Grover Robinson

Bob Barrett / WUWF News

Another historical figure from Pensacola’s past is getting a monument downtown. "What makes great cities is art and culture" said Pensacola Mayor Ashton Hayward speaking to a crowd of donors and dignitaries Monday morning. They were gathered for a groundbreaking ceremony for a monument to Revolutionary War hero Bernardo de Galvez, the general who drove the British out of Pensacola during the Battle of Pensacola.

The Florida House and Senate have unanimously passed legislation that ensures funds from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon/BP oil-spill settlement will remain in Northwest Florida.

Lawmakers approved HB 7077  and the Senate version SB 364, establishing the Gulf Coast Economic Corridor for eight most disproportionately affected counties.

The votes ended months of debate and guaranteed that the bulk of Florida’s $2 billion dollar share of the BP Settlement money would come to the western Panhandle.

Dave Dunwoody, WUWF Public Media

Pensacola Mayor Ashton Hayward could face his biggest political challenge, if he decides to seek a third term next year. That’s according to a recent survey commissioned by the Independent News.

The poll of 506 most likely voters conducted by Political Matrix shows Hayward on top with just under 28 percent. Two Escambia County Commissioners,Grover Robinson are Lumon May, are second and third at 20 and 18 percent, respectively.

Dave Dunwoody, WUWF Public Media

Escambia County Commissioner Grover Robinson announced Wednesday he will not seek re-election when his current term expires in 2018.

First elected to District-4 in 2006, Robinson recently stepped down from his second stint as chairman when Commissioner Doug Underhill took over in the rotation. So, why announce two years in advance?

“I’d like as much time as possible for good people in District-4 Escambia County to be able to figure out whether they want to seek election in two years,” said Robinson.

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.

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.

restorethegulf.gov//NOAA

The Escambia County Commission met Thursday at the Pensacola Bay Center, for a workshop on how to distribute about $150 million related to the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

This was the first opportunity the Commission had to sit down with the RESTORE Act Advisory Committee and the consultant hired to draft the multi-year implementation plan. Commissioner Grover Robinson says they asked the committee to revisit three areas. First up, tourism.

Bob Barrett / WUWF News

Scientists and dignitaries from across the state converged on downtown Pensacola Monday morning for the official groundbreaking ceremony at the Institute for Human and Machine Cognition’s. The institute has been planning a major expansion in the city for years and while construction began in mid-January, the institute took time for an official ceremony.

Photo via Flickr// J. Stephen Conn

If one Escambia County Commissioner gets his way, the debate and a vote on which Confederate flag to display at the Pensacola Bay Center will cool its heels for the next month or so.

On a 4-1 vote in December, the Commission approved flying only the U.S. and the Florida state flags at the facility. The Confederate battle flag was taken down, along with those representing Britain, France and Spain.

www.nfwf.org

  The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation this week announced the release of nearly $100 million  for Gulf Restoration Projects. That includes $34.3 million for nine projects in Florida, as well as four projects totaling $9.6 million in Alabama.

myescambia.com

  Two Escambia County Commissioners, one new and one incumbent, were sworn into office Tuesday. The ceremony also included a change of leadership on the panel.

Outgoing Chairman Lumon May kicked off the special meeting by thanking everyone who has helped him out, during his year with the gavel.

“That have helped me to have a somewhat successful chairmanship,” said May. “Without you guys, without this great team, I would have failed.”

 

  If you throw away your pennies you may want to consider this: the one cent local option sales tax, on the ballot to be renewed this election cycle, adds up to hundreds of millions of dollars over ten years.

 

The vote is to approve a ten year expansion of the one cent LOST  tax which is currently slated through 2017. That one penny adds up to pay for everything from drainage and transportation infrastructure to animal welfare and community centers.

 

Bob Barrett / WUWF News

County Commissioners from across Florida's Gulf Coast met at the Hilton on Pensacola Beach Thursday morning to talk about  for money from fines collected because of the Deepwater Oil Spill. This meeting took on added urgency because some of that money may soon be available.

Four years after the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico resulting from the Deepwater Horizon explosion, it appears another year will pass before BP learns how much it will owe under the Clean Water Act.

On Monday, U.S. Magistrate Sally Shushan issued a seven-page schedule of hearings, conferences and deadlines, leading up to the January 20 trial date set by presiding Federal Judge Carl Barbier. The schedule also calls for the trial to end on February 5.

ricksblog.net

Flags at Escambia County facilities are being flown at half-staff in memory of interim County Administrator George Touart, who died this morning after a long battle with cancer.

Touart passed away early this Friday morning at his home, with his family by his side.  He was 65 years old.