Commission to meet in Carrabelle

The next regular county commission meeting will be at the Carrabelle Municipal Complex, starting at 10 a.m., on Tuesday, April 16.


Carrabelle seniors hold dance Saturday

A dance will be held Saturday evening, April 6, at the Carrabelle Senior Center, at 201 NW Avenue F, on the corner of 1st Street and NW Avenue F in downtown Carrabelle.

The dance starts at 7 p.m. and admission is free. Music will be provided by local disc jockey Ron Vice, serving up a lively mix of Big Band dance tunes and mellow pop hits.


Offices open up on FCSWA board

The March meeting of the Franklin County Seafood Works Association meeting went well, full of great discussion. The FCSWA is now looking for a new Second Vice President and a new Secretary. For the next month, the FCSWA will be taking nominations so the association will have options available for election at the next meeting.

Also, the Apalachicola Riverkeeper is seeking to have someone represent from FCSWA on the Riverkeeper board for expert advice. Jerry Williams’ name was suggested at the FCSWA meeting, and he will be asked whether he is interested in this role.

Also, it was mentioned that Bubby Ellis may want to take Chris Millender's place. We will be holding elections for it at our next monthly meeting but remember you must be in attendance at the meeting for it to count. Please let us know your feelings or suggestions for these issues.

We are available if you need any information and please keep in mind we need a secretary as well who can take care of the clerical part of our association. Any member who would like to be nominated please let us know so we can set up the agenda.

Our next monthly meeting will be held Monday, April 8 in the Eastpoint firehouse at 6 p.m. Please call Shannon Hartsfield if any questions or concerns.


Low-cost health insurance available to area children

Many families in Northwest Florida are eligible for a program that offers private insurance to children for as little as $15 to $20 per month.

Florida KidCare covers health emergencies and a wide variety of services, such as doctor visits, shots, lab tests and X-rays, dental care, prescriptions, emergencies, hospitalization, mental health examinations and sports physicals.

Many families are eligible for the program, but the parents do not know about it, so Sacred Heart Children’s Hospital and United Way are working together to promote awareness of the low-cost insurance.

The family’s size and income determine if the children are eligible. The statewide program is aimed at children 18 or younger. A family of four with an income of up to $46,100 a year is eligible.

For details, in Gulf and Franklin counties, call 1-877-787-1838, or e-mail

Florida KidCare, created in 1998, provides health insurance for children from birth through age 18. More than 2 million children are enrolled in Florida KidCare. For more information, visit


Gulf/Franklin offers photography, painting courses

The Gulf / Franklin Campus in Port St Joe of Gulf Coast State College is offering Community Education classes It is important that to either register on-line or in person at the Gulf /Franklin Campus. If you encounter difficulty in completing the registration process, please send an e-mail to Jim Barr at wherein you give assurance that you will attend the class.

The emphasis of the “Nuts & Bolts of Photography class is to have fun getting to know your camera, be it digital or film. You will learn to use the funny symbols (icons) and controls on this wonderful tool, including the secret of taking photos of moving objects, using tripods, manual modes, apertures, shutter speeds, night photography and special techniques to turn your snapshots into masterpieces / works of art.

Gulf Coast State College Adjunct Instructor Bonnie Jones, a professional photographer, will teach the course on Monday, April 15, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Gulf / Franklin Campus in Port St Joe. The fee is $21.

The “Acrylic Painting & Texture” on Thursday, April 4, 11, 18 and 25, will explore ways to build and create textures with acrylic paint and mediums in this fun half-day workshop. Instructor will provide some supplies; please bring a canvas or painting surface, paints, brushes, water container, and $5 material fee to instructor. 

The instructor is Jennifer Bonaventura, a professional artist and a Gulf Coast adjunct instructor. The classes are from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. The fee is $99.

Contact for questions is or at (850) 215-9143


Child Find pre-K screenings April 11

Franklin County Schools and FDLRS/PAEC (Florida Diagnostic and Learning Resources System/ Panhandle Area Educational Consortium) will co-sponsor a free Child Find Pre-K Screening on Thursday, April 11. Each child will be screened in the areas of learning, speech, social, vision, and hearing for the purpose of identifying children with disabilities. Children ages 3-4 who are suspected to have a disability and are not enrolled in Headstart or public school are eligible to participate. Parent or guardians must call (866) 277-6616 to schedule an appointment.


Carrabelle hosts Riverfront Royalty pageant

The first ever Miss Carrabelle Riverfront Royalty Pageant will be held Saturday, April 20 at 4 p.m. at the Carrabelle Municipal Complex. The pageant is open to newborns to age 19.

Junior and Senior girls will have a mandatory interview at 12:30 p.m. on the day of the pageant. All proceeds go to the Barbara Massey Memorial Scholarship Foundation.

Applications are available at Carrabelle City Hall, Carrabelle Chamber of Commerce, and on the Carrabelle Riverfront Festival’s Facebook page. All contestants must be residents of Franklin County. Every participant receives a crown! Deadline for entry is Wednesday, April 10.

For further information, please call Christopher Massey at 850-443-1251.


Special election planned for VFDs

St. George Island and Alligator Point fire departments have contacted the Supervisor of Elections, Ida Eliot, to organize a special election by property owners in those two fire districts to determine if the property owners will approve a rate increase from $50 to $95 on houses. The assessment on vacant land will not change. The election will be mail-out ballot, with the ballots counted on May 14.

Only property owners on Alligator Point and St. George Island will be voting on whether to change the rates within those two districts only.

The fire departments are paying for the election. Approximately 6,000 ballots should be mailed out April 25. They cannot be mailed out more than 20 days before the election.

At the March 19 county meeting, Commissioner Cheryl Sanders said, “We will be behind whatever happens but if it doesn’t come down, I want to make that perfectly clear that it will be two years (before Alligator Point and St. George Island can vote on this again).


Commission considers Eastpoint Water and Sewer requests

On March 19, county commissioners voted unanimously to allow Eastpoint Sewer and Water District (EWSD) to cut C.C. Land Road at times approved by the county to allow for several new sewer connections.

County Planner Alan Pierce told commissioners C.C. Land Road is under design for widening and resurfacing and the sewer force main that serves the eastern end of the district is under the asphalt. He said three known customers need to be connected to sewer before the road is re-surfaced.

The cuts will serve the Gulfview Trailer Park that is currently on septic tanks, the new RV park under construction, and property owned by the Madsen family. There may be one or two additional cuts that need to be made in this same area.

“Eastpoint will be responsible for making the cuts, patching and compacting the base material in accordance with DOT standards, allowing the county to pave the road and the cuts all at the same time,” Pierce said. “The county will not let Eastpoint cut the road until after the board opens the bids for paving as Preble-Rish wants to make sure that there is not a problem with the bids, and to minimize the time there is an open cut.”

The one exception for this will be the new RV park, if it is ready to go on-line before the county opens the bids. The new RV park must have sewer to open and with the force main under the road the road must be cut in order to make the connection.”

“Make sure all the cuts are made before we repair that road,” said Commissioner William Massey.

Pierce said the existing septic tanks will be decommissioned in accordance with state law.

At the same meeting, Pierce distributed a letter from the water and sewer district to Sheriff Mike Mock and Solid Waste Director Fonda Davis advising them of the severely degraded condition of the sewer lift station that serves the jail and the landfill. The district said that the lift station is a county responsibility, and wrote that “the district has continued to help service and make minor repairs to your dedicated lift station; however, the EWSD is not in a financial position to make the necessary repairs your station needs…”

The letter included a quote of $34,000 in repairs needed on the lift station.

Pierce said he advised EWSD Administrator George Allen that the lift station is a part of the Eastpoint system, just like any other lift station, and EWSD is responsible for the operation and maintenance of its equipment.

“We have been paying sewer fees for 25 years and the district has yet to provide me with any documents indicating the county agreed to maintain the lift station,” Pierce said.

The board took no immediate action on the request.


Budget meeting for April 22

Clerk of Courts Marcia Johnson has scheduled a budget workshop for county commissioners on Monday, April 22, at 10 a.m. in the main courtroom in the courthouse. The focus of the workshop will be a discussion by the commission on proposed expenditures for next year.

There are no state estimates on revenues yet, and Property Appraiser Rhonda Skipper has not finished her assessment. She is expecting to have her preliminary numbers by June 1.

Commissioners asked Johnson and Director of Administrative Services Alan Pierce to notify constitutional officers, department heads, the hospital advisory board and, the health department of the meeting.

Chairman Cheryl Sanders said the board wants to be informed of big capital outlays that may need to be addressed in the upcoming budget.


Photographer seeks wooden shrimp boats

Fine art photographer John E Adams is planning to visit Franklin County as part of his latest project, “Evanescent Trawlers of the South,” a photography study of the rapidly disappearing hand crafted wooden shrimp fishing trawlers. Adams is an award-winning fine art photographer from Fernandina Beach.

“Northern Florida used to have some of the largest trawler building ports in the Southeast for many years, now those skills have long passed and the only reminder remaining of this amazing heritage are a small scattering of rapidly declining vessels spread throughout the Southern shrimping regions and ports,” said Adams.

“Evanescent Trawlers of the South,” will consist of future exhibits and a book featuring as many of the remaining handmade wooden shrimping trawlers as can be located. The project plans include traveling over 4,400 miles from the Carolinas to Louisiana to try and capture and preserve images of remaining wooden trawlers. Adams expects to capture process the final prints and book before the end of the August.

To learn more about the project, please contact Adams at (904) 729-8175 or at or visit


Airport drainage issues to be addressed

County commissioners voted unanimously Tuesday to approve a $10,800 task order at the Apalachicola Regional Airport for work assessing the drainage system to be done by AVCON, the county’s airport engineers. DOT grant funds will pay the full amount. After the assessment is done, the Airport Committee will take recommendations on fixing the drainage system since a portion of it has failed. There is $400,000 already awarded the county to fix the drainage system at the airport.


County issues herbicide guidelines

At the request of Transfield Services, the firm that maintains the state right-of-way in the county, the county commission has issued a memo instructing Transfield on the use of herbicides.

The herbicide used is the most environmentally friendly, and safest, and appropriate for the application area per federal/state guidelines.

Transfield or any other approved agent keep accurate and up-to-date herbicide applications logs for auditing purposes and any employee of Transfield or any other FDOT approved agent applying chemicals must be an approved and licensed herbicide applicator as outlined in FL Statues.

The recommendations were prepared by Director of Administrative Services Alan Pierce and County Extension Director Bill Mahan.