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Author Archives: Nancy Simpler

WALTON COUNTY TO KEEP SCHOOL-FUNDING TAX

  Walton County will continue to collect property taxes to support operating expenses in public schools, thanks to local voters. Unofficial results show that 76.22 percent of the voters who turned up at the polls Tuesday voted in favor of a measure to allow the continued collection of an annual 0.5 mill ad valorem tax for the next four fiscal ...

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MAN SHOOTS AT WOMAN’S CAR, THEN PRETENDS TO SHOOT HIMSELF

  A man was arrested Sunday after he allegedly shot his girlfriend’s car and pretended to shoot himself when she tried to leave. A Walton County sheriff’s deputy was dispatched to the Dollar General store in Mossy Head to meet with the reported victim. She told the deputy that she had been dating Jason Holley, 45, since September 2018, according ...

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10 CHARGED IN $200 MILLION PRESCRIPTION DRUG FRAUD CASE IN ALABAMA, FLORIDA

  An investigation into alleged prescription drug fraud in Alabama and Florida has led to charges against nearly a dozen people. A 103-count indictment charges ten defendants with “fraudulently billing health care insurers and prescription drug administrators for over $200 million in prescription drugs.” The case involves Northside Pharmacy, which is based in Haleyville, Alabama and does business under the ...

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SUSPECT IN “HEINOUS” CHILD ABUSE CASE DIES

  The State Attorney’s Office has confirmed that one of the suspects in what’s been described as a “heinous” child abuse case has died. Thursday, May 2nd, sources confirmed that Andrew Bennett Ross-Celaius was found hanging in his cell. It’s not yet clear when he passed away. The day before, the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office announced Ross-Celaius’ arrest. He was ...

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DESTIN BEACH LOT EXPANSION APPROVED

  The parking lot at the Okaloosa County-owned James Lee Park in Destin is at capacity every single day, says county Public Works Director Jason Autrey. He shared that observation on Tuesday with the County Commission, which unanimously gave its approval to an expansion project that will increase the lot’s total number of parking spots to 201. The expansion, which ...

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SEARCH OF CAR LEADS TO FELONY DRUG, WEAPONS CHARGES

  Two people were arrested on drug and weapons charges Wednesday morning after a search of their vehicle turned up loaded weapons, methamphetamine, cocaine and marijuana. Okaloosa County sheriff’s deputies met Fort Walton Beach residents Nicole McAndrew, 31, and Vinny Melo, 25, shortly before 1 a.m. at a convenience store on Beal Parkway, according to a press release from the ...

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MAN HITS PREGNANT GIRLFRIEND, DISPLAYS GUN

  Okaloosa County sheriff’s deputies arrested a man on seven felony charges and one misdemeanor Wednesday morning after he allegedly hit his pregnant girlfriend. He also shoved her teenage brother and displayed a firearm during an argument, according to the Sheriff’s Office. Dennis Toomer, 37, began hitting his girlfriend during an argument at her home on Colonial Court about 12:30 ...

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DESTIN COMMONS ADDS 2% FEE TO SALES AT 25 BUSINESSES

  Customers shopping at the Destin Commons may notice an extra fee listed at the bottom of their receipts.According to Senior Director of Marketing and Leasing Heather Ruiz, the outdoor shopping center recently implemented a 2% arts and entertainment fee on most purchases. Approximately 25 stores are already charging the fee. The fee will be applied to every store and ...

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LOCAL BUSINESS OFFERS SANDCASTLE LESSONS

  They say everything happens for a reason. When the Great Recession in 2008 forced Rick Mungeam to give up his architectural firm, he wasn’t sure what to do. Now the owner of a successful sand-sculpture business, he can look back with gratitude. In 2010, Mungeam and his wife, Capri, sold the home the had designed and built in Colorado, ...

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SUSPICIOUS VEHICLE CALL LEADS TO DRUG ARRESTS

  Officers responded to a local apartment complex Tuesday morning in reference to a parked suspicious vehicle with the occupants sleeping inside. Contact was made with the driver, 35 year old Amber Bienia of Ft. Walton Beach, and the front seat passenger, 28 year old Aaron Anderson of DeFuniak Springs. During the investigation, Anderson pulled out a small baggy containing ...

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