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WEEKEND Washington County News Saturday, January 4, 2014 For the latest breaking news, visit CHIPLEYPAPER.COM IN BRIEF Top 10 stories for 2013 By RANDAL SEYLER NO. 1 TOP STORY OF 2013 July, August bring floods to area Prom and Bridal Expo CHIPLEY — The Chipley Women’s Club will be sponsoring the Fifth Annual Prom and Bridal Expo from 1 to 4 p.m. on Jan. 19 at the Washington County Ag Center. Admission is free. Booths will be filled by vendors of all the services related to weddings and other social gatherings. There will be event planners, photographers, caterers, florists, linens and other decorating accents, limousines, hair stylists, makeup artists, nail technicians, jewelers, videographers, DJ’s, musicians and much more. Prom dresses, mother-of-the-bride apparel and all the accessories will be modeled during the last hour of the expo. Door prizes will be given as guest visit the venders booths. For more information call 260-5896. INDEX Community Calendar .............A2 Faith .....................................A2 Classifieds...........................A3-4 County and state officials were surveying Washington County on July 9 afternoon, trying to determine the extent of the damage caused by the July 4 weekend’s torrential rain. The Florida Panhandle received more than 20 inches of rain between July 3 and July 7, and at one point, every road in Washington County was closed due to the flooding. Vernon was particularly hard hit, and the City Council met Monday in special session to discuss what can be done to recover. Homes and barns were flooded, and the city’s wastewater plant was also flooded. The town hall did not go unscathed, with leaks reported in several rooms including the council chambers and City Clerk Dian Hendrix’s office. “There was water in here and in these rooms,” Hendrix told the council. “I can’t work at my desk right now because of all the water.” The old high school gymnasium floor also got wet, and may be trying to warp, while another room and hallway at the old school had standing water in them. Mayor Michelle Cook attended the county meetings, and officials are trying to tally up the damage costs to see if the county and Vernon will qualify for any federal aid. Cook said 75 roads in the county were compromised by the rain, and 44 roads were deemed impassable. In August, more rain just made the situation worse. Chipley received between 5 and 15 inches of rain over the weekend of Aug. 16, according to local weather reports, and Vernon once again was inundated, as was the Blue Pond Community Center in Chipley. Blue Lake overflowed its banks and covered Highway 77 as well, closing the highway to traffic on Aug. 18. Washington County residents were urged to stay off all roadways throughout the week and limit travel to essential only. “We have been declared a local emergency,” said Vernon Mayor Michelle Cook on Aug. 19. Washington County schools were closed due to the flooding and Public Works personnel were unable to keep up with the demand in responding to each flooded area and place barricades. Paint the Plug contest begins soon From Staff Reports CHIPLEY — 2013 is now relegated to the history books, but it is a year that won’t be soon forgotten my many Washington County residents. From record floods to record crowds at the Watermelon Festival, the year was anything but dull. CHIPLEY — The North Bay Tribe will be holding a yard sale from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. today, Jan. 4, at the tribal grounds. All proceeds will go to the clan building fund. The tribal grounds are located at 1560 Lonnie Road, about five miles South of Chipley. 50¢ Volume 90, Number 76 638-0212 | @WCN_HCT North Bay Tribe Fundraiser Phone: 850-638-0212 Website: Fax: 850-638-4601 w w w. c h i p l e y p a p e r. c o m 11th Hour to perform in Esto A2 WASHINGTON COUNTY NEWS FILE PHOTOS Flooding in July and August did millions of dollars’ worth of damage to roads and structures throughout Washington County in 2013. Washington County Manager Steve Joyner resigned in April, following criticism by Commissioner Lynn Gothard of the county’s decision to purchase a generator based on Joyner’s recommendation. It would be months before the roads were all reopened, and the Vernon and Washington County both are seeking FEMA funds to help cover the expensive repairs. Numerous volunteers from church groups worked in Vernon to help people repair damage to homes that was not covered by insurance or federal funds. The Board of County Commissioners met on March 28 when Gothard read a prepared statement in which she alleged that County Manager Steve Joyner violated state laws when he arranged for the county to buy a generator from a fellow county employee — a generator that happened to be stored at Joyner’s residence. “After the meeting, I received information that the purchase had possiNO. 2 STORY OF 2013 bly violated both Florida statutes and County manager resigns county purchasing requirements,” Gothard said. following generator She began researching the inforaccusations mation and agreed that possible violaCounty Commissioner Lynn Go- tions had occurred and that more inthard said county purchasing policies formation and disclosure was needed. and state statutes might have been The following month, Joyner violated when the board voted to buy a generator in February. See TOP 10 A3 CHIPLEY — The Chipley “Paint the Plug” fire hydrant painting contest, sponsored by the Washington County Arts Council, is about to take off. Washington County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Ted Everett told the City Council in November the “Paint the Plug” project should be completed by March, and the Arts Council has come up with guidelines for the project. “We are providing the paint and brushes, and the Arts Council is handling the art,” Everett said, speaking on behalf of the Chipley Community Redevelopment Agency. “They are going to involve Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts and various school organizations, and I think this is going to be an exciting project.” The topics of the fire plug paintings will be reviewed and approved by the Arts Council. In other towns, fire hydrants have been painted as subjects such as video game character Mario, Dalmatians wearing fire helmets, or flowers. According to the rules of the fire hydrant painting contest, the design should be “appropriate for a public space and should not endorse an individual, business, be political in nature, or be offensive in any way.” The registration period to paint a hydrant began Nov. 1 and runs until Jan. 6. A fee of $25 to enter per hydrant will be used to fund scholarships. For rules and an application, visit washingtoncountyarts, or contact Suzan Gage at 693-0808 or Tonya Pippin at 638-7700. January is for the birds Special to the News CHIPLEY — The public is invited to attend Chipley Garden Club’s first meeting of 2014. The meeting will be held at 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 8, at the Sunny Hills Community Center at 4083 Challenger Drive in Sunny Hills. Bird feeding is more than just a hobby; it’s a way to connect with the outdoors and help the natural environment around you. Cindy Wolf, owner of Wild Birds Unlimited in Panama City, will speak on “Friendly Yard Birds: How to Feed Them and Attract Them to Your Yard.” Cindy will share her passion for our little feathered-friends and will discuss, not only how to attract them to your yard, but also the proper feeding of common birds such as bluebirds, blue jays, and cardinals. If you would like more information about this meeting or Chipley Garden Club, please contact Club President Karen Roland at 638-9968. The club welcomes new members and visitors at anytime. Connect with us 24/7 Get breaking news, videos, expanded stories, photo galleries, opinions and more... We bring it home! @WCN_HCT 5018787 CHipleypaper.Com

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