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Jul 13

Crestview commemorates WWII victory Aug. 28-29

Posted to AROUND ABOUT TOWN by Brian Hughes

The City of Crestview will observe the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II just a few days shy of the actual Sept. 2 date. On that day in 1945, Japanese representatives signed the instrument of surrender on the deck of the USS “Missouri,” formally concluding the 20th century’s deadliest conflict.

For a community that loves its military, no matter the era, this occasion is so significant and monumental in its impact that it is worthy of a community-wide celebration, organizers say. The result is the Crestview World War II Victory 75th Anniversary Commemoration.

On Friday and Saturday, Aug. 28 and 29, World War II artifacts and vehicles from public and private collections will be displayed inside and outside of the Crestview Community Center, accompanied by a commemoration ceremony, film screenings, a concert and more. 

“After our D-Day 75th anniversary program last June, people have been asking me, ‘When are you going to do it again?’” Mayor JB Whitten said. “People who visited it wanted to come back with their kids and grandchildren.”

Educational history displays will feature significant war-era photography, posters and explanatory texts. Tactile exhibits will include materials from the Baker Block Museum, Tom Rice’s display above his Fort Walton Beach Magnolia Grill restaurant, and a private Alabama museum devoted to World Wars I and II. 

Outside, World War II re-enactors will exhibit uniforms and equipment. Inside, “Community Collections” will feature local family WWII artifacts. Members of the community may also display framed photos of loved ones who served in World War II on the Table of Honor. 

“This was a moving and much visited part of the D-Day event last year,” table coordinator Pam Coffield said. “We will have more room this year to represent more World War II heroes this year.”

Like the D-Day observance in June 2019, the World War II victory commemoration is being coordinated by Crestview public information officer, Brian Hughes, who is also president of the Crestview Area Sister City Program, the event’s community organization sponsor. He has lectured on war-related topics at the National World War II Museum in New Orleans, often informed by the personal experiences of family members.

“Our family was intimately involved in World War II in both theatres and both sides,” Mr. Hughes said. “I grew up hearing World War II stories from my mom, dad and grandfather and love learning about the war. Community events like this are a great way for people of all ages to learn about such a world-changing event.”

After the success of last year’s one-day D-Day anniversary observance and subsequent community demand for a longer event, the victory commemoration isa planned for two days, including a Saturday.

“The D-Day 75th anniversary was observed on a Thursday evening last year,” Mayor Whitten said. “Many citizens wanted to come back the next day and look at the exhibits in greater detail.”

Scheduled events currently include:

• A commemoration ceremony featuring special guest speaker Col. Sam Lombardo (ret.), a World War II veteran of the D-Day landings

• “Meet the Heroes” opportunities to meet, greet and take selfies with World War II veterans (subject to safe distancing practices then currently in effect)

• “Music of America” concert by the combined Crestview Community Chorus and the North Okaloosa Community Band

• A screening each day of a World War II film; Pacific Theatre represented on Friday, European Theatre on Saturday

• Guided tour of World War II vehicles displayed outside by their collector and restorer

• World War II re-enactors’ camp outside the Community Center

• A flyover of a World War II Stearman single-engine spotter plane.

The commemoration will conclude Saturday evening with a gala Victory Ball featuring a buffet dinner prepared by event cosponsor Mary Richard and dancing to live war-era big band music performed by Hashtag Swing. It is the only commemoration event for which an admission is charged.

“We hope this experience will provide our friends and neighbors a greater understanding of what it was like for the nation to be in such an all-encompassing war, especially our younger residents who are two or more generations removed from it,” Mr. Hughes said. 

“For many of them World War II is just an event in history books and on the History Channel,” Mayor Whitten, a former history teacher, said. “Our hope is seeing these vehicles, artifacts and photographs will make it more of a tangible event for them.” 



When: 3-8 p.m. Friday, Aug. 28 and noon-6 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 29

Where: Crestview Community Center, Commerce Drive opposite the library

What: Community-wide commemoration marking the 75th anniversary of the Allied victory at the end of World War II

Admission:  Free daytime exhibits, concert and films. Refreshments available for purchase at the student-run Stage Door Canteen 

Victory Ball: Admission: $35 per person cash or check, available at City Hall and the Community Center. $40 online at Limited tickets are on sale now through Aug. 21. Ticket includes buffet dinner, dancing to a live big band, WWII exhibits, soft drinks. Beer and wine available for purchase at the Main Street Crestview Association stand.

Table of Honor: Bring a framed, self-standing photo of WWII veteran ancestors or loved ones for display on the table throughout the event, including the Victory Ball. Tags will be available to identify each veteran. 

Meet the Heroes: World War II veterans who are able to do so are invited to meet members of the public during an hour-long daily meet-and-greet. Social distancing will be practiced, and visitors will be required to wear face masks. Please contact event organizers (contact info below) to join us.

Community Collections: Residents may display World War II artifacts from their own collections at these tables. A hold-harmless agreement will be available to absolve the city and Sister City Program from any loss or damage. No firearms, please. Please contact event organizers (contact info below) to arrange exhibition.

World War II Re-enactors: Individual or group World War II re-enactors are invited to bivouac on the Community Center grounds and display uniforms, equipment, etc. Please contact event organizers (contact info below) to arrange participation.

Information, sponsorship opportunities:; Event coordinator, POC: Brian Hughes, office 850.398.5459,

 Raising the second flag on Mount Suribachi, Iwo Jima, by Joe Rosenthal, Associated Press photo

Oct 22

Sunshine Law

Posted to City Clerk by Elizabeth Roy

The Facts about Sunshine Law Violation

Recently, The Crestview News Bulletin published an article about possible “Sunshine Law Violation” regarding a Workshop on October 15th about Itinerant Vendors.  Here are the Facts:

The Sunshine law requires “reasonable notice” regarding any public meetings or workshops to be held by a local governmental entity.

     From the Sunshine Law Manual:

   The sunshine law does not define the term “reasonable notice.”  Therefore, the type of notice is variable and depends upon the facts of the situation and the board involved.  in each case, an agency must give notice at such time and in such a manner as to enable the media and the public to attend the meeting

The subject of the October 15 Workshop was discussed as an agenda item at the September 24 City council workshop.  At that time, the date/Time of October 15 at 5:00 pm was discussed and agreed upon by the members of the City Council present. 

The Agenda for the Meeting was posted online and in City Hall on Thursday, October 11.  As a reminder, City hall was closed for Hurricane Michael at noon on October 9 and remained closed on October 10.  Those citizens who have opted for text notifications should have received this text on October 11.

The Sunshine law also does not require that an agenda be published, although it is recommended, and we strive to get that information out as quickly as it is available.

From the Sunshine Manual:

The sunshine law does not mandate that an agency provide notice of each item to be discussed via a published agenda although the attorney general’s office has recommended the publication of an agenda, if available.  The courts have rejected such a requirement because it could effectively preclude access to meetings by members of the public who wish to bring specific issues before a governmental body

In the recent article, there was a “quote” regarding the publication of agendas and supporting documents 7 days in advance.  This comes from the Florida Administrative Procedure Act, and does not apply to Municipalities, or agencies appointed by a municipality.

Florida Statute 120, which establishes the Administrative Procedure Act. In section

120.52 establishes the definition of an agency.

120.52 Definitions. —As used in this act:

(1) “Agency” means the following officers or governmental entities if acting pursuant to powers other than those derived from the constitution:

(a) The Governor; each state officer and state department, and each departmental unit described in s. 20.04; the Board of Governors of the State University System; the Commission on Ethics; the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission; a regional water supply authority; a regional planning agency; a multicounty special district, but only if a majority of its governing board is comprised of nonelected persons; educational units; and each entity described in chapters 163, 373, 380, and 582 and s. 186.504.

(b) Each officer and governmental entity in the state having statewide jurisdiction or jurisdiction in more than one county.

(c) Each officer and governmental entity in the state having jurisdiction in one county or less than one county, to the extent they are expressly made subject to this chapter by general or special law or existing judicial decisions.

This definition does not include a municipality or legal entity created solely by a municipality; a legal entity or agency created in whole or in part pursuant to part II of chapter 361; a metropolitan planning organization created pursuant to s. 339.175; a separate legal or administrative entity created pursuant to s. 339.175 of which a metropolitan planning organization is a member; an expressway authority pursuant to chapter 348 or any transportation authority or commission under chapter 343 or chapter 349; or a legal or administrative entity created by an interlocal agreement pursuant to s. 163.01(7), unless any party to such agreement is otherwise an agency as defined in this subsection.”

The term agency applies to the definition above.   The exact excerpt from the Administrative Procedure Act is as follows:

120.525 Meetings, hearings, and workshops.

(1) Except in the case of emergency meetings, each agency shall give notice of public meetings, hearings, and workshops by publication in the Florida Administrative Register and on the agency’s website not less than 7 days before the event. The notice shall include a statement of the general subject matter to be considered.”

The workshop that was held on October 15 was solely intended for the City Council to hear the facts and to determine what if any changes needed to be made to the “proposed ordinance” and if in fact they wanted to proceed with an ordinance.  The agenda clearly stated that the subject of itinerant vendors would be the topic, and the documentation itself was over 110 pages long.  If and when the ordinance is complete, it will be presented in the prescribed fashion in a regular or special meeting and the final reading and public hearing will be advertised a minimum of 10 days prior, as required by Statute. 

The only sunshine requirement for the documentation was that it be available as a public record request.   That request was made at the end of the meeting, and while an immediate providing of those documents is not required, they were handed to the requesting party before they left the meeting room.   No other requests for the documents have been received.

If you have any questions. Feel free to contact my office at 850-682-1560 or

Jul 29

Support Crestview Police and First Responders

Posted to Council Member, Group 1 by Thomas Sutton

On Saturday, communities across America are showing their support for their police and first responders. Locally, people are gathering at the FWB Police Station and the Okaloosa County Sheriff's Office to show support by being there, bringing signs, saying prayers, waving hands, honking horns, etc. from 11 AM until noon. We need to do the same here in Crestview. Join me tomorrow [Saturday] in the parking lot of the Crestview Police Station to show our support. Spread the word, bring friends, but most of all bring prayers for those who protect us on a daily basis.