Pensacola, Florida
Friday November 24th 2017

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The Buzz 6/25/15

Honoring Molly McGuire On Tuesday, June 23, friends and family of the late Molly McGuire Martin gathered at Pensacola State College for the announcement of the Molly McGuire Culinary Arts Endowed Scholarship.

“The Molly McGuire Culinary Arts Endowed Scholarship will forever enhance the Culinary programs offered at Pensacola State College,” said Edward Meadows, President of Pensacola State College. “This endowment will ensure that deserving students will have the financial resources necessary to fulfill their dream of attending this renowned program at Pensacola State. Molly McGuire’s legacy of outstanding hospitality in the restaurant industry provides a great example to our students entering this field.”

She and her husband, William McGuire Martin, opened McGuire’s Irish Pub in 1977, the year they married. McGuire was the cook, bartender and designer while Molly served as hostess, waitress and charismatic entertainer. Together they went on to build several world-celebrated restaurants, Flounders (Pensacola Beach, Florida, in 1982); McGuire’s Irish Pub (Destin, Florida, in 1996); Crabs, (Pensacola Beach, Florida, 2000); and Vinny McGuire’s Pizza (Destin, Florida, 2011).

When she died last year of “broken-heart syndrome” after attending her grandson’s funeral, Molly’s friends wanted to do something to honor her memory. After meeting with Dr. Meadows, they agreed to establish an endowment for culinary art students at Pensacola State College

“The intention was to raise at least $50,000for, not Molly McGuire Martin, but Molly McGuire Endowment for culinary students at Pensacola State College,” said attorney Jim Reeves, who has two children that Molly served as their godmother. “Well, hell, we’re up to about $200,000 so far, with over 200 people contributing.”

When asked what made Molly McGuire Martin so special, Reeves choked up.

“She was just a joy,” he said. “She personally answered every comment card. She was just the friendly face of McGuire’s Irish Pub. And the gal could sing.”

SRIA Budget Crisis The Escambia Board of County Commissioners asked the Santa Rosa Island Authority to cut its budget, and the board responded by voting to slash its FY 2016 budget in half.

Buck Lee, the SRIA’s executive director, hopes that instead of cutting services on Pensacola Beach, the BCC will give the money back to his agency to maintain the same service levels.

“The county asked us to cut our budget 50 percent, which we did,” said Lee on News Talk 1730 WCOA’s “Pensacola Speaks.”

The county’s plan is to take over the lifeguards and beach maintenance, according to Lee, but he hopes the BCC will keep the $4.5 million in the budget and let the SRIA staff continue to manage those services.

“We’ve done it before, we’ve checked every dime, and they knew where everything went, like it was supposed to,” Lee said.

Residents on Santa Rosa Island have been assessed both lease fees to the SRIA and taxes to Escambia County since 2004. The courts have upheld the county’s right to charge property taxes on the residents. The BCC wants to reduce lease fees paid by residents to the SRIA.

Some thought the simplest solution would be deeding the properties over to the leaseholders, but many of the master leases have been subdivided, which has made it nearly impossible to untangle the deeds.

Lee said, “Let’s say that we went to a master leaseholder, and let’s say he had fifty subleases, and we say we’re going to cut your master lease 50 percent. Well, there’s no grantee—and he doesn’t have to I don’t believe—to pass that savings on.”

He said he would hate for Pensacola Beach to lose its image.

“We were the number five beach in the United States with Trip Advisory, and that included Hawaii, and one of the reasons is our maintenance,” he said. “People don’t realize we start working out here at four in the morning with the first shift, the second one comes in at seven in the morning, the last comes in at four in the afternoon. They leave after midnight. There’s only three and a half hours we’re not out here doing something to make this beach great.”

Lee hopes SRIA supporters will lobby the county commissioners.

“I’m hoping some friends of mine can talk to some of the county commissions and say hey don’t you believe Buck has a decent idea just send them the money and they’ll keep track of it,” he said. “Let’s leave the beach the way it is.”