Summer 2011 Issue of Bay Life Magazine

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Creative sparks fly as Northwest Florida inspires some of the summer’s hottest inventions Local homeowners make a splash with these personal water wonderlands Perfect your pooch’s look for the dog days of summer Cool off with the purest spring water in the world, fresh from our back yard

Bay Life


11341 Panama City Beach Pkwy. Panama City Beach, FL (850) 230-4742 2400 St. Andrews Blvd. Panama City, FL (850) 763-5114


summer 2011

Summer 2011


A Thirst-Quenching Enterprise One’s got the water. The other’s got the bottle. Johnny Patronis and Jay Trumbull share why they think Bay County’s Econfina Creek is the purest spring water in the world.

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The Inventors The Emerald Coast is home to some innovative folks who developed products inspired by the beauty of Northwest Florida — from custom-made fishing flies to a skimboard for kids and a beach-friendly power scooter. These local inventors share what it takes to start with an idea and end up with a product people want to buy.

photo by scott holstein

On the Cover:

Brothers Walker and Jack Shirley enjoy a summer’s day on Panama City Beach. The Shirley clan, from Huntsville, Ala. and Memphis, Tenn. visit the “world’s most beautiful beaches” every year. Photo by Kansas Pitts.

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contents 13


In Every Issue 9 From the Publisher 11 From the Editor 50 The Last Word

Quick Reads 13 One to Watch

V-100 Radio disc jockey Hillary Hutchins loves dishing the latest hot topics on her radio show for women.

14 things we love

During the dog days of summer, treat your pooch to some treats and keep her safe with the latest dog-friendly products.

16 First Person

Ten years later, Donna Hairston, who survived the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attack at the Pentagon, shares her memory of that horrible day.



Home & Garden

17 Calendar

40 Habitat

Dust off your boots and spurs and mosey on down to the American Cancer Society Cattle Barons’ Ball, plus more summer fun events.

21 Social Studies

Check out photos from our Top Singles Charity Auction and Top Salon Runway Show Competition, the Bay Heart Ball and Covenant Hospice Mask Parade and Gala.

Departments 24 Military Matters

The families who stand by their military serviceperson have a strong support system in Bay County.

26 Editor’s Choice

Step back in time at the Panhandle Pioneer Settlement in Blountstown.

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Turn your backyard into a swank hot spot or serene sanctuary with these cool pools.

Dining 45 First course

Pack the perfect beach picnic, bring your blanket and bask in the summer sun.

46 Flavor

Going camping this summer? Forget the beanie weenies and eat well with our expert camper-approved recipes.

48 Dining Guide

For celebration meals or dining on the go, look here for inspiration.

Bay Life



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From the Publisher

Here They Go Again Here we go again. The majority of tourists who visit our area in the summer drive here — and the last thing our region needs is another damper on what appears to be a recovering economy. Instead of inducing fear in American families that a driving vacation will plummet them into bankruptcy, can we take a moment and put this into perspective? Let’s do a little math. For an example, let’s take a family that lives 750 miles from Northwest Florida’s beaches or our beautiful capital city. If they drive a car that gets 15 miles per gallon, they would use 100 gallons for a roundtrip. In the summer of 2010, retail gas prices hovered around $2.76 a gallon. For 100 gallons, the cost would be $276. In the summer of 2011, the price for a gallon is now predicted to hit close to $4. For 100 gallons, the tab would be $400. The difference: $124. For a oneweek vacation, that amounts to $17.71 a day. Is that really going to keep the average American family home, shuddering in fear under their beds? I don’t think so. If the budget is tight, eating a modest-priced dinner or lunch would even it out. Or buy one less T-shirt for each kid. It’s unfortunate that national media attention focuses so much on the negative when Americans, more than ever, need to hear some good news and be encouraged to become part of our nation’s — and our region’s — economic recovery. The message I’d like to see? It’s time to go on a summer vacation. Get away from it all, even for a little while. Refresh your spirit and give your neighbors a little economic boost.

Brian Rowland, Publisher

PHOTO by scott holstein

This time last year, all one heard about was the never-ending doom and gloom over the oil gushing from BP’s Deepwater Horizon well and how it was affecting the beaches and wildlife along the Gulf Coast, including Northwest Florida. Turning on the TV, one would see the same oil-coated bird over and over again — along with the constant commentary about the oil heading toward the beaches and the expected tainting of the seafood supply. In the end, other than a slight dusting of oil on the far western edges of the Florida coast, our area was mostly unaffected by the oil itself. Yet the perception that Florida’s beaches were covered with tar balls caused the bottom to fall out of our tourism-based economy. Phones rang off the hook with summer cancellations of resort and charter boat bookings, and billions of dollars were lost during what is considered “the season” for our region. By the end of summer, many coastal community businesses that directly rely on tourism for their survival were destroyed or suffered major economic setbacks. And there was a trickle down effect that impacted many other businesses throughout Northwest Florida. The good news is that BP has stepped up in a big way over the past year, pouring billions into the region’s economic and environmental recovery efforts. And I have seen first-hand that it is working. Spring Break was strong this year and many area resorts are posting double digit increases over their projections for summer reservations. Clearly, the public wants to come to our beaches to relax and escape from their everyday stresses. But now we’re facing another media onslaught. Not over the oil threatening our beaches, but by high gas prices. A recent New York Times article proclaimed that skyrocketing gas prices would prevent Americans from their annual ritual of loading up the family for a summer vacation. The same theme has been echoed in other publications and on TV.

Bay Life








Summer 2011



Vol. 6, No. 1

Publisher Brian E. Rowland Editor Wendy O. Dixon

Lead designer Marc L. Thomas

Staff writers Jason Dehart

Contributing Writers Brittany Barriner, Jason Dehart, Wendy O. Dixon, Angela Howard, Lis King, Jeffery Seay, Mary Syrett and Zandra Wolfgram

Editorial intern Holly Brooks


Traffic Coordinator Lisa Sostre

account Executives Chris St. John, Mary Beth Lovingood online

President Brian E. Rowland


Creative Director Lawrence Davidson

Production DIRECTOR Melinda Lanigan

Director of Linda Kleindienst Editorial Services

Manager of Finance Angela Cundiff HR/Administration


administrator of sales McKenzie Burleigh and events

Client Service Caroline Conway Representative Assistant Saige Roberts Creative Director

traffic Coordinator Lisa Sostre art director Tisha Keller Senior editorial Beth Nabi designer

Graphic Designers Marc L. Thomas, Daniel Vitter

magazine ad builder Patrick Patterson Network Administrator Daniel Vitter Web Site

Receptionist Amy Lewis

Bay Life Magazine is published quarterly by Rowland Publishing, Inc. P.O. Box 1932, Tallahassee, FL, 32302. (850) 878-0554. Bay Life Magazine and Rowland Publishing, Inc. are not responsible for unsolicited manuscripts, photography or artwork. Editorial contributions are welcomed and encouraged but will not be returned. Bay Life Magazine reserves the right to publish any letters to the editor. Copyright June 2011 Bay Life Magazine Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or part without written permission is prohibited. Member, Bay County Chamber of Commerce and Panama City Beach Chamber of Commerce. One-Year Subscription $24 (Four Issues)

(850) 878-0554 Bay Life Magazine can be purchased at Borders Books in Pier Park and at Books-A-Million in Panama City or through our website at


summer 2011

Proud member Florida Magazine Association and Florida Press Association

From the Editor

What Not to Do on a Photo Shoot It seemed like a great idea at the time — using my own kids in a photo shoot (free talent, family time and a keepsake photo). I have wanted to do a story on camping food for a while and my older son, John Patrick, 13, has wanted to be in Bay Life Magazine since “forever.” So we finally had an opportunity to use J.P. and his younger brother, Ryan, for a photo shoot set in a campsite. They’re both seasoned campers and love camping in area state parks. So I thought they’d be the perfect Wendy O. Dixon, Editor subjects to photograph. Bay Life photographer Scott Holstein and I headed out to St. Andrews State Park with the boys, a tent, some food and all the camera equipment. The fire we lit for the camping scene quickly turned smoky, smelly and hot. The boys were choking. Their eyes hurt. They insisted the only way they could handle the smoke was to wear sunglasses. And while I told them to smile, “You’re supposed to be having fun camping,” they looked miserable. The snake biscuits we made weren’t the right consistency, so they kept falling off the sticks in gooey clumps, landing into the fire. No one was having fun, and there was just no way to fake it for a photo. The next week, determined to get some good camping shots, we tried it again. This time, we chose a different location in a wooded area in Lynn Haven. And we didn’t bother with the fire, just lots of food the boys could easily put together and enjoy eating. We put the tent together (again) and told the three boys (my two plus their friend, Sam) to just eat and have fun. They told jokes only pre-teen boys think are funny, they ate hot dogs and had a blast. And we got the shot we finally wanted. See our behind-the-scenes photos from the camping photo shoot, as well as other photo shoots, at our Facebook page ( Have a great summer!

Letters to the Editor Thanks for Top Singles I want to let you know how appreciative I am that you allowed me the honor of being a part of Top Singles. It was truly the best event of its kind I have ever been to, and your direction and vision of it all was quite impressive. I hope you know how thankful I am for the opportunity, and that I will always think of you each time I open the magazine to my section.

Noelle Stevens Thanks for all your hard work, Wendy! It all seemed to turn out really well.

David Demarest Thank you for the opportunity to be part of the inaugural Bay County’s Top Singles. Being pampered at the photo shoot was wonderful, and how fantastic to be featured in a top rate magazine like Bay Life. I’ve enjoyed the good-natured teasing about my “Top Single Status,” and watching my friends get into a bidding war at the bachelorette auction is a priceless memory! Of course, the best part of being a Top Single is having the opportunity to raise funds for my charity, Remember John Wesley! The John Wesley Foster Foundation promotes a heart-safe community by encouraging people to be trained in CPR, and they place AED’s in places where children gather, such as ball parks, schools, pools and many other locations. The Foster family means so much to me, and it is my honor to raise money in memory of their precious son. Being one of Bay Life’s first Top Singles has been a happy, funny and special experience. Melanie McLin Manning Thank you for putting on the event of the year! Not only did we get to mingle and have fun, we got to raise money for several charities in our area. Kudos to you all for organizing an amazing event. Can’t wait to see what you all do next!

Miguel Fuller

photo by Scott Holstein

Correction: In the Top Singles feature, Summer Scott’s place of business should have read, “Community Health and Rehabilitation Center.”

Do you have something to say? If you have a comment about or correction to Bay Life Magazine, send a message to Bay Life


We are a dedicated medical care team specializing exclusively in women’s health services. Our team of 6 physicians and 5 advanced registered nurse practitioners (3 with nurse midwife certiďŹ cations) is dedicated to providing personalized, professional, and state-of-the-art medical care to our valued patients. You will also be pleased with the friendly service provided by our administrative team.

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QUICK READS people | items | places

Photo by scott holstein


» Hillary hutchins

Hillary Hutchins, 26, gives her listeners the latest news on The Backstreet Boys merging with the New Kids on the Block to become a new “super group.” Like many of the women who listen to her show, she has mastered the art of multi-tasking. The Panama City native and mother of three works as a disc jockey, crankin’ tunes and snooping for juicy celebrity topics for her noon to 2 p.m. Mid Days with Hillary show on V-100 radio. The show is geared for women ages 25–54. From chats on motherhood to discussions on Botox, it covers an array of subjects specifically for women.

“Everything is not so cut and dried. We’re not just talking about how to make macaroni in 10 different ways,” Hutchins says. V-100 goes by the slogan, “a whole new world of radio for women.” Although the station caters solely to women, Hutchins says a good number of men also listen in. “When we do different giveaway contests, usually every third caller is a male,” she says. What she loves best about being a DJ is meeting different people and “putting out cool music.” “You may hear a rock song from the ’80s and then an R&B song next,” Hutchins says.

“Our station is for the person that doesn’t have a cookie-cutter sense of music.” Hutchins initially began her career working in sales for Magic Broadcasting. After five months, she was offered the opportunity to be a DJ for V-100. Hutchins says she was ecstatic about the offer. “This was one of those dreams that you just lock away in your mind and say to yourself, this would never happen to me,” she says. “So when I got this opportunity it was really a dream come true. I love this field of work and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.” — Brittany Barriner



QUICK READS things we love

For the Dog Days of Summer Fetch These Fab Finds to Enhance Your Dog’s Life … and Yours By wendy o. dixon 1. Eye Protection Just like you, Harley’s eyes need protecting from harmful UV rays. Doggles Dog Eye Protection goggles are ideal for water time. They also keep debris out of his eyes when he sticks his head out of the car window. $19.99. Barking Divas Chic Pet Boutique and Petsmart



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6 6. Boat Bed and Life Ring When she can’t be on a real boat, Olive Oyl can dream of life at sea with the Papia dog bed $85 and Paws Aboard life ring toy $19.99. Barking Divas Chic Pet Boutique and

3. The Perfect Leash If you named your dog Bullet because he shoots through your daily walk, the Perfect Leash really is, well, perfect. Made of a super-strong, flexible polyurethane material, the leash stretches like a bungee and has an easygrip handle, keeping your arm safely in its socket when Bullet lurches for a teasing cat. $25. 4. Doggy Boat Ladder If Daisy thinks she’s really a duck, make water activities more fun with the Paws Aboard Boat Ladder. The portable, slipresistant ladder provides safe entry onto or exit from a pool or boat. $249.


7. Doggy Life Jacket Keep Chewie safe with a life preserver made specifically for your pooch. While it provides buoyancy, visibility and a secure fit, the Paws Aboard life jacket has a breathable mesh underbelly, preventing heat exhaustion and chafing. It also comes in bright colors and patterns. Sizes range from 2 to 90+ pounds. $23.99–$49.99. Barking Divas Chic Pet Boutique, Petsmart and

8. “Pet Rewind” Bagless Upright Summer, for dogs like Goldie Locks, means shedding. Hoover’s Windtunnel Pet Rewind Bagless Upright vacuum has a Pet Approved Windtunnel System (P.A.W.S.), easily sucking the most stubborn pet hair from carpet and furniture. The HEPA filter reduces pet odor and traps dust mites, ragweed and common grass pollens. $139.99–$159.95. Target, Home Depot, Sam’s Club and several online stores

top photo by scott holstein, Product shots courtesy: Frosty Paws: Nestlé Dreyer’s Ice Cream, Perfect Leash: Just Ducky Products, Paws Aboard: Paws Aboard, Inc., Hoover’s Windtunnel Pet Rewind: TTI Floor Care N.A.

2. Ice Cream (for Dogs) Even Dutchess deserves a frozen treat in the summertime. Dogsters and Purina Frosty Paws offer nutritious snacks in single-serving disposable containers. Try Dogsters Nutly Peanut Butter & Cheese or Minte Kissably Fresh flavors. Frosty Paws comes in Original or Peanut Butter flavors. Dogsters $2.99. Frosty Paws $4.29. Publix and Winn Dixie


5. Swimwear Caylee knows how to live on the beach in style with this Hawaiian print swimsuit by Doggie Design. red bikini $18.99. Barking Divas Chic Pet Boutique



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Donna Hairston, 49, now retired from the U.S. Army Active Guard Reserves and living in Panama City, says it took her three months to go back in the Pentagon after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Ten Years Later — Remembering 9/11 A Survivor Recalls the Fateful Day That Changed Her Life


t was still dark at 4 a.m. when Donna Hairston got up to get in her daily run before work. By the time she got to her office at 7:30, it was turning into a beautiful sunny Tuesday morning. Hairston, then a 39-year-old sergeant first class in the U.S. Army Active Guard Reserves, was serving her second tour at the Pentagon in Arlington, Va., working with the Army Reserve directorate. It was Sept. 11, 2001. American Airlines 16

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Flight 77 had been hijacked by a team of five al-Qaeda affiliated hijackers and purposely crashed into the western side of the Pentagon at 9:37 a.m. All 64 people in the plane were killed, as were 125 people who were in the building. Bay Life Magazine editor Wendy O. Dixon recently spoke with Hairston about the day that started out as any other but ended with heartbreak. Here is some of what Hairston had to say:

I was doing some paperwork and was planning to meet Sandra Taylor, who worked for the deputy chief of staff for installations. I told Sandra, “I’d like to come over and see your new digs” since that wing had just been renovated. I planned on meeting her there at 9:30. I never made it. I worked at Crystal City, a couple of short blocks away from the Pentagon. The phone rang and it was a friend from Bolling Air Force Base in Washington, D.C., who told me to turn on the TV. I went down the hall and saw the plane hit the second tower in the World Trade Center. Then our building shook. We didn’t know it was terrorists at that point. I thought it was a train (there is a commuter train station located in Crystal City). Then we were told to evacuate because the Pentagon was on fire. The phones were dead. At that time about five of us went into soldier mode and started heading towards the Pentagon. But we couldn’t see to get out. They didn’t have the yellow lines directing the evacuation route they have in place now. But there was a lot of heroism. Soldiers and civilians were assisting in the evacuation of those they could get to. After we evacuated, nonessential personnel were commanded to go home. It took me five hours to drive a complete square around Crystal City. Meanwhile I saw the plane on fire at the Pentagon. I was trying to stay strong. You have to stay strong. I got stuck in traffic and only had a quarter tank of gas in the car. When I got to a gas station, I didn’t care if I was paying $10 a gallon. By the time I got home seven hours later, I saw my husband and just lost it. He was crying. I was crying. Everyone was calling to check on me. By about midnight, I said, “I’m done. I just can’t talk about this anymore.” The next morning, I was coughing up the smoke. I can still smell it. It’s a smell you can’t forget. I lost 34 friends that day, went to 15 funerals. Five friends were never identified. Sandra Taylor was one who perished. I never got to meet her face to face. When I heard Osama bin Laden had been killed by U.S. Navy SEALs, I finally popped the cork on the champagne bottle my husband and I have had for ten years. We made a toast to those who were killed and to all the survivors. I will never forget that awful day, but I now have closure.

Photo by scott holstein

QUICK READS first person

calendar of events June through november 2011 | Compiled by Holly Brooks

Tuesdays and Wednesdays through Aug. 3 Summer Kids Flicks To celebrate summer the Grand Theatre presents family-friendly hits for a discounted price. Movie hits “How to Train Your Dragon,” “Megamind” and “Monsters vs. Aliens” are some of the featured films. $3 per person (includes kid-sized popcorn and a soda). The Grand Theatre at Pier Park, Panama City Beach. 10 a.m. For a full movie schedule call (888) 94-FILMS or visit

July 4 Salute to Freedom Panama City’s Downtown Improvement Board invites you to the Panama City Marina for the Salute to Freedom 2011, a patriotic festival combining music, good food and kids activities. The spectacular fireworks show begins at dark and will be simulcast on local ClearChannel radio stations. FREE. 2–10 p.m. (850) 785-2554.

Thursdays through Aug. 11 Summer Concert Series Bring your lawn chairs and blankets and enjoy a relaxing evening under the summer stars while listening to a different band each week. FREE. Pier Park Amphitheater, Panama City Beach. 7–9 p.m.

July 4 Star Spangled Spectacular Panama City Beach celebrates Independence day with an afternoon of activities for the whole family. The Panama City POPS honor troops and veterans at 7:30 p.m. at Aaron Bessant Park with a patriotic concert. The evening’s finale is a spectacular fireworks display. FREE. Pier Park, Panama City Beach. 2–10 p.m.

First Fridays through Nov. 4 Friday Fest Downtown Panama City comes alive with music, food and fun on the first Friday of each month. Local shops and restaurants stay open late and the festivities run from 6–10 p.m. FREE. For information, call (850) 785-2554. Second Saturdays through Nov. 12 Art-Tique Enjoy Downtown Panama City’s art scene as local art shops, galleries and artists offer workshops and demonstrations in their shops, as well as wine tastings, entertainment and refreshments. Maps are available inside all downtown art and antique stores. FREE. Downtown Panama City. Noon–6 p.m. (850) 785-2554. June 25 Panhandle Women’s Expo The Central Panhandle Chapter of the American Red Cross hosts the 5th annual Panhandle Women’s Expo to celebrate women. Be a part of the fun, grab your friends and get great ideas, hot deals and even some free stuff! Money raised from this year’s expo will support scholarships for the Red Cross Nurse Assistant Training Program. FREE. Sat 10 a.m.– 5 p.m. Panama City Mall. (850) 763-6587.

July 7-10 27th Annual Bay Point Invitational Billfish Tournament and 40/40 Shootout The Gulf Coast’s premier Billfish tournament is back. The weekend includes the 40/40 Shootout, which features a field of up to 40 boats, all of which are 40 feet or less in length, fishing for tuna, wahoo and dolphin. Entry fees vary. Bay Point Marina, 3824 Hatteras Lane. (850) 628-1740. July 10-23 USFA World Series Girls’ fast pitch softball returns to Panama City Beach’s Frank Brown Park. The World Series will begin the opening ceremonies followed by a fast pitch festival of fun. FREE. Frank Brown Park, 16200 Panama City Beach Pkwy., Panama City Beach. Mon–Fri 8 a.m.– 8 p.m. Contact Megan Beth (850) 234-2839.

best bet Aug 12–14, 19–21 & 26–28

“Glorious” Kaleidoscope Theatre presents “Glorious,” the play based on the life of Florence Foster Jenkins, the legendary New York heiress and socialite who wanted to be a great operatic diva despite having one of the worst singing voices in history. Madame Jenkins used all her money, charm and unstoppable will power to make it happen and established a substantial career as a curious novelty. As narrated by her last accompanist, Cosme McMoon, the play mixes comedy and pathos with equal effectiveness, introducing us to her most intimate friends, a very unruly opponent who noisily protests her popularity, and a hilarious Spanish maid and cook who works for Madame Jenkins but who manages to do just what she wants because she speaks no English. $16 adults, $15 seniors and military, $8 students in advance. Add $1 at the door. 207 E. 24th Street, Lynn Haven. Fri and Sat 7:30 p.m., Sun 2 p.m. For reservations call (850) 265-3226.

giving back Aug 20

American Cancer Society Cattle Barons’ Ball Hey, y’all! Don your cowboy hat and boots and mosey on down to this wild western-themed event. Chair Michael Menk says the 11th annual Cattle Barons’ Ball guarantees a rootin’ tootin’ good time for a great cause. It’ll be one night of fun that will make a difference for a lifetime. All proceeds benefit the American Cancer Society. $100 per person. Edgewater Beach Resort, 11212 Front Beach Road, Panama City Beach. 6:30 p.m. Contact Lisa Johnson at (850) 785-9205 ext. 3507.



Regional Charities



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SPECIAL THANKS TO OUR JUDGES: Marsha Doll, Jonathan Evans, Richard Cheng, Felicia Cook

Photography by Frshnk

TOP SALON 2011: Hair Benders MODEL: Michaela Smith CHARITY: Sponsors of Hope

Come Out On TOP!




United Way of Northwest Florida, The Dr. Sue G. Cochran Scholarship, Children’s Home Society, Basic NWFL, Anchorage Children’s Home, American Cancer Society - R.O.C.K: Reaching Out to Cancer Kids, The American Cancer Society, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northwest Florida, Remember John Wesley - The John Wesley Foster Foundation, Catholic Charities of Northwest Florida, Alaqua Animal Refuge, Early Education and Care, Inc., George A. Butchikas Foundation for Autism BAY LIFE



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Bay Life Magazine Top Singles Charity Auction and Top Salon Runway Makeover Competition: 1. Twila Snell, Kris Raffield, Paige Oconnor, Kristin Maddox, Crystal Andrews and Tammy Maxwell 2. Noelle Stevens and Josh Wakstein 3. Lisa Pinkham, Denise McGibony, Tamsin DeBruhl, Becky Marolla, Teryn Tucker, Lindsey Elmore, Robyn Evans 4. Erica Rakow and Amber Southard 5. Marsha Doll and Dean Faulkenberry. [Photos by McKenzie Burleigh and Frshnk] BAY LIFE








Bay Heart Ball: 1. Karen Blackerby, Vera Williams, Dana Lent and Amy Cope 2. Leslie Roake and Heather Foster 3. Jen and Shane Collins 4. Frankie and Don Gowdy [Photos by Wendy O. Dixon]

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Covenant Hospice Mask Parade and Gala: 1. Eric Minter, Kelly Wood, Hulon Crayton and Elisha Williamson 2. Melanie and Bryan Taylor and Shelley Frazier 3. Brenna Hosey, Steve Southerland and Nanisa Anderson 4. Shirley Weir [Photos by Amanda Fagan]

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Military Matters

Left to right (seated) Laura Leaman, Christy Vertin, Andy Pfefferkorn, Stacy Schubert and Julia Becker Left to right (standing) Robbin Seymour, Jamie Gupton, Diane Larrew, Audrey West, Heather Eberle, Jennifer Kasztelan and Heather Lasecki

Military Spouses Matter, Too Those Who Stand Behind Their Military Member Have Support in Panama City


he United States is arguably the most powerful nation in the world, with a military unmatched by any other nation. The U.S. Marine Corps, Army, Navy, Coast Guard and Air Force — along with the National Guard — are 100 percent volunteer and have been since 1973, when the draft ended. The men and women who sign up for the job take on a great responsibility. Many are put in harm’s way and, as Vietnam veteran Joe West once said, they all sign a blank check over the to the U.S. government in the amount of up to and including their life. And behind every warrior is a family of support that gives up a lot so their countryman can protect the nation we all love. “I’m very supportive of my country and I think it’s a duty for anyone to support their country any way they can,” said Laura Leaman. 24

Summer 2011

Leaman was in the U.S. Navy for almost 16 years and ascended to electrician’s mate second class before deciding to leave. She did so when she was six months pregnant with her second child, but she didn’t go far. Her husband, Chad Leaman, was also in the Navy when they met and is now a command master chief at the Naval Experimental Diving Unit in Panama City, so Laura Leaman is still closely connected to the profession she left behind. “I love the Navy,” Laura Leaman said. “I’m very proud of anybody who serves in the military.” But former military personnel aren’t the only ones who have love for the protectors of the red, white and blue. The “average” military spouse is a devout supporter, too. Stacy Schubert met her husband, Chief Warrant Officer Walter Schubert, online and the couple was married about a year later. In their 11-year marriage, the Schuberts have

lived in Georgia, Italy, Washington State, Panama City (twice) and in 2012 they’ll pick up again and move to San Diego. “For him to keep making promotions like he’s making, this is where we have to go,” Stacy Schubert said. Life in the military is ever changing. And that holds true for location, as well as lifestyle. But most military spouses say they’ve come to expect a move every few years and even enjoy the change of pace and place. “For me, the best part of having a spouse in the military is having the opportunity to move around the country, meet all kinds of people and watch him work his way up; I am very proud of my husband,” said Lacy Danic, wife of Marine Corps Sgt. William Danic. The two wed in 2006 and recently moved from Camp Lejeune in North Carolina to the Marine Corps Recruit Depot in San Diego. But that surely won’t be their final destination.

photo by scott holstein

By Angela Howard

“A military wife is just like any other wife until your spouse deploys. That is what makes it different than being married to a civilian; deployments are scary and very frustrating because you are never 100 percent sure that your spouse is safe.” – Lacy Danic, Marine Corps spouse Military Children Any parent knows raising a child is no easy task. And that goes double for anyone who becomes a “single parent” when their spouse is deployed. Just ask Army wife Erin Proffit. “Adam hates when I say I am like a single mom when he’s gone. But it is pretty much the same. I am raising our daughter alone,” Proffit said. “He has not spent longer than a week with our daughter since she was 3 months old.” Adam and Erin Proffit met when she was in school at Tennessee Wesleyan College. After four years of active duty, three as an inactive reservist and a deployment to Iraq, Adam Proffit left the Navy and entered the Army, where he is currently finishing up his schooling at Fort Gordon. Until he’s finished, Erin Proffit and their 9-month-old daughter, Lizzie, will continue to fend for themselves. But it’s not all loneliness and heartache for military families. Julia Becker grew up with her father in the Navy and stayed close to the cause — with her first and second husbands both donning the sailor’s uniform. “The small community that we’re in really does circle around you and help you in those situations that you are in,” she said. Julia Becker and her husband, retired Master Diver Lyle Becker, have a blended family with four kids between them. Her acceptance and appreciation of the military helped Lyle Becker excel in his field. “When he was [stationed in Panama City] as a single father, he was thinking of retiring,” said Julia Becker. “When we met, it gave him the chance to go to master diver (evaluation) and get his master diver certificate.” Coping With Deployment We hear time and again how hard it is for the men and women in the U.S. military, but life isn’t easy for their families either, especially when the military member is deployed.

“I don’t think they get sufficient recognition for the stress they’re under,” said Jay Reeve, president and CEO of the Apalachee Center, a non-profit behavioral healthcare organization that helps those suffering from mental health issues. The women we talked to admit that it can be hard juggling the house, the bills, the kids and the everyday chores without their partner around, but they take it all on because it has to be done. “I’m not going to lie, it’s hard. Very hard,” said Erin Proffit. “It takes a certain type of person to deal with the lifestyle.” Added Lacy Danic, “The hardest part of having a spouse in the military is understanding that what the Marine Corps orders is what goes. There is not much say anyone has so, whether good or bad, you just have to deal and make the best of it.” And while the separation during deployments may be tough, Julia Becker uses it as a time to grow. “Every time he’s gone, I’ve learned something from it and every time he comes back I’ve learned something from it,” she said. Dealing With Stress “A military wife is just like any other wife until your spouse deploys. That is what makes it different than being married to a civilian; deployments are scary and very frustrating because you are never 100 percent sure that your spouse is safe,” said Lacy Danic. “We are a special breed,” echoed Schubert. But even this special breed is still human, and they all deal with stress in their own way. Lacy Danic cleans her home to instill a sense of order and control while Stacy Schubert’s therapy is in her flower garden. Books are an escape for Julia Becker and Erin Proffit, and Laura Leaman enjoys a trip to the grocery store — sans kids — from time to time. Each spouse finds solace however he or she can, and all have come to enjoy some

of the quiet time at home. However, military spouses don’t have to go it alone. In fact, Stacy Schubert, Laura Leaman, Julia Becker, Erin Proffit and Lacy Danic all say that there is a great amount of support among the “warriors” here at home. “Get involved. Get involved in your husband’s career. The military is a family affair,” said Laura Leaman. Julia Becker was quick to note that it can be scary the first time your spouse deploys, but putting yourself out there and being active is a great help. “You really have to have a real strong faith in God, faith in each other and have that community,” she said. Overall, Reeve encourages military spouses to give themselves a break and seek support if they need it. It’s tough being married to someone who may not come back alive, but getting involved and opening up, especially with other military spouses, can help. n

Links for Support USDA Military Families support.html American Red Cross Dept. of Veterans Affairs FSU Psychology Clinic Life Management Center Serving Bay and six surrounding counties



Editor’s Choice

THE PIONEER LIFESTYLE Experience the good old days with living history demonstrations and classes at the Panhandle Pioneer Settlement.

Living History The Panhandle Pioneer Settlement Offers Visitors a Chance to Step Back in Time


hen it comes to the rustic life of Florida’s pioneers, adults and children alike who tour the Panhandle Pioneer Settlement always have a million questions. “Kids will ask, ‘Who built the fires?’ ‘Who pumped the water?’ ‘How did people eat?’” said Darryl Taylor Sr., a retired educator who volunteers as a tour guide at the settlement. “I’ve given tours to a couple of groups from England, and they were extremely interested in how people lived in such primitive circumstances. They want to know things like how people chinked the cracks in the cabins to keep from freezing to death.” In 1962, the year they were married, Blountstown residents Willard and Linda Smith — two people with a grand vision to preserve a past that was rapidly disappearing — began to ponder what would eventually become the Panhandle Pioneer Settlement. “We need to know where we’ve come 26

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from so we can know where we’re going,” said Willard Smith, 70, a retired electrician. “We’ve built our settlement like a community would have grown up, with all of the out buildings and a little bit of farmland.” “The seed for this idea was planted when we saw Calhoun County go from extreme poverty, with no electricity and no running water in the late 1940s and early 1950s, to having both,” said Linda Smith, 71. “Willard was 22 when he started to think about historic preservation. He knew that when our generation was gone, that way of life would be lost.” The Panhandle Pioneer Settlement, a living history museum in Blountstown, has a collection of 16 historical buildings, dating from 1820 to the 1940s. Now arranged on 5 acres to replicate an idyllic farm community, the buildings were moved from their original locations throughout Calhoun County. The settlement features the office of Dr. J.B. Dowling (early 1900s),

complete with displays of period medical implements; the Red Oak Methodist Church (1940); the Clarksville post office and general store (1941); and the Frink gymnasium (1942), a popular venue for local wedding receptions. When Taylor takes children into the two-room Shiloh schoolhouse, built in the late 1800s, more questions come. “They want to know about the length of the school day, the games that kids played back then and where the bathroom was,” Taylor said. “They’re very interested in how you studied without electricity and in the dunce cap — and whether kids were really forced to sit in the corner wearing it.” Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, the Smiths couldn’t find financial backing for or generate enthusiasm over this kind of historic preservation project because they were too close to the period that they were trying to preserve. It wasn’t until 1989 that they were able to convince the Calhoun

photos courtesy Kelli Peacock Dunn

By Jeffery Seay

“We need to know where we’ve come from so we can know where we’re going.” – Willard Smith, founder of the Panhandle Pioneer Settlement County Commission to allow part of the county-owned Sam B. Atkins Park to be used for the settlement. Over the past 21 years, the Smiths have really gotten down to business, scouring Calhoun County for buildings of significance. “We have the only three styles of log cabins that I’ve seen in Florida — the round log, the split log and the dovetail log,” Willard Smith said. “The Chason Log House was built around 1820 of flathewn logs, and the double dovetail joinery is very sophisticated.

“We have the oldest honey house in the state of Florida,” Willard Smith said of the early 1900s structure. “It came from Iola, which was near Wewahitchka. It is sitting here on site in pieces at present. We still have to reconstruct it and restore it.” Because of the forethought of Willard and Linda Smith, the settlement’s window on the past is still open wide, showing people of today how pioneer life was lived. “Schoolteachers thoroughly enjoy going into our schoolhouse and seeing how school was taught back then,” Willard Smith said.

Annual activities at the Settlement January Pioneer Hog Butchering (The third Saturday, 8 a.m.–1 p.m.) A demonstration conducted in the cold of winter, just as Florida pioneers did in the days before refrigeration. Back then, the pork that wasn’t immediately eaten was seasoned and cured in a smokehouse and could last for months. On the settlement’s demonstration day, the pork is ground into sausage and is available for the public to sample. April Panhandle Folk Life Days (Three days; for specific dates, visit; 9 a.m.–3 p.m. daily.) A unique look back into pioneer life in the Panhandle, with demonstrations of how to cook crackling (fried pork skins); quilting, handwork, crocheting and knitting; weaving with a spinning wheel; pine-straw basket making; wooden bowl making; and blacksmithing. Schoolchildren can try their hand at making marbles, rag dolls and oldfashioned games. What’s more, the public is treated to homemade biscuits topped with Papa’s Best Cane Syrup, which is made on site. May Quilt Show (The first Saturday, 9 a.m.–2 p.m.) The contemporary handiwork of local quilters is displayed, along with antique quilts. In addition, various quilting methods are demonstrated. October Pioneer Day (The third Saturday, 9 a.m.–3 p.m.) Held in conjunction with the Blountstown Rotary Club’s annual Goat Day, the settlement’s Pioneer Day is a festival that celebrates the past’s sense of community. Throughout the park, musicians play fiddles and pick guitars, and volunteers conduct demonstrations similar to Panhandle Folk Life Days (see above). There also are young farm animals for children to pet.

THE REAL PIONEERS Willard and Linda Smith, founders of the Panhandle Pioneer Settlement, lived the same pioneer lifestyle that mystifies so many visitors to the settlement.

“Back then, everything was done by manual labor, using either animals or humans,” he said. “Trees were cut down with a crosscut saw by two people. Then you had a log cart with oxen to pull the logs to a sawmill.” Other cabins that are bona fide treasures at the settlement include the Wells Log House (1846), the Bailey Log House (circa 1860), the Sexton Log House (1872), and the Yon Farm House (1897). All of the buildings have been restored and furnished.

The tour guides show visitors how to wash clothes with a fire, a wash pot, lye soap and a scrub board and give kids square pieces of cloth to wash. “They love doing it,” Smith said. “They also love pumping water with a hand pump. It just amazes them to work that lever up and down and have water come up out of the ground. “A few years ago, a group came through,” he said. “I asked this one boy, who was in the ninth grade, what he had learned that day. He answered, ‘I’m not ready to go home yet.’” n

November Antique Tool Show and Sale (Saturday before Thanksgiving, 7:30 a.m.–1 p.m.) Vendors from throughout Florida and Georgia display tools that were used in woodworking, farming and railroading. Sugar Cane Syrup-Making Day (Saturday after Thanksgiving, 8 a.m. to “finish”) Cooked with locally grown sugar cane at the settlement’s farmstead “syrup house,” the public is invited to watch the syrup-making process. For dates, visit the settlement’s website at Regular hours: 10 a.m.–2 p.m., Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday or by appointment. 17869 Northwest Pioneer Settlement Road Telephone: (850) 674-2777 BAY LIFE


Sparkling Serenity Econfina Creek is a hidden treasure, and that’s just the way the locals like it

By Wendy O. Dixon | Photography by scott holstein


t’s no secret Bay County is home to breathtakingly beautiful emerald waters in the Gulf of Mexico. Tourists by the thousands flock to Panama City Beach to bask in the sun and swim in the warm salt water. But most have no idea that less than an hour away, an equally precious treasure hides — the purest spring water in the world.


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THIRST-QUENCHING PARTNERSHIP Econfina spring water, according to business partners Jay Trumbull (left) and Johnny Patronis, is the world’s finest. Bay Life



his according to Johnny Patronis, co-owner of Patronis Brothers Enterprises and Gainer Springs, which is part of Econfina Creek in north Bay County. The cascading waterfalls, glorious tree canopies and serene natural beauty make a hidden gem in Youngstown. Brothers Johnny and Jimmy Patronis have been doing business together all their lives — opening the Seven Seas restaurant in 1953, purchasing Gainer Springs in 1957 and opening Capt. Anderson’s Restaurant & Waterfront Market in 1967. While the younger generation of the Patronis family runs Capt. Anderson’s now, both Johnny and Jimmy are still active in several joint ventures — including the sale of Bay County’s spring water to Culligan Water Solutions Inc. “Just about everything we’ve done has been together,” Johnny Patronis says. “Same checking account, same savings account. His junk is on one side of the desk, and mine is on the other.” A Rare and Precious Resource Econfina Creek was first called “Natural Bridge” for a natural limestone arch that


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crossed the pristine creek at the mouth of the spring. During the War of 1812, Gen. Andrew Jackson and his army crossed Econfina en route to Pensacola. In 1821, when the territory opened for settlement, one of Jackson’s land surveyors, William Gainer, returned to the sparkling creek and settled there. The Gainer Springs Group, named after William Gainer, is the most significant group of fresh-water producing underground vents located in the middle section of Econfina Creek. They produce 114 million gallons per day, nearly twice the requirement to make it a first magnitude spring — one of only five such springs in Northwest Florida and 75 in the country. The creek’s main beneficiaries are the people who drink out of their taps in Bay County. The creek flows into Deer Point Lake Reservoir, which supplies Bay County’s drinking water. Though they are not paid by the county for the tap water, Johnny and Jimmy Patronis thought that bottling the creek water for sale to the general public just made good business sense. “When you’ve got a spring, it’s all you

ever think about,” Johnny Patronis says. The icy creek’s location is idyllic. Just off State Road 20, it’s easily accessible for transportation vehicles that draw the water. And the stream is in a protected area, surrounded by 1,800 acres of Patronis family land and bordered by a little more than 39,000 acres of protected land owned by the Northwest Florida Water Management District. The Patronis brothers are the only ones with an individual water use permit within a mile buffer of Econfina Creek, though there are various users that operate under a general water use permit, such as the limited public supply uses at the district field office and the canoe livery, as well as a number of domestic uses by private residences that fall within the buffer. The seclusion has been a crucial blessing for the creek, which gets nearly half of its average flow from Floridan Aquifer Springs (water filtered through sand and limestone). The rest comes from rainfall runoff. “One of the biggest threats to the water quality would be the release of nitrates from septic tanks if there was

Jay N. Trumbull, 50, owns Culligan Water Solutions and a 15,000-square-foot bottling plant that each month produces 60,000 five-gallon bottles of Econfina water and 120,000 half-liter bottles. rural lakefront development,” says William Cleckley, the water management district’s director of the Division of Land Management and Acquisition. “We protect the water supply in Bay County by preserving the groundwater recharge area property.” Sandy soil created a perfect environment for the clear spring water, but not for farming. The absence of industrial centers and large farms with dangerous pesticides, combined with the natural addition of beneficial silica beds and limestone that filter nearby shallow sand ponds, provides one of the purest natural spring waters in the world.

A Partnership Emerges Econfina began working with Panama City-based Culligan Water Solutions Inc. in 2000, bottling the crystal clear spring water in five-gallon jugs, then eventually single serving bottles. Jay N. Trumbull, 50, owns Culligan Water Solutions and a 15,000-square-foot bottling plant that each month produces 60,000 five-gallon bottles of Econfina water and 120,000 half-liter bottles. Both the Trumbulls and the Patronises have been friends for generations. Johnny Patronis’ grandfather, Theo Patronis, first settled in Apalachicola, then Quincy, Patmos, Tallahassee and finally Panama City.

“It’s too much (moving around). You’d think we were gypsies,” Johnny Patronis jokes. After settling in Panama City, the Patronis family multiplied, favoring continuity by using the same name in each generation. “There’s about six Johnnys around, and about that many Jimmys,” Johnny Patronis laughs. “We just keep repeating them.” Jay Trumbull’s grandfather, Den A. Trumbull, started the Panama City Culligan dealership in 1950. His son, Den Trumbull, Jr., joined the company in 1955, and Jay Trumbull, current president of the company, came on in 1985. Close friends, Den Jr. and Johnny

Bay Life


and Jimmy Patronis always talked about bottling the spring water in Econfina and eventually started the permitting process to bottle the water by hiring a geologist and getting approval from the Florida Dept. of Agriculture and the NSF (Public Health and Safety Company). They then built a pumping station in the springs, from which the tankers collect the water and transport it to Culligan. In addition to Bay County, Culligan, which has about 50 employees, now distributes Econfina water to Fort Walton Beach, Mobile, Ala., Dothan, Ala., Tifton, Ga. and, most recently, Tallahassee. Water is water, right? Well, no. Next time you take a sip of water, whether out of the tap or a bottle, think about the “mouth feel,” a term used by water experts as the primary way to describe the flavor. “Taste is pretty subjective, but you can tell a difference between hard and soft water,” says Kris Barrios, director of the field services section at NWFWMD. Rainwater is soft because it has no nutrients whereas ground water is hard. Econfina, Barrios explains, is somewhere in the middle. Water is primarily measured by Total Dissolved Solids (TDS), a measure of all the dissolved solids or minerals, including calcium, magnesium and caltrates. The fewer the better. High levels will affect the taste of water and may also affect toxicity, says James P. McMahon, an ecologist with Sweetwater, LLC based in Brookside, Utah. Generally, a low TDS is considered by some health practitioners to be more hydrating. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has set its maximum contaminant level for TDS in drinking water at 500 parts per million for aesthetic purposes. “Water with a very low TDS, say 30 or less, will have a sharp crisp taste, perhaps considered ‘clean’ by some,” McMahon says. “A higher TDS, in the range of 150 to 250, provides more mouth feel or taste.” Compare Econfina water with popular national brands Fiji — artesian water drawn from one of the Fiji Islands off the South Pacific Ocean, Evian — a still mineral water from the French Alps and Dasani — Coca-Cola’s brand of purified water. Econfina is, on average, 35 to 40 parts per million, whereas Evian is 300 to 400 parts per million, as is Fiji water, according to Culligan’s data. 32

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Purified drinking water like Dasani and Aquafina is not spring water, Trumbull says. “They take water and strip everything out of it to make it taste like Econfina.” What’s so special about Econfina, he says, is its low TDS measure. “Some people think you drink bottled water for the minerals, but you get minerals from food.” The majority of bottled waters do not contain optimal levels of fluoride, according to the American Dental Association, potentially decreasing the decay-preventive effects of optimally fluoridated water. “But the nice thing about Econfina is that it’s naturally slightly fluoridated,” Trumbull says.

“The water quality is very good if you compare it with other springs in the states,” says Barrios. “It’s got fewer nutrients due to the good watershed management.” The tankers extract 6,000 gallons of water at a time and bring it back to the Culligan plant 20 miles away. Then the water is transferred to a 30,000-gallon stainless steel holding tank. From there, the water is pumped through several filters to take out any particles and put through ultraviolet light to kill organisms. But no change is made to the water itself. Though he comes across as partial, Patronis doesn’t think so. “It’s the best water that ever was,” he says.

FROM CREEK TO BOTTLE Friends and business partners Jay Trumbull (left), owner of Culligan Water Solutions, and Johnny Patronis, co-owner of Gainer Springs group in Econfina Creek, distribute the natural spring water throughout Northwest Florida, southwest Georgia and southern Alabama.

been hurt, the five-gallon sales are starting to take off again.” Patronis says he won’t even think about the creek drying up. He has no worries about running out of supply to keep up with the demand. “We’ve got over 100 million gallons a day coming out of there,” he says. “We only use 30,000. “We’ve got wonderful water in Bay County. We’ve got salt water, fresh water — we’ve got it all.”

The Ebb and Flow of the Bottled Water Business Beginning in the mid-2000s, and until very recently, the bottled water industry grew at close to double-digit percentage rates in both volume and sales, according to the Bottled Water Reporter, a publication produced by New York-based Beverage Marketing Corp., which tracks market trends in the beverage industry. Despite a movement by some environmental groups encouraging people to abandon single-serving water bottles in an effort to reduce the buildup of the plastic containers in landfills, the per capita consumption in the United States increased

from 23.2 gallons in 2004 to 29.0 gallons in 2007, then took a slight dip in 2008 and 2009 with a 28.5 gallons and 27.6 gallons per capita consumption, respectively, according to the Reporter. While bottled water failed to realize growth in 2008 or 2009, the Reporter says its sluggishness reflected forces affecting the entire beverage marketplace and most likely did not indicate a permanent diminishment in demand for bottled water. “It’s interesting because the negative of the small bottles is that they live forever in a landfill,” Trumbull says. “So the alternative is to use the five-gallon recyclable bottles. While sales in the smaller bottles has

The Creek and Beyond Though most locals know Econfina Creek — many have enjoyed the rustic canoe trail at the Econfina Creek Canoe Livery — it is not given much attention statewide. “It’s a unique site,” Barrios explains. “What makes it special is that it’s the steepest gradient in Florida. It starts at 180 feet and ends up at sea level, which makes it fun to canoe.” The area also is environmentally significant because it contains several unique habitats and rare, threatened, and endemic plant and animal species, according to the district. Brothers Johnny and Jimmy Patronis worked to restore the long-leaf pine, a critical indigenous tree. “The long-leaf pine was the original tree in the area,” Johnny Patronis says. “This whole part of the earth was covered with them before they were nearly all cut down. We planted the first new long-leaf over 40 years ago and everyone said it wouldn’t work, and it almost didn’t.” The water management district has a traveling history trail in the works, with hopes to open in the fall of 2011. Guests will be able to drive along points of interest on the land to see remains from the Civil War including a slave cemetery, gristmills and homestead sites. As he sits on a rock near a low cliff along Gainer Springs, his jeans soaked to the knee, Johnny Patronis splashes his feet in the crystal clear water, today a cool 75 degrees, and declares that Econfina Creek is, perhaps, the best water in the world. The 83-year-old newlywed, who married Joni Patronis less than a year ago, suggests, “It just may be the fountain of youth.” n Bay Life



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Photo Illustration by Marc L. Thomas

From a fisherman’s twist on a portable grill to a beach-friendly wheelchair, the ideas for some hot new products were conceived right here on the Emerald Coast By Wendy O. Dixon and Zandra Wolfgram Photos by scott holstein


o you ever look at a neat invention that enhances your life and ask yourself, “Why didn’t I think of that?” Of course there are the obvious ones — the telephone, computer, microwave oven and automobile. And, lest we forget, the beloved central air conditioning. But what about your toothbrush, pencil or toilet paper? Even these low-tech inventions were once ideas that we now can’t envision living without. Great ideas can come from anyone — young or old, male or female. In 1824, when he was 15 years old, Louis Braille, who was completely blind by the age of 5, developed a system of reading and writing by means of raised dots. Today it is known as Braille, the standard form of writing and reading used by the blind. And they can come at any time. Larry Page, co-founder of Google, said the idea for the ubiquitous Internet search engine came in the middle of the night when he dreamed about downloading the entire Web. The Emerald Coast has some residents who have also come up with ways to enhance our lives. Many of these inventors were inspired by the beaches, green waters and the fish that live in the Gulf to make tools or equipment that allow anyone to enjoy the full benefits of living in Northwest Florida. Meet several such inventors who turned their creative ideas into reality.

Bay Life


A Shore Thing The Herrmann Family’s Shore Surfer

For the Herrmann family, the Shore Surfer appears to be a sure thing. The family was spending a day at the beach near their Destin home in May 2009. After a losing battle with the sand while riding his boogie board, Andy Herrmann, then 11 years old, dreamed of a skim-style surfboard with handles and knee pads to prevent injury for young kids and those new to the sport. That evening over dinner, the entire Herrmann family — Joe, Linda, Joey, Katie and Andy — conceived the Shore Surfer. Eventually, what began as a sketch on a napkin took shape as a prototype design, thanks to Aiello Designs of Maine. In April 2010, nearly a year since that day of dreaming on the beach, the Shore Surfer launched at a demo party at Henderson Beach State Park. Not long after the product hit the local beach scene, national media attention followed, including recognition in the July 2010 issue of Coastal Living magazine, which named the Shore Surfer one of its “Best New Beach Products in 2010.” “That article really launched us onto the national scene,” says Andy’s mother, Linda Herrmann. From the get-go, two things were nonnegotiable to the inventive family — that they give something back, and that their product be American-made. The first one was easy. The Herrmanns adopted two national charities — Food for the Poor and Ride Nature, to which they donate 10 percent of their sales. The second goal was harder to achieve. With few affordable options available, the Herrmanns conceded and had their board made in China for the first year. This year, Linda Herrmann says they are proud to partner with a manufacturer in North Carolina. “Producing the Shore Surfer in the States will give us better quality control, better shipping options and will allow us to give better service to our customers,” she says.


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Siblings Katie and Andy Herrmann engineered a solution for the scraped knees that come with traditional skimboards.

Now that the Shore Surfer name is trademarked, a patent for the design is pending. The product is available for $39.99 at local beach stores and online at The Herrmanns are expanding their sales and marketing efforts based on customer demand to purchase the product at local beach shops. With their marketing goals in mind, Joe and Linda Herrmann recently ventured to Orlando to attend one of the largest surf expos in the United States. “They loved it,” Linda Herrmann says. “Professional skim boarders were saying they wished they had thought of it.” The trip was a success, yielding the start-up business more than 100 independent retailers that want to sell the Shore Surfer all over the world. Though this is a big win for the Herrmanns’ company, it’s all a part of their measured success.

“We have consciously decided to grow slowly. The market place can push you into places you aren’t ready to go,” Linda Herrmann says. They are ready to go into the 2011 summer season. Splashy plans are in the works for color-coordinated rash-guard shirts, as well as two new incarnations of the board — a “disposable” one with a lower price targeted to vacationers, and a durable, long-lasting board suitable for rentals. What does Andy Herrmann, now 13, think of the entire experience? “I guess it’s kind of cool, but it takes a lot of time and patience,” he says. The Herrmanns hope their patience pays off in the end. “We envision this will become a family business. We see this as a lifeline as our kids grow up,” Linda Herrmann says. “Our dream is that this hobby could become very valuable to our future.”

Hot Off the Grill Paul Wohlford’s Bobber-Que-Grill

Passionate about running, fishing and marketing, Paul Wohlford easily parlays his interests into action. The vice president of sales and marketing for The Resort Collection in Panama City Beach was attending a tourism meeting for the Oh Boy! Oberto Redfish Cup Pro-Am tournament in 2008 when the idea of likening the Panama City Beach area to the “Redfish Riviera” — a play off of the area’s nickname, “Redneck Riviera” — came up. And as he has for many other catchy ideas, the energetic executive ran with it. Wohlford trademarked the name Redfish Riviera and developed a website into an online outfitter dedicated to redfishing. Today, caters to customers in eight states and sells a range of Redfish Riviera-branded products, from sport fishing apparel to trailer hitches. In an effort to drive “heads in beds” into the local resorts and hotels, Wohlford organized a half-marathon that he named Run for the Redfish. The event is held each December (it is scheduled for Dec. 3 in 2011) and attracts more than 700 racers. Wohlford expects as many as 1,000 runners at this year’s race. Proceeds of sales benefit local environmental causes. The creative side of any challenge is a true lure for Wohlford, a longtime lodging leader. “Once you’re in marketing, you can’t turn it off,” he says. “You think about it seven days a week. It’s not unlike a chef, who can’t eat in a restaurant without critiquing the food.” Once a concept has become a reality, Wohlford’s payoff is the result. “I love the aspect of evoking a response,” he says. “To see the Run for the Redfish be successful, and knowing that it’s going to grow, is certainly rewarding.” Not long after Redfish Riviera was launched, a boat captain was fingering some lures and bobbers during a meeting

for a redfish tournament and said, “This would make a cool grill.” Once again, Wohlford latched on and ran with another live one. He partnered with Thermacell, a mosquito repellant company based in Boston, on a licensing agreement to design, produce and sell a fishing-inspired grill. The end result is the Bobber-Que-Grill, a 14-inch, portable charcoal kettle grill with a top painted to look like a fishing bobber. The grill retails for around $30. With major retailers such as Bass Pro Shops, Mills Fleet Farm and most recently, Bed Bath & Beyond in Destin stocking the

grill, whose tagline is “Catch the Flavor!,” sales are on fire, with 10,000 grills sold in less than a year. And additional concepts of the Bobber-Que-Grill are heating up, including a larger home version and an iteration that is “hunter-friendly.” Though he says his plate is full, no doubt this inventive local will be cooking up more novel ideas soon. “I wish there were more hours in the day and eight days in a week. If you don’t move you just stand still; I’d rather be moving,” Wohlford says as he rushes to make another phone call.

Compact, lightweight and portable, Paul Wohlford’s Bobber-Que-Grill appeals to anglers everywhere.

Bay Life


A Fly for Every Fish Greg Miheve’s fly-fish ties

He spent much of his Air Force career as an interrogator, skillfully extracting information from Vietnamese war prisoners and deserters. But it doesn’t take much grilling to get Greg Miheve, 68, to talk about his passion — fly-fish fly tying. After enduring bitterly cold winters in Michigan as a child, Miheve (Mah-hayvee) looked forward to the first sign of spring, when he could spend the warmer afternoons fishing in a nearby lake. He got a fly-tying kit for his 11th birthday and quickly discovered he had a knack for tying fish flies. When he was 14, Miheve was on “The Rocky Teller Show,” a fishing television show based in Duluth, Minn., where he demonstrated his self-taught fly-tying skills. He was later featured in Pickands Mather Iron Ore magazine, a regional publication focused on the Lake Superior region of the state. That brought him notoriety — and a budding business. “I was getting knocks on my door at 4 a.m. from fishermen who wanted some good flies to go fishing,” he says. Tying flies was just a hobby throughout his Air Force career, during which Miheve served as “chief of exploitation” while interrogating Vietnamese POWs and deserters. In a stark contrast to how movies portray POWs being brutally tortured for information, Miheve said he and the other American soldiers gave the prisoners soap and toothpaste for their personal use. “I actually can’t recall ever touching one of them,” Miheve says of the prisoners. “A guard would lead them into the room and tell them to sit. We just sat across the table from each other. My interpreter would sit next to me. There was no torturing. We just talked to them and got them talking.” Miheve made a promise to every Vietnamese deserter as part of his strategy to get him to divulge information.


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“We promised that we would let them go,” he says. “Which meant they would go back to their ‘friends’ in South Vietnam. Their friends were not very friendly.” After retiring from the Air Force, Miheve and his family moved to Fort Walton Beach. He made flies for Orvis, a mail-order sporting goods company, tying 30 dozen flies per week, and then focused on fishing resorts and individual sales. Now Miheve keeps busy with enough orders to work strictly retail as a fly designer, making flies for various clients nationwide, including fly manufacturing company Umpqua. Most of the flies retail for less than $10. “I get 2 cents per dozen flies (from Umpqua),” he says. “You get a royalty, but you’re never gonna live off that. You just do it for the notoriety.” Always one to tinker, Miheve says it’s impossible to be a fly-tier and not muck about.

“I tried so many projects I’m up to my nose in them,” he says. “Fly-tiers and fly fishermen are notorious gadget people.” Miheve says fishing flies have undergone many significant breakthroughs over the past several years, using new materials that didn’t even exist two or three years ago. “It used to be all feathers and the fur from animals,” he says. “Now you’ve got all kinds of synthetic things. Aerospace engineers are designing special adhesives. Dentists and chemistry guys are using their tools to make new flies. It’s almost impossible to keep up with the new materials.” Miheve started the first local fly-fishing club, Emerald Coast Flyrodders, in 1985, which was succeeded by Panhandle Flyfishers of Destin. Now Miheve is satisfied tinkering in his garage and has plenty to keep him busy. “I don’t dare advertise,” he says. “I’d get swamped.”

Master fly-fish fly-designer Greg Miheve says inventors are usually born with the need to tinker.

Swett Equity

Illustrations by Daniel Vitter

John Swett’s Beach Scoot Accommodator II

When John Swett couldn’t find a beachfriendly wheelchair to enjoy the beaches of Panama City Beach while on vacation with his grandchildren, he decided to invent one. Scoot forward a few years, and Swett’s sketch of an electric, all-terrain vehicle is now known as the Beach Scoot Accommodator II (patent pending). The two-passenger, disabled-friendly scooter handles all terrains, from beach sand to snow, ice, mud and even wooded trails. It’s a green, all-season vehicle that is easily operable and runs on a 24-volt electric system. It will scoot up to 6 miles per hour for 5 miles on one battery charge. A jovial, easygoing character who grew up in Marianna, Fla., Swett understands his customers’ needs firsthand. A sudden bout with polio at the age of 5 affected 90 percent of his body. Though he used a wheelchair, in time, his strong upper body allowed him to enjoy swimming and water sports as a youth, which led to a lifelong love of Florida’s beaches. In recent years, he has experienced post-polio syndrome, which brought on a degeneration of muscle memory. Now, at 61, he relies on his Beach Scoot even more to assist his daily mobility. “I understand the needs of the mobilityimpaired. We’re in the same boat,” he says. “I also know what is really important to people — being with friends and family and enjoying the simple things in life.” Armed with family support, tenacity and a background in metal fabrication manufacturing, Swett and his brother, Tom, spent 16 months in research and development, testing his prototype at St. Andrews State Park in Panama City Beach “just to get the machine to run in the beach sand.” Altogether, Swett estimates his idea took about two years from concept to completion. The idea came easily; it’s

John Swett (seated) and his brother, Tom, invented the Beach Scoot Accommodator II so everyone could enjoy the beach.

the financing that has presented the biggest challenges. Though he had a fully operational prototype and business plan in hand, Swett still was denied loans from 10 banks that he says “do not want to fund research and development,” so he and his brother pooled their retirement funds into their product. Though the final result is “beyond his expectations,” if he had it to do over, Swett says he would have spent even more time researching manufacturers. “We had a lot of trial and error with companies claiming to do things they could not or who could not meet our quality expectations,” he says. Being a customer himself, Swett refused to compromise on quality. “I use it myself. I don’t have time for costly repairs,” he adds. “I want it to be as bulletproof as possible.” John and Tom Swett have a modest supply of Beach Scoots on hand that are

fabricated in Panama City Beach. They also take custom orders, which take from six to eight weeks to build. “It is industrial grade. It’s not typical; that’s why it works so well,” he explains. Beach Scoots retail for $7,900 each ( They are also available for daily rental all along the coast, from Mexico Beach to Fort Walton Beach. According to Swett, the rental fee ranges from $50 to $65 per day and includes delivery and pick-up. Swett has already rolled right on to his next venture, the development of a beach wagon that enables wheelchairbound customers to secure their chair onto a wagon, which can be pulled onto the beach. “My work to develop other ways for the disabled to enjoy life outdoors and water sports is ongoing,” he says. “I guess I’ll dedicate the rest of my life to improving the quality of life for others.” n Bay Life



Pools, new or remodeled, are the stars of backyard sanctuaries by Lis King


eady to make a splash? You’re not alone. Even in tough times, we can’t resist the lure of personal water wonderlands, says the Association of Pool & Spa Professionals. And it isn’t just a swimming pool we want. More often than not, our backyard investment continues beyond poolside with such amenities as waterfalls, fountains, spas, decks, lush landscaping and outdoor rooms every bit as functional and comfortable as indoor ones. Emerald Coast pool designers and contractors go even further. They say that the economic


Summer 2011

situation is actually fostering the interest in converting backyards into personal sanctuaries. “Staying at home and having a good time with family and friends makes a lot more sense than standing in line at the airport and spending a lot of money for borrowed amenities,” explains Steve Helmer of Helmer Pools in Santa Rosa Beach. “The away-from-home vacation may leave you with good memories, but adding resort features to your own property is an investment that keeps paying off, especially in a great climate and beautiful area like ours,” Helmer says.

Photo courtesy cox pools

The raised spa of this Panama City Beach pool has two sheer descent waterfalls. The warm paver decking combined with tropical landscaping transform this backyard into an island oasis.

Decisions, Decisions Swimming pools have come a long way from the simple water holes you splashed around in as a kid, so shopping for one is almost as much fun as diving into one on a steamy day, says Barbara Gudgel, marketing director at Cox Pools, located in Destin and Panama City Beach. “These days, design choices range from country pond looks to glamorous infinity pools that seem to disappear into the horizon,” she says. “Poolside you can settle for a simple deck or splurge on luxurious, resort-worthy features.

And then there’s amazing new technology that can not only heighten a pool’s glamour, but also reduce maintenance and save energy.” First decide how you’ll use the pool, advise the pros. That’ll determine the size, shape and type of your pool. Will you primarily use the pool for exercise? Cooling off? Family fun? For example, if it’s for exercise, you may want a long, narrow pool for swimming laps, and if you want it to maximize the play area for the kids, consider a shallower pool. The diving board that requires an eight-foot depth is becoming passé anyway, notes Helmer. He tells that he has built quite a few pools that are shallow all around the edges with the deep end in the middle. “Shallower pools are definitely taking over where family fun is the main objective,” he says. “Family and friends get more involved in water tag, volleyball and other pool games when not-so-good swimmers can participate, too. They’re also favorites with aging boomers, who like water aerobics.” Second, decide on your backyard theme. As a general rule, freeform pools are perfect for tropical themes, while contemporary designs lean towards geometric symmetry and smooth materials. Traditional pools usually involve straight lines to achieve a more formal look. “If you have trouble choosing your theme, don’t worry,” says Gudgel. “Professional pool designers know how to create the most harmonious look for your house and yard, using your ideas as a springboard, of course. And they’ll help you figure out how big the pool and deck should be, and where to locate it, factoring in sun exposure, privacy, convenience for serving food and drinks, fencing and all the rest.” What’s Your Type? In-ground pools typically come in one of three types: concrete, vinyl and fiberglass, and the vision you have of your pool — its shape, theme and built-in features — may well determine the most suitable construction method. Concrete pools, often referred to as Gunite pools, are at the top of the price range, averaging between $30,000 and $50,000. They offer the most design flexibility and are the top go-to choice for such gorgeous features as vanishing edges, perimeter overflows, multi-levels and grottos. The cost for elaborate, large-

scale projects can escalate into the hundreds of thousands of dollars. The interiors of concrete pools also invite creativity, with such possibilities as plaster in colors from white to black, pebble aggregates, polished marble, glass beads and tile. They can also be painted. You might even opt for an underwater mural. Concrete pools can take a while to finish. You might be looking at anywhere from four to 12 weeks before you can plunge in. Vinyl-lined pools have become very versatile. Now, they can accommodate all sorts of high-end looks, including waterfalls and grottos. They cost between $30,000 and $35,000. Liners come in various colors and patterns, and their smooth surfaces resist algae and are easy to clean. A vinyl-lined pool is quicker to build than a Gunite pool, but the liner has to be replaced every 15 to 20 years. Fiberglass pools are built with pre-designed molds to form a one-piece shell. Such a variety is available that practically any design is possible, from free-form looks to vanishing-edge pools. Many molds also feature built-ins, including sun shelves and spas. Fiberglass pools cost $25,000 to $40,000 or more. Pool Remodeling A new aspect of the backyard spruce-up trend is the remodeling and updating of existing pools. “It has become big business,” says Hank Hollenbeck of Crystal Pools Corp., located in Fort Walton Beach. “There are so many decades-old pools. You know the ones: turquoise water holes surrounded by stark paving. They look sad compared to today’s freeform luxury pools, with their waterfalls, fountains, underwater lights and more. Well, these old pools can be updated in many ways, with design and with technology.” Helmer agrees. “Sometimes we rip the whole thing apart and start over,” he says, “and other times we update with new plaster and/or deck, a waterfall, fountain or spa. Either way, one of our remodeled pools is good for another 20 years.” Terri Ruffini, a Niceville homeowner, says his backyard proves that pool remodeling works. Recently, the Helmer crew converted his old vinyl liner pool to a Gunite version. The 20 feet by 40 feet pool now has steps in the shallow end, a Jacuzzi and a waterfall. “It was an exciting transformation,” says Ruffini. “I enjoyed watching the BAY LIFE



Design Makeovers This is not to say that making over one of those old rectangular pools is easy. The pros warn against simply bringing in a bunch of rocks in an attempt to give it that “natural” look. It’ll never succeed, they say. However, there are many tasteful things you can do to upgrade such a pool, according to Gudgel and Hollenbeck. For example, both feel that new decking can be a terrific facelift. Choices include pavers, granite

colors. The classic plaster color is white, which gives the pool a blue tint while tan and beige tend to add a tropical look. Is the garden around the pool old and overgrown? If so, get a landscape designer to help you decide what plant materials are worth keeping and which ones to replace. Some pool companies, such as Cox, will do everything, the pool, the deck, the outdoor kitchen, the fencing and the landscaping. “We call it the Cox Complete,” tells Gudgel. Functional Facelifts Technology should be part of any pool makeover, says every pool builder and remodeler.

This home plays off of its waterfront location with a custom spa that seamlessly transitions into a negative edge pool.

and quartzite. The latter is becoming especially popular because it’s extremely durable, resists stains and doesn’t reflect heat. “Then you could change the coping, using tile or stone,” says Hollenbeck. “Also pay attention to such details as decorative tile trim and dramatic underwater lighting. I love adding fiber optic lighting to the pool perimeter. LED lights, too, can put on a fantastic pool show of changing colors.” For the pool itself, designers and contractors rave about new finishes. One of them is an aggregate plaster, which has a lot of texture, lasts two to three times longer than old-fashioned finishes, and comes in many 42

Summer 2011

“It may not sound as sexy as waterfalls or a pool bottom studded with LED lights,” says Ryan Eiland of America’s Swimming Pool Company (ASP) in Destin. “But wait till you experience the difference it makes when you go swimming, plus it’ll save lots of energy and maintenance.” Gone are the days of sore, red eyes and faded bathing suits from chlorine. He’s excited about ozone generators, which reduce the need for as much as 90 percent of chemicals, and a cartridge called Nature 2 that uses elemental minerals to inhibit bacteria growth and eliminate contaminants.

Going Green Eiland is an advocate of making pool systems more eco-friendly and has suggestions for a “greener” pool. Switching from a one- or two-speed pool pump to a variable-speed model that runs on a free magnet motor (like those used in hybrid cars) can save from 30 to 90 percent electricity. He says few homeowners realize that a traditional pool pump can use more electricity than any appliance in the home. Go for a computerized control system that can be programmed to trigger the circulation system, heater, lights and auxiliary equipment only when needed and turn on during off-peak hours when electricity rates are lower. If you’re adding a spa, choose the type that recycles waste heat given off by the heater and pumps, redirecting it to help heat the water. Some types even put the jets’ plumbing directly behind each seat. That keeps the warm water from cooling off as it travels through the pipes. Eiland sums it up this way: “Going green can save green, as well as improve your quality of life.” The Legalities Consider the legalities of pool ownership. For example, it’s important to know your town’s zoning laws as they apply to pools. In some communities, the setback from the property line is measured from the edge of the pool, but others begin measuring from the edge of the deck. Also, some communities figure a pool and deck into the lot coverage equations. Of course, you needn’t worry about any of that if a bona fide contractor does the work for you. He’ll get the proper permits. How to find the right contractor? By all means, troll the Internet and check pool companies’ websites. It’s OK to drool over the photos, but read carefully what services are offered and how long they’ve been in business. Get at least three to four bids when you’re ready to buy and don’t just look at the bottom line. Pay attention to the types of materials the contractor will use and his specifications for filter, pump and vacuum as well as warranties and timelines. Get references. Obviously you won’t get references from unhappy customers, but at least you can talk to homeowners, who’ve dealt with the company, and get an idea of how specific issues were handled. But most importantly: Enjoy your cool, new pool. n

Photo courtesy cox pools

crew perform its magic.” He laughs and adds, “That includes Steve’s wife Liz. She’s a master mason. I’ve never before encountered a lady mason. And I’m ecstatic over my new pool.”

Amber Hagan Stylist 850.691.3376 Channon Johnston Hair Designer 850.276.2786 Katy Mahoney Aveda Licensed Stylist 850.628.1959

Call to make your appointment today! 948 Jenks Avenue Panama City, FL 32401 Stylist Chair Available





Patrick Marwan Tamim, M.D.

Board Certified and Fellowship Trained Vascular Surgeon WHAT SERVICES DO YOU PROVIDE? Identification and treatment of arterial and venous disease.

fellowships in surgical critical care at Henry Ford Hospital and in vascular surgery at Hartford Hospital.

AREA OF SPECIALTY: We specialize in PAD (Peripheral Arterial Disease), varicose and spider veins, carotid disease and stroke prevention, deep vein thrombosis and aortic disease including open and minimally invasive treatment of aortic aneurysms.

HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN IN PRACTICE IN BAY COUNTY? I’ve been in practice here for three years and am committed to serving the patients of our community for years to come.

BUSINESS AND EDUCATION BACKGROUND: Dr. Tamim received his medical degree from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School, and completed his residency training in general surgery at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit and Abington Memorial Hospital in Pennsylvania. Dr. Tamim also completed

AWARDS, HONORS, RECOGNITIONS: Dr. Tamim is active in several professional organizations including the Society of Clinical Vascular Surgery, Society of Vascular Medicine and the Society of Vascular Surgery. Throughout his medical experience, Dr. Tamim’s work has appeared in publications and research findings on a wide range of surgical topics.

“I want to make the art of medicine personal again and treat each patient as though they were a part of my family. I strive to bring world class vascular care to our community and surrounding counties.” PATRICK M. TAMIM, M.D.

221 E. 23rd Street Suite E • Panama City, FL 32405 • (850) 215-9654 44

Summer 2011

Photo Courtesy PicnicTime, Inc.

first course picnic packin’ Part of the fun of going to the beach is enjoying a meal while relishing the great outdoors. Before you dip your toes in the sand, planning for the perfect picnic will make your outing a real day at the beach. First, consider how you’re going to carry the food. A picnic basket (pictured is Picnic Time’s BarrelBotanical, is an option, as is a tote. But the picnic backpack has become a popular choice. Shaped similar to a regular backpack it holds dinnerware and utensils, including a corkscrew, dividers and pockets, which makes keeping everything in place a cinch. Most cost under $70 and can be purchased at Pier 1 Imports, Tuesday Morning and some major department stores. The Emerald Coast has no shortage of hot picnic spots. St. Andrews State Park, S. Rick Seltzer Park and Camp Helen State Park in Panama City Beach are all ideal and offer easy access. What better way to celebrate summer! — Wendy O. Dixon

bay life



Flavorful Family Fun in the Great Outdoors Make the Most of Your Next Camping Excursion With These Portable Feasts


here are few activities that can bring a family together like camping. Whether you are the type to go all-out primitive and walk for miles to pitch a tent in a secluded area, rough it modern style on a campsite that offers water, toilets, picnic tables and grills or prefer to be somewhat of a luxury camper and bring an RV, family time in the wilderness is an unforgettable experience. And while the old camp food standbys — hot dogs, beans and S’mores — will get you through the day, there’s no need to settle when it comes to your outdoor meals. First-time campers may wonder how to plan and prepare a weekend’s worth of meals that will satisfy many appetites and still be easy to carry to the campsite. Seasoned campers suggest planning your menus in advance by making a detailed list of items and ingredients you’ll need. That means everything from paper plates to salt and pepper, since you’ll likely be out of luck


Summer 2011

if you forget something. The list should include cooking equipment — pans, pots, bowls and cooking utensils — and cleanup items such as biodegradable soap, paper towels, disposable wipes and garbage bags. Keep food safe from spoilage by packing perishable items in ice and storing them in sturdy coolers, which will also keep critters from smelling the food. And light-colored blankets can cover the coolers to extend the life of the ice, keeping your food cool for nearly an additional day. Bring plenty of bottled water for drinking and cooking. If camping in remote areas, bring water purification tablets. For breakfast, consider breakfast burritos — eggs, sausage veggies and cheese wrapped in a tortilla — along with bacon and pancakes. But for some old-fashioned fun, have each person make their own biscuit by wrapping the dough around a clean stick and cooking over an open fire. Karen

Rowland of Chipley, who spent college summers working as a wrangler at Marmon Valley Farms in Zanesfield, Ohio, worked to round up about 100 horses every morning before breakfast. Afterward, the biscuits were calling her. Roasting marshmallows over a bonfire is a popular camping tradition. You can poke the gooey candy with a stick, but bringing metal skewers is a more sanitary option and will keep you from getting a splinter in the mouth. When making your own campfire, make sure you’re using the designated areas and that conditions are safe. All state parks have designated areas for fires. Dan Laird, park manager for Henderson Beach and Rocky Bayou state parks, relies on the Keetch Byram Drought Index (KBDI), a reference scale that estimates the amount of moisture in the ground. “It’s also important to know when not to build a fire,” Laird says. The Division

Photo by Scott Holstein

By Wendy O. Dixon

of Forestry also has a flag warning system and issues a red flag when the humidity drops and dry air moves into the area. Serina Gibbs, whose family spends many a weekend camping at Henderson Beach State Park in Destin, says the best recipes are “hobo dinners” — chicken or beef topped with seasoning and veggies wrapped in foil and cooked over hot coals. But her go-to utensil is her Dutch oven. “We’ve done pizza in a Dutch oven with hot coals on it,” she says. For large groups, one-pot meals are easy to prepare and clean up. Low Country Boil, a traditional Southern dish, requires only a large pot and gas burner. The main ingredients — shrimp, sausage, corn on the cob and red potatoes — can be tossed into the pot to make a hearty and satisfying meal. After a long day of hiking, eating, fishing, eating swimming and eating again, end the day with the tried and true tradition — S’mores. Some say camping just isn’t camping without the graham cracker sandwiches filled with chocolate and marshmallows. A few rounds of B-I-NG-O with a good ghost story around the fire make a perfect ending to a memorable family experience. n

Snake Biscuits by Karen Roland, Chipley Ingredients 2 cups Original Bisquick mix ½ cup milk Butter to taste Directions Stir Bisquick mix and milk to form a dough. You have to play around with the consistency, making it a bit dryer than drop biscuits. I usually don’t use exact measurements but just add milk until it feels right. Make a snake-like shape with the dough and wrap it around a clean 1-inch diameter stick (green sticks are better because they’re less likely to burn). Hold the stick above the fire coals until nicely brown, about 10–12 minutes. Slather with butter and eat it off the stick.

use 16 ounces of cayenne pepper as substitute) 3 sticks of butter (optional) 2–3 bags ice

Serves 20

Directions Bring to a boil potatoes, onions, lemons, salt, crab boil, garlic, sausage, butter and let that boil for about 15 minutes or until potatoes are cooked. Make sure you take in all the smells of the mixture because it is a wonderful thing. Add corn and shrimp then let boil for three minutes only. Turn the cooker off and add ice immediately into the pot and let the shrimp soak for a period of time; the longer soak time, the spicier they get. For crawfish, cook for about 10-15 minutes then add ice and soak for an additional 20 minutes.

Ingredients 15 pounds of head-on shrimp (or ½ pound of headless shrimp per person or 3 ½ pounds of crawfish per person) 20 ears of corn, halved 2 dozen lemons, halved 8–10 pounds small red potatoes, whole 6–8 large onions, quartered 10 pounds of your favorite smoked sausage (½ pound per person; I prefer Conecuh Sausage) 6–7 garlic bulbs, whole 2–3 pounds of salt (to taste) 3 packages of Zatarain’s Crab Boil (1 package per 5 pounds of shrimp or

Pediatric & General Surgery

Serves 4

Cajun Shrimp Boil by Chris Metcalf, Panama City Equipment An 80–120 quart pot filled halfway with water will work, depending on the amount of shrimp or crawfish you plan on cooking.

Gulf Coast

Once finished, place newspaper on a table and dump the contents. Squeeze the boiled garlic onto French bread or on the boiled potatoes. Also, if you want, serve with squeezable butter for added flavor on your potatoes.

HIGH Quality Care Close to HOME Michael Taylor


Board Certification General Surgery Medical School University of Florida Residency Memorial Health University General Surgery Fellowship Miami Children’s Hospital Pediatric Surgery Special Interest Pediatric Surgery

(850) 784-1856

2202 State Avenue, Suite 311-B Panama City, FL 32405 BAY LIFE


Breakfast/Brunch......................................... Lunch........................................................... Dinner.......................................................... Takeout Available........................................ Outdoor Dining............................................ Live Music................................................... Bar/Lounge.................................................. Reservations................................................ Most Credit Cards Accepted........................ Inexpensive.................................................... $ Moderately Expensive.................................. $$ Expensive...................................................$$$

diningguide Panama city Black Angus Restaurant and Lounge $$ Steak & Seafood. Menu items such as coconut shrimp and roast prime rib. 4500 W. Hwy 98. Open Sun.–Mon. 4:30–9:30 p.m., Tues.–Thurs. 4:30–10 p.m., Fri.–Sat. 4:30–10:30 p.m. (850) 784-1788. Gandy’s Oyster Bar $$ Cajun Seafood. Enjoy the tastes of New Orleans with our jambalaya, crawfish etouffee, shrimp and all things Cajun. 3931 W. Hwy 390. Open Mon.-Thurs. 5-9 p.m., Fri.-Sat. 11 a.m.-9 p.m., Sun. 11 a.m. -8 p.m. (850) 271-2805. MASON’S WAY WINE BAR $$ Wine Bar. Eclectic and intimate downtown setting. All varieties of wine served, as well as major domestic and import microbrewery beers. Nightly specials. Appetizers only. Thurs.–Sat. 5 p.m. until. 1450 Jenks Ave. (850) 784-0909.

Panama city beach Andy’s Flour Power Bakery Bakery and Sandwich Shop. Enjoy breakfast and lunch made with the freshest ingredients at this locally owned bakery/restaurant. 3123 Thomas Dr., (850) 230-0014. Angelo’s Steak Pit $$ Steak & Seafood. Angelo’s is one of the few places in Panama City to serve meats cooked over an open hickory pit. 9527 Front Beach Road. Open Mon–Sun. 4 p.m.–10 p.m. (850) 234-2531. Bishop’s Family Buffet $$ Seafood Buffet. Shrimp, crab legs and a 38-item salad bar. 12628 Front Beach Road. Open Mon.–Sun. Breakfast 8–10:30 a.m. Lunch 11 a.m.–2 p.m. Dinner 3:30–9 p.m. (850) 234-6457. Boatyard $$ American. Try Conch Fritters with Hot Pepper Jelly and Wasabi Mayonnaise or their creamy Key Lime Pie on a Stick. 5323 North Lagoon Drive. Open 11 a.m. daily. (850) 249-YARD (9273). Breakers $$ American. Casual gulf-front dining with live entertainment Thurs.-Sat. Dine on the beach, stay for the show! 12627 Front Beach Rd. Open daily 5 p.m. (850) 2346060. Calypso Beach Café and Sports Grill $$ Caribbean Creole. Appetizers, steaks, soups and salads, fresh from the Gulf seafood, and award-winning desserts. Lunch and dinner: open 11 a.m. daily. 15812 Front Beach Road. (850) 234-6788. Capt. Anderson’s Restaurant & Waterfront Market $$$ Seafood. A Gulf Coast legend serving more fresh seafood than any other restaurant in Florida, this landmark award-winning restaurant has been dazzling seafood lovers for more than 44 years. Open 4:30 p.m. Mon–Fri. 4 p.m. Sat., closed Sun. 5551 N. Lagoon Dr. (850) 234-2225. Dirty Dick’s Crab House $$$ Seafood. The only serious thing here is the food, Dirty Dick’s makes all soups, sauces and salad dressings in-house daily. Although Dick’s offers a variety of seafood dishes, the star of its menu is the crab. 9800 Front Beach Road, Panama City Beach. Open 11 a.m.– 9 p.m. daily. (850) 230-DICK (3425). 48

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firefLY $$ Steak & Seafood. Enjoy fresh seafood and top quality steaks under the full-scale indoor oak tree or sip cocktails in the library lounge. 535 Beckrich Road. Open Mon.–Sun. 5 p.m.(850) 249-3359. Hofbrau Beer Garden $$ German. This Munich-style beer hall serves an assortment of imported beers and German festival foods. 701 S. Pier Park Dr. Open Sun.–Thurs. 11 a.m.–10 p.m., Fri–Sat. 11 a.m.– 2 p.m. (850) 235-4632. Lady Anderson Dining Yacht Dinner/Dance $$$ Seafood & Steak. Indulge in the shrimp and prime rib buffet while dancing in the middle of St. Andrews Bay. 3400 Pasadena Ave. South. Open Wed., Fri., Sat., Board 6:30 p.m. Cruise 7–9:30 p.m. (850) 234-5940. Los Antojitos $$ Mexican. This family-owned restaurant has been serving Panama City diners delicious Mexican dishes for over 30 years. 4809 W Highway 98. Mon.–Sat. 11 a.m.–9 p.m. (850) 784-6633. Margaritaville $$ Caribbean. Here you can order jambalaya, coconut shrimp and other taste-tempting entrées, like the Cheeseburger in Paradise. 16230 Front Beach Road at Pier Park. Open 11 a.m.–2 a.m. (850) 235-7870 Montego Bay Seafood House $$ Seafood & Steak. Try the Captain’s Catch grilled, fried, seasoned with lemon and pepper, or jerked. 4920 Thomas Dr. Open Mon.–Sun. 11 a.m.–10 p.m. (850) 234-8686. Edgewater location: 473 Beckrich Road. Open Mon.–Sun. 11 a.m.–11 p.m. (850) 233-6033. THE Original j. Michael’s Dockside Bar and Grill $$ Seafood & Steak. “Often imitated, never duplicated.” Enjoy the freshest seafood and perfect steaks in a charming boatyard setting. Stop in on your way to the beach for Cajun-inspired dishes like Grouper Creole. 3210 Thomas Drive. (850) 233-2055. Pineapple Willy’s $$ Steak, Ribs & Seafood. Enjoy the beachfront view while sipping a drink from their outdoor bar. 9875 South Thomas Dr. Open Mon.–Sun. 11 a.m.–10 p.m. (850) 235-1225. Saltwater Grill $$ Seafood. A house favorite, the black and white tuna is accompanied by a piano player and a 25,000-gallon aquarium. 11040 Middle Beach Road. Open Mon.–Sun. 4–10 p.m. (850) 230-2739. Schooner’s $$ Seafood & Burgers. Known for fresh seafood. Enjoy local entertainment on Monday nights. 5121 Thomas Dr. Open Mon. 11 a.m.–10 p.m., Tues.–Wed. 11 a.m.–11 p.m.,Thurs. 11 a.m.–11:30 p.m., Fri.–Sat. 11–1 a.m. Sun. 11 a.m.–11 p.m. (850) 235-3555. Shan Kishi $ Japanese Fusion & Sushi Bar. Featuring Sushi Chef Yakoo, this new restaurant offers Japanese “fusion” cuisine in a comfortable and friendly atmosphere. 13800 Panama City Beach Pkwy. (850) 249-3663. Sharky’s Restaurant and Beach Club $$ Seafood. Dine on fresh seafood platters. Then dive into the “shark attack,” a specially made house drink. 15201 Front Beach Road. Open Mon.–Sun. 11 a.m.– midnight. (850) 235-2420. Shrimp Boat $$ Seafood and Steaks. Admire the ocean view as you enjoy a plate of coconut shrimp or St. Andrews Bay Crab Cake. 1201 Beck Ave. in St. Andrews. Open daily at 4:30 p.m. (850) 785-8706. Shuckums $ Seafood & Burgers. Featuring the best oysters, crab cakes, burgers and more. Shuckums is the place to be seen for family fun. 15614 Front Beach Rd. Open 7 days, 11 a.m. ’til we can’t shuck’em anymore! (850) 2353214. Siesta Bar & Grill at Hombre Golf Club $$ Casual Fare/American. With its spectacular panoramic view, the Siesta Bar & Grill overlooks the natural beauty of the golf course. Come early to enjoy a hearty breakfast or later for a satisfying lunch. Relax outside on the terrace with your favorite beverage from their fully stocked bar. 120 Coyote Pass, Panama City Beach. (850) 234-3673. n Bay Life


The Last Word

The Zen of Parasailing


t begins in my dreams. I race along the beach, flap my arms and before I know it, I’m aloft, high over water, feeling euphoric. Then I wake up. Only now, I’m closer to making my dream become a reality — because I’ve taken up parasailing Although parasails launched from land have been around for more than 30 years, with the swing in the boat market toward multiple sporting activities, increasing numbers of people are out to have fun high over water. If you’ve never parasailed, the freedom of flight awaits you. History In 1961, Frenchman Pierre Lemoigne modified a round parachute to allow it to ascend when pulled behind a car. This activity was called “parascending.” It was developed to train novice parachutists by towing a modified parachute to a suitable height and then releasing it. In 1962, parascending took another turn when an individual wearing a modified parachute was towed behind a boat and then soared off into the wild blue yonder. The participant was strapped into a body harness and given instructions to run along the beach while a towboat lifted him aloft. How to Parasail A preflight inspection of all the necessary gear ensures flight readiness. Takeoff should be into the wind. When all is ready, the parasailor hooks into the parasail. The boat then idles out until the towline is completely extended. The flight crew holds up the canopy of the chute on both sides. The signal is then given to hit the accelerator. The parasailor resists the forward aerodynamic pull in a tug-of-war to keep the line taut. After one to three steps, liftoff occurs. Parasailors ascend from a small platform located at the stern of the boat. Once in the air, flyers get comfortable in the harness by sitting down in it. Altitude is controlled by boat speed. 50

Summer 2011

My First Flight On a delightfully warm summer day, I found myself airborne by design, having been launched into the void behind an outboard with a 200 horsepower engine in the name of fun and an adrenaline rush. I had a swatch of silk flying over me, connected by a tangle of paper-thin lines, while unruly breezes buffeted my body. My first flight was alternately horrifying and inspiring. I hadn’t been in charge, my boat driver told me afterwards. The winds had been in charge of me. No kidding. I could have told him that when the first thermal flung me skyward, and I realized then I was where humans, anatomically speaking, shouldn’t be. In a short 60 seconds, I learned that parasailing, just like downhill skiing, demands full concentration. Also like downhill skiing, the ride seems too short only after it’s over. By then, the fear has faded enough that you’re eager to go back up. One concept crucial to parasailing is remembering that speed is safety. Parasails are meant to fly, not float. Stalling destroys the delicate relationship that exists between the air and the shape of the wing that allows flight. But in August of 2010, being at the mercy of the winds was something new to me, so unnerving that at first I fought their bullying influence. But that was missing the point. A great parasailing flight means achieving a state of grace, not by fighting wind conditions, but by working with them. When I finally stopped resisting, I learned that the winds were not such bullies after all, and that the air was actually calmer than I had thought. The zen of parasailing. In the beginning, mankind could fly no better than rocks. People endured this seemingly unalterable feature for eons, even as they dreamed of sprouting wings and taking off. But along came the 20th century and now a relatively simple arrangement of cloth and cable — plus a dash of daring — allows most anyone to soar high over water. Those who have tried parasailing endorse the activity as the best high around.

illustration by marc l. thomas

By Mary Syrett



Raised Without Antibiotics Raised Without Added Hormones Vegetarian Diet No Artificial Ingredients No Preservatives


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