People

Andy Saczynski Selected as South Walton's Artist of the Year

Local artist Andy Saczynski is far from an overnight success, but he's garnered much attention lately. His career just got a huge boost when he was revealed as the 2013 "South Walton Artist of the Year", at the South Walton TDC's annual meeting at the Sandestin Hilton.

The "Artist of the Year" program is in its eleventh year. The South Walton TDC selects a new artist in residence each fall. Artists are chosen based on their medium and how well they capture the nature, heritage and beauty of this coastal community.  

Mary Derck's Positive Attitude Carries Her Through Cancer Treatments

Mary Derck’s aggressive ovarian cancer couldn’t withstand her determination to survive.

In February during her annual examination, gynecologist Dr. Lisa Judge found something seriously wrong. “You could tell it in her face,” Mary says.

There were no symptoms, so without the exam, Mary believes the cancer might have gone undiscovered.

Honey Badger Martial Arts is Ed Berry's Passion

There was a day when your home, your child’s school and even the movie theater seemed a safe place. But we know different now, says Ed Berry, owner of Honey Badger Martial Arts.
Times have changed.

When Ed started training students in martial arts many years ago, he used his nickname Honey Badger as a business name. Last August, Tony Young and Karen Katzenbach at 30A Crossfit invited him to teach his martial arts classes at the facility.

Working with Ed, Tony and Kathy, is Henry Patterson. Ed met Henry 12 years ago when he came into Ed’s store, For the Health of It.

SoWal People - Franko Washboard Jackson

Some forty years ago a tall, skinny hippie kid left a Missouri commune to search for a jug band in order to hone his skill as a washboard player.

Franko “Washboard” Jackson began playing in 1974. He turned professional after answering an ad in a New Orleans newspaper for a washboard player. He thought there would be a line of people out the door but “was the only who showed up.”

Franko has long been a member of local favorite band Hubba Hubba which has just completed recording its first CD, “Live at the Red Bar.”

SoWal People: Chandler Williams of Modus Photography

Chandler Williams has had a camera in his hands since he was a senior in high school. It was a 35-millimeter camera and while he still loves film, he works more with digital now.

“Film is just not an option time-wise when doing production work,” he says.

Chandler didn’t plan a career in photography, but he was the one to take family photos and document travels. When he bought a house and learned he and wife Jessica were expecting twins, he realized he needed to make money.

Seaside Has New Director of PR and Marketing

Seaside Community Development Corporation (SCDC), has announced the hire of Lori Leath Smith as director of public relations and marketing. Lori is well known to the SoWal staff and we're so happy for her and know what a great person Seaside has on board.

Lori will focus on the planning, development and implementation of SCDC’s destination marketing strategies and public relations activities, both external and internal.

Sam Taylor Joins Pleat & Perry

Pleat & Perry, P.A., a full service law firm with offices in Destin, Rosemary Beach and Navarre, announces the addition of its newest associate, Samuel B. Taylor, Esq. Sam graduated from the University of Arkansas – Little Rock (2000), attended law school at the University of Arkansas - Fayetteville (J.D. 2003) and was admitted to the Florida Bar in 2004. As a member of the U.S. Air Force Reserve, when called upon, he serves as a Judge Advocate General.

SoWal People - Billy McConnell Makes Full Seaside Circle

Twenty-one years after opening Shades in Seaside, Billy McConnell is back where he began his South Walton adventure, in the same building which now houses the Great Southern Café.

Shades was the hub of the busy Central Square in Seaside for many years until it moved to Inlet Beach in 2006.

“Everyone says I’ve come full circle,” Billy says.

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