A new year has started, but 2016 will probably be remembered as the year of upsets.
As we look back, topping The Walton Sun's "top 10" list of news stories last year has to be the issue of customary use of our beaches, followed closely by the heated county commission election.
The issue of customary use appeared several times in articles published by The Sun, as well Board of County Commission meetings coverage with Gulf-front property owners pitted against everyone else. Customary use won.
At No. 2, the county commission race was a heated one, especially in District 5. In the end, political newcomer Tony Anderson soundly defeated two-term commissioner Cindy Meadows.
Coming in at No. 3 was the proposed incorporation push of South Walton, which is being promoted under the moniker A Better South Walton. Grass-root polls appear to have that one divided right down the middle. The end result will not be known until late in 2017.
The county's need to buy land to help alleviate the growing issue of parking along 30A, and for more beach accesses was an attention-getter, both because of the cost of parcels on 30A, as well as the feel of urgency there is to do something now before it is too late. This issue is one that will continue to be discussed this year.
The tearing down of the old Seagrove Village Market Café (circa around 1940) tore at the heartstrings of many who loved its nostalgia. The new Seagrove Village Market Café was built in the same spot and opened recently.
Travel to Cuba caught the attention of many in South Walton and several locals went to check it out and reported back their findings, which were printed in The Sun.
During Women's History Month, The Sun highlighted several female trail blazers in the community, including Alaqua Animal Refuge founder Laurie Hood, Chautauqua's Diane Pickett, Shaping Florida's Brenda Rees and Seaside co-founder Daryl Davis.
South Walton's State Parks are treasures, and The Sun featured each one in 2016.
This fall, Alan Laird, owner of AJ's in Destin, announced he is bringing the iconic restaurant to 30A.
South Walton lost two important members of the community this year: ship-builder Jim Murray in April, and in the arts community, Johnnie Riley White, founder of the Three Arts Alliance.