July 14~ Jackson County Candidate Forum

Elections are coming up and the Jackson County Chamber of Commerce has announced a Jackson County Elections Candidate Forum that will be held on July 14 at 6 p.m. on the grounds at Citizens Lodge which is located at 4574 Lodge Drive in Marianna. The event’s outdoor venue was chosen because it allows for more attendance and proper social distancing. Those attending are asked to follow all recommended CDC guidelines. Portable toilets and extra hand-washing stations will be on site for the convenience and safety of the public.

Candidates will be allowed to set up a tent along the track area and hand out materials from 5 to 6 p.m. and after the forum until no later than 9 p.m. The forum is expected to conclude at about 8 p.m. Candidates will speak in alphabetical order, by last name. Representatives will be allowed to speak in place of a candidate and will speak in order of the candidate’s last name. Each candidate will be allowed three minutes to speak, and the firm time limit will be enforced, Chamber officials said. “This event is open to the public and is being held to provide citizens the opportunity to be educated about the issues and candidates in a nonpartisan and open format,” the Chamber release stated. “Food vendors will be available beginning at 5 p.m. Local FFA Chapters will be giving away boiled peanuts. For questions or further information please contact Tiffany Garling at the Jackson County Chamber of Commerce via phone 850-482-8060 or email tiffany@jacksoncounty.com.

Register to vote! For the Aug. 18 Primary, the deadline for new voter registrations or party changes is July 20th. You can register or make changes to your registration online at https://registertovoteflorida.gov/home . Early Primary voting is scheduled for 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Aug. 3-15, and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, Aug 9, at three locations:
• Supervisor of Elections Office, 2851 Jefferson St., Marianna
• Graceville City Hall, 5348 Cliff St., Graceville
• Sneads Town Hall, 2028 Third Ave., Sneads
Visit the Jackson County elections office website, jacksoncountysoe.com or call 850-482-9652 for additional voter information.




New fire station officially operational in Panama City Beach

The Panama City Beach Fire Rescue officially moved in a new fire station the last of June. Fire and city officials celebrated Fire Station NO. 30 becoming operational. The new station will house seven firefighters daily, so now a total of 17 firefighters will be on duty across the three stations each day. The new station is located right in the center of the city off of North Nautilus Road. According to Fire Chief Larry Couch, this will help cut response time almost in half. The new facility is filled with new green features such as automatic lights and efficient air conditioning.

The contractor was approved at Thursday morning’s City Council meeting in January 2019. After giving the okay to more than a five million dollar budget for the project, approving the contractor was the final step into getting the new station built.

Florida laws took effect July 1st

Some of Florida’s newest laws officially went into effect on July 1st. After several months of fighting a pandemic, this year’s legislative session feels like it wrapped up forever ago. Quick recap — lawmakers filed about 3,500 bills. They passed 191 of those. Here’s a few of them that took effect on the 1st~

State sets aside $400 million to raise the minimum base pay for full-time classroom teachers to at least $47,500. Another $100 million will be used to raise the salaries of Florida’s veteran teachers and other instructional personnel who did not receive a salary increase or who received an increase of less than two percent.

Girls under 18 will need a parent’s consent before having an abortion. Previous law only required minors to inform a parent or legal guardian of their decision.

The bill is designed to protect children from abuse in the state’s welfare system by reducing the workload for caseworkers; meaning the maximum caseload would be no more than 15 children, if possible. The bill also requires caseworkers to receive training developed on the recognition of and response to head trauma and brain injury in children under six years old. Additionally, caseworkers and law enforcement would share data collected more optimally to help children stay away from violent caregivers.

CS/CS/HB 971 – ELECTRIC BIKES  The bill creates regulations governing the operation of e-bikes in the state of Florida, allowing them on streets, highways, roadways, shoulders, bicycle lanes, and bicycle or multi-use paths. Local governments still maintain authority to limit their use.

The bill expands access to the Family Empowerment Scholarship (FES) Program, the Florida Tax Credit (FTC) Scholarship Program, and the Hope Scholarship Program (HSP) which provide financial assistance to families seeking private education. Bill also establishes a dual enrollment funding incentive for school districts.

The legislation aims to crack down on the abuse of emotional support animal certifications. It allows housing providers to prohibit use in situations where the animal poses a direct threat to the safety, health, or property of others. Property owners can also request written proof of the support animal’s certification from federal, state, and local government agencies or specified health care providers.

Legislation preempting local government’s ability to ban the sale of over-the-counter proprietary drugs and cosmetics, which include sunscreen. The law comes after Key West limited the sale of certain types of sunscreen fearing it was destroying coral reefs in the area.

Penalties increase for taking or possessing a freshly killed bear during the closed season. Those in violation face a first-degree misdemeanor for the first offense and forfeit any other Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) license or permit for three years. A subsequent offense leads to permanent ineligibility of any future FWC license or permit. A person who possesses for sale or sells an illegally-taken bear commits a third-degree felony.

Creates teams in each of the state’s judicial districts to review closed cases of elder fatalities caused by abuse or neglect. After reviews, teams will make policy recommendations to help prevent future abuse-related fatalities.

Creates a drug donation repository and distribution program for unused medication in the state. Bill changes current law requiring the destruction of many drugs despite being unopened and safe for use.

Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission or Florida Forest Service can use drones to manage or eradicate invasive exotic plants or animals on public lands. Also to suppress or mitigate wildfire threats.

Authorizes that courts can include pets in temporary restraining orders for survivors of domestic violence.


Plastic Free July

In 2011, the Plastic Free Foundation started the annual Plastic Free July in Australia. The month is all about assessing and fighting the global dependence on plastic through individual and collective action. It has grown to be one of the most influential environmental campaigns in the world. Millions of people across the globe take part every year by committing to reducing plastic pollution during July, and usually far beyond the end of the month. It is an opportunity to learn about the devastating effects of plastic dependence on the world – plastic effects everything from a person’s health to the health of the ocean to the harmful chemicals we absorb through the air and more.

The website plasticfreejuly.org, offers a wonderful wealth of information. The website can be used to share resources, ideas, and stories to better help people reduce the single-use plastic waste in their homes and communities. It even offers inbuilt evaluation tools to help participants discover where excess, single-use plastics exist in their life and measure their success throughout the month at reducing their plastic use. Additionally, it allows both individual users AND the Plastic Free Foundation to track the trends in the common plastics that households use and create more effective methods of reducing these plastics.

FREE COVID-19 testing in WEWA-July 6th

Free COVID-19 testing today, Monday, July 6th from 9am to 3pm at 111 Lake Alice Park Drive in Wewahitchka. Symptoms are not required for testing and this is a drive thru testing site that is asking you to please stay in your vehicle. For more information please call 850-227-1276.

National Ice Cream Month

July is National Ice Cream Month, and you have Kentucky to thank! In 1984, Senator Walter Dee Huddleston of Kentucky introduced a resolution to proclaim the month of July 1984 National Ice Cream Month and the 15th of that month National Ice Cream Day. Ronald Reagan signed the bill into law the same year, and the rest is history! Even though the bill only specified that July 1984 was National Ice Cream Month, the tradition carries on—much to our pleasure.

The first true Ice Cream was said to be introduced by Catherine de’ Medici in the 16th century. So impressed was Charles I of England (one hundred years after this introduction) that he paid to keep the formula secret, making ice cream a royal prerogative, utterly unobtainable by the common man. The first recorded recipes didn’t exist until the 18th century.

Ice Cream Month has only one appropriate celebration, gorge yourself on Ice Cream at every opportunity! Ok, ok, moderation is necessary even during Ice Cream Month, but there are a bunch of different ways you can enjoy this delicious treat. It goes great with a warm apple pie, and nothing compliments a brownie better than vanilla ice cream. Maybe you prefer a nice scoop of strawberry doused in caramel topping, or that most amazing of all ice cream treats, the Ice Cream Taco! You can even take the time to make your own ice cream during Ice Cream Month and enjoy the fruits of your labor on a hot summer evening! And to celebrate and to provide a little pick-me-up, Blue Bell ice cream has brought back a fan favorite, Milk & Cookies Ice Cream!

July 4, 2020

The Fourth of July—also known as Independence Day or July 4th—has been a federal holiday in the United States since 1941, but the tradition of Independence Day celebrations goes back to the 18th century and the American Revolution. On July 2nd, 1776, the Continental Congress voted in favor of independence, and two days later delegates from the 13 colonies adopted the Declaration of Independence, a historic document drafted by Thomas Jefferson. From 1776 to the present day, July 4th has been celebrated as the birth of American independence, with festivities ranging from fireworks, parades and concerts to more casual family gatherings and barbecues.

John Adams believed that July 2nd was the correct date on which to celebrate the birth of American independence, and would reportedly turn down invitations to appear at July 4th events in protest. Adams and Thomas Jefferson both died on July 4, 1826—the 50th anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence.

A few things about the 4th you may not know: ~The Declaration of Independence was not signed on July 4, 1776. That’s actually the day it was formally adopted by the Continental Congress, but it wasn’t signed by most signatories until August. ~Americans typically eat 150 million hot dogs on Independence Day, “enough to stretch from D.C. to L.A. more than five times,” according to the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council. ~Massachusetts became the first state to make the 4th of July an official state holiday in 1781. ~The famed Macy’s fireworks show in New York City uses more than 75,000 fireworks shells and costs about $6 million. ~Small towns in the U.S. typically spend between $8,000 and $15,000 on their fireworks displays. ~John Hancock has the largest signature on the Declaration of Independence.

Did you know more pets gets lost on July 4th then any other day of the year? Here are a few ideas to keep your pets safe. Many dogs get scared when they hear fireworks. ~Be sure your dog has a visible and up to date id tag. ~Take a current photo of your pet just in case they get lost and you need a current photo. ~You can leave music or a TV on to distract your dog from the noise of the fireworks.

Keep PCB clean up~July 5th

What are you doing this Sunday? If it doesn’t rain maybe you could consider going to help Keep PCB Beautiful who will be hosting a special beach cleanup this weekend. The public is invited to join the organization at Beach Access 5 from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Sunday, July 5th for its 3rd Annual Robbie Atchinson Memorial Beach Cleanup.This cleanup is at beach access 5 just west of Schooners. Parking available in Schooners overflow lot or lot on Thomas Drive. Look for the beach cleanup parking signs. They will have lots of giveaways. Officials with Keep PCB Beautiful say they chose the Sunday after July 4 because they felt it would do the most good after the major holiday. Buckets, pickers, and water stations to fill up reusable water bottles will be available. Keep PCB Beautiful will also have plastic gloves available for those that want them and will sanitize supplies before and after the event.

40 volunteers picked up 200 pounds of trash at last year’s event!

Keep PCB Beautiful is a group of locals working to keep PCB clean from the beach to the street. We are working to inspire individuals and businesses to improve the community and the natural environment. We are affiliated with Keep America Beautiful and Keep Florida Beautiful to accomplish our goals. Keep PCB Beautiful was a vision of 12 people who came together because of a passion for the beauty of the Gulf of Mexico and the beautiful beaches of Panama City Beach Florida. For more information about them click this link: https://www.keeppcbbeautiful.org/


New~Panama City ER~Gulf Coast Regional Medical Center

This new freestanding emergency room will be a new choice for your emergent needs in Bay County and the surrounding communities. It will provide the top quality medical services you have come to know through our Gulf Coast Regional Medical Center facilities. Panama City ER is a full-service emergency department featuring 11 private rooms and is located at 3711 U.S. Highway 231 near Transmitter Rd. They opened just this week on June 29th. Telephone: (850) 769-8341 Website :https://gcmc-pc.com/service/panama-city-er

Panama City ER will feature:
State-of-the-art emergency department open 24/7
Adult/pediatric emergency care
Staffed by physicians specializing in emergency medicine on-site
Emergency-trained nurses
11 private exam rooms
Designated cardiac/respiratory resuscitation room
Diagnostic imaging on-site, including CT scanner, ultrasound, and x-ray
Laboratory services on-site

Plan to watch fireworks on July 3rd and 4th

This isn’t a complete list but here are a few places, times, and dates fireworks are still scheduled even with COVID-19 still closing a lot of places down. Please don’t go if you are sick, stay 6 to 12 feet away from others, and wash hands often. Please consider wearing a mask to protect others.

~Marianna will celebrate the Fourth of July on July 3. The City of Marianna and Main Street Marianna are hosting the 10th Annual Fireworks Celebration. This year’s event will be at the MERE Complex on Caverns Road. Everyone can view the show from their cars and will be asked to remain in their cars for the duration of the event. The firework show will begin at 9 p.m

~The City of Slocomb invites everyone to an Independence Fireworks Celebration at the Slocomb Recreation Park on Saturday, July 4th . There will be a DJ from 6:30 p.m. until 8:30 p.m. and a fireworks display to finish the evening celebration. This will be a FREE ADMISSION show. Enjoy from your vehicle, chairs, or blanket. Social distancing will be observed.

~Geneva will host a Fourth of July celebration beginning at 4 p.m. on July 4. A car parade and car show will begin at 4 p.m. Fireworks will start at 8 p.m. There will be food and vendors. The event is being held at Robert Fowler Park.

~Dothan will celebrate Fireworks at the Fairgrounds on July 4th. The event will be at the National Peanut Festival Fairgrounds. Gates open at 7 p.m. Fireworks display will begin at 9 p.m. $10 parking benefits the Wiregrass United Way. This is a parking lot only event this year.

~Fort Rucker celebrates America’s birthday with the July 4 Celebration and Home Town Parade! This year’s celebration will include a parade through the housing areas July 4 at 5 p.m. and will finish up at 9 p.m. with a fireworks display reminiscent of past Freedom Fests. Due to the pandemic, this year’s event is open to Department of Defense ID card holders only. There will be judging will be based on the following categories: Most Patriotic Float • Top Military Family Float • Best Small Float• Best Large Float • Community Spirit Float.

~Headland will be hosting its Annual Fireworks Event at 8:30pm at Douglas Park on July 4th. Please, remember to social distance yourself from other event goers and feel free to wear a mask.

~July 4th Celebration at 4C BBQ located at 1045 US Highway 331 S, DeFuniak Springs. 7 to 10pm

~Mexico City July 4th. Read the attached photo for all details about this location.