After being in Congress for only a month, U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz drafts legislation (H.R. 161) that would do away with the Environmental Protection Agency, claiming the federal agency “has been doing some drastic things.” Under Gaetz’s proposal, the EPA would cease to exist at the end of 2018. The bill gets little traction from both Republicans and Democrats.
“Gutless,” a young adult novel by Carl Deuker, was pulled from the reading list of Jay High School’s Celebrate Literacy Week. Parents particularly objected to portions of the book they felt were inappropriate, most notably passages about a female special education student developing breasts before the rest of her classmates.
An intense line of storms — including a tornado that hit the Ferry Park area in Fort Walton Beach — leaves widespread damage across the Florida Panhandle. Trees and power lines were downed, trucks were overturned and roofs were damaged at businesses in Niceville, Fort Walton Beach and on Okaloosa Island, where the highest winds of 87 mph were recorded.
A grisly week of violence that spread from Northwest Florida to Alabama ends when William “Billy” Boyette Jr. killed himself inside a Georgia motel room. Boyette’s accomplice, Mary Barbara Craig Rice, surrenders. Boyette was a suspect in the killing of two women at a Milton motel — Alicia Ann Greer and Jacqueline Jeanette Moore. He also was charged in the murder of Peggy Phillips Broz of Lillian, Alabama. A fourth victim, Kayla Crocker of Pensacola, was shot during a home invasion robbery and died a day later.
Disagreement over the amount of Okaloosa County bed tax money Destin could receive for Spring Break law enforcement blew up during a City Council meeting when angry council members threatened to try to get the city annexed into Walton County and start its own Tourist Development Council.
Leaders of the movement to incorporate South Walton County decided to wait until 2018 to push for the state’s permission to hold a referendum to decide the matter. A Better South Walton wants to form a municipality that encompasses the entire area south of Choctawhatchee Bay from the Okaloosa county line east to Bay County.
Baker School’s Andrea Brown was named Teacher of the Year during the Okaloosa County School District’s annual Teacher of the Year Banquet.
Milton City Council votes 4-3 to allow alcohol sales from 7 a.m. Sunday to 2:30 a.m. Monday. More than 64 percent of Milton voters approved of Sunday alcohol sales in the November 2016 election.
State Attorney Bill Eddins announced that first-degree murder charges will be pursued against Mary Barbara Craig Rice for her role in the eight-day crime spree she participated in with William “Billy” Boyette Jr. that left four women dead.
Any of Okaloosa County’s more than 800 non-sworn employees who have concealed weapon permits now can carry firearms in county vehicles and on most county properties. In a 3-2 vote, the County Commission reverses an old policy that prevented such employees from carrying guns on the job.
An agreement to pay for Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office services during Spring Break is reached between the County Commission and Destin City Council. Both parties agreed to use $73,165 of Destin’s general fund money, $48,776 in county general fund money and $25,000 in bed tax revenue to pay for the OCSO total coverage cost of $146,941.
U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz was met with cheers and jeers at his first town hall meeting outside Grover T’s BBQ in Milton. The big issue was Gaetz’s proposal to abolish the Environmental Protection Agency by 2018.
John Bruce Arnold Jr. dies at the age of 87 after serving as Valparaiso’s mayor for 53 years. Arnold was perhaps best known for standing up to the Air Force regarding the mission bringing F-35s to Eglin Air Force Base. He spearheaded a lawsuit against the Air Force that claimed the jets’ noise would destroy Valparaiso’s property values and quality of life.
A South Walton County Realtor shattered the record for the highest priced single-family home sale in Northwest Florida. Channing Gardner of the Premier Property Group closed on the sale of a 4,520 square foot Gulf-front property. The sale price — $12.5 million — is more than 20 percent higher than the previous record sale of $10.25 million.