MALCOLM THOMAS Last year, the Escambia County Superintendent of Schools refused to allow his students to hear President Barack Obama’s speech to open the school year. It was too disruptive, according to Thomas. That was then, this is now. Superintendent Thomas did allow this week his principals and teachers to make the decision for themselves on whether or not their students can watch the speech.
JIM DIXON The retired Pensacola Fire Chief James A. Dixon, Jr. passed away on Sept. 7. He began his career in the Pensacola Fire Department in January of 1977 as a rookie firefighter and rose through the ranks to be named the Fire Chief in 1993, retiring in 2006. Jim served as the Florida Fire Chief’s Association’s Northwest Regional Director from 1999-2006, as well as a foundation trustee from 2000-2003. He was commissioned with the designation of Chief Fire Officer in 2004, one of only 372 CFOs worldwide at the time.
DEBORAH TRACY For 15 years, her shop, Angel’s Garden, has put on “New Beginnings,” an art show designed to raise awareness and support for victims of domestic violence and abuse. This year, Tracy had over 60 artists participate.
OPERATION WE CARE On the ninth anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, families of local National Guard troops joined forces at Ellyson Industrial Park to put together care packages for their loved ones serving overseas. Since March, the group has raised about $4,700 to cover the cost to send the packages. Leftover money will go toward a homecoming party for the troops.
MALCOLM THOMAS The Escambia County Public School District sent home to parents of Cordova Park, A. K. Suter and N. B. Cook letters that pointed out that the African-American, Economically Disadvantaged and Disabled students did not make Adequate Yearly Progress. Such letters are divisive by labeling an entire group of students as failures. Healthy, rich white students got a free pass, even if they scored poorly.
KEN FEINBERG We know it sounded too good to be true. The Gulf Coast Claims Facility is a train wreck. Locals are reporting that they preferred BP’s claims process; at least BP talked to them. Remember, there is no appeal process with Feinberg. The only alternative is the court system.
BP The oil giant continues to backtrack. Reuters has reported that CEO Bob Dudley told Citigroup analysts that he believes that compensation claims related to the Gulf of Mexico oil disaster will be less than the $20 billion the company set aside to meet the claims. Once again, BP says one thing and plans to do something different.
TERRY JONES The pastor of Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville got his 15 minutes of fame by threatening to burn hundreds of copies of the Holy Qur’an on the anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. He claimed that Jesus would have done so—we guess if it had existed back then. The publicity stunt got Jones international coverage and a pleading call from the Secretary of Defense. That day came and went without the promised bonfire, for reasons that are as of yet unclear.