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Cold War Icon Falls 25 yrs ago
1:44 pm
Sat December 20, 2014

Fall of the Wall 25 Yrs Later Yr Ender

Twenty-five years ago in early November, perhaps the foremost symbol of the Cold War between East and West was consigned to the rubble of history.

The fall of the Berlin Wall after 28 years of infamy followed a series of radical political changes in the Eastern Bloc, fueled by changes in its authoritarian systems and erosion of political power. On November 9th, 1989, after several weeks of civil unrest, the East German government announced its citizens could visit West Germany and West Berlin.

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Few changes in area elected offices
1:40 pm
Sat December 20, 2014

Election 2014 in NWFL: Same Ol', Same Ol' Yr Ender

Credit tennessean.com

For the most part, there were no real surprises locally on Election Day, 2014 -- when voters went to the polls in Northwest Florida and pretty much kept the status quo.

Pensacola Mayor Ashton Hayward, who won a second term by a 65-35% margin over challenger Donna Clark.

The two City Council seats remained in the hands of the incumbents. Sherri Myers defeated Dennis Tackett 55-45% in District-2. In District-6, Brian Spencer garnered 65% of the vote over Mark Taylor.

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"Project Stallion" comes to fruition
1:20 pm
Sat December 20, 2014

Pensacola becomes Home to VT Aerospace Yr Ender.

Credit VT-MAE

In September, Pensacola was announced as the new home for a portion of V-T Mobile Aerospace Engineering, Inc. -- formerly known as ST Mobile Aerospace Engineering. WUWF’s Dave Dunwoody looks back at the project – originally code-named “Project Stallion.” 

Meeting in special session, the Pensacola City Council voted 7-0 to approve the 30-year lease – which was signed immediately after adjournment by Mayor Ashton Hayward. 

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Federal probe centers on Main Street development
1:12 pm
Sat December 20, 2014

Grand Jury Investigates Hayward, City Contracts Yr Ender

Credit Dave Dunwoody, WUWF Public Media

In 2014, a federal investigation began in August involving road contracts with the City of Pensacola dating back to 2011, along with related expenses paid on behalf of Mayor Ashton Hayward and others. A federal grand jury was seated in Tallahassee.

One subpoena released by the Mayor’s Office requested numerous records connected to the "Main Street Rehabilitation Project” between the city and Jerry Pate Design. Those included bids, bid sheets, selection of contractor documents, all emails referring to the bids and copies of all payments to the contractor.

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Discussion centered on easing flood damages
1:02 pm
Sat December 20, 2014

Stormwater Symposium Addresses Flooding Yr Ender

David Waggonner
Credit Pensacola News Journal

With the flooding of late April still fresh on everyone’s minds, the City of Pensacola and Escambia County Commission hosted a stormwater symposium in mid-July, with both promising to cooperate on ways to control flooding.

Torrential rainfall in late April totaled 27 inches in the Pensacola area in a 24-hour period. The resultant flood caused massive damage to roadways – including four parts of Scenic Highway that were washed out. Flooding also swamped some businesses downtown.

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Blast partially razes booking center.
12:54 pm
Sat December 20, 2014

Jail Explosion Yr Ender

Credit PNJ.com

At the height of the late April flooding, Pensacola was hit with another tragedy – an explosion at the Escambia County Jail’s Central Booking Facility.

The explosion killed two inmates and injured 184 other inmates and jail staff. About 600 inmates were housed there at the time. They were taken to other county lockups, and to facilities in adjacent counties. The blast originated in a first-floor laundry room, which contained a number of natural gas-powered dryers.

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Nearly 2 ft. of rain deluges area
12:41 pm
Sat December 20, 2014

Shades of 2012? Pensacola Hit Again By Flooding Yr Ender

Credit NBC.com

Torrential rain – more than 20 inches in some places -- fell on the Pensacola area at the end of April. Both residents and officials scrambled to assess the damage, as we hear in this year-ender report from WUWF’s Dave Dunwoody.

Gov. Rick Scott came to town and declared a state of emergency in 26 counties – including Escambia, Santa Rosa, Okaloosa and Walton – eastward to Alachua County. 

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Pensacola 1st NWFL city to set up DPR.
12:34 pm
Sat December 20, 2014

Pensacola OKs Domestic Partnership Registry Yr Ender

Beginning in March cohabitating unmarried adults – gay and straight – were able to register as domestic partners with the City of Pensacola.

Ordinance number 41-13 was approved in December, 2013, setting up a Domestic Partnership Registry, or DPR, and providing registered domestic partners with various rights and benefits. Sponsored by Councilman Larry B. Johnson, the DPR was also opened to those living outside the Pensacola city limits.

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UWF Kicks off work leading to Sept. 2016 kickoff
12:30 pm
Sat December 20, 2014

UWF Football Yr Ender

Credit Dave Dunwoody, WUWF Public Media

In early 2014, the University of West Florida took a major step towards fielding a football team in 2016. Pete Shinnick was introduced in February as the program’s first head coach.

By her count, UWF President Judy Bense said she waited five years, four months and 32 days for this announcement.

Shinnick came to Pensacola from the University of North Carolina-Pembroke, where he started that football program from scratch. In seven seasons, the Braves won 55 games – including a 9-2 mark in 2013, while advancing to the second round of the NCAA Division II playoffs.

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Pensacola FDLE Lab worker arrested
12:24 pm
Sat December 20, 2014

FDLE Drug Tampering Case Yr Ender

Credit FDLE

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement in February began the examination of alleged evidence tampering by a former employee in its Pensacola crime lab. The case focused on Joseph Graves -- who resigned as the lab’s analyst supervisor.

Graves’ resignation came in the wake of allegations that he may have tampered with evidence from the cases. He was suspended with pay.

The evidence involved was from 80 law enforcement agencies in the 35 counties, including Escambia and Santa Rosa. The reach was as far south as Monroe County.

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