City of Pensacola

City of Pensacola

Some of the documents subpoenaed in a federal bribery investigation involving the City of Pensacola last month are due to be made public on Wednesday. WUWF’s Dave Dunwoody reports.

The records in question – which went to a federal grand jury and prosecutors in Tallahassee – deal with Pensacola Mayor Ashton Hayward and no-bid contracts for city projects that were awarded to Jerry Pate Design – owned by the pro golfer, who’s a longtime friend of Hayward’s.

VT Services

It’s official.

Pensacola is the new home for a portion of V-T Mobile Aerospace Engineering, Inc. -- formerly known as ST Mobile Aerospace Engineering. WUWF’s Dave Dunwoody reports on how the project originally code-named “Project Stallion” came to fruition.

City of Pensacola

A federal investigation is underway 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 in Tallahassee will get the case next Wednesday.

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

University of West Florida

In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper, assistant vice president of economic development at the University of West Florida, discusses the announcement this week regarding his new position with the Studer Institute.

A partnership with UWF will allow Harper to become Director of the Institute.

City of Pensacola

Pensacola Mayor Ashton Hayward announced Thursday that City Administrator Colleen Castille has resigned effective September 3. Her departure has triggered a number of staff changes at the top of city government.

So far, the only explanation from Hayward is in a written statement that Castille is leaving to “pursue other opportunities.” In her own written statement, Castille says she made a one year commitment to serve and fulfilled it.

Bob Barrett / WUWF News

Governor Rick Scott was in town Thursday morning to award 227 local veterans a special medal...and talk just a little politics. 

Saying the Supreme Court "upheld our freedom of religion again this week", Scott made it clear how he stood on the recent Supreme Court decision on the Hobby Lobby case.

Bob Barrett / WUWF News

The threat of thunderstorms kept the early morning crowds light but over a dozen service organizations and agencies set up at Community Maritime Park Saturday morning for the first annual Hurricane-Disaster Preparedness Day.

At least four high-profile lawsuits have been filed against either the city or Mayor Ashton Hayward in the past year or so.

Former City Councilwoman Maren DeWeese, who was briefly a candidate for mayor, sued Hayward over a budget issue. The case was dismissed by Circuit Judge Terry Terrell last August.

In January, Seville Harbour Incorporated and its tenants Fish House Restaurant and Atlas Oyster Bar filed suit over its lease of city-owned Pitt’s Slip.

Bob Barrett / WUWF News

Travelers in Pensacola will have to forego that drive on Scenic Highway for about another month or so. But WUWF’s Dave Dunwoody reports progress is being made with repairs, at a cost of $1.4 million.

Last month’s flooding decimated the popular route that runs beside Escambia Bay. It crumbled in four places and was closed immediately afterward. Ian Satter at the Florida Department of Transportation says some projects began earlier and others later, but work on all four areas is ongoing.

Residents in the Florida Panhandle are bracing for another round of thunderstorms packing heavy rainfall due in by late Friday.

Originating in the Plains and the Midwest, the storms are due in northwest Florida and south Alabama on Friday, and will stick around for the weekend. Don Shepherd at the National Weather Service in Mobile says there’s a 30% chance of rain Friday, 50/50 that evening, and 60% on Saturday. The chance of showers Sunday is expected to be 40%.

Bob Barrett / WUWF News

While residents hit hard by last week’s floods in Escambia and Santa Rosa County begin applying for federal assistance, work is underway at the state and local levels on repairing virtually washed-away roadways.

Ian Satter at the state Department of Transportation’s Quincy office says repairs are underway on some of the roads, and they’re mobilizing contractors to begin work on several others.

“They are a priority for us and we want to get them started as quickly as possible,” said Satter. “It’s just that the repairs are more complex than others.”

Carol Myers

Residents in the Florida Panhandle are assessing the damage from Tuesday’s storms. Action is underway on the local and state levels to deal with more than 20 inches of rainfall in some areas.

City of Pensacola

When it begins airing this summer, Pensacola Mayor Ashton Hayward’s upcoming television show will be missing – Mayor Ashton Hayward.

The Mayor announced Wednesday that the program on BLAB-TV, would be produced. But he’s backing away from the project amid blowback from the community. 

Robert De Varona

Businessman Robert de Varona is taking the City of Pensacola to court, over a deadline for him to remove vestiges of his restaurant from its long-time space at Pensacola International Airport. A hearing on the suit is scheduled for later this week.

A letter from outside counsel for the city told de Varona that if the equipment wasn’t removed by midnight last night, an eviction lawsuit would be filed and the gear impounded at his expense. De Varona contends that violates his lease, which gives him 60 days – until May 30th -- to vacate.

Gov. Rick Scott’s trip to Pensacola last week involved more than just a closed political fundraiser. He also heard about the controversial plan to relocate a state probation and parole office to the city’s North Hill neighborhood.

The Governor  Friday directed Department of Corrections Secretary Michael Crews to renew the office’s existing lease at the current facility on North Davis Highway. Plans were to move the offices to the old Coca-Cola plant on Palafox. That drew fire from a number of North Hill residents at the last City Council meeting.