Tate And Northview FFA Chapters Named Among The Best In The Nation

August 13, 2018

Both the Northview High and Tate High FFA chapters have been named two of the very best in the nation as Three-Star Chapters by the National FFA Organization.

The National Chapter Award Program is designed to recognize FFA chapters that actively implement the mission and strategies of the organization. These chapters improve chapter operations using the National Quality Chapter Standards and a Program of Activities that emphasize growing leaders, building communities and strengthening agriculture. Chapters are rewarded for providing educational experiences for the entire membership.

Pictured: The Tate High School FFA Chapter (above) and the Northview High School FFA Chapter (below) at the National FFA Convention in Indianapolis, IN, last fall. Photos for NorthEscambia.com, click to enlarge.

Escambia BOCC Weekly Meeting Schedule

August 13, 2018

Here is a schedule of Escambia County public meetings for the week of August 13-17:

Monday, Aug. 13

Escambia County Area Transit Part-Time Bus Operator Interviews – 8:30 a.m., 1515 W. Fairfield Drive

Marine Advisory Committee – 5:30 p.m., Escambia County Central Office Complex, 3363 West Park Place, Room 104 (Agenda)

Tuesday, Aug. 14

Corrections Grant Administrator Interviews – 8 a.m., Escambia County Corrections, 2251 N. Palafox St.

Federal Certification Review – Florida-Alabama Transportation Planning Organization - 8:30 a.m., 4081 E. Olive Road, Suite A (Agenda)

Board of Electrical Examiners  – 9 a.m., Escambia County Central Office Complex, 3363 West Park Place

Value Adjustment Board Organizational Meeting – 9:30 a.m.,  Ernie Lee Magaha Government Building, 221 Palafox Place, Board Chambers

CO:Lab Policy Board Meeting – 11 a.m., 418 W. Garden St., Conference Room

Environmental Enforcement Special Magistrate – 1:30 p.m., Escambia County Central Office Complex, 3363 West Park Place, Room 104 (Agenda)

Escambia County Housing Authority Audit Committee Meeting – 4:30 p.m., 700 S. Palafox St., Suite 310

Escambia County Housing Finance Authority – 5 p.m., 700 S Palafox St, Suite 310

Merit System Protection Board – 5 p.m., Ernie Lee Magaha Government Building, 221 Palafox Place, 4th Floor Training Room (Agenda)

Affordable Housing Advisory Committee – 5:30 p.m., City of Pensacola Housing, 420 W. Chase St.

Wednesday, Aug. 15

Escambia Soil & Water Conservation District – 8 a.m., 151 Highway 97, Molino

Board of Adjustment – 8:30 a.m., Escambia County Central Office Complex, 3363 West Park Place

ECAT Part-Time Bus Operator Interviews – 10 a.m., 1515 W. Fairfield Drive

Development Review Committee – 1 p.m., Escambia County Central Office Complex, 3363 West Park Place

ECAT Proposed Route Modifications Workshop – 5:30 p.m., Escambia County Area Transit Administrative Offices & Rosa Parks Bus Terminal, 1515 Fairfield Drive

Thursday, Aug. 16

Community Redevelopment Agency – 9 a.m., Ernie Lee Magaha Government Building, 221 Palafox Place

Board of County Commissioners Agenda Review Session – 9:15 a.m., Ernie Lee Magaha Government Building, 221 Palafox Place

Board of County Commissioners Public Forum – 4:30 p.m., Ernie Lee Magaha Government Building, 221 Palafox Place

BCC Regular Meeting – 5:30 p.m., Ernie Lee Magaha Government Building, 221 Palafox Place

Florida Gas Prices Rise; Escambia Area Cheaper Than Most Of The State

August 13, 2018

Gas prices in Florida rose 6 cents last week, then declined a penny over the weekend.

The state average of $2.81 per gallon is the 22nd-lowest in the nation. Although pump prices remain about the same as last month, Florida motorists are paying nearly 50 cents more than this time last year.

A gallon of gas averaged $2.79 on Sunday in Escambia County, a full 50 cents more than one year ago. Escambia County was just a penny above the cheapest average in the state — $2.78 in Fort Myers, Punta Gorda and Jacksonville. The most expensive average price was $2.89 in West Palm Beach.

“Strong demand pushed gas prices higher in some states last week, as families squeeze in one final vacation before the kids go back to school,” said Mark Jenkins, spokesman, AAA – The Auto Club Group. “However, the most recent figures from the EIA show gasoline demand is beginning to slip, which relieves some of that upward pressure on prices at the pump.

“Traditionally, gas prices decline in the second half of the year, due to lower demand,” Jenkins continued. “However, oil analysts forecast significant volatility in the oil market through the end of the year, leaving a big question mark for the long-term direction of prices at the pump.”

School Bus Safety And Traffic Laws

August 13, 2018

It’s the first day of school in Escambia County, with more than 40,000 students making their way to and from school. About 25,000 of them will be on board 300 school buses across the county.

Parents are reminded to instruct their children to be at the bus stop at least five minutes before scheduled bus arrival time, stay off of the roadway, observe and stay clear of traffic, stay out of the bus blind spots, don’t chase after the bus once it leaves the bus stop, and buckle seat belts as soon as they board.

Motorists are reminded to give themselves plenty of time to get where they’re going and to be patient in traffic. They should watch out for school buses, comply with bus-passing laws, and stay off of those cell phones.

According to the Florida Highway Patrol, drivers must follow these school and school bus safety rules:

  • Adhere to the posted speed limit in designated school zones.
  • When approaching an intersection where a crossing guard is present in the crosswalk with the stop sign raised, do not cross – or turn – into the crosswalk until the guard has completely left the crosswalk.
  • Never stop a vehicle in a manner that blocks a crosswalk.
  • When you approach a stopped school bus (from behind) with lights flashing and the stop arm extended, you must stop.
  • When you approach a stopped school bus (from front) with lights flashing and the stop arm extended, you also must stop, unless:
    • you are on a divided highway and the roadways are separated by an unpaved space at least five feet in width, or
    • you are on a divided highway and the roadways are separated by a physical barrier.
  • You are required to stop at least 10 feet away from the school bus.
  • You must not resume driving until the school bus turns its lights off and withdraws its stop sign.
  • Be certain all exiting children have reached a safe place before proceeding.

FDOT: Weekly Traffic Alerts – Where To Expect Delays

August 13, 2018

Drivers will encounter traffic disruptions on the following state roads in Escambia and Santa Rosa counties as crews perform construction and maintenance activities.

Escambia County:

  • Interstate 10 (I-10) Routine Maintenance from Exit 5- Exit 7 (U.S. 90 Alt – State Road (S.R.) 297/Pine Forest Road)-Drivers can expect intermittent and alternating lane closures between U.S. 90A and Pine Forest Road from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. Sunday, Aug. 12 through Thursday, Aug. 16 as crews repair overhead lights.
  • U.S. 29 Widening from Interstate 10 (I-10) to U.S. 90 (Nine Mile Road) – Drivers traveling U.S. 29 and Nine Mile Road will encounter traffic pattern changes from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. through Saturday, Aug. 11.
    • Nine Mile Road at the U.S. 29 overpass: North and southbound traffic will be reduced to one lane in each direction. Alternating traffic shifts will direct all traffic onto the westbound or eastbound lanes as crews continue construction of the new center bridge deck. Nine Mile Road lane restrictions are Sunday through Friday.
    • U.S. 29 between I-10 and 9 1/2 Mile Road: Alternating lane closures as crews continue drainage and paving operations. U.S. 29 lane restrictions are Monday through Saturday.
    • Northbound traffic has been shifted onto the newly constructed bridge section as demolition efforts continue.
  • U.S. 29 Resurfacing between U.S. 90 and Muscogee Road – Paving operations continue between Muscogee Road and West 9 ½ Mile Road. Lane closures will be in effect from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. Sunday, Aug. 12 through Thursday, Aug 16.
  • U.S. 98 Pensacola Bay Bridge Replacement – Alternating lane closures between 14th Avenue in Pensacola and Bay Bridge Drive in Gulf Breeze from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. Sunday, Aug. 12 through Sunday, Aug. 19 as crews perform construction activities.
  • U.S. 98 (Lillian Highway) Resurfacing from Perdido Bay Bridge to Dogtrack Road– Alternating lane closures from Perdido Bay Bridge to Dog Track Road from 8 p.m. to 5:30 a.m. Sunday, Aug. 12 through Thursday, Aug. 16 as crews perform paving operations.
  • S.R. 10A (Mobile Highway) Utility Operations at Beulah Road- The eastbound lane of Mobile Highway will be closed at Beulah Road from 8 p.m. Monday, Aug. 13 to 5 a.m. Tuesday, Aug. 14 as crews install a new water line.
  • S.R. 750 (Airport Boulevard) Driveway construction activities between I-110 and Davis Highway- The westbound outside lane between I-110 and Davis Highway will be closed from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. Monday, Aug. 13 through Thursday, Aug. 16 as crews construct a driveway.
  • S.R. 95 (Palafox Street) Underground Utility Work at Beggs Lane Road- The northbound, outside lane at the intersection of Beggs Lane Road will be closed from 8 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 15 to 5 a.m. Thursday, Aug. 16 as crews install a gas line.
  • S.R. 292 (Perdido Key Drive) Underground Utility Repairs west of Johnson Beach Road- The eastbound, outside lane on Perdido Key Drive will be closed 1/2 mile west of Johnson Beach Road from 8 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 15 to 5 a.m. Thursday, Aug. 16 as crews repair a broken waterline.
  • S.R. 292 (Perdido Key Drive) Pavement Repair at Mirabella Condominiums- The eastbound lane on Perdido Key Drive will be closed near Mirabella Condominiums from 8 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 15 to 5 a.m. Aug. 16 as crews mill and resurface the road.
  • U.S. 98 (W. Navy Boulevard) Driveway Work at 2285 W. Navy Boulevard)- The eastbound, outside lane on W. Navy Boulevard will be closed at 2285 W. Navy Boulevard from 8 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 16 to 5 a.m. Friday, Aug. 17 as crews remove two driveway connections and restore right of way with sidewalk, curb and gutter.

Santa Rosa County:

  • S.R. 87 Widening from the Eglin AFB Boundary to two miles south of the Yellow River Bridge- New travel lanes on State Road 87, from the Eglin AFB boundary to two miles south of the Yellow River Bridge are open and the speed limit has been raised to 65 mph.  Drivers are reminded the speed limit may be temporarily reduced to 45 mph should any lane closures be needed to complete final construction activities. Weather permitting, all work on this 5.3-mile segment is scheduled for completion later this month.
  • ·I-10 Widening from Escambia Bay Bridge to S.R. 281 (Avalon Boulevard/Exit 22) – The following construction related traffic impacts are planned for I-10 and Avalon Boulevard the week of Sunday, Aug. 12:
    • Alternating lane closures on Avalon Boulevard, near the I-10 interchange, as crews reconstruct the travel lanes.
    • Alternating lane closures on I-10, from the Escambia Bay Bridge to east of S.R. 281, from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. Sunday, Aug. 12 through Friday, Aug. 17 as crews work to widen the roadway.
    • Drivers will encounter new traffic pattern(s) on I-10 east and westbound as crews reconstruct the inside and outside shoulders. This work will continue throughout the summer.
  • U.S. 98 Pensacola Bay Bridge Replacement – Alternating lane closures between 14th Avenue in Pensacola and Bay Bridge Drive in Gulf Breeze, from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. Sunday, Aug. 12 through Sunday, Aug. 19 as crews perform construction activities.
  • S.R. 87 Multilane from Eglin AFB boundary to Hickory Hammock Road – Alternating lane closure on S.R. 87 southbound, between Eglin Air Force Base Boundary and two miles south of Yellow River, from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 12 through Friday, Aug. 17 as crews perform paving operations. Additionally, traffic between County Road (C.R.) 184 (Hickory Hammock Road) and the Eglin AFB boundary will continue to be restricted to loads less than 11-feet wide. The restriction will be in place until the project is completed.
  • U.S. 90 (Caroline Street) Pavement Coring Operations from C.R. 89 (Ward Basin Road) to west of S.R. 87 South- Drivers can expect east and westbound intermittent lane restrictions between Ward Basin Road and S.R. 87S from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. Monday, Aug. 13 and Tuesday, Aug. 14 as crews take core samples from the roadway.

All activities are weather dependent and may be delayed or re-scheduled in the event of inclement weather. Drivers are reminded to use caution, especially at night, when traveling through a work zone and to watch for construction workers and equipment entering and exiting the roadway.

Pictured: Nine Mile Road work near Pine Forest Road. NorthEscambia.com photo, click to enlarge.

Aquino Sets Home Run Records As Wahoos Fall To Mobile

August 13, 2018

Aristides Aquino set the Blue Wahoos franchise record for most home runs in a season when he belted the 2-2 pitch from Dario Beltre over the left-field fence in the Wahoos 9-4 loss on Sunday at Hank Aaron Stadium.

The BayBears had a comfortable lead when the Wahoos came to bat in the last of the ninth. Aquino led off the inning and sent a no-doubter to left for his 18th home run of the season. Aquino finished the 2017 regular season by tying Juan Duran’s record of 17 home runs. Pensacola’s right-fielder has 20 games left in the season to set the new benchmark franchise record.

Aquino’s achievement is somewhat overshadowed by the loss. Despite pitching better, Wyatt Strahan (L, 6-10) was saddled with the loss after allowing six runs (three earned) over 5.2 innings. After stranding the bases loaded in the first, Mobile scored one in the second after Jam Jones doubled home Brandon Sandoval to give the BayBears a 1-0 lead.

With the BayBears leading 4-0 after the fourth, Pensacola strung together its best rally of the night when they scored three runs to make it a one-run game. After a base hit by Gavin LaValley and a throwing error, Chris Okey singled home the Wahoos first baseman to cut the deficit down to 4-1. Daniel Sweet followed with his second homer in as many games and Pensacola found themselves trailing 4-3.

The Wahoos would get no closer as the BayBears rallied for five runs over the final three innings. Brennon Lund delivered a two-run triple in the sixth and later scored on a Zach Gibbons single. In the seventh, Mitch Ghelfi swatted a two-run shot off Rafael De Paula to extend Mobile’s lead at the time to 9-3.

After a day off on Monday, the Wahoos will open a five-game series against the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp on Tuesday. LHP Seth Varner (7-2, 3.01) will start the opener for the Wahoos while Jacksonville has yet to disclose their starter.

Additional School Zone Safety Measures Added At New Beulah Middle

August 12, 2018

The Florida Department of Transportation has approved flashing caution lights and additional safety signage for the new Beulah Middle School on West Nine Mile Road, according to Escambia County School Board member Kevin Adams.

He said Superintendent Malcolm Thomas was also able to obtain two electronic billboards to alert motorists about the new school zone.

The Beulah Station of Escambia Fire Rescue will also provide school zone support beginning Monday, the first day of school, in the school zones of Beulah Middle and Beulah Elementary.

The new Middle School start time is 9:10 a.m. and ends at 4:10 p.m.

According to the school’s website:

If you are dropping your child off in the morning you will enter from Rebel Road and enter the gate closest to the track. You will drive straight around the circle and drop off anywhere around the circle and covered walkway. Once you drop off please do not go around other cars, please wait patiently so no one gets hit or hurt. You will exit out the gate closest to 9 Mile Rd.

For pick up

If you will be going East on 9 Mile Rd (that is to the right toward Navy Federal) you will enter the first gate closest to 9 Mile Rd and go straight towardsthe front of the school. You will pick your child up under the covered walk way and proceed straight, go around the island by the cafeteria and back to the front entrance and turn right going out.

If you will be going West on 9 Mile Rd. (toward Alabama) you will enter from the south side of Rebel road by the gate closest to the track. You will pick up your child along the circle and covered area. You will proceed to exit the same gate you came in. You will go South on Rebel Rd. to Beulah Church Rd. you will turn right and go to Mobile Hwy and turn right again until Mobile Hwy intersects 9 Mile Rd. You will turn left on 9 Mile Rd here.

Courtesy photos for NorthEscambia.com, click to enlarge.

PSC Student Tiffany Daniels Missing For Five Years

August 12, 2018

Sunday marked five years since 25-year old Tiffany Daniels went missing, last seen leaving Pensacola State College where she worked as a theater technician.

Her 1999 Toyota 4Runner was found August 20, 2013,  in a parking lot of Park West, near Ft. Pickens, on Pensacola beach. Her bicycle and phone were in the vehicle. Extensive searches were conducted in the area near where her vehicle was found.

“It’s like she literally vanished,” her mother Cindy Daniels said at the time.

Daniels is 5-feet 7-inches tall with blond hair and blue eyes. She has tattoos of plants growing from seeds on the top of both feet.  Anyone who may have information on Daniels’ location, or her activities before, during  and after her disappearance are asked to contact the  Pensacola Police Department at (850) 435-1900 or their local law enforcement agency.

UWF Announces Inaugural Argo Athletic Band

August 12, 2018

This fall, fans can enjoy a more traditional atmosphere at University of West Florida football games with the addition of the inaugural Argo Athletic Band. The band will play in the stands at all UWF home football games.

“Participants in the Argo Athletic Band will be part of a new university legacy and tradition. Students will develop friendships and make memories that will last a lifetime,” said Dr. Sheila Dunn, chair of the UWF Department of Music. “We have received tremendous support from community members for the development of this athletic band. It will be a thrill to perform our new fight song live at football and basketball games to help UWF fans and supporters cheer our teams on to victory.”

By creating the band, the University is building on the success of the football program during its first two seasons to establish more traditions and enhance school spirit on campus and in the community.

Previously, a Pep Band played at UWF basketball and volleyball games. Now, the size of the band will increase significantly to appear at UWF football games and game day activities.

“The addition of the Argo Athletic Band will enhance the student life experience and add another element of excitement to Athletic events,” said Dave Scott, athletic director. “Building off the success of the UWF Pep Band at our men’s and women’s basketball home games is something that will benefit the University in several ways.”

The Argo Athletic Band is open to students from all majors and participants will receive a $250 stipend.

Florida Gov’t Weekly Roundup: Silly Season Turns Toxic

August 12, 2018

Slinging possums, eating corn dogs and navigating putrid waters — all in the dog days of summer — are just a few of the extremes Florida candidates are going to as they try to emerge victorious at the ballot box.

The weeks leading up to elections are sometimes known as the “silly season,” but on numerous fronts in the Sunshine State, “the nasty season” seems a more fitting label.

http://www.northescambia.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/floridaweeklly.jpgIn their final debate before the Aug. 28 Republican gubernatorial primary, Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam and U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis jabbed early and often in an hour-long exchange Wednesday.

Putnam, the “establishment candidate” whose ascension to the governor’s office not long ago was considered inevitable, pulled out a pocketful of one-liners during the debate, often tweaking DeSantis for President Donald Trump’s endorsement of the Northeast Florida congressman.

“You’re running on an endorsement,” scoffed Putnam, who also derided DeSantis as “the Seinfeld candidate.” DeSantis, who has ridden Trump’s endorsement to a commanding lead in the race, accused Putnam of being “the errand boy for U.S. Sugar,” among other barbs.

Things got even uglier this week in the matchup between U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, a Democrat, and supporters of Gov. Rick Scott, the Republican trying to oust the long-serving senator.

In a news release titled “Bill Nelson Tragically Forced to Admit His Memory Is Failing,” the Senate Leadership Fund, a Republican super PAC, on Wednesday attacked Nelson for saying a day earlier that he couldn’t recall a 2010 letter he wrote about delaying the implementation of water-quality standards.

“It’s time for Bill Nelson’s caretakers to keep better tabs on the Senator’s whereabouts and public statements so that he is not embarrassed into admitting he’s no longer dealing from a full deck,” Senate Leadership Fund spokesman Chris Pack said in a news release.

Nelson’s campaign didn’t directly respond to the accusations about senility but instead blamed Scott for toxic algae blooms spreading on both sides of the Florida peninsula, calling the news release “a desperate attempt to distract from Rick Scott’s record of cuts and deregulation that helped create this toxic algae crisis.”

A day earlier, the 75-year-old Nelson bowed up when asked about the not-so-subtle inferences from his 65-year-old opponent’s campaign that the senator is past his sell-by date.

“Any time he wants to have a contest about push-ups or pull-ups, and we’ll see who is not up to it,” Nelson challenged Scott.

Down ticket on the Democratic side, relations for the most part had been relatively cordial, until the advent of Palm Beach billionaire Jeff Greene. Greene, who made his fortune as a developer, is spewing venom at former Congresswoman Gwen Graham over her family’s involvement in the “American Dream” mega-mall project, which is opposed by environmentalists, in South Florida.

Graham’s father, Bob Graham, earned the admiration of enviros and Floridians during his tenures as governor and U.S. senator for his work to protect Florida’s natural resources.

Gwen Graham, the frontrunner in the Democratic gubernatorial primary, released an ad accusing an unnamed “billionaire opponent” of “attacking me personally, even falsely attacking my dad, Bob Graham.”

Responding to the ad, Greene retorted: “Gwen Graham is no Bob Graham.”

Then, late Thursday, CBS Miami’s Jim DeFede dropped what some considered a bombshell. DeFede reported that Greene once slapped a former waitress on the arm because the music was playing too loud at Greene’s Omphoy Beach Resort, now called Tideline Ocean Resort and Spa.

According to a police report filed a few weeks after the Dec. 28, 2012, incident, waitress Lisa Ann Thomas complained that Greene “smacked me on the arm” and asked her to turn down the music. She told police she was “very offended” by Greene’s behavior and subsequently quit her job, but Thomas didn’t press charges.

“As can be read in the police report, this is simply a case of an employee having a bad day,” Greene spokeswoman Claire VanSusteren said in a press release.

The news of the 5-year-old incident — and Greene’s response — quickly sparked outrage among some supporters of Graham, the only woman in the crowded Democratic field. The National Organization for Women, which hasn’t endorsed Graham, issued a statement demanding that Greene step out of the race.

“This type of assault is rooted in power imbalance, and so it’s unfortunately not surprising that a billionaire like Jeff Greene victimized a female employee. It was incredibly brave of her to report the assault, and we stand with her,” NOW Florida president Terry Sanders said.

VanSusteren blasted back with a statement accusing NOW of choosing to “play politics with the critically important #MeToo movement” and accusing Sanders of retaliating against Greene for criticizing Graham’s environmental record.

WHO WOULD KRAMER SUPPORT?

Putnam, a two-term Cabinet member and former member of Congress, accused DeSantis, a three-term member of Congress, of running a campaign light on Florida issues.

Putnam mocked DeSantis — who has appeared frequently on Fox News — for relying heavily on his endorsement from Trump, likening the congressman’s campaign to the “Seinfeld” sit-com.

“The campaign is being run out of studio. They have a smattering of celebrity guest appearances. And at the end of the day, it’s all about nothing. But unlike Seinfeld, it’s not funny,” Putnam said. “Floridians deserved better than a candidate who makes it all about himself and not about the future of Florida.”

But DeSantis struck back at Putnam, noting the agriculture commissioner has spent his entire adulthood in political office and had accused Trump of being “vile” and “obscene” for sexual comments reported during the 2016 presidential campaign. He also noted Putnam did not campaign for Trump.

“No one knew where he was during the campaign. Now he acts like he is this big supporter?” DeSantis said. “This is inauthentic. This is a career politician trying to tell you what you want to see, not coming from the heart. He’s already proven he will say and do anything in terms of millions of dollars in fake ads to get elected. It’s not working. But that’s what he’s willing to do.”

Putnam shot back that DeSantis has run for three offices — an abandoned U.S. Senate bid, a congressional election and governor — since 2015.

“He’s run for three offices in three years. That’s a career politician with ADD,” Putnam said.

NO MORE REEFER MADNESS

There’ve been plenty of developments on the pot front recently, including the announcement that William “Beau” Wrigley, the heir to the chewing gum dynasty, led a $65 million investment in Surterra Wellness, one of Florida’s 14 licensed medical marijuana operators.

Meanwhile, a Tallahassee judge found a law limiting the number of medical marijuana operators in Florida runs afoul of a constitutional amendment approved by voters two years ago.

A cap on the number of “medical marijuana treatment centers,” as they are known in Florida law, “directly contradicts the amendment,” Leon County Circuit Judge Charles Dodson ruled in an eight-page order.

“Such limits directly undermine the clear intent of the amendment, which by its language seeks to prevent arbitrary restriction on the number of MMTCs authorized to conduct business in the state. The amendment mandates the availability and safe use of medical marijuana by qualifying patients,” Dodson wrote.

Dodson’s ruling, however, isn’t likely to have an immediate impact on the state’s medical marijuana industry as health officials move forward with a planned workshop Aug. 17 to take input on the process to award five new licenses.

In a separate blow to state health officials, an administrative law judge sided with an orchid grower that wants to get into the medical-marijuana business, rejecting a proposed state rule that was designed to help award up to two potentially lucrative marijuana licenses.

STORY OF THE WEEK: U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis and Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, Republicans vying to succeed Gov. Rick Scott, faced off in their second and final debate before the Aug. 28 primary election.

QUOTE OF THE WEEK: “We know that it wasn’t an amazing year. We know that it wasn’t the best year for Broward schools.” — April Schentrup, whose 16-year-old daughter, Carmen, was among the 14 students and 3 faculty members slain at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland on Feb. 14. Schentrup was responding to Broward County School Board member Donna Korn, who called the 2017-2018 academic year “one of the best for the county.”

by Dara Kam, The News Service of Florida

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