The 2013 Atlantic hurricane season ended Saturday, going out for the Gulf Coast in the same manner as much of its six-month run – rather quietly.
Overall, there were 13 named storms, one more than average for the season. Andrea was the first and only one to make landfall in the U.S. Her tornadoes, heavy rain and flooding in parts of the South caused millions in damage and claimed one life.
The season’s two hurricanes -- Ingrid and Humberto – were the fewest since 1982 and well below the average of six. Neither became major hurricanes of Category-3 or higher.
Gulf Power has reached a settlement that will increase its base rates for the next two years.
The Florida Public Service Commission voted Tuesday and approved a settlement between Gulf Power and a mixture of business groups and government agencies that will result in a rate hike beginning in January of 2014. The utility had proposed a rate hike of just over $74 million for next year and another 16 and change for 2015. The settlement which was filed last Friday calls for a hike of $35 million for 2014 and an additional $20 million in 2015.
An arrest warrant sweep dubbed “Operation Smoking Gun” netted 61 arrests last month, according to Escambia County Sheriff David Morgan.
That and future such operations are aimed at whittling down the roughly 25,000 outstanding warrants the Escambia County Sheriff's Office deals with on any given day. But Morgan says that’s actually down from the 34,000 that he inherited when he took office in 2009.
World AIDS Day is commemorated each year on December 1st. Pensacola and surrounding communities held an observance at the Hancock Pavilion at Community Maritime Park Stadium.
The event provided an opportunity support those suffering from HIV and AIDS. Also, it was a time to remember those 1,224 Northwest Florida residents who have lost their lives to the disease. Many of those individuals were honored with AIDS memorial quilts that were hung from the rafters.
There were performances by the Belmont Youth Band and Ballet Pensacola.
Changes are in the works at Naval Hospital Pensacola, as part of a Navy-wide effort to save money.
NHP’s emergency room and four-bed intensive care unit are scheduled to close this summer. Hospital commander, Capt. Maureen Padden, says Navy medicine has been conducted a resource analysis the past two years – well before this year’s sequester and partial shutdown of the federal government.
The memorial service was a simple, small town affair at the Lewis Funeral Home in Milton. Friends and family gathered to comfort his wife of 44 years, children and grandchildren and to share stories. The pallbearers were players that he had coached in little leagues over the years.
The crowd gradually trickled in until the funeral home was packed. Few men dressed in suits. Most came in their best dress shirt and pants. Several wore Milton High colors, black and gold. Some came in their work clothes, using their lunch break to honor their friend.
It’s time to hit the road or, for some, the air for the holiday season. The Better Business Bureau has some tips to help make the trip home or to that fall vacation less chaotic.
Danielle Rudd with the BBB’s Northwest Florida office says rule number one is: if you haven’t already booked your flight, do it now! The earlier the better, and using an online travel site could save you some money by bundling air fare, rental car and hotel room.