Pam Griffin
After days of torrential rain and wind gusts up to 41 MPH blasted the city of Destin and flooded resident's homes, city officials worked to assess the damage and declared a state of emergency.

From deep freezes and floods to a strip club settlement and a returning city manager, the city of Destin has seen quite a bit in 2014. Here’s a look back at some of the topics and stories that shaped the year.


• Derelict boats in Joe’s Bayou need to go, according to Councilman Tuffy Dixon. Derelict boats in waterways can cause safety concerns for others on the water, but the process of having a boat removed from a body of water can take some time.

• After resigning as city manager in 2011, Greg Kisela is on his way back to the "World's Luckiest Fishing Village," after agreeing to a contract.

• As much as city leaders in Destin want transit to run through the city, they are not willing to pay the $86,040 it would cost to continue the current level of service.

• Whether it’s on the beaches or stored on city property, city leaders in Destin have an issue with the amount of trash in the city since they took over raking and cleaning the beaches. Trash is now stored in city’s public services building until it can be taken to the dump.

• Food and water sports vendors on Crab Island soon could be held to the same standards as their landlocked counterparts. In recent years, Crab Island has seen a surge in folks selling everything from food and beverages to bait and jet ski rides.

• Destin is projected to have about $1,272,000 available for capital improvement projects for fiscal year 2015, which comes from gas tax, transportation impact fees, recreation impact fees and other sources such as grants.

• CrabIsland was top among the places in Destin listed as unique in a Log question posed on Facebook.

• Looking at a three-month period from May 14 to July 14, the sheriff’s office reports that there have been a total of 447 crash reports filed, compared to 485 for the same time period in 2013. This is for accidents from the Marler Bridge to the Walton County line.

• The city’s Capt. Royal Melvin Heritage Park has appeared to be a parking lot more than a city park.


• As part of the ongoing talks surrounding Chapter One of the city’s proposed Comprehensive Plan 2020, city leaders and staff have had ongoing dialogue with residents that are not in favor of language that would allow for Tier III developments, the highest intensity and density allowable in the city, to be built on Holiday Isle.

• Development plans for a new housing project are on the books for 137 Crystal Beach Drive, a townhome project for a 3.37-acre parcel of land that sits between office buildings on the north side and the Destin Fire Control District’s Station10 on the south.

• As part of a cost savings measure, a total of seven firefighters with the Destin Fire Control District have agreed to accept a voluntary buyout and terminate their employment.

• Maryann Ustick resigned as city manager to spend more time with her family out west, where she will also serve as the new city manager in Gallup, New Mexico. Ustick, who served as the city’s seventh full-time city manager, was hired to replace outgoing City Manager Greg Kisela in 2011 after spending time as the assistant city manager in Pensacola, Las Cruces, New Mexico, and the city of North Las Vegas, Nevada.

• La Famiglia, at 300 Harbor Boulevard E in Destin, was issued an emergency closure notice by the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation Aug. 1 following an inspection that highlighted 44 different violations. Nine were listed as high priority violations.

• Lively Cinema 10, open in Destin for 27 years, closed its doors as the switch from analog film to a digital format proved too costly.

• Ice Bucket Challenge hits Destin as Margaritaville employees take up the challenge, along with Mayor Mel Ponder, Legendary Inc. CEO Peter Bos, president/CEO of Destin Area Chamber of Commerce Shane Moody and Log editor Matt Algarin.

• FDOT officials studied pedestrian issue in Destin and found contributing factors to accidents included visibility and inconsistent signing.

• With a unanimous vote Monday night, city leaders agreed to a resolution that would support the local fishing community. With regulations continually shifting, representatives from the Destin Charter Boat Association were on hand to ask the city for support as it relates to Amendment 40 and sector separation for the for-hire fisherman. The resolution supports the development of a new fishery management plan and data collection system for recreational fisherman.

• City leaders agreed to a resolution that would support the development of a new fishery management plan and data collection system for recreational fisherman.


• Howl at the Moon at the Boardwalk on Okaloosa Island closes after 15 years.

• A demolition permit was recently approved for one of the parcels of land owned by Dolly Parton-affiliated World Choice Investments.

• AJ’s Seafood and Oyster Bar installed a 20-by-10 foot Jumbotron in its outdoor dining area, just in time for America’s favorite fall past time.

• A portion of the Gulf of Mexico briefly turned purple after an algae-killing solution was poured improperly at the Gulfarium.

• Fisherman’s Wharf will close in early November after 29 years of business. The property owners are looking for another seafood restaurant to lease the building, but are also considering tearing it down to build a new hotel that would cater to the charter boat customers.

• The First Baptist Church of Destin celebrated its 60th anniversary Sept 14, 2014.

• El Abuelo Café opened and offered authentic Puerto Rican and Cuban cuisine.