Workshop on Chapman Auditorium today

The University of Florida invites Franklin County residents to participate in a community workshop. Participants will engage in activities that address a new use for the historic Chapman School Building and Auditorium. The workshop, in the Chapman Auditorium at Avenue E and 12th Street, will start at 9 a.m. on Thursday, Sept. 26. The workshop will last approximately two hours. Please come help create a better future for the beloved historic school. All county residents are welcome. Contact Kara Litvinas at or call (267) 671-7308 for further information.


BBQ lunch Friday to benefit wildlife

On Friday, Sept. 27, the Philaco Women’s club is hosting a benefit luncheon to raise money in support of the Florida Wild Mammal Association wildlife rescue facility. The meal includes a half chicken, baked beans and potato salad.

Master chef John Solomon will man the grill. The cookout takes place next to the Tin Shed at the corner of Avenue D and Water Street. Meals are available from 11:30 a.m. until it’s all gone.

A donation of $8 is requested. To preorder or arrange for a delivery, please call 653-5857.


Estuary Day Friday afternoon in Eastpoint

The Apalachicola National Estuary Research Reserve will host the annual Estuaries Day celebration on Friday, Sept. 27 from 1:30 to 6 p.m. at the Nature Center, 108 Island Drive in Eastpoint. As always, the event is free to the public. Children that attend must be accompanied by an adult.

Visitors must enter from 108 Island Drive in Eastpoint; Millender Street will be closed. The Nature Center will remain closed the morning of Estuaries Day. Although the gate to the parking lot will open at 1 p.m., visitors will not be admitted to the event until 1:30 p.m. 

The first 600 visitors, over age 3, will receive a free t-shirt. 

This event will feature more than a dozen fun games and learning activities including touch tanks, beekeeping demonstrations, science on the shoreline activities and more.

For the first time, Friends of the Reserve is partnering with the Franklin County School culinary program to sell food at the event.

All activities wrap up in time for the door prize drawing from 5:30-6 p.m. This year’s drawing includes more than 40 items from local businesses and individuals. The grand prize is a two-night stay at The Villas on St. George Island.


Historical Society to meet Saturday

The Apalachicola Area Historical Society will hold its general meeting this Saturday, Sept. 28 at 9:30 a.m. at the Raney Carriage House.

The meeting will open with a talk by author Robert Saunders, PhD. A history professor and department head at Troy University, and a regular visitor to this area, Saunders is working on a new book that will chronicle the area’s rich heritage. Please join us to hear and enjoy Bob's in-depth insights on our unique history!

Immediately after Saunders talk we will have a general business meeting to address much needed revisions that will update AAHS Articles of Incorporation. In addition, several officer/board members will stand for election. We encourage any individual interested in taking a more active role in our vital community organization to contact one of the nominating committee members to discuss your interest. Nominations will also be taken from the floor.

Also, please remember to pay your annual $10 membership dues due now (or at the meeting) and update your contact information). By mail, please make check payable to AAHS, P.O. Box 75, Apalachicola, FL 32329.

Apalachicola Area Historical Society, Inc. is 501c(3) non-profit Registered Corp. and your membership and contributions are tax deductible, welcomed and most appreciated. Only paid members are eligible to vote.


Seafood workers to meet Monday

The Franklin County Seafood Workers Association will hold a special meeting on Monday, Sept. 30 at 4 p.m. at the courthouse annex in Apalachicola. The meeting will discuss several current, special issues regarding the bay.

For more information, call Luther Hatfield, the FCSWA secretary, at 850-532-4464.


FCI needs to fill 30 job openings

At the Sept. 19 county commission meeting, Franklin Correctional Institution Warden Christopher Atkins said that FCI is now seeking 30 correctional officers.

He thanked Sheriff Mike Mock for the use of a flashing sign advertising the positions. “I put it close by the bay,” he said.

The telephone number for the correctional facility is 697-1100.


Gulf-Franklin offers correctional officer training

A new correctional officer training program will be starting at the Gulf/Franklin Campus of Gulf Coast State College in Port St. Joe on Jan. 22, 2014. This program is designed to prepare students for the state certification exam. Individuals who pass this exam are eligible for employment in any state, county or privately run correctional facility in Florida.

The program, conducted using the new shorter curriculum, and lasting about three months, will run from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. daily, Monday through Thursday. For more information, please call Brenda Burkett at 227-9670 ext. 5507 or email her at .

The application deadline for Pell Grants and financial aid is fast approaching, so please call today or come by the Gulf/Franklin Campus to pick up your application packet.


GUIC awarded boat ramp repairs

County commissioners voted Aug. 20 to award Gulf Coast Utility Contractors the contract to repair the revetment and road leading to the St. George Island boat ramp damaged last year during Tropical Storm Debby.

Gulf Coast offered the low bid for the work, $434,511. FEMA reimbursed the county for the cost of the project. The deadline for completing this work is Jan. 2, 2014.

Commissioner Pinki Jackel asked that the deadline for the project be moved up to Nov. 30, 2013. “I don’t want to get in a mess like the pier project,” she said.


County vacancies on Planning and Zoning

On Sept. 17, County Planner Alan Pierce told commissioners the county Planning and Zoning Commission (P&Z) could not meet this month for lack of a quorum. He said P&Z has been operating with less than a full commission for some time and suggested the vacancies be filled.

The commission is made up of nine seats, and two alternates. The seats that now need to be filled are District 2/forestry; District 3/alternate and District 4/seafood worker.

Pierce said Bill Laine, who represents District 3 as a realtor, has not attended any meetings this year. Commissioner Noah Lockley moved Aaron Wray replace Laine and the motion passed unanimously.

Pierce said Steve Davis, who serves as a seafood dealer representing District 4, may not wish to continue serving for health reasons.

Currently serving on P&Z are Paul Riegelmayer, District 1, at-large; Larry Perryman, District 1, science; John Murphy, District 2, at large; and Dan Rosier and Skip Frink, District 5, at-large.


Count authorizes economic development study

On Sept. 17, county commissioners voted unanimously to accept a $25,000 technical assistance grant from the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity to assess the economic impact of tourism here. Stantech, an engineering consultation firm with offices in Tallahassee, will carry out the research. The same firm recently analyzed Carrabelle’s economy.


Revised personnel policy in effect next week

At the Sept. 3 county meeting, Clerk of Courts Marcia Johnson said consulting attorney Lucy Turner of Carson and Adkins, has presented the final version of the Personnel Policy and Procedures Manual. Any changes from the workshop have been incorporated. At Johnson’s request, commissioners voted unanimously to approve the new manual and put it into effect on Oct. 1.


Lighthouse Society seeks homes for 2014 tour

Plans are underway for the next St. George Island Tour of Homes, fast becoming one of the highlights of the island’s “winter social season!” Mark your calendars for Feb. 7 and 8.

 The weekend will begin with a reception and presentation on Friday evening, followed by the chance to visit some of the island’s premier residences on Saturday.

The Selection Committee is now in the process of collecting home nominations for the 2014 Tour. If you know of a special home that you would like to nominate, contact us at

We are looking for a mix of unique homes, from small to large, from beach to bay and in between, from the East End to Gulf Beaches to the Plantation. There are two caveats: 1) homes that will be for sale at the time of the Tour cannot be accepted; and 2) with many nominations expected, not all homes can be selected. But there’s always the need to fill the pipeline for future years!

If you are interested in volunteering on Tour day, let us know that too. Many folks are needed to serve as docents in the homes and to work as drivers for the Plantation shuttle.

The Tour of Homes is a major fundraiser for the St. George Lighthouse Association. Proceeds help to maintain the Lighthouse, the Keeper’s House, and Lighthouse Park.