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    Let's Talk: Celebrating Freedom and Community in Northwest Florida Shuylar Black & Bobby Dewrell

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Turn Lane Closure Announced for U.S. Highway 98 and Perry Avenue SE Intersection

The City of Fort Walton Beach announced June 27 that the right turn lane of Perry Avenue on the south side of U.S. Highway 98 will be closed from 6 p.m. Friday through 6 p.m. Sunday effective June 28 through Labor Day weekend. During this period, motorists will not be able to turn eastbound onto U.S. Highway 98 from this intersection. The turn lane closure is meant to reduce impact […]

todayJune 27, 2024 41


A Win for Wildlife: Balloon Releases Now Illegal in Florida

Photo Credit: Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Governor DeSantis approved and signed CS/HB 321: Release of Balloons on June 24 which becomes effective July 1, 2024. The release of balloons is now against Florida law and considered littering. Per the Florida Senate, the General Bill submitted by the Agriculture, Conservation & Resiliency Subcommittee, and approved by Governor DeSantis,  the the bill affirms “It is unlawful for any person, firm, […]

todayJune 26, 2024 12


Congressman Matt Gaetz Proposes Legislation to Accept Bitcoin as Payment for Federal Income Tax

U.S. Congressman Matt Gaetz (FL-01) introduced legislation on June 15 to “amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to allow the payment of certain Federal taxes with bitcoin.” Congressman Gaetz learned about the impact of Bitcoin on a country’s economy when attending the second inauguration of El Salvador’s populist president Nayib Bukele earlier this month. Bitcoin is the first decentralized cryptocurrency whereby transactions are verified via peer-to-peer bitcoin network nodes through […]

todayJune 25, 2024 22


Historic Bridge-to-Bridge Multi-use Path Planned for Okaloosa County

A special groundbreaking ceremony is scheduled for 7 a.m. on July 8 at John Beasley Park located at 1550 Miracle Strip Parkway SE on Okaloosa Island as Okaloosa County’s plans to implement a multi-use path for cyclists and pedestrians between the Brooks Bridge and Marler Bridge on Okaloosa Island gets underway. The Board of County Commissioners of Okaloosa County began accepting bids for the construction of the Bridge to Bridge […]

todayJune 24, 2024 53


“Tax Free Tips Act of 2024” Submitted to Congress to Scrap Federal Tips on Taxes

U.S. Congressmen Representatives Matt Gaetz (FL) and Thomas Massie (KY), introduced the “Tax Free Tips Act of 2024” in the second session of the 118th Congress in the House of Representatives on June 18. The bill is designed to provide financial relief to service industry workers by scrapping federal income and employment taxes on tips and was co-sponsored by Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (GA). It was inspired by former President Donald […]

todayJune 22, 2024 26


VFW Post 7674 Auxiliary Helps Support FNQG Quilts of Valor Foundation Mission

As part of their mission to remember and help veterans, the Harvey F. Eckhoff VFW Post 7674 Auxiliary donated $2,000 on June 17 to the Flying Needle Quilt Guild’s (FNQG) Quilts of Valor Foundation’s (QOVF) to help fund their continued success in honoring veterans. Auxiliary President Betty Riker presented the check at Post 7674’s monthly meeting to guild president Kerry Kastl and Barbi Ouellette, FNQG’s QOVF coordinator. Riker said, “Because of […]

todayJune 21, 2024 30


Governor DeSantis Signs Florida’s Mental Health and Substance Abuse Bill

On June 14, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed into law CS/CS/HB 7021 - Mental Health and Substance Abuse, a bill championed by State Representative Patt Maney to modernize Florida’s Baker and Marchman Acts for the first time since their original passage 53 and 31 years ago, respectively. This action will significantly improve the navigation, service delivery and expected outcomes of Florida’s mental health system. Unanimously approved by both chambers of […]

todayJune 16, 2024 153


Quilts of Valor Awarded to Six Emerald Coast Veterans

The Flying Needles Quilt Guild (FNQG) awarded six local veterans with special Quilts of Valor (QOV) on June 11 at the Air Force Armament Museum. The special event honored the veterans for their military service and sacrifice. Master of Ceremonies Barbi Ouellette, FNQG Group Lead and Guild QOV coordinator, said, “To sign a blank check pledging to their country to give whatever is asked, up to and including, their life. […]

todayJune 15, 2024 13


Okaloosa County Holds 2nd Annual Women Veterans’ Day Ceremony

Okaloosa County celebrated the service of women veterans at its 2nd Annual Women Veterans’ Day at the Destin-Fort Walton Beach Convention Center on the morning of June 12. The ceremony coincided with the 76th anniversary of the Women's Armed Services Integration Act signed by President Harry S. Truman on June 12, 1948. For the first time, women were allowed to serve as permanent, regular members of the armed forces in the […]

todayJune 14, 2024 15


Okaloosa County Begins Opioid Abatement Initiatives Funded by the Florida Opioid Settlement

A special press release meeting was held on June 6 by Okaloosa County to honor Revive Awareness Day and and the County’s key opioid epidemic abatement initiatives beginning in June. Representatives from local agencies outlined the problems and strategies it is implementing to address strategies response to the drug epidemic and how those strategies will be funded. Florida Department of Health in Okaloosa County Administrator Elizabeth Smith introduced the newly formed […]

todayJune 10, 2024 22