Grayton has lots of underground utilities including TV/internet cables, gas lines, phone lines, and electrical lines. Before you DIG please call 811 annd the companies will come out and mark where the lines are. There is no cost for this service.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

The Board Meeting was called to order by Grant Blackwell, President, at Scott Provow’s office at 4:00 P.M. October 5, 2012. 

Board members in attendance included: Grant Blackwell, Scott Provow, Billy Buzzett, Bill Wallace and Andy Gray.  Jean Silva and Kitty Taylor were absent. 

Minutes:  The April 7th meeting minutes, which included the 2012 election of officers done via email, were presented:

·         Grant Blackwell – President

·         Billy Buzzett -Vice President

·         Kitty Taylor -Secretary

·         Andy Grey –Treasurer

Billy moved to approve the minutes.  Scott seconded the motion.

Financial Report: Andy presented a report for the period May 1 – October 5, 2012 (attached at the end of these minutes).  Billy moved to approve the report and Scott seconded the motion.
Memorial Tree Planting:  Board will proceed in planning process for this program.  Due to the cost per tree and delicate nature of survival in Grayton, we will need some professional assistance.  Grant will consult with Ford/Tory for advice on tree type, locations, minimum numbers to plant, care and maintenance, replacement of trees that don’t survive, etc.  Will need to determine appropriate plaques and cost per tree.  Board will communicate pla
Grayton Beach Beautification/Work Day: Board members will propose a date after the meeting and will communicate to membership.  Red Bar is contributing $500 to the cause.  Ideas: tent, hot dogs, etc. 
Weed Control on Lake: The state has permit from the DEP.  Is working with home owners in conjunction with Grayton Beach State Park.
Other Issues to Discuss or Table (some of these are communications from members and should be discussed to determine if within the scope of the GBNA):
Resolution to support funding for a Western Lake Bridge: The pedestrian/bike lane on the two current road bridges is dangerously close to traffic.  The board feels that a separate ped/bike bridge at each end of lake is needed.  GBNA and Seaside have written letters to the County in support of this.  Latest word from the county is that TDC funds will be used to pay for this.  Public input will be solicited.  A resolution from GBNA is not necessary at this time.
Parking Solutions: Parking issues of Grayton discussed and no motion made for further board attention at this time. Board will revisit the issue at future meetings.
Varnish Don Sawyer’s Artwork on Regional Utilities Fence:  Need a volunteer to apply varnish to the paintings on the fence.  This will be done.  This will be done during the Nov 15th Grayton Beach Beautification Work day
Report on Speed Control Sign: Grant Blackwell will take over responsibility for Speed control sign from former board member Larry Jackson and will ask Larry for assistance when needed.
Charter Boats vending on Scenic Corridor - Entrance to Grayton, complaint from member: Board discussed complaint about charter boats vending at entrance to Grayton and there was no motion for further action.
Hibiscus - complaint from member about noise: Board discussed noise concerns of residents relative to two local businesses on Defuniak Street.  Board will continue to monitor concerns of members going into the spring.  No motion made for immediate action.
Ice Machine at Grayt Coffee - Complaint from member about noise: Board determined this is not a board issue, but Grant will discuss this with Grayt Coffee management.
Old Notice of hearing signs - complaint from member: Board discussed multiple complaints about the notice of hearing signs being left up. No board action recommended but Grant Blackwell said he would address it on Grayton Beautification Work day on Nov 15th.
Yellow sand on beach - complaint from member: Board discussed the complaint and no motion was offered.
Letter to rental companies supporting conversion to NON-HANGING street signs for rental homes: Discussed the complaint and no motion was offered.
Neighborhood Plan: Billy Buzzett briefed the board on the opportunity for drafting and disseminating a neighborhood plan for approval by Grayton Beach property owners.  This would be a way for the community to better control its destiny.  It wouldn’t need to be very lengthy or complex.  All owners would necessarily have the opportunity to provide input.   
Plan elements could include: protection of historical integrity, height limits, setbacks, beach driving, residential and commercial parking, boat ramp, vacation rental signs, lighting, traffic and landscaping. Once approved, a plan could serve as a one-stop approval for such improvements that the community has sought (such as speed bumps, landscaping on Hotz, etc.).  Without a plan, these improvements have taken several months of board member time.  Billy made a motion to research and draft a plan.  Andy seconded the motion.
The meeting was adjourned at 5:30 P.M. 
Financial Report as of Oct 1, 2012:
Bank Trust bank accounts:
Checking Account Balance:                                          4,743.55
Deposits (2012 membership dues)                            225.00
Interest earned                                                                3.06
Expenses (sum of checks written)                             1,032.94
            Blue Mountain Lawn & Property Maintenance                 300.00
            Taking Care of Business (Lawn & Flower bed maint.)     661.50
            Andrew Gray (reimbursement for annual P.O. box rental
            @ $58.00 and 24 stamped envelopes @ $13.44)                      71.44
Savings Account Balance                                                        2,438.91
Interest earned                                                                     8.30
Service charges                                                                      20.00
Transferred $562.00 from checking to savings on Oct 2nd (to avoid future service charges).  New balances:
Checking Account:                                                                          4,181.55
Savings Account:                                                                            3,000.91
Also, we received notice in June that Bank Trust will soon “merge into” Trust Mark Bank.
Respectfully submitted by Andy Gray


Sunday, October 21, 2012


Grant would like you to put the following date and event on your calendar:
Saturday November 17th is
Grayton Beach Beautification Day.
We are going to be re-doing the plantings on Hotz, clean up our neighborhood entrance area. We are going to hopefully have volunteers cut the right of way around the neighborhood. We will be setting up a tent on Hotz and seving hotdogs and drinks for all of our workers.
We are hoping to meet on Hotz at 8 AM and then start the clean up. Grant hopes to have a garbage truck available to pick up materials that aren't usually picked up during regular pick ups. You should be receiving an email blast with all the info soon. Any questions contact Grant. His email is located on the right side of blog. 

Sunday, September 23, 2012


If you have any suggestions or comments that you wish the board to address please contact them via email. You can find their emails on the right side of the Blog.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012


Grayton is fine...a little wind, some rain, not much sand damage . The gulf is stirred up and "noisy."

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Want to create a masterpiece?

Don Sawyer will be teaching painting at his new studio starting in September. If you like his style of painting ( regional fence on Defuniak) click on the Sawyer link on the right side of the blog and sign up.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Abour Time, RIGHT?

‘Trying to be good neighbors': Grayton businesses band together to alleviate traffic problem

The Walton Sun
Plenty of parking spaces make good neighbors, and that is why Grayton businesses now offer shuttle services to patrons.
Shorty’s Surfside & Topside, The Red Bar, and The Zoo Gallery have teamed up to offer customers a complimentary shuttle ride during summer months. The shuttle started running June 30 and will continue through Labor Day weekend.
“It’s the downfall with being successful at promoting an area,” said Philippe Petit, one of the owners of The Red Bar. “The tourists are here … But now we are faced with a different problem.”
Since the once-sleepy town has become such a destination for tourists and locals alike, parking on the main drag has become a precious commodity. With cars outnumbering spots, the restaurants had accommodations for dining, but not the parking to support it.
Much to the frustration of those who live in Grayton, visitors would use side yards as makeshift parking spaces or block accesses or other cars.
“The parking has been an issue for many years,” said Petit. “The neighborhood really got fed up with it.”
If they couldn’t immediately find parking, patrons vying for spaces along landmark Hotz Street would wait, sometimes longer for parking than for a table, and in some cases, leave Grayton altogether.
“With this solution, they can get into the restaurant,” said Petit. Those who wish to dine at Shorty’s or The Red Bar can shop beforehand or grab drinks at the bar while they wait for a table, which beats sitting in a car waiting for a space to come available.
Shorty’s owner Henry Patterson approached the owners at these two other businesses with the shuttle idea, and it wasn’t long before the solution was in place to alleviate traffic issues and neighborhood tensions, without losing any business.
The shuttle runs 5:30 to 10:30 p.m. daily, from Grayton Corners to the intersection of Defuniak and Hotz streets.
Owners of the three businesses maintain it wouldn’t be possible without the collaboration of Grayton Corners. But Grayton Corners owner Lee Perry says he’s just doing his part.
“Anything we can do to help the neighborhood out is what we want to do,” said Perry, who co-owns the shops with Steve Gleaner and a third partner out of North Carolina.
The parking lot at Grayton Corners just about doubles the 50 to 60 parking spaces near downtown Grayton.
“You take 40 to 50 cars out of the mix,” said Patterson. “It’s good for business, it’s good for residents. It’s a win-win for everybody.”
The shuttle service started June 30 with the help of Sunshine Shuttle and bore a price tag of $10,000 per month.
Even in its two week run, the response has been favorable.
“With 320 people in a night, nobody would have known” it would be such a success, said Patterson, referring to the July 3 evening.
The immediate success led Oli Petit, owner of The Red Bar, to buy into the idea further. Last week he acquired his own shuttle. He and the other business owners will now be operating the shuttle service for the duration of the season.
“These business leaders have taken the initiative where a lot of other people haven’t,” said Sunshine Shuttle owner John Finch of the Grayton project. He says parking is not just a Grayton problem, but is pervasive along 30A.
Though Sunshine Shuttle is no longer the shuttle provider for Grayton, Finch hopes the idea catches on and more business owners along 30A adopt the concept, eventually running a trolley or shuttle service along the entirety of the oft-congested county road.
And with the area showing no slow in growth, the timing is right to put in place a system to mitigate parking issues and keep all who love Grayton — residents, business owners, and patrons — happy.
“We’re just trying to be good neighbors,” said Zoo Gallery owner Chris Wilson.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Rags to Riches

Rags to Riches Regatta

GRAYTON BEACH — A long-standing tradition is sailing back to the waters of Grayton Beach and Seagrove just in time for the Fourth of July weekend.
Rags to Riches Regatta Registration opens July 1 at 8 a.m. behind Red Bar in Grayton Beach, and the Skippers meeting starts at 11 a.m. with the race shortly following.
In the race, 20 to 25 boats glide across the 10-mile course of the Emerald Coast between Grayton Beach and Seagrove.
“Having all the spectators out there with their colorful tents and all the kids playing around in the water is the way we want to cele-brate Independence Day,” said Elizabeth Savage, the race organizer. “This is just a salute to the past.”
The Rags to Riches Regatta begins in Grayton Beach and ends in Seagrove.
Savage said she has fond memories participating in the race.
“I raced as a child with my fa-ther,” she said. “It has become a family tradition, and something we are passing down to later generations.”
The Regatta was founded in 1981 by locals Lynn Stone and Charlie Thornton and originated as a battle between a group of sailors from Grayton Beach.
The residents of Grayton Beach considered themselves the “rags,” and the Seagrove residents the “riches.”
The race was suspended for 16 years beginning in 1992 and started back up in 2009.
“Grayton Beach got so busy, and that made it complicated to have a race,” Savage said. “A lot of people that I talked to wanted to bring it back.”
During its reemergence, the regatta saw the return of the Hobie 16 race, with about 16 boats and 100 spectators welcoming its arrival.
“Everything was so beautiful,” Savage said. “Each boat was painted with different colors and set against (the) Gulf (of Mexico). The atmosphere of that day was just amazing.”
Savage said the event has since become a hallmark to the Fourth of July festivities and an event unlike any other for Hobie 16 enthusiasts.
The entry fee is $45 per boat and includes a race shirt and gift bag. Trophies will be awarded to the top three finishes.

Friday, June 1, 2012



A Good Summer Read

Michael Lindley recreates 1920s Grayton Beach in ‘Grayton Winds

The Walton Sun
Moonshine, bootleggers, and a giant storm are but a few of the reasons Michael Lindley chose Grayton Beach as the setting for his newest historical novel “Grayton Winds.”
“I started out by picking an interesting place with a rich history,” said Michael Lindley of his third book.
His first two books are also historic fiction, but are set in his native Northern Michigan. For the third, Lindley couldn’t escape the draw of 1920s Prohibition in Grayton Beach.
The book opens with Matthew Coulter sitting in his beach house looking back on his life before celebrating his 85th birthday with his family. A surprise visitor from Coulter’s past draws him back as if by a hook, into a remembrance of his young adulthood, and what led him to the excitement of the Gulf Coast in the 1920s.
After being ousted by his ruthless liquor baron family, Coulter flees Atlanta to stay at a friend’s cottage in Grayton. He soon finds himself caught up in the lives of the colorful folks around him, like the nefarious Willy Palumbo, based on the infamous gangster Al Capone.
“There in my research I found that Al Capone was down here for a time,” said Lindley.
It is rumored that Capone would bring in Prohibition “goods” through the bays and bayous along the Gulf Coast. Unconfirmed legend has it Capone even owned a golf course in Valparaiso, a town to the west.
The historic Grayton Hotel figures heavily into the story, as the site of intrigue surrounding the woman who runs it. The hotel also serves as the local speakeasy, a historically accurate role, according to Lindley.
“Even the hotel owner in little Grayton Beach … they served alcohol openly, and when the sheriff came in, they made sure he got a few drinks as well,” said Lindley.
In “Grayton Winds,” Lindley is sure to include the historic storm of 1926.
“It hit this area full force,” he said, and “literally flattened Grayton Beach.”
In the book it causes more than damage to infrastructure and the coastline, but also deals a personal blow to Coulter.
Lindley’s four-year journey writing the story paid off, as he managed to weave the poignancy of his story with the history and feeling of the area.
Though today’s Grayton Beach is far more developed than in the 1920s, the ambiance, Lindley maintains “hasn’t changed much at all.”
The constants are what make the area special — the beauty of the water, the beauty of the wildlife, according to Lindley.
Lindley and his family became enamored with the area in the 1980s, when a friend in Seaside invited them down from Michigan.
“We fell in love with the place and started renting a house every spring,” said Lindley.
They later invested in Seacrest Beach, and though they still primarily live in East Lansing, Mich., they manage to come down to paradise four or five times a year.
“Grayton Winds” is available online through Amazon and Barnes and Noble, and at Sundog Books in Seaside and The Hidden Lantern in Rosemary Beach.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Grayton Grapples with Parking Shortage

The Walton Sun
Adding more speed bumps on DeFuniak St. in Grayton Beach will be a topic of discussion at the June 12 meeting of the Board of County Commissioners at 4 p.m. at the Courthouse Annex.
What do you get when you put thousands of car-driving tourists in an area with fewer than 30 parking spots?
A very frustrated group of residents, including Linda Eyer and Shirley Sahlie.
“When The Red Bar is really jiving — and it will be all summer and spring break — it’s a nightmare down here,” said lifetime visitor and former resident Linda Eyer.
County officials acknowledge there is a problem, but they also see the bright side.
“With the shops plus beach access … there is a lot of traffic that goes through Grayton; there really is nothing that can be done to stop that. And we like people coming here,” said Jason Catalano, aide to Commissioner Cecilia Jones.
But, he added, “I don’t think that there is anyone that would disagree that there is a parking issue.”
For decades, Eyer and Sahlie have watched Grayton grow from a sparsely inhabited gulf-side town to a destination on every 30A tourist’s agenda.
But the come-uppance of Grayton must not have been in the original inhabitants’ plans, as they missed the foresight to plan for such an influx of people and cars. And this is leading to one major problem: parking.
“They park everywhere,” added Sahlie, who lives off DeFuniak Street just a few doors down from the beach access and the handful of restaurants and shops off downtown Grayton’s Hotz Avenue.
The sisters remembers when that street held only The Grayton Hotel and the building that now houses The Red Bar, which was at the time only a store, a few benches, and a dance floor.
“It was idyllic,” said Eyer, who remembers when DeFuniak Street backed up to Grayton State Park.
But now that the neighborhood traffic includes thousands of tourists during the season, and with the fewer than 25 parking spots quickly filled, the droves of people coming to enjoy The Red Bar, Shorty’s, Gypsea or The Zoo Gallery are left wondering where to park.
So these intrepid visitors find spots in front of homes and along both sides of Grayton’s streets.
“When anything happens down here, people park in the street because there’s no place to go,” said Eyer.
With her home’s prime location, Sahlie has been plagued with this parking problem personally. Though she used to use soap on car windows as a means to reprimand those who ignored her no parking signs, Sahlie has had to get a bit more direct. Now, along with the signs along her fence, Sahlie has concrete pots and a chain across her driveway to impede drivers from parking alongside her home.
“You get to that point, you just don’t have patience with it anymore,” said Eyer, whose solution to her annoyance was to move 50 miles north from Grayton Beach to escape the crowds.
But the problem isn’t just the inconvenience to residents, as the crowded streets pose a more dangerous problem, one which came into focus during July fourth weekend in 2009.
A fire truck coming to respond to a call in Grayton Beach was unable to get to the scene of the incident because the streets were so crowded.
Later it was confirmed the “fire” was just smoke from a grill.
“We’re lucky that it wasn’t a big emergency, but it brought light to the situation. We started looking at what options there could be,” said Catalano.
Whether the conversation is about changing the flow of traffic on Hotz Street or trying to establish a public transportation system, those at Commissioner Cecilia Jones’ office are looking into the issue.
“There’s a lot of moving parts, but it’s definitely something we’ve identified. We will work with business owners and residents to do what we can,” said Catalano.
The sisters agree there is a solution, perhaps in the form of northern satellite parking lots, from which patrons could be shuttled in, relieving the congestion on DeFuniak and other Grayton streets.
But what they really want is a balance.
“It’s not that we don’t want everyone to have good business,” said Eyer. “It’s just that everyone pays the price.”

Monday, May 14, 2012

Sea Turtle Season May 1st 0 Oct 31st

What to expect from an expectant turtle

The Walton Sun
Turtle season kicked off across the Emerald Coast on May 1 and volunteer turtle walkers have begun their annual daybreak walks to look for the distinctive tracks sea turtles leave behind on our beaches.
Sharon Maxwell heads the organization known as the South Walton Turtle Watch. She began walking South Walton's beaches in 1993 at Grayton State Park for the Parks System. She helped form South Walton Turtle Watch in 1995. The organization consists of all volunteers who walk the county's 26 miles of beaches just after daybreak each day, searching for the “crawls” of sea turtles. These trails most often mean the female turtle came ashore during the night and laid her eggs in a nest she dug in the sand.
The sea turtles are listed as endangered in this area, and include the Kemp’s ridley, green, loggerhead, and leatherback.
The nests are marked and watched until the eggs hatch between July and October. The gestation period for hatching in this area is a little over two months.
So far, no nests have been found, which is not unusual for this time of year, said Maxwell.
"The water temperature has to be 81 to 83 degrees before we see anything," she said. The current water temperature she believes is around 77 degrees.
The first nest is not normally found until May 15-21.
"No one has seen any crawls yet," she said. "Port St. Joe and Panama City see crawls before we do and they haven't seen any yet."
In recent years the typical nest count has been around 30 per year. Last year's count was 32. In 2000, however, there were 58, which was a high year. Maxwell doesn't think we will see that many this time around.
"We used to have 40 and above, but I don't think there are that many sea turtles any more. We are on a downward trend," she said.
However, she is hopeful.
"Leatherbacks and greens are up on the East Coast, so, hopefully our loggerheads will be too," she said.
Maxwell explains that there are loggerheads throughout the world, but the ones that come up on our beaches are a sub population that are unique to our white sandy beaches and, as a whole, are a threatened population.
"There are not that many," she said. "They are dwindling due to the changing of our beaches. There are more people on the beach at night than there used to be and a greater number of sea walls."
However, the obstacles facing the turtles start in the Gulf with things such as long-line fishing, and every year they are hit by boats, said Maxwell.
"They are trying to compete with man and hopefully man will try to be a better friend. It's not that we're bad people, we just get into what we're doing," she said.
Those “doings” include not complying with lighting ordinances, using flashlights on the beach at night, and throwing plastic bags into the Gulf.
"When people throw plastic bags into the Gulf, the turtles see them and think they are jellyfish and open their mouths," she explained.�
She also warned about leaving objects on the beach. If a turtle encounters an obstacle on land, whether human or something man-made, they will usually turn and go back into the water without laying their eggs.
"If you're on the beach and a turtle comes ashore, stand back and give her plenty of room," said Maxwell. "Don't touch her. And if any help is needed, call the Walton County Sheriff's Department."
Turtle season runs May 1 through Oct. 31

Thursday, May 3, 2012

A Bridge in the Balance?

Residents to decide fate of half-cent sales tax on May 8th       ( TAX PASSES)  

The Walton Sun
For poll locations, visit www.votewalton.comU.S. 331 multi-lane project meeting
The Florida Department of Transportation will hold a public information meeting regarding the design of State Road 83 (U.S. 331) from two to four lanes starting at Edgewood Circle and ending at S.R. 8 (I-10) in Walton County. The meeting will be held May 10 from 5 to 6 p.m. at the DeFuniak Springs Community Center located at 361 North 10th Street. This meeting will allow citizens an opportunity to preview the proposed design, ask questions, and/or submit comments concerning the upcoming project.

The intent of the project is to increase the vehicular capacity of the corridor. The proposed typical section will consist of two 12-foot travel lanes in each direction, separated by a 40-foot grass median, 12-foot outside shoulders (five-foot paved) and 8-foot inside shoulders (unpaved) are proposed. This project is not currently funded for construction.
Soon after the polls close May 8, residents of Walton County will know whether or not they will fund the 331 bridge expansion with a half-cent sales tax increase.
Hundreds have already voted in the early voting period, which ends Saturday at 4:30 p.m., at both the South Walton Courthouse Annex and in DeFuniak at the courthouse. Voting will be open again May 8, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Voters may vote in their election day precincts, at the regular ballot casting locations.
If the tax does not pass, it is up to the Board of County Commissioners to decide how to proceed with the project. The results of the vote will decide if the county implements a half-cent increase in sales tax or if county commissioners discuss putting a toll on the bridge.
Rather than frame the discussion in terms of a tax or a toll, the Walton County Taxpayers Association has stepped forward with a third consideration — that it is fruitless to discuss how to pay for something we don’t need.
“The bridge is not essential. Not in the near term, and not in the intermediate term,” said Don Riley, president of the WCTA, which has embraced the motto of “No tax, no toll.”
FDOT has dedicated $375 million for the entire 331 four-lane project, and of that, less than one-third will be used for the bridge. But in order for Walton County to receive that $102 million, the residents must come up with $75 million.
Though the watchdog group seems to be balking at the cost of the match, Walton County administrator Greg Kisela thinks this is a great opportunity.
“This commitment by DOT, in my mind, was a deal maker for us,” said Kisela of the $375 million, which he thinks makes $75 million look like a relatively “small investment.”
Though the WCTA now stands firm in its course of action, at one point, they were almost convinced to support the project.
In March of this year, Riley, along with Bonnie McQuiston and J.B. Hillard of the WCTA, and four county commissioners, met with Florida Department of Transportation Secretary Ananth Prasad in Tallahassee to discuss the project.
“ ‘The time is now,’ ” Riley recalled Prasad’s message. “He made a very persuasive argument.”
Prasad also reportedly floated the idea of mitigating the cost to Walton County residents north of the bay by means of discounts and flat monthly fees.
The group came away from the presentation impressed with the project, but then later, when they asked for specific numbers about the toll discounts, they were told the specific numbers would not be available until after the referendum, according to Riley.
Not knowing what they were signing up for, the WCTA polled its members. Nearly 800 members of the group responded to the emailed survey. Seventy-five percent voted against the tax and 67 percent voted against the toll, according to a news release from the association. The north part of the county was more strongly opposed than the south, the news release stated.
With the survey in hand, Riley sees this project as indicative of a larger problem with fund-prioritization in governments from as small as Walton County to as large as the federal government.
“It’s time to stop and closely examine what we have been doing — what our core responsibilities are,” said Riley. “This county could spend its money more wisely than it has, than it is doing.”
But Kisela, as the county spokesman, sees this as a worthwhile project for socioeconomic development of a main vein for travelers — especially during hurricane evacuations and tourism season.
“It’s the only north-south corridor we have,” said Kisela.
He also spoke to another criticism that the bridge funding debate was taking place years before the four-laning of Hwy. 331 was to be completed.
“The initial concern was that we had the cart before the horse, and now they’re both going to be done at the same time,” said Kisela of the 2017 completion date for both projects.
But the WCTA is not backing down from the stance that the bridge expansion remains unnecessary at this juncture.
“This bridge is a real low responsibility,” said Riley.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Pompano Jim of Grayton

Protective paranoia, a Grayton Beach, and a quest for the stars

Chick Huettel
The Walton Sun
I have known “Pompano Jim“ (alias: Jim Thean) for many years now. Awhile back I wrote an article about him and his profound knowledge of the life cycle of pompano. The pompano is declared by many famous chefs as a prime aquatic swimmer in the Gulf. It’s not often found on the normal restaurant menu, but always on “finer” dining establishments. It’s expensive and hard to catch, but not for Jim. He has his own pompano fishing guide service in Grayton Beach.
Pompano Jim is also unique in that his IQ is over all standard boundaries, and he holds a full doctorate and is a retired college professor in bio-chemistry. I watched him one day give a lecture to my grandsons on the humble sand flea, and I was mesmerized at the simplicity in his explanation of how the shore flea is in harmony with the sea birds and fish.
While he has been living in Grayton Beach for what seems like forever, Pompano Jim has taken on the issue of Edison’s electric lamp.
“Each year there seems to be more and more people installing security lights, and that’s not counting the street lights,” he said. “Now the stars are becoming dim. Even the turtle nest count is down.”
He blames the light pollution on out-of-town owners and their constant dread of crime. And so he is charging forward to fight the lights.
“CHELCO has come out and seen the violations and there will be some changes or fines coming forward. Already we have seven violations and still counting just last week. The turtle protection enforcement statutes on lighting have been ignored. So I plan to return our original beach community to where we could see the constellations and not make the hamlet a city parking lot.”
“Our locals don’t go spilling into other communities with invasive attitudes, so why should people from other cities and states do this to us?“ he asked.
“I and a few others have managed to point some lights so they don’t face the beach and disrupt turtle migrations and their ageless nesting propagation,” he continues. “We plan to become more vigilant and simply ask home owners to enjoy the night sky and don’t bring their city fear to Grayton. The sea and sky is what we have — no mountains, no streams, no rocky shores, just the stars at night and rhythm of the waves. I recently asked some newcomers to please cut out their property lighting. They said for me to go away; it was their house and they will do as they please. The lady of the house was scared and so up come the lights. It’s disheartening.”
I went out walking with Jim as he pointed to various intruding hard lights. He was right. Some people seem to care more about monetary property and protective paranoia than what they originally came to Grayton for — peace and nature. They brought the big city phobia with them.
“It’s all about trying to educate the visitor and hopefully making them understand the life cycle of Grayton Beach. It is up to the homeowners association to rid the village of this invasion. Some vacation owners will always be selfish, that is their “nature,” but us locals promote God’s given nature. The stars and moon at night are enough light for us.”
Jim is my hero. To catch Pompano, call Jim’s fishing guide service at 850-231-1145.
Fair winds to ye matey.
Chick Huettel is a longtime Walton County resident, writer and artist.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

The Annual Meeting was called to order by Grant Blackwell, President, at Shirley Sahlie’s yard at 11:15 AM, April 7th, 2012.  About 80 members, guests and family members attended the Annual Meeting and Picnic.  Jean Silva was absent.  Special guests included artist Don Sawyer, Assistant Grayton Beach State Park Assistant Manager Mathew Allen, County Commissioner Cecilia Jones and County Sheriff Mike Adkinson. 
Grant expressed the Board and Membership’s appreciation to Shirley for her continued support of the Association and for her gracious hosting of the annual meeting.
Following the invocation and Pledge of Allegiance, Grant introduced the 2011-2012 Board Members and the new 2012-2013 Board as follows:

Grant Blackwell, President
Scott Provow, Vice President
Ann Morrell, Treasurer
Larry Jackson, Secretary
Billy Buzzett
Andy Gray
Bill Wallace

2012-2013 Board:
Grant Blackwell, continuing for a 2011-2013 Term
Scott Provow, continuing for a 2011-2013 Term
Andy Gray, continuing for a 2011-2013 Term,
Kitty Taylor, elected for a 2012-2014 Term,
Bill Wallace, continuing for a 2011-2013 Term
Billy Buzzett, elected for a 2012-2014 Term
Jean Silva, elected for a 2012-2014 Term

The new Board will confirm officers at their next meeting.
Minutes:  March 9th minutes were approved by board member E-mails and posted to GBNA Blog.

Financial Report:  Ann Morrell presented an update of our Annual GBNA Finances as of April 7, 2012.
                              GBNA 2011- 2012 Annual Financial Report

Beginning Balances
6,415.00 + 100.00 dues deposit
10, 669.85 + 80.76 interest
Total Income :
17, 625.76

Annual Expenses:
2011 Annual Meeting/ Party
2011 State Filing Fee
2011-2012 Landscape Cost
2012 PO Box Rental
2012 Mailing/Stamps/ Postcards
2011 Telephone Conference Call
2011-2012 Holiday Decorations
2012 Reorder Checks/ Deposit Slips
2012 Fence Start Up Cost
2012 Friends of Grayton Beach St Park Donation
Annual Expenses Total :

Special Project: Hotz Ave Beautification Expenses:

2012 Contractor Bill (See Transfer)
2012 Plants and Labor (See Transfer)
Total Expenses: Annual and Hotz Ave:

Hotz Project Transfer:  Transferred 8,300 from Savings Account to Checking

Checking Balance

2012 Dues Income
Ending Checking Balance Total
Savings Balance
Hotz Transfer
Ending Savings Balance Total
April 7, 2012 Total Ending  Balance Checking and Savings

Membership:  Dues were received for 180 memberships.
County Commissioner Jones.  Cecilia Jones invited property owners to contact her or her assistant, Jason, any time for help at her Grayton Beach office, 70 Logan Lane, 850-231-2978.
County Sheriff Mike Adkinson.  Sheriff Adkinson addressed the issues of parking, noise complaints and crowd control during peak periods.  The Sheriff’s Office receives over 1000 calls for service a week.  He noted that the County Administrator was the only official who could declare no parking zones.  Sheriff Adkinson said that the Sheriff’s office is reviewing the new Parking Ordinance. 
Don Sawyer Art Project.  Ann Morrell introduced Don Sawyer.  Everyone thanked him for the contribution of his paintings displayed on the DeFuniak Street Lift Station.
Real Estate Update:  Scott Provow gave attendees the profile of recent home prices and sales in the 30A area and in Grayton Beach.  Sales are up 160% this year..   Sellers have seen bids generally below their asking price with sale prices 60% below the 2005 prices.  Over the last few years, Grayton Beach had an average of 18 homes for sale.  This year there are only 7 homes for sale.
Grayton Beach State Park:  Assistant State Park Manager Mathew Allen and District Biologist Tova Stector gave a presentation on management activities at the State Park.  The park consists of 200 acres of state park around Grayton Beach.  The presentation covered native plants common to the Park.  He discussed concerns for invasive plants in the neighboring communities that could affect the park.  A native plant guide, Friendly Plantings for Grayton Beach Area, was passed out to attendees.  It has been posted on the Grayton Beach Association BLOG at .  One member asked about the control of Phragmites reeds spreading around Western Lake, including the Banfill-Lydia Lake Access.  Mathew said they sought to control it and had access to an herbicide that was only approved for use by official agencies.  This herbicide might be something the TDC could use to control reeds at our lake access areas.  Another member asked about planting native lupine.  The presenters noted only nursery they knew that was successful growing lupine was the 10 Mile Creek Nursery in Hartford, AL.  The marking of bird nesting areas was also discussed. 
Past Year:  Grant covered association activities during the last year including the membership directory, DeFuniak Street shoulder improvements, the Sawyer Art project on the DeFuniak Street Lift Station and Hotz Avenue Beautification Project. Member Directory:  Attendees received a 2012 membership directory replacing the 2006 Membership Directory.
Shoulder Work:  The County added aggregate to the west shoulder on both sides of the DeFuniak. 
Hotz Avenue Beautification Project:  Grant covered the work completed on the project and the efforts to meet County approval.  This project was one of the capital improvement projects.  As the project neared completion, the board reviewed and approved a special request for funding.  Project Budget Target of $5,000 was approved at the September 23, 2011 Board Meeting. The Board, following the March 9, 2012 meeting, received an April 2nd request from Grant and Billy for an additional $3,300 to complete the major work on Hotz Avenue Beautification project by April 7, 2012.  Scott Provow made an April 2 motion to approve the additional $3,300 for the Hotz Avenue project to be included in the 2011-2012 financial statement for a total of $8,300. Grant, Billy, Scott, Andy, Bill and Larry voted yes, Ann Abstained.  The final cost was $8292
Background.  GBNA received County Commission approval for the project on March 13. GBNA’s request to the Commission sought to complete the project by April 7. Thomas Stein, a county-approved contractor, was hired to cut and remove pavements, install required Ribbon Curbs and fill with soil accordance with County specifications. GBNA paid Thomas Stein for his $6,423.18 invoice for the Ribbon Curb, removing the old pavement, and replacing the soil to the county specifications. The cost of the plants and labor to plant and do ground preparation was $1,886.68

January Sand Dump:  Grant covered the January Retreat Resorts Beach Restoration project that used the DeFuniak Street Beach Access to move large quantities of sand by truck over the beach from Grayton Beach past Gulf Trace to Blue Mountain.  The GBNA Blog has a detailed Walton Sun article at
Member Comments/Questions: 
 Traffic and Safety:  Several attendees discussed effectiveness of the speed radar indicator on DeFuniak Street.  Other speed moderation approaches were covered including small traffic islands, flower planters and additional radar signs.  The Board is going to review need to push for re-installing speed bumps on DeFuniak and other streets.
Street Lighting:  Grant advised attendees that CHELCO was going to require utilities payments for street lights currently running in old Grayton.  Residents there should contact CHELCO if they want to pay a monthly fee for the light in their area. 
Rental Signs Initliative:
The annual meeting and the Board have has discussions over visual impact of signs over the last few years. u.e. the Davis IS Grayton for sale? Presentation at our 2008 Annual meeting. One companion cited was the restriction sign requirements for Gulf Trace property owners.

Richard Veldman, Rivard Realty, reported that his company has been changing out the hanging rental signs for property signs attached to the home. He recommended that Grayton property owners all start doing this.

Noise:  Billy and Grant have had discussions with Sheriff Adkinson about noise.  The current criteria is “Breech of the Peace”.  The Sheriff comment was they will respond to call and make a determination in accordance with current ordinance.
Adopt a Tree:  Grant discussed a proposed volunteer project to plant more trees as a part of a neighborhood beautification project.
 The meeting was adjourned at 11:30 AM. 
Member Communications:  Members were reminded of the two digital communications systems available - the Grayton Beach Neighborhood Association Blog at  and the Facebook site at .
Submitted by Larry Jackson, Secretary Upon approval, these minutes are posted on Grayton Beach Neighborhood Association BLOG at ,
The Minutes are cataloged at