News

FDOT

The Florida Department of Transportation outlined its 5 year plan for the future this week.  The outline from the FDOT include millions of dollars in future road improvements in the panhandle. Ian Satter, a spokesperson for the Florida Department of Transportation says the plans include a major road widening project.

9 Mile Road will be expanded from from two to four lanes from I-10 to Pine Forest Road.  There will be some large scale resurfacing of roads in Escambia County including Creighton Road from Davis Highway to US-90.

Escambia County Searches For New Administrator

Dec 6, 2013
Pensacola News Journal

When the Escambia County Commission meets this (Thurs) evening, it’s expected to narrow the list of candidates for County Administrator.

The names of 20 applicants have been submitted by the Dallas-based headhunting firm Waters Consulting. Lead consultant Andrea Sims says the list reflects a nationwide search and wide diversity – six African-Americans, including one woman, and a diversity of professional backgrounds.

Touart Out In Administrator Search

Dec 6, 2013
ricksblog.net

The Escambia County Commission Thursday moved forward in the search for a new administrator. That next step will be without Interim Administrator George Touart.

University of West Florida

In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper discusses holiday retail sales, noting that the forecast calls for a relatively soft season.  Specifically, he says Cyber Monday shopping continues to grow at a higher rate than in stores, although the rate of growth is more modest than the 8 to 10 percent clip in years past.  One of the marketing tools created to combat that trend is Small Business Saturday.

Associated Press

Crews from Gulf Power are en route to help restore power to customers in Texas as a major ice storm moves across the region. According to Accuweather.com the ice storm could be the worst to hit the US in years and has the potential to leave millions across the southern plains without power.  Gulf Power Spokesman Jeff Rogers says they have crews ready to go and help with the restoration efforts.

The crews from Gulf Power are heading out to the Dallas area to aid crews from Oncor, the utility that serves about 10 million customers in northeast and west central Texas.

Lumon May Begins Service As County Commission Chair

Dec 5, 2013
myescambia.com

When the Escambia County Commission meets today, it will be the first full session with Commissioner Lumon May as Chairman. WUWF’s Dave Dunwoody sat down with May recently, just after the gavel was passed.

The number of reported cases of flu in the area have been increasing in recent weeks, but this is by no means a banner year for the flu.  There have been cases reported since late September.  Dr. John Lanza, director of the Florida Department of Health in Escambia County, points out the cases that have been reported are a strain of the flu  called H1N1.

The Shelter House

Shelter House of Northwest Florida is making final preparations for its 3rd annual "Luminaria Run to End Domestic & Sexual Violence" on Saturday, Dec. 7. The twilight event will be held at the Destin City Hall Annex beginning at 4:30 p.m.

For this year’s Luminaria Run, there’s a 5K and a 9K.

"The 9K is representative of (the fact that) every nine seconds a woman is beaten in the United States," says Michelle Sperzel.

Pensacola Museum of Art

The ‘Design of War’ exhibit at the Pensacola Museum of Art showcases posters, flags and other items produced during World War I and II. Several of the flags on display were produced during the first and second World Wars at Mare Island, a Navy base in California that was closed in the 1990s.  Dr. Patrick Rowe is a professor of art history at Pensacola State College and curator of the show.

Two men at the center of separate government controversies are among the semi-finalists for the position of Escambia County Administrator. Interim Administrator George Touart and ex-Pensacola City Administrator Bill Reynolds are among the 16 candidates submitted by the headhunting firm Waters Consulting Group in Dallas, Texas.

Touart, 65, was named Interim Administrator last November after Randy Oliver was fired. He served in that job from 2002 until 2007, when he stepped down amid reports in the Pensacola News Journal about his personal business dealings.

Hurricane Season 2013 Ends With Little Action

Dec 3, 2013
National Hurricane Center

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.

Pensacola Camellia Club

Planning for the national meeting of the American Camellia Society (ACS) and its national camellia show has been top priority for the Pensacola Camellia Club (PCC) for the past year. Several hundred visitors are expected, including some international experts such as Ms. Patricia Short, the president of the International Camellia Society, who will come from London.
 

Gulf Power Company

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. 

Dozens arrested in ECSO warrant sweep

Dec 3, 2013
Escambia County Sheriff's Office

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.

United Way of Escambia County

Now that we are into December it's time to start getting ready for everyone's favorite time of the year - tax time.  The Escambia County United Way is getting ready by signing up Volunteers for its VITA program...Volunteer Income Tax Assistance.  WUWF's Bob Barrett sat down with Andrea Kreiger, the President and CEO of the Escambia County United Way to talk about what the VITA program is and who it serves.
 

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