My name is Amber Kelley — maiden name Howell. I am a Laurel Hill “lifer.” Although I moved away for a short period following high school, this peaceful community beckoned me back.

My name is Amber Kelley — maiden name Howell. I am a Laurel Hill “lifer.” Although I moved away for a short period following high school, this peaceful community beckoned me back.

In my opinion, this is the perfect location to raise a family. My wonderful husband, Adam, and I have five children, two of whom are miniature Hoboes, just starting their school career and loving it.

Long-time News Bulletin readers may remember my great aunt, Estelle Rogers, who previously wrote about her experiences in Laurel Hill through “Up on the Hill.”

I’m following in her footsteps, but my column will have a bit of a different spin, informing readers of community events and happenings.

Traffic safety

Recent temperamental weather has residents enjoying beautiful clear blue skies just moments before ducking and running for cover due to thunderstorms that seem to appear from nowhere!

Many mornings have been extremely foggy, forcing drivers to keep their lights on well into 9 or 10 a.m. — which reminds me: Between 7 and 8 a.m. and 1:50 and 3 p.m., our school zone lights are flashing, so your speed should be decreased from 35 mph to 20 mph.

In addition, during these hours, the block of Fourth Street in front of Laurel Hill School is one way. Please obey these rules. We have many independent little ones who walk these streets to and from school. Despite Sheriff Larry Ashley’s saying that the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office will cut back on writing citations, that doesn’t mean deputies have ceased writing them all together.

The no texting law is now in effect, so that should decrease the number of accidents drastically if people obey the law.


Laurel Hill School students are selling Little Caesar’s Pizza kits for a senior trip to New York. Orders are due Oct. 16; pizzas will be available around Halloween.

Until Friday, secondary students and the cheerleading squad sold kitchen and grill items out of Rada Manufacturing Catalog to raise money for Spirit Week and Homecoming, which are just around the corner. Residents purchased cutlery sets, pizza cutters and serving utensils, along with delicious pies, dips, sauces and soup mixes.

Head Start safari

Tiny Hoboes in the Head Start Program enjoyed a day away from campus Sept. 27, when kids, 15 adult volunteers and I made the exciting journey to Emerald Coast Wild Life Refuge Zoological Park (formally Sasquatch Zoo).

Although one-third of the park is still under construction, no one seemed to notice. Our safari began with a meet-and-greet with all the animals; we learned their names, types, origins and hobbies. We then chased our tiny Hoboes around while they relished the opportunity to feed a few of the animals.

Some of our Itty Bitty Hoboes’ favorite attractions were Levi the African Lion and Darian the Umbrella Cockatoo. Levi, being the king of the jungle, enjoyed lounging in the sun. Darian enjoys dancing and singing; his favorite song was "Happy Birthday."

Others enjoyed feeding Andy the Fallow Deer and his pen mate, Amy the Axis Deer.

The park — which has a wonderful picnic area under a blanket of old oak trees with huge curvy branches, where we enjoyed our picnic of sack lunches — is 95 percent run by volunteers.

The gift shop is still under construction but there is a concession stand with small souvenirs and drinks. The staff hopes to complete remodeling by the holiday season.

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My great aunt wrote about her daily experiences and views. My goal is to inform residents of community events.

I could do that much easier if readers help me out! So feel free to email me about Laurel Hill fundraisers and other items of interest at I hope to hear from you soon!

Until next week, be safe and God bless!

Amber Kelley lives in Laurel Hill.