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Author: Sandi Kemp

Out and About

I have had the privilege of serving on the Navarre Chamber Foundation Board for the past 20 years with amazing, talented, and compassionate people. They also have a lot of energy, and we truly care about our community.

Most of us have worked together for more than a decade at the same events year after year. We make it look easy – when it really isn’t.

We recently had our annual meeting and went over the highlights for 2022 and they are notable, especially when you see them on the same sheet of paper.

Some of the highlights include: six Kayak Tours with 115 participants; Take a Kid Fishing with 200 participants; Run for the Reef with 475 participants, up 86 from 2021 – 21% from outside state; 51% from outside of Santa Rosa County. The event netted $12,677; Jingle Bell Run had 243 participants, netting $5,235; the Ian Lockwood Scholarship Education Grants presented $1,000 each to one male and one female Navarre High senior; Keifer Huhman Scholarship Education Grant to one Navarre High JROTC grad $500;

Navarre CERT donation for their continued extraordinary support to the community $500;
And contributions due to a $9,500 donation from the Navarre Fishing Rodeo included donations to the Navarre Beach Sea Turtle Center of $3,500, Navarre Beach Marine Sanctuary (Reefs) received $3,500, and the Navarre Beach Marine Science Station, $2,500.

We applied for and were awarded Grants and Sponsorships from: the Santa Rosa County Tourism Development Council, Fish Florida, FWC Lionfish Tournament Assistance, Ocean Conservancy, Walmart, and Cox Communications. The foundation has been awarded the GuideStar 2022 Platinum Seal of Transparency. If you are interested in being part of the little foundation that could and did and still does work hard to benefit our community, please visit

The Holley Navarre Water System board election is Jan. 16. We received two responses to our question-and-answer survey sent to all candidates.

You can read those on the Eye on Government page in this issue. This is an important time in the history of HNWS to be on the board. After the termination of Dallas Peavey last year, there is much investigation to be done for any possible wrongdoing or fraud. A complaint has been made also against board President and interim CEO Joe Campbell for misconduct. These issues have to be resolved.

We are excited that the new Santa Rosa County Courthouse on Avalon Boulevard in Milton is finally going to open. We have been reporting on the new courthouse for some time wondering when it will ever open. We got the word and the first day of business will be Jan. 17.

The building will house the First Judicial Circuit court offices and the offices of Don Spencer, Clerk of Court and Comptroller. So, if you have been summoned for a case, appearance or jury duty on that date, go to the Avalon Boulevard location.

Quote of the Week: “Power doesn’t corrupt people, people corrupt power.” William Gaddis, American Novelist, Dec. 29, 1922 – Dec. 16, 1998

Out and About

Hopefully county officials have figured this out and are meeting regionally. I know there are statewide groups that meet – Association of Counties, Association of Cities, and more. I don’t believe the statewide meetings are as valuable as knowing what is going on in your neighboring counties. I’m sure mayors get together and discuss best practices, right?

Or are they holding their cards close to their chests? Today I attended a Tourist Development Council meeting for Okaloosa County in Crestview. They have just started having occasional meetings on the north end of their county, something Santa Rosa County has been doing for years. Maybe they adopted that after learning best practices from Santa Rosa County?

Regardless, I picked up on a few ideas that I’m going to share with our Santa Rosa County TDC as far as reporting more details. Okaloosa County reports on pre-bookings, which gives an idea of what the next season is going to look like. I don’t remember ever hearing of a similar forecast report in Santa Rosa County.

We have the Jingle Bell Run, the Parade, the Market and this weekend Caring and Sharing will be distributing food to those in need. Company holiday parties are still going on and will probably all wrap up this week so businesses can start concentrating on their families at home, not at work. Though, work families are very important, that is why we celebrate with them as well. What hasn’t happened yet is the announcement of our Holiday Sweepstakes winners.

Our sweepstakes software will be drawing two random winners first thing Thursday morning (today) and they will each have $800 (or more) in gift cards from our local businesses, just in time to bring Christmas cheer to all those they hold dear, or to themselves. Up to them.

We are very happy to announce our new editor, Dusty Ricketts. He is new to us but not to this area.

We have had two false starts this year, but apparently we were just waiting for Dusty to become available.

He is a great addition to our team! Now, Gail can do her job as the Publisher, and I can do my job in Business Development and great things are going to happen for our communities.

Someone commented to me today in Crestview that they were happy to see that we brought Dusty on board and described him as someone that “could write.”

That was a dig at the last couple of hires, who, unfortunately, as it turns out, couldn’t or at least, didn’t write. I didn’t mind the dig. I loved it because they felt like they could be truthful and honest with me and that is the largest compliment anyone can pay me or anyone else.

Quote of the week: “The great thing in this world is not so much where you stand, as in what direction you are moving.” —Oliver Wendell Holmes (1809 -1894), American physician, poet and humorist notable for his medical research and teaching, and as the author of the “Breakfast-Table” series of essays.

Out and About

I gathered these versus to remind me of what true thanksgiving is and what my gratitude should be focused on. I hope you enjoy them during this time that we take a break from our routines and focus on being thankful for all of our many blessings – or as we set out to purposefully be a blessing to others.

Psalms 136:1 Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good. His love endures forever.

Colossians 3:15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.

Psalms 100:4 Enter His gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise His name.

Psalms 100: 5 For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; His faithfulness continues through all generations.

2 Corinthians 4:15 All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God.

2 Corinthians 9:15 Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!

Philippians 4: 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

Philippians 4: 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

1 Thessalonians 5: 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

James 1:17 Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.

Psalms 118:29 Give Thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His loves endures forever.

Colossians 4:2 Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful

Psalm 7:17 I will give thanks to the Lord because of His righteousness; I will sing the praises of the name of the Lord Most High.

Psalm 9:1 I will give thanks to you, Lord, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonderful deeds.

Philippians 4:6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

1 Timothy 4:4 For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving.

Psalms 106:1 Praise the Lord. Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever.

Out and About

Navarre Press has an article on this topic in this week’s issue. It gives good information on why the district is asking for it.

While we are talking about Holley Navarre Fire District, they are hosting their Fire Prevention Open House on Oct. 15 from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. Kids love this event – they land the ShandsCare helicopter at around 1 p.m., they also do a live fire demonstration at 11:45 a.m. Please take your children – they will love it!

But back to voting – if you aren’t registered and/or you do not vote in the November election, please don’t cry about how you think things are right now. Voting is what affects change. Voting is how you make your voice heard. Voting is the ultimate privilege, right and responsibility we have in this country. We have the freedom to choose our elected officials. If you are registered – please vote!

There is an ad in this paper for a debate between our District 4 County Commissioner, Dave Piech and newcomer, Ray Eddington.

According to the organizer, Ye Olde Brothers Brewery, Ray has refused to debate his opponent, Dave Piech, one on one. The questionnaire that we sent him in July was not answered in a timely manner. If we had not called him several times, it would never have been submitted.

He lists no education, no prior employment and just states he is “retired.” He is concerned about “clear cutting” and states our taxes are too high and if something isn’t done, “taxpayers on fixed incomes cannot afford the new increases in taxes.”

For the record, there has not been ad valorem county-wide millage rate increase since 1988 when it went from 4.9 to 6.972 where it stayed until 2001, when it went DOWN to 6.6175, and then in 2007 it went DOWN again to 6.0953 and has stayed there ever since. Eddington wasn’t officially a property owner in Santa Rosa County until February of this year when his wife quit claimed him on the deed. He lists the entire property value as part of his net worth on his qualifying documents.

I haven’t seen him at events or anywhere. I saw on his Facebook he was buying Sno Cones this past weekend but there are no pictures of him at the event or with any citizens. He shares a lot of Ron DeSantis’s posts – but that is about it. I have heard he was at one debate but never really answered any questions. I have asked for recordings to see what I can find out about him because it seems very strange that he would decide to run for office and really not know any of the real issues.

He paid $2,500 in March to “Blackwater Express Marketing” which is based in Milton and known to only take on one candidate for each race at a time. They have a social media machine that will bash the other candidate(s) looking like they are citizens that are “concerned” when they are really paid political hacks.

In the past they represented James Calkins and his wife, Mariya Calkins who recently lost to Joel Rudman. It is a mystery and I hope Mr. Eddington reads this and sits down with us so we can find out more about him, since he is running for District 4, our district.

And, if he were to win, would represent the entire county. I think we deserve more information from a candidate. Our Santa Rosa County Commissioner for District 3, James Calkins, has yet to put his bio on the county website. We called him out on this two years ago and it is still blank.

Recently we just saw a video of Calkins saying, “I love Russia” while in Russia. We do not need another county commissioner that lives in the shadows. Come out of the shadows Mr. Eddington.

Quote of the week: “It’s better to keep your mouth shut and appear stupid than open it and remove all doubt”

Mark Twain (1835-1910) US humorist, novelist, short story author, & wit (1835 – 1910)

Out and About

Most people understand that newspapers’ first responsibility is to the truth and the responsible reporting and distribution of the truth – especially the truth about how our elected and appointed officials manage the sacred trust (and taxpayers’ money) with which we’ve entrusted them. But Dean Ridings, CEO of America’s Newspapers, provided four other reasons newspapers are important:

Newspapers are reliable. News from your local newspaper is professionally gathered, fact-checked and edited. Even the editorials and letters to the editor go through a rigorous process to get the facts correct. You might not always agree, but you can rely on the fact that what’s published has followed the highest journalistic standards. You may not agree with the positions on your newspaper’s editorial page, but you probably realize that their goal is to provide you with objective and impartial news coverage in the rest of the paper.

Newspapers protect your right to know. Most newspapers serve another critical purpose by publishing public notices. A public notice is a notice issued by government agencies regarding proposed actions, zoning proposals, tax initiatives or other lawmaking proceedings. Most local governments are required to publish them in local newspapers, so all citizens have the opportunity to know what’s going on, and if necessary, take appropriate action. Newspapers provide broad community distribution. Moving a public notice to a municipal website would be like hiding the notice. Newspapers help keep your government’s actions transparent.

Newspapers are more than print. Local newspapers deliver high-quality information in the format that works best for you. Newspapers have dynamic websites, apps, social media channels and newsletters, and they have made significant advancements in digital platforms to make sure you get the news you need when you want it and how you want it. Newspaper audiences are bigger than ever thanks to the broad reach provided by the combined print and digital channels.

Newspapers are local. Your newspaper is local, produced by local citizens who drive the same streets, shop in the same stores and have children in the same schools as you. The local newspaper’s focus is on making the community stronger, safer and healthier. The publisher and staff share the same concerns as all the other residents.”

Of course, Ridings’ observations apply generally to our nation’s newspapers. Most news publications succeed at these goals to varying degrees, including Sandpaper Publishing’s offerings. We cannot promise a product that perfectly satisfies every customer, every edition. But we can promise that every Sandpaper Publishing employee is committed to the pursuit of excellence. We want to provide the very best local newspaper possible in each of our communities and we’re working to build local teams to realize those ambitions.

Quote of the Week: The only sure bulwark of continuing liberty is a government strong enough to protect the interests of the people, and a people strong enough and well enough informed to maintain its sovereign control over the government. Franklin D. Roosevelt (1882 – 1945) 32nd President of the United States.

Out and About

FWC recommends to not enable bears looking for an easy meal and follow “BearWise” tips to prevent conflicts with would-be bear bandits:

Stash your trash in a sturdy shed or garage and put it out the morning of garbage pickup, not the night before.

  • Modify your existing garbage can to make it more bear resistant
  • Use a bear-resistant container
  • Feed pets inside or bring in leftover food and used bowls after feeding them.
  • Pick up fallen fruit and clean grills after each use
  • Remove or secure bird and wildlife feeders
  • Use an electric fence to keep bears away from beehives, livestock, chicken coops, and gardens.

Santa Rosa School District is leaping into the future of education with so many of its programs. Often, the schools in our district are first in the state for one accomplishment or another.

This week on the Education page, you can read about Anchored4Life, a program which eases the burden of a transition to a new school, particularly for military children. On that page, we also talk about broadcast classrooms.

We are pleased to hear Santa Rosa County has placed historic funding in the budget for infrastructure in the upcoming budget year, beginning Oct. 1. The capital projects list focuses heavily on traffic and drainage. All we can say is, it’s about time. Read more on that from our reporter, Ken Garner, on page 4A.

We still need one more sponsor for our Student of the Week spotlight. We need someone to join Chick fil-A every other week to highlight our academically excellent students from Navarre High School. If you would like to sponsor, please call 850-939-8040. We have students and athletes to sponsor in Milton as well.

Quote of the Week: “The world is not the most pleasant place. Eventually, your parents leave you and nobody is going to go out of their way to protect you unconditionally. You need to learn to stand up for yourself and what you believe and sometimes, pardon my language, kick some ass.” Queen Elizabeth II (1926 – 2022)  Queen of the United Kingdom and 14 other Commonwealth realms for 70 years.

Out and About

For those of you who may not know – F-35s are built in Fort Worth, Texas, at Lockheed Martin’s mile-long production line. When I was employed there in the late 80s, it was General Dynamics and we were producing F-16s from that same assembly line.

I was helping write the F16s technical maintenance manuals which were used to train multi-national maintainers. The F-35 Lightning II is the most technologically advanced aircraft ever built and is designed as a 5th-generation multi-role fighter. The F-35 can perform both air-to-air and air-to-ground missions.

Their heads-up display (HUD) is amazing – and built into their helmets. According to a video produced by Wonder World on YouTube, “Pilots who fly the F-35 Fighter Jet, wear a helmet that can see through the plane on all sides and costs $400,000 US dollars. The HMDS Helmet is the world’s most advanced biocular helmet-mounted display system.

The F-35 aircraft streams imagery from cameras mounted around the aircraft to the helmet, allowing pilots to see through the airframe.” So cool! I don’t know about you, but I’m looking forward to hearing them over Navarre – and hopefully catching a glimpse. It is a single seat aircraft, otherwise, I’d be asking for a media ride.

Juana’s 32nd “Good Time Regatta” is this weekend, Saturday and Sunday. The Regatta, and the party that goes with it, is open to “Sailor’s and Partiers.” As always, there will be plenty of good food, drink and music even if you aren’t going out on the water. There is a registration process if you want to party and get the T-shirt. You will find where to register at It always makes for beautiful pictures.

I traveled to Orlando over Labor Day weekend to have a visit with my mom. Spoiler alert…I stopped by a Cracker Barrell, and you guessed it, they already have Christmas decorations out.

Christmas is coming at the same time every year – but it seems like I just put the Christmas decorations away. We still have Halloween and Thanksgiving to get through first. I just looked because I’m sure we will start receiving calls on when Navarre celebrates Halloween. We celebrate Halloween on October 31st every year and this year it falls on Monday.

And, no, no one is going to move it to make it more convenient – such as a weekend night. I’m personally not a fan of Halloween. I think we have enough spooky (evil) stuff going on every day without piling it on one day a year. I am looking forward to just a tad cooler weather, but not too cold. I live in Florida for a reason. However, I am a fan of visiting cooler climates, for a short period of time.

Quote of the Week: The difference between intelligence and education is this: intelligence will make you a good living. Charles F. Kettering (1876 – 1958) Mr. Kettering was an American inventor, engineer, businessman, and the holder of 186 patents. He was a founder of Delco, and was head of research at General Motors from 1920 to 1947.

Out and About

One of the events on the Beaches to Woodlands tour is the Navarre Fishing Rodeo on October 1 and 2.

There is also a “Take a Kid Fishing” event where your child (age 5-11) can go through stations to learn about marine life, fishing and leave with a fishing pole courtesy of the Navarre Chamber Foundation and the sponsors that help make that event happen.

You will be learning more about that in the next few weeks. Keep an eye on for more information.

We always love to hear about Navarre graduates and what they are up to. This week we have a feature on a 2013 graduate who is publishing his first fiction novel, “The Portal to Aardon.” We can’t wait to see his name on the best-seller list. You can read more about him on (1B) and find out how to pre-order the book.

We have a new ‘On the Menu’ advertiser, Deb’s Coffee, and they are the feature this week (5C). They are settled in their new location and – spoiler alert – they have expanded their menu. You will have to read the story to find out more.

According to the Navarre Beach Area Chamber of Commerce, Tom Hall of Tom’s Pools at the Publix Shopping Center recently sold his business to Southern Tide Pools, of Alabama. We have heard they will probably keep the name, Tom’s Pools. After all, those signs above the store are expensive and the name of a business that has been around for many years is valuable.

In other business news, the owners of Johnny Huston’s purchased Cactus Flower at the first of the year. We have written a business story about how all this transpired, but the fact that the food still tastes as good as ever at both locations indicates the transition went smoothly.

Johnny Huston’s has my favorite chips and salsa – but Cactus flower is a close second in the salsa department, and the first for anything Cali Mexican!

Rib Shack owner, Phil Robas recently posted this to his personal Facebook page and then shared to the Rib Shack Facebook page. “To all the customers, friends and family who have supported the Rib Shack over the years we are so thankful for all of you. As we approach our 20-year mark at this location we have decided to pass the torch to another local business. It was fun while it lasted, met a whole bunch of great folks along the way, but it’s time to retire from the restaurant business. I especially want to thank my better half Melody who helped me through this journey. It was my pleasure serving this community. Thank you, Navarre. Last day of business is September 3rd.”

The local business that will be going in the Rib Shack location after September 3 is Buh’s BBQ. Buh’s is the popular food truck that you frequently see on Hwy. 87, across from Navarre Laundry.

Now, I’m hungry.

Quote of the Week: Make it a rule of life never to regret and never to look back. Regret is an appalling waste of energy; you can’t build on it; it’s only for wallowing in. Katherine Mansfield
New Zealand short story author (1888 – 1923)

Out and About

We are including Lighthouse Private Christian Academy in our sports guide this year for many reasons. Did you know they have their own football field and many of their players and coaches are from Navarre and our Navarre Schools. Private schools are in huge demand in our area.

Many parents are saying it is because what is happening in our school system. We are looking into one story we heard from a parent. It has something to do with a student identifying as a cat and the parent wanted accommodations, including litter pans in the bathroom? We aren’t sure if this was Escambia County or Santa Rosa, but it sounds like something from a meme…it can’t be true – could it?

Our Business Billboard this week is the Good Neighbor Thrift Store which mentioned to us that they have $2.50 Halloween Costumes – but probably not for long. If you are interested, you might want to head over there as soon as possible. We have a cool community feature in this weeks issue on “America’s First Settlement Trial” which was unveiled in Pensacola on August 14. The three-mile-long trail winds through the streets of downtown Pensacola and showcases the city’s history. You can get your steps in and learn something along the way.

Our Navarre Beach Lifeguards competed in California a few weeks ago at the USLA Nationals and we have an awesome story on the adventure they had while competing and representing Navarre Beach. I’m sure they spoke with other lifeguards and learned best practices that they can bring back to our beaches and help them do their jobs better.

Kyle Barnett is our new managing editor. He will be the editor of all three papers with a concentration in Crestview where his office will be. We need the most help in Crestview since it is a different county than we have been reporting on.

However, the more things are different, they more they are the same. Kyle brings a lot of experience to the team, including teaching journalism and working with a lot of young reporters. He also has great ideas for coverage.

We hope you get to meet him one day. Each county is the same as much as they are different. They each have very interesting school board meetings and they are growing fast like we are in Santa Rosa County.

We will be able to do a lot of “compare and contrast” stories with our neighboring county. This should prove to be beneficial to our readers and our leaders. Now Gail Acosta has more time to be the publisher and I can have more time to work on business development.

We won’t have the election results before we go to press on Tuesday, but we will have the results on our website and on our social media platforms. Just remember, or in case you didn’t know, the race with Piech and Eddington will be determined in the general election in November. The third person dropped out at the last minute, and they still appeared on the ballot because it was already printed.

A lot of people have asked us what is being built on the south side of 98 – west of Navarre near Summerset Estates. That is (drum roll please) a Dollar General.

Quote of the Week: “Not All Readers Are Leaders, But All Leaders Are Readers” Harry S. Truman (1884 – 1972) was the 33rd president of the United States, serving from 1945 to 1953. He was a member of the Democratic Party.

Out and About

We learned to walk facing the traffic and stayed on sidewalks. We didn’t always have a walking buddy and we were not microchipped or AirTagged.

However, I would definitely do that if my children were young because I love technology – and why not.

The new concept of the consolidated school bus stops is interesting. Cars are lined up rain or shine. Google Maps says that I had a 16 minute walk each way. I’m pretty sure the bus stops in Navarre are less than a mile away from the children they serve.

I’ve checked the sexual predator map – which we didn’t have available to us in the 70’s in Orlando – and we don’t have any known sexual predators around us.

No judgement here except that either my parents were careless – which they weren’t – or we live in a very different world of parental supervision.

My mom had a college degree from University of Florida but was a domestic engineer. She could have walked with us, but I don’t remember her doing so – except maybe the first day to show us the way.

My parents were known to be the strictest around. In fact, if I could go somewhere and do something – then it was a sign that it must be okay for everyone else to do the same. I hope the parents supervise their children as closely when they are a lot older because that is when they can get into some real trouble.

At the high school bus stop there is someone that is on the drum corps because they use that time to practice. It sounds like we live close to the football stadium, but we don’t. I’m an early riser, so I am okay with it. I just hope there isn’t a nurse or other first responder trying to sleep after working the night shift.

I am able to have a sneak peek at the paper a few minutes before it goes to press and as usual, I can’t wait to read most of the articles. There is a very touching article on Austin Washington, the young man and recent Navarre High Grad that passed away after a car accident earlier this month.

I see that Navarre High has a new Navy JROTC instructor that spent three years on the Blue Angels team and has a lot of hands-on, in the field military experience. Our Home and Garden feature is on Suncoast Flooring and the new owners, Jeremy and Carrie Carver.

I know Jeremy and Carrie through the Gulf Breeze Area Chamber of Commerce and they are awesome people. I know that doing business with them will be a good experience and you will probably walk away with more than just awesome floors. Jeremy always has a word (or six) of wisdom to share along they way. He must have prayed for wisdom, and from what I learned in church this past Sunday that is the one thing you can pray for and are guaranteed to receive – if you are receptive.

I wish I could tell you more about this – but I left my notes at home. Perhaps that was wise…ha ha. On 6C – we have a picture of what the new high school is going to look like.

Currently they are calling it the “South End High School” and will be located where the Flea Market was formerly located. Hopefully earlier in this section you read Hansen’s article about the Santa Rosa Correctional Institute and the warden, Donald Leavins. You could learn a few things you didn’t know about the prison, including the opportunities they have there for inmates to improve themselves and their futures.

Quote of the week. Nothing is impossible for the man who doesn’t have to do it himself. A. H. Weiler (1909 – 2002)    (Also called “The Bureaucrat’s Law” in 1979. For a bureaucrat who can foist the work on someone else, nothing is impossible.)

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