Pensacola, Florida
Sunday November 23rd 2014

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Winners & Losers 1/16/14

Winners
Great Gulfcoast Arts Festival
One of best-regarded, most popular arts festivals in the United States has always supported art programs and outreach by offering grants to local arts organizations. The GGAF board selected nine organizations to receive grants out of a total of $8,500 available for distribution. The grant recipients are Santa Rosa Arts and Cultural Foundation, Pensacola Little Theatre, Ballet Pensacola, Artel, First City Art Center, Pensacola Opera, Santa Rosa Education Foundation, Dixon School of the Arts and The Arc Gateway.

Pensacola Opera
Palafox Street is brighter than ever with new bronze plaques honoring the performing arts. Pensacola Opera laid bronze pavers recognizing major contributors to its 30th Anniversary Season ‘Securing the Future’ campaign. Donations to the campaign totaled over $800,000 and met two specific goals for the company: to stabilize the company financially and secure cash reserves to expand and enhance programming raise opera to an even higher level.

Visit Pensacola
It’s official. Tourism will no longer be a part of the Greater Pensacola Chamber. After 25 years, the Pensacola Bay Area Convention & Visitors Bureau is now under a standalone entity that will be directed by an 11-member board of local hospitality leaders and tourism professionals. Good luck.

Losers
Lionfish
Though not native to our gulf waters, these venomous, fast reproducing fish are aggressive eaters and feed on over 56 species of our marine life, including grouper, red snapper and mullet. Scientists predict the lionfish could turn into an environmental disaster for our fishing industry if the state doesn’t focus on curbing this booming population.

Chris Christie
The New Jersey governor saw his 2016 presidential hopes nearly shatter when it was discovered that his top advisers abused their power to punish a political rival. When the mayor of Fort Lee, N.J. didn’t endorse Christie’s 2012 re-election campaign, the governor’s deputy chief conspired with other advisers to close the entrance lanes to the George Washington Bridge. The closures delayed emergency responder and causes traffic jams in Fort Lee. Now the U.S. attorney is investigated the dirty politics.

County Administrator Selection
The five finalists for the Escambia County Commission — John Weaver, Jack Brown, Albert Penska, Ted Lakey and Bill Reynolds — are all white males, even though qualified women and African-Americans were in the candidate pool. One finalist made the top five despite getting a zero from one selection committee member. Commissioner Lumon May has cried foul. He is reviewing the voting and the videotape of the selection committee meeting.