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Thursday, May 24th, 2012

Opening Remarks - Memorial Day 2012

The photo of the Pensacola NAS Color Guard was taken last month during the USS Okaloosa Bell dedication ceremony at Northwest Florida Regional Airport. It was a great event and the only time I can recall ever having anything remotely close to a nice time at any airport.

Donald Christ, a veteran of the USS Okaloosa, spoke to the large crowd. He was not properly miked, so I really couldn’t hear his speech. Mr. Christ’s words rang true nonetheless.

This Memorial Day, I’ll be thinking about all who have made the ultimate sacrifice, and I’m eternally grateful to all who served and made it back home to share their stories.

As this issue goes to press, the media says the war in Afghanistan is finally coming to an end. I hope this is because the Powers that Be have our best interests at heart and not because some of those guys are up for reelection.



Amy Baty, Executive Director of the Okaloosa Arts Alliance (and subject of last issue’s What’s Your Story?) writes:

The 5th Annual Family Fun Arts Fest on Saturday, May 12, was a success. The OAA would like to thank everyone who participated in the Fest. The Fest would not have been possible without a generous grant from Boeing and the support of the local businesses, schools, and community.

The OAA would like to thank all the local businesses that donated and supported the Family Fun Arts Fest. Thank you also to the vendors and performers, including Emerald Coast Pipes & Drums, Pyramid Players, Native American Flutes, Act4Murder, Dance Elite, Harmonic Distractions, Fort Walton Beach High School Chorus, Class Act Studio and High Voltage.

I would also like to thank any volunteer that helped make this event happen—a special thank you to Senior Airman Jordan Hoover, Senior Airman Adam Wood, Staff Sgt. Cameron Cochran, Staff Sgt. Joshua D Estep, and Staff Sgt Christian O. Navarro-Salazar, all from the NCOIC Police Services, 96th Security Forces Squadron.

Finally, I would like to thank all of the Okaloosa County students that participated in the fourth OAA Okaloosa County School Poster Contest. Although we were not able to make everyone a first place winner, all 141 entries were on display in pavilion B at the silent auction tables.

Editor’s Note: Fourth grader Sarah Duckett, whose art graced last issue’s cover, won first place in the elementary school division. Congrats, Sarah!


The FREE Beachcomber app brings the best of the Emerald Coast’s music, art, theater, literary scene and more to your iPad, iPhone and iPad Touch. If you don’t have any of the aforementioned devices, buy them all so you can download our app. Or do like the Beachcomber Editor did—convince your boss you need one for work. (In this case, “work” consists of playing games, listening to music and watching movies.)


The May 23, 2002 issue featured artist Donna Burgess’ whimsical “Diva Dogs Do the Beach” on the cover. Chris Manson convinced then-editor Leah Stratmann to publish his record reviews (Gordon Lightfoot, Yes and Neil Young, but also P!NK and X-Ecutioners). Stratmann reviewed John Grisham’s The Summons, calling it “the perfect book for taking to the beach.

Neither the plot nor the characters is compelling enough to totally absorb the reader, so putting it down is not a problem.”

Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man and the sexy Diane Lane-Richard Gere thriller Unfaithful played in movie theaters. New libraries popped up or were in the construction phase in Destin, Fort Walton Beach and South Walton. Emile Pritchard took Best in Show honors at ArtsQuest. Bruce Collier introduced Beachcomber readers to the Seaside Repertory Theatre (still going strong) and the Elephant Walk restaurant in Sandestin (not around anymore).

SYN-R-G (“Ike, Mike and that white guy that’s good on guitar”) packed the old Harry T’s with their fantastic dance vibe, Gina Lane played at La Paz (still does), and Pat Boone and friends rocked the late Lucky Snapper. (Hope you’re doing well, Pat—much love to you.)


Beverly Gaddis, Melissa Wemyss, Deezy P Roundtable-radio, Nancy Lucas, Lisa Bice, Charlene Belk, Christina Clauson, Jan Farley, Summer Johnson, Barry Walsh, Mark Schnell, Young Louise, Steve Davis, Ray Hitchell (‘bout time), Ish Kabibbles, Devon Smith, Timberview Helicopters, Andrea Eller, and Rebecca Martin are just some of the great people who “like” the new Beachcomber page on Facebook.

If you’re a friend of the old Beachcomber Destin page, please make the switch to www.facebook.com/beachcomberdestinfl and drink in up-to-the-minute info, giveaways, videos and much more! We may even put your name in the paper to fill up space.

Beachcomber Editor Chris Manson with Gretchen Peters and Barry Walsh at last fortnight’s Seaside concert. Read our highly biased review here.