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We Asked the Experts: What Are the Best Local Fish to Eat?

By Caroline Giddis Salty, meaty, flaky, mild. These are some of the characteristics of the favorite fish of executive chefs, seafood market managers and fishing captains in South Walton. Whether they come from the bay or the gulf, our local fish are some of the best in the world, and highly sought after by fish […]

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Take it ‘Easy on 30A’ at Beloved Benefit Concert — July 3

The fifth annual Easy on 30A benefit concert will take place on Sunday,  July 3, from 5 to 10 p.m. at WaterColor’s Marina Park. This year’s performers are Geoff McBride, The Courtyard Saints, Chris Alvarado and Scott Rockwood. Admission is free and open to public. South Walton locals Beth and Randy Carroll founded Easy on 30A in 2012. The non-profit organization works together with the local community, businesses and musicians to host a benefit concert for Northwest Florida charities. Check out this 30A Radio interview with Randy and Beth Carol: The event also features a craft market and a silent auction. Silent auction and raffle items will include donated vacation stays, restaurant gift certificates and much more to benefit The Sonder Project, Muscogee Nation of Florida, Lighthouse Family Retreat and Alaqua Animal Refuge. Picnic blankets and chairs are welcomed. Food and beverages will also be available for purchase. Easy on 30A works together with the WaterColor Community and WaterColor Resort to bring this fun charity event to fruition during one of the busiest weeks of the summer. For more info, follow Easy on 30A on Facebook.

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WCSO RECOVERS BODY OF MISSING KAYAKER

Santa Rosa Beach, Fla— The body of 31-year-old Chris Hinton was located by Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Sunday afternoon.The body was located in the middle of the bay due south of Lagrange Bayou. Authorities confirmed the clothing on

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Grayton Beach State Park Named Among Top 10 Beaches in U.S.

Grayton Beach State Park has once again been named among the Top Ten Best Beaches in the 26th Annual Top 10 Beach List produced by coastal expert Dr. Stephen P. Leatherman, professor at Florida International University, better known to many as Dr. Beach. Grayton Beach State Park features sugar-white sand and emerald-green water where development has been restrained so big sand dunes still dominate the landscape. At the same time, all the amenities of great restaurants and accommodations are close by in the old town of Grayton Beach or bustling Seaside.  Many people choose to camp in this wonderful state park that also features tidal lakes and freshwater ponds. “More attention is being paid to safety and management this year and extra credit is being awarded to beaches that prohibit smoking,” said Visit South Walton Director of Marketing Jon Ervin. “These changes allowed the list of best beaches to begin anew. This is why Grayton Beach, which has been recognized before by Dr. Leatherman, has once again made the list.” Check out this live tour of Grayton Beach State Park: It’s the first day of summer and we went LIVE from Grayton Beach State Park. Tune in again tonight around 5 p.m. C.S.T. for a very special announcement about some amazing news from The 30A Company! Posted by 30A on Monday, June 20, 2016 As “Dr. Beach,” Leatherman has selected the annual Top 10 Beaches since 1991. Fifty criteria are used for evaluation including water and sand quality, safety and management. Dr. Leatherman is an internationally known coastal scientist who has published 20 books and hundreds of scientific articles and reports about storm impacts, coastal erosion and ways to improve beach health and safety. For more info, visit Grayton Beach State Park.

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Alaqua Pet of the week – VIDEO

Bellamy, a 4 year old Schnauzer mix, has been waiting for her forever home for 160 days. She can usually be found carrying around her favorite toy or begging for a belly rub! She loves every human she meets, but she can be a little picky about […]

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New Vending Machine Concept Carries 30A Gear

Vending machines are not just for chips and candy bars any more. At least not the kind Scott Turner runs. Turner’s business, TBOX, operates a series of high-tech vending machines across Northwest Florida where customers can purchase t-shirts, hats and now even 30A Gear. Turner’s concept is part of a growing movement for businesses to provide higher-end products in vending machines. Red Box, the movie rental kiosks, may be the most popular in the United States, but people across the globe have started using vending machines to sell everything from iPods and phone chargers to shoes. “Once we got into researching it ourselves, we found these kind of machines are popular in Asia and Europe, but not a whole lot of people are doing it in the states,” said Turner, who started out with ice vending machines, but quickly saw a need for something more. A vending machine can serve as a pop-up store — without the expense of overhead — and the concept is catching on. “It helps businesses expand to an area they might not be able to otherwise, to have a presence without having to have a storefront, staffing and all that goes with it,” said Turner. The technology has come a long way since the days of coin-operated soda and snack machines. Turner’s machines use LED lights and a system of infrared sensors so the machine conserves energy when not in use. All merchandise is tracked electronically, as well, which helps decrease the business’s ecological footprint. In years past, vending machine stockers had to travel with a big semi-truck full of products and assess what needed to be restocked on site. Turner can use a compact car to visit and restock machines. He knows exactly which products and how many he needs before he ever leaves the warehouse. Customers make purchases with credit cards and if any problem arises, the machine sends a text to Turner and he can operate it remotely to provide whatever customer service is needed. 30A Gear vending machines are in place at HarborWalk Village, Destin Commons, Silver Sands Premium Outlets and Pier Park. You can buy t-shirts, hats, drink huggies, license plate decals, Tervis tumblers and even coffee. “With the technology available, these things are pretty amazing,” Turner said. “They’re eco-friendly, business and customer friendly. We’re really excited to have them out there for people to use.”

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The Big Tamale TV Show with Lauren Catanese

Contact Lauren to be on the show, network your business or be a guest and be sure to hashtag #thebigtamale  @thebigtamale and follow 30A TV http://facebook.com/30atv http://twitter.com/30abuzz http://instagram.com/30atv Follow us on social media and on MEDIACOM CH 17 NW Florida TV channel  – ROKU and AMAZON and in […]

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THIS WEEKEND: Hunt is On For Big-Game Fish at Sandestin’s Blue Marlin Classic

In a few short weeks, a fleet of powerful sport-fishing yachts will blast through the Destin Pass in a mad dash to fame and fortune as the 2016 Emerald Coast Blue Marlin Classic gets underway at Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort. At stake will be nearly $2 million in prize money and bragging rights for one of the premier events in the sport. Tournament Director Adam Alfonso said they have already surpassed all previous records for the number of sponsors and donations for the tournament, which will be held June 22-26. “We’ll have a ton of great gifts for all the anglers and especially the winners,” he said. Boat owners will receive an exclusive package from presenting sponsor Wind Creek Casino & Hotel-Atmore along with a custom fishing shirt from Hook &Tackle, while the captains will take home a special Wind Creek gift bag. Get a look inside the festivities from last year: Category winners will be awarded goodies from Costa, Orion Coolers, Jackson Fishing Kayaks, Glas Designs custom jewelry, Larry Rackley paintings and custom sculptures from beneath the blue. “Best of all, based on the pace of pre-tournament registrations, we’re on track to top our record number of boats and record $1.68 million in overall prize money,” Alfonso said. “I’ve ordered plenty of beautiful Florida weather and some really big fish, so it’s shaping up to be another fantastic tournament week here at Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort.” Now celebrating its 14th year, the Emerald Coast Blue Marlin Classic draws teams from across the Gulf Coast and Southeastern United States. Eligible species include blue marlin, tuna, wahoo and dolphin, plus a billfish release division. In 2015, Johnny Dorland’s Cotton Patch crew from Orange Beach, Alabama, set the new tournament benchmark by weighing in an 899.6-pound blue marlin. The record billfish was measured at 134 inches with a girth of 74 inches to earn Team Cotton Patch first place and a payout of $195,277. The tournament held at Baytowne Marina at Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort doled out more than $1.5 million in winnings during the 2015 event. Check out this video with the Cotton Patch crew: “This year adding new boats that have never fished with us before, so that bodes well for spirited competition and more available prize money,” Alfonso added. “We’ve also re-arranged the weigh station to increase the viewing area to accommodate more spectators for the Friday and Saturday weigh-ins. The public is welcome to come watch all the festivities as the boats unload their catch.” The 2016 Emerald Coast Blue Marlin Classic, presented by Wind Creek Casino & Hotel—Atmore, runs June 22-26 at Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort. For registration forms, dockage or more information, visit www.fishecbc.com. To make your reservation, visit Sandestin.com/ECBC or call 800-320-8115. Use GROUP Code FISH16 for a special discount.

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30A Launches Apparel Line Made From Recycled Water Bottles

The 30A Company launched a new line of sustainable apparel designed to decrease human impact on the environment, while celebrating the unique aspects of small-town beach life along Scenic Highway 30-A. Called Dumpster Diver, the eco-friendly product line features shirts made from water bottles and other recycled plastics and materials salvaged from southeast landfills. With 13 designs now available in multiple styles and coastal colors, each shirt features a beach-inspired theme, including words, phrases and images associated with 30A lifestyle and culture. Dumpster Diver is the latest product line from The 30A Company, a lifestyle media and merchandising brand founded in 2007 by entrepreneur Mike Ragsdale in South Walton, Florida. The brand has built a loyal fan base around the country, shipping more than 13,000 orders of its 30A Gear merchandise to customers in all 50 states. “We’ve spent nearly two years researching and developing 30A’s Dumpster Diver brand and could not be more excited to finally launch,” said Ragsdale. “Dumpster Diver embodies everything that represents the 30A brand — a love of the fun, laid-back vibes of the beach and a commitment to protecting and preserving beach environments for future generations.” Interesting facts about 30A Dumpster Diver shirts: — The shirts are produced using a ‘trash-shred-spin-wear’ manufacturing process in which discarded plastic waste is collected from landfills, shred, spun into yarn and woven with recycled cotton. — Plastic materials collected and recycled in production include water and soda bottles, lunchroom food trays, discarded film and plastic beer bottles. — Each shirt saves approximately six to ten 16-ounce water bottles from landfills, depending on the color. — Designs are imprinting using a digital printing process, which is more advanced, uses fewer harmful chemicals and is an environmentally cleaner approach than traditional screen-printing. “As a brand, we wanted to create a product that not only reflects our sincere love of the beach, but also demonstrates the responsibility we maintain to leave the lowest impact possible on the environment around us,” said Ragsdale. Sustainable and stylish, 30A Dumpster Diver shirts are available now at 30AGear.com and at our official 30A Stores located in Gulf Place, Seagrove Plaza, Rosemary Beach and Pier Park. Check out this behind-the-scenes peek at the new line: Behind-the-scenes sneak peek of our new line!3…2…1… and we’re LIVE with a behind-the-scenes sneak peek of our new line! Posted by 30A on Monday, June 20, 2016

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Sonder Project Returns from Malawi, Africa

The Sonder Project, a Santa Rosa Beach-based nonprofit that works locally and around the world, recently returned from an educational expedition in Malawi, Africa. Three Santa Rosa Beach residents joined the trek, including Sonder Project and 30A Company board member, Travis Meyer, of Southeastern Retail Development, Rachel Meyer, a teacher at Freeport High School and Sarah Hockett, executive director of The Sonder Project. “It’s one thing to understand there are children and adults living on the other side of the world whose lives and circumstances are much different from our own. It’s another thing entirely to visit and see this firsthand,” Rachel Meyer said. During their visit, the trio managed to visit five remote villages, work on a construction site for a new primary school structure, visit adult literacy classes and learn their importance, meet with the district education manager and gain knowledge of some of the community initiatives helping remote areas break the cycle of poverty such as goat programs, meal programs for school children and honey bee hives. They also had the opportunity to hear some of the stories of this country, understand the difficulties faced here and see how the organization’s work has an impact. “It takes so little to change the futures of these kids, and that’s exactly what The Sonder Project is doing — changing lives,” said Travis Meyer. The 30A Company is a founding partner of The Sonder Project, which works to end poverty locally, domestically and across the world. “We couldn’t be more proud of the work The Sonder Project is doing,” said Mike Ragsdale, founder of The 30A Company. “We look forward to joining a future trek to experience firsthand the good that our little nonprofit is accomplishing.” The purpose of this endeavor was to help The Sonder Project learn and grow as a nonprofit and with everything discovered, the trip was definitely a success, said the organization’s executive director, Sarah Hockett. “Knowledge gained on this voyage will be applied in future projects both locally and around the world,” she said. On the topic of future projects, be on the lookout for these upcoming ventures: — Construction of a school in Burkina Faso, Africa, in memory of Ahmed Kere — Construction of a water well in Burkina Faso, Africa — Construction of a school in Nicaragua — First undertaking of new program, PROJECT: agriculture – launching beekeeping in Nicaragua — 2017 Trek and Project Schedule For more info, or to learn how you can help, visit The Sonder Project.