Scott Picks Patronis, Brown For PSC; Skips Escambia’s Murzin

September 19, 2014

Looking to a political ally to fill the job, Gov. Rick Scott on Thursday named state Rep. Jimmy Patronis to a seat on the Florida Public Service Commission.

Scott also reappointed Commissioner Julie Brown to a four-year term on the panel that regulates utilities. Both appointments take effect in January, when the current terms of Brown and outgoing Commissioner Eduardo Balbis expire.

Scott chose Patronis and Brown from a list of seven finalists that also included former state Rep. Dave Murzin, R-Pensacola.

Patronis, 42, a Panama City Republican, is scheduled to leave the House in November because of term limits. Patronis, vice president of the family-run Captain Anderson’s Restaurant, was an early political supporter of Scott in 2010 and most recently has served as chairman of the House Economic Affairs Committee.

“Representative Patronis has faithfully served Florida families during his years of service in the Florida House of Representatives,” Scott said in a prepared statement. “I am confident that Jimmy will make an excellent addition to the Public Service Commission as he continues to put Florida families first.”

Brown, 39, an attorney from Tampa, has served on the Public Service Commission since January 2011. Balbis declined to seek another term.

by The News Service of Florida

Pictured: Dave Murzin.

Impact 100 Names Finalists For $102,500 Grants

September 19, 2014

Impact 100 Pensacola Bay Area has announced its 15 grant finalists for 2014.

Ten of the projects will each receive a grant of $102,500 when the winners are announced after final voting on October 19.

ARTS & CULTURE

  • Ballet Pensacola — Technology and Infrastructure for Production – Moving Ballet Pensacola Forward with IMPACT
  • First City Arts Alliance dba First City Art Center — Increasing Capacity, Building Community
  • The Santa Rosa County Creek Indian Tribe — Infrastructure Development of Tribal Grounds

EDUCATION

  • East Hill Academy — The IMPACT 100 Autism Learning Center: “Use Your WORDS”
  • Escambia County Public Schools Foundation for Excellence — Shoot For The Stars!
  • The Pensacola MESS Hall — The MESS Hall Express

ENVIRONMENT, RECREATION & PRESERVATION

  • Miracle League of Northeast Pensacola — Field of Dreams: Finishing the Work
  • Navarre Beach Sea Turtle Conservation Center — Conservation and Protection: Sea Turtle Center Improvements
  • Rotary Club of Pensacola Foundation — Rotary Centennial Playground

FAMILY

  • Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northwest Florida — 100 Men in 100 Days
  • Manna Food Pantries — Preparing for a Brighter Tomorrow
  • Society of St. Vincent De Paul Alfred Washburn Center — Living on the Edge

HEALTH AND WELLNESS

  • Alzheimer’s Family Services — Project Lifesaver
  • Health and Hope Clinic — Strengthening the Safety Net
  • Our Lady of Angels St. Joseph Medical Clinic — Improving and Expanding Patient Services

Chamber Celebrates Accomplishments During Annual Meeting

September 19, 2014

Thursday, over 400 community, business, state and regional representatives gathered for the Greater Pensacola Chamber’s 124th Annual Meeting in Downtown Pensacola. The event featured a commemorative year in review, as well as the official passing of the gavel from past Chamber Board of Directors Chair Gary Huston to current Chair Carol Carlan, the president of Sacred Heart Foundation.

“The Chamber is dedicated to driving economic prosperity, enhancing our region’s quality of life and supporting local businesses through public advocacy and partnership support,” said Carlan. “I am honored to serve as the Chair for an organization that continues to have positive impacts on our community and enhances our region.”

“As one of Northwest Florida’s oldest and largest business associations, the Chamber continues to stand united as an organization of passionate and innovative leaders driven to provide professional, personable and positive assistance to companies in our region,” said Greater Pensacola Chamber President Jerry Maygarden. “This annual event enables us to reflect on our year-long accomplishments that have contributed to making our organization a valuable voice for the business community.”

Pictured top: Gary Huston (right), 2013-2014 Chair of the Greater Pensacola Chamber Board of Directors, officially passes the gavel to the 2014-2015 Chair Carol Carlan (left) during ther chamber’s annual meeting Thursday. Photo for NorthEscambia.com, click to enlarge.

JV Football: Northview Beats West Florida 16-14

September 19, 2014

Nortview High School’s JV football team beat West Florida tonight 16-14.

Northview scored in the first quarter on a touchdown run by Toney Harrison. They converted a two-point conversion on a run by Jared Aliff.

The JV Chiefs scored on the first play of the 4th quarter on a touchdown run by Hunter Edwards. Toney Harrison converted the two-point conversion to put Northview up 16-0. West Florida countered with two late touchdowns, cutting the lead to 16-14.

Toney Harrison also had a sack and forced fumble in the first quarter.

Northview’s JV will travel to Baker on October 16 and round out their season when they  host West Florida on October 23.

All About Peanuts: 48th Annual Santa Rosa Farm Tour Held

September 19, 2014

The 48th Annual Santa Rosa Farm Tour was held Thursday.

Participants had the opportunity to watch a peanut digging demonstration at the Roy Ward Farm in Chumuckla and learn about the science of peanut farming at the UF/IFAS West Florida Research and Education Center in Jay.

The day’s events also included visits to the Golden Peanut Company in Jay and Holland Farms for boiled peanuts.

Pictured: Participants in the 48th Annual Santa Rosa Farm Tour enjoy boiled peanuts at Holland Farms. Courtesy photos for NorthEscambia.com, click to enlarge.

Volleyball: Lady Chiefs Split Games With Central

September 19, 2014

The Northview Lady Chiefs split volleyball games with Central High Thursday.

In junior varsity action, Central won 11-25, 20-25.

In varsity action, Northview won 25-11, 25-22, 23-25, 25-14

The varsity Lady Chiefs will take part in the Spanish Fort Tournament Friday and Saturday. The JV will be back on the court Monday in Chipley at 4:00, with the varsity to follow at 5 p..

NorthEscambia.com file photo, click to enlarge.

Florida Voters Appear Prepared To Pass Conservation Amendment

September 18, 2014

Florida voters appear poised in November to pass a constitutional amendment that would require setting aside billions of dollars for land conservation and other environmental projects.

The proposed “Water and Land Conservation” amendment would earmark 33 percent of the state’s documentary-stamp tax revenues — fees paid when real estate is sold — for 20 years. The money would go to buy conservation lands, protect areas vital to the water supply and restore natural systems that have been degraded, such as the Everglades.

But some Republican and business leaders are raising concerns that Amendment 1 could make it harder to balance the state budget in the future.

“In a perfect world, you wouldn’t want it in the constitution,” said incoming Senate President Andy Gardiner, R-Orlando. “As a legislator, you want as much flexibility as you can, and it doesn’t belong in the constitution.”

Other critics of the measure include House Speaker Will Weatherford, a Wesley Chapel Republican who has argued that “legislating via constitutional amendments” doesn’t work, and Senate President Don Gaetz, a Niceville Republican who has said the amendment would shift too much land to state control.

But supporters of Amendment 1 say it came about after state funding for land preservation dwindled during the last recession.

“The conservation community took the hit like everyone else when the economy turned south,” said Allison DeFoor, chairman of Florida’s Water and Land Legacy campaign, which backs the amendment. “And then things just didn’t get readjusted when the economy began to turn.”

The proposal appears likely to get the required 60 percent support from voters to pass. According to the Florida Chamber of Commerce — which opposes the measure — 78 percent of the state’s voters support the amendment.

“Little is known about it, but it has a powerfully effective ballot title, in synch with Florida’s pro-environment leanings,” said University of South Florida political science professor Susan MacManus, who expects it to pass.

Supporters point to the Florida Forever program, which uses bonds backed with revenue from documentary stamps and authorizes lawmakers to spend up to $300 million a year for land preservation. The last year Florida Forever’s funding approached that mark was 2008.

Supporters of Amendment 1 say it will generate about $10 billion over 20 years, while the state appears to project higher numbers. A state analysis estimates the total would be $648 million during the fiscal year starting in July 2015 and eventually grow to $1.268 billion by the 20th year.

“You would think that we could at least spend 1 percent of our state budget on water and land conservation,” said Will Abberger, campaign manager for Florida’s Water and Land Legacy. “That’s what Amendment 1 represents: having that constitutional dedication so that no matter who’s in public office, we know that there is going to be funding.”

But others are wary. David Hart, executive vice president of the Florida Chamber of Commerce, said Amendment 1 would put state leaders in a bind during an economic crisis.

“It’s hard enough for the Legislature to balance (competing) budgetary needs, but if $20 billion is set aside and untouchable, what else is going to get cut to make up for that?” Hart asked. “Are they going to have to cut education or senior health care? Those are some choices that are very real, should we get another recession.”

DeFoor said the amendment had been carefully crafted to budget for hard times.

“It’s short in duration, it’s only 20 years, it’s reasonable in the amount (and) it puts us kind of back where we were,” he said. “It’s fixed by percentage, so if things get better, we all get better. And if things were, God forbid, to deteriorate, we’d take the hit, too.”

Despite their qualms about Amendment 1, Republican legislative leaders say they respect voters’ support for it.

“If the amendment is passed, then we’re certainly going to scrupulously follow it and put those revenues toward those purposes,” said Senate Appropriations Chairman Joe Negron, R-Stuart.

by Margie Menzel, The News Service of Florida

Escambia, Santa Rosa Farm Bureaus Complete 1.5 Ton Peanut Butter Donation To Manna

September 18, 2014

The Florida Peanut Producers and the Farm Bureau in Escambia and Santa Rosa counties has completed their donation of one and a half tons of peanut butter to the Manna Food Bank.

After discussing the flood that damaged the Manna warehouse and food supply, the Escambia County Farm Bureau voted to spend $1,000 to buy peanut butter, Manna’s most needed item. The Santa Rosa County Farm Bureau board then voted to donate $1,001 toward the peanut butter donation.

When notified of the purchase of peanut butter, the board of directors of Florida Peanut Producers and Ken Barton, executive director and agreed to match the purchase and donated a pallet of peanut butter.

With the two counties cooperation and the match from the Florida Peanut Producers, 2,880 jars of peanut butter were donated. The first pallet was donated back in August, and the second pallet of  Peanut Proud peanut butter was donated last week.

File photos.

Judge Takes Aim At Florida Prison Phone Contract

September 18, 2014

An administrative law judge said  that the Florida Department of Corrections should toss out proposals by three companies to provide phone services to prison inmates.

The department gave notice this year it planned to award a contract to Global Tel Link, a move that drew protests from competitors CenturyLink Public Communications, Inc., and Securus Technologies, Inc.

The case focused, at least in part, on commissions that the department could receive and how those potential payments were factored into proposals submitted by the companies. In a 53-page decision, Judge John D.C. Newton concluded that Global Tel Link and Securus did not properly include commissions in their pricing proposals.

“Commissions are also critical factors both to the price paid by inmates and their designees and the department, should it collect the revenue,” Newton wrote. “They are also an important variable considered by vendors when they construct their proposals. Basing a decision on prices that do not include commissions when the RFP (the department’s request for proposals) required including them, is contrary to competition, clearly erroneous, arbitrary, and capricious.”

Newton called for the rejection of all three proposals, a recommendation that will go back to the department.

by The News Service of Florida

NorthEscambia.com photos, click to enlarge.

Pedestrian Killed On Mobile Highway

September 17, 2014

A pedestrian was struck and killed on Mobile Highway in front of Walmart this morning.

The Florida Highway Patrol said 46-year old Leonard Roy Deloach of Mobile was crossing Mobile Highway about 5:50 a.m. when he walked into the patch of a 2003 Ford F-150 driver by 44-year old Daniel Scott of Summerdale.

Deloach was pronounced deceased at the scene. Alcohol was not a factor in the crash, according to the FHP.

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