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Local FWB "watch group" vows to continue to hold City accountable after Fire Fee

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Local FWB "watch group" vows to continue to hold City accountable after Fire Fee
By Get The Coast • Issue #117 • View online
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2 story apartments go up in flames
940 Ashley Lane in Fort Walton Beach
940 Ashley Lane in Fort Walton Beach
Early Saturday morning at 3:35 a.m., Fort Walton Beach Fire Department and Ocean City - Wright Fire Control District were dispatched to a reported structure fire at 940 Ashley Ln NW, Fort Walton Beach, FL.
The fire had initially gone undetected, and initial arriving units found two 2nd story apartments fully involved in fire with two additional apartments already heavily involved in fire.
One occupant was reported to be trapped on a 2nd floor balcony on the front of the building, and two reported occupants trapped in an apartment on the rear of the building. The two victims in the rear apartment had freed themselves by jumping from their window. One sustaining no injuries and the other fracturing a lower extremity. Both were quickly attended to by Okaloosa EMS and additional arriving FD personnel.
OCWFCD Engine 1 arrived first and took quick action to ladder the balcony on the front and assist the victim down. There were no reported injuries to that victim.
Unfortunately, with rescue being the absolute priority, the building sustained a total loss, displacing a reported thirty (30) residents. Initial estimates have well exceeded $1,000,000.00 in property damage. The cause of the fire is still undetermined and under investigation by the Florida State Fire Marshall’s office.
Displaced residents are receiving help from the American Red Cross.
Mama Clemenza's gets a celeb chef
Tammy Damiano, also known as “Mama Clemenza”, announced last week the addition of two new seats at her breakfast table. Local celebrity chef, Giovanni “Gio” Filippone and Billy Dee have officially partnered with the Clemenza’s family to serve as Executive Chef/Culinary Director and General Manager.
Filippone, known locally as “Chef Gio,” has spent almost the last decade of his career as the Executive Chef at Vue on 30A. Many also know his culinary talent from his appearances on FOX’s reality show “Hell’s Kitchen” as well as “Hell’s Kitchen All-Stars” hosted by Gordon Ramsey.
In true Italian style, Chef Gio is known for his vibrant personality and witty sense of humor in the kitchen.
“I’m so excited for a new venture and the opportunity to work with Mama and the amazing brand she has built,” said Chef Gio. “With our shared Italian roots, it truly is the perfect fit!” 
Chef Gio officially joined on November 1.
FWB Watch Group continues after Fire Fee
On October 22, 2019, after weeks and weeks of meeting at First City Bank, the Fort Walton Beach Watch Group packed city hall to voice their opposition one last time to City Council regarding the Fire Assessment Fee.
At the time, the group was under the name Hoodwinked and some 13,000 brochures had been mailed a week earlier to city residents.
As we all now know, Council passed the Fire Fee referendum in a 4-3 vote but that hasn’t stopped the efforts of the Watch Group.
Local business owner and member of the Watch Group, Travis Smith, answered some questions over the weekend.
“We were chastised for not being involved in the process sooner, it was implied to us that we were ignorant by Councilwoman Jamieson and that we needed to move by Councilman Kelley if we didn’t like it.”
What is the Watch Group?
“There has been an awakening in this community. The group was recently formed by business and civic leaders representing virtually every type of business and profession; this group is also represented by many former council members and chamber presidents. Our membership is open to all citizens who are genuinely concerned about the current governance of our city. ”
What does the group believe?
“We do not believe government growth should precede community growth. We seek a change that will assure our city council will follow the voice of the community they were elected to represent.”
What is the goal of the group?
“The goal of the FWB Watch Group is to restore integrity and accountability to the City Government of Fort Walton Beach, and we plan to achieve that by any means necessary. This can include, if necessary, charter amendments, lawsuits, and recalling City Council members.”
The group had previously been operating a Facebook Group. Last week a public Facebook Page was created.
Other headlines
PHOTOS: A look at The Bloody Mary Festival
Ok, that’s all I have for you today! Hope you have a great start to your week! See ya tomorrow morning!
Jared
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