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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January 2015
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Photos of the Week 1.22.15

SUSAN GIBLIN’S “Great Blue Heron” is a very colorful oil painting. The Arts and Design Society (ADSO) of Fort Walton Beach, is currently presenting their 23rd Southeast Regional juried fine arts exhibition in the McIlory Gallery at the Mattie Kelly Fine and Performing arts center galleries in Niceville. This annual competitive exhibition regularly attracts many top artists and their varied talents and media from throughout the Southeastern United States. (Photo by Jeffrey Powell)


CHAUTAUQUA HISTORY ON DISPLAY will be seen at the 2015 Florida Chautauqua Assembly. The 4-day educational and cultural program for families begins on Thursday, Jan. 22 and lasts through Sunday, Jan. 25.


STANDING ROOM ONLY was an understatement at the Jan. 14 special meeting of the Planning Commission. Following much commentary and legal argument, the commission voted 3-2 to recommend approval of a 90-room Hampton Inn proposed for CR-30A in Seagrove. (Photo by Dotty Nist)


NITRO GEE Walton junior forward (22) had 11 points as the Braves earned their seventh win of the year on Friday night in a home victory over Marianna. (Photo by Jennifer Casey)


AMANDA PASCHAL, (12), Chipley senior guard, scored 26 points against Freeport last week but it wasn’t enough as the Bulldogs avenged one of their two losses on the year with a 61-53 win over the Tigers in overtime to take the top seed in the upcoming District 3 girls basketball tournament. (Photo by Patrick Casey)


Photos of the Week 1.15.15

A TESLA MOTORS representative brought this 2014 model S to DeFuniak Springs on Fri. Jan. 9, to commission the new super-charger site. The chargers are located on 10th Street in the downtown area and are ready to be used by Tesla owners. (photo by Jeffrey Powell)


NOBLE today, after proper care and nutrition. “Noble” was taken from 1426 JW Hollington Road, Freeport, after the owner was charged with multiple felony counts of animal cruelty. The Walton County Sheriff’s Office received a grant from the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) for $8,000.


TYLER PEADEN (l) and Robert Ellis, of Crestview’s Peaden Brothers Distillery, display two of their favorite flavors of locally-distilled liquor, variously made up of corn, rye, or other grains. The Peadens hail their business as the first legal distillery in Okaloosa County. (Photo by Jeffrey Powell)


A PORTION of the bike path at Little Redfish Lake where repairs were recently made. Along CR-30A between Blue Mountain Beach and WaterColor, asphalt was recently added to parts of the multi-use path, a.k.a. the “bike path,” that were in need of repair. The overlay work was a joint effort by the Walton County Tourist Development Council (TDC) and Walton County Public Works. (Photo by Dotty Nist)


FREEPORT HIGH SCHOOL’S MARY KATE MYRICK, flanked at left by her parents Mike and Patsy and on the right by Taylor Haugen Foundation founders Kathy and Brian Haugen and her brother, past winner Collin Myrick, was presented with the 2015 Taylor Haugen Trophy. Myrick, who plans to attend Auburn University this fall, will receive the award at the annual breakfast hosted by the All Sports Association and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. (Photo by Reid Tucker)

Photos of the Week 1.08.15

PLUNGERS HEAD FOR the Gulf of Mexico behind the Watercolor Inn, the main event of the Jan. 1 Polar Bear Plunge. (Photo by Jeffrey Powell)


IN EXCESS of 150 swimmers took to the gulf in the SWFD plunge, held later the same day as the Watercolor plunge. (Photo by Jeffrey Powell)


THESE PUPPIES WERE PART OF A GROUP OF 40 RESCUED IN THE JAN. 1 WCSO search made at a property in the area of Girl Scout Road. The photos were taken at the county animal shelter. Photos courtesy of Catherine Rodriguez, WCSO public information officer.


FREEPORT’S MEGAN O’NEAL had 31 points as the Bulldogs held off a furious second half rally by Holmes County to improve to 12-2 on the year with a victory over the Bluedevils on Monday night. (Photo by Patrick Casey)

Photos of the Week 1.1.2015

GRANT STEWART GOT HOT FROM 3-POINT RANGE, even over the top of White Plains’ defenders. He scored 21 points on the night, mostly due to long-range efficacy in the first and third periods, as he had a dry spell in Q2. Stewart and his team mates were forced to make some adjustments in the final quarter when White Plains surged from a 41-25 deficit after three to make it a five-point game with 19 seconds remaining. He made 5-of-8 shots at the stripe to give Paxton the edge it needed to secure a close-call W. (Photo by Reid Tucker)


COUNTDOWN ATTENDEES gazed at this view of Eastern Lake during a sunset toast. With 10 years left to go until Walton County’s bicentennial, this year’s gathering to celebrate the county’s Dec. 29 birthday was hosted by Brenda Rees on Eastern Lake.


A VIEW of Eastern Lake from the small county park at the corner of Lakewood Drive and Lakeview Drive. Eastern Lake is one of Walton County’s globally rare and unique coastal dune lakes. (Photo by Dotty Nist)


BEACH VENDING on Inlet Beach during the 2014 season. The Walton County Board of County Commissioners (BCC) scheduled a public workshop for discussion of possible changes to vending standards, which are found in the Walton County Waterways and Beach Activities Ordinance.


A DONATION IN THE NAME OF ALEX BRACK was made to the Scott Center for Autism Treatment at Florida Tech. With continued financial support in the foundation, the family would like to make an annual gift to the center in Alex’s name.

Photos of the Week 12.25.2014

MATT JONES, moderator for the Dec. 16 SWCC forum, speaks with attendees at the close of the meeting. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss proposed changes to regulations for lots in the Coastal Dune Lake Protection Zone (CDLPZ). (Photo by Dotty Nist)


FRIENDSHIP HOUSE FOUNDER Hilda Coursey (front row-center), surrounded by Friendship House staff. The Masquerade Ball to benefit the Brain Disorder Foundation, held recently at the estate of Dr. and Mrs. Ruben Garcia, of Liberty, was a huge success. The fundraising event raised over $10,000.(Photo by Cathy Mosley)

HOLLEY MOSELEY addressed the Rotary Club on Dec. 17. She addressed the organization on the current regulatory state of medical marijuana, recently legalized for limited therapeutic purposes in Florida. (photo by Jeffrey Powell)

CUT TO RIBBONS, Triangle’s Chevrolet-Buick’s launch was made official. The family-owned and operated DeFuniak Springs business threw an official opening party and ribbon-cutting on Dec. 17.


HE MAY BE A mean one, but Walton County Correctional Institute helped put the finishing touches on this year’s Christmas Reflections with an incredibly well done and hand painted Grinch as the last new decoration to be added to this year’s spectacular light display. He might not get to steal Christmas, but the talent and creativity behind him will get many compliments.



JAMES, MARIE, JACK AND MAX HURLEY are the DeFuniak Herald-Beach Breeze’s 2014 Christmas Family. The Hurleys’ Christmas spirit is undeniable, but their true passion is giving back to the DeFuniak Springs community year-round. (Photo by Reid Tucker)

Photos of the Week 12.18.14

PAXTON’S ZACH VARNUM SCORED 20 POINTS AGAINST THE HOBOES, including the free throw that put Paxton ahead 67-64 to wind down the game. (Photo by Reid Tucker)


BETHANY NEALE’S CAREER POINTS TOTAL NOW STANDS AT 1,019 after scoring 28 against Laurel Hill on the night of Dec. 11. (Photo by Reid Tucker)


ROSS MARTIN (1), South Walton senior guard, had his work cut out for him on Monday night as he worked to beat Graceville’s pressure while scoring 27 points in leading the Seahawks to a 60-58 win over the Tigers that broke a six game losing streak for his club. (Photo by Patrick Casey)


PUBLIC WORKS DIRECTOR WILMER STAFFORD (l) AND ASSISTANT COUNTY ATTORNEY SIDNEY NOYES (center) display the sportsmanship awards just presented by Commissioner Bill Imfeld. As the result of a bet on the Gators-Seminoles match-up, Stafford and Noyes had to show up in Florida State University gear at the Dec. 9 Walton County Board of County Commissioners meeting. There was no money involved. (Photo by Dotty Nist)


VOLUNTEERS FROM THE BOYS & GIRLS CLUB OF THE EMERALD COAST organization worked together to lay more than 30,000 wreaths at the Pensacola Naval Cemetery on Dec. 13. (Photo courtesy of Trina Covington)


THE WISE MEN ride again in Point Washington. A seasonal tradition continues with the display of panels along CR-395 North depicting the Christmas story’s three Magi, bringing inspiration and cheer to the community. Painted three decades ago, the panels are original works by local artist Virginia Calumbo (deceased), wife of Rev. Michael J. Calumbo (deceased), former pastor of Point Washington United Methodist Church. Today the Wise Men display is not associated with any particular church but is undertaken as a Christmas project every year by a small group of Point Washington natives, including Margo Yourick, Lorraine Morgan, Marie Marshall, and Gid Godwin. (Photo by Dotty Nist)

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)