WZEP AM 1460 First News
Thursday, September 27, 2012
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News Segment 1
Walton Bus Accident
Wednesday morning a school bus, was backing out of a private driveway
located at the end of Billy Joe Godwin Road in Walton County. The driver,
36-year-old Avis Boon-Paul, failed to see a large pine tree behind the bus
and the bus’s right rear struck the tree.There were 15 children and two
with minor injuries were released to their parents. The driver was charged
with improper backing.
The Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office has charged a Fort Walton Beach man
with attempted murder, one day after he was served with a temporary
injunction for protection against domestic violence by the victim.
Deputies were called to Kathy Court in Mary Esther around 6 a.m. Wednesday
morning for a battery in progress. They found 58-year-old Mary Strange of
that address inside on the couch, with blood on her face and head. One of
her children says he had found her on the ground near a car and saw her
boyfriend, 46-year-old Arnold Jerome Knight, standing nearby with a dark
metal object in his hand. Strange was taken to Sacred Heart Hospital in
Pensacola by medical helicopter for treatment of her injuries.
The previous day Arnold had been served with a Temporary Injunction for
Protection Against Domestic Violence which stated he was to have no contact
During a search near the crime scene Wednesday morning, deputies found a 12
to 16 inch steel pipe in a drainage ditch. It was tested and showed a
positive presumptive test for the presence of blood.
The City of DeFuniak Springs will have to advertise for a tax increase
after agreeing to move the millage back to the rate it has been for many
years. Last year the Council decided to give a break and reduce the millage
from its historic rate, creating an additional tax savings. This year they
decided to move it back to the 4.50 mills.
The operating millage for the city is 4.5000 mills. This is slightly
greater than the rolled-back rate of 4.0533 mills by 11.02%. The
rolled-back rate is the amount, based on the Property Appraiser’s certified
tax value, it would take to bring in the same tax amount as last year.
The budget for DeFuniak Springs is at $23.8 million. Less than a million of
this comes in from the ad valorem property taxes.
News Segment 2
Walton County has once again selected the South Walton Fire District to
provide beach lifeguards. The Walton Commissioners agreed to the slightly
higher rate, even though other bidders came in cheaper. The $769,000
contract includes operating nine lifeguard stations.
TDC Director Dawn Moliterno told the commissioners SWFD was selected due to
their ability to provide surf trained guards. The Tourist Development
Council and the Commissioners felt the surf trained lifeguards were
important in deciding on the contract.
The contract costs also provide for a new position, an assistant Beach
Safety Coordinator who will help supplement the growing duties of the Gary
Wise. The contract also provides for an additional ATV, fuel and insurance.
The SWFD will provide a detailed audit report for the additional costs to
make sure the amount charged is only to cover the need for the equipment’s
Commissioner Sara Comander said, once in the past, she had lifeguard
training and understands the difference between a pool lifeguard and one
who can navigate the surf. The program was put into place after a series of
drownings. The lifeguard program also works with the Walton Sheriff’s
Office, the EMS and Fire responders and a beach safety education program.
Education includes the flag system, materials provided at bed tax
destinations and marketing of beach safety.
While some have questioned the cost to provide lifeguards over spending the
money on education, the overall approach has been reported to have lowered
the number of drownings. Drownings now usually occur at locations with no
lifeguards or at times when guards are not present. Other coastal
communities have started or are looking into beach lifeguards.
News Segment 3
Walton Looks at RESTORE
In a workshop session, the Walton Commissioners considered how to proceeded
with the RESTORE Act. This is the legislation that will bring Oil Spill
Fine dollars to the Gulf Coast counties that were affected by the disaster.
How the money is being distributed and how it will be spent is to be
decided by a group and how that group is to be formed is still a question.
The RESTORE dollars have three pots of money. The eight disproportionately
affected counties in Florida will get 35% directly. This is the local pot.
The federal pot is 30% that will go to the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Council.
And 30% is the state pot and this will be divided among the states. Florida
should get around 20% of this. This pot also requires a consortia of local
political subdivisions to develope the state environment and economic
restoration plan with at least one representative from each affected county.
For the 35% local pot Walton will have the group’s members made of various
county, city, tourism, environmental and other representatives. The group
would have 7-9 members. This group did not generate a lot of questions
since it will be local and the money comes directly to the county. This is
a pot that the county can have full say on use.
The 30% state pot and the required consortium brought the most questions.
Walton is trying to get ahead of the creation and has to decide how it will
join. The thought is, the local counties should join together and create
the local consortium. There are 23 affected counties and eight of them are
considered disproportionately affected. Walton is one of these, basically
the Florida counties that suffered the most.
Commissioner Sara Comander said the governor will likely appoint members to
the consortium if they do not take action first. She feels that if the 23
counties work together, then the state will not create another. Larry Jones
said he was not sure about that. Comander also said smaller counties could
get the short end of the stick.
Anita Page asked if the eight counties of the twenty-three that have been
most affected will get the best shot for their projects. The RESTORE funds
are to be used for projects to enhance the county such as a fishing pier.
Page also noted the requirements say there is a mechanism for expenses that
have the eight counties paying 75% for the administration costs. She
wonders if that formula will carry forward. She told the commissioners
there should be a decision now, that the method should not be decided later.
There is concern that some of the counties further down the coast,
especially the larger counties, could get a larger proportion of the funds.
The meetings are already being held from Sarasota to Pensacola and some
feel this shows an effort to view all the same and not take into account
the eight counties severely affected. There are also concerns about the
information to the public. While the meetings will be held in the sunshine,
getting information is a concern. If the state decides who is on the
consortium, then politically more powerful counties could see larger
amounts of funds, though they were not affected as much.
Walton District 5 Commissioner Elect Cindy Meadows said Walton needs to be
aggressive. She said Walton needs to tell the state what it wants, that it
was affected more. She said, “South Florida counties will get together and
eat our lunch.” Meadows said Walton will get left behind and that the
residents want leadership.
The workshop will continue on Wednesday, October 3rd at 9am.
News Segment 4
Looking for the arrest report? http://jailpublic.co.walton.fl.us. This is
the new jail search page. Use the drop down calendar to find dates.
Sports - Listen to WZEP for national and local sports. Email us your local
sports stories and scores.
More online at our website<https://sites.google.com/site/wzepam1460/wzep-sports>
In High School Volleyball
Thursday, September 27
Walton hosts Catholic 5 and 6 pm
Freeport at Port St. Joe 5 and 6 pm
In High School Football
Thursday, September 27
Walton JV at Freeport 6 pm-CHANGED to AT CHIPLEY-
South Walton JV hosts Graceville 6 pm
Friday, September 28
Walton at Northview-Dothan 7 pm
Freeport hosts Graceville for their Homecoming Game 7 pm
Holmes County at Port St. Joe
Chipley hosts Cottondale
It’s the first away game of the season for the FSU Seminoles on Saturday,
September 29th. Join us right here on WZEP as we air the game. Pre-game at
3 pm. Kick-off at 5 pm. Go Noles!
Join us on Wednesdays for the Jimbo Fisher Show from 6-7 pm right here on
The Gulf Coast Pro Baseball World Series will be coming to Douglass
Crossroads Park on October 6th and 7th. More information and brackets will
be released at a later time. For sponsorship information, call 333-2684.
Obituaries - Listen in the morning, just after noon and the 4pm hour
Also online at our
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