Pensacola, Florida
Friday September 19th 2014

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Winners & Losers 6/12/14

Winners
Pensacola Pelican Drop
The New Year’s Eve event was selected as one of the Top 20 Events in the Southeast for December 2014 by the Southeast Tourism Society. Rankings for this honor were based on the event’s attendance, quality and distinction. Included in the rankings were events in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia. The Pensacola Pelican Drop is organized and produced by the Downtown Improvement Board and Pensacola Mardi Gras, Inc.

United Way of Escambia County
Its board of directors approved a second round of grants, totaling $50,360, to help our community recover from April 29-30 flooding. While the United Way did not have enough funding in the reserve set aside or in the disaster relief funds to fund all applications for funds, its board members approved five recommendations, the largest of which was to Manna Food Pantries, $32,400, to help it return to service as soon as possible.

Federal Emergency Management Agency
The federal government has stepped up in a big way to help Northwest Florida after severe storms, tornadoes and flooding hit parts our area. More than $28.8 million has been approved for FEMA Individual Assistance. This includes more than $24.2 million in rental costs and essential home repairs, and nearly $4.6 million to help cover other needs such as medical expenses and lost personal possessions.

Losers
BP And Anadarko Petroleum
The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a 2012 decision that the companies must face civil penalties under the Clean Water Act laws in connection with the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill. BP and Anadarko had argued that they should not be responsible for oil spilled as a result of failed equipment on the drilling rig.  The owner of the rig, Transocean, Ltd., agreed last year to pay the U.S. government $1 billion in civil penalties over the spill.

Offshore Drilling
The U.S. Chemical Safety Board has found that design problems with a blowout preventer contributed to the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster, and the same equipment is still commonly used in drilling four years after the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. This potential safety gap in offshore drilling operations leaves open the possibility of another similar catastrophic accident.

Escambia Public School District
The Florida Department of Education has posted the 2014 FCAT scores. Escambia County still remains below the state averages in reading for all grades. Elementary schools had the same percentage of students score a 3 or higher, which is considered passing and proficient for their grade levels. Middle school students showed improvements ranging from 1-2 percentage points. In high school, the ninth graders scored two points less than 2013 and tenth graders scored three points better.