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Okaloosa Archery teams dominate at State

To: Daily Rundown Readers


Hurlburt Field to host FREE 2-day Open House for the first time in 11 years

Hurlburt Field

The U.S. Air Force is hosting a 2-day Open House at Hurlburt Field on April 14 for DOD identification card holders and April 15 for the general public.

  • For the first time since 2012, the base will open its gates to the public for a FREE two-day event between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. 
  • This year’s them is: “Connect with our Mission.”

According to a press release from Hurlburt, attendees will have the opportunity to talk with Airmen, experience military demonstrations and tour the Air Force’s latest generation of special forces aircraft, that are essential to accomplishing the nation’s global defense mission. 

  • Vendors and concessions will also be available at the event.

“We look forward to hosting our Emerald Coast community and showcasing what our AFSOC Airmen are doing to protect our nation,” said Col. Alison Black, 1st Special Operations Wing commander.

Hurlburt Field is home to the United States Air Force Special Operations Command, 1st Special Operations Wing, 492nd Special Operations Wing, more than 45 tenant units, and more than nine thousand special operations Airmen.

For more information on this years event, please visit the Hurlburt Field Open House website or visit the official Hurlburt Field Facebook page.


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Fort Walton Beach man charged with attempted murder after dragging 2 police officers with vehicle

On Saturday, February 25, 2023, at approximately 3:17 p.m., Fort Walton Beach Police Officers initiated a traffic stop at the intersection of Hughes Street and Oregon Drive for a traffic infraction. 

  • During the traffic stop, officers attempted to identify the driver. 
  • While speaking with him about his identity, officers reportedly observed drug paraphernalia in the driver’s door and a knife in the passenger seat.

According to the report, upon the observations, the driver was asked to exit the vehicle. Upon refusal, officers attempted to remove him from the vehicle, but the driver trapped one of the officer’s arms and placed his vehicle in drive. 

As a backup officer attempted to free the trapped officer’s arm, they were both dragged with the vehicle, according to the report. The backup officer was able to free the first officers’ arm, however, he then found himself trapped as the vehicle rapidly accelerated and the driver had taken control of the officer’s shoulder microphone for his radio.

The driver allegedly stated to the officer, “You’re going to die today.” 

According to the report, the driver directed his vehicle towards a power pole, lining the vehicle up for a head on collision and began striking the officer in the face. The officer was able to prevent the crash, by taking control of the steering wheel and then depressing the break with his foot. 

  • Upon the vehicle coming to final rest, backup units then deployed a Taser allowing officers to take the driver into custody. 
  • The driver was in possession of illegal narcotics and found to have outstanding felony warrants once he was identified.

This investigation is ongoing, but the 27-year-old driver, Antonio Betts, was charged with attempted felony murder, aggravated battery with a deadly weapon, fleeing and eluding, possession of a controlled substance, false name while lawfully detained, resisting arrest without violence, and depriving law enforcement officer means of communication. 

The officers and driver were treated at the Fort Walton Destin Medical Center for minor injuries.


Laurel Hill School to Host Job-a-Palooza

📸 Superintendent Marcus Chambers

In partnership with Vision of Hope, Laurel Hill School will host a “Job-a-Palooza” on Friday, March 10, from 10 am to 1 pm, for Okaloosa County Schools District’s ESE (Exceptional Student Education) students in grades 9-12.

This opportunity is for students who might qualify for or benefit from Vocational Rehab services. Students will have opportunities to learn about different companies, interact with potential employers, learn more about available community resources, self-advocacy, life, and social skills.

  • Local businesses and service organizations will conduct meet and greets, work task demonstrations that someone might perform in the various jobs, and even allow for hands-on participation.
  • Food trucks will be on-site during the event. 

Vision of Hope is a nonprofit organization providing job skills training, employment placement, and internship opportunities for people with intellectual and developmental differences.

For more information, please contact Ashely Miller at Laurel Hill School is at 8078 4th St, Laurel Hill, FL 32567. 


Our 5-minute interviews with all 13 candidates running for FWB City Council

Thirteen candidates are vying for positions in the Fort Walton Beach City Council. Last week, I conducted video interviews with each of the candidates to help the public better understand who they are and what their views are. 

The interviews were rapid-style, and the candidates did not know what the questions would be ahead of time. Each were given 60 seconds to answer 5 questions, plus an opportunity to give a closing statement.

Here are the 13 candidates:

  • Debra Riley
  • Jason Harwell
  • Kirby Locklear (incumbent)
  • M.G. Moran (incumbent)
  • Ryan Hartman
  • Nathan Kelley (incumbent)
  • Brandon Bishop
  • Gareth Stearns
  • Amy Jamieson
  • Jared Bryce Jeter
  • Gloria DeBerry
  • Larry Patrick
  • Payne Walker

Click here to watch/listen to all thirteen interviews.

Reminder: “The Venue at Beach Weekend” is hosting a Meet the Candidates evening on March 1, 2023, to give residents the opportunity to meet (and get to know) the candidates. Click here to learn more.


Okaloosa adopts new fees for commercial beach vending such as photography, weddings, & food

📸 Okaloosa Public Information Office

On Tuesday, February 21, 2023, the Okaloosa Board of County Commissioners voted unanimously to adopt a resolution pertaining to various annual and usage fees for permitted beach/park vending. This includes new fees for photography, mobile food and beverage vending, sand castle and picnic vendors.

  • As it stands today, the requirements to obtain a permit are very minimal, and the rules governing beach activities are also minimal in many ways. According to the county, the changes in the Resolution are designed to address the growing number of vendors and increasing activity on the beach.

To obtain a Qualified Beach Vendor Permit, vendors will be required to pay new fees for photography, mobile food and beverage vending, sand castle and picnic vendors. The new fees are as follows:

  • Wedding and Food and Beverage Vendors – $500 per year
  • Picnic, Photography, and Sand Castle Vendors – $250 per year
  • Chair and Umbrella Vendors (Includes vehicle fees)
    • With upland condo agreements of less than 500 units – $2,500 per year, 
    • With upland condo agreements of greater than 500 units and less than 1000 units – $5,000 per year
    • With upland condo agreements of more than 1,000 units – $10,000 per year.

There will also be usage fees for beach vendors, including:

  • Wedding Vending:
    • Elopement Wedding – Fewer than 6, No setups – $50
    • Wedding (excluding James Lee Park) – $100
    • James Lee Park Wedding – $200
    • Additional Fee for Wedding after 5pm – $50
    • Additional Fee for Weekend Wedding – $50
  • Picnic, Sand Castles, and Photography Vending:
    • Sand Castles Events – $50
    • Picnics Events over 4 individuals – $50
    • Picnic Events with prolonged setup over 4 hours – $100
    • Photography over 10 individuals or w/setups/Over 2hrs – $50
  • Food and Beverage Vendors – $400 per month.

Additionally, chair and umbrella beach vendors will be required to pay $100 per chair and umbrella setup, per section of beach, between beach accessways and Upland Owner Permit equivalent to $75 per upland unit, per calendar year.

The Board also created chair and umbrella non-vending areas on County beaches. These non-vending areas will consist of the width of each of the seven 100ft wide public beach accessway property, plus 50ft on either side of the public access property.

The resolution is effective immediately.


Okaloosa archery teams dominate at State. Middle & elementary schools win state championship

The 2023 Florida National Archery in Schools Program (NASP) State Tournament was held on February 24-25, 2023, at Lake City Middle School in Lake City, Florida. 

  • Thirty-one schools, including elementary, middle, and high schools, took part in the competition, with several schools showcasing impressive performances.

One school that stood out from the pack was Liza Jackson Preparatory School in Fort Walton Beach. The school’s middle school archery team won the state championship, finishing with a score of 3143 and 100 tens, the highest number of bullseyes scored. 

  • The team’s excellent performance secured them the top spot out of eight participating teams. Liza Jackson’s elementary team also made an impact by placing 3rd in the state.

Brooklyn Watsona 7th-grade student at Liza Jackson Preparatory School, displayed an impressive performance. Her score of 276 and 15 tens helped her to secure 1st place among the 7th grade girls and the 3rd place overall among 105 middle school girls. 

Callie Campbellanother Liza Jackson student, also performed exceptionally well, ranking 5th among the 7th-grade girls and 15th overall among middle school girls.

Ben Cansdale was the highest-ranking male archer from Liza Jackson Preparatory School, finishing 6th among middle school boys and 17th overall among 211 male archers. 

Kinley Frileya 5th-grade student from Liza Jackson’s elementary team, secured the top spot among 81 elementary girls, 1st place among 5th-grade girls, and 27th overall among 246 girls.

Okaloosa schools represent at State

Liza Jackson wasn’t the only Okaloosa school showing up at State. Destin Middle School placed 2nd, followed by Meigs Middle School in 3rd place.

Destin Middle School’s Edward Benaglio, Gavin Bonneau, and Lennon Christie also put in some commendable performances. 

  • Edward Benaglio secured the 2nd spot among the 8th-grade boys and 3rd overall among 92 middle school boys, while Gavin Bonneau’s score of 269 and 11 tens helped him secure the 1st spot among 7th-grade boys and the 19th spot overall among 211 male archers. 
  • Lennon Christie finished 8th among middle school girls, securing the 3rd place among 8th-grade girls and the 23rd place overall among 246 girls.

Meigs Middle School also put in a noteworthy performance, with Jayce Nelson, Nolen Henderson, and Carson Scott showcasing their archery skills. 

  • Jayce Nelson’s score of 275 and 13 tens secured him the 1st spot among 6th-grade boys and the 2nd overall spot among 92 middle school boys. 
  • Nolen Henderson finished 7th among middle school boys and 18th overall among 211 male archers, while Carson Scott’s score of 264 and 10 tens secured him the 5th spot among 6th-grade boys and the 31st overall spot among 211 male archers.

Choctaw High School places 2nd in State

In addition to Liza Jackson Preparatory School’s victory, Choctawhatchee High School also made a significant impact at the 2023 Florida NASP State Tournament. 

  • The school finished with an impressive score of 3302 and 159 tens, securing the 2nd spot out of five participating teams.

Ashton Laberge was a standout performer from Choctawhatchee High School, finishing 2nd among high school boys and 2nd overall among 211 male archers. His score of 287 and 19 tens helped him secure the top spot among 9th-grade boys. 

Madison Mall was also a noteworthy performer, securing the 2nd spot among high school girls and 2nd overall among 246 female archers. Her score of 286 and 18 tens helped her secure the top spot among 12th-grade girls.

Erik Gonzalez, a junior from Choctawhatchee High School, also displayed impressive archery skills, finishing 4th among high school boys and 4th overall among 211 male archers. His score of 285 and 18 tens helped him secure the top spot among 11th-grade boys. 

Ava Pierce secured the 3rd spot among high school girls and 3rd overall among 246 female archers, with her score of 283 and 14 tens.

Shalimar Elementary wins State for elementary division

Shalimar Elementary also had a standout performance at the 2023 Florida NASP State Tournament. The school’s elementary team finished with an impressive score of 2997 and 74 tens, securing the top spot out of six participating teams.

Riley Boswell was a top performer from Shalimar Elementary, securing the 3rd spot among elementary girls and 47th overall among 246 female archers. Her score of 260 and 9 tens helped her secure the 3rd spot among 5th-grade girls. 

Linkoln Updike was also a noteworthy performer, finishing 3rd among elementary boys and 46th overall among 211 male archers. His score of 257 and 12 tens helped him secure the 2nd spot among 5th-grade boys. 

Lucy Ferguson secured the 4th spot among elementary girls and 61st overall among 246 female archers, with her score of 255 and 7 tens.

Other Okaloosa Schools:

  • Pryor Middle School placed 5th middle school division.
  • Elliot Point Elementary placed 3rd in elementary division.
  • Fort Walton Beach High School placed 4th in high school division.
  • Saint Mary Catholic School had individual archers. 

Destin Elementary had two individual archers compete:

  • Fourth-grader, Ryan Gregg, scored 265 with 9 tens to help him secure the number 1 spot for not only 4th grade boys, but first for the Elementary Boys division. 
  • Merric Lacour, also fourth grade, scored 249 with 5 tens.

OK, that’s all I have for you this morning! I hope you have a great Tuesday!

p.s. What did you think of this morning’s newsletter? Hit the reply button and let me know!

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