Pensacola, Florida
Saturday February 24th 2018

Archives

The Buzz 2/8/18

No Bruce Beach Plans Two weeks ago, Inweekly dispelled the rumor that an African-American heritage museum was going to be built at Bruce Beach as part of the fish hatchery project (Inweekly, “Bruce Beach’s Place in History, ” Jan.  25). We confirmed that four historic markers are to be erected at the cost of $2,000 each, but the site does not have the room for both a museum and hatchery.

Only one of the markers will be specifically dedicated to the African-American history. The remaining four will cover environmental changes on the site, such as the covering over of Washerwoman’s Creek, the history of the Tanyard neighborhood; and the site’s use as a dry dock.

Another rumor that has been circulated is the Studers, who own the former ECUA site across the street, want to buy the land to build condos. Inweekly contacted Quint Studer.

He said, “We’ve never built a condo project.”

Studer went further. He said he isn’t interested in the waterfront property for any project and has made that known to Mayor Ashton Hayward.

He shared the email below that he sent to Mayor Hayward last week. Studer made it clear he has no plans for Bruce Beach if it were to become available in the Request for Proposal process:

From: Quint Studer <quint@quintstuder.com>
Date: January 29, 2018 at 12:09:29 PM CST
To: Ashton Hayward <mayorhayward@cityofpensacola.com>

Subject: Bruce Beach

Hope all is well with you and your effort to look for an alternative spot for the hatchery. When someone with Jerry Pates knowledge and experience feels that Bruce Beach is not the right spot for the hatchery it speaks volumes. I have great respect for his knowledge and love for the community.

I want to share I have no plans for any of the land that should be made available in the RFP process at this time regarding Bruce Beach. I feel if I did someone could spin that I am against current hatchery location so I could get the land. Not true.

However, when we do move forward on projects I feel we do a good job with quality and local participation. So some may even be disappointed we have no plans.

My best.
Quint Studer

A Break for Ex-Felons The biggest story with a statewide impact last week was a federal judge’s ruling that Florida’s process for restoring voting rights for ex-felons was arbitrary and unconstitutional.

“Florida strips the right to vote from every man and woman who commits a felony,” U.S. District Judge Mark Walker wrote in a 43-page ruling. “To vote again, disenfranchised citizens must kowtow before a panel of high-level government officials over which Florida’s governor has absolute veto authority. No standards guide the panel. Its members alone must be satisfied that these citizens deserve restoration. Until that moment (if it ever comes), these citizens cannot legally vote for presidents, governors, senators, representatives, mayors, or school-board members.”

The state’s clemency board, which is made up of the Florida Cabinet, determines whether rights should be restored. Ex-felons must wait five or seven years after finishing their sentences and any probation or parole before they can apply to have their rights restored. However, restoration is not automatic.

In his ruling, Walker focused heavily on what he saw as the arbitrariness of the system, which he ruled violated First Amendment rights and equal-protection rights under the U.S. Constitution’s 14th Amendment. The judge did not decide how the rights-restoration process should change and gave the plaintiffs and the state until Monday, Feb. 12 to file briefs on the issue.

Gov. Rick Scott’s office disagreed with the ruling, citing the long history of the clemency board.

“The discretion of the clemency board over the restoration of felons’ rights in Florida has been in place for decades and overseen by multiple governors,” John Tupps, a Scott spokesman, said in the statement. “The process is outlined in Florida’s Constitution, and today’s ruling departs from the precedent set by the United States Supreme Court.

“The governor believes that convicted felons should show that they can lead a life free of crime and be accountable to their victims and our communities. While we are reviewing today’s ruling, we will continue to defend this process in the court.”

Regardless of Walker’s ruling, voters will decide in November whether to approve a proposed constitutional amendment on the restoration issue.

The proposal, backed by a political committee known as Floridians for a Fair Democracy, seeks to automatically restore the voting rights of most felons who have served their sentences, completed parole or probation and paid restitution. Automatic restoration would not apply to murderers and sex offenders.

New Port Customer Ocean carrier World Direct Shipping docked M/V Queen B at the Port of Pensacola on Thursday, Feb. 1 as part of its new service between Pensacola and Veracruz, Mexico.

The service will be supported by two vessels, which include the Queen B and a chartered vessel of similar size until World Direct Shipping takes delivery of its second owned vessel in the fourth quarter of 2018. A second port in the northern region of Mexico’s Gulf Coast will be added to the rotation in the near future, according to World Direct Shipping.

Previously that carrier had used only Port Manatee in the Tampa area. Carlos Diaz, director of World Direct Shipping, said, “With Pensacola and Port Manatee, World Direct Shipping enhances its service network between Mexico and the Southeast United States.”

Diaz sees the Port of Pensacola as a complement to his company’s Port Manatee operations.

“Most importantly, we will be providing shippers between the U.S. and Mexico additional flexibility in meeting their shipping needs with our proven track record of speed, reliability and personalized care to customers,” he said. “It’s exciting to have this opportunity to open another ocean route between Florida and Mexico.”

Valentine’s Day Facts Wallethub.com has gathered facts on Valentine’s Day spending. The average amount a person spends celebrating the romantic holiday is $143.56.

Roughly 45 percent of people expect their Valentine to spend at least $50 on a gift, according to WalletHub’s 2018 Valentine’s Day Survey. And four in ten people would break up with their significant other if he or she spent irresponsibly.

Men plan to spend nearly twice as much as women, on average, for Valentine’s Day 2018—$191 vs. $99. Americans will spend on jewelry ($4.7B), flowers ($2B) and candy ($1.8B). An estimated nine million marriage proposals are made each Valentine’s Day.

Argos Suit Up The University of West Florida Career Services and Student Government Association will partner with JCPenney to host the Argos Suit Up event, part of a national initiative that allows students to purchase discounted professional wear. The event will take place on Feb. 25 from 6:30-9:30 p.m. at the JCPenney located at 7171 N. Davis Highway. In Oct. 2017, President Martha D. Saunders pledged $10,000 of personal funds to support the initiative.

“When I learned about the program from one of our student government leaders, it just seemed to be a natural fit for UWF,” said UWF President Martha D. Saunders. “We already provide students with help creating a polished resume, write cover letters, develop a portfolio and practice for a job interview. This takes it to the next level by helping them build a professional wardrobe that’s budget friendly.”

Students who attend the shopping event will receive a 40 percent off coupon for any purchase of eligible professional clothing. The coupon applies an additional discount to clothing, including items already marked down.

“The collaboration between UWF and JCPenney’s program will allow students the opportunity to purchase affordable and professional clothing for internship and job interviews, as well as for future employment opportunities,” said Jamie Calvert, assistant director of communications for SGA. “We are eager to see how beneficial this will be for our students.”

Through fundraising efforts and generous donations, including Saunders’ pledge, Career Services will purchase JCPenney gift cards that will be awarded to students who demonstrate a need that aligns with the mission of the program. Students can apply for financial assistance by submitting a résumé and a short video discussing how they will be impacted by this program. The deadline to apply is Friday, Feb. 9.

“Regardless of the industry a student enters, they will be expected to dress professionally at some point, whether that is an interview or professional function where they represent their company,” said Lindsey Walk, Director of Career Services. “Our goal in this program is to assist students so they can make a great first impression when they meet potential employers.”

The initiative was brought forward to Saunders by Abigail Megginson, a senior journalism and political science major who serves as the SGA director of communications. Megginson saw the potential impact this program could have on students as they prepare to enter the job market after graduation.

“We are extremely proud of our students who began this program and thank them for being proactive within our Argonaut community,” said Kishane Patel, UWF Student Body President. “Nothing speaks to the level of students we have than those who are working diligently for our peers within the institution.”

Students and alumni must present their Nautilus card at the event in order to receive their discount. For more details, visit uwf.edu/suitup.

Maritime Murals If the City of Pensacola’s Architectural Review Board approves, the University of West Florida Historic Trust will install a three-panel vinyl mural to he west side of its building on 110 E. Church Street.

The UWF Historic Trust has collaborated with Lamar Advertising and the Florida Division of Historical Resources to create a design that meets the needs of the project and conform to the design standards for the National Park Service grant. An earlier design had failed to garner ARB approval in December.

The mural panels are 25 feet tall and 20 feet wide. The panels will be changed every six to twelve months with the content alternating between artwork and images. The focus of the content will be the maritime history of Pensacola.

The Architectural Review Board meets at 2 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 15, in the Mason Conference Room in Pensacola City Hall, 222 W. Main St.

Black History Month Event Escambia County will host a Black History Month program and celebration Thursday, Feb. 22, at 6 p.m. at the Brownsville Community Resource Center, 3200 W. De Soto St.

This free community event will include music, dancing and exhibits celebrating Black History Month. This year’s theme is “Looking Back on the Past, Living in the Present, Looking Forward to the Future.” Refreshments will be served. One or more Escambia County commissioners may be present. For more information, contact Leroy Williams at lewilliams@myescambia.com.

Mark Your Calendars UF/IFAS Santa Rosa County Extension hosts a class, “Spring Vegetable Gardening,” which will be taught by Norene Gideon, Florida Master Gardener. The program is free to attend without pre-registration and is available at two locations: 10 a.m., Friday, Feb. 9, Santa Rosa County Extension Office, 6263 Dogwood Dr., Milton and 1 p.m., Friday, Feb. 16, Gulf Breeze Library, 1060 Shoreline Dr., Gulf Breeze. For questions about the class or locations, contact the Santa Rosa County Extension office at 623-3868.

Bike Pensacola’s February Slow Ride will be Saturday, Feb. 17, starting at First City Art Center, 1060 N. Guillemard St. Riders will tour neighborhoods that include Long Hollow, Eastside, East Hill, and Old East Hill. Following the ride, there will be a party hosted by First City Art Center and Open Books.