Okaloosa County

Freedom Bell
2:51 pm
Wed November 19, 2014

Freedom Bell Rings In Ft. Walton Beach

Credit Danielle Freeman

  For decades the flagpole at Beal Memorial Cemetery has been the gathering spot for services honoring the military community, but that will soon change with the construction of a new Veteran’s Tribute Tower. 

Even though construction of the Veteran’s Tribute Tower hasn’t begun, the Freedom Bell that will be a prominent part of the tower is being used. The bell was rung at the Veteran’s Day observance ceremony last week and for the very first time at its dedication in September.

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Okaloosa County
4:59 pm
Mon November 17, 2014

Okaloosa County Sheriff's Department Officers Earn Outstanding Performance Award

Credit Okaloosa County Sheriff's Department

  Today Okaloosa County Sheriff Larry Ashley honored two OCSO Investigators whose hard work helped solve the horrific murder of an elderly resident that spanned back 16 years. Jewel Melvin had been beaten and strangled inside her Crestview home before her body was discovered May 15th 1998.

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Election 2014
12:23 pm
Mon October 20, 2014

Early Voting Begins For General Election Nov. 4th

    Early voting is getting underway across the region for the November 4th General Election. Voters in Okaloosa, Santa Rosa, and Escambia Counties can cast ballots beginning Monday and continuing through Saturday, November 1st. 

For the General Election, each of the counties is exceeding the eight-day minimum by providing a total of 13 early voting days, with a combined 14 polling locations that will be open for 10 hours each day in Okaloosa and Santa Rosa counties; nine hours daily in Escambia.

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UWF Emerald Coast
4:01 pm
Tue October 14, 2014

UWF Emerald Coast Introduces "Finish Here"

The University of West Florida is launching a new marketing campaign titled “Finish Here” to attract more students to its Emerald Coast campuses.  The effort includes the first-ever ‘Finish Here 5K Run/Walk’ to benefit a new scholarship fund.

Susan Shaw is the Executive Director of the UWF Emerald Coast. Shaw says the 5K event is being held in conjunction with an ongoing multimedia campaign designed to bring a little more recognition to the campuses in Okaloosa County and what they have to offer the community. Shaw says she’s optimistic that the race will do just that.

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Groundbreaking Ceremony in Shalimar
3:51 pm
Tue September 30, 2014

Breaking Ground On County Administration Building In Shalimar

County Leaders Break Ground
Kathy Newby

County officials crowded together under tents hoping to avoid the rain Monday morning during the groundbreaking ceremony at the future site of the Okaloosa County Administration Building. The site was once the home of the Shalimar Annex which was recently demolished in July. County Commission Chair Kelly Windes says the Annex which was built in 1963 was functionally and technologically challenged by today’s standards and needed to be replaced, "Here we are today we’re going to have a redo, we’re going to completely start over. We will build a facility that will be citizen friendly."

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Health
11:09 am
Thu September 25, 2014

Okaloosa Expands Rabies Alert & Santa Rosa Holds Rabies Drive-Through Clinic For Pets

The rabies alert, first issued last week, lasts for 60 days and is designed to notify the public of a concentration of animals testing positive for rabies in the area.  

Dr. Karen Chapman, Director of the Florida Department of Health in Okaloosa County, says this is a relatively unusual occurrence but residents should be aware that rabies can be found in all kinds of wild animals, "In this case it happened to be bats, that is we had three rabid bats associated with contact with humans or domestic animals in a 30 day period."

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Hurricane Ivan 10th Anniversary
12:28 pm
Thu September 18, 2014

Okaloosa County Remembers Ivan

Mary Esther During Hurricane Ivan
Credit Patsy Knox

  Ten years ago, Hurricane Ivan brought widespread destruction to the region.  In Northwest Florida, Escambia and Santa Rosa counties were closest to the eye and suffered the most damage. As part of WUWF’s 10th anniversary series, Danielle Freeman has this look at the storm’s impact on Okaloosa County.  

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Summer Intensive Studies
1:33 pm
Mon July 28, 2014

Summer Intensive Studies Wraps Up In Okaloosa County

  Although it’s almost time to head back to school, some area students never left. A number of students in Okaloosa County spent much of the break attending the summer intensive studies program (SIS), more commonly known as summer school. 

The Summer Intensive Studies  program is offered at every level, but for elementary schools students solely in the subject areas of math and reading. Ten elementary schools participated as host sites.

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Pet Friendly Shelters
4:42 pm
Tue June 24, 2014

Have Pets? Here's What You Need To Know About Emergency Shelters

Animals with current vaccinations and registration can stay at a special shelter during an emergency.
Credit Photo via Flickr//Tracy Ducasse

No one wants to get stuck in a hurricane shelter. They are, and should be, a last resort for keeping you and your family safe. But what if your family includes pets? There are options. Escambia, Santa Rosa and Okaloosa Counties all have an emergency shelter that will take pets. John Dosh, Emergency Manager for Escambia County says the idea for the shelters came after seeing the chaos in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina where so many pets were left behind and abandoned.

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Flood Recovery
3:04 pm
Fri May 2, 2014

Residents Clean Up After Flood

Flooding outside the Floridatown home where Joshua Condon has lived for 8 years.
Credit Joshua Condon

After Tuesday night’s deluge, local government officials, business owners, and residents across the region had little rain to deal with as they began to pick up the pieces from this week’s floods.

As much as 27 inches were recorded in some areas over a 30 hour period.

The floodwaters left some residents stranded. While many were pulled to safety on Wednesday, with equipment and assistance from the state, a final round of checks was underway on Thursday.

Daniel Hahn, Emergency Management Plans Chief for Santa Rosa County.

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