Walton County Heritage Museum

Learn more about the history of Walton County

Train Depot Museum

Walton County Courthouse

Growing to meet the needs of the community


Lake DeFuniak

One of only two perfectly round lakes in the world

Fun and relaxation

Hotel DeFuniak

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

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April 2014
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Photos of the Week 4.17.2014

A CHEVY CAPRICE similar to the 20 being ordered by the WCSO to replace older vehicles in their fleet. As approved by the Walton County Board of County Commissioners (BCC), the Walton County Sheriff’s Office will be receiving 25 new vehicles to replace aging vehicles in its fleet, some of which are quite old. (Photo courtesy of the WCSO)


WALTON PITCHER LAURA HYDLE PICKED UP THE WIN on the mound with five hits, three walks and two strikeouts in seven innings of work. The Lady Braves overcame Ponce de Leon for a 7-5 Senior Night win. (Photo by Reid Tucker)


SOUTH WALTON HIGH SCHOOL Senior Casey Perot signed a letter of commitment to play basketball for Gadsden State Community College. Joining Casey are (l-r) sister Mackenzie Perot, SWHS Girls Basketball Assistant Coach Chip High, SWHS Girls Basketball Head Coach Kevin Craig, Michelle Perot, Allan Turner, Gadsden State Assistant Coach Chad Butts, and SWHS Athletic Director Phil Tisa. (Photo by Barb Stratton)


THE SOUTH WALTON TRACK TEAM had a good day at the district meet at Emerald Coast Middle School last week as the Seahawks sent nearly a dozen athletes on to the Region meet at Jacksonville Bolles this week. (Photo courtesy SW Facebook page)


WALTON IMPROVED to 9-10 on the year with their victory over Rocky Bayou on Friday night. The Braves will play against West Florida on April 22 in Pensacola at 7 p.m. with a playoff berth on the line. (Photo by Gary Woodham)


WALTON SENIOR CARETHA PAUL signed a scholarship deal on Friday morning in the Walton High School gymnasium to play basketball at Lurleen B. Wallace Community College in Andalusia in the fall. (Photo by Patrick Casey)


Photos of the Week 4.10.2014

EXTENSION AGENT EDDIE POWELL (r) and Master Gardener Harold Floyd (l) with a small portion of the healthy tomato plants growing in the Extension’s greenhouse in DeFuniak Springs. Workshops were held on April 4 in north and south Walton County.


THE MOUNDS at Biophilia Center are always a great attraction. On Saturday, April 5 – Earth Day – at the E.O. Wilson Biophilia Center, the grounds were filled with exhibits. No fewer than 30 businesses and organizations, too many to list, contributed to the activities.


LOCALS DO THEIR PART TO HELP LAW ENFORCEMENT keep the beachside areas clear of Spring Break troublemakers – perhaps none more so than this sizeable bull shark. (Photo by Reid Tucker)


HUNDREDS OF TEENAGE SPRING BREAKERS SWARMED on the beaches just off State Road 30A. (Photo by Reid Tucker)


PAXTON’S EMORY ANDERSON (2) got a lead off of second base late in the game after collecting his third hit of the afternoon against Central. The Bobcats are 11-2 overall and 8-0 in district competition so far this season. (Photo by Patrick Casey)


Photos of the Week 4.3.2014

THE SPECIAL OLYMPICS AVERAGES $34 MILLION EACH YEAR at the global level, and 300 Florida state and local law enforcement agencies participate in runs like the Torch Run, 1,500 miles across 60 Florida counties. (Photo by Reid Tucker)


ON MONDAY, MARCH 31, three members of the First Baptist Academy briefed family, friends and visitors about their recent mission trips to Guatemala. William Murray (l), Gracie Geoghagan and Lilli Feitama each spoke to the gathering and related a few of their personal experiences. “The students did a marvelous job today,” said DeFuniak Springs First Baptist Church Pastor Bobby Tucker. “The wonderful thing about this is that both adults and children can be involved in ministry. The kids gave of their spring break to help others.” (Photo by Jeffrey Powell)


DEFUNIAK SPRINGS MAYOR BOB CAMPBELL ANSWERED questions from the students in attendance at the ceremony at which he issued the proclamation establishing the week of March 23 as National Boys & Girls Club Week in the city. (Photo by Reid Tucker)


FORMER WALTON football player Deon Lee is climbing up the depth chart at Troy University this spring. (Photo courtesy Troy University)


SKYDIVERS WHO CAME TO THE BOOGIE had a little waiting to do before they were able to take to the air, but once they did everything went off without a hitch despite the sometimes unfavorable weather. Jim and Melanie Nipper, owners and operators of Skydive Live! in north Walton County, and main skydiving instructor David Rose, along with the rest of the staff welcomed the public as well as their usual customers for a weekend of skydiving, barbecuing, and camping out. (Photo by Reid Tucker)

Photos of the Week 3.13.2014

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR for the Walton County Taxpayers Association(WCTA) and President Dr. Don Riley were able to get all items they requested on the agenda to be given consideration, and two recommendations will come up for a vote at the April 1 school board meeting.


MISS RATTLESNAKE RODEO 2014 is Devero Bogart. The competition featured a formal interview, the evening gown segment, and an on stage question. In addition to receiving gifts from various businesses, Devero received a $1,000 award as part of her Miss Rattlesnake Rodeo prizes.


COUNTY COMMISSIONER SARA COMANDER, citizens and county staff engage in discussion at the March 4 Coffee with the Commissioner. “Where do we want to be, and how do we want to get there?” was a question posed to attendees.


NATIONAL GIRL SCOUT WEEK PROCLAIMED: March 9 through March 15 is National Girl Scout week! On Monday, March 10, Freeport Mayor Russ Barley, assisted by a room full of local Girl Scouts, signed a proclamation declaring the same for the city of Freeport. (Photo by The Ard Gallery)


PAXTON SOPHOMORE PITCHER CASSIDY BRAZILE threw a seven-strikeout one-hitter against Malone on March 7, and she had a good showing on offense as well, scoring three runs and going 2-for-3 at the plate with a pair of singles and a walk. (Photo by Reid Tucker)


WALTON COACH RANDI ANNE MCKIE watches as Jade Larrick rounds third base to head home after clouting a three-run home run in the second inning of the Braves game with PDL last week. (Photo by Patrick Casey)

Photos of the Week 3.6.2014

QUILT WINNER Deb Broxson of Milton, Fla. On Friday and Saturday, Feb. 21 and 22, more than 634 people attended the Chautauqua Quilters Guild’s second biennial quilt show. The theme of this show was “Our Roots & Our Wings.” The show was presented in honor of Cecil and Elisabeth Turner, longtime members of Chautauqua Quilters Guild.


ST. JOE COMPANY Senior Vice President Jorge Gonzalez (right) speaks with Walton County residents at the company’s Feb. 27 open house meeting. Company representatives have indicated that they will be submitting a proposed long-term master plan to the two local governments for some 46,191 acres it owns in Walton and Bay counties later this month. (Photo by Dotty Nist)


AT THE FEB. 27 town hall meeting (from left): County Commissioner Cindy Meadows, Maj. Joe Preston of the Walton County Sheriff’s Office, and County Commissioner Sara Comander. Comander joined with Walton County District 5 Commissioner Cindy Meadows in hosting a meeting on county issues, with an emphasis on the upcoming spring break. The meeting location was the Seascape conference center in Miramar Beach.(Photo by Dotty Nist)


WALTON’S KIKI BOGART’S SINGLE DROVE IN JADE LARRICK to give the Lady Braves a 5-4 win over Marianna. It was the fifth straight win for the Walton club, which also remains unbeaten in district play. (Photo by Reid Tucker)


WALTON’S STARTING PITCHER ON FEB. 28, TYLER LAWNICZAK, earned the win against Paxton with 12 strikeouts, four walks and two hits in five-and-a-half innings of work. (Photo by Reid Tucker)


MEAGAN ELLISON, South Walton senior pitcher, toiled for seven innings to pick up the win in the Seahawks 10-5 victory over Franklin County on Friday night. (Photo by Patrick Casey)

Photos of the Week 2.27.2014

THE PAXTON LADY CATS ARE THE 2014 CLASS 1A STATE CHAMPIONS after a thrilling 39-34 victory over Chipley. (Photo courtesy of Paxton School)



PATSY STEPHENS, CARLENE ANDERSON and Dixie Burge (l-r) held a press conference Feb. 20, 2014 to go over the collective bargaining agreement
with the Walton County School District. Employees will vote on the tentative agreement Feb. 27 and if passed, the Walton County School Board will consider it at their March 4, 2014 regular meeting.

VAN NESS BUTLER, Jr., speaks to community members at Scenic Highway Days at Grayton Beach in March 2010. Butler, 83, passed away on Feb. 14, 2014, after a lifetime of service to the Walton County community. (Photo by Dotty Nist)

WINNERS (l-r) Susan Marino, Emerald Coast Middle School, Teacher of the Year, (l) and Barbara Stratton (r) South Walton High School, Educational Support Professional of the Year.


WILLIAM R “BILL” Elliott, Jr., AIA with Elliott, Marshall, and Innes, P. A. an architectural planning and interiors firm out of Tallahassee presented some options to the school board for trimming costs from the school plan for rebuilding Walton Middle School.

Photos of the Week 2.20.2014

IT WAS ALL SMILES for the Paxton Lady Bobcats after their win over Poplar Springs on Friday night. Paxton(24-3) will travel to Lakeland for the Final Four to face Chiefland(17-1) on Wednesday at 12:30 p.m. The Class A title game will be on Thursday at 11:05 a.m. (Photo by Reid Tucker)


LOCAL CAR LOVERS enjoyed seeing all the hot rods that came out to
participate. Members of the Democratic Black Caucus of Florida(DBCF), the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People(NAACP), Tivoli Historical Society, and hundreds of residents came out the afternoon of Feb. 15, 2014 for a parade and rally to celebrate black history.


CALLING IT A DAY. This Yolo boarder took advantage of the beautiful weather this past weekend. (Photo by Norma Rediker)


THIS VARIEGATED VARIETY OF CAMELLIA is in full bloom. A crisp, clear morning welcomed well more than 100 visitors to the annual camellia festival held at Eden Gardens State Park on Saturday morning, Feb. 15. Those in attendance were able to stroll through the gardens where a number of different varieties of camellia were in bloom.


TEACHER AND DISTRICT NEGOTIATORS, Sandra Butler and Jerry Copeland (l-r) shake hands to agree to a deal that will now go before union members for a vote. A tense start to a meeting that lasted around six hours in all, minus a lunch break and several caucuses, ended with district negotiators and teachers union representatives shaking hands over a tentative agreement for teacher and staff raises.


FREEPORT’S GABE MOORE WON THE BOYS’ HIGH JUMP competition with a 6-02 mark, beating his next-nearest competitor by 5 inches. The weather was cool last weekend, but the action was scorching at the 2014 Seahawk Open track meet. The first-annual event, held Saturday, Feb. 15, at Emerald Coast Middle School, drew teams from 12 north Florida high schools from the Panhandle to the big Big Bend area and a stadium-full of fans. (Photo by Reid Tucker)

Photos of the Week 2.14.2014

Walton’s Krista McQueen(33) and Kayla Jackson(31) work to trap an East Gadsden guard during the first half of the Braves 82-73 victory over the Jaguars. Walton(18-9) faces Tallahassee Godby on Feb. 11 and could host the Region Final on Saturday night with a win over the Cougars. (Photo by Patrick Casey)


GABE MOORE SIGNED A FOUR-YEAR TRACK SCHOLARSHIP with the University of Arkansas at a National Signing Day ceremony held Wednesday, Feb. 4 at Freeport High School. Accompanying Moore was his mother, Chris Pulsifer, Principal Shirley Foster, Mayor Russ Barley, Athletic Director Jim Anderson and Moore’s private track coach Willie Parker. (Photo by Reid Tucker)


PAXTON’S DESMOND MOORE SCORED 18 POINTS in the District 1-A championship game against Malone on Saturday, Feb. 8. (Photo by Reid Tucker)


HERE COMES THE KREWE DE YAK! DeFuniak’s own Krewe de Yak invited friends, fellow krewes from the area, honored guests and the general public to a New Orleans-style Mardi Gras parade on Saturday, Feb. 8, on Circle Drive around the lake.


A WHITE HERON searches for an easy meal along the shores of the Choctawhatchee Bay. (Photo by Norma Rediker)

Photos of the Week 2.4.2014

THE WALTON LADY BRAVES girls basketball team earned their third consecutive district crown on Saturday night after defeating Pensacola Catholic and West Florida over a span of 26 hours. Walton will host East Gadsden on Thursday night at 7 p.m. in an opening round state playoff game. (Photo by Patrick Casey)


THE LADY CATS MADE IT 10 STRAIGHT TITLES, once more taking the district hoops trophy back to Paxton. Paxton outlasted Poplar Springs 36-34 and overcame new district rival Ponce de Leon 36-30 to win the District 1-A tournament, held at Central High School in Santa Rosa County. (Photo by Reid Tucker)


IN A BATTLE of two of the Area 5′s top scorers, Freeport’s Mason Hall(21) put up 26 points while Ponce de Leon’s Zach Johnson(12) tallied 14 as both squads closed out the regular season on Friday night. (Photo by Patrick Casey)


A SHOT OF U.S. 331 WEDNESDAY morning (Jan. 29) shows the sand put down by FDOT to keep drivers from sliding off the road. Unusual precipitation and freezing temperatures ground business as usual in northwest Florida to a halt during the last week of January 2014. A wintry mix with a good layer of ice built up on local roads, causing emergency conditions, and shutting down interstate travel as well as bridge crossings in the area for close to 48 hours. (Photo by A.J. Fulcher)


WINTER SUNSET captured by Norma Rediker at the U.S. 331 South bridge.

Photos of the Week 1.30.2014

EMERALD COAST MIDDLE School’s Sesame Street and PBS helped kids everywhere to learn in a fun way, but Big Bird seemed like a big draw to many. The theme of this year’s Florida Chautauqua Assembly was “A Journey into the World of Motion Pictures,” (Photo by Alicia Leonard)


CANNONS BLAZED AND crowds enjoyed watching the skirmish that usually winds up the Chautauqua Assembly festival weekend. (Photo by waltonoutdoors.com)


VISITORS ADMIRE PERIOD firearms while visiting a Civil War encampment on the lake Friday afternoon, part of the Chautauqua Assembly 2014. (Photo by Alicia Leonard)


CATHY MOSLEY AND TERRY DAWKINS PRESENTED A PHOTO OF DEFUNIAK taken from Dawkins’ airplane to the City Council. Mosley, the photographer, said images like this one are a crucial part of maintaining the city’s rich history and cultural heritage. (Photo by Reid Tucker)



WALTON’S CARETHA PAUL (11) worked to keep the ball away from PDL’s Brittany Chapman(25) during last week’s game between the Pirates and the Braves. The two players are a pair of the better point guards in the region as the rivals have split their last 34 meetings in the series. (Photo by Patrick Casey)