Pam Griffin
After 27 years in business, Lively Cinema 10 closes its doors as new digital technology proves to be too costly.

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.


• Founded in 1984, AJ’s Seafood and Oyster Bar celebrated turning 30 throughout the month of October.

• The 66th annual Destin Fishing Rodeo kicked-off as Lynn Usrey of Miramar Beach weighed in the first fish, a 5.2-pound redfish he caught aboard his kayak dubbed, “Bonito Bandito.”

• Harvest House Destin fell victim to a rising number of thefts, with suspects coming late at night and early in the morning to steal the donations left outside the doors.

• The Destin Walmart store is currently enhancing its liquor offerings, as the retailer is undergoing construction on a new “liquor box” store, according to representatives for the company.

• City Councilman Cyron Marler was charged with felony aggravated assault with a deadly weapon without intent to kill-domestic violence, according to the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office.

• Pearl, the rare albino alligator at Fudpucker’s Beachside Bar and Grill, has a home as cstruction wrapped up on Camp Pearl, the new $75,000 enclosure that will house the 5-year old albino alligator for the rest of her life.

• Record crowds of more than 60,000 attended this year’s Seafood Festival.

• Developer Chuck Fuller and his company, P & R Wyant Farms LLC, can’t start building until he secures permission to access the system of private roads surrounding the 2.9-acre parcel north of Destin Commons.

• With a unanimous vote, city leaders in Destin agreed to new streetscape design standards and pedestrian lighting in the Harbor CRA along Harbor Boulevard.

• All YMCAs in Okaloosa County close amid negotiations and speculation about bankruptcy.

• Destin Air Conditioning and Refrigeration, owned by Russ and Beth Fife, celebrated 30 years.

• About 75 local business owners, tourism officials and residents attended a stakeholder forum to learn what Destin is doing right and what it is doing wrong regarding tourism.

• City leaders in Destin agreed to breathe 60 days of life and $30,000 into the Destin Family YMCA.

• Ann Cronier and Susan Jones were named Co-Seniors of the Year during the annual Senior Cookout at Clement Taylor Park.

• The retro silver diner located on the corner of U.S. Hwy 98 and Airport Road will soon be resurrected and restored to its glory days. Local restaurateur Olivier Petit, owner of The Red Bar and Louis Louis in Santa Rosa Beach, purchased the iconic Destin Diner and began renovating the property.

• Charges against Cyron Marler were dropped after statement from his wife.

• Mystery behind the G.I. Joes amusement park sign next to Big Kahuna’s solved, as former professional football player and local entrepreneur, Maxwell Joseph Bruner, the original owner of Big Kahuna’s water park, has plans to construct a new amusement park on the plot.

• City leaders agreed to spend $34,400 for drainage improvements in the Heritage Run subdivision south of Calhoun Avenue.


• Students and faculty at Destin Elementary and Destin Middle School were honored as “A-ranked” schools for 13 and 15 consecutive years, respectively, and received cash awards of $80,825 (DES) and $64,286 (DMS).

• Restoration began on Destin’s historic Primrose, built in 1925, following a large monetary donation. The boat, which was part of Destin’s original fishing fleet, is on display on Stahlman Avenue as a life-sized exhibit of the Destin History and Fishing Museum.

• Work on the proposed air traffic control tower at the Destin Airport, roughly six stories and 67.5-feet in height and just short of 5,000 square feet, had to wait for the project to be re-bid.

• Bob Wagner was the newest member of the Destin Fire Control District’s Board of Fire Commissioners.

• The inaugural Summer Work and Travel Forum saw local dignitaries, business owners, J-1 student sponsors and visiting city representatives gather to network, and share ideas and information regarding international students on J-1 visas.

• Well-known organic and natural grocery chain Whole Foods Market announced it will open a new location at Destin Commons in 2015.

• Fisherman’s Wharf closed and property owners began negotiations with several restaurants.

• Crews from the Army Corps of Engineers staged their equipment along the west jetty and on the north side of the Marler Bridge as they worked to remove about 150,000 cubic yards of sand from the area leading into the Gulf of Mexico.

• Construction began on the 0.77 mile stretch of Kelly Street from Calhoun Avenue to Benning Drive.

• Destin Middle School Principal Charlie Marello recognized Ms. Lori Bynum, who teaches 6th-8th grade reading, as the DMS 2014-2015 Teacher of the Year.

• The city of Destin was notified that it would receive approximately $3.6 million in grant funding from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation for stormwater improvements.

• Five local churches teamed up to create a cold night shelter network for the poor and homeless, with Others of Destin, a non-profit formed in 2013 to aid the underserved, heading the project.

• Harbor Docks hosted its 20th free Thanksgiving dinner for Habitat for Humanity beginning with 180 turkeys and 300 pounds of stuffing.


• Long weeks of neglect began to take a toll on the swimming pool at the former site of the Destin YMCA as the water level of the competition pool dropped significantly and the brick and cement areas around it appeared to be buckling, creating dips and waves.

• The Florida State Fire Marshal’s Office has been called in to investigate the cause of a fire in Destin Harbor that destroyed two of three boats tied off together.

• The District One Medical Examiner’s Office positively identified the body of a male that washed ashore on a beach west of Destin’s East Pass as 18-year old Jonha Campbell of Destin, who had been reported missing. The death is under investigation.

• With a desire to help more people, the Goodwill store has plans to double the thrift store’s size by constructing a new building behind the current location at 747 Harbor Boulevard.

• Jack Dorman, the first city of Destin employee, will led the Christmas parade in 2014 to mark the city’s 30th anniversary.

• Jones & Company, with Brent Purcell, Ellis Jones, Paul Scurto, Cheryl Jones, Denny Jones, Ike Bartley and Wayne Burkholder, celebrates 25 years since their first performance at Tim’bers on Okaloosa Island.

• The Destin Middle School Marlin cheer squad, under the direction of Coach Kim Berry, took first place at the Regional Competition in Tampa.

• A slew of new G.I. Joe amusement park teasers went up along Hwy. 98, including two sandbagged fox-holes, a 1971 Army transport truck and a cross and piano display. The proposed G.I. Joe theme park will sit directly west of Big Kahuna’s Amusement and Water Park and offer a new venue of military-themed rides.

• Twenty-three boats participated in the 28th annual Holiday on the Harbor Lighted Boat Parade.

• Eager paradegoers lined Harbor Boulevard for the 30th annual Destin Christmas Parade.

• Destin Harvest, a local non-profit food pantry, won $20,000 in a national competition that used social media via Facebook to garner votes for food pantries around the country.

• Local developer Jay Odom offered to “gift” two parcels of land along Beach Drive and Joe’s Bayou to the city of Destin to “make a tremendous addition to the city’s future plans for park and recreation uses.”

• The City explores annexing Crab Island and cleaning it up to portray the best image of Destin.

• With a unanimous vote, city leaders agreed to use park impact fees to match funds raised by the Friends of the Destin Dog Park in the amount of $15,000 toward the installation of lights at the park.

• The Destin Fire Control District board has approved year-end bonuses of $1,500 for each of the district’s 30-plus employees.

• Given the issues associated with alcohol consumption — the highest volume of alcohol-related calls came at 2 .m. — city leaders will look into adjusting the hours that alcohol can be served in Destin.