Pensacola, Florida
Thursday December 14th 2017

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The Buzz 11/30/17

Gaetz: Climate Change Believer On Monday, Nov. 20, Congressman Matt Gaetz (R-Fort Walton Beach) said he believes the science behind climate change and that those who deny the facts will be seen as being on the wrong side of history.

“I believe the Earth is warming. I believe that humans contribute to that warming,” said Rep. Gaetz. “And I think that history will judge very harshly those who are climate deniers. And I don’t want to be one of them. I want to work together with Republicans and Democrats on bipartisan solutions to climate change.”

Gaetz was speaking at town hall meeting hosted by News Talk 1370 WCOA and Inweekly in the Studer Community Institute building in downtown Pensacola.

Recently the freshman congressman from Fort Walton Beach joined the Climate Solutions Caucus, a group formed in early 2016 to bring Republicans and Democrats together to advance meaningful climate change legislation.

Gaetz said at the town hall that he believes in bipartisan solutions that will create innovations to deal with climate change more effectively than adding more regulations.

He hasn’t changed his mind about the Environmental Protection Agency. In February, Gaetz introduced H.R. 861, which would “terminate” the EPA on December 31, 2018. He still believes that the states do a better job of protecting the environment than the federal agency. To illustrate his point, he talked about how the EPA failed to protect Flint, Mich. residents from lead poisoning in its drinking water.

“There is a ton of evidence that suggests that the EPA is not effective at protecting our environment,” said Gaetz. “Well, the best evidence comes from the EPA’s own inspector general, who did a report after the Flint, Mich. fiasco and found out that the EPA had information that the water supply was being poisoned. Had the authority to act. Knew that they had the authority to act. And did nothing.”

He added, “So I would totally reimagine the EPA, and I would try to design a system where we actually use more technology at the local level.”

Rising Star Nominations Since 2008, Inweekly has recognized the under 35-year-olds in our community who have been seen by their peers, clients and bosses as up-and-coming leaders in their professions and the greater Pensacola area.

The newspaper has honored more than 500 men and women over the past nine years. Those honored represent a broad range of professions—including doctors, lawyers, artists, teachers and small business owners.

We are seeking nominations for the 2018 Rising Star class. The requirements are: 1) must be under the age of 35 on Dec. 31, 2017; 2) must live, work or go to school in Escambia or Santa Rosa counties; and 3) must not have been previously selected as an Inweekly Rising Star.

Nominations must be emailed to rick@inweekly.net by midnight on Friday, Dec. 8. Send us their name, email address and brief reason why you believe they are a Rising Star. The Rising Star issue will be published on Jan. 25, 2018.

VPS Wins Again The Pensacola International Airport rebounded from a weak September to have 8,302 more passengers in October 2017 than it did a year ago. Year-to-date, the Pensacola airport has had 68,136 more passengers than the same period, Jan.-Oct., in 2016.

However, nearby Destin-Fort Walton Beach Airport has even greater growth. The airport had 24,934 more passengers in October than it did in 2016.  The Okaloosa county faculty has handled 243,493 more passengers for the year when compared to last year.

Destin-Fort Walton Beach’s passenger increase is more than three times greater than the local airport.

District 3 Seat Vacant For three months, the District 3 seat on the Escambia County School Board has been vacant. The part of the community with some of the lowest performing schools in the state of Florida has not had anyone to represent them since Linda Moultrie resigned in early August.

When Superintendent of Schools Malcolm Thomas announced Moultrie was stepping down as school board chair, he praised the three-term board member.

“Linda Moultrie has been an outstanding leader in our community, representing the students and their families in District 3, as well as the interests of the entire county, with professionalism,” he said in a press release. “She has made this decision because it is what is best for her family and we will respect her wishes and support her as she makes this transition.”

It was the second time Moultrie has resigned. In October 2015, she announced her resignation only to reconsider. Moultrie was elected to the Escambia County School Board as the District 3 representative in August 2008 and was re-elected in 2010 and 2014.

Her “transition” may not last long. On Sept. 19, Moultrie pre-filed to run again for her seat in 2018.

Meanwhile, 10 locals have sent in applications to Gov. Rick Scott’s office to fill the seat. The list includes former Pensacola City Councilman John Jerralds, community leaders, educators and others who have run for various political offices—Laura Edler, Lee Hanson, Willie Kirkland, Lutimothy May, Charlie Nichols, Kelly Odom, Bea Thomas, Charles Thornton and Delarian Wiggins.

Local civil rights activist Ellison Bennett told Inweekly that he learned from the governor’s office staff that there is no deadline for the appointment a new board member.

“There is no timeline for him to make the appointment,” Bennett told Inweekly. “It is entirely left up to him. He can wait until the election cycle of next year or he can appoint somebody as early as tomorrow, but it is a decision that the governor will have to make.”

He continued, “What concerns me, he’s been to Pensacola twice in the last 30 days and has not said a word about the vacancy for District 3 school board, and I don’t know if the people that surround him even brought it up.”

Bennett is upset about the vacancy. He said, “How can you get a slice of the pie if you’re not sitting at the table?”

Other school board members have assured him that they will take care District 3.

“Well, that sounds good politically, but in reality, District 3 should have a representative,” said Bennett. “Shame on Mrs. Moultrie, because she has quit twice. Twice. That is letting the children of District 3 down, and that’s why everybody is scratching their head about her pre-filing to run in 2018.”

He added, “We’ve got a lot of problems going on with the school system, and especially children not graduating from school in District 3. We need a representative there who is going to try to have some dialogue with parents, teachers, and students and move that number upward. That’s where we need to go.”

Tanyard Wants Hatchery Moved
In an email to local media, officers of the Tanyard Neighborhood Association said that their organization is not against the fish hatchery that Mayor Ashton Hayward wants the state to build in Pensacola. They just want it somewhere other than nearby Bruce Beach.

“For the record, the community was never brought to the table to ask their opinion about the location of the hatchery,” wrote Tanyard president Marilyn Wiggins and vice president Gloria Horning. “The port is a perfect location and can still bring in tourism… it is a much larger space and away from our homes.”

According to Wiggins and Horning, Governor Rick Scott has said no money will be lost to move the hatchery to the port. They asked, “Why do so many want to cram another stinky project into our neighborhood?

They also pointed out that the 2010 Community Redevelopment Plan did not show a fish hatchery being built on Bruce Beach.

Blackwater River Virtual Tour The Bagdad Waterfronts Florida Partnership recently announced its Blackwater Maritime Heritage Trail project, which will be a virtual tour to allow users to explore the Blackwater River using a computer, smart phone, or tablet.

The tour will show the river from the perspective of a kayaker on the river. The trail extracts environmental, historical, and archaeological data from the Blackwater River’s rich maritime heritage and also provides access to a number of conveniences including geographic locations and recreational amenities.

The Bagdad Waterfronts Florida Partnership will partner with Terrain360 to obtain high-resolution, 360-degree images using a custom designed pontoon raft with six cameras mounted 10 feet above the water’s surface. Images will be taken every 40 feet and later stitched together to create a digital image map of each river, accessible by anyone with an Internet connection.

Kayakers, paddlers, and boaters can track their way down the river enjoying thematic trails like Confederate Beard’s Raid of 1862. Users may dock up along the trail and enjoy historic industrial mills turned public parks like the Bagdad Mill Site Park. Public parks and historical sites along the river are highlighted to provide points of access as well as venues for outings and further exploration.

The Blackwater Maritime Heritage Trail is envisioned as a way to educate and protect the cultural resources of Santa Rosa County by bringing the county’s maritime heritage to the hands of local people and visitors to encourage heritage tourism to the community.

Carpenter’s Creek Wish List Councilwoman Sherri Myers last week sent a letter to the Florida Department of Transportation that summarized the public comments from her town hall meeting regarding the FDOT replacement of the 9th Avenue bridge over Carpenter’s Creek.

“As I have pointed out to you in prior meetings, Carpenter’s Creek restoration is a major priority for the City of Pensacola’s neighborhoods through which the creek flows,” said Myers.

The comments included making the bridge higher and wider to expand the floodplain with a beveled design on each side to allow for better hydrological flow and kayaking and canoeing under the bridge. Attendees also suggested a landscape design to stabilize the creek banks and avoid the need for riprap to harden the creek.

The aesthetic features of the bridge were also discussed. The residents asked for an arched bridge that blends in with the historic community, similar in design and by ornamental LED lighting to 12th Avenue and Scenic Highway.

Cowork Annex Opens Cowork Annex, a progressive coworking community located at 13 S. Palafox in the Historic Palafox District, will have its official opening on Thursday, Nov. 30.

Located on the second floor of the Brent Annex building within One Palafox Place, Cowork Annex is a collaborative, caring, community workplace developed by Michael Murdoch, Joel Smith, Scott Cutler, Bobby Switzer, Michael Carro and Ellis Bullock III.

“The Annex offers professional flexibility and connection in a modern, relaxed space located in the heart of a vibrant, exploding downtown scene,” said Karen McLouth, community manager for Cowork Annex. “We strive to provide an inspiring environment with networking and quality programming to further personal and professional growth.”

Cowork Annex features 10,000-square-feet of state-of-the-art design concepts and cutting-edge technology—including a 20-gigabyte Internet connection, among the fastest office Internet connection available. Cowork Annex also boasts specialized conference rooms, a kitchen, an event room and will soon feature a private workout space all situated above a new coffee shop.

“Coworking is the future of work, and is forecast to continue major growth by 2020, with approximately 3.8 million members globally,” said McLouth. “We’re proud to be offering the diverse, young professionals of Pensacola a smart working option in a shared economy and helping our city grow and thrive.”

Cowork Annex offers a variety of membership pricing levels based on usage, space and desk requirements.

For more information about Cowork Annex go to coworkannex.com.