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An Evening With Award Winning Writer Cynthia Barnett #safewaterforWalton

From left to right: Russell Hughes, Superintendent of Walton county School district; Niceville Mayor Randall Wise; Randy Wise of Randy Wise Homes, Inc; Walton county Sheriff Michael Adkinson; Dana Matthews of Matthews & Jones LLP.

Several members of our Firm (Dana C. Matthews, DC Matthews, Stephen Tatum and Laura Pentel-Klang) attended the #safewaterforWalton event on July 25. Safe Water for Walton, Inc., is a 501 (c)(4) advocacy and education organization with the following mission: “To study and educate the public about the health of, and any threats to, the water sources across Walton County, Florida, including, but not limited to, safe drinking water and the recreational water basin comprised of creeks, rivers bays and coastal dune lakes and all underground aquifers.”

Their inaugural speaker, Cynthia Barnett, a fifth generation Floridian, is a TEDx Speaker, National Geographic Writer, Award Winning Journalist, National Book Award nominee and Finalist, PEN/E.O. Wilson Award, and is currently spending the summer in Seaside in Walton County writing and enjoying the Coastal Dune Lakes. She credits that her muse finds her easily in Walton County. All ticket proceeds and book sales benefited Safe Waters and the South Walton High School Environmental Club.

Cynthia’s lecture highlighted the hydrological diversity of our area, in that we are rich with rivers, springs, creeks, coastal dune lakes, bays, bayous, and the Gulf of Mexico, and how important it is for everyone to work together to safeguard these natural resources. Cynthia also spoke of the importance of utilizing non-potable water for irrigation. Further, she reminded the audience of history’s lessons, the “hydroillogiical” approach of the past, and spoke of a forward thinking approach regarding safeguarding our hydrological resources with the balance of progress and protection. Her unique approach to treating progress and protection in unison, rather than as a dichotomy, is collaborative and forward thinking, which our firm appreciates.

Many community leaders, residents and business owners attended the event, as well as the Walton County Board of County Commissioner Candidates and students of South Walton High School. One of our Firm’s clients, Randy Wise Homes, was a major sponsor.

As a law firm with deep local ties to the community, and a primary practice area in real estate and development, we look forward to continually being a part of the responsible development of our home in The Florida Panhandle. For more information on Safe Water for Walton, Inc., and Cynthia Barnett, visit

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