Pensacola, Florida
Saturday August 30th 2014

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Winners & Losers 9/26/13

Winner

Collier Merrill
Developer and restaurant owner Collier Merrill made his last meeting as the chairman of the Community Maritime Park Associates a memorable one. Flanked by most of her athletic leadership team, University of West Florida President Dr. Judy Bense announced that the school’s first football team will play its inaugural season at the maritime park. Merrill has served since 2006 on the board and its chairman since 2011. He deserves kudos for his service.

Bill Reynolds
Former Pensacola city administrator has been cleared of a non-criminal public records violation for not fulfilling a public request last year for the city’s new logo. Escambia County Judge Thomas Johnson cleared Reynolds of the charge in a written decision issued on Sept. 13. The mayor’s former press secretary, Derek Cosson, had pleaded no contest to the charge in July and was fined $350.

Helen Walker Tolar
The Gulf Breeze native has been named chief of staff for Arkansas U.S. Sen. John Boozman. Tolar currently serves as staff director and chief counsel of the House Committee on Veterans Affairs. She’ll join Boozman’s staff at the end of the month. Before working for the Veterans Affairs committee, Tolar worked for U.S. Rep. Jeff Miller. She received her law degree from the University of South Carolina School of Law.

Loser

Malcolm Thomas
A Pensacola High School student was shot to death a few blocks away from his high school on the evening of Thursday, Sept. 19. Less than 24 hours later, the PHS Tigers football team played a home game against the Milton High Panthers. The PHS administration had spent the day making sure the campus was safe and counseling the students. Cancelling the football game would have sent a powerful message about street violence and the value of life.

Margie Wilcox
The owner of Pensacola Bay Transportation is under fire—pun intended—after one of her vans went up in flames last May. She may lose her paratransit contracts with the state and county over her alleged scheduling and safety issues. Wilcox is based in Mobile, Ala. where she owns Yellow Cab of Mobile. She is also a candidate for the Alabama House of Representatives, District 104. You can bet there are no photos of the charred van on her website.

FDLE
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement has proposed that police can arrest members of the public who don’t leave the Capitol building by 5 p.m. each weekday or within a half hour of the end of a public meeting. Their goal appears to be preventing another sit-in like the month-long one held by Dream Defenders in July.