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Monday July 28th 2014

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Winners & Losers 5/15/14

Winners
Rick Scott
The governor of Florida has been here twice since the flooding. He and his staff have responded quickly to community needs and have promised more help.  We like his message, “Tell us your needs, we will get you everything we can.”

Michael Ferguson
During the University of West Florida Spring 2014 Commencement, UWF President Judy Bense recognized Brig. Gen. Michael Ferguson for his distinguished service to the University and the Northwest Florida community. Ferguson, who served as the Commencement keynote speaker, was awarded an Honorary Doctorate in Humane Letters, the highest form of recognition a university can bestow.

Ashton Hayward
The mayor won city council approval for a fish hatchery on Bruce Beach. The proposed Gulf Coast Marine Fisheries Hatchery and Enhancement Center will be built using $18 million in BP funds as part of the Natural Resource Damage Assessment process.

Caron Sjöberg
The Pensacola Chapter of the Florida Public Relations Society named Sjöberg, president of Ideaworks, its Communicator of the Year for her work on behalf of numerous organizations. She is active with numerous non-profits, from Council on Aging of West Florida to “Start Up Weekend Pensacola 2013.” Each year, her agency chooses a local nonprofit for a Goodworks grant to provide a year’s worth of public relations and marketing assistance for free.

Losers
Escambia County Jail
It’s never good news when you are negotiating with Department of Justice over conditions at your jail and one of your facilities explodes, killing two prisoners and paralyzing a corrections officer. The Board of County Commissioners refused to fund the jail at the level Sheriff David Morgan said was necessary to comply with DOJ and took back the jail to save money. Be careful what you ask for.

University of West Florida Budget
The university did not fare well in the 2014 Florida Legislative Session. The new performance funding system approved by the lawmakers will cost the university $3.82 million.  The school received low marks for its student retention and six-year graduation rates and has a year to improve to earn back some of the lost funds.

Northwest Florida
Forget global warming. The more apt description is climate change and we need to take heed. The National Climate Assessment Report, which was released May 6, warned that coastlines will be in danger. Sea levels will continue to rise and the risk of flooding will intensify. The weather conditions that caused the heavy flooding in areas that rarely flood may become more common. It may be time to redefine what a 100-year storm is.