Sunday, January 15, 2017

Draft Agenda for January 17th Wakulla County Commission meeting

Historic, Cultural and Ecological Benefits of Trees Part Two

Trees play an important role in Apalachicola’s appeal. They contribute aesthetically to the city’s overall appeal and our historic landscape. Trees also provide shade, add value to our homes, and they have many ecological benefits. Tree experts Stan Rosenthal and Sam Hand will be back to discuss common problems urban trees face and how to solve them on Wednesday, January 18th5:30-7:00 pm at Trinity Episcopal Church, Benedict Hall on 6th Street and Avenue D. This workshop is free and is sponsored by the Apalachicola Area Historical Society, the Apalachicola     National Estuarine Research Reserve, Apalachicola Planning and Zoning Board, and the City of Apalachicola.  For more information, call Anita Grove at (850) 670-7708 or

 This workshop is sponsored by the Apalachicola Area Historical Society, the Apalachicola National Estuarine Research Reserve, Apalachicola Planning and Zoning Board, and the City of Apalachicola.  For more information, call Anita Grove at (850) 670-7708 or

Franklin county School to hold 2nd annual MLK celebration on January 17th

Friday, January 13, 2017

3 students face charges after contraband sweep at the Franklin County School

 Friday the 13th was an unlucky day for three students at the Franklin County School.

Last Friday Franklin County Sheriff’s Deputies conducted a walkthrough with a K-9 unit to look for possible illegal narcotics and contraband on school grounds.

During the search three vehicles atempted to leave the campus but were stopped by officials.

Deputy T. J. Carroll and Sgt. D. Coulter recovered approximately 4.8 grams of Cannabis along with paraphernalia used to smoke cannabis in the vehicles.

A firearm was also seized along with ammunition and alcohol.

Three juveniles were arrested and transported to the Franklin County Jail.

They were charged with Possession of Cannabis, Possession of Paraphernalia, and possession of an Air Soft Gun as well as Possession of Alcohol by a Person under the age of 21 years of age.

One student was found in possession of a Firearm on School Property – the sheriff's office said it was a shotgun.

Two of the students were released into the custody of their parents.

The student found in possession of the gun was remanded to the Department of Juvenile Justice.

Franklin County Sheriff A. J. Smith said this recovery of the narcotics, firearm and alcohol went without incident due to the professionalism of all involved.

He added that this type of joint venture between the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office and Schools will continue, as the safety of our children, education and keeping drugs off the streets is our priority.

Don't miss the 7th annual Oyster Cook-off this Saturday in Apalachicola

Come out and help raise some money for the Apalachicola Volunteer Fire Department this weekend at the seventh annual oyster cookoff.

The event raises money for the Apalachicola fire Department by allowing some of the best oyster cooks in the area to compete for trophies and recognition.

In just 6 years it has raised tens of thousands of dollars to help the fire department.

The event kicks off tonight from 6 till 8 with a art auction preview and oyster tasting at the Apalachicola Center for History, Culture and Art on Water Street in Apalachicola.

The main event is Saturday from noon to 5 at Riverfront Park.

Besides the oyster cook-off there will also be plenty of other activities including a 5K run at 8 o’clock Saturday morning starting at Riverfront Park.

There will be live music from the John Sutton Band and a show from the Pam Nobles Dancers and every year the fire department does a special dance.

The event also features a silent auction and kids’ activities.

And even if you don’t like oysters there are still plenty of reasons to come out.

They serve up other great food like smoked mullet, fresh shrimp , hot dogs, hamburgers, and locally brewed beer.

You can get more information about the cook-off and see a full list of events on-line at


Tallahassee–Senator George Gainer (R-Panama City), Senator Doug Broxson (R-Pensacola), and Senator Bill Montford (D-Tallahassee) today filed Senate Bill 364, The Recovery Fund for the Deepwater Horizon Incident, to ensure funds received in the settlement of the state’s economic damage claims caused by the 2010 Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill remain in Northwest Florida’s eight disproportionately affected counties. 
These funds represent a tremendous opportunity to make long-term investments in Northwest Florida’s economy. By sending settlement funds directly to Triumph Gulf Coast, Inc., we can ensure they are allocated in a transparent and accountable manner,” said Senator Gainer.
Under current law, the eight disproportionately affected counties are to receive 75 percent of all economic damage settlement funds received by the state. Senate Bill 364 clarifies that funds are to be directly appropriated to Triumph Gulf Coast Inc. no later than 30 days after they are received by the state.
By clarifying the requirements under current law, this legislation ensures a smooth transfer of funds to Triumph Gulf Coast, Inc., not only for the funds the state recently received, but also for any future settlement payments,” said Senator Broxson.
The eight Florida counties disproportionately affected by the Deepwater Horizon Spill include: Bay County, Escambia County, Franklin County, Gulf County, Okaloosa County, Santa Rosa County, Walton County and Wakulla County. 
Nearly seven years after the spill began, on a daily basis, we are still hearing from constituents whose families and businesses were drastically impacted,” said Senator Montford. “This legislation affirms our longstanding commitment to keep these critical funds in Northwest Florida to provide for the ongoing economic recovery of our region.”
During the 2013 Legislative Session, under the leadership of then-Senate President Don Gaetz (R-Niceville) the Florida Senate developed legislation (Senate Bill 1024) sponsored by current Senate President Joe Negron (R-Stuart), which created Triumph Gulf Coast, Inc. to ensure that economic damage settlement funds coming to the state would both benefit the eight disproportionately affected counties and be properly accounted for. Under this legislation, the five-member Triumph Gulf Coast board, chaired by former Florida House Speaker Allen Bense, is responsible for utilizing the settlement proceeds to promote job creation through lasting economic development over a period of thirty years.
Triumph Gulf Coast, Inc. is tasked to work with local governments to make awards to programs and projects that meet the priorities for economic recovery, diversification, and enhancement of the disproportionately affected counties. This includes economic development projects, grants to support programs of excellence that prepare students for future occupations, as well as infrastructure projects.

The corporation is required to abide by the state’s public record laws and public meeting notice requirements. The Speaker of the House of Representatives, the President of the Senate, the Governor, the Attorney General, and the Chief Financial Officer each appoint one board member. The governing board will be responsible for evaluating the economic benefits provided by each proposed project and will approve or decline funding.

Get your flu shot today - its quick, easy and painless

TALLAHASSEE, Fla.- With the 2016-2017 flu season in full swing and influenza activity increasing across the state, it is critical that all Floridians get the flu vaccine to protect against infection and help prevent the spread of seasonal flu to others. It is never too late to get your flu shot. While most cases of flu are mild, there are exceptions.

"Flu vaccines are available by appointment at the Apalachicola and Carrabelle health department locations," said Marsha Lindeman, Administrator of the Florida Department of Health in Gulf and Franklin Counties. "We encourage you to take this simple step to protect yourself and others from this potentially serious illness. Call today to schedule your appointment, Apalachicola: 850-653-2111, Carrabelle: 850-697-4121."

Flu activity is on the rise in Florida, particularly in groups at high risk for severe illness such as children, pregnant women, people with underlying chronic conditions and people over the age of 65. Visits to emergency departments for influenza are also increasing in these high risk groups. The department continues to urge residents to reduce their risk of severe illness from infection by getting vaccinated against influenza. This is especially important for individuals at high-risk for severe illness.
The annual flu vaccine is safe and is the most effective way to protect yourself and your loved ones. The flu vaccine is recommended for everyone six months and older, including pregnant women. It takes about two weeks after vaccination for your body to develop protection against the flu. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends people get injectable flu shots. Nasal spray vaccine is not recommended for this flu season because of concerns about its effectiveness.
It is also essential to practice good hygiene by properly and frequently washing your hands to help prevent the spread of seasonal flu. Make it a habit to clean and disinfect commonly used surfaces in your home, school or office. You can take additional steps to ward off the flu by coughing or sneezing into a tissue or your elbow and avoiding touching your face.
The flu vaccine is offered in many other convenient locations, including doctor's offices, clinics, retail stores, pharmacies, health centers and by many employers and schools. Visit the department's flu shot locater page<> to search for a flu vaccine location near you.
For further information regarding influenza surveillance information, messaging and guidance, visit the influenza homepage at

FDOT Traffic Alert for Big Bend Area

For Immediate Release  
January 13, 2017
Donna Green, (850) 330-1661

FDOT Traffic Alert for Big Bend Area

Chipley – Drivers are reminded to practice caution while traveling in and around the work zones in Northwest Florida Sunday, Jan. 15 through Saturday, Jan. 21.

Franklin County: 
·         Bridge repair work is underway on State Road (S.R.) 65 over Cash Creek Bridge. All work is being performed under the structure, drivers are reminded to use caution driving through the work zone.
·         Crews will stripe the pedestrian crosswalk on U.S. 98 near 4th StreetTuesday, Jan. 17. Alternating lane closures will take place from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m.

Gadsden County:
·         Beginning Tuesday, Jan. 24, the following speed limit changes will take place U.S. 90.  Increase from 25 MPH to 35 MPH from North Love Street to Earnest Street, increase from 45 MPH to 55 MPH from South GF & A Drive to west of the Quincy Bypass, and decrease from 65 MPH to 55 MPH from East Gadsden High School entrance to one-fourth miles west of the Pat Thomas Law Enforcement Academy.
Jefferson County:
·         I-10 resurfacing from Mile Marker (MM) 225 to MM 236. Daytime lane closures are taking place from the Madison County line to U.S. 19.
·         I-10 resurfacing from MM 216 to MM 220. Construction activities are taking place along the corridor. Drivers can expect daytime lane closures along the corridor.
·         I-10 Westbound Rest Area near MM 233 – Rest area closed for renovations.
Leon County:
·         Nighttime work on S.R. 20 (Apalachee Parkway) from Monroe Street to Capital Circle NE.  Workers are paving, installing sidewalk and repairing curb and gutter along the corridor. The Lafayette Street on-ramp to Apalachee Parkway will be closed from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. Thursday, Jan. 12 through Friday, Jan. 20 as crews resurface the ramp and install concrete curb.  Drivers will use Lafayette Street and Myers Park Drive as a detour route.
·         East and westbound lane closures are taking place on S.R. 263 (Capital Circle SW) from west of S.R. 61 (U.S. 319) to north of County Road 2203 (Springhill Road) as workers resurface and add paved shoulders.
·         Temporary lane closures are taking place on Monroe Street from Tharpe Street to 7th Avenue. Pedestrian traffic near Lake Ella will be affected by improvements that include raised medians, a pedestrian signal on Monroe Street, sidewalk replacement, curbing, gutter work, signage, and pavement markings.
·         Sidewalk construction is underway on S.R. 371 (Orange Avenue). Intermittent lane closures will take place in the westbound lanes, Tuesday, Jan. 17 through Friday, Jan. 209 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
·         City of Tallahassee will raise manholes on S.R. 61 (Thomasville Road) near Woodbine DriveSunday, Jan. 15 and Mon. Jan. 16.  Southbound lane closures will remain in effect from 8 p.m. to 4 a.m.
·         Manhole maintenance work will take place Tuesday, Jan. 17 on Thomasville Road near Tallahassee Drive. The outside northbound travel lane will be closed from 8 p.m. to 4 a.m.
·         Sewer maintenance work will close the northbound outside lane of North Monroe Street near 3rd AvenueTuesday, Jan. 17 and Wednesday, Jan. 18 from 1 a.m. to 6 a.m. Workers will move to 4th AvenueThursday, Jan. 19. The southbound outside lane will be closed from 12 a.m. to 5 a.m.
·         Striping work will cause alternating lane closures from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. on Stadium Drive between Pensacola Street and North lake Bradford Road, from Tuesday, Jan 17 to Thursday, Jan. 19 and from Sunday, Jan. 22 to Thursday, Jan 26.
Wakulla County:
·         Motorists will encounter intermittent lane closures Monday, Jan. 16 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on U.S. 319 (Crawfordville Highway) from south of Old Crawfordville Highway and U.S. 98 intersection to St. Frances Street as crews are pave the roadway. Workers will also pave driveways on Old Crawfordville Highway from Friendship Church Road to north of Alaska Way, Tuesday, Jan. 17 to Friday, Jan. 20. Lane closures will remain in effect from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Temporary lane closures, delays and shifts may occur as workers perform construction activities. All construction activities are weather dependent and may be delayed or rescheduled in the event of inclement weather. Motorists are reminded to pay attention and use caution when driving through the work zone.

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

Franklin County Humane Society Pet of the Week

BOGEE is a tall, dark and handsome 1 yr old Lab mix.  He is well mannered and gets along well with other dogs and people.  He has a relaxed and easy going demeanor and will be easy to train.  Bogee is heartworm negative, neutered and ready for his forever home!

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.

Office of Greenways and Trails Winter Connections Newsletter

Florida Greenways and Trails Connections

Family of Five Embarks on CT Trail and More

Matt Keene on CT Trail in Ochlockonee Bay by Doug Alderson
The 1,515-mile Florida Circumnavigational Saltwater Paddling Trail (CT) has been busy lately with long-distance paddlers. 
The first kayaking family to attempt a thru-paddle began Jan. 3, from Big Lagoon State Park. Calling their life journey, "Adventures for Change," Melissa and Jeremy Howard and three of their children, ages 8, 11 and 13, plan to finish in June. They are supporting a different charity for each of the trail's 26 segments they paddle through and they plan to keep an ongoing blog. The family runs a kayak tour company in Southwest Florida.
Aaron Carotta, otherwise known as Adventure Aaron, stopped at Big Lagoon on Jan. 4 during a canoe journey that started five months earlier in Montana. He plans to continue paddling along the Gulf on the CT and is not yet sure of his ending point. He paddles in support of the group "I'm Adopted."
Scott Warren began his journey on Oct. 30 at Big Lagoon and is currently in South Florida. Several other paddlers are scheduled to start the trail or are completing it in segments over time.
You can learn about these paddlers and more at the annual CT Trail Reunion April 21-23, at Wekiwa Springs State Park. The Florida Paddling Trails Association (FPTA), in cooperation with OGT, hosts the annual reunion to celebrate tales from this season’s CT thru-paddlers and show appreciation for statewide volunteers and to those "trail angels" who assist long-distance paddlers. The reunion is a blast and not to be missed! You must be an FPTA member to join the fun and receive free park admission, cabin accommodations, a great paddling trip down beautiful Rock Springs Run, dinner and breakfast, and a chance to meet and mingle with lots of fun paddling friends. Those wishing to attend should contact 

Embark on a Real Florida Adventure!

Wakulla Springs sunset by Doug Alderson
The Real Florida Guides, formerly called trail itineraries, can now be found on the Florida State Parks website. Created by OGT, each Real Florida guide focuses on outdoor recreation, history and culture within a 15-mile radius of a chosen site. Each hub is either a state park, town, small city or rural region and features camping options. The goal is to promote extended stays by featuring multiple trail opportunities and points-of-interest. Locations range from Topsail Hill Preserve State Parkin  the Panhandle to White Springs in North-Central Florida to Lake Kissimmee State Park near Lake Wales. There are also six guides that are part of the Wish You Were Here theme, featuring state parks that were once Old Florida tourist attractions.

The Palmetto Trail

The Palmetto Trail
The Palmetto Trail, an approximately 1-mile multi-use recreational trail located within the 20-acre Palmetto Estuary Park on the north shore of the Manatee River, was recently completed. The Palmetto Trail is a section of the 260-mile Southwest Coast Greenway Trail, a Florida Greenways & Trails System Priority Trail stretching from Pinellas County south to Collier County. 

Winter 2016/17

SUN Trail Program Underway!

SUN Trail projects map

Work has begun on paved, multi-use trail projects that are part of the Shared Use Nonmotorized (SUN) Trail program, managed by the Florida Department of Transportation with planning assistance provided by the Office of Greenways and Trails (OGT). A total of $44,434,543 was awarded for 45 separate projects located across 21 different Florida counties. Twenty-two of the projects will help advance two major regional trail systems selected as priorities by the Florida Greenways and Trails Council: the 250-mile Florida Coast to Coast Trail and the 270-mile St. Johns River-to-Sea Loop (SJR2C). The Palatka-to-St. Augustine State Trail is part of the SJR2C and two trail construction projects are currently underway. A new alliance has recently been formed to support the SJR2C trail efforts.
Twenty-three SUN Trail projects are for individual trail segments throughout the rest of the state. This includes a bridge project on the Withlacoochee State Trail and a 5.5 mile extension of the Palatka-to-Lake Butler State Trail to the town of Palatka. All of the trails are part of the priority trail network, coordinated by OGT.
The SUN Trail Program was established during the 2015 legislative session.

Celebrate Florida Hiking Trails Month!

Hikers on Purify Bay section of FNST by Doug Alderson
The weather is often cool and crisp this time of year, so it's time to lace up those hiking shoes because February is Florida Hiking Trails Month! Florida boasts more than 2,500miles of hiking trails that are open to the public, in addition to 4,680 miles of shared-use trails that are also available to hikers. Hiking opportunities in Florida include the 1,100-mileFlorida National Scenic Trail, one of only 11 congressionally designated National Scenic Trails in the U.S. The FloridaTrail Association is Florida's volunteer organization fordeveloping and maintaining hiking trails throughout the state. 

Did You Know?

Daniel Diaz and Britney Moore on Tallahassee-St. Marks Trail, by Doug Alderson

Take the Outdoor Recreation Public Provider Survey

If you are a public provider of outdoor recreation in Florida, you can help shape the next Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan (SCORP) by taking this brief, online opinion survey.
SCORP is a five-year policy plan that guides the development of a diverse, balanced, statewide outdoor recreation system. Florida’s SCORP documents our recreational supply and demand by describing current opportunities, estimating needs for additional opportunities and proposing means for meeting those identified needs.
Your assistance is appreciated.