Saturday, January 24, 2015

FDOT to Host Public Meeting on Sidewalk Project in Gulf County

For Immediate Release  
January 16, 2015
Donna M. Green, 850-330-1661

FDOT to Host Public Meeting on Sidewalk Project in Gulf County

Chipley, FL – City, FL – The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) will host a public information meeting concerning a proposed sidewalk along State Road (S.R.) 30 (U.S. 98) from Pine Street to the Bay County line in Gulf County.  The meeting will be Tuesday, Jan. 27 from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. (EST) at the Gulf County Beaches Fire Station, Evan Williams Community Center, 7912 Alabama Avenue, Port St. Joe.

Currently, FDOT proposes to install three miles of sidewalk along S.R. 30 (U.S. 98) from Pine Street to the Bay County line in Gulf County. While major roadwork will be performed, lighted crosswalks, pedestrian features at side roads, and Americans with Disabilities improvements are included in the proposed project. Construction is funded in fiscal year 2016.

Maps, drawings, and other information will be on display.  There will be no formal presentation; however, representatives from FDOT will be available to discuss proposed improvements, answer questions, and receive comments.

Public participation is solicited without regard to race, color, national origin, age, sex, religion, disability, or family status.  Persons who require special accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act or persons who require translation services (free of charge) should contact Kenny Rudd, FDOT Project Manager, toll-free at(888) 638-0250, extension 1542 at least seven days prior to the meeting.

For more information, follow the Florida Department of Transportation District Three on Twitter @myfdot_nwfl or like us on Facebook

Florida DEP permit activity for St. Marks




Permitting Application Subscription Service

Subscriber email address:

  Profile Name: Oyster Radio

Permit: Water - Mitigation Bank Permit
Project Name: ST MARKS DEBIT
Location Id: 295847
County: Wakulla
Application Number: 295847-008

For further information, please contact the Mining, Mitigation, And Delineation Program permitting office in Tallahassee at (850) 413-7777
Permit: Water - ERP Noticed General Permit
Location Id: 332037
County: Wakulla
Application Number: 332037-001

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

Newly formed task force seeks to represent Franklin County seafood workers

County Commissioners this week heard from a new organization with plans to represent the oyster industry.
Jimmy Lashley, representing the Franklin County Seafood Workers Task Force, said the group plans to address specific oyster-related issues through the legislative and even legal channels if needed.
They are already begun work on concerns with the ongoing shelling program and with the re-opening of the East Hole oyster bar.
Jimmy told commissioners that the Task Force was created when oystermen complained that they weren’t being adequately represented and he hopes that the county commission and the task force can work closely together.  

Mister Lashley said the group already has 100 members, with plans for a second membership meeting on January the 31st at the Apalachicola Community Center.

Wakulla County Commissioner Randy Merritt Has Been Elected Chairman to the Apalachee Regional Planning Council Board of Directors

Crawfordville, Florida – The Apalachee Regional Planning Council (ARPC) recently elected Commissioner Randy Merritt to serve as Chairman.  The Chairman is part of a three member executive committee that provides guidance and direction for future planning.  “It’s an honor to be shown confidence by my fellow local elected officials, said Commissioner Merritt”.

The APRC is governed by its 27 Board of Directors members and is an association of elected officials and governor appointees from local governments within its planning district who bring together a variety of viewpoints to focus on regionally shared issues such as transportation, planning, economic development, aging services, housing, infrastructure, and community development.  Membership of the Council includes Counties of Wakulla, Calhoun, Franklin, Gadsden, Gulf, Jackson, Jefferson, Leon, Liberty, and their 28 respective municipalities. 
If you have any questions related to this story, please contact Jessica Welch, Communications & Public Services Director at (850) 926-0919 ext. 706 or

Franklin County Humane Society Pet of the Week

PAISLEY is a perfectly adorable Black Mouth Cur pup.  She is 7-8 months old and as you can tell by her expression, very inquisitive and alert to her surroundings.  She is very social and seeks attention but she is strong and needs to be taught manners.  This little girl will make a wonderful pet if she goes to someone willing to spend the time to help her meet her potential.

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.

Commissioner Putnam Announces Energy Efficiency Grants for Public Buildings

Contact: Erin Gillespie
January 23, 2015
Twitter: @FDACSNews

Commissioner Putnam Announces Energy Efficiency Grants for Public Buildings
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam announced today that 18 projects around the state will receive almost $1 million in grants to retrofit public buildings in order to increase energy efficiency.

“Improving the energy efficiency in buildings used by the public will save energy and save taxpayer dollars,” Commissioner Putnam said.

The types of projects include:
·       Replacement of indoor lighting and light fixtures.
·       Insulation upgrades.
·       Replacement of HVAC units and ducts.
·       Installation of energy management systems.
·       Replacement of upgrade of security lighting on the outside of the building.

The list below shows each grant awarded.
Applicant Name
Project Title
Grant Funds Awarded
Sarasota County
Light Replacement at the Sarasota County Government Complex
Miami-Dade County
Miami-Dade Energy Efficient Retrofits for Public Facilities
Salvation Army of Palm Beach County
Energy Management & Environmental Control System Retrofit Program
Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church Inc.
Energy Efficiency & Reinvestment Program
City of Tallahassee
Energy-Efficiency Retrofits at Lincoln Neighborhood Center
City of DeFuniak Springs
Retrofit for DeFuniak Springs Multipurpose Community Center
City of Holly Hill
Re-roofing of SICA Hall Community Center
Leon County Board of County Commissioners
Dr. B.L. Perry Branch Library HVAC Chiller Replacement and System Efficiency Upgrades
Village of Pinecrest
Pinecrest Gardens
Wakulla County
Wakulla County Florida Library Energy Retrofit
Lake County Board of County Commissioners
Smart Occupancy Sensing Thermostat Retrofit
Jackson County Board of County Commissioners
Energy Retrofit of the Jackson County Public Library
City of Cocoa
Cocoa Energy Efficient Retrofit Project
Broward County
Energy Efficient Lighting at Franklin Park
Pregnancy Help & Information Center Inc.
LED Lighting Improvements to the Pregnancy Help & Information Center, Tallahassee, FL
Children's Services Council of Palm Beach County
HVAC/ Lighting Retrofit
Liberty County, Florida Board of Commissioners
Jimmy Weaver Memorial Library, Hosford Energy Efficient Retrofit
City of Midway
City of Midway Energy Efficiency Grant Application

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

Friday, January 23, 2015

FWC Law Enforcement Weekly Report 01/16 - 01/22/2015

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
(Having trouble viewing this email? View it as a Web page.)
Division of Law Enforcement
 FWC logo and law enforcement badge
Weekly Report

January 16th thru January 22nd, 2015

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



Lieutenant Hahr and Officers Hoomes and Ramos were working a night hunting detail in a well known area where deer gather and where a large buck was recently seen.  Soon after concealing their presence, a truck stopped near where Lieutenant Hahr and Officer Ramos were concealed. The driver of the truck jumped out and shot across a field at a deer. When the two officers announced their presence and identified themselves as law enforcement officers, the suspect jumped back in his truck and sped away.  Officer Hoomes stopped the vehicle down the road.  The four occupants were questioned by the officers. Two of the subjects admitted trying to kill the deer in the field.  The driver was charged with attempting to take deer with a gun and light, shooting from a public roadway, and resisting arrest without violence.  The other man was also charged with attempting to take deer by gun and light for actively participating by working the light for the driver. An infraction was issued to one of the other passengers for violation of the open container law.

Lieutenant Hahr and Officers Hutchinson and Barnard were working an area where numerous complaints of night hunting have been received. They observed a truck drive by them and shine a nearby field. After stopping the truck, the officers observed a rifle and a spotlight.  The two men admitted they were trying to kill a big buck they had seen in the area.  Both subjects were issued notices to appear for attempting to take deer at night with a gun and light.

Florida unemployment statistics for December, 2014

Lightning causes house fire on St. George Island

Lightning has been ruled the cause of a house fire on St. George Island Friday morning.
Volunteer fire crews from St. George Island and Eastpoint were called out just after 11 AM Friday to a home on 331 Howell Street.
Luckily no one was in the home at the time of the fire – the residents were across the street.
St. George Island fire chief Jay Abbot said firefighters were able to save some of the structure and belongings but the damage to the 2 story wooden structure was severe.
He said the fire marshal’s office ruled lightning as the cause.

He also thanked the Eastpoint Volunteer Fire Department for their assistance.

Lee Edmiston named Coastal Steward of the Year

Long-time Apalachicola National Estuarine research reserve director Lee Edmiston was one of 11 people chosen for the 2014 Walter B. Jones Memorial Award for Coastal and Ocean Resource Management.
The award is given by NOAA’s Office for Coastal Management; it was created to honor the people and groups for their dedication and contributions in helping the nation maintain healthy coastal and ocean resources while balancing the needs of these resources with human use.
Lee was named a 2014 Coastal Steward of the Year for improving the understanding of the importance of Apalachicola River and Bay system, including the economically important oyster, to the region.
Edmiston worked at the estuarine research reserve for nearly 20 years as the research coordinator and then reserve manager before becoming DEP’s director of Coastal and Aquatic Managed Areas which put him in charge of Florida’s 41 aquatic preserves, three National Estuarine Research Reserves, one National Marine Sanctuary and the Coral Reef Conservation Program.

He was also a long-time chief judge for the St. George Island Charity chili cook-off.

Gulf County Sheriff's Office Press Release: Ten Arrested on Drug Charges

Gulf Specimen Marine Lab seeks donations for needed ozone machine


Dear Friends of the Aquarium:

Help Us Provide Clean  Water For Rescue Sea Turtles!
Gulf Specimen Marine Aquarium is also known for its work  educating children about the ocean environment by providing experiences like hands-on touch tanks for 20,000 school children each year. We also provide marine specimens to scientists around the world. We are understandably proud of the role we played in the development of the anticancer drug bryostatin found in samples of the marine organism Bugula neritina provided by us.

But all this wonderful work is threatened!

We at Gulf Specimen Marine Aquarium were devastated when a repair crew fromTotalCare Ozone Systems told us the ozone machine we have counted on for years to keep our water clean is beyond repair. Without clean water, we cannot teach children about the sea. We cannot keep supplying the scientific community with specimens for the kind of work that brought bryostatin to cancer patients. And then there are the sea turtles. We presently have yet another sick sea turtle, we call him Spot, an endangered Kemp's Ridley sea turtle who arrived sick with pneumonia and near death. Spot is recovering but he still needs tube feeding and will likely be another long term rehabilitation, like Allie. We can't help Spot if we can't provide him with clean water. We are using bleach and charcoal as a stopgap measure to buy ourselves time but we simply must have a new ozone machine.

Many of you followed Allie during her rehabilitation and recovery. Many of valued Allie enough to make the trip to see her released. 1000 people came out to see Allie released. If each of you could give us just $38 we will have enough to buy the new ozone machine and to provide clean water to sick sea turtles like Spot. Please help us continue saving sea turtles. Please  Donate Here
Jack Rudloe, President & Founder
Gulf Specimen Aquarium & Marine Laboratory

St. George Island group seeks referendum on incorporation

County Commissioners have been asked to support a plan that would allow St. George Island voters to decide whether to incorporate the island.
Newt Colston, speaking for a group called the St. George Island Growth Management Committee, said his group has been investigating the possibility of incorporation for St. George Island and have come up with a plan that seems feasible.
They call it “Government light” where the island would basically take over control of planning and zoning issues while the county would continue to provide other services.
The island would also have to hire enough staff to carry out the island’s comprehensive land use plan.
Mister Colston pointed out that the county would continue to collect tax revenue from the island – the island itself would levy a .3 mill tax rate which would translate to 900 dollars a year for a 300 thousand dollar property.
He said that would raise about 208 thousand dollars a year which would fund the island’s government.
Mister Colston said the island doesn’t meet all of the requirements for incorporation in that its full-time population isn’t big enough and the construction density isn’t quite high enough to meet the state requirements but he feels those issues might be waived by the legislature.
What the group wants is for island voters to have the right to vote on the issue.
The county needs to provide its support for the issue to move to the next level, and Mister Colston said they would need an answer by April for the issue to come to voters in November of 2016.
If everything moves smoothly, the incorporation would take effect in January of 2017.
The county has not yet made a decision on the request.

They asked that the county attorney make a recommendation after looking into the issue more closely.

Thursday, January 22, 2015



TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The Florida Senate Committee on Agriculture, led by State Senator Bill Montford (D-Tallahassee) hosted a meeting today to tackle some of the biggest issues facing Florida. 

First on the agenda, the committee addressed water policies and Amendment 1 to Florida’s Constitution and how that will affect agricultural programs.  “Amendment 1 is a game-changer for water policy in the state,” said Montford.  “Agriculture will be heavily impacted by any potential reforms and I welcomed the opportunity to hear from the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services about their role as we move forward.”

Next the committee received an update on the Apalachicola River Basin and Bay.  The committee heard from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission about the environmental impacts of the Commercial Fisheries Failure, as well as from the Department of Economic Opportunity about the financial impacts.  “Apalachicola is still suffering from the decrease in available seafood as a result of a lack of sufficient fresh water,” said Montford.  “I am encouraged to see agencies work together to improve Apalachicola’s future, but I will not be satisfied until I am confident residents no longer wonder about their children’s next meal.” 

Finally, the Committee heard from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission about Florida’s wild bear population.  Montford said, “We have seen an increase in the number of visible bears in Florida, as well as an increase in bear attacks.  Floridians need to be free to travel around their communities without fear and this update will help to ensure that.” The Committee was last updated on this subject a year ago and Chairman Montford asked for another update as a result of recent bear attacks.

Commissioner Putnam Presents Recommendations for Water Policy to House State Affairs Committee

Contact: Erin Gillespie
January 22, 2015
Twitter: @FDACSNews

Commissioner Putnam Presents Recommendations for Water Policy to House State Affairs Committee
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam presented recommendations on comprehensive water policy for Florida to the House State Affairs Committee today.

Excerpts of his testimony are below:

“Water is the biggest long-term issue facing Florida, regardless of what part of the state you are from. … Every corner of the state for various reasons is in some form of conflict. This will be hard. This will be complex. It is important that we do it when we are not in crisis coming out of a drought year or a year of multiple hurricanes and that we do it sooner rather than later. Go big, go bold, be ambitious, and get it right.

“It’s time to evaluate what we have learned in the last 30 years of active, aggressive environmental acquisition programs, protection programs, and conservation programs. We should ask ourselves what worked and what didn’t. We should focus on water supply, water resource  development, and on restoration. We need to focus on both quality and quantity.

“Agriculture, for example, used to be the number one user of water in the state. It is no more. As a result of best management practices and investments by farmers and ranchers, we are using 11 billion gallons of water per year less today than just a short time ago. Not just agriculture, but all sectors of water users are using less water today. Per capita consumption of water is the lowest it has ever been and continues to decline. That’s something to be proud of.

“What’s the next step? I offer the following as ideas for your consideration.

“We have in place a sound foundation of water policy that includes the requirement that water management districts assess the adequacy of water supplies, and, for areas where it is determined those sources are not sufficient, the requirement that the districts prepare regional water supply plans. We need to strengthen that water policy to ensure these policies are effectively implemented.

“We can do this by ensuring that our water supply planning efforts are scientifically rigorous and timely and that they identify economically and technically feasible priorities.

“In simple terms, we need to prioritize projects that help us achieve the minimum flows and levels and protect our aquifers, lakes, rivers and springs, while also growing our alternative water supply and contribute to water resource development. Alternative water supply has to be a bigger part of Florida’s future.

“As with water supply, we can apply some of these same concepts to water quality. We only need to focus our existing water policy to reflect the progress we have made and ensure that future progress is achieved in the most effective manner. I suggest we:
·       Prioritize the expeditious implementation of our existing Total Maximum Daily Load and Basin Management Action Plan programs to restore our springs.
·       Revise the current statutes governing the Northern Everglades to reflect the progress we have made and the adoption and implementation of Basin Management Action Plans as the method of addressing water quality.
·       Codify the Central Florida Water Initiative in statute.

“In effect, I’m suggesting we have an overarching statewide policy that recognizes the differences around the state, but drives the policy discussion, that has an emphasis on springs, an emphasis on the Northern Everglades, and an emphasis on the Central Florida Water Initiative. We need to do this from a long-term perspective, the next 10 to 20 years.  We need to estimate how much it’s going to cost us. Then we prioritize by project.

“We’re all in this together. You put 20 million people and 100 million visitors on a peninsula that is dominated by wetlands, and that’s going to have an effect. We have a $100 billion agriculture industry, a tourism industry that’s even larger than that, and we need to protect them. We want to keep this the kind of place that people want to live, that people want to visit. And a lot of that is rooted in our affinity, our attachment to water.

“Our core values and our identity as a state is attached to water. We have an opportunity to think big and act boldly, and I’m excited about the opportunity.”

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