The Bay beacon

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Material Information

Title:
The Bay beacon
Portion of title:
Beacon
Physical Description:
v. : ill. ; 58 cm.
Language:
English
Publisher:
Bayou Enterprises
Place of Publication:
Niceville, Fla
Creation Date:
July 24, 2013
Publication Date:

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
Newspapers -- Niceville (Fla.)   ( lcsh )
Newspapers -- Valparaiso (Fla.)   ( lcsh )
Genre:
newspaper   ( marcgt )
newspaper   ( sobekcm )
Spatial Coverage:
United States of America -- Florida -- Okaloosa -- Niceville
United States of America -- Florida -- Okaloosa -- Valparaiso

Notes

Dates or Sequential Designation:
Began Apr. 22, 1992.
General Note:
Description based on: May 11, 1994.

Record Information

Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
oclc - 30766158
lccn - sn 98001910
issn - 1097-6469
System ID:
UF00099641:00249


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T T h h e eB B a a y y B B e e a a c c o o n n 50Wednesday, January 1, 2014 info@baybeacon.com The voice of Niceville, Bluewater Bay and Valparaiso since 1992 (850) 678-1080 10 Pages, 2 Sections, 5 Inserts The voice of Niceville, Bluewater Bay and Valparaiso since 1992 By Mike Griffith Beacon Correspondent The board of directors of the Bluewater Bay Municipal Services Benefit Unit (MSBU) has scheduled a public landscaping workshop for 10 a.m., Feb. 19, in the golf clubhouse at 1950 Bluewater Boulevard. The MSBU is a special unit of Okaloosa County government, in charge of landscaping, street lights and signs, and general maintenance of common areas throughout the unincorporated Bluewater Bay community. It is governed by a fivemember board of elected directors. At the MSBUs December meeting, newly elected board members Debbie Stretch and Judy Griffin said they were dissatisfied with the MSBUs overall approach to landscaping, and asked that a workshop be scheduled to discuss alternative design ideas and to possibly hear ideas from local landscape designers to improve the look of the Bluewater Bay community. At a meeting Jan. 8, board member Joan McCarthy said purposes of the workshop will include gathering input from residents on how they want Bluewater Bay to look, and also to hear ideas from any professional landscape designers who are willing to present ideas free of charge during the workshop. During the Dec. 11 meeting, Griffin and Stretch had said they would like to change the MSBUs approach to landscaping in Bluewater Bay. Griffin said that the stacked masonry blocks currently used to contain flower beds at many Bluewater Bay intersections are not an attractive option, and are often discolored by stains from water used to irrigate the flower beds. Fellow board member Doug Burgess replied that the stack blocks are cleaned about three times each year, but Griffin persisted, saying that she would prefer replacing the stack blocks with such natural materials as shrubbery or grass. She said she has some experience with landscaping and would come up with some specific ideas for what she has in mind. At the December meeting, board member Joan McCarthy said that she, too, thinks By Daniel Elsesser Beacon Staff Writer If you happened to exceed the speed limit in Niceville last year, you were much more likely to get a ticket. The number of traffic citations written by Niceville police in 2012 was nearly twice what it was in 2011 and was the highest it's been since 2008, according to statistics released by the Niceville Police Department. Niceville police recorded 3,245 traffic tickets in 2012, up from 1,766 in 2011 and over 3,000 for the first time since 3,504 tickets were recorded in 2008. Police Sgt. Jimmy Macon attributed the increase to the fact that Niceville had more patrol officers in 2012 than the previous year. "I think having more officers is the main reason that number went up," Macon said. "We have more people and are able to cover more ground and respond to more calls. When we had less, we had to prioritize and only respond to the most important calls, but now we're able to cover more area." Macon said Niceville has added five officers since this time last year, increasing the department's total to 25 fulltime officers. He said this T T T h h e eB B a a y y B B e e a a c c o o n n 50Wednesday, January 16, 2013 info@baybeacon.com The voice of Niceville, Bluewater Bay and Valparaiso since 1992 (850) 678-1080 10 Pages, 2 Sections, 5 Inserts The voice of Niceville, Bluewater Bay and Valparaiso since 1992 Wednesday, 6-8 p.m. Learn to manage your money with a free financial workshop at the Student Services Building Northwest Florida State College, Niceville. Thursday, 6:30 p.m. Celebrate Floridas anniversary with the Niceville Library and learn about Panhandle history with Dr. Brian Rucker at the Niceville Community Center Saturday, noon Check out The Bluewater Bay Sailing Club race at the Bluewater Bay Marina Niceville. Register as late as the day of the race. Saturday, 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Learn the art of basketry in a basket weaving class at the Heritage Museum of Northwest Florida, Valparaiso. Saturday, 1 p.m. See the Soka Gakkai Internationals The Century of Women exhibit in the McIlroy and Holzhauer galleries Mattie Kelly Arts Center, Niceville. See Calendar, B-2 COMINGUP Please see BWB, page A-6 Please see TICKETS, page A-2 Please see SEWERS, page A-5 Please see GPS, page A-2 Police BlotterPage A-4Public comment sought on BWB landscaping Beacon photo by Daniel Elsesser Members of the Duke Field chapter of the Special Forces Motorcycle Club rode to Shadow Lane, Niceville, Saturday to cheer up member Ryan Pierson, who is recovering from surgery for a foot injury. The club, which is made up of active duty and retired S pecial Forces members, stages rides to raise money for the Wounded Warrior Project and other charities. It gained a stronger local pr esence after the Army 7th Special Forces Group relocated from Fort Bragg, N.C., to Eglin Air Force Base in 2011. Tough love Beacon photo The condition of traffic-island stack blocks such as these on Bluewater Boulevard will be among the topics of a public meeting on landscaping issues to be held Feb. 19 by the Bluewater Bay Municipal Benefit Unit governing board.Stolen GPS finds its way homeBy Daniel Elsesser Beacon Staff Writer An alleged thief learned technology is not always your friend when information stored in a GPS led sheriff's deputies back to its owner and implicated him in its theft. A report by the Okaloosa Rocky students sub hoofs for booksRocky Bayou Christian School s Jan Term, held between semesters Jan. 7-18, featured innovative special-interest short courses such as ballroom dancing, cooking, off-campus internships, and horseback riding. Students Nathan McCullough and Madeline McIntosh were among those studying horsemanship. Beacon photo by Anna KavanaughCity acts to unclog sewersBy Daniel Elsesser Beacon Staff Writer Facing an "epidemic" of disposable wipes clogging city sewers, the Niceville City Council authorized the city manager to purchase two sewage grinders. Niceville Public Works Director Bruce Price said the grinders are needed because of new types of materials people are flushing into the sewage system. "We have sort of an epidemic going on right now," Price said. "People use disposable wipes and just throw them in the toilet and flush them down, and they don't dissolve in the water. [The wipes] have led to clogging and buildup in our screens and pumps, and the sewage grinders should be able to grind these solids down." A resolution, approved 4-0 1,9385462,0135822,5436282,8636762,1967042,2535983,6095473,5045492,3694762,8445201,7664823,245461 200120022003200420052006200720082009201020112012 0 1,000 2,000 3,000 4,000Traffic tickets 400 500 600 700 800 900 1000Accidents Traffic accidents (line, right scale) Traffic citations (bars, left scale) Source: Niceville Police Dept. More traffic tickets, fewer crashes In the city of Niceville, by year Niceville cops write more tickets Matthew R. Setterstrom Friday, 7:30 p.m. See a free screening of the surfingdocumentary Floridas Surfing History-Part One: The Panhandle at the Mattie Kelly Arts Center, Niceville. Saturday, 4:30 p.m. Bring new and old telescopes for a free telescope workshop with the Northwest Florida Astronomy Association at Northwest Florida State College, Niceville. Saturday, 9-11 a.m. Enjoy a free Bible seminar Why Biblical Counseling? with Dr. Abercrombie at Rocky Bayou Baptist Church Niceville. Saturday, 10-11 a.m. Learn hand appliqu and create a wall hanging in a hand-quilting workshop for $35 or $30 for members at the Heritage Museum of Northwest Florida Niceville. Saturday, 9-11 a.m. Children ages 9-18 can try out for the FC Dallas Emerald Coast Travel Soccer team for $10 at the Twin Oaks Soccer Complex Niceville. See Calendar, B-2.By Daniel Elsesser Beacon Staff Writer Work was completed Friday on a four-way stop at White Point Road and Woodlands Drive, placed to discourage motorists from using White Point as a shortcut to and from the Mid-Bay Bridge. While the main access to the new Mid-Bay Bridge Connector intersects State Road 20 approximately one mile east of White Point's intersection with S.R. 20, many drivers use White Point, the former bridge access road, to get to the Lakeshore Drive interchange with the new connector. At a cost of $10,000, funded by the Mid-Bay Bridge Authority, Okaloosa County workers placed four stop signs at the intersection and built concrete medians to separate northsouth traffic on White Point. The medians are intended to slow left-turning traffic from White Point onto Woodlands. In October, bridge authority Chairman Gordon Fornell said citizens informed him about dangerous driving conditions resulting from motorists turning at the intersection of White Point and Lakeshore.By Daniel Elsesser Beacon Staff Writer Okaloosa County foreclosures almost doubled from 2011 to 2012 but were down slightly from 2010. According to county figures, 1,650 real-estate foreclosure lawsuits were filed last year.. This number is up significantly from the 957 recorded in 2011, when many banks slowed foreclosure proceedings after national reports of "robo-signing" filings surfaced. Okaloosa County Clerk of Court Don Howard said apprehension about potentially filing fraudulent foreclosures slowed foreclosure action in 2011, artificially depressing real estate repossessions sparked by the nationwide housing crash. "That decrease was due to problems in the [banking] industry," Howard said. "Things went on hold in that industry for a long time." Howard said foreclosure action picked up at the end of 2011 largely due to state efforts. "The state devoted a lot of resources to clear up what they called 'foreclosure backlog,'" Howard said. The total 2,445 foreclosure actions filed in 2009 represented a county record. Howard attributes the slowing to several factors, including the fact that the high volume of foreclosures filed 200910 left fewer properties left to foreclose on. Howard said another reason for the slight decline is an effort by the banking industry to resolve debts using methods other than repossession. "Banks really started working with people to find other ways to resolve problems," Howard said. "Often times they worked to get properties into the hands of people who were able to make Daniel Elsesser Beacon Staff Writer An independent-living facility for retired residents is planned for construction near the intersection of State Road 20 and White Point Road, Bluewater Bay, according to developer Raimund Herden. Herden, one of the original developers of Bluewater Bay, and his company, Bluewater Commercial Developers, said he is working in conjunction with Superior Residences to finalize plans for the center, which would be on currently vacant commercial land next to Bluewater Fitness, on the southeast side of the intersection. Herden said the estimated $19 million facility, tentatively named Independent Living Facility at Bluewater Bay, will contain 97 or 98 rental apartments in five stories, with a sixth story devoted to amenities. Herden says the amenities are what would distinguish the independent-living facility from assisted-living facilities and regular apartment complexes. "Apartment complexes don't have all the amenities," Herden said. "This will have a library, home theater, putting green, restaurant. It is an inclusive facility for people who are still active." Shelly Normand, executive director of Superior Residences, T T T h h e eB B a a y y B B e e a a c c o o n n 50Wednesday, January 23, 2013 info@baybeacon.com The voice of Niceville, Bluewater Bay and Valparaiso since 1992 (850) 678-1080 12 Pages, 2 Sections, 4 Inserts The voice of Niceville, Bluewater Bay and Valparaiso since 1992 COMINGUP Please see RETIREE, page A-2 Please see DOT, page A-3 Please see FORECLOSE, page A-3 Please see FOUR-WAY, page A-3 Police BlotterPage A-6Foreclosures surge after 2-year decline Beacon photo by Daniel Elsesser Clara Thomas, an Okaloosa County deputy sheriff, patrols Plew Elementary School, Niceville, Jan. 16. Thomas and other sheriff' s deputies were placed in 26 Okaloosa elementary schools at the request of the county school board beginning the first day after Christmas break in response to the school shootings in Newtown, Conn., Dec. 14. Sheriff Larry Ashley asked the county commission to fund half the extra cost. The school board agreed to pay the other half. Deputies have been stationed in county middle and high schools for years, chiefly to deter student crime rather than violence by outsiders.Standing guard 366366 278 466 964 1,970 2,445 1,792 957 1,650 2003200420052006200720082009201020112012 0 500 1,000 1,500 2,000 2,500 3,000Foreclosures Sources: Ok. Co. Clerk of Court; Univ. W. Fla. Foreclosures since 2003 Foreclosure actions filed, Okaloosa CountyDOT seeks to tap bridge tollsBy Daniel Elsesser Beacon Staff Writer Governance and control of the Mid-Bay Bridge Authority would be transferred to a new OkaloosaBay Regional Tollway Authority under a bill to be proposed in the 2013 state legislative session. The transfer, if approved, would put the locally governed authority under regional control, and allow $19 million retiree center plannedFour-way stop put on White Point Rd. Work was completed Friday on a four-way stop at the intersection of White Point Road and Woodlands Drive. It is intended to discourage drivers from using Lakeshore Drive by way of White Point as a shortcut to the Mid-Bay Bridge. Beacon photo by Daniel Elsesser Raimund Herden explains his proposal for a six-story retirement center near the intersection of State Road 20 and White Point Road, Bluewater Bay. Beacon photo Ananth Prasad Thursday, 3 p.m. Enjoy the outdoors and take a scenic bike ride with the Adventure Club in the Bluewater Bay Resort subdivision, Niceville. Friday, 7 p.m. Enjoy the free Okaloosa All County Middle School Band concert at the Mattie Kelly Arts Center Niceville. Monday, 1:30 p.m. Learn Spanish for free with Carmen Cameron at the Valparaiso Community Library. Monday, 6:30 p.m. Explore Mac systems and apps at a Mac Users meeting at Northwest Florida State College Niceville. Tuesday, 7-9 p.m. Listen and learn at the free, public, classical music study series, Better Listening, at the Unitarian Church Fellowship Hall, Valparaiso. See Calendar, B-3. of thousands of dollars by former TDC director Mark Bellinger, who bought a house with the money. He killed himself last year after the scheme came to light. Gaetz said it is important that citizens attend the hearings to better understand the issue and learn how the legislature intends to prevent such thefts from occurring again. "It is in the interest of the legislature to see whether we need to embed ethics reforms at the county and local levels," Gaetz said. Gaetz said Okaloosa County Commissioner Dave Parisot will be present to provide the county response to the proposals. Gaetz said that after the auditor general's presentation, municipalities and other organizations and individuals will make proposals for the Daniel Elsesser Beacon Staff Writer Murphy Oil Corp. submitted updated site plans Friday for a gasoline station and convenience store near the entrance of the Walmart at 1300 E. John Sims Parkway, Niceville. The company plans to begin construction in February, according to Niceville Building Inspector Darcy Chaney. Murphy Oil, based in El Dorado, Ark., operates highvolume, low-priced gas stations and associated convenience stores, typically near Walmart or Sam's Club stores. The plans indicate that the Niceville installation would be accessed by a Walmart exit road rather than directly fron John Sims Parkway. Murphy Oil had to submit new site plans because the original plans called for a canopy to cover the gas pumps which could withstand wind speeds of 140 mph. Chaney said structures of that nature in Niceville must be able to withstand 150 mph winds. Murphy made the necessary changes, as well as some changes to the interior of the planned convenience store, according to Chaney. The plans indicate the gas Daniel Elsesser Beacon Staff Writer Eglin Air Force Base firefighters will conduct a planecrash drill with the Valparaiso, Niceville and East Niceville fire departments in Valparaiso today. Valparaiso Fire Chief Mark Norris said the drill, called a major accident response exercise, is intended to help civilian firefighters work with their Air Force counterparts in the event. "This will be an integrated training exercise," Norris said. "We want to learn how to integrate our firefighters with Eglin, and we hope to learn each other's capabilities and limitations." Norris said the exercise, which is scheduled to begin at 3 p.m. at the city public works yard on Valastics Avenue, under the air approach to one of Eglin's two runways, will simulate a situation in which a plane crashes into a building and ignites a fire. A building at the works yard will be filled with fake smoke from a theatrical smoke machine. Norris said there would be an unspecified number of people playing the roles of injured or dead victims of the mock crash. The site is a few hundred feet from where a real Eglin jet crashed in 2003, severely damaging two houses. No one was seriously hurt in that accident. According to Norris, a flashing light will indicate that a "fire" is burning, and the light will stop flashing when the mock blaze has been extinguished. The exercise will assume the pilot and co-pilot of the F-16 approached Eglin Air Force Base for a landing, lost control and ejected before impact. Norris said two victims will be dressed as pilots, complete with deployed parachutes, and that emergency workers will care for them accordingly. Norris said it is important to involve nearby fire departments in the exercise, because in a real air crash off base, Valparaiso, Niceville and East Niceville fire T T T h h e eB B a a y y B B e e a a c c o o n n 50Wednesday, January 30, 2013 info@baybeacon.com The voice of Niceville, Bluewater Bay and Valparaiso since 1992 (850) 678-1080 10 Pages, 2 Sections, 4 Inserts The voice of Niceville, Bluewater Bay and Valparaiso since 1992 COMINGUP Please see TRAIN, page A-4 Please see MURPHY, page A-5 Police BlotterPage A-2 Beacon photo by Anna Kavanaugh The Okaloosa STEMM Academy began its second semester with a new flight lab paid for by Boeing Co. Here, students Allison Rodas and Sam Scholl learn how to take off, fly and land planes with simulators at the science-and-math magnet middle school, which opened in August in Valparaiso. Story, page B-1. Students take flight in new labDOT to attend meeting on highway noise By Daniel Elsesser Beacon Staff Writer Florida Department of Transportation representatives will attend a meeting Thursday of the Mid-Bay Bridge Authority and residents of two neighborhoods to discuss noise from the MidBay Bridge Connector road. Meantime, workers this month are planting hundreds of trees in a second attempt to block traffic sounds and headlights from the four-lane highway east of Bluewater Bay. Residents of Chardonnay Estates and White Point Village, both neighborhoods just west of the busy state road, have told the Mid-Bay Bridge Authority their quality of life has decreased significantly due to traffic noise. Representatives of the neighborhoods have requested that the DOT conduct a study, which they believe will justify installation of a noise-Firefighters train for plane crash Fire Chief Mark Norris By Daniel Elsesser Beacon Staff Writer Members of the Okaloosa County state legislative delegation will hold a public hearing today from 5 to 6:30 p.m. at Niceville City Hall, 208 N. Partin Drive. The delegation will offer a forum for public comment on proposals for the 2013 regular session of the Florida Legislature, which will begin March 5 and last 60 days. Rep. Matt Gaetz, a Fort Walton Beach Republican whose district includes Niceville and Valparaiso, said the Florida Auditor General's office will present plans to prevent further misuse of county tax funds, including discussion of the auditor's recent audit of the Okaloosa Tourist Development Council. The audit criticized the Okaloosa County Commission for failing to notice the embezzlement of hundredsAuditor to present TDC findings Collision cleanupNiceville police officers move a motorcycle off John Sims Parkway after it collided with the rear of a Cadillac Escalade at John Sims and Redwood Avenue Jan. 24. The motorcyclist, whose name was not available, was airlifted via helicopter ambulance to Baptist Hospital, Pensacola, according to the Niceville Fire Department. Beacon photo by Daniel Elsesser Please see TDC, page A-3 Rep. Matt GaetzMurphy offers new plans for gas station Beacon photo by Daniel Elsesser Workers place an irrigation system next to a new vegetation barrier between houses and the Mid-Bay Bridge Connector Jan. 23. Plants in a previous barrier died, prompting complaints about noise and lights from the highway. Please see NOISE, page A-3 By Mike Griffith Beacon Correspondent During a two-hour hearing in Tallahassee Monday, a Florida Legislature panel questioned members of the Okaloosa County Commission and other county officials about their possible roles in the financial scandal surrounding the county's Tourist Development Council (TDC), and what steps they have taken to investigate and prevent a recurrence. There were few concrete answers, however. And a number of people who held key county offices at the time of the scandal were absent from Monday's hearing. During the hearing, the county commission chairman called the scandal a very dark hour in the history of Okaloosa County, and said all the facts are not yet known. The county administrator called the theft, diversion, and waste of hundreds of thousands of tax dollars a catastrophic failure of controls at all levels. The legislative committee said it would hear more testimony Feb. 18, and indicated it would subpoena county officials or exofficials who did not show up Monday. The panel also ordered a new state audit of county affairs. The hearing by the Joint Legislative Auditing Committee at the Capitol began with a briefing by Florida Deputy Auditor General Ted Sauerbeck about his recent audit of the TDC, the county commission, and their financial dealings. Sauerbecks report reviewed the 25 findings already presented to the Okaloosa County legislative delegation at a public meeting held last week in Niceville, listing ways in which the county failed to follow the law or prescribed policies or procedures governing the handling of grants, tourist development taxes andBy Anna Kavanaugh Beacon Staff Writer Louis and Catharine Marini of Niceville first laid eyes on each other in 1953 at an ice cream parlor in Bristol, Pa. Fifty-five years later, they are just as in love. The couple, who will celebrate their 56th anniversary June 8, plan to renew their wedding vows for the 14th time in honor of Valentines Day with more than 40 other couples Thursday at Holy Name of Jesus Catholic Church, Niceville. It will be kind of nice to look each other in the eye and remember, Catharine said. Because I sure dont remember the original vows. Lou was smitten with Catharine the moment he saw her at the ice cream parlor. He decided to ask one of her friends for an introduction. My brother used to pick me up, said Catharine, a 16-year-old cheerleader at the time. He didnt want me riding in cars with boys. The couple dated for three to four years before they wed. By Daniel Elsesser Beacon Staff Writer Sometimes the getaway is not as smooth as the crime. Police arrested a Niceville man who allegedly stole items from a home, including some from a nightstand next to where the victims were sleeping, only to awaken them with the alarm of their car as he drove away in it. One of the items stolen was a cell phone which the owner was able to track electronically to the alleged burglar's house. Niceville police gave the following report: Bryce Matthew Morrison, unemployed, 18, of 1697 Vine Ave., Niceville, was arrested by sheriff's deputies Jan. 30 on charges of burglary of an occupied dwelling, burglary of an unoccupied conveyance, petit theft, grand theft of a motor vehicle and two counts of grand theft. Two of the four residents of a house on the 1600 block of Vine Avenue woke up at 5:30 a.m. Jan. 30 to the sound of one of their vehicles, a 2010 Toyota four-door, being driven away with its theft alarm blaring. One resident looked around the house and noticed her iPhone, which had been on the By Daniel Elsesser Beacon Staff Writer The Bluewater Bay Resort has submitted plans for approval to shorten four holes of its Magnolia golf course and have the land zoned to allow the construction of homes, including 100 multiplefamily dwellings, according to Steve Hall, an attorney representing the resort. The proposal, a change to the current development of regional impact (DRI) plan approved by government officials in the 1970s, was submitted Jan. 22 to the Okaloosa County Department of Growth Management, the West Florida Regional Planning Council and the state's Department of Economic Opportunity, according to Hall. The plans are currently pending approval by all three entities. The submitted plans call for 7.4 acres of Magnolia course holes 6 and 7, which border State Road 20 on one side, to be rezoned from G (golf) to H (high density residential), allowing for up to 13.5 dwelling units per acre. The plans list 100 dwelling units as the maximum allowed density on this portion of land. The submitted plans for holes 6 and 7 show changes from original plans created Sept. 7, 2012. The September plans, which were discussed with neighboring homeowners but not submitted for government approval, called for 8.49 acres of holes 6 and 7 to be zoned high density, allowing for a maximum of 114 dwelling units. Hall said multiple-family dwelling units, in the form of "quads" containing four units each, would likely be constructed on the land now occupied by holes 6 and 7 if the plans are approved. Thursday 3-6 p.m. Meet author and artist Lynette Miesen of Niceville at her book signing of The Poetry of Art, at Bayou Book Co. Niceville. Friday, 7:30 p.m. Enjoy a night of Irish tradition with The Women of Ireland concert at the Mattie Kelly Arts Center Niceville. Tickets are $35. Saturday, 8 a.m. Run or walk to support the Niceville High School Band on the Run 5K/Mile Fun Run fundraiser at Niceville High School Sat., 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Attend a free conflict resolution workshop sponsored by the MidBay Bridge Rotary Club at St. Paul Lutheran Church, Niceville. Tuesday, 5:30-7 p.m. See Okaloosa Volunteer Art Lessons fifth-grade artwork in a public art showcase and open house at Lewis School Valparaiso. See Calendar, B-2. T T T h h e eB B a a y y B B e e a a c c o o n n 50Wednesday, February 13, 2013 info@baybeacon.com The voice of Niceville, Bluewater Bay and Valparaiso since 1992 (850) 678-1080 12 Pages, 2 Sections, 6 Inserts COMINGUP Please see RESORT, page A-5 Please see TDC, page A-4 Please see THEFTS, page A-7 Please see LOVE, page A-5 Police BlotterPage A-6Few concrete answers in TDC testimony Still in love after 55 yearsCouple to renew vows on Valentine s DayResidents sleep through thefts as home is rifledCommission chairman calls scandal dark hour for Okaloosa County; Fla. Legislature to continue probe The voice of Niceville, Bluewater Bay and Valparaiso since 1992 Lou and Catharine Marini plan to be among the 40 couples who will renew their marriage vows tomorrow, Valentine's Day, at Holy Name of Jesus Catholic Church, Niceville. Beacon photo by Anna KavanaughResort seeks OK for homes on golf courseBeacon photo by Mike GriffithOkaloosa County Administrator James Curry, center, testifies before a legislative panel trying to get to the bottom of the county Tourist Development Council money scandal. Curry and county commission chairman Don Amunds, right, were among county officials heard by the panel Monday in Tallahassee. At least one more hearing is planned. Beacon photo by Daniel ElsesserOne brick at a timeNiceville municipal public works employees lay bricks for a new sign for the Rockywood subdivision off Rocky Bayou Drive Feb. 6. Residents of the community paid the nearly $2,000 for materials, and the city furnished the labor, to replace a 25-year-old wooden sign, which was in disrepair. Story, A-8. Bryce Morrison By Kenneth Books Beacon Cras s pd tred Niceville High School football players who want to play the sport in college have an advocate. NHS football coach Adron Robinson, a 1989 alum, helps Niceville athletes find college berths. One such player is Andrew Mitchell, the NHS football teams quarterback. He got it all started, Mitchell said of the strong attention Mitchells efforts are getting from a number of colleges. He was tons of help. He taught us all we needed to know. The key, Robinson said, was mainly in communicating to college coaches the quality of scholar-athletes who play for Niceville High. We have good players who are good in the classroom, he said. And we did a better job of marketing the Niceville High By Mike Griffith Beacon Sod d efWonienr More local scholarship money is likely to be available to students at Northwest Florida State College during the 2013-14 academic year, following three straight years of decline, if the NWFSC Foundation, the colleges fundraising organization, follows the recommendations of its finance committee. The foundation's board is expected to act on the advice Jan. 8. During a meeting in Niceville Dec. 13, the finance committee reviewed the financial status of the foundation's endowed scholarship funds. The panel learned that many funds that have been underwater, or earning less interest each year than the cost of the scholarships they are meant to fund, are doing much better and are now able to once again award scholarships to students. Foundation Executive Director Cristie Kedroski told committee members that only 31 scholarship funds are now underwater, down from 95 a year ago. As a result, she said, the amount of NWFSC Foundation endowed scholarship money available to students in the year that will begin in August 2013 will be between 30 and 40 percent greater than this year. The funds are paid from earnings of the foundation's endowed scholarship funds, currently valued at $37.4 million. The foundation awarded $190,922 in scholarships in the 2011-12 academic year, down from $387,415 three years earlier. Moreover, the 2011-12 total included $45,300 in funds from T T T h h e eB B a a y y B B e e a a c c o o n n 50Wednesday, January 2, 2013 info@baybeacon.com The voice of Niceville, Bluewater Bay and Valparaiso since 1992 (850) 678-1080 10 Pages, 2 Sections, 5 Inserts The voice of Niceville, Bluewater Bay and Valparaiso since 1992 Thursday, 6:30 p.m. The Choctawhatchee Audubon Society will host a free program about bottlenose dolphins at the Northwest Florida State College Student Services Center Niceville. Friday, 10 a.m.-noon. Home-schooled students can learn about Native Americans in a free education program at the Heritage Museum of Northwest Florida, Valparaiso. Saturday, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Sign up for the Niceville-Valparaiso Little League baseball and softball teams in the Ruckel Middle School cafeteria, Niceville. Monday, 6 p.m. The Northwest Florida Symphony Chorale will hold open auditions in the Tyler Recital Hall Niceville. Tuesday, 5:30-7:30 p.m. Learn the art of hand knitting at the Heritage Museum of Northwest Florida, Valparaiso. See Calendar, B-2. COMINGUP Please see MONEY, page A-5 Please see SIDEWALK, page A-5 Please see ATHLETES, page A-6 Police BlotterPage A -4NHS coach helps student athletes find a collegeMore money for scholarships Beacon photo by Daniel Elsesser Young soccer players battled chilly weather to practice fielding corner kicks at the Twin Oaks soccer complex, Niceville, Dec. 27. At the same facility, elementary school-age children participated in FC Dallas Emerald Coast winter soccer camp. Best foot forwardMore residents seek walls to block road noiseBy Daniel Elsesser Beacon Cras s pd tred A representative of White Point Village asked the Mid-Bay Bridge Authority to provide the same noise and light abatement measures currently implemented between Chardonnay Estates and the Mid-Bay Bridge connector road. Darlane Landsberger, association manager for Bluewater Management Services, spoke at the Mid-Bay Bridge Authority meeting Dec. 13 in the City of Destin board room, telling the board the residents of White Point Village are also subject to noise from traffic on the connector road. In response to previous complaints, the Mid-Bay Bridge Authority had already decided to replant a vegetation barrier between the Chardonnay Estates homes and the connector road. Many of the previously planted trees failed to grow. The planting of a new barrier, along with a temporary irrigation system, is now under way, according to Mid-Bay Bridge Authority Executive Director Jim Vest. Beacon photo by Kenneth Books Some of the Niceville High School athletes whom Adron Robinson has helped get noticed by colleges surround him in the school ca feteria. From left: Nick Haynes, Devon Vasquez, Kyle Knight, Shikim Coward, Andrew Mitchell, Robinson, Tyler Ross, Austin Campbell, Bran don Kucera, Ean Savory-Booker and Carter Fletcher.Sidewalk eyed for 1.3 miles of Rocky Bayou Dr.By Daniel Elsesser Beacon Cras s pd tred The Florida Department of Transportation plans to construct a sidewalk along Rocky Bayou Drive from Forest Road to Huntington Circle. The DOT's tentative five-year work program allots $26,000 for preliminary engineering of the project in the 2014 fiscal year. Construction is expected to begin in 2015, with $263,000 allotted for construction in the 2015 fiscal year and $27,000 in the next. The sidewalk will be five feet wide and stretch 1.3 miles from the Ruckel airstrip to the Huntington subdivision. The stretch of Rocky Bayou Drive from Forest Road to Huntington Circle would get a 1.3-mile sidewalk, under a proposal by the Florida Department of Transportation. Beacon photo by Daniel Elsesser Please see NOISE, page A-3 By Daniel Elsesser Beacon Staff Writer Heavy users of Valparaiso cable TV services can soon expect faster Internet service thanks to new equipment, according to Burt Bennett, Valparaiso Cable TV Services general manager. "For our current users, some are experiencing what I would call 'bandwidth lag' in the evening during peak hours," Bennett said. "With our new system, that problem should go away." The Valparaiso Cable Authority bought a new cable modem termination system (CMTS) that will allow the citywide, municipally owned cable network to provide optimum service during peak usage hours, according to Bennett. By Daniel Elsesser Beacon Staff Writer The city of Niceville began making payments Jan. 1 to Rocky Bayou Country Club previously made by Okaloosa County to accept surplus reclaimed wastewater. The city will finish the county's payments of 10 cents per 1,000 gallons of reclaimed water to the country club in exchange for the county's stake in the Niceville Valparaiso Regional Wastewater Treatment facility. According to Niceville City Manager Lannie Corbin, Okaloosa County entered into the agreement with the country club Jan. 26, 2000, after Niceville, Valparaiso and the county expanded the volume of their sewage-treatment plant on Highway 85 North, Niceville. According to Corbin, Niceville and Valparaiso each had enough room on the plant's 270-acre sprayfields on Eglin land onto which the plant sprays effluent after it is treated. The county, on the other hand, had too much effluents and had to find an outlet to avoid over-saturating the sprayfield land. Rocky Bayou Country Club uses the excess reclaimed water to water its 18-hole golf course. Corbin said the county will begin using its own plant and sprayfields in Wright in about a year. Niceville bought the county's share of the Niceville treatment plant last year. Niceville will make the payments until the agreement with Rocky Bayou Country Club ends in May 2014. Corbin estimates these payments will cost the city about $25,000, which he feels is a fair price for the county's stake in the sewage treatment plant. "I think the city's getting a great deal," Corbin said. "We're getting use of a facility which has had several million dollars invested in it, for just these payments we'll be making to the country club for the next 18 months or so." The agreement, which was approved by the Niceville City Council Nov. 13 and by the Okaloosa Board of County Commissioners Nov. 20, gives to Niceville the county's previous stake in the three components of the reclaimed water system: the reclaimed water production facilities on Highway 85 North, the storage and pumping facilities, which include a 19-million-gallon retention pond, and the off-site piping system which services the country club, Heritage Gardens Cemetery, Swift Creek subdivision and the Rocky Bayou Christian School. All use the water for irrigation. work with law enforcement officers from all over the country and see how they handle problems in their departments." Graduates of the academy may join the FBI National Academy Associates, a network of over 15,000 law officers that works to develop national cooperation. Popwell said membership in this network will aid the quality of police work in Niceville. "If we come across a problem we've never seen before, I can call up someone from, say, the LAPD and ask them how they've dealt with this sort of thing," Popwell said. "We can pull experience from all over the country without having to learn it the hard way." Popwell, who has been chief since The robber vaulted the front desk and demanded the clerk at gunpoint to give him money. After the clerk handed him about $600 in a laundry bag, the gunman ordered her to the floor and threatened to come back and kill her if she called the police. Jackson was identified in a photo line-up looking into cars and acting suspiciously in a Holiday Inn Express parking lot Dec. 3. On Dec. 29, at 11:06 p.m., Niceville police responded to an armed robbery call from the Shell station at 220 N. Partin Drive, where an employee reported a man wearing a "Jason" mask ordered the clerk to the ground at knifepoint and took $200, cigarettes and lottery tickets before fleeing on foot. By Daniel Elsesser Beacon Staff Writer A Niceville man has been jailed after allegedly robbing two Niceville businesses and a Valparaiso store, each time threatening employees and wearing a horror-film "Jason" mask. A Niceville police report gave the following account: Keith Jo Jo Jackson Jr., unemployed, 19, of 304 Reeves St. Lot C10, was arrested by Niceville police Jan. 1 on charges of robbery with a firearm, grand theft, robbery with a weapon, and petit theft. On Dec. 4 at 12:04 a.m., Jackson allegedly entered the Quality Inn at 101 N. Highway 85 wearing a hockey mask like that of the actor portraying Jason, the psychotic killer who was the main character in a string of "Friday the 13th" slasher films. T T T h h e eB B a a y y B B e e a a c c o o n n 50Wednesday, January 9, 2013 info@baybeacon.com The voice of Niceville, Bluewater Bay and Valparaiso since 1992 (850) 678-1080 10 Pages, 2 Sections, 8 Inserts The voice of Niceville, Bluewater Bay and Valparaiso since 1992 Thursday, 10:30 a.m. Bring toddlers to see Clifford and hear his story, Happy Birthday Clifford, at the City Council Chambers, Niceville. Thursday, 7 p.m. See Jerry Seinfelds stand-up routine at the Mattie Kelly Arts Center Niceville. Tickets are $79.50 each plus processing fee. Friday, noon-1 p.m. Eat lunch and listen to a history lecture by historian H.C. Klein on the 1861 blockade of the Destin East Pass at the Heritage Museum of Northwest Florida, Valparaiso. Saturday, 10 a.m. Children ages 10-14 can compete in the Knights of Columbus Free Throw Championship at the Holy Name of Jesus Family Life Center, Niceville. Wednesday, 7:30-9:30 a.m. Enjoy the Economic and Housing Forecast Breakfast at Northwest Florida State College Student Services Center, Niceville. Tickets are $12 or $175 for a table of 8. See Calendar, B-2. COMINGUP Please see HOLDUPS, page A-2 Please see CHIEF, page A-2 Police BlotterPage A-4Niceville takes over sales of reclaimed water from Okaloosa Niceville man arrested after 3 holdups Beacon photo by Daniel Elsesser Erik Bendl rolls his 80-pound inflated canvas globe across John Sims Parkway with his dog, Nice, Monday. Bendl has walked over 6,000 miles in 39 states since 2007 to raise money for diabetes research. See story, A-2. Small world Faster cable Internet speeds promised in ValparaisoBy Daniel Elsesser Beacon Staff Writer Niceville Police Chief David Popwell will leave Jan. 9 to attend a 10-week training session at the FBI National Academy at Quantico, Va. The program, designed for leaders and managers of state and local police departments, combines academic course work with physical fitness tests. At 51, Popwell said he is 10 years older than the average participant. Popwell will join about 250 other law enforcement officers from all 50 states, several U.S. territories and over 150 partner nations in the program, intended to enhance the professional development of law enforcement leaders. "This will bring a breadth of experience to the department," Popwell said. "I'll be able to netDavid Popwell Burt Bennet Keith Jo Jo Jackson Jr. Beacon photo by Daniel Elsesser Heavy Internet usage threatens to overwhelm a modem system used by the Valparaiso cable TV network. The device will be replaced with a faster one this month.Police chief tapped for 10-week FBI course Please see CABLE, page A-6 The irrigation system at the Rocky Bayou Country Club, Niceville, which uses reclaimed effluent from the Niceville Valparaiso Regional Wastewater facility, sprays water on the club's golf course Jan. 3. The city of Niceville Jan. 1 began making payments previously made by the county to the club to accept the water. Beacon photo by Daniel Elsesser By Mike Griffith Beacon Correspondent Okaloosa County Sheriff Larry Ashley and State Attorney Bill Eddins announced that a criminal summons has been issued to Vision Airlines for failing to pay $100,000 in airport fees. The Las Vegas-based airline, which once made the county-run Northwest Regional Airport its operating hub, "collected but did not remit to Okaloosa County . more than $100,000 in passenger facility charges," according to a criminal-charge affidavit filed Monday in Okaloosa County Circuit Court by Eddins. "Although some payments were made, at this time, Vision owes the county more than $117,659.98," the affidavit alleged. In July 2012, the county evicted Vision from the airport, a year and a half after a much-ballyhooed opening that was supposed to bring tens of thousands of tourists to the Emerald Coast from throughout the Southeast. The company now operates two scheduled routes between other Florida cities and the Biloxi, Miss., gambling resort. In the affidavit, the State Attorney alleged that "Vision misappropriated the PFC revenues that were in trust for the county and airport and committed first degree grand theft, in violation of section 812.014(2)(a). Florida Statutes." During a press conference Monday at the Okaloosa County Sheriffs office in Shalimar, Eddins said that when criminal charges are made against a corporation rather than against individual persons, no one is arrested, nor are they sent to prison if convicted, but the corporation itself can be punished by being made to pay a fine, as well as restitution for losses by the victim of the crimein this case Okaloosa Countyand also made to pay the cost of the investigation and prosecution. In the case of Vision Airlines, Eddins said, the company had allegedly failed to pay more than $100,000 in passenger facilities charges. Eddins said that such charges are similar to a state sales tax, which Vision was required to By Mike Griffith Beacon Correspondent Members of the Bluewater Bay Municipal Services Benefit Unit (MSBU) board of directors met Feb. 12, and changed the date of an upcoming landscape workshop to Feb. 22. They also discussed making repairs to some of Bluewater Bays aging street and directional sign. The MSBU is a special unit of Okaloosa County government, in charge of landscaping, street lights and signs, and general maintenance of common areas throughout the unincorporated Bluewater Bay community. It is governed by a five-member board of elected directors. The landscape workshop had previously been scheduled for Feb. 19, but was rescheduled to 10 a.m. Friday, Feb. 22, after board member Judy Griffin said that at least one board member would be unable to attend on Feb. 19. By Daniel Elsesser Beacon Staff Writer The Niceville City Council unanimously approved a proposal to test a curbside recycling program using 96-gallon wheeled cans instead of the familiar little blue bins. A representative of the city's garbage and recycling hauler, Waste Management Inc., said switching to big recycling containers would dramatically increase recycling, with a corresponding decrease in garbage sent to landfills. The council, voting at its meeting Feb. 12 in the Niceville City Council chambers, authorized City Clerk Dan Doucet and City Manager Lannie Corbin to designate a neighborhood of about 50 homes that would be a good area to test the program. Domenica Farmer, district manager for Waste Management, said the goal of the program is to increase recycling and reduce garbage volume. Farmer said the greater capacity of the new receptacles would cause users to put recyclables in the correct bin instead of the garbage. She said the convenience of rolling the cart to the street instead of picking up and carrying the smaller bin would also boost participation in the city's voluntary curbside recycling program. The pilot program would test a neighborhood that receives garbage pickup twice a week and recycling and yard waste pickup once a week. The pickup schedule for the pilot program would remain the same, and the only aspect that would change would be the switch from the 18-gallon recycling bin to a 96-gallon rolling container the size and shape of a Waste Management garbage can. The program would run for four to six months. Waste Management will record the "set-out" rates of garbage and recycling during the program and compare them to previous figures. This information, along with the results of a survey of participants, will be provided to the city council for consideration with an eye to deciding whether to switch the entire city to the plan. The 96-gallon recycling By Daniel Elsesser and Angela Yuriko Smith Beacon Staff East Niceville Fire Commission Treasurer Ed Dunbar suggested the commission follow more closely a Florida law requiring the commission to elect its board officers annually. Dunbar said at a commission meeting Feb. 11 that the panel has not been following the law, which requires that a board vote to pick a commission chairman, vice chairman, treasurer and secretary be held within 60 days of the date that newly elected commissioners take office. Dunbar said that if the commission does not adopt the required policy, he would step down from his treasurer position at the end of the fiscal year, which will end Sept. 30. He would still retain his seat on the commission throughout his full term, which ends November 2014. "I'd announce my resignation [as treasurer] not to force anything untoward, but just to give everyone fair warning of what's going to happen," Dunbar said. Dunbar said the commission members askedbut did not electhim to assume the treasurer position after he was appointed to the commission in May 2010 due to a vacancy caused by the death of longtime commissioner Ray Hinck. Dunbar said the commission has never held internal elections or rotated positions during his time on the commission. John Root, vice chairman, who has been a commissioner for 12 years, said he wasn't sure when the commission last held elections for board officers, but added that it was "probably two or three years ago." Florida Statute 191.05 states "[a]nnually, within 60 days after the newly elected members have taken office, the board shall Wednesday, 7-8 p.m. Meet Dr. Bob Shipp and hear his free presentation on red snappers and artificial reefs at the Student Services Center Northwest Florida State College, Niceville. Wednesday, 4:30-8 p.m. Donate blood to Northwest Florida Blood Services and then enjoy a snack and drink at First Baptist Church Niceville. Thursday, 3:30 p.m. Enjoy nature with the Adventure Club for a bike ride in the Parkwood area, through Bluewater Bay Niceville. Saturday, 10 a.m. Get into weaving with the Strictly Weavers of the Emerald Coast at their monthly meeting at the Twin Cities Hospital Wellness Center Niceville. Saturday, 7 p.m. Take a look at the stars at the Northwest Florida Astronomy Associations meeting at the observatory, Northwest Florida State College, Niceville. See Calendar, B-2. T T T h h e eB B a a y y B B e e a a c c o o n n 50Wednesday, February 20, 2013 info@baybeacon.com The voice of Niceville, Bluewater Bay and Valparaiso since 1992 (850) 678-1080 10 Pages, 2 Sections, 5 Inserts COMINGUP Please see VISION, page A-2 Please see ELECTIONS, page A-3 Please see CITY, page A-2 Please see FACELIFT, page A-3 Police BlotterPage A-4 Bluewater Bay facelift meeting set for FridayCompany allegedly failed to pay $100,000 in county charges The voice of Niceville, Bluewater Bay and Valparaiso since 1992 Some of Bluewater Bay's aging directlonal signs give inaccurate information. The conference center mentioned on this sign, for example, no longer exists. The building that once housed the center is occupied by an investment company.Fire commissioner: Law requires officer electionsBeacon photo by Mike Griffith State Attorney Bill Eddins announces a criminal charge against Vision Airlines for failing to pay county airport fees. He was joined at a press conference in Shalimar Monday by Okaloosa County Sheriff Larry Ashley. Ed DunbarCity to test giant recycling cans A 96-gallon recycling cart.Vision Airlines charged in fee case By Daniel Elsesser Beacon Staff Writer Three single-family homes could be added to Niceville property rolls under an annexation and zoning request by Walter Spence of Spence Brothers Properties. Spence has submitted a request that the city annex the land at 631 Fir Ave., three-quarters of an acre currently in an unincorporated area of Okaloosa County, into Niceville and zone it R-1B, to allow single-family homes. Jerry Spence, also of Spence Brothers Properties, said the county currently zones the land R-2, to allow for singleor multiple-family homes. Jerry Spence said he plans to construct three one-family houses ranging from about 1,370 to 1,650 square feet and sell them for between $185,000 and $235,000 each. He said he is building due to a market need for houses in that price range. here; it will still be our county. We must clean house, said Boyles, and fix our problems, but we must also get our message out. We must be circumspect in articulating about Okaloosa County. Boyles did not specify any housecleaning measures or fixes.. County officials have stated that only recently have they received permission from criminal investigators to start their own internal probe. During a question-and-answer session following Boyles' address, he was asked about federal Restore Act funding for Okaloosa County. We dont know yet, he said, how much money the county will actually receive as its share of BP clean-water penalties stemming from the 2010 oil spill.By Mike Griffith Beacon Correspondent Okaloosa County Commissioner Nathan Boyles said officials must "clean house" in the wake of the TDC scandal, but that they "must be circumspect" lest the county's reputation be further damaged. Speaking to members of the Niceville Valparaiso Chamber of Commerce, in Niceville Feb. 19, Boyles said, The issue on our forefront right now" is the scandal surrounding the Okaloosa County Tourist Development Council, an agency overseen by the county commission. Despite the scandal, said Boyles, The big message is that we are Okaloosa Countyall of us. At the end of the day, he said, this will blow over and well still beBy Daniel Elsesser Beacon Staff Writer A bill that would transfer control of the Mid-Bay Bridge Authority (MBBA) to an Okaloosa-Bay Regional Tollway Authority was filed in the Florida Senate Friday. Sen. Jeff Brandes, a Pinellas County Republican, chair of the Senate Transportation Committee, submitted Senate Bill 1132, which would also establish procedures for creation of new regional tollway authorities. Not coincidentally, the MBBA, which opposes the measure, on Thursday hired a Tallahassee lobbyist for the first time. The Senate bill states "[t]he assets, facilities, tangible and intangible property and any rights in such property, and any other legal rights of the (Mid-Bay) bridge authority, including the bridge system operated by the authority, are transferred to the regional authority." The bill states the powers of the locally governed authority would be handed to a new region-By Mike Griffith Beacon Correspondent The Valparaiso City Commission last week has smiled on a request from Michael Harris, owner of the Compass Rose restaurant, to expand on the waterfront. Harris, whose restaurant lies along the north shore of Toms Bayou near John Sims Parkway, has requested city permission to construct an "oyster bar" and dock on the shoreline, next to the restaurant. Harris addressed the commission Feb. 18 concerning his proposal. He showed commissioners a survey map of his property to help illustrate his plan. Commissioners expressed uncertainty, however, about whether they can grant such permission without being certain whether the city itself or waterfront landowners actually hold legal title to the shoreline itself. Commissioner Joe Morgan said the city should not grant such permission without first knowing who owns the shoreline. Harris addressed the commission, saying that he wants to open an oyster bar and dock for his customers. He said the dock T T T h h e eB B a a y y B B e e a a c c o o n n 50Wednesday, February 27, 2013 info@baybeacon.com The voice of Niceville, Bluewater Bay and Valparaiso since 1992 (850) 678-1080 42 Pages, 3 Sections, 4 Inserts Please see TDC, page A-5 Please see BILL, page A-2 Please see BUILDER, page A-3 Please see VALP., page A-6 Police BlotterPage A-4Bill would tap bridge tolls for other projectsBuilder proposes three new houses Valp. restaurant seeks expansion to bayou shore Beacon photo by Daniel Elsesser The Compass Rose restaurant, shown here partly hidden by vegetation, center right, has proposed extending its operation to the shore of Toms Bayou with an oyster bar and dock. 2013 S p r i n g S u m m e r 2 0 1 3 S u p p le m e n t t o T h e B a y B e a c o n Ni c e v i l l e V a l p a r a i s o F lo r id a Th e B ay B eac on s an d C o m m un ity D irector y NEWCOMER GUID E Inside ... Wednesday, 4:30 p.m. Learn about Black Seminoles in a free history lecture The African Presence in Spanish Florida: Black Seminoles, with Dr. Rosalyn Howard at Northwest Florida State College Niceville. Thursday, 10 a.m. See the opening of the free Arnie Hart Juried student and Northwest Florida State College faculty art exhibition in the McIlroy and Holzhauer galleries at the Mattie Kelly Arts Center, Niceville. Saturday, 8:30 a.m. Run for a good cause while listening to the Niceville High School Chorus at its 2nd Annual Grand Staff 5K Run/Walk fundraiser at the Niceville High School. Saturday, 7:30 p.m. Hear the New Directions Veterans Choir from all branches of the U.S. military sing a cappella at the Mattie Kelly Arts Center Niceville. Sunday, 1-4 p.m. Get help in a free college financial aid workshop Cash 4 College, at the Student Services Center, Northwest Florida State College Niceville. See Calendar, B-2. COMINGUP Airline pays county fees of $117,000By Mike Griffith Beacon Correspondent Okaloosa County has received a $117,000 check from Vision Airlines following the lodging of a criminal complaint against the airline for alleged nonpayment. Okaloosa County Commissioner Dave Parisot Feb. 20 provided the Beacon with a copy of a check for $117,659.98 from Vision Airlines to Okaloosa County, in payment for passenger facilities charges owed to the county. The airline, which had been Familiar faces retire from post officePatricia Vines and Eugene Teichert, pictured, as well as David Young retired from the Niceville Post Office Jan. 31 after a total of 85 years of federal service. Story, page B-1. Beacon photo by Anna Kavanaugh Photo by Cycnut.com Cindy Janazzo of Niceville was among over 100 runners who pushed through heavy rain Saturday in the Bluewater Bay Duathlon, which raised more than $2,000, to benefit the EOD community and Emerald Coast Triathlon Club. The bike portion was canceled due to the weather, but 112 runners participated in 5K or 10K courses. The area was drenched by upwards of 10 inches of rain in recent days. Race results, page B-2.Rainy day runner Please see AIRLINE, page A-2 Nathan Boyles We must clean house in TDC scandalBut commissioner urges caution to protect Okaloosa County s reputation The voice of Niceville, Bluewater Bay and Valparaiso since 1992 Daniel Elsesser Beacon Staff Writer HDR Engineering will conduct a study to determine the effectiveness of a noise abatement wall between the Mid-Bay Bridge Connector road and the adjacent neighborhoods of Chardonnay Estates and White Point Village, according to MidBay Bridge Authority Executive Director Jim Vest. Vest, speaking at a special meeting with the Mid-Bay Bridge Authority and representatives from the Florida Department of Transportation and the neighborhoods, said the study would simulate the estimated peak noise of the area in question for 2030, when traffic is expected to be even heavier than today's 18,000 average daily vehicle count. Vest said the results of the study will be available in six to eight weeks. Thursday 1:30 p.m. Bring the kids and enjoy snacks and drinks while watching Hotel Transylvania at the Valparaiso Community Library for its early release movie day. Friday, noon Enjoy your lunch break with a history lecture about the West Florida British Colonial period at the Heritage Museum of Northwest Florida, Valparaiso. Saturday, 2-3:30 p.m. Celebrate Valentines Day learning tea etiquette at a traditional Victorian tea at the Heritage Museum of Northwest Florida, Valparaiso. The tea is $15 or $12 for members. Sunday, 2 p.m. Hear the sounds of the Northwest Florida State College Soundsations Snowbird Show Choir in a concert at the Mattie Kelly Arts Center Niceville. Tickets are $10. Monday, 9:45 a.m. Take the little ones to The Little Engine That Could childrens show at the Mattie Kelly Arts Center Northwest Florida State College. Niceville. Tickets are $6. See Calendar, B-3.By Daniel Elsesser Beacon Staff Writer Valparaiso Police Chief Joseph Hart retired Thursday after 32 years in police work, including nine as the department's chief. In a ceremony at Valparaiso City Hall, Hart was honored by family members, fellow police officers and other city employees. Mayor Bruce Arnold gave a speech at the ceremony, thanking Hart for his years of service. "You're everything a mayor hopes for in a police chief," Arnold said of Hart. Hart gave the last speech at the ceremony, tearfully thanking his coworkers for their assistance during his tenure. "Police work is all I've ever known," Hart said. "Thanks to all of you, this little department has become what I believe to be one of the best in the area." Hart's position will be filled in the interim by Capt. David Bruckelmeyer. By Mike Griffith Beacon Correspondent Members of the Okaloosa County legislative delegation said key questions remain unanswered concerning misuse of Okaloosa County tourist bed-tax money. The legislators, especially state Rep. Matt Gaetz, said they want more answers in the wake of the Florida Auditor Generals recent investigation of how over $1.5 million was stolen or misspent by the late executive director of the countys Tourist Development Council (TDC), an agency that was supposed to be overseen by the Okaloosa County Commission. The lawmakers spoke during and after a briefing on aspects of the scandal by officials of the Florida Auditor General during a public hearing by the county's representatives to the Florida Legislature Jan. 30 in Niceville. The hearing was held in the Niceville civic center auditorium, and was attended by about 200 members of the public as well as the state legislators. Proceedings began as Okaloosa County Sheriff Larry Ashley gave a short briefing on the criminal investigations being conducted by the sheriff's office, as well as by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, the District 1 State Attorney, and the FBI. The second briefing, by Auditor T T T h h e eB B a a y y B B e e a a c c o o n n 50Wednesday, February 6, 2013 info@baybeacon.com The voice of Niceville, Bluewater Bay and Valparaiso since 1992 (850) 678-1080 12 Pages, 2 Sections, 5 Inserts COMINGUP Please see BURGLARY, page A-6 Please see NOISE, page A-8 Please see COP, page A-5 Please see TDC, page A-2 Police BlotterPage A-7 Jet-crash drillBurglary sends girl running for safetyUnanswered questions on TDC Valparaisos top cop hangs up his badgeChief Joseph Hart retiresBeacon photos by Daniel Elsesser Participants in a drill dressed as Air Force pilots who ejected before a simulated military jet crash in Valparaiso are "rescued" by an Eglin Air Force Base firefighter on Valastics Avenue Thursday. Members of the Valparaiso (right photo), East Niceville and Niceville fire departments also participated in the exercise, which Valparaiso Fire Chief Mark Norris said was designed chiefly to strengthen inter-agency communication. Joseph Hart The voice of Niceville, Bluewater Bay and Valparaiso since 1992 Eye of the beholderEd Nickerson, 68, paints a picture of Cranky J's Coffee Shop and its environs while sitting a few feet from a steady stream of traffic at Bullock Boulevard and John Sims Parkway Monday. Nickerson, retired, of Choctaw Beach, said he paints for recreation, but may someday try to use his art to turn a profit. "Eventually I hope to sell my art," Nickerson said. "But it'll be a while before that." Beacon photo by Daniel ElsesserHighway noise study promised By Daniel Elsesser Beacon Staff Writer A man hurled a lawn ornament through the glass of a window of a Niceville residence, terrifying the teenage girl inside, entered the shattered opening, snatched $700 in jewelry, ran home, and prevailed on a friend to sell the loot, according to police. Two people were arrested. Niceville police reports gave the following account: Arrested Jan. 24 was Gregory Houde, unemployed, 29, of 304 Reeves St. Lot A-5, Niceville, who forced his way into the house, took the jewelry, and asked someone to sell it to a local gold store as her own for $200. Houde was jailed on charges of burglary of an occupied dwelling while unarmed, dealing in stolen property, grand theft and property damage criminal mischief. At about 12:25 p.m. Jan. 18, a 15-year-old resident of the 1100 block of Rhonda Drive, Niceville, was startled by a Gregory Houde State Rep. Matt Gaetz's questions of Okaloosa County and state officials concerning misspent or stolen funds of the county Tourist Development Council largely went unanswered at a legislative hearing last week in Niceville. Beacon photo by Mike Griffith Gail Rich, Chardonnay Estates, Niceville, speaks at a meeting convened Thursday to discuss noise from the Mid-Bay Bridge highway. Beacon photo by Daniel Elsesser By Mike Griffith Beacon Correspondent Landscaping companies made suggestions to improve the look of Bluewater Bay during a recent public forum. The Bluewater Bay Municipal Services Benefit Unit (MSBU), a taxing district that maintains the appearance of common areas of Bluewater Bay, hosted a landscaping workshop Feb. 22. The workshop meeting was scheduled by the MSBU to gather information and ideas about how to improve the overall appearance of the Bluewater Bay community. No decisions were made, but ideas advanced at the workshop are expected to be discussed at future MSBU meetings, such as the one scheduled for March 12. The workshop began with a slide presentation from Jason Connor, a representative of the ValleyCrest Landscape Companies. Connor showed slides of work his firm, a national company which is based in California and has an office in Santa Rosa Beach, has done at other planned communities similar to Bluewater Bay. ValleyCrest was an unsuccessful bidder for the MSBU's current landscape-maintenance contract. Connor said that while he did not wish to throw stones at the hard work done by other landscaping companies in Bluewater Bay, his company could offer ideas that would enhance the curb appeal of Bluewater Bay, and help local residents to be happy where you live. Connor said some of the landscaping designs and street signs in the Bluewater Bay area are aging and that their deteriorating appearance could reduce local home values. He suggested that current wooden street signs could be replaced by more durable signs such as concrete or brick monuments or by making use of landscaping features to elevate or protect signs against damage from lawn mowing equipment and other sources. Connor also said that local turf could be helped to grow and maintain its appearance through better use of water and fertilizers, which could be planned by his company. He also recommended that steps be taken to remove such eyesores as ant mounds, deadwood, and other debris from landscape areas. Connor also suggested adding what he called a third rotation of seasonal color to Bluewater Bay through the planting of colorful flowers and shrubs in local flower beds. Connors slide show was the only formal presentation from any landscaper or company at the workshop. However, some other landscapers did speak up with ideas of their own. Hank Bruns, for example, mentioned that he By Daniel Elsesser Beacon Staff Writer Firefighters will be able to respond better to waterfront fires and other emergencies on area waterways, thanks to a new fireboat operated by Niceville Fire Department Feb. 27. Niceville Fire Chief Tommy Mayville said the boat, a 27-foot Brunswick Boston Whaler, can fight blazes by pulling up to structures or vessels from the water side. Mayville said the boat has an intake pump that can shoot water from the bay through hoses at 1,200 gallons per minute, nearly the rate of a fire engine. According to Mayville, the boat would also respond to air crashes in the bay. Before Feb. 27, the only fire agency near Choctawhatchee Bay to have a proper fireboat was the Destin Fire Control District,By Daniel Elsesser Beacon Staff Writer The Okaloosa County Commission will hear a request at its April 16 meeting for a notice of proposed change to the Bluewater development of regional impact (DRI) by the Bluewater Resort to change four of the resort's golf holes to land for residential development. According to Terry Jernigan, Okaloosa County planning manager, the commission will decide whether the proposed change constitutes a substantial deviation from the original development plan, and then decide whether to approve it. Jernigan said a decision that the change does not constitute a substantial deviation does not necessarily mean an approval of the plan. "They could decide it's not a substantial deviation and still give it the thumbs down," Jernigan said. Jernigan said the West Florida Regional Planning Council and the state's Department of Economic Opportunity (formerly the Department of Community Affairs) have also received submissions from the resort and will also decide whether the proposed change is a substantial deviation. If the county determines the change does not constitute a substantial deviation and the Department of Economic Opportunity does, the issue would be sent for review to the state's Land and Water Adjudicatory Committee, consisting of Gov. Rick Scott and his cabinet. Jernigan said DRIs are governed by a different statute than normal zoning changes, and thus the change will not go before the Okaloosa County Planning Commission. By Daniel Elsesser Beacon Staff Writer A nurse at a Bluewater Bay nursing and rehabilitation facility was arrested after she was caught with over 100 pills intended for residents of the facility,according to Okaloosa County Sheriff's Office reports. Renee Lorraine Stern, 32, of 229 Limestone Circle, Crestview, was arrested by sheriff's deputies Feb. 24 on charges of petit theft, two counts of possession of a prescription drug without a prescription and two counts of trafficking opium or a derivative,according to the sheriff's reports,which gave the following account: Duane Gallagher, administrator of the Manor at T T T h h e eB B a a y y B B e e a a c c o o n n 50Wednesday, March 6, 2013 info@baybeacon.com The voice of Niceville, Bluewater Bay and Valparaiso since 1992 (850) 678-1080 12 Pages, 2 Sections, 4 Inserts Please see PLAN, page A-2 Please see NURSE, page A-3 Please see SCANDAL, page A-5 Please see BWB, page A-2 Please see NEWEST, page A-3 Police BlotterPage A-4Nurse charged with stealing patients pillsBy Mike Griffith Beacon Correspondent A parade of Okaloosa County officials and contractors testified Monday before the Florida Legislatures Joint Legislative Auditing Committee (JLAC) in Tallahassee during the panel's second hearing regarding the Okaloosa County Tourist Development Council scandal of 2012. Each witness explained his role in relation to the TDC and said that he was not responsible for any misconduct connected with deceased TDC director Mark Bellingers theft of county funds. It was the third time in recent weeks that the JLAC has summoned Okaloosa County officials to testify on events surrounding the looting of hundreds of thousands of dollars from county coffers. One of the first witnesses was Warren Gourley, a member of the TDC's governing board. He said that TDC board members were volunteers who served merely in an advisory role, and that votes taken during their Officials deny blame in TDC scandalLandscapers offer ideas to spruce up BWB Wednesday, 3-4 p.m. Learn how to check out eBooks and audio books with your Nook in a free Nook workshop at the Niceville Public Library. Thursday, 1:30 p.m. Bring the kids and enjoy popcorn at an early release movie day featuring Wreck it Ralph at the Valparaiso Community Library Friday, 6-8 p.m. Enjoy food from local restaurants at the Child Care Services annual Taste of the Bayou and charity auction fundraiser at St. Mary Church, Fort Walton Beach. Saturday, 6-9 p.m. Support the Rocky Bayou Christian School at its Burgers and Bids silent auction to benefit its scholarship and financial aid programs at the Destin United Methodist Church. Monday, 6:30 p.m. Hear the Liberty University Wind Ensemble in its spring tour free concert at the First Baptist Churchof Niceville. See Calendar, B-2. COMINGUP Newest fire engine floats Niceville firefighters test the pump and spout on a new fire boat in Boggy Bayou off Lions Park, Niceville, Friday. The 27foot Boston Whaler, which will be used to fight fires around Choctawhatchee Bay, can pump water in a 200-foot stream at 1,200 gallons a minute. Beacon photo by Daniel Elsesser Play ball! Renee L. Stern Plan to build on part of golf course eyed The voice of Niceville, Bluewater Bay and Valparaiso since 1992Beacon photo by Mike Griffith Saturday was opening day for 120 players of the Valparaiso-Niceville Girls Softball Association. Ten teams, divided into four leagues covering ages 5 to 18, faced off at the Niceville softball complex for their first games of the 42nd season, which ends May 18. Coaches helped girls in the dugout get ready to take the field while parents and family members cheered from the stands. 2 accused in case, A-3. The Bay Beacon this week is pleased to present a look back at the top stories and photos of 2013, as presented in a week-by-week review of Page 1. Thank you, readers, for welcoming us into your homes in 2013. Thank you, advertisers, for your support in the past year. We look forward to continuing to serve you in 2014. The staff of the Bay Beacon: Stephen Kent, Sara Kent, Bunni Farhnam, Linda McCormick, Candice Legge, Mac Macasaet, Cheryle Valentine,Angela Yuriko Smith, Karon Dey. Correspondents: Mike Griffith, Sarah Clauson.

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The voice of Niceville, Bluewater Bay and Valparaiso since 1992Page A-2 Wednesday, January 1, 2014 THEBAYBEACON Call or visit usPOWELL AGE NCY, I NC.Complete Insurance Service110 N. Partin Drive Niceville 678-2514Why Now? Why Wait? Why not turn your dreams of a more comfortable and attractive smile into a beautiful reality! Start smiling again with a simple, gentle, non-surgical procedure. Restore your comfort and confidence while speaking and eating. In one procedure you can walk out ready to enjoy the foods you wish, without the long healing times and high costs typically associated with conventional implants. Stabilize Your Dentures Instantly!Call Today!GULFCOASTDENTALSteven G. Robinette, DDS (850) 897-9600 4566 Hwy 20 East Ste 108 Niceville, FL 32578 www.gulfcoastdental.com Like uson FACEBOOK By Daniel Elsesser Beacon Cras s pdtred County traffic engineers have reduced the left-hand turn lanes from White Point Road to State Road 20 from two lanes to one, but many motorists are apparently finding the new pattern confusing. More changes are planned to make the new flow easier to follow, according to county officials. Meantime, many motorists are still using the center of three lanes as a left-turn lane, despite traffic engineers' recent efforts to designate it as a straight-on lane. Jason Autrey, manager of the Okaloosa County Public Works engineering division, noted that traffic on White Point Road has decreased dramatically after a bypass opened to the east in September 2011. At that time White Point Road reverted to county-road status; it has been a state highway since the bridge opened in 1993. The Florida Department of Transportation counted an average of 18,700 vehicles a day at a point on White Point Road 500 feet south of SR 20 in 2010, the year before the connector opened. In 2011, the FDOT counted an average of 7,500 a day. The decline means that northbound motorists on White Point Road who wish to turn left at SR 20 no longer need two left-hand turn lanes to ease congestion at the intersection, Autrey said. Autrey said the intersection is currently a "split-phase" intersection, meaning traffic from White Point on either side of SR 20 cannot turn left at the same time. He said the signals will eventually be changed to allow simultaneous left turns by traffic heading west on SR 20 from White Point Road and traffic heading east on SR 20 from North White Point Road, a spur that ends at the Bluewater Manor. Autrey said forward-pointing arrows intended to guide vehicles in the center lane were added to the pavement and the traffic-light mast in late January. However, recent observations show that many motorists are still turning left, or west, from the center lane. Autrey said this will increase the efficiency of the intersection by lessening downtime, or time when traffic is not moving. By not making traffic on opposite sides of SR 20 wait for each other to turn, Autrey said, about four seconds of red light time can be cut from each 100-second cycle at the intersection. Autrey said that a dotted "skip" stripe that still suggests to motorists that they may turn left from the center lane will be removed at the expense of the Mid-Bay Bridge Authority. Autrey said that signal changes, which will disable the turn arrow from the center signal facing White Point Road, should be completed within six months. He said this only requires a programming change and will cost virtually nothing. "We will be monitoring this intersection," Autrey said. "If it does not work, we can alter it." Autrey said recent adjustments have been made to White Point Road to lessen the volume of through traffic headed to and from the Mid-Bay Bridge, including a four-way stop at the roads intersection with Daniel Elsesser Beacon Cras s pd tred Many Bluewater Bay residents oppose a plan by the Bluewater Bay Resort to convert four of the resort's Magnolia golf course holes to residential areas, according to critics of the plan. The resort submitted a proposed change to Bluewater's development of regional impact (DRI) to Okaloosa County. The Okaloosa Board of County Commissioners is scheduled to review the change at a meeting April 16, set for 6 p.m. at the county water and sewer building, 1804 Lewis Turner Blvd., Fort Walton Beach. Manfred Meine, a resident of Bluewater's Magnolia Plantation subdivision and former president of the neighborhood's homeowners' association, said he will attend the commission meeting to show opposition to the proposed change. Meine said he expects many other residents to attend in opposition as well. "I think you're going to have standing room only," Meine said. Raimund Herden, one of the original developers of Bluewater Bay, said he expects around 500 people from all over Bluewater to show at the April 16 meeting in opposition to the change. Meine, a professor at Troy University, said many Bluewater residents moved to the neighborhood because of the environment provided by the golf course. "I think part of why most of us moved here is because the golf course gives you a park-like feel," Meine said. "I think that's going to be damaged." Meine said he is concerned that property values will decrease as a result of adding high-density housing to areas previously occupied by the golf course. He said he is also concerned about increased traffic congestion and general deterioration of the golf course, and said he is certain numerous Bluewater homeowners join him in his sentiments.By Mike Griffith Beacon Sod d efWonienr At a Niceville Valparaiso Rotary Club meeting Thursday, Okaloosa County Commissioner David Parisot did what he could not do three days before at a legislative hearing in Tallahassee. Parisot presented a PowerPoint briefing entitled A Commissioner's Viewpoint, in which he discussed the events of the Okaloosa County Tourist Development Council (TDC) scandal, and the county commissions role in trying to solve the problems that made the scandal possible. Parisot had submitted, and attempted to present, the same PowerPoint to the Joint Legislative Auditing Committee (JLAC) during the panels hearing in Tallahassee March 4. However, his briefing had been T T T h h e eB B a a y y B B e e a a c c o o n n 50Wednesday, March 13, 2013 info@baybeacon.com The voice of Niceville, Bluewater Bay and Valparaiso since 1992 (850) 678-1080 10 Pages, 2 Sections, 6 Inserts Please see VALP., page A-3 Please see SCANDAL, page A-3 Please see PLAN, page A-2 Police BlotterPage A-4Commissioner reports on county actions in TDC scandals wakeBy Mike Griffith Beacon Sod d efWonienr In its third meeting, a new citizens panel advising the Valparaiso City Commission spent much of its time discussing whether it was required to continue to meet in public. The Valparaiso Visioning Committee held its third meeting Thursday. Attending for the first time was Jill White, co-chair of the committee and a professor at Northwest Florida State College. Also in attendance was Valparaiso City Clerk Tammy Johnson, in an advisory role. The main order of business was a speakerphone discussion with Valparaiso City Attorney Hayward Dykes. The committee members asked Dykes for his advice as to whether the visioning committee is subject to the Florida Sunshine Law, which requires members of government boards that make laws or policy or advise the government to announce meetings in advance and to admit the public. Valp. panel wonders whether it is subject to open-meetings law Wednesday, 7:30 p.m. The Northwest Florida State College presents the theatrical version of Shakespeares A Midsummer Nights Dream in the Sprint Theater, at the Mattie Kelly Arts Center, Niceville. Thursday, 3:30 p.m. Enjoy a scenic bike ride with the Adventure Club along the Bluewater Bay Resort, Niceville. Saturday, 7-11 a.m. Eat breakfast at the Niceville-Valparaiso Kiwanis Clubs pancake breakfast and silent auction at the Niceville High School cafeteria. Saturday, 7:30 p.m. See the pianist Yue Chu return for a private piano recital in the Tyler Recital Hall of the Mattie Kelly Arts Center, Niceville. Tuesday, 6:30 p.m. Celebrate archeology with a free history lecture Talking Smack: The Sailing Vessels of Pensacolas Fishing Industry, at the Niceville Community Center 205 N. Partin Drive. See Calendar, B-2. COMINGUP Beacon photo by Daniel Elsesser The left turn lane from White Point Road to State Road 20 was reduced from two lanes to one because of a perceived decrease in traffic turning off the road resulting from the construction of the Mid-Bay Bridge Connector. But old habits die hard, and some motorists, such as the one pictured (center left), are still turning left from the center lane. Straight and narrow Opposition mounts to golf course plan, critics say The voice of Niceville, Bluewater Bay and Valparaiso since 1992Beacon photo Workers contracted by the city of Niceville lay concrete for a sidewalk on 27th Street, just east of Palm Boulevard, March 5. The job is one of several to add concrete sidewalks or asphalt walkways in the city. Public Works Director Bruce Price said Niceville awarded a $226,000 contract in October to Gum Creek Farms, a DeFuniak Springs paving company. The contract also includes orders for concrete sidewalks on Kildare Circle and asphalt pathways on Valparaiso Boulevard and Rocky Bayou Drive. The work is expected to be completed by mid May, with a total of 5,500 to 6,000 feet of new walkway. David ParisotIntersection update confuses motoristsAttempts continue to revamp White Point Road as local street New arrow on traffic mast indicates traffic flow from northbound center lane of White Point Road at SR 20. Please see CONFUSES, page A-5 By Daniel Elsesser Beacon Cras s pd tred First Judicial Circuit State Attorney Bill Eddins announced last week that the state has dropped a theft charge against Vision Airlines after the company paid $160,000 in restitution and costs. The state attorney's office has previously charged the Las Vegas-based airline, formerly a tenant at Northwest Florida Regional Airport, with first degree grand theft for its alleged failure to remit more than $100,000 in passenger facility charges (PFCs) to the county-operated airport. According to the state attorney's office, Vision paid about $117,000 in PFC restitution after being charged. On March 11, Vision paid an additional $43,477 in costs and legal fees owed to Okaloosa County and the airport. This payment includes $13,783 in legal fees to Okaloosa County and $29,694 in interest and delinquent fees. According to the original probable cause affidavit filed against Vision, the airline collected a $4.50 PFC for every passenger. It was permitted to retain 11 cents and remit the rest to the county monthly. Vision allegedly failed to do this frequently, according to the affidavit filed in Okaloosa County Circuit Court. Vision began offering flights out of the Northwest Florida Regional Airport in December 2010, and was evicted by Okaloosa County for nonpayment in July 2012, according to officials. According to Eddins, Vision has agreed to cooperate with the state attorney and the Okaloosa County Sheriff's Office in the ongoing investigation of the misuse of county funds by the Tourist Development Council. Eddins said March 12 that Vision's cooperation led to the dropping of the charge. "Vision paid the required PFC money immediately after they were charged, and they've paid late fees, Okaloosa's attorney's fees, and they've agreed to cooperate in our investigation," Eddins said. "Because of those three things, we felt that there would be no useful purpose in pursuing the charges and that justice will be properly served by disposing of the situation the way that we have." Eddins said his office is no longer involved in the dispute between Okaloosa County and Vision because the airline has made all required payments regarding PFCs. He said a county dispute with the airline over certain utility payments is a civil matter and therefore does not involve his office. Attempts to reach Vision Airline were unsuccessful. Previously the company had denied any wrongdoing and alleged that the county owed it money.By Daniel Elsesser Beacon Cras s pd tred The Niceville YMCA may have to move, but it's not shutting down, according to Michael Rojas, chief executive of YMCA of Florida's Emerald Coast. Rojas said Ruckel Properties, landlord for the YMCA branch at Palm Plaza in Niceville, wants the YMCA to begin paying the market rent for its space in Niceville or else relocate. Rojas said that given the market rate of about $10 per square foot per year, the 13,000-squarefoot Niceville YMCA cannot afford to stay in Palm Plaza, its home since the branch opened in 2006.By Daniel Elsesser Beacon Cras s pd tred The Niceville City Council approved a plan at its meeting March 12 to install new water meter reading technology to monitor the citys residential and commercial water usage. The council approved a $1,315,177 project to install an automatic metering infrastructure (AMI) which sends data from meters to a database by radio transmission. City Clerk Dan Doucet said the previous system needed replacement because some transmitters had failed, requiring the city to go out and read the amounts manually instead of through a database. The city awarded the contract to Innovative Metering Solutions, a distributor of meter products. Doucet said the new meter reading system they offer is of greater quality than the one currently used by the city. Doucet said the new system would eventually allow all meters to be read through the database, requiring no manual field readings. Doucet said this is important because field readings can be delayed due to inclement weather, leading to water bills for city customers that include an extra week of billing. Doucet said this confusion can be eliminated with an improved meterreading system. Innovative Metering Solutions is a distributor for Badger Meter, a Wisconsin company that manufactures the reading equipment. By Mike Griffith Beacon Sod d efWonienr On a split vote, the Bluewater Bay Municipal Services Benefit Unit (MSBU) governing board has decided to seek proposals to spruce up the community. During a meeting March 12, board member Judy Griffin said that a landscape workshop held Feb. 22 was successful, with over 30 people in attendance. She recommended that the tax-supported MSBU follow up that workshop by seeking bids from landscape designers who might be able to come up with a master landscaping plan for Bluewater Bay. Fellow board member Dale Blanchard, however, disagreed with Griffins statement that the landscape workshop had been a success. I was there, he said, and I didnt get that impression. Griffin, however, persisted in saying that Bluewater T T T h h e eB B a a y y B B e e a a c c o o n n 50Wednesday, March 20, 2013 info@baybeacon.com The voice of Niceville, Bluewater Bay and Valparaiso since 1992 (850) 678-1080 10 Pages, 2 Sections, 4 Inserts Please see WATER, page A-5 Please see MSBU, page A-3 Police BlotterPage A-4MSBU votes to explore options for landscapingBy Mike Griffith Beacon Sod d efWonienr Valparaiso Mayor Bruce Arnold has called for replacing the city commission form of government that he has long headed with a city council that delegates administrative functions to either an elected mayor or a hired city manager. Any such change would require voter approval. In a two-hour nonvoting workshop meeting held Monday, city commissioners discussed whether, and if so, how, to change the form of the city's government. The meeting produced little agreement, except to hold another workshop on April 1. The meeting began with a presentation by Arnold of his position paper advocating a change in the form ofValp. mayor urges change in govt. form Wed., 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Northwest Florida State College and University of West Florida will host a career and job fair at the joint college campus, Fort Walton Beach. Thursday, 6 p.m. Enjoy a Hunting Heritage Banquet to benefit the National Wild Turkey Federation featuring raffles, an auction and games at the North Light Yacht Club Niceville. Friday, 2-4 p.m. Bring the kids to play games at a giant board game party at the Valparaiso Community Library. Friday, 7:30 p.m. Come hear the Okaloosa Chamber Singers perform Now Let Us Sing in a free, public concert at St. Paul Lutheran Church Niceville. Saturday, 7:30 a.m. Embark on a free bird and nature walk with the Choctawhatchee Audubon Society in the Upland Hardwoods of Walton County. Meet at Food World Niceville. See Calendar, B-2. COMINGUP Kellie Morris, 31, of Niceville, exercises at the Niceville YMCA March 18. She said she hopes the Niceville Y will stay open in some capacity in the Twin Cities. The non-profit health club will likely have to move from Palm Plaza because of a rent increase. Beacon photo by Daniel Elsesser The wind's song Niceville OKs $1.3 million water-meter pactBeacon photo by Tive friN Nith On Saturday, the Bluewater Bay Sailing Club held its fourth regatta, or sailboat race, of the 2013 season. Clear weather, calm water on Choctawhatchee Bay, and a moderate breeze made an ideal day for sailing. The boat Avocet, pictured, finished fifth in the second spinnaker race, which was won by Shenanigan. Other winners were: Maverick (first spinnaker race), and Pandemonium (nonspinnaker/cruiser race). Please see VALP., page A-3 Michael Rojas Mayor Bruce ArnoldTheft charge against airline is droppedYMCA seeks cheaper home New radio-controlled water meter. Please see YMCA, page A-2 uhe woice oN Vicewille, Bl1e9ater Bay and Malparaiso since kGG2 By Daniel Elsesser Beacon Staff Writer Valparaiso Mayor Bruce Arnold said he is "not planning" to run for reelection next year, but that he might change his mind. Arnold said he was "getting tired" and would likely not seek another four-year term. Arnold, 83, was elected mayor of Valparaiso in January 1964 and will have served 50 years by the time of the next election in March 2014, the longest unbroken tenure by a currently serving elected mayor in Florida. A representative of the Florida League of Cities said Apopka's John Land has served the longest as an elected mayor in Florida years and counting. But Land's tenure, which began in 1950, was broken for three years from 1968 to 1971. Arnold, whose mayoral position also makes him a voting member of the five-member city commission, said he had not intended to run for reelection in Valparaiso's 2010 election, but was persuaded to run by members of the Valparaiso community. "I wasn't going to run last time, but I did because so many people asked me to," Arnold said. "If I hadn't had so many people coming to my house and begging me to run again, I would've retired." Arnold said that for this election, any such requests would not figure in his decision whether to seek office again. By Daniel Elsesser Beacon Staff Writer The Florida Fire Marshal has determined that someone set an early-morning fire that destroyed a motor vehicle parked in a front yard in Valparaiso March 17. Spokeswoman Deborah Jamison said the fire marshal's office has determined arson to be the cause of the blaze. She said the agency was trying to determine who was responsible. Estimated damage to the 2002 Jeep Grand Cherokee was $15,000. On March 17, Valparaiso Fire Chief Mark Norris informed police that he suspected foul play as the cause of a vehicle fire which firefighters had just extinguished, according to a Valparaiso police report. Norris said the unoccupied SUV, found on the first block of Edge Avenue, was engulfed in flames upon firefighters' arrival. The Jeep was parked in the middle of the front yard away from the house. A police officer reported the car is usually backed in close to the house to the right of the front porch, and he said he had seen the car its usual position at approximately 1 p.m. March 16. Investigating the fire, the officer contacted other residents of Edge Avenue who have a home video surveillance system. The officer viewed surveillance footage and saw a flash of fire in the vehicle and a figure running away from it at 4:29 a.m. March 17. Norris said his department worked with a fire marshal investigator who took debris from the burned car for inspection.By Daniel Elsesser Beacon Staff Writer Niceville High School administrators plan to close Old Coastal Highway, the street between NHS and Ruckel Middle School, to through traffic from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on school days, starting Monday, as a security measure. Grant Meyer, an assistant principal at Niceville High School, said the east entrance to Old Coastal Highway at Palm Boulevard North will be blocked by a locked gate every day school is in session. Meyer said the entrance to Old Coastal from Partin Drive North will remain open at all times. Meyer said he brought the idea up to other Niceville High School administrators at a meeting called to identify ways to make the campus safer. A March 13 letter from Principal Rodney Nobles to Niceville city officials cited, By Daniel Elsesser Beacon Staff Writer The Niceville Housing Authority opened its waiting list March 5 for zero-and one-bedroom housing for the first time since September 2010. Dottie Avery, the authority's executive director, said nine people dropped off the list in the last six months, dropping the expected wait time for housing down to about two years. Avery said she had reason to believe as many as six more will drop off in the next six months. Of the authority's 111 units, only 15 are one-bedroom and three are zero-bedroom, Avery said. A onebedroom dwelling is about 600 square feet, while a zero-bedroom unit is 550-square-foot efficiency apartment with a bed "nook" instead of a bedroom with a door. Avery said that the waiting list for the 18 units stands T T T h h e eB B a a y y B B e e a a c c o o n n 50Wednesday, March 27, 2013 info@baybeacon.com The voice of Niceville, Bluewater Bay and Valparaiso since 1992 (850) 678-1080 14 Pages, 2 Sections, 4 Inserts Please see MAYOR, page A-8 Please see HOUSING, page A-7 Please see BRIDGE, page A-2 Please see SECURITY, page A-5 Police BlotterPage A-3 School safety eyed, A-7.Housing agency takes applications for 18 dwellingsBy Daniel Elsesser Beacon Staff Writer The Mid-Bay Bridge Authority (MBBA) has ruled out building a wall to reduce road noise that bothers residents who live near the south end of the bridge approach highway. The authority said a noise study of the neighborhoods White Point Village and Chardonnay Estates found that it wouldn't be cost effective to build the wall, which was requested by the residents. The study was commissioned at a meeting Jan. 31 between the MBBA, the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), and residents of the neighborhoods, many of whom had complained that traffic noise from the connector was harming their quality of life. MBBA Executive Director Jim Vest the MBBA will accept the results of the study. "We conducted the noise study at the request of the Bridge agency rules out wall to block noise Through March 30 Artist Lou Kaunzinger 's art is on display at Niceville Library. Come view her watercolors and acrylics during regular library hours. Wed., 6-7:30 p.m. Meet the five finalists for the position of Okaloosa County Administrator during a meet and greet at Emerald Coast Convention Center Light hors d'oeuvres and a cash bar available. Friday and Saturday Three Easter egg hunts will keep the little ones happy all weekend long, Niceville and Valparaiso. Mon., 6:30 p.m. Anne Hornstein will show how to make flyers, format a book and make greeting cards using Pages application for Mac, NWF State College. Calendar, B-2 COMINGUP The east gate of Old Coastal Highway between Niceville High School and Ruckel Middle School, which connects to Palm Boulevard North, will be closed from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on school days starting April 1. The idea was proposed by Assistant Principal Grant Meyer, pictured at the gate. Beacon photo by Daniel Elsesser Spring swim Valp. mayor mulls retirementBeacon photo by Mike Griffith After a series of thunderstorms on Friday and Saturday, ushering in the official start of spring like a lion, Twin Cities residents welcomed bright blue skies and warm temperatures on Sunday, which gave people the opportunity to enjoy the outdoors, especially near local waterways. Valparaiso s Lincoln Park was a busy place Sunday afternoon, as the sunny weather brought people out to the beach.Arson blamed in blaze that destroyed SUVIn security move, schools curb access via Old Coastal Hwy. The voice of Niceville, Bluewater Bay and Valparaiso since 1992 Bruce Arnold By Daniel Elsesser Beacon Cras s pdtred A member of the Florida House of Representatives has already launched his campaign for the District 1 state senate seat currently held by Don Gaetz, saying Gaetz might leave office before his term ends in 2016. Gaetz, a Niceville Republican, said he doesn't plan to leave office prematurely. Jimmy Patronis, a Panama City Republican from District 6, said his senate campaign is geared towards running for the District 1 senate seat, currently held by Gaetz, who is also serving as Senate President. Because of Florida term limits, Gaetz, who was first elected to the senate 2006, cannot run for re-election when his current four-year term ends in November 2016. Patronis said the possibility of Gaetz stepping down early, perhaps to pursue higher political office, was one reason he has begun campaigning now. "I haven't spoken to the senator personally on this, but he might for some reason decide to leave office before his term is over," Patronis said. "In two years he'll go from being Senate President to being in a position of much less authority," he said, referring to the fact that Gaetz's Senate term will last two more years after his tenure as the body's president ends next year. Patronis stated Gaetz may be a candidate for appointment lieutenant governor, a seat that became vacant upon the March 12 resignation of Republican Jennifer Carroll amid questions about her financial dealings. Gov. Rick Scott said he would not appoint a new lieutenant governor until the current legislative session ends late this month. Gaetz said last week that he has no intention of leaving his senate seat before his term ends in 2016. "I intend to fulfill my responsibilities," Gaetz said. "I was elected to a four-year term, and I will serve every day of that term." Gaetz also said he has no desire to be lieutenant governor, and declared that Patronis is getting "ahead of himself" if he expects the senator to leave office early. "Rep. Patronis is the only politician in the state running for By Daniel Elsesser Beacon Crass pdtred A Niceville man allegedly presented a one-sided case as to the legitimacy of his cash. The 51-year-old man tried to buy coffee from two Niceville stores with a fake $100 bill that was printed on copier paper and was blank on one side, according to Niceville police, who issued the following report: The man was arrested March 23 on two felony counts of fraud by passing a counterfeit note. He allegedly attempted to buy coffee with a counterfeit $100 bill at the Dollar Tree in the Palm Plaza, Niceville By Mike Griffith Beacon Sod d efWonienr The Valparaiso City Commissions second meeting on potential changes to the city charter, held Monday, produced no more agreement than a previous session on the same subject. Another such workshop meeting will be held on April 22 at 6 p.m. The commission does not have the authority to change the citys form of government on its own. The most the city commission can do, if commissioners eventually vote to do so, is to place a proposed change to the charter on the ballot for a referendum by Valparaiso voters. During Monday nights discussion, Mayor John B. Arnold and Commissioner Kay Hamilton supported a change in the form of city government, while commissioners Hayward Strong and Joe Morgan preferred to leave the form of government T T T h h e eB B a a y y B B e e a a c c o o n n 50Wednesday, April 3, 2013 info@baybeacon.com The voice of Niceville, Bluewater Bay and Valparaiso since 1992 (850) 678-1080 12 Pages, 2 Sections, 5 Inserts Please see VALP., page A-2 Please see FAKE, page A-3 Police BlotterPage A-4Debate on Valp. charter Thurs., 3-5 p.m. Emerald Coast Professionals will be honing their skills and making connections during a new networking group at the Niceville Valparaiso Chamber of Commerce. Visit emeraldcoastprofessionals.com for details, Niceville. Sat., 11 a.m.-5p.m. Safe Haven Horse Rescue will host a celebration that includes live country music by Ed Tanza, arts and crafts vendors and an auction at 1 p.m. Horses available to adopt, Laurel Hill. Sat., 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Scout-O-Rama will have plenty of free games, demonstrations and crafts at Uptown Station Inflatable entertainment can be enjoyed with purchase of an armband $8 at the door, $25 for families, Fort Walton Beach. Sat., 6 p.m. Choctaw Bay Music Club members perform on two new Yamaha grand pianos as it presents its 22nd annual duo piano concert at Tyler Recital Hall, Northwest Florida State College, Niceville. Calendar, B-4 COMINGUP Hop to it Lawmaker eyes Gaetz seat The voice of Niceville, Bluewater Bay and Valparaiso since 1992 Beacon photo by Daniel ElsesserBlew by youLandscaper Justin Kelley cleans the remnants of winter from the Niceville First United Methodist Church parking lot March 27 in preparation of the church's Holy Week services. By Daniel Elsesser Beacon Cras s pd tred Niceville launched a pilot program Monday to determine the effectiveness of 96-gallon recycling carts, using two neighborhoods as guinea pigs. City officials and garbagecompany executives hope the three-month program will encourage residents to recycle more waste. If that proves to be the case, the program could be expanded citywide. Waste Management Inc. delivered the wheeled, yellowlidded carts Friday to homes on Kildare Circle, a 50-home Please see GAETZ, page A-3 This piece of copy paper allegedly presented as legal tender in two stores was blank on the reverse, a fact not lost on the cashiers who refused to accept it. A Niceville man was charged with passing a counterfeit. Beacon photo by Daniel Elsesser Waste Management employees distribute 96-gallon recycling carts to houses on Black Bear Circle, Niceville, March 29. The carts will be used as part of a 90-day program which began Monday to determine whether the larger carts lead to an increase in recycling. Don Gaetz Jimmy PatronisBig recycling cans are set out in test Please see CANS, page A-5Beacon photo by Mike Griffith It was a cavalcade of cuteness Saturday morning at Valparaiso s Lincoln Park and at Niceville s softball complex, as each city held its annual Easter egg dash. Children in various age groups waited eagerly for the starting signal, before dashing out across su nlit grassy fields to gather up as many plastic Easter eggs, small toys, and pieces of candy as they could. Some 3,500 eggs were u sed in the Valparaiso event, pictured. Man tries to buy coffee with fake $100 Goodpaster Design Rendering of proposed $225,000 Eagle Ram Tennis Center at Ruckel Middle School. The eight-court complex would be open for public use, according to fundraisers. By Daniel Elsesser Beacon Crass pdtred Members of the Eagle Ram Tennis Center "Steering Committee" said they have raised $165,000 towards the estimated $225,000 necessary to begin construction on a new tennis facility in Niceville. Chris Poate, Niceville High School tennis coach and cochair of the committee, said the project is intended to give Niceville and Ruckel tennis teams a home facility. It will also be open to the public, he said. Poate said the original estimate of $300,000 for initial construction has gone down significantly thanks to in-kind work commitments from the City of Niceville and individuals such as Matt Parker of JP Engineering. Bruce Price, Niceville public works director, said that Reagan Huff, a member of the committee, approached him with a "wish list" of services the city might provide for the facility without charging. Price said the department tentatively agreed to some projects on the wish list, including demolition, grading and construction of underground conduits for a lighting system. Price said the projects could cost the city $1,000 for demolition and $2,000 to $3,000 for equipment rental, in addition to labor. He didn't request action by the council, but he said he will likely request approval from the council before making By Mike Griffith Beacon Sod d efWonienr Okaloosa County may require increases in taxes on property, fuel and sales, along with more cuts to county staff and services, according to retiring County Administrator Jim Curry. The Okaloosa County Commission was scheduled to meet last night to begin its budget-setting process for the 2013-14 fiscal year, which will begin Oct. 1. In recommendations prepared for delivery to the commission, Curry stated that while the costs of county services continue to climb, revenue from property taxes, as well as other taxes and state aid, remains flat or even in decline, largely due to the stagnation which has afflicted the national and local economies since 2008. Currys budget recommendations for the coming year began with a recommendation to increase the county property tax millage rate: Because of the current demand for new services, the increase in operating costs and unfunded T T T h h e eB B a a y y B B e e a a c c o o n n 50Wednesday, April 10, 2013 info@baybeacon.com The voice of Niceville, Bluewater Bay and Valparaiso since 1992 (850) 678-1080 12 Pages, 2 Sections, 5 Inserts Please see COUNTY, page A-3 Please see VALP., page A-3 Police BlotterPage A-4County aide asserts need for tax hikesBy Daniel Elsesser Beacon Cras s pd tred The Valparaiso City Commission approved an ordinance April 8 on second and final reading that prohibits frontor side-yard fences in R-2 (residential multiple-family) zoning districts or zero-lot-line developments. The ordinance was drafted to keep people from constructing fences that would inadvertently obstruct their neighbor's access to their own property. Valparaiso City Administrator Carl Scott said many houses in Valparaiso are zero-lot-line developments, or developments where a structure has been placed along a boundary line. He said because of this, fences built on the front and side yards of these properties, if they run along the perimeter of the boundary, would run almost directly up against the adjacent house. This would make it impossible for the resident of the adjacent house to access his exterior side wall, which in some neighborhoods holds the house's energy meter. "On zero-lot-line property, you could build a Valp. votes fence limits Thurs., 9:30 a.m. Bluewater Bay Garden Club in Niceville will present guest speaker Marina Wilson, senior forester, to teach about managing Florida trees to last for years. Call 8975560 for details. Fri,. & Sat., 7:30 p.m. Dance Facets returns to the main stage at the Mattie Kelly Arts Center in Niceville to present its annual dance concert 38 dancers will perform fourteen original dance presentations featuring a variety of dance styles. Tickets $20 for adults, $15 for youth. Call 729-6000. Sat., 11 a.m.-1 p.m. The Science Brothers will be exploring science using hands on experiments for all ages at the Biophilia Center, Center hours are 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Center admission is $5 for adults, $2 for children. Call 835-1824. April 17, 8 a.m. Northwest Florida State College in Nicevillebegins its anniversary celebration with a free assembly for the public at the Raiders Arena. Three of the surviving WWII Doolittle Raiders crewmembers are scheduled to appear. Calendar, B-3 COMINGUP Mike Moore, owner of Gulf Star Contracting, the company hired by the Niceville Valparaiso Regional Sewer Board to maintain the board reclaimed water sprayfields, mows grass on the fields April 4. A decrease in the field's acreage to make room for the Mid-Bay Bridge Connector led the board to sign a less expensive contract with Moore for the next year. Beacon photo by Daniel Elsesser By Daniel Elsesser Beacon Cras s pd tred The Niceville Valparaiso Regional Sewer Board extended its contract with Gulf Star Contracting, the contractor that oversees the board's reclaimed water sprayfield, until June 2014. Mike Moore, owner of Gulf Star Contracting, said the extension for his original contract was set to expire June 30. At a meeting April 3 in Niceville, the sewer board discussed some method of lowering maintenance expenditures because the sprayfield shrank from 280 acres to 230 acres in June 2012, when some land was taken for the new MidBay Bridge Connector highway. The sewer board owns and controls the Niceville Valpariaso Regional Wastewater Treatment Facility and its associated effluent sprayfield on Eglin land north of Niceville. Rick Helms, Niceville Valparaiso Regional Wastewater Treatment Facility manager, suggested the board reduce its payment to Gulf Star from $118,000 a year to something proportional to the smaller field size. Moore offered to continue his current tasks on the smaller fields for $95,113 a year, an offer which the board unanimously approved.Sewer authority makes hay while the sun shinesLess sprayfield mowing as effluent gets cleaner$165K raised for tennis center Spring temperatures and clear skies have brought people out of their houses to enjoy such activities as kayaking at Turkey Creek Park or, right, the scene at the Bluewater Bay Cultural Arts Festival, hosted Saturday by Bluewater Bay Marina. Marina owner Brett Hinely said that about 25 vendors set up booths at the festival, offering food and beverage tastings, live music, and assorted arts and crafts. Beacon photos by Mike GriffithWarming trend Please see TENNIS, page A-2 Please see SEWER, page A-2 The voice of Niceville, Bluewater Bay and Valparaiso since 1992 A year-long 50th anniversary celebration of Northwest Florida State College begins today, Wednesday, with the visit of three crew members of the Doolittle Raiders to dedicate a new exhibit detailing the famed aviators' daring air raid on WWII Japan. The festive 50th anniversary kickoff assembly will begin at 9 a.m. in the colleges 2,100seat Raiders Arena on the Niceville campus. Doors will open at 8 a.m., but will close when the arena reaches capacity. Free and open to the public, the event features the opening of a permanent Doolittle Raiders historical exhibit in the lobby of the arena. Three of the surviving 1942 Doolittle Raiders crew members are scheduled to appear at the event and will be honored T T T h h e eB B a a y y B B e e a a c c o o n n 50Wednesday, April 17, 2013 info@baybeacon.com The voice of Niceville, Bluewater Bay and Valparaiso since 1992 (850) 678-1080 12 Pages, 2 Sections, 6 Inserts Please see WATER, page A-2 Please see RAIDERS, page A-2Doolittle Raiders kick off colleges 50th birthdayBy Daniel Elsesser Beacon Staff Writer Users of reclaimed water from the Niceville Valparaiso Regional sewage plant must temporarily get water from other sources due to side-effects of work at the plant. The work, which is designed to make effluent from the plant cleaner, has had the paradoxical short-term effect of making the water unfit for public irrigation, when tested under state standards. The sewage plant in Niceville has closed one of its three "trains," or wastewater treatment systems, for upgrades that will eventually remove more nitrogen and phosphorus from effluent. While the work goes on, however, it effectively forces all wastewater processed by the plant into two-thirds of the plant's usual processing capacity, temporarily lessening the effectiveness of treatment. According to Niceville City Manager Lannie Reclaimed water use suspended Sat., 8 a.m.4 p.m. The Heritage Museum of Northwest Florida will host its 37th Saturday in the Park at 115 Westview Ave., Valparaiso withfolk artists, traditional heritage craft demonstrations, re-enactors, live entertainment, food and craft vendors. The museum will be open free of charge and showcase a new exhibit to commemorate exhibit to commemorate 500 years of Florida history. Sat., 7 a.m.-12 p.m. Saint Paul Lutheran Church will hold its Annual Yard Sale Extravaganza in the Church parking lot at 1407 E. John Sims Parkway in Niceville. Proceeds from the yard sale will be used for a Lutheran Scholarship Fund. For more information call 678 -1298. Wed., 10 a.m. 3 p.m. Celebrate Earth Day at the Biophilia Center The event will feature bluegrass music with Franko and the Fiends, festival food, great raffle prizes, environmental demos and more. Tickets are $2 and children under six get in free. For more information visit eowilsoncenter.org. Calendar, B-4 COMINGUP Beacon photo by Daniel Elsesser Rocky Bayou Christian School fourth-graders Gavin Johnson, Zev Edelman and Brandon Payne help clean up a yard on Nathey Street, Niceville, April 12. Students from the school have gone out annually for years to assist people with work they can't do themselves. Nearly 700 students from grades 1-12 helped out at this and 21 other locations in the Twin Cities area that day. Helping hands The voice of Niceville, Bluewater Bay and Valparaiso since 1992Beacon photo by Daniel Elsesser A pond resulting from beavers damming up a natural spring west of Juniper Avenue, Niceville, is pleasing to some nearby residents but creates more wetlands than city officials would like. Police BlotterPage A-4 Give me a brakeErica Laine (right), Eglin Natural Resources volunteer coordinator, stares down an all-terrain vehicle approaching at 15 mph while conducting a quick stop exercise during an ATV training course for Eglin volunteers at the Jackson Guard, Niceville, April 12. The trainees will patrol Eglin-owned beaches to watch over sea turtle nests. Beacon photo by Daniel ElsesserWill beavers beat city hall?By Daniel Elsesser Beacon Staff Writer Leave it to beavers to rock the boat. A natural spring west of Juniper Avenue near Honeysuckle Lane is backed up into a pond by a beaver dam, causing headaches with the Niceville Public Works Department, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and nearby homeowners. Public Works Director Bruce Price said the city does not want any additional wetlands and thus will seek to reduce the water level in the pond, possibly by removing he dam the beavers have built. Price said the beaver dam might be replaced by a concrete weir to keep the water level lower than it is now. However, some residents of Honeysuckle Way, a neighborhood just south of the beaver pond, like the look of the pond and don't want it drained. Price said he is not sure exactly what the city will be able to do regarding the pond, not only because it is private land owned by Ruckel Properties, but also because any solution would require approval from regulatory agencies such as the DEP. Price said the city has hired an environmental surveyor to determine the boundaries of the wetland and to help determine how high to allow the water to rise with the planned weir. Price learned about the necessity of DEP approval firsthand when an almost identical situation arose 12 years ago. In 2001, the same spring became backed into a pond by a beaver dam, a little farther west than the current dam. The dam was damaged and the Please see BEAVERS, page A-6County eyes one or more tax hikesBy Mike Griffith Beacon Correspondent Okaloosa County commissioners last week considered raising county gasoline taxes and implementing franchise fees for public utilities as possible options for increasing county revenue in order to balance the Fiscal Year 2013-14 county budget. The new fiscal year will begin on Oct. 1. The county commissions first nonvoting budget workshop for the coming fiscal year was held April 9 in Fort Walton Beach. It began with a briefing from County Administrator James Curry, who told commissioners that although county revenue from property taxes has not increased, expenses for providing county services have grown during the past year. In order to balance the coming years budget, said Curry, the county commission must either make serious cuts to county services and/or staff, or raise an additional $4.82 million for the countys general fund. Curry stated that while the costs of county services continue to climb, revenue from property taxes, as well as other taxes and state aid, remains relatively level, or even in decline, largely due to the stagnation of the national economy since 2008. One option for increasing county revenue, said Curry, would be an increase in county property taxes.But commissioners rule out boost in millage rate Please see TAX HIKES, page A-3 MULLISEYEINSTITUTEDarren Payne, MDBoard Certified Eye Surgeon & Cataract SpecialistNO HIDDEN CHARGES: It is our office policy that the right to refuse to pay, cancel payment or be reimbursed for payment for any other services, examination or treatment which is performed as a result of and within 72 hours of responding to the advertisement for any free, discounted fee or reduced fee service, examination or treatment.Dr. Darren Paynes Smart lens Procedure can produce clear vision without eye glasses at all distances (close up, far away, & in between )Call Today at:Niceville Location 115 Bailey Dr. 678-5338Crestview Location 930 N. Ferdon Blvd. 682-5338 Call for a Smart Lens Evaluation with Dr. Darren PayneNeed Eye Glasses to Read?Smart LensesSM Po lly s Co ncr ete P r oducts Po lly s Co ncr ete P r oductswww. p ollysconcr ete.co m Before After $50.00OFFFormed & Poured Driveway$100.00OFFCobblestone Paver DrivewayREADY TO ENHANCE YOUR CURB APPEAL?Upgrade your old existing driveway with Stylish Cobblestone Pavers or we can remove and repour your driveway.Call today for a free estimate 897-3314 Oak Creek Shopping Center Niceville 678-1593 9-6 Mon.-Sat.www.bayoubookcompany.com Since 1986Make a New Years Resolution you can enjoy Read More Books!

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THEBAYBEACONWednesday, January 1, 2014 Page A-3 The voice of Niceville, Bluewater Bay and Valparaiso since 1992 Mid-Bay Plaza Bluewater Bay897-4466 By Mike Griffith Beacon Correspondent During a meeting of the Mid-Bay Bridge Authority in Destin Thursday, Executive Director Jim Vest told the governing board that the MBBA has received its final settlement from BP. The settlement, said Vest, is for $200,000 and covers revenue lost during 2011 and later years as a result of tourists and other potential users of the Mid-Bay Bridge who stayed away after hearing about the BP oil spill in 2010. No significant amounts of oil reached Okaloosa County or Walton County shores, but bad publicity caused many vacationers to cancel their plans, hurting bridge toll revenue during the peak summer season. The $200,000 settlement from BP follows an earlier settlement from BP for Mid-Bay Bridge revenue lost during 2010, the year of the oil spill. Vest also gave the board an update on pending state legislation that may affect the MidBay Bridge Authority. He said House Bill 70127 has made it through committees and is due for a vote on the house floor T T T h h e eB B a a y y B B e e a a c c o o n n 50Wednesday, April 24, 2013 info@baybeacon.com The voice of Niceville, Bluewater Bay and Valparaiso since 1992 (850) 678-1080 12 Pages, 2 Sections, 4 Inserts Please see BRIDGE, page A-3 Bridge receives BP funds Fri.-Sat., 7 p.m. The Niceville High School Drama Department will be presenting Promedy and The Best Show Never Seen, in the Niceville Auditorium on Friday, April 26 and Saturday, April 27. All shows begin at 7 p.m.. Tickets are $5 at the door and may also be purchased prior to the performance at 2178101. Sun., 6:45 p.m. The Baptist College of Florida Jazz Ensemble will perform at a spring concert Sunday, April 28, 6:45 p.m. at First Baptist Church of Niceville Mon., 7:30 p.m. The Northwest Florida State College Soundsations Showchoir and Jazz Ensemble presents an end-of-year concert April 29, 7:30 p.m., in the mainstage theater of the Mattie Kelly Arts Center NWFSC, Niceville. Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for youths 18 and younger. NWFSC students may obtain one free admission per ID, in person from the box office. Purchase tickets at 729-6000 or www.mattiekellyartscenter.org. Calendar, B-3,5 COMINGUP By Mike Griffith Beacon Correspondent Valparaiso City Commission Monday held its third in a series of workshops to discuss potential changes to the municipal charter and to the citys form of government. As during the previous two workshops, held March 18 and April 1, Mayor Bruce Arnold advocated changing the citys form of government from its current commission form to another form, such as a strong mayor or city manager type of government. Two commissioners opposed the idea. The city commission does not have the authority to change the form of government on its own. The most the commission can do, if it eventually votes to do so, is to place a proposed change to the city charter on the March 2014 ballot for a citywide referendum. During Mondays discussion, Arnold and commissioners Diane Kelley and Kay Hamilton supported a change in the form of city government, while commissioners Hayward Strong and Joe Morgan preferred to leave Valparaisos form of government as it is. Strong and Morgan said that Beacon pacnh ct pao b baycDb ialEsarcDETcEvfcNEb ,ErE uncu vpacwddVBy Daniel Elsesser Beacon Staff Writer Okaloosa County traffic engineers have dropped a controversial plan to reduce the number of left-hand turn lanes from White Point Road to State Road. 20 in Bluewater Bay. In late January, the county reconfigured the intersection so that north-facing vehicles emerging from White Point Road at SR 20 could no longer use the middle of three lanes to turn left. In theory, the restriction reduced the number of left-turn lanes to one for motorists leaving northbound White Point Road for westbound SR 20. But the change was widely ignored, and many motorists continued to use the middle lane to turn left. Jason Autrey, Okaloosa County engineering division manager, said traffic had decreased so much on White Point Road since the opening of the Mid-Bay Bridge connector County backtracks on turn-lane restriction Police Blotter1E9ac 2P g A final saluteDaEpnvc,ensncATc-Ev ab c4b uauuar Lt. Cols. Dick Cole and Edward Saylor and Staff Sgt. David Thatcher, three of the four surviving Doolittle Raiders, stand beside Medal of Honor recipient Col. Bud Day at a ceremony celebrating the 50th anniversary of Northwest Florida State College and the 71st anniversary of the Doolittle raid at the college's Raiders Arena, Niceville, April 17. The college mascot, a fox named Jimmy after the historic WWII air raid's leader, the late Gen. Jimmy Doolittle, attended as well. The 2013 reunion of the Doolittle raid veterans is said to be their last.Valp. officials split on change to city charter Relay for LifeNeither rain nor cold nor gathering darkness stopped a small but dedicated group of Relay for Life supporters from taking part in this year s event to fight cancer. This year s annual Relay for Life at the Niceville High School stadium began Friday evening despite constant rain, dropping temperatures, and darkening skies. The event began with an opening ceremony. This was followed by the survivors' walk, in which cancer survivors paraded around the track at the stadium. Please see VALP., page A-2 Please see LANE, page A-6The turn lanes at White Point Road and SR 20 have been repainted back to the way they looked before January. County traffic engineers changed the intersection in January to allow left turns from only one of three lanes, a reduction of one. The pattern was repainted to revert to two turn lanes earlier this month after many drivers ignored the new flow. DaEpnvc,ensncATc-Ev ab c4b uauuar By Daniel Elsesser Beacon Staff Writer Bluewater Bay Resort Monday withdrew a request to redesignate part of its Magnolia golf course as land for residential development and announced it would close the nine-hole course to play beginning May 1 as a cost-cutting move. Helmut Werner, chairman of the resort, withdrew the proposal Monday afternoon amid mounting opposition to the development plan from Bluewater Bay homeowners. In a statement, the resort also said it was working with community members in an effort to avoid the closure of an additional, unspecified, nine holes as well. The company operates four ninehole courses in Bluewater Bay, all lined by houses. Werner said the Magnolia development, proposed earlier this year, was withdrawn because Okaloosa County planners were "imposing unreasonable standards of review" on the petition to change Bluewater Bay's development of regional impact (DRI) plan, which broadly governs development in the 35-year-old community. "There have been 13 changes to the DRI made in the past 20 years or so," Werner said. "[The county] has never requested such detailed information." Werner said the county requested plans for roads, setbacks and other details for the potential residential development on the golf course. He said the resort could not afford the additional time and money it would take to provide the information. Werner said all nine holes of the Magnolia course would be closed indefinitely. He said the resort would erect fences around the course and would not mow or otherwise maintain it. Werner said the fences around the closed Magnolia course would bear "Private Property" signs, and residents would no longer be allowed on it, because of insurance concerns. He said that footbridges over water on the Magnolia course would be blocked as well. Tom Hanks, resort general Please see WITHDRAWN, page A-2 Golf-course conversion bid withdrawnBWB Resort drops plan to build homes on links By Daniel Elsesser Beacon Staff Writer Having achieved their aim of blocking a proposed housing development, many Bluewater residents are unhappy with Bluewater Bay Resort's decision last week to shut down its its nine-hole Magnolia golf course, which closed to play effective yesterday. Manfred Meine, a resident of Bluewater's Magnolia Plantation subdivision, said the resort has taken a "stick in the eye approach" to the failure of its plan to sell part of the golf course for home sites. "We got our wish," Meine said, referring to the resort's decision April 22 to withdraw its request of the county to designate parts of four of Magnolia's nine fairways for residential development. "But the resort is approaching this in a way that will make things unpleasant for everyone," added Meine, a former Magnolia homeowners association president. T T T h h e eB B a a y y B B e e a a c c o o n n 50Wednesday, May 1, 2013 info@baybeacon.com The voice of Niceville, Bluewater Bay and Valparaiso since 1992 (850) 678-1080 12 Pages, 2 Sections, 5 Inserts Residents lament closure of golf course9 holes shuttered after housing plans are scotched Fri., 7:30 p.m. Northwest Florida Ballet presents Lightwire Theater one night only with The Ugly Duckling and Tortoise and the Hare. Tickets are $28 for adults and $14 for children. Call 664-7787, Niceville. Sat., 11 a.m. Visit the Biophilia Center as Rick OConnor teaches all about snakes in our area. Turtle Bob will also be on hand with his reptilian friends. For more info visit eowilsoncenter.org, Freeport. Tues., 5:30 p.m. Join the Heritage Museum of Northwest Florida 115 Westview Ave. for a fiber rush weave class. Students will learn fiber rush weave and make their own foot stool for $55 or $50 for museum members. Register early at 678-2615, Valparaiso. Calendar, B-2 COMINGUP By Mike Griffith Beacon Correspondent The Mid-Bay Bridge Authority is forecasting a 28-percent surge in toll revenue next year due to increased traffic and the opening of a tolling point on a new highway leading to the span. In a budget to be presented at a public hearing tomorrow, Thursday, the authority will air a draft budget for fiscal year 2014. Highlights of the proposed budget include: Gross toll receipts are projected to rise from the fiscal year 2013 level of $16,089,000 to $20,698,000 for the fiscal year that will begin Oct. 1. Operations and maintenance expenses are expected to decline from $2,511,340 in FY 2013 to $2,700,000 in FY 2014. Debt service, including principal and interest, is expected to jump from $9,661,000 in FY 2013 to $13,352,000 in FY 2014. Total operation and administration expenses are expected to increase from $13,226,340 in FY 2013 to $17,009,800 in FY 2014. Capital expenditures are expected to drop dramatically, from $22 million in FY 2013 to $6 million in FY 2014, as the Mid-Bay Bridge Connector construction project comes to a close, and the 11-mile, $137-million expressway connecting the north end of the bridge with Highway 85 north of Niceville fully opens early in 2014. The forecast increase in toll collections would amount to 28.6 The voice of Niceville, Bluewater Bay and Valparaiso since 1992By Daniel Elsesser Beacon Staff Writer Niceville's Turkey Creek Park will likely expand soon. City Manager Lannie Corbin said Niceville has been approved for state grants for two land purchases to add to the nature trail. Corbin said the city is set to receive about $1.7 million in grant money from the Florida Communities Trust's land acquisition grant program to purchase 74 acres near Turkey Creek. Nine acres on John Sims Parkway just east of the park's entrance, north of the site of a former Hardee's restaurant, will be purchased by the city for $1.4 million from Huntsville, Ala.based Breland Properties, according to Corbin. Carl Breland of Breland Properties said the land was appraised for $2.1 million, but he has agreed to accept the $1.4 million allotted by the grant, calling the difference a donation to the city. 74 acres set for additions to park Police BlotterPage A-4 28% gain seen in toll revenue Vehicles approach the MidBay Bridge tollbooths Monday. Citing increased traffic and the opening of a tolling point on a new approach road, the span's governing board forecasts a 28-percent hike in collections next year. Beacon photo by Daniel Elsesser By Daniel Elsesser Beacon Staff Writer Niceville may soon be able to lease land owned by Eglin Air Force base for light industrial use. Mike Spaits, an Eglin Air Force Base spokesman, said the Air Force has agreed to perform a mission impact analysis to determine whether it would be feasible to lease some Eglin reservation land to the city of Niceville. Niceville City Manager Lannie Corbin said the city would look to use the leased land for light industry, by which he means general manufacturing with relatively small environmental impact. The land in question is a parcel northwest of the intersection of State Road 285 and College Boulevard. Spaits noted that the 11-mile Mid-Bay Bridge Connector road, now under construction, cuts through the Eglin reservation east and north of Niceville, leaving parcels that are no longer contiguous with the rest of the reservation. As part of the mission impact analysis, the Air Force will consider the possibility of leasing out such land that has been cut off by the highway, he said. Such leases of Air Force land are now typically offered at market prices. The analysis will determine if the land is suitable for an enhanced use lease (EUL). Spaits said the Air Force may lease land to other entities if it determines that the leasing of that property would enhance the mission the Air Force tries to accomplish with the land. One example of a recent Eglin EUL is a $25 million Holiday Inn under constructionEglin mulls land lease to Niceville Please see GOLF, page A-2 Please see REVENUE, page A-2Beacon photo by Daniel Elsesser Doug Ferris, Bluewater Bay, takes a shot on the seventh fairway of the Magnolia golf course Monday. Ferris was one of the last golfers to play the course, which saw its last play Tuesday before closing indefinitely due to decreased revenue. His wife, Vi cky, came along for the ride. The city of Niceville is in final discussions to buy nine acres off of John Sims Parkway east just of the T urkey Creek Park entrance to expand the park. The land, owned by Breland Properties, Huntsville, Ala., would be purchased for $1.4 million with state grant. Another 65 acres north of College Boulevard would be purchased from Ruckel Properties under another deal. Beacon photo by Daniel Elsesser Please see LEASE, page A-6 Please see PARK page A-2 By Daniel Elsesser Beacon Staff Writer The Niceville Valparaiso Regional Sewer Board approved its budget for the 2013-14 fiscal year, with a slight decrease in expenses from the current fiscal year at its meeting May 1 in Niceville. The sewer board's budget for the fiscal year scheduled to start Oct. 1 allots $2.1 million for expenses, $23,510 less than the budget for the current year. The budget approved May 8 calls for no cost-of-living adjustment and no pay raises for plant employees. However, in approving the budget the board also added a provision stating the members would consider adding cost of living adjustments and possible money for raises to the budget at the board's September meeting. Last year the board initially approved a budget with no added increases, and eventually reviewed it and added a 2 percent cost-of-living raisers and a 1 percent increase in payroll to be given as raises to employees at plant manager Rick Helms' discretion. T T T h h e eB B a a y y B B e e a a c c o o n n 50Wednesday, May 8, 2013 info@baybeacon.com The voice of Niceville, Bluewater Bay and Valparaiso since 1992 (850) 678-1080 12 Pages, 2 Sections, 5 Inserts Sewage authority sees flat budget Fri., 12 p.m. The Heritage Museum of Northwest Florida 115 Westview Ave., Valparaiso, is hosting History Sandwiched In, an informal educational lunchtime lecture. The speaker for this lecture will be Dr. Pat Moran with Hide it under a bush? No! Free and open to the public. Space is limited. To reserve a spot call 678-2615. Saturday Contribute to the National Association of Letter Carriers Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive by placing nonperishable canned goods in a bag by your mailbox. Items will be picked up and delivered to a local food pantry. No glass or expired items. Sat., 7 a.m. Collegiate High School is hosting a yard sale until noon at the Twin Cities Pavilion Assisted Living Facility, 1053 E John Sims Pkwy, Niceville. They will also be taking donations for Hugs for Heroes and canned goods for a food drive. Call 6787312. Calendar, B-2 COMINGUP The voice of Niceville, Bluewater Bay and Valparaiso since 1992By Daniel Elsesser Beacon Staff Writer The city of Niceville plans to demolish a 100,000-gallon water tank on Marysa Drive and replace it with one more than seven times larger, in part to serve a planned 1,100-acre development to the east. The city is seeking bids for a contract to build a 750,000-gallon water tank, intended to replace the 100,000-gallon tank on Marysa Drive, near the south end of Forest Road. Niceville Public Works Director Bruce Price said the new tank will be larger to accommodate the anticipated development of 1,100 acres east of Forest Road owned by Ruckel Properties. Jerry Regans, Niceville water and sewer superintendent, said it is likely that other tanks will eventually be constructed as well to supply development, on which work has not yet started. Glenn Stephens, senior vice president of Polyengineering Inc., the company that designed the new tank, said it would hold more water to meet peak demand plus provide additional water volume Giant new water tank to supply development Police Blott erPage A-6 Beacon photo by Daniel ElsesserLaura Ham, a Freeport High School sophomore, conditions under the direction of trainer Cory Scott at Twin Oaks park, Niceville. Working against the resistance of an elastic band tethered to a fence, Laura was exercising for basketball and volleyball. Stretching exerciseTwo annexation requests advanceNiceville would add homesites National Day of PrayerApproximately 200 Niceville and Valparaiso students, public servants and others came to Niceville City Hall May 2 for a local observance of the National Day of Prayer. Several local pastors and residents led prayers following this year's theme, "Pray for America." Beacon photo by Daniel ElsesserThis 100,000-gallon water storage tank on Marysa Drive, Niceville, will be replaced by a 750,000-gallon tank once the city of Niceville awards a contract for construction. Beacon photo by Daniel ElsesserBy Daniel Elsesser Beacon Staff Writer A bill that would have transferred control of the Mid-Bay Bridge to a regional authority heavily influenced by the Florida Department of Transportation died in the Florida House of Representatives as time ran out on this year's legislative session at midnight May 3. The bill, which passed in the Florida Senate 40-0, would have transferred control of the bridge from the Mid-Bay Bridge Authority (MBBA) to a newly created Regional Transportation Finance Authority. The DOT's intention to obtain control of the Mid-Bay Bridge in this legislative session was made public when agency Secretary Ananth Prasad announced in January that it would submit a bill to create regional tollway authorities. These authorities would have encompassed three to four counties each, and would have absorbed control of existing tollway independent authorities such as the MBBA. The MBBA was the only such entity mentioned by name in the DOT draft proposal of the bill. Senate Bill 1132, which contained the stated language, was filed Feb. 22, and the House companion bill, House Bill 7127, was filed about one month later. The language of both bills was eventually changed to include regional finance authorities, entities similar to the regional tollway authorities defined in the initial filed bills. According to MBBA Executive Director Jim Vest, who had been monitoring the measure through the lobbying firm Southern Strategy Group, the House bill had been amended to remove the language transferring control of the MBBA. Vest said the House approved the amended bill April 25 and sent it to the Senate. He said the Senate again amended the bill to add back the language to control the MBBA, and approved it 40-0 May 3. However, the bill died in the House, with no action before the session ended. Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fort Walton Beach, said the bill Bridge takeover bid fails Please see SEWAGE, page A-3By Daniel Elsesser Beacon Staff Writer The Niceville Planning Commission approved two requests to annex property into the city. During a meeting Monday, the board also gave preliminary approval for three residential lots on 23rd Street. Jerry and Walter Spence of Spence Brothers Properties requested their two lots on Adams Street be annexed into the city and zoned R-1B. Walter Spence said the company does not yet have a plan for development on the property, but wants the annexation in order to make the property more attractive, either to another developer who might buy it, or a home buyer if Spence Brothers decides to build on it. The property is currently zoned in the county as R-1, low-density residential, which allows four dwelling units per acre and minimum building setbacks of 20 feet in the front yard, 10 feet in the side yard and 10 feet in the back. The maximum dwelling height is 45 feet. The requested R-1B city zoning allows eight dwelling units per acre and minimum setbacks of 25 feet in front, five feet on the sides, and 20 feet in back. The maximum height is 35 feet. According to the Okaloosa County Property Appraiser, the lot is vacant and has an assessed value of $52,000. Separately, the planning commission approved a request from Scott and Carrie Summerlin to annex their vacant lot on New Market Road, in the Huntington subdivision, into the city and zone it R-1, residential single family. The property is currently zoned in the Please see ADVANCE, page A-5 Please see WATER, page A-3 Please see BRIDGEpage A-7 Tax auction is underway T T T h h e eB B a a y y B B e e a a c c o o n n 50Wednesday, May 15, 2013 info@baybeacon.com The voice of Niceville, Bluewater Bay and Valparaiso since 1992 (850) 678-1080 10 Pages, 2 Sections, 5 Inserts By Daniel Elsesser Beacon Staff Writer The right to collect delinquent property taxes in Okaloosa County is up for bid. Okaloosa County Tax Collector Ben Anderson opened an online auction May 11, in which buyers can bid on the rights to collect interest on unpaid Okaloosa real estate taxes. The auction will close May 31. A workshop for prospective bidders will be held in Niceville Monday. Okaloosa real estate taxes levied in 2012 were due March 31, 2013. After that, unpaid taxes are delinquent and eligible for auction, according to tax administrator Justin Gordon. Auction participants bid with the interest rates they are willing to accept, with the lowest bid winning the certificate. The winner then pays the county the face value of the certificatethat is, the amount the property owes in taxes. Bids for the interest rate start at 18 percent and are submitted in increments of 0.25 percent. The lowest possible interest bid is 0.25 percent. Sat., 7:30 a.m. 2013 Emerald Coast Mud Run will be taking place at Northwest Florida State College. Around 4,000 runners will be battling the elements to raise money for orphans. Call 7143757 or visit emeraldcoastmudrun.com for details, Niceville. Sat.-Sun., 11 a.m.-6 p.m. OAA presents the sixth annual Family Fun Arts Fest at Harborwalk Village in Destin There will be artisan vendors, live music and food in a festival atmosphere. Call 499-8335 for details. Tues., 5:30 p.m. Friends of Niceville Public Library present a Maritime History Lecture with speaker Della Scott-Ireton who will be sharing information about Florida's earliest shipwreck site at the Niceville Community Center 204 N. Partin Dr., Niceville. Call 279-4863 ext.1504 to reserve a spot. Calendar, B-2 COMINGUP By Daniel Elsesser Beacon Staff Writer Work is in progress to construct a new "City of Niceville" sign at the "triangle" intersection of John Sims Parkway and Highway 85 North. City Manager Lannie Corbin said the work is being done entirely by the Niceville Public Works Department. He expects work on the project to be completed in about a month. The old "City of Niceville" sign, basically a series of large flowerbeds on a hillside, was torn up when John Sims Parkway on either side of the intersection was expanded to six lanes, a project that began in 2003. The voice of Niceville, Bluewater Bay and Valparaiso since 1992 Police BlotterPage A-4 Out of this worldOver 500 fourthand fifth-grade students from area schools pretended to colonize another planet during the annual Marsville event at Eglin Air Force Base May 9. Pictured, students from Lewis School celebrate completion of their biodome as a classmate looks on. More on B-1.New Niceville sign in works By Daniel Elsesser Beacon Staff Writer Niceville city officials are considering a change to the city seal to convey a deeper sense of community history. City Manager Lannie Corbin has proposed that the city council decide whether to add a banner reading "Est. 1868" to the city's seal, which currently bears no date. The city was incorporated in 1938, but a local-history buff has been pushing city officials to emphasize that the community's roots go back more than six decades before that. Corbin brought up the request at the suggestion of Elisa Mitchiner, a self-described "freelance historian" who has spent years chronicling the history of the area, to which the first settlers of European descent arrived in the 1840s. Mitchiner arrived at the 1868 established date because that was the year mail service in the area began, when the community was named Boggy. According to the city of Niceville's website, "the Boggy Post Office was located about 100 feet from a wharf close to where Mill Creek flows into Boggy Bayou." Mill Creek drains Trout Lake, which is north of John Sims Parkway on the Eglin golf course. That development occurred 60 years before 333 of about 1,500 area residents voted, 329-4, to incorporate as a city. The decision, made in July 1938, was followed by the naming of J.M. Please see SEAL, page A-3 Please see TAX, page A-3 Ben Anderson Matt Gaetz seeks Senate seat now held by his father By Daniel Elsesser Beacon Staff Writer The race for Don Gaetz's District 1 Senate seat is already heating up, as Matt Gaetz, his son, became the second person to file candidacy for the race, which is scheduled to be decided in 2016. Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fort Walton Beach, filed Monday Please see GAETZ, page A-2Niceville seeks to promote its seniorityOfficials eye addition of date to city seal By Mike Griffith Beacon Correspondent Eglin Air Force Base is disbanding a committee designed to work with local communities on the issue of jet noise, according to Valparaiso's representative to the panel. During a Valparaiso City Commission meeting Monday, Bob Webb, the citys representative to the Eglin Air Force Base Noise Committee, told the commission that during the latest meeting of the noise committee, held May 9, he was informed by base officials that it was the final meeting of the panel as presently constituted. Webb said he hopes to propose that the noise committee be succeeded by a smaller committee made up mostly of Valparaiso and Eglin representatives, as the other cities previously represented on the noise committee are less affected by aircraft noise from the base and are therefore less interested in the noise issue. Webb suggested to the commission that the citys future strategy in dealing with aircraft noise should focus on engaging directly with the 33rd Fighter Wing commander, as well as with Pentagon-level Air Force environmental officials, and should focus on what Webb called positive action to address noise issues affecting Valparaiso. Webb also said that the delayed final version of the Air Forces environmental impact statement regarding Eglin F-35 operations, including jet-noise impacts on Valparaiso and other communities, is expected to be released later this month. Eglin disbands jet-noise committeeF-35 environmental report expected later this month Please see EGLIN, page A-2 Matt Gaetz Work has begun on a new sign (left) at Highway 85 North and John Sims Parkway, which will read "Enjoy Niceville," according to a city rendering, below.Beacon photo by Daniel Elsesser By Daniel Elsesser Beacon Cras s pd tred Qualifying for candidates in the July 16 Niceville municipal election will open at noon, Tuesday, May 28, and close at noon Friday, May 31. The Niceville City Council seats occupied by Dan Henkel (Group 2) and Sal Nodjomian (Group 4) are up for election. Both have stated they intend to run for new four-year terms.. Henkel, a program manager for a foreign military sales program, was elected in 2008 in a special election to fill a vacancy created by the death of Councilman Terry Tislow. Henkel was re-elected in July 2009. Nodjomian, executive vice president of Matrix Design Group and former installation commander of Eglin Air Force Base, is filling out the unexpired term of Bill Smith, who resigned from the council last year to run for Okaloosa County Commission. Nodjomian, who was the only person to file for the vacancy, has served since January. The seats occupied by council members Bill Schaetzle, Judy Jets to fly higher to cut noise By Mike Griffith Beacon Sod d efWonienr In an attempt to reduce jet noise, Eglin Air Force Base officials announced new flight rules for aircraft using the base. Among other things, the rules require planes to fly higher when over "congested" areas. Col. Donald Johnson, commander of the 96 Operations Group at Eglin, said the new rules are intended to enhance the safety of flight operations, and to minimize aircraft noise over neighboring communities such as Valparaiso and Niceville. The new rules, announced Monday, include: The "minimum noise abatement altitude" for most flights over "congested areas" has been increased from 1,000 feet to 1,500 feet, except when within five nautical miles of the airfield while taking off or landing. The minimum for helicopters will be 500 feet. Thurs., 5:30 p.m. New parents of babies born in the last 3 months and all pregnant women are invited to the Worlds Greatest Baby Shower held at the Emerald Coast Convention Center, 1250 Miracle Strip Pkwy., Fort Walton Beach. Admission is free, call 833-9284 for more info. Sat., 11 a.m. A one day rock concert, Blazefest, will be happening at the Mullet Grounds, Niceville. Purchase tickets at blazefestrocks.com for, $27.50 for advance tickets and $35 the day of the show. Active duty military can purchase tickets for $20 plus fees. Tues., 6 p.m. The Niceville Garden Club is having an open house and potluck to install the new officers and welcome new members. Potluck dinner will be served. Contact nvgc1@cox.net for more info. Calendar, B-2By Mike Griffith Beacon Sod d efWonienr The North Bay Fire Commission discussed the possible purchase of a new fire truck, or simply overhauling the old one. During a meeting May 14, the commission also discussed budget plans. Fire Commissioner Jim Boswell said that although the potential purchase of a new truck has been discussed during a couple of previous commission meetings, the commission is still in the information-gathering stage, regarding any such decision concerning the aging "Pumper 8.". During a previous fire commission meeting, North Bay Fire Chief Joseph Miller had informed the commission that at least one fire equipment company offers such a truck for about $487,000. Commissioner David Scholl said that among options to be considered would be the refurbishment of the existing truck, as well as the option of replacing it if that would be more cost-effective. T T T h h e eB B a a y y B B e e a a c c o o n n 50Wednesday, May 22, 2013 info@baybeacon.com The voice of Niceville, Bluewater Bay and Valparaiso since 1992 (850) 678-1080 12 Pages, 2 Sections, 6 Inserts Fire truck purchase mulled COMINGUP The voice of Niceville, Bluewater Bay and Valparaiso since 1992 Police Blotter, page A-6 Beacon photo by Daniel Elsesser Children participated in the Kids Fun Run, one of six races held at the second Emerald Coast Mud Run at Northwest Florida State College May 18. Over 3,900 participants ran in the event, comprised of four different 5K races, the one-mile kids run and a fi ve-mile advanced race, all with obstacles. The event, put on by Niceville-based Heart of the Bride Ministries, raised over $100,000 for the care of orphans around the world. Last year's run, the first, raised about $48,000 and featured 1,700 participants. Muddy buddiesBridge traffic declinesBy Daniel Elsesser Beacon Cras s pd tred The Mid-Bay Bridge Authority (MBBA) reported a 3.6 percent decrease in toll revenues in April from April 2012, with collections at $1,277,162, down from $1,324,396 for the same month the previous year. The number of vehicles using the bridge decreased about 3.2 percent from April 2012 as well, with 535,467 vehicles using the bridge in April, a decrease from 553,241. MBBA Executive Director Jim Vest explained the discrepancy in percentage decreases by noting many of the users paid the cash fee instead of the decreased Sunpass rate, as many out-ofstate vacationers were using the bridge in April, the end of spring Beacon photo by Daniel ElsesserAerial exerciseThe Niceville Fire Department, Panama City Fire Department and Okaloosa County Sheriff's Office participated in an exercise with a U.S. Coast Guard helicopter May 15 in Boggy Bayou near the North Light Marina, Niceville. The exercise, paid for by the same grant that allowed the Niceville Fire Department to purchase its fire boat, was conducted to familiarize fire prevention agencies on Federal Emergency Management Agency procedures for water rescues. Daddy's home!The Army 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne) held an open house May 15 at the unit's base north of Niceville. Public affairs officer Lieut. Col. James Brownlee said the event recognized the fact that the 7th has a larger percentage of its personnel at home than at any time in the past several years. Although the unit has a battalion deployed to Afghanistan, said Brownlee, two other battalions have recently returned from overseas deployments. Pictured, Warrant Officer 1 George Valdez gave his daughter Gabby a grown-up's eye view of visitors day.Beacon photo by Mike Griffith Please see JETS, page A-3 Please see TRUCK, page A-5 Please see BRIDGE, page A-3 Please see ELECTION, page A-8Niceville election season begins Eglin Air Force Base jets will be subject to new flight rules aimed at reducing jet noise over populated areas. Pictured, an Eglin-based F-35 refuels over the Gulf of Mexico May 13. Air Force photo By Daniel Elsesser Beacon Staff Writer The Valparaiso Planning Commission heard two variance requests from property owners at its meeting May 21 at Valparaiso City Hall, denying one and tabling another until the city commission clarifies a complication. The tabled request was made by Lyn Knowles, who requested three variances, or allowances to override building code, for his property at 238 Rose Court. Knowles intends to build an approximately 1,660-square-foot single-family residence on his property, on which he already has a covered recreational vehicle parking space. To fit these two structures on the property, Knowles requested he be allowed to construct the house with a rear setback of 12 feet 6 inches, an allowance of 7 feet 6 inches from the 20-foot requirement. Knowles also requested a 2-foot variance on the requirement that separate structures be 10 feet apart, intending to build the house 8 feet from the existing structure. His third request was for a 427square-foot variance for lot size. Building code requires lots be 11,250 square feet to build a structure of the size Knowles intends. The lot is 10,823 square feet. By Mike Griffith Beacon Correspondent If a proposed budget under discussion by Northwest Florida State College trustees is given approval, then full-time students would see fees rise by $30 per semester in the 2013-14 academic year, but no tuition increase for the first time in many years. Meanwhile, college employees would get a 1.5-percent pay increase. During a nonvoting budget workshop held May 21, NWFSC Vice President Gary Yancey and President Ty Handy briefed the colleges board of trustees on the proposed budget for the coming academic year. The total proposed increase in tuition and fees for lower-division courses, subject to approval by the trustees next month, would be 2 percent, to a total of $102.12 per semester hour. A full-time course load is 15 semester hours a semester, or 30 a year, which would make the proposed annual cost to a full-time student $3,063.60. All of the increase would come in the fee component; tution would remain flat at $77.10 an hour. According to the draft budget discussed during a trustees' meeting May 21, the college expects to have total revenue of $39,419,886 during fiscal year 2013-14, which will begin July 1. According to Yancey, direct state funding used to cover about 85 percent of the cost of students education at NWFSC. Now, however, the state's direct share of funding for students education at the college is only about 54 percent. However, those figures do not include student scholarships, most of them funded by the state and federal governments as well. According to Yancey, 38 percent of students receive state and federal aid which is funneled to the college, and of these, the average award is $1,340 per semester. The tuition of many military By Daniel Elsesser Beacon Staff Writer A Valparaiso jet-noise adviser and the mayor are cautiously optimistic about new flight rules announced last week which the Air Force says will reduce noise over civilian areas from military aircraft using Eglin Air Force Base. Bob Webb, a Valparaiso resident who represented the city on a recently disbanded committee to discuss the issue of jet noise with Eglin representatives, said he's "encouraged" by the new rules. "It sounds like Air Force is finally trying," Webb said, meaning he feels Eglin officials are now making a concerted effort to reduce aircraft noise. However, Webb said he is concerned that apparent loopholes in the new rules could potentially negate positive aspects of the regulations. Valparaiso Mayor Bruce Arnold said he has not looked over the new rules closely, but he feels they are an indication that Eglin officials are serious about reducing jet noise. "It looks like the Air Force wants to make changes," Arnold said. T T T h h e eB B a a y y B B e e a a c c o o n n 50Wednesday, May 29, 2013 info@baybeacon.com The voice of Niceville, Bluewater Bay and Valparaiso since 1992 (850) 678-1080 10 Pages, 2 Sections, 3 Inserts Please see COST, page A-2 Please see VALPARAISO, page A-3Cautious optimism on jet rules Sat., 9 a.m. Women 15 and older are invited to a self defense seminar held at the Niceville Community Center, 204 N Partin Dr. Free, registration required, call 279-4863 ext. 1504 for more info. Sun., 9 a.m. Everyone is invited to attend a science and faith seminar presented by scientist and former atheist John Clayton at the Niceville Church of Christ, 801 E John Sims Pkwy. Call 6782911 for more info. Tues., 5:30 p.m. Phil Richter will be at the Heritage Museum of Northwest Florida to teach fiber rush weaving. Participants will create a footstool. Class is $55, $50 for members of HMNF. Space is limited, preregister by calling 678-2615. Calendar, B-2 COMINGUP Beacon photo by Mike Griffith The deeper meaning of Memorial Day was honored Monday during a community ceremony at Doolittle Park, Valparaiso. The event, sponsored by the Twin Cities Veterans Council, featured presentation of wreaths by civic organizations, a rifle salute by an Am vets honor guard, and the playing of Taps by local musicians. Among the speakers was Niceville Mayor Pro Tem Dan Henkel, who said that American soldiers throughout the nation s history have sacrificed themselves to preserve the freedoms that we enjoy. A flyover by warplanes based at Eglin Air Force Base, a fixture of past ceremonies, did not occur this year because of budget cuts, accor ding to an Eglin official. Pictured, Niceville High School AFJROTC cadets raise the American flag.Remembering America's war dead The voice of Niceville, Bluewater Bay and Valparaiso since 1992 93 graduate from CollegiateMadisan Johnson, Niceville, celebrates while walking with the rest of the senior class of Collegiate High School at Northwest Florida State College to its commencement ceremony May 23 at the Mattie Kelly Arts Center. Ninetythree Collegiate High seniors graduated. The previous five classes have ranged from 83 to 101 students. Beacon photo by Daniel Elsesser2% college cost increase is proposed Police Blotter, page A-4Valparaiso planners act on 2 variances $48.45 $50.90 $55.45 $58.78 $63.00 $66.78 $75.73 $84.62 $94.02 $100.12 $102.12 2003-04 2004-05 2005-06 2006-07 Winter '08 2008-09 2009-10 2010-11 2011-12 2012-13 2013-14 $0 $20 $40 $60 $80 $100 $120Tuition & fees per hour, lower division *2-year degree classes; 2013-14 proposed Source: NWF State Coll. NWFSC tuition and fees Per semester hour, by academic year* Please see CAUTIOUS, page A-2 $1.00 $2.00 $1.50 $2.50 $2.00 $3.00$3.00 $4.00 1999 2004 2010 2015* $0 $1 $2 $3 $4 $5 SunPass Cash *2015 is planned Mid-Bay Bridge toll history One-way, two axles Bridge sees toll hike in 2015Rise would come 2 years earlier than previously planned By Daniel Elsesser Beacon Staff Writer The Mid-Bay Bridge Authority (MBBA) plans to increase bridge tolls $1 as soon as 2015, two years earlier than originally planned. The increases would bump tolls up to $3 for Sunpass users and $4 for two-axle, full-fare use. The hikes would cost bridge users an estimated $7 million a year. MBBA Executive Director Jim Vest said the increase was required of the authority by the underwriters of the bonds that finance the building of the Mid-Bay Bridge Connector road, currently under construction. Vest said a 2017 increase had been planned in order to repay the debt based on revenue projections published December 2010. However,it became apparent that the authority would not be able to pay the bonds on schedule without increasing revenue by scheduling the toll increase sooner, he said. The MBBA most recently increased tolls June 1, 2010, when they rose from $1.50 to $2 for twoaxle Sunpass users and from $2.50 to $3 for full fare. The bridge posted one previous toll increase, in Please see HIKE, page A-2 I own Annas Bridal and Formal Shop and I am so happy with the results from my Beacon ad on Dec. 11. My sales rep guided me along helping me to make my ad effective. To my surprise, the day after my ad ran as I approached my shop there was someone waiting for me with a copy of the Bay Beacon, and my $50 dress ad, and I made a sale more than paying me back for the ad. That wasnt a fluke either I stayed busy the rest of that week, and a lot of that traffic came from my ad. This December I had the best sales in many years. Thank you for all your help it really does pay to advertise in the Bay Beacon!Advertising in the Bay Beacon gets results! Heres proof! Anna Distelzweig, Owner Annas Bridal & Formal, Niceville ANNASBRIDAL& FORMAL

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The voice of Niceville, Bluewater Bay and Valparaiso since 1992Page A-4 Wednesday, January 1, 2014 THEBAYBEACON By Daniel Elsesser Beacon Staff Writer The taxable value of Niceville and Valparaiso property last year grew faster than that in other jurisdictions in Okaloosa County, which itself saw an increase in property values for the first time since 2007, according to the preliminary figures by the Okaloosa County Property Appraiser. The Niceville, Valparaiso, East Niceville and North Bay taxing districts were the four highest areas in terms of percentage increase in property values since the previous year, according to the figures, released by the appraiser May 28. Including the value of completed new construction, Niceville's taxable property values as of Jan. 1, 2013, were 4.662 percent higher than a year earlier, totaling $813.5 million, up from $777.3 million. Niceville's percentage increase was the highest in the county. Taxable values are assessed values less exemptions such as homestead and Save Our Homes. The figures released this week are subject to revision before they are certified as final June 21. The final values will be those used in figuring a given property's taxes for county, public schools, cities, fire districts, and other taxing jurisdictions. According to the preliminary figures, Valparaiso saw a 3.328 By Mike Griffith Beacon Correspondent The six-month Atlantic hurricane season began Saturday. Typically, the peak of the hurricane season, during which the most severe storms are likely to hit the Emerald Coast, occurs between mid-August and the end of October. Fortunately, the Twin Cities area has been spared direct hits from major hurricanes for the past several years, although that could change in any given year, including this one. Okaloosa County Emergency Manager Randy McDaniel and emergency management staff member Ken Wolfe recently briefed the Beacon on some new aspects of local hurricane preparation. Wolfe said that according to an annual hurricane season forecast by nationally respected meteorologist Dr. William Gray of Colorado State University, the average probability of a hurricane striking Floridas Gulf Coast this year is 48 percentnoticeably higher than the 30 percent average annual probability of such a storm striking the Gulf Coast. Regardless of forecasts and probabilities, any season in which a hurricane actually strikes the Niceville-Valparaiso area is a bad season for local residents. As in any hurricane season, residents are well-advised to prepare themselves to either take shelter or evacuate in the event a hurricane or severe tropical storm approaches. According to a recent monthly newsletter from the Choctawhatchee Electric Cooperative (CHELCO), those who choose to ride out a storm in the local area should follow the -hour rulethat is, prepare to survive on ones own for at least the first three days after the storm. It may take that long before organized outside aid reaches storm-ravaged areas in substantial amounts. Recommended contents for individual hurricane readiness kits can be viewed in the CHELCO newsletter, as well as on the Okaloosa County website at www.Okaloosafl.org, and in the T T T h h e eB B a a y y B B e e a a c c o o n n 50Wednesday, June 5, 2013 info@baybeacon.com The voice of Niceville, Bluewater Bay and Valparaiso since 1992 (850) 678-1080 22 Pages, 3 Sections, 5 Inserts Please see TAX, page A-5 Please see ELECTION, page A-5 Please see SEEN, page A-2One seat contested in Niceville election Thurs., 2 p.m. The Valparaiso Community Library invites everyone to the first Movie Thursday of the summer. The movie will be Escape from Planet Earth Call 729-5406. Sat., 10 a.m. The Genealogical Society of Okaloosa County is hosting a program on Online Family Trees presented by Margaret Harris at Northwest Florida Heritage Museum, 115 Westview Dr. For more info call 6782023 Mon., 10 a.m. Michael Aurbach will transform the McIlroy Gallery at the Mattie Kelly Arts Center with large scale sculpture designed to comment on the paradoxes and contradictions of life. Exhibit open through July 19. Call 729-6044 or visit mattiekellyartscenter.org. Calendar, B-2 COMINGUP By Daniel Elsesser Beacon Staff Writer The East Niceville Fire District is working on an agreement with the North Bay Fire District to perform inspections on buildings in East Niceville. East Niceville Fire Chief Michael Wright said eight businesses and the East Niceville Fire Station must be inspected for safety each year by the East Niceville Fire District. Previously, Wright said, a county inspector or Niceville Fire Department fire inspector did the work at no cost to the district. Okaloosa County Construction inspector Chuck Bonta said the county stopped performing free fire inspections around 2007. Bonta now performs fire inspections for all unincorporated north-county areas, and charges the individual businesses inspected. Bonta said the county charges a minimum inspection fee of $50 per job for structures up to 2,500 square feet and the prices increase as structures get larger. Niceville Fire Inspector Mike Valenzuela said the city entered into an interlocal agreement with the county in 2001 to perform inspections in unicorporated East Niceville without charging. Valenzuela said Niceville decided to stop performing fire inspections for East Niceville because the added liability was too much of a burden with no financial gain. He said the agreement could be terminated if either The voice of Niceville, Bluewater Bay and Valparaiso since 1992Hurricanes seen as more likely this year Kick backBeacon photo by Daniel Elsesser Meghan Doan, 15, breaks a board held by Darrin Palmer of ATA Taekwondo, Niceville, during a self-defense class at the Niceville Public Library May 29. The free one-hour class, attended by 16 teenage girls, taught them how to break the grasp of an attacker and how to fight him off by targeting vulnerable points. Fire district eyes inspection fees Rocky Bayou Christian School Graduates 52The senior class of Rocky Bayou Christian School stands on stage to begin their graduation ceremony at the First Assembly of God, Niceville, May 31. The 2013 class contained 52 graduates. Beacon photo by Daniel Elsesser Please see DISTRICT, page A-2 S uppl e m e n t t o The Ba y Be a c on N i c e v i l l e F lor i d a J u ne 5 2013 Inside . Class of 2013 Police Blotter, page A-4 $13,576,903,661 $17,899,368,086 $18,806,840,352 $17,410,630,993 $16,174,789,111 $14,499,871,635 $13,781,239,430 $13,565,741,937 $13,829,355,612 20052006 2007200820092010201120122 013* $0 $5 $10 $15 $20Billions *2013 preliminary Ok. Co. Property Appraiser Okaloosa County taxable values By year, property subject to taxation by the county commission County tax rolls snap 5-year losing streakOfficials offer advice on dealing with stormsBy Daniel Elsesser Beacon Staff Writer The Niceville City Council seat occupied by Dan Henkel will be contested by Armand G. Izzo in the election to be held July 16. Sal Nodjomian will retain his seat for the next term, as no one filed to run against him by Friday's noon deadline. Izzo, 54, a program manager for TASC Inc., an engineering firm contracted by Eglin Air Force Base, was the person to file for the contest for a four-year-term in the Group 4 seat. Izzo, of Sugarcane Creek Dan Henkel Armand Izzo By Daniel Elsesser Beacon Staff Writer The Valparaiso City Commission Monday turned down five ordinances that would have relinquished city rights to waterfront land adjoining five parcels near the Compass Rose restaurant, Glen Avenue. The decision, which one official said may set the stage for a lawsuit, came after two hours of discussion by the commission and public comments from an unusually large audience. Three ordinances would have vacated city rights of way on land fronting Toms Bayou adjacent to three lots owned by CAJTDM LLC, a company owned by Compass Rose owner Michael Harris. Another of the ordinances would have added waterfront to a lot owned by Commissioner Kay Hamilton, a former Compass Rose employee. A fifth would have done the same for land owned by Jason and Angelle Rosenbleeth. According to the ordinances, the property owners would have allowed the city an underground easement for utilities on their property in exchange for vacation of right of way. In February, the city commission granted Harris an allowance of encroachment on city water-By Mike Griffith and Daniel Elsesser Beacon Staff The Okaloosa County Commission has agreed to pay someone $47,000 a year to keep an eye on an estimated 10 to 20 sea turtle nests on county beaches. The money comes from bed taxes levied by the commission through its Tourist Development Council. In other business during a county commission meeting June 4 in Crestview, TDC lawyer Greg Stuart briefed the commission on efforts to recover money lost during the TDC scandal last year, in which the late former executive director of the TDC, who was supposed to have been overseen by the county commission, stole hundreds of thousands of dollars from the county and allegedly allowed additional sums to be squandered on inappropriate purchases. Stewart told the commission that the county has recently recovered more than $10,000 from firms who were paid in a 2 more businesses sought for centerBy Daniel Elsesser Beacon Staff Writer The Oak Creek Shopping Center in Niceville may see the addition of two more-visible businesses, as the center's landlord wants to shrink the center's parking lot to accommodate new freestanding buildings next to John Sims Parkway. Matt Zenke, an engineer for Valparaiso Realty, which owns the shopping center, said it asked the city to build on the parking lot to accommodate the potential development of more "outlot" businesses. These outlots would be separate from the block of businesses that stretches from the CVS Pharmacy to east of Kmart in the shopping center. The developer plans to shrink the parking lot so that there would be as few as 4.5 By Mike Griffith and Daniel Elsesser Beacon Staff Citing a sharp rise in reports of crime and other police matters, the Valparaiso Police Department is seeking to add another officer. The city commission is scheduled to discuss the request later this month. For the budget year that will begin Oct. 1, the police department is requesting the addition of one full-time police officer at an annual cost of $46,600 including salary and benefits. The department has 12 officers and four civilian employees. To justify the additional officer, a police proposal issued last week cited increases in lawenforcement activity for the 12 months ended in May, versus the year-earlier period. The police proposal showed increases of 28 percent in the number of incident reports (to a total of 333), 20 percent in vehicle crashes (to 61), 150 percent in DUI arrests (to 5) 23 percent in traffic citations (to 624), and 23 percent in domestic violence and disturbance calls (to 59). The report also noted that during the period of May 2012 through May 2013, officers worked alone for all or at least half of their shifts on 140 occasions. Domestic violence and disturbance calls are officer-safety concerns, said the report, and thus require the response of at least two officers. This means that an officer working an evening or T T T h h e eB B a a y y B B e e a a c c o o n n 50Wednesday, June 12, 2013 info@baybeacon.com The voice of Niceville, Bluewater Bay and Valparaiso since 1992 (850) 678-1080 10 Pages, 2 Sections, 7 Inserts Please see POLICE, page A-3 Please see TURTLE, page A-5 Please see CENTER, page A-6 Thurs., 7 p.m. Join Dancing With The Stars celebrities at Dancing with Desire a benefit for Children in Crisis, will be at the Mattie Kelly Arts Center and feature Call 8644242 to purchase tickets. Fri., 10:30 a.m. Ret. Col. John D. Ross will be speaking on how to live to be 100 in the Niceville Council Chamber, 208 N. Partin Dr. For more info call 279-4863 x1504 Tues., 6:30 p.m. Historian Mike Thomin will share information on the pirates who terrorized the Gulf Coast during the 1800s at the Niceville Community Center 212 Partin Dr. Call 2794863 x1504 for more information.Mon.-Fri., 9-12:15 p.m. Children four through completed fifth grade are invited to Niceville United Methodist Church for JUMP, a VBS program designed to teach children how to put their faith into action while having fun. $15 per child. Call 678-4411 for more information or visit nicevilleumc.org Calendar, B-3 COMINGUP The voice of Niceville, Bluewater Bay and Valparaiso since 1992 422 graduate from Niceville High SchoolBeacon photo by Daniel Elsesser Members of the Niceville High School class of 2013 walk into commencement ceremonies in the football stadium June 6. The school graduated 422 seniors this year. "I think they're extremely well prepared," Principal Rodney Nobles said. "They're a great class, and they're very motivated." City nixes bids to give up waterfront About 40 people watch a Valparaiso City Commission meeting Monday. Some raised their hands when Mayor Bruce Arnold asked who opposed requests by some property owners that the city relinquish rights to land fronting Toms Bayou. Beacon photo by Daniel Elsesser Police Blotter, page A-4 Please see WATERFRONT, page A-5 City seen rehiring ex-chief, A-3.Valparaiso police seek to add officerSharp rise in law-enforcement activity cited Sea turtle nest on a Gulf Coast beach.County to spend $47K a year on turtle project Beacon Cras s After studying eight ways to handle the growing number of F35 flights to and from Eglin Air Force Base, the Air Force says its preferred option would result in the most noise for hundreds of residents of Valparaiso and many in Niceville. Eglin last week released a study of the environmental effects of the nation's 2008 decision to base a new F-35 training wing at the base. The study stated that the Air Force favors implementing F-35 flight patterns that would result in regular jet noise above 65 decibels for an estimated 2,913 people off base, the vast majority of them in Valparaiso. By contrast, continuing the current practice of restricting most F-35 flights to Eglin's eastwest runway, mostly avoiding the north-south runway whose approach is over Valparaiso, would result in regular jet noise exceeding 65 decibels for an estimated 1,800 residents, according to the study. The "preferred alternative" would end the current runway restrictions and increase noise over civilian areas. "Residential use is strongly discouraged" at regular noise levels above 65 decibels, according to the study. The study included noise from all aircraft using Eglin, not just F-35s. The Lightning II, as the nation's newest aircraft is also known, will account for a disproportionate share of "flight operations" at the By Mike Griffith Beacon poddeCtonSenr The Bluewater Bay Municipal Services Benefit Unit (MSBU) is seeking a volunteer to become the boards newest member. It is also planning a budget for next year that will maintain the current $60 annual flat fee tax on Bluewater Bay property owners. The Bluewater Bay MSBU is a subunit of Okaloosa County government, in charge of maintaining street signs, streetlights, landscaping, and general maintenance of the rights of way of main streets and other common areas in Bluewater Bay. It is governed by a five-member board of elected, unpaid volunteers. At the June 11 MSBU meeting, board chairman Dale Blanchard announced that he is resigning from the board, effective June 30, because he is moving to St. Petersburg. In a June 15 interview with the Bay Beacon, Blanchard, who was first elected in 2008, discussed his service to the Bluewater Bay community. I feel bad about leaving, he said, By Daniel Elsesser Beacon frass Wdired Valparaiso officials dropped as too costly a proposal that would have promoted the city as home of Eglin Air Force Base in one of the most visible ways possibleby painting it on the water tower near city hall. The Valparaiso Public Works Department mulled two new designs for the elevated tank, one that would feature three F35 aircraft and the phrase "Home of Eglin Air Force Base" beneath the city's name, and one that would contain only the "Eglin" phrase. The city is preparing to repaint the tank in the course of routine maintenance. It asked the contractor who was awarded the job how much more it would cost to add one of the Eglin banners. Deputy Public Works Director Nathan Kelley said the design with the aircraft would have cost the city an additional $10,000. The design with only the "Eglin" phrase would have cost $6,500. Kelley said the department deemed both figures too expensive. He decided to have the tank repainted as it looks now. Valparaiso Public Works Director James Valandingham said the water tower will be repainted within the next month. The company hired to paint the tower will do so as it is, silver with the word "Valparaiso" in black block letters, with no additional charge T T T h h e eB B a a y y B B e e a a c c o o n n 50Wednesday, June 19, 2013 info@baybeacon.com The voice of Niceville, Bluewater Bay and Valparaiso since 1992 (850) 678-1080 12 Pages, 2 Sections, 4 Inserts Please see F-35, page A-5 Please see VALP., page A-5 Please see BUDGET, page A-3 Thurs., 10 a.m. Load up on your plant lore at the TriCounty Horticulture Studies Group held at the Heritage Museum of Northwest Florida, Valparaiso. Plant swap will be held afterwards. For more information call the museum at 6782615. Fri., 11 a.m. The Biophilia Center will be teaching all about crabs with special activities and games. General admission is $8 for adults, $5 for children ages 3-12. Call the Biophilia Center at 835-1824. Sat., 11 a.m. The second annual Pearls for Purple Hearts charity auction will be held at the Magnolia Grill with a vintage 60s and 70s theme. Funds raised will benefit Special Operations Warrior Foundation and Fisher House. Email airmansvoice@hurlburt.af.mil for more info or to volunteer. Tues., 8 a.m. There will be a blood drive at Twin Cities Hospital, 2190 Highway 85, Niceville until 1:30 p.m. with a free T-shirt for all donors. Calendar, B-4. COMINGUP The voice of Niceville, Bluewater Bay and Valparaiso since 1992 MSBU OKs budget, will fill a vacancy Police Blotter, page A-4 Valp. officials react, A-2.Eglins F-35 choice would be noisiestPlan to boost Valp. as home to Eglin nixed Cast awayBrian McGovern, 14, of Crestview, casts his net at the Valparaiso T-pier June 14 in hope of catching baitfish. Summer vacation has allowed him ample time for angling. "I usually don't come down here during school days when I have homework," McGovern said. "Now I'll come down here and fish a lot." Beacon photo by Daniel Elsesser Colored contours superimposed on a map released last week indicate that the Air Force's "preferred alternative" for aircraft flights to and from Eglin Air Force Base would result in regular jet noise above 65 decibels in much of Valparaiso and northwest Niceville. Areas affected by such noise levels are deemed unsuitable for residential use, according to the Air Force. An Eglin-sponsored public hearing to solicit comments is scheduled July 9.U.S. Air ForceEyesore poles getting faceliftBy Daniel Elsesser Beacon fras s Wd ired The intersection of State Road 20 and Rocky Bayou Drive, Niceville, should soon be a little easier on the eyes. Public Works Director Bruce Price said the public works department is repriming and repainting the traffic signal masts. The paint on the masts began to peel and flake off soon after installation, presenting an eyesore. Price said the masts are for county signals, and therefore he may request the use of a county Beacon photo by Daniel ElsesserCity of Valparaiso officials decided against a plan to paint three F-35 planes and the phrase "Home of Eglin Air Force Base" on the water tower near Valparaiso City Hall. Beacon photo by Daniel ElsesserA stoplight pole at SR 20 and Rocky Bayou Drive (background) has been repainted, while another (foreground) awaits a similar facelift. Please see EYESORE, page A-6 Dale Blanchard By Daniel Elsesser and Mike Griffith Beacon Staff Some Okaloosa County School District officials may disagree over whether the year-old Okaloosa STEMM Academy in Valparaiso should remain open over the long run, but no decisions were made during a school board meeting Monday in Fort Walton Beach. The magnet school offers advanced middle school science and mathematics curriculum. The acronym STEMM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Math and Medical. In addition to the STEMM Academy for students, the center also includes the Center for STEMM Innovation; a science education training center for teachers from throughout the school district. Okaloosa County Superintendent of Schools Mary Beth Jackson told the Beacon prior to Mondays school board meeting that the academy was in her draft proposed budget for the 2013-14 year. But Jackson said she opposed the opening of the school during her campaign for election as superintendent last year, and said she felt a decision on whether or not to close the school was one that would have to be faced in light of the setting of budget priorities.Valp. prepares to make case on jet noiseBy Daniel Elsesser Beacon Staff Writer Valparaiso officials are working to enlist the help of elected lawmakers, and to organize citizen support, to protect what they view as the city's interests regarding Eglin's "preferred" plan for F35 operations, which would increase jet noise over the city. Meantime, local officials and community leaders continued to react to news that the Air Force favors a plan to end restrictions on F-35 warplane flights using the north-south runway of Eglin Air Force Base. The "preferred alternative" for operations by a new and growing F-35 training wing at Eglin would result in more flights over Valparaiso and northwest Niceville, markedly increasing jet noise over those areas, according to an Air Force environmental study issued earlier this month. At a Valparaiso City Commission meeting Monday, Mayor Bruce Arnold acknowledged that residents of surrounding communities would focus on the positive effects of having the F-35 at Eglin, without considering the negative impacts on Valparaiso. "Everybody outside of Valparaiso is dreaming about the 7,000 new jobs the F-35 could bring," Arnold said. "They could care less about us." For this reason, Arnold stressed the importance of getting the support of state and federal lawmakers. "In the past, we've had no support of elected officials," Arnold said, referring to the city's partially successful 2009 campaign to get restrictions on F-35 operations. It is the runway-use restrictions the city won in that campaign that the Air Force now says its "preferred alternative" wouldBy Mike Griffith Beacon Correspondent Construction of the Mid-Bay Bridge Connector will likely be completed and opened about a month ahead of schedule, according to the project manager. In a briefing to the bridge authoritys governing board in Destin June 20, HDR Engineering representative James VanSteenburg said that construction of the bridge connector, a road connecting the north end of the Mid-Bay Bridge with State Road 85 north of Niceville, is now on the downhill slide to finishing out, and is expected to be completed by Jan. 10, about a month ahead of the scheduled spring 2014 completion currently advertised on signs along state roads 85 and 285. In fact, said VanSteenburg, if all continues to go well, the project may be done by the end of this year. HDR is the prime contractor managing the bridge connector construction project. The connector, an 11-mile tollway that will connect the By Mike Griffith Beacon Correspondent In response to queries from the Bay Beacon, a state senator representing part of northwest Florida has denied any connection with a public conflict between Northwest Florida State College (NWFSC) Board of Trustees member Patrick Byrne and college President Ty Handy. Another area senator did not comment. During a meeting June 18 of the NWFSC Board of Trustees in Niceville, Handy presented the board with a written statement in which he accused a trustee later identified as Byrne of persistent attempts to oust him. Handy said that Byrnes efforts have taken place over the past several months. Handy said that Byrne, of Niceville, who was appointed to the board earlier this year, had told him that at least one unnamed Florida state senator has also been pushing for Handys ouster, and promised to provide several million dollars of additional appropriations for the college if Handy resigned or was removed by July 1 of this year. The board of trustees June 18 extended Handy's contract by a year, to mid-2016. In a phone conversation with the Beacon Monday, Byrne, who has acknowledged pushing for Handy's removal, said, No senator ever offered any money if Dr. Handy was removed from office. In a June 19 phone interview with the Beacon, District 1 State Sen. Don Gaetz, whose district includes southern Okaloosa County and the colleges main campus in Niceville, as well as satellite campuses in Fort Walton Beach and Walton County, stated emphatically that he has never been involved in any effort to oust Handy. I never did, and never would say anything like that, said Gaetz, referring to the statements attributed to a senator whose identity Handy said he did not know. I was not the senator mentioned in Dr. Handys statement, said Gaetz, a Niceville Republican who is in the middle of a two-year term as president of T T T h h e eB B a a y y B B e e a a c c o o n n 50Wednesday, June 26, 2013 info@baybeacon.com The voice of Niceville, Bluewater Bay and Valparaiso since 1992 (850) 678-1080 12 Pages, 2 Sections, 4 Inserts Please see STEMM, page A-4 Please see NOISE, page A-4 Please see SENATOR, page A-6 Thurs., 10:30-11:30 a.m. Lynette Miesen has combined her work as a plein-air painter with her poetry in her first book, The Poetry of Art She will be at the Niceville Public Library, 206 N. Partin Dr., signing copies which will also be for sale. For more information call 279-4863 x1507. Thurs.,2 p.m. Valparaiso Community Library will have a free showing of the movie Beautiful Creatures for their Movie Thursday event. For more info call 7295406. Sat.10 a.m.1 p.m. All-American Days Independence Day celebration at ERA Realty, 1069 E. John Sims Pkwy., Niceville. There will be free American flags, pet parades, face painting, a bouncy house, giveaways, hot dogs, snow cones and popcorn. Mayor Wise and his wife Helen will be on hand for a pie tasting. Mon., 6:30 p.m. The July meeting of the Mac Users Group will be held at the NWF State College Student Services Building, room 132. James Savage will present The Basics of the Application Drop Box for MacOS and iOS. For more information, visit FWBMug.com or contact Jean Dutton at jeancdutton@mac.com or 862-3327. Calendar, B-5. COMINGUP Highway seen opening earlyJanuary completion eyed for bridge connector Police BlotterBeeacone p h Dramatic confrontation, A-2.Officials discuss STEMM future1 senator denies any link in college tiff; another is mum A sign on State Road 285, just before a Mid-Bay Bridge Connector overpass under construction, advertises a spring 2014 opening for the connector road. An engineer for the project said last week that the road should be complete by Jan. 10, a month early. tncbyM e aiykye Gre fcM Tnve Nv lnlln, tncbyM e aiykye Gre uT wne d,T VVT kiFriday was the summer solsticethe longest day of 2013. As the day drew toward a close, many people could still be seen at Valparaiso s Lincoln Park as they enjoyed the last chance of the day to take a boat out on Boggy Bayou, propel a paddle board across the water, explore the shoreline, or enjoy a float together in the calm waters in the light of the setting sun.Summer takes a bow Please see HIGHWAY, page A-5 sine 1yT bne yV e 9T bn1T vvnBe tv 2nDckn,e tcre cM Ee gcv ac,cT lyelT M bne A--4 Sen. Don Gaetz By Daniel Elsesser Beacon Cras s pd tred Valparaiso Mayor Bruce Arnold has drafted a proposed new charter for the city of Valparaiso that would move supervision of the city government's departments from the city commissioners to three new city positions. The commissioners would only have "oversight" over the departments in the new charter. Two city commissioners have voiced reservations about the proposed changes. Arnold said he feels city commissioners should relinquish operational control of the governmental departments partially so they can focus on broader issues. "Our commissioners should be able to focus on big-picture issues," Arnold said. "They shouldn't have to worry about when someone's water needs to be shut off, or who needs to mow their grass." Arnold said operational control should also be shifted to city employees because, under the current system, Arnold feels that often times the city's "left hand doesn't know what the right hand is doing." "It's embarrassing to have citizens to call up city hall with questions about a decision one of the commissioners made in their department, and no one at city hall knows anything about it," Arnold said. "We really have no central control." Arnold said the "oversight" mentioned in the draft charter means commissioners would be responsible for championing the needs of their respective departments. At a city commission workshop June 24, Arnold and commissioners Diane Kelley and Kay Hamilton voiced approval of the draft, but commissioners Joe Morgan and Heyward Strong expressed general objections. Valparaiso voters would have the final say in a referendum on any proposed changes. Arnold said the charter will now be given to Valparaiso City Attorney Hayward Dykes, who will "clean up" the language of the document and determine whether the draft constitutes a new charter or an amendment to the city's existing charter. After the attorney has made changes and advised the commission on any other issues, the charter will go before the city commission at a public meeting, where it will vote on whether the charter should be put to a referendum. If it is approved for referendum, the proposed charter will be put on a ballot for Valparaiso citizens to vote on in the March 2014 city election.By Daniel Elsesser Beacon Crass pdtred The Air Force will hear public comments Tuesday concerning a recently released draft environmental statement which notably stated that the Air Force's "preferred alternative" for F-35 operations at Eglin Air Force Base would increase jet noise over parts of Valparaiso and Niceville. An Eglin spokesman said public comments during the formal portion of the hearing would be limited to three minutes per speaker, although written comments may be submitted without regard to length. Experts will be on hand during a half-hour, informal session to answer certain questions, according to the Air Force. The meeting will be held July 9 at the First Baptist Church of Valparaiso, 444 Valparaiso Parkway, from 5:308 p.m. The preferred alternative listed in the environmental study would boost average jet-noise levels to 65 decibels over some 1,200 residential parcels, affecting over 2,900 people, by increasing jet operations from Eglin's north-south runway. The statement said such levels may be unsuitable for residential use.City seeks to end clubs use of effluentBy Daniel Elsesser Beacon Cras s pd tred City of Niceville officials say they are pushing to complete a deal with Rocky Bayou Country Club that would stop the club's use of reclaimed water and relieve the city of its obligation to pay the club for taking the water. Niceville City Manager Lannie Corbin, a member of the Niceville Valparaiso Regional Sewer Board, which owns the regional wastewater facility that produces reclaimed water, said the agreement would get the country club, by far the largest user of the plant's reclaimed water, to switch to another source for irrigation. Reclaimed water is highly treated effluent that has been certified safe for irrigation. Distribution of reclaimed water to users in the Niceville area is one way the regional treatment plent disposes of its effluent. The wastewater plant is being modified under a Florida Department of Environmental Protection mandate to remove more nitrogen and phosphorus from the water. The $5 million project requires one of the plant's three sewage "trains," or treatment systems, to be shut down temporarily. The use of only two trains at a time forces all of the area's raw sewage into two-thirds of the plant's capacity, which has caused problems. In early April, the limited plant capacity caused the reclaimed water to become too cloudy by DEP standards to be sent out for irrigation. For nearly two weeks, the plant had to rely on limited reserves to send to users, and temporarily had to suspend service to those users, including the Swift Creek Plantation and Preserve By Mike Griffith Beacon SoddefW onienr Shortly before his retirement, Okaloosa STEMM center director Rick Soria gave the Beacon a tour of the school he became so proud of during the year he has been in charge of it. He showed a reporter around the school on June 18, the day after the Okaloosa County School Board discussed, but did not decide, whether to continue the year-old center for teaching science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medical subjects to selected middle school students from throughout the Okaloosa County School District. Soria retired Friday. Im amazed that after a year of operations, some people in the community, and even at the school district headquarters, still dont know what we do, said Soria. For example, he said, he was recently asked by one local citizen, How much is the tuition at the STEMM center? Soria said that he did not T T T h h e eB B a a y y B B e e a a c c o o n n 50Wednesday, July 3, 2013 info@baybeacon.com The voice of Niceville, Bluewater Bay and Valparaiso since 1992 (850) 678-1080 14 Pages, 2 Sections, 9 Inserts Please see CITY, page A-2 Please see HEARING, page A-9 Please see MAYOR, page A-3 Please see MATH, page A-7 Wed., 7 p.m. Say the Word, an open mic poetry night, is open to everyone at French Quarter Bar and Grill, 714 Howell Rd. Each performer should plan to share 2-3 pieces. Music will be played live by Damian Churchwell. Call 678-2604 for more info. Thurs., 5 p.m. First Baptist Church of Niceville is holding their annual Family Fourth Celebration at Freedom Field at the corner of Bayshore and Partin Drive. There will be food, games and entertainment. Call 6784621 for more info.Sunday, 10:45 a.m. Graham and Tammy Boutwell will be performing at Rosemont Baptist Church, 1601 27thSt., Niceville, during their morning worship. For more information please call 6781611.Tues., 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Give blood at Northwest Florida State College help save lives and receive a free movie ticket. Calendar, B-3. COMINGUP Math permeates everything we do hereSTEMM center s future clouded3 minutes each for hearing speakersJet-noise session set for July 9Valparaiso mayor drafts charter changes STEMM center summer students Elizabeth Kim, 12, and Jillian Parker, 12, brief a class on their design for an artificial heart valve.Beacon photo by Mike Griffith Beacon photo by Mike GriffithIndependence Day festivities got off to a highly visible early start Saturday in Niceville with a parking lot festival dubbed AllAmerican Day," sponsored by ERA American Realty. The event celebrated "what makes Nicevilleand Americaa nice place to live, according to a company statement. Featured were an apple pie tasting contest judged by Mayor Randall Wise, a pet parade with costumes and prizes, fire truck exhibits, face painting, snow cones, and, of course, plenty of American flags. On July 4, area celebrations will include a day-long festival at Lincoln Park, Valparaiso, capped by evening fireworks over Boggy Bayou. See page B-1 for a story on these events.Proud to be Americans The voice of Niceville, Bluewater Bay and Valparaiso since 1992 Bruce Arnold By Daniel Elsesser Beacon Staff Writer The Okaloosa County School Board approved Superintendent Mary Beth Jackson's recommendation to appoint Jacqueline Craig as the head administrator of both the Okaloosa STEMM Academy and the Northwest Florida Ballet Academie. Under terms of her appointment, apparently she will be spending less time running the STEMM school than her predecessor did. The board on Monday named Craig, who until June 30 was the principal at Northwood Elementary School, Crestview, to fill the head administrative role at both magnet schools. Incumbent faces challenge in Niceville votingBy Daniel Elsesser Beacon Staff Writer Niceville municipal elections will be held July 16. Two city council seats are at stake. The fouryear terms for the Group 2 and Group 4 seats will expire this month. The Group 2 seat, currently occupied by Councilman Sal Nodjomian, is not contested in this election. Nodjomian was the only person to file for candidacy. Nodjomian gained his current position in January. He was unopposed then as well, being the only person to file in a special election in January to fill the remainder of the term of Councilman Bill Smith, who resigned to run for a seat on the Okaloosa County Commission. The Group 4 seat is being contested by the incumbent, Councilman Dan Henkel, and one challenger, Armand G. Izzo. Henkel won his current position in a 2008 special election to succeed the late Terry Tislow. Henkel was reelected in 2009. The following are responses to a questionnaire sent to all three candidates. Daniel HenkelAddress: 2406 Rocky Shores Drive Age: 57 Occupation: program manager, Jacobs Technology, Inc. How long have you lived in Niceville : 15 years Why are you seeking a seat on the Niceville City Council? I want to continue my efforts in making Niceville the Number 1 City in Florida to Raise a Family." Additionally, I want to continue helping the citizens of our great city with the issues and concerns theyve raised and work to resolve them. Why should people vote for you? I have a record of voting to keep taxes low and working hard to find solutions to challenges that the city and its citizens are faced with. What would you like to change in Niceville? As growth continues in Niceville, I want to make sure we dont forget about doing the things necessary to build and improve our infrastructure like roads, sewer, water, etc. But, I want to make sure the appearance and friendliness of a small town arent lost. To that end, I would like to see more of our citizens get involved in our community. They can do this by attending city meetings and looking to see what the needs are and then get involved. What do you think about the revised draft supplemental environmental impact statementBeacon Staff Writer Kids out of school? Dont sweat it. There are plenty of activities for kids of all ages in the area so no need to park them in front of the television and computer all summer. Heres a comprehensive list of upcoming summer camps, programs and activities that will make your summer planning a breeze.Special Interest Kids on CampusNorthwest Florida State CollegepresentsKids on Campus, a unique opportunity for summer enrichment and fun in a college environment. The summer enrichment program for students entering third through eighth grade. Students choose from a variety of exciting classes such as: athletics, fine & performing arts, academics, and arts and crafts. Students can choose morning, afternoon or all day classes. Extended care is also available in the morning and afternoons. The next session will be July 15-25 with the last day of registration on July 10. Full and half day sessions are available with extended care. Please call 729-6086 for the Kids on Campus office to find out complete information.Heritage MuseumHistory Rocks! Summer Camp will be held August 5-9 from 9 a.m.-12 p.m. at the Heritage Museum of Northwest Florida. See history as a pioneer, excavate like a real scientist to find artifacts, learn how to curate a museum this summer camp is a sure fix for bored days. Costs $60 for the week, or $15 a day for non-members. $50 for the week or $13 per day for members. Become a Family Member and receive one camp registration half off. Space is limited. Pre-registration is required.Camp CollegeThis camp is designed for rising seniors to get their college applications completed during the summer to be ready to T T T h h e eB B a a y y B B e e a a c c o o n n 50Wednesday, July 10, 2013 info@baybeacon.com The voice of Niceville, Bluewater Bay and Valparaiso since 1992 (850) 678-1080 12 Pages, 2 Sections, 5 Inserts Please see VOTING, page A-6 Please see STEMM, page A-3 Please see KIDS, page A-5 Thurs., 11:30-12 p.m. Henderson Beach State Park will host the Emerald Coast Wildlife Refuge staff and their animal ambassadors, weather permitting. Bring your camera for some great photo opportunities. Fri., 12 p.m. Free lunchtime lecture, Your Heritage Ladder, at the Heritage Museum of Northwest Florida 115 Westview Ave., Valparaiso presented by Charlene H. Grafton local author of Whats In Your Genes? Bring a sack lunch an enjoy an informal lunchtime education. Please call to reserve a seat. 678-2615 Sat., 9 a.m.-3 p.m. The Lewis School volleyball team will be washing cars for donations and having a bake sale in the Lewis parking lot at 281 Mississippi Ave., Valparaiso. Sat., 10 a.m. The Genealogical Society of Okaloosa County presents Farris Blue Heron (Wah-Kachobee) Powell who will be speaking on Seminole and Creek tribes of the panhandle area from 1700 to 1830 at Heritage Museum meeting room located at 115 Westview Dr., Valparaiso. For more info call 678-2023. Calendar, B-2 COMINGUP Police Blotter, page A-4New STEMM school chief is namedWill divide her time with dance academyBy Mike Griffith Beacon Correspondent Valparaiso city officials Monday disclosed details of a sewage spill in Valparaiso on Saturday, July 6, that may have contaminated the waters of Boggy Bayou and Toms Bayou as holiday swimmers frolicked, possibly unaware of any potential danger. City commission and Please see SPILLS, page A-258,000 gallons of sewage spills into bayous Among the many things to do this summer is the Kids on Campus program of Northwest Florida State College. Classes, for grades 3 through 8, range from arts, to science, to sports.Beacon file photo Beacon photo by Mike Griffith On Sunday, July 7, the rain that had soaked the Twin Cities area throughout the Independence Day long weekend finally halted long enough to let people come outside to enjoy one day of sunny weather in an otherwise rainy four-day weekend. Among them were two girls who leapt off the end of the swimming pier at Lincoln Park, Valparaiso, and into Boggy Bayou.Here comes the sun The voice of Niceville, Bluewater Bay and Valparaiso since 1992 Armand Izzo Dan Henkel Jacqueline CraigLots of things for kids to do this summer School needs a chance to succeed, A-3. Warning sign Tuesday at Lincoln Park, Valparaiso. By Daniel Elsesser Beacon Staff Writer The Valparaiso City Commission voted unanimously to approve a proposed millage rate of 5.21 for the next fiscal year, a 15 percent increase over the current tax rate of 4.52 mills. Valparaiso Mayor Bruce Arnold said the figure was purposefully set high, so the commissioners can ensure they have enough funds to work with before working on lowering the rate at subsequent budget hearings before a final tax rate is approved in September. The millage rate is the amount per $1,000 charged on ad valorem taxes, or taxes on real estate or business property. On property carried on the tax rolls at By Mike Griffith Beacon Correspondent During their July 9 meeting, members of the Bluewater Bay Municipal Services Benefit Unit (MSBU) governing board chose Bluewater Bay resident Jonathan Tallman as the newest member of the panel. The board also discussed enforcement of deed covenants in the community. Tallman succeeds Dale Blanchard, who recently resigned in conjunction with a move to St. Petersburg. Although MSBU board members are usually elected to four-year terms as unpaid volunteers on the board, when a vacancy occurs during a term the remaining board members may appoint someone to fill out the remainder of the term.By Mike Griffith Beacon Correspondent Opinions differed sharply during a public hearing held July 9 at the First Baptist Church in Valparaiso, to discuss an environmental study of various options for conducting F-35 flight operations. The Air Force-sponsored hearing began with an informal question-and-answer period among visitors and Air Force officials who spoke one-on-one with citizens who wished to ask them questions or discuss the F-35 program. During the introductory period, visitors were also given printed material about the F-35 program, and were allowed to fill out cards requesting three minutes of speaking time during the formal portion of the public hearing. They were also allowed to submit written comments about various flight operation options for the F35, and about the Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS)a recently issued report of an Air Force study of the likely environmental impacts of F-35 training flights to take place from Eglin Air Force Base now and in the future. During the question-andanswer period, Eglin environmental public affairs officer Mike Spaits answered some questions from the Bay Beacon, about claims by some Valparaiso residents that noise from F-35 flight operations would render some homes in Valparaiso. incompatible with residential use, and would therefore mean that residents must move out of such houses.By Mike Griffith Beacon Correspondent The Okaloosa County Health Department has received no reports of anyone becoming sick as a result of exposure to sewagecontaminated water during the July 4 weekend, and does not expect any such reports now, said Dr. Karen Chapman during a meeting held Monday in Niceville. Meantime, officials acted to prevent any recurrence of a communications foul-up that delayed warnings to the public of the spills for two days. During Mondays meeting, officials from the Okaloosa County Department of Public Safety, the county branch of the Florida Department of Health, which Chapman heads, and from local water and sewer utilities discussed proposed changes to streamline the way notifications of sewage spills are handled in Okaloosa County. On Saturday, July 6, a week of heavy rains caused storm water to find its way into sanitary sewage systems in Valparaiso and other parts of the county. In Valparaiso, the result was an overflow of tens of thousands of gallons of sewage from manholes into some city streets near the north shore of Toms Bayou. From there, an estimated 58,000 gallons found its way into Toms Bayou and Boggy Bayou, according to the city. Meantime, a similar spill in T T T h h e eB B a a y y B B e e a a c c o o n n 50Wednesday, July 17, 2013 info@baybeacon.com The voice of Niceville, Bluewater Bay and Valparaiso since 1992 (850) 678-1080 12 Pages, 2 Sections, 6 Inserts Please see F-35, page A-5 Please see MSBU, page A-2 Please see SEWAGE, page A-2 Wed., 7:30 p.m. Les Misrables opens at the Mattie Kelly Arts Center, Niceville and runs until July 20 and from July 25-27. Tickets are $25 and can be purchased by 7296000 or visiting online at mattiekellyartscenter.org. Read the complete story on A-4. Sat., 6 p.m. Holy Name of Jesus Catholic Church 1200 Valparaiso Blvd, Niceville, invite the public to a buffet style dinner in the Life Center Hall featuring Filipino entrees and desserts. Cost is $7 for ten years and up, $4 for 7-9 years and six and under eat free. Price includes entree, dessert and beverage. For more information please call 678-3000. Tues., 6:30 p.m. Dr. Sandra L. Davis, author of So, Whats A Nice Girl Like You Doing In A Place Like This? will be speaking at the Niceville Public Library. Free and open to the public. For more info please call the Niceville Library at 279-4863 x1514. Tues., 5:30 p.m. The Quit Smoking Now (QSN) program will be at Twin Cities Hospitals Wellness Center 2190 N Hwy 85, Niceville. The QSN program is a tobacco cessation program with group support, providing Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) in a six week program led by a Certified Tobacco Treatment Specialist. To register for a class, please call 398-6965 or visit westfloridaahec.org. .Ca lenCdr, B -2 COMINGUP Police Blotter, page A-6MSBU names a new memberValp. eyes millage hike Beacon photo by Daniel Elsesser Tryston Garvey launches his skateboard off a ledge near Bayshore Drive and Edge Avenue, Niceville July 12, while Devon Glenn walks to set up a jump of his own. The Niceville High School students were filming the stunts for a video-editing class. "We're making a summer movie," Said Devon, 15. "It's for school, but we're also doing it for fun." Lift off The voice of Niceville, Bluewater Bay and Valparaiso since 1992 Jonathan Tallman Valparaiso city employees pump rainwater out of a city lift station near Toms Bayou July 11. The work was done as a preventative measure to keep overflow from the lift station from running into the bayou. The previous weekend, efforts to prevent a sewage overflow failed, partly due to a shortage of pump trucks, resulting in a spill of 58,000 gallons of Valparaiso wastewater into area bayous. Public Work Director James Valandingham said the city borrowed an Okaloosa County sewage truck to pump the station on July 11. Beacon photo by Daniel Elsesser 3.993.993.99 3.12 2.88 3.75 4.16 3.93 4.06 4.52 5.21 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013* Fiscal year ended Sept. 30 0.00 1.00 2.00 3.00 4.00 5.00 6.00Millage *2013 preliminary, may be revised downward Source: City of Valparaiso Valparaiso tax rates Municipal millage rate, by year (does not include county or other levies) Mixed reaction to Eglin F-35 plansAir Force hears public on jet-noise issues Officials act to speed warnings on sewage spillsNo illnesses reported despite two-day lag on notification Please see MILLAGE, page A-3 Valparaiso, do future zoning of high noise exposure areas near the base in such a way as to encourage nonresidential uses of property, such as industry or agriculture, but that such language does not mean that anyone will be forced to abandon or tear down their homes, or to make expensive renovations if they choose not to. On Monday, July 15, Larry Chavers, Chief of Environmental Analysis at Eglin Air Force Base, responded to a series of questions from the Bay Beacon, based on Mayor Arnolds statement, as follows: Question: Which version of the likely impact of F-35 noise over Valparaiso is correct? Answer: The version that Eglin portrays in the discussions below is correct. Please realize that there have been noise issues in Valparaiso for years even prior to the F-35s arriving. By Daniel Elsesser Beacon Staff Writer Workers were scheduled to place girders for the Mid-Bay Bridge Connector span over State Road 285 late today and early Thursday, laying the framework for the last of five overpasses to be constructed for the new highway, set to open in early 2014. State Road 285 was scheduled to be closed from College Boulevard to Interstate 10 from 11 p.m. tonight, Wednesday, to 5 a.m. Thursday morning toBy Mike Griffith Beacon Correspondent The Air Force responded last week to statements made by Valparaiso Mayor Bruce Arnold during a July 9 public hearing regarding present and future training flights of F-35 fighter planes at Eglin Air Force Base. During the hearing, Mayor Arnold said that if the Air Force chooses option 1-A, one of several options in a recent Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS), and the option which would route more flights over the city of Valparaiso, then hundreds of homes in a large area of the city would become incompatible for residential use because of jet noise. Mike Spaits, a spokesman for Eglin Air Force Base, had offered a different viewpoint during the July 9 hearing, saying that words such as incompatible in the SEIS merely served as a recommendation that communities adjacent to the base, such asBy Daniel Elsesser Beacon Staff Writer Turnout for Niceville's July 16 regular city council election was the lowest it has been in at least two decades, as about 3.5 percent of the city's registered voters cast ballots, reelecting incumbent Dan Henkel over challenger Armand Izzo. Henkel retained his Group 4 seat in a July 16 election, topping Izzo 246 votes to 96. Sal Nodjomian was unopposed in his run for the Group 2 seat, the only other seat up for election this year. The 342 total votes cast from a pool of 9,663 registered voters represented 3.5 percent voter turnout, lower than the 10 percent that was expected by City Clerk Dan Doucet. Okaloosa County Supervisor of Elections Paul Lux said there were a few circumstances that may have led to the low turnout. "When you hold summer elections, you typically have a lot of people out of town," Lux said. "Or elections just might not be in people's minds." T T T h h e eB B a a y y B B e e a a c c o o n n 50Wednesday, July 24, 2013 info@baybeacon.com The voice of Niceville, Bluewater Bay and Valparaiso since 1992 (850) 678-1080 10 Pages, 2 Sections, 3 Inserts Please see OVERPASS, page A-2 Please see NOISE, page A-2 Please see VOTING, page A-3 Thurs., 4 p.m. An Adventure Club bicycle ride will be leaving from the golf course club house at Bluewater Bay Resorts parking area, 1940 Bluewater Bay Blvd., with participants joining for a meal after the ride at a local restaurant. Call Jim Bayes at 897-6756 for more info. Sat., 10 a.m. Strictly Weavers of the Emerald Coast will be meeting at the Twin Cities Hospital Wellness Center, Niceville,to weave Kente jackets. Free and open to the public. For more info please call the Alice at 934-4403.Sat., 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m. Charles Williams will be signing copies of his book, In Close Proximity at Bayou Books 1118 John Sims Pkwy., Niceville. For more information please call 678-1593. Sun., 8 a.m.-1 p.m. There is an opportunity to give blood at Christ Our Redeemer Church 1028 White Point Rd., Niceville. Receive a free cholesterol and blood pressure screening with donation. For more info visit oneblood.org. Calendar, B-2 COMINGUP Police Blotter, page A-45% raises eyed for teachers Beacon photos by Daniel ElsesserAutumn Ryan, 10, prepares to launch a rocket she made as part of Rocky Bayou Christian School's week-long Crazy Rocket Camp. The camp's nine participants (right, with supervisor Ray Allen) launched their model missiles July 19 at the Twin Oaks Park, Niceville. Rocket science The voice of Niceville, Bluewater Bay and Valparaiso since 1992Niceville hits low in voter turnout Niceville City Councilmen Dan Henkel (center) and Sal Nodjomian are sworn in by Mayor Randall Wise for the next city council term after the announcement of the city election results July 16 at 7:15 p.m. in the Niceville City Council chambers. Beacon photo by Daniel Elsesser Air Force responds to mayor on F-35 noise By Mike Griffith Beacon Correspondent The Okaloosa County School Board met July 16 to discuss the proposed school district budget for fiscal year 2013-14. Increases in teacher compensation, including raises averaging 5 percent, were held responsible for the lion's share of a 3.5-percent increase in general-fund spending. During the meeting, at which no formal action was taken, board members pored over phone-book-thick budget books, as school district chief financial officer Rita Scallan and human resources director Mike Foxworthy discussed budget figures for various departments. Some of the school districts department heads also spoke, explaining the projected amounts tentatively budgeted for their departments. Among the highlights of the workshop meeting, Scallan said that she expects the school district to have a total general fund budget for all departments of $24,487,818, or $864,012 (3.5 percent) higher than that for fiscal year 2012-13. The budget year began July 1, but the school board typically doesn't finalize its numbers until a month or two after that time. Scallan said that the bulk of the increase will come from increases in personnel costs due to teacher raises and increases in pension funding. She said there will also be increases in the costs of Social Please see 5% RAISES, page A-5 Bruce Arnold Girders for the Mid-Bay Bridge Connector span over State Road 285 were ready for placement Monday. The 186-foot steel beams were scheduled to lifted into place between 11 p.m. tonight, Wednesday, and 5 a.m. Thursday, during which time SR 285 will be closed from College Boulevard to Interstate 10.Beacon photo by Daniel ElsesserOverpass a final link in highwayGirders set to be placed this week By Daniel Elsesser Beacon Staff Writer Florida Senate President Don Gaetz held a "neighborhood day" in the Twin Cities July 25, speaking with residents about new or revised state laws and other citizen concerns. Gaetz, a Niceville Republican who represents District 1, said that based on his converations with constituents, the issues Twin Cities residents are concerned about include residential soundproofing necessitated by the possible change in F-35 operations at Eglin Air Force Base, new state health care laws resulting from federal requirements, Florida's controversial "stand your ground" law, and education reform. Gaetz said many citizen questions regarding the F-35 operations had to do with requirements about soundproofing their houses, By Daniel Elsesser Beacon Staff Writer Local Vietnam War veterans spoke fondly of their experiences with Col. Bud Day, the Medal of Honor recipient who died Saturday at 88. Day, one of the nation's mostdecorated war heroes, died surrounded by family in his home in Shalimar after an extended fight with cancer. A public memorial service is scheduled for 11 a.m. Thursday at the Emerald Coast Convention Center, Okaloosa Island. Retired Air Force Col. Ron Webb, Niceville, in 1967 shared a cell with Day in a Hanoi prisonof-war camp during the Vietnam War after the warplanes of both men were shot down in separate incidents. Webb said he had met Day before they were sent to war, during survival training in a snowy winter in Washington state. When Day arrived at the Hanoi prison camp, nicknamed the Plantation, Webb had been there for several months. "When I saw him, I was very surprised to see that he had been shot down," Webb said. "I was viewing him through a small hole in the door of my cell, and I could see that he was very badly injured."By Daniel Elsesser Beacon Staff Writer The Okaloosa County School Board set a tentative millage rate Monday, proposing a rate of 7.55 mills, up from 7.48 last year. School District Chief Financial Officer Rita Scallan said the increase is caused entirely by the local effort millage required by the state. The required rate this year is 5.3 mills, up from 5.22 last year. The required local effort is the millage which the district must levy in return for receiving state money, which is based on several factors, including a formula that attempts to reduce funding disparities between richer counties and poorer ones. Scallan said the discretionary millage rate, set by the school board, will remain at 1.5 mills, as it has since the 2009-2010 school year. The preliminary and tentative budget allots a total of $122.8 T T T h h e eB B a a y y B B e e a a c c o o n n 50Wednesday, July 31, 2013 info@baybeacon.com The voice of Niceville, Bluewater Bay and Valparaiso since 1992 (850) 678-1080 10 Pages, 2 Sections, 3 Inserts Please see HERO, page A-2 Please see GAETZ, page A-5 Please see MILLAGE, page A-3 Wed., 4-8:15 p.m. There will be a blood drive at Niceville United Methodist Church 214 South Partin Drive, Niceville. Donors will receive a T-shirt. Thurs., 6:30 p.m. The Choctawhatchee Audubon Society will feature two programs, Ed Hubbard on his African wildlife photography and Samantha Sexton on the dangers of overfishing, in room 132 of the Student Services Center at the Niceville campus of Northwest Florida State College. For more information call Walt Spence at 582-7064. Fri., 3 p.m. The Valparaiso Community Library would like to invite kids 9 and up to a party in celebration of the upcoming movie Percy Jackson: The Sea of Monsters. There will be chances to win prizes, including tickets to the movie. Sign up by calling 729-5406 or emailing eruff@valp.org. Mon., 6:30 p.m. JVO Weaver will present Tips and Advice on how best to post-process your digital photos using iPhoto or Aperture at the next meeting of the Mac Users Group at the Northwest Florida State College Student Services Building, room 132. No fees or reservation required. For more information, visit FWBMug.com or contact Jean Dutton at jeancdutton@mac.com or 8623327. Calendar, B-2 COMINGUP Police BlotterThhe voh icf School grades, A-6.Thieves strike 2 ATMS 8.2948.2948.063 7.86 7.6397.6247.639 7.534 7.769 7.476 7.551 20042005200620072008200920102011201220132014*Fiscal year ended June 30 0 2 4 6 8Millage *2014 proposed Ok. Co. Sch. Dist. Schools tax rate edges up Millage, Okaloosa County School District, by year In remembrance Nloh ,Bu woh Ba h tu wo,u rroT h yrnod V oph y sh 19h 2 re p u bBh bu 1woh DEEgConstituents bend Sen. Gaetzs earBy Daniel Elsesser Beacon Staff Writer Niceville police responded to an alarm after someone from the Coastal Bank and Trust branch at John Sims Parkway and Palm Boulevard notified authorities that the bank's live video feed showed the drive-up automated teller machine was "wide open" Monday at 12:42 a.m. A Niceville officer reported observing damaged hinges in the ATM. Investigators were trying to determine the amount of cash taken. Okaloosa County sheriff's deputies responded to a similar crime at the Coastal Bank and Trust's location at 4300 E. State Road 20 minutes later. Emerald Coast Crimestoppers offered a $2,000 reward for information leading to an arrest.Schools to up millage Cast awayAngie Travis teaches her daughter, Olivia, 7, how to cast a fishing line into a pond off Bluewater Boulevard as Travis' nephew, Jonas Parr, 10, fished alongside. Mother instructed daughter to wait to begin reeling "until you feel the fish tug on the line." yo wB1h elBV BhAsh 1u orh 4rbobbop Medal of Honor recipient Col. Bud Day, right, with Doolittle raider Staff Sgt. David Thatcher, at an event in Niceville earlier this year. Day died Saturday at 88. yo wB1h elBV Bh Ash 1u orh 4rbobbop The Okaloosa County Sheriff's Office released these photos of a suspect allegedly photographed in the act of stealing from an ATM in Niceville. Don GaetzCol. Bud Day recalled as a hero yo wB1h elBV BhAsh 1u orh 4rbobbop Beth Born Croft and Craig Born, parents of Army Sgt. Joshua Born, a former Niceville resident who was killed while serving in Afghanistan in 2012, in front of a memorial bench dedicated in honor of their son July 25. Story, A-2. By Daniel Elsesser Beacon Staff Writer Homeowners of the Southwind and Sunset Beach subdivisions of Bluewater Bay will hold a meeting Aug. 8 to discuss the potential purchase of Bluewater Bay Resort "Gold" memberships in order to generate revenue for the resort's Marsh golf course, which the two subdivisions surround. A published ad by the homeowner's association urged owners to attend "to save the Marsh golf course." "Failure to attend could result in the Marsh course being abandoned like the Magnolia course," stated the ad, published last week in the Bay Beacon. Bill Putz, director of golf for Bluewater Resort, said the ninehole course is not currently in danger of closing, but needs revenue in order to be maintained. Putz said the proposed $160 memberships would mirror the By Daniel Elsesser Beacon Staff Writer The East Niceville Fire District has rejected a proposal to charge businesses for annual fire inspections. The commission voted unanimously July 8 to drop the proposed resolution. Fire Chief Mike Wright had initially proposed such a resolution at the commission's May meeting. He said the district's agreement with the county and city of Niceville, in which a Niceville fire inspector had performed fire inspections on the eight businesses in East Niceville for no charge, had ended that month. Wright finalized an agreement to have North Bay Fire District Inspector Lloyd Losinger perform East Niceville's fire inspections for a $25 fee charged to the East Niceville district, with a free reinspection and an additional $50 added if he had to return for a second re-inspection. Wright drew up a resolution which would have charged the individual businesses to reimburse East Niceville for its payments to North Bay. At the meeting July 8, Commissioner Tricia Brunson said the resolution should not be passed because the eight businesses in East Niceville already pay enough in taxes and should not be burdened by an additional inspection fee. She said the total cost to East Niceville would be manageable. "If we can't figure out a way to come up with $1,000 in a year, we're doing something wrong," Brunson said. Before the commission voted to do away with the resolution, Wright said paying North Bay for inspections would still be cheaper than paying for Wright to get the necessary certification to perform inspections, and the commission agreed to keep the agreement with North Bay and find room in the budget to pay for it. By Daniel Elsesser Beacon Staff Writer The Okaloosa County School District has expanded its jurisdiction over bullies, expanding schools' authority in order to discipline students who intimidate others off school grounds, on the Internet, or via texting. The rule change, adopted on an "emergency" basis last month, subject to final approval after a public hearing, follows passage of a state law earlier this year that prohibits student "bullying or harassment with respect to computer-related activities," "provides that bullying includes cyberbullying" and "revises components of school district policy on bullying and harassment." The changes to the school district's rule were approved for "emergency adoption" by the Okaloosa County School Board July 22, in order to be in place before classes start Aug. 19. Because it was an emergency adoption, the rule change is in effect 90 days from approval. If the school board approves the changes at a public hearing Aug. 26, the changes will become permanent. The changes to Okaloosa schools Rule 4-43 expand the district's ability to curb cyberbullying that may occur after school hours or off campus, according to school board member Cindy Frakes. "The changes to the rule gives our schools more authority over actions taking place outside of school, as long as our students are involved," Frakes said. The changes to the rule add "private humiliation" as one of the definitions of bullying, and adds "electronic communications," "facsimiles" and "other Internet communications" and "the creation of a web page" to T T T h h e eB B a a y y B B e e a a c c o o n n 50Wednesday, August 7, 2013 info@baybeacon.com The voice of Niceville, Bluewater Bay and Valparaiso since 1992 (850) 678-1080 12 Pages, 2 Sections, 3 Inserts Please see MARSH, page A-3 Please see MILLAGE, page A-3 Please see FEE, page A-7 Please see BULLYING, page A-8 Fri., 7 p.m. All are invited to attend a full feature movie and BBQ dinner BBQ begins at 5:30 p.m. with the full feature movie, Home Run, at Niceville United Methodist Church, 214 Partin Drive South, Niceville. Please register at nicevilleumc.org/recovery/ to ensure your seat, by Wednesday, August 7. Movie is free, BBQ costs $5 per person, $15 per family with reservation. Sponsored By Niceville UMC. Call 678-4411. Sat., 10 a.m. The annual August membership coffee for the Sand Dunes Chapter of Embroiderers Guild of America will be the First United Methodist Church of Niceville, Fellowship Hall. The 201314 program will be presented and snacks will be served. Visitors are welcome. Call 496-3466 with any questions. Sat., 6-10 p.m. Parker James Willingham of Niceville is playing live at The Boathouse Landing Valparaiso. For more info please call 642-1528. Mon., 7 a.m. The Third Annual Warlord Classic Four Man Scramble will be held at the Eglin Golf Course, 1527 Fairway Dr. Entry fee is $65 and includes 18 holes of golf including cart and lunch. Preregister by calling Dennis Deppen at 843465-7552. .Ca lenCdr, B -2 COMINGUP Police Blotter, page A-6 Beacon photo by Daniel ElsesserJosh Collins, 17, sprays a hose while Elizabeth Burgess, 18, and Patti Burgess, 23, stand under the cooling water spray on South Cedar Avenue, Niceville, last week as the thermometer hit 90 degrees. Keeping cool The voice of Niceville, Bluewater Bay and Valparaiso since 1992Schools seek to broaden authority over cyberbullying Beacon photo by Daniel Elsesser The Okaloosa County School Board has expanded its authority to punish bullies who act offcampus, over the Internet or via smartphones.Homeowners to discuss membership purchase to help Marsh courseEast Niceville nixes inspection feeBy Daniel Elsesser Beacon Staff Writer Local taxing districts have set tentative millage rates for the 2013-14 fiscal year, with public hearings for the final approval of these rates coming in September. The millage rate is the amount per $1,000 charged on ad valorem taxes, or taxes on real estate or business property. On property carried on the tax rolls at $100,000 after all exemptions, a millage rate of 2.00 would draw a tax payment of $200.Beacon photo by Daniel ElsesserResidents of the Southwind and Sunset Beach subdivisions, near the Bluewater Bay Resort's Marsh golf course, will meet Thursday to discuss requiring homeowners to purchase "Gold" golf memberships. By Daniel Elsesser Beacon Staff Writer The Valparaiso Public Works Department announced Saturday that water customers on the south side of Tom's Bayou Bridge should boil tap water used for consumption as a precautionary measure because of complications from a broken water main. The affected areas include John Sims Parkway and South Bayshore Drive to Indian Shores and South Bayshore Drive to Louisiana Avenue and Old Highway 10. The notice will be kept on until at least Wednesday, Aug. 7. The Public Works Department said the tap water is still suitable for bathing, washing clothes and irrigation. Two separate water samples must be analyzed and approved as safe before the boil water notice will be lifted. People requesting follow-up notification or other information may call Valparaiso Public Works at 850-729-5407. Boil water notice for some Valp. customersLocal tax districts set tentative millage rates By Daniel Elsesser Beacon Cras s pd tred Local schoolchildren, teachers and staff are preparing for the new school year, which will begin for Okaloosa County public-school students Monday, Aug. 19. Many faculty members reported to work even before Aug. 12, the official first day for teachers. Paul Whiddon, the new principal of Ruckel Middle School, Niceville, said many students and parents have dropped by the school early for information. "We've already had about 1,000 students register," Whiddon said. "Parents and students have been coming by asking about things, so everyone's very excited." Whiddon, who will be Ruckel's principal after two years heading Shoal River Middle School in Crestview, said the most notable change and challenge for the coming year will be the implementation of Common Core State Standards. "We'll begin implementing Common Core thisBy Daniel Elsesser Beacon Crass pdtred The Valparaiso City Commission continued working toward balancing the municipal budget at a workshop Aug. 5, deciding to make decisions assuming next year's propertytax will be the same as the current one of 4.52 mills. At a previous workshop, the commission set the tentative millage rate at 5.21 mills, picking a high rate so the city would be ensured enough funding while still being able to work the rate down to a more appropriate amount as budget deliberations proceed. City Commissioner Heyward Strong presented a proposed 2013-14 budget containing several deletions or reductions of fund allotments from the last budget meeting, at T T T h h e eB B a a y y B B e e a a c c o o n n 50Wednesday, August 14, 2013 info@baybeacon.com The voice of Niceville, Bluewater Bay and Valparaiso since 1992 (850) 678-1080 10 Pages, 2 Sections, 3 Inserts Thurs.-Fri., 7 p.m. New Life Christian Ministries, Niceville, will host its first "Word Revival" with Bishop John W. Pace II, lead pastor. The desire is to empower people to pursue life without limits and to transform the lives of ordinary people so that they become extraordinary. For more information, call 7290733. Fri., 11 a.m-2 p.m. Go green at the Biophilia Center Freeport, with recycling activities from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Create an edible landfill, play games and make arts and crafts with recycled materials. Fun for all ages. Fri., 7-11 p.m. All are invited to enjoy a free karaoke night at the American Legion Post #221, 444 E. John Sims Parkway, Niceville. For more info call 678-2682 Sat.-Sun., 3 p.m. Angela Robinson as Veronica Harrington of the New Tyler Perry Show on the O Network will be at Wellspring Ministries,Niceville, with a performing arts and acting seminar on August 17 and 18. Tickets are $25 at the door, $20 in advance. Call 678-9355 for more information. Calendar, B-2 COMINGUP Police BlotterThhe voh icf Please see ROBBED, page A-2 No l,Bh eu,w ,h ath r By onh dn VoVVop Children prepare to launch arrows Aug. 8 during Camp Corral, a week-camp held at Camp Timpoochee for children of wounded military veterans. Taking aim No l,Bh eu,w ,h ath r By on h dn VoVVop The Valparaiso City Commission tentatively removed from its budget $20,000 requested to repaint the inside and outside of Valparaiso City Hall.Schools prepare for new yearEmily Voigt, a new first-grade teacher at Plew Elementary, sorts books in preparation of the new school year, which begins Aug. 19. Voigt and many other teachers were in their classrooms making preparations before teachers were required to begin work Aug. 12. No l,Bh eu,w ,h ath r By onh dn VoVVop Please see SCHOOLS, page A-2 Please see VALP., page A-3 Marsh course meeting 'a good first step'By Mike Griffith Beacon Sod d efWonienr Although no votes were taken or final decisions made at an Aug. 8 meeting of homeowners association members from Southwind and Sunset Beach in Bluewater Bay, the meeting was a good first step toward preventing the possible closure of the Marsh golf course in Bluewater Bay, according to Ray Herden, a former developer of the Bluewater Bay community, which includes the Southwind and Sunset Beach subdivisions. The meeting was held to Valp. mulls lower millage suoh 1,y loh ,9 h 2y lo1y nnoTh Nn boD w oph N th BEh g n e p y V,hVy Bloh A--4 No l,Bh eu,w ,h ath r By on h dn VoVVop Bluewater homeowners who live near the Bluewater Resort's Marsh golf course (pictured) met Aug. 8 to discuss resort membership purchases to generate revenue for the course. Paul Whiddon Please see MARSH, page A-4Niceville issues precautionary boil water noticeBy Daniel Elsesser Beacon Crass pdtred The Niceville Public Works Department announced that water customers in the area of Valparaiso Boulevard between Palm Boulevard and Bayshore Drive should boil tap water for one minute before consumption as of 8 a.m. today, Aug. 14. The affected area includes Magnolia Shores Drive. The Public Works Department said residents in the affected areas should expect temporary water outages on Wednesday, Aug. 14, and Thursday, Aug. 15, from 8 a.m. Please see WATER, page A-2Couple beaten and robbed at Rocky Bayou homeBy Daniel Elsesser Beacon Cras s pdtred A couple was assaulted and robbed at their home at Kristin Circle, Niceville, Thursday, Aug. 8, according to the Okaloosa County Sheriff's Office. Sheriff's deputies found a 68year-old man bleeding at the mouth outside his residence at about 10:30 p.m. His 64-yearold wife, who sustained injuries to her head and throat, was at a neighbor's house when deputies arrived. The woman reportedly told deputies three men wearing masks and gloves followed her into the garage of her lakefront property when she arrived home, attempting to rob and physically attack her inside the residence. By Mike Griffith Beacon Correspondent The first people to travel along the new Mid-Bay Bridge Connector road after it opens will do so on foot, during a community run/walk event to be held during the weekend of Jan. 11, 2014. At the Aug. 15 meeting of the Mid-Bay Bridge Authority (MBBA) governing board, Executive Director Jim Vest said the new connector route, linking an interchange at State Road 85 north of Niceville with the northern end of the Mid-Bay Bridge, which crosses Choctawhatchee Bay, linking the Niceville area with Destin and other communities along the Gulf of Mexico shoreline, is now scheduled to be completed by Jan. 10more than a month ahead of schedule. Vest and James VanSteenburg, an engineer from HDR Engineering, the contractor managing the Mid-Bay Bridge Connector project for the MBBA, said the work is ahead of schedule and within budget. Vest said that he is monitoring the project, and that current tentative plans call for an opening ceremony and ribbon-cutting on the afternoon of Saturday, Jan. 11, following a festive run/walk event to be held earlier that morning. Once the road is open on Saturday afternoon, said Vest, no tolls will be charged to drivers who use the connector road during Jan. 11 or 12. Tolls, which will be half the amount of the tolls charged to cross the Mid-Bay Bridge itself, will be collected starting on Monday, Jan. 13. Vest said that details of the run/walk event are still being worked out, but that the event will be jointly sponsored by the By Mike Griffith Beacon Correspondent During their meeting on Aug. 12, members of the Valparaiso City Commission discussed whether to put a street sign along John Sims Parkway to mark the intersection with North Bayshore Drive, and whether to support a recent chamber of commerce resolution supporting the F-35 flying mission at Eglin Air Force Base. They also approved a revision to the citys existing sanitation ordinance, and were given copies of a proposed revision to the city charter. In addition, the commission discussed how to make its views known to the Okaloosa County Commission concerning the city-county split of current and proposed county gasoline taxes. T T T h h e eB B a a y y B B e e a a c c o o n n 50Wednesday, August 21, 2013 info@baybeacon.com The voice of Niceville, Bluewater Bay and Valparaiso since 1992 (850) 678-1080 42 Pages, 3 Sections, 5 Inserts Police BlotterBeeacone p h Please see TOLLWAY, page A-2 Please see GARBAGE, page A-2 Please see STREETpage A-3 tncbyM e aiykye Gre fcM Tnve Nv lnlln, Students at Plew Elementary School, Niceville, walk off buses and head to class Aug. 19, the first day for students of Okaloosa County public schools. Fresh faces tncbyM e aiykye Gre uT wne d,T VVT ki North Bayshore Drive, Valparaiso, although platted as a city street, has never been paved, and is currently little more than a trail through the woods between the shore of Toms Bayou and the backyards of some Valparaiso homeowners. It begins at John Sims Parkway near Doc s oyster bar behind the Compass Rose restaurant, and eventually meets some actual paved city streets.First users of tollway to be on footConstruction on a bridge for the MidBay bridge Connector road over Swift Creek, Niceville. uT sptcre tT ,son 1kiy,T krN. Bay eyes $2M budgetBy Mike Griffith Beacon Correspondent North Bay fire commissioners heard a briefing on the fire districts proposed fiscal year 2013-14 budget during their Aug. 13 meeting. Fire Chief Joseph Miller told commissioners that the proposed budget will include total revenues of $2,034,590 and total budget expenditures of $2,005,520.63. The expenditures are projected to be $50,998.68 above those of fiscal year 2012-13, which will end Sept. 30. Millers proposed budget also includes a property tax millage rate of 2.35the same as for the current fiscal year. At that millage rate, property owners within the self-governing fire district will pay $2.35 in property tax for every $1,000 of appraised, taxable value of their properties, after such things as homestead exemptions and other discounts are taken into account. For example, the owner of a house appraised at $200,000 taxable value would pay $470 in tax to the North Bay Fire District, Valparaiso commission discusses street, F-35 9ine 2yT bne yV eDT bn2T vvnBe tv 1nEckn,e tcre cMse gcv ac,cT lye lT M bne A--4Company, city dicker over cutting garbage pickupsBy Daniel Elsesser Beacon Staff Writer A Waste Management representative said last week that the company is still working with Niceville city officials to determine how new, larger recycling carts will be paid for if the city decides to adopt the carts for all garbage customers. If the recycling program is expanded citywide, Waste Management said it wants to cut collection of regular garbage to once a week. Recyclables would be collected once a week as well. Currently, garbage is collected twice weekly, and recyclables once weekly.Waste Management conducted a three-month pilot program, which concluded June 30, to test the effectiveness of 96-gallon recycling carts. Waste Management representative Lynn Yort said she would meet with Niceville City Manager Lannie Corbin and City Clerk Dan Doucet to work out an agreement for payment of the carts, which Doucet said could cost $250,000. The pilot program tested two Niceville neighborhoods, Kildare Circle and Black Bear Circle, that contain a total of 90 homes. It is up to the council whether to expand the program citywide as proposed by the refuse-collection company. The program recorded the amounts of recycling 2013 F a ll-W i nt e r 2013 S u pp lem e nt t o Th e B a y Be a con Ni c ev ille-V a l pa r ais o, F l or i d a T he B ay Beaco n s a nd Com mu ni ty D ir ect ory NEWCOMER GUIDE Thurs., 6:30 p.m. The Northwest Florida Symphony Chorale announces that auditions for the 2013-14 season will be held in Tyler Recital Hall at the Mattie Kelly Arts Center on the Niceville campus of NWFSC. The Chorale, under the direction of music professor Lois Van Dam is a select choral group that performs with the Northwest Florida Symphony Orchestra as well as in independent concerts. For more information, contact Van Dam at vandaml@nwfsc.edu or call 729-6009. Thurs., 6:30 p.m. The Sand Dunes Chapter of Embroiderers Guild of America will have their final summer stitch-in on Thursday Aug. 22, at 6:30 p.m., at the Niceville United Methodist Church, room 400. Visitors are welcome. For more info call 4963466. Sat., 6 p.m. The Holy Name of Jesus Catholic Church will sponsor a charity buffet dinner at the Life Center Hall. Filipino dishes and desserts will be served. All are welcome, please invite family and friends. Cost is $7 for 10 years and up and $4 for seven to nine years. Children five and under eat free. Price includes entree, dessert and beverage. Proceeds go towards funding missions. For more information please call 6783000. Calendar, B-2 COMINGUP Inside ... Please see BUDGET, page A-2 tncbyM e aiykye Gre fcM Tnve Nv lnlln, A Waste Management truck picks up a 96-gallon recycling cart on Black Bear Circle, Niceville.

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THEBAYBEACONWednesday, January 1, 2014 Page A-5 The voice of Niceville, Bluewater Bay and Valparaiso since 1992 1181 E. John Sims Parkway, Niceville, Florida 32578 (850) 678-1080 Fax 1-888-520-9323 info@baybeacon.comTh e B a y B eaco n& B eaco n Ex pr essStephen W. KentEditor and PublisherBunni FarnhamAdvertising RepresentativeCandice LeggeGraphic ArtistAngela Yuriko SmithEditorial AssistantKaron DeyBookkeeper Ignacio MacasaetGraphic ArtistLinda McCormickAdvertising RepresentativeCheryle ValentineReceptionistThe Bay Beacon and Beacon Express, incorporating the Bluewater Breeze, is published every Wednesday by Bayou Enterprises Inc. Free total-market home delivery to Niceville, Valparaiso, Bluewater Bay and Seminole, as well as midWalton County from Villa Tasso to Basin Bayou, including Choctaw Beach. Subscriptions: One year, mail, $104. One year, electronic subscription, $52. All submissions for publication become property of The Bay Beacon.Niceville s NewspaperSara KentMarketing Director Low rates are just around the corner. Convenient local office Money-saving discounts Low down payments Monthly payment plans 24-hour service and claims Coverage available by phone Some discounts, coverages, payment plans and features are not available in all states or all GEICO companies. Motorcycle coverage is underwritten by GEICO Indemnity Company. Homeowners, renters and boat coverages are written through non-af liated insurance companies and are secured through the GEICO Insurance Agency, Inc. GEICO is a registered service mark of Government Employees Insurance Company, Washington, D.C. 20076; a Berkshire Hathaway Inc. subsidiary. GEICO Gecko image 1999-2013. 2013 GEICO850-863-4187 (850) 729-2131www.nicevilleinsurance.com (850) 729-2131www.nicevilleinsurance.com By Daniel Elsesser Beacon Staff Writer The Niceville City Council has rejected requests by the police and fire departments for more personnel. Members of the council last week agreed with City Clerk Dan Doucet's statement that there was no room in the city's 2013-14 budget to fund the three police officers and six firefighters the departments requested in their budget proposals. The three employees requested by the police department would have cost the city $124,170 a year, and the six requested by the fire department would have cost $281,960. City Manager Lannie Corbin noted during a council meeting Thursday that with the requirements of the Affordable Health Care Act to take place next year, the city would have to give certain retirement benefits to all city employees, including those working part time. Corbin cited the ACA, the federal law popularly known as Obamacare, as the primary reason for the high cost of bringing in new employees and the reason why it could not be afforded. The police department has 24 full-time and six part-time officers, while the fire department has 10 full-time and three parttime firefighters. In his request, Fire Chief Tommy Mayville said the T T T h h e eB B a a y y B B e e a a c c o o n n 50Wednesday, August 28, 2013 info@baybeacon.com The voice of Niceville, Bluewater Bay and Valparaiso since 1992 (850) 678-1080 10 Pages, 2 Sections, 5 Inserts Police Blotter, page A-2 Please see NIXES, page A-5 Please see ROBBERY, page A-4 Niceville High marks its golden anniversaryCelebrating 50 years Artist's rendering of proposed Emerald Coast Autism Center at Northwest Florida State College, Niceville.Emerald Coast Autism Center The voice of Niceville, Bluewater Bay and Valparaiso since 1992Robbery victim, 64, recounts beatingsThree home invaders still on the looseBy Daniel Elsesser Beacon Staff Writer Even after an assailant slammed her head repeatedly into her kitchen floor, Lourdes Adams, 64, was able to warn her husband and later run for help after an Aug. 8 assault and robbery in her Niceville home. Mrs. Adams and her husband, Richard, were attacked Aug. 8 by three masked men wearing gloves upon arriving at their home. The men stole at least $700. Last week, Mrs. Adams gave the Bay Beacon her account of the couple's ordeal. Mrs. Adams reached her lakefront home on Kristin Circle, in Official: Cut our salaryBy Daniel Elsesser Beacon Staff Writer An East Niceville fire commissioner believes that he and his fellow board members are overpaid and is pushing for a pay cut. Ed Dunbar, treasurer of the East Niceville Fire District, said the $500 per month received by the elected commissioners of the self-governing district should be reduced. "I'm not proposing that we Thurs., 6 p.m. A dinner to benefit the Mattie Kelly Arts Foundations cultural arts and educational programs will be at the TradeWinds Restaurant 205 Government Street, Niceville. $50 for Mattie Kelly Arts Foundation members, $65 for nonmembers. Call MKAF at 650-2226 for reservations.Fri.,11:30 a.m. -1:30 p.m. The Biophilia Center Freeport, presents Fun with Folk Art with Abrakadoodle making upcycled roosters on canvas. Open to all ages. General Admission is $8 for adults $5 for children, under 2 free. Fri., 10-11 a.m. Henderson Beach State Park Destin, invites the public to participate in a celebration of reading and Septembers Literacy Month. Join park rangers as they read their favorite childrens books. Following story time, there will be refreshments and an environmentally friendly art activity. Event weather permitting. Regular park admission fees apply. $6 per vehicle, limit 2-8 people per vehicle. $4 single occupant vehicle. $2 pedestrians, bicyclists, extra passengers and passengers in vehicle with holder of Annual Individual Entrance Pass. Fri.-Sat., 1-7 p.m. The Bloodmobile will be at the Niceville Walmart. All donors will receive a $10 Wal-Mart gift card.Calendar, B-2 COMINGUPBy Angela Yuriko Smith Beacon Staff Writer Niceville High School will celebrate its 50th anniversary at its current site on Friday, beginning with a pep rally in the schools gymnasium and ending with a football game that evening pitting the Eagles against Rutherford. The school's history actually extends back much further than 50 years. Classes were held in a three-room frame building that was named Niceville High School in 1922. In 1924 land was purchased for a new high school to be built from George Nathey for $1 at the site of what is now Edge Elementary School. It burned down during the 1926 Christmas holidays. Niceville High was rebuilt on the same site by 1928, but the new building, too, didn't last long. A hurricane destroyed it in July 1936. Unable to afford to rebuild after two catastrophes, classes were split between a former dance hall and the Valparaiso Community Center. In the early 50s the school district decided to send Niceville high schoolers to Choctawhatchee High School in Fort Walton Beach. I was sad to see the two schools combine, said Niceville Mayor Randall Wise. And I was happy to see it rebuilt back in Niceville. In 1964, Niceville High School was built at its current site at John Sims Parkway and Cedar Avenue, and the long bus rides to Choctaw High ended. Alumni and staff have been preparing since last June to plan the golden anniversary By Mike Griffith and Daniel Elsesser Beacon Staff A fast-growing school for children affected by autism has proposed moving to a site on the Niceville campus of Northwest Florida State College. At the Aug. 20 meeting of the college board of trustees, officials were briefed on a proposed partnership between the college and the Emerald Coast Autism Center, Niceville. The trustees heard a presentation by Heidi Blalock, chief executive of Emerald Coast Autism Center, who proposed that the center build a facility on land leased from the college. Blalock proposed building a 12,000-square-foot facility on the Niceville campus, where her organization could provide therapeutic and educational services to students with autism. The four-year-old center has 35 full-time and 27 part-time students, ages 18 months to 14 years, according to documents it furnished to the trustees. Teachers work with them on a one-to-one ratio. Blalock said the autism center has a waiting list, and that there is a great need for our Please see CUT, page A-6 Please see AUTISM, page A-4 Randall Wise Niceville nixes more cops, firefightersCouncil cites need to hold line on expenses Please see 50 YEARS, page A-5Fast-growing autism school seeks college siteNWFSC trustees eye proposal Ed DunbarBeacon photo by Sarah ClausonNiceville High School will mark its 50th anniversary during festivities immediately preceding its scheduled football game with Rutherford at Eagles Stadium Friday. Pictured, fans got an early start during last Friday's Kickoff Classic. By Daniel Elsesser Beacon Staff Writer Niceville police arrested a DeFuniak Springs man who allegedly stole $24,800 from an acquaintance's vehicle. Later he By Daniel Elsesser Beacon Staff Writer Property Appraiser Pete Smith said this has been the quietest TRIM season his office has seen in the 21 years he's worked there. Smith $70,000 to perform, Thompson Square $55,000 and Moore $35,000. Corbin said expenses come from festival revenues, not taxes. Gill has been a staple in country music for over 30 years, starting his career singing and playing guitar for the country rock group Pure Prairie League before beginning a solo career in 1983. The songs "Go Rest High on that Mountain," "Look at Us" and Threaten Me with Heaven" are in the 20-time Grammy winner's repertoire. Thompson Square, comprised of married couple Keifer and Shawna Thompson, will headline the festival's Saturday night show. Recent winners of the Academy of Country By Daniel Elsesser Beacon Staff Writer The Niceville City Council completed its budget discussions at a meeting Aug. 27, setting up a proposed $12.7 million municipal budget for final approval at a public hearing Sept. 12. The city will enter the final budget hearing with a proposed millage rate of 3.7 mills, unchanged from that of the fiscal year that will end Sept. 30. One mill is a property tax of $1 for each $1,000 of assessed valuation. On property carried on the tax rolls at $100,000 after all exemptions, a millage rate of 3.7 would result in a tax of $370. With that rate, the city would bring in $2.86 million in ad valorem tax revenue, up $130,870 more than the previous fiscal year. The city council discussed the budget with Niceville's cityNiceville settles on budget planBy Daniel Elsesser Beacon Staff Writer County Music Hall-of-Famer Vince Gill will cap the slate of musical performances at this year's Boggy Bayou Mullet Festival, scheduled Oct. 18-20. Gill will close out the Niceville festival on Sunday, Oct. 20, after performances on Oct. 18 by country star Justin Moore and Oct. 19 by the duo Thompson Square. The festival, which will celebrate its 37th year in October, will be held in its traditional site at the corner of Highway 85 North and College Boulevard, Niceville. According to Niceville City Manager Lannie Corbin, who arranges entertainment on behalf of the private Mullet Festival Committee, Gill will be paidBy Daniel Elsesser Beacon Staff Writer The Niceville City Council is scheduled to hear requests for an annexation, a rezoning and a special setback exception at its meeting Sept. 10 at 7 p.m. in the Niceville City Council chambers. The council will hear a request from Larry Wright asking that two of his parcels at 1420 Bayshore Drive, Niceville, in an T T T h h e eB B a a y y B B e e a a c c o o n n 50Wednesday, September 4, 2013 info@baybeacon.com The voice of Niceville, Bluewater Bay and Valparaiso since 1992 (850) 678-1080 10 Pages, 2 Sections, 5 Inserts Thurs., 1:30 p.m. The Valparaiso Community Library invites children and families to the first Early Release Movie of the school year. The free movie will be Epic. Popcorn and beverages will be served. Fri., 7 -11 p.m. Please feel free to come in and enjoy a fun evening of free karaoke with Bill and Rhonda at the American Legion Post #221, 444 E. John Sims Parkway, Niceville. Sat., 8:30 a.m. The Choctawhatchee Audubon Society will be having a field trip to Point Washington State Forest led by biologist Tom Greene Meet at the Tom Thumb at the intersection of Hwy. 98 and 331 in S. Walton County. Call 694-6403. Sat.-Sun. Niceville United Methodist Church will be celebrating the churchs 100th birthday in all worship services. For more information, please visit nicevilleumc.org. The community is invited. Calendar, B-3 COMINGUP Police BlotterBeeacone p h Please see VINCE, page A-3 Please see TRIM, page A-5 Please see ARREST, page A-3 Please see LAND, page A-5 Please see BUDGET, page A-3 tncbyM e aiykye Gre fT vne NlT ,,T kiDespite the occasional threat of a thunderstorm, weather during the Labor Day long weekend was mostly clear and hot, allowing local residents to enjoy the traditional last days of summer. Activities included golfing, taking a dip in a neighborhood pool, playing tennis, riding bikes, tubing down Niceville s Turkey Creek, and taking to the water in all shapes and sizes of boats, shown here at Bluewater Bay Marina. Summer's last hurrah Council eyes 2 land petitions uine wyT bne y,e dT bnwT VVnBe tV sn1cknle tcre cM 9e 2cV aclcT DyeDT M bne EggAArrest in theft of $25K New restaurant, A-2.Low-key reception for TRIM notices Clearing for developmentWorkers clear trees from land that will eventually be home to a Panda Express restaurant and three other businesses in front of the Walmart in Niceville. The building is expected to be completed in early spring. See story on A-2. tncbyM e aiykye Gre -cM T nV e 4V DnDDnl Pete Smith Jeffrey W. Harris Vince Gill The owner of the property at 1420 Bayshore Drive, Niceville, requested that his property be annexed by the city and zoned for single-family residential use. tncbyM e aiykye Gre -cM T nV e 4V DnDDnl The city of Niceville budget, set for final approval Sept. 12, allots $284,000 for transportation projects such as the addition of asphalt paths like the one currently in place along Rocky Bayou Drive.tncbyM e aiykye Gr -cM T nV e 4V DnDDnlVince Gill signed for Mullet Festival By Daniel Elsesser Beacon Staff Writer Rates for the 7,930 customers of the Niceville municipal water and sewer works will rise if approved at a Niceville City Council meeting Sept. 12. The proposed increases would raise rates for residential use of the city's water system by 1 percent and sewer system by 3 percent. The typical water user, defined by the city as one who uses 7,000 gallons a month, would see his bill increase by 26 cents a month, from $28.43 to $28.69, not counting a 10 percent city tax. Sewer rates would rise from $36.46 to $37.57 per month for a 7,000-gallon customer, not counting a 10-percent tax charged on sewer bills paid only by customers outside the city. Commercial and industrial rates will climb as well. Customer bills sent after Sept. 12 will use the new rates, assuming they win final approval Thursday. The city of Niceville services water and sewer customers inside and outside the city limits. Glenn Stephens of Polyengineering, the city engineer, recommended that the city boost water and sewer prices by the proposed amounts to cover costs the city incurred when it purchased Okaloosa County's stake in what is now the Niceville Valparaiso Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant. The operations and maintenance costs for the facility had previously been shared by the county and the cities of Niceville and Valparaiso. Under the previous arrangement, Niceville owned 55 percent of the plant, Valparaiso 20 percent and Okaloosa CountyBy Daniel Elsesser Beacon Staff Writer The East Niceville Fire District gave preliminary approval to a budget for the 2013-14 fiscal year, allotting $21,334 more than last year, after district tax rolls increased. The board unanimously voted for preliminary approval at its meeting Sept. 4. The preliminary budget provides for $817,032 in expenditures, up from $796,139 for the fiscal year that will end Sept. 30. Tax revenues for the district should increase as well, as the taxable value of property in the East Niceville district rose 2.6 percent over last year, to over $238 million. On July 8, the fire commission unanimously voted to set the maximum millage rate for the next fiscal year at 2.37 mills, the same rate as this year. The budget given preliminary approval Sept. 4 assumes this millage figure. The millage rate is the amount per $1,000 taxed on property in the district. On property worth $100,000, a 2.37 millage rate would garner a fire tax of $237. The commission will hold a final budget hearing Sept. 18, at 7:30 p.m., in the firehouse at 1709 27th St., Niceville. T T T h h e eB B a a y y B B e e a a c c o o n n 50Wednesday, September 11, 2013 info@baybeacon.com The voice of Niceville, Bluewater Bay and Valparaiso since 1992 (850) 678-1080 10 Pages, 2 Sections, 3 Inserts Thurs., 6:30 p.m. The Emerald Coast Reef Association in preparation for their upcoming Lionfish Tournament, is providing a free Lionfish Workshop at Discovery Dive World, 92 S. John Sims Pkwy., Valparaiso. Learn safety, hunting tricks, filleting and more. Seating is limited. Please RSVP to candy@valp.net For more info, visit ecreef.org Sat., 8 a.m. -12 p.m. Niceville High Schools Eaglette Dance Team is hosting a dance clinic for ages 4-12. The clinic will include dancing, games, lunch and a craft. The dance learned will be performed during the pre-game show at the Sept. 20 NHS vs. Choctaw football game. Registration info at the NHS Attendance Office. Sat.11 a.m.-2 p.m. Meet Sheryl Lynn Siler at the Bayou Book Company, 1118 John Sims Pkwy. E., Niceville, for a book signing. Stop by and play the Happy to Be Me game and find out about her new book, Snapshots: Great Attitudes & Positive Self-Talk. Sat., 7:30 p.m. The Northwest Florida State College Fine & Performing Arts Division presents a classical guitar recital in the Tyler Recital Hall of the Mattie Kelly Arts Center featuring Dr. Kevin Manderville of Montgomery, Ala. There is no ticket for the event, donations will be accepted at the door. For more info call 729-5382. Calendar, B-3 COMINGUP Police Blotter, page A-4 Please see HIKE, page A-3 Please see MILLAGE, page A-2 Labors of loveNiceville set to hike utilities rates The voice of Niceville, Bluewater Bay and Valparaiso since 1992Final vote set on millage increaseCounty rate would rise 4.3%By Mike Griffith Beacon Correspondent The Okaloosa County Commission has tentatively approved a county property tax millage rate of 3.4308 mills, about 4.3 percent above the current rate of 3.2899 mills, and 5.3 percent above the rolled back millage rate of 3.2583the rate at which county property taxes would produce the same amount of revenue as was collected during the current year. A second approval, scheduled for Sept. 16, is required to confirm the preliminary vote, which occurred Sept. 5. At the proposed new rate, property owners in Okaloosa County will pay about $3.43 in property tax to the county for every $1,000 of taxable value after homestead exemptions and other discounts. For example, the owner of a home appraised at $200,000 taxable value would pay $686.16 if the new millage rate is given final approval during the countys final public budget hearing, scheduled for 6 p.m. Monday, Sept. 16, at the county water and sewer building, 1804 Lewis Turner Blvd., Fort Walton Beach. At the current millage rate, that same homeowner now pays $657.98, meaning that the new rate, if passed next Monday, would result in a $28.18 annual tax hike for the homeowner mentioned above. Other property owners would pay more or less than that amount, depending on the appraised value of their property, and what discounts they may be eligible for. The county commission property tax does not include levies by other taxing authorities within Okaloosa County, such as the school district, fire districts, and cities. Property taxes are one of Fire board mulls $21K spending hike Beacon photo by Daniel Elsesser The driver of a Walmart 18-wheeler tried to make a U-turn, but the cab got stuck on the shoulder of State Road 20 East, just west of the entrance to Fred Gannon Rocky Bayou State Park, at about 9 a.m. Sept. 6, blocking two lanes and forcing westbound traffic into an eastbound lane. A tow truck removed the blockage after an hour and 15 minutes.Wrong turnBy Daniel Elsesser Beacon Staff Writer Diana Peterson sat in the shade while the morning sun glinted off the metallic Lamborghini Blue paint of her 1957 Chevy, on which a windshield sign politely implored passersby to please not touch. Such requests were difficult to obey at the Emerald Coast Car Show, held at the Mullet Festival grounds, Niceville, Saturday, where Peterson and about 200 other car owners proudly displayed the polished and turbocharged objects of their passion. Peterson, of Niceville, had one of the shortest drives to the show, as many from out of city and out of state paid the $25 entrance fee, with proceeds going to the Humane Society and Adoption Center at PAWS in Fort Walton Beach and other local charities. Peterson and her husband, Kirk, bought their 1957 Chevy for $2,000 about 20 years ago. Kirk began using it in his lawn service, but in their retirement the Petersons began making the modifications that transformed the former work vehicle into a Please see CAR, page A-2Beacon photo by Daniel ElsesserA line of classic pickup trucks in the Chevrolet 1955-57 class at the 21st annual Emerald Coast Car Show in Niceville Saturday. The group included a blue 1957 Chevy owned by Diana Peterson (below). Car show raises funds for charity By Daniel Elsesser Beacon Staff Writer The Niceville City Council has tentatively approved a $12.7 million budget, set for final approval tomorrow, Sept. 19, at a public hearing in the Niceville City Council chambers at 6 p.m. The tentative budget assumes a millage rate of 3.7 mills, the same as last year's rate. This rate will bring in $130,870 more ad valorem taxes than last year, as Niceville's property values increased 4.89 percent since then. The rolled-back millage rate, or the rate that would garner the same amount of ad valorem tax revenue as the previous year, is 3.6345 mills. The proposed millage rate is a 1.8 percent increase over the rolled back rate. The millage rate is the amount per $1,000 charged on ad valorem taxes, or taxes on real estate or business property. On property carried on the tax rolls at $100,000 after all exemptions, a millage rate of 3.70 would draw a tax payment of $370. Glenn Stephens, an advising By Mike Griffith and Daniel Elsesser Beacon Staff The Bluewater Bay Municipal Services Benefit Unit (MSBU) voted to oppose construction of a proposed 317-foot communications tower in Bluewater Bay. The issue is before the Okaloosa County Commission, which is scheduled to consider it Oct. 1. The tower would be erected on a tract on Bay Drive which already includes a community swimming pool and a boat storage lot. MSBU governing board member Jonathan Tallman made the motion to oppose the tower, which passed 5-0 at a meeting Sept. 10. However, the MSBU, which oversees property maintenance of public areas in Bluewater Bay, has no legal authority over the tower's placement. That question is reserved to the Okaloosa County Commission. Area residents appeared at a county commission meeting Tuesday to speak against the tower plan. The commission voted to postpone a decision until its next meeting, Oct. 1 in Crestview, to give time for the developer of the tower and neighborhood residents to meet. At the county commission public hearing Tuesday in Fort Walton Beach, Jack Brooks, of Lido Circle, addressed a tower company suggestion that the structure would be landscaped to reduce its visual impact. You cant landscape a 317-foot tower Brooks said. There is no way that this will go through without a big fight. After yesterday's public hearing, county Commissioner Wayne Harris said he saw no reason not to approve the proposed tower. Tallman, speaking after the MSBU meeting, but before the county commission meeting, told the Beacon: "I am concerned about property values, and having a tower in your back yard is an eyesore for the community. I believe there are better options out there such as Rocky Bayou State Park or along the bypass road. Apparently in south Florida, state parks are contacting tower companies because it will generate revenue for the state parks. According to information By Daniel Elsesser Beacon Staff Writer Ground was broken Tuesday for Superior Residences at Bluewater Bay, a planned fivestory, $18.5 million living center for residents 55 and older. The center will be constructed near Bluewater Fitness, southeast of the intersection of White Point Road and State Road 20, Niceville. It is expected to be completed by the end of 2014. The facility is being developed through a partnership between Superior Residences, which will provide management services for the center, and developer Raimund Herden. Herden, one of the original developers of Bluewater Bay, said the center is unique because it will be the only living center in Northwest Florida that caters to seniors who live independently. "Most places will have maybe 15 percent independent living, and the rest will be on memory care or some other such service," Herden said. "This center is designed for people who are fit and taking care of themselves." Herden said Superior Residences, which operates a memory-care facility in Niceville, is putting up approximately one-third of the project funding. The facility will contain 94 either oneor two-bedroom rental apartments (545 and 937 square feet, respectively), each with kitchen, washer and dryer. T T T h h e eB B a a y y B B e e a a c c o o n n 50Wednesday, September 18, 2013 info@baybeacon.com The voice of Niceville, Bluewater Bay and Valparaiso since 1992 (850) 678-1080 10 Pages, 2 Sections, 5 Inserts Thurs., 7 a.m.-6 p.m. The Twin Cities Hospital Auxiliary will sponsor a $5 Jewelry and Accessories Sale at the Twin Cities Hospital Wellness Center. Cash and credit/debit cards accepted. All proceeds benefit healthcare related scholarships. Sale will extend to Friday, see calendar for details. Fri., 7 -11 p.m. Please feel free to come in and enjoy a fun evening of karaoke with Bill and Rhonda at American Legion Post #221, 444 E. John Sims Pkwy., Niceville. Sat. 8:30 a.m-2 p.m. The Friends of the Niceville Public Library are having their annual book and bake sale in the Niceville Community Center A members-only presale will be Friday evening for Friends of any Okaloosa County Public Library, see calendar for details. All books half price during presale. Nonmembers may join at the door. For more info, please call 2794863 x1504 Tues., 6:30-7:30 p.m. The Niceville Community Center will be open for an evening of family fun with games, stories, songs and treats to be shared around the camp fire. Sponsored by the library and area scouts, all families are invited. To sign up call 279-4863 x1514. Calendar, B-2 COMINGUP Police Blotter, page A-4 To armsBWB panel opposes cell phone tower2 jailed as drug dealersBeacon photo by Daniel Elsesser Developer Raimund Herden analyzes site plans while standing on the land for a planned five-story independent living senior center, for which ground was broken yesterday. Beacon photo by Daniel Elsesser Members of the local Civil War reenactor group Walton Guard fix bayonets during a drill Sunday in preparation for a reenactment Sept. 19-22 of the 150th anniversary of the Civil War battle of Chickamauga. The national event, to be held in northwest Georgia on part of the battlefield, is expected to draw thousands of Civil War buffs. From left: George Royal, John Mertins, Ethan Rogers and David Cocanaugher. Eight Walton Guard members will attend the reenactment, representing the Confederacy.Niceville set to OK $12.7 million budget Please see TOWER, page A-6 Please see DRUG, page A-5 Please see BUDGET, page A-3 Beacon photo by Daniel Elsesser Okaloosa County garbage collected by Waste Management is dumped at a transfer station in Fort Walton Beach before being loaded into trucks to be dumped in the company's landfill in Marianna. Rates for the use of the landfill are increasing this year. By Daniel Elsesser Beacon Staff Writer Two Niceville men were arrested by the Okaloosa County MultiAgency Drug Task Force after officers found over a pound of methamphetamine in their house, according to police reports. Okaloosa County Sheriff's Office reports gave the following account: Christopher Michael Bagent, a construction worker, 26, of 817 Spencer Place, and Arden Lee Stanley, a boat captain, 38, same address, were charged with trafficking in methamphetamine. Task force officers discovered that Bagent had bought a box of allergy medication containing Christopher M. Bagent Arden L. Stanley Please see COMPLEX, page A-3 The voice of Niceville, Bluewater Bay and Valparaiso since 1992 Beacon photo by Daniel ElsesserRaised for the fallenA North Bay Fire District ladder truck raises an American flag at a ceremony Sept. 11 in Bluewater Bay in remembrance of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Firefighters from Niceville and East Niceville, as well as law-enforcement officers, also attended the event, along with about 25 observers. Ground broken for senior complex95 apartments planned By Daniel Elsesser Beacon Staff Writer The East Niceville Fire Commission gave final approval to a budget for the 2013-14 fiscal year, allotting $21,334 more than last year, after district tax rolls increased. The board unanimously voted for approval at its final budget hearing Sept. 18. The budget provides for $817,473 in expenditures, up from $796,139 for the fiscal year that will end Sept. 30. Tax revenues for the district should increase as well, as the taxable value of property in the East Niceville district is projected to rise 2.6 percent over last year, to over $238 million. On July 8, the fire commission unanimously voted to set the maximum millage rate for the next fiscal year at 2.37 mills, the same rate as this year. The budget given final approval Sept. 18 assumes this millage figure. The millage is the tax per $1,000 of taxable property in the district. On property with a taxable value of $100,000, after all exemptions, a 2.37 millage rate would garner a fire tax of $237. The county and school district levy addtional taxes.By Daniel Elsesser Beacon Staff Writer City of Niceville water and sewer mains will be extended to accommodate future development in the Rocky Bayou area. The city will add 1,000 feet of 12-inch water line and 1,600 feet of 12-inch sewer line along Rocky Bayou Drive, under a city budget approved Sept. 19. The mains will cost $56,000 for water and $88,000 for sewer. The water lines were a stipulation of a lease Publix Supermarkets signed with Valparaiso Realty, ensuring that the grocery store, now under construction at Rocky Bayou Drive and John Sims Parkway, would be connected to the municipal water system. Glenn Stephens, a consulting engineer to the city of Niceville, said the new sewer lines likely would have been added later in any case. Stephens said water and sewer lines in the area follow the same general path, but sewer lines run about 10 feet deeper than water lines. Therefore, the new water lines needed this coming fiscal year would have had to be displaced for the addition of new sewer lines, which will eventually be needed in the same area to supply future users on the 1,100acre tract east of Forest Road owned and yet undeveloped by Ruckel Properties. Because of this, the city decided to add both line extensions simultaneously. Six-inch-wide sewer pipes along Rocky Bayou Road will be replaced with 12-inch pipes as part of the extension. The new water lines will also eventually connect to the 1,100acre Ruckel tract east of Forest Road. The vacant property is expected to be developed for residential and commercial use. By Daniel Elsesser Beacon Staff Writer The Mid-Bay Bridge saw a slight increase in summer toll revenue this year, with collections in the months of June through August, traditionally the busiest of the year, jumping 1.5 percent from the same period last year. In the three summer months of 2013, when tourist traffic is heaviest, the 3.5-mile bridge between Niceville and Destin collected over $4.8 million in tolls, slightly higher than the $4.7 million in the year-earlier period. August saw largest revenue increase of the three months, up 3.3 percent, to $1.48 million. Mid-Bay Bridge Authority T T T h h e eB B a a y y B B e e a a c c o o n n 50Wednesday, September 25, 2013 info@baybeacon.com The voice of Niceville, Bluewater Bay and Valparaiso since 1992 (850) 678-1080 10 Pages, 2 Sections, 2 Inserts Please see BRIDGE, page A-2 Thurs., 6-8 p.m. Women of all ages are invited to Whats in Your Bag? an evening of fellowship, hors doeuvres and a bag exchange at Niceville United Methodist Church 214 Partin Drive S. Niceville, in the Sanctuary and Gathering Area. Bring a gently loved purse to exchange and hear missionaries Kim Orellana and Carolyn Knight talk about their experiences. For more info visit niceville.orgwomen or call 865-4769. Fri., 5 -10 p.m. and Sat., 11 a.m.-10 p.m. The 19th Annual Oktoberfest and Arts and Crafts Festival will be in the Winn Dixie parking lot, Route 20, Bluewater Bay. There will be vendors and entertainment. Free admission. See story on B-1. Sat. 9 a.m-12 p.m. Fred Gannon Rocky Bayou State Park invites all for a fence clearing project celebrating National Public Lands Day Volunteers should meet at the northeast area of the park on Range Road near Bluewater Elementary School prepared to work outdoors. Water and snacks will be provided. Park fees waived for volunteers. For more info call 833-9144. Sat., 9 a.m.-3 p.m. The Lead, Influence and Take Action conference will be open to students from Okaloosa and surrounding districts. $10 to attend, scholarships available. To be held at the Costa Leadership Institute in the Northwest Florida State College, Niceville. For more info call 368-3505 or e-mail dt4alexis@gmail.com. Calendar, B-2 COMINGUP Police Blotter, page A-4 Water colorsCity to extend utility mains to Ruckel tractUnchanged tax rate OKd by North BayA commissioner says it should be lowerBeacon photo by Daniel ElsesserRebecca Perrott paints a sailboat and its reflection at the Oak Marina on Bayshore Drive, Niceville. She participated in a "plein air" (or open air) painting class that meets at a different location every Wednesday and is instructed by Cherie Mulhearn. "Anyone is welcome to come out and paint with us," Mulhearn said. By Daniel Elsesser Beacon Staff Writer The North Bay Fire Commission gave final approval to a $2 million budget that will levy a millage rate of 2.35 mills next year, the same rate as this year. One commissioner dissented, saying the rate should be lower. This rate will bring in over $56,000 more in tax revenues than was brought in this fiscal year, as taxable values in the independent fire district increased over the current fiscal year to $891.6 million, the first meaningful increase in six years. The elected commission voted 4-1 Sept. 18 to approve the budget and millage rate, with Commissioner David Scholl dissenting. Scholl said he felt the district should adopt the "rolledback" millage rate for 2014, or the millage rate that would raise the same amount of tax revenues as in 2013. The The voice of Niceville, Bluewater Bay and Valparaiso since 1992 Vehicles approach tollbooths of the Mid-Bay Bridge Sept. 19. The bridge saw a 1.5 percent increase in toll revenues this summer over the summer of 2012. Beacon photo by Daniel Elsesser David Scholl Please see TAX, page A-6Summer revenue gains posted by toll bridgeBut traffic remains flat E. Niceville district votes to spend $817,000No change in tax rate $301,954,725 $325,677,741 $283,808,834 $282,434,016 $274,918,047$274,529,612$275,806,449 $283,248,255 20072008200920102011201220132014*Fiscal year ending Sept. 30 $0 $50,000,000 $100,000,000 $150,000,000 $200,000,000 $250,000,000 $300,000,000 $350,000,000Source: Ok. Co. Prop. App. *2014 prelim. East Niceville Fire District tax rolls Taxable value of property in district after exemptions Beacon Staff Writer The city of Niceville has updated its official seal to reflect an earlier established date. The seal, which previously bore no date, now features a tiny statement at the bottom that reads "Established July 21, 1868." Current seals, such as one in the Niceville City Council chambers, will remain as they are, but the city will start using the updated seal on official documents, merchandise and other items, according to City Manager Lannie Corbin. Corbin proposed the updating of the seal on a suggestion from area "freelance historian" Elisa Mitchiner, who said the 1868 marks the year mail service began in the community, then called Boggy. That development occurred 60 years before 333 of about 1,500 area residents voted, 3294, to incorporate as a city. The decision, made in July 1938, was followed by the naming of J.M. Reynolds as mayor, and the creation of a city council that included Claude Meigs and Wallace Spence. A bill establishing the city of Niceville as a municipality was passed by the Florida Senate May 25, 1939. Mitchiner said she wanted to add the "established" date to the city seal partially to emphasize that the community of Niceville, T T T h h e eB B a a y y B B e e a a c c o o n n 50Wednesday, October 2, 2013 info@baybeacon.com The voice of Niceville, Bluewater Bay and Valparaiso since 1992 (850) 678-1080 18 Pages, 3 Sections, 2 Inserts Please see SEAL, page A-3 Please see HONORS, page A-3 Please see REZONING, page A-6 Signs of fallBlue Ribbon honors awarded Collegiate HighBeacon photo by Angela Yuriko Smith A youngster is part of the human chain Thursday that unloaded the semi-trailer crammed with pumpkins destined for the Niceville United Methodist Church s month-long Pumpkin Patch sale. The patch will be open at the southwest corner of John Sims Parkway and Partin Drive until Oct. 31 from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., seven days a week. Pumpkins will be available for donations. Saturdays will feature music, face painting, a bouncy house and petting zoo. Beacon Staff Writer Collegiate High School at Northwest Florida State College, Niceville, was recognized as a National Blue Ribbon School by the U.S. Department of Education. Collegiate was among 286 schools nationwide earning the honor this year based on "overall academic excellence or their progress in improving student academic achievement," according to the department. Anthony Boyer, director of the charter school for advanced high school students, attributed the honor to the hard work of the students, teachers, and staff. "It is also the support that CHS students receive from parents," Boyer added. Established in 2000, the school, one of the top-ranked public schools in Florida, was recognized once before as a National Blue Ribbon School, in 2006. In Collegiate's three-year program, most Niceville eyes annexation, rezoningBeacon Staff Writer The Niceville City Council is scheduled to hear requests for an annexation and a rezoning at its meeting Oct. 8 at 7 p.m. in the Niceville City Council chambers. The city planning board last month recommended the changes. Larry Wright is asking that two of his parcels at 1420 Bayshore Drive, Niceville, in an unincorporated area, be annexed by the city. Wright submitted a companion request for a third parcel at the address, which is already in the city, asking that it be rezoned from PUD (planned urban development) to R-1 (residential single family). The two lots requested for annexation are The voice of Niceville, Bluewater Bay and Valparaiso since 1992Beacon Staff Writer The Valparaiso City Commission has approved a municipal budget that maintains a millage rate at the highest level in memory. Rates for city utilities will not increase. By keeping the current millage rate of 4.524 mills, Valparaiso will levy an additional $23,407 in ad valorem property tax, due to the city's property values having increased about 3 percent from last year. There has been no higher millage rate in Valparaiso since at least 1985. The millage rate is the amount per $1,000 charged on ad valorem taxes, or taxes on real estate and business property. On property carried on the tax rolls at $100,000 after all exemptions, a millage rate of 4.524 would result in a annual municipal tax payment of $452.40, before county and schools taxes.Valparaiso keeps record tax rate Inside ... Thurs., 1:30 p.m. The Valparaiso Community Library invites families and children to Early Release Movie Day to watch a free showing of The Croods Popcorn and refreshments will be served. Sat.,8 a.m.5:30 p.m. An IT Pro Camp will be held at the Northwest Florida State College, Niceville Campus, Student Services Center (SSC), 100 College Blvd. The one-day learning event is free of charge. Advance registration is requested. To register, visit itprocamp.com/northwestflorida. See calendar on B2 for more details. Sat. 8:30 a.m The Third Annual Grand Staff 5K Run/Walk is at Niceville High School on Hwy 20. The course starts and finishes at the school. Registration is $25 up to, and including, race day. Online registration at Active.com. For details or to sponsor the Niceville High School Chorus, contact Kirk or Suzanne Herzog at 8975174, or Janet Simpson 8032593. Mon., 6:30 p.m. The October meeting of the Mac Users Group will be held at the Northwest Florida State College Student Services building, room 132. For more information, visit FWBMug.com or contact Jean Dutton at jeancdutton@mac.com or 862-3327. Calendar, B-2 COMINGUP Niceville royaltyAlayna Nixon and Brock Schaefer were crowned Niceville High School s 2013 Homecoming king and queen during halftime at the Eagles vs. Greene County, Miss., football game Friday. Both are seniors. Game story, page A-4. Homecoming Court, page, B-4. Beacon photo by Sarah Clauson note data ranges 2.8754 3.75 4.193 3.933 4.0644 4.5244.524 2008200920102011201220132014 Fiscal year ended Sept. 30 0.00 1.00 2.00 3.00 4.00 5.00 6.00Millage Source: City of Valparaiso Valparaiso millage rates Municipal tax rate, by year (does not include county or other levies) Please see MILLAGE, page A-6 Niceville claims seniority with new seal The Finest inEYE CARERight Here in NicevilleLEE MULLIS, MD Over 25 Years Experience National Leader in Painless No-Stitch Cataract Surgery A Kind and Friendly Way Darren Payne, MDBoard Certified Eye Physician & SurgeonLee Mullis, MDThe Friendly & Caring StaffDARREN PAYNE, MD Full-Time Medical Director of Niceville Office 15 Years Experience A Friendly and Caring PersonalityMULLISEYEINSTITUTECall for an appointment We Specialize in the Diagnosis and Treatment of Eye Conditions Associated with Aging, including: CATARACTS DROOPY EYE LIDS 115 Bailey Dr., Niceville (850)678-5338930 N. Ferdon Blvd., Crestview (850) 682-5338 GLAUCOMA RETINA PROBLEMS Medicare Assignment Accepted-In memory of209 Government Ave., Niceville 678-7925Sales & Installation FREE Estimates Mon.-Fri. 8am 5pm Sat. by AppointmentSIMPLER CARPET & TILE, INC. Serving Niceville-Valparaiso for 50 yearsBrowse our selection of Hardwood & Laminate Happy New Year!

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The voice of Niceville, Bluewater Bay and Valparaiso since 1992 THEBAYBEACONPage A-6 Wednesday, January 1, 2014 By Mike Griffith Beacon Correspondent The Okaloosa County Commission has agreed to delay a decision about a proposed communications tower in Bluewater Bay. Commissioners unanimously agreed Oct. 1 to grant a 90-day continuance on a public hearing to discuss whether to approve a proposal to erect a 317-foot communications tower near the Bay By Mike Griffith Beacon Correspondent The Okaloosa County Commission has approved a plan by the county Tourist Development Department to spend $203,725 of bed-tax revenue for an advertising campaign to encourage more tourism along the Emerald Coast during the Thanksgiving through New Years holiday season. Meantime, the head of the tourism department is quitting after little more than a year on the job. According to county tourist development director Dan OByrne and representatives of the Peter Mayer advertising agency, the campaign will place ads and other information in magazines, radio broadcasts, and online sites, promoting Okaloosa County beaches as a desirable vacation spot for the holidays. During a meeting in Crestview Oct. 1, county commission Chairman Don Amunds asked whether the advertising campaign's proposed slogan, A Very Emerald Christmas, might be perceived as offensive to people who do not celebrate the Christian holiday. Other Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced Saturday he was recalling most of the Defense Department civilians who were placed on furlough as a result of the partial government shutdown which began Oct. 1. Most of the 350,000 Defense Department civilians placed on emergency furlough were asked to return to work beginning this week, Hagel said. The furloughs had hit the Okaloosa County economy, as thousands of employees at Eglin Air Force Base and Hurlburt Field were told to stay home beginning Oct. 1 because a Congressional budget impasse had resulted in sharp funding cutbacks governmentwide. Activeduty military members were not directly affected by the partial shutdown. Late last week, Congress passed a stopgap bill to restore much of the money to the Defense Department. Immediately after President Obama signed the Pay Our Military Act into law, I directed DODs acting general counsel to determine whether we could reduce the number of civilian personnel furloughed due to the shutdown, Hagel said. The Defense Department, he said, consulted closely with the Department of Justice, which expressed its view that the law does not permit a blanket recall of all civilians. However, he said, government lawyers "concluded that the law does allow the Department of Defense to eliminate furloughs for employees whose responsibilities contribute to the morale, well-being, capabilities and readiness of service members, Hagel said. Consequently, I am now directing the military departments and other DOD components to move expeditiously to identify all employees whose activities fall under these categories, he said. Hagel noted he expects the mil-More tourists sought during Christmas holidaysBy Mike Griffith Beacon Correspondent Eying a multimillon-dollar bonanza in oil-spill compensation, the Okaloosa County Restore Act Committee met Thursday in Niceville to discuss a mission statement and goals. The ORAC is an 11-member group of volunteer community leaders from governmental and private organizations throughout Okaloosa County, selected by the Okaloosa County Commission to advise the commission on how to use expected millions of dollars allocated to the county to mitigate effects of the 2010 BP oil spill, which was blamed for big losses by the tourist industry. Much of the discussion during last Thursdays meeting was led by Sal Nodjomian of the Matrix Design Group, an engineering company working for the county. Nodjomian said that the money expected from an ongoing lawsuit against BP will be divided into several pots, of which Pot 1 will be funds placed under the direct control of county governments in counties affected by the spill, according to the Restore Act, a federal law enacted to govern the allocation of such funds. Other pots, said Nodjomian, include: Pot 2: Money to be controlled by the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council. Pot 3: Money controlled by the Gulf Coast Consortium an organization of representatives from the 23 Gulf Coast Florida counties affected by the spill. Pots 4 and 5: Money set aside for research and monitoring programs. Nodjomian said the total amount of money expected from the BP civil trial under way in federal court in New Orleans could range anywhere between T T T h h e eB B a a y y B B e e a a c c o o n n 50Wednesday, October 9, 2013 info@baybeacon.com The voice of Niceville, Bluewater Bay and Valparaiso since 1992 (850) 678-1080 10 Pages, 2 Sections, 4 Inserts Please see BP MONEY, page A-6 Please see DOD, page A-4 Rallying RuckelBWB cell tower decision on holdBeacon photo by Sarah Clauson The Ruckel Middle School cheerleaders raise spirits during the Ruckel vs. Davidson game Thursday, Oct. 3, played in the Eagles stadium. Ruckel lost to Davidson, 28-21. This Thursday, Oct. 10, the Rams will face Pryor in a pivotal game that will decide which team makes the playoffs Game will be at the Niceville High School stadium and starts at 6:30 p.m. See Sports on page A-5. Thurs., 9:30 a.m. The Bluewater Bay Garden Club will meet at the Clubhouse on Bluewater Bay Boulevard. The speaker will be Karen Williams, a master gardener who will give a program on Plants for Fall and Winter Color All welcome. 8975560. Sat.,12 p.m. The 2013 Public Square Rosary Crusade will be praying for the nation in front of Twin Cities Pavilion, 1053 E. John Sims Pkwy., Niceville, and in front of Christ Our Redeemer Church, White Point Road, Niceville. The event will last about 45 minutes. Participants welcome to bring lawn chairs. Sat. 7:30 a.m. There will be an Audubon field trip to Little Creek Woods in Northern Walton County hosted by owner Bob Reid. See many upland and migratory species on this beautiful, well-managed tract which Reid has been restoring to its original state. Bring water, insect repellent, outdoor attire, sack lunch and a lawn chair, as there will be an evening bonfire for those who can stay. Meet at the former Niceville Food World on John Sims Pkwy. 6781926. Tues., 6:30 p.m. Jonathan Gunger shares his new novel, /4, at the Niceville Community Center 204 Partin Drive N. Books will be available for purchase and signing at this event. For further information or to reserve a seat call the Niceville Public Library at 279-4863 x 1504. This program is hosted by the Friends of the Niceville Public Library.Calendar, B2, B3. COMINGUPOkaloosa eyes millions in BP money Storm Karen vs. beaversForeman John Schiefelbin of the Okaloosa County Road Department surveys water flow along a tributary that crosses beneath Nutmeg Avenue, Niceville. His crew was on hand Oct. 2 to remove a beaver dam that was blocking a culvert to prevent possible flooding ahead of Tropical Storm Karen s expected landfall over the weekend. The storm fizzled, but the area received about two inches of rain nevertheless.Beacon photo by Angela Yuriko Smith Please see TOURISTS, page A-3 The voice of Niceville, Bluewater Bay and Valparaiso since 1992 Most DoD employees go back to workFurloughs end after Congress restores paychecks Prepping for Mullet FestThe 37th annual Boggy Bayou Mullet Festival, to be held in Niceville Oct. 18-20, is shaping up to be one of the best ever, according to organizers. The site is in really good shape and we expect a large crowd, said Lavon Mason. Please see TOWER, page A-2 By Mike Griffith Beacon Correspondent The Niceville City Council has tentatively approved an ordinance that would reduce the frequency of garbage pickups from twice a week to once a week citywide. The measure, which would also reduce a typical residential customer's garbage and recycling pickup fees by $1 a month, is intended to steer more of the citys waste toward recycling rather than landfills. The proposed ordinance, adopted 4-1 on first reading Oct. 8, would also do away with the 18-gallon recycling crates, replacing them with large, yellow-top 64or 96-gallon carts resembling the garbage carts currently in use. The new bins will allow the collection company to pick up Thurs., 10 a.m. An insurance advisor will be at the Niceville Library, 206 Partin Dr. N. to explain Medicare benefits to current and future recipients with emphasis on the prescription benefits. This is to provide information only. The program is free but seating is limited so please call the library at 279-4863 x 1504 to reserve a seat. Fri.,11 a.m. A charity golf tournament will benefit Greyhound Pets of America Emerald Coast at the Eglin Golf Course, 1527 Fairway Dr., Niceville. $55 includes greens fees, cart and lunch. Proceeds will help offset the costs of greyhound adoptions. See calendar for registration info. Sat. 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Learn to make a corner basket at the Heritage Museum of Northwest Florida 115 Westview Avenue, Valparaiso. The cost is $30 or, $25 for museum members. Materials included. Space is limited, please call to pre-register at 678-2615. Mon., 5-7 p.m. The Valparaiso Community Library 459 Valparaiso Parkway, would like to invite tweens and teens ages 10 and up to their second annual murder mystery. Participants are urged to wear their favorite sci-fi costume and come sleuth the Murder at Area 51 ." Fun and prizes will be had. Sign up by calling 729-5406 or emailing eruff@valp.org. Calendar, B2, B3By Mike Griffith Beacon Correspondent Former Okaloosa County Commissioner James Campbell on Monday pleaded no contest to eight misdemeanor charges against him, in return for which the state of Florida dropped more-serious felony charges of official misconduct lodged against him last fall. In a hearing in Fort Walton Beach, Circuit Judge William Stone sentenced Campbell, of Niceville, to four years' probation, 400 hours of community service and a $4,000 fine, as well as payment of some additional court costs. The dismissal of the felony charges apparently means that Campbell may keep his state pension, which would have been cut off had he been convicted on any of the felony charges, against which he steadfastly maintained his innocence. Campbell was arrested in September 2012 on multiple counts of falsifying public documents after allegedly failing to disclose $12,750 he received for recruiting sponsors of the annual Boggy Bayou Mullet Festival. At the time of his arrest, Campbell was serving as a county commissioner and as the recreation director for the City of Niceville. As a county commissioner, he also was responsible for overseeing at least two of the entities listed as buying sponsorships: the county-operated Northwest Florida Regional Airport and the county Tourist Development Council. State records show that he did not list the payments on the annual financial-disclosure forms he was required to file as a public official. T T T h h e eB B a a y y B B e e a a c c o o n n 50Wednesday, October 16, 2013 info@baybeacon.com The voice of Niceville, Bluewater Bay and Valparaiso since 1992 (850) 678-1080 10 Pages, 2 Sections, 5 Inserts Please see GARBAGE, page A-5 Please see CAMPBELL, page A-4 Mullet Festival to open FridayThe 37th Boggy Bayou Mullet Festival will begin its three-day run Friday at the festival grounds, corner of Highway 85 North and College Boulevard, Niceville. COMINGUPNiceville halves garbage pickupsSwitch to once a week seen boosting recycling The voice of Niceville, Bluewater Bay and Valparaiso since 1992 Music, food crafts, rides In a bid to increase recycling, Niceville residents will receive yellowtopped recycling carts like this one, and garbage collection will be cut to once a week.Christmas Lady to resume display Debbie Lewis, The Christmas Lady, will use the former Food World building in Niceville to house her massive annual Christmas show. Last year s display had to be canceled due to the difficulties of finding a location in time. This year she plans to open Nov. 29. Beacon photo by Angela Yuriko Smith By Angela Yuriko Smith Beacon Staff Writer Debbie Lewis, better known to many as "The Christmas Lady," will come back to Niceville this year with her long-running Christmas show, Animation in Motion. It will be held in the former Food World store, Oak Creek Plaza, E. John Sims Parkway. The show is scheduled to start Nov. 29, the day after Thanksgiving, earlier than ever. Its so exciting to be on the main drag, said Lewis. This time, because we open early, its a little scary. I hope we bring a lot of traffic to the surrounding business. The free-admission display will run nightly, through Dec. 27, from 6 to 9 p.m. Until last year, the display had been an annual event since 1994. It includes a gigantic collection of lighted and animated dolls, nutcrackers and a 1,000piece Christmas village. Model train sets round out the holiday collection. Many of the pieces Lewis said she hasnt been able to use in the last few years because they are designed to be in a yard. This year, she plans on trying to bring the outdoors in with the new location. With her husband, Kevin Payne, Lewis, a Niceville real estate agent, has been setting up the show nearly every year since they moved to the area. Originally the shows were set up inside and outside their house, but the presentation drew so many spectators that in 2006 neighbors complained about the extra traffic, and city Please see DISPLAY, page A-4 Former Okaloosa County Commissioner James Campbell gives information to a court bailiff after being sentenced to probation, community service and fines in Okaloosa County Circuit Court Monday after pleading no contest to eight charges of making false statements on official financialdisclosure forms. Beacon photo by Mike GriffithCampbell to serve probation, keep pension Beacon Staff Writer The 37th annual Boggy Bayou Mullet Festival will begin Friday at the Mullet Site, Niceville. The three-day festival will feature music, food, kiddie rides, games, crafts and four tons of fried and smoked fish. Tens of thousands of people from all over the Southeast are expected. The festival, at Highway 85 North and College Boulevard, will open Friday at noon. Country headliners Vince Gill, Justin Moore and Thompson Square will perform, as well as many other acts. Parking is free and admission at the gate is $10, or $15 between 5 p.m. and closing time on Saturday. Children 11 or under are free. The festival began in 1976, brainchild of chamber of commerce president Francis Spence, as a way to promote the Niceville-Valparaiso area. Vince Gill More on A-2 & A-3. Please see MULLET, page A-3 By Virginia Schreitmueller Beacon Correspondent The North Bay Fire Commission has been considering allowing the firefighters' union to appeal labor grievances to an arbitrator in the event of an unfavorable decision by the commission. A split vote by the commission earlier this month was inconclusive, and the matter may come up again at a commission meeting scheduled for Nov. 12. Opposing views on the proposed change in the firefighters union contract highlighted a meeting of the North Bay Fire Control District governing board in Bluewater Bay Oct. 9. After reviewing the financial report for September, Fire Chief Jim Miller introduced North Bay Firefighters Association President Travis Zaal, who asked to address the fire commission on the union's proposal to amend article 52 of its contract with the district. The proposed change to the article, which covers arbitration By Mike Griffith Beacon Correspondent Litigation over rights to waterfront property in Valparaiso may continue for the foreseeable future, after the city commission agreed to file a countersuit against a property owner who had sued the city, claiming ownership of some waterfront land on Toms Bayou. Also, Valparaiso voters may soon vote in a referendum on whether to change the citys charter. At a Valparaiso City Commission meeting Oct. 14, City Attorney Hayward Dykes suggested a countersuit against residents Jason and Angelle Rosenbleeth, who have sued the city over the land ownership issue. For years, the city has faced lawsuits from property owners who live along the citys waterfront streets, and who seek to establish ownership to the waters edge. The city maintains that it has rights to land seaward of city streets in front of such homeowners property, even if such streets are only platted as streets but never actually paved. During the meeting, Dykes asked the city commission to decide whether the city should aggressively pursue its claim to the right of way along a portion of Bayshore Drive that runs along Toms Bayou west of John Sims Parkway. Unlike Bayshore Drive to the east, the portion to the west of John Sims Parkway is an unpaved track. Dykes recommended that the citys countersuit be handled by Bruce Bowman, a member of Dykes firm of Connerly, Bowman and Dykes. During the discussion that followed, City Commissioner Kay Hamilton initially expressed doubt about filing such a countersuit. I ran on a campaign for cooperation, not litigation, she said. She said the city has rarely if ever prevailed in such suits, and that she would prefer to discuss some sort of settlement with the landowners. Dykes, however, said that the Thurs., 6 p.m. The Sand Dunes Chapter of Embroiderers' Guild of America celebrates various forms of hand embroidery with a meeting in Room 400, Niceville United Methodist Church, 214 Partin Drive S. Visitors are welcome, call 496-3466. Fri.,9-11 a.m. Bring unwanted personal documents for shredding to the Cintas mobile document shredding truck, which will shred them free of charge. The truck will be in the back parking lot of the Niceville Public Library, 206 Partin Drive N. Materials to shred include invoices, x-rays, bank statements, medical records and more. Staples, rubber bands, folders, paper clips, etc. do not need to be removed before shredding occurs. Fri., 6:30-7:30 p.m. The Mattie Kelly Arts Center Galleries begins its final show of 2013, Sideshow! an exhibition of sideshow, freak show and circus posters from the golden age of traveling entertainment. The public is invited to an opening reception in the McIlroy and Holzhauer Galleries. Sideshow! will be on view Oct. 25 to Dec. 4. The Mattie Kelly Arts Center Galleries are open Monday through Friday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., and 90 minutes prior to most mainstage theater and NWFSC productions. Free. Sat. 9 a.m.-4 p.m. The Viva Florida 500 festival will be held in Perrine Park next to the Heritage Museum of Northwest Florida, 115 Westview Ave., Valparaiso. Vendors, a plant sale offering shrubs and perennials, activities for children, food and fun. There will also be an informative talk given by Sheila Dunning on gardening in sand at 10:30 a.m., and a floral design activity at 2 p.m. for children ages 8-12. For more info, contact marieharrison@valp.net, valpviva500@yahoo.com, or visit mariesgardenanddesign.com. Calendar, B2, B3 T T T h h e eB B a a y y B B e e a a c c o o n n 50Wednesday, October 23, 2013 info@baybeacon.com The voice of Niceville, Bluewater Bay and Valparaiso since 1992 (850) 678-1080 12 Pages, 2 Sections, 4 Inserts Please see VALP., page A-6 COMINGUPValp. ratchets up shoreline litigation The voice of Niceville, Bluewater Bay and Valparaiso since 1992 By Mike Griffith Beacon Correspondent Members of the Mid-Bay Bridge Authority Board of Directors learned things about the Mid-Bay Bridge and other spans that they may have never known before, as they received an informal briefing by an 8year-old Oct. 17. Michael James Panarisi, a student at Bluewater Elementary School, briefed MBBA board members during a meeting in Destin about his construction of model bridges, and his recent visit to the MidBay Bridge connector route construction project. He was accompanied by his father, Michael Troy Panarisi. Young Michael showed board members one of the model bridges he has recently built with the help of his father, a former Air Force test pilot who works at the Air Force Research Lab at Eglin Air Force Base as a civilian. Michael said that he has been fascinated by bridges ever since his family arrived in the Niceville area, and that he is working on building models of each of the major types of bridge design. Michael told the board members that the model he brought to the meeting, for example, illustrated a truss suspension double-decker bridge, but that the Mid-Bay bridge is a Beacon photo by Mike Griffith The Greyhound Pets of America Emerald Coast chapter held its first Pup Cup golf tournament Friday at the Eglin Air Force Base p ublic golf course to raise funds for adoptions of greyhounds that have retired or been rejected from dog racing. Among the 46 pa rticipants were, from left: G.R.R. Hardinger, Will Tobin, Jodi Lowery, Chuck Wucherpfennig, and Rich Ware, with four-legged acquaint ances which are up for adoption (1-800-366-1472). The event raised $1,974. Michael J. Panarisi, 8, showed Mid-Bay Bridge officials his model of a truss suspension double-decker bridge during a meeting last week in Destin. Beacon photo by Mike GriffithHelping houndsNorth Bay debates grievance proceduresCounty suspends catering contractBy Mike Griffith Beacon Correspondent The Okaloosa County Commission has suspended its contract with Aramark, the company that has been providing catering services to the countyowned Emerald Coast Convention Center on Okaloosa Island. During a commission meeting Oct. 15 in Fort Walton Beach, the contract was suspended on motion of Commissioner Nathan Boyles, who said he had recently observed Aramark employees using county vehicles and personnel to perform catering duties for some of the company's commercial, rather than county clients. In a written statement following the meeting, Boyles wrote: The Convention Center has the potential to spur future economic development for our county. However, the center is a public asset and must be operated accordingly, meaning it can't always operate like a private business. In August, conference center staff was advised that it was inappropriate for the center to aid Mullet madnessThe 37th annual Boggy Bayou Mullet Festival took place over the weekend in Niceville, drawing visitors from throughout the region for music, food and fun. Among them was Sophia Baez, 9 months, who enjoyed petting a pony so long as her mother, Loren Baez, held her close. Beacon photos by Mike Griffith Please see ENGINEER, page A-3 Please see COUNTY, page A-2 Please see DEBATES, page A-8 Nathan BoylesBudding engineer, 8, briefs bridge officials Beacon Staff The Niceville Planning Commission is scheduled to conduct a public hearing Monday at 7 p.m. to consider a request by Publix Super Markets for a special exception to the city sign ordinance to allow for bigger signs on the Publix grocery store under construction at John Sims Parkway and Rocky Bayou Drive. The request was submitted by Thomas Sign and Awning. The Niceville City Council will also conduct a public hearing Nov. 12, at 7 p.m., to consider the same request. Both meetings will be in the city council chambers in the municipal building, 208 North Partin Drive.Publix wants bigger signsBy Mike Griffith Beacon Correspondent The governing board of the Bluewater Bay Municipal Services Benefit Unit (MSBU) is seeking two volunteers to fill vacancies on the panel. The MSBU is an autonomous part of Okaloosa County government, responsible for care and maintenance of landscaping, street lights, street signs, and other general upkeep of common areas along the main streets of the unincorporated Bluewater Bay community. It is governed by a five-member board of directors, who are usually elected to fouryear terms by voters who own property within Bluewater Bay. In separate announcements earlier this month, members Joan McCarthy and Doug Burgess said they were resigning from their positions. McCarthy said she would leave the panel Jan. 1. Burgess resigned Oct. 10. McCarthy, who was elected in 2012 to a two-year term scheduled to end Nov. 1, 2014, said that she would be leaving early because her schedule of out-of-town travel will no longer permit her the time to serve effectively. In an Oct. 12 phone conversation with the Beacon, Burgess, 74, said, I have enjoyed my service By Mike Griffith Beacon Correspondent Only three of the members of Valparaisos Visioning Committee attended a recent meeting. As a result, said committee member Jill White, no votes could be taken nor decisions made. We are making progress, but we need a quorum in order to decide anything, White said. She added that membership in the committee has gradually dwindled to about eight official members, as some have resigned from the visioning committee and others have not regularly attended committee meetings since being appointed earlier this year by Valparaisos mayor and city commission. Of the remaining eight members, she said, at least four must be present at a meeting to form a quorum, so that any committee business can be put to a vote. For the past two monthly meetings, only three members have attended. Currently, said White, the remaining active members of the committee continue to work toward drafting a vision statement for the city, and preparing a questionnaire to be By Steve Andrews Beacon Correspondent Officials of the Okaloosa Gas District last week explained a recent rate increase which they said averages 2.8 percent. During a meeting at its Valparaiso headquarters Oct. 23, the gas district also welcomed a new board member. District chief executive Jose Lozano explained the districts recent increase in gas prices, which took effect Sept. 1. The rise in the cost-of-gas portion of customer bills, from 38.5 cents to 42.5 cents per therm, was the first hike in 14 months. The typical residential customer can expect an average increase of 96 cents a month. An Okaloosa Gas bill is divided into four components: customer charge, cost-of-gas, compliance charge and distribution charge. The only part of the bill that saw an increase is the cost-of-gas, which had been unchanged since July 1, 2012. The district was able to hold the rate steady for over a year by offsetting supplier price increases with funds from its reserve Purchased Gas Adjustment fund. The majority of those funds came from a settlement two years ago, when Okaloosa Gas collected reimbursement from Florida Gas Transmission for being overcharged by the interstate pipeline company. The increase in the typical residential bill will be about 2.8 percent, based on an average use of 24 therms a month, said Okaloosa Gas Marketing Director Eddie Springle. The increase may be greater or lessdepending upon the number and type of appliances a customer has in the home," he said. The cost-of-gas portion of the bill reflects the actual amount Okaloosa Gas pays for the fuel. The utility passes that Thurs., 5:30-7:30 p.m. Everyone is invited for some free Halloween fun at the Niceville Assembly of God 108 Hwy. 85 N., Niceville, in the north parking lot, facing the school board building. There will be plenty of treats, inflatables, carnival games and more. More Halloween happenings on B-1. Fri-Sun., 9 a.m. The 26th Annual Thunderbird Intertribal Powow will be celebrating its silver anniversary at the Mullet Festival Grounds on the corner of Hwy. 85 N. and College Blvd., Niceville. Tickets will be $5, $3 for children under 12. Admission is $3 for everyone Friday. For schedule and info visit thunderbirdpowwow.org. Story on B-1. Sat., 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Twin Cities Pavilion will be holding its annual craft and bake sale at the Pavilion, 1053 E John Sims Pkwy., Niceville. All proceeds from the fundraiser will go to residents for special events and supplies. For more, 833-9212. Sat. 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Visit the Biophilia Center Freeport, to enjoy another chance to wear Halloween costumes at the Fall Festival. Activities will include hay rides, haunted trails, animals and exhibits. Admission is $8 adults, $5 children and 2 and under free. For more info, call 8351824. Calendar, B2, B3 T T T h h e eB B a a y y B B e e a a c c o o n n 50Wednesday, October 30, 2013 info@baybeacon.com The voice of Niceville, Bluewater Bay and Valparaiso since 1992 (850) 678-1080 10 Pages, 2 Sections, 3 Inserts Please see GAS HIKE, page A-2 Please see DWINDLING, page A-3 Please see BWB, page A-2 Police Blotter, page A-4 COMINGUPOkaloosa Gas explains 2.8% rate hike Bce onfie nl hfieoftte, btyeMakeG bar aTv NatpaGafun ufTie wddV beainT pcnkn sr 1f9e 2G fllfkc The Heritage Museum of Northwest Florida in Valparaiso Saturday hosted a Viva Florida 500 celebration, which featured a varie ty of food and craft booths and other activities. Viva Florida 500 is a statewide initiative led by the Florida Department of State marking the 500th anniversary of Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de Leon's landing in the region, which he named La Florida, "Land of the Flowers." Among the activities during Saturday's event were lessons for children in how to make dried flower arrangements, her e led by museum volunteer June Jones. beainT pcnkn Publix is seeking permission from Niceville city officials to put bigger signs on its planned supermarket than allowed by city law. Pictured, the building under construction last week at John Sims Parkway and Rocky Bayou Drive.500th birthday for 'Land of Flowers'Visioning panels dwindling ranks Joan McCarthyStarting on a high noteFifty people took part in the third Annual Niceville High School 5K Grand Staff Run/Walk, a fund-raiser for the award-winning school chorus, held Saturday. The event raised $2,000. Story, A-6. beainT pcnkn sr 1f9e 2G fllfkc Doug Burgess MSBU seeks volunteers2 leaving BWB board Beacon staff The YMCA of Floridas Emerald Coast will close its money-losing Niceville branch Dec. 31, the organization announced this week. The building lease in the Palm Plaza shopping center will expire on that date, and "months of ongoing efforts to secure an acceptable alternative location have proven fruitless at this time," according to a YMCA statement. The YMCA had said it was looking for another home after being informed by Ruckel Properties, owner of Palm Plaza, that its tradition of renting to the organization at below-market rates could not continue in the current real estate market. "While the Y remains grateful to Ruckel Properties for generously providing reduced lease rates with short-duration extensions, the Niceville branch consistently operated at a fiscal deficit every year since the doors opened in 2006," according to the YMCA statement. The storefront Niceville Y consists chiefly of a gym, a room for exercise classes, and an indoor swimming pool, which closed last summer. Rudy Wright, president of the Fort Walton Beach-based YMCA of Floridas Emerald Coast, which operates four branches, including Niceville, said Tuesday that membership in the Niceville Y is about 465 households, representing some 1,100 persons. The high-water mark in membership was achieved in January 2012, he said, with about 670 households. The organization closed the Niceville Y's pool in July of this year, contributing to the membership decline, which is also due to a normal seasonal fluctuation, Wright said. Member reaction to the closure news was one of disappointment.By Mike Griffith Beacon Correspondent During its next meeting, scheduled for 6 p.m. Nov. 12, the Valparaiso City Commission is expected to vote on the second and final reading of a proposed ordinance to place a referendum before voters to change the city charter. If the ordinance passes following a public hearing Tuesday, Valparaiso voters would decide March 11 whether to approve several amendments to the current charter, which was originally enacted in 1921. The new charter, the basic document outlining the structure of municipal government, would include the following changes, according to a city summary: Change the city administrator from a regular city employee to a charter officer of the city, and give him more operating authority at the expense of elected commissioners. Eliminate the offices of city tax assessor, tax collector, treasurer, and municipal judgeposts which were provided for in the original charter, but which have not been filled for many years. Amend the qualifications for city commissioners. Amend the powers and responsibilities of city officers and commissioners. Amend the process of city budget adoption. Amend how vacancies on the city commission are filled.By Steve Andrews Beacon Correspondent In an effort to place video cameras in all Okaloosa County School District buses, the school board has approved a donation of $17,000 from the Young Lawyers Association be spent toward that goal. At its regularly scheduled meeting Oct. 28, board member Cindy Frakes asked for the boards approval for the donation to be added to the $25,000 she has put forth as part of her $75,000 discretionary fund, which is allotted to each member at the beginning of the school year. With an estimated 200 buses that transport children to Okaloosa County public schools each day, 84 are without internal cameras. At an estimated cost of $1,800 to equip each bus, the total funding needed is just over $150,000. I just think this is important and the parents think this is important, Frakes said. Its a safety issue, and I want the parents to know that their children are in a safe place when they ride our school buses. We dont want Thurs., 1:30 p.m. The Valparaiso Community Library would like to invite families and children to the Early Release Movie, Monsters University rated G. Seating is first come, first served, with an 80 person maximum. Sat., 8 a.m. All are invited to participate in the inaugural Miles of Memories 5K Run/Walk and 1-Mile Walk, hosted by Superior Residences of Niceville. Early registration is $20 for the 5K Run/Walk or $10 for the 1 Mile Walk. Participants can sign up at milesofmemories.niceville.kintera.org or pickup a registration packet at Superior Residences, 2300 North Partin Dr. N., Niceville. Sat. 10 a.m.-3 p.m. There will be a Audubon Society bird walk at Ft. Pickens, Gulf Islands National Seashore, led by well-known birder, Leonard Fenimore. See late migrants, such as loons, grebes and hawks. Bring water, insect repellent, long pants and closed-toe shoes and be prepared to walk. Meet at Uptown Station in Fort Walton Beach at 7:30 a.m. Call 863-2039. Mon., 11 a.m. The Twin Cities Veterans Council will sponsor the annual Veterans Day Ceremony in Doolittle Memorial Park in Valparaiso. This community event features patriotic speakers, raising of the colors by Niceville High School ROTC cadets and presentation of wreaths by the cities of Niceville and Valparaiso, local organizations, Scout groups and students. Calendar, B-2 T T T h h e eB B a a y y B B e e a a c c o o n n 50Wednesday, November 6, 2013 info@baybeacon.com The voice of Niceville, Bluewater Bay and Valparaiso since 1992 (850) 678-1080 10 Pages, 2 Sections, 5 Inserts Please see CAMERA, page A-6 Please see DECISION, page A-4 COMINGUPSchools seek cameras on more buses Beacon photo by Mike GriffithFriday through Sunday, the 26th annual Thunderbird Intertribal Powwow was held at the Mullet Festival site in Niceville. This year s event included such activities as Native American dance competitions, storytelling, traditional drums and singers, and exhibitions by crafters from all over the U.S.Powwow held in NicevilleDecision on charter nears for ValparaisoPanel sees little change in school calendar for 2014-15By Steve Andrews Beacon Correspondent A committee of parents and teachers, charged with task of exploring options with the development of the Okaloosa County School District student calendar, has decided to recommend to the school board that the current years calendar be rolled forward and kept in place for the 2014-15 school year. Final approval could be made by the school board at its upcoming Nov. 12 regular meeting. If it is approved, classes would begin on Monday, Aug. 18, 2014. For the current academic year, classes began Aug. 19. Both dates are two weeks before Labor Day. Under the proposed calendar for the 2014-15 academic year, classes would end June 4, 2015. For the 2013-14 year, classes will end June 5, 2014. Ultimately, the school board has the final say, said Ryan Gore, who oversees the eightmember calendar committee for Please see PANEL, page A-6The voice of Niceville, Bluewater Bay and Valparaiso since 1992Niceville YMCA to shut its doors Dec. 31 Video camera on Okaloosa County school bus in Niceville Monday.Beacon photo by Angela Yuriko Smith Eagles win district titleThe Niceville High School Eagles won the District 1 Class 7A football title against Tate Monday. A loss to Crestview Friday put the three district rivals all at 1-1 records in district play, and sent them to Monday's shootout at Niceville. NHS will host Leon High School Nov. 15 in regional quarterfinals. Pictured, team members kneel in prayer on the field after Monday's win. Story on B-4.Beacon photo by Sarah Clauson The Niceville YMCA has "a wonderful atmosphere . and it's too bad it's closing," said Les Smith, working out in the Y's gym Monday.Beacon photo by Angela Yuriko Smith Please see YMCA, page A-6 By Mike Griffith Beacon Correspondent Local Veterans Day observances got off to an early start Monday as the Niceville Exchange Club held its 15th annual "One Nation Under God" Veterans Day Prayer Breakfast at 8 a.m., at the Valparaiso AMVETS Post 78, 910 Valastics Ave., Valparaiso. The speaker was Maj. Gen. Scott W. Jansson, the top weapons-development officer at Eglin Air Force Base. In his address, Jansson stressed the importance of honoring Americas veterans and assisting them as necessary with their transitions back to civilian life. We must not celebrate the great joys of our freedom, said the general, without remembering its price. He said Americans should remember and honor veterans as those who have sacrificed many of their own hopes and dreams for the sake of others. He quoted George Washington, who in his farewell to his troops at the end of the American Revolution had told the veterans of that war, You may expect considerable assistance from fellow Americans to resume civilian life. Jansson praised what he called the remarkable persistence of the Revolutionary War soldiers who endured and prevailed in that eight-year conflict. He also said that the current war in Afghanistan has now gone on for 12 years, and By Mike Griffith Beacon Correspondent The board of directors of the Northwest Florida State College Foundation approved a slate of officers and a slate of directors for 2014-15. The NWFSC Foundation is the colleges fundraising organization. The slate of officers approved during a meeting Nov. 5 in Niceville are: president, Dewayne Youngblood, a banker; vice president, Scott Jackson, a Gulf Power executive; treasurer, Robin Wilson, a Chelco executive; secretary, Cristie Kedroski, who also serves as executive director. The board also approved the 2014-15 NWFSC Foundation slate of directors: Bart Fleet, a lawyer; Lois Lunderman, a dentist; Mitch Mongell, a hospital executive; Dale Peterson, a resort rental operator; Melissa Pilcher, a utilities manager; Tom Rice, a restaurateur; Fred Thomas, a businessman; Robin Wilson; and Dewayne Youngblood. The board-approved slates of officers and directors will be presented to the general foundation membership at its February 2014 annual meeting in Niceville. In other business, foundation directors heard a short briefing from Greg Dvorsick, a manager from the Blackrock investment management firm, who briefed foundation members on current By Mike Griffith Beacon Correspondent The East Niceville Fire Commission has decided that it likes the health insurance the district has now, and it intends to keep it, swallowing a price increase of perhaps $10,000. During a meeting Nov. 4, the commissioners decided to stay with the fire districts current StarMark/TrustMark health care plan for firefighters and other employees. Commissioners reached their decision after considering quotes from StarMark, Blue Cross/Blue Shield, United Healthcare, and Aetna. Of the plans considered, the current StarMark plan was offered at the lowest price, said Fire Commission Chairman Mike Marcolongo. Nevertheless, health insurance costs for the current year will still be significantly larger than in the past. Last year, said Fire Commissioner Ed Dunbar, health insurance cost the East Niceville fire district about $62,000. This year, he said, the district expects to pay about $72,000 more or less, with the exact amount depending largely on how many claims are filed during the year. Dunbar and Marcolongo said this years increase was not unexpected, as health care costs for the fire district have been going up steadily for the last several years. Dunbar said that the district had already budgeted about $79,000 to cover this years health insurance costs, based on earlier estimates of what the actual costs would turn out to be when final bids were received from insurance companies. He added that if there are few or no actual Thurs., 6:30 p.m. The Friends of the Niceville Library is sponsoring a free program, History of Nicevilles CCC Camps, presented by Elisa Mitchiner at the Niceville Community Center, 204 Partin Drive N. To reserve a seat call 279-4863 x1504 to reserve a seat. Fri., 2:15 p.m. The Valparaiso Community Library would like to invite tweens and teens to a special, interactive showing of The Hunger Games, rated PG13,with live trivia and games throughout the movie. Popcorn will be served and prizes will be awarded, including a chance to win a movie ticket to a showing of Catching Fire. Tweens under 13 must have a parent or guardian call in or attend. Sign up by calling 729-5406 or emailing Sat. 1-3 p.m. Philip Kent, author of Yeshua Ha Masiah (Jesus the Messiah), will sign his book at Bayou Book 1118 E. John Sims Parkway, Niceville. Sat., 7:30 p.m. The American Impressions NFSO concert features sounds of both American and European composers with guest artist Jeff Midkiff of Virginia. The NFSO will also perform Charles Ives Central Park in the Dark, and Antonin Dvo ks famous New World Symphony. Tickets are $22.50 each for adults and $16 each for active duty military and youth age 18 and younger and are available by phone or online from the Box Office at 7296000 or mattiekellyartscenter.org. Calendar, B2, B-3 T T h h e e B B a a y y B B e e a a c c o o n n 50Wednesday, November 13, 2013 info@baybeacon.com The voice of Niceville, Bluewater Bay and Valparaiso since 1992 (850) 678-1080 10 Pages, 2 Sections, 3 Inserts Please see MEDICAL, page A-5 Please see NOMINATES, page A-2 Police Blotter,page A-4 COMINGUPMedical costs jump for fire district Beacon photo by Angela Yuriko SmithThe day was bright, but the mood subdued as residents of the Twin Cities gathered at Doolittle Park, Valparaiso, to honor the n ations veterans Monday, Nov. 11. Pictured, Webelos from Boy Scout Pack 52 place their wreath during the Presentation of Wreaths.Honoring those who servedFoundation nominates officers, hears investment reportAd boo-boo costs school district $700By Virginia Schreitmueller Beacon Correspondent An error in the Okaloosa County School Districts advertised notice of proposed tax increase won't affect the bottom line on property taxes for real estate owners, but it did cost taxpayers $700 to correct the mistake. During the Okaloosa County School Board organization meeting held Nov. 7 in Fort Walton Beach, the board approved a request for authorization to readvertise the fiscal year 2013-14 Final Budget and Millage Rate. Reading the agenda item, board chairman Rodney Walker commented that the request for re-advertising was a result of a technical error. The item was approved, without discussion. When asked after the meeting for clarification on the reason for the re-advertisement of the notice, the school districts chief financial officer, Rita Scallan, explained it was a result of an incorrect dollar amount listed under the line item posting for last years proposed tax levy. Despite the mistake, Scallan said it does not change or alter the amount of this years proposed tax levy included in the notice. The original ad contained the wrong dollar amount for last years tax levy, she said, but it is not used in calculating the proposed increase for this year. In Holding on to memoriesNew memories were forged at the inaugural "Miles of Memories" 5K Run/Walk and 1-Mile Walk, hosted by Superior Residences of Niceville, Sat., Nov. 9. Pictured, there was a special Memory Walk for less mobile residents to participate in. The event was held to benefit Alzheimer s Family Services, an affiliate of Covenant Hospice. Beacon photoGeneral: Welcome vets back to civilian life Please see VETS, page A-5 Maj. Gen. Scott Jansson, addressing a Veterans Day audience in Valparaiso Monday, spoke about the need to honor veterans and help them with their transitions back to civilian life.Beacon photo by Mike Griffith Please see $700, page A-2 The voice of Niceville, Bluewater Bay and Valparaiso since 1992 . . Continued on page B-4 INDIVIDUAL MARITAL FAMILY COUNSELINGMost major insurances accepted and filed including BCBS, Tricare, and Medicare.BAYAREAPSYCHOLOGICALCONSULTANTSBenshoof & Tallman, P.A.850-729-03031417 N. Partin Drive, Suite One www.BayAreaPsychConsult.com helping you navigate through life Crowns & Bridges Fillings & Partials Dentures Root Canals Extractions Implants EmergenciesNOW OFFERING - Botox Juvederm Invisalign Conscious Sedation897-4488 www.BluewaterBayDentist.com Merchants Walk Ste 101 NicevilleOlivier Broutin, D.M.D. Accepting New Patients*Minimum fee only for ADA code D9972 OFFEREXPIRES 1/31/14 TEETH WHITENING$199* Call today for a tour!Respite Care Day Stays -Hour Nursing2300 North Partin Dr. Niceville, FL 32578 (850) 897-2244 www.SuperiorALF.comAssisted Living # AL11712Specializing in Alzheimers, Parkinsons and Dementia SUPERIORRESIDENCESofNicevilleMEMORY CARE 389-4611 *With approved credit. Exp: January 31, 2014.6 Months Same as Cash 850.424.6829FREE EVALUATION FINANCING AVAILABLEwww.RhinoShieldGulfSouth.comIt s not paint! Guaranteed for 25 years! Will never flake, chip or peel. Perfect for wood, brick, block, stucco, & cement fiber board. Wood repair & prep work included. Seals and protects. Financing available!Never PAINT Your Home Again!Rethink your roof! 10 Year Warranty 2 2 5 5O OF FF FText "SHIELD" to 870870 -OR-% % SPECIAL OFFER! and GENERAL REPAIRBrakes Water Pumps Timing Belts Struts/Shocks HEATING HEATINGREPAIRSZen master, guard dog, & welcoming committeeTONY Expert, Certified Techs Quality Parts Detailed Estimates Friendly Service(850)729-6629REPAIRSWe offer PECAN CRUSTED CATCH OF THE DAYWhite fish, pan sauteed & crusted with chopped pecans. Topped with a honey cinnamon cream sauce. Served with rice pilaf and vegetable medley CHICKEN PICATTAPan sauteed chicken breast topped with a lemon caper cream sauce. Served with rice pilaf and vegetable medley NEW YORK STRIP STEAKTopped with a marsala mushroom demi glace, served with red skin mashed potatoes and vegetable medley FRIED GULF SHRIMPServed with french fries and cole slaw SHRIMP ETOUFFEESauteed bay shrimp in a classic etouffee sauce, served over rice pilaf HOURS: 10:45am -9p m Su.T h. 10:45am -9:30pm Fri. 11:30am 9:30p m Sat. Casual Waterfront Dining featuring Seafood, Steak & Pasta $9954:30 pm-6:00 pm 7 Days a WeekEARLY BIRD SPECIALSNEW124 John Sims Parkway, Valparaiso (Just past Angels Are Us) 678-2805www.TheBoatHouseLanding.com FULLSERVICEHAIRfor ladies & men Call Today!678-1977Hair Styling Hi/Low Lites Shades Hair Color Perms Pravana Perfection Smooth Out 101 John Sims Pkwy. Niceville Tues-Fri 9-6 Sat 8-2 Evening Appointments Upon Request RedKen Color & Products Kenra Haircare Products 143 S. John Sims Pkwy. Valparaiso ACCEPTING NEW PATIENTS729-3300 CARING FOR FAMILIES -NEWBORN TO ADULTEMERALD COAST FAMILY MEDICINE Internal Medicine Pediatrics Preventive Care Sport/school Physicals ImmunizationsDr. T. Castaneda, M.D.Board Certified Family Physician WEIGHT LOSS MANAGEMENTMost Insurances Accepted We are a full service Air Conditioning & Heating CompanyREPAIR ~ SERVICE ~ INSTALLATIONTempaCure has the solution! License # CAC1814749www.tempacurehvac.comwww.facebook.com/tempacurehvac 325 South Cedar Ave., Suite B Niceville, FL 32578 ALL AROUND THE TOWN ALL AROUND THE TOWN ALL AROUND THE TOWN

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The voice of Niceville, Bluewater Bay and Valparaiso since 1992 B B e e a a c c o o n n E E x x p p r r e e s s s sOUR TOWNP P a a g g e e B B 1 1 W W e e d d n n e e s s d d a a y y , J J a a n n u u a a r r y y 1 1 , 2 2 0 0 1 1 4 4 Whos News Weddings Engagements In the Service Niceville High All-State chorus selectedThe following students were selected from Niceville High School for participation in All-State Honor Chorus for the 2013-2014 s chool year; Matthew Beale, Lyndon Clifton, Taylor Evans, Jared Herzog, Kirsten Herzog, Ben Huston, Maggie LaFratta, Jacob LyteHaven, Angela Marco, Taylor Nelson, Tia Patel, Seth Pecore, Daniel Schlegel, Gabrielle Schrack, Isabelle Schrack, Zac Schwantz, Randy Sterling, Arin Walker and Lance Worthy. Ursula Williams has Yard of the MonthNiceville Garden Club chose Ursula Williams s yard, at 1501 Royal Palm Dr., as Yard of the Month for January. The Niceville Garden Club meets at 6 p.m. every fourth Tuesday of the month at the Niceville Public Library, 206 Partin Dr. Therapy dog promotes literacy at libraryBaci, a trained therapy dog, was at the library Dec. 4 to sing Christmas carols with young readers. Baci has a regular program at the Niceville Public Library called Read with Baci designed to promote literacy among young readers who can select a book to read with him and his trainer Valerie Cahill. For more information call 279-4863 ext. 1514.Beacon photo by Angela Yuriko Smith Holloway-HigdonAlbert and Vicky Holloway of Fort Walton Beach and Ron and Margo Higdon of Niceville would like to announce the m arriage of their children, Kathleen Holloway and Willia m Higdon. T he m arriage cere m ony was held at Hurlburt s Soundside Club on Septem ber 21. Kathleen i s a 2005 graduate of the Choctawhatchee High School IB Progra m She received a B.S. Degree in Bio Burks-WardApril Dawn Burk s and Brian Patrick Ward are happy to announce their engage m ent and forthcom ing m arriage. April is the daughter of E m ory and Clarice Burks of Cairo, Ga. She graduated from Valdo s ta State Univer s ity with a Mas ter of Education in 2003. She i s e m ployed at Valdos ta High School as a m ath teacher. Brian i s the s on of Al and Wanda Ward of Niceville. He graduated fro m Florida State Michael G. Christakos a 2009 graduate of Niceville High School, earned hi s Bachelor s degree in Com puter Engineering fro m the Univer s ity of Florida in Gaines ville on Dec. 14. Chri s tako s i s a m e m ber of the Kappa Phi Ep s ilon s ocial fraternity. He will enter graduate s chool in com puter engineering at the Univer s ity of Central Florida in Orlando beginning in January 2014. *** Matthew Weeks of Niceville, realtor and lead li s ting agent, has 2nd Lt. Lance M. Murray graduated fro m the Univer s ity of Southern Missi ssippi with a Bachelor s in Nur s ing (RN-BSN) on Dec. 12. He received hi s commi ssion a s an officer in the U.S. Ar m y, s elected for active duty in the Ar m y Nur s e Corps and will next attend Bas ic Officer Leader s hip Cour s e (BOLC) at Fort Sa m Hous ton, T exa s Murray was al s o recognized with the Spirit of Nur s ing Award for exe m plary nur s ing practice s and i s a 2009 Niceville High School graduate. Please see WEDDING, page B-3 April Dawn Burks and Brian Patrick Ward Kathleen and William Higdon Michael G. Christakos Please see WHO S, page B-3 Lance M. Murray Please see ENGAGEMENT, page B-3 RESOLVED in 2014...Call Linda Zickler for all your real estate needs. Whether selling or buying, together we'll create a custom plan for your sale or purchase so that in 2014 you can move forward! HAPPY NEW YEAR!Linda Zickler Realtor850-621-7233 ~ lzickler@gnt.net Keller Williams Realty Emerald Coast 4534 Hwy 20 East, Bluewater BayEach office is independently owned and operated.DR. SCOTTBEALSBoard Certified American Board of Dermatology 4566 Hwy. 20 East, Suite 101 Niceville 850.897.7546Specializing in Skin Cancer Excision & Repair Mohs Micrographic Surgery General & Pediatric Dermatology Evaluations Sun Damaged Skin Rejuvenation Trusted Practice on theEmerald Coast#1 Please see SERVICE, page B-3 Reservations required, call 850.729.9463.Complimentary lunch provided.HERES TO YOUR HERES TO YOUR2014 Free Community Seminar Comfort Foods: Fact or Fiction? ERGet Your Joints Moving in the New Year! 2014 Free Community Seminar o Join us to learn how you can imprW G et Y Yo our Joints Moving in the New Yive t event joint pain and l ove or pr Join us to learn how you can imprlness Center el ies Hospital W wi n Cit T Tw | 12:00 pmnd J anuar y 22 ednesday y, W e ar win C iving! T Tw ife you want to be l he live tlness Center | 12:00 pm he New Y Ye ieswin Cit Does food r ? -eat Why do you over rComfort Foods: Fact or Fiction?ies to keep you moving, and tr ivit simple act Join us to learn how you can impr No mat ter? ly make us feel bet eal Does food rlness Center el ies Hospital W wi n Cit T Tw | 11:30 amh t J anuar y 25 d a y y, SaturComfort Foods: Fact or Fiction?ions available at T eatment opt ies to keep you moving, and tr event joint pain and l ove or pr Join us to learn how you can impr ter what your size, your brain is in a No matlness Center | 11:30 amComfort Foods: Fact or Fiction?ies Hospital. win Cit ns available at T Tw iving! T ife you want to be l ter what your size, your brain is in a For average he psychology behind over t le between what is good t constant bat wait times, te rage s so ing and why it -eat ogy behind over ryou versus what is good for r le between what is good ER R wait times, text ER to 23000.*d to have just one! s so har explains ise Downie, LCSW Carl you. to o you versus what is good explains Reservations required, Complimentarylunchp call 850.729.9463.Reservations required, provided call 850.729.9463.

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CHURCH DIRECTORY The voice of Niceville, Bluewater Bay and Valparaiso since 1992Page B-2 Wednesday, January 1, 2014 THEBAYBEACON Niceville boy receives Christmas wishJoel Strickland got an early Christmas present from CCB Bank, Upbeat Music in Crestview and BaZing recently when his mom, Dawn Strickland, put his Christmas wish up on the BaZing Facebook page in response to a query. Joel Strickland had wished for a full set of drums, which were presented to him Dec. 23. Pictured, Joel shakes hands with the president of CCB Community Bank, Alan Wood. Edge gets gift for scienceThe Emerald Coast Post of The Society of American Military Engineers (SAME) has presented Edge Elementary School with a $500 donation for the advancement of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). Edge Elementary School intends to use the funds to purchase science supplies for their kindergarten through third grade classrooms for daily science instruction. 678 -1298 WWW.STPAULNICEVILLE.COM 1407 E. JOHN SIMS PKWY., NICEVILLESUNDAY SERVICE One service: 10:00 a.m. Nursery Care Provided SUNDAY SCHOOL Classes resume Jan. 12, 2014ST. PAUL PRESCHOOL Limited openings VPK Provider First Baptist Church ofValparaisoENGAGINGGOD,CONNECTINGWITHOTHERS,SERVINGALL444 Valparaiso Pkwy. 850-678-4822 www.fbcvalparaiso.orgSundays Bible Study 9:30am Celebration Service 11:00am Discipleship 5:00pm Wednesdays Adults, Youth, & Children 6:00pm POINTING THE WAY TO JESUSwww.iacdestin.org 250 Indian Bayou Trail, Destin 850-837-6324 Immanuel Anglican ChurchSunday Morning Services9:00am ~ Traditional Spirit-filled Worship with Holy Communion 11:01am ~ Walk InWorship (Contemporary Worship with Holy Communion) Nursery, ages 6 wks-2 yrs; Sunday School, ages 3-7, both servicesYouth OutreachHang out ~ Engage ~ Worship ~ Grow! Wednesdays, 6:30-8:30pm ~ The ShedKidzNetWednesday Nights starting Jan 15 Ages 3 years-5th grade Not to eat so much. Get to know my family better. To finally retire.What are your New Year s resolutions for 2014?To be nicer to my family I have a bit of a temper. I just hope things go better for my family. They ve had a hard time this year. Quit smoking. Location: Oak Creek shopping center THE INQUIRING PHOTOGRAPHER by Mike GriffithShirley Kessinger, 72, Niceville, housewife Ronald Nunley, 52, Niceville, dairy associate John Simmons, 67, Destin, engineer Margaret Curry, 65, DeFuniak Springs, senior beauty advisor Felicia Kinter, 26, Niceville, mother Chris Gibbs, 22, Niceville, sales associate What should we ask next week? Email your suggested question to: info@baybeacon.com Include "Suggested IP question" in the "subject" field. T HE BEACONSAT YOUR SERVICE TREE SERVICE Actually Licensed & Insured678-9339Dont be fooled by False Ads... Demand Proof of Comp & Liability! BayouTreeService COMPUTER SERVICES S.O.S. COMPUTER REPAIR PRESSURE WASHING(850) 699-7866Houses Drive-ways Fencing Dock RVs DecksNo Job Too SmallLicensed & InsuredE&D Pressure Washingq 4 q 4 q 4 q 4 q 4 q 4 Advertise your business in this size space for only $20.95 per week.(Minimum 8 weeks.) CALL US at678-1080Ad design & layout no extra charge. ADVERTISE HERE! TUTORING Advertise your business in this size space for only $20.95 per week.(Minimum 8 weeks.) CALL US at678-1080Ad design & layout no extra charge. ADVERTISE HERE! HOME REPAIR Bart'sHome Repair & Maintenance Lawn Sprinkler Repair Sheet Rock/Painting Exterior Wood & Fence Repair Free EstimatesNo job too small or large(850) 830-3279Lic. References Available Ins. 25 Years ADVERTISE HERE! AT YOUR SERVICEadvertising makes sense!Adverti s e thi s s ize s pace for only $38 .95 per week, adverti s ing in At Your Service i s eas y AND affordable! Call us at 678 -108 0 or s top by the office at 1181 E. John Sims Pkwy., Niceville, FL 32578 to take advantage of thi s incredible bargain! KennyWilsonPainting30 Yrs. Experience Quality Work & Clean Up A StandardLicensed & Insured368-2710651-3329 PAINTING PAINTINGWhere quality makes the grade! Interior & Exterior Popcorn Removal Textured Ceilings Pressure Washing Licensed & Insured A+ ProfessionalAPlusProfessionalPaintingInc.comCall today for aFREE ESTIMATE!(850)225-0981 Locally owned & operatedA+ Rating on ANGIE'S LISTPainting HOME REPAIRVinyl Siding, Sof fit, & Fascia Screen Rooms & Patio Covers Replace Rotten Wood & ScreensLic# RX0066839 585-9511 PAINTING& PRESSURECLEANING Residential Interior & Exterior Painting25 Years ExperienceSenior & Military DiscountsReferences Available Preferred Contractor on Angie s List FREE ESTIMATESRussells Painting& Pressure CleaningSPECIALIZING IN PRESSURE WASHING 897-5632Licensed & Insured MATTRESS CLEANING OTHER SERVICES Dust mite & bedbug testing Decontamination Curtains, pillows, couches Buggy bed monitorsHygienitech Vapor Steam Allersafe Sterifab We swam with theSharks on ABC! (850)710-6111areyousleeping withtheenemy.com

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First Day Hike T he fir s t hike at Fred Gannon Rocky Bayou State Park for the new year will be Wedne s day Jan. 1 from 10-11:00 a.m T he hike will be held on the Red Cedar T rail. T he trail is one half m ile long and the degree of difficulty i s eas y. Participant s s hould m eet at the Red Cedar pavilion at 10 a. m where Park ranger s will give a brief introduction. Plea s e dress for the weather and wear clos ed toe s hoes Sugge s ted ite ms to bring include water, ca m era, s uns creen and in s ect repellent. Park entrance fee s are waived to participant s Call for infor m ation 8 33-9144. Audubon meets T he fir s t Audubon m eeting of the year will be Jan. 2 with T he Shark T ank by Charidy Sharkie Krou s e, s hark biologi s t and cons ervationi s t who will pres ent an overview often m i s under s tood s hark. T he m eeting will be held in room 130 on the ground floor of the Student Service s Center at the Nice ville cam pus of Northwes t Florida State College, and will begin at 6:30 p. m with s ocializing and light refre s h m ent s T he m eeting i s free and open to the interes ted public. For m ore infor m ation, call Walt Spence at 58 2-7064. Republican women meet T he Republican Wo m en of Okaloos a Federated will be having their annual bu s iness m eeting with new officer s being in s talled on Jan. 8 at the Wyndham Garden Hotel on Okaloos a I s land. Socializing will begin at 11:30 a.m with lunch at noon. T o accom m odate working wom en, there will be a Dine and Das h table. T o res erve, contact Donna Pattis on at 651-5416 or donnapattis on@cox.net by noon on Friday Jan. 3. Cos t of the lunch is $16 for m e m ber s and $18 for gues t s For m ore infor m ation about RWOF, vi s it rwof.org. History weekend Make hi s tory part of your future with Hom e School Fridays and Hands -On Hi s tory Saturday s , a m onthly program bas ed on the Florida core s tandards for education for children age s 5-12 at the Heritage Mus eum of Northwes t Florida, Valparai s o. Each m onth, until June a different progra m will be pres ented related to Northwe s t Florida hi s tory for children and fa m ilie s January s program will be Native Am erican Legends on Jan. 3 and 4 from 10 a. m to 12 p.m $7 per child or $5 for m u s eum fa m ily m e m ber s Special deal for new fam ily m e m ber s Groups welcom e, s pace i s lim ited s o pleas e pre-regi s ter at 678 -2615. Mid-Bay Connector opens T he Mid-Bay Bridge Connector in Niceville i s opening Jan. 4 with a 5K/half m arathon run over portions of thi s new, s cenic roadway. Fe s tivitie s begin with a half m arathon s tarting at 8 a.m followed s hortly by a 5K run/walk. Mus ic, food, and beverages will be provided, awards and door prize s following. Run proceeds will benefit the Special Operations Warrior Foundation and prom ote local area athletic s through the Northwes t Florida T rack Club Regi s ter online at NWFT C.com or Mid-Bay.co m Bird walk Join local ornithologi s t, Alan Knothe on Jan. 4 for a bird walk at Big Sabine Point on Santa Ro s a I s land. See s horebird s and wading bird s at thi s unique location. Be prepared for a long walk and wear clos ed-toe s hoes Meet at Uptown Station in Ft. Walton at 7:30 a.m Call Alan at 8 508 623498 for m ore info. Mac users meet T he January m eeting of the Mac U s er s Group will be held on Monday, Jan. 6 at 6:30 p.m at the Northwes t Florida State College s tudent s ervices building, room 132. Eddie Branch will be pre s enting the program entitled iPad Mail Dem y s tified plu s MacMail, Calendar and Contact s continued! For m ore infor m ation, vi s it FWBMug.com or contact Jean Dutton at 8 62-3327 or jeancdutton@m ac.com Citizens Academy T he Okaloos a County Sherif f s Office pres ent s Sheriff Larry A s hley s Citizens Academ y Jan. 7 through April 1 T ues day night s fro m 6-9 p.m at the Okaloos a County Sheriff s adm ini s trative building in the training roo m Ride along with a deputy, tour the courthou s e and go to a firing range and m ore. For m ore infor m ation contact As hley Bailey, Cri m e Prevention Manager at abailey@ s heriff-okaloo s a.org or vi s it s heriff-okaloo s a.org. Wanda Gail Bailey Sasser1953-2013Mr s Wanda Gail Bailey Sa sser, 60, of Black s hear, Ga., passed away Saturday, Dec. 21, at the Golden Living Center in Jes up, Ga. Born in Was hington, D.C. on May 23, 1953, s he had lived in Pierce County, Ga. s ince 198 6. Mr s Sasser wa s a retired bank teller with Bank of Am erica, Waycross branch, and was a m e m ber of Wes t Cars well Baptis t Church. She will be re m e m bered for m any things but m o s tly for her love for her fa m ily. She was a daughter of the late Willard E m il Bailey. Survivor s include her hus band, John Sa sser, a daughter and s onin-law, T heres a and Ches ter Clem ent s two s ons and daughter s -in-law, Billy and Katie Flynn and Bobby and Michelle Flynn, all of which are of Black s hear Ga.; her m other, Georgia Kei s ler Bailey, and her s i s ter, Marlene Bailey, both of Niceville; s ix grandchildren: Julianna Flynn, Jos eph Flynn, Colton Flynn, Riley Clem ent s Regan Cle m ent s and T ate Clem ent s and s everal niece s nephews and other relative s Funeral s ervices for Mr s Sa sser were held Monday evening, Dec. 23 at 8 p.m from the Pear s on-Dial Chapel in Blacks hear, Ga. Mem orialization wa s by crem ation. Mem orial s m ay be m ade to We s t Car s well Bapti s t Church, 2236 W. Car s well Ave., Waycro ss, Ga. 31503 or to a charity of one s choos ing. Sy m pathy m ay be e xpressed by s igning the online regi s ter at pear s ondial.co m Pear s on-Dial Funeral Hom e of Blacks hear i s in charge of the arrangem ent s The voice of Niceville, Bluewater Bay and Valparaiso since 1992Wednesday, January 1, 2014 Page B-3 THEBAYBEACON Obituary 2014 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 9 10 11 12 13 14 16 17 18 19 20 21 8 15 E-mail items to info@baybeacon.comCALE NDAR Eagle Pride band receives check for playoff travelChick-fil-A of Niceville hosted a Spirit Day for the Eagle Pride Band on Dec. 11 that raised over $1,500. Lara Cochran, Marketing Coordinator, presented Dan Wooten, Director of Bands, a check to help the band travel to Orlando for the state playoff game held in Orlando Dec. 13. Run, walk the Mid-Bay ConnectorThe Mid-Bay Bridge Connector in Niceville is opening Jan. 4 with a 5K/half marathon run over portions of this new, scenic roadway. Festivities begin with a half marathon starting at 8 a.m. followed shortly by a 5K run/walk. Music, food, and beverages will be provided, awards and door prizes following. Register online at NWFTC.com or MidBay.com. Murray i s the s on of Peggy and Barry Murray of Niceville. *** Air Force Airm an Christopher D. Farmer graduated fro m bas ic m ilitary training at Joint Bas e San Antonio-Lackland, San Antonio, T exa s Airm en who com plete bas ic training earn four credit s toward an a ssociate in applied s cience degree through the Co mmunity College of the Air Force. Far m er i s the s on of Charle s and Dawn Far m er of Niceville. He i s a 2004 graduate of Rocky Bayou Chri s tian School, Niceville. SERVICEFrom page B-1 joined the Powerhous e Real E s tate Group at Keller Willia ms Realty E m erald Coas t. Matthew i s a m e m ber of the National A ssociation of Realtors Florida Realtor s and E m erald Coas t A ssociation of Realtors and i s currently enrolled with the Bold Real E s tate T raining program at Keller Willia ms Realty E m erald Coas t. WHOSFrom page B-1 Matthew Weeks Medical Sciences fro m the Univer s ity of South Florida in 2009 and graduated in 2012 fro m the Univer s ity of We s t Florida s School of Allied Health and Life Science s She work s at the North Okaloos a Medical Center in Cre s tview as a m edical technologi s t. Willia m i s a 2006 Niceville High School graduate and received his AA from Northwes t Florida State College in 2008 He graduated in 2011 from Auburn Univer s ity with a Bachelor s degree in Aero s pace Engineering. In 2013 he graduated with a Ma s ter s Degree in Aeros pace Engineering and received a Graduate Certificate in T echnical and Profe ssional Communication. He works at Eglin Air Force Ba s e. T hey res ide in Niceville. WEDDINGFrom page B-1 Univer s ity with a Ma s ter of Arts in 2001. He i s e m ployed at Valdo s ta State Univer s ity a s a lecturer in the Engli s h depart m ent. T he wedding was held at Crossroads Bapti s t Church on Dec. 28 T he couple plan s to re s ide in Valdos ta, Ga. ENGAGEMENTFrom page B-1 Newspaper Reporter The Bay Beacon has an opening for a full-time reporter. The job requires a hard-working, self-starting, organized journalist with high standards for accuracy, the ability to meet deadlines, a nose for news, and concern for readers. Paid vacation, IRA plan. Applicants should have reporting experience. Apply at the Beacon s office 1181 E. John Sims Pkwy, Niceville. Submit copies of samples of your written work. Advertising Sales The Beacon Newspapers (The Bay Beacon, The Eglin Flyer, The Hurlburt Patriot) have an opening for a career-minded, full-time person to sell customers the benefits of newspaper advertising. Candidates should be upbeat, energetic, organized, self-starting and detail-oriented. Salary plus incentive. Mileage allowance. Benefits include IRA plan and paid vacation and holidays. Candidates must be available 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays and have a reliable vehicle. We will train the right person. Apply in person at the Beacon, 1181 E. John Sims Parkway, Niceville. Newspaper Delivery Earn extra cash of $45 to $140 or more each week in your spare time! The Bay Beacon seeks a reliable independent contractor to insert, bag, and deliver newspapers Tuesday night. You must be over 21 and have a reliable vehicle, a good driving record, a Florida driver s license, and proof of current liability insurance. No collecting duties. Earnings vary according to route and work load. Stop by the Bay Beacon for an information sheet and to fill out an application. The Beacon 1181 E. John Sims Parkway, Niceville 678-1080 (Parkway East Shopping Center across from PoFolks) Freelance Newspaper Correspondent The Bay Beacon, Niceville, FL, seeks a freelance reporter to write human interest features or cover meetings of government agencies in Niceville, Valparaiso, and elsewhere in Okaloosa County. You must be available most nights, most days, or both. We pay $30 per story and $5 per photo, when published. Writing experience is essential, as are use of a home computer and a reliable vehicle. Some reporting and photo experience is helpful, but not required. This a great chance to learn more about your community. E-mail cover letter, a statement of qualifications, and info on whether you are available most days, most evenings, or both, to hrdept@baybeacon.com Home-58 acres, pond, 9000+ sf, indoor pool, 6 tall garages, mahogany log cabin, l-room, 4 bd, 6 ba. Taxes-$770/yr. Low utilities. Call 850-5889443. $496,000.00 OBO. Wing, AL. Picture/Map can be een at www.housefarmdeal.com Help Wanted Homes for Sale Help Wanted Help Wanted Homes for Sale Homes for Sale Homes for Sale Opportunities Office Space Opportunities CLASSIFIEDS Beacon Where Buyers and Sellers Meet! EA/EO 1484 Hickory St.NicevilleWISE AVE.Niceville Offices 500SF1,000SFWarehouses 1,000SF6,000SFPRIME WAREHOUSE OR OFFICE SPACE AVAILABLEFor more information call897-6464 Carriage Hills Realty, Inc. (850) 678-51781821 John Sims Parkway Niceville, FL 32578 www.CarriageHills.com REALTOR@CarriageHills.com Capture the Eglin and Hurlburt markets in the base newspapers!The cost-effective way to reach your customers on Eglin Air Force Base and Hurlburt Field! LET THE COMMUNITY KNOW YOUR BUSINESS. Advertise in At Your Service The Bay Beacon, The Eglin Flyer, & The Hurlburt Patriot(850) 678-1080

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The voice ofPage B-4 Wednesday, January 1, 2014 By Mike Griffith Beacon Correspondent The Valparaiso City Commission has given final approval to a measure seeking voter approval of an amended city charter. The Nov. 12 city commission meeting included the final of two public hearings on whether to put the proposed charter to a referendum. A motion to do so was approved by a 3-2 vote, with Mayor Bruce Arnold and commissioners Kay Hamilton and Diane Kelley voting in favor, while commissioners H.H. Strong and Joe Morgan voted against. Valparaiso voters will decide March 11 whether to approve the measure, which contains a number of changes to the current charter, which was originally enacted upon the city's founding in 1921. The new charter would, among other things: Change the city administrator from a city employee to a charter officer of By Steve Andrews Beacon Correspondent According to a real-estate relocation firm that analyzes crime and other data from the 358 residential communities statewide, Niceville is one of Floridas safest cities in which to live and raise a family. Niceville Police Chief David Popwell presented a letter to the City Council Nov. 12 outlining the statistical findings over the past six years. The letter quoted Gov. Rick Scotts desire to reduce crime throughout the state, and commended Niceville for leading that battle. The safety of Florida families is a top priority for our administration, Scott said, according to the letter. The great news is we are winning the fight against crime. I am committed to making Florida the safest place in the world to pursue a career and raise a family." The relocation firm, RealState.info, said that based on its comprehensive analysis of sixyear crime data, Nicevilles police department should be commended for its above-average contributions to this result and goal. The crime data showed the following: In 2012 (the latest year available) residents of Niceville had less of a chance of being a victim of a serious crime than the average for residents of all 358 Florida locations surveyed. Based on projections for 2013, residents of Niceville will T T T h h e eB B a a y y B B e e a a c c o o n n 50Wednesday, November 20, 2013 info@baybeacon.com The voice of Niceville, Bluewater Bay and Valparaiso since 1992 (850) 678-1080 18 Pages, 3 Sections, 4 Inserts Please see NICEVILLE, page A-3 Please see VALP., page A-2 Please see FACES, page A-3 Police Blotter, page A-4 Trash pact advances, A-3. By Virginia Schreitmueller Beacon Correspondent The North Bay Fire District Board of Commissioners voted down a proposed change to an article in the firefighters contract during its Nov. 12 meeting. The vote to maintain the article as written came nearly three months it was introduced to the board. The union had requested a modification to an article that deals with arbitration of labor grievances. The article states that when a grievance cannot be resolved through negotiation, the union can bring the matter to the commission or submit the grievance for professional arbitration. The article, as written, states if the issue is presented to the board the union loses its right to proceed to arbitration. The proposed change would have allowed grievances to be brought to the board, without losing the right to take the matter to arbitration if the union didn't like the outcome. The union sent the request to modify Article 52 of its contract to the board in September. With no union representative in attendance at that time, the board voted down the request. The issue was re-addressed at the boards October meeting, with North Bay Professional Firefighters Association President Travis Zaal presenting a prepared statement explaining the unions stance on the proposed change. With Beacon photo by Virginia SchreitmuellerOver 1,300 people came to Pioneer Day Saturday at Fred Gannon Rocky Bayou State Park, Niceville. The annual event, sponsored by Friends of Emerald Coast State Parks and the Heritage Museum of Northwest Florida, is a free, family-oriented program that offers an opportunity to learn about local history and nature. This year s event featured more than 30 demonstrations, exhibits and hands-on craft projects at the park. More than 112 volunteers and reenactors brought history to life at the event. Pictured: Lila, 4, and Alissa Sharpston, 8, of Freeport, get a music lesson in a traditional setting.Bringing history to lifeValp. voters to decide charter issueBy Steve Andrews Beacon Correspondent The Bluewater Bay Municipal Services Benefit Unit will soon get two new voices, as the board of directors appointed volunteer replacements for a pair of outgoing members. Bluewater Bay residents Steven Hall and Felix Beukenkamp topped three other candidates who each presented themselves before the board at its monthly meeting on Nov. 12. The MSBU is an autonomous panel of Okaloosa Countys government, responsible for maintaining 2 new faces for Bluewater upkeep boardFire panel nixes union pact change Eagles smash Leon; regional semifinal set for FridayNiceville High School rolled over Leon Nov. 15, 62-14, at home in the regional quarterfinal football contest. The Eagles will face Tallahassee Lincoln this Friday, in Niceville, in the Region 1 7A semifinal. Story, B-4.Beacon photo by Sarah Clauson Thurs., 6-8 p.m. Northwest Florida State College will hold an information session for new and prospective students at the Niceville campus which will offer information about the admissions process, financial aid, career assessments and NWFSC programs of study. For more information contact Maddie Ostrowski at recruitment@nwfsc.edu. 7296467. Sat., 9 a.m.-12 p.m. There will be a nail trimming clinic for pets at Parkway Veterinary Hospital, 1101 E. John Sims Parkway, Niceville. The funds raised will go towards Relay for Life Cost is $8 per pet, $6 for additional pets in the same family. Cats must be in carriers and dogs on a short leash. Proof of rabies vaccine required. 678-9733. Sat., 7:30 p.m. The Northwest Florida Symphony Chorale a select choral group of talented local vocalists, will hold a free performance of Handels Messiah at St. Paul Lutheran Church, 1407 E. John Sims Parkway, Niceville. 729-6009. Sun., 6 p.m. The annual Community Thanksgiving worship service will be at Rosemont Baptist Church, Niceville. Multiple local churches will be participating in the service. A nursery up to age 4 will be provided. 678-4854. Calendar, B2 COMINGUP Please see PANEL, page A-4 Felix Beukenkamp Steven HallThe voice of Niceville, Bluewater Bay and Valparaiso since 1992 Inside ... Niceville wins high marks as a safe city By Mike Griffith Beacon Correspondent The Okaloosa County Commissioners agreed on a twoyear extension of the countys monopoly on all ambulance transportation, including nonemergency trips which private companies handle elsewhere. The commission also granted permission for a Raintree Estates property owner to build a driveway on his property, approved initial steps toward creating a Veterans Park on Okaloosa Island, and established a restricted aircraft zone to prevent tourist helicopters from landing or taking off in or near the East Pass between Choctawhatchee Bay and the Gulf of Mexico near Destin Harbor. The ambulance agreement was part of the consent agenda presented during the Nov. 19 county commission meeting in Fort Walton Beach. The consent agenda consists of those items on the meeting agenda which are usually routinely approved by commissioners with little or no discussion during the meeting. Okaloosa County Ordinance 93-45 governs ambulance standards within the county, and requires that any ambulance By Mike Griffith Beacon Correspondent The Valparaiso Planning Commission voted unanimously Nov. 19 to recommend to the city commission that the municipal historical district surrounding the Heritage Museum of Northwest Florida and Perrine Park be abolished in order to encourage private development. The planners also discussed, but tabled, a recommendation to rezone properties on both sides of John Sims Parkway from the Eglin Air Force Base East Gate to Toms Bayou, from Residential (R-1) to Light Commercial (C1). Many but not all properties along the east side of John Sims Parkway are already zoned C-1, while most property along the other side of the citys main thoroughfare is zoned R-1. During the meeting, planning commission Chairman Tom Browning explained his reason for recommending that the historical district designation be abolished. The district, he said, contains nothing of actual historical significance to the city. Browning said the area was originally established because that neighborhood had a view of the old Valparaiso Inn, which burned down years ago and has been replaced by townhomes, so that whatever historical value the inn may have had is now gone. The remaining properties in the area, he said, are mostly older houses, which have no actual historical value other than their age. The historical district is centered on a block-long strip in Valparaiso's former downtown, an area that includes the Heritage Museum on Westview Avenue, and some other commercial type buildings, some of which are still in use, while some are empty. Abolishing the district designation, he said, would allow the owners of properties in the area more leeway to improve their T T T h h e eB B a a y y B B e e a a c c o o n n 50Wednesday, November 27, 2013 info@baybeacon.com The voice of Niceville, Bluewater Bay and Valparaiso since 1992 (850) 678-1080 12 Pages, 2 Sections, 6 Inserts Please see PANEL, page A-4 Please see COUNTY, page A-4 Police Blotter, page A-6 Beacon Staff Writer The Heritage Museum of Northwest Floiida has started an effort to commemorate the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) camp established in Niceville in 1933. Niceville was home to a temporary CCC camp, located at the current site of Edge Elementary School, and later a permanent camp across State Road 85 near the current site of the Jackson Guard. The CCC was a federal government program operated from 1933 to 1942 under President Franklin Roosevelt's "New Deal," during the Great Depression, to hire unemployed, unmarried men ages 18-25 as labor in projects to conserve America's natural resources. Workers began arriving in Niceville May 19, 1933, and established the temporary camp on what was then the Niceville High School grounds, now Edge Elementary. A total of 212 men, including 40 locals, enrolled at the camp. Many of the men almost immediately began working on projects to conserve the Beacon photo by Angela Yuriko SmithThe students at Wellspring Performing Arts Christian School in Niceville celebrated Thanksgiving early on Nov. 20. Students, t heir families and guests were invited to the meal at the school on Redwood Avenue. Pictured, students Genesis Cook and Kirstin Ford enjoy the festivities and feast. Winn-Dixie of Bluewater Bay donated the majority of the meal.Giving thanksCounty extends medical transport monopolyDepression-era work camp remembered Eagles soar closer to stateNiceville High School cheerleaders had plenty to cheer about Friday as the Eagles took another step closer to state by beating Tallahassee Lincoln, 38-17, at home, in the District 1-7A football semifinals. Niceville advances to the regional finals with a home game against Neptune Beach Fletcher this Friday. Story, B-4.Beacon photo by Sarah ClausonFri., 6-9 p.m. The Christmas Ladys 18th annual holiday display opens in the former Food World building, 1104 E. John Sims Parkway in the Oak Creek Shopping Center, Niceville. The free show runs nightly until through Dec. 27. Sun., 2 p.m. The Twin Cities Elks Lodge with the Crestview Elks, will pay respects to departed members in a memorial service The service will be held in the Twin Cities Lodge, 224 Seminole Avenue, Valparaiso. 729-3557. Mon. 6:30 p.m. The December meeting of the Mac Users Group will be held at the Northwest Florida State College Student Services Building, room 132. A speaker will describe how Apple programs work together. 862-3327. Mon.,6 p.m. The computerized Geek Lights holiday display begins at Bluewater Boulevard and Antiqua Way in Bluewater Bay and runs nightly through Jan. 5. Shows start on the hour and half hour. Calendar, B2 COMINGUPPanel would end historic-district rules Beacon photoThe Heritage Museum of Northwest Florida, Valparaiso, is seeking to boost its public profile following a decline in county funding.Battling funding woes, museum eyes moveBy Angela Yuriko Smith Beacon Staff Writer The Heritage Museum of Northwest Florida in Valparaiso has had a rough fiscal year as county funding has fallen from $50,000 in past years to $8,800 this year. During the 42-year-old institution's annual membership meeting Nov. 21 at the museum in Valparaiso, finances and a possible move to Niceville were topics. While new memberships and renewals are up, the board of trustees is taking a proactive approach to assure the future of the privately operated, nonprofit history museum. Our assets are diminishing, said Vice Chair of Finance Steve Czonstka. We are in good financial shape presently . thanks to total support of the community. Bottom line is we need more participation, more donations. To reduce the financial impact from loss of county funding, the museum has taken measures to manage assets in a way that maximizes benefits Please see MUSEUM, page A-3 Please see CAMP, page A-3 The voice of Niceville, Bluewater Bay and Valparaiso since 1992 Beacon Staff Alongside its relics of the past, the Heritage Museum of Northwest Florida will soon house some current items being saved for the future. The Okaloosa Viva Florida 500 Time Capsule Committee next week will seal a time capsule intended for opening in 100 years at the Heritage Museum in Valparaiso. The capsule is part of Florida Department of State's Division of Library and Information Services' Viva Florida 500 project, launched to commemorate the 500th anniversary of Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de Leon's arrival in Florida. The department issued stainless steel time capsules measuring 6 inches by 24 inches, to every county library in the state and tasked the library's leadership with leading the assembly of pertinent capsule items. The committee decided to seal the capsule at the Heritage Museum's Yule of Yesteryear celebration Dec. 14. Items tentatively selected for storage in the capsule, which include beach sand, military patches and restaurant menus, are on display at the museum until the metal capsule is sealed. Included will also be a By Mike Griffith Beacon Correspondent The company that was seeking to place a 370-foot communications tower in the heart of Bluewater Bay has withdrawn its application from further consideration by the Okaloosa County Commission. Instead, the applicant, Crown Castle GT Co., will replace its 370-foot tower at its current site off Nelson Point Road, just west of Bluewater Bay. In October the commission delayed a decision on the controversial request for a zoning variance that would have allowed the company to relocate the tower to the Bluewater Bay site. Officials said the delay would afford the company another chance to renegotiate with the landowner of the current site and to meet with residents in the area T T T h h e eB B a a y y B B e e a a c c o o n n 50Wednesday, December 4, 2013 info@baybeacon.com The voice of Niceville, Bluewater Bay and Valparaiso since 1992 (850) 678-1080 12 Pages, 2 Sections, 3 Inserts Please see TOWER, page A-3 Please see CAPSULE, page A-3 Police Blotter, page A-6 Beacon Staff An ordinance enacted by the Niceville City Council Oct. 8, and which took effect in early November, requires the city to consider making changes in its rules governing development and real estate sales and rentals to make them more compatible with military operations. The MIPA (Military Influence Planning Area) overlay mentioned in the ordinance is depicted on the map accompanying this article (page A-8). The area includes much of western Niceville, the area closest to Eglin Air Force Base, home of the 33rd Fighter Wing, which will eventually operate 59 of the powerful warplanes for training purposes. The MIPA is subject to change after the Air Force publishes a final version of an environmental study of the effects of Eglin military aircraft operations, particularly the F-35, according to city officials. The JLUS (Joint Land Use Study) mentioned in the ordinance is a 2010 report on a study commissioned by Eglin Air Force Base, in which civilian governments surrounding the base participated, that laid out recommendations concerning offbase land use. The recommendations are aimed at reducing civilian encroachment on base activities. Text of land-use policy 7.A.12.2 enacted Oct. 8 by the Making memoriesThere were almost as many smiles as there were lights during opening night of Animation in Motion Friday. The extravagant annual display was set up by the Christmas Lady, Debbie Lewis of Niceville, this year in the former Food World building in Oak Creek Shopping Center, Niceville. The free-admission display is open nightly, 6-9 p.m., until Dec. 27.Beacon photo by Angela Yuriko SmithNiceville eyes rules on land use to conform to Eglin operations Eagles advance to final four The crowd that came to see the Niceville High School football game Friday had plenty to shout about as the Eagles rolled over Neptune Beach Fletcher 38-17, earning a place in the state 7A final four. Niceville will host Kissimmee Osceola Friday. The winner of that game will go to the state championship matchup Dec. 13 in Orlando. Story, B-4.Beacon photo by Sarah ClausonThurs., 6:30 p.m. The Audubon Society program will be Pictorial Survey of Birds that are Rare or Difficult to Identify during the Christmas Bird Count in Room 130 of the new Student Services Building at Northwest Florida State College, Niceville. 582-7461. Fri., 3 p.m. Northwest Florida State College Performing Arts Division will give a free Honors Recital in the Tyler Recital Hall of the music wing at the Mattie Kelly Arts Center 100 College Boulevard, Niceville. 7295382. Sat. 1-4:30 p.m. Rocky Bayou Christian Academys Mu Alpha Theta Club will offer free math tutoring at Rocky Bayou Christian School room 802. Tutoring in basic math through AP calculus will be available. Students from any school welcome. 2793755. Sun., 2 p.m. There will be a book signing party with author Wayne Goodson as he signs copies of his latest book, Maze, at the Niceville Community Center Entertainment, recitals by Walt Richardson, music and finger foods. Calendar, B-2 COMINGUP Beacon photo by Angela Yuriko SmithMembers of the time capsule committee hold up items that may be included in the capsule when it is ceremonially sealed Dec. 14. A final decision as to what will be included is likely this week. A communications tower off Nelson Point Road that is steadied with guy wires will be replaced with one without guy wires on the same site. A plan to replace it with one in Bluewater Bay was dropped in the face of community opposition.Beacon photo100-year time capsule to be sealed Dec. 14Beach sanT anT menus on list ov interest to vuture generations Please see LAND, page A-8 Area affected, A-8.Firm drops bid to build tower in Bluewater Bay fhe Noice ov wiceNille, Bluedater Bay anT Valparaiso since 1992 By Mike Griffith Beacon Correspondent A speedboat crash took the lives of three Niceville residents last week, according to authorities. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission and the Okaloosa County Sheriff's Office identified the three victims of the crash, which apparently occurred between Thursday night and Friday morning last week in Choctawhatchee Bay at the Mid-Bay Bridge. The victims were identified as Robert Williams, 47, Jamilia Denise Beltz, 21, and Taylor M. Evanoff, 18. According to FWC spokesman Stan Kirkland, his agency became aware of the crash, to which apparently there were no witnesses, after someone made a 911 call at about 2 p.m. Friday, reporting that they had spotted the body of a woman floating near the entrance to Boggy Bayou.By Mike Griffith Beacon Correspondent It is costing taxpayers $1,000 per student this year to bus 39 schoolchildren to Destin Middle School from the Bluewater Bay-Seminole area, outside the school's regular attendence zone, according to Okaloosa County School Board member Melissa Thrush. Thrush says that money could be better spent elsewhere. A proposal by by Thrush, of Bluewater Bay, to abolish the shared student attendance zone between Ruckel and Destin middle schools, and to include that zone into the Ruckel attendance zone only, failed for lack of a second at a school board meeting Monday in Fort Walton Beach. Earlier, during a non-voting, discussion-only workshop held Dec. 5 in Fort Walton Beach, members of the school board discussed a proposal by Thrush to abolish the shared student attendance zone between Ruckel and Destin middle schools, and to include that zone exclusively in the Ruckel attendance zone, as it was for many years. In a written statement and oral remarks to fellow board members, Thrush noted that the dual transportation zone, apparently unique in the county, is provided to students living east of the Rocky Bayou bridge in the Bluewater Bay-Seminole area. Using two bus routes, the district is providing free transportation to Destin Middle for 39 students who live in the dual zone north of Choctawhatcheee Bay, according to Thrush. She said the duplicative busing costs about $1,000 per student. "The removal of this zone of choice will impact 20 of these 39 students as the other 19 will be attending high school in the T T T h h e eB B a a y y B B e e a a c c o o n n 50Wednesday, December 11, 2013 info@baybeacon.com The voice of Niceville, Bluewater Bay and Valparaiso since 1992 (850) 678-1080 12 Pages, 2 Sections, 4 Inserts Please see $1000, page A-6 Police Blotter, page A-7 The Niceville Eagles football team will travel to Orlando Thursday to play Palm Beach Gardens-Dwyer in the 7-A state championship game at Florida Citrus Bowl Stadium Friday. Many parents, students and community members are planning to travel and support the team. Game time is 7:07 p.m. Eastern Time (6:07 p.m. Niceville time.) The contest will be webcast live at www.thenewfishradio.com. Pictured: scenes from the Eagles' cliffhanger triumph over Kissimmee-Osceola at home Dec. 6 in the state semifinal playoff, which Niceville won in the final seconds with a 22-yard field goal. Story, B-4.Beacon photos by Sarah ClausonNiceville Eagles will play for state title Friday Parade kicks off holiday seasonMusical notes soared along with spectators' spirits during the Niceville-Valparaiso Rotary Club s annual Christmas parade Saturday. Pictured, playing seasonal tunes, the Ruckel Middle School band was among those in the line of march. See photos, A-4 and A-5.Beacon photo by Angela Yuriko SmithWed., 6:30 p.m. The Lewis School Chorus will hold its free Winter Concert at the school. 833-4130. Fri., 6-7:30 p.m. Ruckel Middle School s Family Night FUNdraiser will be in the Ruckel Cafeteria. Bring your family and work together to create a burlap snowman craft for the holidays. $35 for materials. Doors will open at 5:30 p.m. for dinner. All welcome. 585-281-0405. Fri.-Sat. 6:30-8:30 p.m. Take a free ride through the story of Christ at the Valparaiso Assembly of God 571 Valparaiso Parkway. There will be cookies and hot cocoa as will as an interactive hayride and living Nativity that chronicles the life of Jesus. 678-4040. Sat., 5-8 p.m. The Holiday Boggy Boat Parade will be at the Northlight Marina, Niceville from 5-8 p.m. The event is free, and there will be a V.I.P viewing area with food and drinks for $10. 259-4956. Calendar, B-3 COMINGUP Beacon photo by Angela Yuriko SmithIt costs a total of about $39,000 a year to bus 39 students from the Bluewater Bay-Seminole area of Niceville to classes at Destin Middle School, according to a school board member who proposed, unsuccessfully, to end the practice in an economy move.Schools official: Destin busing costs $1,000 per student The voice of Niceville, Bluewater Bay and Valparaiso since 1992 Go Eagles! Please see CRASH, page A-3Three killed in boat crash Melissa Thrush By Mike Griffith Beacon Correspondent The Bluewater Bay Municipal Services Benefit Unit (MSBU) board of directors selected the Valley Crest landscaping company as its primary landscaping contractor for the coming year. Valley Crest, based in California, was one of three companies that submitted proposals for the contract. It replaces the MSBU's current, long-time landscaping contractor, Bayou Lawn Services, Valparaiso, which also bid on the annual job. Valley Crest issued a base bid of $139,806. Bayou Lawn issued base bids ranging from $163,413 to $166,282. Figures were not immediately available for the third bidder. During the discussion of the proposals during an MSBU meeting Dec. 10, new board member Steve Hall said that Valley Crest had submitted the only proposal that was fully compliant with the specifications in the request for proposals the MSBU had previously issued. Therefore, said Hall, the board could either choose Valley Crest or begin again with a new bidding process. In addition to Valley Crest and Bayou Lawn, Grass Roots Landscape, Niceville, sought the contract as well. Landscaping of Bluewater Bay's common areas accounts for the bulk of the MSBU's expenditures.By Mike Griffith Beacon Correspondent The Niceville City Council approved the third and final reading of an ordinance that will change the way waste material is collected in Niceville. Under the plan, approved on a 4-1 vote Dec. 10, residential curbside garbage pickups will be halved, to once a week. Customers will see a $1 drop in the monthly bills, according to Waste Management, to which the council, without seeking competive bids, awarded the exclusive right to collect garbage in the city. Also under the new plan, recycling pickups will remain at once a week, but existing 18By Mike Griffith Beacon Correspondent The Mid-Bay Bridge Authority is preparing for the grand opening of the newest segment of toll connector road linking the north end of the bridge with State Road 85 north of Niceville. Meantime, inspections and repairs are underway on the MidBay Bridge itself. Regarding the inspection and repair of the bridge, Florida Department of Transportation Public Information Specialist Tanya Branton told the Beacon last week that bridges on the state system are inspected at regular intervals not to exceed 24 months. The condition of a bridges components, major features and bridge posting rating establishes the frequency of inspection. Gibson & Associates Inc. began work the week of Oct. 14 on a $1 million bridge repair and rehabilitation project to replace bearing pads on the 3.5-mile toll By Danielle Tavano Beacon Correspondent The North Bay Fire Commission last week was told that a key fire hose needs replacement. The commission also discussed and voted in a new Retirement Board member, Paul Moore. Moore was chosen to replace James Lindsay, who recently stepped down after serving on the retirement board for eight years. Moores resume was reviewed by the fire commission at a meeting Dec. 10, and a unanimous vote confirmed the appointment. After the meeting was called to order by Chairman Jim Boswell, and the Pledge of Allegiance and Invocation given, a motion was made by the chairman to approve the minutes for Novembers meeting. The motion was seconded, and approved. A motion was then made by treasurer Steven Strait to approve the Statement of Assets, Liabilities, and Capital for November. The statement was reviewed and approved by Christy Woissol. The Check Detail and Revenue and Operating Expenses Report for November were then reviewed, and approved. At this point Fire Chief Joe Miller deemed it unnecessary to review the Deposit Detail and Reconciliation Summary. He asserted that the important thing was to review the Check Record. Jim Boswell then made a motion to defer that discussion until the next meeting, which was seconded and approved. Miller then took the floor to discuss the state of the stations equipment, including repairs and replacements that need to be made. He insisted that the districts 800-foot supply line needs to be replaced, as it has been in use for 15 years. The supply line feeds water from a hydrant to a fire engine, which in turn pumps it onto the flames. Miller also updated the commission on arrangements that have been made to replace Engine 8, which was recently sold to a fire agency in northern Okaloosa County. He stated that the check for the purchase of a new fire truck has been cleared, and the company is ready to start building it. The fire commission gave Miller permission to sign off on the contract for the truck. Dispatches for the month of November were reviewed, T T h h e eB B a a y y B B e e a a c c o o n n 50Wednesday, December 18, 2013 info@baybeacon.com The voice of Niceville, Bluewater Bay and Valparaiso since 1992 (850) 678-1080 12 Pages, 2 Sections, 4 Inserts Please see GARBAGE, page A-6 Please see MSBU, page A-2 Please see HOSE, page A-7 Please see BRIDGE, page A-3 Police Blotter, page A-7Wed., 10 p.m. The segment of Rocky Bayou Drive between Roscommon Boulevard and Rocky Shores Drive will be closed for installation of storm pipe. There will be road closure signs posted in this area; all traffic will be detoured through Rocky Shores Drive and routes specified by workers and signs. 729-4064. Sat., 5:30 p.m. Bluewater Bay Marina 290 Yacht Club Drive, Niceville, will have its second annual Christmas Boat Parade and Decorating Contest Awards and festivities will follow at LJ Schooners Dockside Restaurant with live entertainment and a visit by Santa Claus. 8972821. Tues., 4 p.m. Holy Name of Jesus Catholic Church 1200 Valparaiso Blvd, Niceville, will hold its Childrens Christmas Eve Mass. 6787813. Tues. 7 p.m. First Presbyterian Church 1800 East John Sims Parkway, Niceville, will hold its 23rd annual Christmas Eve service, A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols. There will be congregational carols as well as anthems by the choir and soloists. 678-2521. Calendar, B-3 COMINGUP The voice of Niceville, Bluewater Bay and Valparaiso since 1992Bridge prepares for opening of toll connectorN. Bay fire chief: New fire hose is neededMSBU awards landscape contract Beacon photo by Angela Yuriko SmithSanta Claus was on hand Saturday at the Yule of Yesteryear festivities held at the Northwest Florida Heritage Museum, Valparaiso, to hear last-minute Christmas wishes. In addition to the jolly old gent, live music, face painting, food and vendo rs kept everyone entertained. Christmas wishes Eagles are state runner-upThe Niceville High School football team came home from Orlando Saturday as runner-up for the 7A state title, having beaten every postseason opponent but one. The Eagles fell, 55-39, to Palm Beach Gardens Dwyer in the title match-up Friday. Pictured, head coach John Hicks speaks to his players after the clock ran out at the Citrus Bowl. Story, B-4.Beacon photo by Sarah Clauson Final OK for cut in garbage pickupsNiceville orders recycling revamped Niceville garbage customers will be offered 3564or 96gallon carts for curbside recycling pickups, replacing the 18gallon bins in use now.Beacon photo by Mike Griffith Chief Joe Miller city commissioners duties are not clearly defined. At present, he said, individual commissioners can interpret their duties in different ways. For example, Arnold said, one former city commissioner, who was once in charge of overseeing the citys public works department, would show up each day to personally supervise the day-to-day operations of the department, to include moving people from one job to another arbitrarily. This, said the mayor, tends to create confusion within city departments. Another reason for a new charter, said Arnold, is to help the city catch up with the 21st century. When the original city charter was adopted in 1921, he said, Most of the streets in Valparaiso were made of clay, or were sand trails. In such times, he said, it made sense for By Danielle Tavano Beacon Correspondent The City of Valparaiso Planning Commission approved a motion to submit plans to rezone the citys historical district. These plans have been initiated in hopes of creating opportunity for growth and economic development in the city. The commission also recommended approval of a zoning change for the Tom Thumb store on John Sims Parkway, and discussed the coordination of landuse planning with Eglin Air Force Base. Commissioner Tom Browning called the meeting of the planning commission to order Dec. 17, at 7:15 p.m. Eight people were in attendance, including two from the public.By Mike Griffith Beacon Correspondent The Okaloosa County Commission held a lengthy meeting Dec. 17 in Fort Walton Beach, during which officials discussed proposed new restrictions on taxicab operations at the Northwest Florida Regional Airport, a proposal to rename the airport, sale of some county land, alternative conceptual plans for a new county government building at the Shalimar annex site, establishment of a compliance officer within county government, and county responses to the findings in a report from the Florida Auditor Generals Office. Commissioners held a public hearing to discuss a proposed county ordinance tightening existing regulations of taxicab and van shuttle operations at the airport. Provisions of the ordinance would include requiring taxi operators to carry at least $500,000 of insurance rather than the $300,000 currently required, pay assorted fees in order to operate at the airport, undergo background checks and drug screenings, and would include penalties for such things as unkempt personal or By Mike Griffith Beacon Correspondent In an interview with the Beacon, Valparaiso Mayor Bruce Arnold answered questions about proposed revisions to the city charter which he has long championed, and which are slated to be put before Valparaiso voters in a referendum on March 11, 2014. Arnold said that he drafted most of the proposed revisions to the city charter himself, but added that he did so after reading a previous study by the Institute of Senior Professionals at Northwest Florida State College, and that he drafted the proposed revisions at the request of other members of the city commission, and coordinated his work with them throughout the process. Asked why a new charter is necessary, and what problems it is intended to solve, the mayor replied, The biggest problem is that under the current charter,By Mike Griffith Beacon Correspondent Progress continues in a $6.5 million upgrade of the Niceville-Valparaiso regional sewer plant to meet state and federal requirements, according to the engineer for the project. PolyEngineering representative Glenn Stephens said the project involves modifying each of the three waste-processing "trains," one after the other, while keeping the other two in operation. We are now working on Train 2, said Stephens. Stephens also said that as part of the modification process, and aerator platform and stabilizer are removed, and an aluminum baffle wall is installed. He said he hoped the modifications to Train 2 would be completed by today, clearing the way for work to begin on the next one. Early in 2014, Stephens said, the plan is for Train 1 to be taken offline and fixed. We may finish the whole project by sometime next spring, he said. Sewer plant manager Rick Helms said the regional sewer plant processed about 16.9 million gallons of sewage during the month of November, as the modification work was in progress. He said the sewer plant also processed about 17,750 gallons of septic-tank waste pumped from cleanout trucks. Niceville City Councilman Heath Rominger had told the Beacon that the entire cost of the renovation project will be close to $6.5 million. Rominger said earlier this year that despite the required upgrades, the regional sewer plant is still something of a bargain for Niceville and Valparaiso. He said the sewer plant had originally been used by the two cities, as well as by Okaloosa County, but that the cities were in the process of buying out and taking over the countys portion of the treatment plant, since the countys wastewater is now being treated at a county owned plant elsewhere, allowing the entire capacity of the older plant to be shared by the two cities. Rominger said that this means that Niceville, for example, has enough waste water treatment capacity to handle wastewater from expected residential and commercial developments within Niceville into the foreseeable future. He said the cost of upgrading the plant to meet current FDEP standards is much less than it would have cost if the city had been forced to either build an entire new plant or build a significant expansion of the existing plant in order to meet expected future wastewater treatment needs. Stephens also said that the reroofing of some buildings at the sewer plant was in progress. T T h h e eB B a a y y B B e e a a c c o o n n 50Wednesday, December 25, 2013 info@baybeacon.com The voice of Niceville, Bluewater Bay and Valparaiso since 1992 (850) 678-1080 12 Pages, 2 Sections, 4 Inserts Please see MAYOR, page A-3 Please see CAB, page A-2 Please see PARKING, page A-7 Police Blotter, page A-7Wed., 11 a.m. St. Judes Episcopal Church 200 Partin Drive N., Niceville, will hold a Christmas Day service 678-7013. Fri., 6 a.m.-2 p.m. Last day to sign up for Adult Outdoor Soccer League for ages 17 and up. Cost for Niceville residents is $60 per player, non-residents, $80 per player. Register and pay in person with cash or check at the Community Life Center at Niceville United Methodist Church 214 Partin Drive S., Niceville, or online with credit card. 678-4411. Sat. 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Final day for The Friends of the Niceville Library book stores half price sale. Books and audio will be half price. Proceeds from sales benefit the Niceville Public Library. 279-4863 ext. 1500. Tues., 11 p.m. Rocky Bayou Baptist Church 2401 Partin Drive N., Niceville, will hold a New Years Eve prayer service in the Genesis Hall. 678-6062. Calendar, B-3 COMINGUP The voice of Niceville, Bluewater Bay and Valparaiso since 1992Tom Thumb store seeks residential lot for parking $6.5 million sewer-plant upgrade proceedsCounty eyes airport cab rules Beacon photo by Angela Yuriko SmithThe scene was peaceful as visitors peered at Joseph, Mary and baby Jesus during a hayride event at Valparaiso Assembly of God. Church members reenacted scenes from the life of Jesus, including the Nativity, and were treated to hot drinks and cookies afterwards. A little angel completed the scene as she offered her blessing over the newborn Savior.Gift of a king The Valparaiso Planning Commission recommended approval of a zoning change for the land behind this Tom Thumb store on John Sims Parkway that would allow construction of a parking lot on a residential lot behind the store so the establishment can be expanded.Beacon photo by Angela Yuriko SmithValp. mayor backs new city charter Bruce Arnold Text ER to 23000 for Average Wait Times.*For a free physician referral 24/7, call (855) 614-7274. Top Quality Performers Three Years in a Row!Fort Walton Beach Medical Center and Twin Cities Hospital ranked among top hospitals in the country. FWBMC.com TCHospital.com opQu T To er op Quality P ormers f er ormers nk al alton Beach M At Fort W Wa hr ed k ke an r on Be lt a ort W Wa F Fo T op Qu T To al al win Cities Medical Center and T Tw ears in l pita osop hg toned am er anent l C a edicch M a Y Ye ee hrer op Quality P ovide Hospital, our goal is to pr ro w! untry y. o ec sinth he l pitaos win Cities H dT Tw er ano ears in a Rormers f er al ovide theormers l pita Joint Commission, The es by Measur named ecently r e were W leading accr the Joint Commission, T s nation s the among named of healthcar editor leading accr Quality Key on mers Perfor op T To e of healthcar Quality For a fr ext E T Te FWBMC.com eferral 24/7, call (855) 614-7274. ee physician r verag ER to 23000 for A Av FWBMC.com eferral 24/7, call (855) 614-7274. ait Times.* ge W Wa TCHospital.com



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T T h h e eB B a a y y B B e e a a c c o o n n 50¢Wednesday, January 1, 2014 info@baybeacon.com The voice of Niceville, Bluewater Bay and Valparaiso since 1992 (850) 678-1080 10 Pages, 2 Sections, 5 Inserts The voice of Niceville, Bluewater Bay and Valparaiso since 1992 By Mike Griffith Beacon Correspondent The board of directors of the Bluewater Bay Municipal Services Benefit Unit (MSBU) has scheduled a public landscaping workshop for 10 a.m., Feb. 19, in the golf clubhouse at 1950 Bluewater Boulevard. The MSBU is a special unit of Okaloosa County government, in charge of landscaping, street lights and signs, and general maintenance of common areas throughout the unincorporated Bluewater Bay community. It is governed by a fivemember board of elected directors. At the MSBU’s December meeting, newly elected board members Debbie Stretch and Judy Griffin said they were dissatisfied with the MSBU’s overall approach to landscaping, and asked that a workshop be scheduled to discuss alternative design ideas and to possibly hear ideas from local landscape designers to improve the look of the Bluewater Bay community. At a meeting Jan. 8, board member Joan McCarthy said purposes of the workshop will include gathering input from residents on how they want Bluewater Bay to look, and also to hear ideas from any professional landscape designers who are willing to present ideas free of charge during the workshop. During the Dec. 11 meeting, Griffin and Stretch had said they would like to change the MSBU’s approach to landscaping in Bluewater Bay. Griffin said that the stacked masonry blocks currently used to contain flower beds at many Bluewater Bay intersections “are not an attractive option,” and are often discolored by stains from water used to irrigate the flower beds. Fellow board member Doug Burgess replied that the stack blocks are cleaned about three times each year, but Griffin persisted, saying that she would prefer replacing the stack blocks with such natural materials as shrubbery or grass. She said she has some experience with landscaping and would come up with some specific ideas for what she has in mind. At the December meeting, board member Joan McCarthy said that she, too, thinks By Daniel Elsesser Beacon Staff Writer If you happened to exceed the speed limit in Niceville last year, you were much more likely to get a ticket. The number of traffic citations written by Niceville police in 2012 was nearly twice what it was in 2011 and was the highest it's been since 2008, according to statistics released by the Niceville Police Department. Niceville police recorded 3,245 traffic tickets in 2012, up from 1,766 in 2011 and over 3,000 for the first time since 3,504 tickets were recorded in 2008. Police Sgt. Jimmy Macon attributed the increase to the fact that Niceville had more patrol officers in 2012 than the previous year. "I think having more officers is the main reason that number went up," Macon said. "We have more people and are able to cover more ground and respond to more calls. When we had less, we had to prioritize and only respond to the most important calls, but now we're able to cover more area." Macon said Niceville has added five officers since this time last year, increasing the department's total to 25 fulltime officers. He said this T T T h h e eB B a a y y B B e e a a c c o o n n 50¢Wednesday, January 16, 2013 info@baybeacon.com The voice of Niceville, Bluewater Bay and Valparaiso since 1992 (850) 678-1080 10 Pages, 2 Sections, 5 Inserts The voice of Niceville, Bluewater Bay and Valparaiso since 1992 Wednesday, 6-8 p.m. Learn to manage your money with a free financial workshop at the Student Services Building Northwest Florida State College, Niceville. Thursday, 6:30 p.m. Celebrate Floridas anniversary with the Niceville Library and learn about Panhandle history with Dr. Brian Rucker at the Niceville Community Center Saturday, noon Check out The Bluewater Bay Sailing Club race at the Bluewater Bay Marina Niceville. Register as late as the day of the race. Saturday, 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Learn the art of basketry in a basket weaving class at the Heritage Museum of Northwest Florida, Valparaiso. Saturday, 1 p.m. See the Soka Gakkai Internationals The Century of WomenŽ exhibit in the McIlroy and Holzhauer galleries Mattie Kelly Arts Center, Niceville. See Calendar, B-2 COMING UP Please see BWB, page A-6 Please see TICKETS, page A-2 Please see SEWERS, page A-5 Please see GPS, page A-2 Police BlotterPage A-4Public comment sought on BWB landscaping Beacon photo by Daniel Elsesser Members of the Duke Field chapter of the Special Forces Motorcycle Club rode to Shadow Lane, Niceville, Saturday to cheer up member Ryan Pierson, who is recovering from surgery for a foot injury. The club, which is made up of active duty and retired S pecial Forces members, stages rides to raise money for the Wounded Warrior Project and other charities. It gained a stronger local pr esence after the Army 7th Special Forces Group relocated from Fort Bragg, N.C., to Eglin Air Force Base in 2011. Tough love Beacon photo The condition of traffic-island stack blocks such as these on Bluewater Boulevard will be among the topics of a public meeting on landscaping issues to be held Feb. 19 by the Bluewater Bay Municipal Benefit Unit governing board.Stolen GPS finds its way homeBy Daniel Elsesser Beacon Staff Writer An alleged thief learned technology is not always your friend when information stored in a GPS led sheriff's deputies back to its owner and implicated him in its theft. A report by the Okaloosa Rocky students sub hoofs for booksRocky Bayou Christian School s “Jan Term,” held between semesters Jan. 7-18, featured innovative special-interest short courses such as ballroom dancing, cooking, off-campus internships, and horseback riding. Students Nathan McCullough and Madeline McIntosh were among those studying horsemanship. Beacon photo by Anna KavanaughCity acts to unclog sewersBy Daniel Elsesser Beacon Staff Writer Facing an "epidemic" of disposable wipes clogging city sewers, the Niceville City Council authorized the city manager to purchase two sewage grinders. Niceville Public Works Director Bruce Price said the grinders are needed because of new types of materials people are flushing into the sewage system. "We have sort of an epidemic going on right now," Price said. "People use disposable wipes and just throw them in the toilet and flush them down, and they don't dissolve in the water. [The wipes] have led to clogging and buildup in our screens and pumps, and the sewage grinders should be able to grind these solids down." A resolution, approved 4-0 1,9385462,0135822,5436282,8636762,1967042,2535983,6095473,5045492,3694762,8445201,7664823,245461 200120022003200420052006200720082009201020112012 0 1,000 2,000 3,000 4,000Traffic tickets 400 500 600 700 800 900 1000Accidents Traffic accidents (line, right scale) Traffic citations (bars, left scale) Source: Niceville Police Dept. More traffic tickets, fewer crashes In the city of Niceville, by year Niceville cops write more tickets Matthew R. Setterstrom Friday, 7:30 p.m. See a free screening of the surfingdocumentary Floridas Surfing History-Part One: The PanhandleŽ at the Mattie Kelly Arts Center, Niceville. Saturday, 4:30 p.m. Bring new and old telescopes for a free telescope workshop with the Northwest Florida Astronomy Association at Northwest Florida State College Niceville. Saturday, 9-11 a.m. Enjoy a free Bible seminar Why Biblical Counseling?Ž with Dr. Abercrombie at Rocky Bayou Baptist Church Niceville. Saturday, 10-11 a.m. Learn hand appliqu and create a wall hanging in a hand-quilting workshop for $35 or $30 for members at the Heritage Museum of Northwest Florida Niceville. Saturday, 9-11 a.m. Children ages 9-18 can try out for the FC Dallas Emerald Coast Travel Soccer team for $10 at the Twin Oaks Soccer Complex Niceville. See Calendar, B-2.By Daniel Elsesser Beacon Staff Writer Work was completed Friday on a four-way stop at White Point Road and Woodlands Drive, placed to discourage motorists from using White Point as a shortcut to and from the Mid-Bay Bridge. While the main access to the new Mid-Bay Bridge Connector intersects State Road 20 approximately one mile east of White Point's intersection with S.R. 20, many drivers use White Point, the former bridge access road, to get to the Lakeshore Drive interchange with the new connector. At a cost of $10,000, funded by the Mid-Bay Bridge Authority, Okaloosa County workers placed four stop signs at the intersection and built concrete medians to separate northsouth traffic on White Point. The medians are intended to slow left-turning traffic from White Point onto Woodlands. In October, bridge authority Chairman Gordon Fornell said citizens informed him about dangerous driving conditions resulting from motorists turning at the intersection of White Point and Lakeshore.By Daniel Elsesser Beacon Staff Writer Okaloosa County foreclosures almost doubled from 2011 to 2012 but were down slightly from 2010. According to county figures, 1,650 real-estate foreclosure lawsuits were filed last year.. This number is up significantly from the 957 recorded in 2011, when many banks slowed foreclosure proceedings after national reports of "robo-signing" filings surfaced. Okaloosa County Clerk of Court Don Howard said apprehension about potentially filing fraudulent foreclosures slowed foreclosure action in 2011, artificially depressing real estate repossessions sparked by the nationwide housing crash. "That decrease was due to problems in the [banking] industry," Howard said. "Things went on hold in that industry for a long time." Howard said foreclosure action picked up at the end of 2011 largely due to state efforts. "The state devoted a lot of resources to clear up what they called 'foreclosure backlog,'" Howard said. The total 2,445 foreclosure actions filed in 2009 represented a county record. Howard attributes the slowing to several factors, including the fact that the high volume of foreclosures filed 200910 left fewer properties left to foreclose on. Howard said another reason for the slight decline is an effort by the banking industry to resolve debts using methods other than repossession. "Banks really started working with people to find other ways to resolve problems," Howard said. "Often times they worked to get properties into the hands of people who were able to make Daniel Elsesser Beacon Staff Writer An independent-living facility for retired residents is planned for construction near the intersection of State Road 20 and White Point Road, Bluewater Bay, according to developer Raimund Herden. Herden, one of the original developers of Bluewater Bay, and his company, Bluewater Commercial Developers, said he is working in conjunction with Superior Residences to finalize plans for the center, which would be on currently vacant commercial land next to Bluewater Fitness, on the southeast side of the intersection. Herden said the estimated $19 million facility, tentatively named Independent Living Facility at Bluewater Bay, will contain 97 or 98 rental apartments in five stories, with a sixth story devoted to amenities. Herden says the amenities are what would distinguish the independent-living facility from assisted-living facilities and regular apartment complexes. "Apartment complexes don't have all the amenities," Herden said. "This will have a library, home theater, putting green, restaurant. It is an inclusive facility for people who are still active." Shelly Normand, executive director of Superior Residences, T T T h h e eB B a a y y B B e e a a c c o o n n 50¢Wednesday, January 23, 2013 info@baybeacon.com The voice of Niceville, Bluewater Bay and Valparaiso since 1992 (850) 678-1080 12 Pages, 2 Sections, 4 Inserts The voice of Niceville, Bluewater Bay and Valparaiso since 1992 COMING UP Please see RETIREE, page A-2 Please see DOT, page A-3 Please see FORECLOSE, page A-3 Please see FOUR-WAY, page A-3 Police BlotterPage A-6Foreclosures surge after 2-year decline Beacon photo by Daniel Elsesser Clara Thomas, an Okaloosa County deputy sheriff, patrols Plew Elementary School, Niceville, Jan. 16. Thomas and other sheriff' s deputies were placed in 26 Okaloosa elementary schools at the request of the county school board beginning the first day after Christmas break in response to the school shootings in Newtown, Conn., Dec. 14. Sheriff Larry Ashley asked the county commission to fund half the extra cost. The school board agreed to pay the other half. Deputies have been stationed in county middl e and high schools for years, chiefly to deter student crime rather than violence by outsiders.Standing guard 366366 278 466 964 1,970 2,445 1,792 957 1,650 2003200420052006200720082009201020112012 0 500 1,000 1,500 2,000 2,500 3,000Foreclosures Sources: Ok. Co. Clerk of Court; Univ. W. Fla. Foreclosures since 2003 Foreclosure actions filed, Okaloosa County DOT seeks to tap bridge tollsBy Daniel Elsesser Beacon Staff Writer Governance and control of the Mid-Bay Bridge Authority would be transferred to a new OkaloosaBay Regional Tollway Authority under a bill to be proposed in the 2013 state legislative session. The transfer, if approved, would put the locally governed authority under regional control, and allow $19 million retiree center plannedFour-way stop put on White Point Rd. Work was completed Friday on a four-way stop at the intersection of White Point Road and Woodlands Drive. It is intended to discourage drivers from using Lakeshore Drive by way of White Point as a shortcut to the Mid-Bay Bridge. Beacon photo by Daniel Elsesser Raimund Herden explains his proposal for a six-story retirement center near the intersection of State Road 20 and White Point Road, Bluewater Bay. Beacon photo Ananth Prasad Thursday, 3 p.m. Enjoy the outdoors and take a scenic bike ride with the Adventure Club in the Bluewater Bay Resort subdivision, Niceville. Friday, 7 p.m. Enjoy the free Okaloosa All County Middle School Band concert at the Mattie Kelly Arts Center Niceville. Monday, 1:30 p.m. Learn Spanish for free with Carmen Cameron at the Valparaiso Community Library Monday, 6:30 p.m. Explore Mac systems and apps at a Mac Users meeting at Northwest Florida State College Niceville. Tuesday, 7-9 p.m. Listen and learn at the free, public, classical music study series, Better Listening,Ž at the Unitarian Church Fellowship Hall Valparaiso. See Calendar, B-3. of thousands of dollars by former TDC director Mark Bellinger, who bought a house with the money. He killed himself last year after the scheme came to light. Gaetz said it is important that citizens attend the hearings to better understand the issue and learn how the legislature intends to prevent such thefts from occurring again. "It is in the interest of the legislature to see whether we need to embed ethics reforms at the county and local levels," Gaetz said. Gaetz said Okaloosa County Commissioner Dave Parisot will be present to provide the county response to the proposals. Gaetz said that after the auditor general's presentation, municipalities and other organizations and individuals will make proposals for the Daniel Elsesser Beacon Staff Writer Murphy Oil Corp. submitted updated site plans Friday for a gasoline station and convenience store near the entrance of the Walmart at 1300 E. John Sims Parkway, Niceville. The company plans to begin construction in February, according to Niceville Building Inspector Darcy Chaney. Murphy Oil, based in El Dorado, Ark., operates highvolume, low-priced gas stations and associated convenience stores, typically near Walmart or Sam's Club stores. The plans indicate that the Niceville installation would be accessed by a Walmart exit road rather than directly fron John Sims Parkway. Murphy Oil had to submit new site plans because the original plans called for a canopy to cover the gas pumps which could withstand wind speeds of 140 mph. Chaney said structures of that nature in Niceville must be able to withstand 150 mph winds. Murphy made the necessary changes, as well as some changes to the interior of the planned convenience store, according to Chaney. The plans indicate the gas Daniel Elsesser Beacon Staff Writer Eglin Air Force Base firefighters will conduct a planecrash drill with the Valparaiso, Niceville and East Niceville fire departments in Valparaiso today. Valparaiso Fire Chief Mark Norris said the drill, called a major accident response exercise, is intended to help civilian firefighters work with their Air Force counterparts in the event. "This will be an integrated training exercise," Norris said. "We want to learn how to integrate our firefighters with Eglin, and we hope to learn each other's capabilities and limitations." Norris said the exercise, which is scheduled to begin at 3 p.m. at the city public works yard on Valastics Avenue, under the air approach to one of Eglin's two runways, will simulate a situation in which a plane crashes into a building and ignites a fire. A building at the works yard will be filled with fake smoke from a theatrical smoke machine. Norris said there would be an unspecified number of people playing the roles of injured or dead victims of the mock crash. The site is a few hundred feet from where a real Eglin jet crashed in 2003, severely damaging two houses. No one was seriously hurt in that accident. According to Norris, a flashing light will indicate that a "fire" is burning, and the light will stop flashing when the mock blaze has been extinguished. The exercise will assume the pilot and co-pilot of the F-16 approached Eglin Air Force Base for a landing, lost control and ejected before impact. Norris said two victims will be dressed as pilots, complete with deployed parachutes, and that emergency workers will care for them accordingly. Norris said it is important to involve nearby fire departments in the exercise, because in a real air crash off base, Valparaiso, Niceville and East Niceville fire T T T h h e eB B a a y y B B e e a a c c o o n n 50¢Wednesday, January 30, 2013 info@baybeacon.com The voice of Niceville, Bluewater Bay and Valparaiso since 1992 (850) 678-1080 10 Pages, 2 Sections, 4 Inserts The voice of Niceville, Bluewater Bay and Valparaiso since 1992 COMING UP Please see TRAIN, page A-4 Please see MURPHY, page A-5 Police BlotterPage A-2 Beacon photo by Anna Kavanaugh The Okaloosa STEMM Academy began its second semester with a new flight lab paid for by Boeing Co. Here, students Allison Rodas and Sam Scholl learn how to take off, fly and land planes with simulators at the science-and-math magnet middle school, which opened in August in Valparaiso. Story, page B-1. Students take flight in new labDOT to attend meeting on highway noise By Daniel Elsesser Beacon Staff Writer Florida Department of Transportation representatives will attend a meeting Thursday of the Mid-Bay Bridge Authority and residents of two neighborhoods to discuss noise from the MidBay Bridge Connector road. Meantime, workers this month are planting hundreds of trees in a second attempt to block traffic sounds and headlights from the four-lane highway east of Bluewater Bay. Residents of Chardonnay Estates and White Point Village, both neighborhoods just west of the busy state road, have told the Mid-Bay Bridge Authority their quality of life has decreased significantly due to traffic noise. Representatives of the neighborhoods have requested that the DOT conduct a study, which they believe will justify installation of a noise-Firefighters train for plane crash Fire Chief Mark Norris By Daniel Elsesser Beacon Staff Writer Members of the Okaloosa County state legislative delegation will hold a public hearing today from 5 to 6:30 p.m. at Niceville City Hall, 208 N. Partin Drive. The delegation will offer a forum for public comment on proposals for the 2013 regular session of the Florida Legislature, which will begin March 5 and last 60 days. Rep. Matt Gaetz, a Fort Walton Beach Republican whose district includes Niceville and Valparaiso, said the Florida Auditor General's office will present plans to prevent further misuse of county tax funds, including discussion of the auditor's recent audit of the Okaloosa Tourist Development Council. The audit criticized the Okaloosa County Commission for failing to notice the embezzlement of hundredsAuditor to present TDC findings Collision cleanupNiceville police officers move a motorcycle off John Sims Parkway after it collided with the rear of a Cadillac Escalade at John Sims and Redwood Avenue Jan. 24. The motorcyclist, whose name was not available, was airlifted via helicopter ambulance to Baptist Hospital, Pensacola, according to the Niceville Fire Department. Beacon photo by Daniel Elsesser Please see TDC, page A-3 Rep. Matt GaetzMurphy offers new plans for gas station Beacon photo by Daniel Elsesser Workers place an irrigation system next to a new vegetation barrier between houses and the Mid-Bay Bridge Connector Jan. 23. Plants in a previous barrier died, prompting complaints about noise and lights from the highway. Please see NOISE, page A-3 By Mike Griffith Beacon Correspondent During a two-hour hearing in Tallahassee Monday, a Florida Legislature panel questioned members of the Okaloosa County Commission and other county officials about their possible roles in the financial scandal surrounding the county's Tourist Development Council (TDC), and what steps they have taken to investigate and prevent a recurrence. There were few concrete answers, however. And a number of people who held key county offices at the time of the scandal were absent from Monday's hearing. During the hearing, the county commission chairman called the scandal “a very dark hour in the history of Okaloosa County,” and said all the facts are not yet known. The county administrator called the theft, diversion, and waste of hundreds of thousands of tax dollars “a catastrophic failure of controls at all levels.” The legislative committee said it would hear more testimony Feb. 18, and indicated it would subpoena county officials or exofficials who did not show up Monday. The panel also ordered a new state audit of county affairs. The hearing by the Joint Legislative Auditing Committee at the Capitol began with a briefing by Florida Deputy Auditor General Ted Sauerbeck about his recent audit of the TDC, the county commission, and their financial dealings. Sauerbeck’s report reviewed the 25 findings already presented to the Okaloosa County legislative delegation at a public meeting held last week in Niceville, listing ways in which the county failed to follow the law or prescribed policies or procedures governing the handling of grants, tourist development taxes andBy Anna Kavanaugh Beacon Staff Writer Louis and Catharine Marini of Niceville first laid eyes on each other in 1953 at an ice cream parlor in Bristol, Pa. Fifty-five years later, they are just as in love. The couple, who will celebrate their 56th anniversary June 8, plan to renew their wedding vows for the 14th time in honor of Valentine’s Day with more than 40 other couples Thursday at Holy Name of Jesus Catholic Church, Niceville. “It will be kind of nice to look each other in the eye and remember,” Catharine said. “Because I sure don’t remember the original vows.” Lou was smitten with Catharine the moment he saw her at the ice cream parlor. He decided to ask one of her friends for an introduction. “My brother used to pick me up,” said Catharine, a 16-year-old cheerleader at the time. “He didn’t want me riding in cars with boys.” The couple dated for three to four years before they wed. By Daniel Elsesser Beacon Staff Writer Sometimes the getaway is not as smooth as the crime. Police arrested a Niceville man who allegedly stole items from a home, including some from a nightstand next to where the victims were sleeping, only to awaken them with the alarm of their car as he drove away in it. One of the items stolen was a cell phone which the owner was able to track electronically to the alleged burglar's house. Niceville police gave the following report: Bryce Matthew Morrison, unemployed, 18, of 1697 Vine Ave., Niceville, was arrested by sheriff's deputies Jan. 30 on charges of burglary of an occupied dwelling, burglary of an unoccupied conveyance, petit theft, grand theft of a motor vehicle and two counts of grand theft. Two of the four residents of a house on the 1600 block of Vine Avenue woke up at 5:30 a.m. Jan. 30 to the sound of one of their vehicles, a 2010 Toyota four-door, being driven away with its theft alarm blaring. One resident looked around the house and noticed her iPhone, which had been on the By Daniel Elsesser Beacon Staff Writer The Bluewater Bay Resort has submitted plans for approval to shorten four holes of its Magnolia golf course and have the land zoned to allow the construction of homes, including 100 multiplefamily dwellings, according to Steve Hall, an attorney representing the resort. The proposal, a change to the current development of regional impact (DRI) plan approved by government officials in the 1970s, was submitted Jan. 22 to the Okaloosa County Department of Growth Management, the West Florida Regional Planning Council and the state's Department of Economic Opportunity, according to Hall. The plans are currently pending approval by all three entities. The submitted plans call for 7.4 acres of Magnolia course holes 6 and 7, which border State Road 20 on one side, to be rezoned from G (golf) to H (high density residential), allowing for up to 13.5 dwelling units per acre. The plans list 100 dwelling units as the maximum allowed density on this portion of land. The submitted plans for holes 6 and 7 show changes from original plans created Sept. 7, 2012. The September plans, which were discussed with neighboring homeowners but not submitted for government approval, called for 8.49 acres of holes 6 and 7 to be zoned high density, allowing for a maximum of 114 dwelling units. Hall said multiple-family dwelling units, in the form of "quads" containing four units each, would likely be constructed on the land now occupied by holes 6 and 7 if the plans are approved. Thursday 3-6 p.m. Meet author and artist Lynette Miesen of Niceville at her book signing of The Poetry of Art,Ž at Bayou Book Co. Niceville. Friday, 7:30 p.m. Enjoy a night of Irish tradition with The Women of IrelandŽ concert at the Mattie Kelly Arts Center Niceville. Tickets are $35. Saturday, 8 a.m. Run or walk to support the Niceville High School Band on the Run 5K/Mile Fun RunŽ fundraiser at Niceville High School Sat., 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Attend a free conflict resolution workshop sponsored by the MidBay Bridge Rotary Club at St. Paul Lutheran Church Niceville. Tuesday, 5:30-7 p.m. See Okaloosa Volunteer Art Lessons fifth-grade artwork in a public art showcase and open house at Lewis School Valparaiso. See Calendar, B-2. T T T h h e eB B a a y y B B e e a a c c o o n n 50¢Wednesday, February 13, 2013 info@baybeacon.com The voice of Niceville, Bluewater Bay and Valparaiso since 1992 (850) 678-1080 12 Pages, 2 Sections, 6 Inserts COMING UP Please see RESORT, page A-5 Please see TDC, page A-4 Please see THEFTS, page A-7 Please see LOVE, page A-5 Police BlotterPage A-6Few concrete answers in TDC testimony Still in love after 55 yearsCouple to renew vows on Valentine s DayResidents sleep through thefts as home is rifledCommission chairman calls scandal dark hour for Okaloosa County; Fla. Legislature to continue probe The voice of Niceville, Bluewater Bay and Valparaiso since 1992 Lou and Catharine Marini plan to be among the 40 couples who will renew their marriage vows tomorrow, Valentine's Day, at Holy Name of Jesus Catholic Church, Niceville. Beacon photo by Anna KavanaughResort seeks OK for homes on golf course Beacon photo by Mike GriffithOkaloosa County Administrator James Curry, center, testifies before a legislative panel trying to get to the bottom of the county Tourist Development Council money scandal. Curry and county commission chairman Don Amunds, right, were among county officials heard by the panel Monday in Tallahassee. At least one more hearing is planned. Beacon photo by Daniel ElsesserOne brick at a timeNiceville municipal public works employees lay bricks for a new sign for the Rockywood subdivision off Rocky Bayou Drive Feb. 6. Residents of the community paid the nearly $2,000 for materials, and the city furnished the labor, to replace a 25-year-old wooden sign, which was in disrepair. Story, A-8. Bryce Morrison By Kenneth Books Beacon Cras s pd tred Niceville High School football players who want to play the sport in college have an advocate. NHS football coach Adron Robinson, a 1989 alum, helps Niceville athletes find college berths. One such player is Andrew Mitchell, the NHS football team’s quarterback. “He got it all started,” Mitchell said of the strong attention Mitchell’s efforts are getting from a number of colleges. “He was tons of help. He taught us all we needed to know.” The key, Robinson said, was mainly in communicating to college coaches the quality of scholar-athletes who play for Niceville High. “We have good players who are good in the classroom,” he said. “And we did a better job of marketing the Niceville High By Mike Griffith Beacon Sod d efW onienr More local scholarship money is likely to be available to students at Northwest Florida State College during the 2013-14 academic year, following three straight years of decline, if the NWFSC Foundation, the college’s fundraising organization, follows the recommendations of its finance committee. The foundation's board is expected to act on the advice Jan. 8. During a meeting in Niceville Dec. 13, the finance committee reviewed the financial status of the foundation's endowed scholarship funds. The panel learned that many funds that have been “underwater,” or earning less interest each year than the cost of the scholarships they are meant to fund, are doing much better and are now able to once again award scholarships to students. Foundation Executive Director Cristie Kedroski told committee members that only 31 scholarship funds are now underwater, down from 95 a year ago. As a result, she said, the amount of NWFSC Foundation endowed scholarship money available to students in the year that will begin in August 2013 will be between 30 and 40 percent greater than this year. The funds are paid from earnings of the foundation's endowed scholarship funds, currently valued at $37.4 million. The foundation awarded $190,922 in scholarships in the 2011-12 academic year, down from $387,415 three years earlier. Moreover, the 2011-12 total included $45,300 in funds from T T T h h e eB B a a y y B B e e a a c c o o n n 50¢Wednesday, January 2, 2013 info@baybeacon.com The voice of Niceville, Bluewater Bay and Valparaiso since 1992 (850) 678-1080 10 Pages, 2 Sections, 5 Inserts The voice of Niceville, Bluewater Bay and Valparaiso since 1992 Thursday, 6:30 p.m. The Choctawhatchee Audubon Society will host a free program about bottlenose dolphins at the Northwest Florida State College Student Services Center Niceville. Friday, 10 a.m.-noon. Home-schooled students can learn about Native Americans in a free education program at the Heritage Museum of Northwest Florida, Valparaiso. Saturday, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Sign up for the Niceville-Valparaiso Little League baseball and softball teams in the Ruckel Middle School cafeteria, Niceville. Monday, 6 p.m. The Northwest Florida Symphony Chorale will hold open auditions in the Tyler Recital Hall Niceville. Tuesday, 5:30-7:30 p.m. Learn the art of hand knitting at the Heritage Museum of Northwest Florida, Valparaiso. See Calendar, B-2. COMING UP Please see MONEY, page A-5 Please see SIDEWALK, page A-5 Please see ATHLETES, page A-6 Police BlotterPage A -4NHS coach helps student athletes find a collegeMore money for scholarships Beacon photo by Daniel Elsesser Young soccer players battled chilly weather to practice fielding corner kicks at the Twin Oaks soccer complex, Niceville, Dec. 27. At the same facility, elementary school-age children participated in FC Dallas Emerald Coast winter soccer camp. Best foot forwardMore residents seek walls to block road noiseBy Daniel Elsesser Beacon Cras s pd tred A representative of White Point Village asked the Mid-Bay Bridge Authority to provide the same noise and light abatement measures currently implemented between Chardonnay Estates and the Mid-Bay Bridge connector road. Darlane Landsberger, association manager for Bluewater Management Services, spoke at the Mid-Bay Bridge Authority meeting Dec. 13 in the City of Destin board room, telling the board the residents of White Point Village are also subject to noise from traffic on the connector road. In response to previous complaints, the Mid-Bay Bridge Authority had already decided to replant a vegetation barrier between the Chardonnay Estates homes and the connector road. Many of the previously planted trees failed to grow. The planting of a new barrier, along with a temporary irrigation system, is now under way, according to Mid-Bay Bridge Authority Executive Director Jim Vest. Beacon photo by Kenneth Books Some of the Niceville High School athletes whom Adron Robinson has helped get noticed by colleges surround him in the school ca feteria. From left: Nick Haynes, Devon Vasquez, Kyle Knight, Shikim Coward, Andrew Mitchell, Robinson, Tyler Ross, Austin Campbell, Bran don Kucera, Ean Savory-Booker and Carter Fletcher.Sidewalk eyed for 1.3 miles of Rocky Bayou Dr.By Daniel Elsesser Beacon Cras s pd tred The Florida Department of Transportation plans to construct a sidewalk along Rocky Bayou Drive from Forest Road to Huntington Circle. The DOT's tentative five-year work program allots $26,000 for preliminary engineering of the project in the 2014 fiscal year. Construction is expected to begin in 2015, with $263,000 allotted for construction in the 2015 fiscal year and $27,000 in the next. The sidewalk will be five feet wide and stretch 1.3 miles from the Ruckel airstrip to the Huntington subdivision. The stretch of Rocky Bayou Drive from Forest Road to Huntington Circle would get a 1.3-mile sidewalk, under a proposal by the Florida Department of Transportation. Beacon photo by Daniel Elsesser Please see NOISE, page A-3 By Daniel Elsesser Beacon Staff Writer Heavy users of Valparaiso cable TV services can soon expect faster Internet service thanks to new equipment, according to Burt Bennett, Valparaiso Cable TV Services general manager. "For our current users, some are experiencing what I would call 'bandwidth lag' in the evening during peak hours," Bennett said. "With our new system, that problem should go away." The Valparaiso Cable Authority bought a new cable modem termination system (CMTS) that will allow the citywide, municipally owned cable network to provide optimum service during peak usage hours, according to Bennett. By Daniel Elsesser Beacon Staff Writer The city of Niceville began making payments Jan. 1 to Rocky Bayou Country Club previously made by Okaloosa County to accept surplus reclaimed wastewater. The city will finish the county's payments of 10 cents per 1,000 gallons of reclaimed water to the country club in exchange for the county's stake in the Niceville Valparaiso Regional Wastewater Treatment facility. According to Niceville City Manager Lannie Corbin, Okaloosa County entered into the agreement with the country club Jan. 26, 2000, after Niceville, Valparaiso and the county expanded the volume of their sewage-treatment plant on Highway 85 North, Niceville. According to Corbin, Niceville and Valparaiso each had enough room on the plant's 270-acre sprayfields on Eglin land onto which the plant sprays effluent after it is treated. The county, on the other hand, had too much effluents and had to find an outlet to avoid over-saturating the sprayfield land. Rocky Bayou Country Club uses the excess reclaimed water to water its 18-hole golf course. Corbin said the county will begin using its own plant and sprayfields in Wright in about a year. Niceville bought the county's share of the Niceville treatment plant last year. Niceville will make the payments until the agreement with Rocky Bayou Country Club ends in May 2014. Corbin estimates these payments will cost the city about $25,000, which he feels is a fair price for the county's stake in the sewage treatment plant. "I think the city's getting a great deal," Corbin said. "We're getting use of a facility which has had several million dollars invested in it, for just these payments we'll be making to the country club for the next 18 months or so." The agreement, which was approved by the Niceville City Council Nov. 13 and by the Okaloosa Board of County Commissioners Nov. 20, gives to Niceville the county's previous stake in the three components of the reclaimed water system: the reclaimed water production facilities on Highway 85 North, the storage and pumping facilities, which include a 19-million-gallon retention pond, and the off-site piping system which services the country club, Heritage Gardens Cemetery, Swift Creek subdivision and the Rocky Bayou Christian School. All use the water for irrigation. work with law enforcement officers from all over the country and see how they handle problems in their departments." Graduates of the academy may join the FBI National Academy Associates, a network of over 15,000 law officers that works to develop national cooperation. Popwell said membership in this network will aid the quality of police work in Niceville. "If we come across a problem we've never seen before, I can call up someone from, say, the LAPD and ask them how they've dealt with this sort of thing," Popwell said. "We can pull experience from all over the country without having to learn it the hard way." Popwell, who has been chief since The robber vaulted the front desk and demanded the clerk at gunpoint to give him money. After the clerk handed him about $600 in a laundry bag, the gunman ordered her to the floor and threatened to come back and kill her if she called the police. Jackson was identified in a photo line-up looking into cars and acting suspiciously in a Holiday Inn Express parking lot Dec. 3. On Dec. 29, at 11:06 p.m., Niceville police responded to an armed robbery call from the Shell station at 220 N. Partin Drive, where an employee reported a man wearing a "Jason" mask ordered the clerk to the ground at knifepoint and took $200, cigarettes and lottery tickets before fleeing on foot. By Daniel Elsesser Beacon Staff Writer A Niceville man has been jailed after allegedly robbing two Niceville businesses and a Valparaiso store, each time threatening employees and wearing a horror-film "Jason" mask. A Niceville police report gave the following account: Keith Jo Jo Jackson Jr., unemployed, 19, of 304 Reeves St. Lot C10, was arrested by Niceville police Jan. 1 on charges of robbery with a firearm, grand theft, robbery with a weapon, and petit theft. On Dec. 4 at 12:04 a.m., Jackson allegedly entered the Quality Inn at 101 N. Highway 85 wearing a hockey mask like that of the actor portraying Jason, the psychotic killer who was the main character in a string of "Friday the 13th" slasher films. T T T h h e eB B a a y y B B e e a a c c o o n n 50¢Wednesday, January 9, 2013 info@baybeacon.com The voice of Niceville, Bluewater Bay and Valparaiso since 1992 (850) 678-1080 10 Pages, 2 Sections, 8 Inserts The voice of Niceville, Bluewater Bay and Valparaiso since 1992 Thursday, 10:30 a.m. Bring toddlers to see Clifford and hear his story, Happy Birthday Clifford,Ž at the City Council Chambers, Niceville. Thursday, 7 p.m. See Jerry Seinfelds stand-up routine at the Mattie Kelly Arts Center Niceville. Tickets are $79.50 each plus processing fee. Friday, noon-1 p.m. Eat lunch and listen to a history lecture by historian H.C. Klein on the 1861 blockade of the Destin East Pass at the Heritage Museum of Northwest Florida, Valparaiso. Saturday, 10 a.m. Children ages 10-14 can compete in the Knights of Columbus Free Throw Championship at the Holy Name of Jesus Family Life Center, Niceville. Wednesday, 7:30-9:30 a.m. Enjoy the Economic and Housing Forecast Breakfast at Northwest Florida State College Student Services Center Niceville. Tickets are $12 or $175 for a table of 8. See Calendar, B-2. COMING UP Please see HOLDUPS, page A-2 Please see CHIEF, page A-2 Police BlotterPage A-4Niceville takes over sales of reclaimed water from Okaloosa Niceville man arrested after 3 holdups Beacon photo by Daniel Elsesser Erik Bendl rolls his 80-pound inflated canvas globe across John Sims Parkway with his dog, Nice, Monday. Bendl has walked over 6,000 miles in 39 states since 2007 to raise money for diabetes research. See story, A-2. Small world Faster cable Internet speeds promised in ValparaisoBy Daniel Elsesser Beacon Staff Writer Niceville Police Chief David Popwell will leave Jan. 9 to attend a 10-week training session at the FBI National Academy at Quantico, Va. The program, designed for leaders and managers of state and local police departments, combines academic course work with physical fitness tests. At 51, Popwell said he is 10 years older than the average participant. Popwell will join about 250 other law enforcement officers from all 50 states, several U.S. territories and over 150 partner nations in the program, intended to enhance the professional development of law enforcement leaders. "This will bring a breadth of experience to the department," Popwell said. "I'll be able to netDavid Popwell Burt Bennet Keith Jo Jo Jackson Jr. Beacon photo by Daniel Elsesser Heavy Internet usage threatens to overwhelm a modem system used by the Valparaiso cable TV network. The device will be replaced with a faster one this month.Police chief tapped for 10-week FBI course Please see CABLE, page A-6 The irrigation system at the Rocky Bayou Country Club, Niceville, which uses reclaimed effluent from the Niceville Valparaiso Regional Wastewater facility, sprays water on the club's golf course Jan. 3. The city of Niceville Jan. 1 began making payments previously made by the county to the club to accept the water. Beacon photo by Daniel Elsesser By Mike Griffith Beacon Correspondent Okaloosa County Sheriff Larry Ashley and State Attorney Bill Eddins announced that a criminal summons has been issued to Vision Airlines for failing to pay $100,000 in airport fees. The Las Vegas-based airline, which once made the county-run Northwest Regional Airport its operating hub, "collected but did not remit to Okaloosa County . more than $100,000 in passenger facility charges," according to a criminal-charge affidavit filed Monday in Okaloosa County Circuit Court by Eddins. "Although some payments were made, at this time, Vision owes the county more than $117,659.98," the affidavit alleged. In July 2012, the county evicted Vision from the airport, a year and a half after a much-ballyhooed opening that was supposed to bring tens of thousands of tourists to the Emerald Coast from throughout the Southeast. The company now operates two scheduled routes between other Florida cities and the Biloxi, Miss., gambling resort. In the affidavit, the State Attorney alleged that "Vision misappropriated the PFC revenues that were in trust for the county and airport and committed first degree grand theft, in violation of section 812.014(2)(a). Florida Statutes." During a press conference Monday at the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s office in Shalimar, Eddins said that when criminal charges are made against a corporation rather than against individual persons, no one is arrested, nor are they sent to prison if convicted, but the corporation itself can be punished by being made to pay a fine, as well as restitution for losses by the victim of the crime—in this case Okaloosa County—and also made to pay the cost of the investigation and prosecution. In the case of Vision Airlines, Eddins said, the company had allegedly failed to pay more than $100,000 in passenger facilities charges. Eddins said that such charges are similar to a state sales tax, which Vision was required to By Mike Griffith Beacon Correspondent Members of the Bluewater Bay Municipal Services Benefit Unit (MSBU) board of directors met Feb. 12, and changed the date of an upcoming landscape workshop to Feb. 22. They also discussed making repairs to some of Bluewater Bay’s aging street and directional sign. The MSBU is a special unit of Okaloosa County government, in charge of landscaping, street lights and signs, and general maintenance of common areas throughout the unincorporated Bluewater Bay community. It is governed by a five-member board of elected directors. The landscape workshop had previously been scheduled for Feb. 19, but was rescheduled to 10 a.m. Friday, Feb. 22, after board member Judy Griffin said that at least one board member would be unable to attend on Feb. 19. By Daniel Elsesser Beacon Staff Writer The Niceville City Council unanimously approved a proposal to test a curbside recycling program using 96-gallon wheeled cans instead of the familiar little blue bins. A representative of the city's garbage and recycling hauler, Waste Management Inc., said switching to big recycling containers would dramatically increase recycling, with a corresponding decrease in garbage sent to landfills. The council, voting at its meeting Feb. 12 in the Niceville City Council chambers, authorized City Clerk Dan Doucet and City Manager Lannie Corbin to designate a neighborhood of about 50 homes that would be a good area to test the program. Domenica Farmer, district manager for Waste Management, said the goal of the program is to increase recycling and reduce garbage volume. Farmer said the greater capacity of the new receptacles would cause users to put recyclables in the correct bin instead of the garbage. She said the convenience of rolling the cart to the street instead of picking up and carrying the smaller bin would also boost participation in the city's voluntary curbside recycling program. The pilot program would test a neighborhood that receives garbage pickup twice a week and recycling and yard waste pickup once a week. The pickup schedule for the pilot program would remain the same, and the only aspect that would change would be the switch from the 18-gallon recycling bin to a 96-gallon rolling container the size and shape of a Waste Management garbage can. The program would run for four to six months. Waste Management will record the "set-out" rates of garbage and recycling during the program and compare them to previous figures. This information, along with the results of a survey of participants, will be provided to the city council for consideration with an eye to deciding whether to switch the entire city to the plan. The 96-gallon recycling By Daniel Elsesser and Angela Yuriko Smith Beacon Staff East Niceville Fire Commission Treasurer Ed Dunbar suggested the commission follow more closely a Florida law requiring the commission to elect its board officers annually. Dunbar said at a commission meeting Feb. 11 that the panel has not been following the law, which requires that a board vote to pick a commission chairman, vice chairman, treasurer and secretary be held within 60 days of the date that newly elected commissioners take office. Dunbar said that if the commission does not adopt the required policy, he would step down from his treasurer position at the end of the fiscal year, which will end Sept. 30. He would still retain his seat on the commission throughout his full term, which ends November 2014. "I'd announce my resignation [as treasurer] not to force anything untoward, but just to give everyone fair warning of what's going to happen," Dunbar said. Dunbar said the commission members asked—but did not elect—him to assume the treasurer position after he was appointed to the commission in May 2010 due to a vacancy caused by the death of longtime commissioner Ray Hinck. Dunbar said the commission has never held internal elections or rotated positions during his time on the commission. John Root, vice chairman, who has been a commissioner for 12 years, said he wasn't sure when the commission last held elections for board officers, but added that it was "probably two or three years ago." Florida Statute 191.05 states "[a]nnually, within 60 days after the newly elected members have taken office, the board shall Wednesday, 7-8 p.m. Meet Dr. Bob Shipp and hear his free presentation on red snappers and artificial reefs at the Student Services Center Northwest Florida State College, Niceville. Wednesday, 4:30-8 p.m. Donate blood to Northwest Florida Blood Services and then enjoy a snack and drink at First Baptist Church Niceville. Thursday, 3:30 p.m. Enjoy nature with the Adventure Club for a bike ride in the Parkwood area, through Bluewater Bay Niceville. Saturday, 10 a.m. Get into weaving with the Strictly Weavers of the Emerald Coast at their monthly meeting at the Twin Cities Hospital Wellness Center Niceville. Saturday, 7 p.m. Take a look at the stars at the Northwest Florida Astronomy Associations meeting at the observatory, Northwest Florida State College, Niceville. See Calendar, B-2. T T T h h e eB B a a y y B B e e a a c c o o n n 50¢Wednesday, February 20, 2013 info@baybeacon.com The voice of Niceville, Bluewater Bay and Valparaiso since 1992 (850) 678-1080 10 Pages, 2 Sections, 5 Inserts COMING UP Please see VISION, page A-2 Please see ELECTIONS, page A-3 Please see CITY, page A-2 Please see FACELIFT, page A-3 Police BlotterPage A-4 Bluewater Bay facelift meeting set for FridayCompany allegedly failed to pay $100,000 in county charges The voice of Niceville, Bluewater Bay and Valparaiso since 1992 Some of Bluewater Bay's aging directlonal signs give inaccurate information. The “conference center” mentioned on this sign, for example, no longer exists. The building that once housed the center is occupied by an investment company.Fire commissioner: Law requires officer electionsBeacon photo by Mike Griffith State Attorney Bill Eddins announces a criminal charge against Vision Airlines for failing to pay county airport fees. He was joined at a press conference in Shalimar Monday by Okaloosa County Sheriff Larry Ashley. Ed DunbarCity to test giant recycling cans A 96-gallon recycling cart.Vision Airlines charged in fee case By Daniel Elsesser Beacon Staff Writer Three single-family homes could be added to Niceville property rolls under an annexation and zoning request by Walter Spence of Spence Brothers Properties. Spence has submitted a request that the city annex the land at 631 Fir Ave., three-quarters of an acre currently in an unincorporated area of Okaloosa County, into Niceville and zone it R-1B, to allow single-family homes. Jerry Spence, also of Spence Brothers Properties, said the county currently zones the land R-2, to allow for singleor multiple-family homes. Jerry Spence said he plans to construct three one-family houses ranging from about 1,370 to 1,650 square feet and sell them for between $185,000 and $235,000 each. He said he is building due to a market need for houses in that price range. here; it will still be our county.” “We must clean house,” said Boyles, “and fix our problems, but we must also get our message out. We must be circumspect in articulating about Okaloosa County.” Boyles did not specify any housecleaning measures or fixes.. County officials have stated that only recently have they received permission from criminal investigators to start their own internal probe. During a question-and-answer session following Boyles' address, he was asked about federal Restore Act funding for Okaloosa County. “We don’t know yet,” he said, how much money the county will actually receive as its share of BP clean-water penalties stemming from the 2010 oil spill.By Mike Griffith Beacon Correspondent Okaloosa County Commissioner Nathan Boyles said officials must "clean house" in the wake of the TDC scandal, but that they "must be circumspect" lest the county's reputation be further damaged. Speaking to members of the Niceville Valparaiso Chamber of Commerce, in Niceville Feb. 19, Boyles said, “The issue on our forefront right now" is the scandal surrounding the Okaloosa County Tourist Development Council, an agency overseen by the county commission. Despite the scandal, said Boyles, “The big message is that we are Okaloosa County—all of us.” “At the end of the day,” he said, “this will blow over and we’ll still beBy Daniel Elsesser Beacon Staff Writer A bill that would transfer control of the Mid-Bay Bridge Authority (MBBA) to an Okaloosa-Bay Regional Tollway Authority was filed in the Florida Senate Friday. Sen. Jeff Brandes, a Pinellas County Republican, chair of the Senate Transportation Committee, submitted Senate Bill 1132, which would also establish procedures for creation of new regional tollway authorities. Not coincidentally, the MBBA, which opposes the measure, on Thursday hired a Tallahassee lobbyist for the first time. The Senate bill states "[t]he assets, facilities, tangible and intangible property and any rights in such property, and any other legal rights of the (Mid-Bay) bridge authority, including the bridge system operated by the authority, are transferred to the regional authority." The bill states the powers of the locally governed authority would be handed to a new region-By Mike Griffith Beacon Correspondent The Valparaiso City Commission last week has smiled on a request from Michael Harris, owner of the Compass Rose restaurant, to expand on the waterfront. Harris, whose restaurant lies along the north shore of Toms Bayou near John Sims Parkway, has requested city permission to construct an "oyster bar" and dock on the shoreline, next to the restaurant. Harris addressed the commission Feb. 18 concerning his proposal. He showed commissioners a survey map of his property to help illustrate his plan. Commissioners expressed uncertainty, however, about whether they can grant such permission without being certain whether the city itself or waterfront landowners actually hold legal title to the shoreline itself. Commissioner Joe Morgan said the city should not grant such permission without first knowing who owns the shoreline. Harris addressed the commission, saying that he wants to open an oyster bar and dock for his customers. He said the dock T T T h h e eB B a a y y B B e e a a c c o o n n 50¢Wednesday, February 27, 2013 info@baybeacon.com The voice of Niceville, Bluewater Bay and Valparaiso since 1992 (850) 678-1080 42 Pages, 3 Sections, 4 Inserts Please see TDC, page A-5 Please see BILL, page A-2 Please see BUILDER, page A-3 Please see VALP., page A-6 Police BlotterPage A-4Bill would tap bridge tolls for other projectsBuilder proposes three new houses Valp. restaurant seeks expansion to bayou shore Beacon photo by Daniel Elsesser The Compass Rose restaurant, shown here partly hidden by vegetation, center right, has proposed extending its operation to the shore of Toms Bayou with an oyster bar and dock. 2013 S p r i n g S u m m e r 2 0 1 3  S u p p le m e n t t o T h e B a y B e a c o n Ni c e v i l l e V a l p a r a i s o F lo r id a Th e B ay B eac on ’ s an d C o m m un ity D irector y NEWCOMER GUID E Inside ... Wednesday, 4:30 p.m. Learn about Black Seminoles in a free history lecture The African Presence in Spanish Florida: Black Seminoles,Ž with Dr. Rosalyn Howard at Northwest Florida State College Niceville. Thursday, 10 a.m. See the opening of the free Arnie Hart Juried student and Northwest Florida State College faculty art exhibition in the McIlroy and Holzhauer galleries at the Mattie Kelly Arts Center, Niceville. Saturday, 8:30 a.m. Run for a good cause while listening to the Niceville High School Chorus at its 2nd Annual Grand Staff 5K Run/Walk fundraiser at the Niceville High School. Saturday, 7:30 p.m. Hear the New Directions Veterans Choir from all branches of the U.S. military sing a cappella at the Mattie Kelly Arts Center Niceville. Sunday, 1-4 p.m. Get help in a free college financial aid workshop Cash 4 College,Ž at the Student Services Center, Northwest Florida State College Niceville. See Calendar, B-2. COMING UP Airline pays county fees of $117,000By Mike Griffith Beacon Correspondent Okaloosa County has received a $117,000 check from Vision Airlines following the lodging of a criminal complaint against the airline for alleged nonpayment. Okaloosa County Commissioner Dave Parisot Feb. 20 provided the Beacon with a copy of a check for $117,659.98 from Vision Airlines to Okaloosa County, in payment for passenger facilities charges owed to the county. The airline, which had been Familiar faces retire from post officePatricia Vines and Eugene Teichert, pictured, as well as David Young retired from the Niceville Post Office Jan. 31 after a total of 85 years of federal service. Story, page B-1. Beacon photo by Anna Kavanaugh Photo by Cycnut.com Cindy Janazzo of Niceville was among over 100 runners who pushed through heavy rain Saturday in the Bluewater Bay Duathlon, which raised more than $2,000, to benefit the EOD community and Emerald Coast Triathlon Club. The bike portion was canceled due to the weather, but 112 runners participated in 5K or 10K courses. The area was drenched by upwards of 10 inches of rain in recent days. Race results, page B-2.Rainy day runner Please see AIRLINE, page A-2 Nathan Boyles ‘We must clean house’ in TDC scandalBut commissioner urges caution to protect Okaloosa County s reputation The voice of Niceville, Bluewater Bay and Valparaiso since 1992 Daniel Elsesser Beacon Staff Writer HDR Engineering will conduct a study to determine the effectiveness of a noise abatement wall between the Mid-Bay Bridge Connector road and the adjacent neighborhoods of Chardonnay Estates and White Point Village, according to MidBay Bridge Authority Executive Director Jim Vest. Vest, speaking at a special meeting with the Mid-Bay Bridge Authority and representatives from the Florida Department of Transportation and the neighborhoods, said the study would simulate the estimated peak noise of the area in question for 2030, when traffic is expected to be even heavier than today's 18,000 average daily vehicle count. Vest said the results of the study will be available in six to eight weeks. Thursday 1:30 p.m. Bring the kids and enjoy snacks and drinks while watching Hotel TransylvaniaŽ at the Valparaiso Community Library for its early release movie day. Friday, noon Enjoy your lunch break with a history lecture about the West Florida British Colonial period at the Heritage Museum of Northwest Florida, Valparaiso. Saturday, 2-3:30 p.m. Celebrate Valentines Day learning tea etiquette at a traditional Victorian tea at the Heritage Museum of Northwest Florida, Valparaiso. The tea is $15 or $12 for members. Sunday, 2 p.m. Hear the sounds of the Northwest Florida State College Soundsations Snowbird Show Choir in a concert at the Mattie Kelly Arts Center Niceville. Tickets are $10. Monday, 9:45 a.m. Take the little ones to The Little Engine That CouldŽ childrens show at the Mattie Kelly Arts Center Northwest Florida State College. Niceville. Tickets are $6. See Calendar, B-3.By Daniel Elsesser Beacon Staff Writer Valparaiso Police Chief Joseph Hart retired Thursday after 32 years in police work, including nine as the department's chief. In a ceremony at Valparaiso City Hall, Hart was honored by family members, fellow police officers and other city employees. Mayor Bruce Arnold gave a speech at the ceremony, thanking Hart for his years of service. "You're everything a mayor hopes for in a police chief," Arnold said of Hart. Hart gave the last speech at the ceremony, tearfully thanking his coworkers for their assistance during his tenure. "Police work is all I've ever known," Hart said. "Thanks to all of you, this little department has become what I believe to be one of the best in the area." Hart's position will be filled in the interim by Capt. David Bruckelmeyer. By Mike Griffith Beacon Correspondent Members of the Okaloosa County legislative delegation said key questions remain unanswered concerning misuse of Okaloosa County tourist bed-tax money. The legislators, especially state Rep. Matt Gaetz, said they want more answers in the wake of the Florida Auditor General’s recent investigation of how over $1.5 million was stolen or misspent by the late executive director of the county’s Tourist Development Council (TDC), an agency that was supposed to be overseen by the Okaloosa County Commission. The lawmakers spoke during and after a briefing on aspects of the scandal by officials of the Florida Auditor General during a public hearing by the county's representatives to the Florida Legislature Jan. 30 in Niceville. The hearing was held in the Niceville civic center auditorium, and was attended by about 200 members of the public as well as the state legislators. Proceedings began as Okaloosa County Sheriff Larry Ashley gave a short briefing on the criminal investigations being conducted by the sheriff's office, as well as by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, the District 1 State Attorney, and the FBI. The second briefing, by Auditor T T T h h e eB B a a y y B B e e a a c c o o n n 50¢Wednesday, February 6, 2013 info@baybeacon.com The voice of Niceville, Bluewater Bay and Valparaiso since 1992 (850) 678-1080 12 Pages, 2 Sections, 5 Inserts COMING UP Please see BURGLARY, page A-6 Please see NOISE, page A-8 Please see COP, page A-5 Please see TDC, page A-2 Police BlotterPage A-7 Jet-crash drillBurglary sends girl running for safetyUnanswered questions on TDC Valparaiso’s top cop hangs up his badgeChief Joseph Hart retiresBeacon photos by Daniel Elsesser Participants in a drill dressed as Air Force pilots who ejected before a simulated military jet crash in Valparaiso are "rescued" by an Eglin Air Force Base firefighter on Valastics Avenue Thursday. Members of the Valparaiso (right photo), East Niceville and Niceville fire departments also participated in the exercise, which Valparaiso Fire Chief Mark Norris said was designed chiefly to strengthen inter-agency communication. Joseph Hart The voice of Niceville, Bluewater Bay and Valparaiso since 1992 Eye of the beholderEd Nickerson, 68, paints a picture of Cranky J's Coffee Shop and its environs while sitting a few feet from a steady stream of traffic at Bullock Boulevard and John Sims Parkway Monday. Nickerson, retired, of Choctaw Beach, said he paints for recreation, but may someday try to use his art to turn a profit. "Eventually I hope to sell my art," Nickerson said. "But it'll be a while before that." Beacon photo by Daniel ElsesserHighway noise study promised By Daniel Elsesser Beacon Staff Writer A man hurled a lawn ornament through the glass of a window of a Niceville residence, terrifying the teenage girl inside, entered the shattered opening, snatched $700 in jewelry, ran home, and prevailed on a friend to sell the loot, according to police. Two people were arrested. Niceville police reports gave the following account: Arrested Jan. 24 was Gregory Houde, unemployed, 29, of 304 Reeves St. Lot A-5, Niceville, who forced his way into the house, took the jewelry, and asked someone to sell it to a local gold store as her own for $200. Houde was jailed on charges of burglary of an occupied dwelling while unarmed, dealing in stolen property, grand theft and property damage criminal mischief. At about 12:25 p.m. Jan. 18, a 15-year-old resident of the 1100 block of Rhonda Drive, Niceville, was startled by a Gregory Houde State Rep. Matt Gaetz's questions of Okaloosa County and state officials concerning misspent or stolen funds of the county Tourist Development Council largely went unanswered at a legislative hearing last week in Niceville. Beacon photo by Mike Griffith Gail Rich, Chardonnay Estates, Niceville, speaks at a meeting convened Thursday to discuss noise from the Mid-Bay Bridge highway. Beacon photo by Daniel Elsesser By Mike Griffith Beacon Correspondent Landscaping companies made suggestions to improve the look of Bluewater Bay during a recent public forum. The Bluewater Bay Municipal Services Benefit Unit (MSBU), a taxing district that maintains the appearance of common areas of Bluewater Bay, hosted a landscaping workshop Feb. 22. The workshop meeting was scheduled by the MSBU to gather information and ideas about how to improve the overall appearance of the Bluewater Bay community. No decisions were made, but ideas advanced at the workshop are expected to be discussed at future MSBU meetings, such as the one scheduled for March 12. The workshop began with a slide presentation from Jason Connor, a representative of the ValleyCrest Landscape Companies. Connor showed slides of work his firm, a national company which is based in California and has an office in Santa Rosa Beach, has done at other planned communities similar to Bluewater Bay. ValleyCrest was an unsuccessful bidder for the MSBU's current landscape-maintenance contract. Connor said that while he did not wish to throw stones at the hard work done by other landscaping companies in Bluewater Bay, his company could offer ideas that would enhance the “curb appeal” of Bluewater Bay, and help local residents “to be happy where you live.” Connor said some of the landscaping designs and street signs in the Bluewater Bay area are aging and that their deteriorating appearance could reduce local home values. He suggested that current wooden street signs could be replaced by more durable signs such as concrete or brick monuments or by making use of landscaping features to elevate or protect signs against damage from lawn mowing equipment and other sources. Connor also said that local turf could be helped to grow and maintain its appearance through better use of water and fertilizers, which could be planned by his company. He also recommended that steps be taken to remove such eyesores as ant mounds, deadwood, and other debris from landscape areas. Connor also suggested adding what he called a “third rotation” of seasonal color to Bluewater Bay through the planting of colorful flowers and shrubs in local flower beds. Connor’s slide show was the only formal presentation from any landscaper or company at the workshop. However, some other landscapers did speak up with ideas of their own. Hank Bruns, for example, mentioned that he By Daniel Elsesser Beacon Staff Writer Firefighters will be able to respond better to waterfront fires and other emergencies on area waterways, thanks to a new fireboat operated by Niceville Fire Department Feb. 27. Niceville Fire Chief Tommy Mayville said the boat, a 27-foot Brunswick Boston Whaler, can fight blazes by pulling up to structures or vessels from the water side. Mayville said the boat has an intake pump that can shoot water from the bay through hoses at 1,200 gallons per minute, nearly the rate of a fire engine. According to Mayville, the boat would also respond to air crashes in the bay. Before Feb. 27, the only fire agency near Choctawhatchee Bay to have a proper fireboat was the Destin Fire Control District,By Daniel Elsesser Beacon Staff Writer The Okaloosa County Commission will hear a request at its April 16 meeting for a notice of proposed change to the Bluewater development of regional impact (DRI) by the Bluewater Resort to change four of the resort's golf holes to land for residential development. According to Terry Jernigan, Okaloosa County planning manager, the commission will decide whether the proposed change constitutes a substantial deviation from the original development plan, and then decide whether to approve it. Jernigan said a decision that the change does not constitute a substantial deviation does not necessarily mean an approval of the plan. "They could decide it's not a substantial deviation and still give it the thumbs down," Jernigan said. Jernigan said the West Florida Regional Planning Council and the state's Department of Economic Opportunity (formerly the Department of Community Affairs) have also received submissions from the resort and will also decide whether the proposed change is a substantial deviation. If the county determines the change does not constitute a substantial deviation and the Department of Economic Opportunity does, the issue would be sent for review to the state's Land and Water Adjudicatory Committee, consisting of Gov. Rick Scott and his cabinet. Jernigan said DRIs are governed by a different statute than normal zoning changes, and thus the change will not go before the Okaloosa County Planning Commission. By Daniel Elsesser Beacon Staff Writer A nurse at a Bluewater Bay nursing and rehabilitation facility was arrested after she was caught with over 100 pills intended for residents of the facility,according to Okaloosa County Sheriff's Office reports. Renee Lorraine Stern, 32, of 229 Limestone Circle, Crestview, was arrested by sheriff's deputies Feb. 24 on charges of petit theft, two counts of possession of a prescription drug without a prescription and two counts of trafficking opium or a derivative,according to the sheriff's reports,which gave the following account: Duane Gallagher, administrator of the Manor at T T T h h e eB B a a y y B B e e a a c c o o n n 50¢Wednesday, March 6, 2013 info@baybeacon.com The voice of Niceville, Bluewater Bay and Valparaiso since 1992 (850) 678-1080 12 Pages, 2 Sections, 4 Inserts Please see PLAN, page A-2 Please see NURSE, page A-3 Please see SCANDAL, page A-5 Please see BWB, page A-2 Please see NEWEST, page A-3 Police BlotterPage A-4Nurse charged with stealing patients’ pillsBy Mike Griffith Beacon Correspondent A parade of Okaloosa County officials and contractors testified Monday before the Florida Legislature’s Joint Legislative Auditing Committee (JLAC) in Tallahassee during the panel's second hearing regarding the Okaloosa County Tourist Development Council scandal of 2012. Each witness explained his role in relation to the TDC and said that he was not responsible for any misconduct connected with deceased TDC director Mark Bellinger’s theft of county funds. It was the third time in recent weeks that the JLAC has summoned Okaloosa County officials to testify on events surrounding the looting of hundreds of thousands of dollars from county coffers. One of the first witnesses was Warren Gourley, a member of the TDC's governing board. He said that TDC board members were volunteers who served merely in an advisory role, and that votes taken during their Officials deny blame in TDC scandalLandscapers offer ideas to spruce up BWB Wednesday, 3-4 p.m. Learn how to check out eBooks and audio books with your Nook in a free Nook workshop at the Niceville Public Library Thursday, 1:30 p.m. Bring the kids and enjoy popcorn at an early release movie day featuring Wreck it RalphŽ at the Valparaiso Community Library Friday, 6-8 p.m. Enjoy food from local restaurants at the Child Care Services annual Taste of the BayouŽ and charity auction fundraiser at St. Mary Church, Fort Walton Beach. Saturday, 6-9 p.m. Support the Rocky Bayou Christian School at its Burgers and Bids silent auction to benefit its scholarship and financial aid programs at the Destin United Methodist Church. Monday, 6:30 p.m. Hear the Liberty University Wind Ensemble in its spring tour free concert at the First Baptist Churchof Niceville. See Calendar, B-2. COMING UP Newest fire engine floats Niceville firefighters test the pump and spout on a new fire boat in Boggy Bayou off Lions Park, Niceville, Friday. The 27foot Boston Whaler, which will be used to fight fires around Choctawhatchee Bay, can pump water in a 200-foot stream at 1,200 gallons a minute. Beacon photo by Daniel Elsesser Play ball! Renee L. Stern Plan to build on part of golf course eyed The voice of Niceville, Bluewater Bay and Valparaiso since 1992 Beacon photo by Mike Griffith Saturday was opening day for 120 players of the Valparaiso-Niceville Girls Softball Association. Ten teams, divided into four leagues covering ages 5 to 18, faced off at the Niceville softball complex for their first games of the 42nd season, which ends May 18. Coaches helped girls in the dugout get ready to take the field while parents and family members cheered from the stands. 2 accused in case, A-3. The Bay Beacon this week is pleased to present a look back at the top stories and photos of 2013, as presented in a week-by-week review of Page 1. Thank you, readers, for welcoming us into your homes in 2013. Thank you, advertisers, for your support in the past year. We look forward to continuing to serve you in 2014. —The staff of the Bay Beacon: Stephen Kent, Sara Kent, Bunni Farhnam, Linda McCormick, Candice Legge, Mac Macasaet, Cheryle Valentine,Angela Yuriko Smith, Karon Dey. Correspondents: Mike Griffith, Sarah Clauson.

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Robinette, DDS (850) 897-9600 4566 Hwy 20 East Ste 108 Niceville, FL 32578 www.gulfcoastdental.com Like uson FACEBOOK By Daniel Elsesser Beacon Cras s pdtred County traffic engineers have reduced the left-hand turn lanes from White Point Road to State Road 20 from two lanes to one, but many motorists are apparently finding the new pattern confusing. More changes are planned to make the new flow easier to follow, according to county officials. Meantime, many motorists are still using the center of three lanes as a left-turn lane, despite traffic engineers' recent efforts to designate it as a straight-on lane. Jason Autrey, manager of the Okaloosa County Public Works engineering division, noted that traffic on White Point Road has decreased dramatically after a bypass opened to the east in September 2011. At that time White Point Road reverted to county-road status; it has been a state highway since the bridge opened in 1993. The Florida Department of Transportation counted an average of 18,700 vehicles a day at a point on White Point Road 500 feet south of SR 20 in 2010, the year before the connector opened. In 2011, the FDOT counted an average of 7,500 a day. The decline means that northbound motorists on White Point Road who wish to turn left at SR 20 no longer need two left-hand turn lanes to ease congestion at the intersection, Autrey said. Autrey said the intersection is currently a "split-phase" intersection, meaning traffic from White Point on either side of SR 20 cannot turn left at the same time. He said the signals will eventually be changed to allow simultaneous left turns by traffic heading west on SR 20 from White Point Road and traffic heading east on SR 20 from North White Point Road, a spur that ends at the Bluewater Manor. Autrey said forward-pointing arrows intended to guide vehicles in the center lane were added to the pavement and the traffic-light mast in late January. However, recent observations show that many motorists are still turning left, or west, from the center lane. Autrey said this will increase the efficiency of the intersection by lessening downtime, or time when traffic is not moving. By not making traffic on opposite sides of SR 20 wait for each other to turn, Autrey said, about four seconds of red light time can be cut from each 100-second cycle at the intersection. Autrey said that a dotted "skip" stripe that still suggests to motorists that they may turn left from the center lane will be removed at the expense of the Mid-Bay Bridge Authority. Autrey said that signal changes, which will disable the turn arrow from the center signal facing White Point Road, should be completed within six months. He said this only requires a programming change and will cost virtually nothing. "We will be monitoring this intersection," Autrey said. "If it does not work, we can alter it." Autrey said recent adjustments have been made to White Point Road to lessen the volume of through traffic headed to and from the Mid-Bay Bridge, including a four-way stop at the roads intersection with Daniel Elsesser Beacon Cras s pd tred Many Bluewater Bay residents oppose a plan by the Bluewater Bay Resort to convert four of the resort's Magnolia golf course holes to residential areas, according to critics of the plan. The resort submitted a proposed change to Bluewater's development of regional impact (DRI) to Okaloosa County. The Okaloosa Board of County Commissioners is scheduled to review the change at a meeting April 16, set for 6 p.m. at the county water and sewer building, 1804 Lewis Turner Blvd., Fort Walton Beach. Manfred Meine, a resident of Bluewater's Magnolia Plantation subdivision and former president of the neighborhood's homeowners' association, said he will attend the commission meeting to show opposition to the proposed change. Meine said he expects many other residents to attend in opposition as well. "I think you're going to have standing room only," Meine said. Raimund Herden, one of the original developers of Bluewater Bay, said he expects around 500 people from all over Bluewater to show at the April 16 meeting in opposition to the change. Meine, a professor at Troy University, said many Bluewater residents moved to the neighborhood because of the environment provided by the golf course. "I think part of why most of us moved here is because the golf course gives you a park-like feel," Meine said. "I think that's going to be damaged." Meine said he is concerned that property values will decrease as a result of adding high-density housing to areas previously occupied by the golf course. He said he is also concerned about increased traffic congestion and general deterioration of the golf course, and said he is certain numerous Bluewater homeowners join him in his sentiments.By Mike Griffith Beacon Sod d efW onienr At a Niceville Valparaiso Rotary Club meeting Thursday, Okaloosa County Commissioner David Parisot did what he could not do three days before at a legislative hearing in Tallahassee. Parisot presented a PowerPoint briefing entitled “A Commissioner's Viewpoint,” in which he discussed the events of the Okaloosa County Tourist Development Council (TDC) scandal, and the county commission’s role in trying to solve the problems that made the scandal possible. Parisot had submitted, and attempted to present, the same PowerPoint to the Joint Legislative Auditing Committee (JLAC) during the panel’s hearing in Tallahassee March 4. However, his briefing had been T T T h h e eB B a a y y B B e e a a c c o o n n 50¢Wednesday, March 13, 2013 info@baybeacon.com The voice of Niceville, Bluewater Bay and Valparaiso since 1992 (850) 678-1080 10 Pages, 2 Sections, 6 Inserts Please see VALP., page A-3 Please see SCANDAL, page A-3 Please see PLAN, page A-2 Police BlotterPage A-4Commissioner reports on county actions in TDC scandal’s wakeBy Mike Griffith Beacon Sod d efW onienr In its third meeting, a new citizens panel advising the Valparaiso City Commission spent much of its time discussing whether it was required to continue to meet in public. The Valparaiso Visioning Committee held its third meeting Thursday. Attending for the first time was Jill White, co-chair of the committee and a professor at Northwest Florida State College. Also in attendance was Valparaiso City Clerk Tammy Johnson, in an advisory role. The main order of business was a speakerphone discussion with Valparaiso City Attorney Hayward Dykes. The committee members asked Dykes for his advice as to whether the visioning committee is subject to the Florida Sunshine Law, which requires members of government boards that make laws or policy or advise the government to announce meetings in advance and to admit the public. Valp. panel wonders whether it is subject to open-meetings law Wednesday, 7:30 p.m. The Northwest Florida State College presents the theatrical version of Shakespeares A Midsummer Nights DreamŽ in the Sprint Theater, at the Mattie Kelly Arts Center, Niceville. Thursday, 3:30 p.m. Enjoy a scenic bike ride with the Adventure Club along the Bluewater Bay Resort, Niceville. Saturday, 7-11 a.m. Eat breakfast at the Niceville-Valparaiso Kiwanis Clubs pancake breakfast and silent auction at the Niceville High School cafeteria. Saturday, 7:30 p.m. See the pianist Yue Chu return for a private piano recital in the Tyler Recital Hall of the Mattie Kelly Arts Center, Niceville. Tuesday, 6:30 p.m. Celebrate archeology with a free history lecture Talking Smack: The Sailing Vessels of Pensacolas Fishing Industry,Ž at the Niceville Community Center 205 N. Partin Drive. See Calendar, B-2. COMING UP Beacon photo by Daniel Elsesser The left turn lane from White Point Road to State Road 20 was reduced from two lanes to one because of a perceived decrease in traffic turning off the road resulting from the construction of the Mid-Bay Bridge Connector. But old habits die hard, and some motoris ts, such as the one pictured (center left), are still turning left from the center lane. Straight and narrow Opposition mounts to golf course plan, critics say The voice of Niceville, Bluewater Bay and Valparaiso since 1992 Beacon photo Workers contracted by the city of Niceville lay concrete for a sidewalk on 27th Street, just east of Palm Boulevard, March 5. The job is one of several to add concrete sidewalks or asphalt walkways in the city. Public Works Director Bruce Price said Niceville awarded a $226,000 contract in October to Gum Creek Farms, a DeFuniak Springs paving company. The contract also includes orders for concrete sidewalks on Kildare Circle and asphalt pathways on Valparaiso Boulevard and Rocky Bayou Drive. The work is expected to be completed by mid May, with a total of 5,500 to 6,000 feet of new walkway. David ParisotIntersection update confuses motoristsAttempts continue to revamp White Point Road as local street New arrow on traffic mast indicates traffic flow from northbound center lane of White Point Road at SR 20. Please see CONFUSES, page A-5 By Daniel Elsesser Beacon Cras s pd tred First Judicial Circuit State Attorney Bill Eddins announced last week that the state has dropped a theft charge against Vision Airlines after the company paid $160,000 in restitution and costs. The state attorney's office has previously charged the Las Vegas-based airline, formerly a tenant at Northwest Florida Regional Airport, with first degree grand theft for its alleged failure to remit more than $100,000 in passenger facility charges (PFCs) to the county-operated airport. According to the state attorney's office, Vision paid about $117,000 in PFC restitution after being charged. On March 11, Vision paid an additional $43,477 in costs and legal fees owed to Okaloosa County and the airport. This payment includes $13,783 in legal fees to Okaloosa County and $29,694 in interest and delinquent fees. According to the original probable cause affidavit filed against Vision, the airline collected a $4.50 PFC for every passenger. It was permitted to retain 11 cents and remit the rest to the county monthly. Vision allegedly failed to do this frequently, according to the affidavit filed in Okaloosa County Circuit Court. Vision began offering flights out of the Northwest Florida Regional Airport in December 2010, and was evicted by Okaloosa County for nonpayment in July 2012, according to officials. According to Eddins, Vision has agreed to cooperate with the state attorney and the Okaloosa County Sheriff's Office in the ongoing investigation of the misuse of county funds by the Tourist Development Council. Eddins said March 12 that Vision's cooperation led to the dropping of the charge. "Vision paid the required PFC money immediately after they were charged, and they've paid late fees, Okaloosa's attorney's fees, and they've agreed to cooperate in our investigation," Eddins said. "Because of those three things, we felt that there would be no useful purpose in pursuing the charges and that justice will be properly served by disposing of the situation the way that we have." Eddins said his office is no longer involved in the dispute between Okaloosa County and Vision because the airline has made all required payments regarding PFCs. He said a county dispute with the airline over certain utility payments is a civil matter and therefore does not involve his office. Attempts to reach Vision Airline were unsuccessful. Previously the company had denied any wrongdoing and alleged that the county owed it money.By Daniel Elsesser Beacon Cras s pd tred The Niceville YMCA may have to move, but it's not shutting down, according to Michael Rojas, chief executive of YMCA of Florida's Emerald Coast. Rojas said Ruckel Properties, landlord for the YMCA branch at Palm Plaza in Niceville, wants the YMCA to begin paying the market rent for its space in Niceville or else relocate. Rojas said that given the market rate of about $10 per square foot per year, the 13,000-squarefoot Niceville YMCA cannot afford to stay in Palm Plaza, its home since the branch opened in 2006.By Daniel Elsesser Beacon Cras s pd tred The Niceville City Council approved a plan at its meeting March 12 to install new water meter reading technology to monitor the city’s residential and commercial water usage. The council approved a $1,315,177 project to install an automatic metering infrastructure (AMI) which sends data from meters to a database by radio transmission. City Clerk Dan Doucet said the previous system needed replacement because some transmitters had failed, requiring the city to go out and read the amounts manually instead of through a database. The city awarded the contract to Innovative Metering Solutions, a distributor of meter products. Doucet said the new meter reading system they offer is of greater quality than the one currently used by the city. Doucet said the new system would eventually allow all meters to be read through the database, requiring no manual field readings. Doucet said this is important because field readings can be delayed due to inclement weather, leading to water bills for city customers that include an extra week of billing. Doucet said this confusion can be eliminated with an improved meterreading system. Innovative Metering Solutions is a distributor for Badger Meter, a Wisconsin company that manufactures the reading equipment. By Mike Griffith Beacon Sod d efW onienr On a split vote, the Bluewater Bay Municipal Services Benefit Unit (MSBU) governing board has decided to seek proposals to spruce up the community. During a meeting March 12, board member Judy Griffin said that a landscape workshop held Feb. 22 was successful, with over 30 people in attendance. She recommended that the tax-supported MSBU follow up that workshop by seeking bids from landscape designers who might be able to come up with a master landscaping plan for Bluewater Bay. Fellow board member Dale Blanchard, however, disagreed with Griffin’s statement that the landscape workshop had been a success. “I was there,” he said, “and I didn’t get that impression.” Griffin, however, persisted in saying that Bluewater T T T h h e eB B a a y y B B e e a a c c o o n n 50¢Wednesday, March 20, 2013 info@baybeacon.com The voice of Niceville, Bluewater Bay and Valparaiso since 1992 (850) 678-1080 10 Pages, 2 Sections, 4 Inserts Please see WATER, page A-5 Please see MSBU, page A-3 Police BlotterPage A-4MSBU votes to explore options for landscapingBy Mike Griffith Beacon Sod d efW onienr Valparaiso Mayor Bruce Arnold has called for replacing the city commission form of government that he has long headed with a city council that delegates administrative functions to either an elected mayor or a hired city manager. Any such change would require voter approval. In a two-hour nonvoting workshop meeting held Monday, city commissioners discussed whether, and if so, how, to change the form of the city's government. The meeting produced little agreement, except to hold another workshop on April 1. The meeting began with a presentation by Arnold of his position paper advocating a change in the form ofValp. mayor urges change in govt. form Wed., 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Northwest Florida State College and University of West Florida will host a career and job fair at the joint college campus Fort Walton Beach. Thursday, 6 p.m. Enjoy a Hunting Heritage BanquetŽ to benefit the National Wild Turkey Federation featuring raffles, an auction and games at the North Light Yacht Club Niceville. Friday, 2-4 p.m. Bring the kids to play games at a giant board game party at the Valparaiso Community Library Friday, 7:30 p.m. Come hear the Okaloosa Chamber Singers perform Now Let Us SingŽ in a free, public concert at St. Paul Lutheran Church Niceville. Saturday, 7:30 a.m. Embark on a free bird and nature walk with the Choctawhatchee Audubon Society in the Upland Hardwoods of Walton County. Meet at Food World Niceville. See Calendar, B-2. COMING UP Kellie Morris, 31, of Niceville, exercises at the Niceville YMCA March 18. She said she hopes the Niceville Y will stay open in some capacity in the Twin Cities. The non-profit health club will likely have to move from Palm Plaza because of a rent increase. Beacon photo by Daniel Elsesser The wind's song Niceville OKs $1.3 million water-meter pactBeacon photo by Tive friN N ith On Saturday, the Bluewater Bay Sailing Club held its fourth regatta, or sailboat race, of the 2013 season. Clear weather, calm water on Choctawhatchee Bay, and a moderate breeze made an ideal day for sailing. The boat Avocet, pictured, finished fifth in the second spinnaker race, which was won by Shenanigan. Other winners were: Maverick (first spinnaker race), and Pandemonium (nonspinnaker/cruiser race). Please see VALP., page A-3 Michael Rojas Mayor Bruce ArnoldTheft charge against airline is droppedYMCA seeks cheaper home New radio-controlled water meter. Please see YMCA, page A-2 uhe woice oN Vicewille, Bl1e9ater Bay and Malparaiso since kGG2 By Daniel Elsesser Beacon Staff Writer Valparaiso Mayor Bruce Arnold said he is "not planning" to run for reelection next year, but that he might change his mind. Arnold said he was "getting tired" and would likely not seek another four-year term. Arnold, 83, was elected mayor of Valparaiso in January 1964 and will have served 50 years by the time of the next election in March 2014, the longest unbroken tenure by a currently serving elected mayor in Florida. A representative of the Florida League of Cities said Apopka's John Land has served the longest as an elected mayor in Florida—63 years and counting. But Land's tenure, which began in 1950, was broken for three years from 1968 to 1971. Arnold, whose mayoral position also makes him a voting member of the five-member city commission, said he had not intended to run for reelection in Valparaiso's 2010 election, but was persuaded to run by members of the Valparaiso community. "I wasn't going to run last time, but I did because so many people asked me to," Arnold said. "If I hadn't had so many people coming to my house and begging me to run again, I would've retired." Arnold said that for this election, any such requests would not figure in his decision whether to seek office again. By Daniel Elsesser Beacon Staff Writer The Florida Fire Marshal has determined that someone set an early-morning fire that destroyed a motor vehicle parked in a front yard in Valparaiso March 17. Spokeswoman Deborah Jamison said the fire marshal's office has determined arson to be the cause of the blaze. She said the agency was trying to determine who was responsible. Estimated damage to the 2002 Jeep Grand Cherokee was $15,000. On March 17, Valparaiso Fire Chief Mark Norris informed police that he suspected foul play as the cause of a vehicle fire which firefighters had just extinguished, according to a Valparaiso police report. Norris said the unoccupied SUV, found on the first block of Edge Avenue, was engulfed in flames upon firefighters' arrival. The Jeep was parked in the middle of the front yard away from the house. A police officer reported the car is usually backed in close to the house to the right of the front porch, and he said he had seen the car its usual position at approximately 1 p.m. March 16. Investigating the fire, the officer contacted other residents of Edge Avenue who have a home video surveillance system. The officer viewed surveillance footage and saw a flash of fire in the vehicle and a figure running away from it at 4:29 a.m. March 17. Norris said his department worked with a fire marshal investigator who took debris from the burned car for inspection.By Daniel Elsesser Beacon Staff Writer Niceville High School administrators plan to close Old Coastal Highway, the street between NHS and Ruckel Middle School, to through traffic from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on school days, starting Monday, as a security measure. Grant Meyer, an assistant principal at Niceville High School, said the east entrance to Old Coastal Highway at Palm Boulevard North will be blocked by a locked gate every day school is in session. Meyer said the entrance to Old Coastal from Partin Drive North will remain open at all times. Meyer said he brought the idea up to other Niceville High School administrators at a meeting called to identify ways to make the campus safer. A March 13 letter from Principal Rodney Nobles to Niceville city officials cited, By Daniel Elsesser Beacon Staff Writer The Niceville Housing Authority opened its waiting list March 5 for zero-and one-bedroom housing for the first time since September 2010. Dottie Avery, the authority's executive director, said nine people dropped off the list in the last six months, dropping the expected wait time for housing down to about two years. Avery said she had reason to believe as many as six more will drop off in the next six months. Of the authority's 111 units, only 15 are one-bedroom and three are zero-bedroom, Avery said. A onebedroom dwelling is about 600 square feet, while a zero-bedroom unit is 550-square-foot efficiency apartment with a bed "nook" instead of a bedroom with a door. Avery said that the waiting list for the 18 units stands T T T h h e eB B a a y y B B e e a a c c o o n n 50¢Wednesday, March 27, 2013 info@baybeacon.com The voice of Niceville, Bluewater Bay and Valparaiso since 1992 (850) 678-1080 14 Pages, 2 Sections, 4 Inserts Please see MAYOR, page A-8 Please see HOUSING, page A-7 Please see BRIDGE, page A-2 Please see SECURITY, page A-5 Police BlotterPage A-3 School safety eyed, A-7. Housing agency takes applications for 18 dwellingsBy Daniel Elsesser Beacon Staff Writer The Mid-Bay Bridge Authority (MBBA) has ruled out building a wall to reduce road noise that bothers residents who live near the south end of the bridge approach highway. The authority said a noise study of the neighborhoods White Point Village and Chardonnay Estates found that it wouldn't be cost effective to build the wall, which was requested by the residents. The study was commissioned at a meeting Jan. 31 between the MBBA, the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), and residents of the neighborhoods, many of whom had complained that traffic noise from the connector was harming their quality of life. MBBA Executive Director Jim Vest the MBBA will accept the results of the study. "We conducted the noise study at the request of the Bridge agency rules out wall to block noise Through March 30 Artist Lou Kaunzinger 's art is on display at Niceville Library Come view her watercolors and acrylics during regular library hours. Wed., 6-7:30 p.m. Meet the five finalists for the position of Okaloosa County Administrator during a meet and greet at Emerald Coast Convention Center Light hors d'oeuvres and a cash bar available. Friday and Saturday Three Easter egg hunts will keep the little ones happy all weekend long, Niceville and Valparaiso. Mon., 6:30 p.m. Anne Hornstein will show how to make flyers, format a book and make greeting cards using Pages application for Mac, NWF State College. Calendar, B-2 COMING UP The east gate of Old Coastal Highway between Niceville High School and Ruckel Middle School, which connects to Palm Boulevard North, will be closed from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on school days starting April 1. The idea was proposed by Assistant Principal Grant Meyer, pictured at the gate. Beacon photo by Daniel Elsesser Spring swim Valp. mayor mulls retirementBeacon photo by Mike Griffith After a series of thunderstorms on Friday and Saturday, ushering in the official start of spring like a lion, Twin Cities residents welcomed bright blue skies and warm temperatures on Sunday, which gave people the opportunity to enjoy the outdoors, especially near local waterways. Valparaiso s Lincoln Park was a busy place Sunday afternoon, as the sunny weather brought people out to the beach.Arson blamed in blaze that destroyed SUVIn security move, schools curb access via Old Coastal Hwy. The voice of Niceville, Bluewater Bay and Valparaiso since 1992 Bruce Arnold By Daniel Elsesser Beacon Cras s pdtred A member of the Florida House of Representatives has already launched his campaign for the District 1 state senate seat currently held by Don Gaetz, saying Gaetz might leave office before his term ends in 2016. Gaetz, a Niceville Republican, said he doesn't plan to leave office prematurely. Jimmy Patronis, a Panama City Republican from District 6, said his senate campaign is geared towards running for the District 1 senate seat, currently held by Gaetz, who is also serving as Senate President. Because of Florida term limits, Gaetz, who was first elected to the senate 2006, cannot run for re-election when his current four-year term ends in November 2016. Patronis said the possibility of Gaetz stepping down early, perhaps to pursue higher political office, was one reason he has begun campaigning now. "I haven't spoken to the senator personally on this, but he might for some reason decide to leave office before his term is over," Patronis said. "In two years he'll go from being Senate President to being in a position of much less authority," he said, referring to the fact that Gaetz's Senate term will last two more years after his tenure as the body's president ends next year. Patronis stated Gaetz may be a candidate for appointment lieutenant governor, a seat that became vacant upon the March 12 resignation of Republican Jennifer Carroll amid questions about her financial dealings. Gov. Rick Scott said he would not appoint a new lieutenant governor until the current legislative session ends late this month. Gaetz said last week that he has no intention of leaving his senate seat before his term ends in 2016. "I intend to fulfill my responsibilities," Gaetz said. "I was elected to a four-year term, and I will serve every day of that term." Gaetz also said he has no desire to be lieutenant governor, and declared that Patronis is getting "ahead of himself" if he expects the senator to leave office early. "Rep. Patronis is the only politician in the state running for By Daniel Elsesser Beacon Crass pdtred A Niceville man allegedly presented a one-sided case as to the legitimacy of his cash. The 51-year-old man tried to buy coffee from two Niceville stores with a fake $100 bill that was printed on copier paper and was blank on one side, according to Niceville police, who issued the following report: The man was arrested March 23 on two felony counts of fraud by passing a counterfeit note. He allegedly attempted to buy coffee with a counterfeit $100 bill at the Dollar Tree in the Palm Plaza, Niceville By Mike Griffith Beacon Sod d efW onienr The Valparaiso City Commission’s second meeting on potential changes to the city charter, held Monday, produced no more agreement than a previous session on the same subject. Another such workshop meeting will be held on April 22 at 6 p.m. The commission does not have the authority to change the city’s form of government on its own. The most the city commission can do, if commissioners eventually vote to do so, is to place a proposed change to the charter on the ballot for a referendum by Valparaiso voters. During Monday night’s discussion, Mayor John B. Arnold and Commissioner Kay Hamilton supported a change in the form of city government, while commissioners Hayward Strong and Joe Morgan preferred to leave the form of government T T T h h e eB B a a y y B B e e a a c c o o n n 50¢Wednesday, April 3, 2013 info@baybeacon.com The voice of Niceville, Bluewater Bay and Valparaiso since 1992 (850) 678-1080 12 Pages, 2 Sections, 5 Inserts Please see VALP., page A-2 Please see FAKE, page A-3 Police BlotterPage A-4Debate on Valp. charter Thurs., 3-5 p.m. Emerald Coast Professionals will be honing their skills and making connections during a new networking group at the Niceville Valparaiso Chamber of Commerce. Visit emeraldcoastprofessionals.com for details, Niceville. Sat., 11 a.m.-5p.m. Safe Haven Horse Rescue will host a celebration that includes live country music by Ed Tanza arts and crafts vendors and an auction at 1 p.m. Horses available to adopt, Laurel Hill. Sat., 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Scout-O-Rama will have plenty of free games, demonstrations and crafts at Uptown Station Inflatable entertainment can be enjoyed with purchase of an armband $8 at the door, $25 for families, Fort Walton Beach. Sat., 6 p.m. Choctaw Bay Music Club members perform on two new Yamaha grand pianos as it presents its 22nd annual duo piano concert at Tyler Recital Hall Northwest Florida State College, Niceville. Calendar, B-4 COMING UP Hop to it Lawmaker eyes Gaetz seat The voice of Niceville, Bluewater Bay and Valparaiso since 1992 Beacon photo by Daniel ElsesserBlew by youLandscaper Justin Kelley cleans the remnants of winter from the Niceville First United Methodist Church parking lot March 27 in preparation of the church's Holy Week services. By Daniel Elsesser Beacon Cras s pd tred Niceville launched a pilot program Monday to determine the effectiveness of 96-gallon recycling carts, using two neighborhoods as guinea pigs. City officials and garbagecompany executives hope the three-month program will encourage residents to recycle more waste. If that proves to be the case, the program could be expanded citywide. Waste Management Inc. delivered the wheeled, yellowlidded carts Friday to homes on Kildare Circle, a 50-home Please see GAETZ, page A-3 This piece of copy paper allegedly presented as legal tender in two stores was blank on the reverse, a fact not lost on the cashiers who refused to accept it. A Niceville man was charged with passing a counterfeit. Beacon photo by Daniel Elsesser Waste Management employees distribute 96-gallon recycling carts to houses on Black Bear Circle, Niceville, March 29. The carts will be used as part of a 90-day program which began Monday to determine whether the larger carts lead to an increase in recycling. Don Gaetz Jimmy PatronisBig recycling cans are set out in test Please see CANS, page A-5Beacon photo by Mike Griffith It was a cavalcade of cuteness Saturday morning at Valparaiso s Lincoln Park and at Niceville s softball complex, as each city held its annual Easter egg dash. Children in various age groups waited eagerly for the starting signal, before dashing out across su nlit grassy fields to gather up as many plastic Easter eggs, small toys, and pieces of candy as they could. Some 3,500 eggs were u sed in the Valparaiso event, pictured. Man tries to buy coffee with fake $100 Goodpaster Design Rendering of proposed $225,000 Eagle Ram Tennis Center at Ruckel Middle School. The eight-court complex would be open for public use, according to fundraisers. By Daniel Elsesser Beacon Crass pdtred Members of the Eagle Ram Tennis Center "Steering Committee" said they have raised $165,000 towards the estimated $225,000 necessary to begin construction on a new tennis facility in Niceville. Chris Poate, Niceville High School tennis coach and cochair of the committee, said the project is intended to give Niceville and Ruckel tennis teams a home facility. It will also be open to the public, he said. Poate said the original estimate of $300,000 for initial construction has gone down significantly thanks to in-kind work commitments from the City of Niceville and individuals such as Matt Parker of JP Engineering. Bruce Price, Niceville public works director, said that Reagan Huff, a member of the committee, approached him with a "wish list" of services the city might provide for the facility without charging. Price said the department tentatively agreed to some projects on the wish list, including demolition, grading and construction of underground conduits for a lighting system. Price said the projects could cost the city $1,000 for demolition and $2,000 to $3,000 for equipment rental, in addition to labor. He didn't request action by the council, but he said he will likely request approval from the council before making By Mike Griffith Beacon Sod d efW onienr Okaloosa County may require increases in taxes on property, fuel and sales, along with more cuts to county staff and services, according to retiring County Administrator Jim Curry. The Okaloosa County Commission was scheduled to meet last night to begin its budget-setting process for the 2013-14 fiscal year, which will begin Oct. 1. In recommendations prepared for delivery to the commission, Curry stated that while the costs of county services continue to climb, revenue from property taxes, as well as other taxes and state aid, remains flat or even in decline, largely due to the stagnation which has afflicted the national and local economies since 2008. Curry’s budget recommendations for the coming year began with a recommendation to increase the county property tax millage rate: “Because of the current demand for new services, the increase in operating costs and unfunded T T T h h e eB B a a y y B B e e a a c c o o n n 50¢Wednesday, April 10, 2013 info@baybeacon.com The voice of Niceville, Bluewater Bay and Valparaiso since 1992 (850) 678-1080 12 Pages, 2 Sections, 5 Inserts Please see COUNTY, page A-3 Please see VALP., page A-3 Police BlotterPage A-4County aide asserts need for tax hikesBy Daniel Elsesser Beacon Cras s pd tred The Valparaiso City Commission approved an ordinance April 8 on second and final reading that prohibits frontor side-yard fences in R-2 (residential multiple-family) zoning districts or zero-lot-line developments. The ordinance was drafted to keep people from constructing fences that would inadvertently obstruct their neighbor's access to their own property. Valparaiso City Administrator Carl Scott said many houses in Valparaiso are zero-lot-line developments, or developments where a structure has been placed along a boundary line. He said because of this, fences built on the front and side yards of these properties, if they run along the perimeter of the boundary, would run almost directly up against the adjacent house. This would make it impossible for the resident of the adjacent house to access his exterior side wall, which in some neighborhoods holds the house's energy meter. "On zero-lot-line property, you could build a Valp. votes fence limits Thurs., 9:30 a.m. Bluewater Bay Garden Club in Niceville will present guest speaker Marina Wilson, senior forester, to teach about managing Florida trees to last for years. Call 8975560 for details. Fri,. & Sat., 7:30 p.m. Dance Facets returns to the main stage at the Mattie Kelly Arts Center in Niceville to present its annual dance concert 38 dancers will perform fourteen original dance presentations featuring a variety of dance styles. Tickets $20 for adults, $15 for youth. Call 729-6000. Sat., 11 a.m.-1 p.m. The Science Brothers will be exploring science using hands on experiments for all ages at the Biophilia Center, Center hours are 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Center admission is $5 for adults, $2 for children. Call 835-1824. April 17, 8 a.m. Northwest Florida State College in Nicevillebegins its anniversary celebration with a free assembly for the public at the Raiders Arena. Three of the surviving WWII Doolittle Raiders crewmembers are scheduled to appear. Calendar, B-3 COMING UP Mike Moore, owner of Gulf Star Contracting, the company hired by the Niceville Valparaiso Regional Sewer Board to maintain the board reclaimed water sprayfields, mows grass on the fields April 4. A decrease in the field's acreage to make room for the Mid-Bay Bridge Connector led the board to sign a less expensive contract with Moore for the next year. Beacon photo by Daniel Elsesser By Daniel Elsesser Beacon Cras s pd tred The Niceville Valparaiso Regional Sewer Board extended its contract with Gulf Star Contracting, the contractor that oversees the board's reclaimed water sprayfield, until June 2014. Mike Moore, owner of Gulf Star Contracting, said the extension for his original contract was set to expire June 30. At a meeting April 3 in Niceville, the sewer board discussed some method of lowering maintenance expenditures because the sprayfield shrank from 280 acres to 230 acres in June 2012, when some land was taken for the new MidBay Bridge Connector highway. The sewer board owns and controls the Niceville Valpariaso Regional Wastewater Treatment Facility and its associated effluent sprayfield on Eglin land north of Niceville. Rick Helms, Niceville Valparaiso Regional Wastewater Treatment Facility manager, suggested the board reduce its payment to Gulf Star from $118,000 a year to something proportional to the smaller field size. Moore offered to continue his current tasks on the smaller fields for $95,113 a year, an offer which the board unanimously approved.Sewer authority makes hay while the sun shinesLess sprayfield mowing as effluent gets cleaner$165K raised for tennis center Spring temperatures and clear skies have brought people out of their houses to enjoy such activities as kayaking at Turkey Creek Park or, right, the scene at the Bluewater Bay Cultural Arts Festival, hosted Saturday by Bluewater Bay Marina. Marina owner Brett Hinely said that about 25 vendors set up booths at the festival, offering food and beverage tastings, live music, and assorted arts and crafts. Beacon photos by Mike GriffithWarming trend Please see TENNIS, page A-2 Please see SEWER, page A-2 The voice of Niceville, Bluewater Bay and Valparaiso since 1992 A year-long 50th anniversary celebration of Northwest Florida State College begins today, Wednesday, with the visit of three crew members of the Doolittle Raiders to dedicate a new exhibit detailing the famed aviators' daring air raid on WWII Japan. The festive 50th anniversary kickoff assembly will begin at 9 a.m. in the college’s 2,100seat Raiders Arena on the Niceville campus. Doors will open at 8 a.m., but will close when the arena reaches capacity. Free and open to the public, the event features the opening of a permanent Doolittle Raiders historical exhibit in the lobby of the arena. Three of the surviving 1942 Doolittle Raiders crew members are scheduled to appear at the event and will be honored T T T h h e eB B a a y y B B e e a a c c o o n n 50¢Wednesday, April 17, 2013 info@baybeacon.com The voice of Niceville, Bluewater Bay and Valparaiso since 1992 (850) 678-1080 12 Pages, 2 Sections, 6 Inserts Please see WATER, page A-2 Please see RAIDERS, page A-2Doolittle Raiders kick off college’s 50th birthdayBy Daniel Elsesser Beacon Staff Writer Users of reclaimed water from the Niceville Valparaiso Regional sewage plant must temporarily get water from other sources due to side-effects of work at the plant. The work, which is designed to make effluent from the plant cleaner, has had the paradoxical short-term effect of making the water unfit for public irrigation, when tested under state standards. The sewage plant in Niceville has closed one of its three "trains," or wastewater treatment systems, for upgrades that will eventually remove more nitrogen and phosphorus from effluent. While the work goes on, however, it effectively forces all wastewater processed by the plant into two-thirds of the plant's usual processing capacity, temporarily lessening the effectiveness of treatment. According to Niceville City Manager Lannie Reclaimed water use suspended Sat., 8 a.m.4 p.m. The Heritage Museum of Northwest Florida will host its 37th Saturday in the Park at 115 Westview Ave., Valparaiso withfolk artists, traditional heritage craft demonstrations, re-enactors, live entertainment, food and craft vendors. The museum will be open free of charge and showcase a new exhibit to commemorate exhibit to commemorate 500 years of Florida history. Sat., 7 a.m.-12 p.m. Saint Paul Lutheran Church will hold its Annual Yard Sale Extravaganza in the Church parking lot at 1407 E. John Sims Parkway in Niceville. Proceeds from the yard sale will be used for a Lutheran Scholarship Fund. For more information call 678 -1298. Wed., 10 a.m. … 3 p.m. Celebrate Earth Day at the Biophilia Center The event will feature bluegrass music with Franko and the Fiends, festival food, great raffle prizes, environmental demos and more. Tickets are $2 and children under six get in free. For more information visit eowilsoncenter.org. Calendar, B-4 COMING UP Beacon photo by Daniel Elsesser Rocky Bayou Christian School fourth-graders Gavin Johnson, Zev Edelman and Brandon Payne help clean up a yard on Nathey Street, Niceville, April 12. Students from the school have gone out annually for years to assist people with work they can't do themselves. Nearly 700 students from grades 1-12 helped out at this and 21 other locations in the Twin Cities area that day. Helping hands The voice of Niceville, Bluewater Bay and Valparaiso since 1992 Beacon photo by Daniel Elsesser A pond resulting from beavers damming up a natural spring west of Juniper Avenue, Niceville, is pleasing to some nearby residents but creates more wetlands than city officials would like. Police BlotterPage A-4 Give me a brakeErica Laine (right), Eglin Natural Resources volunteer coordinator, stares down an all-terrain vehicle approaching at 15 mph while conducting a quick stop exercise during an ATV training course for Eglin volunteers at the Jackson Guard, Niceville, April 12. The trainees will patrol Eglin-owned beaches to watch over sea turtle nests. Beacon photo by Daniel ElsesserWill beavers beat city hall?By Daniel Elsesser Beacon Staff Writer Leave it to beavers to rock the boat. A natural spring west of Juniper Avenue near Honeysuckle Lane is backed up into a pond by a beaver dam, causing headaches with the Niceville Public Works Department, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and nearby homeowners. Public Works Director Bruce Price said the city does not want any additional wetlands and thus will seek to reduce the water level in the pond, possibly by removing he dam the beavers have built. Price said the beaver dam might be replaced by a concrete weir to keep the water level lower than it is now. However, some residents of Honeysuckle Way, a neighborhood just south of the beaver pond, like the look of the pond and don't want it drained. Price said he is not sure exactly what the city will be able to do regarding the pond, not only because it is private land owned by Ruckel Properties, but also because any solution would require approval from regulatory agencies such as the DEP. Price said the city has hired an environmental surveyor to determine the boundaries of the wetland and to help determine how high to allow the water to rise with the planned weir. Price learned about the necessity of DEP approval firsthand when an almost identical situation arose 12 years ago. In 2001, the same spring became backed into a pond by a beaver dam, a little farther west than the current dam. The dam was damaged and the Please see BEAVERS, page A-6County eyes one or more tax hikesBy Mike Griffith Beacon Correspondent Okaloosa County commissioners last week considered raising county gasoline taxes and implementing franchise fees for public utilities as possible options for increasing county revenue in order to balance the Fiscal Year 2013-14 county budget. The new fiscal year will begin on Oct. 1. The county commission’s first nonvoting budget workshop for the coming fiscal year was held April 9 in Fort Walton Beach. It began with a briefing from County Administrator James Curry, who told commissioners that although county revenue from property taxes has not increased, expenses for providing county services have grown during the past year. In order to balance the coming year’s budget, said Curry, the county commission must either make serious cuts to county services and/or staff, or raise an additional $4.82 million for the county’s general fund. Curry stated that while the costs of county services continue to climb, revenue from property taxes, as well as other taxes and state aid, remains relatively level, or even in decline, largely due to the stagnation of the national economy since 2008. One option for increasing county revenue, said Curry, would be an increase in county property taxes.But commissioners rule out boost in millage rate Please see TAX HIKES, page A-3 MULLISEYEINSTITUTEDarren Payne, MDBoard Certified Eye Surgeon & Cataract SpecialistNO HIDDEN CHARGES: It is our office policy that the right to refuse to pay, cancel payment or be reimbursed for payment for any other services, examination or treatment which is performed as a result of and within 72 hours of responding to the advertisement for any free, discounted fee or reduce d fee service, examination or treatment.Dr. Darren Payne’s Smart lens Procedure can produce clear vision without eye glasses at all distances (close up, far away, & in between )Call Today at:Niceville Location 115 Bailey Dr. • 678-5338Crestview Location 930 N. Ferdon Blvd. • 682-5338 Call for a Smart Lens Evaluation with Dr. Darren Payne Need Eye Glasses to Read?Smart LensesSM Po lly ’s Co n c r ete P r oducts Po lly ’s Co n c r ete P r oductswww. p o lly sco n c r ete.co m Before After $50.00OFFFormed & Poured Driveway$100.00OFFCobblestone Paver Driveway READY TO ENHANCE YOUR CURB APPEAL?Upgrade your old existing driveway with Stylish Cobblestone Pavers or we can remove and repour your driveway.Call today for a free estimate 897-3314 Oak Creek Shopping Center  Niceville 678-1593  9-6 Mon.-Sat.www.bayoubookcompany.com Since 1986Make a New Year’s Resolution you can enjoy Read More Books!

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THEBAYBEACONWednesday, January 1, 2014 Page A-3 The voice of Niceville, Bluewater Bay and Valparaiso since 1992 Mid-Bay Plaza Bluewater Bay897-4466 By Mike Griffith Beacon Correspondent During a meeting of the Mid-Bay Bridge Authority in Destin Thursday, Executive Director Jim Vest told the governing board that the MBBA has received its final settlement from BP. The settlement, said Vest, is for $200,000 and covers revenue lost during 2011 and later years as a result of tourists and other potential users of the Mid-Bay Bridge who stayed away after hearing about the BP oil spill in 2010. No significant amounts of oil reached Okaloosa County or Walton County shores, but bad publicity caused many vacationers to cancel their plans, hurting bridge toll revenue during the peak summer season. The $200,000 settlement from BP follows an earlier settlement from BP for Mid-Bay Bridge revenue lost during 2010, the year of the oil spill. Vest also gave the board an update on pending state legislation that may affect the MidBay Bridge Authority. He said House Bill 70127 has made it through committees and is due for a vote on the house floor T T T h h e eB B a a y y B B e e a a c c o o n n 50¢Wednesday, April 24, 2013 info@baybeacon.com The voice of Niceville, Bluewater Bay and Valparaiso since 1992 (850) 678-1080 12 Pages, 2 Sections, 4 Inserts Please see BRIDGE, page A-3 Bridge receives BP funds Fri.-Sat., 7 p.m. The Niceville High School Drama Department will be presenting PromedyŽ and The Best Show Never SeenŽ in the Niceville Auditorium on Friday, April 26 and Saturday, April 27. All shows begin at 7 p.m.. Tickets are $5 at the door and may also be purchased prior to the performance at 2178101. Sun., 6:45 p.m. The Baptist College of Florida Jazz Ensemble will perform at a spring concert Sunday, April 28, 6:45 p.m. at First Baptist Church of Niceville Mon., 7:30 p.m. The Northwest Florida State College Soundsations Showchoir and Jazz Ensemble presents an end-of-year concert April 29, 7:30 p.m., in the mainstage theater of the Mattie Kelly Arts Center NWFSC, Niceville. Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for youths 18 and younger. NWFSC students may obtain one free admission per ID, in person from the box office. Purchase tickets at 729-6000 or www.mattiekellyartscenter.org. Calendar, B-3,5 COMING UP By Mike Griffith Beacon Correspondent Valparaiso City Commission Monday held its third in a series of workshops to discuss potential changes to the municipal charter and to the city’s form of government. As during the previous two workshops, held March 18 and April 1, Mayor Bruce Arnold advocated changing the city’s form of government from its current “commission” form to another form, such as a “strong mayor” or “city manager” type of government. Two commissioners opposed the idea. The city commission does not have the authority to change the form of government on its own. The most the commission can do, if it eventually votes to do so, is to place a proposed change to the city charter on the March 2014 ballot for a citywide referendum. During Monday’s discussion, Arnold and commissioners Diane Kelley and Kay Hamilton supported a change in the form of city government, while commissioners Hayward Strong and Joe Morgan preferred to leave Valparaiso’s form of government as it is. Strong and Morgan said that Beacon pacnh ct pao b b aycDb ialEsarcDETcEvfcNEb ,ErE uncu vpacwddV By Daniel Elsesser Beacon Staff Writer Okaloosa County traffic engineers have dropped a controversial plan to reduce the number of left-hand turn lanes from White Point Road to State Road. 20 in Bluewater Bay. In late January, the county reconfigured the intersection so that north-facing vehicles emerging from White Point Road at SR 20 could no longer use the middle of three lanes to turn left. In theory, the restriction reduced the number of left-turn lanes to one for motorists leaving northbound White Point Road for westbound SR 20. But the change was widely ignored, and many motorists continued to use the middle lane to turn left. Jason Autrey, Okaloosa County engineering division manager, said traffic had decreased so much on White Point Road since the opening of the Mid-Bay Bridge connector County backtracks on turn-lane restriction Police Blotter1E9ac 2P g A final saluteDaEpnvc,ensncATc-Ev ab c4b uauuar Lt. Cols. Dick Cole and Edward Saylor and Staff Sgt. David Thatcher, three of the four surviving Doolittle Raiders, stand besid e Medal of Honor recipient Col. Bud Day at a ceremony celebrating the 50th anniversary of Northwest Florida State College and the 71st anniversary of the Doolittle raid at the college's Raiders Arena, Niceville, April 17. The college mascot, a fox named Jimmy a fter the historic WWII air raid's leader, the late Gen. Jimmy Doolittle, attended as well. The 2013 reunion of the Doolittle raid veter ans is said to be their last.Valp. officials split on change to city charter Relay for LifeNeither rain nor cold nor gathering darkness stopped a small but dedicated group of Relay for Life supporters from taking part in this year s event to fight cancer. This year s annual Relay for Life at the Niceville High School stadium began Friday evening despite constant rain, dropping temperatures, and darkening skies. The event began with an opening ceremony. This was followed by the “survivors' walk,” in which cancer survivors paraded around the track at the stadium. Please see VALP., page A-2 Please see LANE, page A-6The turn lanes at White Point Road and SR 20 have been repainted back to the way they looked before January. County traffic engineers changed the intersection in January to allow left turns from only one of three lanes, a reduction of one. The pattern was repainted to revert to two turn lanes earlier this month after many drivers ignored the new flow. DaEpnvc,ensncATc-Ev ab c4b uauuar By Daniel Elsesser Beacon Staff Writer Bluewater Bay Resort Monday withdrew a request to redesignate part of its Magnolia golf course as land for residential development and announced it would close the nine-hole course to play beginning May 1 as a cost-cutting move. Helmut Werner, chairman of the resort, withdrew the proposal Monday afternoon amid mounting opposition to the development plan from Bluewater Bay homeowners. In a statement, the resort also said it was working with community members in an effort to avoid the closure of an additional, unspecified, nine holes as well. The company operates four ninehole courses in Bluewater Bay, all lined by houses. Werner said the Magnolia development, proposed earlier this year, was withdrawn because Okaloosa County planners were "imposing unreasonable standards of review" on the petition to change Bluewater Bay's development of regional impact (DRI) plan, which broadly governs development in the 35-year-old community. "There have been 13 changes to the DRI made in the past 20 years or so," Werner said. "[The county] has never requested such detailed information." Werner said the county requested plans for roads, setbacks and other details for the potential residential development on the golf course. He said the resort could not afford the additional time and money it would take to provide the information. Werner said all nine holes of the Magnolia course would be closed indefinitely. He said the resort would erect fences around the course and would not mow or otherwise maintain it. Werner said the fences around the closed Magnolia course would bear "Private Property" signs, and residents would no longer be allowed on it, because of insurance concerns. He said that footbridges over water on the Magnolia course would be blocked as well. Tom Hanks, resort general Please see WITHDRAWN, page A-2 Golf-course conversion bid withdrawnBWB Resort drops plan to build homes on links By Daniel Elsesser Beacon Staff Writer Having achieved their aim of blocking a proposed housing development, many Bluewater residents are unhappy with Bluewater Bay Resort's decision last week to shut down its its nine-hole Magnolia golf course, which closed to play effective yesterday. Manfred Meine, a resident of Bluewater's Magnolia Plantation subdivision, said the resort has taken a "stick in the eye approach" to the failure of its plan to sell part of the golf course for home sites. "We got our wish," Meine said, referring to the resort's decision April 22 to withdraw its request of the county to designate parts of four of Magnolia's nine fairways for residential development. "But the resort is approaching this in a way that will make things unpleasant for everyone," added Meine, a former Magnolia homeowners association president. T T T h h e eB B a a y y B B e e a a c c o o n n 50¢Wednesday, May 1, 2013 info@baybeacon.com The voice of Niceville, Bluewater Bay and Valparaiso since 1992 (850) 678-1080 12 Pages, 2 Sections, 5 Inserts Residents lament closure of golf course9 holes shuttered after housing plans are scotched Fri., 7:30 p.m. Northwest Florida Ballet presents Lightwire Theater one night only with The Ugly Duckling and Tortoise and the Hare. Tickets are $28 for adults and $14 for children. Call 664-7787, Niceville. Sat., 11 a.m. Visit the Biophilia Center as Rick OConnor teaches all about snakes in our area. Turtle Bob will also be on hand with his reptilian friends. For more info visit eowilsoncenter.org, Freeport. Tues., 5:30 p.m. Join the Heritage Museum of Northwest Florida 115 Westview Ave. for a fiber rush weave class. Students will learn fiber rush weave and make their own foot stool for $55 or $50 for museum members. Register early at 678-2615, Valparaiso. Calendar, B-2 COMING UP By Mike Griffith Beacon Correspondent The Mid-Bay Bridge Authority is forecasting a 28-percent surge in toll revenue next year due to increased traffic and the opening of a tolling point on a new highway leading to the span. In a budget to be presented at a public hearing tomorrow, Thursday, the authority will air a draft budget for fiscal year 2014. Highlights of the proposed budget include: —Gross toll receipts are projected to rise from the fiscal year 2013 level of $16,089,000 to $20,698,000 for the fiscal year that will begin Oct. 1. —Operations and maintenance expenses are expected to decline from $2,511,340 in FY 2013 to $2,700,000 in FY 2014. —Debt service, including principal and interest, is expected to jump from $9,661,000 in FY 2013 to $13,352,000 in FY 2014. —Total operation and administration expenses are expected to increase from $13,226,340 in FY 2013 to $17,009,800 in FY 2014. —Capital expenditures are expected to drop dramatically, from $22 million in FY 2013 to $6 million in FY 2014, as the Mid-Bay Bridge Connector construction project comes to a close, and the 11-mile, $137-million expressway connecting the north end of the bridge with Highway 85 north of Niceville fully opens early in 2014. The forecast increase in toll collections would amount to 28.6 The voice of Niceville, Bluewater Bay and Valparaiso since 1992 By Daniel Elsesser Beacon Staff Writer Niceville's Turkey Creek Park will likely expand soon. City Manager Lannie Corbin said Niceville has been approved for state grants for two land purchases to add to the nature trail. Corbin said the city is set to receive about $1.7 million in grant money from the Florida Communities Trust's land acquisition grant program to purchase 74 acres near Turkey Creek. Nine acres on John Sims Parkway just east of the park's entrance, north of the site of a former Hardee's restaurant, will be purchased by the city for $1.4 million from Huntsville, Ala.based Breland Properties, according to Corbin. Carl Breland of Breland Properties said the land was appraised for $2.1 million, but he has agreed to accept the $1.4 million allotted by the grant, calling the difference a donation to the city. 74 acres set for additions to park Police BlotterPage A-4 28% gain seen in toll revenue Vehicles approach the MidBay Bridge tollbooths Monday. Citing increased traffic and the opening of a tolling point on a new approach road, the span's governing board forecasts a 28-percent hike in collections next year. Beacon photo by Daniel Elsesser By Daniel Elsesser Beacon Staff Writer Niceville may soon be able to lease land owned by Eglin Air Force base for light industrial use. Mike Spaits, an Eglin Air Force Base spokesman, said the Air Force has agreed to perform a mission impact analysis to determine whether it would be feasible to lease some Eglin reservation land to the city of Niceville. Niceville City Manager Lannie Corbin said the city would look to use the leased land for light industry, by which he means general manufacturing with relatively small environmental impact. The land in question is a parcel northwest of the intersection of State Road 285 and College Boulevard. Spaits noted that the 11-mile Mid-Bay Bridge Connector road, now under construction, cuts through the Eglin reservation east and north of Niceville, leaving parcels that are no longer contiguous with the rest of the reservation. As part of the mission impact analysis, the Air Force will consider the possibility of leasing out such land that has been cut off by the highway, he said. Such leases of Air Force land are now typically offered at market prices. The analysis will determine if the land is suitable for an enhanced use lease (EUL). Spaits said the Air Force may lease land to other entities if it determines that the leasing of that property would enhance the mission the Air Force tries to accomplish with the land. One example of a recent Eglin EUL is a $25 million Holiday Inn under constructionEglin mulls land lease to Niceville Please see GOLF, page A-2 Please see REVENUE, page A-2 Beacon photo by Daniel Elsesser Doug Ferris, Bluewater Bay, takes a shot on the seventh fairway of the Magnolia golf course Monday. Ferris was one of the last golfers to play the course, which saw its last play Tuesday before closing indefinitely due to decreased revenue. His wife, Vi cky, came along for the ride. The city of Niceville is in final discussions to buy nine acres off of John Sims Parkway east just of the Turkey Creek Park entrance to expand the park. The land, owned by Breland Properties, Huntsville, Ala., would be purchased for $1.4 million with state grant. Another 65 acres north of College Boulevard would be purchased from Ruckel Properties under another deal. Beacon photo by Daniel Elsesser Please see LEASE, page A-6 Please see PARK page A-2 By Daniel Elsesser Beacon Staff Writer The Niceville Valparaiso Regional Sewer Board approved its budget for the 2013-14 fiscal year, with a slight decrease in expenses from the current fiscal year at its meeting May 1 in Niceville. The sewer board's budget for the fiscal year scheduled to start Oct. 1 allots $2.1 million for expenses, $23,510 less than the budget for the current year. The budget approved May 8 calls for no cost-of-living adjustment and no pay raises for plant employees. However, in approving the budget the board also added a provision stating the members would consider adding cost of living adjustments and possible money for raises to the budget at the board's September meeting. Last year the board initially approved a budget with no added increases, and eventually reviewed it and added a 2 percent cost-of-living raisers and a 1 percent increase in payroll to be given as raises to employees at plant manager Rick Helms' discretion. T T T h h e eB B a a y y B B e e a a c c o o n n 50¢Wednesday, May 8, 2013 info@baybeacon.com The voice of Niceville, Bluewater Bay and Valparaiso since 1992 (850) 678-1080 12 Pages, 2 Sections, 5 Inserts Sewage authority sees flat budget Fri., 12 p.m. The Heritage Museum of Northwest Florida 115 Westview Ave., Valparaiso, is hosting History Sandwiched In, an informal educational lunchtime lecture. The speaker for this lecture will be Dr. Pat Moran with Hide it under a bush? ƒNo!Ž Free and open to the public. Space is limited. To reserve a spot call 678-2615. Saturday Contribute to the National Association of Letter Carriers Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive by placing nonperishable canned goods in a bag by your mailbox. Items will be picked up and delivered to a local food pantry. No glass or expired items. Sat., 7 a.m. Collegiate High School is hosting a yard sale until noon at the Twin Cities Pavilion Assisted Living Facility, 1053 E John Sims Pkwy, Niceville. They will also be taking donations for Hugs for Heroes and canned goods for a food drive. Call 6787312. Calendar, B-2 COMING UP The voice of Niceville, Bluewater Bay and Valparaiso since 1992 By Daniel Elsesser Beacon Staff Writer The city of Niceville plans to demolish a 100,000-gallon water tank on Marysa Drive and replace it with one more than seven times larger, in part to serve a planned 1,100-acre development to the east. The city is seeking bids for a contract to build a 750,000-gallon water tank, intended to replace the 100,000-gallon tank on Marysa Drive, near the south end of Forest Road. Niceville Public Works Director Bruce Price said the new tank will be larger to accommodate the anticipated development of 1,100 acres east of Forest Road owned by Ruckel Properties. Jerry Regans, Niceville water and sewer superintendent, said it is likely that other tanks will eventually be constructed as well to supply development, on which work has not yet started. Glenn Stephens, senior vice president of Polyengineering Inc., the company that designed the new tank, said it would hold more water to meet peak demand plus provide additional water volume Giant new water tank to supply development Police Blott erPage A-6 Beacon photo by Daniel ElsesserLaura Ham, a Freeport High School sophomore, conditions under the direction of trainer Cory Scott at Twin Oaks park, Niceville. Working against the resistance of an elastic band tethered to a fence, Laura was exercising for basketball and volleyball. Stretching exerciseTwo annexation requests advanceNiceville would add homesites National Day of PrayerApproximately 200 Niceville and Valparaiso students, public servants and others came to Niceville City Hall May 2 for a local observance of the National Day of Prayer. Several local pastors and residents led prayers following this year's theme, "Pray for America." Beacon photo by Daniel ElsesserThis 100,000-gallon water storage tank on Marysa Drive, Niceville, will be replaced by a 750,000-gallon tank once the city of Niceville awards a contract for construction. Beacon photo by Daniel ElsesserBy Daniel Elsesser Beacon Staff Writer A bill that would have transferred control of the Mid-Bay Bridge to a regional authority heavily influenced by the Florida Department of Transportation died in the Florida House of Representatives as time ran out on this year's legislative session at midnight May 3. The bill, which passed in the Florida Senate 40-0, would have transferred control of the bridge from the Mid-Bay Bridge Authority (MBBA) to a newly created Regional Transportation Finance Authority. The DOT's intention to obtain control of the Mid-Bay Bridge in this legislative session was made public when agency Secretary Ananth Prasad announced in January that it would submit a bill to create regional tollway authorities. These authorities would have encompassed three to four counties each, and would have absorbed control of existing tollway independent authorities such as the MBBA. The MBBA was the only such entity mentioned by name in the DOT draft proposal of the bill. Senate Bill 1132, which contained the stated language, was filed Feb. 22, and the House companion bill, House Bill 7127, was filed about one month later. The language of both bills was eventually changed to include regional finance authorities, entities similar to the regional tollway authorities defined in the initial filed bills. According to MBBA Executive Director Jim Vest, who had been monitoring the measure through the lobbying firm Southern Strategy Group, the House bill had been amended to remove the language transferring control of the MBBA. Vest said the House approved the amended bill April 25 and sent it to the Senate. He said the Senate again amended the bill to add back the language to control the MBBA, and approved it 40-0 May 3. However, the bill died in the House, with no action before the session ended. Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fort Walton Beach, said the bill Bridge takeover bid fails Please see SEWAGE, page A-3By Daniel Elsesser Beacon Staff Writer The Niceville Planning Commission approved two requests to annex property into the city. During a meeting Monday, the board also gave preliminary approval for three residential lots on 23rd Street. Jerry and Walter Spence of Spence Brothers Properties requested their two lots on Adams Street be annexed into the city and zoned R-1B. Walter Spence said the company does not yet have a plan for development on the property, but wants the annexation in order to make the property more attractive, either to another developer who might buy it, or a home buyer if Spence Brothers decides to build on it. The property is currently zoned in the county as R-1, low-density residential, which allows four dwelling units per acre and minimum building setbacks of 20 feet in the front yard, 10 feet in the side yard and 10 feet in the back. The maximum dwelling height is 45 feet. The requested R-1B city zoning allows eight dwelling units per acre and minimum setbacks of 25 feet in front, five feet on the sides, and 20 feet in back. The maximum height is 35 feet. According to the Okaloosa County Property Appraiser, the lot is vacant and has an assessed value of $52,000. Separately, the planning commission approved a request from Scott and Carrie Summerlin to annex their vacant lot on New Market Road, in the Huntington subdivision, into the city and zone it R-1, residential single family. The property is currently zoned in the Please see ADVANCE, page A-5 Please see WATER, page A-3 Please see BRIDGEpage A-7 Tax auction is underway T T T h h e eB B a a y y B B e e a a c c o o n n 50¢Wednesday, May 15, 2013 info@baybeacon.com The voice of Niceville, Bluewater Bay and Valparaiso since 1992 (850) 678-1080 10 Pages, 2 Sections, 5 Inserts By Daniel Elsesser Beacon Staff Writer The right to collect delinquent property taxes in Okaloosa County is up for bid. Okaloosa County Tax Collector Ben Anderson opened an online auction May 11, in which buyers can bid on the rights to collect interest on unpaid Okaloosa real estate taxes. The auction will close May 31. A workshop for prospective bidders will be held in Niceville Monday. Okaloosa real estate taxes levied in 2012 were due March 31, 2013. After that, unpaid taxes are delinquent and eligible for auction, according to tax administrator Justin Gordon. Auction participants bid with the interest rates they are willing to accept, with the lowest bid winning the certificate. The winner then pays the county the face value of the certificate—that is, the amount the property owes in taxes. Bids for the interest rate start at 18 percent and are submitted in increments of 0.25 percent. The lowest possible interest bid is 0.25 percent. Sat., 7:30 a.m. 2013 Emerald Coast Mud Run will be taking place at Northwest Florida State College. Around 4,000 runners will be battling the elements to raise money for orphans. Call 7143757 or visit emeraldcoastmudrun.com for details, Niceville. Sat.-Sun., 11 a.m.-6 p.m. OAA presents the sixth annual Family Fun Arts Fest at Harborwalk Village in Destin There will be artisan vendors, live music and food in a festival atmosphere. Call 499-8335 for details. Tues., 5:30 p.m. Friends of Niceville Public Library present a Maritime History Lecture with speaker Della Scott-Ireton who will be sharing information about Florida's earliest shipwreck site at the Niceville Community Center 204 N. Partin Dr., Niceville. Call 279-4863 ext.1504 to reserve a spot. Calendar, B-2 COMING UP By Daniel Elsesser Beacon Staff Writer Work is in progress to construct a new "City of Niceville" sign at the "triangle" intersection of John Sims Parkway and Highway 85 North. City Manager Lannie Corbin said the work is being done entirely by the Niceville Public Works Department. He expects work on the project to be completed in about a month. The old "City of Niceville" sign, basically a series of large flowerbeds on a hillside, was torn up when John Sims Parkway on either side of the intersection was expanded to six lanes, a project that began in 2003. The voice of Niceville, Bluewater Bay and Valparaiso since 1992 Police BlotterPage A-4 Out of this worldOver 500 fourthand fifth-grade students from area schools pretended to colonize another planet during the annual Marsville event at Eglin Air Force Base May 9. Pictured, students from Lewis School celebrate completion of their biodome as a classmate looks on. More on B-1.New ‘Niceville’ sign in works By Daniel Elsesser Beacon Staff Writer Niceville city officials are considering a change to the city seal to convey a deeper sense of community history. City Manager Lannie Corbin has proposed that the city council decide whether to add a banner reading "Est. 1868" to the city's seal, which currently bears no date. The city was incorporated in 1938, but a local-history buff has been pushing city officials to emphasize that the community's roots go back more than six decades before that. Corbin brought up the request at the suggestion of Elisa Mitchiner, a self-described "freelance historian" who has spent years chronicling the history of the area, to which the first settlers of European descent arrived in the 1840s. Mitchiner arrived at the 1868 established date because that was the year mail service in the area began, when the community was named Boggy. According to the city of Niceville's website, "the Boggy Post Office was located about 100 feet from a wharf close to where Mill Creek flows into Boggy Bayou." Mill Creek drains Trout Lake, which is north of John Sims Parkway on the Eglin golf course. That development occurred 60 years before 333 of about 1,500 area residents voted, 329-4, to incorporate as a city. The decision, made in July 1938, was followed by the naming of J.M. Please see SEAL, page A-3 Please see TAX, page A-3 Ben Anderson Matt Gaetz seeks Senate seat now held by his father By Daniel Elsesser Beacon Staff Writer The race for Don Gaetz's District 1 Senate seat is already heating up, as Matt Gaetz, his son, became the second person to file candidacy for the race, which is scheduled to be decided in 2016. Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fort Walton Beach, filed Monday Please see GAETZ, page A-2Niceville seeks to promote its seniorityOfficials eye addition of date to city seal By Mike Griffith Beacon Correspondent Eglin Air Force Base is disbanding a committee designed to work with local communities on the issue of jet noise, according to Valparaiso's representative to the panel. During a Valparaiso City Commission meeting Monday, Bob Webb, the city’s representative to the Eglin Air Force Base Noise Committee, told the commission that during the latest meeting of the noise committee, held May 9, he was informed by base officials that it was the final meeting of the panel as presently constituted. Webb said he hopes to propose that the noise committee be succeeded by a smaller committee made up mostly of Valparaiso and Eglin representatives, as the other cities previously represented on the noise committee are less affected by aircraft noise from the base and are therefore less interested in the noise issue. Webb suggested to the commission that the city’s future strategy in dealing with aircraft noise should focus on engaging directly with the 33rd Fighter Wing commander, as well as with Pentagon-level Air Force environmental officials, and should focus on what Webb called “positive action” to address noise issues affecting Valparaiso. Webb also said that the delayed final version of the Air Force’s environmental impact statement regarding Eglin F-35 operations, including jet-noise impacts on Valparaiso and other communities, is expected to be released later this month. Eglin disbands jet-noise committeeF-35 environmental report expected later this month Please see EGLIN, page A-2 Matt Gaetz Work has begun on a new sign (left) at Highway 85 North and John Sims Parkway, which will read "Enjoy Niceville," according to a city rendering, below.Beacon photo by Daniel Elsesser By Daniel Elsesser Beacon Cras s pd tred Qualifying for candidates in the July 16 Niceville municipal election will open at noon, Tuesday, May 28, and close at noon Friday, May 31. The Niceville City Council seats occupied by Dan Henkel (Group 2) and Sal Nodjomian (Group 4) are up for election. Both have stated they intend to run for new four-year terms.. Henkel, a program manager for a foreign military sales program, was elected in 2008 in a special election to fill a vacancy created by the death of Councilman Terry Tislow. Henkel was re-elected in July 2009. Nodjomian, executive vice president of Matrix Design Group and former installation commander of Eglin Air Force Base, is filling out the unexpired term of Bill Smith, who resigned from the council last year to run for Okaloosa County Commission. Nodjomian, who was the only person to file for the vacancy, has served since January. The seats occupied by council members Bill Schaetzle, Judy Jets to fly higher to cut noise By Mike Griffith Beacon Sod d efW onienr In an attempt to reduce jet noise, Eglin Air Force Base officials announced new flight rules for aircraft using the base. Among other things, the rules require planes to fly higher when over "congested" areas. Col. Donald Johnson, commander of the 96 Operations Group at Eglin, said the new rules are intended to enhance the safety of flight operations, and to minimize aircraft noise over neighboring communities such as Valparaiso and Niceville. The new rules, announced Monday, include: —The "minimum noise abatement altitude" for most flights over "congested areas" has been increased from 1,000 feet to 1,500 feet, except when within five nautical miles of the airfield while taking off or landing. The minimum for helicopters will be 500 feet. Thurs., 5:30 p.m. New parents of babies born in the last 3 months and all pregnant women are invited to the Worlds Greatest Baby Shower held at the Emerald Coast Convention Center, 1250 Miracle Strip Pkwy., Fort Walton Beach. Admission is free, call 833-9284 for more info. Sat., 11 a.m. A one day rock concert, Blazefest will be happening at the Mullet Grounds, Niceville. Purchase tickets at blazefestrocks.com for, $27.50 for advance tickets and $35 the day of the show. Active duty military can purchase tickets for $20 plus fees. Tues., 6 p.m. The Niceville Garden Club is having an open house and potluck to install the new officers and welcome new members. Potluck dinner will be served. Contact nvgc1@cox.net for more info. Calendar, B-2By Mike Griffith Beacon Sod d efW onienr The North Bay Fire Commission discussed the possible purchase of a new fire truck, or simply overhauling the old one. During a meeting May 14, the commission also discussed budget plans. Fire Commissioner Jim Boswell said that although the potential purchase of a new truck has been discussed during a couple of previous commission meetings, the commission is “still in the information-gathering stage,” regarding any such decision concerning the aging "Pumper 8.". During a previous fire commission meeting, North Bay Fire Chief Joseph Miller had informed the commission that at least one fire equipment company offers such a truck for about $487,000. Commissioner David Scholl said that among options to be considered would be the refurbishment of the existing truck, as well as the option of replacing it if that would be more cost-effective. T T T h h e eB B a a y y B B e e a a c c o o n n 50¢Wednesday, May 22, 2013 info@baybeacon.com The voice of Niceville, Bluewater Bay and Valparaiso since 1992 (850) 678-1080 12 Pages, 2 Sections, 6 Inserts Fire truck purchase mulled COMING UP The voice of Niceville, Bluewater Bay and Valparaiso since 1992 Police Blotter, page A-6 Beacon photo by Daniel Elsesser Children participated in the Kids Fun Run, one of six races held at the second Emerald Coast Mud Run at Northwest Florida State College May 18. Over 3,900 participants ran in the event, comprised of four different 5K races, the one-mile kids run and a fi ve-mile advanced race, all with obstacles. The event, put on by Niceville-based Heart of the Bride Ministries, raised over $100,000 fo r the care of orphans around the world. Last year's run, the first, raised about $48,000 and featured 1,700 participants. Muddy buddiesBridge traffic declinesBy Daniel Elsesser Beacon Cras s pd tred The Mid-Bay Bridge Authority (MBBA) reported a 3.6 percent decrease in toll revenues in April from April 2012, with collections at $1,277,162, down from $1,324,396 for the same month the previous year. The number of vehicles using the bridge decreased about 3.2 percent from April 2012 as well, with 535,467 vehicles using the bridge in April, a decrease from 553,241. MBBA Executive Director Jim Vest explained the discrepancy in percentage decreases by noting many of the users paid the cash fee instead of the decreased Sunpass rate, as many out-ofstate vacationers were using the bridge in April, the end of spring Beacon photo by Daniel ElsesserAerial exerciseThe Niceville Fire Department, Panama City Fire Department and Okaloosa County Sheriff's Office participated in an exercise with a U.S. Coast Guard helicopter May 15 in Boggy Bayou near the North Light Marina, Niceville. The exercise, paid for by the same grant that allowed the Niceville Fire Department to purchase its fire boat, was conducted to familiarize fire prevention agencies on Federal Emergency Management Agency procedures for water rescues. Daddy's home!The Army 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne) held an open house May 15 at the unit's base north of Niceville. Public affairs officer Lieut. Col. James Brownlee said the event recognized the fact that the 7th has a larger percentage of its personnel at home than at any time in the past several years. Although the unit has a battalion deployed to Afghanistan, said Brownlee, two other battalions have recently returned from overseas deployments. Pictured, Warrant Officer 1 George Valdez gave his daughter Gabby a grown-up's eye view of visitors day.Beacon photo by Mike Griffith Please see JETS, page A-3 Please see TRUCK, page A-5 Please see BRIDGE, page A-3 Please see ELECTION, page A-8Niceville election season begins Eglin Air Force Base jets will be subject to new flight rules aimed at reducing jet noise over populated areas. Pictured, an Eglin-based F-35 refuels over the Gulf of Mexico May 13. Air Force photo By Daniel Elsesser Beacon Staff Writer The Valparaiso Planning Commission heard two variance requests from property owners at its meeting May 21 at Valparaiso City Hall, denying one and tabling another until the city commission clarifies a complication. The tabled request was made by Lyn Knowles, who requested three variances, or allowances to override building code, for his property at 238 Rose Court. Knowles intends to build an approximately 1,660-square-foot single-family residence on his property, on which he already has a covered recreational vehicle parking space. To fit these two structures on the property, Knowles requested he be allowed to construct the house with a rear setback of 12 feet 6 inches, an allowance of 7 feet 6 inches from the 20-foot requirement. Knowles also requested a 2-foot variance on the requirement that separate structures be 10 feet apart, intending to build the house 8 feet from the existing structure. His third request was for a 427square-foot variance for lot size. Building code requires lots be 11,250 square feet to build a structure of the size Knowles intends. The lot is 10,823 square feet. By Mike Griffith Beacon Correspondent If a proposed budget under discussion by Northwest Florida State College trustees is given approval, then full-time students would see fees rise by $30 per semester in the 2013-14 academic year, but no tuition increase for the first time in many years. Meanwhile, college employees would get a 1.5-percent pay increase. During a nonvoting budget workshop held May 21, NWFSC Vice President Gary Yancey and President Ty Handy briefed the college’s board of trustees on the proposed budget for the coming academic year. The total proposed increase in tuition and fees for lower-division courses, subject to approval by the trustees next month, would be 2 percent, to a total of $102.12 per semester hour. A full-time course load is 15 semester hours a semester, or 30 a year, which would make the proposed annual cost to a full-time student $3,063.60. All of the increase would come in the fee component; tution would remain flat at $77.10 an hour. According to the draft budget discussed during a trustees' meeting May 21, the college expects to have total revenue of $39,419,886 during fiscal year 2013-14, which will begin July 1. According to Yancey, direct state funding used to cover about 85 percent of the cost of student’s education at NWFSC. Now, however, the state's direct share of funding for student’s education at the college is only about 54 percent. However, those figures do not include student scholarships, most of them funded by the state and federal governments as well. According to Yancey, 38 percent of students receive state and federal aid which is funneled to the college, and of these, the average award is $1,340 per semester. The tuition of many military By Daniel Elsesser Beacon Staff Writer A Valparaiso jet-noise adviser and the mayor are cautiously optimistic about new flight rules announced last week which the Air Force says will reduce noise over civilian areas from military aircraft using Eglin Air Force Base. Bob Webb, a Valparaiso resident who represented the city on a recently disbanded committee to discuss the issue of jet noise with Eglin representatives, said he's "encouraged" by the new rules. "It sounds like Air Force is finally trying," Webb said, meaning he feels Eglin officials are now making a concerted effort to reduce aircraft noise. However, Webb said he is concerned that apparent loopholes in the new rules could potentially negate positive aspects of the regulations. Valparaiso Mayor Bruce Arnold said he has not looked over the new rules closely, but he feels they are an indication that Eglin officials are serious about reducing jet noise. "It looks like the Air Force wants to make changes," Arnold said. T T T h h e eB B a a y y B B e e a a c c o o n n 50¢Wednesday, May 29, 2013 info@baybeacon.com The voice of Niceville, Bluewater Bay and Valparaiso since 1992 (850) 678-1080 10 Pages, 2 Sections, 3 Inserts Please see COST, page A-2 Please see VALPARAISO, page A-3Cautious optimism on jet rules Sat., 9 a.m. Women 15 and older are invited to a self defense seminar held at the Niceville Community Center, 204 N Partin Dr. Free, registration required, call 279-4863 ext. 1504 for more info. Sun., 9 a.m. Everyone is invited to attend a science and faith seminar presented by scientist and former atheist John Clayton at the Niceville Church of Christ, 801 E John Sims Pkwy. Call 6782911 for more info. Tues., 5:30 p.m. Phil Richter will be at the Heritage Museum of Northwest Florida to teach fiber rush weaving. Participants will create a footstool. Class is $55, $50 for members of HMNF. Space is limited, preregister by calling 678-2615. Calendar, B-2 COMING UP Beacon photo by Mike Griffith The deeper meaning of Memorial Day was honored Monday during a community ceremony at Doolittle Park, Valparaiso. The event, sponsored by the Twin Cities Veterans Council, featured presentation of wreaths by civic organizations, a rifle salute by an Am vets honor guard, and the playing of “Taps” by local musicians. Among the speakers was Niceville Mayor Pro Tem Dan Henkel, who said that American soldiers throughout the nation s history have sacrificed themselves to preserve the freedoms that we enjoy. A flyover by warplanes based at Eglin Air Force Base, a fixture of past ceremonies, did not occur this year because of budget cuts, accor ding to an Eglin official. Pictured, Niceville High School AFJROTC cadets raise the American flag.Remembering America's war dead The voice of Niceville, Bluewater Bay and Valparaiso since 1992 93 graduate from CollegiateMadisan Johnson, Niceville, celebrates while walking with the rest of the senior class of Collegiate High School at Northwest Florida State College to its commencement ceremony May 23 at the Mattie Kelly Arts Center. Ninetythree Collegiate High seniors graduated. The previous five classes have ranged from 83 to 101 students. Beacon photo by Daniel Elsesser2% college cost increase is proposed Police Blotter, page A-4Valparaiso planners act on 2 variances $48.45 $50.90 $55.45 $58.78 $63.00 $66.78 $75.73 $84.62 $94.02 $100.12 $102.12 2003-04 2004-05 2005-06 2006-07 Winter '08 2008-09 2009-10 2010-11 2011-12 2012-13 2013-14 $0 $20 $40 $60 $80 $100 $120Tuition & fees per hour, lower division *2-year degree classes; 2013-14 proposed Source: NWF State Coll. NWFSC tuition and fees Per semester hour, by academic year* Please see CAUTIOUS, page A-2 $1.00 $2.00 $1.50 $2.50 $2.00 $3.00$3.00 $4.00 1999200420102015* $0 $1 $2 $3 $4 $5 SunPass Cash *2015 is planned Mid-Bay Bridge toll history One-way, two axles Bridge sees toll hike in 2015Rise would come 2 years earlier than previously planned By Daniel Elsesser Beacon Staff Writer The Mid-Bay Bridge Authority (MBBA) plans to increase bridge tolls $1 as soon as 2015, two years earlier than originally planned. The increases would bump tolls up to $3 for Sunpass users and $4 for two-axle, full-fare use. The hikes would cost bridge users an estimated $7 million a year. MBBA Executive Director Jim Vest said the increase was required of the authority by the underwriters of the bonds that finance the building of the Mid-Bay Bridge Connector road, currently under construction. Vest said a 2017 increase had been planned in order to repay the debt based on revenue projections published December 2010. However,it became apparent that the authority would not be able to pay the bonds on schedule without increasing revenue by scheduling the toll increase sooner, he said. The MBBA most recently increased tolls June 1, 2010, when they rose from $1.50 to $2 for twoaxle Sunpass users and from $2.50 to $3 for full fare. The bridge posted one previous toll increase, in Please see HIKE, page A-2 I own Anna’s Bridal and Formal Shop and I am so happy with the results from my Beacon ad on Dec. 11. My sales rep guided me along helping me to make my ad effective. To my surprise, the day after my ad ran as I approached my shop there was someone waiting for me with a copy of the Bay Beacon, and my $50 dress ad, and I made a sale more than paying me back for the ad. That wasn’t a fluke either – I stayed busy the rest of that week, and a lot of that traffic came from my ad. This December I had the best sales in many years. Thank you for all your help – it really does pay to advertise in the Bay Beacon!Advertising in the Bay Beacon gets results! Here’s proof! Anna Distelzweig, Owner Anna’s Bridal & Formal, Niceville ANNA’SBRIDAL& FORMAL

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The voice of Niceville, Bluewater Bay and Valparaiso since 1992 Page A-4 Wednesday, January 1, 2014 THEBAYBEACON By Daniel Elsesser Beacon Staff Writer The taxable value of Niceville and Valparaiso property last year grew faster than that in other jurisdictions in Okaloosa County, which itself saw an increase in property values for the first time since 2007, according to the preliminary figures by the Okaloosa County Property Appraiser. The Niceville, Valparaiso, East Niceville and North Bay taxing districts were the four highest areas in terms of percentage increase in property values since the previous year, according to the figures, released by the appraiser May 28. Including the value of completed new construction, Niceville's taxable property values as of Jan. 1, 2013, were 4.662 percent higher than a year earlier, totaling $813.5 million, up from $777.3 million. Niceville's percentage increase was the highest in the county. Taxable values are assessed values less exemptions such as homestead and Save Our Homes. The figures released this week are subject to revision before they are certified as final June 21. The final values will be those used in figuring a given property's taxes for county, public schools, cities, fire districts, and other taxing jurisdictions. According to the preliminary figures, Valparaiso saw a 3.328 By Mike Griffith Beacon Correspondent The six-month Atlantic hurricane season began Saturday. Typically, the peak of the hurricane season, during which the most severe storms are likely to hit the Emerald Coast, occurs between mid-August and the end of October. Fortunately, the Twin Cities area has been spared direct hits from major hurricanes for the past several years, although that could change in any given year, including this one. Okaloosa County Emergency Manager Randy McDaniel and emergency management staff member Ken Wolfe recently briefed the Beacon on some new aspects of local hurricane preparation. Wolfe said that according to an annual hurricane season forecast by nationally respected meteorologist Dr. William Gray of Colorado State University, the average probability of a hurricane striking Florida’s Gulf Coast this year is 48 percent—noticeably higher than the 30 percent average annual probability of such a storm striking the Gulf Coast. Regardless of forecasts and probabilities, any season in which a hurricane actually strikes the Niceville-Valparaiso area is a bad season for local residents. As in any hurricane season, residents are well-advised to prepare themselves to either take shelter or evacuate in the event a hurricane or severe tropical storm approaches. According to a recent monthly newsletter from the Choctawhatchee Electric Cooperative (CHELCO), those who choose to “ride out” a storm in the local area should follow the “72-hour rule”—that is, prepare to survive on one’s own for at least the first three days after the storm. It may take that long before organized outside aid reaches storm-ravaged areas in substantial amounts. Recommended contents for individual hurricane readiness kits can be viewed in the CHELCO newsletter, as well as on the Okaloosa County website at www.Okaloosafl.org, and in the T T T h h e eB B a a y y B B e e a a c c o o n n 50¢Wednesday, June 5, 2013 info@baybeacon.com The voice of Niceville, Bluewater Bay and Valparaiso since 1992 (850) 678-1080 22 Pages, 3 Sections, 5 Inserts Please see TAX, page A-5 Please see ELECTION, page A-5 Please see SEEN, page A-2One seat contested in Niceville election Thurs., 2 p.m. The Valparaiso Community Library invites everyone to the first Movie Thursday of the summer. The movie will be Escape from Planet Earth Call 729-5406. Sat., 10 a.m. The Genealogical Society of Okaloosa County is hosting a program on Online Family Trees presented by Margaret Harris at Northwest Florida Heritage Museum 115 Westview Dr. For more info call 6782023 Mon., 10 a.m. Michael Aurbach will transform the McIlroy Gallery at the Mattie Kelly Arts Center with large scale sculpture designed to comment on the paradoxes and contradictions of life. Exhibit open through July 19. Call 729-6044 or visit mattiekellyartscenter.org. Calendar, B-2 COMING UP By Daniel Elsesser Beacon Staff Writer The East Niceville Fire District is working on an agreement with the North Bay Fire District to perform inspections on buildings in East Niceville. East Niceville Fire Chief Michael Wright said eight businesses and the East Niceville Fire Station must be inspected for safety each year by the East Niceville Fire District. Previously, Wright said, a county inspector or Niceville Fire Department fire inspector did the work at no cost to the district. Okaloosa County Construction inspector Chuck Bonta said the county stopped performing free fire inspections around 2007. Bonta now performs fire inspections for all unincorporated north-county areas, and charges the individual businesses inspected. Bonta said the county charges a minimum inspection fee of $50 per job for structures up to 2,500 square feet and the prices increase as structures get larger. Niceville Fire Inspector Mike Valenzuela said the city entered into an interlocal agreement with the county in 2001 to perform inspections in unicorporated East Niceville without charging. Valenzuela said Niceville decided to stop performing fire inspections for East Niceville because the added liability was too much of a burden with no financial gain. He said the agreement could be terminated if either The voice of Niceville, Bluewater Bay and Valparaiso since 1992 Hurricanes seen as more likely this year Kick back Beacon photo by Daniel Elsesser Meghan Doan, 15, breaks a board held by Darrin Palmer of ATA Taekwondo, Niceville, during a self-defense class at the Niceville Public Library May 29. The free one-hour class, attended by 16 teenage girls, taught them how to break the grasp of an attacke r and how to fight him off by targeting vulnerable points. Fire district eyes inspection fees Rocky Bayou Christian School Graduates 52The senior class of Rocky Bayou Christian School stands on stage to begin their graduation ceremony at the First Assembly of God, Niceville, May 31. The 2013 class contained 52 graduates. Beacon photo by Daniel Elsesser Please see DISTRICT, page A-2 S uppl e m e n t t o The Ba y Be a c on N i c e v i l l e F lor i d a • J u ne 5 2013 Inside . Class of 2013 Police Blotter, page A-4 $13,576,903,661 $17,899,368,086 $18,806,840,352 $17,410,630,993 $16,174,789,111 $14,499,871,635 $13,781,239,430 $13,565,741,937 $13,829,355,612 20052006 2007200820092010201120122 013* $0 $5 $10 $15 $20Billions *2013 preliminary Ok. Co. Property Appraiser Okaloosa County taxable values By year, property subject to taxation by the county commission County tax rolls snap 5-year losing streakOfficials offer advice on dealing with stormsBy Daniel Elsesser Beacon Staff Writer The Niceville City Council seat occupied by Dan Henkel will be contested by Armand G. Izzo in the election to be held July 16. Sal Nodjomian will retain his seat for the next term, as no one filed to run against him by Friday's noon deadline. Izzo, 54, a program manager for TASC Inc., an engineering firm contracted by Eglin Air Force Base, was the person to file for the contest for a four-year-term in the Group 4 seat. Izzo, of Sugarcane Creek Dan Henkel Armand Izzo By Daniel Elsesser Beacon Staff Writer The Valparaiso City Commission Monday turned down five ordinances that would have relinquished city rights to waterfront land adjoining five parcels near the Compass Rose restaurant, Glen Avenue. The decision, which one official said may set the stage for a lawsuit, came after two hours of discussion by the commission and public comments from an unusually large audience. Three ordinances would have vacated city rights of way on land fronting Toms Bayou adjacent to three lots owned by CAJTDM LLC, a company owned by Compass Rose owner Michael Harris. Another of the ordinances would have added waterfront to a lot owned by Commissioner Kay Hamilton, a former Compass Rose employee. A fifth would have done the same for land owned by Jason and Angelle Rosenbleeth. According to the ordinances, the property owners would have allowed the city an underground easement for utilities on their property in exchange for vacation of right of way. In February, the city commission granted Harris an allowance of encroachment on city water-By Mike Griffith and Daniel Elsesser Beacon Staff The Okaloosa County Commission has agreed to pay someone $47,000 a year to keep an eye on an estimated 10 to 20 sea turtle nests on county beaches. The money comes from bed taxes levied by the commission through its Tourist Development Council. In other business during a county commission meeting June 4 in Crestview, TDC lawyer Greg Stuart briefed the commission on efforts to recover money lost during the TDC scandal last year, in which the late former executive director of the TDC, who was supposed to have been overseen by the county commission, stole hundreds of thousands of dollars from the county and allegedly allowed additional sums to be squandered on inappropriate purchases. Stewart told the commission that the county has recently recovered more than $10,000 from firms who were paid in a 2 more businesses sought for centerBy Daniel Elsesser Beacon Staff Writer The Oak Creek Shopping Center in Niceville may see the addition of two more-visible businesses, as the center's landlord wants to shrink the center's parking lot to accommodate new freestanding buildings next to John Sims Parkway. Matt Zenke, an engineer for Valparaiso Realty, which owns the shopping center, said it asked the city to build on the parking lot to accommodate the potential development of more "outlot" businesses. These outlots would be separate from the block of businesses that stretches from the CVS Pharmacy to east of Kmart in the shopping center. The developer plans to shrink the parking lot so that there would be as few as 4.5 By Mike Griffith and Daniel Elsesser Beacon Staff Citing a sharp rise in reports of crime and other police matters, the Valparaiso Police Department is seeking to add another officer. The city commission is scheduled to discuss the request later this month. For the budget year that will begin Oct. 1, the police department is requesting the addition of one full-time police officer at an annual cost of $46,600 including salary and benefits. The department has 12 officers and four civilian employees. To justify the additional officer, a police proposal issued last week cited increases in lawenforcement activity for the 12 months ended in May, versus the year-earlier period. The police proposal showed increases of 28 percent in the number of incident reports (to a total of 333), 20 percent in vehicle crashes (to 61), 150 percent in DUI arrests (to 5) 23 percent in traffic citations (to 624), and 23 percent in domestic violence and disturbance calls (to 59). The report also noted that during the period of May 2012 through May 2013, officers worked alone for all or at least half of their shifts on 140 occasions. Domestic violence and disturbance calls are officer-safety concerns, said the report, and thus require the response of at least two officers. This means that an officer working an evening or T T T h h e eB B a a y y B B e e a a c c o o n n 50¢Wednesday, June 12, 2013 info@baybeacon.com The voice of Niceville, Bluewater Bay and Valparaiso since 1992 (850) 678-1080 10 Pages, 2 Sections, 7 Inserts Please see POLICE, page A-3 Please see TURTLE, page A-5 Please see CENTER, page A-6 Thurs., 7 p.m. Join Dancing With The StarsŽ celebrities at Dancing with Desire a benefit for Children in Crisis, will be at the Mattie Kelly Arts Center and feature Call 8644242 to purchase tickets. Fri., 10:30 a.m. Ret. Col. John D. Ross will be speaking on how to live to be 100 in the Niceville Council Chamber, 208 N. Partin Dr. For more info call 279-4863 x1504 Tues., 6:30 p.m. Historian Mike Thomin will share information on the pirates who terrorized the Gulf Coast during the 1800s at the Niceville Community Center 212 Partin Dr. Call 2794863 x1504 for more information.Mon.-Fri., 9-12:15 p.m. Children four through completed fifth grade are invited to Niceville United Methodist Church for JUMP, a VBS program designed to teach children how to put their faith into action while having fun. $15 per child. Call 678-4411 for more information or visit nicevilleumc.org Calendar, B-3 COMING UP The voice of Niceville, Bluewater Bay and Valparaiso since 1992 422 graduate from Niceville High SchoolBeacon photo by Daniel Elsesser Members of the Niceville High School class of 2013 walk into commencement ceremonies in the football stadium June 6. The schoo l graduated 422 seniors this year. "I think they're extremely well prepared," Principal Rodney Nobles said. "They're a great class, and they're very motivated." City nixes bids to give up waterfront About 40 people watch a Valparaiso City Commission meeting Monday. Some raised their hands when Mayor Bruce Arnold asked who opposed requests by some property owners that the city relinquish rights to land fronting Toms Bayou. Beacon photo by Daniel Elsesser Police Blotter, page A-4 Please see WATERFRONT, page A-5 City seen rehiring ex-chief, A-3. Valparaiso police seek to add officerSharp rise in law-enforcement activity cited Sea turtle nest on a Gulf Coast beach.County to spend $47K a year on turtle project Beacon Cras s After studying eight ways to handle the growing number of F35 flights to and from Eglin Air Force Base, the Air Force says its preferred option would result in the most noise for hundreds of residents of Valparaiso and many in Niceville. Eglin last week released a study of the environmental effects of the nation's 2008 decision to base a new F-35 training wing at the base. The study stated that the Air Force favors implementing F-35 flight patterns that would result in regular jet noise above 65 decibels for an estimated 2,913 people off base, the vast majority of them in Valparaiso. By contrast, continuing the current practice of restricting most F-35 flights to Eglin's eastwest runway, mostly avoiding the north-south runway whose approach is over Valparaiso, would result in regular jet noise exceeding 65 decibels for an estimated 1,800 residents, according to the study. The "preferred alternative" would end the current runway restrictions and increase noise over civilian areas. "Residential use is strongly discouraged" at regular noise levels above 65 decibels, according to the study. The study included noise from all aircraft using Eglin, not just F-35s. The Lightning II, as the nation's newest aircraft is also known, will account for a disproportionate share of "flight operations" at the By Mike Griffith Beacon poddeCtonSenr The Bluewater Bay Municipal Services Benefit Unit (MSBU) is seeking a volunteer to become the board’s newest member. It is also planning a budget for next year that will maintain the current $60 annual flat fee tax on Bluewater Bay property owners. The Bluewater Bay MSBU is a subunit of Okaloosa County government, in charge of maintaining street signs, streetlights, landscaping, and general maintenance of the rights of way of main streets and other common areas in Bluewater Bay. It is governed by a five-member board of elected, unpaid volunteers. At the June 11 MSBU meeting, board chairman Dale Blanchard announced that he is resigning from the board, effective June 30, because he is moving to St. Petersburg. In a June 15 interview with the Bay Beacon, Blanchard, who was first elected in 2008, discussed his service to the Bluewater Bay community. “I feel bad about leaving,” he said, By Daniel Elsesser Beacon frass Wdired Valparaiso officials dropped as too costly a proposal that would have promoted the city as home of Eglin Air Force Base in one of the most visible ways possible—by painting it on the water tower near city hall. The Valparaiso Public Works Department mulled two new designs for the elevated tank, one that would feature three F35 aircraft and the phrase "Home of Eglin Air Force Base" beneath the city's name, and one that would contain only the "Eglin" phrase. The city is preparing to repaint the tank in the course of routine maintenance. It asked the contractor who was awarded the job how much more it would cost to add one of the Eglin banners. Deputy Public Works Director Nathan Kelley said the design with the aircraft would have cost the city an additional $10,000. The design with only the "Eglin" phrase would have cost $6,500. Kelley said the department deemed both figures too expensive. He decided to have the tank repainted as it looks now. Valparaiso Public Works Director James Valandingham said the water tower will be repainted within the next month. The company hired to paint the tower will do so as it is, silver with the word "Valparaiso" in black block letters, with no additional charge T T T h h e eB B a a y y B B e e a a c c o o n n 50¢Wednesday, June 19, 2013 info@baybeacon.com The voice of Niceville, Bluewater Bay and Valparaiso since 1992 (850) 678-1080 12 Pages, 2 Sections, 4 Inserts Please see F-35, page A-5 Please see VALP., page A-5 Please see BUDGET, page A-3 Thurs., 10 a.m. Load up on your plant lore at the TriCounty Horticulture Studies Group held at the Heritage Museum of Northwest Florida, Valparaiso. Plant swap will be held afterwards. For more information call the museum at 6782615. Fri., 11 a.m. The Biophilia Center will be teaching all about crabs with special activities and games. General admission is $8 for adults, $5 for children ages 3-12. Call the Biophilia Center at 835-1824. Sat., 11 a.m. The second annual Pearls for Purple Hearts charity auction will be held at the Magnolia Grill with a vintage 60s and 70s theme. Funds raised will benefit Special Operations Warrior Foundation and Fisher House. Email airmansvoice@hurlburt.af.mil for more info or to volunteer. Tues., 8 a.m. There will be a blood drive at Twin Cities Hospital, 2190 Highway 85, Niceville until 1:30 p.m. with a free T-shirt for all donors. Calendar, B-4. COMING UP The voice of Niceville, Bluewater Bay and Valparaiso since 1992 MSBU OKs budget, will fill a vacancy Police Blotter, page A-4 Valp. officials react, A-2. Eglin’s F-35 choice would be noisiestPlan to boost Valp. as home to Eglin nixed Cast awayBrian McGovern, 14, of Crestview, casts his net at the Valparaiso T-pier June 14 in hope of catching baitfish. Summer vacation has allowed him ample time for angling. "I usually don't come down here during school days when I have homework," McGovern said. "Now I'll come down here and fish a lot." Beacon photo by Daniel Elsesser Colored contours superimposed on a map released last week indicate that the Air Force's "preferred alternative" for aircraft flights to and from Eglin Air Force Base would result in regular jet noise above 65 decibels in much of Valparaiso and northwest Niceville. Areas affected by such noise levels are deemed unsuitable for residential use, according to the Air Force. An Eglin-sponsored public hearing to solicit comments is scheduled July 9.U.S. Air ForceEyesore poles getting faceliftBy Daniel Elsesser Beacon fras s Wd ired The intersection of State Road 20 and Rocky Bayou Drive, Niceville, should soon be a little easier on the eyes. Public Works Director Bruce Price said the public works department is repriming and repainting the traffic signal masts. The paint on the masts began to peel and flake off soon after installation, presenting an eyesore. Price said the masts are for county signals, and therefore he may request the use of a county Beacon photo by Daniel ElsesserCity of Valparaiso officials decided against a plan to paint three F-35 planes and the phrase "Home of Eglin Air Force Base" on the water tower near Valparaiso City Hall. Beacon photo by Daniel ElsesserA stoplight pole at SR 20 and Rocky Bayou Drive (background) has been repainted, while another (foreground) awaits a similar facelift. Please see EYESORE, page A-6 Dale Blanchard By Daniel Elsesser and Mike Griffith Beacon Staff Some Okaloosa County School District officials may disagree over whether the year-old Okaloosa STEMM Academy in Valparaiso should remain open over the long run, but no decisions were made during a school board meeting Monday in Fort Walton Beach. The magnet school offers advanced middle school science and mathematics curriculum. The acronym STEMM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Math and Medical. In addition to the STEMM Academy for students, the center also includes the Center for STEMM Innovation; a science education training center for teachers from throughout the school district. Okaloosa County Superintendent of Schools Mary Beth Jackson told the Beacon prior to Monday’s school board meeting that the academy was in her draft proposed budget for the 2013-14 year. But Jackson said she opposed the opening of the school during her campaign for election as superintendent last year, and said she felt a decision on whether or not to close the school was one that would have to be faced in light of the setting of budget priorities.Valp. prepares to make case on jet noiseBy Daniel Elsesser Beacon Staff Writer Valparaiso officials are working to enlist the help of elected lawmakers, and to organize citizen support, to protect what they view as the city's interests regarding Eglin's "preferred" plan for F35 operations, which would increase jet noise over the city. Meantime, local officials and community leaders continued to react to news that the Air Force favors a plan to end restrictions on F-35 warplane flights using the north-south runway of Eglin Air Force Base. The "preferred alternative" for operations by a new and growing F-35 training wing at Eglin would result in more flights over Valparaiso and northwest Niceville, markedly increasing jet noise over those areas, according to an Air Force environmental study issued earlier this month. At a Valparaiso City Commission meeting Monday, Mayor Bruce Arnold acknowledged that residents of surrounding communities would focus on the positive effects of having the F-35 at Eglin, without considering the negative impacts on Valparaiso. "Everybody outside of Valparaiso is dreaming about the 7,000 new jobs the F-35 could bring," Arnold said. "They could care less about us." For this reason, Arnold stressed the importance of getting the support of state and federal lawmakers. "In the past, we've had no support of elected officials," Arnold said, referring to the city's partially successful 2009 campaign to get restrictions on F-35 operations. It is the runway-use restrictions the city won in that campaign that the Air Force now says its "preferred alternative" wouldBy Mike Griffith Beacon Correspondent Construction of the Mid-Bay Bridge Connector will likely be completed and opened about a month ahead of schedule, according to the project manager. In a briefing to the bridge authority’s governing board in Destin June 20, HDR Engineering representative James VanSteenburg said that construction of the bridge connector, a road connecting the north end of the Mid-Bay Bridge with State Road 85 north of Niceville, is now “on the downhill slide to finishing out,” and is expected to be completed by Jan. 10, about a month ahead of the scheduled spring 2014 completion currently advertised on signs along state roads 85 and 285. In fact, said VanSteenburg, if all continues to go well, the project may be done by the end of this year. HDR is the prime contractor managing the bridge connector construction project. The connector, an 11-mile tollway that will connect the By Mike Griffith Beacon Correspondent In response to queries from the Bay Beacon, a state senator representing part of northwest Florida has denied any connection with a public conflict between Northwest Florida State College (NWFSC) Board of Trustees member Patrick Byrne and college President Ty Handy. Another area senator did not comment. During a meeting June 18 of the NWFSC Board of Trustees in Niceville, Handy presented the board with a written statement in which he accused a trustee later identified as Byrne of persistent attempts to oust him. Handy said that Byrne’s efforts have taken place over the past several months. Handy said that Byrne, of Niceville, who was appointed to the board earlier this year, had told him that at least one unnamed Florida state senator has also been pushing for Handy’s ouster, and promised to provide several million dollars of additional appropriations for the college if Handy resigned or was removed by July 1 of this year. The board of trustees June 18 extended Handy's contract by a year, to mid-2016. In a phone conversation with the Beacon Monday, Byrne, who has acknowledged pushing for Handy's removal, said, “No senator ever offered any money if Dr. Handy was removed from office.” In a June 19 phone interview with the Beacon, District 1 State Sen. Don Gaetz, whose district includes southern Okaloosa County and the college’s main campus in Niceville, as well as satellite campuses in Fort Walton Beach and Walton County, stated emphatically that he has never been involved in any effort to oust Handy. “I never did, and never would say anything like that,” said Gaetz, referring to the statements attributed to a senator whose identity Handy said he did not know. “I was not the senator mentioned in Dr. Handy’s statement,” said Gaetz, a Niceville Republican who is in the middle of a two-year term as president of T T T h h e eB B a a y y B B e e a a c c o o n n 50¢Wednesday, June 26, 2013 info@baybeacon.com The voice of Niceville, Bluewater Bay and Valparaiso since 1992 (850) 678-1080 12 Pages, 2 Sections, 4 Inserts Please see STEMM, page A-4 Please see NOISE, page A-4 Please see SENATOR, page A-6 Thurs., 10:30-11:30 a.m. Lynette Miesen has combined her work as a plein-air painter with her poetry in her first book, The Poetry of ArtŽ She will be at the Niceville Public Library 206 N. Partin Dr., signing copies which will also be for sale. For more information call 279-4863 x1507. Thurs.,2 p.m. Valparaiso Community Library will have a free showing of the movie  Beautiful Creatures for their Movie Thursday event. For more info call 7295406. Sat.10 a.m.1 p.m. All-American DaysŽ Independence Day celebration at ERA Realty, 1069 E. John Sims Pkwy., Niceville. There will be free American flags, pet parades, face painting, a bouncy house, giveaways, hot dogs, snow cones and popcorn. Mayor Wise and his wife Helen will be on hand for a pie tasting. Mon., 6:30 p.m. The July meeting of the Mac Users Group will be held at the NWF State College Student Services Building, room 132. James Savage will present The Basics of the Application Drop Box for MacOS and iOS. For more information, visit FWBMug.com or contact Jean Dutton at jeancdutton@mac.com or 862-3327. Calendar, B-5. COMING UP Highway seen opening earlyJanuary completion eyed for bridge connector Police BlotterB e eacone p h Dramatic confrontation, A-2. Officials discuss STEMM future1 senator denies any link in college tiff; another is mum A sign on State Road 285, just before a Mid-Bay Bridge Connector overpass under construction, advertises a spring 2014 opening for the connector road. An engineer for the project said last week that the road should be complete by Jan. 10, a month early. tncbyM e aiykye Gre fcM T nv e Nv lnlln, tncbyM e aiykye Gre uT wne d,T V V T kiFriday was the summer solstice—the longest day of 2013. As the day drew toward a close, many people could still be seen at Valparaiso s Lincoln Park as they enjoyed the last chance of the day to take a boat out on Boggy Bayou, propel a paddle board across the water, explore the shoreline, or enjoy a float together in the calm waters in the light of the setting sun.Summer takes a bow Please see HIGHWAY, page A-5 sine 1yT bne yV e 9T bn1T v v nB e tv 2nDckn,e tcre cM Ee gcv ac,cT lye lT M bne A--4 Sen. Don Gaetz By Daniel Elsesser Beacon Cras s pd tred Valparaiso Mayor Bruce Arnold has drafted a proposed new charter for the city of Valparaiso that would move supervision of the city government's departments from the city commissioners to three new city positions. The commissioners would only have "oversight" over the departments in the new charter. Two city commissioners have voiced reservations about the proposed changes. Arnold said he feels city commissioners should relinquish operational control of the governmental departments partially so they can focus on broader issues. "Our commissioners should be able to focus on big-picture issues," Arnold said. "They shouldn't have to worry about when someone's water needs to be shut off, or who needs to mow their grass." Arnold said operational control should also be shifted to city employees because, under the current system, Arnold feels that often times the city's "left hand doesn't know what the right hand is doing." "It's embarrassing to have citizens to call up city hall with questions about a decision one of the commissioners made in their department, and no one at city hall knows anything about it," Arnold said. "We really have no central control." Arnold said the "oversight" mentioned in the draft charter means commissioners would be responsible for championing the needs of their respective departments. At a city commission workshop June 24, Arnold and commissioners Diane Kelley and Kay Hamilton voiced approval of the draft, but commissioners Joe Morgan and Heyward Strong expressed general objections. Valparaiso voters would have the final say in a referendum on any proposed changes. Arnold said the charter will now be given to Valparaiso City Attorney Hayward Dykes, who will "clean up" the language of the document and determine whether the draft constitutes a new charter or an amendment to the city's existing charter. After the attorney has made changes and advised the commission on any other issues, the charter will go before the city commission at a public meeting, where it will vote on whether the charter should be put to a referendum. If it is approved for referendum, the proposed charter will be put on a ballot for Valparaiso citizens to vote on in the March 2014 city election.By Daniel Elsesser Beacon Crass pdtred The Air Force will hear public comments Tuesday concerning a recently released draft environmental statement which notably stated that the Air Force's "preferred alternative" for F-35 operations at Eglin Air Force Base would increase jet noise over parts of Valparaiso and Niceville. An Eglin spokesman said public comments during the formal portion of the hearing would be limited to three minutes per speaker, although written comments may be submitted without regard to length. Experts will be on hand during a half-hour, informal session to answer certain questions, according to the Air Force. The meeting will be held July 9 at the First Baptist Church of Valparaiso, 444 Valparaiso Parkway, from 5:308 p.m. The preferred alternative listed in the environmental study would boost average jet-noise levels to 65 decibels over some 1,200 residential parcels, affecting over 2,900 people, by increasing jet operations from Eglin's north-south runway. The statement said such levels may be unsuitable for residential use.City seeks to end club’s use of effluentBy Daniel Elsesser Beacon Cras s pd tred City of Niceville officials say they are pushing to complete a deal with Rocky Bayou Country Club that would stop the club's use of reclaimed water and relieve the city of its obligation to pay the club for taking the water. Niceville City Manager Lannie Corbin, a member of the Niceville Valparaiso Regional Sewer Board, which owns the regional wastewater facility that produces reclaimed water, said the agreement would get the country club, by far the largest user of the plant's reclaimed water, to switch to another source for irrigation. Reclaimed water is highly treated effluent that has been certified safe for irrigation. Distribution of reclaimed water to users in the Niceville area is one way the regional treatment plent disposes of its effluent. The wastewater plant is being modified under a Florida Department of Environmental Protection mandate to remove more nitrogen and phosphorus from the water. The $5 million project requires one of the plant's three sewage "trains," or treatment systems, to be shut down temporarily. The use of only two trains at a time forces all of the area's raw sewage into two-thirds of the plant's capacity, which has caused problems. In early April, the limited plant capacity caused the reclaimed water to become too cloudy by DEP standards to be sent out for irrigation. For nearly two weeks, the plant had to rely on limited reserves to send to users, and temporarily had to suspend service to those users, including the Swift Creek Plantation and Preserve By Mike Griffith Beacon SoddefW onienr Shortly before his retirement, Okaloosa STEMM center director Rick Soria gave the Beacon a tour of the school he became so proud of during the year he has been in charge of it. He showed a reporter around the school on June 18, the day after the Okaloosa County School Board discussed, but did not decide, whether to continue the year-old center for teaching science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medical subjects to selected middle school students from throughout the Okaloosa County School District. Soria retired Friday. “I’m amazed that after a year of operations, some people in the community, and even at the school district headquarters, still don’t know what we do,” said Soria. For example, he said, he was recently asked by one local citizen, “How much is the tuition at the STEMM center?” Soria said that he did not T T T h h e eB B a a y y B B e e a a c c o o n n 50¢Wednesday, July 3, 2013 info@baybeacon.com The voice of Niceville, Bluewater Bay and Valparaiso since 1992 (850) 678-1080 14 Pages, 2 Sections, 9 Inserts Please see CITY, page A-2 Please see HEARING, page A-9 Please see MAYOR, page A-3 Please see MATH, page A-7 Wed., 7 p.m. Say the Word an open mic poetry night, is open to everyone at French Quarter Bar and Grill, 714 Howell Rd. Each performer should plan to share 2-3 pieces. Music will be played live by Damian Churchwell Call 678-2604 for more info. Thurs., 5 p.m. First Baptist Church of Niceville is holding their annual Family Fourth Celebration at Freedom Field at the corner of Bayshore and Partin Drive. There will be food, games and entertainment. Call 6784621 for more info.Sunday, 10:45 a.m. Graham and Tammy Boutwell will be performing at Rosemont Baptist Church 1601 27thSt., Niceville, during their morning worship. For more information please call 6781611.Tues., 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Give blood at Northwest Florida State College help save lives and receive a free movie ticket. Calendar, B-3. COMING UP ‘Math permeates everything we do here’STEMM center s future clouded3 minutes each for hearing speakersJet-noise session set for July 9Valparaiso mayor drafts charter changes STEMM center summer students Elizabeth Kim, 12, and Jillian Parker, 12, brief a class on their design for an artificial heart valve.Beacon photo by Mike Griffith Beacon photo by Mike GriffithIndependence Day festivities got off to a highly visible early start Saturday in Niceville with a parking lot festival dubbed AllAmerican Day," sponsored by ERA American Realty. The event celebrated "what makes Niceville—and America—a nice place to live,” according to a company statement. Featured were an apple pie tasting contest judged by Mayor Randall Wise, a pet parade with costumes and prizes, fire truck exhibits, face painting, snow cones, and, of course, plenty of American flags. On July 4, area celebrations will include a day-long festival at Lincoln Park, Valparaiso, capped by evening fireworks over Boggy Bayou. See page B-1 for a story on these events.Proud to be Americans The voice of Niceville, Bluewater Bay and Valparaiso since 1992 Bruce Arnold By Daniel Elsesser Beacon Staff Writer The Okaloosa County School Board approved Superintendent Mary Beth Jackson's recommendation to appoint Jacqueline Craig as the head administrator of both the Okaloosa STEMM Academy and the Northwest Florida Ballet Academie. Under terms of her appointment, apparently she will be spending less time running the STEMM school than her predecessor did. The board on Monday named Craig, who until June 30 was the principal at Northwood Elementary School, Crestview, to fill the head administrative role at both magnet schools. Incumbent faces challenge in Niceville votingBy Daniel Elsesser Beacon Staff Writer Niceville municipal elections will be held July 16. Two city council seats are at stake. The fouryear terms for the Group 2 and Group 4 seats will expire this month. The Group 2 seat, currently occupied by Councilman Sal Nodjomian, is not contested in this election. Nodjomian was the only person to file for candidacy. Nodjomian gained his current position in January. He was unopposed then as well, being the only person to file in a special election in January to fill the remainder of the term of Councilman Bill Smith, who resigned to run for a seat on the Okaloosa County Commission. The Group 4 seat is being contested by the incumbent, Councilman Dan Henkel, and one challenger, Armand G. Izzo. Henkel won his current position in a 2008 special election to succeed the late Terry Tislow. Henkel was reelected in 2009. The following are responses to a questionnaire sent to all three candidates. Daniel HenkelAddress : 2406 Rocky Shores Drive Age : 57 Occupation : program manager, Jacobs Technology, Inc. How long have you lived in Niceville : 15 years Why are you seeking a seat on the Niceville City Council? I want to continue my efforts in making Niceville the “Number 1 City in Florida to Raise a Family." Additionally, I want to continue helping the citizens of our great city with the issues and concerns they’ve raised and work to resolve them. Why should people vote for you? I have a record of voting to keep taxes low and working hard to find solutions to challenges that the city and its citizens are faced with. What would you like to change in Niceville? As growth continues in Niceville, I want to make sure we don’t forget about doing the things necessary to build and improve our infrastructure like roads, sewer, water, etc. But, I want to make sure the appearance and friendliness of a small town aren’t lost. To that end, I would like to see more of our citizens get involved in our community. They can do this by attending city meetings and looking to see what the needs are and then get involved. What do you think about the revised draft supplemental environmental impact statementBeacon Staff Writer Kids out of school? Don’t sweat it. There are plenty of activities for kids of all ages in the area so no need to park them in front of the television and computer all summer. Here’s a comprehensive list of upcoming summer camps, programs and activities that will make your summer planning a breeze.Special Interest Kids on CampusNorthwest Florida State CollegepresentsKids on Campus, a unique opportunity for summer enrichment and fun in a college environment. The summer enrichment program for students entering third through eighth grade. Students choose from a variety of exciting classes such as: athletics, fine & performing arts, academics, and arts and crafts. Students can choose morning, afternoon or all day classes. Extended care is also available in the morning and afternoons. The next session will be July 15-25 with the last day of registration on July 10. Full and half day sessions are available with extended care. Please call 729-6086 for the Kids on Campus office to find out complete information.Heritage MuseumHistory Rocks! Summer Camp will be held August 5-9 from 9 a.m.-12 p.m. at the Heritage Museum of Northwest Florida. See history as a pioneer, excavate like a real scientist to find artifacts, learn how to “curate” a museum — this summer camp is a sure fix for bored days. Costs $60 for the week, or $15 a day for non-members. $50 for the week or $13 per day for members. Become a Family Member and receive one camp registration half off. Space is limited. Pre-registration is required.Camp CollegeThis camp is designed for rising seniors to get their college applications completed during the summer to be ready to T T T h h e eB B a a y y B B e e a a c c o o n n 50¢Wednesday, July 10, 2013 info@baybeacon.com The voice of Niceville, Bluewater Bay and Valparaiso since 1992 (850) 678-1080 12 Pages, 2 Sections, 5 Inserts Please see VOTING, page A-6 Please see STEMM, page A-3 Please see KIDS, page A-5 Thurs., 11:30-12 p.m. Henderson Beach State Park will host the Emerald Coast Wildlife Refuge staff and their animal ambassadors, weather permitting. Bring your camera for some great photo opportunities. Fri., 12 p.m. Free lunchtime lecture, Your Heritage Ladder,Ž at the Heritage Museum of Northwest Florida 115 Westview Ave., Valparaiso presented by Charlene H. Grafton local author of ŽWhats In Your Genes?Ž Bring a sack lunch an enjoy an informal lunchtime education. Please call to reserve a seat. 678-2615 Sat., 9 a.m.-3 p.m. The Lewis School volleyball team will be washing cars for donations and having a bake sale in the Lewis parking lot at 281 Mississippi Ave., Valparaiso. Sat., 10 a.m. The Genealogical Society of Okaloosa County presents Farris Blue Heron (Wah-Kachobee)Ž Powell who will be speaking on Seminole and Creek tribes of the panhandle area from 1700 to 1830 at Heritage Museum meeting room located at 115 Westview Dr., Valparaiso. For more info call 678-2023. Calendar, B-2 COMING UP Police Blotter, page A-4New STEMM school chief is namedWill divide her time with dance academyBy Mike Griffith Beacon Correspondent Valparaiso city officials Monday disclosed details of a sewage spill in Valparaiso on Saturday, July 6, that may have contaminated the waters of Boggy Bayou and Toms Bayou as holiday swimmers frolicked, possibly unaware of any potential danger. City commission and Please see SPILLS, page A-258,000 gallons of sewage spills into bayous Among the many things to do this summer is the Kids on Campus program of Northwest Florida State College. Classes, for grades 3 through 8, range from arts, to science, to sports.Beacon file photo Beacon photo by Mike Griffith On Sunday, July 7, the rain that had soaked the Twin Cities area throughout the Independence Day long weekend finally halted long enough to let people come outside to enjoy one day of sunny weather in an otherwise rainy four-day weekend. Among them were two girls who leapt off the end of the swimming pier at Lincoln Park, Valparaiso, and into Boggy Bayou. Here comes the sun The voice of Niceville, Bluewater Bay and Valparaiso since 1992 Armand Izzo Dan Henkel Jacqueline CraigLots of things for kids to do this summer School needs a chance to succeed A-3. Warning sign Tuesday at Lincoln Park, Valparaiso. By Daniel Elsesser Beacon Staff Writer The Valparaiso City Commission voted unanimously to approve a proposed millage rate of 5.21 for the next fiscal year, a 15 percent increase over the current tax rate of 4.52 mills. Valparaiso Mayor Bruce Arnold said the figure was purposefully set high, so the commissioners can ensure they have enough funds to work with before working on lowering the rate at subsequent budget hearings before a final tax rate is approved in September. The millage rate is the amount per $1,000 charged on ad valorem taxes, or taxes on real estate or business property. On property carried on the tax rolls at By Mike Griffith Beacon Correspondent During their July 9 meeting, members of the Bluewater Bay Municipal Services Benefit Unit (MSBU) governing board chose Bluewater Bay resident Jonathan Tallman as the newest member of the panel. The board also discussed enforcement of deed covenants in the community. Tallman succeeds Dale Blanchard, who recently resigned in conjunction with a move to St. Petersburg. Although MSBU board members are usually elected to four-year terms as unpaid volunteers on the board, when a vacancy occurs during a term the remaining board members may appoint someone to fill out the remainder of the term.By Mike Griffith Beacon Correspondent Opinions differed sharply during a public hearing held July 9 at the First Baptist Church in Valparaiso, to discuss an environmental study of various options for conducting F-35 flight operations. The Air Force-sponsored hearing began with an informal question-and-answer period among visitors and Air Force officials who spoke one-on-one with citizens who wished to ask them questions or discuss the F-35 program. During the introductory period, visitors were also given printed material about the F-35 program, and were allowed to fill out cards requesting three minutes of speaking time during the formal portion of the public hearing. They were also allowed to submit written comments about various flight operation options for the F35, and about the Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS)—a recently issued report of an Air Force study of the likely environmental impacts of F-35 training flights to take place from Eglin Air Force Base now and in the future. During the question-andanswer period, Eglin environmental public affairs officer Mike Spaits answered some questions from the Bay Beacon, about claims by some Valparaiso residents that noise from F-35 flight operations would render some homes in Valparaiso. “incompatible with residential use,” and would therefore mean that residents must move out of such houses.By Mike Griffith Beacon Correspondent The Okaloosa County Health Department has received no reports of anyone becoming sick as a result of exposure to sewagecontaminated water during the July 4 weekend, and does not expect any such reports now, said Dr. Karen Chapman during a meeting held Monday in Niceville. Meantime, officials acted to prevent any recurrence of a communications foul-up that delayed warnings to the public of the spills for two days. During Monday’s meeting, officials from the Okaloosa County Department of Public Safety, the county branch of the Florida Department of Health, which Chapman heads, and from local water and sewer utilities discussed proposed changes to streamline the way notifications of sewage spills are handled in Okaloosa County. On Saturday, July 6, a week of heavy rains caused storm water to find its way into sanitary sewage systems in Valparaiso and other parts of the county. In Valparaiso, the result was an overflow of tens of thousands of gallons of sewage from manholes into some city streets near the north shore of Toms Bayou. From there, an estimated 58,000 gallons found its way into Toms Bayou and Boggy Bayou, according to the city. Meantime, a similar spill in T T T h h e eB B a a y y B B e e a a c c o o n n 50¢Wednesday, July 17, 2013 info@baybeacon.com The voice of Niceville, Bluewater Bay and Valparaiso since 1992 (850) 678-1080 12 Pages, 2 Sections, 6 Inserts Please see F-35, page A-5 Please see MSBU, page A-2 Please see SEWAGE, page A-2 Wed., 7:30 p.m. Les MisrablesŽ opens at the Mattie Kelly Arts Center, Niceville and runs until July 20 and from July 25-27. Tickets are $25 and can be purchased by 7296000 or visiting online at mattiekellyartscenter.org. Read the complete story on A-4. Sat., 6 p.m. Holy Name of Jesus Catholic Church 1200 Valparaiso Blvd, Niceville, invite the public to a buffet style dinner in the Life Center Hall featuring Filipino entrees and desserts. Cost is $7 for ten years and up, $4 for 7-9 years and six and under eat free. Price includes entree, dessert and beverage. For more information please call 678-3000. Tues., 6:30 p.m. Dr. Sandra L. Davis, author of So, Whats A Nice Girl Like You Doing In A Place Like This?Ž will be speaking at the Niceville Public Library Free and open to the public. For more info please call the Niceville Library at 279-4863 x1514. Tues., 5:30 p.m. The Quit Smoking Now (QSN) program will be at Twin Cities Hospitals Wellness Center 2190 N Hwy 85, Niceville. The QSN program is a tobacco cessation program with group support, providing Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) in a six week program led by a Certified Tobacco Treatment Specialist. To register for a class, please call 398-6965 or visit westfloridaahec.org. .Ca lenCdr, B -2 COMING UP Police Blotter, page A-6MSBU names a new memberValp. eyes millage hike Beacon photo by Daniel Elsesser Tryston Garvey launches his skateboard off a ledge near Bayshore Drive and Edge Avenue, Niceville July 12, while Devon Glenn walks to set up a jump of his own. The Niceville High School students were filming the stunts for a video-editing class. "We're making a summer movie," Said Devon, 15. "It's for school, but we're also doing it for fun." Lift off The voice of Niceville, Bluewater Bay and Valparaiso since 1992 Jonathan Tallman Valparaiso city employees pump rainwater out of a city lift station near Toms Bayou July 11. The work was done as a preventative measure to keep overflow from the lift station from running into the bayou. The previous weekend, efforts to prevent a sewage overflow failed, partly due to a shortage of pump trucks, resulting in a spill of 58,000 gallons of Valparaiso wastewater into area bayous. Public Work Director James Valandingham said the city borrowed an Okaloosa County sewage truck to pump the station on July 11. Beacon photo by Daniel Elsesser 3.993.993.99 3.12 2.88 3.75 4.16 3.93 4.06 4.52 5.21 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013* Fiscal year ended Sept. 30 0.00 1.00 2.00 3.00 4.00 5.00 6.00Millage *2013 preliminary, may be revised downward Source: City of Valparaiso Valparaiso tax rates Municipal millage rate, by year (does not include county or other levies) Mixed reaction to Eglin F-35 plansAir Force hears public on jet-noise issues Officials act to speed warnings on sewage spillsNo illnesses reported despite two-day lag on notification Please see MILLAGE, page A-3 Valparaiso, do future zoning of high noise exposure areas near the base in such a way as to encourage nonresidential uses of property, such as industry or agriculture, but that such language does not mean that anyone will be forced to abandon or tear down their homes, or to make expensive renovations if they choose not to. On Monday, July 15, Larry Chavers, Chief of Environmental Analysis at Eglin Air Force Base, responded to a series of questions from the Bay Beacon, based on Mayor Arnold’s statement, as follows: Question: Which version of the likely impact of F-35 noise over Valparaiso is correct? Answer: The version that Eglin portrays in the discussions below is correct. Please realize that there have been noise issues in Valparaiso for years even prior to the F-35s arriving. By Daniel Elsesser Beacon Staff Writer Workers were scheduled to place girders for the Mid-Bay Bridge Connector span over State Road 285 late today and early Thursday, laying the framework for the last of five overpasses to be constructed for the new highway, set to open in early 2014. State Road 285 was scheduled to be closed from College Boulevard to Interstate 10 from 11 p.m. tonight, Wednesday, to 5 a.m. Thursday morning toBy Mike Griffith Beacon Correspondent The Air Force responded last week to statements made by Valparaiso Mayor Bruce Arnold during a July 9 public hearing regarding present and future training flights of F-35 fighter planes at Eglin Air Force Base. During the hearing, Mayor Arnold said that if the Air Force chooses option 1-A, one of several options in a recent Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS), and the option which would route more flights over the city of Valparaiso, then hundreds of homes in a large area of the city would become “incompatible for residential use” because of jet noise. Mike Spaits, a spokesman for Eglin Air Force Base, had offered a different viewpoint during the July 9 hearing, saying that words such as “incompatible” in the SEIS merely served as a “recommendation” that communities adjacent to the base, such asBy Daniel Elsesser Beacon Staff Writer Turnout for Niceville's July 16 regular city council election was the lowest it has been in at least two decades, as about 3.5 percent of the city's registered voters cast ballots, reelecting incumbent Dan Henkel over challenger Armand Izzo. Henkel retained his Group 4 seat in a July 16 election, topping Izzo 246 votes to 96. Sal Nodjomian was unopposed in his run for the Group 2 seat, the only other seat up for election this year. The 342 total votes cast from a pool of 9,663 registered voters represented 3.5 percent voter turnout, lower than the 10 percent that was expected by City Clerk Dan Doucet. Okaloosa County Supervisor of Elections Paul Lux said there were a few circumstances that may have led to the low turnout. "When you hold summer elections, you typically have a lot of people out of town," Lux said. "Or elections just might not be in people's minds." T T T h h e eB B a a y y B B e e a a c c o o n n 50¢Wednesday, July 24, 2013 info@baybeacon.com The voice of Niceville, Bluewater Bay and Valparaiso since 1992 (850) 678-1080 10 Pages, 2 Sections, 3 Inserts Please see OVERPASS, page A-2 Please see NOISE, page A-2 Please see VOTING, page A-3 Thurs., 4 p.m. An Adventure Club bicycle ride will be leaving from the golf course club house at Bluewater Bay Resorts parking area, 1940 Bluewater Bay Blvd., with participants joining for a meal after the ride at a local restaurant. Call Jim Bayes at 897-6756 for more info. Sat., 10 a.m. Strictly Weavers of the Emerald Coast will be meeting at the Twin Cities Hospital Wellness Center Niceville,to weave Kente jackets. Free and open to the public. For more info please call the Alice at 934-4403.Sat., 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m. Charles Williams will be signing copies of his book, In Close ProximityŽ at Bayou Books 1118 John Sims Pkwy., Niceville. For more information please call 678-1593. Sun., 8 a.m.-1 p.m. There is an opportunity to give blood at Christ Our Redeemer Church 1028 White Point Rd., Niceville. Receive a free cholesterol and blood pressure screening with donation. For more info visit oneblood.org. Calendar, B-2 COMING UP Police Blotter, page A-45% raises eyed for teachers Beacon photos by Daniel ElsesserAutumn Ryan, 10, prepares to launch a rocket she made as part of Rocky Bayou Christian School's week-long Crazy Rocket Camp. The camp's nine participants (right, with supervisor Ray Allen) launched their model missiles July 19 at the Twin Oaks Park, Niceville. Rocket science The voice of Niceville, Bluewater Bay and Valparaiso since 1992 Niceville hits low in voter turnout Niceville City Councilmen Dan Henkel (center) and Sal Nodjomian are sworn in by Mayor Randall Wise for the next city council term after the announcement of the city election results July 16 at 7:15 p.m. in the Niceville City Council chambers. Beacon photo by Daniel Elsesser Air Force responds to mayor on F-35 noise By Mike Griffith Beacon Correspondent The Okaloosa County School Board met July 16 to discuss the proposed school district budget for fiscal year 2013-14. Increases in teacher compensation, including raises averaging 5 percent, were held responsible for the lion's share of a 3.5-percent increase in general-fund spending. During the meeting, at which no formal action was taken, board members pored over phone-book-thick budget books, as school district chief financial officer Rita Scallan and human resources director Mike Foxworthy discussed budget figures for various departments. Some of the school district’s department heads also spoke, explaining the projected amounts tentatively budgeted for their departments. Among the highlights of the workshop meeting, Scallan said that she expects the school district to have a total general fund budget for all departments of $24,487,818, or $864,012 (3.5 percent) higher than that for fiscal year 2012-13. The budget year began July 1, but the school board typically doesn't finalize its numbers until a month or two after that time. Scallan said that the bulk of the increase will come from increases in personnel costs due to teacher raises and increases in pension funding. She said there will also be increases in the costs of Social Please see 5% RAISES, page A-5 Bruce Arnold Girders for the Mid-Bay Bridge Connector span over State Road 285 were ready for placement Monday. The 186-foot steel beams were scheduled to lifted into place between 11 p.m. tonight, Wednesday, and 5 a.m. Thursday, during which time SR 285 will be closed from College Boulevard to Interstate 10.Beacon photo by Daniel ElsesserOverpass a final link in highwayGirders set to be placed this week By Daniel Elsesser Beacon Staff Writer Florida Senate President Don Gaetz held a "neighborhood day" in the Twin Cities July 25, speaking with residents about new or revised state laws and other citizen concerns. Gaetz, a Niceville Republican who represents District 1, said that based on his converations with constituents, the issues Twin Cities residents are concerned about include residential soundproofing necessitated by the possible change in F-35 operations at Eglin Air Force Base, new state health care laws resulting from federal requirements, Florida's controversial "stand your ground" law, and education reform. Gaetz said many citizen questions regarding the F-35 operations had to do with requirements about soundproofing their houses, By Daniel Elsesser Beacon Staff Writer Local Vietnam War veterans spoke fondly of their experiences with Col. Bud Day, the Medal of Honor recipient who died Saturday at 88. Day, one of the nation's mostdecorated war heroes, died surrounded by family in his home in Shalimar after an extended fight with cancer. A public memorial service is scheduled for 11 a.m. Thursday at the Emerald Coast Convention Center, Okaloosa Island. Retired Air Force Col. Ron Webb, Niceville, in 1967 shared a cell with Day in a Hanoi prisonof-war camp during the Vietnam War after the warplanes of both men were shot down in separate incidents. Webb said he had met Day before they were sent to war, during survival training in a snowy winter in Washington state. When Day arrived at the Hanoi prison camp, nicknamed the Plantation, Webb had been there for several months. "When I saw him, I was very surprised to see that he had been shot down," Webb said. "I was viewing him through a small hole in the door of my cell, and I could see that he was very badly injured."By Daniel Elsesser Beacon Staff Writer The Okaloosa County School Board set a tentative millage rate Monday, proposing a rate of 7.55 mills, up from 7.48 last year. School District Chief Financial Officer Rita Scallan said the increase is caused entirely by the local effort millage required by the state. The required rate this year is 5.3 mills, up from 5.22 last year. The required local effort is the millage which the district must levy in return for receiving state money, which is based on several factors, including a formula that attempts to reduce funding disparities between richer counties and poorer ones. Scallan said the discretionary millage rate, set by the school board, will remain at 1.5 mills, as it has since the 2009-2010 school year. The preliminary and tentative budget allots a total of $122.8 T T T h h e eB B a a y y B B e e a a c c o o n n 50¢Wednesday, July 31, 2013 info@baybeacon.com The voice of Niceville, Bluewater Bay and Valparaiso since 1992 (850) 678-1080 10 Pages, 2 Sections, 3 Inserts Please see HERO, page A-2 Please see GAETZ, page A-5 Please see MILLAGE, page A-3 Wed., 4-8:15 p.m. There will be a blood drive at Niceville United Methodist Church 214 South Partin Drive, Niceville. Donors will receive a T-shirt. Thurs., 6:30 p.m. The Choctawhatchee Audubon Society will feature two programs, Ed Hubbard on his African wildlife photography and Samantha Sexton on the dangers of overfishing, in room 132 of the Student Services Center at the Niceville campus of Northwest Florida State College. For more information call Walt Spence at 582-7064. Fri., 3 p.m. The Valparaiso Community Library would like to invite kids 9 and up to a party in celebration of the upcoming movie  Percy Jackson: The Sea of Monsters .Ž There will be chances to win prizes, including tickets to the movie. Sign up by calling 729-5406 or emailing eruff@valp.org. Mon., 6:30 p.m. JVO Weaver will present Tips and Advice on how best to post-process your digital photos using iPhoto or ApertureŽ at the next meeting of the Mac Users Group at the Northwest Florida State College Student Services Building, room 132. No fees or reservation required. For more information, visit FWBMug.com or contact Jean Dutton at jeancdutton@mac.com or 8623327. Calendar, B-2 COMING UP Police BlotterT h he voh icf School grades, A-6. Thieves strike 2 ATMS 8.2948.2948.063 7.86 7.6397.6247.639 7.534 7.769 7.476 7.551 20042005200620072008200920102011201220132014*Fiscal year ended June 30 0 2 4 6 8Millage *2014 proposed Ok. Co. Sch. Dist. Schools tax rate edges up Millage, Okaloosa County School District, by year In remembrance Nloh ,Bu woh Ba h tu wo,u rroT h yrnod V oph y sh 19h 2 re p u bBh bu 1woh DEEg Constituents bend Sen. Gaetz’s earBy Daniel Elsesser Beacon Staff Writer Niceville police responded to an alarm after someone from the Coastal Bank and Trust branch at John Sims Parkway and Palm Boulevard notified authorities that the bank's live video feed showed the drive-up automated teller machine was "wide open" Monday at 12:42 a.m. A Niceville officer reported observing damaged hinges in the ATM. Investigators were trying to determine the amount of cash taken. Okaloosa County sheriff's deputies responded to a similar crime at the Coastal Bank and Trust's location at 4300 E. State Road 20 minutes later. Emerald Coast Crimestoppers offered a $2,000 reward for information leading to an arrest.Schools to up millage Cast awayAngie Travis teaches her daughter, Olivia, 7, how to cast a fishing line into a pond off Bluewater Boulevard as Travis' nephew, Jonas Parr, 10, fished alongside. Mother instructed daughter to wait to begin reeling "until you feel the fish tug on the line." yo wB1h elBV Bh Ash 1u orh 4rbobbop Medal of Honor recipient Col. Bud Day, right, with Doolittle raider Staff Sgt. David Thatcher, at an event in Niceville earlier this year. Day died Saturday at 88. yo wB1h elBV Bh Ash 1u orh 4rbobbop The Okaloosa County Sheriff's Office released these photos of a suspect allegedly photographed in the act of stealing from an ATM in Niceville. Don GaetzCol. Bud Day recalled as ‘a hero’ yo wB1h elBV Bh Ash 1u orh 4rbobbop Beth Born Croft and Craig Born, parents of Army Sgt. Joshua Born, a former Niceville resident who was killed while serving in Afghanistan in 2012, in front of a memorial bench dedicated in honor of their son July 25. Story, A-2. By Daniel Elsesser Beacon Staff Writer Homeowners of the Southwind and Sunset Beach subdivisions of Bluewater Bay will hold a meeting Aug. 8 to discuss the potential purchase of Bluewater Bay Resort "Gold" memberships in order to generate revenue for the resort's Marsh golf course, which the two subdivisions surround. A published ad by the homeowner's association urged owners to attend "to save the Marsh golf course." "Failure to attend could result in the Marsh course being abandoned like the Magnolia course," stated the ad, published last week in the Bay Beacon. Bill Putz, director of golf for Bluewater Resort, said the ninehole course is not currently in danger of closing, but needs revenue in order to be maintained. Putz said the proposed $160 memberships would mirror the By Daniel Elsesser Beacon Staff Writer The East Niceville Fire District has rejected a proposal to charge businesses for annual fire inspections. The commission voted unanimously July 8 to drop the proposed resolution. Fire Chief Mike Wright had initially proposed such a resolution at the commission's May meeting. He said the district's agreement with the county and city of Niceville, in which a Niceville fire inspector had performed fire inspections on the eight businesses in East Niceville for no charge, had ended that month. Wright finalized an agreement to have North Bay Fire District Inspector Lloyd Losinger perform East Niceville's fire inspections for a $25 fee charged to the East Niceville district, with a free reinspection and an additional $50 added if he had to return for a second re-inspection. Wright drew up a resolution which would have charged the individual businesses to reimburse East Niceville for its payments to North Bay. At the meeting July 8, Commissioner Tricia Brunson said the resolution should not be passed because the eight businesses in East Niceville already pay enough in taxes and should not be burdened by an additional inspection fee. She said the total cost to East Niceville would be manageable. "If we can't figure out a way to come up with $1,000 in a year, we're doing something wrong," Brunson said. Before the commission voted to do away with the resolution, Wright said paying North Bay for inspections would still be cheaper than paying for Wright to get the necessary certification to perform inspections, and the commission agreed to keep the agreement with North Bay and find room in the budget to pay for it. By Daniel Elsesser Beacon Staff Writer The Okaloosa County School District has expanded its jurisdiction over bullies, expanding schools' authority in order to discipline students who intimidate others off school grounds, on the Internet, or via texting. The rule change, adopted on an "emergency" basis last month, subject to final approval after a public hearing, follows passage of a state law earlier this year that prohibits student "bullying or harassment with respect to computer-related activities," "provides that bullying includes cyberbullying" and "revises components of school district policy on bullying and harassment." The changes to the school district's rule were approved for "emergency adoption" by the Okaloosa County School Board July 22, in order to be in place before classes start Aug. 19. Because it was an emergency adoption, the rule change is in effect 90 days from approval. If the school board approves the changes at a public hearing Aug. 26, the changes will become permanent. The changes to Okaloosa schools Rule 4-43 expand the district's ability to curb cyberbullying that may occur after school hours or off campus, according to school board member Cindy Frakes. "The changes to the rule gives our schools more authority over actions taking place outside of school, as long as our students are involved," Frakes said. The changes to the rule add "private humiliation" as one of the definitions of bullying, and adds "electronic communications," "facsimiles" and "other Internet communications" and "the creation of a web page" to T T T h h e eB B a a y y B B e e a a c c o o n n 50¢Wednesday, August 7, 2013 info@baybeacon.com The voice of Niceville, Bluewater Bay and Valparaiso since 1992 (850) 678-1080 12 Pages, 2 Sections, 3 Inserts Please see MARSH, page A-3 Please see MILLAGE, page A-3 Please see FEE, page A-7 Please see BULLYING, page A-8 Fri., 7 p.m. All are invited to attend a full feature movie and BBQ dinner BBQ begins at 5:30 p.m. with the full feature movie, Home Run,Ž at Niceville United Methodist Church 214 Partin Drive South, Niceville. Please register at nicevilleumc.org/recovery/ to ensure your seat, by Wednesday, August 7. Movie is free, BBQ costs $5 per person, $15 per family with reservation. Sponsored By Niceville UMC. Call 678-4411. Sat., 10 a.m. The annual August membership coffee for the Sand Dunes Chapter of Embroiderers Guild of America will be the First United Methodist Church of Niceville, Fellowship Hall. The 201314 program will be presented and snacks will be served. Visitors are welcome. Call 496-3466 with any questions. Sat., 6-10 p.m. Parker James Willingham of Niceville is playing live at The Boathouse Landing Valparaiso. For more info please call 642-1528. Mon., 7 a.m. The Third Annual Warlord Classic Four Man Scramble will be held at the Eglin Golf Course 1527 Fairway Dr. Entry fee is $65 and includes 18 holes of golf including cart and lunch. Preregister by calling Dennis Deppen at 843465-7552. .Ca lenCdr, B -2 COMING UP Police Blotter, page A-6 Beacon photo by Daniel ElsesserJosh Collins, 17, sprays a hose while Elizabeth Burgess, 18, and Patti Burgess, 23, stand under the cooling water spray on South Cedar Avenue, Niceville, last week as the thermometer hit 90 degrees. Keeping cool The voice of Niceville, Bluewater Bay and Valparaiso since 1992Schools seek to broaden authority over cyberbullying Beacon photo by Daniel Elsesser The Okaloosa County School Board has expanded its authority to punish bullies who act offcampus, over the Internet or via smartphones.Homeowners to discuss membership purchase to help Marsh course East Niceville nixes inspection fee By Daniel Elsesser Beacon Staff Writer Local taxing districts have set tentative millage rates for the 2013-14 fiscal year, with public hearings for the final approval of these rates coming in September. The millage rate is the amount per $1,000 charged on ad valorem taxes, or taxes on real estate or business property. On property carried on the tax rolls at $100,000 after all exemptions, a millage rate of 2.00 would draw a tax payment of $200.Beacon photo by Daniel ElsesserResidents of the Southwind and Sunset Beach subdivisions, near the Bluewater Bay Resort's Marsh golf course, will meet Thursday to discuss requiring homeowners to purchase "Gold" golf memberships. By Daniel Elsesser Beacon Staff Writer The Valparaiso Public Works Department announced Saturday that water customers on the south side of Tom's Bayou Bridge should boil tap water used for consumption as a precautionary measure because of complications from a broken water main. The affected areas include John Sims Parkway and South Bayshore Drive to Indian Shores and South Bayshore Drive to Louisiana Avenue and Old Highway 10. The notice will be kept on until at least Wednesday, Aug. 7. The Public Works Department said the tap water is still suitable for bathing, washing clothes and irrigation. Two separate water samples must be analyzed and approved as safe before the boil water notice will be lifted. People requesting follow-up notification or other information may call Valparaiso Public Works at 850-729-5407. Boil water notice for some Valp. customers Local tax districts set tentative millage rates By Daniel Elsesser Beacon Cras s pd tred Local schoolchildren, teachers and staff are preparing for the new school year, which will begin for Okaloosa County public-school students Monday, Aug. 19. Many faculty members reported to work even before Aug. 12, the official first day for teachers. Paul Whiddon, the new principal of Ruckel Middle School, Niceville, said many students and parents have dropped by the school early for information. "We've already had about 1,000 students register," Whiddon said. "Parents and students have been coming by asking about things, so everyone's very excited." Whiddon, who will be Ruckel's principal after two years heading Shoal River Middle School in Crestview, said the most notable change and challenge for the coming year will be the implementation of Common Core State Standards. "We'll begin implementing Common Core thisBy Daniel Elsesser Beacon Crass pdtred The Valparaiso City Commission continued working toward balancing the municipal budget at a workshop Aug. 5, deciding to make decisions assuming next year's propertytax will be the same as the current one of 4.52 mills. At a previous workshop, the commission set the tentative millage rate at 5.21 mills, picking a high rate so the city would be ensured enough funding while still being able to work the rate down to a more appropriate amount as budget deliberations proceed. City Commissioner Heyward Strong presented a proposed 2013-14 budget containing several deletions or reductions of fund allotments from the last budget meeting, at T T T h h e eB B a a y y B B e e a a c c o o n n 50¢Wednesday, August 14, 2013 info@baybeacon.com The voice of Niceville, Bluewater Bay and Valparaiso since 1992 (850) 678-1080 10 Pages, 2 Sections, 3 Inserts Thurs.-Fri., 7 p.m. New Life Christian Ministries Niceville, will host its first "Word Revival" with Bishop John W. Pace II lead pastor. The desire is to empower people to pursue life without limits and to transform the lives of ordinary people so that they become extraordinary. For more information, call 7290733. Fri., 11 a.m-2 p.m. Go green at the Biophilia Center Freeport, with recycling activities from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Create an edible landfill, play games and make arts and crafts with recycled materials. Fun for all ages. Fri., 7-11 p.m. All are invited to enjoy a free karaoke night at the American Legion Post #221 444 E. John Sims Parkway, Niceville. For more info call 678-2682 Sat.-Sun., 3 p.m. Angela Robinson as Veronica Harrington of the New Tyler Perry Show on the O Network will be at Wellspring Ministries ,Niceville, with a performing arts and acting seminar on August 17 and 18. Tickets are $25 at the door, $20 in advance. Call 678-9355 for more information. Calendar, B-2 COMING UP Police BlotterT h he voh icf Please see ROBBED, page A-2 No l,Bh eu,w ,h ath r By on h dn VoVVop Children prepare to launch arrows Aug. 8 during Camp Corral, a week-camp held at Camp Timpoochee for children of wounded military veterans. Taking aim No l,Bh eu,w ,h ath r By on h dn VoVVop The Valparaiso City Commission tentatively removed from its budget $20,000 requested to repaint the inside and outside of Valparaiso City Hall.Schools prepare for new yearEmily Voigt, a new first-grade teacher at Plew Elementary, sorts books in preparation of the new school year, which begins Aug. 19. Voigt and many other teachers were in their classrooms making preparations before teachers were required to begin work Aug. 12. No l,Bh eu,w ,h ath r By on h dn VoVVop Please see SCHOOLS, page A-2 Please see VALP., page A-3 Marsh course meeting 'a good first step'By Mike Griffith Beacon Sod d efW onienr Although no votes were taken or final decisions made at an Aug. 8 meeting of homeowners association members from Southwind and Sunset Beach in Bluewater Bay, the meeting was “a good first step” toward preventing the possible closure of the Marsh golf course in Bluewater Bay, according to Ray Herden, a former developer of the Bluewater Bay community, which includes the Southwind and Sunset Beach subdivisions. The meeting was held to Valp. mulls lower millage suoh 1,y loh ,9 h 2y lo1y n n oT h Nn boD w oph N th BEh g n e p y V,h Vy Bloh A--4 No l,Bh eu,w ,h ath r By on h dn VoVVop Bluewater homeowners who live near the Bluewater Resort's Marsh golf course (pictured) met Aug. 8 to discuss resort membership purchases to generate revenue for the course. Paul Whiddon Please see MARSH, page A-4Niceville issues precautionary boil water noticeBy Daniel Elsesser Beacon Crass pdtred The Niceville Public Works Department announced that water customers in the area of Valparaiso Boulevard between Palm Boulevard and Bayshore Drive should boil tap water for one minute before consumption as of 8 a.m. today, Aug. 14. The affected area includes Magnolia Shores Drive. The Public Works Department said residents in the affected areas should expect temporary water outages on Wednesday, Aug. 14, and Thursday, Aug. 15, from 8 a.m. Please see WATER, page A-2Couple beaten and robbed at Rocky Bayou homeBy Daniel Elsesser Beacon Cras s pdtred A couple was assaulted and robbed at their home at Kristin Circle, Niceville, Thursday, Aug. 8, according to the Okaloosa County Sheriff's Office. Sheriff's deputies found a 68year-old man bleeding at the mouth outside his residence at about 10:30 p.m. His 64-yearold wife, who sustained injuries to her head and throat, was at a neighbor's house when deputies arrived. The woman reportedly told deputies three men wearing masks and gloves followed her into the garage of her lakefront property when she arrived home, attempting to rob and physically attack her inside the residence. By Mike Griffith Beacon Correspondent The first people to travel along the new Mid-Bay Bridge Connector road after it opens will do so on foot, during a community run/walk event to be held during the weekend of Jan. 11, 2014. At the Aug. 15 meeting of the Mid-Bay Bridge Authority (MBBA) governing board, Executive Director Jim Vest said the new connector route, linking an interchange at State Road 85 north of Niceville with the northern end of the Mid-Bay Bridge, which crosses Choctawhatchee Bay, linking the Niceville area with Destin and other communities along the Gulf of Mexico shoreline, is now scheduled to be completed by Jan. 10—more than a month ahead of schedule. Vest and James VanSteenburg, an engineer from HDR Engineering, the contractor managing the Mid-Bay Bridge Connector project for the MBBA, said the work is ahead of schedule and within budget. Vest said that he is monitoring the project, and that current tentative plans call for an opening ceremony and ribbon-cutting on the afternoon of Saturday, Jan. 11, following a festive run/walk event to be held earlier that morning. Once the road is open on Saturday afternoon, said Vest, no tolls will be charged to drivers who use the connector road during Jan. 11 or 12. Tolls, which will be half the amount of the tolls charged to cross the Mid-Bay Bridge itself, will be collected starting on Monday, Jan. 13. Vest said that details of the run/walk event are still being worked out, but that the event will be jointly sponsored by the By Mike Griffith Beacon Correspondent During their meeting on Aug. 12, members of the Valparaiso City Commission discussed whether to put a street sign along John Sims Parkway to mark the intersection with North Bayshore Drive, and whether to support a recent chamber of commerce resolution supporting the F-35 flying mission at Eglin Air Force Base. They also approved a revision to the city’s existing sanitation ordinance, and were given copies of a proposed revision to the city charter. In addition, the commission discussed how to make its views known to the Okaloosa County Commission concerning the city-county split of current and proposed county gasoline taxes. T T T h h e eB B a a y y B B e e a a c c o o n n 50¢Wednesday, August 21, 2013 info@baybeacon.com The voice of Niceville, Bluewater Bay and Valparaiso since 1992 (850) 678-1080 42 Pages, 3 Sections, 5 Inserts Police BlotterB e eacone p h Please see TOLLWAY, page A-2 Please see GARBAGE, page A-2 Please see STREETpage A-3 tncbyM e aiykye Gre fcM T nv e Nv lnlln, Students at Plew Elementary School, Niceville, walk off buses and head to class Aug. 19, the first day for students of Okaloosa County public schools. Fresh faces tncbyM e aiykye Gre uT wne d,T V V T ki North Bayshore Drive, Valparaiso, although platted as a city street, has never been paved, and is currently little more than a trail through the woods between the shore of Toms Bayou and the backyards of some Valparaiso homeowners. It begins at John Sims Parkway near Doc s oyster bar behind the Compass Rose restaurant, and eventually meets some actual paved city streets.First users of tollway to be on footConstruction on a bridge for the MidBay bridge Connector road over Swift Creek, Niceville. uT sptcre tT ,son 1kiy,T krN. Bay eyes $2M budgetBy Mike Griffith Beacon Correspondent North Bay fire commissioners heard a briefing on the fire district’s proposed fiscal year 2013-14 budget during their Aug. 13 meeting. Fire Chief Joseph Miller told commissioners that the proposed budget will include total revenues of $2,034,590 and total budget expenditures of $2,005,520.63. The expenditures are projected to be $50,998.68 above those of fiscal year 2012-13, which will end Sept. 30. Miller’s proposed budget also includes a property tax millage rate of 2.35–the same as for the current fiscal year. At that millage rate, property owners within the self-governing fire district will pay $2.35 in property tax for every $1,000 of appraised, taxable value of their properties, after such things as homestead exemptions and other discounts are taken into account. For example, the owner of a house appraised at $200,000 taxable value would pay $470 in tax to the North Bay Fire District, Valparaiso commission discusses street, F-35 9ine 2yT bne yV e DT bn2T v v nB e tv 1nEckn,e tcre cM se gcv ac,cT lye lT M bne A--4 Company, city dicker over cutting garbage pickupsBy Daniel Elsesser Beacon Staff Writer A Waste Management representative said last week that the company is still working with Niceville city officials to determine how new, larger recycling carts will be paid for if the city decides to adopt the carts for all garbage customers. If the recycling program is expanded citywide, Waste Management said it wants to cut collection of regular garbage to once a week. Recyclables would be collected once a week as well. Currently, garbage is collected twice weekly, and recyclables once weekly.Waste Management conducted a three-month pilot program, which concluded June 30, to test the effectiveness of 96-gallon recycling carts. Waste Management representative Lynn Yort said she would meet with Niceville City Manager Lannie Corbin and City Clerk Dan Doucet to work out an agreement for payment of the carts, which Doucet said could cost $250,000. The pilot program tested two Niceville neighborhoods, Kildare Circle and Black Bear Circle, that contain a total of 90 homes. It is up to the council whether to expand the program citywide as proposed by the refuse-collection company. The program recorded the amounts of recycling 2013 F a llW i nt e r 20 13  S u pp lem e nt t o T h e B a y Be a con Ni c ev ille-V a l pa r ais o, F l or i d a T he B ay Beaco n ’ s a nd Com mu ni ty D ir ect ory NEWCOMER GUIDE Thurs., 6:30 p.m. The Northwest Florida Symphony Chorale announces that auditions for the 2013-14 season will be held in Tyler Recital Hall at the Mattie Kelly Arts Center on the Niceville campus of NWFSC. The Chorale, under the direction of music professor Lois Van Dam is a select choral group that performs with the Northwest Florida Symphony Orchestra as well as in independent concerts. For more information, contact Van Dam at vandaml@nwfsc.edu or call 729-6009. Thurs., 6:30 p.m. The Sand Dunes Chapter of Embroiderers Guild of America will have their final summer stitch-in on Thursday Aug. 22, at 6:30 p.m., at the Niceville United Methodist Church, room 400. Visitors are welcome. For more info call 4963466. Sat., 6 p.m. The Holy Name of Jesus Catholic Church will sponsor a charity buffet dinner at the Life Center Hall. Filipino dishes and desserts will be served. All are welcome, please invite family and friends. Cost is $7 for 10 years and up and $4 for seven to nine years. Children five and under eat free. Price includes entree, dessert and beverage. Proceeds go towards funding missions. For more information please call 6783000. Calendar, B-2 COMING UP Inside ... Please see BUDGET, page A-2 tncbyM e aiykye Gre fcM T nv e Nv lnlln, A Waste Management truck picks up a 96-gallon recycling cart on Black Bear Circle, Niceville.

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THEBAYBEACONWednesday, January 1, 2014 Page A-5 The voice of Niceville, Bluewater Bay and Valparaiso since 1992 1181 E. John Sims Parkway, Niceville, Florida 32578 (850) 678-1080 • Fax 1-888-520-9323 info@baybeacon.comTh e B a y B eaco n& B eaco n Ex pr essStephen W. KentEditor and PublisherBunni FarnhamAdvertising RepresentativeCandice LeggeGraphic ArtistAngela Yuriko SmithEditorial AssistantKaron DeyBookkeeper Ignacio MacasaetGraphic ArtistLinda McCormickAdvertising RepresentativeCheryle ValentineReceptionistThe Bay Beacon and Beacon Express, incorporating the Bluewater Breeze, is published every Wednesday by Bayou Enterprises Inc. Free total-market home delivery to Niceville, Valparaiso, Bluewater Bay and Seminole, as well as midWalton County from Villa Tasso to Basin Bayou, including Choctaw Beach. Subscriptions: One year, mail, $104. One year, electronic subscription, $52. All submissions for publication become property of The Bay Beacon.Niceville s NewspaperSara KentMarketing Director Low rates are just around the corner. Convenient local office Money-saving discounts Low down payments Monthly payment plans 24-hour service and claims Coverage available by phone Some discounts, coverages, payment plans and features are not available in all states or all GEICO companies. Motorcycle coverage is underwritten by GEICO Indemnity Company. Homeowners, renters and boat coverages are written through non-af“ liated insurance companies and are secured through the GEICO Insurance Agency, Inc. GEICO is a registered service mark of Government Employees Insurance Company, Washington, D.C. 20076; a Berkshire Hathaway Inc. subsidiary. GEICO Gecko image 1999-2013. 2013 GEICO850-863-4187 (850) 729-2131www.nicevilleinsurance.com (850) 729-2131www.nicevilleinsurance.com By Daniel Elsesser Beacon Staff Writer The Niceville City Council has rejected requests by the police and fire departments for more personnel. Members of the council last week agreed with City Clerk Dan Doucet's statement that there was no room in the city's 2013-14 budget to fund the three police officers and six firefighters the departments requested in their budget proposals. The three employees requested by the police department would have cost the city $124,170 a year, and the six requested by the fire department would have cost $281,960. City Manager Lannie Corbin noted during a council meeting Thursday that with the requirements of the Affordable Health Care Act to take place next year, the city would have to give certain retirement benefits to all city employees, including those working part time. Corbin cited the ACA, the federal law popularly known as Obamacare, as the primary reason for the high cost of bringing in new employees and the reason why it could not be afforded. The police department has 24 full-time and six part-time officers, while the fire department has 10 full-time and three parttime firefighters. In his request, Fire Chief Tommy Mayville said the T T T h h e eB B a a y y B B e e a a c c o o n n 50¢Wednesday, August 28, 2013 info@baybeacon.com The voice of Niceville, Bluewater Bay and Valparaiso since 1992 (850) 678-1080 10 Pages, 2 Sections, 5 Inserts Police Blotter, page A-2 Please see NIXES, page A-5 Please see ROBBERY, page A-4 Niceville High marks its golden anniversaryCelebrating 50 years Artist's rendering of proposed Emerald Coast Autism Center at Northwest Florida State College, Niceville.Emerald Coast Autism Center The voice of Niceville, Bluewater Bay and Valparaiso since 1992 Robbery victim, 64, recounts beatingsThree home invaders still on the looseBy Daniel Elsesser Beacon Staff Writer Even after an assailant slammed her head repeatedly into her kitchen floor, Lourdes Adams, 64, was able to warn her husband and later run for help after an Aug. 8 assault and robbery in her Niceville home. Mrs. Adams and her husband, Richard, were attacked Aug. 8 by three masked men wearing gloves upon arriving at their home. The men stole at least $700. Last week, Mrs. Adams gave the Bay Beacon her account of the couple's ordeal. Mrs. Adams reached her lakefront home on Kristin Circle, in Official: Cut our salaryBy Daniel Elsesser Beacon Staff Writer An East Niceville fire commissioner believes that he and his fellow board members are overpaid and is pushing for a pay cut. Ed Dunbar, treasurer of the East Niceville Fire District, said the $500 per month received by the elected commissioners of the self-governing district should be reduced. "I'm not proposing that we Thurs., 6 p.m. A dinner to benefit the Mattie Kelly Arts Foundation s cultural arts and educational programs will be at the TradeWinds Restaurant 205 Government Street, Niceville. $50 for Mattie Kelly Arts Foundation members, $65 for nonmembers. Call MKAF at 650-2226 for reservations.Fri.,11:30 a.m. -1:30 p.m. The Biophilia Center Freeport, presents Fun with Folk ArtŽ with Abrakadoodle making upcycled roosters on canvas. Open to all ages. General Admission is $8 for adults $5 for children, under 2 free. Fri., 10-11 a.m. Henderson Beach State Park Destin, invites the public to participate in a celebration of reading and Septembers Literacy Month Join park rangers as they read their favorite childrens books. Following story time, there will be refreshments and an environmentally friendly art activity. Event weather permitting. Regular park admission fees apply. $6 per vehicle, limit 2-8 people per vehicle. $4 single occupant vehicle. $2 pedestrians, bicyclists, extra passengers and passengers in vehicle with holder of Annual Individual Entrance Pass. Fri.-Sat., 1-7 p.m. The Bloodmobile will be at the Niceville Walmart All donors will receive a $10 Wal-Mart gift card.Calendar, B-2 COMING UP By Angela Yuriko Smith Beacon Staff Writer Niceville High School will celebrate its 50th anniversary at its current site on Friday, beginning with a pep rally in the school’s gymnasium and ending with a football game that evening pitting the Eagles against Rutherford. The school's history actually extends back much further than 50 years. Classes were held in a three-room frame building that was named Niceville High School in 1922. In 1924 land was purchased for a new high school to be built from George Nathey for $1 at the site of what is now Edge Elementary School. It burned down during the 1926 Christmas holidays. Niceville High was rebuilt on the same site by 1928, but the new building, too, didn't last long. A hurricane destroyed it in July 1936. Unable to afford to rebuild after two catastrophes, classes were split between a former dance hall and the Valparaiso Community Center. In the early 50’s the school district decided to send Niceville high schoolers to Choctawhatchee High School in Fort Walton Beach. “I was sad to see the two schools combine,” said Niceville Mayor Randall Wise. “And I was happy to see it rebuilt back in Niceville.” In 1964, Niceville High School was built at its current site at John Sims Parkway and Cedar Avenue, and the long bus rides to Choctaw High ended. Alumni and staff have been preparing since last June to plan the golden anniversary By Mike Griffith and Daniel Elsesser Beacon Staff A fast-growing school for children affected by autism has proposed moving to a site on the Niceville campus of Northwest Florida State College. At the Aug. 20 meeting of the college board of trustees, officials were briefed on a proposed partnership between the college and the Emerald Coast Autism Center, Niceville. The trustees heard a presentation by Heidi Blalock, chief executive of Emerald Coast Autism Center, who proposed that the center build a facility on land leased from the college. Blalock proposed building a 12,000-square-foot facility on the Niceville campus, where her organization could provide therapeutic and educational services to students with autism. The four-year-old center has 35 full-time and 27 part-time students, ages 18 months to 14 years, according to documents it furnished to the trustees. Teachers work with them on a one-to-one ratio. Blalock said the autism center has a waiting list, and that there is “a great need for our Please see CUT, page A-6 Please see AUTISM, page A-4 Randall Wise Niceville nixes more cops, firefightersCouncil cites need to hold line on expenses Please see 50 YEARS, page A-5Fast-growing autism school seeks college siteNWFSC trustees eye proposal Ed DunbarBeacon photo by Sarah ClausonNiceville High School will mark its 50th anniversary during festivities immediately preceding its scheduled football game with Rutherford at Eagles Stadium Friday. Pictured, fans got an early start during last Friday's Kickoff Classic. By Daniel Elsesser Beacon Staff Writer Niceville police arrested a DeFuniak Springs man who allegedly stole $24,800 from an acquaintance's vehicle. Later he By Daniel Elsesser Beacon Staff Writer Property Appraiser Pete Smith said this has been the quietest TRIM season his office has seen in the 21 years he's worked there. Smith $70,000 to perform, Thompson Square $55,000 and Moore $35,000. Corbin said expenses come from festival revenues, not taxes. Gill has been a staple in country music for over 30 years, starting his career singing and playing guitar for the country rock group Pure Prairie League before beginning a solo career in 1983. The songs "Go Rest High on that Mountain," "Look at Us" and Threaten Me with Heaven" are in the 20-time Grammy winner's repertoire. Thompson Square, comprised of married couple Keifer and Shawna Thompson, will headline the festival's Saturday night show. Recent winners of the Academy of Country By Daniel Elsesser Beacon Staff Writer The Niceville City Council completed its budget discussions at a meeting Aug. 27, setting up a proposed $12.7 million municipal budget for final approval at a public hearing Sept. 12. The city will enter the final budget hearing with a proposed millage rate of 3.7 mills, unchanged from that of the fiscal year that will end Sept. 30. One mill is a property tax of $1 for each $1,000 of assessed valuation. On property carried on the tax rolls at $100,000 after all exemptions, a millage rate of 3.7 would result in a tax of $370. With that rate, the city would bring in $2.86 million in ad valorem tax revenue, up $130,870 more than the previous fiscal year. The city council discussed the budget with Niceville's cityNiceville settles on budget planBy Daniel Elsesser Beacon Staff Writer County Music Hall-of-Famer Vince Gill will cap the slate of musical performances at this year's Boggy Bayou Mullet Festival, scheduled Oct. 18-20. Gill will close out the Niceville festival on Sunday, Oct. 20, after performances on Oct. 18 by country star Justin Moore and Oct. 19 by the duo Thompson Square. The festival, which will celebrate its 37th year in October, will be held in its traditional site at the corner of Highway 85 North and College Boulevard, Niceville. According to Niceville City Manager Lannie Corbin, who arranges entertainment on behalf of the private Mullet Festival Committee, Gill will be paidBy Daniel Elsesser Beacon Staff Writer The Niceville City Council is scheduled to hear requests for an annexation, a rezoning and a special setback exception at its meeting Sept. 10 at 7 p.m. in the Niceville City Council chambers. The council will hear a request from Larry Wright asking that two of his parcels at 1420 Bayshore Drive, Niceville, in an T T T h h e eB B a a y y B B e e a a c c o o n n 50¢Wednesday, September 4, 2013 info@baybeacon.com The voice of Niceville, Bluewater Bay and Valparaiso since 1992 (850) 678-1080 10 Pages, 2 Sections, 5 Inserts Thurs., 1:30 p.m. The Valparaiso Community Library invites children and families to the first Early Release Movie of the school year. The free movie will be Epic.Ž Popcorn and beverages will be served. Fri., 7 -11 p.m. Please feel free to come in and enjoy a fun evening of free karaoke with Bill and Rhonda at the American Legion Post #221, 444 E. John Sims Parkway, Niceville. Sat., 8:30 a.m. The Choctawhatchee Audubon Society will be having a field trip to Point Washington State Forest led by biologist Tom Greene Meet at the Tom Thumb at the intersection of Hwy. 98 and 331 in S. Walton County. Call 694-6403. Sat.-Sun. Niceville United Methodist Church will be celebrating the churchs 100th birthday in all worship services. For more information, please visit nicevilleumc.org. The community is invited. Calendar, B-3 COMING UP Police BlotterB e eacone p h Please see VINCE, page A-3 Please see TRIM, page A-5 Please see ARREST, page A-3 Please see LAND, page A-5 Please see BUDGET, page A-3 tncbyM e aiykye Gre fT vne NlT ,,T kiDespite the occasional threat of a thunderstorm, weather during the Labor Day long weekend was mostly clear and hot, allowing local residents to enjoy the traditional last days of summer. Activities included golfing, taking a dip in a neighborhood pool, playing tennis, riding bikes, tubing down Niceville s Turkey Creek, and taking to the water in all shapes and sizes of boats, shown here at Bluewater Bay Marina. Summer's last hurrah Council eyes 2 land petitions uine wyT bne y,e dT bnwT V V nB e tV sn1cknle tcre cM 9e 2cV aclcT Dye DT M bne EggA Arrest in theft of $25K New restaurant, A-2. Low-key reception for TRIM notices Clearing for developmentWorkers clear trees from land that will eventually be home to a Panda Express restaurant and three other businesses in front of the Walmart in Niceville. The building is expected to be completed in early spring. See story on A-2. tncbyM e aiykye Gre -cM T nV e 4V DnDDnl Pete Smith Jeffrey W. Harris Vince Gill The owner of the property at 1420 Bayshore Drive, Niceville, requested that his property be annexed by the city and zoned for single-family residential use. tncbyM e aiykye Gre -cM T nV e 4V DnDDnl The city of Niceville budget, set for final approval Sept. 12, allots $284,000 for transportation projects such as the addition of asphalt paths like the one currently in place along Rocky Bayou Drive.tncbyM e aiykye Gr -cM T nV e 4V DnDDnlVince Gill signed for Mullet Festival By Daniel Elsesser Beacon Staff Writer Rates for the 7,930 customers of the Niceville municipal water and sewer works will rise if approved at a Niceville City Council meeting Sept. 12. The proposed increases would raise rates for residential use of the city's water system by 1 percent and sewer system by 3 percent. The typical water user, defined by the city as one who uses 7,000 gallons a month, would see his bill increase by 26 cents a month, from $28.43 to $28.69, not counting a 10 percent city tax. Sewer rates would rise from $36.46 to $37.57 per month for a 7,000-gallon customer, not counting a 10-percent tax charged on sewer bills paid only by customers outside the city. Commercial and industrial rates will climb as well. Customer bills sent after Sept. 12 will use the new rates, assuming they win final approval Thursday. The city of Niceville services water and sewer customers inside and outside the city limits. Glenn Stephens of Polyengineering, the city engineer, recommended that the city boost water and sewer prices by the proposed amounts to cover costs the city incurred when it purchased Okaloosa County's stake in what is now the Niceville Valparaiso Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant. The operations and maintenance costs for the facility had previously been shared by the county and the cities of Niceville and Valparaiso. Under the previous arrangement, Niceville owned 55 percent of the plant, Valparaiso 20 percent and Okaloosa CountyBy Daniel Elsesser Beacon Staff Writer The East Niceville Fire District gave preliminary approval to a budget for the 2013-14 fiscal year, allotting $21,334 more than last year, after district tax rolls increased. The board unanimously voted for preliminary approval at its meeting Sept. 4. The preliminary budget provides for $817,032 in expenditures, up from $796,139 for the fiscal year that will end Sept. 30. Tax revenues for the district should increase as well, as the taxable value of property in the East Niceville district rose 2.6 percent over last year, to over $238 million. On July 8, the fire commission unanimously voted to set the maximum millage rate for the next fiscal year at 2.37 mills, the same rate as this year. The budget given preliminary approval Sept. 4 assumes this millage figure. The millage rate is the amount per $1,000 taxed on property in the district. On property worth $100,000, a 2.37 millage rate would garner a fire tax of $237. The commission will hold a final budget hearing Sept. 18, at 7:30 p.m., in the firehouse at 1709 27th St., Niceville. T T T h h e eB B a a y y B B e e a a c c o o n n 50¢Wednesday, September 11, 2013 info@baybeacon.com The voice of Niceville, Bluewater Bay and Valparaiso since 1992 (850) 678-1080 10 Pages, 2 Sections, 3 Inserts Thurs., 6:30 p.m. The Emerald Coast Reef Association in preparation for their upcoming Lionfish Tournament, is providing a free Lionfish Workshop at Discovery Dive World, 92 S. John Sims Pkwy., Valparaiso. Learn safety, hunting tricks, filleting and more. Seating is limited. Please RSVP to candy@valp.net For more info, visit ecreef.org Sat., 8 a.m. -12 p.m. Niceville High Schools Eaglette Dance Team is hosting a dance clinic for ages 4-12. The clinic will include dancing, games, lunch and a craft. The dance learned will be performed during the pre-game show at the Sept. 20 NHS vs. Choctaw football game. Registration info at the NHS Attendance Office. Sat.11 a.m.-2 p.m. Meet Sheryl Lynn Siler at the Bayou Book Company, 1118 John Sims Pkwy. E., Niceville, for a book signing. Stop by and play the Happy to Be MeŽ game and find out about her new book,  Snapshots: Great Attitudes & Positive Self-Talk .Ž Sat., 7:30 p.m. The Northwest Florida State College Fine & Performing Arts Division presents a classical guitar recital in the Tyler Recital Hall of the Mattie Kelly Arts Center featuring Dr. Kevin Manderville of Montgomery, Ala. There is no ticket for the event, donations will be accepted at the door. For more info call 729-5382. Calendar, B-3 COMING UP Police Blotter, page A-4 Please see HIKE, page A-3 Please see MILLAGE, page A-2 Labors of loveNiceville set to hike utilities rates The voice of Niceville, Bluewater Bay and Valparaiso since 1992 Final vote set on millage increaseCounty rate would rise 4.3%By Mike Griffith Beacon Correspondent The Okaloosa County Commission has tentatively approved a county property tax millage rate of 3.4308 mills, about 4.3 percent above the current rate of 3.2899 mills, and 5.3 percent above the “rolled back” millage rate of 3.2583—the rate at which county property taxes would produce the same amount of revenue as was collected during the current year. A second approval, scheduled for Sept. 16, is required to confirm the preliminary vote, which occurred Sept. 5. At the proposed new rate, property owners in Okaloosa County will pay about $3.43 in property tax to the county for every $1,000 of taxable value after homestead exemptions and other discounts. For example, the owner of a home appraised at $200,000 taxable value would pay $686.16 if the new millage rate is given final approval during the county’s final public budget hearing, scheduled for 6 p.m. Monday, Sept. 16, at the county water and sewer building, 1804 Lewis Turner Blvd., Fort Walton Beach. At the current millage rate, that same homeowner now pays $657.98, meaning that the new rate, if passed next Monday, would result in a $28.18 annual tax hike for the homeowner mentioned above. Other property owners would pay more or less than that amount, depending on the appraised value of their property, and what discounts they may be eligible for. The county commission property tax does not include levies by other taxing authorities within Okaloosa County, such as the school district, fire districts, and cities. Property taxes are one of Fire board mulls $21K spending hike Beacon photo by Daniel Elsesser The driver of a Walmart 18-wheeler tried to make a U-turn, but the cab got stuck on the shoulder of State Road 20 East, just west of the entrance to Fred Gannon Rocky Bayou State Park, at about 9 a.m. Sept. 6, blocking two lanes and forcing westbound traffic into an eastbound lane. A tow truck removed the blockage after an hour and 15 minutes.Wrong turnBy Daniel Elsesser Beacon Staff Writer Diana Peterson sat in the shade while the morning sun glinted off the metallic Lamborghini Blue paint of her 1957 Chevy, on which a windshield sign politely implored passersby to please not touch. Such requests were difficult to obey at the Emerald Coast Car Show, held at the Mullet Festival grounds, Niceville, Saturday, where Peterson and about 200 other car owners proudly displayed the polished and turbocharged objects of their passion. Peterson, of Niceville, had one of the shortest drives to the show, as many from out of city and out of state paid the $25 entrance fee, with proceeds going to the Humane Society and Adoption Center at PAWS in Fort Walton Beach and other local charities. Peterson and her husband, Kirk, bought their 1957 Chevy for $2,000 about 20 years ago. Kirk began using it in his lawn service, but in their retirement the Petersons began making the modifications that transformed the former work vehicle into a Please see CAR, page A-2Beacon photo by Daniel ElsesserA line of classic pickup trucks in the Chevrolet 1955-57 class at the 21st annual Emerald Coast Car Show in Niceville Saturday. The group included a blue 1957 Chevy owned by Diana Peterson (below). Car show raises funds for charity By Daniel Elsesser Beacon Staff Writer The Niceville City Council has tentatively approved a $12.7 million budget, set for final approval tomorrow, Sept. 19, at a public hearing in the Niceville City Council chambers at 6 p.m. The tentative budget assumes a millage rate of 3.7 mills, the same as last year's rate. This rate will bring in $130,870 more ad valorem taxes than last year, as Niceville's property values increased 4.89 percent since then. The rolled-back millage rate, or the rate that would garner the same amount of ad valorem tax revenue as the previous year, is 3.6345 mills. The proposed millage rate is a 1.8 percent increase over the rolled back rate. The millage rate is the amount per $1,000 charged on ad valorem taxes, or taxes on real estate or business property. On property carried on the tax rolls at $100,000 after all exemptions, a millage rate of 3.70 would draw a tax payment of $370. Glenn Stephens, an advising By Mike Griffith and Daniel Elsesser Beacon Staff The Bluewater Bay Municipal Services Benefit Unit (MSBU) voted to oppose construction of a proposed 317-foot communications tower in Bluewater Bay. The issue is before the Okaloosa County Commission, which is scheduled to consider it Oct. 1. The tower would be erected on a tract on Bay Drive which already includes a community swimming pool and a boat storage lot. MSBU governing board member Jonathan Tallman made the motion to oppose the tower, which passed 5-0 at a meeting Sept. 10. However, the MSBU, which oversees property maintenance of public areas in Bluewater Bay, has no legal authority over the tower's placement. That question is reserved to the Okaloosa County Commission. Area residents appeared at a county commission meeting Tuesday to speak against the tower plan. The commission voted to postpone a decision until its next meeting, Oct. 1 in Crestview, to give time for the developer of the tower and neighborhood residents to meet. At the county commission public hearing Tuesday in Fort Walton Beach, Jack Brooks, of Lido Circle, addressed a tower company suggestion that the structure would be landscaped to reduce its visual impact. “You can’t landscape a 317-foot tower” Brooks said. “There is no way that this will go through without a big fight.” After yesterday's public hearing, county Commissioner Wayne Harris said he saw no reason not to approve the proposed tower. Tallman, speaking after the MSBU meeting, but before the county commission meeting, told the Beacon: "I am concerned about property values, and having a tower in your back yard is an eyesore for the community. I believe there are better options out there such as Rocky Bayou State Park or along the bypass road. Apparently in south Florida, state parks are contacting tower companies because it will generate revenue for the state parks.” According to information By Daniel Elsesser Beacon Staff Writer Ground was broken Tuesday for Superior Residences at Bluewater Bay, a planned fivestory, $18.5 million living center for residents 55 and older. The center will be constructed near Bluewater Fitness, southeast of the intersection of White Point Road and State Road 20, Niceville. It is expected to be completed by the end of 2014. The facility is being developed through a partnership between Superior Residences, which will provide management services for the center, and developer Raimund Herden. Herden, one of the original developers of Bluewater Bay, said the center is unique because it will be the only living center in Northwest Florida that caters to seniors who live independently. "Most places will have maybe 15 percent independent living, and the rest will be on memory care or some other such service," Herden said. "This center is designed for people who are fit and taking care of themselves." Herden said Superior Residences, which operates a memory-care facility in Niceville, is putting up approximately one-third of the project funding. The facility will contain 94 either oneor two-bedroom rental apartments (545 and 937 square feet, respectively), each with kitchen, washer and dryer. T T T h h e eB B a a y y B B e e a a c c o o n n 50¢Wednesday, September 18, 2013 info@baybeacon.com The voice of Niceville, Bluewater Bay and Valparaiso since 1992 (850) 678-1080 10 Pages, 2 Sections, 5 Inserts Thurs., 7 a.m.-6 p.m. The Twin Cities Hospital Auxiliary will sponsor a $5 Jewelry and Accessories Sale at the Twin Cities Hospital Wellness Center. Cash and credit/debit cards accepted. All proceeds benefit healthcare related scholarships. Sale will extend to Friday, see calendar for details. Fri., 7 -11 p.m. Please feel free to come in and enjoy a fun evening of karaoke with Bill and Rhonda at American Legion Post #221 444 E. John Sims Pkwy., Niceville. Sat. 8:30 a.m-2 p.m. The Friends of the Niceville Public Library are having their annual book and bake sale in the Niceville Community Center A members-only presale will be Friday evening for Friends of any Okaloosa County Public Library, see calendar for details. All books half price during presale. Nonmembers may join at the door. For more info, please call 2794863 x1504 Tues., 6:30-7:30 p.m. The Niceville Community Center will be open for an evening of family fun with games, stories, songs and treats to be shared around the camp fire.Ž Sponsored by the library and area scouts, all families are invited. To sign up call 279-4863 x1514. Calendar, B-2 COMING UP Police Blotter, page A-4 To armsBWB panel opposes cell phone tower2 jailed as drug dealersBeacon photo by Daniel Elsesser Developer Raimund Herden analyzes site plans while standing on the land for a planned five-story independent living senior center, for which ground was broken yesterday. Beacon photo by Daniel Elsesser Members of the local Civil War reenactor group Walton Guard fix bayonets during a drill Sunday in preparation for a reenactment Sept. 19-22 of the 150th anniversary of the Civil War battle of Chickamauga. The national event, to be held in northwest Georg ia on part of the battlefield, is expected to draw thousands of Civil War buffs. From left: George Royal, John Mertins, Ethan Rogers and David Cocanaugher. Eight Walton Guard members will attend the reenactment, representing the Confederacy.Niceville set to OK $12.7 million budget Please see TOWER, page A-6 Please see DRUG, page A-5 Please see BUDGET, page A-3 Beacon photo by Daniel Elsesser Okaloosa County garbage collected by Waste Management is dumped at a transfer station in Fort Walton Beach before being loaded into trucks to be dumped in the company's landfill in Marianna. Rates for the use of the landfill are increasing this year. By Daniel Elsesser Beacon Staff Writer Two Niceville men were arrested by the Okaloosa County MultiAgency Drug Task Force after officers found over a pound of methamphetamine in their house, according to police reports. Okaloosa County Sheriff's Office reports gave the following account: Christopher Michael Bagent, a construction worker, 26, of 817 Spencer Place, and Arden Lee Stanley, a boat captain, 38, same address, were charged with trafficking in methamphetamine. Task force officers discovered that Bagent had bought a box of allergy medication containing Christopher M. Bagent Arden L. Stanley Please see COMPLEX, page A-3 The voice of Niceville, Bluewater Bay and Valparaiso since 1992 Beacon photo by Daniel ElsesserRaised for the fallenA North Bay Fire District ladder truck raises an American flag at a ceremony Sept. 11 in Bluewater Bay in remembrance of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Firefighters from Niceville and East Niceville, as well as law-enforcement officers, also attended the event, along with about 25 observers. Ground broken for senior complex95 apartments planned By Daniel Elsesser Beacon Staff Writer The East Niceville Fire Commission gave final approval to a budget for the 2013-14 fiscal year, allotting $21,334 more than last year, after district tax rolls increased. The board unanimously voted for approval at its final budget hearing Sept. 18. The budget provides for $817,473 in expenditures, up from $796,139 for the fiscal year that will end Sept. 30. Tax revenues for the district should increase as well, as the taxable value of property in the East Niceville district is projected to rise 2.6 percent over last year, to over $238 million. On July 8, the fire commission unanimously voted to set the maximum millage rate for the next fiscal year at 2.37 mills, the same rate as this year. The budget given final approval Sept. 18 assumes this millage figure. The millage is the tax per $1,000 of taxable property in the district. On property with a taxable value of $100,000, after all exemptions, a 2.37 millage rate would garner a fire tax of $237. The county and school district levy addtional taxes.By Daniel Elsesser Beacon Staff Writer City of Niceville water and sewer mains will be extended to accommodate future development in the Rocky Bayou area. The city will add 1,000 feet of 12-inch water line and 1,600 feet of 12-inch sewer line along Rocky Bayou Drive, under a city budget approved Sept. 19. The mains will cost $56,000 for water and $88,000 for sewer. The water lines were a stipulation of a lease Publix Supermarkets signed with Valparaiso Realty, ensuring that the grocery store, now under construction at Rocky Bayou Drive and John Sims Parkway, would be connected to the municipal water system. Glenn Stephens, a consulting engineer to the city of Niceville, said the new sewer lines likely would have been added later in any case. Stephens said water and sewer lines in the area follow the same general path, but sewer lines run about 10 feet deeper than water lines. Therefore, the new water lines needed this coming fiscal year would have had to be displaced for the addition of new sewer lines, which will eventually be needed in the same area to supply future users on the 1,100acre tract east of Forest Road owned and yet undeveloped by Ruckel Properties. Because of this, the city decided to add both line extensions simultaneously. Six-inch-wide sewer pipes along Rocky Bayou Road will be replaced with 12-inch pipes as part of the extension. The new water lines will also eventually connect to the 1,100acre Ruckel tract east of Forest Road. The vacant property is expected to be developed for residential and commercial use. By Daniel Elsesser Beacon Staff Writer The Mid-Bay Bridge saw a slight increase in summer toll revenue this year, with collections in the months of June through August, traditionally the busiest of the year, jumping 1.5 percent from the same period last year. In the three summer months of 2013, when tourist traffic is heaviest, the 3.5-mile bridge between Niceville and Destin collected over $4.8 million in tolls, slightly higher than the $4.7 million in the year-earlier period. August saw largest revenue increase of the three months, up 3.3 percent, to $1.48 million. Mid-Bay Bridge Authority T T T h h e eB B a a y y B B e e a a c c o o n n 50¢Wednesday, September 25, 2013 info@baybeacon.com The voice of Niceville, Bluewater Bay and Valparaiso since 1992 (850) 678-1080 10 Pages, 2 Sections, 2 Inserts Please see BRIDGE, page A-2 Thurs., 6-8 p.m. Women of all ages are invited to Whats in Your Bag?Ž an evening of fellowship, hors doeuvres and a bag exchange at Niceville United Methodist Church 214 Partin Drive S. Niceville, in the Sanctuary and Gathering Area. Bring a gently loved purse to exchange and hear missionaries Kim Orellana and Carolyn Knight talk about their experiences. For more info visit niceville.orgwomen or call 865-4769. Fri., 5 -10 p.m. and Sat., 11 a.m.-10 p.m. The 19th Annual Oktoberfest and Arts and Crafts Festival will be in the Winn Dixie parking lot, Route 20, Bluewater Bay. There will be vendors and entertainment. Free admission. See story on B-1. Sat. 9 a.m-12 p.m. Fred Gannon Rocky Bayou State Park invites all for a fence clearing project celebrating National Public Lands Day Volunteers should meet at the northeast area of the park on Range Road near Bluewater Elementary School prepared to work outdoors. Water and snacks will be provided. Park fees waived for volunteers. For more info call 833-9144. Sat., 9 a.m.-3 p.m. The Lead, Influence and Take ActionŽ conference will be open to students from Okaloosa and surrounding districts. $10 to attend, scholarships available. To be held at the Costa Leadership Institute in the Northwest Florida State College Niceville. For more info call 368-3505 or e-mail dt4alexis@gmail.com. Calendar, B-2 COMING UP Police Blotter, page A-4 Water colorsCity to extend utility mains to Ruckel tractUnchanged tax rate OK’d by North BayA commissioner says it should be lowerBeacon photo by Daniel ElsesserRebecca Perrott paints a sailboat and its reflection at the Oak Marina on Bayshore Drive, Niceville. She participated in a "plein air" (or open air) painting class that meets at a different location every Wednesday and is instructed by Cherie Mulhearn. "Anyone is welcome to come out and paint with us," Mulhearn said. By Daniel Elsesser Beacon Staff Writer The North Bay Fire Commission gave final approval to a $2 million budget that will levy a millage rate of 2.35 mills next year, the same rate as this year. One commissioner dissented, saying the rate should be lower. This rate will bring in over $56,000 more in tax revenues than was brought in this fiscal year, as taxable values in the independent fire district increased over the current fiscal year to $891.6 million, the first meaningful increase in six years. The elected commission voted 4-1 Sept. 18 to approve the budget and millage rate, with Commissioner David Scholl dissenting. Scholl said he felt the district should adopt the "rolledback" millage rate for 2014, or the millage rate that would raise the same amount of tax revenues as in 2013. The The voice of Niceville, Bluewater Bay and Valparaiso since 1992 Vehicles approach tollbooths of the Mid-Bay Bridge Sept. 19. The bridge saw a 1.5 percent increase in toll revenues this summer over the summer of 2012. Beacon photo by Daniel Elsesser David Scholl Please see TAX, page A-6Summer revenue gains posted by toll bridgeBut traffic remains flat E. Niceville district votes to spend $817,000No change in tax rate $301,954,725 $325,677,741 $283,808,834 $282,434,016 $274,918,047$274,529,612$275,806,449 $283,248,255 20072008200920102011201220132014*Fiscal year ending Sept. 30 $0 $50,000,000 $100,000,000 $150,000,000 $200,000,000 $250,000,000 $300,000,000 $350,000,000Source: Ok. Co. Prop. App. *2014 prelim. East Niceville Fire District tax rolls Taxable value of property in district after exemptions Beacon Staff Writer The city of Niceville has updated its official seal to reflect an earlier established date. The seal, which previously bore no date, now features a tiny statement at the bottom that reads "Established July 21, 1868." Current seals, such as one in the Niceville City Council chambers, will remain as they are, but the city will start using the updated seal on official documents, merchandise and other items, according to City Manager Lannie Corbin. Corbin proposed the updating of the seal on a suggestion from area "freelance historian" Elisa Mitchiner, who said the 1868 marks the year mail service began in the community, then called Boggy. That development occurred 60 years before 333 of about 1,500 area residents voted, 3294, to incorporate as a city. The decision, made in July 1938, was followed by the naming of J.M. Reynolds as mayor, and the creation of a city council that included Claude Meigs and Wallace Spence. A bill establishing the city of Niceville as a municipality was passed by the Florida Senate May 25, 1939. Mitchiner said she wanted to add the "established" date to the city seal partially to emphasize that the community of Niceville, T T T h h e eB B a a y y B B e e a a c c o o n n 50¢Wednesday, October 2, 2013 info@baybeacon.com The voice of Niceville, Bluewater Bay and Valparaiso since 1992 (850) 678-1080 18 Pages, 3 Sections, 2 Inserts Please see SEAL, page A-3 Please see HONORS, page A-3 Please see REZONING, page A-6 Signs of fallBlue Ribbon honors awarded Collegiate HighBeacon photo by Angela Yuriko Smith A youngster is part of the human chain Thursday that unloaded the semi-trailer crammed with pumpkins destined for the Niceville United Methodist Church s month-long Pumpkin Patch sale. The patch will be open at the southwest corner of John Sims Parkway and Partin Drive until Oct. 31 from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., seven days a week. Pumpkins will be available for donations. Saturdays will feature music, face painting, a bouncy house and petting zoo. Beacon Staff Writer Collegiate High School at Northwest Florida State College, Niceville, was recognized as a National Blue Ribbon School by the U.S. Department of Education. Collegiate was among 286 schools nationwide earning the honor this year based on "overall academic excellence or their progress in improving student academic achievement," according to the department. Anthony Boyer, director of the charter school for advanced high school students, attributed the honor to “the hard work of the students, teachers, and staff. "It is also the support that CHS students receive from parents," Boyer added. Established in 2000, the school, one of the top-ranked public schools in Florida, was recognized once before as a National Blue Ribbon School, in 2006. In Collegiate's three-year program, most Niceville eyes annexation, rezoningBeacon Staff Writer The Niceville City Council is scheduled to hear requests for an annexation and a rezoning at its meeting Oct. 8 at 7 p.m. in the Niceville City Council chambers. The city planning board last month recommended the changes. Larry Wright is asking that two of his parcels at 1420 Bayshore Drive, Niceville, in an unincorporated area, be annexed by the city. Wright submitted a companion request for a third parcel at the address, which is already in the city, asking that it be rezoned from PUD (planned urban development) to R-1 (residential single family). The two lots requested for annexation are The voice of Niceville, Bluewater Bay and Valparaiso since 1992 Beacon Staff Writer The Valparaiso City Commission has approved a municipal budget that maintains a millage rate at the highest level in memory. Rates for city utilities will not increase. By keeping the current millage rate of 4.524 mills, Valparaiso will levy an additional $23,407 in ad valorem property tax, due to the city's property values having increased about 3 percent from last year. There has been no higher millage rate in Valparaiso since at least 1985. The millage rate is the amount per $1,000 charged on ad valorem taxes, or taxes on real estate and business property. On property carried on the tax rolls at $100,000 after all exemptions, a millage rate of 4.524 would result in a annual municipal tax payment of $452.40, before county and schools taxes.Valparaiso keeps record tax rate Inside ... Thurs., 1:30 p.m. The Valparaiso Community Library invites families and children to Early Release Movie Day to watch a free showing of  The Croods .Ž Popcorn and refreshments will be served. Sat.,8 a.m.5:30 p.m. An IT Pro Camp will be held at the Northwest Florida State College Niceville Campus, Student Services Center (SSC), 100 College Blvd. The one-day learning event is free of charge. Advance registration is requested. To register, visit itprocamp.com/northwestflorida. See calendar on B2 for more details. Sat. 8:30 a.m The Third Annual Grand Staff 5K Run/Walk is at Niceville High School on Hwy 20. The course starts and finishes at the school. Registration is $25 up to, and including, race day. Online registration at Active.com. For details or to sponsor the Niceville High School Chorus, contact Kirk or Suzanne Herzog at 8975174, or Janet Simpson 8032593. Mon., 6:30 p.m. The October meeting of the Mac Users Group will be held at the Northwest Florida State College Student Services building, room 132. For more information, visit FWBMug.com or contact Jean Dutton at jeancdutton@mac.com or 862-3327. Calendar, B-2 COMING UP Niceville royaltyAlayna Nixon and Brock Schaefer were crowned Niceville High School s 2013 Homecoming king and queen during halftime at the Eagles vs. Greene County, Miss., football game Friday. Both are seniors. Game story, page A-4. Homecoming Court, page, B-4. Beacon photo by Sarah Clauson note data ranges 2.8754 3.75 4.193 3.933 4.0644 4.5244.524 2008200920102011201220132014 Fiscal year ended Sept. 30 0.00 1.00 2.00 3.00 4.00 5.00 6.00Millage Source: City of Valparaiso Valparaiso millage rates Municipal tax rate, by year (does not include county or other levies) Please see MILLAGE, page A-6 Niceville claims seniority with new seal The Finest inEYE CARERight Here in Niceville LEE MULLIS, MD • Over 25 Years Experience • National Leader in Painless No-Stitch Cataract Surgery • A Kind and Friendly Way Darren Payne, MDBoard Certified Eye Physician & SurgeonLee Mullis, MDThe Friendly & Caring StaffDARREN PAYNE, MD • Full-Time Medical Director of Niceville Office • 15 Years Experience • A Friendly and Caring PersonalityMULLISEYEINSTITUTECall for an appointment We Specialize in the Diagnosis and Treatment of Eye Conditions Associated with Aging, including: • CATARACTS • DROOPY EYE LIDS 115 Bailey Dr., Niceville • (850)678-5338930 N. Ferdon Blvd., Crestview • (850) 682-5338• GLAUCOMA • RETINA PROBLEMS Medicare Assignment Accepted-In memory of209 Government Ave., Niceville • 678-7925Sales & Installation FREE Estimates Mon.-Fri. 8am 5pm Sat. by AppointmentSIMPLER CARPET & TILE, INC. Serving Niceville-Valparaiso for 50 years Browse our selection of Hardwood & Laminate Happy New Year!

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The voice of Niceville, Bluewater Bay and Valparaiso since 1992 THEBAYBEACONPage A-6 Wednesday, January 1, 2014 By Mike Griffith Beacon Correspondent The Okaloosa County Commission has agreed to delay a decision about a proposed communications tower in Bluewater Bay. Commissioners unanimously agreed Oct. 1 to grant a 90-day continuance on a public hearing to discuss whether to approve a proposal to erect a 317-foot communications tower near the Bay By Mike Griffith Beacon Correspondent The Okaloosa County Commission has approved a plan by the county Tourist Development Department to spend $203,725 of bed-tax revenue for an advertising campaign to encourage more tourism along the Emerald Coast during the Thanksgiving through New Year’s holiday season. Meantime, the head of the tourism department is quitting after little more than a year on the job. According to county tourist development director Dan O’Byrne and representatives of the Peter Mayer advertising agency, the campaign will place ads and other information in magazines, radio broadcasts, and online sites, promoting Okaloosa County beaches as a desirable vacation spot for the holidays. During a meeting in Crestview Oct. 1, county commission Chairman Don Amunds asked whether the advertising campaign's proposed slogan, “A Very Emerald Christmas,” might be perceived as offensive to people who do not celebrate the Christian holiday. Other Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced Saturday he was recalling most of the Defense Department civilians who were placed on furlough as a result of the partial government shutdown which began Oct. 1. Most of the 350,000 Defense Department civilians placed on emergency furlough were asked to return to work beginning this week, Hagel said. The furloughs had hit the Okaloosa County economy, as thousands of employees at Eglin Air Force Base and Hurlburt Field were told to stay home beginning Oct. 1 because a Congressional budget impasse had resulted in sharp funding cutbacks governmentwide. Activeduty military members were not directly affected by the partial shutdown. Late last week, Congress passed a stopgap bill to restore much of the money to the Defense Department. “Immediately after President Obama signed the Pay Our Military Act into law, I directed DOD’s acting general counsel to determine whether we could reduce the number of civilian personnel furloughed due to the shutdown,” Hagel said. The Defense Department, he said, consulted closely with the Department of Justice, which expressed its view that the law does not permit a blanket recall of all civilians. However, he said, government lawyers "concluded that the law does allow the Department of Defense to eliminate furloughs for employees whose responsibilities contribute to the morale, well-being, capabilities and readiness of service members,” Hagel said. “Consequently, I am now directing the military departments and other DOD components to move expeditiously to identify all employees whose activities fall under these categories,” he said. Hagel noted he expects the mil-More tourists sought during Christmas holidaysBy Mike Griffith Beacon Correspondent Eying a multimillon-dollar bonanza in oil-spill compensation, the Okaloosa County Restore Act Committee met Thursday in Niceville to discuss a mission statement and goals. The ORAC is an 11-member group of volunteer community leaders from governmental and private organizations throughout Okaloosa County, selected by the Okaloosa County Commission to advise the commission on how to use expected millions of dollars allocated to the county to mitigate effects of the 2010 BP oil spill, which was blamed for big losses by the tourist industry. Much of the discussion during last Thursday’s meeting was led by Sal Nodjomian of the Matrix Design Group, an engineering company working for the county. Nodjomian said that the money expected from an ongoing lawsuit against BP will be divided into several “pots,” of which “Pot 1” will be funds placed under the direct control of county governments in counties affected by the spill, according to the Restore Act, a federal law enacted to govern the allocation of such funds. Other “pots,” said Nodjomian, include: —Pot 2: Money to be controlled by the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council. —Pot 3: Money controlled by the Gulf Coast Consortium – an organization of representatives from the 23 Gulf Coast Florida counties affected by the spill. —Pots 4 and 5: Money set aside for research and monitoring programs. Nodjomian said the total amount of money expected from the BP civil trial under way in federal court in New Orleans could range anywhere between T T T h h e eB B a a y y B B e e a a c c o o n n 50¢Wednesday, October 9, 2013 info@baybeacon.com The voice of Niceville, Bluewater Bay and Valparaiso since 1992 (850) 678-1080 10 Pages, 2 Sections, 4 Inserts Please see BP MONEY, page A-6 Please see DOD, page A-4 Rallying RuckelBWB cell tower decision on holdBeacon photo by Sarah Clauson The Ruckel Middle School cheerleaders raise spirits during the Ruckel vs. Davidson game Thursday, Oct. 3, played in the Eagles stadium. Ruckel lost to Davidson, 28-21. This Thursday, Oct. 10, the Rams will face Pryor in a pivotal game that will decide which team makes the playoffs Game will be at the Niceville High School stadium and starts at 6:30 p.m. See Sports on page A-5. Thurs., 9:30 a.m. The Bluewater Bay Garden Club will meet at the Clubhouse on Bluewater Bay Boulevard. The speaker will be Karen Williams a master gardener who will give a program on Plants for Fall and Winter ColorŽ All welcome. 8975560. Sat.,12 p.m. The 2013 Public Square Rosary Crusade will be praying for the nation in front of Twin Cities Pavilion, 1053 E. John Sims Pkwy., Niceville, and in front of Christ Our Redeemer Church, White Point Road, Niceville. The event will last about 45 minutes. Participants welcome to bring lawn chairs. Sat. 7:30 a.m. There will be an Audubon field trip to Little Creek Woods in Northern Walton County hosted by owner Bob Reid. See many upland and migratory species on this beautiful, well-managed tract which Reid has been restoring to its original state. Bring water, insect repellent, outdoor attire, sack lunch and a lawn chair, as there will be an evening bonfire for those who can stay. Meet at the former Niceville Food World on John Sims Pkwy. 6781926. Tues., 6:30 p.m. Jonathan Gunger shares his new novel, 34/4,Ž at the Niceville Community Center 204 Partin Drive N. Books will be available for purchase and signing at this event. For further information or to reserve a seat call the Niceville Public Library at 279-4863 x 1504. This program is hosted by the Friends of the Niceville Public Library.Calendar, B2, B3. COMING UP Okaloosa eyes millions in BP money Storm Karen vs. beaversForeman John Schiefelbin of the Okaloosa County Road Department surveys water flow along a tributary that crosses beneath Nutmeg Avenue, Niceville. His crew was on hand Oct. 2 to remove a beaver dam that was blocking a culvert to prevent possible flooding ahead of Tropical Storm Karen s expected landfall over the weekend. The storm fizzled, but the area received about two inches of rain nevertheless.Beacon photo by Angela Yuriko Smith Please see TOURISTS, page A-3 The voice of Niceville, Bluewater Bay and Valparaiso since 1992 Most DoD employees go back to workFurloughs end after Congress restores paychecks Prepping for Mullet FestThe 37th annual Boggy Bayou Mullet Festival, to be held in Niceville Oct. 18-20, is shaping up to be one of the best ever, according to organizers. “The site is in really good shape and we expect a large crowd,” said Lavon Mason. Please see TOWER, page A-2 By Mike Griffith Beacon Correspondent The Niceville City Council has tentatively approved an ordinance that would reduce the frequency of garbage pickups from twice a week to once a week citywide. The measure, which would also reduce a typical residential customer's garbage and recycling pickup fees by $1 a month, is intended to steer more of the city’s waste toward recycling rather than landfills. The proposed ordinance, adopted 4-1 on first reading Oct. 8, would also do away with the 18-gallon recycling crates, replacing them with large, yellow-top 64or 96-gallon carts resembling the garbage carts currently in use. The new bins will allow the collection company to pick up Thurs., 10 a.m. An insurance advisor will be at the Niceville Library 206 Partin Dr. N. to explain Medicare benefits to current and future recipients with emphasis on the prescription benefits. This is to provide information only. The program is free but seating is limited so please call the library at 279-4863 x 1504 to reserve a seat. Fri.,11 a.m. A charity golf tournament will benefit Greyhound Pets of America Emerald Coast at the Eglin Golf Course, 1527 Fairway Dr., Niceville. $55 includes greens fees, cart and lunch. Proceeds will help offset the costs of greyhound adoptions. See calendar for registration info. Sat. 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Learn to make a corner basket at the Heritage Museum of Northwest Florida 115 Westview Avenue, Valparaiso. The cost is $30 or, $25 for museum members. Materials included. Space is limited, please call to pre-register at 678-2615. Mon., 5-7 p.m. The Valparaiso Community Library 459 Valparaiso Parkway, would like to invite tweens and teens ages 10 and up to their second annual murder mystery. Participants are urged to wear their favorite sci-fi costume and come sleuth the Murder at Area 51 ." Fun and prizes will be had. Sign up by calling 729-5406 or emailing eruff@valp.org. Calendar, B2, B3By Mike Griffith Beacon Correspondent Former Okaloosa County Commissioner James Campbell on Monday pleaded “no contest” to eight misdemeanor charges against him, in return for which the state of Florida dropped more-serious felony charges of official misconduct lodged against him last fall. In a hearing in Fort Walton Beach, Circuit Judge William Stone sentenced Campbell, of Niceville, to four years' probation, 400 hours of community service and a $4,000 fine, as well as payment of some additional court costs. The dismissal of the felony charges apparently means that Campbell may keep his state pension, which would have been cut off had he been convicted on any of the felony charges, against which he steadfastly maintained his innocence. Campbell was arrested in September 2012 on multiple counts of falsifying public documents after allegedly failing to disclose $12,750 he received for recruiting sponsors of the annual Boggy Bayou Mullet Festival. At the time of his arrest, Campbell was serving as a county commissioner and as the recreation director for the City of Niceville. As a county commissioner, he also was responsible for overseeing at least two of the entities listed as buying sponsorships: the county-operated Northwest Florida Regional Airport and the county Tourist Development Council. State records show that he did not list the payments on the annual financial-disclosure forms he was required to file as a public official. T T T h h e eB B a a y y B B e e a a c c o o n n 50¢Wednesday, October 16, 2013 info@baybeacon.com The voice of Niceville, Bluewater Bay and Valparaiso since 1992 (850) 678-1080 10 Pages, 2 Sections, 5 Inserts Please see GARBAGE, page A-5 Please see CAMPBELL, page A-4 Mullet Festival to open FridayThe 37th Boggy Bayou Mullet Festival will begin its three-day run Friday at the festival grounds, corner of Highway 85 North and College Boulevard, Niceville. COMING UP Niceville halves garbage pickupsSwitch to once a week seen boosting recycling The voice of Niceville, Bluewater Bay and Valparaiso since 1992 Music, food crafts, rides In a bid to increase recycling, Niceville residents will receive yellowtopped recycling carts like this one, and garbage collection will be cut to once a week.‘Christmas Lady’ to resume display Debbie Lewis, “The Christmas Lady,” will use the former Food World building in Niceville to house her massive annual Christmas show. Last year s display had to be canceled due to the difficulties of finding a location in time. This year she plans to open Nov. 29. Beacon photo by Angela Yuriko Smith By Angela Yuriko Smith Beacon Staff Writer Debbie Lewis, better known to many as "The Christmas Lady," will come back to Niceville this year with her long-running Christmas show, “Animation in Motion.” It will be held in the former Food World store, Oak Creek Plaza, E. John Sims Parkway. The show is scheduled to start Nov. 29, the day after Thanksgiving, earlier than ever. “It’s so exciting to be on the main drag,” said Lewis. “This time, because we open early, it’s a little scary. I hope we bring a lot of traffic to the surrounding business.” The free-admission display will run nightly, through Dec. 27, from 6 to 9 p.m. Until last year, the display had been an annual event since 1994. It includes a gigantic collection of lighted and animated dolls, nutcrackers and a 1,000piece Christmas village. Model train sets round out the holiday collection. Many of the pieces Lewis said she hasn’t been able to use in the last few years because they are designed to be in a yard. This year, she plans on trying to bring the “outdoors in” with the new location. With her husband, Kevin Payne, Lewis, a Niceville real estate agent, has been setting up the show nearly every year since they moved to the area. Originally the shows were set up inside and outside their house, but the presentation drew so many spectators that in 2006 neighbors complained about the extra traffic, and city Please see DISPLAY, page A-4 Former Okaloosa County Commissioner James Campbell gives information to a court bailiff after being sentenced to probation, community service and fines in Okaloosa County Circuit Court Monday after pleading no contest to eight charges of making false statements on official financialdisclosure forms. Beacon photo by Mike GriffithCampbell to serve probation, keep pension Beacon Staff Writer The 37th annual Boggy Bayou Mullet Festival will begin Friday at the Mullet Site, Niceville. The three-day festival will feature music, food, kiddie rides, games, crafts and four tons of fried and smoked fish. Tens of thousands of people from all over the Southeast are expected. The festival, at Highway 85 North and College Boulevard, will open Friday at noon. Country headliners Vince Gill, Justin Moore and Thompson Square will perform, as well as many other acts. Parking is free and admission at the gate is $10, or $15 between 5 p.m. and closing time on Saturday. Children 11 or under are free. The festival began in 1976, brainchild of chamber of commerce president Francis Spence, as a way to promote the Niceville-Valparaiso area. Vince Gill More on A-2 & A-3. Please see MULLET, page A-3 By Virginia Schreitmueller Beacon Correspondent The North Bay Fire Commission has been considering allowing the firefighters' union to appeal labor grievances to an arbitrator in the event of an unfavorable decision by the commission. A split vote by the commission earlier this month was inconclusive, and the matter may come up again at a commission meeting scheduled for Nov. 12. Opposing views on the proposed change in the firefighters’ union contract highlighted a meeting of the North Bay Fire Control District governing board in Bluewater Bay Oct. 9. After reviewing the financial report for September, Fire Chief Jim Miller introduced North Bay Firefighters Association President Travis Zaal, who asked to address the fire commission on the union's proposal to amend article 52 of its contract with the district. The proposed change to the article, which covers arbitration By Mike Griffith Beacon Correspondent Litigation over rights to waterfront property in Valparaiso may continue for the foreseeable future, after the city commission agreed to file a countersuit against a property owner who had sued the city, claiming ownership of some waterfront land on Toms Bayou. Also, Valparaiso voters may soon vote in a referendum on whether to change the city’s charter. At a Valparaiso City Commission meeting Oct. 14, City Attorney Hayward Dykes suggested a countersuit against residents Jason and Angelle Rosenbleeth, who have sued the city over the land ownership issue. For years, the city has faced lawsuits from property owners who live along the city’s waterfront streets, and who seek to establish ownership to the water’s edge. The city maintains that it has rights to land seaward of city streets in front of such homeowners’ property, even if such streets are only platted as streets but never actually paved. During the meeting, Dykes asked the city commission to decide whether the city should “aggressively pursue” its claim to the right of way along a portion of Bayshore Drive that runs along Toms Bayou west of John Sims Parkway. Unlike Bayshore Drive to the east, the portion to the west of John Sims Parkway is an unpaved track. Dykes recommended that the city’s countersuit be handled by Bruce Bowman, a member of Dykes’ firm of Connerly, Bowman and Dykes. During the discussion that followed, City Commissioner Kay Hamilton initially expressed doubt about filing such a countersuit. “I ran on a campaign for cooperation, not litigation,” she said. She said the city has rarely if ever prevailed in such suits, and that she would prefer to discuss some sort of settlement with the landowners. Dykes, however, said that the Thurs., 6 p.m. The Sand Dunes Chapter of Embroiderers' Guild of America celebrates various forms of hand embroidery with a meeting in Room 400, Niceville United Methodist Church, 214 Partin Drive S. Visitors are welcome, call 496-3466. Fri.,9-11 a.m. Bring unwanted personal documents for shredding to the Cintas mobile document shredding truck, which will shred them free of charge. The truck will be in the back parking lot of the Niceville Public Library 206 Partin Drive N. Materials to shred include invoices, x-rays, bank statements, medical records and more. Staples, rubber bands, folders, paper clips, etc. do not need to be removed before shredding occurs. Fri., 6:30-7:30 p.m. The Mattie Kelly Arts Center Galleries begins its final show of 2013, Sideshow!Ž an exhibition of sideshow, freak show and circus posters from the golden age of traveling entertainment. The public is invited to an opening reception in the McIlroy and Holzhauer Galleries. Sideshow!Ž will be on view Oct. 25 to Dec. 4. The Mattie Kelly Arts Center Galleries are open Monday through Friday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., and 90 minutes prior to most mainstage theater and NWFSC productions. Free. Sat. 9 a.m.-4 p.m. The Viva Florida 500 festival will be held in Perrine Park next to the Heritage Museum of Northwest Florida, 115 Westview Ave., Valparaiso. Vendors, a plant sale offering shrubs and perennials, activities for children, food and fun. There will also be an informative talk given by Sheila Dunning on gardening in sand at 10:30 a.m., and a floral design activity at 2 p.m. for children ages 8-12. For more info, contact marieharrison@valp.net, valpviva500@yahoo.com, or visit mariesgardenanddesign.com. Calendar, B2, B3 T T T h h e eB B a a y y B B e e a a c c o o n n 50¢Wednesday, October 23, 2013 info@baybeacon.com The voice of Niceville, Bluewater Bay and Valparaiso since 1992 (850) 678-1080 12 Pages, 2 Sections, 4 Inserts Please see VALP., page A-6 COMING UP Valp. ratchets up shoreline litigation The voice of Niceville, Bluewater Bay and Valparaiso since 1992 By Mike Griffith Beacon Correspondent Members of the Mid-Bay Bridge Authority Board of Directors learned things about the Mid-Bay Bridge and other spans that they may have never known before, as they received an informal briefing by an 8year-old Oct. 17. Michael James Panarisi, a student at Bluewater Elementary School, briefed MBBA board members during a meeting in Destin about his construction of model bridges, and his recent visit to the MidBay Bridge connector route construction project. He was accompanied by his father, Michael Troy Panarisi. Young Michael showed board members one of the model bridges he has recently built with the help of his father, a former Air Force test pilot who works at the Air Force Research Lab at Eglin Air Force Base as a civilian. Michael said that he has been fascinated by bridges ever since his family arrived in the Niceville area, and that he is working on building models of each of the major types of bridge design. Michael told the board members that the model he brought to the meeting, for example, illustrated a “truss suspension double-decker bridge,” but that the Mid-Bay bridge is a Beacon photo by Mike Griffith The Greyhound Pets of America Emerald Coast chapter held its first Pup Cup golf tournament Friday at the Eglin Air Force Base p ublic golf course to raise funds for adoptions of greyhounds that have retired or been rejected from dog racing. Among the 46 pa rticipants were, from left: G.R.R. Hardinger, Will Tobin, Jodi Lowery, Chuck Wucherpfennig, and Rich Ware, with four-legged acquaint ances which are up for adoption (1-800-366-1472). The event raised $1,974. Michael J. Panarisi, 8, showed Mid-Bay Bridge officials his model of a “truss suspension double-decker bridge” during a meeting last week in Destin. Beacon photo by Mike GriffithHelping houndsNorth Bay debates grievance proceduresCounty suspends catering contractBy Mike Griffith Beacon Correspondent The Okaloosa County Commission has suspended its contract with Aramark, the company that has been providing catering services to the countyowned Emerald Coast Convention Center on Okaloosa Island. During a commission meeting Oct. 15 in Fort Walton Beach, the contract was suspended on motion of Commissioner Nathan Boyles, who said he had recently observed Aramark employees using county vehicles and personnel to perform catering duties for some of the company's commercial, rather than county clients. In a written statement following the meeting, Boyles wrote: “The Convention Center has the potential to spur future economic development for our county. However, the center is a public asset and must be operated accordingly, meaning it can't always operate like a private business. In August, conference center staff was advised that it was inappropriate for the center to aid Mullet madnessThe 37th annual Boggy Bayou Mullet Festival took place over the weekend in Niceville, drawing visitors from throughout the region for music, food and fun. Among them was Sophia Baez, 9 months, who enjoyed petting a pony so long as her mother, Loren Baez, held her close. Beacon photos by Mike Griffith Please see ENGINEER, page A-3 Please see COUNTY, page A-2 Please see DEBATES, page A-8 Nathan BoylesBudding engineer, 8, briefs bridge officials Beacon Staff The Niceville Planning Commission is scheduled to conduct a public hearing Monday at 7 p.m. to consider a request by Publix Super Markets for a special exception to the city sign ordinance to allow for bigger signs on the Publix grocery store under construction at John Sims Parkway and Rocky Bayou Drive. The request was submitted by Thomas Sign and Awning. The Niceville City Council will also conduct a public hearing Nov. 12, at 7 p.m., to consider the same request. Both meetings will be in the city council chambers in the municipal building, 208 North Partin Drive.Publix wants bigger signsBy Mike Griffith Beacon Correspondent The governing board of the Bluewater Bay Municipal Services Benefit Unit (MSBU) is seeking two volunteers to fill vacancies on the panel. The MSBU is an autonomous part of Okaloosa County government, responsible for care and maintenance of landscaping, street lights, street signs, and other general upkeep of common areas along the main streets of the unincorporated Bluewater Bay community. It is governed by a five-member board of directors, who are usually elected to fouryear terms by voters who own property within Bluewater Bay. In separate announcements earlier this month, members Joan McCarthy and Doug Burgess said they were resigning from their positions. McCarthy said she would leave the panel Jan. 1. Burgess resigned Oct. 10. McCarthy, who was elected in 2012 to a two-year term scheduled to end Nov. 1, 2014, said that she would be leaving early because her schedule of out-of-town travel will no longer permit her the time to serve effectively. In an Oct. 12 phone conversation with the Beacon, Burgess, 74, said, “I have enjoyed my service By Mike Griffith Beacon Correspondent Only three of the members of Valparaiso’s “Visioning Committee” attended a recent meeting. As a result, said committee member Jill White, no votes could be taken nor decisions made. “We are making progress, but we need a quorum in order to decide anything,” White said. She added that membership in the committee has gradually dwindled to about eight official members, as some have resigned from the visioning committee and others have not regularly attended committee meetings since being appointed earlier this year by Valparaiso’s mayor and city commission. Of the remaining eight members, she said, at least four must be present at a meeting to form a quorum, so that any committee business can be put to a vote. For the past two monthly meetings, only three members have attended. Currently, said White, the remaining active members of the committee continue to work toward drafting a “vision statement” for the city, and preparing a questionnaire to be By Steve Andrews Beacon Correspondent Officials of the Okaloosa Gas District last week explained a recent rate increase which they said averages 2.8 percent. During a meeting at its Valparaiso headquarters Oct. 23, the gas district also welcomed a new board member. District chief executive Jose Lozano explained the district’s recent increase in gas prices, which took effect Sept. 1. The rise in the cost-of-gas portion of customer bills, from 38.5 cents to 42.5 cents per therm, was the first hike in 14 months. The typical residential customer can expect an average increase of 96 cents a month. An Okaloosa Gas bill is divided into four components: customer charge, cost-of-gas, compliance charge and distribution charge. The only part of the bill that saw an increase is the cost-of-gas, which had been unchanged since July 1, 2012. The district was able to hold the rate steady for over a year by offsetting supplier price increases with funds from its reserve Purchased Gas Adjustment fund. The majority of those funds came from a settlement two years ago, when Okaloosa Gas collected reimbursement from Florida Gas Transmission for being overcharged by the interstate pipeline company. The increase in the typical residential bill will be about 2.8 percent, based on an average use of 24 therms a month, said Okaloosa Gas Marketing Director Eddie Springle. “The increase may be greater or less—depending upon the number and type of appliances a customer has in the home," he said. The cost-of-gas portion of the bill reflects the actual amount Okaloosa Gas pays for the fuel. The utility passes that Thurs., 5:30-7:30 p.m. Everyone is invited for some free Halloween fun at the Niceville Assembly of God 108 Hwy. 85 N., Niceville, in the north parking lot, facing the school board building. There will be plenty of treats, inflatables, carnival games and more. More Halloween happenings on B-1. Fri-Sun., 9 a.m. The 26th Annual Thunderbird Intertribal Powow will be celebrating its silver anniversary at the Mullet Festival Grounds on the corner of Hwy. 85 N. and College Blvd., Niceville. Tickets will be $5, $3 for children under 12. Admission is $3 for everyone Friday. For schedule and info visit thunderbirdpowwow.org. Story on B-1. Sat., 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Twin Cities Pavilion will be holding its annual craft and bake sale at the Pavilion, 1053 E John Sims Pkwy., Niceville. All proceeds from the fundraiser will go to residents for special events and supplies. For more, 833-9212. Sat. 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Visit the Biophilia Center Freeport, to enjoy another chance to wear Halloween costumes at the Fall Festival Activities will include hay rides, haunted trails, animals and exhibits. Admission is $8 adults, $5 children and 2 and under free. For more info, call 8351824. Calendar, B2, B3 T T T h h e eB B a a y y B B e e a a c c o o n n 50¢Wednesday, October 30, 2013 info@baybeacon.com The voice of Niceville, Bluewater Bay and Valparaiso since 1992 (850) 678-1080 10 Pages, 2 Sections, 3 Inserts Please see GAS HIKE, page A-2 Please see DWINDLING, page A-3 Please see BWB, page A-2 Police Blotter, page A-4 COMING UP Okaloosa Gas explains 2.8% rate hike Bce onfie nl hfieoftte, btyeMakeG bar aTv NatpaG afun ufTie wddV beainT pcnkn sr 1f9e 2G fllfkc The Heritage Museum of Northwest Florida in Valparaiso Saturday hosted a “Viva Florida 500” celebration, which featured a varie ty of food and craft booths and other activities. Viva Florida 500 is a statewide initiative led by the Florida Department of Sta te marking the 500th anniversary of Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de Leon's landing in the region, which he named La Florida, "Land of the Flowers." Among the activities during Saturday's event were lessons for children in how to make dried flower arrangements, her e led by museum volunteer June Jones. beainT pcnkn Publix is seeking permission from Niceville city officials to put bigger signs on its planned supermarket than allowed by city law. Pictured, the building under construction last week at John Sims Parkway and Rocky Bayou Drive.500th birthday for 'Land of Flowers'‘Visioning’ panel’s dwindling ranks Joan McCarthyStarting on a high noteFifty people took part in the third Annual Niceville High School 5K Grand Staff Run/Walk, a fund-raiser for the award-winning school chorus, held Saturday. The event raised $2,000. Story, A-6. beainT pcnkn sr 1f9e 2G fllfkc Doug Burgess MSBU seeks volunteers2 leaving BWB board Beacon staff The YMCA of Florida’s Emerald Coast will close its money-losing Niceville branch Dec. 31, the organization announced this week. The building lease in the Palm Plaza shopping center will expire on that date, and "months of ongoing efforts to secure an acceptable alternative location have proven fruitless at this time," according to a YMCA statement. The YMCA had said it was looking for another home after being informed by Ruckel Properties, owner of Palm Plaza, that its tradition of renting to the organization at below-market rates could not continue in the current real estate market. "While the Y remains grateful to Ruckel Properties for generously providing reduced lease rates with short-duration extensions, the Niceville branch consistently operated at a fiscal deficit every year since the doors opened in 2006," according to the YMCA statement. The storefront Niceville Y consists chiefly of a gym, a room for exercise classes, and an indoor swimming pool, which closed last summer. Rudy Wright, president of the Fort Walton Beach-based YMCA of Florida’s Emerald Coast, which operates four branches, including Niceville, said Tuesday that membership in the Niceville Y is about 465 households, representing some 1,100 persons. The high-water mark in membership was achieved in January 2012, he said, with about 670 households. The organization closed the Niceville Y's pool in July of this year, contributing to the membership decline, which is also due to a normal seasonal fluctuation, Wright said. Member reaction to the closure news was one of disappointment.By Mike Griffith Beacon Correspondent During its next meeting, scheduled for 6 p.m. Nov. 12, the Valparaiso City Commission is expected to vote on the second and final reading of a proposed ordinance to place a referendum before voters to change the city charter. If the ordinance passes following a public hearing Tuesday, Valparaiso voters would decide March 11 whether to approve several amendments to the current charter, which was originally enacted in 1921. The new charter, the basic document outlining the structure of municipal government, would include the following changes, according to a city summary: —Change the city administrator from a regular city employee to a “charter officer” of the city, and give him more operating authority at the expense of elected commissioners. —Eliminate the offices of city tax assessor, tax collector, treasurer, and municipal judge—posts which were provided for in the original charter, but which have not been filled for many years. —Amend the qualifications for city commissioners. —Amend the powers and responsibilities of city officers and commissioners. —Amend the process of city budget adoption. —Amend how vacancies on the city commission are filled.By Steve Andrews Beacon Correspondent In an effort to place video cameras in all Okaloosa County School District buses, the school board has approved a donation of $17,000 from the Young Lawyers Association be spent toward that goal. At its regularly scheduled meeting Oct. 28, board member Cindy Frakes asked for the board’s approval for the donation to be added to the $25,000 she has put forth as part of her $75,000 discretionary fund, which is allotted to each member at the beginning of the school year. With an estimated 200 buses that transport children to Okaloosa County public schools each day, 84 are without internal cameras. At an estimated cost of $1,800 to equip each bus, the total funding needed is just over $150,000. “I just think this is important and the parents think this is important,” Frakes said. “It’s a safety issue, and I want the parents to know that their children are in a safe place when they ride our school buses. We don’t want Thurs., 1:30 p.m. The Valparaiso Community Library would like to invite families and children to the Early Release Movie,  Monsters University ,Ž rated G. Seating is first come, first served, with an 80 person maximum. Sat., 8 a.m. All are invited to participate in the inaugural  Miles of Memories Ž 5K Run/Walk and 1-Mile Walk, hosted by Superior Residences of Niceville Early registration is $20 for the 5K Run/Walk or $10 for the 1 Mile Walk. Participants can sign up at milesofmemories.niceville.kintera.org or pickup a registration packet at Superior Residences, 2300 North Partin Dr. N., Niceville. Sat. 10 a.m.-3 p.m. There will be a Audubon Society bird walk at Ft. Pickens, Gulf Islands National Seashore, led by well-known birder, Leonard Fenimore See late migrants, such as loons, grebes and hawks. Bring water, insect repellent, long pants and closed-toe shoes and be prepared to walk. Meet at Uptown Station in Fort Walton Beach at 7:30 a.m. Call 863-2039. Mon., 11 a.m. The Twin Cities Veterans Council will sponsor the annual Veterans Day Ceremony in Doolittle Memorial Park in Valparaiso. This community event features patriotic speakers, raising of the colors by Niceville High School ROTC cadets and presentation of wreaths by the cities of Niceville and Valparaiso, local organizations, Scout groups and students. Calendar, B-2 T T T h h e eB B a a y y B B e e a a c c o o n n 50¢Wednesday, November 6, 2013 info@baybeacon.com The voice of Niceville, Bluewater Bay and Valparaiso since 1992 (850) 678-1080 10 Pages, 2 Sections, 5 Inserts Please see CAMERA, page A-6 Please see DECISION, page A-4 COMING UP Schools seek cameras on more buses Beacon photo by Mike GriffithFriday through Sunday, the 26th annual Thunderbird Intertribal Powwow was held at the Mullet Festival site in Niceville. This year s event included such activities as Native American dance competitions, storytelling, traditional drums and singers, and exhibitions by crafters from all over the U.S.Powwow held in NicevilleDecision on charter nears for ValparaisoPanel sees little change in school calendar for 2014-15By Steve Andrews Beacon Correspondent A committee of parents and teachers, charged with task of exploring options with the development of the Okaloosa County School District student calendar, has decided to recommend to the school board that the current year’s calendar be rolled forward and kept in place for the 2014-15 school year. Final approval could be made by the school board at its upcoming Nov. 12 regular meeting. If it is approved, classes would begin on Monday, Aug. 18, 2014. For the current academic year, classes began Aug. 19. Both dates are two weeks before Labor Day. Under the proposed calendar for the 2014-15 academic year, classes would end June 4, 2015. For the 2013-14 year, classes will end June 5, 2014. “Ultimately, the school board has the final say,” said Ryan Gore, who oversees the eightmember calendar committee for Please see PANEL, page A-6 The voice of Niceville, Bluewater Bay and Valparaiso since 1992 Niceville YMCA to shut its doors Dec. 31 Video camera on Okaloosa County school bus in Niceville Monday.Beacon photo by Angela Yuriko Smith Eagles win district titleThe Niceville High School Eagles won the District 1 Class 7A football title against Tate Monday. A loss to Crestview Friday put the three district rivals all at 1-1 records in district play, and sent them to Monday's shootout at Niceville. NHS will host Leon High School Nov. 15 in regional quarterfinals. Pictured, team members kneel in prayer on the field after Monday's win. Story on B-4.Beacon photo by Sarah Clauson The Niceville YMCA has "a wonderful atmosphere . and it's too bad it's closing," said Les Smith, working out in the Y's gym Monday.Beacon photo by Angela Yuriko Smith Please see YMCA, page A-6 By Mike Griffith Beacon Correspondent Local Veterans Day observances got off to an early start Monday as the Niceville Exchange Club held its 15th annual "One Nation Under God" Veterans Day Prayer Breakfast at 8 a.m., at the Valparaiso AMVETS Post 78, 910 Valastics Ave., Valparaiso. The speaker was Maj. Gen. Scott W. Jansson, the top weapons-development officer at Eglin Air Force Base. In his address, Jansson stressed the importance of honoring America’s veterans and assisting them as necessary with their transitions back to civilian life. “We must not celebrate the great joys of our freedom,” said the general, “without remembering its price.” He said Americans should remember and honor veterans as “those who have sacrificed many of their own hopes and dreams for the sake of others.” He quoted George Washington, who in his farewell to his troops at the end of the American Revolution had told the veterans of that war, “You may expect considerable assistance” from fellow Americans “to resume civilian life.” Jansson praised what he called the “remarkable persistence” of the Revolutionary War soldiers who endured and prevailed in that eight-year conflict. He also said that the current war in Afghanistan has now gone on for 12 years, and By Mike Griffith Beacon Correspondent The board of directors of the Northwest Florida State College Foundation approved a slate of officers and a slate of directors for 2014-15. The NWFSC Foundation is the college’s fundraising organization. The slate of officers approved during a meeting Nov. 5 in Niceville are: president, Dewayne Youngblood, a banker; vice president, Scott Jackson, a Gulf Power executive; treasurer, Robin Wilson, a Chelco executive; secretary, Cristie Kedroski, who also serves as executive director. The board also approved the 2014-15 NWFSC Foundation slate of directors: Bart Fleet, a lawyer; Lois Lunderman, a dentist; Mitch Mongell, a hospital executive; Dale Peterson, a resort rental operator; Melissa Pilcher, a utilities manager; Tom Rice, a restaurateur; Fred Thomas, a businessman; Robin Wilson; and Dewayne Youngblood. The board-approved slates of officers and directors will be presented to the general foundation membership at its February 2014 annual meeting in Niceville. In other business, foundation directors heard a short briefing from Greg Dvorsick, a manager from the Blackrock investment management firm, who briefed foundation members on current By Mike Griffith Beacon Correspondent The East Niceville Fire Commission has decided that it likes the health insurance the district has now, and it intends to keep it, swallowing a price increase of perhaps $10,000. During a meeting Nov. 4, the commissioners decided to stay with the fire district’s current StarMark/TrustMark health care plan for firefighters and other employees. Commissioners reached their decision after considering quotes from StarMark, Blue Cross/Blue Shield, United Healthcare, and Aetna. Of the plans considered, the current StarMark plan was offered at the lowest price, said Fire Commission Chairman Mike Marcolongo. Nevertheless, health insurance costs for the current year will still be significantly larger than in the past. Last year, said Fire Commissioner Ed Dunbar, health insurance cost the East Niceville fire district about $62,000. This year, he said, the district expects to pay about $72,000 more or less, with the exact amount depending largely on how many claims are filed during the year. Dunbar and Marcolongo said this year’s increase was not unexpected, as health care costs for the fire district have been going up steadily for the last several years. Dunbar said that the district had already budgeted about $79,000 to cover this year’s health insurance costs, based on earlier estimates of what the actual costs would turn out to be when final bids were received from insurance companies. He added that if there are few or no actual Thurs., 6:30 p.m. The Friends of the Niceville Library is sponsoring a free program,  History of Nicevilles CCC Camps ,Ž presented by Elisa Mitchiner at the Niceville Community Center, 204 Partin Drive N. To reserve a seat call 279-4863 x1504 to reserve a seat. Fri., 2:15 p.m. The Valparaiso Community Library would like to invite tweens and teens to a special, interactive showing of  The Hunger Games, Ž rated PG13,with live trivia and games throughout the movie. Popcorn will be served and prizes will be awarded, including a chance to win a movie ticket to a showing of Catching Fire.Ž Tweens under 13 must have a parent or guardian call in or attend. Sign up by calling 729-5406 or emailing Sat. 1-3 p.m. Philip Kent author of Yeshua Ha MasiahŽ (Jesus the Messiah), will sign his book at Bayou Book 1118 E. John Sims Parkway, Niceville. Sat., 7:30 p.m. The American ImpressionsŽ NFSO concert features sounds of both American and European composers with guest artist Jeff Midkiff of Virginia. The NFSO will also perform Charles Ives Central Park in the Dark,Ž and Antonin Dvo ks famous New World Symphony.Ž Tickets are $22.50 each for adults and $16 each for active duty military and youth age 18 and younger and are available by phone or online from the Box Office at 7296000 or mattiekellyartscenter.org. Calendar, B2, B-3 T T h h e e B B a a y y B B e e a a c c o o n n 50¢Wednesday, November 13, 2013 info@baybeacon.com The voice of Niceville, Bluewater Bay and Valparaiso since 1992 (850) 678-1080 10 Pages, 2 Sections, 3 Inserts Please see MEDICAL, page A-5 Please see NOMINATES, page A-2 Police Blotter,page A-4 COMING UP Medical costs jump for fire district Beacon photo by Angela Yuriko SmithThe day was bright, but the mood subdued as residents of the Twin Cities gathered at Doolittle Park, Valparaiso, to honor the n ations veterans Monday, Nov. 11. Pictured, Webelos from Boy Scout Pack 52 place their wreath during the Presentation of Wreaths.Honoring those who servedFoundation nominates officers, hears investment reportAd boo-boo costs school district $700By Virginia Schreitmueller Beacon Correspondent An error in the Okaloosa County School District’s advertised notice of proposed tax increase won't affect the bottom line on property taxes for real estate owners, but it did cost taxpayers $700 to correct the mistake. During the Okaloosa County School Board organization meeting held Nov. 7 in Fort Walton Beach, the board approved a request for authorization to readvertise the fiscal year 2013-14 Final Budget and Millage Rate. Reading the agenda item, board chairman Rodney Walker commented that the request for re-advertising was a result of a “technical error.” The item was approved, without discussion. When asked after the meeting for clarification on the reason for the re-advertisement of the notice, the school district’s chief financial officer, Rita Scallan, explained it was a result of an incorrect dollar amount listed under the line item posting for last year’s proposed tax levy. Despite the mistake, Scallan said it does not change or alter the amount of this year’s proposed tax levy included in the notice. “The original ad contained the wrong dollar amount for last year’s tax levy,” she said, “but it is not used in calculating the proposed increase for this year.” In Holding on to memoriesNew memories were forged at the inaugural "Miles of Memories" 5K Run/Walk and 1-Mile Walk, hosted by Superior Residences of Niceville, Sat., Nov. 9. Pictured, there was a special “Memory Walk” for less mobile residents to participate in. The event was held to benefit Alzheimer s Family Services, an affiliate of Covenant Hospice. Beacon photoGeneral: Welcome vets back to civilian life Please see VETS, page A-5 Maj. Gen. Scott Jansson, addressing a Veterans Day audience in Valparaiso Monday, spoke about the need to honor veterans and help them with their transitions back to civilian life.Beacon photo by Mike Griffith Please see $700, page A-2 The voice of Niceville, Bluewater Bay and Valparaiso since 1992 . . Continued on page B-4 INDIVIDUAL € MARITAL € FAMILY COUNSELINGMost major insurances accepted and filed including BCBS, Tricare, and Medicare.BAYAREAPSYCHOLOGICALCONSULTANTSBenshoof & Tallman, P.A. 850-729-03031417 N. Partin Drive, Suite One www.BayAreaPsychConsult.com helping you navigate through life • Crowns & Bridges • Fillings & Partials • Dentures • Root Canals • Extractions • Implants • Emergencies NOW OFFERING -• Botox• Juvederm • Invisalign• Conscious Sedation 897-4488 www.BluewaterBayDentist.com Merchant s Walk • Ste 101 • Ni cevilleOlivier Broutin, D.M.D. Accepting New Patients *Minimum fee only for ADA code D9972 OFFER EXPIRES 1/31/14 TEETH WHITENING$199* Call today for a tour! Respite Care Day Stays 24-Hour Nursing2300 North Partin Dr. Niceville, FL 32578 (850) 897-2244 www.SuperiorALF.comAssisted Living # AL11712Specializing in Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Dementia SUPERIORRESIDENCESofNicevilleMEMORY CARE 389-4611 *With approved credit. 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The voice of Niceville, Bluewater Bay and Valparaiso since 1992 B B e e a a c c o o n n E E x x p p r r e e s s s sOUR TOWNP P a a g g e e B B 1 1 W W e e d d n n ee s s d d a a y y , J J a a n n u u a a r r y y 1 1 , 2 2 0 0 1 1 4 4 Who’s News Weddings Engagements In the Service Niceville High All-State chorus selectedThe following students were selected from Niceville High School for participation in All-State Honor Chorus for the 2013-2014 s chool year; Matthew Beale, Lyndon Clifton, Taylor Evans, Jared Herzog, Kirsten Herzog, Ben Huston, Maggie LaFratta, Jacob LyteHaven, Angela Marco, Taylor Nelson, Tia Patel, Seth Pecore, Daniel Schlegel, Gabrielle Schrack, Isabelle Schrack, Zac Schwantz, Randy Sterling, Arin Walker and Lance Worthy. Ursula Williams has Yard of the MonthNiceville Garden Club chose Ursula Williams s yard, at 1501 Royal Palm Dr., as Yard of the Month for January. The Niceville Garden Club meets at 6 p.m. every fourth Tuesday of the month at the Niceville Public Library, 206 Partin Dr. Therapy dog promotes literacy at libraryBaci, a trained therapy dog, was at the library Dec. 4 to sing Christmas carols with young readers. Baci has a regular program at the Niceville Public Library called “Read with Baci” designed to promote literacy among young readers who can select a book to read with him and his trainer Valerie Cahill. For more information call 279-4863 ext. 1514.Beacon photo by Angela Yuriko Smith Holloway-HigdonAlbert and Vicky Holloway of Fort Walton Beach and Ron and Margo Higdon of Niceville would like to announce the m arriage of their children, Kathleen Holloway and Willia m Higdon. T he m arriage cere m ony wa s held at Hurlburt’ s Sound s ide Club on Septe m ber 21. Kathleen i s a 2005 graduate of the Choctawhatchee High School IB Progra m She received a B.S. Degree in Bio Burks-WardApril Dawn Burk s and Brian Patrick Ward are happy to announce their engage m ent and forthco m ing m arriage. April i s the daughter of E m ory and Clarice Burk s of Cairo, Ga. She graduated fro m Valdo s ta State Univer s ity with a Ma s ter of Education in 2003. She i s e m ployed at Valdo s ta High School a s a m ath teacher. Brian i s the s on of Al and Wanda Ward of Niceville. He graduated fro m Florida State Michael G. Christakos a 2009 graduate of Niceville High School, earned hi s Bachelor’ s degree in Co m puter Engineering fro m the Univer s ity of Florida in Gaine s ville on Dec. 14. Chri s tako s i s a m e m ber of the Kappa Phi Ep s ilon s ocial fraternity. He will enter graduate s chool in co m puter engineering at the Univer s ity of Central Florida in Orlando beginning in January 2014. *** Matthew Weeks of Niceville, realtor and lead li s ting agent, ha s 2nd Lt. Lance M. Murray graduated fro m the Univer s ity of Southern Mi ss i ss ippi with a Bachelor s in Nur s ing (RN-BSN) on Dec. 12. He received hi s co mm i ss ion a s an officer in the U.S. Ar m y, s elected for active duty in the Ar m y Nur s e Corp s and will next attend Ba s ic Officer Leader s hip Cour s e (BOLC) at Fort Sa m Hou s ton, T exa s Murray wa s al s o recognized with the Spirit of Nur s ing Award for exe m plary nur s ing practice s and i s a 2009 Niceville High School graduate. Please see WEDDING, page B-3 April Dawn Burks and Brian Patrick Ward Kathleen and William Higdon Michael G. Christakos Please see WHO S, page B-3 Lance M. Murray Please see ENGAGEMENT, page B-3 RESOLVED in 2014...Call Linda Zickler for all your real estate needs. Whether selling or buying, together we'll create a custom plan for your sale or purchase so that in 2014 you can move forward! HAPPY NEW YEAR!Linda Zickler Realtor850-621-7233 ~ lzickler@gnt.net Keller Williams Realty Emerald Coast 4534 Hwy 20 East, Bluewater BayEach office is independently owned and operated.DR. SCOTTBEALSBoard Certified American Board of Dermatology 4566 Hwy. 20 East, Suite 101 Niceville • 850.897.7546Specializing in Skin Cancer Excision & Repair Moh’s Micrographic Surgery General & Pediatric Dermatology Evaluations Sun Damaged Skin Rejuvenation Trusted Practice on theEmerald Coast#1 Please see SERVICE, page B-3 Reservations required, call 850.729.9463.Complimentary lunch provided.HERE’S TO YOUR HERE’S TO YOUR2014 Free Community Seminar Comfort Foods: Fact or Fiction? ERGet Your Joints Moving in the New Year! 2014 Free Community Seminar o Join us to learn how you can imprW G et Y Yo our Joints Moving in the New Yive t event joint pain and l ove or pr Join us to learn how you can imprlness Center el ies Hospital W wi n Cit T Tw | 12:00 pmnd J anuar y 22 ednesday y, W e ar win C iving! T Tw ife you want to be l he l ive tlness Center | 12:00 pm he New Y Ye ies win Cit Does food r ? -eat Why do you over rComfort Foods: Fact or Fiction?ies to keep you moving, and tr ivit simple act Join us to learn how you can impr No mat ter? ly make us feel bet eal Does food rlness Center el ies Hospital W wi n Cit T Tw | 11:30 amh t J anuar y 25 d a y y, SaturComfort Foods: Fact or Fiction?ions available at T eatment opt ies to keep you moving, and tr event joint pain and l ove or pr Join us to learn how you can impr ter what your size, your brain is in a No matlness Center | 11:30 amComfort Foods: Fact or Fiction?ies Hospital. win Cit ns available at T Tw iving! T ife you want to be l ter what your size, your brain is in a For average he psychology behind over t le between what is good t constant bat wait times, te rage s so ’ ’ ing and why it -eat ogy behind over ryou versus what is good for r le between what is good ER R wait times, text ER to 23000.*d to have “just one”! s so har explains ise Downie, LCSW Carl you. to o you versus what is good explains Reservations required, Complimentarylunchp call 850.729.9463.Reservations required, provided call 850.729.9463.

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CHURCH DIRECTORY The voice of Niceville, Bluewater Bay and Valparaiso since 1992 Page B-2 Wednesday, January 1, 2014 THEBAYBEACON Niceville boy receives Christmas wishJoel Strickland got an early Christmas present from CCB Bank, Upbeat Music in Crestview and BaZing recently when his mom, Dawn Strickland, put his Christmas wish up on the BaZing Facebook page in response to a query. Joel Strickland had wished for a full set of drums, which were presented to him Dec. 23. Pictured, Joel shakes hands with the president of CCB Community Bank, Alan Wood. Edge gets gift for scienceThe Emerald Coast Post of The Society of American Military Engineers (SAME) has presented Edge Elementary School with a $500 donation for the advancement of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). Edge Elementary School intends to use the funds to purchase science supplies for their kindergarten through third grade classrooms for daily science instruction. 678 1298 • WWW.STPAULNICEVILLE.COM 1407 E. JOHN SIMS PKWY., NICEVILLESUNDAY SERVICE One service: 10:00 a.m. Nursery Care Provided SUNDAY SCHOOL Classes resume Jan. 12, 2014ST. PAUL PRESCHOOL Limited openings VPK Provider First Baptist Church ofValparaisoENGAGINGGOD,CONNECTINGWITHOTHERS,SERVINGALL 444 Valparaiso Pkwy. 850-678-4822 www.fbcvalparaiso.orgSundays Bible Study • 9:30am Celebration Service • 11:00am Discipleship • 5:00pm Wednesdays Adults, Youth, & Children • 6:00pm “POINTING THE WAY TO JESUS”www.iacdestin.org • 250 Indian Bayou Trail, Destin • 850-837-6324 Immanuel Anglican ChurchSunday Morning Services9:00am ~ Traditional Spirit-filled Worship with Holy Communion 11:01am ~ Walk In…Worship (Contemporary Worship with Holy Communion) Nursery, ages 6 wks-2 yrs; Sunday School, ages 3-7, both servicesYouth OutreachHang out ~ Engage ~ Worship ~ Grow! Wednesdays, 6:30-8:30pm ~ The ShedKidzNetWednesday Nights starting Jan 15 Ages 3 years-5th grade “Not to eat so much.” “Get to know my family better.” “To finally retire.”What are your New Year s resolutions for 2014?“To be nicer to my family – I have a bit of a temper.” “I just hope things go better for my family. They ve had a hard time this year.” “Quit smoking.” Location: Oak Creek shopping center THE INQUIRING PHOTOGRAPHER —by Mike Griffith Shirley Kessinger, 72, Niceville, housewife Ronald Nunley, 52, Niceville, dairy associate John Simmons, 67, Destin, engineer Margaret Curry, 65, DeFuniak Springs, senior beauty advisor Felicia Kinter, 26, Niceville, mother Chris Gibbs, 22, Niceville, sales associate What should we ask next week? Email your suggested question to: info@baybeacon.com Include "Suggested IP question" in the "subj ect" field. T HE BEACON’SAT YOUR SERVICE TREE SERVICE Actually Licensed & Insured678-9339Don t be fooled by False Ads... Demand Proof of Comp & Liability! BayouTreeService COMPUTER SERVICES S.O.S. COMPUTER REPAIR PRESSURE WASHING (850) 699-7866Houses Drive-ways Fencing Dock RVs Decks“No Job Too Small”Licensed & InsuredE&D Pressure Washingq 4 q 4 q 4 q 4 q 4 q 4 Advertise your business in this size space for only $20.95 per week.(Minimum 8 weeks.) CALL US at678-1080Ad design & layout no extra charge. ADVERTISE HERE! TUTORING Advertise your business in this size space for only $20.95 per week.(Minimum 8 weeks.) CALL US at678-1080Ad design & layout no extra charge. ADVERTISE HERE! HOME REPAIR Bart'sHome Repair & Maintenance• Lawn Sprinkler Repair • Sheet Rock/Painting • Exterior Wood & Fence Repair • Free EstimatesNo job too small or large(850) 830-3279Lic. • References Available • Ins. 25 Years ADVERTISE HERE! AT YOUR SERVICEadvertising makes sense!Adverti s e thi s s ize s pace for only $3 8 .95 per week, adverti s ing in At Your Service i s ea s y AND affordable! Call u s at 67 8 -10 8 0 or s top by the office at 1181 E. John Sims Pkwy., Niceville, FL 32578 to take advantage of thi s incredible bargain! KennyWilsonPainting30 Yrs. Experience Quality Work & Clean Up A StandardLicensed & Insured368-2710651-3329 PAINTING PAINTING Where quality makes the grade!• Interior & Exterior • Popcorn Removal • Textured Ceilings • Pressure Washing • Licensed & Insured A+ Professional APlusProfessionalPaintingInc.com Call today for aFREE ESTIMATE!(850)225-0981 Locally owned & operatedA+ Rating on ANGIE'S LIST Painting HOME REPAIR •Vinyl Siding, Sof f it, & Fascia •Screen Rooms & Patio Covers •Replace Rotten Wood & ScreensLic# RX0066839 585-9511 PAINTING & PRESSURE CLEANING Residential Interior & Exterior Painting25 Years ExperienceSenior & Military DiscountsReferences Available Preferred Contractor on Angie s List FREE ESTIMATES Russell’s Painting& Pressure Cleaning SPECIALIZING IN PRESSURE WASHING 897-5632 Licensed & Insured MATTRESS CLEANING OTHER SERVICES• Dust mite & bedbug testing • Decontamination • Curtains, pillows, couches • Buggy bed monitorsHygienitech Vapor Steam Allersafe Sterifab We swam with theSharks on ABC! (850)710-6111areyousleeping withtheenemy.com

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First Day Hike T he fir s t hike at Fred Gannon Rocky Bayou State Park for the new year will be Wedne s day Jan. 1 fro m 10-11:00 a. m T he hike will be held on the Red Cedar T rail. T he trail i s one half m ile long and the degree of difficulty i s “ea s y.” Participant s s hould m eet at the Red Cedar pavilion at 10 a. m where Park ranger s will give a brief introduction. Plea s e dre ss for the weather and wear clo s ed toe s hoe s Sugge s ted ite ms to bring include water, ca m era, s un s creen and in s ect repellent. Park entrance fee s are waived to participant s Call for infor m ation 8 33-9144. Audubon meets T he fir s t Audubon m eeting of the year will be Jan. 2 with “ T he Shark T ank” by Charidy “Sharkie” Krou s e, s hark biologi s t and cons ervationi s t who will pre s ent an overview oftenm i s under s tood s hark. T he m eeting will be held in roo m 130 on the ground floor of the Student Service s Center at the Niceville ca m pu s of Northwe s t Florida State College, and will begin at 6:30 p. m with s ocializing and light refre s h m ent s T he m eeting i s free and open to the intere s ted public. For m ore infor m ation, call Walt Spence at 5 8 2-7064. Republican women meet T he Republican Wo m en of Okaloo s a Federated will be having their annual bu s ine ss m eeting with new officer s being in s talled on Jan. 8 at the Wyndha m Garden Hotel on Okaloo s a I s land. Socializing will begin at 11:30 a. m with lunch at noon. T o acco m m odate working wo m en, there will be a “Dine and Da s h” table. T o re s erve, contact Donna Patti son at 651-5416 or donnapattis on@cox.net by noon on Friday, Jan. 3. Co s t of the lunch i s $16 for m e m ber s and $1 8 for gue s t s For m ore infor m ation about RWOF, vi s it rwof.org. History weekend Make hi s tory part of your future with “Ho m e School Friday s ” and “Hand s -On Hi s tory Saturday s ,” a m onthly progra m ba s ed on the Florida core s tandard s for education for children age s 5-12 at the Heritage Mu s eu m of Northwe s t Florida, Valparai s o. Each m onth, until June a different progra m will be pre s ented related to Northwe s t Florida hi s tory for children and fa m ilie s January’ s progra m will be “Native A m erican Legend s ” on Jan. 3 and 4 fro m 10 a.m to 12 p. m $7 per child or $5 for m u s eu m fa m ily m e m ber s Special deal for new fa m ily m e m ber s Group s welco m e, s pace i s li m ited s o plea s e pre-regi s ter at 67 8 -2615. Mid-Bay Connector opens T he Mid-Bay Bridge Connector in Niceville i s opening Jan. 4 with a 5K/half m arathon run over portion s of thi s new, s cenic roadway. Fe s tivitie s begin with a half m arathon s tarting at 8 a. m followed s hortly by a 5K run/walk. Mu s ic, food, and beverage s will be provided, award s and door prize s following. Run proceed s will benefit the Special Operation s Warrior Foundation and pro m ote local area athletics through the Northwe s t Florida T rack Club. Regi s ter online at NWF T C.co m or Mid-Bay.co m Bird walk Join local ornithologi s t, Alan Knothe on Jan. 4 for a bird walk at Big Sabine Point on Santa Ro s a I s land. See s horebird s and wading bird s at thi s unique location. Be prepared for a long walk and wear clo s ed-toe s hoe s Meet at Uptown Station in Ft. Walton at 7:30 a. m Call Alan at 8 508 62349 8 for m ore info. Mac users meet T he January m eeting of the Mac U s er s Group will be held on Monday, Jan. 6 at 6:30 p. m at the Northwe s t Florida State College s tudent s ervice s building, roo m 132. Eddie Branch will be pre s enting the progra m entitled “iPad Mail Dem y s tified plu s MacMail, Calendar and Contact s continued!” For m ore infor m ation, vis it FWBMug.co m or contact Jean Dutton at 8 62-3327 or jeancdutton@ m ac.co m Citizens Academy T he Okaloo s a County Sheriff’ s Office pre s ent s Sheriff Larry A s hley’ s Citizen s Acade m y Jan. 7 through April 1 T ue s day night s fro m 6-9 p. m at the Okaloo s a County Sheriff’ s ad m ini s trative building in the training roo m Ride along with a deputy, tour the courthou s e and go to a firing range and m ore. For m ore infor m ation contact A s hley Bailey, Cri m e Prevention Manager at abailey@ s heriff-okaloo s a.org or vi s it s heriff-okaloo s a.org. Wanda Gail Bailey Sasser1953-2013Mr s Wanda Gail Bailey Sa ss er, 60, of Black s hear, Ga., pa ss ed away Saturday, Dec. 21, at the Golden Living Center in Je s up, Ga. Born in Wa s hington, D.C. on May 23, 1953, s he had lived in Pierce County, Ga. s ince 19 8 6. Mr s Sa ss er wa s a retired bank teller with Bank of A m erica, Waycro ss branch, and wa s a m e m ber of We s t Car s well Bapti s t Church. She will be re m e m bered for m any thing s but m o s tly for her love for her fa m ily. She wa s a daughter of the late Willard E m il Bailey. Survivor s include her hu s band, John Sa ss er, a daughter and s onin-law, T here s a and Che s ter Cle m ent s two s on s and daughter s-in-law, Billy and Katie Flynn and Bobby and Michelle Flynn, all of which are of Black s hear, Ga.; her m other, Georgia Kei s ler Bailey, and her s i s ter, Marlene Bailey, both of Niceville; s ix grandchildren: Julianna Flynn, Jo s eph Flynn, Colton Flynn, Riley Cle m ent s Regan Cle m ent s and T ate Cle m ent s and s everal niece s nephew s and other relative s Funeral s ervice s for Mr s Sa ss er were held Monday evening, Dec. 23 at 8 p. m fro m the Pear s on-Dial Chapel in Black s hear, Ga. Me m orialization wa s by cre m ation. Me m orial s m ay be m ade to We s t Car s well Bapti s t Church, 2236 W. Car s well Ave., Waycro ss Ga. 31503 or to a charity of one’ s choo s ing. Sy mpathy m ay be expre ss ed by s igning the online regi s ter at pear s ondial.co m Pear s on-Dial Funeral Ho m e of Black s hear i s in charge of the arrange m ent s The voice of Niceville, Bluewater Bay and Valparaiso since 1992 Wednesday, January 1, 2014 Page B-3 THEBAYBEACON Obituary 2014 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 9 10 11 12 13 14 16 17 18 19 20 21 8 15 E-mail items to info@baybeacon.com CALE N DAR Eagle Pride band receives check for playoff travelChick-fil-A of Niceville hosted a Spirit Day for the Eagle Pride Band on Dec. 11 that raised over $1,500. Lara Cochran, Marketing Coordinator, presented Dan Wooten, Director of Bands, a check to help the band travel to Orlando for the state playoff game held in Orlando Dec. 13. Run, walk the Mid-Bay ConnectorThe Mid-Bay Bridge Connector in Niceville is opening Jan. 4 with a 5K/half marathon run over portions of this new, scenic roadway. Festivities begin with a half marathon starting at 8 a.m. followed shortly by a 5K run/walk. Music, food, and beverages will be provided, awards and door prizes following. Register online at NWFTC.com or MidBay.com. Murray i s the s on of Peggy and Barry Murray of Niceville. *** Air Force Air m an Christopher D. Farmer graduated fro m ba s ic m ilitary training at Joint Ba s e San Antonio-Lackland, San Antonio, T exa s Air m en who co m plete ba s ic training earn four credit s toward an a ss ociate in applied s cience degree through the Co mm unity College of the Air Force. Far m er i s the s on of Charle s and Dawn Far m er of Niceville. He i s a 2004 graduate of Rocky Bayou Chri s tian School, Niceville. SERVICEFrom page B-1 joined the Powerhou s e Real E s tate Group at Keller Willia ms Realty E m erald Coa s t. Matthew i s a m e m ber of the National A ss ociation of Realtor s Florida Realtor s and E m erald Coa s t A ss ociation of Realtor s and i s currently enrolled with the Bold Real E s tate T raining progra m at Keller Willia ms Realty E m erald Coa s t. WHO SFrom page B-1 Matthew Weeks Medical Science s fro m the Univer s ity of South Florida in 2009 and graduated in 2012 fro m the Univer s ity of We s t Florida’ s School of Allied Health and Life Science s She work s at the North Okaloo s a Medical Center in Cre s tview a s a m edical technologi s t. Willia m i s a 2006 Niceville High School graduate and received hi s AA fro m Northwe s t Florida State College in 200 8 He graduated in 2011 fro m Auburn Univer s ity with a Bachelor’ s degree in Aero s pace Engineering. In 2013 he graduated with a Ma s ter’ s Degree in Aero s pace Engineering and received a Graduate Certificate in T echnical and Profe ss ional Co mm unication. He work s at Eglin Air Force Ba s e. T hey re s ide in Niceville. WEDDINGFrom page B-1 Univer s ity with a Ma s ter of Art s in 2001. He i s e m ployed at Valdo s ta State Univer s ity a s a lecturer in the Engli s h depart m ent. T he wedding wa s held at Cro ss road s Bapti s t Church on Dec. 2 8 T he couple plan s to re s ide in Valdo s ta, Ga. ENGAGEMENTFrom page B-1 Newspaper Reporter The Bay Beacon has an opening for a full-time reporter. The job requires a hard-working, self-starting, organized journalist with high standards for accuracy, the ability to meet deadlines, a nose for news, and concern for readers. Paid vacation, IRA plan. Applicants should have reporting experience. Apply at the Beacon s office 1181 E. John Sims Pkwy, Niceville. Submit copies of samples of your written work. Advertising Sales The Beacon Newspapers (The Bay Beacon, The Eglin Flyer, The Hurlburt Patriot) have an opening for a career-minded, full-time person to sell customers the benefits of newspaper advertising. Candidates should be upbeat, energetic, organized, self-starting and detail-oriented. Salary plus incentive. Mileage allowance. Benefits include IRA plan and paid vacation and holidays. Candidates must be available 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays and have a reliable vehicle. We will train the right person. Apply in person at the Beacon, 1181 E. John Sims Parkway, Niceville. Newspaper Delivery Earn extra cash of $45 to $140 or more each week in your spare time! The Bay Beacon seeks a reliable independent contractor to insert, bag, and deliver newspapers Tuesday night. You must be over 21 and have a reliable vehicle, a good driving record, a Florida driver s license, and proof of current liability insurance. No collecting duties. Earnings vary according to route and work load. Stop by the Bay Beacon for an information sheet and to fill out an application. The Beacon 1181 E. John Sims Parkway, Niceville • 678-1080 (Parkway East Shopping Center across from PoFolks) Freelance Newspaper Correspondent The Bay Beacon, Niceville, FL, seeks a freelance reporter to write human interest features or cover meetings of government agencies in Niceville, Valparaiso, and elsewhere in Okaloosa County. You must be available most nights, most days, or both. We pay $30 per story and $5 per photo, when published. Writing experience is essential, as are use of a home computer and a reliable vehicle. Some reporting and photo experience is helpful, but not required. This a great chance to learn more about your community. E-mail cover letter, a statement of qualifications, and info on whether you are available most days, most evenings, or both, to hrdept@baybeacon.com Home-58 acres, pond, 9000+ sf, indoor pool, 6 tall garages, mahogany log cabin, l-room, 4 bd, 6 ba. Taxes-$770/yr. Low utilities. Call 850-5889443. $496,000.00 OBO. Wing, AL. Picture/Map can be een at www.housefarmdeal.com Help Wanted Homes for Sale Help Wanted Help Wanted Homes for Sale Homes for Sale Homes for Sale Opportunities Office Space Opportunities CLASSIFIEDS B eaco n "Where Buyers and Sellers Meet!" EA/EO 1484 Hickory St.NicevilleWISE AVE.Niceville Offices 500SF1,000SFWarehouses 1,000SF6,000SF PRIME WAREHOUSE OR OFFICE SPACE AVAILABLE For more information call897-6464 Carriage Hills Realty, Inc. (850) 678-51781821 John Sims Parkway • Niceville, FL 32578 www.CarriageHills.com • REALTOR@CarriageHills.com Capture the Eglin and Hurlburt markets in the base newspapers!The cost-effective way to reach your customers on Eglin Air Force Base and Hurlburt Field! LET THE COMMUNITY KNOW YOUR BUSINESS. Advertise in At Your Service The Bay Beacon, The Eglin Flyer, & The Hurlburt Patriot(850) 678-1080

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The voice of Page B-4 Wednesday, January 1, 2014 By Mike Griffith Beacon Correspondent The Valparaiso City Commission has given final approval to a measure seeking voter approval of an amended city charter. The Nov. 12 city commission meeting included the final of two public hearings on whether to put the proposed charter to a referendum. A motion to do so was approved by a 3-2 vote, with Mayor Bruce Arnold and commissioners Kay Hamilton and Diane Kelley voting in favor, while commissioners H.H. Strong and Joe Morgan voted against. Valparaiso voters will decide March 11 whether to approve the measure, which contains a number of changes to the current charter, which was originally enacted upon the city's founding in 1921. The new charter would, among other things: —Change the city administrator from a city employee to a “charter officer” of By Steve Andrews Beacon Correspondent According to a real-estate relocation firm that analyzes crime and other data from the 358 residential communities statewide, Niceville is one of Florida’s safest cities in which to live and raise a family. Niceville Police Chief David Popwell presented a letter to the City Council Nov. 12 outlining the statistical findings over the past six years. The letter quoted Gov. Rick Scott’s desire to reduce crime throughout the state, and commended Niceville for leading that battle. “The safety of Florida families is a top priority for our administration,” Scott said, according to the letter. “The great news is we are winning the fight against crime. I am committed to making Florida the safest place in the world to pursue a career and raise a family." The relocation firm, RealState.info, said that based on its comprehensive analysis of sixyear crime data, Niceville’s police department should be commended for its “above-average contributions to this result and goal.” The crime data showed the following: —In 2012 (the latest year available) residents of Niceville had less of a chance of being a victim of a serious crime than the average for residents of all 358 Florida locations surveyed. —Based on projections for 2013, residents of Niceville will T T T h h e eB B a a y y B B e e a a c c o o n n 50¢Wednesday, November 20, 2013 info@baybeacon.com The voice of Niceville, Bluewater Bay and Valparaiso since 1992 (850) 678-1080 18 Pages, 3 Sections, 4 Inserts Please see NICEVILLE, page A-3 Please see VALP., page A-2 Please see FACES, page A-3 Police Blotter, page A-4 Trash pact advances, A-3. By Virginia Schreitmueller Beacon Correspondent The North Bay Fire District Board of Commissioners voted down a proposed change to an article in the firefighters’ contract during its Nov. 12 meeting. The vote to maintain the article as written came nearly three months it was introduced to the board. The union had requested a modification to an article that deals with arbitration of labor grievances. The article states that when a grievance cannot be resolved through negotiation, the union can bring the matter to the commission or submit the grievance for professional arbitration. The article, as written, states if the issue is presented to the board the union loses its right to proceed to arbitration. The proposed change would have allowed grievances to be brought to the board, without losing the right to take the matter to arbitration if the union didn't like the outcome. The union sent the request to modify Article 52 of its contract to the board in September. With no union representative in attendance at that time, the board voted down the request. The issue was re-addressed at the board’s October meeting, with North Bay Professional Firefighters Association President Travis Zaal presenting a prepared statement explaining the union’s stance on the proposed change. With Beacon photo by Virginia SchreitmuellerOver 1,300 people came to Pioneer Day Saturday at Fred Gannon Rocky Bayou State Park, Niceville. The annual event, sponsored by Friends of Emerald Coast State Parks and the Heritage Museum of Northwest Florida, is a free, family-oriented program that offers an opportunity to learn about local history and nature. This year s event featured more than 30 demonstrations, exhibits and hands-on craft projects at the park. More than 112 volunteers and reenactors brought history to life at the event. Pictured: Lila, 4, and Alissa Sharpston, 8, of Freeport, get a music lesson in a traditional setting.Bringing history to lifeValp. voters to decide charter issueBy Steve Andrews Beacon Correspondent The Bluewater Bay Municipal Services Benefit Unit will soon get two new voices, as the board of directors appointed volunteer replacements for a pair of outgoing members. Bluewater Bay residents Steven Hall and Felix Beukenkamp topped three other candidates who each presented themselves before the board at its monthly meeting on Nov. 12. The MSBU is an autonomous panel of Okaloosa County’s government, responsible for maintaining 2 new faces for Bluewater upkeep boardFire panel nixes union pact change Eagles smash Leon; regional semifinal set for FridayNiceville High School rolled over Leon Nov. 15, 62-14, at home in the regional quarterfinal football contest. The Eagles will face Tallahassee Lincoln this Friday, in Niceville, in the Region 1 7A semifinal. Story, B-4.Beacon photo by Sarah Clauson Thurs., 6-8 p.m. Northwest Florida State College will hold an information session for new and prospective students at the Niceville campus which will offer information about the admissions process, financial aid, career assessments and NWFSC programs of study. For more information contact Maddie Ostrowski at recruitment@nwfsc.edu. 7296467. Sat., 9 a.m.-12 p.m. There will be a nail trimming clinic for pets at Parkway Veterinary Hospital, 1101 E. John Sims Parkway, Niceville. The funds raised will go towards Relay for Life Cost is $8 per pet, $6 for additional pets in the same family. Cats must be in carriers and dogs on a short leash. Proof of rabies vaccine required. 678-9733. Sat., 7:30 p.m. The Northwest Florida Symphony Chorale a select choral group of talented local vocalists, will hold a free performance of Handels Messiah Ž at St. Paul Lutheran Church, 1407 E. John Sims Parkway, Niceville. 729-6009. Sun., 6 p.m. The annual Community Thanksgiving worship service will be at Rosemont Baptist Church Niceville. Multiple local churches will be participating in the service. A nursery up to age 4 will be provided. 678-4854. Calendar, B2 COMING UP Please see PANEL, page A-4 Felix Beukenkamp Steven HallThe voice of Niceville, Bluewater Bay and Valparaiso since 1992 Inside ... Niceville wins high marks as a safe city By Mike Griffith Beacon Correspondent The Okaloosa County Commissioners agreed on a twoyear extension of the county’s monopoly on all ambulance transportation, including nonemergency trips which private companies handle elsewhere. The commission also granted permission for a Raintree Estates property owner to build a driveway on his property, approved initial steps toward creating a Veterans Park on Okaloosa Island, and established a “restricted aircraft zone” to prevent tourist helicopters from landing or taking off in or near the East Pass between Choctawhatchee Bay and the Gulf of Mexico near Destin Harbor. The ambulance agreement was part of the “consent agenda” presented during the Nov. 19 county commission meeting in Fort Walton Beach. The consent agenda consists of those items on the meeting agenda which are usually routinely approved by commissioners with little or no discussion during the meeting. Okaloosa County Ordinance 93-45 governs ambulance standards within the county, and requires that any ambulance By Mike Griffith Beacon Correspondent The Valparaiso Planning Commission voted unanimously Nov. 19 to recommend to the city commission that the municipal historical district surrounding the Heritage Museum of Northwest Florida and Perrine Park be abolished in order to encourage private development. The planners also discussed, but tabled, a recommendation to rezone properties on both sides of John Sims Parkway from the Eglin Air Force Base East Gate to Toms Bayou, from Residential (R-1) to Light Commercial (C1). Many but not all properties along the east side of John Sims Parkway are already zoned C-1, while most property along the other side of the city’s main thoroughfare is zoned R-1. During the meeting, planning commission Chairman Tom Browning explained his reason for recommending that the historical district designation be abolished. The district, he said, contains nothing of actual historical significance to the city. Browning said the area was originally established because that neighborhood had a view of the old Valparaiso Inn, which burned down years ago and has been replaced by townhomes, so that whatever historical value the inn may have had is now gone. The remaining properties in the area, he said, are mostly older houses, which have no actual historical value other than their age. The historical district is centered on a block-long strip in Valparaiso's former downtown, an area that includes the Heritage Museum on Westview Avenue, and some other commercial type buildings, some of which are still in use, while some are empty. Abolishing the district designation, he said, would allow the owners of properties in the area more leeway to improve their T T T h h e eB B a a y y B B e e a a c c o o n n 50¢Wednesday, November 27, 2013 info@baybeacon.com The voice of Niceville, Bluewater Bay and Valparaiso since 1992 (850) 678-1080 12 Pages, 2 Sections, 6 Inserts Please see PANEL, page A-4 Please see COUNTY, page A-4 Police Blotter, page A-6 Beacon Staff Writer The Heritage Museum of Northwest Floiida has started an effort to commemorate the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) camp established in Niceville in 1933. Niceville was home to a temporary CCC camp, located at the current site of Edge Elementary School, and later a permanent camp across State Road 85 near the current site of the Jackson Guard. The CCC was a federal government program operated from 1933 to 1942 under President Franklin Roosevelt's "New Deal," during the Great Depression, to hire unemployed, unmarried men ages 18-25 as labor in projects to conserve America's natural resources. Workers began arriving in Niceville May 19, 1933, and established the temporary camp on what was then the Niceville High School grounds, now Edge Elementary. A total of 212 men, including 40 locals, enrolled at the camp. Many of the men almost immediately began working on projects to conserve the Beacon photo by Angela Yuriko SmithThe students at Wellspring Performing Arts Christian School in Niceville celebrated Thanksgiving early on Nov. 20. Students, t heir families and guests were invited to the meal at the school on Redwood Avenue. Pictured, students Genesis Cook and Kirstin Ford enjoy the festivities and feast. Winn-Dixie of Bluewater Bay donated the majority of the meal.Giving thanksCounty extends medical transport monopolyDepression-era work camp remembered Eagles soar closer to stateNiceville High School cheerleaders had plenty to cheer about Friday as the Eagles took another step closer to state by beating Tallahassee Lincoln, 38-17, at home, in the District 1-7A football semifinals. Niceville advances to the regional finals with a home game against Neptune Beach Fletcher this Friday. Story, B-4.Beacon photo by Sarah ClausonFri., 6-9 p.m. The Christmas Ladys 18th annual holiday display opens in the former Food World building, 1104 E. John Sims Parkway in the Oak Creek Shopping Center Niceville. The free show runs nightly until through Dec. 27. Sun., 2 p.m. The Twin Cities Elks Lodge with the Crestview Elks, will pay respects to departed members in a memorial service The service will be held in the Twin Cities Lodge, 224 Seminole Avenue, Valparaiso. 729-3557. Mon. 6:30 p.m. The December meeting of the Mac Users Group will be held at the Northwest Florida State College Student Services Building, room 132. A speaker will describe how Apple programs work together. 862-3327. Mon.,6 p.m. The computerized  Geek Lights  holiday display begins at Bluewater Boulevard and Antiqua Way in Bluewater Bay and runs nightly through Jan. 5. Shows start on the hour and half hour. Calendar, B2 COMING UP Panel would end historic-district rules Beacon photoThe Heritage Museum of Northwest Florida, Valparaiso, is seeking to boost its public profile following a decline in county funding.Battling funding woes, museum eyes moveBy Angela Yuriko Smith Beacon Staff Writer The Heritage Museum of Northwest Florida in Valparaiso has had a rough fiscal year as county funding has fallen from $50,000 in past years to $8,800 this year. During the 42-year-old institution's annual membership meeting Nov. 21 at the museum in Valparaiso, finances and a possible move to Niceville were topics. While new memberships and renewals are up, the board of trustees is taking a proactive approach to assure the future of the privately operated, nonprofit history museum. “Our assets are diminishing,” said Vice Chair of Finance Steve Czonstka. “We are in good financial shape presently . thanks to total support of the community. Bottom line is we need more participation, more donations.” To reduce the financial impact from loss of county funding, the museum has taken measures to manage assets in a way that maximizes benefits Please see MUSEUM, page A-3 Please see CAMP, page A-3 The voice of Niceville, Bluewater Bay and Valparaiso since 1992 Beacon Staff Alongside its relics of the past, the Heritage Museum of Northwest Florida will soon house some current items being saved for the future. The Okaloosa Viva Florida 500 Time Capsule Committee next week will seal a time capsule intended for opening in 100 years at the Heritage Museum in Valparaiso. The capsule is part of Florida Department of State's Division of Library and Information Services' Viva Florida 500 project, launched to commemorate the 500th anniversary of Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de Leon's arrival in Florida. The department issued stainless steel time capsules measuring 6 inches by 24 inches, to every county library in the state and tasked the library's leadership with leading the assembly of pertinent capsule items. The committee decided to seal the capsule at the Heritage Museum's Yule of Yesteryear celebration Dec. 14. Items tentatively selected for storage in the capsule, which include beach sand, military patches and restaurant menus, are on display at the museum until the metal capsule is sealed. Included will also be a By Mike Griffith Beacon Correspondent The company that was seeking to place a 370-foot communications tower in the heart of Bluewater Bay has withdrawn its application from further consideration by the Okaloosa County Commission. Instead, the applicant, Crown Castle GT Co., will replace its 370-foot tower at its current site off Nelson Point Road, just west of Bluewater Bay. In October the commission delayed a decision on the controversial request for a zoning variance that would have allowed the company to relocate the tower to the Bluewater Bay site. Officials said the delay would afford the company another chance to renegotiate with the landowner of the current site and to meet with residents in the area T T T h h e eB B a a y y B B e e a a c c o o n n 50¢Wednesday, December 4, 2013 info@baybeacon.com The voice of Niceville, Bluewater Bay and Valparaiso since 1992 (850) 678-1080 12 Pages, 2 Sections, 3 Inserts Please see TOWER, page A-3 Please see CAPSULE, page A-3 Police Blotter, page A-6 Beacon Staff An ordinance enacted by the Niceville City Council Oct. 8, and which took effect in early November, requires the city to consider making changes in its rules governing development and real estate sales and rentals to make them more compatible with military operations. The MIPA (Military Influence Planning Area) overlay mentioned in the ordinance is depicted on the map accompanying this article (page A-8). The area includes much of western Niceville, the area closest to Eglin Air Force Base, home of the 33rd Fighter Wing, which will eventually operate 59 of the powerful warplanes for training purposes. The MIPA is subject to change after the Air Force publishes a final version of an environmental study of the effects of Eglin military aircraft operations, particularly the F-35, according to city officials. The JLUS (Joint Land Use Study) mentioned in the ordinance is a 2010 report on a study commissioned by Eglin Air Force Base, in which civilian governments surrounding the base participated, that laid out recommendations concerning offbase land use. The recommendations are aimed at reducing civilian encroachment on base activities. Text of land-use policy 7.A.12.2 enacted Oct. 8 by the Making memoriesThere were almost as many smiles as there were lights during opening night of “Animation in Motion” Friday. The extravagant annual display was set up by “the Christmas Lady,” Debbie Lewis of Niceville, this year in the former Food World building in Oak Creek Shopping Center, Niceville. The free-admission display is open nightly, 6-9 p.m., until Dec. 27.Beacon photo by Angela Yuriko SmithNiceville eyes rules on land use to conform to Eglin operations Eagles advance to final four The crowd that came to see the Niceville High School football game Friday had plenty to shout about as the Eagles rolled over Neptune Beach Fletcher 38-17, earning a place in the state 7A final four. Niceville will host Kissimmee Osceola Friday. The winner of that game will go to the state championship matchup Dec. 13 in Orlando. Story, B-4.Beacon photo by Sarah ClausonThurs., 6:30 p.m. The Audubon Society program will be Pictorial Survey of Birds that are Rare or Difficult to Identify during the Christmas Bird Count ,Ž in Room 130 of the new Student Services Building at Northwest Florida State College, Niceville. 582-7461. Fri., 3 p.m. Northwest Florida State College Performing Arts Division will give a free Honors Recital in the Tyler Recital Hall of the music wing at the Mattie Kelly Arts Center 100 College Boulevard, Niceville. 7295382. Sat. 1-4:30 p.m. Rocky Bayou Christian Academys Mu Alpha Theta Club will offer free math tutoring at Rocky Bayou Christian School room 802. Tutoring in basic math through AP calculus will be available. Students from any school welcome. 2793755. Sun., 2 p.m. There will be a book signing party with author Wayne Goodson as he signs copies of his latest book, Maze,Ž at the Niceville Community Center Entertainment, recitals by Walt Richardson, music and finger foods. Calendar, B-2 COMING UP Beacon photo by Angela Yuriko SmithMembers of the time capsule committee hold up items that may be included in the capsule when it is ceremonially sealed Dec. 14. A final decision as to what will be included is likely this week. A communications tower off Nelson Point Road that is steadied with guy wires will be replaced with one without guy wires on the same site. A plan to replace it with one in Bluewater Bay was dropped in the face of community opposition.Beacon photo100-year time capsule to be sealed Dec. 14Beach sanT anT menus on list ov interest to vuture generations Please see LAND, page A-8 Area affected, A-8. Firm drops bid to build tower in Bluewater Bay fhe Noice ov wiceNille, Bluedater Bay anT Valparaiso since 1992 By Mike Griffith Beacon Correspondent A speedboat crash took the lives of three Niceville residents last week, according to authorities. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission and the Okaloosa County Sheriff's Office identified the three victims of the crash, which apparently occurred between Thursday night and Friday morning last week in Choctawhatchee Bay at the Mid-Bay Bridge. The victims were identified as Robert Williams, 47, Jamilia Denise Beltz, 21, and Taylor M. Evanoff, 18. According to FWC spokesman Stan Kirkland, his agency became aware of the crash, to which apparently there were no witnesses, after someone made a 911 call at about 2 p.m. Friday, reporting that they had spotted the body of a woman floating near the entrance to Boggy Bayou.By Mike Griffith Beacon Correspondent It is costing taxpayers $1,000 per student this year to bus 39 schoolchildren to Destin Middle School from the Bluewater Bay-Seminole area, outside the school's regular attendence zone, according to Okaloosa County School Board member Melissa Thrush. Thrush says that money could be better spent elsewhere. A proposal by by Thrush, of Bluewater Bay, to abolish the shared student attendance zone between Ruckel and Destin middle schools, and to include that zone into the Ruckel attendance zone only, failed for lack of a second at a school board meeting Monday in Fort Walton Beach. Earlier, during a non-voting, discussion-only workshop held Dec. 5 in Fort Walton Beach, members of the school board discussed a proposal by Thrush to abolish the shared student attendance zone between Ruckel and Destin middle schools, and to include that zone exclusively in the Ruckel attendance zone, as it was for many years. In a written statement and oral remarks to fellow board members, Thrush noted that the dual transportation zone, apparently unique in the county, is provided to students living east of the Rocky Bayou bridge in the Bluewater Bay-Seminole area. Using two bus routes, the district is providing free transportation to Destin Middle for 39 students who live in the dual zone north of Choctawhatcheee Bay, according to Thrush. She said the duplicative busing costs about $1,000 per student. "The removal of this zone of choice will impact 20 of these 39 students as the other 19 will be attending high school in the T T T h h e eB B a a y y B B e e a a c c o o n n 50¢Wednesday, December 11, 2013 info@baybeacon.com The voice of Niceville, Bluewater Bay and Valparaiso since 1992 (850) 678-1080 12 Pages, 2 Sections, 4 Inserts Please see $1000, page A-6 Police Blotter, page A-7 The Niceville Eagles football team will travel to Orlando Thursday to play Palm Beach Gardens-Dwyer in the 7-A state championship game at Florida Citrus Bowl Stadium Friday. Many parents, students and community members are planning to travel and support the team. Game time is 7:07 p.m. Eastern Time (6:07 p.m. Niceville time.) The contest will be webcast live at www.thenewfishradio.com. Pictured: scenes from the Eagles' cliffhanger triumph over Kissimmee-Osceola at home Dec. 6 in the state semifinal playoff, which Niceville won in the final seconds with a 22-yard field goal. Story, B-4.Beacon photos by Sarah ClausonNiceville Eagles will play for state title Friday Parade kicks off holiday seasonMusical notes soared along with spectators' spirits during the Niceville-Valparaiso Rotary Club s annual Christmas parade Saturday. Pictured, playing seasonal tunes, the Ruckel Middle School band was among those in the line of march. See photos, A-4 and A-5.Beacon photo by Angela Yuriko SmithWed., 6:30 p.m. The Lewis School Chorus will hold its free Winter Concert at the school. 833-4130. Fri., 6-7:30 p.m. Ruckel Middle School s Family Night FUNdraiser will be in the Ruckel Cafeteria. Bring your family and work together to create a burlap snowman craft for the holidays. $35 for materials. Doors will open at 5:30 p.m. for dinner. All welcome. 585-281-0405. Fri.-Sat. 6:30-8:30 p.m. Take a free ride through the story of Christ at the Valparaiso Assembly of God 571 Valparaiso Parkway. There will be cookies and hot cocoa as will as an interactive hayride and living Nativity that chronicles the life of Jesus. 678-4040. Sat., 5-8 p.m. The Holiday Boggy Boat Parade will be at the Northlight Marina Niceville from 5-8 p.m. The event is free, and there will be a V.I.P viewing area with food and drinks for $10. 259-4956. Calendar, B-3 COMING UP Beacon photo by Angela Yuriko SmithIt costs a total of about $39,000 a year to bus 39 students from the Bluewater Bay-Seminole area of Niceville to classes at Destin Middle School, according to a school board member who proposed, unsuccessfully, to end the practice in an economy move.Schools official: Destin busing costs $1,000 per student The voice of Niceville, Bluewater Bay and Valparaiso since 1992 Go Eagles! Please see CRASH, page A-3Three killed in boat crash Melissa Thrush By Mike Griffith Beacon Correspondent The Bluewater Bay Municipal Services Benefit Unit (MSBU) board of directors selected the Valley Crest landscaping company as its primary landscaping contractor for the coming year. Valley Crest, based in California, was one of three companies that submitted proposals for the contract. It replaces the MSBU's current, long-time landscaping contractor, Bayou Lawn Services, Valparaiso, which also bid on the annual job. Valley Crest issued a base bid of $139,806. Bayou Lawn issued base bids ranging from $163,413 to $166,282. Figures were not immediately available for the third bidder. During the discussion of the proposals during an MSBU meeting Dec. 10, new board member Steve Hall said that Valley Crest had submitted the only proposal that was fully compliant with the specifications in the request for proposals the MSBU had previously issued. Therefore, said Hall, the board could either choose Valley Crest or begin again with a new bidding process. In addition to Valley Crest and Bayou Lawn, Grass Roots Landscape, Niceville, sought the contract as well. Landscaping of Bluewater Bay's common areas accounts for the bulk of the MSBU's expenditures.By Mike Griffith Beacon Correspondent The Niceville City Council approved the third and final reading of an ordinance that will change the way waste material is collected in Niceville. Under the plan, approved on a 4-1 vote Dec. 10, residential curbside garbage pickups will be halved, to once a week. Customers will see a $1 drop in the monthly bills, according to Waste Management, to which the council, without seeking competive bids, awarded the exclusive right to collect garbage in the city. Also under the new plan, recycling pickups will remain at once a week, but existing 18By Mike Griffith Beacon Correspondent The Mid-Bay Bridge Authority is preparing for the grand opening of the newest segment of toll connector road linking the north end of the bridge with State Road 85 north of Niceville. Meantime, inspections and repairs are underway on the MidBay Bridge itself. Regarding the inspection and repair of the bridge, Florida Department of Transportation Public Information Specialist Tanya Branton told the Beacon last week that bridges on the state system are inspected at regular intervals not to exceed 24 months. The condition of a bridge’s components, major features and bridge posting rating establishes the frequency of inspection. Gibson & Associates Inc. began work the week of Oct. 14 on a $1 million bridge repair and rehabilitation project to replace bearing pads on the 3.5-mile toll By Danielle Tavano Beacon Correspondent The North Bay Fire Commission last week was told that a key fire hose needs replacement. The commission also discussed and voted in a new Retirement Board member, Paul Moore. Moore was chosen to replace James Lindsay, who recently stepped down after serving on the retirement board for eight years. Moore’s resume was reviewed by the fire commission at a meeting Dec. 10, and a unanimous vote confirmed the appointment. After the meeting was called to order by Chairman Jim Boswell, and the Pledge of Allegiance and Invocation given, a motion was made by the chairman to approve the minutes for November’s meeting. The motion was seconded, and approved. A motion was then made by treasurer Steven Strait to approve the Statement of Assets, Liabilities, and Capital for November. The statement was reviewed and approved by Christy Woissol. The Check Detail and Revenue and Operating Expenses Report for November were then reviewed, and approved. At this point Fire Chief Joe Miller deemed it unnecessary to review the Deposit Detail and Reconciliation Summary. He asserted that the important thing was to review the Check Record. Jim Boswell then made a motion to defer that discussion until the next meeting, which was seconded and approved. Miller then took the floor to discuss the state of the station’s equipment, including repairs and replacements that need to be made. He insisted that the district’s 800-foot supply line needs to be replaced, as it has been in use for 15 years. The supply line feeds water from a hydrant to a fire engine, which in turn pumps it onto the flames. Miller also updated the commission on arrangements that have been made to replace Engine 8, which was recently sold to a fire agency in northern Okaloosa County. He stated that the check for the purchase of a new fire truck has been cleared, and the company is ready to start building it. The fire commission gave Miller permission to sign off on the contract for the truck. Dispatches for the month of November were reviewed, T T h h e eB B a a y y B B e e a a c c o o n n 50¢Wednesday, December 18, 2013 info@baybeacon.com The voice of Niceville, Bluewater Bay and Valparaiso since 1992 (850) 678-1080 12 Pages, 2 Sections, 4 Inserts Please see GARBAGE, page A-6 Please see MSBU, page A-2 Please see HOSE, page A-7 Please see BRIDGE, page A-3 Police Blotter, page A-7Wed., 10 p.m. The segment of Rocky Bayou Drive between Roscommon Boulevard and Rocky Shores Drive will be closed for installation of storm pipe. There will be road closure signs posted in this area; all traffic will be detoured through Rocky Shores Drive and routes specified by workers and signs. 729-4064. Sat., 5:30 p.m. Bluewater Bay Marina 290 Yacht Club Drive, Niceville, will have its second annual Christmas Boat Parade and Decorating Contest Awards and festivities will follow at LJ Schooners Dockside Restaurant with live entertainment and a visit by Santa Claus. 8972821. Tues., 4 p.m. Holy Name of Jesus Catholic Church 1200 Valparaiso Blvd, Niceville, will hold its Childrens Christmas Eve Mass 6787813. Tues. 7 p.m. First Presbyterian Church 1800 East John Sims Parkway, Niceville, will hold its 23rd annual Christmas Eve service A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols.Ž There will be congregational carols as well as anthems by the choir and soloists. 678-2521. Calendar, B-3 COMING UP The voice of Niceville, Bluewater Bay and Valparaiso since 1992 Bridge prepares for opening of toll connectorN. Bay fire chief: New fire hose is neededMSBU awards landscape contract Beacon photo by Angela Yuriko SmithSanta Claus was on hand Saturday at the Yule of Yesteryear festivities held at the Northwest Florida Heritage Museum, Valparaiso, to hear last-minute Christmas wishes. In addition to the jolly old gent, live music, face painting, food and vendo rs kept everyone entertained. Christmas wishes Eagles are state runner-upThe Niceville High School football team came home from Orlando Saturday as runner-up for the 7A state title, having beaten every postseason opponent but one. The Eagles fell, 55-39, to Palm Beach Gardens Dwyer in the title match-up Friday. Pictured, head coach John Hicks speaks to his players after the clock ran out at the Citrus Bowl. Story, B-4.Beacon photo by Sarah Clauson Final OK for cut in garbage pickupsNiceville orders recycling revamped Niceville garbage customers will be offered 3564or 96gallon carts for curbside recycling pickups, replacing the 18gallon bins in use now.Beacon photo by Mike Griffith Chief Joe Miller city commissioner’s duties are not clearly defined.” At present, he said, individual commissioners can interpret their duties in different ways. For example, Arnold said, one former city commissioner, who was once in charge of overseeing the city’s public works department, would show up each day to personally supervise the day-to-day operations of the department, to include moving people from one job to another arbitrarily. This, said the mayor, tends to create confusion within city departments. Another reason for a new charter, said Arnold, is to help the city “catch up with the 21st century.” When the original city charter was adopted in 1921, he said, “Most of the streets in Valparaiso were made of clay, or were sand trails.” In such times, he said, it made sense for By Danielle Tavano Beacon Correspondent The City of Valparaiso Planning Commission approved a motion to submit plans to rezone the city’s historical district. These plans have been initiated in hopes of creating opportunity for growth and economic development in the city. The commission also recommended approval of a zoning change for the Tom Thumb store on John Sims Parkway, and discussed the coordination of landuse planning with Eglin Air Force Base. Commissioner Tom Browning called the meeting of the planning commission to order Dec. 17, at 7:15 p.m. Eight people were in attendance, including two from the public.By Mike Griffith Beacon Correspondent The Okaloosa County Commission held a lengthy meeting Dec. 17 in Fort Walton Beach, during which officials discussed proposed new restrictions on taxicab operations at the Northwest Florida Regional Airport, a proposal to rename the airport, sale of some county land, alternative conceptual plans for a new county government building at the Shalimar annex site, establishment of a compliance officer within county government, and county responses to the findings in a report from the Florida Auditor General’s Office. Commissioners held a public hearing to discuss a proposed county ordinance tightening existing regulations of taxicab and van shuttle operations at the airport. Provisions of the ordinance would include requiring taxi operators to carry at least $500,000 of insurance rather than the $300,000 currently required, pay assorted fees in order to operate at the airport, undergo background checks and drug screenings, and would include penalties for such things as unkempt personal or By Mike Griffith Beacon Correspondent In an interview with the Beacon, Valparaiso Mayor Bruce Arnold answered questions about proposed revisions to the city charter which he has long championed, and which are slated to be put before Valparaiso voters in a referendum on March 11, 2014. Arnold said that he drafted most of the proposed revisions to the city charter himself, but added that he did so after reading a previous study by the Institute of Senior Professionals at Northwest Florida State College, and that he drafted the proposed revisions at the request of other members of the city commission, and coordinated his work with them throughout the process. Asked why a new charter is necessary, and what problems it is intended to solve, the mayor replied, “The biggest problem is that under the current charter,By Mike Griffith Beacon Correspondent Progress continues in a $6.5 million upgrade of the Niceville-Valparaiso regional sewer plant to meet state and federal requirements, according to the engineer for the project. PolyEngineering representative Glenn Stephens said the project involves modifying each of the three waste-processing "trains," one after the other, while keeping the other two in operation. “We are now working on Train 2,” said Stephens. Stephens also said that as part of the modification process, and aerator platform and stabilizer are removed, and an aluminum baffle wall is installed. He said he hoped the modifications to Train 2 would be completed by today, clearing the way for work to begin on the next one. Early in 2014, Stephens said, the plan is for Train 1 to be taken offline and fixed. “We may finish the whole project by sometime next spring,” he said. Sewer plant manager Rick Helms said the regional sewer plant processed about 16.9 million gallons of sewage during the month of November, as the modification work was in progress. He said the sewer plant also processed about 17,750 gallons of septic-tank waste pumped from cleanout trucks. Niceville City Councilman Heath Rominger had told the Beacon that the entire cost of the renovation project will be close to $6.5 million. Rominger said earlier this year that despite the required upgrades, the regional sewer plant is still something of a bargain for Niceville and Valparaiso. He said the sewer plant had originally been used by the two cities, as well as by Okaloosa County, but that the cities were in the process of buying out and taking over the county’s portion of the treatment plant, since the county’s wastewater is now being treated at a county owned plant elsewhere, allowing the entire capacity of the older plant to be shared by the two cities. Rominger said that this means that Niceville, for example, has enough waste water treatment capacity to handle wastewater from expected residential and commercial developments within Niceville into the foreseeable future. He said the cost of upgrading the plant to meet current FDEP standards is much less than it would have cost if the city had been forced to either build an entire new plant or build a significant expansion of the existing plant in order to meet expected future wastewater treatment needs. Stephens also said that the reroofing of some buildings at the sewer plant was in progress. T T h h e eB B a a y y B B e e a a c c o o n n 50¢Wednesday, December 25, 2013 info@baybeacon.com The voice of Niceville, Bluewater Bay and Valparaiso since 1992 (850) 678-1080 12 Pages, 2 Sections, 4 Inserts Please see MAYOR, page A-3 Please see CAB, page A-2 Please see PARKING, page A-7 Police Blotter, page A-7Wed., 11 a.m. St. Judes Episcopal Church 200 Partin Drive N., Niceville, will hold a Christmas Day service 678-7013. Fri., 6 a.m.-2 p.m. Last day to sign up for Adult Outdoor Soccer League for ages 17 and up. Cost for Niceville residents is $60 per player, non-residents, $80 per player. Register and pay in person with cash or check at the Community Life Center at Niceville United Methodist Church 214 Partin Drive S., Niceville, or online with credit card. 678-4411. Sat. 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Final day for The Friends of the Niceville Library book stores half price sale Books and audio will be half price. Proceeds from sales benefit the Niceville Public Library. 279-4863 ext. 1500. Tues., 11 p.m. Rocky Bayou Baptist Church 2401 Partin Drive N., Niceville, will hold a New Years Eve prayer service in the Genesis Hall. 678-6062. Calendar, B-3 COMING UP The voice of Niceville, Bluewater Bay and Valparaiso since 1992 Tom Thumb store seeks residential lot for parking $6.5 million sewer-plant upgrade proceedsCounty eyes airport cab rules Beacon photo by Angela Yuriko SmithThe scene was peaceful as visitors peered at Joseph, Mary and baby Jesus during a hayride event at Valparaiso Assembly of God. Church members reenacted scenes from the life of Jesus, including the Nativity, and were treated to hot drinks and cookies afterwards. A little angel completed the scene as she offered her blessing over the newborn Savior.Gift of a king The Valparaiso Planning Commission recommended approval of a zoning change for the land behind this Tom Thumb store on John Sims Parkway that would allow construction of a parking lot on a residential lot behind the store so the establishment can be expanded.Beacon photo by Angela Yuriko SmithValp. mayor backs new city charter Bruce Arnold Text ER to 23000 for Average Wait Times.* For a free physician referral 24/7, call (855) 614-7274. Top Quality Performers Three Years in a Row!Fort Walton Beach Medical Center and Twin Cities Hospital ranked among top hospitals in the country. 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