Presentation on genealogy research Sept. 29

The Apalachicola Area Historical Society will present a forum on genealogy at the Raney Carriage House on Market Street at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday Sept. 29.

Kathryn Palmer and Anya Grosenbaugh of the State Archives of Florida will discuss how to begin genealogical research using the resources available at the State Archives in Tallahassee. Learn basic genealogy concepts, research tips, and how to use historical documents to trace your lineage.

Admission is free, limited seating so arrive early.


End of the year fiscal meeting

Franklin County’s end of the year fiscal meeting is scheduled for Friday, Sept. 30 at 9 a.m.


Economic study underway for four county area

County RESTORE liaison Alan Pierce met with Chris Holley, Gulf County Economic Development Officer, and others on Aug. 17 to discuss the scope of work for the four-county economic development study that Holley is administering for Gulf County.

The purpose of the study is to evaluate the economic opportunities that might exist for intermodal transportation systems in Franklin, Gulf, Wakulla and Bay counties. For Franklin County, the intermodal transportation system to be considered will be the connection between the Port of St. Joe, Apalachicola Northern Railroad, and the Apalachicola Regional Airport.

The term used in the study for these intermodal sites is a “freight logistic zone.” Florida statutes create incentives for such zones, so one of the goals of the study is to evaluate the connection between the port and the airport to see if it can qualify as such a zone.

Holley said the study will be completed by July, 2017. County commissioners will receive periodic updates, and at the end the board will be asked to approve the study.

Depending on the outcome of the study, Holley hopes projects would be developed that could receive TRIUMPH funding for infrastructure improvements in the four counties.

According to his report, Pierce also attended an Aug. 29 meeting in Panama City to participate in a discussion hosted by Florida’s Great Northwest (FGN) about the $300,000 study that the University of West Florida and FGN received from the federal government. Housing and Urban Development will explore what it would take for the Florida Panhandle to experience “regional economic transformation.” While Franklin County is not a member of FGN, the study that FGN is co-leading will cover the Panhandle, including Franklin and Wakulla counties.

FGN Executive Director Kim Wilmes said she hopes one of the outcomes of the study will be to identify projects/ideas that could also be submitted to TRIUMPH for funding. Approximately 75 people attended the meeting as FGN is trying to build support for this study. The initial briefing presented by the HAAS Center at University of West Florida shows the dominant industry in the region is tourism/hospitality, followed by wood products. These two industries still have growth potential.

Franklin County has a large workforce in the fishing and fishing products industry, but that industry does not show much growth potential, she said. If Franklin County is to experience/participate in any regional economic transformation, the county will need to develop opportunities outside of the fishing industry for the county workforce. Wilmes said the full regional study will be completed by Jan, 2017.


Carrabelle waives CGJ rent

Because of a failure of the air conditioning system at the Camp Gordon Johnston World War II Museum, Carrabelle city commissioners voted unanimously to waive the October rent of $450.

The museum is located in the Carrabelle Municipal Center but will soon relocate to a new building at a new location across US 98 from Carrabelle Beach Park.


Duke Power staged for Hermine here

During Hurricane Hermine, Duke Energy’s main staging area for the surrounding counties was Franklin County, which meant Duke had at least 300 men and the necessary support equipment here. Different areas throughout the county were used for staging, including the Coombs Armory, Kendrick Park in Carrabelle and the Apalachicola Regional Airport.


Bathroom bids’ deadlines extended

The deadline for submission of two county bids has been extended.

County commissioners were originally scheduled to open bids for the Carrabelle and St. George Island bathroom renovation projects on Sept. 6. Because the courthouse was closed on Thursday and Friday, Sept. 1-2 due to Hurricane Hermine, the contractors were not able to turn in their bids.

Both the bid submission deadline and bid openings have been rescheduled to Sept. 16 and Sept. 20 respectively. Construction consultant Doug Shuler and County Coordinator Michael Morón said they expect bids from at least four firms.

Jim Oskowis, Department of Environmental Protection’s NRDA project manager, met with Commissioner Smokey Parrish, County Planner Mark Curenton, and Morón to update them on county projects.

Oskowis thinks that the new restroom facilities, on the Eastpoint and the St. George Island sides of the fishing pier, should be entering into the bidding phase within the next few months.

Oskowis presented Parrish with 90 percent complete final design draft of a maritime museum which will be located at Lombardi Park.


Eastpoint Medical Center patients increase

At Tuesday morning’s county meeting, Amy Anderson, center manager of the Eastpoint Medical Center, addressed commissioners. She said the clinic’s mission is to provide quality primary care services to the entire Franklin County community including the underserved and uninsured.

“Since Doris Carmichael ARNP (Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner) started in late June, our patient encounters have drastically increased,” she said. “For the first time in four years we have had patient encounters above 300 for the month of August. Our sliding fee list has increased as well, which means we are providing more services for the uninsured and underinsured.”

She said Carmichael is working with organizations including Big Bend Hospice and the American Cancer Society.

Eastpoint Medical Center with Big Bend Area Health Education Center now provides a free smoking cessation class the third Thursday of every month. Starting Oct. 1 the clinic will be able to provide flu vaccinations. They also provide vaccinations for children who do not have insurance or are enrolled in the Medicaid programs through the “Vaccinations for Children” program

Anderson said Weems CEO Mike Cooper, has reached out to the clinic about the services that Weems Memorial can provide for clinic patients.



Domestic Violence Awareness Month

At Tuesday morning’s county meeting, commissioners voted unanimously to declare October Domestic Violence Awareness Month.


Work progresses on Bald Point Road

On Tuesday morning, county commissioners approved two contracts relating to the relocation and repaving of Bald Point Road.

A $1.2 million Small County Outreach Program grant from the state will pay for the repaving of the road from County Road 370 to the entrance of Bald Point State Park, through a contract awarded to Roberts and Roberts of Tallahassee.

A second agreement taps Alday-Howell Engineers to do inspections on the Bald Point project.

County organizer Michael Moron told commissioners their regular engineering firm; Preble-Rish cannot perform inspections because they engineered the project.

Former county planner Alan Pierce said the Florida Department of Transportation has informed him that the Archeology Division of the Florida Department of State must investigate the site of the road because the roadway is on state land. He said he believed the assessment of the site will take about 30 days.


Streets to be widened

At the regular county meeting Tuesday morning, commissioners voted unanimously to accept a grant under the state’s County Incentive Grant Program that will widen and resurface two-thirds of a mile of Ellis Van Vleet Street and 17th Street in Apalachicola. The project includes safety improvements, restriping, shoulder stabilization, replacement signs and grassing of the right of way.

A Small County Outreach Program grant was also approved that will widen and resurface 1.6 miles of Mill Road in Carrabelle and construct 2.65 miles of new roadway. The project includes striping, shoulder stabilization, culvert replacement/extension, signage and grassing of the shoulders.


Structural remediation at Coombs Armory

County commissioners voted unanimously Tuesday morning to accept a proposed contract with the Division of Historical Resources which will provide $180,000 to be used for foundation and floor structural remediation, window renovations, ADA improvements and front door renovation. The county will provide an $18,000 match for the grant.


Board backs grant for Apalachee Center

At Tuesday morning’s county meeting, commissioners voted unanimously to support a grant application by the Apalachee Center to the Florida Department of Children and Families to provide funding to designate Apalachee Center’s Tallahassee location as a central receiving center.

The designation would allow the center to serve as a single point of access for all Franklin County citizens transported by law enforcement under the Baker and Marchman Acts.

“If the grant is awarded, the county may be approached for a match but the letter of support doesn’t make any specific assurance a match will be provided,” said County Coordinator Michael Morón.


Seniors to host Oct. 8 fall festival

Mark your calendars for Saturday, Oct. 8 for the annual Fall Festival at the Franklin County Senior Citizens Center, 201 NW Avenue F in Carrabelle. Fun begins at 10 a.m. and ends at 3 p.m. Arts and crafts, good food, live entertainment and homemade desserts and a silent auction, all for the benefit of the senior citizens center.