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Winners & Losers 12/26/13

Winners
Pensacola Habitat for Humanity
As part of Wells Fargo’s Leading the Way Home® Priority Markets Initiative, the company presented Pensacola Habitat for Humanity with a $50,000 Priority Markets Initiative grant to help increase the availability of affordable housing while stabilizing and rebuilding distressed neighborhoods. Pensacola Habitat was one of 32 organizations across the country that received a grant from Wells Fargo.

Hangout Music Festival
Paste Magazine ranked the Gulf Shores, Ala. music festival as the third best such event in 2013, behind Coachella and Bonnaroo.  Hangout finished ahead of such perennial favorites as the New Orleans Jazz Festival and South By Southwest. Its closing act, Stevie Wonder, may be one of the best performances of the year.

Scott Luth
The vice president for economic development at the Greater Pensacola Chamber is the unsung hero on the Memorandum of Understanding between the city of Pensacola and ST Aerospace. Because of his tireless efforts, Pensacola may get 300 new jobs at the Pensacola International Airport Commerce Park. These types of projects take years to reach fruition. We are lucky to have a professional handling it for us.

Barry Manilow
The singer-songwriter Barry Manilow is bringing his Manilow Music Project to the Escambia County School District in Florida. Manilow is donating a Yamaha piano to launch a local music instrument drive.

Losers
Florida Dept. Of Transportation
State highway official authorized the clear-cut of a stand of mature live oaks located along Scenic Highway at the Interstate 10 on-ramp. The trees were removed to make way for new interstate ramps, sound walls and two storm water retention ponds as part of the ongoing widening of I-10 and Scenic Highway. The three-year $43.1 million project will widen the interstate between Davis Highway and the Escambia Bay bridge from four to six lanes. DOT has promised to replenish the trees.

Robert Michael Ardis
The self-described “poster-child for vexatious litigants” was ordered by the 1st District Court of Appeal this week ordered to stop filing motions in an already-decided case about his firing. Pensacola State College fired Ardis after he returned from a sabbatical and presented the college with a master’s degree from an online “diploma mill,” according to the order. He unsuccessfully challenged the firing in arbitration, Escambia County circuit court and the 1st District Court of Appeal.
A three-judge panel also threatened to take further action if Ardis continues firing off paperwork.

Daphne Ann Whited
A Cantonment woman dubbed “Mrs. Grinch” was arrested for stealing Christmas decorations from other people’s homes. She told deputies that a Craigslist ad told her “the decorations would be sitting on the lawn for her to take.”