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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July 2014
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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.

Photos of the Week 7.3.2014

UNSCENIC OVERFLOWING trash cans on Scenic Gulf Drive have been a complaint for residents. County commissioners have taken action to remedy conditions like this on two county roads where many homes are rented to tourists, allowing 10 weeks of Sunday garbage collection on Scenic Gulf Drive and CR-30A(Photo courtesy of Bob Sullivan)


THE YOUNG NIECE OF a fallen officer helps place a wreath in their
memory. The Cops on Top, Summit for Heroes held in Lakewood, Fla. honored those who lost their life in the line of duty during the 2013-2014 year.


FREEPORT CITY POOL LIFEGUARDS keep a close eye on these happy swimmers. The Freeport Town Planters Society has planned an Independence Day celebration at the Freeport city pool. (Photo by Jeffrey Powell)

U.S. OLYMPIAN ALICE SCHMIDT AND PAN-AM GAMES CHAMP Andrew Adkison attended the opening ceremonies of the Boys & Girls Club of DeFuniak Springs’ Olympics Week 2014. (Photo courtesy of the Boys & Girls Club of DeFuniak Springs)


ANDREWS POSES WITH THE $145,411 CHECK he and his team mates brought home after the conclusion of the tournament, which runs from Wednesday, June 18, through Sunday, June 22, in Destin. The 2014 Emerald Coast Blue Marlin Classic, ranked among the 10 top-paying tournaments in the country, had a total purse in excess of $1.68 million. (Photo courtesy of Luke Andrews)

Photos of the Week 6.26.2014

WALTON COUNTY SHERIFF AND STATE ATTORNEY BILL EDDINS held a press conference at the Walton County Sheriff’s Office on the afternoon of Wednesday, June 18, in which the lawmen revealed what details they can about the ongoing investigation into a county-wide methamphetamine production and drug distribution ring. (Photo by Reid Tucker)


JENNY LONG DARGAVELL (left), a speaker at the June 20 meeting, is joined by Karen McGee, Walton County Democratic Women’s Club president. Dargavell is also a club member. Topics at the meeting included the school superintendent referendum and Emerald Coast Children’s Advocacy Center. (Photo by Dotty Nist)

Walton Republican Women Federated (WRWF) members and guests listen to Rep Marti Coley’s presentation at Cuvee Catering June 18 in Miramar Beach. (Photo by Dotty Nist)


AN UNUSUAL SIGHT, seeing this many boats out on the lake in DeFuniak Springs. This photo was captured by the Walton Area Chamber of Commerce early in the Lakefest schedule of activities on June 21. (Photo by Walton Area Chamber of Commerce.)


CAR LOVERS were in for a treat with a chance to see many classics and some unusual autos lining the street for a classic cars show during Lakefest, June 21 in DeFuniak Springs.


AREA ATHLETES stay busy in the summer as they work on their game. Mara Morse, who will be a senior next year at Walton, had to work to avoid an inside pitch for the Dingerz recently. (Photo by Teresa Bogart)

Photos of the Week 6.19.2014

SOUTH WALTON got the win in the final game of the pitching machine tournament on Thursday, June 12. (Photo courtesy of Dixie Youth Baseball District 2)

PAXTON got to the final game by posting a near shutout win against Freeport. (Photo courtesy of Dixie Youth Baseball District 2)

WALTON HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT Steven Fireman hopes to move on in karaoke contest. Steven was one of 15 contestants and the only young person to compete in a recent cruise ship contest. He performed Jennifer Hudson’s “I Am Changing” and took the prize of a $50 ship credit and the chance to come back in February to compete for $5,000. (Photo by Jeffrey Powell)

ATTENDEES GATHERED around the new flag pole. A patriotic group of approximately 50 individuals gathered at the old Freeport post office in downtown Freeport on Saturday morning, June 14, for a Flag Day ceremony. Woodmen of the Word representatives were on hand to present Mayor Russ Barley with a new American flag and flag pole. (Photo by Jeffrey Powell)


HEALTHMARK REGIONAL MEDICAL CENTER contends that the Florida Department of Transportation’s plan to expand U.S. 331 into 2.856 acres of the hospital’s property will negatively affect patient services and the hospital’s ability to expand. (Photo by Reid Tucker)





Photos of the Week

BRAD PICKEL, beach management consultant for Walton County, pulls up information on the computer for some attendees at the June 3 public workshop on beach nourishment and restoration. (Photo by Dotty Nist)


PAUL ARTHUR, Director of the E.O. Wilson Biophilia Center, with Jim Fowler, former host of Mutual of Omaha Wild Kingdom, at a June 7 program at the center. (Photo by Ben Grafton)

M.C. DAVIS spoke briefly at the June 3 school board meeting about property being looked at along U.S. 98 East in Walton County for a possible school site for the expanding southern school-aged population.

A STICKY BLACK ball in use in a yard to intercept yellow flies. The SWMCD has a good supply of black balls and glue. These are available to residents at the SWMCD Headquarters at 774 CR-393 North in Santa Rosa Beach. (Photo courtesy of SWMCD)


PAUL ARTHUR, Director of the E. O. Wilson Biophilia Center, with Sasquatch. Arthur spoke on the center at the June 6 Walton Area Chamber First Friday Breakfast at Live Oak Landing.

Photos of the Week 6.5.2014

ANN SCOTT spoke to WRWF members and their guests at Cuvee Catering in Miramar Beach on May 29. (Photo by Dotty Nist)


TYLER JOHNSON was the overall big-fish winner of Nick’s seafood restaurant’s 14th annual Speckled Trout Shootout. (Photo by Jeffrey Powell)


POLICE CHIEF MARK WEEKS, Sheriff’s Office Lt. James Pitman, Boys & Girls Club of DeFuniak Springs Director Mick Leatherwood and COPE Center Director of Prevention Services Bryan Callahan sat down to discuss the problem of underage drinking in Walton County at a town-hall style meeting on May 29. (Photo by Reid Tucker)

PAXTON’S EMILY MURRAY WILL BE REMEMBERED as the Lady Cats’ leader during the Paxton’s state championship-winning 2013-2014 season. Murray spoke with Reid Tucker for this week’s Herald Breeze. (Photo courtesy of Paxton School)


VETERAN COACH JERRY HESTER retired last week after 12 seasons as basketball coach at Walton High School. (Photo by Patrick Casey)

Photos of the Week 5.21.2014

LAURIE HOOD, recent recipient of the Daily Point of Light Award from President George H. W. Bush. Hood is founder of Alaqua Animal Refuge. President Bush created the “Daily Point of Light Award” in 1989 to recognize ordinary Americans from all walks of life taking direct and consequential voluntary action in their communities to solve serious social problems

THE BOBCATS’ 7-6 WIN AGAINST BLOUNTSTOWN sent the team south to Fort Myers to compete in the state tournament for the first time in the program’s history. Paxton is the first high school baseball team from Walton County to make it to the Final Four since 1965. (Photo by Reid Tucker)


OPENING TABLEAU, introducing the audience to the world of Shakespeare.
The Arc of Walton County’s No LImits Theatre Company rehearsed at Seaside community’s Ruskin Place, an open-air theatre space at the far end of the grassy rectangular park in the middle of Seaside. The company presented its Shakespearean performance piece, Fire Burn!, at Ruskin Place on May 20. (Photo by Bruce Collier)


TEMPORARY BRIDGE CONSTRUCTED: Walton County Public Works Crews have completed the installation of a temporary bridge crossing Draper Lake on County Highway 30A between Highway 83 and Highway 393. (Photo by Brice Nist)


LATHAN AND MACHAELLA reunite with their extended family after the kindergarten farewell program. United States Army Specialist Lathan Dennis has been deployed in Afghanistan and Germany for the last nine months. On May 16, she surprised Machaella by showing up unannounced at the Freeport Elementary School just prior to the kindergarten farewell program in which Machaella was about to participate. (Photo by Jeffrey Powell)


ATTENDEES AT the standing-room-only May 13 BCC meeting. After almost a year of research and consideration, the Walton County Board of County Commissioners (BCC) has voted unanimously to start the process of acquiring land for a sports complex and additional sports facilities for local youth south of the bay.(Photo by Dotty Nist)

Photos of the Week 5.15.14

HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL TEAMS throughout the state of Florida are engaged in spring football practice this month as Kickoff Classics for the 2014 season are just 14 weeks away. (Photo by Patrick Casey)


WALTON COUNTY EXTENSION DIRECTOR MIKE GOODCHILD and the rest of the local Extension Office staff hosted a day-long open house May 9 with free seminars on a variety of agricultural topics to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Smith-Lever Act of 1914, which established the Cooperative Extension Service. (Photo by Reid Tucker)


CANCER SURVIVORS walk the first lap of the evening. Hundreds of Relay For Life participants, family and friends gathered at the Walton County Fairgrounds on the evening of May 9 for the annual walking event intended to bring awareness to cancer research and prevention. For the first time teams from DeFuniak Springs and Freeport walked together as the North of the Bay organization. (Photo by Jeffrey Powell)


PAXTON HAD SIX HITS ON THE NIGHT, including a first-inning grand slam from senior Austin Carnley, who had four RBIs in the May 6 playoff contest against Sneads. Paxton won the game 8-6. (Photo by Reid Tucker)


SAGE ROBERTS, South Walton senior football player, signed a scholarship deal to play football at Ave Maria University in Naples last week in the school’s Media Center. (Photo by Patrick Casey)

SOUTH WALTON MOSQUITO Control District Headquarters at the height of the late April flood event. In the wake of flooding of their headquarters property and many other areas in south Walton County, the SWMCD commissioners held an emergency meeting on May 8 at the South Walton Annex. During the course of the meeting SWMCD Director Ben Brewer declared a state of emergency for the district. (Photo courtesy of Walton County Public Information)


Photos of the Week 5.8.2014

MAGNOLIA BAYE (FREEPORT) RESIDENT SHAY LINDSEY stands next to a large wash which has eroded a portion of her lot. (Photo by Jeffrey Powell)


FLOOD WATER CROSSED CR-3280 from Jolly Bay Road. (Photo by Jeffrey Powell)


THE NATIONAL GUARD sent six high-water vehicles to Walton County, three of which were sent to previously-inaccessible areas in south Walton County. (courtesy of Walton County Public Information Office)


EASTERN LAKE OUTFALL (courtesy of Walton County Public Information Office)


FLOODED PARKING at Edgewater in Miramar Beach. (courtesy of Walton County Public Information Office)


THERE WERE PLANTS OF ALL KINDS at last Saturday’s Peddler’s Alley in DeFuniak Springs, which was blessed with abundant sunshine and pleasant morning temperatures.