Cleaning Up: Century To Hold Surplus Auction This Saturday

October 23, 2014

The Town of Century is cleaning house and putting surplus property on the auction block this Saturday.

Most of the items are from the former Helicopter Technology building in the town’s industrial park, and the town is anxious to make a deal to get rid of items left behind by the former tenant.

The items are grouped into several lots – couches and chairs, a marble slab, office desks and chairs, plastic tanks, shelving and wooden tables. The preview begins at 9 a.m. Saturday at 6081 Industrial Boulevard. Sealed bids will be opened at 11 a.m.

The town purchased the industrial building at public auction  for less than $1 out of pocket back in August 2009,  following the town’s foreclosure judgment against the now defunct Helicopter Technology company.  The surplus sale is being held to clean out the building and increase its marketability as the town seeks a new tenant and new jobs.

Century – Heart and Soul: This was the fourth story is a two-week series on  featuring Century.

Northview Manufacturing Tech Program Becomes Regional Model

October 22, 2014

The Automation and Production Technology Academy at Northview High School is being used as a model for similar academies at middle and high schools across the region.

Tuesday, the Northwest Florida Manufacturers Council’s Academy Task Force met at Northview to tour the manufacturing technology program to learn more about how it works. Upon completing the program, students are able to earn industry certifications that allow them to better compete for technical jobs upon graduation, or they can early college credits to continue their education.

According to Steve Harrell, the Escambia County School District’s curriculum coordinator for Workforce Education, employers are looking for job candidates that not only know how to create technical designs, but also have real experience implementing and constructing those designs.

“Employers are looking for the person with callouses on their hands,” said Harrell. “They want the person that knows how to design that also knows how to make it work.”

Training equipment was purchased for the Northview program with a $100,000 grant that allows students to get that experience.

“The students are excited and love the hands on; they are on the computers and the equipment from bell to bell,” said academy instructor Marty Lister.

And now, the Northwest Florida Manufacturers Council is set to recommend training equipment for middle and high schools across the region, based upon the Northview academy, The council has about $1.5 million from the state, with a goal of creating an academy in at least one middle and high school in each county in the region that is comprised of  Escambia, Santa Rosa, Okaloosa, Walton, Bay, Franklin, Gulf, Jackson, Calhoun, Holmes, Washington, and Liberty counties.

For more photos, click here. photos, click to enlarge.

UWF’s Haas Center To Assume Economic Development Role For Century Chamber

October 22, 2014

The University of West Florida’s Haas Center will assume the role of economic development coordination for the Century Area Chamber of Commerce following resignation of a chamber staffer.

A year ago, the chamber hired Cindy Anderson for the position, which was funded by a $40,000 contribution by the Escambia County Commission.  Anderson had spent a decade as executive director of Team Santa Rosa, a public-private partnership that was the economic development contractor for Santa Rosa County from 1992 until 2012. After leaving TEAM, Anderson was briefly retired before accepting an office manager position at an Atmore real estate firm.

Now, Anderson has left the Century chamber, accepting  a position as executive director of the Northwest Florida Manufacturers Council.

With another annual $40,000 contribution from the Escambia County Commission, the chamber will  term to the Haas Center to provide an economic development coordinator  and supplement pay and benefits to make it a full-time position.

The Haas Center recently developed Century’s economic development strategic plan, and the Haas staffer that will take over the chamber position will work to implement the plan.

“I thought it was the best of both worlds,” said Century Mayor Freddie MCall, “for us to use the county money and go ahead and contract with the Haaas center to implement this (economic development plan) for us.”

Century – Heart and Soul: This was the third story is a two-week series on  featuring Century.

Pictured top: The Century Area Chamber of Commerce. Pictured inset: Cindy Anderson, for economic development coordinator for the Century Chamber, at a recent chamber meeting. file photos, click to enlarge.

Navy Donates T-39 Training Aircraft To George Stone Technical Center

October 22, 2014

Like many retired Navy veterans that have served  decades on active duty only to return to serving their country in another role, one of the last T-39 Sabreliner jets to fly at Naval Air Station (NAS) Pensacola will help instruct students at George Stone Technical Center.

Instead of being flown to Davis-Monthan Air Force Base “boneyard” and languishing in the Arizona desert in lay-up, the airplane will become an integral part of the new Aviation Maintenance Program at GSTC.

“We are ecstatic about our partnership with the Navy and are very excited to get this jet,” said T. J. Rollins, principal at George Stone. “It was flying just a few months ago training Navy navigators, so it’s a fully-capable airplane for our new students to practice on as they work toward their certifications and licenses from the Federal Aviation Administration.”

The Navy-GSTC partnership happened through a chance meeting with the Escambia County School District’s Curriculum Coordinator for Workforce Education, Steve Harrell and a maintenance technician working at NAS.

“When I found out he worked on airplanes at the base, I mentioned that we were starting a new Aviation Maintenance Program at George Stone,” said Harrell. “He mentioned that they were retiring all of the T-39s and that I should ask the Navy if we could have one for our new program.”

John Appicelli, assistant officer in charge for the Chief of Naval Air Training detachment at NAS helped turn the suggestion into reality. He said that it was an unusual request, but it had merit.

“It took a lot of coordination between the Navy and government agencies, but we thought it was a great idea and would be well worth the effort,” said Appicelli. “We started the process in February and it took until now to work out all the details, including moving the jet to the school. As the aircraft left the base, ownership transferred to George Stone. I’m glad to see that it’s going to a good home and will continue to help launch aviation careers.”

Whisler Aviation from Seward, Neb. handled the transport of the T-39 to GTSC. The wing and fuselage were separated at NAS, trucked to George Stone and reassembled at the school Oct. 20 with the help of Deep South “The aircraft industry definitely needs qualified Airframe and Powerplant Mechanics as there is a shortage of A&Ps across America,” said Greg Whisler, president of Whisler Aviation. “In addition to transporting planes, we also have a repair facility that maintains aircraft, and we are always in need of certified A&P mechanics.”

The George Stone Aircraft Maintenance Program will be available for new  and current GTSC students and approval is anticipated for funding by the GI Bill and other veteran’s educational programs.

According to Keith Boring, program manager for the Navy’s Credentials Program Office, active-duty and reserve Navy and Marine Corps personnel will be eligible for funding for the certification testing portion of the Aviation Maintenance Program through the Navy’s Credentialing Online Program “We don’t fund for the training portion of the program, as many active duty and reserve service members qualify as a result of their military schools and on-the-job training,” said Boring. “Navy COOL does fund, however, for airframe, powerplant and combination testing for the necessary certification exams at qualified technical schools like George Stone.”

According to Harrell and Rollins, the goal of the Aviation Maintenance Program is to help develop a local workforce that can fill the future aerospace jobs coming through VT Mobile Aerospace Engineering, Airbus, and other regional employers. The GTSC Aviation Maintenance Program is currently in the process of receiving FAA approval and certification and is
scheduled to start the first class at GSTC in August of 2015.

by Ed Barker, Media Officer, Naval Education and Training Command for

Pictured top: A retired T-39 Sabreliner training jet fuselage is lowered onto its wing at George Stone Technical Center for use as part of their new Aviation Maintenance Program for students seeking a FAA Airframe and Powerplant certification. Pictured inset: The T-39 is loaded on a fladbed. Pictured below: Greg Whisler from Whisler Aviation and Kevin Henley from Deep South Cranes secure the nosewheel of the aircraft. Photo by Ed Barker, Naval Education and Training Command, for, click to enlarge.  Pictured bottom: The reassembled plane a parking lot Tuesday morning. Photo courtesy Allison Woodfin for, click to enlarge.

No Major Damage In Walnut Hill Kitchen Fire

October 22, 2014

A kitchen fire was out when firefighters arrived at a Walnut Hill home Tuesday evening.

The fire was reported about 5:50 p.m. at a home in the 5200 block of Wiggins Lake Road. The first firefighters on scene reported light smoke in the brick home but no fire. There was no major damage and no injuries in the incident.

The Walnut Hill Station of Escambia Fire Rescue responded to the reported fire. photos, click to enlarge.