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RECENT REGIONAL NEWS AND EVENTS

Franklin County
October 22, 2005

The 135-year old lighthouse on Little St. George Island fell into the surf on Friday, Oct. 21st. The lighthouse was left standing on the water's edge after Hurricane Opal in 1995. The Florida DEP had recently attempted to receive funding to restore and relocate the lighthouse. [Abstracted from Ritchie, Bruce 2005. "Landmark lighthouse crumbles into Gulf", Tallahassee Democrat, October 22, 2005, p. 1A]

ARROW Region-wide
October 12, 2005

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) denied a permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to resume dredging the Apalachicola River. The Cities of Bainbridge and Columbus in Georgia supported the dreging because of jobs that barge shipping could create for their communities. Biologists and environmentalists claim that the environmental harm and lack of barge shipping does not justify the continued dreging of the Apalachicola River. The Florida DEP left open the possibility that dredging could resume if some environmental problems were addressed. [Abstracted from Ritchie, Bruce 2005. "State says no to more dredging", Tallahassee Democrat, October 12, 2005, pp. 1A - 2A]

Jackson County
April 22, 2005

Sneads residents report a problem with standing water, mosquitos, and raw sewage because the town lacks the money to fix the sewer system. It is estimated that the city needs $600,000 to fix the major problems and $2 million to overhaul the entire sewer system. The city has applied for a grant from the Department of Community Affairs to help fix this problem. The city expects to hear by June of 2005. [Abstracted from Smith, Aetna 2005. "Sneads drowning in problems", Tallahassee Democrat, April 22, 2005, pp. 1B - 2B]

Franklin County
April 6, 2005

The Franklin County Board of County Commissioners voted 4 to 1 to approve the St. Joe proposal to place 3,450 new homes in the Summercamp development near St. Teresa. The proposal must be reviewed by the Florida Department of Community Affairs. [Abstracted from Ritchie, Bruce 2005. "County OKs St. Joe Co. proposals", Tallahassee Democrat, April 6, 2005, pp. 1B - 2B]

Franklin County
March 17, 2005

The Franklin County Commission will not include a citizens group recommendations on growth proposals in the county's growth proposals that will be heard on April 5th. Some of the recommendations should be considered at a later date said Franklin County Commissioner Bevin Putnal. The citizens group was led by representatives from the Apalachicola Bay and Riverkeeper organization. Some of the citizens group recommendations included reducing the homes on St. Joe Company land from 3,543 to 2000, increasing the county's 50-foot setback requirements for wetlands to 150 feet, and establishing a Franklin County Economic Development Authority to diversify the county's economic base. [Abstracted from Ritchie, Bruce 2005. "Citizens group shut out", Tallahassee Democrat, March 17, 2005, pp. 1B - 2B]

Franklin, Gulf, and Wakulla Counties
March 15, 2005

Two bills before the Florida legislature (SB 1178 and HB 741) state that any net, regardless of mesh size, would not be a gill or entanglement net if the total net size did not exceed 500 square feet. The bills would allow mullet nets with bigger mesh. The current ban on such nets has been extremely unpopular in the Big Bend and Panhandle region of Florida. Attorney General Charlie Crist warned that the bills allowing nets with bigger mesh would violate the state constitution's net ban and encroach on the powers of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. [Abstracted from Cottrell, Bill, 2005. "Crist comes to defense of net ban", Tallahassee Democrat, March 15, 2005, pp. 1A, 4AA]

Franklin County
March 15, 2005

Franklin County officials want to add 1,000 feet of granite rocks to an existing 1,800 seawalll to prevent County Road 370 (Alligator Point Road) from being washed out. Franklin County has applied for $400,000 from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to fund this project. If approved, this seawall extension would probably accelerate the erosion of the beach, endangering the nearby houses. Most people recognize that the seawall extension is not optimal solution in the long run. A more permanent solution, to rebuild the beach in front of the seawall, would cost $4 million dollars and has been delayed by the Army Corps of Engineerings. [Abstracted from Ensley, Gerald, 2005. "County may lengthen seawall", Tallahassee Democrat, March 15, 2005, pp. 1A - 2A]

Wakulla County
March 10, 2005

Wakulla County Commissioners established the Wakulla County Citizens Advisory Committee for Infrastructure Development to a) determine the condition of the county's infrastructure such as roads, water, and sewer systems, b) identify what needs to be fixed, c) estimate how much improvements will cost, and d) identify possible sources of funding. The report will be completed in six months and outline an infrastructure plan for the next 10 years. The members of the Committee are: Ron Piasecki, Andrea Nelson, Phillip Miller, Leon Nettles, Chris Kelley, Mike Stewart, Jeff Ewaldt, and Steven O'Cain. They have backgrounds in engineering, finance, law, or government. Former Wakulla County Commissioner Mike Stewart endorsed the Committee as being what Wakulla County needs in order to develop a vision for the county. [Abstracted from Jefferson, Jennifer, 2005. "Committee to help pave way for improvements", Tallahassee Democrat, March 10, 2005, pp. 1B - 2B]

Franklin County
March 9, 2005

A proposal by a citizens group allows The St. Joe Company to build approximately half of the homes the company proposed in eastern Franklin County. The proposal would allow 2000 homes instead of the company-proposed 3,540 homes near Carabelle and the Ochlockonee River as well as reducing the SummerCamp development to 250 homes from 499 homes. The proposal restricts development to smaller areas away from wetlands, waterbodies, and other important wildlife habitat. The Franklin County Commission will vote on April 5th to update its growth policies and land-use maps. [Abstracted from Ritchie, Bruce, 2005. "Citizens want cuts in plans by St. Joe", Tallahassee Democrat, March 9, 2005, pp. 1B - 2B]

Franklin County
March 5, 2005

Carrabelle is undergoing rapid change, with at least 17 housing projects totalling more than 600 units either under way or proposed. In the 2000 Census, the city had a population of 1,303 and its future land-use maps and growth policies expired four years ago. According to Carabelle Mayor James Brown, the city is planning to hire a consultant to update its growth policies. The owner of the last seafood house in Carabeele, Vance Millender of Millender & Sons Seafood Company, said change is coming to Carrabelle faster than he expected but he doesn't think it is all bad. The decline of the 10 to 12 seafood houses in Carabelle in the 1960s and 70s began with imported shrimp and other factors. Current residents will have other employment opportunities as new residents arrive in the city according to Millender [Abstracted from: Ritchie, Bruce, 2005. "Condos creating a new Carrabelle", Tallahassee Democrat, March 5, 2005, pp. 1 - 2]

Franklin County
February 25, 2005

The Apalachicola Bay and Riverkeeper (ABARK) group has filed a legal challenge to stop the Florida Department of Environmental Protection from issuing a permit to St. Joe Company’s SummerCamp development in Franklin County. The challenge claims that the development threatens the Alligator Harbor State Aquatic Preserve and that the monitoring plan is inadeqaute. The SummerCamp development is located by the intersection of U.S. Highway 98 and U.S. Highway 319 near Turkey Point. [Excerpted from Ritchie, Bruce, 2005. “St. Joe faces fresh lawsuit.” Tallahassee Democrat, February 25, 2005, pp. 1B – 2b.]

Wakulla County
January 31, 2005

The Buckhorn community just east of Sopchoppy may get a 107-home subdivision and commercial center. These plans are dependent upon the receipt of two grants from the Florida Department of Community Affairs, one for economic development and one for neighborhood revitalization. The grants are due April 1, 2005. If successful, ground-breaking could occur by the end of 2005. [Exercepted from Jefferson, Jennifer, 2005. “Buckhorn may get makeover with subdivision.” Tallahassee Democrat, January 31, 2005, pp. 1B+]

Gulf County
January 30, 2005

Windmark Beach, located two miles north of Port St. Joe, has been approved for 1,662 homes on 2,020 acres. The first phase of 110 home sites is nearly sold out and the second phase will break ground next summer. Home sites range from $800,000 to over one million dollars. [Excerpted from Newman, Virginia, 2005. “Waterfront community Windmark Beach unfolds for St. Joe Co.” Real Estate Weekly, Tallahassee Democrat, January 30, 2005, pp. 3 – 4]

ARROW Region-wide
July 23, 2004

The Northwest Florida Water Management District (NWFWMD) will consider stricter requirements for ground-water pumping. This decision is in response to pumping permit applications for supplying water bottlers. One permit for 1.4 million gallons of water per day is within two miles of Wakulla Springs State Park. [Abstracted from Ritchie, Bruce 2005. "Water Pumping on the rise", Tallahassee Democrat, July 23, 2004, pp. 1B - 2B]

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This page was last modified on : 10/24/2005

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