Escambia County

Dave Dunwoody / WUWF Public Media

More than half of Florida's active registered voters have already cast ballots ahead of Election Day. The others are now casting ballots, including voters in the western Panhandle.

Escambia County Supervisor of Elections David Stafford says as of midday, turnout was “brisk,” with about 33,000 votes cast since the polls opened at 7:00 a.m.  

The University of West Florida Social Work Department is facilitating a new series of community workshops to explore the issue of race in Escambia County. “Racial Tension: Cooling the Fires” will kick off this Thursday evening in downtown Pensacola.

Key triggers of this focus on racial issues have included nationally publicized police-involved shootings of blacks and the massacre of nine people at a black church in Charleston, S.C.  

Julie Patton, an instructor in the UWF Social Work Department, says she and her colleagues felt compelled to dig deeper.

Florida Public Radio Emergency Network

Updated 12:11 p.m. August 30, 2016.  

    

A tropical depression that formed in the Florida Straits over the weekend is now churning in the southeastern Gulf of Mexico, and is forecast to strengthen.

Tropical Depression Nine is expected to become Tropical Storm Hermine later today in the southeastern Gulf, and it could intensify before landfall.

The Escambia County Commission met in special session Thursday morning, on the distribution of Local Option Gas Tax proceeds. This was the first round of talks, with the Pensacola City Council taking up the issue this evening.

On a 4-1 vote, the Commission approved a lengthy motion to send a letter to the Florida Department of Revenue, outlining the distribution to be 85.5 percent to the county; 6.99 percent to Pensacola, and 0.81 percent to Century for road and infrastructure projects over the next decade.

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.

wuwf.org

Almost two years to the day when floodwaters submerged areas of Pensacola, Escambia County is out with its report on the flooding in April, 2014.

Governor Rick Scott declared a state of emergency for Escambia and 25 other counties in the Panhandle and Big Bend after storms dumped more than 20 inches of rain in some areas. While inspecting flood damage in the Pensacola area, he said economic losses in Escambia County alone could exceed $50 million.

Michael Spooneybarger/ CREO

Two days after a tornado blasted through areas of Pensacola, the cleanup and rebuilding are shifting into high gear.

Escambia County’s Mobile Command Post remains operational in a shopping center parking lot at 9th Avenue and Olive Road:a short distance from The Moorings Apartments, where 30 units were destroyed.

“The biggest thing [Thursday] is going to be debris management and debris pickup. We’re trying to get information out to the public about separating their trash into four separate piles,” said county spokeswoman Amanda Taft.

Flickr//Andrew Bardwell

As part of WUWF’s look ahead to 2016, Dave Dunwoody recently sat down with Grover Robinson. In November, Robinson again took over as chairman of the Escambia County Commission.

“I’m hoping this time we don’t have an oil spill or some other natural disaster like the last time when I was chair,” said Robinson, noting that plans for rebuilding the Escambia County Jail Central Booking facility that was destroyed in a gas explosion during Pensacola’s April 30, 2014 flood event.

  There’s a change at the top at the Escambia County agency which oversees the county’s correctional department.  

Michael Tidwell is out, 11 months after succeeding Gordon Pike, who retired in late 2014. County Administrator Jack Brown announced his decision Friday morning.

“It’s a combination of things,” said Escambia County Administrator Jack Brown. “Bottom line, I feel that we need to change the direction we’re moving in to improve oversight and care within the jail facility.”

NOAA

The 2015 Atlantic Hurricane season has come to a close. The six-month period wrapped up on Monday, November 30.

As expected, it was a relatively quiet year.

In line with forecasts projecting a slightly below average season, there were 11 named storms, with four of those becoming hurricanes.  

Florida made it through the season without a storm making landfall in the state, but there were a couple of close calls.

Ferry service on Pensacola Bay is moving full speed ahead towards a launch date of March, 2017.

The latest step forward is the National Park Service’s award of a contract to All-American Marine. The Washington state-based firm will design and build two aluminum double-decker Catamaran-style ferry boats, each with a capacity of 150-passengers.

restorethegulf.gov//NOAA

  There’s a new deadline in Escambia County to submit projects seeking funds from the RESTORE Act.

Wednesday night had been the deadline, for applicants wanting some of the $58 million that’s coming to Escambia County beginning in 2017.

“We had a programming glitch that triggered at midnight, coming up on the 30th of September, vs. midnight at the end of the 30th,” said Keith Wilkins, the county’s Director of Community and Environment.

Photo via Flickr// Green Fire Productions / https://flic.kr/p/bN5Djz

Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas  will share a total of $18.7 billion from BP, as a result of the oil spill resulting from the Deepwater Horizon explosion in 2010. If approved by New Orleans Federal Judge Carl Barbier, it would be the largest court settlement in U.S. history.

“Just five years later, a potential ecological and economic tsunami has been avoided, because good people all came together and decided it was time to do the right thing,” said Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi. “

On orders from Mayor Ashton Hayward, city staff brought down the Confederate flag from all of the City of Pensacola’s Five Flags displays on Thursday. It was replaced by the State of Florida flag.

In a written statement, the Mayor concedes that while the Confederate flag represents a part of the city’s history, it also stands as a “painful symbol of racial hatred and ignorance.”

A spokesman for Hayward’s office said in an email that the Mayor would not be making any more statements on the matter.

In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper provides analysis of recently released U.S. Census figures.

“We’ve declined in population over the years, as people have moved out to the suburbs,” said Harper, referring to the number of people living in the City of Pensacola, which is the urban core of a larger metro area including Escambia and Santa Rosa counties. The metro area population estimate for 2014 is 474,081.

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