News

Dave Dunwoody

Hurricane season kicks off June 1st and Escambia County joined Florida’s other 66 counties in conducting a dress rehearsal.

Here’s the scenario: Hurricane Kimo, a Category-4 storm, has made landfall in Florida. A Cat-4 packs winds from 130-156 miles an hour which, along with storm surge and tornadoes, can do a lot of damage in a short period of time.

“One of the things that we do not do as well as I think we need to do is the late response and early recovery stuff. And that’s what we’re focusing our energy on today,” said Escambia Emergency Director John Dosh.  

IHMC

Having lived almost all of my life in Northwest Florida, I can’t really speak to how it is to live in other places. But the variety of lifescapes offered by this area must be hard to beat.

That is underscored by our recent move from rural Garcon Point to urbanized Pensacola Beach. The culture shock could hardly be overstated.

Michael Spooneybarger/CREO

 

Three second-grade students sit around a table shaped like a semicircle. They read “Rumplestiltskin” aloud. Two whisper, and one uses a normal tone of voice.

Their teacher, Katherine Folse, follows along, stopping to call attention to certain vocabulary words: muttered, sobbed and strode. They pause and discuss meanings before turning back to the story.

photo via Flickr//Greg Grimes / https://flic.kr/p/6yCgRe

Ten years ago this week, the aircraft carrier USS Oriskany began her final mission: putting Pensacola on the map as a diving mecca.

Commissioned in 1950, the Oriskany served during the Korean and Vietnam Conflicts before its decommissioning in 1976. And if you’ve ever seen the 1953 movie “The Bridges at Toko-Ri” starring William Holden, then you’ve seen the Oriskany, where much of it was filmed.

FDOT

Soon you make not have to go searching for a dollar bill to get to Pensacola Beach: beginning May 31st, the Bob Sykes Bridge, connecting Gulf Breeze and Pensacola Beach, will begin accepting Sun Pass for the one dollar toll.

A 9/11 International Memorial Flag was unveiled at the Destin-Ft. Walton Beach Airport Monday afternoon. The 9/11 Memorial Flag consists of nearly three thousand smaller American Flags sewn together into one massive Memorial Flag. Each flag represents a victim from the World Trade Center, Pentagon, Virginia and Flight #93 that lost their life in the 2001 terrorist attack on the U. S.

Port of Pensacola

Over the next five years almost $4 billion is projected to flow to Florida's seaports to handle growing international trade.

A report from the Florida Ports Council says the money will come from state and local governments, as well as the private sector. 

“For Pensacola’s part of that, it’s all based on five-year capital plans that each of the ports submit every year,” says Port of Pensacola Director Amy Miller. “Pensacola’s current five-year capital calls for about $21 million in capital improvements over the next five years.”

Bob Barrett / WUWF News

  Shelby Johnson was working on two bee hives in the back of his pick-up truck which was parked in a field on the east side of Pensacola International Airport last Wednesday afternoon. Johnson is the President of the EscaRosa Beekeepers Association, which is partnering with the airport to establish a bee colony on the site. Last week, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Agriculture released the results of its first ever Honey Bee Colony Loss survey. It showed an 8 percent drop in bee colonies in just the last year.  

Dave Dunwoody, WUWF Public Media

It’s being called the largest methamphetamine bust in Escambia County history. “Operation Brick House” was led by the county Sheriff’s Office and involved a number of law enforcement agencies.

Sheriff David Morgan says the undercover operation dates back to 2012, investigating a group of people he says are responsible for distributing significant amounts various drugs.

In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper discusses the 10th anniversary of the reefing of the aircraft carrier USS Oriskany and its subsequent economic impact, as well as a rise in applications for unemployment benefits nationally. 

The USS Oriskany was sunk in May 2006, about 20 miles off the coast of Northwest Florida, creating the largest man-made artificial reef in the world.

Harper said the Oriskany has been “a great innovation for our coastal tourism economy and also a great opportunity for research.”

PORTOFINOISLAND.COM

  Escambia County’s attempt to collect property taxes on 12-acre tract of Pensacola Beach has suffered a setback in Tallahassee. 

The ruling overturns an earlier decision by Escambia County Circuit Judge Edward Nickinson.

At issue is a pair of towers to be built at Portofino resort by developer Island Resorts. On Wednesday, the 1st Circuit Court of Appeal declined to revisit the case. A three-judge panel ruled in March that the firm should not be required to pay property taxes because it does not own the land.

NALC

Letter carriers around the region are gearing up for double duty this Saturday as they will be collecting food items during the annual Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive. This is the 24th year letter carriers will be collecting items for area food banks. De De Flounlacker, the Executive Director of Manna Food Pantries says it’s become a big part of their year. "This is actually a major event for many food pantries in the area because this is the single largest food drive that happens in one day."

Bob Barrett / WUWF News

  Since 1889, 14 members of the Pensacola Police Force have died in the line of duty. Wednesday morning, the city took time to remember their service.

City of Pensacola

Matt Schmitt and Joe Glover are out as Pensacola Fire Chief and Assistant Fire Chief, respectively. They were fired Tuesday by Mayor Ashton Hayward after a three-month investigation of the department.

The Mayor’s action came after reviewing the 138-page report which he says outlines a number of instances that demonstrated what it terms as “a lack of judgment, poor leadership and contempt for the city’s Human Resources Department.

IHMC

After almost 15 years of living in the wilds of Garcon Point, my wife and I decided it was time to move. We still feel young, but there was no denying that the work required to maintain 12 acres of fast-growing forest was becoming too much.

And after having watched both my mother and my wife’s mother struggle to visit our home because of the steep stairs, we accepted that we, too, would face similar challenges as we aged.

So, like many other babyboomers, we decided to it was time to downsize.

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