News Releases

Bay County prepares for Tropical Depression 9

Date posted: 09/01/2016 02:18:45 PM

The Bay County Emergency Operations Center continues to monitor the development of Tropical Depression 9, as Bay County remains under a Tropical Storm Warning issued by the National Weather Service.
“We don’t plan an activation of the EOC right now, but we will continue to monitor the situation,” Emergency Services Chief Mark Bowen said. “We will make those decisions based on the track and the intensity of the forecast.”
Bowen said the most recent information indicates that wind from the storm may be the biggest threat to Bay County, with forecasts calling for tropical storm-force winds.
“According to the forecast, we’re not looking at much in the way of a rain or storm surge event, but it is looking as though it’s going to be a wind event,” Bowen said, adding that a decision on whether to open shelters will be made as more information about the track and intensity of the storm develops.
Other preparations include:
• Sand is available to the public for bagging at Pete Edwards Field off Thomas Drive in Panama City Beach and at the northeast side of Deer Point Dam Bridge. Bags will not be provided but are available for purchase at area hardware stores.
• Bay County Public Works crews have been clearing stormwater drains throughout the county in anticipation of a potential rain event.
• Public Works is monitoring water levels at Lake Powell.
• Bay County Utilities is lowering Deer Point Reservoir to four feet, down from its normal depth of five feet.
• Please follow us on Facebook @BayCountyFLEmergencyServices and on Twitter at @BayCountyEM for the most current information.


Tropical Storm Hermine press release 2

Date posted: 09/01/2016 02:15:45 PM

Bay County Emergency Services, in conjunction with the Red Cross, Bay County Health Department and Bay District Schools, will open an emergency shelter at 2 p.m. Thursday at Dean Bozeman Learning Center, located at 13410 Hwy. 77 Southport, FL 32409.
The shelter will serve special needs populations and the general public. People in need of transportation assistance to the facility may call 248-6090. For more information about what to bring to the shelter, please visit redcross.org. Convicted sex offenders may shelter at the Bay County Jail.
The Bay County Emergency Operations Center activated to a Level 2 Thursday morning to support sheltering operations at Deane Bozeman.
The Bay County Board of County Commissioners met at 1 p.m. Thursday afternoon and approved a local state of emergency to support preparation, response and recovery from this event.
Weather conditions will begin to diminish Thursday afternoon. Currently, Tropical Storm Hermine is expected to bring winds of 40 mph or higher, a storm surge of one to three feet and two to four inches of rainfall.
Florida Highway Patrol is the state agency responsible for determining any bridge closures, which would occur if winds reach a sustained 50 mph. No bridge closures are planned at this time. People are encouraged to stay indoors Thursday evening through Friday morning during the storm.


COUNTY TO HOST ANIMAL DISASTER PREPAREDNESS WORKSHOP

Date posted: 02/17/2016 03:29:42 PM

Panama City, FL – On Feb. 27 and 28, Bay County Emergency Services and the Florida State Agricultural Response Team (FL SART) will host a two-day workshop aimed at preparing emergency responders to deal with animals and assist their owners during a disaster. The media is invited to attend the workshop from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. on Saturday, Feb. 27 at the Bay County Fairgrounds. Additionally, Bay County Animal Control seeks volunteers to bring their pets and participate in the event as mock evacuees on Sunday, Feb. 28 from 8 a.m. to noon. Members of the public who would like to be involved should contact Bay County Animal Control at 767-3333.

In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, Congress enacted the Pets Evacuation and Transportation Standards Act of 2006 (PETS). The PETS Act amended the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act to require state and local emergency-preparedness plans to "take into account the needs of individuals with household pets and service animals prior to, during, and following a major disaster or emergency."

Animals are particularly vulnerable during natural disasters such as hurricanes, tornadoes, floods and other storms because they rely on humans. The workshop is for local, regional and state animal responders.

"This workshop includes more than 130 responders from 15 different agencies from around the state to help everyone be better prepared for a real disaster," John Haven III, director of the University of Florida’s College of Veterinary Medicine and FL SART co-chair, said. "While many states have performed tabletop exercises related to people and animals during a disaster, this is one of the largest mobilization of resources on the ground working together ever conducted, short of a real disaster."

The workshop will bring participants together over two days to develop and implement an integrated human and animal response plan. Specific exercises will include emergency animal sheltering, animal decontamination, large-animal rescue, and animal identification and tracking to minimize the resources spent reuniting owners with their animals during disasters.

Participating agencies include Bay County Emergency Services, Bay County Animal Control, Bay County Fire Rescue and Hazmat, The American Red Cross, Florida Department of Health in Bay County, Florida Baptist Disaster Relief, The Medical Reserve Corps, Panama City Fire Department Light Technical Rescue Team, Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Division of Animal Industries, University of Florida IFAS and College of Veterinary Medicine, Florida Veterinary Medical Association Veterinary Reserve Corps, Florida State Animal Response Coalition, Mississippi State University College of Veterinary Medicine and others.

"Florida SART conducts one of these workshops in the state annually, and while each time the workshop has involved more agencies and more complex scenarios, Bay County really set the bar for next time," said Haven. "We are looking forward to the addition of resources FL SART has never worked with, including the Florida Baptist Disaster Relief's Public Communications Center, Feeding Unit, and Shower Unit, as well several State assets in Interoperable Communications."

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If you are a member of the media and would like more information about this topic, please contact Valerie Sale at (850) 248-8170 or email at vsale@baycountyfl.gov.


COUNTY TO HOLD “CRUSHING DAY” FOR DERELICT VESSELS

Date posted: 01/20/2016 05:12:55 PM

Bay County crews and local volunteers will hold a "crushing day" on Monday, Jan. 11 for more than a dozen derelict vessels gathered from waterways throughout Bay County and collected at the McKenzie Boat Ramp in Southport. The boat ramp will be closed to the public from Jan. 10 through Jan. 15 to allow for the removal of the vessels and cleanup of the area. The media are invited to observe the dismantling and removal of the vessels and interview officials at 10 a.m. Monday.
The boat crushing event is the culmination of efforts begun in April by the Bay County Derelict Vessel Workgroup, which is comprised of various members of the marine industry and municipal, county and federal government officials.
Since mid-October Gerald Nelson, owner of Southern Marine Services, began removing derelict vessels in local waters, at his own cost, with the assistance of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission who documented the vessels as derelict. Additionally, several derelict/at-risk boats were voluntarily surrendered by their owners for removal.
Bay County UF/IFAS Extension Office Sea Grant Agent Bill Mahan has led the effort to organize and coordinate the Derelict Vessel Workgroup. He notes that derelict vessels – often worn-out, stripped and abandoned – are not only an eyesore, they are potential environmental hazards can be dangerous to humans and wildlife.
“These vessels may pose a hazard to navigation as well as a threat to the environment,” Mahan said. “And they’re especially a headache for those of us who are working to remove them.”
The project took teamwork, said Bay County Commissioner Bill Dozier, who has been involved in the effort. “This project is truly an example of the public and private sectors working together to accomplish a task that seemed insurmountable,” he said.
Gerald Nelson’s removal work is valued at more than $36,000. Stan Jones of the Panama City Marina assisted by allowing several of the vessels to be stored at the marina until they could be towed to the county boat ramp. Bay County Roads and Bridges crews will crush the vessels with a county excavator and local trucking company owner, Allen Byrd, will provide transport of the dismantled vessels to the Bay County Landfill, where the county has waived tipping fees for the refuse.
Dozier noted that FWC has identified some 50 vessels in Bay County that are at-risk for becoming derelict or abandoned. “I am hopeful that we can find a way to put a permanent removal program in place to keep derelict vessels out or our waterways,” Dozier said.
The McKenzie Boat Ramp is located at 1501 McKenzie Rd. in Southport.


MCCALL-EVERITT PARK TO CLOSE DURING PIPE REPAIRS

Date posted: 01/20/2016 05:04:13 PM

Bay County's McCall-Everitt Park, located on the bay side of the Deer Point Reservoir at County Road 2321, will close Jan. 12 through March 12 as crews work to make permanent repairs to a 36-inch subaqueous potable water transmission line that parallels the Deer Point Dam. The park will be used during the repairs as a staging area for materials and equipment. The boat ramp inside the park will also be closed to the public during the repairs.

For more information, please call Bay County Parks and Recreation at 784-4065.


COUNTY TO HOLD MEMORIAL DAY OBSERVANCE

Date posted: 01/20/2016 05:03:14 PM

At 10 a.m. on Monday, May 25 the Bay County Veterans Council and the Bay County Board of County Commissioners will host the annual Memorial Day observance at Kent Forest Lawn Cemetery, located at 2403 Harrison Ave., Panama City.
The ceremony is a tribute to the men and women who have served our great nation and have given their lives to protect the freedoms we enjoy.
Bill Gobat, Lt. Col., USMC (Ret.) will serve as the Master of Ceremonies and the guest speaker will be U.S. Army veteran and Bay County Commissioner Mike Thomas.
The agenda for the event is as follows:
• Welcome by Lt. Col. Bill Gobat, Master of Ceremonies
• Invocation by Dr. Margaret S. Shepard, St. Andrews Episcopal Church
• Presentation of Colors by Color Guard of Mosley High School Marine Corps JROTC
• Pledge of Allegiance led by Bill Gobat
• National Anthem by Jesselyn Dudinsky, a junior at North Bay Haven School
• Wreath Presentation by Marine Corps League, Detachment 065
• Roll Call & Honor Walk by various veterans organizations
• God Bless America by Jesselyn Dudinksy
• Recognition of special guests, widows, mothers and parents of deceased veterans
• Guest Speaker, Commissioner Mike Thomas
• Benediction by Dr. Margaret S. Shepard
• Twenty-One Gun Salute by the Gulf State Guards, Inc.
• Taps performed by Stewart Corbin, Orchestra member of First Baptist Church of Panama City
• Closing Remarks / Dismissal by Bill Gobat
If you are a member of the media and would like more information about this topic, please contact Valerie Sale at (850) 248-8170 or email at vsale@baycountyfl.gov.


BAY COUNTY EMERGENCY SERVICES, PARKER TO PARTNER

Date posted: 01/20/2016 05:01:28 PM

The City of Parker and Bay County Emergency Services urges families, business owners and communities to take specific steps to be ready for emergencies. At 6 p.m. April 30, the City of Parker will host "Being Prepared for Emergencies" for its residents. Members of the surrounding communities are welcome to attend as well. The event will be held at The Parker Community Center, located at 935 West Park Street in Parker next to City Hall. The first 45 residents will receive a free NOAA weather radio.

"Hurricane season begins June 1, but disaster can strike any time of year," Parker Police Chief Dennes Hutto said. "We want our citizens to take the steps necessary to ensure the safety and security of themselves and their families during times of emergency."

To help the public better prepare for emergencies the event will focus on being informed, developing a plan and building an emergency kit. Speakers will share information on each of these concepts, including highlighting potential community hazards or risks, ways to obtain information during emergency situations, tips on how to build comprehensive emergency plans and tips on how to build a kit that can help sustain families in times of disasters.
Please visit Flgetaplan.org for more information about how to prepare for and stay informed in the event of an actual emergency.


Waste Amnesty Days April 17-18

Date posted: 04/07/2015 05:16:09 PM

Bay County's biannual Waste Amnesty Days will be Friday, April 17 and Saturday, April 18 from 7 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Steelfield Landfill located at 11411 Landfill Road in West Bay, off State 79.

Bay County residents may drop off their yard debris, household garbage and hazardous waste at no charge and are encouraged to bring recyclable materials. This event is open to Bay County residents only. Proof of residency is required (e.g., driver's license, power bill, voter registration card). Tipping fees will not be waived for commercial customers. All loads that arrive in commercial vehicles or trailers will be assumed to be commercial in origin and are subject to tipping fees.

The following materials will be accepted:

• Appliances (air conditioners, dryers, stoves, washing machines, etc.)
• Construction and demolition debris (concrete, lumber, sheet rock, etc.)
• Trash (kitchen garbage, furniture, carpet, clothes, etc.)
• Household hazardous waste (pesticides, paints, used oil, fluorescent tubes, antifreeze, etc.)
• Small engine containing devices (lawn mowers, weed eaters, edgers, etc.)
• Tires
• Yard debris (grass clippings, leaves, tree trimmings, etc.)
• Recyclables (batteries, paper, plastic, metals, computers, cell phones, etc.)

Regulations prohibit disposing appliances, household hazardous waste, small engine-containing devices and tires in landfills. The landfill accepts these items but must process them separately from other waste. If possible, please stage these materials in the load so they can be dropped off at the designated area.

Bay County will not accept gas cylinders, explosive materials, ammunition or flares. However, residential-sized propane tanks are accepted. For more information, contact Bay County Solid Waste Management at 236-2212.

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If you are a member of the media and would like more information about this topic, please contact Valerie Sale at (850) 248-8170 or email at vsale@baycountyfl.gov.


BCAC TO CLOSE FOR REPAIRS, MAINTENANCE

Date posted: 01/08/2015 01:56:19 PM

Panama City, FL, January 8, 2015 – Bay County Animal Control will be closed to the public for building maintenance and repairs from Jan. 25 through Feb. 1. The shelter will reopen to the public on Tuesday, Feb. 2. Animal Control will continue enforcement operations throughout the closure.

"This will give us an opportunity to do a deep cleaning of the facility as well as conduct some major building repairs during that week," Jamie Jones, General Services director said.

The facility will not be available to the public for adoptions or owner surrenders during that week. For more information please call 767-3333.


COUNTY COLLECTING PEANUT BUTTER FOR HUNGRY

Date posted: 10/14/2014 11:31:55 AM

Panama City, FL– The UF/IFAS Extension Bay County is collecting jars of unopened peanut butter through Nov. 21 to aid Bay County’s hungry during the 2014 "Take a Bite out of Hunger" peanut butter challenge.

The items collected will be donated to a local food bank during Farm-City Week, which celebrates the connection between farmers and ranchers and all those who work with them to make food available to our populace.

"The average child will eat 1,500 peanut butter sandwiches before graduating high school," said Bay County Extension horticulturalist Julie McConnell. "This program will help make sure our local children get enough to eat this fall while also honoring our farmers."

Donations may be dropped off at the UF/IFAS Extension Office at 2728 E. 14th St., Panama City.

For more information or to learn how to help collect donations, please call Julie McConnell at 784-6105 or email juliebmcconnell@ufl.edu.


CO-OP TO OFFER CLASS ON COOKING WITH HERBS

Date posted: 10/13/2014 05:50:28 PM

The University of Florida/IFAS Bay County Extension Office will offer a class from 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday, Nov. 8 for people who want to learn more about cooking with herbs and spices. The class will feature information about herb gardening, selecting herb plants, types of herbs, tips on using herbs in recipes, reducing salt and drying fresh herbs. Participants will have an opportunity to taste herbed food samples.

The program is located at the Bay County Extension Office at 2728 E. 14th St., Panama City and the cost is $10. Payment must be received by Friday, Nov. 3. The class is limited in space, so please call the Extension Office at 784-6105 to reserve a seat.


Bay County accepting applications for RESTORE Act-funded projects

Date posted: 10/03/2014 04:16:13 PM

Panama City, FL – An application cycle for economic development or environmental projects to be funded by RESTORE Act funds opened Friday. Pre-proposals will be accepted until 4 p.m. Central Nov. 3.

The Gulf Coast Restoration Trust Fund, established by the RESTORE Act, is funded by Clean Water Act fines related to the Deepwater Horizon disaster of 2010. A maximum of $6.3 million will be available for this application cycle. Bay County will receive these RESTORE Act Direct Component, or Pot 1, funds as a result of the Transocean settlement. The list of ranked projects resulting from this cycle will only be used for this cycle. A new funding cycle will be opened and a new list compiled when additional funds are available.

Proposals not funded in this cycle may reapply in future application cycles.

"We're about to see some of the most exciting things we've seen in Bay County ever," RESTORE Act Committee Chairman Jack Bishop said. "This is just the beginning."

Anyone may propose a project, though it must meet all the following criteria to be eligible:

-The project must be located within Bay County or its adjacent surface and Gulf waters;
-it must provide an identified and strong benefit to the county;
-it addresses one or more RESTORE Act-eligible activities;
-it addresses one or more Bay County Multi-Year Implementation Plan objectives for RESTORE Act Direct Component Funds;
-it is not fully funded by another source of money; and
-it has a recognizable public benefit.

Funds will be provided to Bay County as a federal grant through the U.S. Department of the Treasury, usually on a project-by-project basis. Organizations wishing to manage a project must have the capacity to manage a federal grant and comply with all of its requirements.

Bishop said he would like to see proposals that address needs that may have been postponed over the years.

"I'd like to address some of the things we've always known we've needed to do but have been putting off, like implementing countywide sewage and diminishing septic tanks," Bishop said, "and stormwater runoff is at the top of the list, I think." He also noted that economic development projects that focus on infrastructure improvements that might enhance tourism's shoulder seasons at the beach would be helpful.

This application cycle is the first step in the process for the Bay County RESTORE Act Advisory Committee to evaluate and recommend projects to the Bay County Board of County Commissioners for approval.
Additional information and the pre-proposal form are available at http://baycountyfl.gov/restore/preproposal.php. For more information, please contact Jim Muller, Bay County RESTORE Act coordinator, at jmuller@baycountyfl.gov.

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If you are a member of the media and would like more information about this topic, please contact Valerie Sale at (850) 248-8170 or email at vsale@baycountyfl.gov.


BAY COUNTY SHOOTING RANGE TO OPEN OCT. 10

Date posted: 10/03/2014 01:08:34 PM

Panama City, FL – The Bay County Board of County Commissioners and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) will open the gates to the new public Bay County Shooting Range at 9 a.m. Friday, Oct. 10.

While the first phase of the 119-acre range is still under construction, several components of the project are completed and ready for use by the public. The 100-yard rifle, 50/25-yard rifle and 50-foot pistol ranges are finished, as well as parking and stormwater management areas. A combination classroom, restroom and maintenance building remains under construction as part of Phase 1 and will be completed in the coming weeks.

"This project has been anxiously awaited by the public," Bay County Commission Chairman Guy Tunnell said. "We are thrilled to offer this much-needed amenity to the community, and we're grateful to the FWC and the National Rifle Association (NRA) for their continued support of our efforts."

The second phase of the project includes a 15-position sporting clays course, and the final phase includes archery, trap and skeet fields. Bay County employees are building the project in-house using $200,000 in recreation impact fees. Additionally, the NRA contributed $25,000 to the FWC for the planning and design of the facility. FWC is committed to the continual operation of the facility and is investing approximately $200,000 in equipment needed for the sporting clays, trap and skeet fields.

The fee for use of the shooting range is $10 per day.

"A low-cost, public gun range is in high demand, and we're proud to be able to bring this to the people of Bay County," Tunnell said. "This project will encourage gun safety and responsible gun ownership while providing a much-needed venue for the public to enjoy shooting sports."

FWC operates similar facilities throughout the state and will manage Bay County's facility.

"This range helps alleviate a shortage of public recreational shooting facilities in Florida and will allow for FWC to hold hunter safety courses and for responsible gun owners to practice the safe handling of a firearm," Will Burnett, FWC Northwest Region Hunter Safety coordinator, said. "This partnership will have a positive influence on FWC's hunter safety program and responsible gun owners for generations to come."

The range is located at 11411 Landfill Road and will be open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday, Thursday and Friday. For more information about the facility, please call FWC Northwest Region Hunter Safety Coordinator Will Burnett at (850) 767-3612.

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If you are a member of the media and would like more information about this topic, please contact Valerie Sale at (850) 248-8170 or email at vsale@baycountyfl.gov.


5th Annual Haunted Hayride Oct. 24-25

Date posted: 10/01/2014 10:02:46 AM

Bay County Parks and Recreation will hold its 5th Annual Haunted Hayride on Oct. 24 and 25 at H.G. Harder's Park, located at 8110 John Pitts Rd., Panama City.

The public is invited to attend a frightful, fun-filled, family-oriented event at a bargain price. Adult admission is $5; children 13 to seven years old may enter for $3; and children six and under are admitted at no charge. The ticket booth will open at 5:30 p.m. and sales end promptly at 10 p.m. both nights. The hayride begins at dusk. Children 12 and under must be accompanied by an adult.

The trail winds through about a mile of the park's wooded walking track and features dozens of haunted sites along the way, manned by volunteers.

Last year, more than 7,000 visitors braved the county’s spooky setup, raising over $19,000 for charity.

For the younger children – or the faint of heart – from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Oct. 25 visit the Pumpkin Patch, a free, fun alternative to trick or treating with games, candy and more. A costume contest will be held at 7 p.m. in the Pumpkin Patch, with prizes in four age groups. Children two and under will compete for the top prizes of cutest and funniest; and kids ages three to five, six to eight and nine to 10 years old will compete for the scariest or cutest designation.

Please come out and enjoy this year's Haunted Hay Ride and support a worthy cause. For more information or to volunteer at the event, please call Janie Lucas at 784-4065.


Bay County to hold Waste Amnesty Days

Date posted: 09/12/2014 03:24:39 PM

Bay County's annual Waste Amnesty Days and Recycling Round-up will be Friday, Sept. 26 and Saturday, Sept. 27 from 7 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Steelfield Landfill located at 11411 Landfill Road in West Bay, off State 79.

Bay County residents may drop off their yard debris, household garbage and hazardous waste at no charge and are encouraged to bring recyclable materials. Fish ponds stocked by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission will be open to fishing for customers who drop off recyclables from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Customers must supply their own fishing equipment and bait, and children must be accompanied by an adult.

This event is open to Bay County residents only. Proof of residency is required (e.g., driver's license, power bill, voter registration card). Tipping fees will not be waived for commercial customers. All loads that arrive in commercial vehicles or trailers will be assumed to be commercial in origin and are subject to tipping fees.

The following materials will be accepted:

•Appliances (air conditioners, dryers, stoves, washing machines, etc.)
•Construction and demolition debris (concrete, lumber, sheet rock, etc.)
•Trash (kitchen garbage, furniture, carpet, clothes, etc.)
•Household hazardous waste (pesticides, paints, used oil, fluorescent tubes, antifreeze, etc.)
•Small engine containing devices (lawn mowers, weed eaters, edgers, etc.)
•Tires
•Yard debris (grass clippings, leaves, tree trimmings, etc.)
•Recyclables (batteries, paper, plastic, metals, computers, cell phones, etc.)

Regulations prohibit disposing appliances, household hazardous waste, small engine containing devices and tires in landfills. The landfill accepts these items but must process them separately from other waste. If possible, please stage these materials in the load so they can be dropped off at the designated area.

Bay County will not accept gas cylinders, explosive materials, ammunition or flares. However, residential-sized propane tanks are accepted.

"This is something we do as a service to the community, giving people an opportunity to clean up their properties and also dispose of household hazardous waste properly without concern about it damaging the local environment," said Bay County Assistant Manager Dan Shaw.

For more information, contact Bay County Solid Waste Management at 236-2212.


RESTORE Committee to meet Aug. 12

Date posted: 08/06/2014 01:15:14 PM

The Bay County RESTORE Act Advisory Committee (RAAC) will meet at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 12 in the Commission Chambers or Room 1030 of the Bay County Government Center, located at 840 West 11th Street in Panama City.

The Committee will continue work on the draft of the Bay County Multi-Year Implementation Plan for the Direct Component of the RESTORE Act trust fund. This document, when approved by the Bay County Board of County Commissioners, will decide which projects the county will fund with Direct Component (Pot 1) RESTORE Act money.

Meeting documents are available at http://tinyurl.com/BayRESTOREdocs . The partial draft of the plan is provided in strikethrough/underline to show changes since the June 10 draft. A clean version with all changes incorporated is also provided. The public is encouraged to attend. There will be opportunities for public comment during the meeting.


Final budget meetings set

Date posted: 08/06/2014 01:14:47 PM

The Bay County Board of County Commissioners will hold its final two budget meetings at 5:01 p.m. Sept. 16 and Sept. 23 in the Commission Chambers of the Bay County Government Center, located at 840 W. 11 St., Panama City.

The meetings are open to the public and will be broadcast live at www.baycountyfl.gov. For more information, please call Valerie Sale at 248-8170.


Emergency transmission line repairs to continue Monday

Date posted: 08/01/2014 12:02:01 PM

Permanent repairs to a ruptured 36-inch water transmission line near the Deer Point Dam will begin late Monday night and continue into the early morning hours Tuesday. Retail water customers in Southport, Lake Merial and RiverCamps as well as the Deane Bozeman School may experience water outages and/or reduced water pressure during that time. As a result, a precautionary boil water notice will be issued for the aforementioned areas until bacteriological samples are completed.

Customers in the affected areas are advised that all water used for drinking, cooking, making ice, brushing teeth or washing dishes be boiled, beginning at 11 p.m. Monday. A rolling boil of one minute is sufficient. As an alternative, bottled water may be used.

This "precautionary boil water notice" will remain in effect until the problem has been corrected and a bacteriological survey shows that the water is safe to drink. Bay County Utilities will notify the local media as soon as the precautionary boil water notice has been lifted.

Customers of Panama City Beach Utilities may also be impacted. Plans to initiate a permanent fix have been delayed due to high weekend demands for water at Panama City Beach. If a precautionary boil water notice is necessary for Panama City Beach Utilities' customers, it will be issued by that entity.

Please contact Bay County Utilities at (850) 248-5010 for more information.

Bay County Utilities is making every effort to minimize any water outages that may occur. We apologize for any inconvenience.


Emergency transmission line repairs to begin

Date posted: 07/28/2014 02:48:21 PM

Permanent emergency repairs to a 36-inch water transmission line adjacent to the Deer Point Dam Bridge will begin at 11 p.m. Monday night and will continue into the morning hours Tuesday. As a result, a precautionary boil water notice will be in effect for Bay County Utilities' customers in Lake Merial and RiverCamps until bacteriological samples are completed. Customers in these communities may also experience interruptions in service during the repair work.

Lake Merial and RiverCamps customers are advised that all water used for drinking, cooking, making ice, brushing teeth or washing dishes be boiled, beginning at 11 p.m. Monday. A rolling boil of one minute is sufficient. As an alternative, bottled water may be used.

This "precautionary boil water notice" will remain in effect until the problem has been corrected and a bacteriological survey shows that the water is safe to drink. Bay County Utilities will notify the local media as soon as the precautionary boil water notice has been lifted.

Bay County Utilities' customers in Southport will not be affected by the project.

Please contact Bay County Utilities at (850) 248-5010 for more information.


Bay County to hold Crooked Creek boat ramp opening

Date posted: 07/09/2014 01:19:09 PM

JULY 9, 2014
PANAMA CITY -
The Bay County Board of County Commissioners will hold a grand opening ceremony for the newly constructed Crooked Creek Boat Ramp at 9 a.m. Friday, July 11.

Contractor Inland Construction and Engineering began work on the project Nov. 20 and completed the contracted portion of the work on May 30. Additional in-house construction included parking and stormwater retention areas. The contracted project construction cost was $415,000 and is being paid through Park Impact Fees.

"This project is a long-awaited addition to Bay County's roster of public boat ramps," Bay County Commission Chairman Guy Tunnell said. "We're excited to provide an opportunity for the people of Bay County to take advantage of our abundant natural resources and beauty."

Using Park Impact Fees - fees assessed on new construction projects throughout the county - to fund the new ramp, Tunnell said, ensures that development in the county pays for new recreational opportunities, rather than property taxes.

The new boat ramp replaces an "unofficial" ramp at the base of the Crooked Creek Bridge on State 388. Parking along the side of the road by users of the old ramp provided dangerous conditions for both motorists and recreational boaters.

The first phase of the project includes the boat ramp with a fixed dock and one floating dock, a parking area for 21 boat trailers, four additional vehicles and two handicapped parking spaces and stormwater facilities. The second phase of the project, to be completed at a later date, will include a handicapped-accessible fishing pier and a picnic area.

The ramp is located on TiTi Road, off State 388. The event is open to the public.


Bay County Extension to hold ribbon cutting, open house

Date posted: 04/25/2014 04:46:37 PM

The UF/IFAS Extension Bay County Office will celebrate 100 years of Extension with a ribbon cutting ceremony and open house on May 9 at the Extension Office, located at 2728 E. 14th St., Panama City.

The event begins at 11 a.m. with a meet and greet, followed by the ribbon cutting at noon. The remainder of the afternoon and evening will feature various educational seminars, activities and displays showing today's Extension programs and other valuable information.

The Cooperative Extension System was established by the Smith-Lever Act of 1914, which allows the general public to benefit from the research and education of each state's land-grant universities. In Florida, Extension has helped millions by tapping the latest information from the research engines of the University of Florida and Florida A&M University and converting it into practical knowledge used every day.

A schedule of the May 9 events is as follows:

• 11 a.m. - Meet & Greet
• 11 a.m. - 7 p.m. - Exhibits Open
• Noon - Ribbon Cutting Ceremony/Speakers
• 1 p.m.- Container for Shade - Not all plants need full sun, some actually thrive in the shade. This class is an introduction to container gardening in shady spots.
• 1:45 p.m. - Anchors Away - Do you have a boat or know someone who does? Learn alternative sites to safely anchor your boat.
• 2:30 p.m. - Cooking for one or two people doesn't have to mean eating a meal that comes out of a box. Learn how to make meals that are healthy and enjoyable.
• 3:15 p.m. - House Plants 101 - If you've been given an "impossible to kill" houseplant, but done just that, this class is for you. Learn basic site requirements and care of common houseplants.
• 4 p.m. - Managing in Tough Times - Learn ways to control your spending to help cut your cost of living.
• 4:45 p.m. - Internet Safety - Find resources to educate yourself about internet safety for children from setting up basic ground rules, to dealing with sexting and bullies.
• 5:30 p.m. - Thyme for Herbs - This class will introduce you to some common culinary herbs that can be grown in your North Florida garden.

For more information, please call Dr. Marjorie Moore at the Extension Office at 850- 784-6105 or email mreem@ufl.edu.


Budget meetings set

Date posted: 04/22/2014 02:49:27 PM

The Bay County Board of County Commissioners will hold the first Fiscal Year 2015 budget meeting/workshop immediately following its regularly scheduled board meeting at 9 a.m. on Tuesday May 6. A second budget meeting/workshop will be held at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 20. Both meetings will be in the Commission Chambers of the Bay County Government Center, located at 840 W. 11th St., Panama City, FL. The meetings are open to the public and will also be broadcast live online at www.baycountyfl.gov. For more information, please call Valerie Sale at (850) 248-8170.


Bay County to host Easter Egg Hunt

Date posted: 04/03/2014 11:16:19 AM

Bay County Parks and Recreation will host an Easter Egg Hunt from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, April 12 at H.G. Harder's Park. Two egg-hunting areas will be cordoned off, one for children 5 to 9 years old and a separate toddler section.

The Easter Bunny will make a special appearance at 1 p.m. to pose for photographs, so parents should be certain to pack a camera. Egg hunting begins at 1:30 p.m., with prizes for the child who finds a golden egg in each age group.

Animals from Bay County Animal Services will be on site and available for petting and adoption.

Refreshments will be available for purchase.

H.G. Harder's Park is located at 8110 John Pitts Rd., Panama City. To volunteer at the event or for more information, please call Janie Lucas at 784-4065.


Extension Office to return to permanent location

Date posted: 03/25/2014 04:39:27 PM

The UF/IFAS Bay County Cooperative Extension Office will be closed April 3 through April 7 for relocation to its permanent facility at 2728 E. 14th St., Panama City, in the old Cedar Grove City Hall.

The office has been temporarily sited on McKenzie Avenue while crews completed a wind and flood retrofit at the Cedar Grove building.

The retrofit project, aimed at making the building better able to withstand severe weather, was funded via a $319,000 Disaster Recovery Community Development Block Grant from the state.

For more information about the Extension program, please visit http://bay.ifas.ufl.edu/.


Bay County to hold Waste Amnesty Days

Date posted: 03/25/2014 01:45:31 PM

Bay County's annual Waste Amnesty Days and Recycling Round-up will be Friday, April 11 and Saturday, April 12 from 7 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Steelfield Landfill located at 11411 Landfill Road in West Bay, off State 79.

Residents may drop off their yard debris, household garbage and hazardous waste at no charge and are encouraged to bring recyclable materials as well. Fish ponds stocked by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission will be open to fishing for customers who drop off recyclables from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Customers must supply their own fishing equipment and bait, and children must be accompanied by an adult.

This event is open to Bay County residents only. Proof of residency is required (e.g., driver’s license, power bill, voter registration card).

The following materials will be accepted:

•Appliances (air conditioners, dryers, stoves, washing machines, etc.)
•Construction and demolition debris (concrete, lumber, sheet rock, etc.)
•Trash (kitchen garbage, furniture, carpet, clothes, etc.)
•Household hazardous waste (pesticides, paints, used oil, fluorescent tubes, antifreeze, etc.)
•Small engine containing devices (lawn mowers, weed eaters, edgers, etc.)
•Tires
•Yard debris (grass clippings, leaves, tree trimmings, etc.)
•Recyclables (batteries, paper, plastic, metals, computers, cell phones, etc.)

Regulations prohibit disposing appliances, household hazardous waste, small engine containing devices and tires in landfills. The landfill accepts these items but must process them separately from other waste. If possible, please stage these materials in the load so they can be dropped off at the designated area.

Bay County will not accept gas cylinders, explosive materials, ammunition or flares. However, residential-sized propane tanks are accepted. The normal tipping fees will still apply to commercial customers.

For more information, contact Bay County Solid Waste Management at 236-2212.


Road work to cause lane, road closures

Date posted: 03/20/2014 03:43:14 PM

Two projects to improve roadways in Bay County will cause intermittent lane closures on Wildwood Road and Everitt Avenue.

Weather permitting, a lane of Wildwood Road will be closed at various locations from Monday, March 24 to Friday, March 28 and from Monday, March 31 to Friday, April 4. The closure will allow contractor Gulf Coast Utility Contractors to install drainage pipes under the road.

From Monday, March 24 to Friday, March 28, Everitt Avenue will be closed at various locations between 11th and 15th streets for drainage pipe installation and to pour concrete drainage structures under the road. Traffic will be detoured around the closures, and access for residents will be maintained at all times.


Gun range groundbreaking rescheduled

Date posted: 03/14/2014 01:40:12 PM

The groundbreaking of the Bay County gun range has been rescheduled to March 19 because of weather concerns. The Bay County Board of County Commissioners and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) will hold a ceremony at 1 p.m. Wednesday, March 19 to mark groundbreaking on the new public gun range located near the Steelfield Landfill off State 79.


RESTORE Act Advisory Committee to hold first meeting March 21

Date posted: 03/11/2014 05:01:49 PM

The inaugural meeting of the Bay County RESTORE Act Advisory Committee (RAAC) will be at 1:30 p.m. March 21 in the Commission Chambers of the Bay County Government Center, located at 840 W. 11th St., Panama City.

The nine-member committee is comprised of representatives from the Economic Development Alliance, Port Authority, Workforce Board, Florida State University-Panama City and five commission-appointed members.

The meeting agenda is as follows:

Call to Order and Roll Call
Introductions
Welcome: Commissioner Mike Thomas, Bay County Board of County Commissioners
Public participation (Limited to items on agenda, remarks limited to three (3) minutes)
Election of Officers: Jim Muller, Bay County RESTORE Act Coordinator
Overview of Sunshine Law, ethics and public records: Jennifer Shuler, Bay County Attorney's Office
Rules of Procedure for Committee: Jim Muller
Understanding the RESTORE Act and process: Jim Muller
Overview of RESTORE Act legislation
Overview of RESTORE Act funding and other Gulf restoration funding
Overview of Direct Component funds and role of Advisory Committee
Committee members' discussion: Chair
Meeting schedule: Chair
Public participation (Open to any issues, remarks limited to three (3) minutes)
Adjournment

This meeting is open to the public and will be streamed live and archived on www.baycountyfl.gov. For more information about the RESTORE Act, please visit www.baycountyfl.gov/restore.


Gun range groundbreaking set for March 17

Date posted: 03/05/2014 01:08:15 PM

The Bay County Board of County Commissioners and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) will hold a ceremony at 10 a.m. Monday, March 17 to mark groundbreaking on the new public gun range located near the Steelfield Landfill off State 79.

The range is expected to be partially completed and open by early summer. Plans for the first phase of the range include parking and stormwater management, a 100-yard small bore rifle range, 50/25-yard small bore rifle ranges and a 50-foot pistol range. A combination classroom, restroom and maintenance building will also be constructed as part of Phase 1.

The second phase of the project includes a 15-position sporting clays course and the final phase includes archery, trap and skeet fields.

Bay County Parks and Recreation and Solid Waste employees are building the project in-house using recreation impact fees at a cost of no more than $200,000 to the county. In addition, the National Rifle Association contributed $25,000 to the FWC for the planning and design of this shooting range. FWC is committed to the continual operation of the facility and investing in approximately $200,000 of equipment needed for the supporting clays, trap and skeet fields.

The fee to the public for use of the gun range has not yet been determined, but it will be low, Bay County Commission Chairman Guy Tunnell said.

"A low-cost, public gun range is in high demand, and we're proud to be able to bring this to the people of Bay County," Tunnell said. "This project will encourage gun safety and responsible gun ownership while providing a much-needed venue for the public to enjoy shooting sports."

FWC operates similar facilities throughout the state and will manage Bay County's facility.

"This range helps alleviate a shortage of public recreational shooting facilities in Florida and will allow for FWC to hold hunter safety courses and for responsible gun owners to practice the safe handling of a firearm," George Warthen, FWC Northwest Region Hunter Safety coordinator said. "This partnership will have a positive influence on FWC's hunter safety program and responsible gun owners for generations to come."

The gun range will be located at 11411 Landfill Road.


Pete Edwards Field recycling drop-off closed

Date posted: 01/17/2014 11:39:41 AM

Continued illegal dumping has prompted Bay County to close the unmanned recycling site located at the Pete Edwards Field Recreational Complex off Thomas Drive on Panama City Beach, effective immediately. The site has become a dumping ground for trash, yard debris and other waste, rather than recyclable items.

"The illegal dumping makes it impossible to effectively manage the site for the purpose of recycling," Bay County Solid Waste Superintendent Glenn Ogborn said. "We're out there at least twice a week clearing trash that has been dumped in the bins with the recyclables, rendering the load unable to be recycled," he said.

The Pete Edwards location is one of several that the county has been forced to close because of illegal dumping. Sites in Springfield and Panama City were also closed in years past. Citizens can help Bay County in maintaining the remaining drop-off locations by calling Bay County Code Enforcement at 248-8290 if they are aware of illegal dumping activities. With the closure of the Pete Edwards Field location, Bay County has a remaining eight recycling drop-off sites. A map with the locations can be found at http://maps.baycountyfl.gov/recycle/.

All of the drop-off sites accept: plastics P1 and P2; mixed paper products; cardboard; aluminum/steel cans.

"We regret having to close this location," Ogborn said, "but most Bay County residents recycle without even realizing it through the Waste-to-Energy (WTE) facility. Bay County does not operate a traditional curbside collection program because we're the end of the line for trash – we don't pick up residents' garbage at their homes."

Almost all combustible household and commercial waste generated in Bay County is processed at the WTE facility and converted into electrical energy. The facility produces enough power each year to run thousands of homes. The WTE combustion process is recognized by the state of Florida as a renewable resource and Bay County receives recycling credit for each ton of waste processed through the facility. An average of 145,000 tons are processed annually, or 397 tons per day.

In addition to the electricity generated from the combustion process, all ferrous and non-ferrous metals are extracted from the ash residue and recycled.

"If you live in Bay County, when you throw waste into your kitchen garbage receptacle, the combustible materials such as food waste, plastics and paper are converted into energy and the empty cans of peas, soda, etc. are being recycled as scrap metals," Ogborn said.

Unless the WTE is inoperable or is operating above rated capacity, he said, the county landfill is only used as a repository for the ash residue left over from the combustion process or for the disposal of non-burnable materials that cannot be processed at the WTE.

The landfill does accept vegetative waste such as lawn clippings, leaves, limbs and trees but it is not landfilled. Currently the majority of those items are ground into mulch and used as a soil cover for walking trails in county parks, Ogborn said.

Almost all scrap metals such as appliances, swing sets, exercise equipment, barbeque grills, etc., are segregated from the waste stream and recycled rather than being landfilled. Salvageable bicycles are normally refurbished by Department of Corrections inmates for use in Salvage Santa type programs.

Much of the recycling effort in Bay County is provided by private industry and several companies process recyclable materials. These local companies recycle metals, paper products, cardboard and plastics. Most deal directly with the public. Contact information for local companies that recycle can be found online or through the yellow pages.


Bay County Animal Services resumes hours

Date posted: 01/06/2014 12:08:51 PM

Beginning Jan. 7, Bay County Animal Services will resume its normal operational hours of Tuesday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The shelter is closed Sunday and Monday.

The shelter will also be closed all day Saturday, Jan. 18 for training purposes. The Bay County Animal Shelter is located at 6401 Bayline Dr., Panama City.

BCAS will hold its monthly pet adoption event at the Bay County Government Center, located at 840 W. 11th St., Friday, Jan. 10 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.