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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December 2014
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Photos of the Week 12.11.2014

CITIZENS SPEAK with representatives of state and federal agencies and county commissioners at the close of the Dec. 2 beach project workshop. (Photo by Dotty Nist)


THE DEFUNIAK BUSINESS and Professional Association (DBPA) held its annual Christmas Window Decoration Contest. As always, the entries were beautiful and creative, each in their own way representing this magical Christmas season. First place went to Katie Beth’s Boutique.


PAXTON SCHOOL’S INAUGURAL AVID JINGLE BELL 5K was organized to provide fundraising for college scholarships for students in the school’s AVID program. The age-group winners, including the DeFuniak Herald’s own Norma Rediker and Reid Tucker, gathered at the finish line after the cross-country style race to receive their medals. AVID, or Advancement Via Individual Determination, is a nationwide initiative designed to support high school students pursuing higher education by preparing them with college-readiness skills and training. All proceeds from the first-ever Jingle Bell 5K, held on-campus at Paxton School on Saturday, Dec. 6, go toward the AVID Scholarship Fund. (Photo by Jeffrey Powell)


THE ARC OF WALTON COUNTY Christmas tree was one of 12 uniquely decorated Christmas trees from area non-profit organizations, Nov. 25 – Dec. 25 in Grand Park. The trees will be on display through Christmas and open to the public to enjoy at no cost.


WALTON’S KRISTA MCQUEEN WAS THE DOMINANT FORCE on the court during the Lady Braves’ home game against South Walton. She scored 37 points in the non-district contest on Dec. 6. (Photo by Reid Tucker)


WILLIAM PICKREN, South Walton sophomore (l) prepares to square off against a wrestler from Lake City Columbia on Friday. Pickren won all of his matches over the two days of the event in the 120-pound classification. (Photo by Jeffrey Powell)

Photos of the Week 12.4.2014

STUDENTS OF THE DANCEWAYS dance school entertain parade goers. Crowds of families and children bundled up to view the South Walton Holiday Parade on Nov. 29 as floats, gaily decorated vehicles, and marchers made their way from Seagrove Plaza to Seaside. (Photo by Dotty Nist)


SANTA AND Mrs. Claus arrive at Seaside in a horse-drawn carriage. (Photo by Dotty Nist)


KEYUN LACEY MAY BE THE SHORTEST PLAYER on the Warriors’ roster, but he is the most explosive by far, creating all kinds of problems for the team’s opponents no matter what end of the court. He buried two 3-pointers in the fourth quarter, adding to his 12 total points on the night. (Photo courtesy of John Rafferty)


WALTON’S DEJA TUCKER (24) scored 14 points and center Krista McQueen(33) had 27 as the Braves game with Freeport went down to the wire on Monday night. (Photo by Patrick Casey)


SHIRLEY CARROLL (l) and Voncille McLeod of the Chautauqua Hall of Brotherhood Foundation Inc. recently updated their elevator fund sign by adding $22,000. The sign is located directly adjacent to the Chautauqua Hall of Brotherhood building in DeFuniak Springs. “We appreciate everyone that has made a donation,” said Carroll. “This money will go a long way toward installing an elevator into this historic building.” (Photo by Jeffrey Powell)


MANY PICTURES were taken on parade day. Some were event taken from floats. (Photo by Dotty Nist)

Photos of the Week 11.27.2014

NITRO GEE scored 23 points against Mosley and 24 against Pensacola Christian as the Braves opened the regular season with a 2-1 mark. (Photo by Jennifer Casey)


FREEPORT’S MEGAN O’NEAL blitzed South Walton for 38 points last week in a 67-56 win for the Bulldogs against the Seahawks. (Photo by Patrick Casey)


THE WESLEY HOUSE at Eden Gardens State Park is a beautiful place year round. It is particularly nice during the holiday season due to Christmas decorations both inside and out. An open house will be held on Dec. 20, from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. (Photo by Jeffrey Powell)


THE CHILDREN’S BEDROOM AT WESLEY HOUSE was decorated by South Walton Montessori Association teachers and students. Dozens of volunteers from a wide variety of businesses and civic organizations descended upon the Wesley House at Eden Gardens State Park on Nov.18, to decorate the home for the upcoming Christmas season. (Photo by Jeffrey Howell)


CHRISTMAS REFLECTIONS has added a new display to their lakeside Christmas wonderland. John Parsons constructed the Snow White and the Seven Dwarves display which included Snow White’s prince. “Come see the newest addition to our Christmas Reflection extravaganza,” said Ellen Mayfield. “Mr. Parsons did a fabulous job on this display and we appreciate his effort immensely.” The Christmas Reflections display begins the day after Thanksgiving. (Photo by Jeffrey Powell)


WALTON COUNTY JUDGE DAVID GREEN SWORE IN returning Paxton Town Councilmen Tommy Mathis and Travis McMillan and installed Ann Sexton to the seat formerly occupied by Charles Cook at the Nov. 18 meeting. (Photo by Reid Tucker)

Photos of the Week 11.20.2014

FREEPORT’S KATIE O’NEAL WAS THE BREAKOUT HERO of the start of the 2014-2015 season, scoring 37 points against Ponce de Leon and 19 against Blountstown. (Photo by Reid Tucker)


MEGAN O’NEAL SCORED A COMBINED 31 POINTS in the first two games of Freeport’s season. She hit four 3-pointers in the home game against Blountstown as the Lady Bulldogs’ dominant outside shooter. (Photo by Reid Tucker)


FIRST JUDICIAL CIRCUIT Judge W. Howard LaPorte and wife Sarah enjoy a retirement reception given in his honor, Nov. 13, 2014.

CIRCUIT COURT JUDGE KELVIN WELLS officiated at a swearing-in ceremony on Tuesday, Nov. 18, at the Walton County Courthouse in DeFuniak Springs. Sworn in to office were new Walton County School Board members Jason Catalano, Kim Kirby and Bill Eddins Junior. Also sworn-in was new Walton County Commissioner Cecilia Jones. (Photo by Jeffrey Powell)


A CONVOY OF CHEVY TRUCKS heads for the new Triangle Chevrolet dealership location on U.S. 331 South in DeFuniak Springs. Triangle had been in its U.S. 90 location since 1971. (Photo by Jeffrey Powell)


Photos of the Week 11.13.2014

MIKE GOODCHILD OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA’S IFAS EXTENSION SERVICE manned a booth at last Saturday’s Energy Expo in DeFuniak Springs, showing off some of the Extension Office’s successes with hydroponics and even a student-built electric motorcycle. (Photo by Reid Tucker)


DONALD CRIPPS IS THE OLDEST BASE JUMPER IN THE WORLD, according to the 2015 edition of the Guinness World Records. At 85 years old, the veteran of World War II, Korea and the Cuban Missile Crisis still skydives just about every weekend. (Photo by Reid Tucker)

U.S. CONGRESSMAN JEFF MILLER WAS THE KEYNOTE SPEAKER at the 2014 Veterans Day Observances in DeFuniak Springs. Miller serves on the House Armed Services Committee and he chairs the House Committee on Veterans Affairs. (Photo by Reid Tucker)


BELLE WALDROP of South Walton skies high to prepare to launch a kill shot during the Seahawks win over Chipley last week. The Region semi-final went five sets with the Seahawks grabbing a 25-17, 25-19, 23-25, 23-25 and 16-14 win to move on to the next round. (Photo by Patrick Casey)


ZACK SEAY SCORED TWO TOUCHDOWNS AND LED THE BULLDOGS in rushing yardage on the night they defeated Rocky Bayou 34-33, with 119 yards on 15 carries. (Photo by Reid Tucker)


ROGENE HASTY (seated with photo), and No Limits actors (clockwise from top left): Shawne Shiflett, Nancy Hasty, Conner Ricks and Kassie Miller. We Were Soldiers Too, created and directed by No Limits founder and artistic director Nancy Hasty, tells the stories of the wives and widows who reside at the Air Force Enlisted Village

Photos of the Week 10.6.2014

AS A TOKEN of appreciation for his role in obtaining appropriations for Walton County projects, Florida Senate President Don Gaetz was presented with a miniature semi truck bearing the insignia of Love’s Travel Stops, the first business to locate at Mossy Head Industrial Park. From left: Walton County Commissioner Sara Comander, Gaetz, and Walton County Commissioner Bill Imfeld. (Photo by Dotty Nist)


THIS GROUP OF YOUNG LADIES from Walton High School visited the DeFuniak Herald/Beach Breeze table. Northwest Florida State College (NWFSC) Chautauqua Center along with the DeFuniak Springs Rotary Club again hosted a CareerFest on Oct. 30, intended to allow students to see a variety of career options in a one-stop setting. (Photo by Jeffrey Powell)


WALTON COUNTY COMMISSION Chairman Bill Chapman prepares to cut a ribbon to officially open the WaterSound Trail. (Photo by Dotty Nist)


THE FRIENDS OF ARMY AVIATION-OZARK is raising money to provide free rides to veterans and requests donations from any individuals or organizations interested in participating. (Photo by Reid Tucker)


JIREH CRITTENDEN, South Walton receiver, celebrates with a teammate after scoring on a school record 90-yard touchdown pass that put the Seahawks up on Bozeman 21-0 in the first quarter. (Photo by Patrick Casey)


JACE FIELDER, Walton junior quarterback, had touchdown runs of 23 and 42 yards while tossing a short scoring pass to Jalen Jones as the Braves clinched a playoff spot in Class 4A. (Photo by Jennifer Casey)

Photos of the Week 10.30.2014

ATTENDEES OF THE TOURIST DEVELOPMENT COUNCIL’S OCT. 21 ANNUAL MEETING got the chance to sample the TDC’s “Perfect Escape Booth” that has been used to promote Walton County’s beaches in Chicago, Atlanta, New Orleans, and other areas. (Photo by Dotty Nist)


JUAN ADARO (c) receives the award as South Walton Artist of the Year from the Tourist Development Council. (Photo courtesy of TDC )


WALTON COUNTY OFFICIALS joined ECCAC supporters and developers for the official groundbreaking of the Emerald Coast Children’s Advocacy Center (ECCAC) in DeFuniak Springs, held Oct. 28. (Photo by Jeffrey Powell)


JOE LEDO-MASSEY OF SOUTH WALTON HIGH HAD EIGHT CARRIES FOR 84 YARDS in the Battle of the Bay 2014, and one of those rushes was a 1-yard touchdown in the second quarter. (Photo by Jeffrey Powell)


THE SOUTH WALTON VOLLEYBALL TEAM won their second consecutive district title with a five-set thriller over Liberty County last week in the District 4, Class A tournament played at Port St. Joe High School. (Photo by Patrick Casey)



Photos of the Week 10.23.2014

WINE SAMPLES DREW plenty of curious and thirsty attendees of last Saturday’s Harvest Festival. Near-perfect weather brought out crowds of attendees to the Chautauqua Winery in DeFuniak Springs. (Photo by Bruce Collier)


TESS MILLER WITH MEDUSA, the Red-Tail Hawk, was part of last week’s Special Needs in Nature day, at the E. O. Biophilia Center on SR-20 east of Freeport. (Photo by Ben Grafton)


KENNETH PRIDGEN was recognized for his almost 12 years as a Walton County commissioner with the presentation of a plaque at the Oct. 14 Walton County Board of County commissioners (BCC) meeting. County Commission Chairman Bill Chapman (left front) made the presentation, and Pridgen was applauded by his fellow commissioners and citizens attending the meeting. Pridgen (right front) was first elected to the Walton County District 2 seat in 2002 and was subsequently elected to two additional terms. Pridgen commented that it had been an honor to serve the county and the citizens and that he looked forward to spending more time with his family. He will complete his service on the BCC on Nov. 17. (Photo courtesy of Walton County Public Information)


WALTON’S BAILEY BURGESS (1) sets the volleyball for one of her teammates during the Braves four set win at Freeport last week. The Braves also won at Pine Forest to finish the regular season at 13-8. (Photo by Patrick Casey)


MEMBERS of the second induction class of the Walton Sports Hall of Fame were treated to a luncheon at McLain’s Restaurant on Friday afternoon. (Photo by Patrick Casey)



AZENDE REY, Walton junior running back (3) set a school record with six rushing touchdowns while running for 257 yards in the Braves win over Marianna on Friday night. (Photo by Jennifer Casey)

Photos of the Week 10.16.2014

DONNIE GROSSKOPF of South Walton (22) got loose on a sweep as the Seahawks took advantage of five Cottondale turnovers in the game to run out to a 41-6 halftime lead. (Photo by Patrick Casey)


DONNIE GROSSKOPF of South Walton (22) got loose on a sweep as the Seahawks took advantage of five Cottondale turnovers in the game to run out to a 41-6 halftime lead. (Photo by Patrick Casey)


GEORGE THOMPSON VISITS THE GRAVES of his mother and father in Thompson Cemetery. Thompson recalled the pioneering lifestyle of Santa Rosa childhood in an interview with the Herald Breeze. (Photo by Jeffrey Powell)


EVERYONE MADE GREAT USE of the lake thanks to participants like
Snaggy Bend Outfitters and Emerald Coast Hydrobikes. Kids of all ages enjoyed Walton Outdoors’ Explore the Outdoors Festival at the lake yard on Oct. 11, as well as St. Agatha’s Sale on the Circle. (Photo by Alicia Leonard)


SHOPPERS SPILLED OVER the sidewalks looking for the perfect
treasure at the Sale on the Circle in DeFuniak Springs on Oct. 11. (Photo by Alicia Leonard)

Photos of the Week 10.09.2014

WALTON COUNTY EXTENSION SERVICE DIRECTOR Mike Goodchild (r) presents members of the Collinsworth/Currid family with the Farm Family of the Year award. (Photo by Jeffrey Powell)


THE REVEREND Dr. Sandra Mcleod speaks to the group about the importance St. Francis placed on relationships with all creatures, great and small while chairperson for the event and assistant Carrie Dockery (r-l) looks on as Max waits for his blessing. The annual Blessing of the Pets at St. Agatha’s Episcopal Church took place Oct. 4 in DeFuniak Springs. (Photo by Alicia Leonard)


THE OLDER THE BETTER. Cast iron tools, cookware and kitchen antiques always make shoppers stop for a look. This was part of the stock available for browsing and purchase at Peddler’s Alley, Oct. 4 in DeFuniak Springs. (Photo by Alicia Leonard)


MACHINERY AND test piles for the bridge expansion project. Test piles have been installed in the water in connection with the U.S. 331 bay bridge expansion project in Walton County, according to the Florida Department of Transportation (DOT).


THE WALTON DEFENSE had their toughest test of the regular season on Friday night as Florida High, with 19 seniors on the roster, was too much for the Braves on the road. (Photo by Jennifer Casey)