Pensacola, Florida
Monday July 22nd 2019


The Buzz 5/4/17

UWF Inauguration The University of West Florida formally installed Dr. Martha Saunders as its sixth president during the inauguration ceremony held on April 21 at the UWF Center for Fine and Performing Arts.

Marshall Criser III, chancellor of the State University System of Florida, Madeline Pumariega, chancellor of the Florida College System, Connie Crosby, widow of first UWF President Harold Crosby, past president Dr. John Cavanaugh, and Drs. Morris Marx and Judy Bense, presidents emeriti, attended the ceremony.

Saunders was selected as the sixth UWF president in September 2016, following a unanimous resolution passed by the Board of Trustees and confirmation by the Board of Governors in November. She assumed the role on Jan. 1, as the university launched its 50th Anniversary milestone celebration.

Saunders’ career in higher education began in 1984 at UWF, where she served as an instructor in the communication arts department. She quickly rose through the ranks, taking on roles including public relations program coordinator, director of the University Honors Program and Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.

Saunders also served as vice president for academic affairs at Columbus State University and as the first female chancellor of the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. She then led the University of Southern Mississippi as its first female president, before returning to UWF in 2013 as provost. In 2014, Saunders was appointed executive vice president at UWF, assuming the role as chief operating officer, in addition to chief academic officer and vice president for the Division of Academic Affairs.

Saunders envisions growth in enrollment, fundraising and campus structures at UWF by increasing its physical presence in downtown Pensacola and Fort Walton Beach, investing in programs such as global online, cybersecurity and supply chain logistics and visiting local high schools to recruit talented students.

“I foresee a future when people arriving in this area will know they are in a university town because they can see it, hear it, feel it, experience it,” Saunders said. “Our students will come to us fully confident in their choice because we will take them where they want to be.”

Southern League All-Star Game For the first time in team history, the Pensacola Blue Wahoos are set to host the Southern League All-Star game and activities at Blue Wahoos Stadium on June 19-20.

Presented by Wind Creek Atmore, Visit Pensacola and Pensacola Sports, tickets for the Southern League All-Star Game and events went on sale Monday, May 1. Festivities surrounding the All-Star Game include the All-Star Game Fan Fest & Home Run Derby, All-Star Gala at Seville Quarter, Southern League Hall of Fame Luncheon at New World Landing and the postgame Bubba’s Sweet Spot Celebration in Hancock Bank Club.

A special All-Star Package is available which includes one ticket to each event below and a special All-Star Game gift for $155. Fans will be able to purchase tickets online at or visiting the Box Office. Orders can also be placed over the phone by calling 934-8444.

Notable former Southern League All-Stars include Carl Crawford (2001), Matt Holliday (2002), Jake Peavy (2002), Adam Wainwright (2003), Prince Fielder (2004), Joey Votto (2006), Todd Frazier (2009), Joc Pederson (2013), Kris Bryant (2014) and Dansby Swanson (2016).

Notable Blue Wahoos All-Stars include Didi Gregorius (2012), Ryan LaMarre (2012), Michael Lorenzen (2014), Robert Stephenson (2014-2015), Ray Chang (2015), Tim Adleman (2015), Phillip Ervin (2016) and Alejandro Chacin (2016).

This marks the first professional all-star game in the city of Pensacola in 55 years. The last professional all-star game in Pensacola was the summer of 1962 when the Pensacola Senators, an affiliation of the Washington Senators, hosted the Alabama-Florida League All-Star Game at Admiral Mason Ballpark.

Praise for Gaetz Dan McFaul, former Chief of Staff for Congressman Jeff Miller, told Inweekly that the gridlock in Congress hasn’t vanished simply because Republicans control the executive and legislative branches.

“Republicans are finding out that it’s much easier to be the opposition party than it is to be the party in control,” said McFaul, who is a partner with Ballard Partners. “It’s harder to lead. It’s harder to get things through.”

He added, “You do have some conservative members of the party who want 100-percent of everything. They’re not willing to compromise on a single area. Then you’ve got some of the folks who are kind of in the middle and some of these swing districts out in California and up in the northeast United States.”

McFaul doesn’t envy the job Rep. Paul Ryan has as the Speaker of the House—a job that Ryan didn’t necessarily want, but was recruited to take.

“It really is herding cats, getting a certain number of members to vote for a bill to get it passed,” he said. “I like to think that the Congress is moving towards that direction.”

McFaul praised the early work of Rep. Matt Gaetz, who holds the seat once held by Miller.

“Certainly, your Congressman Matt Gaetz is doing a good job in moving towards that direction,” he said. “He’s introducing bills. He’s becoming a leader on the Judiciary, on the Budget Committee and the Armed Services Committee, but Congress still has some work to do.”

War Hero Commemoration Gulf Islands National Seashore officials announced the annual commemoration of Private Rosamond Johnson will be held at the Perdido Key Area at the Star Pavilion on May 6, at 10 a.m. The event is open to the public, and all are encouraged to attend.

The keynote speaker at this year’s commemoration will be U.S. Navy Captain Frank Smith, Retired. Captain Smith will be joined by Dan Brown, Gulf Islands National Seashore Superintendent, Alison Davenport, Perdido Key Chamber of Commerce, and Eugene Franklin, President/CEO Florida Black Chamber of Commerce, Inc. The NATTC Color Guard and Vocalist group will perform. Additionally, the ceremony will feature music as well as, artwork and essay contest winners, from the Global Learning Academy in Pensacola.

The ceremony will conclude with words from the Johnson family, and wreath laying ceremony at the Johnson monument. This program is made possible by the support of the Perdido Key Chamber of Commerce, Johnson Beach Society, and Florida Black Chamber of Commerce.

After enlisting in the U.S. Army at 15, Johnson died in combat, two years later on the Korean Peninsula. While engaging with the enemy, on July 26, 1950, Private Johnson carried two wounded soldiers to safety. He was fatally wounded while attempting to save a third wounded man. On August 21, 1950, Rosamond was posthumously awarded the Purple Heart for the wounds he sustained while saving his fellow soldiers.

At the time of his death, Pensacola beaches were racially segregated. The Sunset Riding Club, Inc. leased a county-owned recreational area in 1950 for the sole use of bathing and recreational facilities for “colored citizens.” In honor of his ultimate sacrifice, and in recognition as the first Escambia County resident, the recreational area became known as Rosamond Johnson Beach. The area became the park of Gulf Islands National Seashore in 1971, and the name was retained. Today, a monument and wayside honor Private Johnson and his service to the United States of America.

Johnson Beach is located within the Perdido Key Area of Gulf Islands National Seashore. It is one of the most popular beach recreation areas of the seashore and is open daily from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Cheering Travel Visit Pensacola is asking people to wear red and attend a rally at the Pensacola International Airport on Tuesday, May 9, from 9:30-11 a.m.

National Travel Rally Day is a concerted effort to demonstrate travel’s positive impact on local workers, businesses, and economies. It’s the hospitality industry’s chance to unite the local travel communities nationwide and publicly represent the importance of travel to media and elected officials.

As an important part of our area’s tourism industry, Visit Pensacola asks local businesses to help lead its efforts by attending this event and by encouraging their staff to attend, as well.

“Our goal is to have representation from all types of hospitality positions, from the front-line employees working valet to the management and sales staff,” said Visit Pensacola officials. “Employees who typically wear a uniform are encouraged to come dressed for work, while those who are not in uniform are encouraged to wear red to represent tourism and unity across the industry.”

Visit Pensacola also urges stakeholders to create signs or posters and bring along noise makers and pom-poms to have fun and increase awareness of the impact and effects travel and tourism have on the local and national economy. Parking passes will be handed out to attendees.

Signs could welcome visitors, focus on the impact of travel in the economy or simply cheer for travel and tourism.  Some examples: “Tourism Rocks!,” “Travel means jobs!,” and “I Love Travel!” They also ask locals check-in via social media and share that they are celebrating with the hashtag: #visitpensacola, #NTTW17, and #explorepcola.

If you have any questions, please email Leslie Brosofsky at or call 433-5398.

Escambia County Town Hall District 5 Commissioner Steven Barry will host a town hall meeting Tuesday, May 16 at 5:30 p.m. at the Barrineau Park Community Center located at 6055 Barrineau Park School Road in Molino. Residents are invited and encouraged to attend the open forum event to discuss issues with their commissioner.

For more information, contact the District 5 office at 595-4950 or

Civil Rights HOF Nominations The Florida Commission on Human Relations is now accepting nominations for the Florida Civil Rights Hall of Fame. The deadline for submission of nominations is Sept. 30. The judges will be looking for individuals who have made significant contributions and provided leadership toward Florida’s progress and achievements in civil rights.

“We are once again excited to be accepting nominations for next year’s Civil Rights Hall of Fame. This program honors leaders and advocates who have tirelessly worked to protect the rights of various populations throughout Florida,” said Michelle Wilson, Commission Executive Director. “We must continue our efforts to honor the civil rights pioneers who came before us and use their heroic stories as a way to educate and empower our next generation.”

Contributions of nominees can include community empowerment, legislative advocacy, grassroots organizing, coalition building, authored publications, organizational leadership, private and governmental entity diversity efforts and multicultural educational initiatives in any area of human and civil rights or related areas. Please visit to view the rules, criteria, nomination form, and other relevant information.

The Florida Commission on Human Relations, established in 1969, is the state agency charged with administering the Florida Civil Rights Act and Florida Fair Housing Act. Through education and partnerships, the Commission works to prevent discrimination and costly litigation through teaching best business practices and fostering understanding amongst Floridians about their rights and responsibilities under both state and federal discrimination laws.