News

Okaloosa County Sheriff's Office

Okaloosa County officials are trying to reassure residents following the arrest of two former EMS paramedics for using their cell phones to take “selfies” and videos with patients in their ambulances.

24-year-old Kayla Dubois of Navarre and 33-year-old Christopher Wimmer of Crestview were arrested Thursday after a two-month investigation by the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office.

OneBlood.org

On Monday, Aug. 1, one of the nation's largest blood suppliers will begin testing its donations for the Zika virus.

 

OneBlood’s announcement on Thursday comes the same day that Florida health officials reported that a woman in Miami-Dade could be the state’s first Zika case who contracted the virus without traveling outside the continental United States. Later, a spokeswoman corrected the statement, saying that sexual transmission related to travel has not been ruled out.  

   In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper discusses the recent grant awarded to the University of West Florida’s Haas Center to develop an economic development strategic plan through Florida’s Great Northwest.

Through a grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Adjustment Assistance, the University of West Florida’s Haas Center for Business Research and Economic Development will take a major role in creating an economic development strategic plan for Florida’s Northwest region.

  As Republicans begin unpacking from their four day party in Cleveland, local Democrats are getting ready for their convention next week in Philadelphia. There will be three delegates to the Democratic National Convention from Pensacola. Two are pledged to Hillary Clinton, one to Bernie Sanders.

IHMC

  According to the Pensacola News Journal, record-setting crowds attended all three performances of this past weekend’s Blue Angels show, the first Pensacola performance following the death of Marine Capt. Jeff Kuss, the Blues solo pilot who died in a crash in Smyrna, Tennessee, in June.

Dave Dunwoody

   U.S. Senator Marco Rubio Wednesday toured the U.S. District courthouse in downtown Pensacola, which remains closed because of mold and other health hazards.

Federal Judge Casey Rodgers took Rubio on a brief walk-through of the courthouse and afterward, said they’re moving toward what she hopes will be a resolution.

“This is not a partisan issue; access to justice and security for our judges and for our court personnel are a shared concern,” said Rodgers. “Senator Rubio has been very helpful in the past, Cong. [Jeff] Miller has been very helpful, Sen. [Bill] Nelson.”

City of Pensacola

  While many are excited about the design proposals for the new Pensacola Bay Bridge, one Pensacola City Council member is not among them. 

Along with serving on the Council, Brian Spencer is also an architect and developer. He views the bridge project in that light, as well as an interested observer.

“I’ve been able to travel to many different cities, both in the United States as well as abroad,” said Spencer. “And find more often than not, cities provide these bridges as a signature to a community, a district, or a city.”

Luis Llerena via unsplash / https://unsplash.com/photos/6g0KJWnBhxg

  A national IT and cybersecurity company is holding a job fair in Pensacola this week. CSRA is a giant in the cyber fields, with contracts in the defense, intelligence and homeland security fields among others. They and other companies will be looking to fill a number of local openings at the job fair, scheduled for Wednesday morning at the Pensacola Grand Hotel. Doug Underhill is the Manager for Security Services for CSRA in support of the Department of Homeland Security in Pensacola. He says this is not a job fair where they are collecting resumes and farming them out.

  The debate over the long-standing practice of opening local government meetings with an invocation has intensified recently after the Pensacola City Council allowed a representative of a local satanic group to offer the prayer.

The issue got national attention. But, locals are also watching closely and candidates for the Santa Rosa County Commission had to deal with it at a recent political forum.

CDC

  The Zika virus is here, it’s here to stay and there must be ways developed to minimize its damage to humans. That’s the theme of two presentations in the Florida Panhandle this week.

Florida U.S. Senator Marco Rubio chaired a hearing on Zika last week in Washington, D.C. Sixty-five countries and territories have reported evidence travel-related Zika cases. Four countries are said to have possible endemic transmission.

Catholic HEART Workcamp

  More than 100 teenagers from around the country are in Pensacola this week, as part of the area’s inaugural Catholic HEART Workcamp. 

The original Workcamp began in Orlando in 1993 with 100 participants. It’s grown to more than 14,000 as of this year. Bringing a group to Pensacola was the dream of two Gulf Breeze residents, Julie Baltz and Courtney Fell. 

“My co-manager Julie Baltz was looking online for something along those lines 2-3 years ago for her kids to do,” said Fall. “And she wanted to do it locally.”

Skanska USA

  New York-based Skanska USA is a step closer to getting the contract to replace the current Pensacola Bay, also called Three Mile Bridge, that opened in 1960. 

Tentative approval was given Monday in Milton by a three-member committee of Florida Department of Transportation officials. At just under $399 million, Skanska bested four other firms. FDOT spokesman Ian Satter says it’s now on to the next step.

Lindsay Myers

  After weeks of wrangling, a representative of the Satanic Temple of Northwest Florida delivered the invocation at the Pensacola City Council meeting Thursday night. 

Council President Charles Bare gaveled the meeting into session. But as David Suhor, in a black hooded robe, prepared to give the invocation, members of the gallery began drowning him out with Christian prayers.

Sandra Averhart

 

The Blue Angels are presenting their annual air show over Pensacola Beach this weekend, part of Red, White and Blues Week.  The team is ready to go and looking forward to performing their first home town show since tragedy struck last month.

   In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper discusses the July tourism boom, the effect of Brexit on the U.S. housing market and the call to repeal the commercial real estate sales tax.

July means big business for tourism and leisure and hospitality industries in the Panhandle, and this year is no exception.

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