding to do the work.

Generally that type of work would be done by state contractors but county commissioners decided to hire its own contractor because the state was not cleaning the bridges often enough.

That led to issues where local bridges were covered with litter during the busy tourist season which commissioners felt made a bad first impression.

Fri, 12/19/14 SEAHAWK SCOOP

Tourist Development Council welcomes two new members

                There will soon be some new faces on the Franklin County Tourist development Council.
County Commissioners this week approved a new member to the board and the City of Carrabelle also named a new member.
The county commission approved Janalyn Dowden of Carrabelle to the board.
Miss Dowden is the owner of Sea Crest Real Estate, and property manager for Sandy Beach Properties.
She will replace Paul Parker who did not seek re-appointment to the TDC.
Commissioners were split on the decision – both Noah Lockley and Smokey Parrish opposed Dowden’s appointment.
The City of Carrabelle also agreed to name City Commissioner Brenda La Paz to the TDC – she replaces Charlotte Schneider who recently resigned from the board.

The TDC is a 9 member board that recommends how the county spends revenue from its bed tax.

Health department and SWAT program to host Coastal Cleanup on December the 29th

Franklin County Humane Society Pet of the Week

STARLA is a beautiful, social and playful 1 yr old hound.  She, like many, was deserted and left to fend for herself.  During hunting season we see so many abandoned hounds and it breaks our heart.  Some hounds that have been hunting dogs make great pets.  Starla is one of them.  Please remember the hounds when you are considering adopting.

Volunteers are desperately needed to socialize all of our dogs and cats. We are always looking for people willing to bring one of our animals into their home to be fostered for various needs. Anytime you can spare would be greatly appreciated.

Call Karen at 670-8417 for more details or visit the Franklin County Humane Society at 244 State Road 65 in Eastpoint.  You may logon to the website at to see more of our adoptable pets.

Dixie youth league secretary charged with stealing from baseball program

Press Release 12/18/14:
On December 3rd, the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office was made aware of a possible theft regarding the Apalachicola Dixie Youth League baseball account.  The league board discovered that their Secretary Chala Parish had been fraudulently using a Centennial Bank debit card issued to her for purchases related to the Dixie Youth League only.  Chala Parish who was an authorized user had spent more than $3,000 from the account including payments to the City of Apalachicola for water and sewer, Duke Energy, and the Franklin County Health Department.  Money was also spent at stores including, Ross, Dillard’s, and Office Max.  These purchases showed up on the account during the months of July through December when the account should be dormant due to baseball season ending.    The login and passwords to access the online banking account had been changed in August to prevent other board members from viewing the monthly bank statements.  Ms. Parish has been making deposits back into the account beginning in October from the Kelley Funeral Home account writing the word “sponsor” on the checking slip.  At one point in November when the Centennial bank account was overdrawn, Ms. Parish took $600 from another Dixie Youth League account at Cadence Bank and deposited into the League checking account at Centennial Bank.     A warrant for Grand Theft 3rddegree was issued on December 16th and executed the same day when Chala turned herself in to the Liberty County Jail where she was released on her own recognizance.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Thurs, 12/18/14 SEAHAWK SCOOP

Franklin County awarded grant to protect homes from wind damage

                Franklin County has been awarded an emergency management grant that will help protect some threatened homes in the county.
The commission signed a 233 thousand dollar Residential Construction Mitigation Program Grant that will help eligible homeowners protect their homes from wind damage.
The work could include installing hurricane resistant windows and doors or even strengthening roofs.
Emergency Management Director Pam Brownell said her office will sit down with the state to work on the eligibility requirements and then people can apply for the program.
She said secondary homes will not be eligible for the grant – mobile homes will likely also not be eligible for the money.
It will be some time before the program is ready for applicants, the requirements will be advertised when they are complete.

Miss Brownell said she hopes to apply for this grant every year to help our residents protect their homes.

Report Florida Lionfish app updated with new interactive map

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
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For immediate release: December 16, 2014
Contact: Amanda Nalley, 850-410-4943

Suggested Tweet: Report Florida Lionfish app now has interactive map! Check @MyFWC: #Florida #fishing

Report Florida Lionfish app updated with new interactive map

Lionfish map app

The Report Florida Lionfish app is now more interactive than ever. Not only can you continue reporting your lionfish sightings and catches, your reports and photographs are documented on an interactive map. The map includes your important data such as where you found your catch, the date caught, how many you saw or removed and what type of gear you used. You can use this map to help determine where lionfish are being spotted and what reefs have recently been cleaned. There is even a “show reef” option that maps all of Florida’s artificial reefs and provides the location and depth at which each reef can be found.
You can also share your submission on Face book or Twitter. Use #FWCLionfish to make sure we see it as well.
Download the app today at the Apple Store or Google Play. Don’t forget the most important information, the latitude and longitude where you caught your lionfish and the date caught. We can’t add your data to this new map without it.
Lionfish are a nonnative species that have a negative impact on Florida’s native wildlife and habitat. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) encourages you to remove lionfish from Florida waters whenever you can.
The FWC shares all data with the U.S. Geological Survey, which has been collecting similar data for years.
Learn more about lionfish by visiting

TLH Adds New Flights and Expands Services

Silver Airways offers non-stop flights
to Fort Lauderdale and Orlando
December 17, 2014

Today, the Tallahassee Regional Airport (TLH) announced that Silver Airways will offer new service between TLH and Fort Lauderdale International Airport (FLL) and an additional flight to Orlando International Airport (MCO). The new and additional flights to FLL and MCO will begin on February 12, 2015, and reservations are available now.

"Our citizens have continued to stress that the number one needed destination was Fort Lauderdale. After tireless efforts, I am proud to report success!" said airport liaison, City Commissioner Scott Maddox. "Our citizens and visitors will now have convenient air service direct to and from Fort Lauderdale."

Silver Airways will fly its 34-seater Saab 340Bplus aircrafts powered by highly reliable, fuel-efficient, GE jet-turbine propeller engines on its new routes to Fort Lauderdale and additional flight to Orlando. Each Saab aircraft comes with on-board lavatories, plush leather seating and comfortable legroom for travelers.

"Fort Lauderdale is one of our top three destinations. We are happy to work with our partner, Silver Airways, as we continue to enhance the intra-state services offered at TLH," Director of Aviation Chris Curry said. "Nonstop, daily flights between Fort Lauderdale and Orlando will provide the residents in our community with greater connectivity within the state."

Silver Airways is one of three major commercial air carriers servicing the Tallahassee market, including American Airlines and Delta Air Lines. For more information about Silver Airways or to make reservations, including the new service to Fort Lauderdale, please visit or call toll free at 800-229-9990.

The Tallahassee Regional Airport is owned and operated by the City of Tallahassee. Daily flights include non-stop service to Atlanta, Charlotte, Dallas-Fort Worth, Miami, and Tampa, which offer connections to worldwide destinations. For more information about the airport, visit, like Tallahassee Regional Airport on Facebook and follow @iFlyTallahassee on Twitter.

County Commission tables bids for probation services after Commissioner raises concerns

            Tempers flared again at Tuesday’s Franklin County Commission meeting during a discussion over whether the county should seek bids for local probation services.

Local misdemeanor probation services are handled by a company called Florida Probation Services – they were hired for the job in 2011.

They collect payments from people on probation and monitor community service hours.

Their contract with the county ends in March, and clerk of the Court Marcia Johnson said the contract could be renewed for another three years or the county could give the company 90 days notice that it is seeking a replacement.

Commissioner Noah Lockley made a motion to go out for bids from other companies, but commissioner Pinki Jackel argued that the because of an ongoing criminal case that the county should not seek new bids at this time because it looks like the county is saying it doesn’t have faith in Florida Probation Services.

A previous employee of the company, Jennifer Brown, was arrested in 2013 and is currently facing felony charges, including grand theft, for pocketing possibly hundreds of thousands of dollars in probation payments.

The discussion came very close to accusing the clerk’s office of either malfeasance or ignorance for not catching the thefts earlier – but Mrs. Johnson pointed out that she reported the thefts as soon as she became aware of them.

She added that the ongoing criminal case has nothing to do with the county’s contract with Florida Probation Services and said it’s up to the county commission whether it wants to seek bids from other providers or not.

She did point out that a county commission meeting is not the right place to discuss an ongoing criminal case especially since her office is considered a victim since it was the hardest hit by the thefts.

Miss Jackel said this is not a “normal, run-of the-mill contract process” – adding that there is a lot of controversy around this situation.

In the end, the commission decided to table the issue for a few weeks to give the county attorney time to look at the contract more closely.

They will readdress the contract question when they meet again in January.

Gulf County Commission to hold special meeting

Everything you ever wanted to know about oysters on December the 17th, 2014

FSU Marine Lab seeks small boat technician

Job Opportunity - Please share

The Florida State University Coastal and Marine Laboratory in St. Teresa, Florida is searching for a small boat technician to be a member of our team.
The small boat technician shall provide daily oversight of all small boat activity, shop operation, and safe boat handling instruction. Routine service—includes cleaning, maintenance (e.g. oil changes, spark plug replacement, prop and lower unit servicing), tool inventory, and repair of outboard engines, boats, trailers, safety equipment, trawls, nets, and the dock area. Coordinates small boating reservations with billing personnel; responsible for check in/out process for all users and passengers, includes collection of waivers and other necessary paperwork where applicable; maintains a log for each boat for fuel use, hours used, maintenance performed, damage documentation, expenses, and passenger lists. Monitors radio activity while boats are operating in FSUCML waters. Coordinates launch, retrieval and maintenance testing of all boats. Maintains documentation for Scientific Boating Association. Trains student, faculty and staff operators in boat handling, safety procedures, radio operation, scheduling, etc. Projects budget for yearly inventory for boats, trailer parts, paint, accessories, and new equipment. Coordinates with appropriate facilities staff for vessel insurance and registrations.
Salary Range: $22,932-$32,455
Class E driver’s license, high school diploma or equivalent, and two years’ experience required. Yamaha Outboard Technician certification preferred.
Please apply online at Reference position ID number 38208.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Wakulla authorities seek information on church vandalism

               Law enforcement officials in Wakulla County are offering a reward for information that leads to the arrest of the person or people who recently vandalized three churches in the county.
Over the past three weeks, KKK has been spray painted on at least three predominately black churches in Wakulla county including the New Bridge Hope Missionary Baptist Church, the Pilgrim Rest Primitive Baptist Church and the Mount Olive Primitive Baptist Church.
It was also found painted on a truck parked at the Wildwood Country Club.
The sheriff’s office is looking for any information that leads to an arrest – they are offering a reward of over 6000 dollars- the money is from law enforcement and from private donors.

If you have any information that might help – call the Wakulla County Sheriff’s office at (850) 745-7100.

Year long program to ship fossilized oyster shells to Maryland now at an end

A year-long project to transport fossilized oyster shell from Carrabelle to rebuild oyster reefs in Maryland has now ended.

Over the past 12 months, CSX trains have transported about 100,000 tons of fossilized shell to help rebuild habitat in two Maryland oyster sanctuaries.

That’s enough fossilized shell to cover 80 football fields with shell 12 inches deep.

The fossilized shell was taken from Gulf Coast Aggregates near Carrabelle.

Trains carrying the shells were delivered to CSX’s Curtis Bay ore pier once every 10 to 14 days, where the shells were transferred to barges for the trip to the sanctuaries on Maryland’s Eastern Shore.

The shipments were needed because of a lack of natural, affordable shell available to support restoration in Maryland.

The shipments were funded through an agreement with the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and CSX to transport the shell at cost. 

The shell material cost about $6.3 million dollars; the CSX in-kind transportation was about $2.4 million dollars.

Commissioners packet for December 16th Franklin County commission meeting

Wed, 12/17/14 SEAHAWK SCOOP

Florida DEP permit activity for Franklin and Gulf Counties




Permitting Application Subscription Service

Subscriber email address:

  Profile Name: Oyster Radio

Permit: Water - Drinking Water Treatment Construction Permit
Location Id: 130395
County: Franklin
Application Number: 130395-002

For further information, please contact the Northwest District permitting office in Pensacola at (850) 595-8300
Permit: Water - ERP Noticed General Permit
Location Id: 241180
County: Gulf
Application Number: 241180-004

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: 331352
County: Gulf
Application Number: 331352-001

For further information, please contact the Northwest District Branch ( Panama City ) permitting office in Panama City at (850) 872-4375

Merry Christmas from the Crooked River Lighthouse

Monday, December 15, 2014

Florida's minimum wage increases on January 1st

Thousands of Florida’s minimum wage workers will get a pay raise beginning January the 1st.
Florida's minimum wage is going up by 12 cents to $8.05 per hour beginning in 2015.
That means a minimum wage worker will get an extra $4.80 a week or about 250 dollars a year.
The minimum wage in Florida is adjusted every year to match increases in the cost of living.
That’s done under an amendment to the state constitution that was passed by voters in 2004.

Under that amendment, Florida employers must pay the higher of the state or federal minimum wage.

Franklin County Commission will meet Wednesday in Carrabelle

The Franklin County Commission will meet in Carrabelle on Tuesday.
The Commission meets at the Carrabelle Municipal Complex twice a year to make it easier for people on the eastern end of the county to attend a meeting.
There isn’t a lot on the agenda – the board will hear from Curt Blair on Tourist Development council issues and from Debbie Belcher about potential projects for a Community Development Block Grant.

The meeting begins at 10 o’clock tomorrow morning – the Carrabelle Municipal Complex is at the old Carrabelle High school at 1001 Gray Avenue.

Mexico Beach: December 2014 eNewsletter

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eNewsletter · December 2014
Mexico Beach Florida News

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

This past weekend, Mexico Beach celebrated at our annual Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony. The crowd was outstanding, and all the children were very excited to see Santa arrive on the big red fire truck. A special thank you to Wylie Petty and the staff of the El Governor Motel, who faithfully transform Sunset Park with spectacular Christmas decorations each year. From all of us in Mexico Beach, we want to wish our residents, visitors, and friends a very merry Christmas and a happy New Year!
Mexico Beach Florida News

Celebrate Twice

The neighboring coastal villages of Mexico Beach and Port St. Joe, Florida, have you covered this holiday season with a unique, fun, and safe event to help you kick off 2015. Celebrate Twice features 13 different bars and restaurants throughout the two towns and a free trolley system that makes regular stops at each one, giving guests the opportunity to celebrate the countdown to 2015 in the Eastern Time Zone at various hot spots in Port St. Joe, then take a short ride over to Mexico Beach in the Central Time Zone and do it all again—without worrying about who will be the designated driver.
This year will also feature a scavenger hunt throughout Mexico Beach. It’s a great way for the whole family to enjoy the beautiful beaches, shops, and nature in this charming fishing town before heading out to celebrate later that night. Visitors can obtain a scavenger hunt map at either the Mexico Beach or the Port St. Joe Welcome Center or online at The map will list six businesses (three in each town) that will be distributing free New Year’s Eve promotional items. Visitors do not have to purchase items from the shops in order to collect the unique hunt items. To learn more about the shuttle stops and the scavenger hunt, visit

And the Winner Is…

Mexico Beach Florida News
Last month, we were giving away a cozy, comfortable Mexico Beach sweatshirt. The lucky winner is Linda Hueser from Madrid, Iowa. Congrats, Linda!
Thanks to the popular demand of last month’s prize, this month we have up for grabs another cozy, comfortable Mexico Beach sweatshirt. To put your name in the hat, send an e-mail to Melissa and include your contact information. The lucky winner will be announced in the January newsletter.

Mexico Beach Vow Renewal

Mexico Beach Florida News
If you got married in Mexico Beach, we have a special treat for you. We’re inviting you to return next spring for a special vow-renewal ceremony on the beach. The weekend will beApril 17–19, 2015, and will include a ceremony on the beach and a complimentary reception at the El Governor Motel afterward. We plan on extensive news coverage, and most of our lodging partners have special rates for that weekend. If you were married here, come join us!

Meet Mexico Beach

Mexico Beach Florida News
This month we would like to introduce you to Mike Marciel, owner of the Blue Marlin Gourmet Deli, located on the corner of Highway 98 and 41st Street. Mike has extensive experience in the restaurant business and has been operating in Mexico Beach for the past two years. The Blue Marlin is open seven days a week and serves breakfast and lunch all day long. Each day they offer a special of the day, and their Tampa-style Cuban sandwich is a favorite among locals. All side dishes and salads are made fresh daily, and Mike is available to cater weddings, birthdays, and special events. Next time you are in Mexico Beach, stop in for lunch and say hello to Mike.
Mexico Beach Florida Visitors Guide
Mexico Beach Florida Events
Celebrate Twice
December 31
No need to wait another 12 months for the next New Year. This year, ring in the New Year twice! Start in the Eastern time zone in Port St. Joe and St. Joe Beach, then travel west just five minutes to Mexico Beach and celebrate all over again an hour later in the Central time zone. For more information,click here.
Come join the Mexico Beach snowbird crew as they head off to win big and make some memories! The Mexico Beach Community Development Council will be hosting a Biloxi trip for those who want to press their luck. Buses will be pulling out early for this overnight adventure. With two days full of fun activities, you are sure to win something! For more information, click here.
Ready for a day of brand-name shopping at unbeatably low prices? Come venture to the Tanger Outlets in Foley, Alabama, for the ultimate bargain hunter’s dream at name-brand and designer factory outlet stores. After a day of shopping for deals, we’ll dine at the famous Lambert’s Cafe, Home of the Throwed Rolls. For more information, click here.
Mexico Beach Florida Events
February Snowbird Biloxi Trip
February 10–11
Come join the Mexico Beach snowbird crew as they head off to win big and make some memories! The Mexico Beach Community Development Council will be hosting a Biloxi trip for those who want to press their luck. Buses will be pulling out early for this overnight adventure. With two days full of fun activities, you are sure to win something! For more information, click here.
Who’s ready for the best cook-off this side of New Orleans? The 17th Annual Gumbo Cook-Off will be held on Saturday, February 21 at Sunset Park in Mexico Beach. Come watch as chefs “cook it out” to see who has the best roux and wins the Gumbo King crown. The entire family is invited to come out and enjoy the day tasting gumbos, dancing to live music, and having a good time. For more information, click here.

Recipe of the Month

Florida Seafood Recipes
Jane’s Barbeque Shrimp
Brought to us by Jane Wilson of the Miss Jane and the Mexico Beach Artificial Reef Association cookbook.
1 lb. diet margarine
2 ½ oz. soy sauce
¼ cup lemon juice
1 tbsp. parsley
1 tsp. oregano
2 ½ oz. Worcestershire sauce
2 tbsp. cracked pepper
4 tbsp. catsup
2 tbsp. garlic salt

5 lbs. shrimp (heads off optional)
Mix together all ingredients for the sauce and heat until butter is melted. Do not boil. Pour over shrimp in a 9x13-inch pan. Bake at 350° for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from oven and let sit for 30 minutes to an hour. Reheat before serving. Serve in bowls with sauce and plenty of toasted French bread for dunking. (You will need plenty of napkins after peeling the shrimp.) Enjoy!

Thoughts for the Month

Thoughts from Mexico Beach Florida
Fun Christmas Trivia
An average household in America will mail out 28 Christmas cards each year and see 28 eight cards return in their place.
Before settling on the name Tiny Tim for his character in A Christmas Carol, three other alliterative names were considered by Charles Dickens. They were Little Larry, Puny Pete, and Small Sam.
Candy canes began as straight white sticks of sugar candy and were used to decorate Christmas trees. A choirmaster at Cologne Cathedral in Germany decided to have the ends bent to depict a shepherd’s crook, and he would pass them out to the children to keep them quiet during the services.
Charles Dickens’s initial choice for Scrooge’s statement “Bah! Humbug!” was “Bah! Christmas!”
Franklin Pierce was the first United States president to decorate an official White House Christmas tree.
Animal Crackers are really cookies that were imported from England in the late 1800s. The circus-like boxes were designed with a string handle so that they could be hung on a Christmas tree.
Hallmark introduced its first Christmas cards in 1915, five years after the founding of the company.
In an effort to solicit cash to pay for a charity Christmas dinner in 1891, a large crab pot was set down on a San Francisco street, becoming the first Salvation Army collection kettle.
More diamonds are purchased at Christmastime (31 percent) than during any other holiday or occasion of the year.
The poem commonly referred to as “The Night Before Christmas” was originally titled "A Visit from Saint Nicholas." This poem was written by Clement Moore for his children and some guests, one of whom anonymously sent the poem to a New York newspaper for publication.
The poinsettia, traditionally an American Christmas flower, originally grew in Mexico, where it was known as the Flower of the Holy Night. It was first brought to America in 1829 by the U.S. ambassador to Mexico, Joel Poinsett.
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102 Canal Parkway, Mexico Beach, FL 32456