Wakulla County

Pictured is a wetland area
Ryan Benk / WFSU-FM

A controversial repeal of a Wakulla County wetlands protection ordinance is set to take effect in about a week.

While a public vote on whether to repeal the ordinance is on the November ballot, Monday’s Wakulla County commission vote centered around what should be done during the months leading up to the referendum. And, in a 4 to 1 decision, commissioners repealed the ordinance requiring a 75-foot buffer zone around the county’s wetlands during a final public hearing on the issue.

Child Drowns In Crawfordville Family Pool

Jul 14, 2014

From the Wakulla County Sheriffs Department:

A four-year-old Prentiss, MS female juvenile drowned in a Crawfordville swimming pool on Friday, July 11 at 4:38 p.m., according to Sheriff Charlie Creel.

The juvenile was visiting with Wakulla County relatives when a family member observed her motionless body in the deep end of the swimming pool at a residence on Spring Creek Highway.

mywakulla.com

Wakulla County Administrator David Edwards says he believes the county fared pretty well in the recently signed budget signed into law by Governor Rick Scott.

He adds officials are thankful to the Governor and the Legislature for awarding them money for two projects. One is $735,000 for Shell Point public access boat facility.

“A boat ramp and launch facility, which will give the public direct boat access, launch access to the Gulf of Mexico, and a safe Harbor area,” said Edwards.

R.Benk / WFSU-News

    

A quarter of a million dollars doesn’t seem like much for a state that has an almost $80 billion budget. But, one particular environmental school has its fingers crossed, hoping Governor Rick Scott approves its relatively tiny small appropriation. It’s money the school’s officials say could help save a $71 million Florida industry.

Bob Ballard carefully swings open the door to a large room and flips on the light switch. Half of the area’s space is taken up by thousands of cylindrical oyster cages – stacked passed the room’s large windows and touching the ceiling.

R.Benk / WFSU-News

Both chambers of the Florida Legislature are trying to push through reforms to the way the state regulates the environment. Some call the proposals an affront to local sovereignty, while others call the move common sense. But increasing differences between the Senate and House versions of the measure are leading some to question whether it has a chance of passing this session.

Wikimedia Commons

Commuters traveling along certain stretches of Northwest Florida’s highways may be in for a surprise this year. Florida Department of Transportation officials are adjusting some speed limits in Wakulla and Leon County.

Wikimedia Commons

In a near-unanimous vote, the Wakulla County Planning and Zoning Commission has recommended stripping wetland protections from the county’s comprehensive plan. Monday night’s meeting was only the latest in battles for control of the community’s wetlands.

Close to thirty citizens commented at Monday night’s meeting and after the decision to remove wetland protections from the county’s comprehensive plan, reaction from opponents was swift.

Wakulla County Sheriff's Office

A recent string of both residential and car burglaries is prompting Wakulla County Sheriff’s deputies to hold a meeting Tuesday offering residents tips to help combat the problem.

Wakulla County Sheriff’s Office Spokesman Keith Blackmar says living in a rural community where people know and trust each other, it’s easy for residents to get complacent about their own safety. So, he says the meeting is partly about changing that culture and teaching residents to be proactive.

Wakulla County Sheriff's Office

Authorities are investigating a string of vehicle burglaries earlier this week in Wakulla County. Sheriff’s deputies say most were preventable.

On Tuesday, law enforcement fielded at least 10 complaints of vehicle burglaries in a pair of residential neighborhoods in Crawfordville.

“People lost some possessions that varied from things and wallets to GPSs to things of that nature,” said Keith Blackmar, Wakulla County Sheriff’s Office spokesman.

But, Blackmar says it’s an avoidable situation.

With storm season fast approaching, the Wakulla County Extension Office is reminding Big Bend residents of the potential danger posed by trees.  Falling trees can cause serious damage to homes, property, and people.

Director Les Harrison said residents should be aware of certain warning signs.

“Are there limbs at severe angles?  Is there any obvious disease or insect pressure?  Are trees rubbing up against structures – or against other trees?  Any of these can speed the decline of the tree,” Harrison said.

Wakulla County Opens New Paddling Trail

May 13, 2013
R. Benk / WFSU-FM

Wakulla County’s wealth of natural beauty is a prime attraction for outdoors enthusiasts. And now, the county is unveiling its newest eco-tourism attraction- a paddle trail that connects the waterside communities of St. Marks and Panacea.

The trail’s ribbon cutting ceremony drew a crowd of trailblazers from around North Florida hoping to be the first to traverse the eco-attraction. The group of paddlers included Kelly Lutz, who’s been waiting years for a new trail to emerge.

Wakulla County Set To Vote On Flavored Tobacco Ban Repeal

Jan 22, 2013

The Wakulla County Commission is meeting Tuesday to consider repealing a ban on the sale of flavored tobacco before it even goes in to effect.  The Commission is revisiting the debate for a second time after it passed an ordinance to ban the substance in November.

The original county ordinance bans the sale of flavored tobacco products in any establishment that is opened to any one under the age of 21.  Wakulla County Commissioner, Dr. Howard Kessler, said he agrees with the spirit of the law.

Flu Season Is Underway

Nov 29, 2012

Officials have confirmed the death of a Wakulla County resident, who is the first in the area to die from flu related complications this season.

Officials recommend that people get flu shots annually in order to protect themselves from what can be a nasty and sometimes deadly illness. Padraic Juarez is the administrator for the Wakulla County health department. He said there are some people who are especially at risk of complications from the flu.

The Florida Department of Health has issued a mosquito-borne illness alert for Leon County. Health officials have confirmed a second case of the West Nile Virus—this time, in a homeless man.

“Basically, we have an individual, 60-years-old who traveled between Leon County and Wakulla County, and at the time, was homeless and sleeping outside, who came down, and was diagnosed with West Nile Virus," said Leon County Health Department Administrator Homer Rice.

"He was hospitalized at Tallahassee Memorial Healthcare and is currently recovering.”

Regan McCarthy

If you’re heading to the coast on Crawfordville Highway, on the right side of the road about two miles before you hit the intersection with the coastal highway you’ll see a sprawling live oak hanging over rows of perfectly arranged rusty cars left over from older generations.  And in Wakulla County it’s become something of a photographer’s destination.

Update: Mosquito Relief Coming for Flooded Counties

Jul 12, 2012
Flooded road in Wakulla Co.
Jessica Palombo / WFSU-FM

Swarms of mosquitoes are the latest hardship facing North Florida residents as they clean up after Tropical Storm Debby. Now, a mosquito spraying task force has been activated to provide relief requested by several counties.

In parts of North Florida, huge numbers of mosquitos are drawn to standing flood water. Keith Blackmar, with the Wakulla Co. Sheriff’s Office, says they’re a major nuisance to people already contending with flooded homes and cars.

Debby Leaves Florida with Floods, Holes and Seven Deaths

Jun 29, 2012
Flooded corn field
Elena Toro / Suwannee County Extension

Tropical Storm Debby, later downgraded to a tropical depression, caused floods, destroyed homes and took the lives of seven Floridians this week, leaving a mark on most of the state. Even though Debby has made her exit from Florida, officials are just beginning to assess the damage she left behind and figure out how to recover.

Debby smacked into Florida early on Sunday after marinating in the Gulf of Mexico for a day. In the early morning, she spawned tornadoes that left a South Florida mother dead.

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