Pensacola, Florida
Saturday February 23rd 2019


Winners & Losers 3/1/18

T. Bubba Bechtol
The University of West Florida Department of Theatre recently received a $25,000 check from Pensacola comedian James Terryl “T. Bubba” Bechtol in honor of his son Robert Clayton “Carter” Bechtol, who graduated from the UWF theatre program in 1998. The check presentation was held on Feb. 16 at the Center for Fine & Performing Arts on the opening night of UWF’s spring musical “The Music Man.” The donation will establish an endowed scholarship for the Department of Theatre and will provide scholarships for juniors and seniors in the department.

Gulf Power
The private electric utilities that serves 460,000 customers in the Florida Panhandle plans to pass along about $103 million in federal tax savings to its customers. The utility filed documents last week at the Florida Public Service Commission that detail plans to reduce customers’ bills because of the federal tax overhaul approved in December. The average residential customer will save about $14 a month.

Led by the survivors of the Feb. 14 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, thousands gathered outside the Old Capitol building to demand state lawmakers enact tighter gun and school-safety laws. Rachel Catania, a Marjory Stoneman Douglas High sophomore, told the crowd, “How many more innocent people have to die before we make a change? Change is overdue. And we are the change. When leaders act like children and children act like leaders, you know something is about to change.”

Wayne LaPierre
In a speech before the Conservative Political Action Conference, the executive vice president of the National Rifle Association, the nation’s most prominent gun-rights lobbying organization, accused those advocating for tighter gun control laws of exploiting the Parkland, Fla. tragedy for political gain. LaPierre called for schools “soft targets” and demanded increased school security. He also ripped the “rogue” leadership of the FBI. According to its most recent 990-tax form, LaPierre made $5,110,985 in annual compensation in 2015, which came from the payout of a $3.7 million retirement plan and $1,240,515 in salary and bonuses.

Benjamin Kelly
The district secretary for State Rep. Shawn Harrison, R-Tampa, was fired after he falsely told a Tampa Bay Times reporter Alex Leary that two Stoneman Douglas students speaking out after the shooting were not students but actors “who travel to various crisis when they happen.” He followed up with a YouTube conspiracy video to back up his claim. Rep. Harrison placed Kelly, 61, on administrative leave. House Speaker Richard Corcoran, who oversees all House employees, subsequently fired the aide.

Rick Scott
Two days after the Parkland shootings, Gov. Rick Scott demanded FBI Director Christopher Wray resign after the agency acknowledged it failed to follow standard procedures after receiving a tip in January about the man arrested for the massacre. Talk about someone playing politics with the tragedy. To its credit, the FBI did not cover up the mistake and personally contacted the families of the victims to apologize.