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Work begins Monday on developing a waiting list for residents in Century needing housing repair or reconstruction assistance as a result of the February 15 tornado.

The twister, an EF-3 with 155 mph winds, destroyed or damaged more than 150 homes in Century. Among them was the wood frame house owned by Doug Lewis and his family, where they’d lived for more than 40 years.

Michael Spooneybarger/ CREO

An aging population with a need for independence can be problematic when it comes to matters related to driving. 

Fatality rates for drivers begin to climb after age 65, studies show. From 75 to 84, they are equal to fatality rates of teenage drivers. For drivers 85 and over the rates are nearly 4 times that of teens.  By 2030 all baby boomers will be at least 65 and experts predict they will responsible for more than a fourth of all fatal crashes. 

 

  In this week’s economic report, Dr. Rick Harper discusses the Commerce Department’s revised Gross Domestic Product report and good news about job growth for Florida.

 

The Commerce Department released their revised GDP report for the fourth quarter of 2015 this week and it beat expectations, surprising many.

 

“It came in at 1.4 percent growth and while that’s not a great growth rate – we would rather see growth at 2, 3 or even more percent per year, it was better than expected,” Harper said. 

 

Photo via Instagram//user @beautifulpensacola

More than two years after the initial filing, a lawsuit against the City of Pensacola involving the land on which the Fish House Restaurant sits may be close to resolution.

Circuit Judge Scott Duncan held a six-hour hearing on the case in January. Fish House owner Collier Merrill says their argument then was the same as it’s been all along, concerning the lease for the city-owned property call Pitt Slip, on which The Fish House and Atlas Oyster House sit.

Courtesy of Giant Productions.

 

 As part of Women’s History Month, the Gulf Coast African American Chamber of Commerce recently held their second annual Women of Power business conference. The event is aimed at stimulating the entrepreneurial spirit of local women of color.

The keynote speaker for the event was actress Wendy Raquel Robinson. A writer, director and producer, Robinson, is a “woman of power” in her own right. 

“Wow, you know I don’t feel like a woman of power. I am here to get fed and to be empowered,” Robinson said. 

Courtesy of National Weather Service Mobile

Forecasters say strong storms are on tap across the South through Friday. Dangerous rip currents are also in the mix.

Instead of going out like a lamb, March will ride out on potentially severe weather with tornadoes and heavy rain possible in the Florida Panhandle and south Alabama.

“We have a very large upper trough approaching from the west,” said Eric Esbensen, a forecaster at the National Weather Service in Mobile. “For the remainder of the week, rain chances will increase significantly, starting on Thursday.”

 The Pensacola Symphony returns to the Saenger Theatre this Saturday, April 2nd at 7:30pm for the annual "Russian Spectacular."  Violinist Yevgeny Kutik  will join the orchestra for a  program of music by Tchaikovsky, Prokofiev, and Liadov.  Music Director Peter Rubardt and Dr. Hedi Salanki stopped by the studios to share some thoughts on the performance.  Starting this season the Symphony has moved the concert time up to 7:30pm.  More information is available at  435-2533, or online to pensacolasymphony.com.

Twenty-one residents and three businesses in the North Hill area of Pensacola are suing Emerald Coast Utilities Authority, over plans to build sewage storage tanks on North Palafox Street property.

Plaintiff attorney Erick Mead says the lawsuit carries three basic courses of action – first, a motion for a temporary injunction, possibly as soon as mid-April.

30 Million Words Initiative

  A leader in the field of early childhood education and development will be speaking in Pensacola this week

Plans to improve the Pensacola landing of the new Bay Bridge will be on display Tuesday evening.

The meeting at New World Landing downtown will introduce the project, go over the design process and gather public input. And, according to Ian Satter at the Florida Department of Transportation, clear up any confusion.

“This meeting is for the U.S. [Highway] 98 at Bayfront Parkway at 17th Avenue intersection,” Satter says. “It has nothing to do with the Pensacola Bay Bridge project. This is a completely separate study that we’re conducting.”

With the recent attacks in Brussels, ISIS has once again come to the forefront of people’s minds of terrorist groups operating worldwide.

Emerging only two years ago, the movement has made an impression, but not everyone is sure who ISIS is and what their objectives are.

Fans can enjoy more than 20 regional and local acts during the coming Jazz Pensacola event, a free, three-day celebration in downtown’s historic Seville Square.

“JazzFest delivers a roster of the best talent from around the region,” said Roger Villines, president of Jazz Pensacola.

Florida’s unemployment rate took another dive, from 5.1% in January to 4.9% last month, according to the Department of Economic Opportunity.

Similar drops were seen in the western Panhandle.

That 4.9 figure translates to 484,000 jobless Floridians, out of a 9.8 million member labor force. It also equals the national figure and it’s at an eight-year low.

DEO Director Cissy Proctor says the lone sector with job loss over the past year is information. But, Proctor says there was a bit of a comeback in that area from January to February.

Two weeks after Cong. Jeff Miller announced he would not seek a ninth term in the House, there are now five candidates for the seat: four Republicans and one Democrat.

Rep. Matt Gaetz, a Republican from Fort Walton Beach, represents the 4th District in the Florida House. While qualifying for the August 30 primary isn’t until the week of June 20, Gaetz said last week that he would make a quick decision on entering that race, which he did this week.

In this week’s economic report, Dr. Rick Harper discusses the Federal Reserve holding fast on interest rates, how the Consumer Price Index is standing, an increase in housing starts and what the renewal of the Economic Development Ad Valorem Tax Exemption means for our community.

The Federal Reserve held interest rates recently and Harper expects this to be the pattern for the rest of this year.

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