Walton County Heritage Museum

Learn more about the history of Walton County

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Walton County Courthouse

Growing to meet the needs of the community


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One of only two perfectly round lakes in the world

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Hotel DeFuniak

Built in 1920, completely restored, the perfect place to stay!

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October 2014
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Photos of the Week 9.18.2014

SOUTH WALTON AND WALTON battled in the trenches all night long with the Braves capturing a 27-17 home victory on Friday night. (Photo by Jennifer Casey)


WALTON’S ASHLEY HARPER (17) and Katy Brannon(3) wound up in nearly the same spot on this return during the match against West Florida last week. The Braves had little trouble in dispatching their district foe with a straight set sweep by the count of 25-14, 25-12 and 25-16. (Photo by Patrick Casey)


LARRY THE CRASH DUMMY advised that everyone should wear their seatbelt. For the second year in a row the UF/ IFAS Walton County Extension Service has sponsored their Safety First For All event. This year’s event was held at the Freeport Community Center. (Photo by Jeffrey Powell)


CAST AND PLAYWRIGHT: (l-r) actress Crystal Tolley, director/playwright Nancy Hasty, actresses Kassie Miller, Cate Campbell and Katie Miller, take questions and comments from the audience following the workshop of the first act of “Nightshade” at No Limits Theatre in DeFuniak Springs.


JOE JOHNSON, President of the Walton County Farm Bureau; First place winner, Matthew Majors (WHS); second place winner, Meredith Ricks (WHS); not pictured: third place winner, Colin Berry (SWHS). Each year, the Florida Farm Bureau Federation Women’s Leadership Program sponsors a statewide youth speech contest. The contest has three levels of competition: county, district, and state. This year both South Walton High School(SWHS) and Walton High School(WHS) Youth Leadership classes provided their students the opportunity to participate in the contest.


TEMPORARY FINANCIAL OFFICER Jim Messer wrapped up one of his final duties with the passage of the 2014-15 budget for the WCSB. Messer has helped the district shore up any financial questions, and provided help in acclimating new Chief Financial Officer Debra Locke Noyes to the district’s finances during his temporary stay with the district.

Photos of the Week 9.11.2014

LOVE’S DISTRICT MANAGER BRAD PECK AND DOZENS OF OFFICIALS from local, county and state organizations were on-hand at the Walton Area Chamber of Commerce-hosted ribbon cutting ceremony held on Sept. 5. (Photo by Reid Tucker)


THE NEW MCDONALD’S FRANCHISE LOCATION IN MOSSY HEAD brought what must be the world’s biggest cup of coffee to its own ribbon cutting ceremony. The restaurant gave free lunches to attendees at the Sept. 5 event. (Photo by Reid Tucker)


WALTON COUNTY Finance Manager Melissa Thomason detailed changes to the budget since July at the Sept. 8 budget hearing held by the county commission. (Photo by Dotty Nist)


FREEPORT DEFEATED NORTHVIEW in volleyball on Thursday (Sept. 4) by a score of 25-19, 25-5 and 25-15 to earn a district victory. The Bulldogs host Chipley in a key match on Thursday night with varsity play beginning at 6 p.m. (Photo by Patrick Casey)


JIREH CRITTENDEN, (5) SOUTH WALTON receiver, had a pair of touchdown receptions for the first two scores of the game for the visiting team as the Seahawks led North Bay Haven 20-6 at halftime on Friday night. (Photo by Jeffrey Powell)


WALTON’S CODY PHILLIPS (2) had 97 total yards and a touchdown to go with a key interception on defense as the Braves raced to a 35-7 halftime lead against Freeport last week. (Photo by Reid Tucker)

Photos of the Week 8.28.2014

WALTON COUNTY Commissioners Bill Imfeld and Kenneth Pridgen, along with County Administrator Larry Jones, accepted the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge on Aug. 26. The ice bucket in this case was on a county front-end loader. County Commission Chairman Bill Chapman didn’t participate because he had already responded after being challenged by the DeFuniak Springs Mayor Bob Campbell. All three are sending contribution checks to ALS.


ABIGAIL MELTON is the Historic Pensacola Village lead docent. Here she is leading a tour of the village. “Nowhere else in the United States can you come into a community that was founded in 1559,” said Historic Pensacola Village Chief Operating Officer Robert Overton. (Photo by Jeffrey Powell)


PRESENTING $100,000 CHECK to Angel Flight Soars Executive Director Jeanine Chambers are 723 Whiskey Bravo owners Skip and Victoria Moore.


LAURA ANDREWS had her serve working on Monday night as South Walton volleyball defeated Port St. Joe 25-16, 25-11, 21-25 and 25-18 to begin the 2014 season. (Photo by Patrick Casey)


JOHNATHAN ORTNER (15) South Walton senior quarterback, kept the offense churning despite some costly turnovers by the team as the Seahawks threw for 205 yards and scored three touchdowns in the second quarter of their exhibition game against Walton on Friday night. (Photo by Jeffrey Powell)

Photos of the Week 8.21.2014

WALTON HIGH SCHOOL held their Media Day for the 2014 Walton Braves football team on Aug. 15, as both the junior varsity and varsity teams posed in front of the press box at Everette Yates Memorial Stadium. (Photo by Patrick Casey)


FREEPORT HIGH SCHOOL held their Media Day for the Freeport football team on AUG. 15, as the Bulldogs prepare for the 2014 season. (Photo by Reid Tucker)


SWFD PERSONNEL tend to the “injured,” part of a simulated bus accident recently staged as a training exercise at South Walton High School. Walton County School District Transportation Department in conjunction with South Walton Fire District (SWFD) and Sacred Heart Hospital held the drill, part of the annual bus driver training program to refresh drivers as to what to do in case of an accident. (Photo by Jeffrey Powell)


THE WALTON COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE recruited an undead horde and some stalwart zombie apocalypse survivors to shoot a promo video for its Jail Break Zombie Fun Run, set for Nov. 1. This is no ordinary obstacle course race, as the event will have a storyline inspired by the popular “The Walking Dead” franchise. (Photo courtesy of the Walton County Sheriff’s Office)


“FLORALA FLASH” DAVID WINDHAM RETAINED SECOND-PLACE in the NeSmith Chevrolet Dirt Late Model Series street stock class points standings despite a 10th-spot finish on Aug. 16. Windham is a long-time circle track racer and now competes in the NeSmith championship series, in which he goes up against the best dirt-trackers from around the Southeast. (Photo courtesy of Melissa Windham)

Photos of the Week 8.14.2014

JIM BAGBY speaks to attendees at the Aug. 5 beach nourishment workshop. (Photo by Dotty Nist)


DEFUNIAK SPRINGS MAYOR BOB CAMPBELL and the DeFuniak Springs Senior Softball State champions at City Hall (Photo by Teresa Bogart)


THE GIRLS GOT TOGETHER FOR A TEAM PICTURE before heading out onto the field. The 2014 Florida State Championship team is composed of (back row) Laken Hadley, Sadie Varnum, Bergan Armstrong, Megan Davis, Mercedes Goldsmith, (middle) Afton Adams, Kyrsten Head, Paiyton Perry, Haley Mitchell, (back row) Caylor Dixon, Hailee Bryan, and Camryn Brazile. The team made it to the national quarterfinals. (Photo courtesy of Donna Smith)


ALL THREE Walton County high school football teams will take part in Kickoff Classics on August 22 with the 2014 regular season beginning on August 29. The DeFuniak Herald/Beach Breeze will publish this year’s football tab on August 28. (Photo by Patrick Casey)


DALE DEAN (l) WITH Embry-Riddle University and Walton High School Principal Russell Hughes (r) spoke to the board about providing an opportunity for local students to become dual-enrolled in an aeronautics curriculum, paving the way for students to get a head start in the technology and science job market. The new program was passed by a unanimous vote from the board.

Photos of the Week 8.7.2014

SOUTH WALTON’S CHRISTIAN FRIIS GRABBED GOLD in the decathlon at the 2014 AAU Junior Olympic Games, held over the weekend of July 26-27 in Des Moines, Iowa. His score of 6,276 is a personal record, as are his marks of 42-08 feet in the shot put and 5-10.75 in the high jump. (Photo courtesy of Christian Friis)


BOY SCOUT EVAN COWIE PRESENTED THIS TABLE AND BENCH SET, complete with inlaid chess board, to the city of DeFuniak Springs at a dedication ceremony at the Walton County Library on July 31. The construction project on the concrete table took a year’s worth of preparation and 277 hours of work to complete. (Photo by Reid Tucker)


WHERE IN THE HERALD were Herald/Breeze editor Bruce Collier and his daughter Grace? Bruce, his wife Kim and Grace spent a day last week at the Ohio State Fair in Columbus, along with Bruce’s sister, brother-in-law and nephew. This photo was snapped at the entrance gate of the fair, in front of a large statue of a cardinal, the Ohio state bird. (Photo by Kim Collier)


A BRIGHT-COLORED summer visitor to a backyard near a coastal dune lake. Found around lakes, ponds, streams, wetlands and marshes, dragonflies are among the fastest and most agile flying insects. They dine on mosquitoes, flies, ants, and wasps. There are more than 5,900 dragonfly species. (Photo by Dotty Nist)


WILLIAM “BILL” ELLIS POSES NEXT TO his family’s portraits and memorabilia. Ellis recounted some of his World War II experiences as a seaman aboard the famous carrier U.S.S. Hornet, including the Doolittle Tokyo Raid and the Battle of Midway. (Photo by Jeffrey Powell)

Photos of the Week 7.31.2014

GABE MOORE THREW A PERSONAL BEST in the javelin event, setting a mark of 52.25 meters. He had PRs in three other events, elevating him to an eight place overall finish at the 2014 World Junior Championships’ decathlon, held July 22-23 in Eugene, Ore. (Photo courtesy of Gabe Moore)


MOST OF THE 38 Kids Catfish Tournament participants pose for a post awards ceremony photo. (photo by Jeffrey Powell)


THE MULLET TOSS COMPETITION is a very popular event at Nick’s Kids Catfish Tournament. (Photo by Jeffrey Powell)

Photos of the Week 7.24.2014

STATE CHAMPIONS from DFS Little League – first time ever for DFS Little League.


THIS GROUP OF CAMPERS is receiving pre-snorkeling briefing. More than 100 4-H campers from Walton, Santa Rosa and Franklin counties in Florida and Covington County, Ala., converged on Camp Timpoochee in July for the organization’s summer camp. Campers spent the week participating in a variety of activities which kept both them and camp counselors busy. (Photo by Jeffrey Powell)


FIREFIGHTERS taking instruction in the use of the thermal imaging camera.
Thermal imaging cameras provide firefighters with the ability to see through smoke and darkness, allowing them to locate potential victims much quicker than searching without them. Walton Fire-Rescue, in coordination with DeFuniak Springs Fire, began field testing various cameras that are currently available on the market.


GROUP picture with NCA coaches. The WHS cheerleaders are getting ready for 2014 Cheer season and the Aug. 22 Kick-off Classic at South Walton High and the 2013-2014 Cheer Competition Season.


TEMPORARY FINANCIAL MANAGER Jim Messer went over the upcoming budget for the 2014-2015 school fiscal year during a series of budget workshops held at the district office as well as at South Walton High School.

Photos of the Week 7.17.2014

SUMMER at the Grayton Beach Store, a scene from the 2014 production of Grit & Grace: A Dreaming Place. (Photo by Mary Jo Odom, Florida Nuptials)


WCSO SUMMER CAMP ATTENDEES take a break from playing board games. The Walton County Sheriff’s Office held two weeks of summer camp in July. More than 25 young people attended the camp, which was based out of Maude Saunders Elementary School in DeFuniak Springs. (Photo by Jeffrey Powell)


FORMER FLORIDA LEGISLATOR DURRELL PEADEN, now a member of the Lake Erie School of Osteopathic Medicine’s Board of Directors (r) introduced Florida Agency for Health Care Administration Secretary Elizabeth Dudek and her staff. The secretary was on a tour in July of the Panhandle’s medical facilities, and they stopped by to see the progress of the construction project at the forthcoming dental school. (Photo by Reid Tucker)


THE PAXTON DIXIE YOUTH PONYTAILS fast pitch softball team traveled to Okeechobee, Fla. in July to participate in the Florida state tournament and came away with the first-ever state title for the organization. The girls went undefeated and held their opponents scoreless throughout tournament play. They defeated Wauneta 14-0, and Altha 10-0 and 12-0 to claim the state title.

THESE MARKERS ARE DEDICATED to both the fallen and survivors of both parties, who took part in a battle in 1813 at Fort Mims, Alabama. Today Fort Mims is a five-acre state historic site consisting of a partially rebuilt stockade, with many informative markers. (Photo by Jeffrey Powell)

Photos of the Week 7.10.2014

FREEPORT HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATE GABE MOORE and Team USA team mate Harrison Williams were the highest-scoring participants in this year’s USA Track and Field Outdoor Championships decathlon competition, qualifying both young men for a spot on Team USA at the 2014 World Junior Championships. (Photo courtesy of Gabe Moore)


OH, I’M SUPPOSED TO THROW THE CANDY? Small rider on His Kids Pre-School float samples the goods, one of many floats on display in the DeFuniak Springs Fourth of July parade. (Photo by Bruce Collier)


“PRIVATE PROPERTY” signs to the west of the Fort Panic/Dune Allen Regional Beach Access. Brian Kellenberger, director of beach operations for the Walton County Tourist Development Council (TDC), said TDC beach personnel have seen many more of these signs go up since last year. (Photo by Dotty Nist)


THE TWIRLING AMERICAN BEAUTIES were well represented at the Fourth of July parade and festivities at Seaside. (Photo by Jeffrey Powell)

GIGI’S PARTICIPANTS, also at the Seaside July 4 parade, always put on a good show.