This website has something extra for our loyal subscribers and samplers.

Forward: A Special Section Tracking Crestview’s Progress, is an unprecedented look at north Okaloosa County’s strides in economy, health, education and recreation, areas crucial to our community’s quality of life.

Brian Hughes, Randy Dickson and Matthew Brown spoke with local experts and leaders to bring you the data and analysis on what’s working and what needs improvement in these areas.

For instance, the military’s $5.2 billion annual contribution to the economy, along with personnel’s need for affordable housing, has placed Crestview’s real estate business in a better position than that of other Florida cities during this recession.

Okaloosa County employment is on the rise, as are arts and cultural offerings, and Crestview students have more options than ever for secondary education.

North Okaloosa Medical Center has matched once unavailable services to Hub City residents who needn’t travel to Destin or other medical facilities anymore. CEO David Fuller said its innovations, including possible robotic surgery applications, will continue.

On the other hand, some areas need improvement.

The Okaloosa County Health Department has identified smoking and obesity as top problems, with pregnant smokers and teenagers exposed to second-hand smoke exceeding state averages.

An influx of service members has boosted student populations beyond capacity. Crestview High School, for instance, might need portable classrooms and additional staffers to catch up with growth, principal Bob Jones said. Baker School might lose one of its four computer labs to offer an extra classroom, principal Thomas Shipp said.

Additionally, Crestview High athletic director and head football coach Tim Hatten wants to build the football program’s brand and find a way to retain a coach in its revolving-door softball program, which has seen four coaches in as many years.

Outside the four concentrated areas, but certainly important, is crime assessment, where we learn that battery and burglaries are the top offenses, and we check in with Crestview Police Chief Tony Taylor for an update on the department’s push toward accreditation.

We see this website as detailing the north county’s general state.

We hope you see it as valuable information.

Contact News Bulletin Editor Thomas Boni at 682-6524 or Follow him on Twitter @cnbeditor.