Wednesday, March 29, 2017

New directional signs make finding Apalachicola businesses even easier!

Finding businesses in Apalachicola is now a little easier.

The Historic Apalachicola Main Street Program installed a directional sign in the Bowery district on Monday, on the corner of Commerce Street and Avenue F.

This is the first of several directional signs slated for installation in downtown Apalachicola.

Each sign will have unique ironwork that pays tribute to the maritime past and present of Apalachicola.

The goal of Historic Apalachicola Main Street is to install a few more of these signs in the downtown district to help visitors find restaurants, shops, and other points of interest.  

The unique sign was created by Fred Eubanks Custom Ornamental Ironwork of Thomasville, Georgia.

The sign has a distinctly nautical feel with accents such as nautical rope and boats created from iron.

The sign includes a shrimp boat silhouette that was created using a photo of the Buddy’s Boys shrimp boat.

There is also a sailing ship that was created using a painting of the Montezuma, which shipped cotton from the port of Apalachicola.

The weatherproof vinyl lettering was done by Sign Design in Eastpoint, and can be easily updated as businesses change.

FWC seeks volunteers to conduct bird monitoring activities in Liberty County

If you like be outdoors and can recognize bird species by their call, the FWC might have an interesting volunteer project for you.

Volunteers are needed to conduct bird monitoring activities on the Apalachicola Bluffs and Ravines Preserve and at Torreya State Park in Liberty County. 

Volunteers will help the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission perform post-restoration monitoring on selected sites in an area that is being restored as part of a Multistate Sandhills Ecological Restoration Project.

The project is a collaborative wildlife habitat restoration effort between the states of Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, Louisiana and South Carolina, which is supported by a grant from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Volunteer will be required tp walk through sandhill habitat and Navigate using GPS to find monitoring points.
They will also have to be able to identify various bird species by call.
Vounteers will be need between April 15th and June 20th.
If you are interested in learning more, you can contact Heather Hitt who is the FWC Supervisor of the project by e-mail at
You can also call her at 772-469-4267

There are no swimming advisories in Franklin County this week.

There are no swimming advisories in Franklin County this week.

The Florida Department of Health tested water quality at 5 Franklin County beaches on March the 20th.

All of the water samples came back clean.

Water is tested at three locations on St. George Island as well as Carrabelle Beach and Alligator Point to make sure the waters are safe for swimmers.

Samples were also taken from 2 beaches in Wakulla County, there were also no swimming advisories issued in that county.

Water samples were also taken from 7 beaches in Gulf County and all of those samples also came back clean.

The state currently takes weekly or bi-weekly water samples from 304 beaches in 34 counties – you can see results for all beaches in Florida on-line at the Florida Department of Health Clean beaches website.

Gov. Scott Announces Freshwater License-Free Fishing Days

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Today, Governor Rick Scott announced that this weekend, April 1st and 2nd, Floridians and visitors will be able to fish without a freshwater recreational fishing license. All bag limits, seasons, and size restrictions will still apply.

Governor Scott said, “This weekend’s license-free fishing days are a great chance for families and visitors to enjoy the spring weather and experience the many fishing sites Florida is well known for. Florida is proud to be the Fishing Capital of the World, and I encourage everyone to take advantage of the license-free days this weekend.”

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) Chairman Brian Yablonski said, “If you’ve never been fishing before, this is a great opportunity to get out there and give it a try, or, if you’re a seasoned angler, take a friend or family member who has never been. They just might learn to appreciate it as much as you do.”

This year, FWC is celebrating the 75th anniversary of Florida’s Wildlife Management Area system– nearly six million acres of lands managed as a habitat for wildlife and for people to enjoy fishing, hunting, wildlife viewing and more. For more information on Wildlife Management Areas near your community, click here. For fishing tips, locations and regulation information, click here.

Eastpoint man charged after hit and run accident Wednesday morning

 An Eastpoint man is facing charges of leaving the scene of a traffic crash and careless driving after hitting a pedestrian on Highway 98 in Eastpoint this morning.
The Highway patrol said 38 year old David Dewayne Freeman was charged after hitting 52 year old Carson Willscy with his 2002 Dodge Dakota and then leaving the scene of the accident.
Willscy suffered critical injuries and was taken to Tallahassee Memorial Hospital.
The Highway patrol said Freeman was heading east on Highway 98 just before 8 o'clock this morning; he was just west of Old Ferry Dock Road when the accident happened.
Freeman told officers that he was trying to retrieve his cell phone from the floorboard which caused him to drive off the road where he hit Willscy who was standing on the westbound shoulder of the road.

Freeman didn't stop after the accident and was later found at a home in Eastpoint.

2nd annual Forgotten Coast Classic Basketball tournament this weekend in Apalachicola

Join in the Breeze By the Bay 5k and 10k race on April 8th in Port St. Joe

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Local unemployment fell in February

Local unemployment dropped in February.
Franklin County unemployment fell from 5.1 percent in January to 4.6 percent last month.
219 people were looking for work in Franklin County, down from 240 people the month before.
The workforce also decreased by 13 people.
23 counties had lower unemployment rates than Franklin County's in February.
Gulf County also saw a big drop in unemployment in February from 5.4 to 4.4 percent.
262 people were looking for work in Gulf County last month.

Wakulla County unemployment fell to 3.9 percent, in Liberty county unemployment fell to 5.2 percent.

Franklin County will begin removing commercial signs from public right of ways on April 3rd

Franklin County will begin removing commercial signs from county right of ways starting next Monday.

County workers will start removing advertising and other types signs that are on the County’s right-of-way or easements starting on April 3rd.

County and State laws prohibit commercial signs from being placed on public property along roadsides.

Not only are the signs an eysore, but they are also a safety hazard.

Roadside signs also make it harder for county workers to mow and maintain the right of ways.

Any signs that are removed will be stored at the road department on Highway 65 where people can pick them up if they want to keep them.

Businesses will be able to call the road camp 670-8640 to make arrangements to pick up their signs.


Florida DEP permit activity for Franklin County

DEP Logo
Florida Department of
Environmental Protection

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

Carlos Lopez-Cantera
Lt. Governor

Ryan E. Matthews
Interim Secretary

Permitting Application Subscription Service

Subscriber email address:

  Profile Name: Oyster Radio

Permit: Water - ERP Exemption Permit
Location Id: 352495
County: Franklin
Application Number: 352495-001

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

Sign up the kids for Spring soccer today - practice begins soon!

FWC Division of Law Enforcement Weekly Report March 17, 2017 through March 23, 2017

Division of Law Enforcement
 FWC logo and law enforcement badge
Weekly Report
March 17, 2017 through March 23, 2017

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




Officers Forehand and Hayes located two turkey blinds with cracked corn and millet seeds scattered within 30 yards of the blinds prior to turkey season. On opening morning, they witnessed two hunters actively calling and hunting for turkeys from the baited blinds. Both hunters were cited for taking or attempting to take turkeys over bait.


While patrolling in federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico, Lieutenant Marlow and Officers Boyd and Nelson located a vessel in the south end of the Middle Grounds Habitat Area of Particular Concern, 95 nautical miles south of Carrabelle. While approaching the vessel, the captain of the vessel ran from the port side to the starboard side and began throwing fish into the water. The fish were recovered and the officers found the occupants to be in possession of reef fish not landed in whole condition (fillets), undersized gag grouper, gag grouper during closed season, over the bag limit of vermillion snapper, along with the use of “J” hooks with natural bait and the violation of throwing fish overboard as law enforcement approached. The occupants admitted to the violations and were issued the appropriate citations and warnings for the violations.


Officer M. Webb was on patrol in the Gulf of Mexico when he conducted a federal marine fisheries inspection on a vessel 11.5 nautical miles offshore. The captain of the vessel was actively fishing and had in his possession six gray triggerfish. A federal resource citation was issued for possession of gray triggerfish during closed season.

Officer H. Webb responded to a complaint of anglers harvesting over the daily bag limit and possession of undersized red and black drum under the Highland View Bridge. He arrived at the location and saw a man loading a stringer of what appeared to be undersized black drum into the back of his truck. Officer Webb conducted a fisheries inspection on the man and discovered that he was in possession of eight undersized black drum. A citation was issued for the violation. Following that stop, Officer Webb saw more anglers on the shoreline with a large stringer of fish. He conducted a fisheries inspection on the group and discovered that they were in possession of several black and red drum. Two of the red drum and one of the black drum were undersized. A citation was issued to the responsible party for possession of undersized red drum and a written warning was issued for possession of undersized black drum.


Officer Boyd was working the area of Mashes Sands when he saw a vessel inbound with two occupants. After conducting boating safety and resource inspections, Officer Boyd located three red snapper in a cooler. A citation was issued for possession of red snapper during closed season.

On opening morning of spring turkey season, Officers Nelson and Mandrick located a blind that was approximately 15 yards from and overlooking corn that had recently been distributed. The officers saw a shotgun barrel protruding from an opening in the blind. The officers approached the blind and made contact with the individual inside. When asked about the bait present in front of the blind, the individual denied having any knowledge of the bait present in the location he was hunting, even though the bait was clearly visible from the blind. After conducting a short interview, the individual admitted to knowing the bait was present and that he was hunting turkeys over bait. The appropriate action was taken in regards to the violation.



Officers Manning and Allgood concentrated their efforts on offshore fisheries inspections in the Gulf of Mexico. Four vessel operators were found in possession of undersized greater amberjack. Notice to appear citations were issued for these violations. Later that day as they approached another vessel, they noticed the operator throw some fish into the water. As Officer Allgood boarded the vessel, Officer Manning retrieved two gray triggerfish that were still floating. Officer Allgood questioned the operator of the vessel about the triggerfish and he admitted to throwing them. During his inspection, a strong odor of marijuana was present. One of the passengers admitted to having a small amount of marijuana and a pipe. The pipe and marijuana were seized and notice to appear citations were issued for possession of undersized gray triggerfish, possession of cannabis, and possession of drug paraphernalia.



Officer Greene attended a Hunter Safety class at Hard Labor Creek Plantation, where he taught the law portion of the class to approximately 12 individuals. Numerous questions relating to legal aspects of hunting were answered.

FREE mammograms screenings for uninsured residents of Gulf, Franklin, and Mexico Beach this Friday

Monday, March 27, 2017

Gulf County Chamber of Commerce invites you to a ladies night out on March the 31st

Florida Lawmakers Work to Protect Military’s Gulf Test and Training Range

Drilling Activity Threatens “Incomparable National Asset,” Reps. Say

WASHINGTON, DC – Dr. Neal Dunn (FL-02) and a bipartisan group of Florida lawmakers are urging the Trump Administration to protect the Joint Gulf Range Complex by maintaining the moratorium on oil and gas offshore drilling activities in the Gulf of Mexico. In a letter to Secretary of Defense James Mattis, the lawmakers call the Joint Gulf Range Complex “an incomparable national asset” and ask for his support for the current moratorium beyond its expiration in 2022.

“Allowing oil and gas leasing activities in the areas under moratoria will create insurmountable risks to civilian and military personnel, military assets, and drilling infrastructure. We fear that combat training and advanced test and evaluation missions would be unable to continue if the moratorium was lifted,” the lawmakers say. “Prior military leaders have described the Joint Gulf Range Complex as a ‘national treasure.’ Consequently, we respectfully seek your support for maintaining the moratorium beyond 2022 and the incomparable national asset we have in the Joint Range Complex.”

The Joint Gulf Range Complex is used for high-altitude, supersonic air combat training for frontline fighters like the F-22 and the F-35, live-fire air-to-air and air-to-ground training, air-to-air missile testing, electronic warfare, drone targeting, and Naval sub-surface, air-to-surface and surface-to-surface testing, including mine and counter-mine operations. This vast range allows for hypersonic weapons testing and space launch.

Joining Dr. Dunn on the letter are Representatives Matt Gaetz (FL-01), Ted Yoho (FL-03), John Rutherford (FL-04), Al Lawson (FL-05), Bill Posey (FL-08), Darren Soto (FL-09), Daniel Webster (FL-11), Francis Rooney (FL-19), Brian Mast (FL-18), Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (FL-27), Dennis Ross (FL-15), Charlie Crist (FL-13), Vern Buchanan (FL-16), and Gus Bilirakis (FL-12).

Join the Forgotten Coast Sea turtle center this Thursday for a free turtle talk

4 Florida counties open April 1 to gag grouper recreational harvest; FWC gathering input on changes to this season

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
(Having trouble viewing this email? View it as a Web page.)
For immediate release: March 27, 2017
Media contact: Amanda Nalley, 850-410-4943 or

Maps: To see maps of these areas, go to and select “Saltwater Fishing,” “Recreational Regulations” and “Groupers.”

Suggested Tweet: Gag #grouper opens April 1 in four #Florida counties. @MyFWC #fishing

4 Florida counties open April 1 to gag grouper recreational harvest; FWC gathering input on changes to this season

State waters off the coast of Franklin, Wakulla, Jefferson and Taylor counties will open to recreational harvest of gag grouper starting April 1. This regional season will remain open throughJune 30. The season also includes all waters of Apalachicola Bay and Indian Pass, including those in Gulf County, and all waters of the Steinhatchee River, including those in Dixie County.

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) staff have received stakeholder requests for a longer season in this area, and are gathering public input on potential changes. At the April 19-20 Commission meeting in Tallahassee, staff plan to present a draft proposal keeping the April through June season in this area, and adding a September through December season. If this proposal is approved, it will need to come back before the Commission in June for final approval, but could be in place in time for anglers to participate in a fall season later this year. Visit to learn more or to submit written input. For your comments to be considered at the April meeting, submit input no later than April 12.

The gag grouper season in the remainder of Gulf of Mexico state waters is open June 1 through Dec. 31
. State waters off Franklin, Wakulla, Jefferson and Taylor counties are not currently scheduled to open for gag fishing July through December. Monroe County state waters follow Atlantic grouper rules.

Gag grouper caught in state Gulf waters (from shore to 9 nautical miles out) April 1 to June 30 off the four-county open region can be landed on the Gulf County side of Indian Pass and the Dixie County side of the Steinhatchee River, but may not be taken ashore in other areas if those areas are closed to harvest. For example, a gag grouper caught April 1 in state waters off Jefferson County cannot be taken ashore in Levy County or parts of Dixie County outside of the Steinhatchee River. To see maps of these areas, go to and select “Saltwater Fishing,” “Recreational Regulations” and “Groupers.”

The minimum size limit is 24 inches total length. The bag limit is two gag grouper per person. Recreational anglers targeting groupers in the Gulf may harvest no more than four grouper per person per day (within this four-fish limit, anglers may keep only two gag grouper).

If you plan to fish for gag grouper in Gulf state or federal waters from a private recreational vessel, make sure you are currently signed up as a Gulf Reef Fish Angler (annual renewal is required). To learn more, visit and click on “Saltwater Fishing,” “Recreational Regulations” and “Gulf Reef Fish Survey” under “Reef Fish.” Sign up today at

To learn more, visit and click on “Saltwater Fishing,” “Recreational Regulations” and “Groupers.”

Agenda and information for the March 28th Gulf County Commission meeting

Donate to the Crooked River Lighthouse and win great prizes!

Florida DEP permit activity for Franklin County

DEP Logo
Florida Department of
Environmental Protection

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

Carlos Lopez-Cantera
Lt. Governor

Ryan E. Matthews
Interim Secretary

Permitting Application Subscription Service

Subscriber email address:

  Profile Name: Oyster Radio

Permit: Water - ERP Noticed General Permit
Location Id: 352416
Location Name: Millender Boat Trailer Parking
County: Franklin
Application Number: 352416-001

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

Hunting and conservation news from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

Hunt Florida Banner


FWC’s Hunting Hot Sheet

The latest hunting and conservation news and events from the 
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC).

Taking stock of turkey talk

Automated recording devices strategically placed to pick up gobbling near Tallahassee (Tall Timbers Research Station) and Gainesville gave biologists new insights – and prompted new questions – about wild turkey behavior. First, the pattern of gobbling frequency across the morning period was similar at both locations, with most gobbling occurring early and then quickly tailing off. However, the timing was slightly different at each site with gobbling beginning slightly later at the Gainesville site. Although we don’t know the reason for certain, one possible explanation is related to tree cover and its impacts on when sunlight is able to penetrate the trees. The Gainesville site was more densely forested and may explain the slightly later gobbling start.
Learn more about wild turkey management.
Gobbling times

Tell us what you think!

FWC staff have drafted proposed rules to expand small game hunting opportunities on selected wildlife management areas. These rule changes, which will be considered at the April Commission meeting, would impact the 2017-2018 hunting season.
Small game hunting seasons offer sustainable and accessible opportunities to experience the benefits of hunting. Expanding small game hunting opportunities on public lands aligns with FWC initiatives to engage more people in the outdoors and create future conservation stewards.

FWC's Summer Camps – outdoor adventure that’s safe, affordable and fun!

Is there a young person in your life who dreams about learning how to shoot a bow and arrow or .22, build a campfire, and use a map and compass? We offer specially designed summer camp programs where youth can receive their hunter safety certification, expand on archery and bowhunting basics, practice their target shooting skills and learn about everything from wildlife conservation to outdoor skills such as fishing and paddling. Our camps are available for children who have completed 3rd grade and up. Spots are limited and filling fast, so register your kids today for the experience of a lifetime!

Mottled duck 4

How you can help conserve mottled ducks

As Easter approaches, many parents think about buying mallard ducklings for their children. Before doing that, you should be aware of the downsides, especially the negative effect on Florida’s native mottled duck.
Some people assume that once a domestic duck is fully grown it’s OK to release them into the wild. However, releasing domestic mallards is illegal. Florida law also requires that anyone possessing, buying or selling mallard ducks have a permit from the FWC. In addition, the birds, which can live up to 10 years, must be kept in a cage.
These rules are in place because released ducks pose a serious threat to our native mottled duck population. Domestic ducks can interbreed with mottled ducks, which results in fewer purebred mottled ducks. If it’s not stopped, this hybridization could result in the Florida mottled duck becoming extinct.
In addition to never releasing store-bought ducks, please don’t feed or shelter domestic mallards and consider removing any from your property. You can get the proper permit from the FWC, and new permits are available April 1. For more information, visit

5 reasons to buy a hunting license

1. Participate in wild turkey season, which runs through April 9 south of State Road 70 and April 23 North of State Road 70, except for Holmes County, which runs through April 2.
2. Contribute to conservation. When hunters purchase hunting licenses as well as firearms, ammunition and archery equipment, they support wildlife conservation through the Wildlife Restoration Program
3. Makes a great gift for birthdays, anniversaries and other holidays. We even have gift cards!
4. Possibly enjoy and share locally sourced, healthy and delicious meals.
5. Take part in other 2017/2018 hunting opportunities.
Get your hunting license today at

Please participate in FWC’s annual deer survey

The FWC has contracted with Responsive Management, a survey research firm specializing in natural resource and outdoor recreation issues, to conduct studies on Florida hunters’ participation in deer hunting.
During April and May, you may receive a phone call from Responsive Management asking you to participate in a survey about your deer hunting experiences. Licensed hunters will be randomly selected to participate in the study to ensure it is scientifically valid. If you receive a call, please consider participating in the study. It is important that all hunters respond because this information will help us better understand hunters’ participation, harvest, preferences, opportunities, needs, and opinions.
Depending on which carrier you use, the call will display as coming from Responsive Management, area code 540, or unknown. You also may receive an email from Responsive Management requesting your participation in the survey.
If you have any questions about the study, please contact


Take a hunter safety course
Hunter safety courses cover firearms safety, wildlife conservation, responsible hunting and more. Students can attend a no-cost traditional classroom course. Or they can complete the classroom portion online, and FWC’s website offers several course options. After the online classroom portion is complete, students must sign up and attend a skills day.
The new hunter website provides a roadmap to help new hunters more easily navigate the opportunities and requirements in Florida. It pulls together links and information about hunter safety, regulations, license and permits, youth and family quota hunts, special seasons for youth, programs for new hunters, links to partner websites, and more.

Learn more about hunting in Florida at
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