• Late last week, United Way of the Big Bend released information about its funding of programs in Wakulla County – this would seem to have been largely due to the insistence of Wakulla Chamber President Rachel Pienta. (See her Letter to the Editor on this page that ran on July 18, “Is United Way working outside Leon?” in which she requests information on the local funding.)
    Mind you, UWBB made a great noise last month about the $1.6 million it was spending in Leon County.


    Cleaning out some old notebooks, here’s some random thoughts.
    • Miss Wakulla Bethany Thomas is an inspiration. She is at every local event, posing for pictures with attendees.
    Her parents, Ralph and Cynthia Thomas, who believe in community involvement, are making Bethany’s reign as Miss Wakulla a hard act to follow for future titleholders.

  • If the back-to-school sales tax holiday is this weekend, it’s safe to say that for most practical purposes, the summer is almost over.
    The approach of Aug. 12 and a few dance parties in my ridiculously small kitchen prompted a discussion with the 15-year-old in my house about what the song of this summer would be.

  • My childhood didn’t involve a lot of bicycle (or horseback-riding) helmets, safety nets, or strictly chlorine-blue pools. There were many nights spent in a tent in the back yard, days playing in the creek or swimming in the river, and countless trips riding in the back of a pickup truck — with the dogs, of course.

  • I’m not personally a fan of constitutional amendments because they are typically paid for by special interest money and, even when well-intentioned (see the felon voting rights restoration), they get messed up in the sausage-making of enactment by the Legislature.
    Out there, currently, 26 active petition drives seeking constitutional amendments to be placed on the 2020 ballot are posted on the Florida Division of Election’s website.
    Only four of those met the signature threshold to warrant a Supreme Court review.

  • Wakulla Circuit Judge Kevin Carroll ruled back in May that the Wakulla County Commission violated the Sunshine Law.
    They did it at an executive session in April of last year to discuss a proposed settlement of a lawsuit over access to Lake Ellen.
    Under Florida’s Sunshine Law, the public is entitled to be present when elected officials are discussing public policy. There are a few exceptions –such as holding a “shade meeting” outside of the Sunshine to discuss strategies for a lawsuit or a proposed settlement for a lawsuit.

  • A new study that analyzes how Google uses and benefits from news found that news is a key source on which Google has increasingly relied to drive consumer engagement with its products. The amount of news in Google search results ranges from 16 to 40 percent, and the platform received an estimated $4.7 billion in revenue in 2018 from crawling and scraping news publishers’ content – without paying the publishers for that use.

  • The community has been rife with rumors of Publix coming to Crawfordville.
    We know that there are competing landowners and developers making pitches to the Lakeland-based grocery chain to build and operate a store here.
    But unofficial word is that there are no plans at this time for the chain to open a local store.
    One of those competing developers shared part of an email with me from a Publix official who wrote that talk of a new store in Crawfordville is “a rumor.”
    There are no plans right now to build a store in Crawfordville.

  • I had the opportunity to take myself on a road trip to Savannah, Ga., last week for a college graduation. I rented a car for a variety of reasons, and I let the rental company pick what I would be driving because it saved a little money. I always like the opportunity to take different vehicles on extended test drives.
    This time instead of putting me in something a little bigger than I wanted, such as a full-size pickup truck, I was in a much smaller vehicle - it had four doors but my suitcase barely fit in the tiny space revealed by pulling up the hatchback.

  • Wakulla County Schools’ third graders scored first in the region, second in the Panhandle and eighth among the  67 counties in the state for Florida Standards Assessments.
    It’s continuing a tradition of excellence at Wakulla schools.
    For years, the district has maintained an “A” grade for its schools.
    The high achievement of Wakulla students is a credit to teachers and a school district that is truly motivated to do what’s best for the kids.


    Most Florida residents have an impression of our forests as dense thickets, difficult for walking, and almost impossible to see through. Yet early explorers described them as “miles and miles of tall stately trees with a park-like understory. This original forest has all but disappeared from Florida without our noticing. Our baseline has shifted.

  • Last year I watched with pride as the teenage boy in my house walked down the aisle with the rest of his class at graduation.
    He did it – by the skin of his teeth, sometimes willingly, often not – so often, in fact, that it was a full two days after his official graduation that he finished his online biology course — a pesky little reminder that his freshman year was so tough it took him the next three years to recover.

  • Oct. 10, 2018, will forever be a mark on the history of North Florida. It was the day Hurricane Michael barreled through my home town, leaving it unrecognizable. It’s been seven months since that day, and we’re still picking up the pieces in Port St. Joe, as are my neighbors in Gulf, Bay, Calhoun, Franklin and Liberty counties. And while we continue to rebuild, we must also prepare for what could come next – hurricane season starts June 1.


    If I say it’s that time of year again, do you think, graduation? baseball? hurricanes?
    Well, yes, it’s time for all of the above, but it’s also time for our wildly popular Readers Choice ballot.
    Every year we tally up the thousands of votes for everybody’s favorite everything – restaurants, banks, real estate companies, grocery stores, etc. and etc.
    Some businesses get pretty competitive for the bragging rights, and we have certain businesses who have dominated the voting year after year.

  • Staff Report

    The Wakulla Chamber of Commerce will honor three businesswomen for their contributions to the community.
    The categories for businesswomen are established, mid-career and emerging.
    To submit a nomination, email it to editor@thewakullanews.net or mail it to P.O. Box 307, Crawfordville FL 32326; or petra@wakullacountychamber.com. The nominee does not need to be a member of the Chamber.
    A May 16 event to honor the winners will be held at Wakulla Environmental Institute.


  • Special to The News

  • Editor, The News:

    As you all know, Oct. 12, 2018 was a day that changed a lot of lives. Hurricane Michael literally devastated Mexico Beach.
    Panama City as well as Port St. Joe will take years to recover. Inland cities throughout the Panhandle and into Georgia defy Michael’s wrath.
    My wife Debbie and I have, or should I say had, a kayak and bike outpost business on the St. Joe Bay. Our house was built on pilings 12 feet above ground. The tidal surge under our house was 8 feet. We lost everything that wasn’t tied down.


    One of the most suprising results from Tuesday night’s elections was the number of undervotes in the two local county commission races.
    Undervotes, of course, are those ballots that do not include votes in a certain race.
    It wasn’t the county commission races that were getting people to the polls – people were going to vote in the races for U.S. Senate and Governor.
    And Wakullans went overwhelmingly for the Republican candidates.

  • Editor, The News:

    I was cleared of federal charges of exceeding camping limits in Apalachicola State Forest.
    I am a 70-year-old Vietnam veteran who lives in my RV and move my camper around to different locations.
    I believe the charges were retaliation for complaints I made about garbage in the forest.

    Stephen Williams