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12:23 pm
Sun February 23, 2014

"Anything For A Buck" Sting Faces Investigation By Justice Department

Credit Escambia County Sheriff's Office

“Anything for a Buck,” launched in 2011 to take illegal guns off the streets of Escambia County, is among several stings run by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives that are now under investigation by the Justice Department.

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Child Pornography Arrest
12:05 pm
Sun February 23, 2014

Pace Man Arrested On Charges Of Possessing, Promoting Child Pornography

Credit FDLE

A Pace man faces child pornography charges, stemming from an investigation by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement that began earlier this month.

Thirty-five-year-old Josh Herrin was arrested Thursday, after agents executed a search warrant at his residence on Tiburon Boulevard. Jeff Duncan at FDLE’s Pensacola office says their cyber-crime team conducted the investigation.

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Offshore Inland
5:38 pm
Thu February 20, 2014

New Company Could Mean 100 New Jobs and $250k in Revenue

Offshore Inland has port facilities in Alabama, Louisiana, Texas, and Mexico.
Credit Offshore Inland

A Norwegian-based company has reached agreement with the City of Pensacola, to lease a warehouse at the Port downtown. Offshore Inland is no stranger to the Gulf Coast, with facilities in Mobile, Galveston and Port Freeport, Texas; Port Fourchon, Louisiana and Dos Bocas, Mexico. The firm plans to spend up to 12 million dollars to build the Pensacola operation.

The Offshore Inland facility is projected to generate $250,000 in annual revenues. About 100 high-wage jobs will be created, handling sub-sea exploration vessels, and making flexible pipe on property adjacent to the port.

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Pensacon
4:29 pm
Thu February 20, 2014

The Man Who Saved Star Wars: An Interview With Pensacon Guest Timothy Zahn

Lindsay Myers speaks with Star Wars novelist Timothy Zahn. (5 minute broadcast version)

It’s been 30 years since the original Star Wars trilogy wrapped up with the release of Return of the Jedi in 1983- that’s before I was even born. But recently I was able to speak with the man whose universe so enthralled me that I eventually became a huge fan of the franchise and I don’t mean George Lucas. Other Star Wars fans probably know who I’m talking about: Timothy Zahn.

In 1991 the first of a trilogy of Star Wars novels was published- set five years after the Return of the Jedi film, the Thrawn Trilogy: Heir to the Empire, Dark Force Rising, and The Last Command became New York Times bestsellers and, combined, have sold over 15 million copies.

This was before the internet or the popularization of conventions like Pensacon and, Timothy Zahn shares, they didn’t even know if the novels would be successful.

“Nobody knew whether these books were even gonna sell. I remember sitting around one day trying to figure out how many libraries there are in the U.S.- and if they all buy two copies how many can we sell? Can we earn out this book? And as we now know Star Wars fans were simmering there below the surface and just boiled up as soon as there was something to grab onto. And they’ve been going strong ever since.”

Zahn took a universe circumscribed by three films and made it feel truly vast with a cast of new characters and places- new villains and some unlikely new heroes. If you’re not already you might be confused even by the idea of the Star Wars expanded universe- that is, the universe beyond the films made of comic books, video and role playing games, and yes novels: several hundred novels. And although Zahn has written just ten of those novels it is safe to say that many fans revere him second only to George Lucas. Probably because he took an exciting universe and then, as he says, intentionally went in a different direction.

“When I was first asked to write these books, or offered the original Thrawn Trilogy, part of my goal was to make a story that was not was George Lucas had already done but what felt like Star Wars. Part of that was coming up with a new type of villain. And I thought a villain who can inspire loyalty is far more dangerous because even when he’s not in the room his people will fight and die for him.”

For Zahn it was important that the villains be more nuanced, the heroes more subtle and the interplay between the two complex. His original characters bring out dimensions of the universe that just aren’t covered in the film “canon” of Star Wars. Probably the best representative of this idea is my favorite character: Mara Jade.

He explains, “Not only is her character somewhat morally ambiguous what she believes has been designed to be morally ambiguous. It makes for a complex and interesting character. If you start from the premise that the Empire is good and it just needs this stuff rooted out- what she’s been carefully trained to believe- then she is on the side of right and justice. She has never through that time believed she was part of an evil Empire.”

Timothy Zahn is a convention veteran.  As we gear up for a weekend when downtown Pensacola will be transformed into a playground for zombies, wizards, Jedi, and superheroes I had to round it out by hearing what it’s like to see people dressed as his characters and celebrating his work.

He laughed.

“I’m just impressed at how good, how excited, how clearly interested and excited the cosplayers are and it’s an immense kick for me to see one of my characters walking around.  Whenever I see one, somebody in that, in one of the costumes I will always go up and get my picture taken."

And what should we expect from Pensacon?

“Expect a lot of fun, a lot of guests, there should be interesting panels, a lot of actors, writers, comic book people. IT’s a great palce to meet some of your favorite genre types, have a chance to chat, buy a picture, you get a book autographed, as questions at panels. Just basically a lot of fun hanging out with people who like the same sort of stuff that you do. It’s surrealistic on some level.”

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Pensacon
2:43 pm
Thu February 20, 2014

Downtown Bars Get Ready for Pensacon Theme Parties

Star Wars themed poster
Hopjacks

The excitement is building for the first-ever Pensacon convention. The event will be centered in the Pensacola Bay Center and Crown Plaza Grand Hotel. But, the festivities will be taking place throughout Downtown Pensacola. This month’s Gallery Night is sponsored by Pensacon, and there will be a host of themed parties at downtown establishments.

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