March 7, 2014
The Escambia County Commission has voted to pledge $8 million in local option sales tax funds to help bring ST Aerospace to the Pensacola airport. The Singapore-based aerospace company that employees 1,300 in Mobile, plans to hire 300 in Pensacola.
District 5 Commissioner Steven Barry voted against the plan, express concerns over insufficient collateral from the city’s pledged Communications Service Tax. He said the city has already pledged too much of the tax, and the legislature may cut the tax during their current session.
“I’d don’t think the Communications Services Tax is secure enough,” Barry said. “I’d like to have a second revenue source that’s pledged.”
Pictured: Commissioner Steven Barry addresses ST Aerospace during a Thursday morning meeting.
March 7, 2014
Florida expects to be added to a multi-state federal lawsuit against BP over “widespread” damages from the Deepwater Horizon disaster, after spending nearly three years unsuccessfully trying to resolve the matter on its own.
On Wednesday, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Panama City about the environmental impacts from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil-spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
Department of Environmental Protection spokeswoman Kendra Parson said the state anticipates the suit will be added to an ongoing federal lawsuit against BP in the Eastern District of Louisiana by Alabama, Louisiana and other plaintiffs.
In April 2011, the state rejected a chance to join the federal lawsuit, with Gov. Rick Scott saying at the time he wanted to ensure Florida was “treated fairly” in terms of receiving reimbursement from BP.
Officials with the Attorney General’s Office said at the time that a settlement could be reached without litigation as early as the summer of 2011 unless the oil company refused to cooperate.
Parson said attempts to reach a settlement have been unsuccessful and that discussions related to the case remain confidential.
Scott, when asked Thursday about plans to join the federal lawsuit, said it’s the “right time to hold BP accountable for doing harm to our state.”
Attorney General Pam Bondi said state attorneys continue to work with BP “to do the best we can.”
She added that the change in the state’s legal approach is “a necessary step to begin to restore Florida’s vital resources and the tremendous damage Florida suffered because of this oil spill. We are a tourism state.”
The 17-page complaint doesn’t estimate the extent of damages to Florida.
“While the full extent of the Deepwater Horizon spill and the environmental damages may not be known for years, the impacts to date have been widespread and severe, damaging the organisms, habitats and ecosystems in Florida waters and to Florida’s coastline,” the suit states. “The damages include, but are not limited to, damages to Florida’s sandy beaches, salt marshes, wetlands, estuaries, submerged aquatic vegetation, deepwater communities and coral reefs as well as injuries to numerous wildlife species and aquatic species including fish, sea turtles, oysters, birds, and manatees.”
Geoff Morrell, BP senior vice president for U.S. communications and external affairs, said in an email that BP is reviewing Florida’s lawsuit and highlighted the actions the company has taken since the Deepwater Horizon accident.
“To date, BP has spent more than $26 billion to help restore the Gulf, including more than $14 billion on response and clean-up and more than $12 billion on claims paid to individuals, businesses and government entities,” Morrell said. “To accelerate environmental restoration, BP voluntarily agreed to spend up to $1 billion on early restoration projects and has reached agreement or agreements in principle with the trustees on approximately $698 million in projects.”
Florida’s suit also names Anadarko Petroleum Company, Anadarko E&P Company, Transocean Ltd., Transocean Holdings, Transocean Offshore Deepwater Drilling, Transocean Deepwater Inc., and Triton Asset Leasing.
The suit is separate from one filed last April by Florida against BP and contractor Halliburton seeking to recoup at least $5.48 billion in lost state revenue because of the Deepwater Horizon rig explosion and oil spill.
by Jim Turner, The News Service of Florida
Pictured: Oil washed onto Pensacola Beach following the BP spill. NorthEscambia.com file photos, click to enlarge.
March 6, 2014
Volunteers, family, friends, the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office, Escambia County Animal Control and the ingenuity of the Cantonment Station of Escambia Fire Rescue came together Wednesday afternoon to help a rescue horse in need in Cantonment.
The horse, named Ebony, is being housed by Escambia County at Panhandle Equine Rescue in Cantonment after being seized about a week ago from the 400 block of Crowndale Court. Ebony was severely malnourished when seized, according to PER President Diane Lowery. A second horse seized from the property was put down by a veterinarian due to its state of malnourishment.
But volunteers have been working, almost literally around the clock, to save Ebony.
Tuesday night, she fell in her stall, requiring numerous volunteers to get her back to her feet. She went down again Wednesday, with volunteers unable to lift her….until the crew of Cantonment’s Fire Rescue Engine 419 put their training and brainpower to work. The firemen designed a sling and used a ladder, chains, straps and a come-along to lift her. Once she was upright, a veterinarian was able to administer IV fluids.
“A lot of people have invested a lot of time, labor and emotions into this horse,” Lowery said. “I just oh so want to see her live.”
“There’s thunder and it’s raining,” she said. “But I’ve got to go out there and check on her.” Lowery said she had IV fluids, plus a group of volunteers and the Cantonment firemen on standby in case she needed help during the night.
“We can’t say that nobody tried for Ebony,” she said. “Everyone has gone above and beyond.”
Lowery said the owner of Ebony and the horse that was put down are expected to face felony charges. The case is currently under investigation.
Pictured above: Escambia County Animal Control, the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office, Escambia County Fire Rescue’s Cantonment Station and volunteers use a makeshift sling to lift Ebony Wednesday afternoon. Pictured below: Ebony, a malnourished horse seized about a week ago by Escambia County, was unable to get on her feet in her stall Tuesday night. Photos for NorthEscambia.com, click to enlarge.
March 6, 2014
Crews will begin construction activities on Fannie Road just outside Century next week.
The $1.8 million project will replace the bridge on Fannie Road over Dead Lake with a new concrete structure consisting of two 12-foot wide travel lanes and eight foot shoulders. Fannie Road will be closed during construction and traffic detoured on to Highway 4 and Highway 29 in Florida and Highway 29 and Old Fannie Road in Alabama. Restrictions will remain in effect through fall 2015.
All activities are weather dependent and may be rescheduled in the event of inclement weather.
March 6, 2014
Northview High School Cadet LCDR Kasie Braun, NJROTC Company Commander, was selected for the Area Eight ROTC “Joseph C. Gilliam Award”. Braun completed against cadets from 50 ROTC units in Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana to win this prestigious award, a first for Northview’s NJROTC unit. Pictured: LCDR Kasie Braun watches cadets during a Pass In Review recently at Northview High School. NorthEscambia.com file photo, click to enlarge.