Learn about alligators at Topsail Hill Preserve State Park Jan. 19

Date/time: January 19, 3 p.m.

These formidable creatures were once hunted to near extinction, but have made an incredible recovery. Come learn the full history of Florida’s most famous reptile at this informative slideshow presentation. Learn about the American Alligators who call our Coastal Dune Lakes home. Includes a walk to No Name Lake. Meets at Tram Stop #1.

A $6.00 entry admission per vehicle into the park. Topsail Hill Preserve State Park is located at 7525 W. Scenic Highway 30A, Santa Rosa Beach, Florida 32459. For more information, call (850) 267-8330 ::MAP::

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Florida Chautauqua Assembly comes to DeFuniak Springs Jan. 26 – 29

Dr. Richard Thomas portrays Doc Holliday, the colorful award winning dentist and best friend of Wyatt Earp, gambler and gunslinger, at one of two performance teas at the Florida Chautauqua.

Preserving the past, living in the present and looking to the future, Florida Chautauqua Assembly proudly presents this year’s theme, “A Journey into Science, Technology, Medicine and Society,” from Thursday, January 26 through Sunday, January 29, 2017. The majority of activities and programs are focused in and around the historic Circle Drive and various other sites around DeFuniak Springs.

Free Living History exhibits on the Lake Yard on Circle Drive coupled with affordable new pricing hope to attract the public to this yearly family event which put the town “on the map” when the second Chautauqua in the U.S. was established by New York Chautauqua enthusiasts looking for a warmer climate to hold their events in 1885.  More than 20 guest speakers and performers will be entertaining and informing Chautauqua participants at this year’s event along with historical re-enactors in the Lake Yard bringing history to life.

Meriwether Lewis’ (represented by Moni Boling) tea performance relates the story of how he met with Dr. Benjamin Rush in May, 1803 to learn about medicine before setting off on the infamous Lewis and Clark westward expedition at President Thomas Jefferson’s behest.

Appearing at Walton High School on Friday morning, Keynote Speaker, Wesley Boles, R.N. is the Director of Trauma Services at Fort Walton Beach Medical Center Emergency Services. He was recently recognized by the American College of Surgeons with an award for initiating a system which is now becoming a best practice in multiple trauma centers across the country. Mr. Boles presentation at Walton High School addresses the “Evolution of Trauma Centers” and their importance to local communities. Specially trained trauma nurses have a body of knowledge in caring for injured patients that result in significantly lower death rates for those entering emergency rooms.

Saturday’s excursion to Piney Grove Church in DeFuniak Springs will be a journey into a cultural past when small country churches were the backbone of early communities in America. These small buildings served not only the spiritual needs of the communities, but as meeting places, courtrooms, public halls, and places of celebration. Dennis Ray will serve as the tour guide on the premise of this historic church, re-opened for this Chautauqua, to learn its history and the role it played in the community.

Friday’s performance at the Methodist Church features the restored Carrico family’s string bass which was originally played from 1904-1909 at the Florida Chautauqua. Donated by the Carrico grandchildren, it was lovingly refurbished by local artisan Mr. John Lohr. Bassist Steve Gilmore provides the opportunity to hear music played once again on Maestro Carrico’s beloved bass. Bassist Gilmore and pianist Robert Van Deusen, both recognized and highly revered nationwide in their respective fields, present a program with something for everyone from classical to jazz and ragtime to pop. Click here to download 2017 printed program.

Additional Friday and Saturday programs range around the technology, science and society themes with presentations varying from supernumerary intelligence, to GIS story mapping, Leonardo da Vinci’s notebook and technology’s impact on foreign relations. An in-depth look at both the variety and depth of this year’s program can be found on their website: www.floridachautauquaassembly.org. The traditional teas and other historical presentations can also be further investigated on the website.

Purchase of an all-inclusive Passport is $120. For those who would like the flexibility of attending the Friday or Saturday programs, a single day ticket is available for $60 while individual breakout sessions are $10. The Friday evening dinner performance by the Walton High School Jazz band at the Civic Center is $25. The Saturday excursion to Piney Grove Church is $15 and the Friday performance of the restored Bass is $10. Tea Performances along with the Wine and Cheese Presentation are priced at $18. Tickets can be purchased during the day in person at Chautauqua headquarters, 1290 Circle Drive, DeFuniak Springs. To contact the Florida Chautauqua please call (850) 892-7613. To stay up to date with various events offered at the Chautauqua throughout the year, check their website: www.floridachautauquaassembly.org and Facebook page at www.facebook.com/floridachautauquaassembly .

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Celebrate Arbor Day with a free tree from Florida Forest Service Jan. 28

Trees available at Chautauqua Assembly in DeFuniak Springs

Arbor Day is recognized nationally on the last Friday in April. However, many states observe it on different dates per their state’s best tree-planting times. The first Arbor Day celebration in Florida was held in Defuniak Springs during 1886.

In honor of the historic significance of Defuniak Springs and Arbor Day in Florida, the Florida Forest Service, in conjunction with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and the University of Florida IFAS Extension for Walton County, would like to invite you to the 6th annual Camp Conservation Exhibit, January 27 – 29, 2017. The Exhibit will be held between the Chautauqua Building and Lake Defuniak with displays from rural woods to urban forests and the animals that interact within them. Participating agencies will be on hand to assist with information from your yard to the forest.

The Florida Forest Service will be hosting a tree give-a-way at the annual Chautauqua Assembly on Saturday, January 28th beginning at 8:00 a.m. Over 300, one-gallon, potted trees will be given. Species include dogwood, red maple, pecan, white oak, river birch and redbud. Walton County Sr. Forester, Thomas Moss will be on hand to answer questions about planting trees, tree health or other forestry related issues.

For more details on Arbor Day or other forestry related topics in Calhoun County please contact Thomas Moss at (850) 401-6142 or by email at [email protected]

The Florida Forest Service, a division of the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, manages more than 1 million acres of state forests, provides management assistance on more than 17 million acres of private and community forests, while protecting homes, forestland and natural resources from the devastating effects of wildfire on more than 26 million acres. For more information about the Florida Forest Service, visit www.FloridaForestService.com or call Hannah Anderson at (850) 625-6621.

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Road Closure Notification for County Highway 30A Jan. 24 and 31

Temporary road closures on County Highway 30A have been set in order to facilitate the delivery and placement of the Western Lake Pedestrian Bridges.

During the closures, both east and west bound lanes will be closed to vehicle, pedestrian and bicycle traffic. Once the crane and bridge is in place, contractors will install barriers that completely block the entire right-of-way on 30A.

Road Closure Schedule:
• Tuesday, January 24th at 5:00pm to Thursday, January 26th at 12:00am

• Tuesday, January 31st at 5:00pm to Thursday, February 2nd at 12:00am

Closures will begin 80 foot west of the project and 100 foot east of the project. Traffic detours around these closures will be via US Highway 98.

Questions about these closures can be directed to the Walton County Public Works Department at 850-892-8108.

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Walton county fishing report for Jan. 12

Fishing is good

Bay: Fishing slowed down a bit from rain, a few trout bites and stripers biting.

Gulf: Flounder biting just off shore.

Click here for fishing forecast

Bay and river report brought to you by Copeland’s. “Where the locals shop and the tourists are welcome.”

Click here to find out more about Copeland’s.
Copeland’s Gun and Tackle Shop
17290 U.S. Hwy. 331 S
Freeport, Florida 32439

(850) 835-4277
Store hours:
Mon. – Fri.: 6 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Sat.: 6 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Sun.: Closed

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4-H Teen Retreat at Camp Timpoochee Feb. 24 – 26

The University of Florida IFAS Extension 4-H offices are hosting a Teen Retreat at Camp Timpoochee Feb. 24-26, 2017. The weekend is for teens ages 13-18 in the Northwest District of Florida (4-H Districts I, II & III).

If you are interested in meeting other 4-H teens across northwest Florida, love to camp, an would like to be prepared for state events like 4-H Legislature or 4-H U, or college scholarships, this Teen Retreat is tailor made for you. Last year, a committee of youth and adults put together a weekend event to help teens grow their leadership, communication and workforce skills.
WHAT: A fun weekend retreat with your peers
WHEN: February 24-26, 2017
WHERE: Camp Timpoochee, Niceville, FL
HOW: Workshops and fun shops will be planned and taught by youth committee members. Everyone will also participate in a service project.  Participants will be expected to bring what they learn back to their county council and organize a similar service project April 28-30.

Registration is open via 4HOnline.  The cost is $75/person thanks to corporate donations from State Farm and Farm Credit of Northwest Florida.  Participate in our Teen Retreat T-shirt Design Contest and you could win a $50.00 scholarship for this event. Check with your local UF IFAS Extension Office to inquire about any additional scholarships that may be available.  Once you complete your registration online, submit your payment to your local UF IFAS Extension Office.

Learn more details here.

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