The tradition of getting hitched at the courthouse is no longer an option in several Panhandle counties in Florida. In Okaloosa County, a local law firm is stepping in to fill that void. WUWF’s Danielle Freeman reports, the offer of free wedding ceremonies is open to all, but coincides with the legalization of same sex marriage in the state.
"By virtue of the authority vested in me under the laws of the state of Florida I now pronounce you married, you may kiss your spouse."
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.
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.
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.
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.
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."
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."
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.
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.
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.